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See old posts from 2018 here: 2018.html.

Don't document software! (If you want to avoid pain!)

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New video up.

One irony of making things more clearly documented and sometimes even hand-holding is that it actually tends to increase the stress you go through!

I talk about this in this video, and my own experience for everyone, and especially those interested in making software and interacting with the people who use it.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 21:28:55 -0400
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Reminder that there will be a live stream of Not Related! in an hour. That's 2PM EDT (New York City time).

Related donations will be read at the midway point and at the end, then other donations will be read in a livestream portion not to be included in the audio episode that will be released.

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:58:17 -0400
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As Not Related! fans will know well, I haven't made an episode in several months! This is for a variety of reasons, but I've decided to switch it up for an episode tomorrow by recording LIVE, streaming on YouTube.

The link will be HERE. The chatroom will be open until then. I might stop in every so often in the wait. I've scheduled it for 2PM New York time tomorrow, but I might change that by an hour or two if I need to. Check back at that link for updates.

Here's how it's going to work:

In this arrangement, we can have all the typical glory of a Not Related! episode while still "devolving" into a general purpose stream as time goes on. Obviously it can be interactive at the same time.

The starting topic of the episode/stream:

This episode/stream will be on the absolute(ly terrible) state of "statistics" as it is used in the "soft" sciences: psychology, neuroscience, medicine, econometrics, here in linguistics and many others. All of these disciplines are in hot water. A lot of people are aware that there is flimsy knowledge of statistics in a lot of non-specialist fields, but in this episode, I go to an even deeper problem: the "Null Ritual" (Gerd Gigerenzer's term), a statistical analysis procedure that is essentially required for publication, but is also a historical misunderstanding and mistake that has produced entire fields of people running statistical tests of unclear scientific and epistemological meaning, while also abiding by totally arbitrary conventions (p < 0.05 and more).

I'll go into the original history of modern statistics, as expounded by Ronald Fisher and his "adversaries" Neyman and Pearson. Their competing theories were motivated in entirely different ways, but have been distorted and confused over the decades, resulting in the hybridized "null ritual" we see today.

I'll also talk about how this contributed to the "replication problem", reminding one of Ioannidis's now well-known 2005 paper: "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False."

Do not read Wikipedia or even a textbook on anything related to this before the podcast! You will be misinformed! Refer to Gigerenzer's 2004 article "Mindless Statistics" and the ensuing literature, but I should say that there is a very big gap between this specialist literature and the mostly cargo-cult understanding of the statistical methods that filter into textbooks and then into public repositories like Wikipedia, etc. This is why I think this topic is highly important to get out there!

Tue, 12 Mar 2019 20:05:36 -0400

The Bible on the command line (tutorial)

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I've put up a video on getting/reading/searching the Bible, in English, Greek or Latin, on the command line. I mentioned this on the blog a week or so ago, but I had forked this repository, which included a very economical sh/awk script that can parse and interface with a tsv file to give you a very intuitive and light interface to the Bible or any other versified text you need.

My personal repos on this are below:

Of course, this system isn't just useful for religious texts, but anything that is divided into books, chapters and verse. Feel free to implement the system in whatever way you like.

By the way, yesterday, I put out a idle video on a trip I made to George L. Smith Park, nothing too deep, but I figured I might record and put it up.

Tue, 12 Mar 2019 10:58:06 -0400

In defense of 'Pseudo-science' in video form...

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I've put up a video entitled "In Defense of Pseudoscience", a new episode of "Lunchtime with Luke".

A couple months ago, I wrote a brief blogpost to this effect, but in general, I've always rejected the entire invented problem of "the demarkation problem" which was the fuss of a lot of philosophers in the early 20th century. It was an attempt to formally specify what constitutes true "science" versus non-science or "pseudoscience".

I explain precisely why in the video, and provide some example of how "pseudoscience" is often the only real drive of scientific development.

Sun, 10 Mar 2019 14:49:48 -0400

Livestream starting in less than 30 minutes

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YangGang website building stream is starting in less than 30 minutes.

The link is here.

Send any last-minute Yang memes to luke@lukesmith.xyz.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019 15:31:04 -0500

LARBS update to vifm/├╝berzug may require manual intervention

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I've just pushed updates to the voidrice and LARBS repos that officially change the default file browser from ranger to vifm.

