Boring Tranquility

Last Modified: February 05, 2019

Welcome to Boring Tranquility.

"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"

Books currently "on" my bedside table:

Posts descend newest to oldest.


Docker, Go, and Heroku


Boring Tranquility

Deploying a simple Gin Go app turned out to be surprisingly annoying today. I’m not sure if I was looking in the wrong place for the correct documentation or if I’m just an aging fool. Either way, I thought it wise to commit to writing what I did. Perhaps some wayward soul will come across this post in a few odd years when none of it will matter anyway.

Heroku binds to a random port each time your app spins up. Make your Go service look for an env var named PORT. The pitfall here to is the colon before the port number. Thus: ":" + os.Getenv("PORT").

Log into Heroku via their CLI tool and the documentation gets clearer. Although, they do forget to mention to pass the app name you’re looking to deploy.

heroku container:push web --app <appname>

next:

heroku container:release web --app <appname>

New Dark Age Highlights


Boring Tranquility

I try to read as much I can. I have a Kindle that contains some of “my” books. Everything you highlight or take note of on the Kindle is sent to an Amazon server (probably in Virginia). I assume they then have some software query over it all in order to build a better consumer profile.

I thought it’d be fun to share each and every highlight and/or note I make in these digital books.

The snippets should be read top down. The very first highlight is the first one I made in the book. I will denote if it’s a note if it is.

New Dark Age highlights and notes

  • immiserates

  • progenitors

  • The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age

  • Vannevar Bush

  • ‘All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control.’

  • Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Stewart, of IBM’s Department of Pure Science.

  • Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), the first company to manufacture an affordable business computer.

  • Semi-Automated Business Research Environment

  • ‘code/space’.

  • When an e-book is purchased from an online service, it remains the property of the seller, its loan subject to revocation at any time – as happened when Amazon remotely deleted thousands of copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from customers’ Kindles in 2009[.]

  • Reading a book, listening to music, researching and learning: these and many other activities are increasingly governed by algorithmic logics and policed by opaque and hidden computational processes. Culture is itself a code/space.

  • The aggregation of complex systems in contemporary networked applications means that no single person ever sees the whole picture.

  • automation bias

  • Contemporary information networks are both the economic and cognitive frameworks of society

  • need to be more responsible about what we use the internet for … Data centres aren’t the culprits – it’s driven by social media and mobile phones. It’s films, pornography, gambling, dating, shopping – anything that involves images.’

  • As in most proto-environmental claims, the proposed solutions are either appeals to regulation (taxing data), conservative regressions (banning pornography, or switching from colour to black-and-white photographs to save transmission costs) or hapless techno-fixes (like the miracle-material graphene) – all ludicrous, unworkable, and unable to think at the scale of the networks they seek to address.

  • it is nonlocal, - ??

  • Such histories give the lie to the heroic narrative of history – the lone genius toiling away to produce a unique insight.

  • The Web was necessary, and so it appeared – in this timeline, at least.

  • future generations of transistors will take advantage of this effect to make chips the size of atoms themselves, while others predict a future of biological machines composed of DNA and custom, nanoengineered proteins.

  • techniques is p-hacking.

  • Data dredging

  • overflow.

  • upwelling

  • the machine is chronicling its own inefficiency, in its own language.

  • acknowledging grey areas of thought and understanding.

  • variegated

  • ‘attempting to optimise a hidden utility model that the human experts may not be able to express explicitly’

  • psychogeography

  • ‘the triumph of human capital over financial capital and real estate, capable managers over fat cat stockholders, and skill over nepotism’ is ‘largely illusory'

  • In March of 2017, Amazon acquired Quidsi, a company that had built a huge business on the back of low-cost, high-volume goods such as infant supplies and cosmetics. They did so by pioneering automation at every level of the distribution chain, and removing the human in the process.

  • As a result, Amazon employs a logistics technique called ‘chaotic storage’ – chaotic, that is, from a human point of view. By locating products by need and association rather than by type, it’s possible to construct much shorter paths between items

  • obfuscate

  • This debate between connectionists and symbolists was to define the artificial intelligence field for the next forty years, leading to numerous fallings out, and the notorious ‘AI winters’ in which no progress was made at all for many years. At heart, it was not merely a debate about what it means to be intelligent, but what is intelligible about intelligence.

  • Friedrich Hayek

  • Use of the software is illegal in Europe.

  • Iain M. Banks

  • Machines dreaming dream rooms where no dreams are dreamed.

  • Catch-22 exemplifies the dilemma of rational actors caught up within the machinations of vast, irrational systems. Within such systems, even rational responses lead to irrational outcomes.

  • baroque

  • bifurcated

  • ‘The Year Without a Summer’

  • National Radio Quiet Zone

  • General Staff Academy - Russian

  • The gray zone is the best descriptor for a landscape inundated with unprovable facts and provable falsehoods that nevertheless stalk, zombielike, through conversations, cajoling and persuading.

