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Apr. 28th, 2016 08:48 pm
afuna: Cat under a blanket. Text: "Cats are just little people with Fur and Fangs" (Default)
[personal profile] afuna
Been afraid of saying anything, out of fear I'll scare away the motivation by mentioning it, but I've been playing guitar often enough / long enough that I'm finally starting to develop calluses.

I've been taking a scattershot approach: some evenings I follow a more structured approach (Andy Guitar when I've got the attention span; various apps when I don't). Other evenings I just sit down and play random songs from things people have put on the internet.

It's very nice to be able to sit down and have music come from my fingers. Like... like what, really, is this?

And because pop songs all take after one another, it turns out that even though there are like, a million different chords, half a dozen is enough to play most songs.

I'm still avoiding bar chords, but those come up so infrequently that I sometimes just don't *play* that one chord, and fill it in with my voice instead. (Cheater cheater <3)

I'm trying to wrap my brain around chord transposition. I've got something which takes an existing series of chord and transposes them, no problem. But then... I'm unsure what this means when I'm playing them on the guitar. Do I play on the same fret as I would pre-transposition, just with the new chord? Do I move one fret down for each step I've transposed? idk!

Postcards from the Pacific Northwest

Apr. 29th, 2016 04:23 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Keiki with Grandma & Grandpa
Grandma and Grandpa teach Keiki how to make a grass blade whistle.

The wild Keiki in the grass
Behold the wild Keiki in the grass.

It has taken three days of my six-day trip here to sort out my parents' internet connection, which is a bit longer than I'd hoped to spend on it. The important thing is that it seems to be working now. There was an intermittent problem which took a while - and multiple calls to service provider & visits by technicians - to fix. They ended up replacing all of the coax cable ends and connectors from the pole to the wall socket in house and that did the trick. The last tech also found a problem with the incoming signal from the roadside, which has presumably been affecting all my parents' elderly neighbours whether they knew it or not, so that should get fixed as well. Probably after I leave, which is non-ideal, but it will hopefully end up helping to vindicate the World's Most Expensive Tech Support Trip.

Last night I made the mistake of going to bed at 21:30, which meant I was wide awake at 04:30. It's going to take a lot of cups of tea to keep me awake for another 2.5 hours. I'd better get started on that.

ETA: Forgot to tell the best part of the story so far, which is the bit where my parents meticulously recorded my flight details on their wall calendar...on the wrong day. This resulted in me popping out from baggage claim after my (delayed) 9.5 hour flight and an hour's slog through immigration/border control with my suitcase and a delirious baby in a pushchair and not finding my father, who is usually strolling up and down the Arrivals hall.

I got out my mobile and dialed my parents. Dad answered after three rings. "Hello?"
"Hi Dad, it's me. Where are you?"
"I'm here!"
"Okay, where?"
"Where, specifically, are you? Are you in Arrivals, or the car park, or outside?"
There is a long and ominous pause.
"I'm at home. Aren't you arriving tomorrow?"
"...No, Dad, I'm in the airport."

NB: My parents live over an hour's drive from the nearest international airport. That was an expensive taxi ride.

I'm sure this memory will be funny eventually. Like in five years or so.

Oh Right That

Apr. 28th, 2016 02:27 am
finch: (Default)
[personal profile] finch
I had to lay down to help the baby fall asleep, and napped, and missed a bunch of dailies on Habitica and lost HP because I woke up around 1am. I'm pretty sure the weird fear of getting dinged (especially as I'd done some of the things, just not ticked them off) is why I stopped using it in the first place. I guess I could count them as habits and not have any dailies at all, but at that point I might as well use a different app.

So the question becomes: is it worth the mental effort to sit with that discomfort with the 'unfairness' and try to get used to Habitica or should I just do something else?

I really wish more things were built to deal with your day starting when you get up and not at midnight.


Apr. 27th, 2016 08:47 pm
northern: JC Chasez's hand with some drawn-in-Photoshop colorful fire beneath it. (Default)
[personal profile] northern
I've been working on the rest of the Abraham books and now I have five hours left on book four (five total). They're really really good still, but I needed a break and so I asked people I work with for crime fiction recs. I picked the first of the Lewis trilogy by Peter May, The Blackhouse. It was only six hours and pretty good, even if it was a little high on the manpain scale. The best thing about it was all the descriptions of the island's nature. If there hasn't been a tv series made from these yet, I assume it'll be coming.

In yarn news I finished the blanket for my brother (just waiting for an opportunity to give it to him) and a quick Hitchhiker for my niece (she'll get it on Saturday). I'm working on a fun mosaic knitting (slipped stitches) mkal called Bollenstreek. Not entirely sure I like the colors I picked, but it's a lot of fun and the bit of cotton with the wool in the yarn shows great definition. I also started a Viajante for my new bring-along project, and the yarn is beautiful.