If you update via git, you might also need to manually run yay -S python-ueberzug to install überzug from the AUR, otherwise image previews may stall and (obviously) not work.

I mentioned überzug's ability to preview images in this video, but I've found a solution to getting them to work in vifm and it is now default in LARBS.

I'll probably be doing a video on vifm sometime soon now, but if you want an explanation of the script which was written by the developer of überzug, I believe, Distrotube has talked about it in this video last week.

My video will probably cover this, basic info, colorschemes and more. It might be a somewhat long video, but people have been asking for it for a while.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019 12:33:09 -0500

YangGang.us Website building livestream at 4:00 EST

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You may've already seen that I'll be having a livestream at 4:00 EST. The link is here..

Since the Unaboomer website building stream didn't go public, I've decided to do another basic 1990's-tier plain HTML website stream, this one making YangGang.us, which will be a classic repository of YangGang memes.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang is the newest, hottest meme as in our increasingly degenerate country, as he has abandoned all pretense and merely promised to give everyone $1,000 a month if elected president. This has inspired hope among the black-pilled and a $1,000 stipend can go a long way for NEETs and those who choose an /innawoods/ lifestyle. How can Orange Man even compete?

Send me any good YangGang memes you run across. Chances are I already have them, but send them just in case.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019 08:09:47 -0500

My repos are now on Gitlab and will be updated there as well

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I've actually had a Gitlab since Github was bought by Microsoft, but I had never bothered using it and simply had it mirror my main repos. Since a lot of people actually do use it now, and some exclusively, I will actually be pushing all of my changes that I push to Github to Gitlab as well. I'll also be watching Gitlab for Issues and PRs, for those of you who use Gitlab and Gitlab only, so feel free to abstain from using Github entirely to communicate with me and my repos.

Subscribe to the RSS feed of my Gitlab events here: https://gitlab.com/LukeSmithxyz.atom Or follow me?? I don't actually know if there's following on Gitlab. Sorry, Boomer here when it comes to technology. You might know that I never follow/subscribe to anyone on any site as a rule myself so I never keep track...

Fri, 08 Mar 2019 22:03:13 -0500

Plumbing in Linux, Plan 9 from Bell Labs style

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I usually abstain from using the mouse, but I've noticed a lot of interest in plumbing recently, and have got a lot of emails about it. Plan 9 is a highly unique operating system, integrating the mouse directly into the most basic UI, and the right click importantly can "plumb" selected text. This can mean various things from opening or running the file corresponding to the text or something else, but as a design feature, plumbing is something worth playing around with on other operating systems.

I've put out a video here on my current plumbing script. It's part of my dotfiles now, mapped to Super + C since that's one of the lone leftover keys. I'm sure you could bind it to one of your many mouse buttons as well if you have one of those meme mouses.

Of course, this kind of plumbing is piecemeal compared to the Plan 9 orignal: it really is a kind of text handler mediated by dmenu, but it gets at part of the functionality. It can open files whose text is displayed on the terminal, it can search for text in the browser or on eBay or on OpenStreetMaps, or generate QR codes for text. You're welcome to suggest elegant ways to improve the script on the git repository.

Fri, 08 Mar 2019 10:58:04 -0500

A visit to the Georgia Guidestones

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A couple days ago, I went by Elberton, Georgia, home of the notorious Georgia Guidestones. Just for fun, I filmed a brief video there. Check it out!

The Guidestones are a mysterious monument built only a couple of decades ago by unknown persons with inscriptions in several modern and ancient languages, also including astrological guides. They've often been attributed to the Rosicrucians, Luciferians or some other clandestine groups and have popped up in numerous conspiracy documentaries and commentaries.

As I mention in the video, I have a somewhat indirect connection to the monument, as a former professor of mine at the University of Georgia was hired to give the Greek and Sanskrit translations. I believe other UGA professors provided the other translations as well, but they were all commissioned by a unknown "Mr. Christian" to do so and no one really knows what's behind these stones.

Thu, 07 Mar 2019 12:33:37 -0500

New Latin Vulgate Bible repository

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A couple days ago, I put up this repository (https://github.com/LukeSmithxyz/vul) which is a command-line interface to the Greek Bible (the Septuagint and SBL New Testament).

