Photographing cosplayers, with attribution

I don’t follow much anime anymore, so I’ve come to watch various channels over the years to keep on top of stuff that I might want to check out, and to keep at least a big toe in the weeb pool.

Anime YouTuber Gigguk had some sage advise for photographing cosplayers, starting with some facts that may come as a shock to certain attendees:

Be wary. It’s not a widely-known fact that cosplayers have personalities, emotions, insecurities, morals, and lives outside their costumes. So they’re almost like human beings.

I remember being at an early SMASH convention in Sydney and saw a guy in his early twenties just standing slack-jawed near a cosplayer dressed as Yoko Littner from the second arc of Gurren Lagann. He didn’t approach, or acknowledge her or her friend’s existence, he just stood there gawking. I know, because I did ask!

He continues:

If you want to take a picture, the correct social etiquette is: go up to the cosplayer and ask politely if you can take a picture. Then awkwardly try to figure out where you’re supposed to put your hands.

Sarcasm aside, he raises a good point: respect your subject! Don’t be weird; or if you’re socially awkward, compensate by being polite. But Gigguk did miss two other critical points, which I know because I unfortunately failed to as well.

First, ask people you’re photographing if they have a public social media handle so you can attribute them. I find this less creepy than asking for someone’s name, given people may want to remain anonymous, or only share a specific identity when dealing with anime stuff. I wish I’d done this for those earlier events.

And second, attribute photos and art. Gigguk used the above screen to explain why you should ask for permission, but didn’t say who the cosplayer was. A reverse image search returned @annitheduck on Instagram, a German cosplayer who worked with @zeno_photography for her Yuzuriha Inori shoot.

I suppose respect does encompass all of this.


Snippets from my personal wiki

I use flat text files as a basic personal wiki on my Mac, initially with Notational Velocity, then nvALT. If anyone who knows a good Vim plugin so I can do it on FreeBSD let me know!

Over time this folder has accumulated 1,182 files, some of which haven’t been touched for years. I thought it’d be fun to surface some of them. Here’s a to-do list for books:

- Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth  
- Tony Windsor, Windsor's Way

Here’s what being geoblocked in Australia looks like:

Error 1009 Ray ID: 3f27717c1dd265f3 • 2018-02-25 03:05:30 UTC
Access denied
What happened?
The owner of this website has banned the country or region
your IP address is in (AU) from accessing this website.

A strangely short to-do list from our New York trip:

x Midtown
x Flatiron building
- United Nations

And some benchmarks where I noted the CPU but not the disk drive, which seems odd:

## Running
dd if=/dev/zero bs=1024k of=tstfile count=1024 && \
    purge && \
    dd if=tstfile bs=1024k of=/dev/null count=1024 && \
    rm tstfile
## Results 
Intel Core2 Duo E8400 @ 3.00GHz 2177 
Intel Celeron G1610T @ 2.30GHz 2336 

Type fast and break prose

I think I set a new personal record of spelling mistakes on my bzip2 KornShell post on Monday:

I had experience with the KornShell from NetBSD, so I started using it everwhere. It has Bourne comaptibility, with a few interactive nicities. I installed ksh93 and left it at that, but have sicne learned there are a few offshoots, including the Public Domain pdksh and MirOS mksh variants.

I was sure the word offshoots was supposed to have a hyphen, but wordnet alleviated this misapprehension. But then I had to confirm misapprehension didn’t need a hyphen, which was an interesting offshoot. And the cycle continued until someone threw a last my way.

I’ll admit, I typed this post on my phone coming back from work, then posted as-is when I got home. The urge to write strikes at odd times, especially in the shower for some reason. There’s an old school joke about SOAP payloads in there somewhere. Or is it old-school? GAH.

I wonder if there’s a way to set spell by default for .md files in Vim?

Rename IPSec peers in VyOS

Here’s something esoteric that I haven’t had to do before. First confirm your configuration:

# run show config

Scroll down and note the original peer you want to change:

peer {


# rename peer <OLDPEER> to peer <NEWPEER>
# commit
# save

I’m not a network engineer, so please don’t ask for more details. I’m just glad you can rename; I’d assumed I’d have to make a new peer then delete the old one.

