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Messages - ersi

1
Manjaro Cinnamon 21.1.2 now includes browser Vivaldi.

Some years ago there used to be resistance to shipping corporate-ware with Manjaro. Now there's Staroffice and Vivaldi and some other things. There also used to be attention to consistency of app sources - repos only - and the users had the opportunity for AUR. But these days Manjaro ships with snapd too...

My Manjaro installations on various machines are old enough so that these new additions do not concern me, but if I need to install again, I will need to pick a different distro.
2
A nice video starting with a slice of early history of Iceland.



The modelling leads to the conclusion that anarcho-capitalism is no alternative to the capitalism we have; it just is plain (corporate) capitalism. You cannot be a proponent of entrepreneurial freedoms, small government, and democracy all at the same time (a la Reaganomics, Thatcherism and neoliberalism). It's because in companies and corporations there is no democracy, thus the unmitigated expansion of entrepreneurial freedoms leads to an oppressive social order for the majority (social order = form of government).

And here's another modelling of anarcho-capitalism, a game called Habbo that I did not know about earlier.



So what's the alternative? In real life, there are state-designated strategic domains such as vital resources, energy, military, possibly also education and healthcare etc. The more there are such strategic domains and the more closely they are regulated with price controls, trade barriers and other protections, the more mixed the economy is. It's mixed, not socialist. The government has to operate for the social benefit of the society, something that capitalist companies do not do. Companies can give salaries to the workers, but they cannot guarantee that the salary will be just, sufficient, or that the money will be convertible and stable. Companies also do not guarantee that products are beneficial for the people and that the trade or production is not too harmful for the environment. The government needs to identify the strategic domains, pay attention to equitable distribution of the resources and products of the domain to the society and be diligent punishing any abuses, particularly when own officials fail to observe the rules or become corrupt, but also when companies encroach.

All this is of course unenforceable in a game where the environment is created by a for-profit company. The game reflects its creator. A for-profit creator of course defines the terms and calls the shots for his own profit.
3
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
Sydney Powell and her co-nutheads get legally devastated in Michigan as their election's fraud lawsuit is judged utterly frivolous. The writer of the decision probably giggled a lot when writing it, but it is rather painful to hear how empty a lawcase in USA can be.


4
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
They have something against basements also.
5
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
According to some ppl, Trump will be reinstated today at this event https://events.donaldjtrump.com/events/rally-in-cullman-alabama
According to Google Maps, the address looks like a non-place https://goo.gl/maps/JrJJxQFCBx5LJLwH8

Why is Trump still the leader of the Republican Party? Are Republicans really that thick? (Yes, they are.)
6
DnD Central / Re: Today's Good News
Oh yes, I had to check the news to make sure it was not me (because, you know, I have a bicycle too) https://sport.err.ee/1608310124/taaramae-suurtuuri-liidrisargist-on-tunne-nagu-oled-maailma-naba
7
DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
Soon I will be on vacation too. Probably not going to go anywhere, because the covid hassle is making it not worth it.

I need to read a book that a childhood friend published. It's about her childhood. So, if I find that I am not in the book, I think I will tell her to rewrite it properly.
8
Microsoft released a Linux distro, apparently primarily to set up cloud services. Remember to not use it.


9
Browsers & Technology / Re: Minimal Apps
GnuCash is bloat. What if you need minimal double-entry accounting? Try BSD[1] Ledger :)

John Wiegley's Ledger program (https://ledger-cli.org/) is intended for those who want to keep their transactions in an easy plain-text format. You just create a list of them in text files, and then run the utility to produce reports, balance sheets, budgets etc. All very cool, but entering stuff in an editor can be very tedious which is why I switched to GnuCash.

Entering accounting information in a text file can be tedious indeed, until you discover ledger-mode for Emacs, provided by the developers of Ledger itself!

- Ledger never creates or modifies your data. Your entries are kept in a text file that you maintain, and you can rest assured, no automated tool will ever change that data.
- The amount of data required by Ledger is minimal. It figures out from looking at your data what you mean by it and how you want it reported back to you. Accounts are created as they appear; currencies are created as they're referenced. Anywhere that a value can be calculated, you can leave it out.
- Ledger is a double-entry accounting tool, meaning that all entries must balance.

