2020 Week 6

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 2:56:14PM

Next time I do a video about Git hosting it has to include a lot more than just GitHub vs GitLab, namely the following:

There are other options is the point if you don’t want to play the big “Facebook for developers” (GitHub) game.

Now that I’ve had a little more time to think about it, I’m really convinced that hosting repos all over the place is just not my thing. I cannot see a compelling reason for it anymore, the only significant reason was for visibility and to make it easier for those who already have a GitHub account but anyone unwilling (or unable) to use GitLab is probably not someone you want to see a PR from anyway. People who do not understand the substantial advantages of GitLab’s foundational CI/CD integration (and all their other advantages) either out of ignorance or simply an inability to understand are not worth having on a project team until they do understand why. The end. The sounds harsh, but I’ve been too wishy-washy on this topic and it has seriously cost me a lot of time and energy.

I think that using what you want after putting in an enormous amount of energy to understand why your selection is objectively the best for your situation should be rewarded, not punished. After all, that’s exactly how Linux came into existence.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 2:49:06PM

I did realize that there is still a compelling reason to maintain an active GitHub account: to manage forks and submit issues using that service. If I seriously fork something I can move it to GitLab (like the latest vim-pandoc-syntax-simply fork of mine).

I am going to keep more of everything under my personal account (instead creating one of the very easy to create free groups on GitLab). I’ll save a group for when I actually have other people working on the project with me an want to vary the organization of repos and permissions. For example, the readme.world group will remain and I can put rw and any server infrastructure in there. S²OIL will remain as well as a place for utilities and documentation about lessons-learned from the initiative and community that can accept submissions and participation from a much larger group than just me and the community here. And, of course, SKILSTAK will remain a group there as well.

God I’ll be glad with all this migration and cleanup is finished. I suppose this means my priority in that regard is finishing the basic repo tool for dealing with the repos on both systems, something the hub tool can never offer.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 2:08:35PM

Just ran into another project — with a core library — that has migrated to GitLab. I keep running into these. Usually it is really informed technologists and teams that are doing it.

The cview team is remarkable. They seriously know their stuff and they have decided that to use the gitlab.com/tslocum/cview package that you will forever have to be dependent on GitLab, not GitHub. This flies in the face of the #1 reason to keep stuff on GitHub: availability and community size.

I’m feeling horribly conflicted at the moment. After my evaluation earlier in the year about why everything public needs to be on GitHub because that is where the contributors and recruiters are I’m seeing solid evidence that this is changing, slowly, but definitely changing.

The conclusion I’m arriving at is that there are far fewer people on GitLab, but those who are on GitLab are by and large far more informed and intelligent about their decisions regard source management and even aesthetics. In short, they are more discerning and would rather face not being found than be on GitHub.

So which type of community do I want to make myself a part of?

You already know that answer. GitLab beats GitHub on every single point that matters. The only thing I have not yet tested is their GraphQL API. I’m going to sit on this decision for a week or so and talk it out with other amazing technologists on stream and in person, but I have a feeling I will be saying goodbye to the closed-source, cluster-fuck that is GitHub. I already feel less dirty for porting things over to GitHub in the first place.

I mean, if you depend on being found in GitHub or playing with all the script kiddies there that don’t even understand why GitLab is so ridiculously superior then you have bigger problems. It’s not like my having bought Macs at one point because I thought it would help attract more students. It certainly did, but the ones it attracted sucked. Had I stayed Linux my student base would have remained more like what I have today.

In other words, I’ve all but decided to abandon GitHub entirely, once and for all and to put a placeholder there that says, find me on GitLab. The End.

Ya know, every time I allow myself to be influenced by a perceived perception management concern it is always the wrong decision. Picking the superior ideas and technologies and using them no matter what others thing is the only way to live.

As for my people here? Well, imma let them decide for themselves. I’ll tell them what I’m doing and I’ll leave it at that.

As for me, I’ll be keeping my stuff all under a new group named rwxrob and making a very distinct line between personal stuff and stuff for SkilStak. The ssoil stuff will remain it’s own entity.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 1:59:34PM

I’ve confirmed the problem with sound levels being out of sync. My lights on this board were not even hitting the orange at all. And when I bump up the channel volumes to put them in the orange on the board they go in the red on OBS Studio. Which means that OBS Studio is bork and off, which is consistent with what Rairden was complaining about earlier. He’ll like learning he was right again. ;)

This means the only reason to watch OBS is to be able to quickly hide something with passwords, which means I have one less thing that needs to be on the main screen. Huzzah!

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 1:52:20PM

It has to be said. Streamers who are putting they chat into their main video feed and who are not able to textually respond seem to be doing it the hard way. I know that Twitch is designed for streamers to be able to vocally respond to text chat on stream and that might help, but having HexChat on the screen set to “Always On Top” is much more efficient for the kind of live-coding streaming I’m doing because not only can I see the messages coming it, but I can respond to them immediately without even switching to show anything in the web browser. In fact, the only reason I even need the web browser at all is to edit the stream settings to change what people see when notifications go out. And I’m also learning that you have to stop the stream anyway for that to really take hold properly, if even for a short moment.I’m getting much better at quickly starting and stopping the stream so I don’t lose the connection with everyone, which also helps to split the videos on demand (VODs).

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 1:37:15PM

Reminded that my Twitch agent/bot needs to be able to regex search the titles from YouTube and list the URL for the video so I can pull it up instantly without cutting and pasting from YouTube. A sort of query language just for content of the different videos in the https://rwxrob.live collection. Come to think of it, as soon as they are all paired with their written content on https://skilstak.io I could just pull up those and make the bot use the rw search command to find hits. That would integrate the whole damn thing! Woot!

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 1:15:53PM

Arggg, the sound meter in OBS Studio lies. I know it isn’t probably the most scientific measure, but listening to music coming from the coffee music streams is at the right sound level and without changing any volumes I cannot hear myself on the news stream this morning.

Actually I don’t think it is OBS Studio that is the problem. This board is way to underpowered to send an amplified signal to my device. Upping the main output volume would very likely fix this problem but the board is way to underpowered to do it. Hopefully the new board, that should work entirely through USB can handle all this much better because the return signal will be digital and not depend on board amplification. This crappy board requires an analog setup.

It is possible that it’s not the board at all, that the digital signal coming in as a mic source cannot be maxed further. For now that just means recording at ranges that hit regularly in the red on OBS. We’ll see what that does with distortion though.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 12:14:45PM

I got to thinking about how much information a person gives up about themselves to Google when they setup repeating, regular search reports that come as email. I imagine whatever heuristics they have for that stuff ranks such search terms with much higher priority further creating an “echo chamber” effect not only on all Google activity, but all the activity of anyone in your home (on the same IP) who goes to any web page that uses Google Analytics. It’s pretty damn 1984 with the goal controlling your buying habits, not world domination… oh wait, that is world domination.

