Posts published by: jg

Network Outages (again)

If I wasn't absolutely pissed last time the network went down because of my family, this time I am. I was only able to reach step two of five during the last outage. Here's what this means.

All of my servers and networking equipment is not where it should be. It has been moved to where it is physically accessible to me (in a wheelchair) and the rest of my able-bodied family. Little did I know that the outlet they had all of my servers and our networking equipment on was operated on a single light switch. One flick while I was taking one of my sacred naps brought everything to a crashing halt.

I suspected they would do something really fucking stupid again, so not everything was permanently damaged. The network bounced back without manual intervention, no small feat for its complexity. All but one of the servers were able to POST and carry on.

Unfortunately, we lost the back up server. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be very concerned; that's the easiest server to manage without! However, this is the second period of downtime in less than a month. There is an obvious trend here. Every second my machines are in this high-risk environment (surrounded by pets, neighbors, family, etc) is just a total crash waiting to happen.

The last outage was painful. There was a very long period when I was immediately post-op, during which storage servers bit the dust. I could tolerate more storage servers going down. I could not tolerate any services going down.

Here is the emergency plan. Just like last time, I'm not even sure I'll finish it due to time, injuries, and money.

  1. Begin short, limited backups to my laptop and external hard drives
  2. Attempt to replace drives in back up server
  3. Hold candlelight vigil for fallen server
  4. Hang on for the now three month overdue stipend to replace machines
  5. Practice wheelchair combat to threaten family
  6. Send bill for destroyed servers to the single individual (who will not be named) who is solely responsible for both outages

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week.

:x

Network Outages

While I was in the hospital, my family has taken some steps to accomodate my return at hoe. One of the changes they ade in the house was moving most of my things to a single level so that I don't have to figure out the stairs while I'm crippled. In all their genius and despite my warnings, they have unplugged and moved the servers that operate Pleroma, email, and a few other services. On top of that, they have somehow "lost" the coaxial connection that provides our internet connection.

I'm pissed as hell, but there is nothing I can do about it in a wheelchair. Here's the estimated timeframe for services going back online.

  1. I call in a service technician from our ISP to return the network to at least an operational state
  2. I reconfigure network devices as they were in the overhal blog post.
  3. I install a locked cabinet rack that will prevent my family from fucking me over again.
  4. I migrate backups of whatever has been damaged beyond repair and virtualize whatever is salvageable.
  5. I retiterate to my family that my network policy is there to protect all of us and that they seriously fucked themselves over too. I might pretend that their fucking with the network has allowed a hacker or some shit to get to us.

That's pretty much all I have to say for now. I'm writing this from a hospital bed and fucked up on narcotics, so forgive any typoes or mistakes. Hae a nice night and go fuck yourselves.

:x

Complete Network Overhaul

Oops. Apparently sometime yesterday, my stock router that my ISP gave me flopped. I had it running to a Netgear router in a kinda broken access point style thing. Thanks to the demands of my family, I had to fix the network ASAP. I reset all the devices, configured the stock router for bridging, then sat through 20 minutes of Netgear configuration wizards. I have a much simpler, faster network now.

The servers that run out of this location, however, are not playing nice with the new setup. I suspect they still want to be on the old network and are asking the router for addresses that won't fit in the LAN. I will one-by-one go through them and beat the shit out of every network process running. For now, expect outages for Pleroma, E-Mail (lol it's only me), and Minecraft. Sorry about the issues. By the time you read this post, everything will probably be back to normal.

Minetest on Raspberry Pi

After some previous projects, I had some spare raspi's laying around to work with. Minetest is a pretty fun game, so I decided to set up a server for me and my friends to play on. Minetest is also free (as in freedom, not as in beer). We'll install some mods to add more content to the base game such as hunger, more ores, bows, mobs, and signs.

Setting up the Raspberry Pi

This is the standard quick setup for any project. I don't have enough screens and keyboards for all of my projects, so I'll assume that a headless configuration is preferred. Follow the Raspberry Pi's official guide for an install. Make sure that you download the Lite image, since we won't be using a desktop and don't need any additional software on our system.