A more full-featured version of Ledger is Hledger, a reimplementation of Ledger in Haskell. Hledger is largely compatible with Ledger, but not identical. Hledger works around the need for an external text editor by means of the interactive hledger add function. However, there is also a specific hledger-mode for Emacs even though ledger-mode might largely work.

hledger is a Plain Text Accounting system. Some strengths of the PTA approach:

- Runs on your local computer, keeping your financial data private and under your control
- Simple model of operation: put a log of transactions in, get reports out
- Simple, expressive, human-readable, future-proof plain text format
- Can be version controlled, eg with Git, to safeguard your data, track changes, or collaborate
- Edit with your favourite text editor, or a data entry UI, or import from other formats
- Easy to script, automate, and integrate into custom workflows
- Lightweight, fast, non-distracting to use
- Great for learning more of double-entry bookkeeping and accounting.

Besides having more features and extensions, Hledger also seems more extensively documented. However, both Ledger and Hledger are being actively maintained. Edit: I think both of them are worth trying side by side, as they seem different enough. An important difference I discovered is that Hledger apparently has difficulties understanding the file if it's written in other than English, whereas Ledger can munch through the file, calculating everything properly as long as the terminology is consistent, regardless of the language.
Edit: BSD, not GNU. I am getting ever sloppier, which means a need to take a very long vacation from work.
10
Last night freenode server settings were changed so that my old configuration does not connect to the server anymore. It might work with some reconfiguration but I am not going to bother. All channels that were important to me there have moved over to libera.

Edit: The hostile takeover was led by a dude called Crown Prince of Korea. He teamed up with Mark Karpeles. I think that as a result freenode will soon become part of darkweb or almost.
11
At first, in Pierre de Coubertin's mind, olympics had to be for earnest amateurs rather than professionals. That's why Jim Thorpe was controversially stripped of his pentathlon and decathlon medals after it was discovered that he had received some money for playing baseball. They did not even allow at the time that those were different sports.[1] After WWII, Soviet Union, DDR, and other Warsaw bloc countries developed the concept of "full-time amateur athlete" to such extremes that Coubertin's aims disintegrated and by now professionals are uncontroversial at the Olympics.

Many countries/teams also made a science out of doping. On the surface, doping is still condemned and there are controls in place to counter it but under the surface it is omnipresent. It is not so easy to distinguish under legitimate medication that athletes need to take to stay healthy and doping. There's also doping that athletes put into each others' meals and water for sabotage.

Then there are also femininity controls or sex verification. Doping and "full-time amateur athlete" concept combined, some Warsaw bloc female athletes did not look female at all, which caused an uproar and resulted in sex verification procedures introduced after Tokyo 1964 Olympics.

So, earlier there was a big push to make sports fairer for amateurs and for women by excluding professionals from the amateur category and hermaphrodites, intersex, hyperandrogenous etc. from women's category, but now there's a big push for inclusivity, nevermind how fair the result will be.[2] By now everybody knows how ineffective and potentially inaccurate doping controls are, so should these be dropped too?
In 1983, after thinking about it over half a century, Intl Olympics Committee restored Jim Thorpe's medals. Way too late.
Within the sports community of Soviet Union itself, there was general scorn against some such athletes. After several intra-USSR victories of Tamara Press (shot put and discus), other competitors, in protest, did not show up to the medals ceremony. Aleksandra Chudina was a heavy drunkard and smoker with unmistakeable male voice, but competed in women's category towering over everybody else both literally and figuratively despite of glaring flaws in her/his technique. When she/he occasionally dropped the bar in high jump, the co-competitors said "Good jump, but her balls were a bit in the way." Her/his prime continued long after medal-worthy results in Helsinki 1952 Olympics in javelin, high jump and long jump, but she/he was kept out of international competitions because she/he was controversial enough within USSR. Another example, sprinter Maria Itkina reportedly never showered together with her/his team mates.
12
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
For example, in Arlington Heights (Chicagoland) the nearest grocery store wasn't very far, just a kilometer or so, but there didn't realistically seem to be a way to cross the 6 lane stroad. They did seem to have sidewalks everywhere (?) though.
There, N Vista Rd in Arlington Heights, IL, has no sidewalks https://tinyurl.com/y3zdpjsj [1]The northmost tip has it but then the sidewalks stop. I ran into situations like this every time when I ventured or was forced to take a longer walk. Everywhere, except NYC.
By the way, has Google Maps really removed their short url option or am I just not able to find it? I mean in Street View. Ah, found it finally! Hopefully it will be there also next time I look.
13
Arm wrestling is straightforwardly a sport, because it does not involve any suspicious style points.
14
Olympics 2020 opening now in 2021. Don't miss it.
15
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
Due to my experience with people in the area of city planning I have concluded that tolerable cities are roughly 50/50 the result of urban planning and also of non-planning. Often enough a city or neighbourhood remains tolerable when it escapes the visions of urban planners and becomes tolerable when it is left behind in development.

