Nook SimpleTouch eInk Tablet v2

I recently got the nook 1.2.1 firmware and it locks down the device (again). I knew I was likely to lose all my tablet-y stuff but frankly it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to and at the battery life I might as well have a new tablet. I blame the gapps, which never close and sync in the background nonstop. To add insult to injury, nook apps tend to assume you have colors. No colors makes for a very confusing experience. Also the eInk display tended to be hacky with special secret handshakes to activate fast mode, etc. Turns out someone else got really fed up with it also and decided to write a launcher and android ROM which was based on the official 1.2.1 and also knew someone might actually want to use the nook as a nook! WOW! So the smart guys over at XDA put together NookManager which does all this good stuff and still keeps the B&N official applications so you can read their books for free in the store. It even does the right things with the buttons which is really sweet.

That being said, Amazon seems to know something is up because the kindle app isn’t available in this ROM (although I suspect it’s because it upgrades the android core OS on the device) nor through the store. You have to sideload it from here, which is as simple as using dropbox to grap the APK and then opening it on the device. It does have the google RSS feed cacher, which I have desperately wanted and would crash immediately on the old ROM. The browser is still nothing special and will “forget” to update the page if you throw too much JS at it.

The only real rub is that I have to reseat my SD card for the nook to see it if the Nook completely runs out of battery. A small annoyance since I have 30 microUSB plugs next to my bed but still requires fingernails.

The Case of the Mysterious Missing MAC Address

Coriander is dead. Turmeric is alive. What does this mean? All the content on sftp.knarrnia.com went away except for the PDFs and various other ebook formats which I was smart enough to grab off the RAID before it entirely keeled over. The uptime for coriander was ultimately 20 minutes tops before it keeled over. Not bad for a computer I built in 2003 and then rebuilt when Drexel had the Heat Wave of Death which caused me to request an extension on the finals. The box was two RAIDed 80GB IDE drives, running OpenSuSE I had installed as a desktop and later simply retired to serving up content to my Nook and XBOX.

Turmeric, however, is a first gen nVidia motherboard. And if this is people’s experience with nVidia, I am entirely, absolutely done with them as a motherboard maker. My network is pretty standard for home use. I have an honest to god Cisco router, a Cisco WAP, a comcast bullshit cable modem which is probably going to have a terrible accident so I can get one that works, and all the devices meander through those. The XBOX is UPnP permissions, nothing else does. Turmeric/Coriander had a MAC address reservation so they would come up, get the right IP, and then the cisco firewalls would pass traffic to them as needed. It worked swimmingly well until Turmeric refused to get the IP I had reserved for it. It would always get a different IP than reserved, but it would get the IP consistently. I racked my brain on this problem for a few hours and finally broke out ettercap to see WTF it was doing.

Turns out the first gen nVidia motherboards do something really stupid with DHCP. Actually lets rewind for a minute – they generally do really stupid stuff. This motherboard has hardware RAID also, but it only works for the SATA drives. IDE? Shit out of luck. To further add insult to injury, the bootp stuff for jumpstarting a box? Doesn’t work. Never figured that one out. Finally there’s only two default devices you get set in the BIOS. For the moment it’s CDROM and then the first drive in the RAID, but to actually do the install I had to change CDROM to USB after burning out an image to it. What the heck guys?

Now, I’ll save you the boring TCP spec – When the nVidia board comes up it actually sends a DHCP packet on its own which is nice. The problem here is the HLEN of the packet is… 0. Yup. Someone didn’t know what to put in the field, so they send 0. This causes the router (thank god) to respond to FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF, which while it’s not correct, works because it’s a broadcast packet. The adaptor (seems) to configure itself, then Linux does something goofy where it sees the adapter is configured, so it sends out a release/renew, which the router, apparently knowing the MAC address but having an entry for a bogus MAC, sends out a different IP (next in pool) for the correct MAC address.

The BIOS, of course, doesn’t have a way to disable this “convenience feature” and to add insult to injury, dmesg doesn’t work in Linux because the BIOS is doing something funky by itself. For right now I’m just ignoring it. But seriously nVidia, fix your shit.

Georges Reserve Cigars

Working from home today while my wife gears up for her job interviews as a result of some successful sorcery, I decided to have a cigar on the deck and take in the nice weather. With a high of 40F out here, it’s practically spring in Pennsylvania. I threw my laptop on the deck and got connected and then went to grab a cigar.

