What happened to Otto?

Otto not listed on the Hashicorp site any more https://www.hashicorp.com/ . The official site still there though https://www.ottoproject.io

Turns out, I caught them in the process of retiring the new project. Mitchell wrote this on the Hashicorp blog:

Today we are decommissioning Otto and ending active development and maintenance. This is motivated by several reasons, but primarily we felt the core abstractions and the out-of-box functionality of Otto did not meet our initial goal.

The promise of local and remote deployments with single commands seemed intriguing, if it could be realised. I appreciate their attitude of pulling it rather than letting it languish as abandonware, as so many free/open source projects become. I don’t think it was big or established enough to have users contributing either.

Retiring Otto hopefully clears the air around Vagrant, and return the name to this German devops blog. Somewhere, there must be someone preparing the surface of their laptop lid to accept a new circular sticker without a sinister looking robot as well!

Anyway, just answering my own question in more than 140 characters here.


Rubénerd Show 348: The transient existence episode

Rubénerd Show 348

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:30:35 – A late night stroll into last year. Why you can’t schedule creativity, The Who, The Avalanches, cynics on Y2K, an abandoned shop, generic names, Pack n Send nostalgia, startups versus big corporates, being thankful, getting rid of crap, water white noise, parcel lockers, c-c-c-cold, expensive caffeine trips, and exploding coffee machines. Recorded 30th June 2016.

Recorded in Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released August 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.


HPE buys SGI

Without further introductory comment (save for this one), have this news from Hewlett Packard Enterprise:

That’s why today, HPE announced plans to acquire SGI, a global leader in high-performance solutions for compute, data analytics and data management, with a 30-plus year track record of innovation excellence.

Not only will the acquisition of SGI strengthen HPE’s position in the high-growth big data analytic segment, it will also extend our presence in HPC verticals, such as government, life sciences, higher education and research, and manufacturing, as well as supercomputing.

Before Apple got their industrial design mojo, SGI really made what I’d call “aspirational” computers. I badly wanted a sleek indigo or teal SGI workstation growing up. I even loved the name: “Silicon Graphics”.

Never mind your PowerMacs or your SPARC boxes at the time, SGI made the serious stuff. And you knew it was serious because those boxes were massive. If you do an image search for them they look like regular towers, until you see them sitting next to a white box computer. Speaking of which, what ever happened to White Box Computers? Remember them?

In a way I’m glad this validates them to an extent, but it does make me sad to see SGI slowly disappear. I wonder if they’ll act like Oracle and keep the Sun logo around for a while, or whether it’ll all be HPE branding before we know it.

When SGI isn’t SGI

While hastily writing this post, I did a Wikipedia search and realised the original SGI hasn’t existed for a while. The SGI HPE bought (hey, there’s a lot of TLAs) was reverse-bought already:

On April 1, 2009, Rackable Systems announced an agreement to acquire Silicon Graphics, Inc. for $25 million. The sale, ultimately for $42.5 million, was finalized on May 11, 2009; at the same time, Rackable announced their adoption of “SGI” as their global name and brand.

Now that I think of it, is this a reverse-buyout? If I bought IBM to run a national census for example, then I changed my company name to IBM, is that a reverse-buyout? Or is a reverse-buyout more like what Apple did to NeXT, where NeXT management largely took over Apple once bought?

And then we have SGI’s purchaser that divested itself into HP, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HP is the legal successor to the original HP, which owned Compaq, which bought Digital/DEC, which made that other series of computers that maybe one day I’ll have a physical specimen of.

This is why I’m not in business. Or why I don’t have an old SGI tower. Wait, that doesn’t explain the second one. Maybe if I were better at business, I could have a larger apartment for SGI towers. I’d need one, because those things were huge. Huge and awesome. Like the Sun.

(And to think all posts on Rubénerd used to be rapidly written in one take like this).


