Rik's Ramblings

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Google's anti-competitive browser behavior

"[O]ne of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, ...

I have to say I've had my suspicions about such behavior for some time now.  I'm a Firefox user, and I've noticed that several Google products have a tendency to cause the Firefox to hang: Gmail, YouTube.  I've not seen such issues elsewhere on the web, so I tend to believe Microsoft.

I also see a number of the "improvements" that Google is promoting as web standards raise the barrier to entry onto the internet for individuals and new companies: http3, bias for TLS in search results, browser APIs that only work on https, are the ones that spring to mind.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Scary times in the pcduino world today...

I bought a couple of pcDuino boards a few years ago. These seem to be discontinued and obsolete hardware now, but I'll be buggered if I'm going to throw them away!

I came a little unstuck today trying to use one to run a nodejs service. A while back I blogged that I managed to get node running on the board. Recently I wrote some nodejs module that fetches data from the internet and writes it to the /tmp/ directory on the pcDuino.

I wanted to update the version of nodejs on the pcDuino, so I could use the let keyword (rather than var).

Ended up getting myself down a rabbit hole where I had no working version of node on the device - and ofcourse, couldn't remember how to re-install the old version.

Anyway, here's something I found out that may be useful to other people using obsolete hardware!

Tried to install the latest version of "n" from npm
cd /tmp
npm install n

Didn't use the "-g" option as I didn't want to get myself stuck with an incompatible version of node.

Couldn't install anything as the version of SSL on the pcDuino is obsolete too!

This helped:
npm config set strict-ssl false

NOTE: probably not a good idea to leave this flag set this way!

Sadly the next step really screwed me:
sudo /tmp/node_modules/n/bin/n latest

Luckily I managed to recover using this:
sudo /tmp/node_modules/n/bin/n 5

I think when the newer versions of node try to install they need to compile something, and they require a version of the C++ compiler/libs that aren't available on the pcDuino. I have no idea if I'd be able to build those libs for the pcDuino and I don't want to go down that rabbit hole. But for now, using version 5 of node seems to work!

My node is now reporting version 5.12.0 (rather than 0.10.x)
My npm is reporting 3.8.6

Hopefully this will be good enough to get my stupid project out the door!

See also:

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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Fake Ai images


Wow!  The world we see "around us" is all fake.  OK, air quotes, only the world on your phone is fake.   if you put down your phone and go outside that stuff is real.  Well, unless you live in LA ... that's totally fake.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Space Mice

... the animals are then euthanized by exsanguination and cervical dislocation. 


Wonder how it feels being a mouse on the space station.  First of all you have to get there - all that nasty hi-G launch stuff.  Then no one ever explains the notion of weightlessness to a mouse, so you have no idea why your feet won't stay on the floor.  and the final indignity:  they bleed you dry (literally), break your back and (presumably) stuff you in the trash to burn up on re-entry.

Not complaining really.  It's science.  Furtherment of the human race, and all that.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Google buys downtown San JoseĀ 

Since December 2016, including the most recent property deal, Google has now spent at least $237 million buying an eclectic array of industrial and retail sites, vacant lots, and even residential properties [in downtown San Jose].


Reminds me of the old days of the Industrial Revolution where large employers would build (and own) their own towns and employees would become their serfs.  Their wages would largely be taken back by their employer in the form of rent and repayment for food at the company store.

They should call the development "Brinton" or "Larryville".

See: Saltaire