Figuring I would get roped into hanging out with the kids at some points today, I wanted a cigar I could put down and not feel too terribly bad when/if it went out. Opening up the humidor I found a Georges Reserve Churchhill. Looking at the label and remembering I got it from Famous Smoke in a bundle, I figured it was probably a generic stick. I grabbed it, used my trusty knife and lighter to cap it and took a draw. It tasted like tea. Hmmm, the generic crap usually doesn’t taste like tea or have such a nice draw…

The smoke itself was easy, creamy, and had a wonderful depth of flavor. Unlike other cigars in the generic category, it left a bit of spice in my mouth and really had no offensive taste. Dare I say, it was downright good. In fact, it was so good I decided to look it up to see if I could get more.

Turns out they’re made by Olivia and sell for $5 a stick. Oops. That’s why I like them. Cameroon wrapper is almost always a win for me, even if I don’t always like Connecticut filler. That particular filler usually errs on the side of cigarette to me, Virginia especially. I am not huge on American (colonial) tobacco, but this one was really good and has me thinking I might be missing something.

That being said, I smoked it straight through the nub, and the thing just kept getting better. If you can find one for under $5 (or even $7) a stick, give it a smoke.

I Killed K5 – an Obituary

I did it. And now apparently I’m internet famous. What sort of interests me, aside of the fact that Rusty’s wife still tolerates the continued existence of Kuro5hin, is that the news handles internet pranks the way it should handle school shootings.

Of course, this is absolutely the wrong way to act.

In a school shooting, the shooter is just guaranteed his 10 minutes of fame. The media fawns over him, the guys face is all over the news, and everyone wants to know what would compel someone to do such a thing. In this prank, my name doesn’t come up once. Even more interesting, Rusty’s blog – kuro5hin.org – suspiciously doesn’t come up either. It’s no real surprise, google doesn’t index it anymore and it has a total readership of six. Sye has been pushing content to it via some sort of bizarre perl script, if he’s even a person. I think I doubled the readership alone posting a diary. I don’t really want the attention, I just want K5 to die. Oh and I enjoy a good prank, I really do.

Kuro5hin, for those not in the know, used to be glorious. A fork from slashdot back in the Web 1.0 days back when pictures of cats were expensive modem time, the text only essayist site provided not only interesting content but it was cheap. It filled a niche slashdot couldn’t, which was actual content on the site by people who knew what was actually happening. It was sort of a punk rock wikipedia if wikipedia were actually successful because it required peer review. Slashdot, reddit, twitter, and other small blurby social media sites were the future, but K5 was the here and now and it was great.

Rusty set the tone for the site fairly quickly, a site named Kuro5hin with a broken bridge was just flat out a bad meme. It would prove to be like finding out the guy who owned GrumpyCat was actually really grumpy in real life. A combination of lassie faire attitude towards moderation along with the general abuse of the userbase at the hands of the staff meant the best posters were quickly driven off, and as the trolls figured out they could set up fights between the staff and the well meaning users, it quickly frayed. This is really the same problems that the progeny of the site face – DailyKos has their “content” paid for and written by professional poltical hacks and digg accepts money for promotion. The former runs the code base (scoop) and the latter used the K5 look and feel up until recently. While these do actually spawn legitimate content, the reason why they work and K5 didn’t was because K5 never got the sponsorships enjoyed by slashdot, etc. In some ways it was a testament to integrity, and in the same way it was a harbinger of what was to come.

I submitted content and made friends, then I succumbed to the zeitgeist. Rusty, completely failing to secure any sort of nominal success in the media and walking off with $40k in donations from his own users, just stopped caring. The rest of the staff soon followed, and then the users, and then me. I became a troll. At one point I even offered to help Rusty, who had offered to make the last three users into admins. That never materialized and the shambling corpse continued on. It was actually sort of a pariah. Unlike Adequacy.org, it refused to die. At least Adequacy had the decency to clean up the worst of the off topic crap, set the database to read only and leave the lights on. K5 continues on as an insult to the content it hosted.

This blog post wouldn’t even be so rambling if I actually thought anyone knew was K5 was at this point. My facebook is filled with “lolwut?” messages. Social media is done, and now I blog.

When I bought a house, the remaining K5 Kamradery helpfully told facebook (and K5) I had died. It was actually fairly lulzy, and a plot point from the movie Hackers. Not one to pass up a hilarious opportunity, when Rusty proudly proclaimed he was turning off the internet and going to Mexico, I paid it forward.

I reported his facebook profile (log out if you’re from “the K5 crowd” and can’t see it – he keeps it public and your dupe account on facebook will work) as deceased with some random strangers obituary. As of right now, that obituary is the most popular link on google for “rusty foster obituary”. Poor guys family has no idea who he is. Facebook, employing people who live in third world shitholes, bought it. With no reply to the email they send, they did what any morally responsible social media company not stealing $40k would do – they turned off his account.

