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18

I wrote my first blog post on LiveJournal. Even though I may have migrated from LJ to my own self-hosted site, I’m proud to announce that as of today I’ve been blogging now for 18 years. Half my life! 5,510 posts! Almost enough for a post a day, every day, for that entire span. Well, 306 posts per year. Still more than a post for every weekday for every year for 18 years!. That’s amazing, and kind of scary: my blog can now vote, buy smokes (in some jurisdictions), and register for the draft. It’s all grown up!

And to think that the World Wide Web celebrated its 30th birthday a few days ago. It was only 12 years old when I started blogging. And look at the Web now!

I used to worry that with the rise of various social networks that I’d abandon more long-form blogging in favor of brief status updates. While I certainly have a lot of writing on Twitter (40,100+ tweets as of now), I feel like there’s been a general surge of interest lately in people having their writing on a site that’s under their own control. At some point I’d like to incorporate my Twitter posts into my blog, but for now I’m happy keeping that as its own separate entity; brief observations go on Twitter, while longer thoughts and ideas go here. If it takes more than a tweet or two to articulate, might as well make it a blog post.

I hope I can keep going independently indefinitely.

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I’m not sure I understand the point of Amazon Day

…Isn’t the point of Amazon Prime to get your items sooner without having to pay for shipping? So what’s the point of Amazon Day? Now, if it were an option to let me choose which delivery service to use (I’d much prefer having my packages come via USPS rather than UPS, as the postal service carriers can get into my building while UPS cannot), I would be all over this.

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Uselessnet

The other day I was thinking about a pretty cool terminal app I downloaded years ago called Cathode, wondering if it had been updated for the new iPad Pro screen size. Apparently it hasn’t been updated in the past year. Shame, as it does a pretty cool job of replicating old CRT terminal displays. It also doesn’t appear to support some of the security configuration setup I have for my server, so it not being updated was a moot point as I can’t even really use it.

Once I got to thinking about what I might do over an terminal connection – why have an iPad with a cellular connection and a terminal app (Panic’s Prompt) if you can’t use it as a dumb terminal wherever you are? – my curiosity got the best of me and I fell down a rabbit hole of setting up the alpine mail client on my server so I could SSH in and triage my email. ((I had used pine back when I started college, so it wasn’t as if I was unfamiliar with terminal-based mail applications.)) I usually speed through Gmail using keyboard shortcuts to triage my inbox, but I wanted something that I could use more easily on my iPad. I’m surprised to say that it wasn’t as bad and more usable than I had expected it to be – it’s no good for image-heavy mail, but for text-only or mail with very few images it seems to work great.

I had to do some tinkering to get it to save my mail password; apparently it requires a certificate and key to encrypt the password file, but it might also be able to just use a password to encrypt? I’m not quite sure because I only really got it working once I had imported my webserver’s TLS certificate (which it couldn’t use for encryption, but was enough to let me in to the certificate management settings menu and set a password, then remove the key and certificate from the installation) as an experiment. I should really create an appropriate certificate and key and so on just for alpine and see if by having that it doesn’t need me to enter a password each time I open the application, but I haven’t reached that stage of tinkering yet.

I realized that alpine also has support for connecting to NNTP servers. I hadn’t used an application for newsgroups since Unison, another Panic application, but I figured that if alpine has newsgroup support I might as well try it. Even though forums on the web had probably taken the place of much of Usenet some time ago I wondered if there was any reason now to still use Usenet newsgroups.

Nope. There’s no reason. Of the few newsgroups I poked my head in to see if they were still active, only one (alt.fan.frank-zappa) that I used to lurk in or might be interested in now was (relatively) spam-free and/or active.

That said, I wouldn’t mind being able to use Reddit via an NNTP protocol if such a thing were possible…

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About face(book)

I haven’t logged into Facebook since last year. 2019 has been Facebook-free! Funny enough I don’t miss it as much as I thought I might – using it just made me feel uncomfortable.

I’ve thought about logging back in and starting the deletion process, but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to delete my account. Perhaps, if Facebook could go a month without doing anything embarassing, then maybe I’d feel better about going back to using it. But considering they seem to screw something up or are in the news for shady practices at least once every week my account would probably stay dormant for quite a long time.

Plus, it’s like I have this streak I need to maintain. 58 days and counting of not logging into Facebook! Logging in to start the process to delete my account feels like sabotaging my streak.

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Cables

Trying out a new USB-C to USB-mini cable that just arrived today, bought specifically so I could hook one of my mechanical keyboards ((One, in the sense that I have two, and the other is already connected to my computer.)) to my iPad and use that for writing. It sounds silly to say that I’m trying out a USB cable, but until now I only had a USB-C cable, singular, and now I’ve got a few:

  • two USB-C to USB-mini cables (one for this keyboard + one for connecting my camera to my iPad when traveling)

  • two USB-C to USB-A cables for charging

  • one USB-C to HDMI cable for entertainment

In other cable news, this past Sunday I arrived home to see the end of my street blocked off by a few Verizon trucks and they appeared to be splicing cable down a manhole through much of the night. I’m hoping that they were doing something to help me get Fios as it’s been almost a year since I saw conduit deployed in my neighborhood – including right up a telephone pole just outside my window – and yet I still get “Fios is unavailable in your area” notices when I try to check online, even though it appears that houses on the next block over have it or can get it. What makes me pessimistic about them setting up new fiber is that they were doing it until well past Sunday midnight on a holiday weekend, which has me think that maybe they were fixing a break or other issue. My cable bill is too expensive and I’d much rather have gigabit download and upload speeds, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next week or two that I might finally be able to sign up.