  • AdSense - Google company or software? Need to check

  • industrial model of entertainment production


Finding Joy in Node with Neo Geo


Boring Tranquility

The title is a bit of a misnomer. Anyway, I recently purchased an old Neo Geo arcade cabinet. I was bored and wanted to implement the looping I noticed that it did between FBI warnings and game carts. Doing this oddly made we realize that Node isn’t all that bad. It’s fun to work with. Here’s the simple program that mimics what I noticed my new toy does before you enter coins.

I plan to actually optimize this code at some point. Maybe ditch all the recursion stuff.

const readline = require('readline');
readline.emitKeypressEvents(process.stdin);
process.stdin.setRawMode(true);

// Demos
msgDemo = () => {
  setTimeout(() => {
    console.log('METAL SLUG DEMO!');
  }, 2000);
};

// Globals
let count = 0;
let slots = [{
  name: 'FBI WARNING',
  msg: 'Winners Don\'t Do Drugs!'
}, {
  name: 'Metal Slug',
  msg: 'Super Vehicle-001! メタルスラッグ!',
  demo: msgDemo
}, {
  name: 'Baseball Stars 2',
  msg: 'SNK Neo Geo Baseball for super fun time!'
}];

process.stdin.on('keypress', (str, key) => {
  if (key.ctrl && key.name === 'q') {
    if (count === 0) {
      // ignore the key press
      return
    } else {
      // display current slot on the keypress
      console.log(slots[count].name);
      count = -1;
    }
  } else if (key.ctrl && key.name === 'c') {
    process.exit();
  }
});

// Main program
const demoLoop = () => {
  if (count >= slots.length) {
    // restart the loop
    count = 0;
  };
  console.log(slots[count].name + '\n------' + '\n' + slots[count].msg + '\n');
  if (slots[count].demo) {
    console.log('demo found...play it...');
    slots[count].demo();
  }
  setTimeout(() => {
    count++
    demoLoop();
  }, 4000);
};

// call main program
demoLoop();


Unix is Your God


Boring Tranquility

Judge me? Don’t you know that Unix is your God? It’s so clear now. It seems like it shouldn’t be so, but it is and that’s just the way it is. Now, now…do not cry…it’s only the rhythm. It flows in one ear and right out the other.

Programming is a blazing rush; more beautiful than the towering steel of Manhattan; more glorious than the American Revolution.

The power of our fingers was never so stark. The halting problem is sublime. Embrace it, for not even computers know the future.

Sometimes it feels like it’s 1985 again. Hello in cursive across a digital screen for more than a year. A closed system. Marketing ploy. A slave to the rhythm of its time. Sadly, it takes some distance to realize that. That’s okay. It happens. It has happened. It will happen again.

Out of a mass of onrushing wires, striving for the firmament beyond the sky, shaking the entanglement of fiber optics. This a past we will never know. Far in the future we cannot see. What will be and what was is all just a matter of the documented record. It’s a matter for SQL and the database that holds it. We will lose our queries in the maelstrom of computational confusion. It’s only the rhythm.

Grace Jones...Ms. Grace Jones

So Long GitHub, Hello sr.ht


Boring Tranquility

Recently GitHub added a new feature that allows one to attach a status to one’s profile (e.g., “Working from home”, “Out sick”). Now, this is not harmful in and off itself, but it speaks to a larger problem on the platform. Whatever happened to “Do one thing and do it well”?. This new status feature is bloat, pure and simple. People I work with wouldn’t use GitHub to see if I was working from home nor would they use it to see if I were out sick. It’s a seemingly pointless feature. It’s the last nail in the coffin for me. I loved GitHub when it was younger. There was a time when it tracked commit streaks, which is also useless, but I found it fun. It was back when they were doing that sort of thing that I started to learn to program in earnest. It was a scary time in my life. I was jumping into something I thought I was ill prepared for. I have no CS degree and no formal training. I was enrolled (i.e., paid to be part of) one of the myriad boot camps proliferating around the nation at that time. I knew I knew nothing, but I was also sure that I would be pretending to know something for the rest of my life. I still feel that way some weeks. I don’t truly understand half of what I do, but I love it and I love the tools that I learned with. GitHub was one of those tools. Yes, yes…Microsoft came and injected cash and talent. It’s the nature of the thing (this is a fond saying of mine because I lack a skill for written elegance).

As all these thoughts bandy about in the dome wherein my brain resides, I’ve decided to abandon my old online moniker. “Gusbenz” was lifted wholly from someone I knew vaguely in elementary school. His “Gusbenz” was a combination of his grandfather’s last name and someone else he knew. One was named Gus and the other Benz.The details are trivial and pointless. I stole the name and tacked on “3000”. There were three of us back in the early 2000s: Gusbenz, Gusbenz2000, Gusbenz3000. I evidently became the sole owner later in life and ditched the 3000.