Of course that got me to thinking (in the shower) about possible solutions. The obvious solution is for people to create and control their own web crawlers. This is an idea that would have been dismissed immediately in previous iterations of the Internet and WorldWideWeb but is very acceptable today given current bandwidth and computer resources. “What if everybody did it?”. Well, that’s something we can’t know fully. It is certainly orders of magnitude better for humanity than if everyone traded in crytpo-currencies, which would destroy our current world power grid.

There are several web crawlers out there that have come across my radar (none of which I can remember right now). One of the most interesting ones used Go concurrency to search the entire open web in 24 hours (was the claim).

None of the crawlers (that I know of) cover deep-web, dark web, and README knowledge network, nor do they mine data from Newsgroups, specific tweets, and other crawlable knowledge sources. Yet these alternative sources are invaluable in all decision making and knowledge of current events. The Go-Nuts mailing list comes to mind. The opinions and information expressed there never hit the mainstream social media of Twitter, Reddit, etc. Yet that information is 10 times more valuable than anything from social media.

So there is a very clear value proposition to creating a way for people to customize their own Internet keyword crawlers. A lot of the technology would overlap with crawlers/scanners that I already want to make to improve bug bounty hunting. Hell, the hacker community certainly doesn’t have any problem scanning the whole Internet all the time. Shodan.io regularly scans every device. Which is what I would envision. There is a lot more information to be had from the entire Internet than there is just the Web. In fact, the amount of useful data on the Web is diminishing as more and more people keep their information in their own communities and countries.

I wonder what Aaron would make of all this? I wish he were here to lead us. There’s no doubt in my mind now that he was killed by the American government, which has said it would kill Snowden if they ever got a hold of him as well. God I hope I don’t suddenly show up in the news with a suspicious death like Aaron. But I’m no where near the threat he was. Aaron almost single-handedly defeat legislation in congress through passionate, non-violent activism.

I certainly don’t have time to write such a tool right now, but after I finish rw and readme.world I definitely will.

I wonder what we could name it, perhaps something to honor the memory of Aaron. Perhaps hil from his middle name Hillel. Now for a domain, the inexhaustible form of hope for projects I’ll eventually get to for the low, low price of $7 a year.

Humm, what if I used know.sh. Yeah, that might work. I’m not inclined to put a pretty GUI front end on it anyway, and with cview being a thing now that people could ssh into I would be directly rewarding people for searching for information in the safest, most private, most cost-effective way, through text. Yeah, I can see Aaron smiling about that idea. Sure he felt everyone should have access to data and I’m not saying they can’t, just that I want to build the entire infrastructure based on no GUI first and then layer an appropriate GUI on it after that.

In fact, maybe the main command needs to be know with a bunch of subcommands. Yeah, I really like that idea. Aaron will know it is for him. I like it to because it has all kinds of tag-line possibilities, like “in the know” and “did you know” and “be a know-it-all”.

I really wish I had a army of developers to help make stuff like this into a reality. I suppose I’m doing the right things to find them, through streaming and finally putting myself out there on YouTube. So far the talent and minds that is attracted to my stream are rather significant.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, 11:04:09AM

With Pandoc 2.9.2’s release it is really clear that the project is moving toward a data-centric design and architecture. This is phenomenally cool. It is consistent with the reason I left Hugo (forming Hugonot and FADB and contributed to the TOML project) as well as the main idea behind my Hugo tutorial that helps create data-centric, data-driven Hugo sites.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 3:09:17PM

Two types of learning from others one-on-one (or a small group):

Teacher’s become facilitators making and managing the connections.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 2:31:53PM

GrapheneOS is an amazing Android-compatible, drop-in replacement for the OS on your Google Pixel that has had all of Google’s spying removed. I think I’m finally ready to go back to a smart phone now that I know it exists. This is the middle path between using the vendor’s stuff and the insane Librem5. It means I don’t have to throw out my Pixel hardware and can actually make good use of it. Just have to have a good SIM card.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 1:04:25PM

Really loving the Raspi 4. It can run a full multi-user Minecraft server without a hiccup (3 could not even overclocked) and it has full gigabit speeds meaning with a USB 3 Ethernet adapter you can make an amazing packet sniffer and put it on your home network to learn all sorts of cool stuff about how networking works (not to mention sniff any unencrypted password your mom, dad, or sibling enters without HTTPS). Who doesn’t want to do that? ;) The fact that it is hardware means that it can’t be detected on the network like an Alpha in monitor mode could be, but also means people would not regularly be looking at the physical location of your home Internet connection (but most don’t).

Also hearing about the Arduino Portenta H7.

“Run Tensorflow for low power machine learning.”

The ads for this thing are all pros using it in IoT settings with construction hats on, dual core processor at 480 MHz, hi-density connectors for infinite GPIO extensions. The thing is serious. Nothing says ARM == IoT more than a device like this.

Why do I care?

Because IoT is ARM. As much as I love Gooligum and MicroChip PICs for learning Assembly (because they are so simple) the true future of IoT is learning to code for devices such as the Arduino Potenta H7. Knowing they exist is the first solid indicator that this is where the industry is going. The complex PICs that MicroChip keeps putting out are not going to stand a chance against the power of low-power ARM chips for this stuff, even with MicroChip’s massive monopoly on the PIC market.

The movement of light TensorFlow crunched models to the endpoints is taking off like crazy as well, which means machine learning is key (not necessarily all “Data Science”, a horrible term and machine learning people hate as bad as “Full Stack”).

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 12:24:02PM

Just hearing about a device called the Sierra AirLink FX30, a $200 minimal 3G/4G LTE cellular gateway. I smell pineapple, mmmmm! Here are some fun facts about it that confirm some of my main unpopular conclusions:

In other words, if you are into IoT you really need to pretend you have one of these and only one of these when you make your decisions about workflow, habits, and muscle-memory.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 11:27:03AM

Quickly mentioning the need I have had to start quizzing people immediately on their reading for the week to keep them doing it. I try to avoid any kind of quiz or test, but it is really the only thing that gets them doing it and helps me know if they even tried. If not, no worries, do it again next week.

That means I need a way to quickly capture quiz questions for a given section of a given book, which works out because I’m already annotating the book so having some self-test quiz questions along with exercises is the obvious goal.

Here are some for example:

Introduction: * Why should you use the command line? * What is the book about? * What does it mean to “live” on the command line? * What are other ways besides command line to use computer? * What is Linux? What does Linux-centric mean? Why is Linux different? * What does Watts mean by “freedom”? * What is an SBC? Name one example. * What does CLI stand for? * What does HCI stand for? * What does REPL stand for? * What does GUI stand for? * What does TUI stand for? * What is a CUI? * How is a TUI different than a CLI? * What HCIs were used before terminals existed? * What HCIs might come in the future? * Which HCI is the most efficient (so far)? * What skills are required to use a CLI? * What type of interface is used for a MUD? * Who might prefer a MUD over a graphic game? * Who might prefer a graphics only game? * Why is it important that we thing about all users? * What does accessibility mean? * What makes “knowledge of the command line” different than “many computer skills”? * Which version of the shell should you learn?

Part I * What is a shell? What do you do with it? What’s its purpose? * How do you start and use it? * What is the name of the shell that is default on Linux?