Goodbye Gawker, and hopefully Gizmodo

Gawker Media has gone bankrupt, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. I can’t speak to their celebrity, political or gaming coverage, but I’m hoping it signals the end of Gizmodo.

I heard you like breaking the law

They’ve done dozens of things worthy of ire over the years, but my favourite their purchasing of a stolen prototype iPhone, then getting indignent when called out on it.

It didn’t even make sense; was being barred from future Apple events worth some leaked images that could be directly tied to the purchasing of stolen property? How did they reasonably expect that to play out?

The community they fostered was simiarly toxic. On this stolen phone story, people rushed to their defence claiming Apple were heavy handed, despite the fact an employee had lost the phone, that someone had found and sold it instead of turning it in or giving to police, and that Gizmodo writers had bought it. You reap what you sow, I suppose.

Yes, I take it personally

If it sounds like I take their site personally, it’s because I had skin in the game.

A few years ago, they published a post asking how stupid people were willing to look for the then–unannounced Apple Watch. To illustrate someone looking stupid, they used an image of me wearing my iPod nano watch on my birthday. This post was then republished across all their international sites, including Australia.

When I called them out on this, they denied calling me stupid looking, assuming that their visitors and I can’t read. They also (rather patronisingly) told me I should have expected this by using Creative Commons, I suppose employing the same logic that girls in short skirts are asking for it.

The irony was this thinly–veiled threat was utterly baseless, given their use on the post violated the share–alike clause! Because they didn’t licence the final blog post under the same (or equivilent) licence, they didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. It was a bit rich to school me on licencing when they either didn’t understand it or flagrently disregarded it themselves.

Besides this though, surely someone there should have realised its a dick move to throw insults at a person who provided you a free image. Granted though, this is the same publication that thought it okay to publish photos of stolen property, so I wasn’t surprised.

Oh yeah, and when I tried to defend myself on their site, they deleted my comment then denied doing so.

No relish on this hot dog

There are plenty of good people at rotten companies, and I wouldn’t wish ill will on anyone who would have just lost their jobs as a result of Gawker Media.

For the company itself, their financial bankruptcy can only be matched by their bankrupt ethics. If they get bought, I hope its for the good people and valuable domain names, not for editorial management or content.


The derived namespace

The derived namespace is an add-on to RSS 2.0 that provide context about the source code for textual media.

At the moment there’s one attribute, used like this:

<derived:code type="text/markdown" 
    url="[github repo]/master/content/post/2016/thirty.markdown" />

Multiple attributes with different mime-types could be used, though having a single canoncial source is strongly encouraged.

Why?

Like many sites, Rubénerd is written in Markdown and pre-rendered for clients in HTML. This link means smart clients could take the original markdown source, and render it for their specific viewport or client.

Facebook have shown with their “stories” feature that there’s demand for refactoring/optimising content. I want the same ability for the open web using standard RSS.

How is this different from Dave Winer’s source namespace?

Good question. Dave’s source namespace includes the outline attribute, but that carries an implication that the source is an OPML or similar outline. I wanted an attribute that linked directly to the original source, regardless of structure.

If Dave wanted to extend source to include a sourceCode attribute, for example, I’d happily depracate.

I’ve never proposed an extension like this before, but there’s a first time for everything : )


Re:Zero's Rem

Clara and I are watching a lot of current series this time around. I have no idea what a Re:Zero is though, but it seems its Rem character has usurped Hestia as the preferred waifu of the masses. I will admit, she’s very cute.

Re:Zero sounds like a forensic drive wiping tool, and Rem is a comment field describing its operation. In the mean old DOS days, we would have done this:

@ECHO OFF

REM This file securely wipes files from your computer
REM by giving it a blue bob cut

CLS

CHOICE.EXE /C:137 CHOICE /M How many write-over operations?
IF ERRORLEVEL 7 GOTO seven

:seven
ECHO "You're starting to overthink this"

IT snow days

This evening I went to Stack Exchange, and got this:

Stack Exchange We are currently offline for maintenance

Routine maintenance usually takes less than an hour. If this turns into an extended outage, we will tweet updates from @StackStatus or post details on the status blog.