Since I had gone ahead and done that, I decided I'd make and put up two other related repositories:

I'll put up a video on these in a while so my non-blog/RSS viewers will know about them.

Enjoy!

Wed, 06 Mar 2019 15:17:12 -0500

Boomer forest LARP episode 2/2

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Part 2/2 of my forest LARP has been released. See it here.

There are actually still a couple more contentful videos from my vacation that will be coming out in the next couple of days. I'll probably do a review of my experience there too. I've noted it to those I know IRL, but I'm thinking about moving down to the place I visited for some different reasons. I'll discuss them soon.

Wed, 06 Mar 2019 12:13:46 -0500

College stream starting now

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Livestream starting now.

Donations, which you can give here, will be read out on the stream.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 17:03:22 -0500

College tour livestream soon

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I'll be starting a Livestream within the hour, linked here. Will start 5PM East Coast US time.

I'll talk about the possibility of a college tour (or a tour outside of colleges) and some other things that I may be doing soon.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 16:06:41 -0500

Pacman for package management on Arch: All the basics and more

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New video up on pacman, the Arch Linux package manager.

One of the weird things that has happened since I put out my video on installing Arch Linux and since I release LARBS is that I get a lot of people who install Arch and LARBS without knowing anything about it! I suppose that's a good thing, but I've begun to get very basic questions from people who don't know the absolute basics of pacman.

The video above is a response to this. It covers installing, updating, searching for, listing and manpulating packages and other pacman settings, some of which maybe even veteran users might not be familiar with.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 11:40:52 -0500

Thinking about getting a document camera: Any suggestions?

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I'm thinking about getting a document camera for recording videos in the future that require writing on paper. I'd like it to have a USB interface that I can connect to my computer an screencast directly as if it were another webcam.

I honestly don't know what's out there, so if anyone is familiar with anything recommendable and not too expensive (I don't want to spend more than a hundred dollars or so), feel free to tell me your experience with any particular model.

Mon, 04 Mar 2019 08:20:33 -0500

The downsides of bloated software: R Markdown and LaTeX

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I just released a new video talking about the downsides to bloated software. It's not just about lines of code or dependencies, but about potentiality for breakage and frustration.

Nowadays, the standard modus operandi for many """devs""" is to write programs to substrate over previous ones. Sounds sensible, but when everyone is doing it, we have nothing but an ever increasing mound of mutually-dependent programs for which even the most minor error can cause everything to come crashing down.

In the video above, give a particular recent example in my life, involving writing a book in R Markdown (compiled with a LaTeX engine), comparing that to the less bloated groff/troff.

Mon, 04 Mar 2019 08:17:17 -0500

Wow what a bad day for Fedorafriends! (Luke Smith BTFOS Logic MLG Epic Style)

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You know what, I released yet another video today, this one on """rationality""" or at least on how the term is clumsily understood.

I have a lot of videos slated for release soon and I honestly forgot about this one today, I suppose in conjunction with my last post, this constitutes a bad day for all Reddit-tier fedorafriends out there!

I talk about the limits to how people commonly misunderstand rationality and how we often find ourselves in destructive logical holes when we too blindly assume that the straight-jacket of formal logic corresponds to the world out there.

To go a little more in depth, check out one of my recent podcast episodes on the same topic. There I talk about Kahneman and Tversky's Heuristics and Biases program and Ecological Rationality àla Gigerenzer.

Sun, 03 Mar 2019 15:04:04 -0500

New Git repo: Greek Septuagint/New Testament on the command line

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I got an email this morning from a subscriber asking about command-line tools for Biblical textual criticism/study, specifically in Greek or Hebrew. Most of you know I'm terrible with email due to the sheer quantity I get, but for whatever reason, I saw this and was a little inspired to actually work it out.

Before this morning are were some good English tools, like this one on Github (kjv-git in the AUR), but no to my knowledge, nothing really in the original language. kjv-git can return any (English) King James Version Bible verse, series of verses or whole book at your command, but there is no obvious equivalent in Greek or Hebrew. This is an annoyance because for anyone like me who occasionally needs a Bible verse or the original wording of a passage, you have to open up a browser and search for it in a bloated website written by a Soydev.

