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Music Monday: Bump of Chicken, Ray

Play BUMP OF CHICKEN「ray」

It’s Music Monday time again! Each Monday I relieve what I used to do for my university’s anime society by sharing a song I love and writing a brief description.

While we’re doing Japanese stuff, Ray is my favourite song by my favourite Japanese band, the delightfully named Bump of Chicken.

They also did a version with Hatsune Miku which was adorable, but the original is still the best. It’s light and happy, and the visuals are just beautiful. I may also have a mancrush all of them.



homebrew-cask-versions

homebrew-cask-versions lets you install previous or beta versions of popular GUI tools that aren’t in mainline homebrew cask.

$ brew tap homebrew/cask-versions
$ brew cask install 1password6

Browsing the casks in the repo, I can see they have the latest testing builds for Firefox, older versions of VMware Fusion, and other good stuff.


Want better platitudes? Ask bigger marketing

Banner saying Want better answers? Ask bigger questions.

A local university started putting up these banner advertisements. The example above reads “Want better answers? Ask bigger questions” with cliché stock photos. Empty marketing speak like that sounds profound superficially, but it’s really devoid of any meaning.

My test for such ads is to read it backwards to see if it makes sense. In this case, all the banners this university has put up do!

For example, the above could be flipped as “Want better questions? Give bigger answers.” I’m sure university students would be willing to engage with interesting questions if they knew they’d receive compelling answers from professors.

The other one down the street reads “Be a voice. Not an echo.” This is just flat out wrong; we need to defer to experts and echo their research. Nobody can be an expert at everything, except cable TV news pundits. A major reason why the west is in a mess is precicely because swaths of the population think scientists and experts are elites and can’t be trusted. Mr Orange and Scott Morrison are the inevitable conclusion of thinking being a voice is always more important.

But then, employing empty platitudes is easier than explaining why your university is better.


Work automation

Never read comments. But if you do, these are the most common responses to articles about work automation:

  1. Increased automation at the expense of workers is good or inevitable, because workers have priced themselves out of the market with negotiations, unions, or minimum wages.

  2. Lost jobs will be made up for in other industries.

  3. Welfare support, or a universal basic income, will make people lazy.

It seems to me you can’t hold these views concurrently. Not everyone losing a job to automation will be able to work building or maintaining robots. And you can’t blame people for needing income assistance if work is disappearing. Well, you can, but it’s entirely unproductive.

I wish this could be discussed maturely – like so many things – without it automatically devolving into a living example of Poe’s Law, too.


Daring Fireball’s MacBook Air comments

John Gruber has a solid review of the 2018 Retina MacBook Air. But I had two minor quibbles: he didn’t address the display being faux Retina, and this analysis exposed something bigger:

Behind the scenes last week in New York, I asked a few folks from Apple for any sort of hint why these two Macs — the MacBook Air and Mac Mini — went so long between updates. One thing I was told is that Apple wants to focus on “meaningful updates”. The days of “speed bump” updates are largely over. The value just isn’t there.

The last sentence is especially concerning. There’s value for customers in having a predictable product release cycle, especially if you’re making business decisions on Apple hardware. Buying four year old Macs in industries like video rendering could would put you at a competitive disadvantage.

People in charge of procurement need confidence in what they’re buying into; hence the old adage nobody was fired for buying IBM. As I said when Apple had the pundits in an excited frenzy over the Mac Pro:

Apple’s level of access and transparency on their hardware plans was unprecedented, as both Lance and John point out. But glaringly absent was an assurance from Apple that the issues that caused this cycle of innovation to abandonware won’t happen again.

John argues Apple indirectly addressed this by contrasting with the iPad’s performance, as if to say Intel’s chips didn’t offer enough of an interim improvement; or “meaningful update” in their parlance. There’s some truth to that. But for four years, for a company of Apple’s size and innovative ability?

Put it this way; had the iPhone not been created, I imagine the Airs and Mac Minis would have long since been updated, with or without Intel’s help. The fact they haven’t speaks to Apple’s priorities, not technical ability to deliver.



Linux to FreeBSD: lspci to pciconf

I’m seeing a lot of renewed interest in FreeBSD from GNU/Linux people. This is encouraging! You should be familiar with much of the userland, but there are a few differences, which I hope this new post series will help with.

lspsi is a common tool for listing PCI devices, as the name may suggest. For example, in a Xen domU:

00:02.0 Unassigned class [ff80]: XenSource, Inc. Xen Platform Device (rev 01)
00:03.0 VGA compatible controller: Cirrus Logic GD 5446 (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])

The broad equivilent is pciconf -lv:

xenpci0@pci0:0:2:0: class=0xff8000 card=0x00015853 chip=0x00015853 rev=0x01 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'XenSource, Inc.'
    device     = 'Xen Platform Device'
vgapci0@pci0:0:3:0: class=0x030000 card=0x11001af4 chip=0x00b81013 rev=0x00 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Cirrus Logic'
    device     = 'GD 5446'
    class      = display
    subclass   = VGA

Note the subtle differences with the PCI addresses, which you’ll need to tweak your scripts for if you parse them.


New Caledonia votes against independence

While Australia was obsessing over its yearly disgusting horse race, and the rest of the world was looking at the US midterms, New Caledonia voted on its independence. Stephen Dziedzic filed this report with the ABC:

Early results indicate more than 60 per cent of voters in the territory have cast their ballot in favour of staying with France.

In a televised address from Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said a majority of voters chose to remain part of France and he pledged “there is no other path than that of dialogue” on the future of New Caledonia.

France 24 reported pro-independence voters was buoyed by the result:

Leaders of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Movement (FLNKS) hailed the narrow vote as a step closer to breaking free of France. Under a 1998 deal called the Nouméa Accord to devolve powers to the territory, two further referendums can be held by 2022.

New Caledonia is geographically close to Australia, and their economy is larger than New Zealand’s per capita; though its unevenly distributed. I’m surprised we don’t hear about them in Australian news more often.


A specific Gintama Souko Okita fig

Earlier this year Clara and I started Gintama again, mostly on account of not being able to remember where we got up to. There are a lot of episodes.

This evening’s trip down memory lane was the infamous episode where Gin and Katsura were drafted to work in a bar of a specific persuasion. They wore their makeup somewhat better than I would have, naturally on account of a certain amount of naturally wavy hair. And as always, Gin’s expression was perfect!

Not to be outdone, the episode reminded me of an anime figure we’d seen earlier this year of everyone’s favourire Shinsengumi. Megahouse did an online poll for who their next G.E.M. line addition should be last year, and a gender-swapped Souko Okita from the Dekobokko Arc decisively won.

OtakuMode has the details:

Name: G.E.M. Series Gintama Okita Sougo Seitenkan-hen
Price: 12,528 yen
Recommended age: 15+
Sculptor: Fukumoto Noritaka (IMC)
Colorist: Moriyama Nana (Revolve)
Size: 1/8th scale (approx. 190 mm tall)
Material: PVC/ABS
Country of Manufacture: China
Vendors: Premium Bandai
Reservations period: from Feb. 2, 2017 at 1 pm
Release date: July 2017
Manufacturer: Megahouse

I did a genderbend cosplay a few years ago. There aren’t too many types of media or social settings where that’s considered appropriate! I like that an outlet like that exists. But don’t read too much into that.

Let’s go out open my mind, let’s go sweet dream other side~