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A showcase video on fish as a shell

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I've put up a brief video on fish (the Friendly Interactive SHell). I'm not too opinionated about shells, I use vanilla bash myself, but there are definitely some things to really like or hate about fish.

I talk about fish's idiosyncratic (and not very POSIX) syntax, but also its perks: syntax highlighting, autocompletion of commands an command options, abbreviations and more.

Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:43:14 -0500

Anyone got ueberzug image previews working in vifm?

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I was playing around with ueberzug, which is a possbly more consistent replacement for the w3m image preview. Give it an images and a location/dimensions for it and it will print it to the terminal. The preview will survive after multiple resizing, mouse away and anything else. Much more robust than w3mimg.

A brief example in bash. I recommend installing ueberzug via pip to ensure all the right dependencies.

source "`ueberzug library`"
ImageLayer
declare -A command=([path]="pix/image.png" [identifier]="name" [action]="add" [x]="0" [y]="0" [max_width]="400" [height]="400")

The above will print pix/image.png in the top left (0x0) and ensure it fits within 400x400 by resizing it. If you spawn a bunch more windows and move it around, the image is very consistent.

Now vifm does provide some built-in arguments for the size of the preview window and location, but despite a little tinkering, I couldn't actually get any previews to pop up. I tried in my build of st, urxvt and alacritty and none worked in vifm.

I could toy around with it a little more and figure it out, but if any of you guys have already done it, feel free to share your script/command to do it. Ideally I'd like vifm previews, but also an independent script that could simply print out an image argument to the command line.

Tue, 15 Jan 2019 12:39:26 -0500

The 'Horrors' of the Linux Terminal...

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I've put up a video briefly explaining the benefits, dare I say, superiorities of command line management as oppose to flopping around like a fish in GUIs. A lot of novice users are strangely afraid of the terminal, but as I say in the video, it's a much more efficient and direct way of getting things done on a computer, similar to giving orders to a Siri. Here are the video links:

Recorded another video in the website series today. Putting the pieces together. Now two videos done and will probably be released next week.

Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:54:34 -0500

Livestream now

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Livestream at the bottom of the hour. 7:30 East Coast US.

Fri, 11 Jan 2019 19:12:10 -0500

Recent work

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I neglected to mention on the RSS feed yesterday, but I put up a new video just talking about some channel progress and workflow.

I've actually already recording one of the videos for the "make your own website" series and I may have another done soon. Expect them some time next week.

I've also started putting together a review of my new Unicomp Endurapro keyboard. There are actually a lot of things I want to put into it to give people a full view of it. I might finish this video either today or tomorrow.

Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:22:55 -0500

Luke steps on the Python snek

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New video up on Python, talking about computer language speed and abstraction, but also why I don't use Python for scripting or much of anything.

This is partially in response to some responses I got when I committed microaggressions against Python the language in this video.

Wed, 09 Jan 2019 10:26:46 -0500

Anyone want to redo the CSS for my website?

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I'm not a big color person and whenever I have to pick a theme for a website, it sort of annoys me. I don't like the current theme of my website, in fact, I've never liked any of the themes I've used so I was curious, before I start manually start retinkering with it until I find another scheme I tepidly can approve of, I was curious if anyone out there who has a knack for design would like to offer me a new .css stylesheet with a better colorscheme and other possible tweaks.

The current stylesheet is at https://lukesmith.xyz/style.css. I've added a couple of comments to make clear what novel thing is what. Feel free to send me new colors for everything, although I want a dark theme. Be sure that everything still werks, including the rolling blog page. I'll give it a couple days before I pick "a winner" unless I get one really quickly that's just perfect.

Do not offer to redo my website, especially if that means rewriting it with javascript code everywhere! I also do not want to have to move anything around unless there's just the best reason to: .css changes only.

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 20:55:38 -0500

Suck on this, black-pillers!

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New Boomer Rants video on why Pessimism is *literally* for losers. ;-)

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 13:50:52 -0500

Anyone want the domain name `currentyear.net`? Looking to sell.

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A couple years ago, I bought currentyear.net with the idea of turning it into a meme news site for fun. I obviously didn't end up doing it, so I'm thinking about parting with the domain name to anyone who thinks they might be able to put it to good use!

If anyone wants it, name a price and I'll sell it to you relatively cheap as far as domains go. If there are no takers within a couple of days, I'll probably put it on sale publicly with Namecheap for a good bit more than I'd settle for now.

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 19:42:27 -0500

Hacking wishlist addition: Moving all before a match to end of file!