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 11:06:42AM

Being reminded that working with some people requires they know exactly what they are going to get and generally how fast it will take. Unfortunately this is impossible to state exactly for any one person. The best I can do is provide the “fruit” of their learning and direct them up the tree at each branching node toward the specific fruit they want. Here’s a rough summary of the most in-demand fruit here (in order of popularity):

  1. A Minecraft server
  2. A Game.
  3. A tech job.
  4. A Web page.
  5. Hacker skills.
  6. An App.

I’m feeling the need to return to a friendlier diagram of the path to get to these specifically, something with a bit more color. The question is whether to make them all on one chart (as I maintained for years) or on separate charts and just how informal and fun to make it. To date everything has been black-and-white and very formal. I’m not a fan of kitschy forced graphic art and infographics, but maybe it’s time. Maybe I could hire the artists I know to pretty-ify it.

This week I need to have everyone declare their path (again) and I need to completely delete all my writing about “first stack, full stack” because honestly, in practice it doesn’t work. I’ve now has a year to full test that approach and I can say pretty clearly it fails. It tries to maintain too many skills concurrently.

Instead, the focus not is chopping everything that is not critical to the specific path and seriously isolating the core skills that everyone needs. That means terminal mastery for everyone like before with skilstak.sh fully restored. It means allowing some to drop if they are not interested in learning the very most important skills to learn as I see them, which, more harshly stated means, “Learn terminal skills or get out.”

This is especially true now that I have to turn away potential people I could take on one-on-one to teach from the stream over those who might complain here locally. Streaming has been a really fortunate discovery for this very reason.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 10:59:28AM

Finally found how to silence the volume up and down sound. It’s under Sounds tab of the Sound system preference window. I turned everything off since I’m streaming it all at any given point during the day. Just taking a note so I don’t forget.

Saturday, February 15, 2020, 10:34:13AM

God I get triggered by people who put their religious affiliation as the first thing in their title like this:

“Christian. Hacker. Pirate. Ninja. Author. KC3FRD. Hackers for Charity.”

No one gives a shit. If you feel some guilt to your God and creator to make sure HE gets top billing so be it, but don’t force all of us to read it. Sure it’s your feed. You are free to do what you want, including being an asshole.

Ironically the people who do this are almost always Christians. You don’t see Quakers, Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Jews doing this (okay some Muslims do put something praising Allah into everything I suppose). The point is don’t. Anyone who actually gave a shit and treated what you have to say differently because of your professed belief in a particular religion (instead of proving your piety with you actual actions) is severely stuck in the worst kind of echo chamber.

Think of it, “Hummm, this person is Christian, so I better listen to them even more than the others. Oooo, he’s wearing a cowboy hat, he’s my kind of people. I’m so glad I found him!”

Sadly that is exactly what they think. No wonder we are in serious trouble. The only thing worse is listening to a Fox News anchor more intently because she’s just so damn hot! Just ask Meghan Kelly who had to “twirl” in front of Jabba the Fox Blob just to get the job despite her Ivy league college law degrees.

By the way, this is a great example of when the one true mantra and commandment can be applied:

“What if everybody did it?”

Asking that question immediately reveals how stupid it is. What if every single person on Twitter listed their religious affiliation at the first thing in their description? How about the Christians who do not? Are they less Christian because they didn’t? Is the reason you feel it should be the first fucking thing we read about you serious enough that you silently judge the rest of the world for not listing that they are a Christian very first? It’s like a really bad Black Mirror episode where all those who don’t profession their Christianity every time they fill out a profile are condemned for being too apathetic.

It would be funny if it were not exactly what the Nazis did under Hitler. Not wearing enough Swastikas? Hummm, you are suddenly watching the people following you around ever corner.

I know this seems like just a little thing. “Dude, why are you freaking out?” Because it is little things like this that trigger me because of the underlying dangerous psychology that promotes doing that shit. Some place deep down this asshole judges everyone who doesn’t list their religious affiliation first, but judges them even more if when they do so they are another one.

And no, it’s not like listing the proper pronoun to be used. As annoying as that is listing he/him is practical because (as I’ve encountered on stream) you simply don’t know what pronoun to use for a random person on Twitter or Twitch.


Saturday, February 15, 2020, 10:24:48AM

I got an email (again) today about the fight against the Alaska pipeline and it always makes me wish I had unlimited time. I like to think I’m putting a lot of good out into the world and I’m making the best use of my time here but I always feel like I should be doing more.

I didn’t always feel that way. At one point I felt that if I was doing my Mormon church “calling” and taking care of my family (the way my wife at the time thought was acceptable) that I was good, that my contribution to humanity had been fulfilled. How wrong I was.

People who get in their little insulated bubbles of religion or community and never look outside at what’s going on around them are almost a physical manifestation of Plato’s cave. I never ever want to find myself there again. Why the fuck do I have to be 52 to really realize this? (To be fair to myself I knew it all along and only acted on it in my late 40s.) No wonder old people are always looking tired. They have less energy and more awareness, which is a frustrating combination to be sure.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 9:19:46PM

I be coding on a Friday night, but only for a few super retro songs while cleaning up this fork of the vim-pandoc-syntax plugin. So happy to be free from that other maintainer. I have no ill will toward him, just so fucking happy opensource allows me to steal it and do it my way.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 8:40:36PM

Been playing with the Twitch rerun thing and ran into a forum of angry people insisting that Twitch is “live” streaming, and that people “scamming the system” with reruns need to be dealt with. I tend to agree. My original motivation was to make it easier for people who actually might not now how to get to the old videos, but honestly everyone pretty much knows that. I have run into a few people who don’t even know that I have videos or a YouTube channel with the best, but that is not really an issue that I can overcome other than inform them about them on the live chat and remind them they are there.

In other news, I actually did a full highlight video edit session on the live stream with zero problems with OBS. It was rather “meta” to use the word of one person in chat. They were giving me real-time feedback on clipping and editing the video while I was doing it, so weird and wonderful.

Tonight I’ll be turning the stream off for Valentine’s Day.

Also, I’m not going to be leaving the stream on over night anymore. I’m only going to live stream when I’m actually doing something even if it is just drinking coffee and reviewing the news.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 6:34:56PM

So the Internet won! Championed by Louis Rossmann the horde of IT people defeated the corrupt CompTIA that gave up it’s lobbying against “right to repair” (and pushing its obvious agenda of forcing everyone to buy their certification products). It is like the real-world version of either UEFI or Tivoization, take your pick.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 6:18:57PM

I fucking hate Node. Sitting here watching this bloated piece of shit install for five minutes making my system entirely subject to NPM Trojan worm attacks, but still I have to have it for Browsersync. I really need to port that entire codebase to Go. It’s such a natural application for it. Installs would be for a single, tiny executable instead of pulling in all this Node shit.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 3:36:04PM

As I’ve been cleaning and consolidating existing curriculum outlines I’ve been conflicted about where to put it. Do I keep it on skilstak.io or do I move it to robs.io. The answer is probably SkilStak but I sometimes wonder if that is going to reduce the appeal of it just being me, which is exactly what skilstak is. People don’t often realized that skilstak.io is just my one-man company’s web site. There’s a dilemma that exists between presenting substance through one’s web site, and misleading people to think it is more than it is. If I just had a personal site up I don’t know what the response would be versus something that looks more formal. At the end of the day, SkilStak.io is just a place to store my education content. Yes, it’s a company, but the company is just me. I imagine that would be clarification to the Twitch Live Coding team when the time comes to apply. Perhaps that’s enough to keep things authentic. I do put that on the page.