Setting up SSH access

Follow the documentation on SSH, specifically, enabling SSH on a headless Raspberry Pi. Then ssh into the pi to get started.

Updating

Make sure that you update all your packages.

sudo apt update -y && apt upgrade -y

Users

For good practice, it's a good idea to create a minetest user to keep things clean. We'll give the minetest user a home folder, the bash shell, and sudo privileges.

sudo useradd -m -s /bin/bash -G sudo minetest
sudo passwd minetest
su minetest
cd ~

Getting Minetest going

Now for the good stuff. The version of Minetest in the repos is generally out of date, so we'll be working with the latest revision from their Github.

Downloading

wget https://github.com/minetest/minetest/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz
cd minetest-master/

Minetest is only the engine for the game. To get the actual game files, we'll also need to get minetest_game.

cd games/
wget https://github.com/minetest/minetest_game/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz
mv minetest_game-master minetest_game
cd ..

Building

Finally, we need to build from source. Install all the required dependencies.

sudo apt install build-essential libirrlicht-dev cmake libbz2-dev libpng-dev libjpeg-dev libxxf86vm-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libsqlite3-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev libopenal-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libfreetype6-dev zlib1g-dev libgmp-dev libjsoncpp-dev -y

Run cmake to compile it. We'll be running this as a bare server, so we'll use the flag -DBUILD_SERVER=TRUE when we create the make configuration. If you're using an older version of the Raspberry Pi (I'm using the Raspberry Pi 3 B+), you should check the output of lscpu to determine how many cores your CPU has. This is reflected in the value passed to make -j. More build flags are listed and described, but these are the only basic ones that we need to build a server.

cmake . -DRUN_IN_PLACE=TRUE -DBUILD_SERVER=TRUE
make -j 4

Like most compiles, it can take a while for make to finish. It took me about half an hour to compile. Your mileage may vary.

First time run

./bin/minetestserver

Connect to the server from another computer, walk around for a bit, and make sure that everything is running smoothly. The output of ./bin/minetestserver will print debug information to the terminal, so watch for errors and anything of note. You might run into issues with your client being older than your server. As of this writing, the Minetest package offered in the Debian repos was several versions behind. You may have to build the client from source on your workstation, too.

We'll need our terminal back, so kill the server with ^C.

Further steps

After a successful run, you're technically done. To truely complete your server, we'll need to cover systemd integration, server configuration, and mods.

Creating a systemd service

I wrote a minetest.service file for systemd after I wasn't able to find one online. Reminder! Don't trust everything you download off the internet (especially from bloggers).

wget https://blog.networked.space/minetest/minetest.service
sudo mv minetest.service /etc/systemd/system/
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable minetest.service
sudo systemctl start minetest.service

I didn't include logging or any complex features. If you want to write more to it, you can email me your revision and I'll add and credit you.

Configuration

There is a minetest.conf.example file at /home/minetest/minetest-master from which you can build off of.

Significant values to change are default_privs, server_name, server_description, server_address, server_url, server_announce, port, max_users, and enable_pvp. There are a lot more that can fine-tune the mechanics and play of your server, but these are all values that I recommend changing.

For the changes to the config to take effect, I had to delete the existing world and restart the server.

rm -rf worlds/world
sudo systemctl restart minetest.service

Mods

I decided to install a mod for mobs, ores, signs, hunger, and bows. The ores, signs, hunger, and bows were made by TenPlus1. The framework for the mobs was made by PilzAdam. You can find more mods on ContentDB. Just like packages, some mods have dependencies and conflicts, so do your research and test which ones work and which ones don't. To install mods, extract their source into the mods folder and edit the world.mt file in the worlds folder.

cd mods
wget https://github.com/PilzAdam/mobs/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip && rm master.zip
mv mobs-master mobs

wget https://notabug.org/TenPlus1/moreores/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz && rm master.tar.gz

wget https://notabug.org/TenPlus1/signs_lib/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz && rm master.tar.gz

wget https://notabug.org/TenPlus1/hud_hunger/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz && rm master.tar.gz

wget https://notabug.org/TenPlus1/bows/archive/master.tar.gz
tar xf master.tar.gz && rm master.tar.gz

Conclusion

That's pretty much all there is to creating a Minetest server on the Raspberry Pi. If you want to connect to the server that I set up, point your client at minetest.networked.space:30000. All of the mods covered are installed.