OrionVM includes VyOS as a software defined network template, and aside from my subtle dig above, it’s a capable and rock solid router from our experience.

When people answer questions with “why?”

I was searching for Subversion web frontends and found this StackOverflow answer. Some of the comments were exactly what you’d expect.

Why the hell would you like to check in/check out files through a web interface (if I understand well your question)?

Why the hell indeed! Fire and brimstone and a use case I don’t have sufficient empathy to understand!

It sounds like could use any regular VCS (judging by your edit) - why does it have to be web-based? Why do you want to check files in/out via the web?

Oh for Pete’s sake. Merlin Mann responds with such questions by asking why he’s not a potted fern; I think we should all adopt that.

Update: Turns out, I wrote about this back in 2013.

bzip2 and KornShell fun

I tweeted something to this effect a couple of days ago:

$ bzip something.tar  
==> ksh93: bzip: not found [No such file or directory]
$ echo "GAH! One of these days...!"

I had a couple of people asking for clarification, and one particular eagle-eye cherry tweeter had a question about my choice of shell. So I’m going to tackle both in one post!

The error

The problem was I mistyped bzip2, the ludicrously common *nix compressor. It’s seeing less use now that xz doesn’t take too long on modern hardware, but you’ll likely still encounter it. I have two theories for why I routinely mistype it:

  • I almost always do tar -cjvf to archive and compress in one command, so I’m rarely invoking bzip2 directly.

  • It’s close enough to gzip that I type it as such.

I’m avoiding just aliasing the problem away, because I’m concerned it’d just cement this incorrect neural pathway. I think I just need to make this mistake enough times to get it through this veritable skull of thickness.

The shell

Which leads me to the ksh93 in the error that I completely missed. Yes, that’s the latest iteration of the original KornShell by David Korn and contributors. I sort of let slip that I was using it as my daily driver back in February, while blogging about NetBSD HAXM:

Anyone who rocks the KornShell is awesome in my book, too.

I used and loved tcsh for most of my *nix career. It was the default shell back when Mac OS X was awesome, and it’s still the most capable shell in FreeBSD base. As I wrote a decade ago:

If I need to do some shell scripting I use basic sh, but I always try to use tcsh as my interactive shell whenever possible.

This worked well, but I was also learning more Bourne shell script tricks, and wanted to use them in my interactive shell as well. tcsh would, understandably, bork at my Bourne syntax.

I had experience with the KornShell from NetBSD, so I started using it everywhere. It has Bourne compatibility, with a few interactive niceties. I installed ksh93 and left it at that, but have since learned there are a few offshoots, including the Public Domain pdksh and MirOS mksh variants.

This week is looking pretty slammed, but I’m going to install a few from ports and do some tinkering. I’d be keen to hear on Twitter if you have a preference and why.

Miku Expo 2019 Taiwan and Hong Kong

I only just saw the official art for the event, drawn by Ordan. I love the Chinese touches on her shirt, and all the red!

If the Tokyo 2020 Olympics prevent AsiaBSDCon being hosted at the Tokyo University of Science again, I wonder if we could move it to Taiwan for a year, perhaps around May? Just an idea.


Kao laundry powder scoop analysis

Upon purchasing a fresh box of power for use in laundry based applications, one began using the passive voice. One also began speaking in the third person, and observing a scoopal-design transformation.

Scoopal? Schoople? Which one am I?

Photo showing the aforementioned powder scoops

Forced haughtiness aside, the original scoop is in the foreground, new scoop in the background. The positioning was originally incidental, but I’m pretending it was deliberate to emphasise my assertion as to the older scoop’s superior design.

My reasoning

  • The sloped side allows easier scoopage of the powder than the paltry lip of the new one. Scoopage? The boxy shape of the new scoop uses a far higher angle of attack, therefore requires more force.

  • The handy lines indicate precise volumes, and therefore weights, of powder. The new one is, to use a term that would require cleaning by the aforementioned powder, a crapshoot.

  • The older scoop looks aerodynamic and sleek, because it is. The newer scoop looks boxy, because it is. If someone drove past you in one of those scoops, you’d immediately look cooler in the older design.

  • The colour of the older scoop is better than… wait, they’re the same.