However, I had been thinking of making skilstak.io less first-person and more suitable for using in a classroom setting since that’s one of my main goals.

I don’t know why I obsess about this stuff so much. I think it’s because I want to document a good model that other potential one-person private mentored community leaders might want to follow. If I can help them then the obsession has been worth it. That’s also the reason I so obsessively writing everything down. My memory is horrible and someday I want to capture this experience and insight — including the trivial stuff — is some kind of guidebook. The more people who choose to mentor and the more people who are helped by mentoring the better we all become and more broken traditional models will fall. In other words, this is how I do battle against a broken system.

One thing is for sure, robs.io will be where all of this sort of personal pontifications goes, including the not-so-infrequent f-bomb. That will already SkilStak better.

I suppose that means SkilStak will become a second-person knowledge base with not references to specific author things. When I a callout (those things in different colored boxes) I’ll be sure to include the name related to it. That way I can include anecdotes and such from other others, like William Shotts.

The hard part of all this is that all of the material on skilstak.io will therefore need to be re-written. But frankly it needed that anyway. Tech content is rarely done. It’s constantly in a fluid state. So I really need to do is revised and update the content, decide if it still belongs, and change the voice. Then I can the search engine and index page back on. (Currently they are off so people don’t find all of it, hundreds of README modules.)

I won’t lie. The amount of work is overwhelming when considering how much time I already spend in real-life mentoring sessions and now with streaming, and the coding required to make the tools, well, let’s just say, I don’t have time for Witcher. ;) I will say this though, it’s far more rewarding now that the stream is with me. The feedback and appreciation is very motivating to the point of obliterating any addictive desire to play through Witcher just one more time.

I does mean, however, that a lot of the reading I have queued up to do will either have to wait, or be something I stream while I do it. I suppose streaming the reading isn’t bad. I certainly won’t be polished, but that will help me put structure around the stuff that needs a more formal video created.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12:04:36PM

Just saw the news notifications come in for the day and it got me to thinking that maybe the best way to cover news is just to talk out loud about it as I read it every day, which is something I always do. Let’s be real, I’ve never going to actually get to the “News” video that I want to do for the week. Why not just read the news and drink coffee with the stream?

Well for one, it means really letting the stream see all my email. But how bad is that? There’s really no one being doxed in my email. So I don’t think that’s enough reason not to do it.

Humm, but what about the parents of people who come? Their emails are not exposed unless I open them. But everyone can see their first names. In past everyone has been okay with people their first names, which incidentally means showing my reservation calendar is also not doxing anyone.

I suppose the question is should I wait for subscriber only streams do to all of this. That would certainly be safer. I think that really is the answer. I mean, I don’t want to be exclusionary, but having only subscribers at some level able to just chat and do news and stuff is probably worth it. It doesn’t stop people from participating in the IRC (which is another great reason everyone should be using IRC). But it does allow me to limit the video and audio stream to just subscribers. I think there’s a subscriber tier thing so perhaps just the lowest could get people access to absolutely random me as well as some value in analyzing the news of the day immediately rather than waiting.

One thing’s for sure. I’m just not going to polish up a news video like Weekly Weird News. I just don’t have the time. That is their full-time job.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 9:21:55AM

Streaming has got me reviewing all my written content and curriculum (again) and adjusting based on new priorities and focus. I suppose this is no different from any other time over the last six to seven years doing this. In fact, everyone really should reevaluate what their doing, why their doing it, and how to get better pretty regularly. I imagine those who don’t find life rather challenging. Somewhat ironically this is how you get — and keep an occupation. The word occupation is so much better than job or even career but it still has something of a negative connotation. It’s not occupying your time, it’s about find the thing that will make time fly by and making every decision in the pursuit of that. Yes, it’s about bliss, but it’s also about focus. And it seems focus is in short supply these days.

So what is my focus? It goes without saying that my focus is on my health and family. There’s never a need to really say that. In fact, those who are most likely to put stuff like that in their title and comments and Twitter descriptions are usually most likely to not focus on those things. It’s like a need a reminder or are afraid that if they don’t spell it out people won’t know, when in fact these things are obvious and need no calling out. People forget those thing are for communicating to potential followers what they might want to learn or read about you. And usually it isn’t about your religion, family, or nationalism.

Anyway, where was I?

So what’s my focus, at least now that I’m streaming? And how should it change, if at all?

First, I’ve concluded that producing videos and live-streaming are the biggest changes because they are immediate and reach more people potentially. So I’ve decided start live streaming everything. People can filter out what they so long as I describe well what I’m doing and when at any moment. So might actually want to write or read these blogs with me, others might just want to tune in to watch me struggle through learning Rust for the first time, some come for the community more than me even. My stream just happens to be a hip place to hang out. There’s something very real that only partially understand about what makes this sense of place a thing. But it definitely is a thing.

Humans are complex. I feel like too often I have understand why they do what they do, but really I just accept it and act on it. So, making myself available on the stream, putting myself out there (as some have asked) is really the first step. That only alone is scary enough because I’m bound to make stupid mistakes that everyone can see. Maybe that’s the attraction. People wanna see humans being human. I wonder if that is related to why sitcoms of horrible family or “reality” shows do so well. Either we want to feel better than the imaginary family or want to feel like we belong. This is why I’ve known so many people, some shut ins, who buy stuff from QVC. They obsessively watch hours of QVC craving some sort of artificial connection. But stream is a real connection. It might not be in person, but it’s real.

I think I’ve just discovered a new thing. Drinking coffee off camera with just a mic and some nice music while processing all the new info from the night (I always wake with ideas) and getting myself moving and prepared for more during the day. Who knows I might actually manage to get a schedule again, but I refuse to write it down. Having someone else read and expect a schedule is very risky. No, I’ll just be better about making sure notifications that Twitch sends are accurate. After all, some people use their phones for this stuff and might even be woken up the email notification sounding off and some early hour.

This blogging and talking thing is also a thing. I was concerned I was going to lose blogging and writing, but why not combine the two. Being able to take live questions and life at real-time commentary makes this streaming thing so much more powerful than Twitter (although Twitter has it’s place for broadcasting and finding new people you want to know). Someone once told me, “Facebook is for staying connected to the people you’ve known. Twitter is for finding and connecting with the people you want to know.” (It was something like that.)

So what to do about the change in focus. It has definitely already affected my priorities for the better, but how?

It’s probably a good thing to thing to separate creation of videos (Twitch highlights) from live-streaming. In many ways they are very different and serve different purposes.

