A Little More on Gab

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 22 Oct 2016 11:03:54 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

I promised to say more on Gab. Here 'tis.

I am absolutely loving Gab. 300 characters is qualitatively different from Twitter's 140. You can use it as a micro-blogging platform. There's room in a post for a paragraph and a couple of links. And I'm using it that way.

But it's also social media, with lots of back-and-forth. Lots of silly. Lots of serious. Lots of just people being people.

Right now, it's largely a domain of the alt right. Lots of Donald Trump suporters. But they encourage anyone who wants to engage in truly free speech to join the party. And there are a handful of libertarians and anarchists there. Like me.

It's only going to get better. Version 2 ships soon, along with an iPhone app, with Android to follow shortly thereafter.

The beta queue is 100,000, so it may take a while to get in. Nudging @getongab or @torbohax (Gab's CEO) on Twitter can sometimes speed that up.

They just crossed a million posts!

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Google Ads

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 21 Oct 2016 02:21:04 GMT  <== Webmaster stuff ==> 

I have decided to try a Google ad, to see if I can make a little money from this web page. I have always eschewed ads, but I'd love to make something from my work, so I'm going to put one at the top of every page. I'll try it out here on the main page, and the most recent posts for a little while, and if I think it's OK, I'll re-render the whole site, to put the ad on every page.

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Kakuro Dojo

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:19:22 GMT  <== Computers ==> 

Kakuro-Dojo.com I've been working for about ten days on a browser-based puzzle game, Kakuro. I discovered it a few months ago, and have been solving puzzles in an app I got for my iPhone. I had a new idea for the game, so I decided to write my own. I made some progress in plain JavaScript, but got stumped at creating new puzzle layouts.

I recently happened across a new computer programming language, Elm. It's a pure functional language that compiles into JavaScript, and has libraries that make web programming very easy. I decided to convert my Kakuro game to Elm and continue development.

I haven't had so much fun in years! I still didn't figure out how to generate puzzle layouts, but I wrote a Haskell program to scrape layouts from another game site, so that I could continue on game play development, and worry about layouts later. Haskell is a much older programming language, on which Elm is based.

Anyway, the game is now playable, though it doesn't help you any. It's sort of like filling out a Sudoku puzzle in a newspaper. But I'm working on feedback, and noticing when you've successfully completed a puzzle.

The game is most easily played with the keyboard, but the keypad below the game board makes it playable on touch screens. I have yet done window auto-sizing, so you may have to zoom a bit to get the right size.

Aim your JavaScript-enabled browser at Kakuro-Dojo.com, and watch that space for new features as I write them.

I originally called it "Kakuro Master", but I discovered a couple of days ago that somebody has already used that name for a PC product.

The source code is at github.com/billstclair/kakuro-master.

I plan to eventually wrap the game for sale on the iPhone and Android app stores.

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Dinosaur Updated

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:32:50 GMT  <== Personal ==> 

I said three posts back:

I'm a dinosaur, too. A dinosaur who loves to dance. And sing. And play the trombone. And ride a bicycle. And my next post will be about those things, especially the bicycle.

Well, this isn't the next post, but close enough for jazz, and government work.

For many years, I used this blog to be angry. I'd find things on the web to be angry about, and I'd spew that anger all over my blog. Well, I've mellowed. A lot. I'm hardly ever angry any more. Not even about Hillary, or Donald. Life has affirmed what I knew all along:

There are no political solutions to any problem. Politics is itself the cause of most of the problems it purports to solve.

So I dance a lot. Wild, free-form dancing, to music with an infectious backbeat. My favorite bands are local:

  1. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, from Brooklyn. Must dance music. Six men, including trumpet and bari sax behind a tiny woman with infinite energy. They'll be in Albany at the end of October. Not a great dancing venue, but I bought a ticket in the back row, so I can either stand up and dance in my seat, or go behind the seats.

    Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds

  2. The Interlopers. More must dance music. The original group broke up when they all graduated from Berklee School of Music in Boston, but Curtis Kelley, the drummer, singer, and writer of most of their music, has put together a new group. I look forward to dancing with them sometime soon.