I need to get a cat friend for Esfir. Waiting for my summer weeks off though, so I can supervise.

Daily Accountability?

Apr. 26th, 2016 11:35 pm
finch: (Default)
[personal profile] finch
I need to get back in the writing habit. I don't quite have it in me to do 750 words a day, at least not yet, but suggestions? Maybe this would be a good use for Habitica...
finch: (vikings! they come for the booty)
[personal profile] finch
Tonight you get my two am confessionals.

First, I got a notification that a book on my tracking list had price-dropped to free. Reader, I bought it. Free is a weakness I'm trying to hold out against when it comes to just downloading random crap, but for stuff I've been tracking for months, I'm willing to fail a little.

Second, this is an academic book, and I'm really not in the headspace for an academic book. It's got some really neat ideas, and I read it in the hopes of fleshing out the Mariams, and I'm not disappointed. It's just dense in a way that I don't feel like I got much out of it.

Realistically, though... It's an ILL book, so renewing it wouldn't be for much longer and I don't know when I'll have the time to read it properly, so rather than feel bad about it, back it goes.

Prater Park and the Belvedere

Apr. 22nd, 2016 08:38 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Since I knew we were going to lean heavily on the grandparents for child care on Wednesday and Thursday, I used Tuesday to take the children out as much as possible. (As it turned out, I overdid it a little, both for them and myself, as I was shattered during the evening conference session.) In the morning, we explored the many playgrounds in the enormous Prater Park near our accommodation. We sampled no less than four different ones. Our favourite was the last, as it featured a generous sand pit. In the afternoon, we took the tram to the Belvedere, the mansions-turned-museums with formal gardens that we stayed over the road from the last time we were in Vienna.

Humuhumu & Gryphon 1
Humuhumu in front of one of the many gryphons guarding the formal gardens.

+14 photos )

We walked up to Karlsplatz and the U-bahn in the late afternoon sunshine. For the first time since we'd left the house in the morning, Humuhumu asked for a pick-up, and as she lay her head on my shoulder I suddenly realised that she'd walked (or run) at least five kilometres that day. Not bad going for three-year-old legs. And we'd even forgotten to celebrate Cake O'Clock. We compensated by having Chocolate O'Clock when we got home, with Manner wafers and Mozart balls.
finch: (nonsense level 9point2)
[personal profile] finch
Source: I bought this book a couple of months ago at a church book sale. It came with a blank book intended to be journalled in. Based on comments, it's apparently hard to find and out of print.

The book is a guide to illuminated journaling, ie, sketching alongside your writing in a journal. It's not a bad guide, though if you've read a lot about journaling, it does seem repetitive in some areas. She really does make the idea of sketching through your journals seem approachable, though, and I've successfully tried some of the techniques.

Circumventing Ubuntu Snap confinement

Apr. 21st, 2016 06:31 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Ubuntu 16.04 was released today, with one of the highlights being the new Snap package format. Snaps are intended to make it easier to distribute applications for Ubuntu - they include their dependencies rather than relying on the archive, they can be updated on a schedule that's separate from the distribution itself and they're confined by a strong security policy that makes it impossible for an app to steal your data.

At least, that's what Canonical assert. It's true in a sense - if you're using Snap packages on Mir (ie, Ubuntu mobile) then there's a genuine improvement in security. But if you're using X11 (ie, Ubuntu desktop) it's horribly, awfully misleading. Any Snap package you install is completely capable of copying all your private data to wherever it wants with very little difficulty.

The problem here is the X11 windowing system. X has no real concept of different levels of application trust. Any application can register to receive keystrokes from any other application. Any application can inject fake key events into the input stream. An application that is otherwise confined by strong security policies can simply type into another window. An application that has no access to any of your private data can wait until your session is idle, open an unconfined terminal and then use curl to send your data to a remote site. As long as Ubuntu desktop still uses X11, the Snap format provides you with very little meaningful security. Mir and Wayland both fix this, which is why Wayland is a prerequisite for the sandboxed xdg-app design.

I've produced a quick proof of concept of this. Grab XEvilTeddy from git, install Snapcraft (it's in 16.04), snapcraft snap, sudo snap install xevilteddy*.snap, /snap/bin/xevilteddy.xteddy . An adorable teddy bear! How cute. Now open Firefox and start typing, then check back in your terminal window. Oh no! All my secrets. Open another terminal window and give it focus. Oh no! An injected command that could instead have been a curl session that uploaded your private SSH keys to somewhere that's not going to respect your privacy.

The Snap format provides a lot of underlying technology that is a great step towards being able to protect systems against untrustworthy third-party applications, and once Ubuntu shifts to using Mir by default it'll be much better than the status quo. But right now the protections it provides are easily circumvented, and it's disingenuous to claim that it currently gives desktop users any real security.
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