Videos are equivalent to what I’ve been calling README modules or articles. In fact, I plan on embedding every video into a specific written module. The video will eventually be secondary to the written content, but the video will come first.

One of the things that’s really slowed me down has editing all the modules for the different topics and skills I need to cover. So I’ll do the video first and eventually get to writing it up. I have hundreds of videos to do, if not thousands, all very small, all covering very specific topics or steps, some are going to be particularly hard to capture on video, which is why a good capture card is so essential. For example, creating any video that has to do with booting something, installing Linux, working with a Raspberry Pi. A capture card covers all this.

It’s becoming clear that moving to a remote subscriber model for the mentoring I’m doing probably is the right way to go because I can reach and help more people. After I wouldn’t be doing this if my goal wasn’t to help people. I’ve blogged before about why subscriber education seems best as opposed to Udemy videos where you don’t get the community along with the videos. I don’t understand why people don’t realize that one greatest attractions of any educational community is the community. For example, people remember their college friends. They make connections learning together. Few things are more satisfying. If the goal of life is love and learning then the community is the most important part. Udemy and other such videos create an artificial sense of community but not an actual community. Subscriber streams — specifically on platforms like Twitch which use IRC — are fundamentally built on community. That is the building block that so many other online learning platforms are missing — including FreeCodeCamp that claims to promote it but fails to facilitate it nearly as well as Twitch does.

Once again, gaming leads to mainstream gains. It’s the “Disneyland Affect” all over again, which reminds me I really need to write that up more formally. I did find my old, deleted Mo Hax blog the other day. I might resurrect some of my best articles written for that. After all thousands participated in the comments there. I wonder how I would copy over the comments there. The topics were surprisingly relevant to my conclusions about Twitch streaming including — above all — the importance of fun and community both of which promote the creation of dopamine in the brain which is proven to promote learning retention. This is why gamified learning is such a powerful thing. It’s why we learn to play games so quickly even when the interactive tutorials are horrible.

Well that’s a lot for this morning.

  1. Continue live streaming everything (well not everything).
  2. Prepare specific videos to go with material.
  3. Don’t get bogged down by perfection.
  4. Prioritize what people need most.
  5. Create specific paths through the content.

That does make we wonder if eventually streaming Mr. Rob doing Yoga might be strangely interesting to some people, which also reminds me that I need to figure out what is better: run a different stream, or change the category and make sure the notifications are clear about the stream. So for example, yoga, I would change the category temporarily. Perhaps when playing a game as well. I need to figure out the protocol and expectation for that.

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 5:54:09PM

So Hexchat is definitely the IRC I’ll be suggesting everyone learn seeking their PTP from me. It comes by default on Mint and is the standard way to get help from the community for anything related to Mint or Linux in general. As sexy as I personally fine WeeChat and IRSSI to be they are simply not as empowering. In fact, the only power they give you is to use an IRC bouncer and participate in chats completely anonymously. There are enough ways to do that using VPNs and Tor that allow the use of HexChat that the GUI benefits of seeing when another channel has new information strongly outweigh the benefits of being terminal only.

There, see, I’m not a terminal bigot. Right tool for the job. Being able to set HexChat to always be on top and visually get all the data I need so quickly would be really hard to match without a lot of WeeChat customization. And even though WeeChat supports mouse interaction at that point you have to seriously ask yourself why you aren’t just using HexChat in the first place.

So I guess I need to review my list of stuff from the PTP chart.

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 5:29:58PM

I inadvertently turned on the JavaScript console while browsing just to push over the rendered screen a bit (while streaming) and noticed Medium sends messages to the console specifically for developers with a nice bit of ASCII art. You know the obvious conclusion here, I will always browse everything with my JavaScript console open from now on. Seems I wasn’t the first to hide Easter eggs there, and of course I wouldn’t be. It’s a natural way for geeks to connect at a basic level.

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 5:00:30PM

After jumping through all kinds of hoops for a GitHub action to pull down and configure a full Python 3.7 instance just to run Vint, just to lint the vimscript for the vim-pandoc-syntax plugin I’m really triggered about how completely wasteful having a full action setup for something as trivially simple as linting is.

In fact, the entire value proposition of such a thing can only be realized on projects where the different number of contributors is very high and their experience varied.

Call me old-fashioned, but what is the difference between an “Action” and just running the damn linter from the command line before you even save the fucking thing?

I think I know the answer: to enable continuous testing and not have to setup the testing every time. After all that the central promise from the whole CI/CD thing. But I can’t help thinking that like everything DevOps these days, people are being stupid because they aren’t challenging the approach on every project and just doing it because that is what everyone does — or worse — that is what will get them a job or a new account.

The catastrophe that has become the massive cluster fuck of micro-services today — culminating in “mesh solutions” and the (re)invention of (g)RPC — is the natural result of all of this. Sometimes I swear people forget to use their brains instead they read the latest Gartner Group report or use whatever has the most GitHub stars.

We talked about Deno and Ryan Dahl today and all of this is exactly why I love that guy so much. He sees things practically and constantly challenges everything including his own massively popular creations. We need more of that, we need more Ryan Dahls.

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 9:15:34AM

More conclusions:

It’s okay to have kids use VSCode.

Those who prefer it can still use it, but I’m going to make another very clear map of what they cannot do until they learn vim.

Need a fun three with fruit on it.

This way they can see what they get when they climb out onto a particular branch.

Need to find or write some good mind mapping software.

So far I cannot find anything that has a decent outline conversion. Inspiration was so good but they shut their doors in November 2019. That was a pretty good run for them. I used them in 1996 a lot for all my college work.

GPLv3 all the things.

After reading a lot more about Tivoization I’m finding myself siding pretty strongly with the FSF, which is a bit odd for me. In fact, GPLv3 is the only thing that even attempts to take on the fight against the movement toward devices just being extensions of services that we don’t actually own. If a company chooses to be that shitty I want them to at least suffer from not having access to all the great code that I (and the rest of free software developers) are making.

They can put shitty Zsh substituted to avoid giving back their improvements (as Apple did) but they will always suck for doing so.

I have no problem with someone burning an encryption key onto a board and making their device not work if someone tampers with it, so long as they provide the key to the end user so they can do what they want with it. Not only is that appropriate, it is the only fair solution and covers every FUD inflammatory case (medical equipment, satellites, air traffic control).

In fact, the government is actually likely to want Tivoization in order to assert dictatorial governance of the market and ensure they can active and spy on citizens however they deem fit. This is just not okay in any country.

So Stallman (you controversial, industry-changing fuck) I’m with you on this one. Linus can go fuck himself. Torvalds has always been completely clueless when it comes to the real legal matters at hand. (Probably had several governments and companies approach him.)

I seriously doubt Torvalds has even read one court case brought which the FSF has been constantly involved with to determine their course of action. But that asshole has the gall to through shit and FUD at the FSF suggesting they lied about what was in the license to entice people to use it, instead of creating a new license. No wonder not a single person in the audience raised their hand when he asked. No, Linus is just old and clueless, brilliant, but clueless.