I view my username change as a renewal with tech. I am excited about what the future will bring, while being sanguine about its prospects.

I’ve also started the process of moving away from GitHub. sr.ht is an open source solution that attempts to be a GitHub that isn’t a GitHub. It harks back to the days of mailing lists. I was never part of that world, but I stood in the penumbra. I want to be part of what it has become before it fades away from this earth forever. The history of tech is long and it bends towards irrelevance.

This post seems heavy on the ego, but I think it’s stuff I need to get out there. Getting older does strange things to your body and mind.

Long live Vexhack!


Daily Update - 01-04-19


Boring Tranquility

Perhaps it’s high time to document my readings / writings on the daily. I’m not sure if I should post at the beginning of everyday with things I have read / written the day prior or build this post up during the day and then post it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

  • The Verge has a fascinating article about the byzantine nature of Amazon’s Market Place business. It seems that more and more people’s livelihoods are wrapped in the behemoth’s clutches. It feeds on the blood of citizens wanting what we all want.
  • Started reading The New Dark Age by James Bridle. Might be far too radical for me. Perhaps as I get older I am doing the reverse of what my peers would be doing (i.e., becoming more liberal). Too much fragmented information doesn’t make humanity any smarter. It makes us dumb, makes us sad, and makes us feel very alone.
  • Tucker Carlson expounds on the state of our nation. We’re less happy than we used to be (so says he). Materialism hasn’t brought about an enduring sense of well being that supposedly once was. National Review columnist thinks Carlson’s speech will ignite a new “movement”. I think that groundwork has already been laid.
  • My boy David French counterattacks!
  • Reading Andrew Yang’s The War on Normal People - plugging Yang’s campaign site here - it’s been worth the time to read. Our country and culture is in a very precarious place. I know this because I’m in my 30s!
  • U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell; State Rep is Reuven Carlyle and 7th District is Pramila Jayapal. Know this. Learn this. Think local, act local.
  • AOC blasted for dancing in her youth. Curious to see what she actually does as a Representative. Can’t discount someone before they try. God Bless her in her attempts to defund ICE. Might be worth watching her speak while playing Young Dumb & Broke [sic].
  • I fear my love affair with tech is cresting. I find myself reaching back while I know I should be far more aware of what I want to see in the future. Nostalgia is a powerful force. Our corporate masters know this better than anyone.

The Life and Death of a Startup


Boring Tranquility

The net is vast and infinite

Where to begin? The story seems timeless at this point. Especially now when one begins to dust off the various text editors to prepare for a resume update. There’s a certain oddness when looking back on aged (ageless) PDFs - seeing where one has been and where one is attempting to go. There’s often that nagging thought that one’s own eyes are the only ones that will ever scan that employment history. That’s the nature of the “thing”. That “thing” being jobs, people, airwaves, the fed, Mexican nationals, et al.

We randomly come to certain points in the infinite free flow of events, those mysterious phenomena. What propels us forward? What yanks us back? What denotes success or failure? These questions are too large for this post. Much like the ethical questions surrounding Harvard’s endowment, and the coming migrant crisis at the Southern border of the United States. Again, that ever present free flow of events; that vast cascade of information.

Our paths still cross in these high pressure days, / A crowd pattern will emerge / Exchange phone numbers, wither away

Something is in the nadir of its existence. Following a fading light toward a dark and cold ledge. Waiting and hanging - all alone. These are the types of high pressure days that one longs for. So far away - ephemeral. Always reaching back for moments lost to eternity. Trying to feel things one can no longer feel. What is rebirth and renewal? Who are we, where are we going? Tony Soprano once said this. He’s gone now too.

We will begin again. The popular media of youth shapes and molds like a golem our minds. We strive to recreate what was once new, which in turn strove for that very same thing. It begins again. Over and over. It is a pretty sight. Why does one think of Final Fantasy VIII at a time like this? They all were friends of mine; teenagers struggling against an enormity that they could not fathom. 1999. 9/9/99 - do you remember that ad too? Who am I, where am I going?

I can hear you, the world hears you!

There is a William Basinski work called “The Disintegration Loops” - an amazing piece of American music. It ebbs and flows as if water lapping an abandoned shore. It is a chill seeking warmth. In its attempts it falls deeper into that abyss of darkness. Vast coldness is death - an unavoidable chariot. Music must always end.

As it is with music it is with an organized undertaking. The cacophony of a meeting disintegrates into a powerful silence. Cities rise and fall. Kingdoms expand then wane. Micro and macro - it does not matter. It always begins again.

for (i = 0; i >= 0; i++) {
  console.log(i);
}

There will be a stack overflow. Too much data to a buffer that cannot hold.

