Rubénerd Show 360: The revolutionary episode

Rubénerd Show 360

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01:29:42 – Because it's episode 360! Shaddup. Take a wander with your esteemed host as he records three separate episodes, doesn't have time to produce all of them, and subsequently smashes them into one convenient episode. In Buzzfeed style, you'll never guess what he talks about! Mostly because the episode doesn't have a proper description.

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

Released April 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

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Sending back UTM links

It really feels like a race-to-the-bottom for user tracking online. If you copy a link to send to a friend, or to write a blog post about, chances are you’ll have a ton of UTM spam attached.

They’re bad for several reasons:

  1. They’re a usability nightmare. Suddently, messy URLs to copy and paste are made even worse. GET request attributes don’t need to be in any order, so if you attempt to strip them off the end, you may inadvertedly remove a part of the required link.

  2. They break the idea of canonical links. And no, rel="canonical" metadata links aren’t the solution.

  3. They persist when context changes. If you copy a link from email and paste on another carrier (Twitter, your blog, etc), “email” will still be listed as the source.

Whenever a site includes a link with all this extra junk attached, I’m going to replace it with this:

http://example.com/?utm_source=SPAM_VICTIM&utm_term=STOP_POLLUTING_URLS&utm_medium=NO_REALLY&utm_campaign=STOP_UTMS&utm_content=IS_EVIL

Big Boy

I haven’t done a Friday fanmail in a few weeks. Here’s a recent message:

What’s up, Big Boy?

Flattery will get you nowhere.

My name is Violette, what’s yours? I can not wait to meet you in private. I was going to have a nice talk with you in chat but you had gone offline.

My fake name is Chuck Norris.

May I ask you to write me a few words some day? Trust me, it’s going to be lots of fun. I’ll be waiting for your letter…

Consider them written.

Actually, I would like to meet and talk with an interesting and nice man!

Sure, I know just the guy.


diskutil unmountDisk

I was running a QEMU lab on my Mac, and needed raw disk access to a USB device with multiple partitions. QEMU needs these partitions unmounted on the host before they can access them, for good reason. I tried writing on the same paper as a friend was in real time once, it ended up a huge mess.

The graphical approach is launching Disk Utility.app and unmount each partition, at least for as long as Apple lets us do so graphically before they remove this feature in their next bout of short-sightedness.

From the shell, you can use BSD’s standard umount:

# umount [volume1]
# umount [volume2]

Though diskutil is the preferred macOS approach:

# diskutil unmount [volume1]
# diskutil unmount [Volume2]

This is tedious for multiple partitions without easily-iteratable names. So I thought I’d be a smartarse dumbarse and unmount the root volume:

# printf "%s\n" "Right about now, the funk soul brother"

… that was clearly the wrong snippet.

Check it out now, the funk soul brother:

# diskutil unmount /dev/diskX
==> disk2 was already unmounted or it has a partitioning
==> scheme so use "diskutil unmountDisk" instead

Hey, wait a minute. There was an argument for this, the entire time?

# diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
==> Unmount of all volumes on diskX was successful

From the manpage (8):

unmountDisk | umountDisk [force] device

Unmount all volumes on the given partition map; that is, an unmount is attempted on the directly-mountable volume, if any, on each of the whole disk’s partitions. However, “virtual” volumes, such as those are implied by e.g. Core Storage Physical Volumes, AppleRAID Members, etc., are not handled. Force will force-unmount the volumes (less kind to any open files; see also umount (8)). You should specify a whole disk, but all volumes of the whole disk are attempted to be unmounted even if you specify a partition.

Boom! Much easier.


One is not like the others

Tea cup listing in among lots of old school graphics cards

You've woken up to a 1980s breakfast

This was photographed and uploaded to Flickr by Jason Liebig. Hipsters gonna hipst, but I occasionally had McDonalds (and Burger King) breakfasts. The graphics, type, and logos on the cups are all so amazing.

From Jason’s description:

McDonalds Trayliner Placemat - You’ve Woken Up to a Brighter Breakfast - 1980s. Feauting the whole assortment of breakfast items available at the time is this cleanly-designed trayliner.


No more local Singapore-Malaysia calls, kinda

Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei have interesting arrangements. Singaporeans can spend their currency in Brunei, and vice-versa. There’s a high speed train line being built between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. They share cultural ties, and each have Malay as one of their official languages. Many Malaysians commute and work in Brunei and Singapore, and people from the latter two holiday in Malaysia. Malaysian Proton taxis hang around Sim Lim Square, and Singaporean commuter buses can be taken into Johor. Singapore was even a state of Malaysia for a few years, and still buys water from them.