Yes I think a new license would have been better, but there were so many changes and clarifications to GPLv2 that it was the natural best place to add the Tivoization clause as well. There was no sneaking around.

In fact, after having been slightly on Torvalds side and then fully reading the full arguments from the legal FSF team I think Linux is not only uninformed, but, to use his words, “a fucking moron” on this topic as are more of the “open source” people who just want to MIT license all the things. I keep finding that people who truly dig into the issues almost always land on the side of the FSF, but hardly none of the developers I run across have even read any of the licenses involved let alone understand them. This is how Facebook got away with their React shit.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 1:32:30PM

Would it be okay to entirely drop the Senior Software Engineer track? I mean, it is implied in Senior Cybersecurity Engineer. Let’s face it, there is not time to learn Vue and all the sysops stuff for most people before they leave to college or wherever. I’m thinking a conversation about what Vue and React are, and what PWAs are, is as far as I take them. All of those tops are a good year of focus for most.

Eliminating the extra web stuff allows them to get into Golang programming more. Since the shift almost no one has been able to make time for Go and shell. Then again, most of them do no coding during the week but while they are here, something that continually annoys me and motivates me to drop them and seek others who are seriously focused on cybersecurity, admin, and ops. The streaming has revealed that there are potentially people out there to follow — and pay — for those spots vacated by the once-a-week game developers in my community. There’s still a lot of consideration before making that decision. Perhaps a waiting list for those online who might want to do it. But knowing that it the eventual direction really allows me to focus on the specific content needed for my ideal group of community members.

Instead I could approach the web development from two angles, how to quickly publish results are participate in the README World Exchange of knowledge (blogs, etc.) and how to break into them. That means focusing on HTTP, curl and such and less on image formats for gaming. I mean, the material is there for those who want to continue on that path on their own, but I could laser focus on the Cybersecurity and Linux certification above all.

That really feels like the right thing to do. I’ve chopped so much, but chopping that makes so much sense. In fact, following on the idea of building on existing content rather than creating all my own content I could piggy back off the WGU focus and alter it, injecting it with LPIC instruction and preparation for OSCP and one or more network certifications. By opening focusing on these things from the beginning — and stating so up front — I end up with a hyper-focused community on what I believe is not only the most employable tech occupation, but the one the world most critically needs. In fact, I could see what is needed for these people to get the certified web developer certification that WGU requires and focus on them getting that if they want just for the paper even though they would far surpass their requirements.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 1:23:59PM

After deciding to go with a new skilstak.sh I’m realizing a lot of other changes I had in mind are now very easy.

Perhaps the biggest is that new members don’t have to have their own Linux system. They just have to have access to a computer. That’s it.

This opens up the possibility to offer mentoring in some way to others who are just starting out and want to learn the shell without setting up a Linux machine at first.

This motivates people to learn Bash enough to customize their own bashrc files. In fact, I could provide the basic one and then require them to customize their own as an exercise. I love this because my modular refactor of my config fits right into this because they can copy what they want incrementally into their own.

I’ve also concluded that my fear of having people become dependent on the server (as opposed to their own) is unfounded. History has shown that everyone starts up their own server as soon as possible once they have the skills. It’s like the drive many have to build their own computer instead of use the one provided to them by the school lab. So I need not fear an imagined dependency on SkilStak. Hell, I have so few members I could offer an unlimited account for veterans who reach a certain level. Nah, they would have their own server at that point.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 12:30:18PM

Had a night to sleep on the new direction and a good long walk with my wife discussing it.

The main paths to Senior Cybersecurity Engineer and Senior Software Developer will remain, along with the common foundation, but the question remains as to whether to allow multiple paths through the same initial content or to require everyone to take the same consistent path mostly for practical reasons, not particularly because that is the best path.

Every school on the planet pretty much creates one consistent path for everyone, but I have the unique opportunity to vary that path based on the individual. However, when I do vary the path it seems like after the person completes the stuff they are interested in that they are never motivated to do the important stuff they need. This simply prolongs a situation that might have been detected and dealt with from the vary beginning.

In other words, I need the filter back that I once had, and that filter is command line terminal for everything. There is simply no better filter for those who will eventually decide this isn’t their thing. And let’s fact it, I don’t want to waste my personal time helping anyone who doesn’t agree with the essential need for these skills, the most fundamental of which is the command line. There are a lot of honorable, needed occupations that do not emphasize the command line, I would just rather focus on those that do. The end.

I’ve all but decided to drop the $30/month static IP and rebuild the original skilstak.sh remote cloud system for everyone. My highest quality people came out of here when I used that approach and the ability to log in from anywhere really drove their learning to new heights. Anyone with SSH and a terminal could do anything and didn’t have to stress about saving it to GitHub or even setting that up initially. I think I’ve underestimated how significant that barrier is for absolute beginners. As soon as we have to do ssh-keygen -t ed25519 their eyes glaze over. But if they have had time to get used to a remote command line — that is very consistent — when the time comes to learn that command and setup GitHub they are like, “Oh, so it’s just another command to add to my collection.”

This indirectly makes a statement about VSCode as well. While it addresses the same hurdles it presents a whole bunch of its own. But unfortunately the hurdles VSCode presents are very specific and overcoming them provides no additional value to other endeavors.

I’m reminded of the absolute hay-day that was SkilStak during the era of command-line first. Our first lesson was how to use ssh. Our second was how to navigate the command line. Third was how to edit files remotely from the terminal. This initial focus on the command-line clearly set the mood and expectations for every single class to follow — for the better. I need that back.

So, what’s the plan? Simply to add skilstak.sh back in full force and to train everyone up on it immediately. We will divert from our current Web focus to terminal CLI skills — following the Linux book rather closely — and return to Web stuff up on the server. I’ll provide a web server for everyone that does not require Git and people can preview their development immediately as they do it.

The biggest challenge that remains will be the transferring of images up to the remote system. But honestly, that is a matter of learning scp which they have otherwise not had a reason to learn up to now.

REPL.it still does not remain a good options because the ability to customized your bashrc file simply does not exist and — most of all — REPL.it requires that one have a web interface.

This feels remarkably good and will ridiculously simplify my next lab rebuild. Come to think of it, the nature and availability of high-quality terminals now for all operating systems has removed the initial motivation for using the colored VSCode terminal completely.

Most importantly, however, this focus on the ability to be productive with nothing but a command line is the core value and skill that SkilStak has always been about. Anything else — no matter how justified by specific occupational pursuits — simply doesn’t belong here. The ultimate priority is on pentesting, systems administration, SRE/DevOps, and Full-Stack web development which requires robust knowledge and skill with the backend command line interface.

A few things will be significantly different:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 6:12:07PM

I’m a little conflicted now on what should be the first JavaScript book, or even the first book period. It seems like three main paths and types of learners are emerging based on the project or thing that the person most wants to get the fastest:

  1. Video game.
  2. Minecraft server.
  3. Web site/app.
  4. Job in tech.
  5. Hacker skills.

I’ve had multiple paths before. All of them include the same material just in different orders. This makes me question the preferred path I outlined in Modern Technology Foundations.