    The Interlopers

  3. Adam Ezra Group, from Boston, plays upbeat folk music. Adam puts his whole soul into it. And what a beautiful violin player. Yow!

    Adam Ezra Group

There's also dancing the third Friday of every month at the local Yoga studio. Every two or three months I put together the play list, of whatever songs made me dance during that time period.

I'm not currently playing my trombone in a group, though I played in a local concert band over the summer. I sing with a 50-person choir on Monday nights, with an amazing director. We'll have sing gigs around Christmas and in the spring, then the band will start again in the summer.

Music rocks!


But what about the bicycle? As you may remember, I hit a deer with my Scooter in August of 2014. Fell down, rolled like a log, and broke seven ribs. Walked away thanks to really good riding armor.

When I moved to southern Vermont, I packed my stuff in a U-Haul truck, including the bike, which ran, but didn't have full motion of the steering. The place I took it, a few miles from my apartment, totalled it, deciding that it would cost more to fix than it was worth. Geico paid me enough to pay off the loan and buy a nice bicycle.

After I graduated MIT, I rode a bicycle all around Boston, from 1978 until I moved to the Berkshires to get married in 1991. In the Berkshires there were big hills and long distances, so I let the bicycle rust. It has been wonderful to be pedalling around town again. I take the car when I need to go far away, but locally, I ride or walk.

New Bicycle

But the best illustration of the simplicity of my life is my key chain. I carry two keys, one for the apartment and one for the car.


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Ye Olde Standard Kilt Joke

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 16 Oct 2016 12:58:41 GMT  <== Humor ==> 

One late night, as they were making their way home from a night of drinking, two young lasses encounter an unconscious man in a kilt. They realize that they have an opportunity to answer that most pressing question, so they lift his skirt. Nothing there but him. They tie a blue ribbon around his manly parts, to let him know they were there, and continue on their merry way.

The next morning, our Scotsman lifts himself from the ground, wipes off the dirt, and finds a nearby tree, to rid himself of the last night's beer. He spreads his kilt, looks down, and exclaims, "I don' know where ye've been, laddy, but wherever 'twas, ye won first prize."

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Love That Pink

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 15 Oct 2016 13:46:58 GMT  <== Webmaster stuff ==> 

I promised to write about bicycling, but first I just have to make a comment.

The pink background of the left column of this blog is a color I discovered by accident one day, messing around with RGB (Red/Green/Blue) numbers. I absolutely love it. I use it on my journal site as well, but I don't go there much. Looking forward to seeing it every day.

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Medium and Steemit and Gab, Oh My!

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 15 Oct 2016 10:47:12 GMT  <== Personal ==> 

One reason I'm not blogging much any more on my Lisplog sites is that most of my writing these days is on Medium or Steemit.

I like Medium because communication there tends to be kinder than on other sites. There is still strong disagreement, but somehow their platform encourages discussion of issues more than deprecation of character. It's also visually beautiful, and has an incredible online text editor. Check out my essay, What I Believe (also at billstclair.com/beliefs).

On Medium, I end up responding to gun grabbers more than anything, even though, as L. Neil Smith says, in Why Did it Have to be... Guns?, that's really not my only issue.

People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single-issue thinker, and a single-issue voter, but it isn't true. What I've chosen, in a world where there's never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician--or political philosophy--is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.

Make no mistake: all politicians--even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership--hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it's an X-ray machine. It's a Vulcan mind-meld. It's the ultimate test to which any politician--or political philosophy--can be put.

If a politician isn't perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash--for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything--without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn't your friend no matter what he tells you.

If he isn't genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody's permission, he's a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

What his attitude--toward your ownership and use of weapons--conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn't trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

If he doesn't want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?

If he makes excuses about obeying a law he's sworn to uphold and defend--the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights--do you want to entrust him with anything?

If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil--like "Constitutionalist"--when you insist that he account for himself, hasn't he betrayed his oath, isn't he unfit to hold office, and doesn't he really belong in jail?