Rusty’s twitter predictably filled with butthurt, and I let it stew for a few days while I enjoyed confused family members, two people who were friendly enough with him to ask what happened, and the general confusion and bemusement. After a few days I decided to let him in on the prank and at least sent him a link to the obituary so he could get his facebook back. It still took facebook four days to actually sort it out. Four, lulzy days.

Rusty responded by editing my “I killed K5” post on Kuro5hin.org and killing the account, and AnilDash declined to run the story after I sent him a link to K5. The NBC community blogger was a bit of a surprise, but I like the tone of the story. For what it’s worth. All six users of K5 responded by goading Rusty, and he deleted just as many more commented, cutting the K5 user base fully in half (six users to three). Oh, and those vacation pictures of his trip to Mexico? Still public.

Update: Slashdot brings up the rear as usual.

Arthur in the Dumps

I had previously, via facebook, this blog, and another blog, lauded the fact that Arthur magazine was coming back. The original (first?) version of it lives in infamy on various torrent sites and usenet back alleys and it was worth a read. Even if you didn’t agree with it, you could understand the reasoning for how they got there. It was sort of like what Rolling Stone should have been if it was more interested in cultural movements than making a point.

The problem is, the new Arthur (weirdly edited by Jay Babcock) wants to make a political point. I never remember it being like this. It’s so retarded I had to actually google make sure it wasn’t another Jay Babcock with the same name. It’s not. He’s just another washed up living corpse on the shores of lake LSD with no braincells capable of reason anymore. The post which had me remove Arthur from my RSS, facebook and two blogs was Repeal the Second Amendment. The original magazine was witty and funny and had this Mad sort of illustration. It toured music and culture.

Jay Babcock weirdly tries to pull an appeal to authority by saying “Well I edited SWAT magazine”. Well here’s an issue (GET IT?) – he never edited SWAT magazine. I’m not a huge fan of SWAT magazine, I can safely say I never knew it existed. On the other hand, I can google, and no-where is Jay Babcock credited as an editor of SWAT magazine. Modern Gun? Nope. He didn’t do that one either. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say maybe he edited under some sort of pen name but neither magazine turned up any references to him as an editor.

Now this gives us a particularly interesting problem – if he’s not being truthful about his editing of the firearms magazines, how can we trust him as a cultural commentator? We can’t. More importantly there’s now a serious issue where not only is he lying, but if someone submitting content to a magazine which “has no gatekeepers” and it doesn’t toe his line, we can expect it to be removed. This isn’t about free speech, Jay Babcock is just a huge a nazi as the “publishing gatekeepers” he claims to “destroy”.

More on the point, a magazine is just a thing, it’s a medium. He should be able to publish what he wants, just like SWAT should be able to publish what it wants. It’s sort of this live and let live environment where he claims professional and mutual respect. The problem is that instead of then condemning murder as wrong and recognizing that there is evil in the hearts of men (incredibly ironic given his “insider position” in “that culture”), he claims we should repeal the second amendment. He doesn’t, of course, suggest that freedom of speech and a culture of violence (teen slasher movies, violent TV, making the killers a household name on the news and magazines) influence people more than actually holding and owning a gun. Far be it from him to ask we repeal the first amendment to prevent the glorification of violence than to repeal the second amendment which somehow would prevent people from just reaching for their kitchen knife, or truck full of fertilizer, lime and diesel fuel.

Between Babcock being a liar and the new, low standard of content on Arthur, I’m sorry to see it’s back. I can’t help but shake my head at the terrible irony of a culture commentary magazine that doesn’t recognize print’s contribution to culture. Adios, Arthur.

How to Cook Deer Liver

Deer liver – it’s one of the things I started eating many years ago and never really enjoyed it. Once I moved out of my folks house and started hunting again, the inevitable happened – I shot a deer and we let nothing go to waste around here.

 

In fact, my hunting buddies will probably make fun of me, but I am going to make a european mount for the skull.

Now, the heart. Aside of having a broadhead mangle it up a bit, it’s like steak. The bottom (the point) is tender and delicious and it gets less tender but no less delicious as we move up. I hit the top of the heart with an arrow so it looked ugly but otherwise didn’t impair the taste. You cook it like steak, you eat it like steak, it’s good. But, moving down, oh, the liver…

I eventually figured out several things. Onion salt (or garlic salt) is better to use here than just onions. You can pile it on your plate. These tastes are supposed to go together, so put onions in the pan, put onion salt on the liver. It’s good. The second thing I figured out is to cook it in butter. In oil, it tastes dense, which is what oil does, but the meat is already super dense like the heart. If you use real, honest to God butter, you’ll have a meal you can eat.

Recipe time!