This guide was over 6k characters, which means that I can flex even harder on my fellow bloggers.

:x

Vaporwave

I unironically enjoy vaporwave. If you skim over the Wikipedia article for vaporwave, you'll learn that the music genre is an ironic/nostalgic/surreal take on 80s corporate music (Muzak, as it will be referred to from here on out, in reference to the Muzak company that produced the generic "background music" of elevators and malls). What you might not learn is the style's history that's probably older than your dad. To truly understand what makes vaporwave a deep and complex genre, one needs to go back to its origins and the origins of the staple samples.

Evolution of lofi

While I may talk about history, there will be a lot of historical inaccuracy through this post, mostly because it's me paraphrasing Wikipedia, getting sidetracked and rambling, and then thinking that a paragraph looks long enough to move on. Be warned.

1960s: Low-fi and garage rock

Maybe I'm getting old or something, but I still think that it's a rite of passage for teenagers to try to start a band with their friends. Not just any band of course, but the low budget garage band. There's nothing quite like the sound that comes out of fourth-hand speakers and cables. During the 60s, music was no longer a costly endeavor. As teenagers began to experiment with their instruments in basements all around the world, they recognized that there was a certain feel that came of their low budget sound. This is purely speculation, by the way (I have nothing to back this concept up). From this low fidelity sound evolved a genre that would gain recognition through the Beach Boys. Releases such as Smiley Smile, and the "Bedroom Tapes" would popularize the lofi sound. Other artists such as The Beatles would pick up on this in their works.

Cassette culture

After these teenagers produced their sound, obviously they have to force everyone to listen to it (really, really loud). Like any self-respecting teenager, I bought some cheap cassettes and recorded a song that my buddy and I developed in his basement. Cassettes, especially cheap ones, have a way of absolutely destroying any effort you put into producing a clean tone from your amps. Little did we know that we were following in the footsteps of R. Stevie Moore (the grandfather of lo-fi). Without realizing, it, RSM had pioneered the concept of DIY recording. Cassettes would prove to be cheap enough to distribute en masse, and allowed underground artists to export their work to greater audiences.

Lo-fi goes mainstream

Despite the sound of The Beach Boys, lo-fi wouldn't be recognized as a musical style until 1993 when the New York Times wrote a headline article on it. From there, lo-fi would remain as an indie production staple.

Chillwave and why it sucks

Vaporwave spawend from chillwave. Plain and simple. Chillwave was a genre built purely on nostalgia and feeling good. As someone from Pitchfork once said, chillwave is just "stoned, happy college kids listening to records while they fall asleep." This is why chillwave sucks. Nostalgia can only take you so far before it becomes sickening. People can't be happy if they have trash taste! There's more to why chillwave is bad, notably being lo-fi. In the past, lo-fi was an artistic choice that allowed for more focus on musical theme than musical polish. It didn't have to sound good, it just had to sound good. Unfortunately, we don't have to sit down and actually use our brains to make music anymore. Just push any 80s pop song through some cookie-cutter lofi filter and you've got an instant hit! This 2009 trend pushed lofi to the limit, and it wasn't pretty.

Chillwave died and should stay dead. Just like life, however, you've got to take the bad with the good. While chillwave was awful, it's awfulness mad vaporwave awesome.