For example in Tallinn the iron goal of the mairie is arrested development. The priorities are:
 - service and cargo traffic (e.g. trucks/vans that provide for shops etc., ambulance and fire trucks, road construction and repair machinery,...)
 - public transit (the heaviest mass of it being buses)
 - pedestrians

(probably in this exact order)

It does not mean that bicyclists are not considered at all. It means that solutions for bicyclists are considered only after the priorities have been fully considered first. As a result, the solutions for bicyclists are half-assed, untested, only intermittently workable. When pressed, the official answer is always, "It's a temporary solution considering the current resources available."

The mairie may print publications and statements called "long-term plan" and "vision" with pretty pictures, but the reality is determined by the yearly budget of the road and transportation department and the particular priorities of the department (as listed). The envisioned kilometrage for bicycle traffic is most handily achieved by paving bicycle roads in parks just outside the city, i.e. by leading bicyclists away to nowhere, rather than enabling them to move in the centre.

Therefore towns that do not have a layer of bureaucrats with any sort of priorities or a budget to enforce priorities have occasionally a better chance to remain relatively car-free in the centre. There may be a few enlightened urban planners in the country, but none of them has swayed the road and transport department of their city. Yet we definitely have plenty of unenlightened urban planners who have managed to screw up formerly decent neighbourhoods.

And also, apart from urban planning (or non-planning), restrictions on car ownership can make a difference. In the 70's and 80's, Estonia was the most car-infested corner of USSR, but that was nothing compared to now, when anybody can own any number of cars, anybody can liberally drive anybody else's car (if the car is not reported as stolen, then no problem), anybody can squeeze out any speed they like (the police can stop and fine you, but not confiscate the car - funny that at the same time wrong parking is punished much harsher), etc. Back in good old days it was easily and safely possible to walk and bicycle on roads, even though the roads were ostensibly designed for cars. The cars were simply not there in too significant numbers because a car cost about a decade's salary and often enough you had to wait in car-purchase queue for a decade (to get your licence to purchase a car), you could buy just one (new) car a lifetime, and for serious infractions such as multiple speeding the car was confiscated.


Just prior to my first visit to USA I looked at the map and thought, "Only a few kilometres from the airport to the bus stop. I can walk." Then I landed and the road from the airport to the bus stop looked like this https://tinyurl.com/8a6bsjm7 (Google Maps). This is truly unwalkable and there's no way around it, unless one is willing to climb a few three-metre fences with luggage. I have examined the area time and again in Google Earth over several years - still no go. To arrive at such a situation has required some careful and thorough urban planning, I'd say.
16
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
This video details probably the main reason we don't live in America.
Because of a bad experience on a 800 m walk in Houston?


Even before I had visited USA, I had heard about lack of sidewalks there. Of course the true significance of this hit me on my first actual visit.

In USA there are some accidentally walkable little towns, for example Pitman, NJ. Granted, if you want to live in such a nice town, you also have to find a train line away from there to a nearby big city where all the livelihood is, shops and schools and jobs etc.

Even some big cities are eminently walkable, such as NYC, particularly now after the redesign of Times Square.



But NYC is unpleasant in many other ways - overcrowded and expensive, with poverty and luxury side by side in plain sight at every step. Yup, those are negatives, not positives. Moreover, car-centricity in USA has set a bad example that the entire Latin America is eager to emulate, so there is no attractive place to move to there either.
17
Somehow Putin has approved its name to be Checkmate, "Чекмейт", instead of properly Russian "Шах и мат" https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/11956013

Looks like it is intended directly for the black market, this awesome twice-the-speed-of-light airplane. It would be an awesome headline, Putin delivered Checkmate, but the testing is scheduled to be completed only 2027. Time enough for everything to get screwed up.
18
And July is the month for the moneybags. While the 71 year old Virgin launched his latest scheme for multibillionaires to make money from multimillionaires, Amazon is about to deliver their chief operating package into orbit.
They both returned. What a useless waste. To properly deliver a package, the package should reach the destination and stay there!

Even Aussies think that Bezos' rocket is a joke.