  • The termination of the older scoop’s handle has less of a protrusion, because it’s largely unnecessary. Gentleman like me grip the entire handle, not just the end. Trust the design of the newer scoop to have an overtly bulbous device, and with the logo raised to render it that much more uncomfortable to hold if one were to do so. Uh oh, there goes the third person again.


I implore the manufacturers of Kao laundry powders to reconsider. It’s not a problem for me, I can keep using the old scoop. But newer customers will have a lesser laundry experience. And as I’m sure you’ll all fully aware, I’m an advocate for positive laundry experiences.

Which reminds me, every laundry power since time immemorial must come with a scoop. I understand the need for one upon purchasing a power box for the first time, but surely subsequent purchases don’t require additional scoops? Given their plastic composition, they’ll likely outlive us all.

Whether powders or liquid detergents are better is a mental and scientific exercise for another day that’s not Sunday.

SCSI to CompactFlash for vintage PCs

I use passive CompactFlash to IDE adaptors for my vintage computer projects, with PCI-slot mounts so they can be easily swapped out when the machine is turned off. No need to pop the case off! Unfortunately it does limit the number of cards, especially when you throw in optical drives.

So I thought I’d research if SCSI to CompactFlash adaptors were a thing. I didn’t think they would be; CompactFlash to IDE is easy because they share the same protocol, but how would a SCSI CompactFlash be presented to a system?

One approach is to emulate removable SCSI disks of yore. Solid State Disks have a SCSIFlash box:

The SCSIFlash™ is an industrial OEM grade solid state drive which allows Compact Flash (CF) cards of up to 128GB (host dependant) to be attached to a regular SCSI bus. It will be seen as a SCSI Magneto Optic drive by the host computer. The SCSIFlash™ can emulate many SASI, SCSI-1, or SCSI-2 drives and can be programmed to suit the host systems requirement. Emulated Disk Sector sizes can be 256, 512, 768, 1024, 2048, 4096 bytes

That’s cool! We were firmly an Iomega household growing up, but my Japanese friends all used fancy magneto-optical systems and Minidiscs.

In the sidebar they list compatibility with these systems:

DEC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IOMEGA, Konica, Maxoptix, Olympus, Pioneer, Ricoh, SONY, SYQUEST, TEAC.

I didn’t think Iomega did Magneto-Optical. But in the general description for the device:

The IOMEGA SCSI ZIP emulator / SCSI Jaz emulator allows the CF Cards up to 64GB (SLC) and 256GB (MLC) to attach to the SCSI bus. It is seen as a IOMEGA SCSI ZIP/ Jaz Drive by the host computer.

So would you see multipe Jaz disks? Or does the protocol permit variable sizes?

This could work though, I already have drivers for DOS, and I’d assume classic FreeBSD and current NetBSD could work with it.

Changing to the middle seat

Rememember Yahoo? Japan still does; the original Yahoo logo is still everywhere over there as a telco. For the rest of us, its a search directory with a dwindling market share, and some questionable recent business decisions.

I went there on a lark this morning, and found this article by Sarah Carty:

If you’re a frequent flyer in economy class, you’ll know how important it is to check in online and pick your seat before you get to the airport. Otherwise, you’ll more than likely be left with the middle seat of a row, especially if you’re on your own and there are families and couples requesting seats beside each other.

But one woman has stirred a debate online, after she revealed that she refused to move from her aisle seat when a mother asked her to swap with her on a 14-hour flight.

I can emphatise. I booked an isle seat near a bulkhead on one of my monster work flights from Sydney to San Francisco. After we were all seated, a father came up and didn’t just ask, but demanded I move so he could sit next to his teenage son.

There are so many conflicting thoughts here. There are people who could use my marginally more desirable cattle class seat, for family, health, and legitimate other reasons. If I were a gentleman, I’d weigh up the pros and cons and offer my seat up, even if the person asking was a prick.

But then I remember it’s for a 20+ hour flight, and I specifically booked months in advance to secure a set that would make it less awful. I’m tall, which makes middle seats painful. And you don’t want to be an obstacle between my motion sickness and the bathroom, the location of which I also carefully planned for!

I appreciate not everyone has the luxury of booking in advance, and circumstances change. But just as they have their reasons, we have ours too. Does that make me a prick too? Maybe.