Vaporwave is really really good

Now that we've established that chillwave objectively is bad, we need to explore how vaporwave builds upon it without also being bad. The largest theme of vaporwave is irony. Chillwave took itself too seriously. Every single hit sounded the same and signaled the same message. Nostalgia. Beaches. Summer. Glow. Atmosphere. Vaporwave took one look at chillwave, said "lol," and began mimicking chillwave. Chillwave, incensed, demanded, "Stop copying me!" Vaporwave mirrored "Stop copying me!" Chillwave exclaimed, "I'm an idiot." To which vaporwave responded, "You're an idiot."

Sorry for making you read that. Hope there's no hard feelings. I still haven't really made my point for this section so I'll just say it and stop trying to be fancy with words. Vaporwave is an ironic take on chillwave. Everything that chillwave stood for became satirized and mocked by vaporwave. Vaporwave drew upon the very things that chillwave tried to milk nostalgia out of: 80s muzak, electropop, ambience, and lofi production. Unlike chillwave, vaporwave did not take any shortcuts. Filters are developed individually for each track, samples are taken from muzak and otherwise modest cuts, then heavily modified into the workings of a track so that the very mixing process imparts its own sound onto the final product. Vaporwave also had a much deeper message. Irony, surrealism, and mockery of corporate culture.

I don't even want to get into all of the themes and tropes of vaporwave, such as anime, 3D graphics, glitch art, Greco-Roman busts, so that's just something you'll have to discover yourself. If you're looking to get into vaporwave after reading this 04:00 blog post, check out r/vaporwave. Also check out their nu guide and their ultra-guide.

Thanks for reading. This entire blog post was just to flex on vala by writing a 5k character post about vaporwave in one night. According to my calculations, 5k characters in one night means 20k characters in four nights. If I achieve vala's output in four nights what she can do in four months, I'm about 30x more efficient than her. Fight me IRL.

:x

Email Spam

Whoo first spam! I celebrated something similar to this a year or so ago on a different host. It always feels like a landmark occasion to me when I see spam in my mailbox. Recently, Gmail has been less hostile to my outgoing emails to my family, which is also a good sign for my host. I've been slowly tweaking it to make it more up to snuff with anti-spam standards. When the "spammer" becomes the spammed, I always feel like that's one step closer to legitimacy in the eyes of larger mail hosts.

The spam that I've been receiving is some sort of arabic clickbait that always tries to redirect you to casinos/weight loss/crypto scams. The entire message is a big link to moneysoft.su/goNN, where NN is some two digit number. For those curious, all the emails sent to me have the number 89. Like the usual email spam, it comes out of misconfigured open relays. I've made many mistakes on the road of email hosting, but believe me: I have never configured any of my boxes as an open relay in any environment. For an email-obsessed teenager, the risk of being associated with spam is too great to chance.

The other interesting thing to note is that when I was getting the source of the email to paste here on the blog, I found that the message body was base64 encoded. I don't know what purpose this could serve, perhaps to slip past weaker spam filters. As a consequence, the original arabic body was replaced with lots of random characters, mostly boiling down to some combination of Ø and Ù. Even if I spoke arabic (and was desperate enough to click on "Flossk want to reproduce does not deprive her !!!"), I wouldn't be able to read what I am sure is a convincing argument for paying out the twelve bitcoins for a mail order bride from Pakistan.

فلوسك ترغب بالتكاثر لا تحرمها!!!
حقق الأرباح من تداول العملات
قاموس واسرار التجارة الالكترونية
كيفية كسب المال ببساطة
نبحث عن الباحثين عن التميز
اربح الان من تجارة الذهب بكل سهولة
زد دخلك الشهري بدون ان تغادر منزلك

Soylent or: How I Learned To Stop Eating and Love the Soy

Soylent is a nutrition blend that claims to be able to completely replace eating meals. Pour the powder into your blender, add some water, and in sixty seconds, you can have a perfect 15% of your daily recommended everything. Vincent Canfield attempted to eat nothing but Soylent for some 40-odd days, with only a minor blackout during a gym session. I became interested in the idea after reading about his attempt and experiencing frustration with cooking for myself. I have a tub of Soylent mix that is about the size of your standard protein powder tub. Over the next month or so, I will attempt to curb my caffeine addiction (when I say addiction, I mean intense withdrawal and cravings addiction) and eat better.