So much core internet infrastructure is HA, but not the services themselves. There are alternatives, but when GitHub, or Stack Exchange go offline, there must be a global dip in IT productivity unrivalled in human history.

I also only recently learned of “snow days”. We had haze and monsoon days in Singapore, but the idea of snow closing schools in the tropics never occurred to anyone for some reason.


Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

(This post was originally written Sunday 7th August 2016).

I’ve willingly admitted my exposure to the Fate universe has been embarrassingly limited, despite professing a supreme love for their art and character design! Today I come clean and admit this wasn’t entirely true.

Original Recipe

Despite my reverse-prognostications (are they a thing?), I watched several episodes of the original Fate/Stay Night around the time I was getting into The Melancholoy of Haruhi Suzumiya in 2006. After making it through most of the single digits, I was put off it for several reasons:

First, Shirou (Emiya to his friends) was positively aggravating. I empathised with his desire to not let harm come to his servant, but his convictions and personality weren’t there to back it up.

Second, the art was beautiful, but there was something not quite right about how the characters were drawn. I’d already collected so much Type–Moon art by that point (art was what largely got me into anime in the first place), and they simply didn’t match. This went beyond the transition from manga or game art to anime style.

Third, I couldn’t bring myself to capitalise it as “Fate/stay night”, as one was supposed to. It was like the 2000’s version of “macOS”.

And third (that other one didn’t count), StreamyX DSL in Malaysia was miserable in 2006, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it still is. The best video I could hope to get in a reasonable time was poor quality enough to be almost unwatchable. By contrast (HAH!), the simpler lines and bolder colours of a series like Haruhi survived the gauze of artefacts and poorly maintained copper lines with enough detail to still enjoy.

So I closed VLC.app, and shamelessly continued using art from the franchise for everything from Christmas backgrounds, to regular backgrounds, to anime figures. This single image of Saber also gave me so much hope during the darkest part of my family life.

Hot and Spicy: Unlimited Blade Works

Fast forward a decade, and when the series was (somewhat) rebooted with the Unlimited Blade Works arc, I badly wanted to give it another chance. Strangely though, I felt a sense of guilt; that somehow I wasn’t worthy or deserving to watch it given I dismissed the original. But finally, with the help of Clara, we’ve been watching to see what the excitement was about.

I’ve been blown away, for the exact reasons why I disliked the original.

First, Shirou is better fleshed out and more intelligent. His painful family past is told more respectfully, without it (mostly) being the only defining part of his character. I also completely empathise with his strong will to not hurt people, and agreed 100% with his arguments with Archer on the subject (no spoilers). Compared to the original, he has conviction, even if he’s still frustrating at times.

Second, the expanded budget show through with the art, it’s jaw dropping. Type–Moon have even released art books depicting nothing but scenery, which says it all. The characters diverge even more from the original art, but somehow I see it as modern interpretation, rather than looking off.

And third, we’re watching it at 1080p on FTTP NBN in Australia. Look up at point 2, then look back here. Then look up at point 2, then look back here.

Onto other points. Saber was perfect, as could be expected (and her Western sword-play wasn’t just “swooshing around”)! She maintained that air of dignity, while still slipping in a little humanity with her penchant for sandwiches and unmaintainable antenna hair. I wonder if she knew she’d be paving the way for such memorable characters as Arararararagi-kun years later?

The flow of the story wasn’t as stilted, though the cliffhangers at the end of each episode did seem a little forced at times. The dialog did also get a little drawn out, though I don’t need constant action to maintain interest. There are three “thoughs” in this paragraph (including that one), which suggests how much I must have enjoyed it if I’m willing to concede points.