  1. Shoot a deer. Easier said than done. Once you have a dead deer in your posession, grab the liver. It’s the purple one. In young animals, the spleen is also purple but it has a wavy texture. In mature animals, the spleen is green and has a feathered texture on half of it. Not sure why. Don’t grab the spleen. They’re joined at the artery that feeds them both so sometimes some creative cutting is required.
  2. Wash it off. Take the liver home and just wash the crap out of it so you can actually see everything.
  3. Trim the liver. This means cutting off any nasty parts, the artery should be cut out, and I like to cut it in half here at the artery so I can inspect it. If it looks gross or doesn’t have a uniform dark texture, toss it. There’s a few veins in there, don’t sweat those. Giant disgusting cysts should go. Fatty livers get tossed.
  4. Brine. Make up a salt solution and let it soak 24 hours overnight. It will bleed into the bag, so consider changing the water. We’re trying to get as much blood out as possible. You’re ready to cook after 24 hours…
  5. Slice. Cut the liver up into quarter inch strips. Longways, sideways, it doesn’t matter. Also trim the outer skin. This does two things – more area to adhere butter to and it gives it a more uniform texture. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes – just trust me. This is also a good place to cut out any more thick walled veins you find or artery you didn’t slice out previously. You just want the inner dark meat of the liver.
  6. Butter. Heat a pan on medium heat and toss in a stick of butter. Toss in two! I don’t care! It will brown if you heat it too much so it’s best to start out on medium heat, melt it, then crank up the heat shortly before tossing in the meat.
  7. Massage. Wait, what? You cut the meat into strips. It will benefit from being washed again under running water and tenderized a bit. You should get even more blood and little stringy blood clots coming out of the meat. This is where most people call liver “irony” or “mineraly”, because they didn’t get the blood out. However, before you get tempted to slice and soak overnight, I’ve found it makes the liver less tender.
  8. Dredge. I keep a bowl of water with the meat in it and a bowl of flour next to it. That’s it, just flour. You can always salt and onion salt it to taste later. If you have a favorite steak rub for making country fried steak, it might also work.
  9. Cook. Set the heat on high and let the pan warm up for a minute. When the butter just starts steaming or popping you’re hot. Take your dredged pieces and toss them in the pan. Cook them two minutes or three minutes per side. I like to feel up the small ones. When the small ones are getting stiff, the big ones need to be flipped. The liver should firm up when you cook it, but it’s a fine line between “firm” and “rubber”. The flour should be golden, not white.
  10. Season. It probably doesn’t need anymore butter but if you promise not to sue the blog you can have it. On the other hand, consider using garlic salt, onion salt, or cooking some onions in that butter. I also put a dash of pepper on mine, but whatever. If you know what you want, put it on before letting the meat rest for a few minutes. If you’re not sure, put it on after. There’s no right or wrong.

Enjoy!

Drones Over Berks

This story is amusing me greatly: Activists Drone Shot out of Sky for Fourth Time Their argument is that “canned hunts” are somehow unethical and unlawful. I think the obvious counter argument is that there’s nothing wrong with canned hunts anymore than a farmer walking up to a canned cow and shooting it in the head with his captive bolt gun. It’s just how farms work. If farmers actually gave the animals the same chance as the birds, they’d cut the cow loose in a field and have to chase it down. The birds are actually doing better than the livestock. Why don’t the cops seem to care? The reason is because the SHARK idiots are in violation of the PA state law. Chapter 34 Statute 2302 concerns Interfering With the Lawful Taking of Wildlife. The answer is – “You’re doing it”. One drone landed on the property, almost all the other drones enter the airspace of the club. If the club is wingshooting, there’s no difference between this and driving an ATV into a deer herd. More on the point the drone obviously comes down near the operators, but if there actually is someone in the woods, then the drone is out of control by their own admission and nearly hitting people. If it was a car, it would be reckless endangerment. Here’s the video they posted:

What’s conspicuously missing? The cloud of shot and the wadding. I would expect to see one (or both) on the videos. It’s more damning to them than the gun club to post this, so I took the liberty of mirroring it locally so I can repost it if the link goes down.

But the real comedy gold comes at the 2:42 minute mark (video quality is poor because they only uploaded at 480p)…

Does that look like a wire that’s been shot? Nope, you can clearly see the copper stranding, which is much thinner than the insulation, which means it wasn’t covered in insulation to begin with if the stranding is all exposed in different directions. My guess is they bought the drone at a yard sale for losers and just twisted the wires together (hence the stripped insulation) and when it fell out of the sky they decided it had to have been shot down. Then they spend three minutes yelling at nothing in the woods, and post it to youtube. Hur dur.