whine and crackers

with regard to Russian hackers

We have all heard of the boogeyman, right? He's for scaring kids to sleep. Russian hackers: they're for redirecting anger towards the unknown, and obfuscating the real issues with our 2-party system. Hopefully everyone has also heard of Pascal, and what is now known as Pascal's Wager. The question is, should one believe in God?

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Basically, believing in God, per Pascal, is the smartest decision to make, because it avoids the only  possible 'infinite loss' which is that you don't believe in God yet he/she is in fact, real.

Great, let's try this with Russian hackers. It's a bit different, because our choice is one of priority, but it still looks similar:

fix hacking firstfix hacking 2nd
fix DNC fraud firstn/atakes care of itself
fix DNC fraud secondwe still have a problemn/a

Look, I get it. I don't like the idea of anyone hacking our anything, especially if it's a little bit true. But to quote GoTThe night is dark and full of terrors...

Seriously, there are a lot of problems with the world today. They all need to be addressed. I agree. It is a question of priority. Here are my premises:

1 - we as a nation are basically able to obsess over only 1 thing at a time

2 - Bernie would have won if the DNC primary had been fair

I don't think either of those things are even up for debate anymore. The ability to avoid Dr. Orange was baked right into the system. It was the DNC that failed us. Russian hackers were not and are not enough to sway the election, even if they do exist. If you grant the truth of those 2 things, THE ONLY DISCUSSION we should be having right now is how to either create a viable third party in this country (Bernie, I am looking at you) - or to somehow change the DNC for the better. If we do neither of those things, we are on track for season 2 of DOTUS™.

Coming to you in 2020.

But by all means, let's keep talking about Russia.


EDIT: lol, someone sent me this link on how to watch GoT over VPN.

another thought about Hillary

This is an excerpt from a video that was shared on Facebook by Carey Wedler. It sums up nicely what I would say to any Hillary supporter out there. It goes into a fair amount of detail, mostly about Hillary's war record and below is the TLDR version.

Listen up Hillary supporters... Whether you genuinely like her, or are just terrified of Donald Trump, if you cared enough to be even marginally informed about current events, you would know that Hillary Clinton's policies and actions have directly contributed to the conditions that gave rise to him, from the bad trade deals and violent drug war, which sparked waves of undocumented immigration, to the ongoing 'war on terror' which inspired victims of American violence to wage terror attacks in the west. She directly helped create a society ripe for the demagoguery, islamaphobia, and authoritarianism of Trump, and his movement will only grow if she's elected.
I guess what I'm saying is... there's the fanaticism of Donald Trump, and then there's the fanaticism of people so terrified of Donald Trump, they'll rationalize voting for a war-mongering sociopathic criminal. If you fall in to one of those categories, you're the problem, not me.

It is impossible to overstate that the basis of the Clinton campaign is disinformation. The problem with that is people tend to fall in love with their conclusions, even if they are based on lies. Thus we have a fair number of liberals who are convinced that she is somehow a maligned, pragmatic champion of the people who 'will get things done'. Yes she will get things done. The wrong things. Everything she has accomplished in her career has been at the service of corporations, foreign governments, the defense industry, or some combination thereof.

She is qualified to be president in the same way that the wolf is qualified to run the henhouse. That wolf will certainly get things done.

Until we run out of chickens.


band name typo

Honestly, I think this is good luck. It's like when a bird shits on your head. Easily remedied, and perhaps a good omen. We are The River South, but on Sunday for some reason we will be "River South Trio".

That's ok with me. See you there!

509 SW G Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526

UTF-8, ASCII, and that horrible thing called FTPS

So I need to rant a bit here, but also I'm hoping some of this info will help some people out because I realized there is not much info out there on this problem.


Once upon a time, they were inventing ways to connect with other servers and distribute information. FTP was an early version of this kind of server to server protocol. It worked great, but was unencrypted. So SFTP was born. It's a great example of the power of open source. The SFTP library is full-featured and very stable. So why would anyone want to use anything else?

Honestly, I don't know the answer to that. But Microsoft decided to build another thing we don't need. Instead of getting on board, they decided to roll their own thing and create FTPS. Now if you run Microsoft Servers and ASP.NET or what have you, it's a non issue. But if you want to talk to anything open source, you are going to have to bridge that gap somehow. And what I found out was that there are almost no options for you.

you've got: the double bag gem

this 4 year old Ruby hack.

and the ftpfxp gem, which I won't even link to because it didn't work at all for me.

