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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

Here is a list of four software projects you probably haven't heard of. I use the last two myself.

1. I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to get Linux running as a stand-alone virtual machine off my pen drive, but that doesn't hold a candle to making a font based on one's own handwriting. (Post titles from the link employ said font.) That is both very original and very difficult.

And no, I don't have a ready answer to the question of whether I'd find doing that with my chicken-scratch more difficult than reading the result!

2. I didn't need a pandemic and nationwide rioting to tell me that civilization is in trouble. I can see why there is an open source project called CollapseOS with the aim of "preserv[ing] the ability to program micro-controllers through civilizational collapse."
It is designed to:

1. Run on minimal and improvised machines.
2. Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
3. Edit text files.
4. Compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
5. Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
6. Assemble itself and deploy to another machine.
This sounds interesting as an academic exercise, and I do sympathize. But this proposal is emblematic of our time in more ways than one: If we reach the point that we're having to slap things together just to have computers, so many other things will also be wrong that this effort will have been a waste of time.

It is better to direct one's effort at understanding why civilization is in trouble and what one can do to help preserve it, while also living the best life one can.

Or just scan this every time...
"Zipl.ink" is a bookmarklet that allows you to send a link to your phone instantly. The site produces a QR code that you can scan in, so you can keep on reading after you leave, or easily forward something to a friend.

It is apparently possible to set up an account with the service, but it is not necessary to do this to generate a QR code.

4. I learned about magic wormhole some time ago, but never had a need for it until recently, when it saved me a bunch of trouble moving a few big files. It is as neat as its name:
Get things from one computer to another, safely.

This package provides a library and a command-line tool named wormhole, which makes it possible to get arbitrary-sized files and directories (or short pieces of text) from one computer to another. The two endpoints are identified by using identical “wormhole codes”: in general, the sending machine generates and displays the code, which must then be typed into the receiving machine. [A recent one for me was something like 2-precocious-puppy. --ed]

The codes are short and human-pronounceable, using a phonetically-distinct wordlist. The receiving side offers tab-completion on the codewords, so usually only a few characters must be typed. Wormhole codes are single-use and do not need to be memorized.
This might remind you of the also excellent Firefox send, but that method requires passing along a lengthy, random URL that is impossible to type or remember.

-- CAV

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