I think my experiment bypassing the command-line skills I tried with one person this last few months blew up because the person ended up really needing and wanting them once they figured out how much easier they are than using the GUI to move things around.

The question is do I maintain my focus and requirement for everyone to get on Linux first? On the one hand you have the solid experiences providing low-hanging fruit, but on the other such experiences can give a false impression of the actual work involved to become a technologist with the fundamentals I maintain are foundational.

However, back when everyone had to learn shell by logging into skilstak.sh and even learned vi before anything else I had tremendous success. Every one of those people who survived went on to do amazing things including full employment at 16 in technical jobs. Did that approach provide a filter, much like an intense Chem or Physics 101 does? I think it did. If so do I still want to keep that filter in place? Or do I soften everything to those who might never need Linux and only minimally need the command line.

I think I know the answer, I just am having a hard time admitting it. I really just don’t want to deal with people who are not naturally attracted to Linux and the command line. That’s not bad to say. It’s not evil of me to only want to work with people who intuitively understand why this is objectively true. Plus it is my sweet spot. People who want to use VSCode their whole lives and play around with React and web graphics and — for God sakes only want to make a game with GameMaker or Unity — can simply find some other way to learn that stuff.

In short, I want to further focus specifically on the following:

  1. Linux
  2. Pentesting
  3. Bug Bounties
  4. Minimal JAMstack Web Sites and Progressive Web Apps in Vue
  5. Physical Computing

I fucking hate game development and always have. (Actually I wanted to do it when I was 12 so that’s not completely fair. I must never forget that). I always teach game development as a means to an end. But I’d rather help people setup Minecraft servers all day and watch them become kick-ass system administrators and get Linux certified at 15 than have someone create the next fucking Fortnite. And there it is, the truth.

The disappointing reality of my initial effort teaching GameMaker is that my 3rd student ever never amount to anything more than a crappy GameMaker user who threw off even GameMaker language and stuck with the pretty GUI interface. It was a serious mistake to let that go on for as long as I did. At the same time others of his age were way into Minecraft and went on to do seriously amazing things, one even teaching himself Assembly.

The sad reality is that if someone is fundamentally attracted to making games (and little more) I’m never going to be able to entice them out of it and frankly it’s not my place to do so. People are people. And the world clearly needs games, far more than reality television. Games are art. I’m not attacking games. Just my frustration with people who are obsessed with nothing more than making them. It’s tough because just the other night I med a brilliant Assembly programmer who got into because he wanted to hack NES games in Assembly. I want to believe those skills will eventually be applied in other places as well. But I’m not going down that road. Not when I can create gamified hackathons and hack-the-box puzzles related to real skills that are our world so desperately needs.

I’m super triggered tonight because I actually let myself give in to downloading GameMaker for a brilliant person here and trying it on Linux and suddenly realized, “What the FUCK am I doing?” I rather directly said, “You have two options, this book or the other. You pick. That’s it. If you want something more or don’t find this stuff interesting it’s time for you to leave.” (Yes I actually said that.) That’s pretty damn harsh of me. But it worked and he actually enjoyed the new book.

I’m not normally like that. I’m just tired of having to be a creative marketing charlatan to get people to come around to doing what I hope will amount to skills that can help us all. This is compounded by the fact that I have several members of my community who do understand this stuff and seek from a very young age to make that difference and have. I really wish I understood why that is. Best I can do is curate a community of just such individuals. After all, I started this community and I can decide who stays and who is encouraged not to return.

Streaming has been great because it further proves that such people are out there, many of them are in college, which makes sense. Others have lived a fair amount of their lives and come to the same set of priorities that I seem to have. So perhaps streaming is the answer to my frustration that I’ve been seeking.

GameMaker can fuck right off.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 5:57:37PM

Just realized that when I have a capture card I can capture the BIOS setup and installation details regarding UEFI installations for all the different computers I have around the lab. There’s a good chance one will look what the viewer has at home. I have a pretty good sample of BIOS types, MSI, America (whatever, the blue one everyone has), Dell (which is rather unique), and even an HP. Hell, I can even capture how to do it on a Mac Mini. I think that variety of BIOS setup videos is easily worth the $150 or so that they cost. YouTube has very few (substantial) videos that actually show working with the BIOS through this challenges, which continue to be the biggest hurdles for more people trying out Linux installations for the first time.

So now the question is which of the capture cards is best for this type of thing. A lot of the recommended ones are not generic enough. I think I am sold on the idea of having component in as well since that allows the capture from even old video cameras, of which we have many in the lab.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 5:47:10PM

I am really liking this Eloquent JavaScript book. I have someone working through it with the console open right along-side the free, creative-commons book and tinkering with the concepts as they read them. That’s phenomenal to me. I also read ahead and noticed that the main project in the book is a nice platformer in which the reader codes their own gravity and collision, which is something I always like to do before giving them a PhaserJS or other library crutch.

I think I’m really sold.

I think I’ll recommend this first (before the Learning JavaScript) book for most, but stick with the main recommendation of the O’Reilly book because it is quite a bit more thorough (but nothing like Definitive JavaScript). Eloquent JavaScript appeals more to younger coders as well and most of those with whom I work are rather young. Plus they can say they literally coded a game from scratch.

Plus the writing and references in Eloquent JS are hilarious and the author doesn’t shy away from math and horrible puns and metaphors. I really quite impressed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 4:34:31PM

Just hearing about Pop!_OS from System76 and it looks encouraging. I’m so not a fan of that company having had a horrible experience with their customer service in 2013, but perhaps they have matured. Their computers are still ridiculously overpriced and their return policies are frankly unacceptable in today’s market. (They charged me like $150 for “rebox-ing” and “scratches” after the laptop I purchased turned out to be ridiculously underpowered for the price.)

Evaluating disto installs and such prompted me to start looking for a way to capture the output to the monitor and stream that to OBS since anything that goes to the monitor includes all the BIOS and other things. It would be the best way to stream such sessions rather than sticking a camera in front of the monitor.

Looks like there are several brands and they all do exactly what I’m thinking of because they are used to capture screens from consoles and such. This is frustrating because I know I need one to make the installation video for Mint to capture the BIOS stuff.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 2:00:47PM

Trying to capture all the streaming tips I’ve been learning as I do but man there are a lot of them.

Just completed my first thumbnail after giving it a lot of consideration and it is not fun. I would much rather be producing content and code. It could almost be automated, but I’m afraid there is no way to create the initial screen capture required so it is just faster to make it from the most relevant image from the stream combined with a title that is readable above all else, even if it is not particularly beautiful. Ain’t got no time for that.

Amazon Meet Oxide Thumbnail

The amount of blogging I do has already been significantly reduced due to all the videos. I’m okay with that so long as the major keywords and concepts are written somewhere that can be found on the Internet through the normal searches. That said, I will be producing far less written content, that’s for sure. I can convey so much more verbally — especially with body language, which makes sense since that is the natural best form of human communication. As a bonus, it means I can communicate much better with Russians and French people because I speak those languages but have a hard time typing them. At the end of the day I’ve always been a better verbal communicator than writer, although I do love writing.