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I've added a new entry to the Hacking Wishlist. This one I was racking my brain a little on last night, but couldn't find an elegant solution. It's probably obvious though.

I want a sed/awk command (probably awk, actually) that can take a stream and a regular expression and move all the lines before that regular expression to the end of the file. Sounds simple, but for whatever reason, I haven't developed a solution! I need to brush up my awk skills!

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 15:00:33 -0500

Contemplating a brief series on creating a website

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I've been contemplating doing a series on creating and maintaining your own website. The motivation is simple: too few people have their own platforms on the internet and are increasingly at the technical and frankly emotional mercy of social media sites, begging not to be "deplatformed". I talk about this in a new video.

I'm already starting to think through how I want the series to look, it might only be two somewhat long videos, but I'll probably show people the kind of setup that I have with a VPS. Suggestions are welcome, so long as they are... reasonable. Also, in the process of making this video, I will probably be using real life hosts/registrars: If anyone has anything bad or good to say about a registrar or host service, feel free to tell me. I say this because if I use or bring up Namecheap (my VPS host) as an example in the video, that will probably bring new users/customers to them. I don't want to positively or even neutrally mention any host/registrar that has a bad record (for example, GoDaddy is a terrible host and I'll probably specifically note it).

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 13:09:33 -0500

Adding transparency and removing whitespace from images automatically with imagemagick

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I've put up a new imagemagick video, where I briefly talk about how to quickly trim junk from images with the -trim option and basic usage of the -transparent option, which allows you to automatically choose a color to treat as transparent. Just a brief topic, but you can get a whole lot out of these little tools in terms of making image modification way faster.

Sun, 06 Jan 2019 15:05:42 -0500

Why I don't do GNU/Linux 'evangelism'

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I just released a video talking about why I don't do Linux "evangelism". This is part of the ever growing "Boomer Rants in Woods" series.

I detail why in the video, but it ammounts to two main points:

The "solution" to these constraints is simple: if you want to get people to be more open to Linux, show them what you can actually do on it. This solves both problems.

While I certainly don't have my channel for Linux evangelism, I do feel like the channel has approached doing just that as time has gone on. I don't talk conceptually about Linux or *nix generally unless it's after showcasing some feature or explaining the efficiency of a design. This encourages people to actually understand Linux, how it's different from their common experience and encourages them that they might benefit from using it.

Sat, 05 Jan 2019 11:57:17 -0500

Nassim Taleb on IQ, and what is IQ anyway?

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I've been asked by several people to opine on Nassim Taleb's recent Twitter war against IQ as a concept. You can read a preliminary write up of his critiques on a Medium article he wrote. Not too refined, but if you listen you get the point. I'll see if I can sum some of the ideas up:

On that last point, you might want to listen to the podcast I did on Gerd Gigerenzer's work, which is related: we, especially psychologists, have this fetish for cargo-cult rationality, often when it leads us to be dumber/bigger chumps IRL. Taleb is also keenly aware of the sociological aspect of academia, the replication crisis, the wishful thinking and confirmation bias ubiquitous in the soft (i.e. non-) sciences. Many people will correctly call IQ or g "the most successful" finding of psychological sciences in the 20th century. I say "correctly" because everything else psychological "sciences" have found is either totally non-reproduceable or the result of smoke-and-mirrors, so, sure IQ is number 1 in a field of continual failure.

Anyway, on the topic, a lot of Boomers will deny any potential reality of IQ/g or any other kinds of cognitive tests out of a deep-seated faith in total human cognitive uniformity (otherwise that would make them literally Hitler). This isn't really Taleb's motivation: his, if I my psychoanalyze for a moment, amounts to a disappointment with the pseudo-rationalist "funcionary" thought-patterns that an IQ test favors being celebrated as a cognitive ideal, when in reality these mental habits aren't really so correlated with success outside of bureaucracy. Taleb certainly loves to dab on n*rds and I support his efforts. That and a conviction to sound understanding of statistics drive him.

Is "IQ" utterly meaningless? No I don't think so, nor do I think Taleb thinks so, but it's only a clumsy and introductory mosaic used to approach human cognitive differences and we shouldn't necessarily treat it as a mentalistic holon without careful caveats. As he puts it in the above Medium article:

"If you renamed IQ, from "Intelligent Quotient" to FQ "Functionary Quotient" or SQ "Salaryperson Quotient", then some of the stuff will be true. It measures best the ability to be a good slave. "IQ" is good for @davidgraeber's "BS jobs"."

