Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Author: Karel Kerezman (Page 1 of 403)

I Don’t Have A Hover Problem

I’d follow that title with an “I can quit any time” but if I quit having domains on Hover then this website would vanish. So, let’s not do that.

After days of pondering and puttering and such, I made some decisions:

  1. I don’t want to join one of the really big Mastodon instances. I like things cozy.
  2. I can’t find a cozy Mastodon instance that isn’t geared toward hyper-niche interests.
  3. I don’t want to spin up another VPS on Linode to run my own. Last time I tried administering a Mastodon server it blew up during an upgrade and I couldn’t get it back.
  4. I’m willing to pay a few dollars per month to make this someone else’s problem.
  5. It’s been a while since I bought a new domain for a silly project, hasn’t it?

And so, a trip to Hover and to Masto.host later, “Well, Duck Me” is up & running. I don’t yet know if I’ll open it up to other users, though if you’re a friend and have some interest I’ll probably let you join. Just give me a heads-up.

Builder Of Unwanted Things

I love building things. Heck, I think I wrote about that here recently.

Sometimes, people even appreciate and/or make use of those things. That sure feels good, doesn’t it?

Usually, though, nobody really does. This goes back so, so far. Heck, my last really successful endeavor was when I took over the Anime Blog Muyo forum (well, kind of… I built my own and everyone migrated over when RadicalBender was done running his forum) and that lasted for… a couple of years? The Wayback Machine stopped indexing AEIOU’s content in mid-2008 and I genuinely don’t remember when we closed up shop there for good. We had some good times back then, the handful of us who remained…

(Side note: Nailing down some of the details in the previous paragraph involved reading through a lot of my own blog posts of the time and boy howdy was that a dark couple of years for me. Yikes.)

Then there’s stuff like the Mastodon server (I had two other users besides myself, and only one of them “tooted” more than a small handful of times). The home-theater computing rigs that only I would use in the household. Various purchased and/or assembled gadgets like that. Websites, forums, what-have-you. I ran a webcomic for four entire years with a readership of… half a dozen entire humans? Maybe?

Never mind this website that almost nobody reads. (Ha ha, how meta.)

It happens at work, too. A wiki almost nobody used. Fancy scripted automation stuff that only I ever actually use. Documentation nobody reads. (Well, I do: I don’t always remember how I did the fancy scripted automation thing the last time, after all.)

I can’t help myself, though. Not really. The challenge of getting something built has its rewards, and what else am I supposed to do? Just… not make stuff? Be serious. This is why I’m probably going to fire up another Mastodon instance (the one I’m on currently is shutting down, which may be ironic, I dunno). It’s why I’m still hoping to do more GoPro-footage YouTube videos that nobody will watch.

It’s fun to make stuff, dagnabbit. So… as much as some recognition would be (hugely) appreciated, I’m going to keep at it.

The alternative isn’t worth considering.

Weathering With You

I am, at most, merely an intermittent sort-of-fan of Makoto Shinkai’s works. I recommended Voices of a Distant Star some years ago, and the few movies with his name on that I’ve seen since are decidedly hit (Your Name) or miss (5 Centimeters Per Second). (For the record, The Place Promised In Our Early Days is somewhere in the middle.)

I noticed that one of his recent films, Weathering With You, showed up on HBO Max and figured I’d give it a whirl. Only, whoops, I couldn’t find a Japanese audio with English subtitles viewing option. The only way to get English subs was with the English audio. Hey, HBO folks? Are you… at all familiar with how anime is consumed in this country?

So, anyway, a Blu Ray purchase later (hey, it seems to be well-regarded, and I got it on sale) I was finally ready to give it a watch.

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I Love Making Stuff Work

Most days, I’m just a fix-it man. Someone broke something, or entropy took its toll, whichever: I get the call and I (usually) find a way to fix the problem.

On rare, delightful occasions I get to actually build something, though. That’s the best.

Today at the office (as it were) I replaced the basically-defunct PHP Server Monitor setup with Uptime Kuma, which (if you install one extra piece of software) can send notifications to all kinds of things if a monitored website-or-whatever goes offline. Since our company lives in Microsoft Teams day in and day out, I set it to post alerts to a particular Teams channel. I showed the results to the VP and a couple of relevant coworkers and they’re all happy with it. Excellent!

A couple of hours of just hunkered down, putting a new thing into service, learning its ins and outs, and getting useful results at the end? Absolute heaven.

More of that, please.

Shave And A Codec, 10 Bits

Every now and then, when I remember that this is a thing I’m trying to do, when I’m not actively doing something else with my computer, when I can be bothered… I convert one of the shiny platters on the media storage shelves into some kind of digital format. I do this for protection against the inevitable “disc rot” of the shiny platter medium, I do this for convenience (just load up a file on the computer-like device of choice rather than inserting a shiny platter into the spinny playback machine), and yes, I do this because I’m curious to see what the state of the art looks like for doing this sort of thing in the first place.

Oh, the codecs I’ve seen. I’m old, y’all.

I’ve been doing a lot of anime Blu-Ray-to-MKV work lately. (For certain values of “a lot.” Re-read the first sentence of this post.) There’s a great blog post from a couple years ago with some superb recommendations for how to get high quality into a modest file size and it’s served me well thus far.

But what about those non-anime shows? What about a big budget live-action movie? How well would those settings fare with such fare?

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