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Friday Fanmail: Pressurising in your city

It’s Friday Fanmail time! Each and every Friday, except when I don’t, I share some of the fanmail I receive about this blog, so that we may all share in the warm fuzzies.

This week’s message was rather brief, from someone purporting to be Rose Brown:

Do you need SEO services on your website? We are based in your city. If yes, please let me know our experts will email you the best proposal to consider/compare. Our expert will not pressurize you to hire us, in fact we just want you to check who we are and what we offer.

I guess that’s one way to simplify a mail merge: just say your city. And the idea of pressurising someone in a sales context is intriguing, especially if one were to avoid the bends after sinking time in a sales pitch.

A straw-man argument on plastic

Science journalists I respect are forwarding stories critical of plastic straw bans. The only redeeming fact was a delightful grasping for straws headline. They follow the same, predictable tick-tock news cycle; take an issue people are advocating for, then come up with a hot take saying why it’s wrong. Click click!

According to the ABC’s War on Waste, Australians throw away 3.5 billion straws a year. It’s a huge country in land area, but we have a tiny population, and that’s what we generate. There are worse issues, so we shouldn’t care? Really?

The common thread is there’s an opportunity cost to environmental conciousness, so the more people are thinking about banning straws, the fewer are dealing with larger issues. I bristle at this logic that we’re only capable of one thing at a time; politicians pull this swifty constantly.

Nobody is arguing there aren’t orders of magnitude worse environmental problems than plastic straws; an observation that shouldn’t need spelling out, but apparently here we are. Hi, there! Do we need to say that you should be eating healthy but also making sure you check both directions before crossing a street?

The key is straws are so trivial for most of us to stop using, why not? The critics drawing out the debate are the very ones who lament how much attention the issue is getting. It’s like they’re trying to force Barbra Streisand through a tiny, non-biodegradable cylinder and shove it up a turtle’s nose.

By the same logic, no individual should bother recycling anything, because the impact globally of sorting your milk cartons from your pickle jars would be infinitesimally small. You should be out there picketing factories or testing water supplies, damn it! That’s not a strawman—hah!—effectiveness on a global scale is precisely what’s being argued here.

Stop making people feel guilty for making the world better, or encouraging the idea that small steps are useless.

Oh Android, don’t ever change

Leaked photo of the Motorola P30

John Gruber shared this story from From the article:

The most interesting part about the device, yes you guess it right. Motorola P30 marks the entry of Motorola into the “Notch” kind of smartphones as every other OEM has done.

They outsourced their designs, and passed the savings on to you!

The argument in the past for ripoffs was that a rounded, vertical pane of glass was somehow inevitable. I’m looking forward to seeing what excuses get spun for this latest crop of uninspired hardware.

A Motorola L-Series was my first mobile phone, complete with Infrared to share WAP with my Palm III. It was so much better than the Nokias that were popular at the time. How far they’ve fallen.


tedu’s description of the modern web—in the context of his miniwebproxy client—is beautiful:

Imagine, if you can, a smaller version of the web. A web without dickbars, or scroll jacking, or chum boxes, or popup video, but still a web filled with informative articles about the 27 blockchains you need to be using right now. The good news is this web exists, but unfortunately your browser doesn’t connect to it by default. For that, you need the miniwebproxy.

And this stereotypical use case, replete with a certain overused footer phrase:

Some sites do some weird stuff. Ever read a medium post with some code snippets? Know how that works? First there’s an iframe. The iframe interior is an empty shell that sources some javascript. Then the javascript rewrites the iframe with love. miniwebproxy doesn’t believe in love, so it digs the code snippet out of the json and simply inserts it into the page.

And a bonus Chrome critique:

Side note: it’s weird watching chrome in real time. Opening a new blank tab makes several requests back to the googship. Each and every new tab, boom, boom, boom, another wave of requests. Because maybe the newtab-serviceworker.js I downloaded thirty seconds ago has expired already?

FreeBSD ZFS catching mismatched disks

I was creating a ZFS mirrored pool on a FreeBSD cloud instance with two identical data disks, like a gentleman:

$ ovm create disk test1 in SY3 with 100g on tier SSD
$ ovm create disk test2 in SY3 with 10gb on tier SSD
$ ovm attach disk test1 to VM test
$ ovm attach disk test2 to VM test

And then on the VM:

# glabel test1 /dev/ada1
# glabel test2 /dev/ada2
# zpool create [options] mirror tank \
    /dev/label/test1 /dev/label/test2


==> invalid vdev specification
==> use '-f' to override the following errors:
==>   mirror contains devices of different sizes

Whoops! Turns out they were less identical than I realised. You’ve have thought the monospace font not lining up during provisioning would have been a clue. Either way, good to know. Also, derp.

Truncated to sixty pages

I updated Hugo, the static site generator, and for some reason only the first sixty pages are generated now, inclusive of the home page:

                   |  EN    
  Pages            | 14250  
  Paginator pages  |    59

I have no idea why. This weekend is pretty packed, so I won’t be able to check any time soon. Every post in the archives are still available.

Update: solved!

Three problems. First, you’re allegedly not supposed to start sentences with numbers. Second, I was messing with git branches for each year of posts, and only 2018 was in the post folder to generate. And third, I generated the site again and got this:

ERROR 2018/08/11 16:39:58 \
Error: listen tcp \
socket: too many open files in system

Well, then! I generated on my FreeBSD cloud instance instead, and now all the pages are restored.

                   |  EN    
  Pages            | 19330  
  Paginator pages  |   567  

I wonder if I’m hitting limits on my Mac with static site generation here?

Update again: averted!

Somehow my git branches had recursively added folders into themselves twice, so the site was trying to generate from 10,000+ posts instead of 5,000. Deduping mitigated the error, but now I fear I’ll hit it again in a few years.

Carved Friday Fanmail

It’s Friday Fanmail time! Friday Fanmail time! Each and every Friday, except when I don’t, I share a piece of fanmail sent to me about this blog, so we may all share in the warm fuzzies.

Today’s message comes from someone purporting to be Tania Clarke:

Hi Sir/Madam,

Hi person/bot!

Do you have a moment to speak later today or next week? I’ve been trying to get in touch with you to briefly introduce our services, but I was unsuccessful in doing so.

Looks like my filters work sometimes, then.

I want to share our multi touch, multi channel marketing approach which you may consider integrating with your current business process this 2018.

This 2018? What if I were interested in the next 2018?

Could we carve out 10-15 minutes for a brief phone call introduction? What’s the best time and number to call you?

Carve out? What am I, a turkey? No, you may not carve out my time, or any other attribute of my existence!

Fortunately, I can unsubscribe with a method that would surely not confirm my address for future spam:

P.S. If multi-channel marketing services does not fit your business model, please reply with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line to be removed and placed on our DNE list record.

Cancelling not because I don’t want spam, but because it doesn’t fit my business model. It reminds me of those infuriating lightbox popups that say “No, I don’t want to save a billion dollars and become smarter-er-ish.”