In the fast moving stream we glide. The greens and blues on either side blur as the blacktop stretches further toward the horizon line. Reaching the critical angel of attack is almost angelic. Storage overflows with its contents vomited into the ether - the vast free flow of time of space.


End of Summer


Boring Tranquility

The dog days of summer are over.

Marriage in 20 days.

Mexico City is sinking. There will be no water left soon.


Masters of Doom


Boring Tranquility

Wildly enjoyable read. Made me wish I was born to a different generation. Alas!

Summery: John Carmack and John Romero were two personalities that meshed well enough to produce a culturally significant video game. Things go well at first for their company (id Software), but clashes result when visions differ.

The book itself is well written — a true page turner. One isn’t overloaded with too much tech mumbo-jumbo (there’s a technical book written about the Wolfenstein 3D Engine if you’re into that sort of thing). The main players are vividly painted to reveal enough humanity to keep you — the reader! — going.

Highly recommended for first time readers of anything video game related.


Books


Boring Tranquility

I recently completed two books on my Summer Reading List 2018. I hope to share some thoughts in the coming days. A friend of mine - or maybe just someone I know via the internet nowadays - shared Derek Sivers’ book notes with me. I hope to emulate what Derek has done and continues to do.


Lead, Kindly Light


Boring Tranquility

by John Henry Newman

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.


Time moves in one direction, memory in another


Boring Tranquility

My dad told me about this poem when we were driving some place in some state at some time. I remember him vaguely describing the portion of the poem wherein Morrison writes about horses being thrown overboard. It was then that I learned the word jettison and the conversation moved elsewhere. My dad has always had a great memory for snippets of art he enjoys. It is something that he and I share.

Horse Latitudes by Jim Morrison

The barn is burning
The race-track is over
Farmers run out w/
buckets of water
The horse flesh is burning
They’re kicking the stalls
(panic in a horse’s eye
That can spread & fill
an entire sky.)

The clouds flow by
& tell a story

about the lightning bolt & the mast
on the steeple

Some people have a hard time
describing sailors to the
undernourished.

The decks are starving
Time to throw the cargo over

Now down & the high-sailing
fluttering of smiles on the air
w/its cool night time disturbance

Tropic corridor
Tropic Treasure

What got us this far to this
mild equator

Now we need something
& someone new
when all else fails
we can whip the horse’s eyes
& make them cry
& sleep


France is 1st, Nogales round-up
Cross over the border–
land of eternal adolescence
quality of despair unmatched
anywhere on the perimeter
Message from the outskirts
calling us home
This is the private space of a
new order. We need saviors
To help us survive the journey.
Now who will come
Now hear this
We have started the crossing
Who knows? it may end badly

The actors are assembled;
immediately they become
enchanted
I, for one, am in ecstasy
enthralled.
Can I convince you to smile?

No wise men now.
Each on his own
grab your daughter & run



“Oh God, she cried
I never knew what
it meant to be real
I thought all this was a joke,
I never let the horror, or
the sweetness & the dignity
penetrate my brain”

“Let me up to see
the window. Dark Riders
pass in the sunset
coming home from
raiding parties.
The taverns will be
full of laughter, wine,
& later dancing, later
dangerous knife throws.

Antonio will be there
& that whore, Blue Lady
playing cards w/silver
decks & smiling at the night,
& full glasses held aloft
& spilled to the moon.
I’m sad, so full of sadness”



She’s selling news in the market
Time in the hall
The girls of the factory
Rolling cigars
They haven’t invented musak yet
So I read to them
From The BOOK OF DAYS
a horror story from the Gothic age
a gruesome romance
From the LA
Plague.

I have a vision of America
Seen from the air
28,000 ft. & going fast

A one-armed man in a Texas
parking labyrinth
A burnt tree like a giant primeval bird
in an empty lot in Fresno
Miles & miles of hotel corridors
& elevators, filled w/ citizens

Motel Money Murder Madness
Change the mood from glad to sadness

play the ghost song baby



a young woman, bound silently, on
a hostpital table, obviously pregnant,
is gutted & rifled of her empire

objects of oblivion



Drugs sex drunkenness battle
return to the water-world
Sea-belly
Mother of man
Monstrous sleep-waking gentle swarming
atomic world
Anomic in social life

how can we hate or love or judge
in the sea-swarm world of atoms
All one, one All
How can we play or not play
How can we put one foot before us
or revolutionize or write



Does the house burn? So be it.
The World, a film which men devise.
Smoke drifts thru these chambers
Murders occur in a bedroom.
Mummers chant, birds hush & coo.
Will this do?
Take Two.

First Commit


Boring Tranquility

Commit early, commit often. Think this over but never soften / Come spring / Come a coffin / Commit early, commit often.