I have a history of not blogging frequently, but I’m trying to change that. The fruits of that labor are below.
Everything in the blog section reflects my opinion, and only my opinion.
For the past eight months and a few weeks, I’ve been doing The Freshmaker Show, first with a weekly eclectic set on tilderadio, then with a second show on aNONradio, focusing on jazz. I have called both of these The Freshmaker Show, and I’ve decided that is a bit confusing. Therefore, starting with tonight’s show, I’ll be calling the jazz show Giant Steps. (Because I’m a Coltrane fan, and because at 6'4" and 270 pounds, every step I make is a giant step.
I’ve spent some time recently on internationalizing this site. In addition to my native language, English, the site now supports my second language, French, and my third language, Spanish. Not all content will be in all three languages, but I plan on writing some in each, to dust off the French I learned in high school, and continue learning Spanish, in which I am a beginner. Links to alternate languages, when available, are at the bottom of each page.
A few months back, I posted about an experiment I was undertaking in using a CalyxOS phone with mostly free/open source software as my daily driver. Here’s an update. First of all, I’ve switched back and forth a few times. This was to be expected; I’ve been using iPhones so long that I have lots of muscle and mental memory built up on how to do things. There are, simply, some things that are easier to do on my old phone.
I am going to try to answer Christina’s Five Questions more often. In keeping with the spirit in which Ms. O’Twisty presents the questions, my answers are available in Gemini format. Five items you are most likely to buy at a convenience store? Diet cola; coffee; snack foods; antacids; some fifth thing that would further justify the fourth thing. I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, and drink alcohol very sparingly, so junk food is my main vice and heartburn is my penance for said vice.
Like the majority of people who carry smartphones, I’ve stuck to the stock operating system on them over the years. My preference has been for iOS, since I’ve used Apple gear for over 30 years, but I’ve used Android, too. I’ve also come to appreciate that, while I can’t know exactly how phone makers use my information, Apple has less incentive to be evil; they are primarily a hardware company that has a small advertising business, as opposed to Google, which is primarily an advertising company that has a small hardware business.
As you probably know if you read here regularly, I do The Freshmaker Show on tilderadio. I’m excited to announce that I’ll soon be doing a second show on aNONradio, this one airing at 0000 UTC on Fridays (Thursday evenings North American time.) The shows will have different music; one won’t be a rerun of the other. Just like I hang out on tilde.chat during my shows and banter with my listeners, I plan to do the same on SDF’s com chat.
Update: After weeks of radio silence, both FSF and RMS have issued statements. The statements acknowledge that mistakes were made, apologize for certain things, and overall seem sincere. I will take them as such and thank them for their sincerity. I’m still not going to support the FSF, however. My criticism of their drift in focus from advocating for Free Software (capital F and S) to bullying and belittling un-Free software, and those who make a free choice to use it, stands, and I don’t see anything in these statements to indicate that either the FSF or RMS intend to change their approach.
I have been fortunate over the years to use a variety of state-of-the-art hardware for my work and play. I’ve used several generations of MacBooks, as well as highly tuned modern Windows machines. Whether supplied by my employers or purchased for my own use, I’ve had access to the best. And yet, these days, the machine I find myself using the most (including to write this very post) is a ThinkPad W500, which hasn’t been state-of-the-art for at least a decade now, probably longer.
Answers to Christina’s Five Questions (in native Gemini format here): This year, did you try reading a book in a genre you usually don’t gravitate to? What did you think of it? Not yet. I honestly don’t read much for pleasure. (Shock! Horror!) But I’ll probably get to this eventually. Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you stuck to? (Are you still sticking to it?) I resolved to lose weight this year, and I was down about 19 pounds at last weigh-in, due to diet changes and an adjustment to my blood sugar medication.
I learn by doing; always have. If I want to learn how something is done, the most effective way for me is not to read about it, or to listen to someone talk about it, but to get my hands dirty doing it. It’s true for so many things I’ve learned, but especially my trade of UNIX system administration. Ever since I first got root on a UNIX system (my first Slackware installation way back in 1994) it’s been this way.
The UNIX operating system traces its roots to 1970. On UNIX, time is calculated as the number of seconds since midnight UTC on January 1, 1970. At that time, it was an internal system within Bell Labs. Within a few years, UNIX was available to the public at large. And thus began a journey that, remarkably, continues unabated to the current day. Almost no one runs the original UNIX any more.
I did my first episode of the Moose Hour tonight. This was the first time I’ve done a radio show, live or otherwise, since I graduated from university way back in 1996. Yep, 25 years. That’s a long time. And, aside from a few minor technical glitches (which are to be expected, after all) it went great! It felt like old times, just playing music and talking about it. I’m looking forward to doing it again.
I live in the District of Columbia, known locally as “DC”, and worldwide as the location of Washington, the capital of the United States. Outside DC, people tend to use the terms interchangeably, but here, we like to make a distinction: “DC” or “the District” is a city where people live, work, play, and generally go about their business just like any other large city in the United States or the world.
I’ve tried blogging at various times over the years. My most recent run was from 2013-2017 in which I averaged about one post a year. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t into it. I’m trying to get back into it. Recently I’ve renewed my focus on the Internet outside of the big social networks; the network as it used to be, back when I first cut my teeth in the 1990s and 2000s.
Yesterday, DC United played their final match at RFK Stadium. For the first time since it opened in 1961 as DC Stadium, RFK has no tenants. United is moving to Audi Field in Southwest next year, and threw a big “Last Call at RFK” party to mark the end of this era. The less said about the actual game, the better. United started strong, but folded late, and with some help from the officials, the New Jersey Red Bulls headed home with the win.
My first experience with Metro was in the late 70s, when my grandparents lived in Arlington, VA. The first ride I remember was getting on the Blue line at Rosslyn and riding over to Smithsonian to go to my favorite museum, Air and Space. Several years later, I remember parking at East Falls Church, which wasn’t open for train service yet, and getting on at Ballston to do more or less the same trip.
The DC Streetcar project has been an ongoing boondoggle for a long time, but it may finally be coming to something close to an end. The system will open for business on February 27, or at least something close to “for business.” In what appears to be a rush to get the streetcar running before some arbitrary date, a few unfortunate choices have been made. The car barn at Spingarn High School isn’t ready.
By now, just about everyone’s heard of the DevOps virtues of Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing, or CAMS. (Some also add Lean in there to make CALMS, or CLAMS if you’re into seafood.) While it doesn’t make for a snappy acronym, I think we should add one more virtue: Gratitude. Whatever you do with your life, there’s something in your life to be thankful for. For those of us who’ve been working in the DevOps fields for a long time, there’s a lot to be thankful for right now.
I’ve just returned from a week in Colorado, meeting with my colleagues at TeamSnap. We do these company-wide meetings about twice a year, bringing in most (if not all) of the team from around the world to discuss business, collaborate on new ideas, and have fun doing so. (If this sounds a lot like what some other businesses call an “offsite”, you’re right. That word sounds a little odd to me given that around 3/4 of TeamSnap works remote, but maybe I’m overthinking things.
Getting tickets for MARC is a fairly confusing process. There are various ways to get a ticket, all of which have their own idiosyncracies about them: (Update: MARC fixed things in 2018. See the Postpostscript.) At stations that have them, you can buy tickets from Amtrak ticket machines. This includes not only the stations that are also Amtrak stations (Union Station, New Carrollton, Penn Station, Rockville, etc.) but also some other stations that are not served by Amtrak (Camden Yards, Savage, etc.