Anyway, this morning since I was skipping church for highly justified reasons, I forked the repository and painstakingly found and rearranged a plaintext Greek Septuagint (i.e. the Old Testament) and the SBL Greek New Testament so that they could be read by the same system. Took a lot of regexing, but you can get it for yourself here: https://github.com/LukeSmithxyz/grb. Many Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books are included if you like the Bible: Expanded Universe.

I'll probably eventually record a video on it, but I'm travelling and didn't bring by mic/webcam to record, so I might do it next week. Before then, I recommend you check it out and find any glitches if there are any.

Sun, 03 Mar 2019 14:32:56 -0500

Fuzzy finder (fzf), a 'dmenu' for the terminal

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I'm sure some of you have run across this before, but after getting a lot of questions about it, I figured it might be worth it to do a video on fuzzy finder (fzf). For long-time channel subscribers, fzf can be thought of as a dmenu-like program for the terminal, you can pipe an input and it allows the user to select one of those input lines by typing, then it prints it to standard output.

That opens up a world of possibilities, so I show some of my minor implementations in the video. Check the fzf website for a couple more suggestions, but I think you can come up with a lot on your own as well.

Sat, 02 Mar 2019 10:08:15 -0500

Why you should learn Latin

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There's nothing essentially magical about Latin, but I've recommended a lot of people learning it because for many different reasons, it straddles easiness and rigor, and opens fairly unexpected opportunities. Watch the video here.

I also talk about some of Latin's particular benefits to me, even aside from just learning other languages, but also give some recommendations as to how to learn it effectively.

Fri, 01 Mar 2019 12:17:05 -0500

Boomer LARPs in Woods

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I recorded some videos while I was gone last week and now that I have internet again, I'll be uploading the vacation. There are several screencasts and many new episodes of "Boomer Rants in Woods" and "Lunchtime with Luke". I'll probably be releasing one a day for a while.

First, 29-year-old Boomer LARPs in Woods. I walk through some family land through the river just for exploration. There's a chance in the future I might build something there or maybe move to this area. I'll talk more of my trip later.

By the way, due to some changes YouTube made to how videos are uploaded, my videos will not automatically be appearing on Bitchute for a bit. Hopefully Bitchute will adjust to the changes soon.

Wed, 27 Feb 2019 10:02:44 -0500

You don't choose who you are

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I put up a brief "Lunchtime with Luke" video earlier today. Links below.

Lunchtime with Luke is now an official playlist.

In this video, I talk about the term "Bugman" and give a brief Gestalt of what it means.

Really the deeper point I was making was the non-arbitrariness of identity. There are now forces overwhelming in society pushing people to disconnect from and reject their families, religions, traditions, culture and even their countries.

One of the falsest notions now common in modernity is the idea that "identity" is something chosen by unaffected personal whim. To the Bugman, "identity" is something chosen like a favorite color, and it offends their programmed ego to be told that they were born how and where and in the social context that they were, and all of that is immutable.

In reality, an "identity" that is chosen is not an identity at all, but a coping mechanism for those people who have lost touch.

Tue, 26 Feb 2019 22:43:07 -0500

Some riverfront surveying

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Today was my first full day of my weeklong outing, and I spent a lot of the time walking through the pines and on firelanes. I went to visit some family land by the river, which had been partially flooded with some residual marshland. There's a non-negligible chance that in the future I might be building a house on that parcel, albeit much further away from the river for fear of the occasional hurricane-based flooding.

I also visited the church cemetary where many of my ancestors are buried.

I did have the chance to record some material for videos, but I won't be able to upload it until I either get back or drive quite a while to get to an area with public internet. Out here, the main way people even have an internet connection is via satillite. Dial-up was common relatively recently.

I didn't mention it yesterday, but the "urbanization" of the area is somewhat jarring. I mean "urbanization" in the loosest sense (I'm not quite sure what to call it, perhaps "commercialization"), but a lot of the small towns in the area have started to produce Subways, McDonalds, chain gas stations and even a couple of Walmarts. The essence of the area hasn't changed that much, but it could mean the beginning of a potentially irreversable process. Still, where I am is imminently rural, without the hint of even a non-chain restaurant or a grocery store for miles and miles.