"Autism Quotient" might be another candidate. IQ shows something, but I think a lot of Taleb's critique comes down to assumption that "high IQ" tendencies are not necessarily either good or indicative of intelligence in a meaningful sense. I think there is a strong correlation between IQ what we intuitively think of as "intelligence", but you must take that with Taleb's qualifiers mentioned above and the fact that for some cultural reasons (and pity), we think of autistic shut-ins and losers in high-school as being "intelligent" (thus the concept of IQ has affected what we think of as being smart). In the past, autistic shut-ins were understood to be utter morons and the ideal intelligent person might be an outgoing, socially-aware, but "irrationally" cautious, high-agency person with little attention to detail. If "IQ" measured that kind of person, which we could easily do, we would likely find some of the same correlations since like our "IQ" it rules out the extremely dull, but such a test might be likely to have better life-performance correlations as well.

To sum up, I mostly concur with what Taleb says, but I also don't particularly mind using the term "IQ" in the way it's conventionally understood so long as it's not understood as some eternal metric of goodness. I did speak somewhat about the selection of cognitive ability, measured by IQ in one of my other podcasts, but my editorial stance was that that selection was not necessarily "good". Like Taleb says in the quote above, a person with a high IQ tends to be a good functionary, a good cog in the system. Perhaps to slavishly obey social orders one does necessitate some level of real intelligence, but that servile and autistic mentality not what true intelligence causes per se, nor should we celebrate than kind of mindset.

If anything Taleb says sounds like gibberish, I recommend you either to read his books (Skin in the Game, Antifragile, etc. etc.) or wait for his next inevitable book which I'm sure will include the IQ discussion. Taleb has a tendency to put things in superficially coarse phrasing online, but his books are lucid beyond comprehension.

Fri, 04 Jan 2019 22:27:13 -0500

Why I don't use polybar anymore? (And on ricing)

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I occasionally get asked why I use my "ugly" status bar which is a simple i3blocks with gaudy emojis rather than the more elegant polybar which I used in earlier videos, like say, this one, or bumblebee-status, which I used even earlier here.

First, right off the bat, I know a lot of people think of me as a desktop "ricer", i.e. someone who makes substantial changes to their computers for aesthetic purposes, but this really isn't the case. The only sense in which I care about my computer's appearance is its ability to present important things very obviously and the speed with which I can do whatever thing I'm doing on a computer. "Ricing" a term that comes from the automobile-modification world meaning "Race-Inspired Cosmetic Enhancement". A true ricer is all about making his computer elegant. I'm not. I care about efficiency and do have some minor aesthetic things (like transparency), but these are only to keep me from getting bored out of my mind. I even used solarized colors for a while which shows obviously I don't care that much about how a computer looks.

If you want a very good example of real ricing, I recommend you check out this recent video by iBSD, where he shows a AwesomeWM configuration theming it to Game of Thrones. That might sound absurd and pure flex, but check it out; it's very impressive.

But anyway, there are a couple specific reasons I don't use "the pretty" polybar:

My reasons for bumblebee-status anymore are somewhat similar (with the additional fact that it's written in Python and tended to eat up system resources).

Anyway. I only write all this because I am sort of thinking of configuring a "prettier" statusbar, but since people ask about my previous choices I want to make it clear what I care about in system configuration. If you have any suggestions of a status bar that...

Please tell me.

Fri, 04 Jan 2019 22:01:25 -0500

i fell Ior the suckless meme in image viewers too: sxiv

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I just put up a video on sxiv, "the simple X image viewer". I've switched from feh to it for several reasons:

I also mention that I don't know yet if sxiv can be used to set backgrounds. feh can, hence I still have it installed and use it for that, but if anyone knows how to make sxiv do the same, please tell me so I can save a dependency in LARBS. ;-)

Thu, 03 Jan 2019 12:43:58 -0500

A Hacking Wishlist

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I've decided to put up a "Hacking Wishlist", which will be a running list of all the things I need or would like to know how to do, but don't yet know. I've started it with two big problems I've had for a while and am looking for any clues as to how to solve them. Check out the list!

The first I need to solve is to make LARBS's pausing system and lock screen better, and the second I really want for mutt-wizard to make it easier for users to add new mail accounts.

I'll post updates as I add more entries to the list or me or someone else solves one. You can, of course, email your solutions to luke@lukesmith.xyz.

Wed, 02 Jan 2019 16:43:29 -0500

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