So really, slim pickings. First lesson - if anyone asks about FTPS, tell them to run like hell. I was able to get something going with the double bag gem but it is ugly. It occasionally throws errors for no reason. I've tried Implicit, Explicit, and it is just a buggy protocol I guess. so there it is. SFTP just works. FTPS is a mess. How's that for a triumph of open-source over big Billysoft. 

PART II: ASCII characters

Once upon a time, we were figuring out how best to digitally represent characters, and in the beginning we had ASCII. But then Unicode was invented because standardization is our friend and pretty much everyone moved to UTF-8 except for, you guessed it, Microsoft. So here we are again. The data I get from these horrible FTPS servers every so often throws ASCII-8BIT characters at me. Just to piss me off, I think. It will bring the whole ingest to a halt. So here's how I handled that.

step 1, get the data. Sounds easy but if you have any non-UTF-8 characters in there, the download will fail on a call to 'gettextfile'. So just download it as a binary file. You're still going to have problems parsing it, but for now just get the damn thing to download.

step 2, remove the offending characters. There is by definition no way to represent non-UTF-8 characters in strict UTF-8, so just dump them. I used a function like this:

def remove_ascii(filename)
  outfile = ""
  s = File.open(filename, 'r:ascii-8bit') do |o|
    o.each_char do |x|
        outfile << x.encode(Encoding::UTF_8)
  File.delete filename
  output = File.open( filename,"w" )
  output << outfile

and we are done. I don't feel particularly good about, it's not an elegant solution but I shouldn't be getting those characters in the first  place.

Anyway, good luck out there!

Help El Capitan crushed my developer dreams

It's funny, every time Mac launches a new version, even after having been burned over and over again I still fall right into their trap. Every time, I say to myself they must have figured it out this time. They can't possibly do as badly at this as they did last time... And in the end, for as long as I can remember, every time they launch a new OS, I install too early and I lose days of my life. It is just that simple. What did old shrubby say?

Fool me once, shame on you.. Fool me twice? Can't get fooled again!

Except I did get fooled, again. So I installed El Capitan last night and so far:

  1. It has killed my Exchange account for work (although frankly Microflop should take equal blame).
  2. It killed my git install.
  3. It killed my MySQL install.

So I had to fix it. Here is your answer key:

1 - hello webmail! Outlook webmail is surprisingly nice so I punted on that one.

2 - git just had to be reinstalled from binary at https://git-scm.com/.

3 - mysql - the folders just needed rights again. I was seeing this message:

Warning the user/local/mysql/data directory is not owned by the mysql user

so I just did this:

  • sudo chown -RL root:mysql /usr/local/mysql
  • sudo chown -RL mysql:mysql /usr/local/mysql/data
  • sudo /usr/local/mysql/support-files/mysql.server start

Also, before you can do any of this, you need to disable System Integrity Protection and perhaps also reset your /usr/local settings. Read about that here.

The gist of it is:

restart using command+R and run:

csrutil disable

rebeoot and fix permissions:

sudo chflags norestricted /usr/local && sudo chown $(whoami):admin /usr/local && sudo chown -R $(whoami):admin /usr/local

and that should just about do it.

Haggan Fail

So it all started with an attempted merger

Supermarket chains Albertsons and Safeway SWY.N agreed to sell 168 stores in eight states to win U.S. antitrust approval for their $9.2 billion merger.

And that's when our little party was over. One of those 168 stores to be sold was the local Ashland Safeway on Siskiyou. And Haggen moved in.

What is a total mystery to me is how anyone can take Haggen seriously. Their tag line is: "Northwest Fresh". What? Are they serious? They must mean fresh as opposed to organic.

I’m sorry, it’s not organic, but it is fresh. And by fresh, what we really mean is that it was freshly offloaded from a truck.

I mean, really. Fewer organic vegetables, at much higher price points. Pretty much no organic meat at all. They have a deli, but "no hot sandwiches". No organic deli choices, meat cheese or otherwise. I could go on. I have heard from a few different shoppers that they are just completely frustrated. One woman who was 93 years old said she is glad she can still drive, because she goes to the Safeway in Medford and "saves $40 every time". Sadly, she mentioned friends of hers who are no longer very mobile and can only walk to Haggen because it is pretty much the only option for about a half mile around. That's a lot of distance when you are retired. Not everyone can walk all the way to the coop.

My favorite paradox of theirs is that they sell homemade cookies made with 'real eggs and milk!'. Of course that's true, but they also use high fructose corn syrup as the sweetener. They have to know what a deal breaker that is for the Ashland demographic

And if you walk by, pretty much any time of day, it looks a bit light on visitors.

Anyway, I don't wish them ill at all. I just hate that all we have are inferior options now and we are paying more for the privilege. I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Safeway. They were doing it right. We bought their organic chicken all the time. #sad