19
The best advice is to get to know your distro. Each distro tends to have its own package manager and it is good to figure out the search function of the package manager. As far as possible, it is best to install from the distro's repos. Fortunately or unfortunately, you need to spend time learning Linux inside out.

Things like flatpak aim to make software packages available independently of distros, but in my opinion this only adds to the confusion, because updates become less certain this way. And if something from flatpak breaks, the maintainers of the distro have no responsibility. If something is not available from the repos, the next best idea is to build from source.

Once I installed a Manjaro for a guy. Some time later he brought the laptop back to me for reinstalling. He had managed to break it when trying to update a la Ubuntu. I guess he had not fully grasped the significance when I had said, "It's Manjaro, not Ubuntu." The second time I said to him, "Learn to install Linnux yourself. If you do it badly and slowly, it will take two hours the first time - that's pretty fast, isn't it? After several tries, you will learn to do it securely in less than half an hour."

But yes, I have run into confusing, conflicting, defective, and also missing instructions when trying to make stuff work in Linux. For example for ssh, something that should be old and well known and basic, I found workable instructions only this year.
20
I would presume the actual argument is that it wasn't rebuilt in any particular organized manner? (Or perhaps that it didn't burn as much as claimed.) Which is to say, something a tad more sensible than who or what started the fire. ;)
As far as I am able to glean from the available text, the argument seems to be that Rome suffered devastating fires at least every eight years or so, for various reasons, therefore let's treat also that particular fire as nothing special.

I was on a show about ancient Rome that Roman cities were well planned, with wide, straight boulevards and other signs of good urban planning. That is except for one city - Rome itself.
The wide straight boulevards were meant to allow an army to enter conveniently. As for Rome, it was not lawful to enter it with an army. There was some law that said something like "Thou shalt not cross Rubicon." Of course the law was broken occasionally, as any other law.
21
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
I have been on rails almost daily ever since I was about eight years old, and on rails almost daily with a bicycle nearly entire this century/millennium. This behaviour was broken by the arrival of the Era of the Covid and likely won't resume as long as I am able to hold on to remote working.
22
Nobody seriously believed that, or that he fiddled. Not in our lifetimes anyway.
What you get from traditional history is that people close to Nero's time believed he had burned down Rome and fiddled. Nero must have given off corresponding vibes or something. And there are no contradicting reports.

Alberto Angela's opinion was reported in our media as archaeologists arrived at the conclusion that Nero did not burn down Rome. How can you get such a conclusion from archaeology?
23
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
First felony defendant sentenced in Capitol riot, gets eight months in prison

A federal judge on Monday handed down an eight-month prison term to the first person sentenced for a felony in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, after an hours-long hearing that included arguments over whether the sentence would further divide the country, deter future attacks against the government or lead hundreds of others charged to plead guilty or face trial.

[...]

Hodgkins expressed remorse and regret for his actions, any damage they caused "and the way the country I love has been hurt." He said he understood that even the presence of participants who, like him, remained peaceful "may have helped embolden others to carry out the destruction that occurred."

"I do not and will not make any excuse, nor will I place any blame on any politician, journalist or otherwise," Hodgkins said, saying he put "passion ahead of principle." He added, "I completely acknowledge and respect that Joseph R. Biden is the rightful and respectful president of the United States."

U.S. prosecutors sought an 18-month prison term for Hodgkins, citing the need to deter domestic terrorism. Hodgkins asked for probation or house arrest.
Hmm, an honest criminal?

Meanwhile, Richard Barnett, the famous occupant of Nancy Pelosi's desk, is under restrictions awaiting sentence.

- Home detention
- Location monitoring
- No possession firearms or other weapons
- Passport revoked and can't get a new one
- No travel outside of 50 miles from his home in Gravette
- No associating with anyone from the Jan. 6 insurrection
24
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
Cyclists love trains or do they?

According to the study, Estonia's passenger rail is in the tail portion among the 69 European train operators that were evaluated. Estonia's passenger rail operator scored max in the category of bicycle ticket (free!), but not much in any other category.

News: In a week, they will put a ticket on bicycles in trains, in order to surely score at the absolute bottom.
25
DnD Central / Re: Today's Good News
Armenia's vaccination plan is to vaccinate Iranians.

Armenia has approved three vaccines against COVID-19 - Russia's Sputnik V, China's CoronaVac and AstraZeneca's vaccine and initially offered all of them free to foreign visitors.

The Armenian Tourism Committee said more than 8,500 Iranian citizens had visited in June, up from 5,000 a month earlier.