Steemit enables those who are popular with the "whales" to earn fake money with their writing. Except it's not completely fake. Steemit's content, and its "money", are blockchain-based, like Bitcoin. I've never been comfortable with money that has no basis in physical reality, i.e. gold or silver or other durable, fungible commodities. But you can trade both Steem dollars and Bitcoins for Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs), and the guy at the corner store will trade you food for those pieces of paper and worthless tokens. So they're effectively money.

BTW, my account started out being worth $6. It went up to over $20 after I wrote a couple of popular essays. It's under $10 today. So, as usual, I'm not managing to make money off of popularity. My likes don't tend to be mainstream.

Look at the people I follow on Steemit for some good reading. One advantage, and drawback, of Steemit, is that everything is public, all recorded on their blockchain for all eternity. Well, everything except your very long passphrases, which they generate, with no option I can to find choose them yourself.

Gab is a new Twitter-like service that focuses on free speech. They have a handful of rules, a bunch of legalese about Terms of Service, and a Privacy Policy, and all three pretty much make sense. They're in beta. I applied nine days ago, and have not yet received my invitation. They said when I applied that it could take up to four weeks. So I only know the tone of the place by the Tweets of their CEO, Andrew Torba, gab.ai/a. I followed him for a while, but he filled my stream, so I stopped. The guy likes to talk. More on Gab after I have some actual experience there.

Writing this post has reminded me of why I like Lisplog, the blogging system I wrote, in Lisp. It's very responsive, and does everything exactly how I like it. But it's a dinosaur in the online world, saving everything as plain text, so that it serves up instantly, without any waiting for code to run or database to respond.

Come to think of it, I'm a dinosaur, too. A dinosaur who loves to dance. And sing. And play the trombone. And ride a bicycle. And my next post will be about those things, especially the bicycle.

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I'm Back!!

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 14 Oct 2016 20:39:19 GMT  <== Webmaster stuff ==> 

Long time no see, internet. I've reopened End the War on Freedom.

I haven't been a stranger to the internet. Still on Facebook, Twitter, Claire Wolfe's new blog & ClairesCabal.com, The Mental Militita Forums, and a handful of blogs.

Not long after my last post, my wife kicked me out of the house. She invited me back after a few days, but I decided to stay gone. I'm now living in a small town in southern Vermont, in a little hermitage (two-bedroom apartment) just a block and a half from the main drag, but on a dead-end road against a big hill, so it's very quiet. I can walk or bicycle to most of what I need, and get most of the rest from Amazon. I haven't been as insanely happy as I was when my kids were born, but close.

No idea how much I'll blog here. I'm doing technical blogging on lisplog.org, and I still have a journal at billstclair.com/journal, but I think I may start spending more time here. And my political blogging will be more in line with living free in spite of the government, not trying to change the government.

I've owned the etwof.com domain for a while now, and it's always pointed at billstclair.com. I've repurposed it to come directly to this blog.

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Considering digital suicide

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:20:55 GMT  <== Webmaster stuff ==> 

I've been in a very dark space for the past month. It may be time to shut down my digital life again. I did this a few years back, for about a year. If I do it this time, it will be more extreme and more permanent. I'll shut down my web sites, delete my Facebook and Twitter, Hulu, and Netflix accounts. I'll also do my best to hand off the other web sites I maintain.

I'm going to give it until Saturday, March 7. If I decide to do it, this site will simply disappear. So if you care about my bits, you have 5 days to wget them.

I can't take the onslaught of negative energy any more. Time to simplify, live in the physical world I inhabit, and concentrate on making as much spiritual progress as possible in the years I have left on the planet.

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Equal Time For Tesla?

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 01 Mar 2015 21:50:41 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Eric Peters Autos wonders if the new FCC will require web sites to offer the other side of their opinions, just as they do now for radio stations. Of course, he'll never do that, nor will I. I'll usually allow commenters to offer alternative views, but I am the final arbiter of everything that appears on this web site, just as restaurant owners should be the only arbiter of whether and where smoking is allowed on their premises, and who is permitted to enter. Government racism should not be permitted, but private racism is a right. Get used to it.

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