I have some concerns about the Soylent challenge. The first is that I won't be able to eat fast food, which I practically thrive on. I predict that caffeine withdrawal will first manifest itself as a craving for Baja Blast, and end in a crippling headache and vomiting. I'll try to consider whether it was caffeine or Soylent that will do this to me. My other concern is social. I already struggle to socialize with others, and the end of $0.50 wings could mean the end of Bro Tuesdays. On top of that, more practical concerns include an upcoming surgery and college life. Hopefully, it doesn't fuck up my intestines, either. I've heard horror stories about diarrhea and constipation. The ultimate concern, obviously, is the soy content. I'm afraid of growing a neckbeard and owning a Nintendo Switch. If you ever see me talking about Nintendo, shoot me.

The Process

I've tried some Soylent before when I was in a pinch. I liked using a mason jar and the included scoop to measure out the mix. There were practically no dishes to clean afterwords. It's a little trashy drinking out of a mason jar, but nobody will ever really know.

  1. Measure 2/3 cups of soylent mix. The included scoop is 1/3 cup.
  2. Measure 1 and 1/2 cups of ice water with a mason jar.
  3. Blend, bitch.
  4. Pour into mason jar and feel the soy course through your veins.

Soylent tastes awful. Literally chug a glass of pancake mix to get the Soylent experience. I just hold my nose and finish it as quickly as possible. The taste isn't gross, just unpleasant. It feels like punching nature in the dick. It's unnatural and unnerving. Maybe buying a chocolate flavor or something will make me feel human while drinking it. Other than Soylent, all I would ingest is medication and water.

Thanks for reading my blog post.

:x

Importing stuff

This is a quick update on the blog. I think I've worked out the CSS and little tricks that I want and all that. My original blog posts have been lost to time, including some of the printer blog posts that I worked really hard on. I migrated from Wordpress.com to wordpress to pelican and then lost the posts between the last pelican install and this one. If I find a cache or copy of some of the original posts, I'll throw them in. The best I could do was copy-pasting some of the small rants that I used to have on my homepage. I'm replacing that with the blog (to be honest, that's all my website was). I apologize in advance if any of the posts seem too much like a Stallman-inspired shitpost.

I'm always down to have guest writers or whatever, just email me shit and I'll put it on the site. One of my favorite things on the internet is the collaboration that I get to do with other people on projects that interest me.

Captive Audience: How Florida's Prisons and DRM Made $11.3M Worth of Prisoners' Music Disappear

Original article here.

I'm not even really sure where to start with this piece. Doctorow says it all. Prisoners in Florida bought DRM-locked music at steep rates underneath the company Access Corrections. After realizing that more money is able to be made off of inmates and their families, The Department of Corrections allied with a different proprietary group to force prisoners to repurchase all of their music. The new contracters are already known for charging exorbitant fees on phone calls and emails to prisoners with a "digital stamp" system.

The sad state of the prison complex in America is that it has been privatized. The high arrest rates of minorities is not totally a matter of discrimination, but a symptom of contracted incarceration quotas agreed upon by companies and state governments. We pay taxes on empty prison beds. Some contracts order rates of 97% occupancy in all prisons; it's no surprise that the US has the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Prevent criticism 'stems from ignorance'

Original article here.

This is not a new article, but I decided that I would put it here anyways. The article is an interview with Commander Dean Haydon on the UK's Prevent Program, which attempts to identify kids or teenagers at risk of joining extremist groups. The program has faced criticism for being uneffective and discriminatory against muslim youth. However, Haydon touts it as "a fantastic tool that's here to stay."

The UK is well-known for being aggressive in it's heavy-handed use of policies that regulate the internet. The Prevent Program is just one more tool that can be used for ulterior motives; what should happen when holding any political idealogy against the current administration is considered an extremist view? The only way to keep ourselves save from these programs is to stop them while we still can.