One potential side effect of this is that I will free up time faster for writing creative works rather than all this tech/work stuff.

One huge casualty in all of this will be the README World Exchange project, which is now very secondary to getting as much content created as possible as video. After that the priority is distilling and organizing those videos into lessons with a path and as much written material and exercises as possible. All the rest of the projects after that are tertiary, including, I’m afraid, the RWX project.

So, I will triage the README WorldPress (rw) tool that I have and get it using Pandoc for builds again and finish the search indexing with the goal of getting skilstak.io back up to date and both rxwrob.live and robs.io split off of it.

The SOIL project is also all but officially dead. Another academic streamer and I talked through that whole burden of governance for even the most loosely organized groups and he basically talked me out of it by reminding me of realities somehow I already knew. That no matter what, you will always have drama when there is more than one person involved in any endeavor. We agreed a BDFL is a better approach and is the governance model for most successful open source projects including Linux and Python. Even having a SOIL convention would incur massive organization and lost time and for what? To spend a lot of time to come together and learn and discuss stuff that we could more easily cover on a collaborative live stream? No, the future — and present — is streaming. Conventions are dead. They really are. It is great meeting people in person and that will always be a thing, but it will never produce the total value that doing all of the same thing online can do. (One-on-one, in-person mentoring is an entirely different thing, and has the potential to work online as well, but I have yet to successful test that premise.)

It’s worth noting that the extremely brilliant minds and souls behind oxide.computer seem to have arrived at something similar to this conclusion as well. They are podcasting and building, period. There is something to be said to keeping laser focused on good output, be it content or code, and just sharing what is happening to people can find and follow what is happening. It’s also the most inclusive approach. As much as I want to go to defcon it will probably never been a reality — even if it was held in my home town. So I’m getting a lot of internal confirmation that this is the right path to take with all of this.

Twitter posting has also dropped to zero. I only post really good stuff and links to videos that are out and invitations to specific live streams. I think everyone will enjoy that more because the content is more specific and they can choose whether to just shoot the breeze or check out the more polished videos as they come out. At some point I have a feeling I will be picked up by the writer’s themselves and can perhaps get an interview with one or two on stream and I have to prepare technically for that possibility above all others.

Another project that I’m nixing is the “couch talk” here in the studio. It’s far more important that I get the ability to have phone and Discord and Slack and Skype interviews and conversations on stream than anything I can do in world here. It would be certainly fun, but it’s secondary to the content itself.

I am not nixing the remote hack-the-box type games and Easter eggs in my web site. They have massive appeal and reach not only those that I mentor here in person but everyone on the Internet. That is even a higher priority than finished the RWX project (but not the RW project, which I need to be able to document things as quickly as possible). Humm, maybe I could keep RWX ultra lightweight and just be a place for people to post their RW sites. That might be doable within the same parameters.

To summarize, my single top priority is producing as much high-quality educational content as possible in the core domains that I have always been focused on. This means videos about all the introductory stuff that I do IRL with my mentored sessions to help everyone find their bearings and path, then it is annotating the main books and certification outlines in an organized way, not quite as organized as taking a course, per se, but enough that people find value in it enough to motivate them to continue with their learning (and save as much money as they possibly can).

Monday, February 10, 2020, 6:44:31PM

Twitch’s sending out of email notifications that I am live on stream when I’m actually not is getting really annoying. At this point it is looking like it is doing something to detect changes to the visual stream itself. So when I pop on to write a quick blog post everyone gets blasted with “Rob’s Live” and that has to be annoying. I feel like I need to apologize on Twitch’s behalf every time that happens.

Monday, February 10, 2020, 6:41:03PM

Behringer music equipment is absolute shit. I’ll never buy another product from that company. Allen & Health all the way. It’s always worth the few extra dollars to get a quality product.

Monday, February 10, 2020, 3:59:57PM

A great new friend on stream suggested I look at Eloquent JavaScript which I had bumped into a few times but not fully read. I’m also pretty sure I was looking at an outdated version of it as well. The new version is amazing. It is (so far) on par or better than Learning JavaScript (my current standard recommendation). Imma ready both again compared to each other and make a decision about which one should come first. Unfortunately, neither has good example and exercises, but that is okay so long as readers approach either as source from which to create their own codebooks and example exercises that they can repeat. I keep running into this need for exercises that are specific to the concepts. Perhaps that is an area that I can focus on specifically and attach to these works to help those out who are reading them.

The fact that eloquent JavaScript is entirely Creative Commons almost makes me want to use it over the other one just because of that. I could even fork it and supplement it with the stuff I feel is perhaps missing. Now there is an idea, get behind an open work rather than making yet another one. So long as a consistent voice can be maintained collaborative authoring could work, even if we have to work around the fact that the book is written in the first person (which I would probably do myself).

Monday, February 10, 2020, 2:26:06PM

What if everyone streamed? Would we bring about Datagedon? I think the answer is no based on base on pace of storage technology improvements. I had a PowerMac with 30MBs of storage in 1997. Today you can buy a 4TB hard drive for under $100. So even though we are all producing a lot more date — especially video data — we are currently outpacing that need by several orders of magnitude. In other words, it’s okay to rely on streaming video as a medium over the written word in terms of sustainability.

Monday, February 10, 2020, 1:55:32PM

There’s only so much time in the day. Been thinking a lot about the nature of live streaming, not just for coding, but more of the Just Chatting sort of thing. Recently I was able to have some great conversations that were only loosely associated with tech, super rewarding stuff.

One on dilemma’s I’m facing not that I stream all the time is the impact it has had on my writing (blogging). I used to blog all of these random thoughts to put structure around them, but now I’m find just talking them through (mostly to myself but also the stream) is rather effective as well as cathartic, not to mention the bonus of randomly meeting and getting input from others all over the world.

Fatigue is an issue. I mean, I type pretty fast, but being able to articulate an idea on video with voice is far more accurate at capturing the idea. Words are far more risky when they are written. Intonation and inflections are great things we employ in spoken language, but are lost when written. Hence emojis, etc. I wonder if this is why we’ve become so obsessed with video communication. It makes me ask where streaming fits into it all.

I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot more videos than blog posts now that I’ve discovered this medium (pun intended) and sticking with blog posts for things that require a lot of written material, for example, coding exercises, snippets, URLs, etc.

These days it’s somewhat safe to assume the videos I make will live even beyond my lifetime. This raises lots of questions, but YouTube does not delete and accounts are free it’s possible that our video blogs (vlogs) could best represent out thoughts and discoveries well into the future.

Writing is still required to pull up in search results. So there’s that to consider as well.

Monday, February 10, 2020, 12:00:03AM

Need to look at Pretzel for music so videos on demand (VODs) don’t get muted for copyright issues.

Also found zorchenhimer on Twitch who coded a couple NES games in Assembly.