When I was young, my grandfather used to arrange for gasoline to be shipped to a tank on our property, but that was a long time ago. If you wanted to go "shopping", you'd have to drive more than an hour to get to Valdosta, which in the grand scheme of things is still a relatively small college town, although I much confess that that city has balooned in size and business in the 10 years since I did my first year of college there in 2008-2009.

Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:47:51 -0500

One week in nowhere

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As I mentioned in my last livestream, I'm spending this coming week in a remote, undiscolsed location with minimal internet connection. Earlier today I was Booming as usual back home, but I took a long drive to a family area several hundred miles away where I'll probably be for the next week. If you're reading this on or shortly after the 15th, it means I at least had the cell service to update the blog, but don't expect any videos this week (although I will be recording some for later release).

I decided to leave town because I can, and because I'd like to have free time to work on whatever strikes me. I always recommend building a "schedule" which is purposefully mostly empty: only then can you truly end up doing what matters. Perhaps I'll make some videos or record podcasts or work on my dissertations. We'll see.

You often forget, even when you live in a pretty small city what exactly true silence sounds like. Back where I live now, there is still the constant nightly buzz of Zoomers at the club listening to that damned Kanye/Lil Pump song 6 million times a night. Here during nightime, however, at first you hear nothing, and only after long exposure do you hear the distant packs of wolves and wild dogs howling at each other, or the bleating of a boar. When in non-rural areas usually most of what you hear is drowned out as the unimportant mess it is, if you go for a midnight stroll in a dark forest, every sound becomes meaningful, if not alarming. Even as I write this on the porch of the isolated house, a larger animal is rummaging gently in the bush just out of my field of view. I'm a little unnerved as it seems to be working its way slowly to me, perhaps trying to figure out the clacking of a ThinkPad keyboard and the brightness of the accompanying ThinkLight.

I thought about soiling an earlier night walk by recording a video, but while your eyes adjust to the only light, the moon, a cell phone can hardly make the adjustment and capture the actual appearance of anything, not least by blaring its electronic luminescene on everything. Anyway, I'm going to try to upload at least this post and turn of what remaining electronics I have here.

Fri, 15 Feb 2019 23:44:06 -0500

Pre-/innawoods/ livestream now

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Doing a livestream starting in 10 or so minutes (7PM New York time). Check my channel.

Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:49:49 -0500

How to Get a Domain Name for Cheap or Free

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Check out the new video out on how to get a domain name. I list out a couple different registrars in the description, feel free to recommend others if you'd like. Here's the vid:

By the way, you may've noticed that I haven't been releasing RSS posts as quickly as I used to when I put out new videos (and even missing some). There are some practical reasons for this, but in the future, I might go without posting video releases on the blog/RSS, unless I specifically feel like it. This blog is, after all, supposed to be just a blog.

I'm not sure, but to be extra careful, I recommend subscribing to my YouTube channel's RSS feed here: (https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC2eYFnH61tmytImy1mTYvhA). Entry links will be the direct video links.

Mon, 28 Jan 2019 19:12:13 -0500

Do you know the Via Negativa?

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New video up on Via Negativa, which is about the closest I'll ever get to offering "self-help" advise. NEETs won't want to hear it anyway.

Sat, 26 Jan 2019 11:09:19 -0500

Some entry tips to using suckless programs

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I've just put up a video on some general tips I have for people who are looking to use suckless programs.

This is in response to a lot of the complaints I hear about suckless from people who are trolling their minds for reasons not to use it. I also saw that Distrotube had put out a video talking about trying suckless utilities out, so I wanted to give my personal recommendations.

Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:28:03 -0500

Audio problem fixed. Stream active immanently.

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I've fixed the audio problem in the original stream attempt. I'll go live in less than 30 minutes at the bottom of the hour.

New link.

Mon, 21 Jan 2019 17:09:38 -0500

Unaboomer/Geocities Livestream SOON

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As the kick off to the creating-a-website series, I'm going to be having what was originally going to be an "HTML/CSS tutorial", but since everyone already knows HTML and CSS, it's going to be a light-heared Geocities-themed livestream where I construct an early-ninties-style webpage.

Typical livestream behavior expected as well.

For you Zoomers out there, Geocities was... oh well you'll figure it out. Just come to the livestream. I'll probably start in less than 30 minutes... We'll see.

LINK HERE. CHAT IS OPEN NOW!

Mon, 21 Jan 2019 16:12:45 -0500

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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