I also adored how they treated Tohsaka Rin. For many of us, she was our first experience with a culturally significant anime trope: the tsundere. She had equal doses of each (as to be expected), but they were each explained. All the characters seemed less one dimensional, but Rin had me liking and (more importantly) believing her throughout the series.

Special credit also must go to Fuji-nee’s (slap!) seiyuu Itō Miki, the comedy relief of the series. As a former voiceover artist professional (!), she delivered each line breathlessly. And some of them weren’t the easiest for timing and intonation. I loved the contrast between her wild swings and that of Sakura’s measured calm.

I must stress however, my only major criticism was the treatment of Rin’s zettai ryouiki, the other legendary anime trope she made famous. In the intervening years she clearly slipped a grade; absolutely shocking!

Conclusions

I love what Aniplex, Notes and ufotable have done with this enduring franchise in UBW, and I suspect Clara did too. We’re just breaking into season 2 now, and are waiting with baited breath for the (admittedly somewhat spoiled) conclusion. Sorry Monty Python, I’ve started thinking about Fate again when referring to Holy Grails, though they still have a monopoly on shrubberies.

Though I’m sure both Servents and Masters would be too modest to admit to having that effect. Right, people?


Mr Turnbull on the NBN and #CensusFail

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is infamous in the Australian IT space for his demotion of Labor’s Fibre to the Premesis (FttP) network to a slower, more costly, and less affordable Fibre to the Node (FttN), Higher Failure Copper (HFC) and Multi–Technology Mess (MTM) mix.

Surprisingly, he made a startling confession about bungling the national fibre optic network this week, in what must be the most candid and honest step his Government has taken to own and address the issue. Brendon Foye reports in CRN:

Turnbull had ordered a review into what led to the collapse, saying the [issues arose] because of “failures in the system that has been put in place for [NBN] by [The Coalition]“.

“Measures that ought to have been in place to prevent these [issues] interfering with access to [websites] were not put in place,” Turnbull told 2GB radio in an interview this morning.

“That was a failure that was compounded by some failures in hardware – technical hardware failures – and inadequate redundancy.”

Wait sorry, I’m being told he was referring to #CensusFail, not the NBN. Could have fooled me.


The ASUS EeeBook X205TA

I’m still a Mac desktop user, but I’ve been looking at PC laptops again. For remotely fixing servers, I’ve resigned myself to the fact I have to carry a laptop around with me permanently, so I want the lightest one I can get.

I don’t care about screen quality, just the ability to run FreeBSD or Debian with a tiled window manager, several xterms and a real serial port. Okay, that last one is a joke. Almost (cries quietly). I’d even almost eschew (gesundheit) an xorg session to just run a widescreen dvtm in ncurses.

So when I saw this ad for the ASUS EeeBook X205TA (rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?) for AU$299, I was intruiged:

Quad Core. 2GB of RAM. 32GB storage. Windows 8.1

A “Quad Core” what though? I went to the features section of the ASUS website:

Quad-core processor for smooth multitasking performance

ASUS EeeBook X205 features an Intel quad-core processor that has the power to handle all your daily computing needs.

A “quad-core” what though? At this stage I’m hoping it’s something exotic, like a SPARC64 or POWER. Let’s check their specifications section:

Intel® Bay Trail-T Quad Core Z3735 1.33 GHz Processor

Alas, no Sparkie. But still the question remains unanswered: what CPU is this? What processor family does it belong to? By now, I already know what its probably going to be, given the manufacter wouldn’t obfuscate a good CPU like this. But let’s check out the ever-faithful Arc:

Family: Intel® Atom™ Processor for Smartphone and Tablet
Release: Q1’14
Launch Date: Q1’14
# of Cores: 4
Processor Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics

Of course, there isn’t one Z3735, there are four with different minor letter versions. Which one Asus used here is a mystery, but at least we know it’s an Atom.

For Linux support, I haven’t held out much hope for Linux support on Atom since buying a Lenovo IdeaPad S300, realising it couldn’t boot without terrible 32bit hacks, and getting rid of it.