Despite these seemingly-symbiotic relationships, there are points of contention. The Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore have famously traded barbs from time to time. There are no Schengen-style arrangements; I remember many a weekend waiting for hours at the Tuas Second Link or Causeway checkpoints in either my dad’s car, or on buses.

And on my birthday this year, they drifted ever so slightly further apart again. From Telekom Malaysia:

Dear Valued Customers,

Uh oh.

Following the directive from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), kindly be informed that all calls to Singapore via the existing 02 access code will be realigned to the 0065 International access code effective 16 May 2017.

Please note that this realignment exercise will not affect the quality of calls as well as the charges for calls made to Singapore which means that customers can continue to enjoy the service as usual at the same quality and charge rate.

More details on calls to Singapore (0065 access code) are as follows, depending on the current type of TM service subscribed by customers.

The rates are still the same, so I suppose its still technically a local call, but it’s a symbolic step back.

As an aside, the last time Telekom Malaysia was mentioned was almost exactly a decade ago, when we were living in Malaysia… spooky. The other time was after an internet outage.


Fate/Grand Order VR feat. Mash Kyrielight

Poe’s Law comes into full effect on April Fools day, especially in the current media climate, or landscape, or media climate landscape paradigm synergies. So when an amazing, exciting, awesome announcement is amazingly, excitedly, awesomely announced on or around that day, its perfectly reasonable to assume the aforementioned announcement is too good to be true.

Fortunately, this news was real, I was just learning of it on this inauspicious day that I once used to joke about people whinging about, but now even I can’t escape the tortured, cringe-worthy jokes large companies peddle out!

The evil geniuses behind one of animu’s most enduring franchises is continuing their path toward global moe dominance with a VR rendition of the world’s greatest mobile game, and featuring best girl!

The official promo was light on details, save for it being made available on the PlayStation 4. Just when I’d given up my brief foray into console gaming and gone back to gaming machines, darn.

News of the game resurfaced in light of the recent AnimeJapan 2017 demo in late March. Naturally, Clara and I booked our Japan tickets for July, thereby missing this; not that we’d be so self-absorbed and narcissistic to assume they scheduled this on purpose.

Among the news though, Clara and I noted Mashu lost armour somewhere between mobile game and her VR debut. It’s a bit weird, given she rugs up further with each stage in the game. We can only assume this glorified swimsuit (which I may or may not be against, but you didn’t read that) would be to reduce the polygon count for VR performance… right?

Regardless, the idea of playing FGO in a VR world sounds like too much fun, I hope there’s a demo of it somewhere in Australia soon. Or in the meantime, can you emulate a PS4 on a PC yet?


Restoring my first computer

My current pet project is restoring my first Pentium MMX computer. I’m realising now the real joy wasn’t winning the primary school writing context that funded it, or even the machine itself, but that I built it with my dad ♡.

After years of being a glorified router and dust collector, I’m sanding back the rust, repainting it, cleaning it, testing and replacing dead components, reinstalling all the vintage software, and seeing what new tricks I can do with it.

If I always wanted something for it in the past but either couldn’t justify or afford it (like an Iomega Jaz Drive), I’m getting them now for it. It’s incredible what a resource eBay is.

I’m relearning all these wonderfully-pointless skills, including DOS upper memory management, handling ISA IRQ conflicts, and sourcing GPUs that are compatible with DOS games, 3.1 and Windows 95 pipe screensavers.

I’m also turning it into a chimera of sorts. My parents threw out our first 486 when we first moved to Singapore, but not before I was able to salvage some late 1980s disk drives and ISA cards from it at the time. I’m realising now most of these are in surprisingly good condition, and are compatible with this machine!

So the end game is to have it boot into DOS and act like the first family machine, then into 95/NT for what the machine originally ran, and finally into Red Hat Linux 6.3 which was my first *nix. I may also throw in BeOS and OS/2 Warp if I can get a tertiary IDE channel up to shoehorn more CF cards into it.

You can track my progress on PCPartPicker, where I’m keeping a running log of parts and adventures. No doubt I’ll also be posting pointless minutea about it here as well.


del.icio.us in IFTTT

I hosted my linkblog on del.icio.us from the early days, but moved to Pinboard after it’d been sold/bought and changed one too many times.

I’d been using IFTTT to mirror the links I saved to Pinboard over to del.icio.us, but noticed today the links stopped months ago. My credentials still work on the del.icio.us site, and IFTTT still lists the account as active, but when I re-connect in IFTTT I get a credential failure.

If This Then That site showing a credential error for delicious

It’s not the end of the world; del.icio.us has had more down than a quilt of late, and I was just using it as a mirror. But it’s yet another step in the once-great service’s gradual demise.