Monday, November 14, 2022

Acer Aspire

I have a slightly older Acer Aspire laptop which has both HDMI and VGA outputs on the side. I assumed that those two outputs would mirror each other, or only one could be active at a time, so imagine my surprise when I plugged a monitor into each and had a triple-monitor setup on it under Linux. I am going to get a VGA-HDMI converter so that I can use both of my 32" monitors (which do not have VGA inputs) for work, and dedicate my more powerful Acer Predator laptop as a strictly gamming machine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

You can't re-write a blank page

I follow a number of musicians on YouTube, many of whom I've discovered via their collaboration with Frog Leap Studios. One of them is Mary Spender, but she does a lot more videos than just music, which I typically ignore. For some reason, I decided to click on one this AM before work, and she was talking the typical "Just start" type of pep-talk to those who might want to make a change or start a project but can't seem to, and, because I've had an idea for a novel stuck in my head for decades now, the line in the title of this post really resonates with me. Most writing is re-writing, and "you can't re-write a blank page."

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Here is an amazing video of the audience reaction of a demo running on an original IBM PC with CGA graphics:

And because I just recently acquired and restored an original IBM 5150 PC, here it is running on mine:

Saturday, July 30, 2022

D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!

I just finished my binge of DB Cooper: Where Are You?! and thought I'd share a few thoughts, since this case has fascinated me since childhood.

First, Tom Colbert comes off looking like an asshole conspiracy nutjob. Most of this series focuses on him and his "search," but he seems to lock onto a suspect early on into his investigation and then closes himself off to all other possibilities. While the series does touch on other investigators and other theories, none so much as Tom Colbert.

Second, unless a body is found with one of the parachutes and some of the cash strapped to it because they died in the jump, I don't think we'll ever know for certain who DB Cooper was. Considering he was thought to be in his 40s in 1971, and was a smoker, he is almost certainly dead by now. Or will be soon.

Finally, it's not a great series, but one worth watching if you've ever had any interest in the story at all. It was definitely enough to renew my interest in the subject ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Rings of Power

I cannot wait for this new series. I'm a huge fan of The Silmarillion and have read a good number of the History of Middle Earth volumes. I cannot wait to see the mythos behind the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings come to life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Dorian Gray Effect

The middle part of this video, starting about mid-way through, is really trippy. Surprisingly, the Dorian Gray Effect doesn't have a Wikipedia article. Still trippy, though. ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Countdown to Webb first images

The Webb telescope's first images are going to be revealed on July 12 at 10:30am Eastern. NASA has a countdown timer for anyone who is interested ;)

Saturday, July 2, 2022


ahcapella recently sent me some notes he's been keeping over the years on CassieIsWatching, but many of the links have long since been dead. I've posted them over at and have been updating the links to Wayback Machine versions, where appropriate. Two of the three files he sent have been updated so far, but this makes me wonder... would it make sense for me to move the entire site off of a blogging platform and over to a wiki, like this, and mirror the content of all those links instead of link them? And, even though some of the sites are still there, should I maybe mirror the appropriate parts on as well? We have lost way too much data to time, and I would hate to lose more.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Further thoughts on ASD

I recently asked if I have Asperger's and whether it really matters much at my age. I've done a bit more research, and in studies about 80% of people on the spectrum score that high, and 0% people not on the spectrum do, so it seems to be a test to rule out ASD rather than rule it in. So that part of the question is fairly convincingly answered in my mind. The other part, I'm still undecided on. I've put some feelers out with local psychiatrist offices, though, to see about whether the can do adult diagnosis, but, again, because of my social anxiety, I'm not sure I would want anything beyond that.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Do I have Asperger’s?

So, I ran across a video of someone in the retrocomputing community disclosing that they are on the Autism spectrum and linking to an Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test,and my results:

Your score was 36 out of a possible 50.

Scores in the 33-50 range indicate significant Autistic traits (Autism).

So, am I surprised, really? Not really. I mean, I suspected I was neurodivergent, and this test doesn't really tell me if I'm on the spectrum or not. It just indicates that I likely am, and, to be sure, should get a formal diagnosis. If I am on the spectrum, I suspect it's Asperger's Syndrome, but, at 52, would an actual diagnosis really matter? It certainly would explain a lot of feelings I've had about myself, but does it really change anything? I'm not sure it does, and I suppose disclosing an actual diagnosis could complicate certain areas of life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Freaks and Geeks

I just finished my first watch through of the series Freaks and Geeks. It's one of those shows which deserved more than one season, but, alas, was canceled because of poor scheduling and conflicts between NBC and its creators. Such a shame, because I really wanted to see what happened next. Seems like the characters are overdue for a class reunion, though ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How I Met Your Mother

After a recent binge watch of the first season of How I Met Your Father, I decided to rewatch one of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother and just finished the final episode. According to the timeline, Ted has two more years with his wife, which kinda makes the final episode sadder than when it originally aired. Overall, the series holds up pretty well so far. Some might claim some of the humor might be problematic these days, but they never were exactly PC to begin with. I think they mostly still land. It helps that NPH played Barney, and is exactly opposite of Barney in every possible way, which, IMHO, which is part of what made the show so funny to begin with. I highly recommend a re-watch if you get a chance. Well worth it :)

Also, How I Met Your Father doesn't quite land the same way, but isn't bad either ;)

Friday, May 6, 2022

Welcome home, Wesley

I watched the season 2 finale of Picard, and the end of the second act... Wow! I wanted to immediately post about it, but didn't want to leave any spoilers. But, since Wil posted his Welcome Home, Wesley post on his blog, I figured I'd link to that instead.

I am only a couple of years older than Wil Wheaton is, and my relationship with his character, Wesley Crusher, is as complicated as Wil's own relationship to his character. Initially, I didn't warm up to TNG until late in the second season or so, and I disliked the character for several reasons. While brilliantly acted, I suspect none of the writers were awkward outcasts as teens, so they did not write him particularly well. As time has put distance between myself and my teen years, I recognize that what I disliked about Wesley Crusher was his reflection of myself. I also discovered Wil Wheaton's blog many, many moons ago, back when it was still "In Exile," and have really grown to appreciate Wil as an author, and as a person. It did not even take the full run of TNG for Wesley Crusher to grow on me. By the time he left to become a Traveler, I was fond of the character. But because of my own realizations about myself, and my fondness of Wil as a person, that fondness has only grown over time.

History does not remember blood. It remembers names.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Dracula Daily

Dracula, as I'm sure many are aware, is written as correspondence between the characters, diary entries, etc. I'll admit that, while I've seen the movie, I've never actually read the source book. The events take place between May 3 and November 10, so someone has decided to chop the book up into emails which will be sent as the events are dated in the novel. Sign up at Dracula Daily.

edit: Apparently, this is not his first go-round, but it is very, very cool.

Monday, March 14, 2022

More pagers

Just received my lot of 9 Motorola Advisor Gold pagers, which were sold as untested. Of them, one doesn't power up, one has a faulty backlight button, and one has a faulty LCD which still works, but displays random lines across the screen. While I don't have much use for these specific pagers, I wanted some that I could use for testing, practice changing crystals in, etc, and this lot of 9 was cheaper than most individual pagers, so I won't feel bad if I kill any of them ;) And these ones all have their capcodes on the label, so I was able to send a quick test to one, and it works! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Hack the Planet!

As mentioned ealier, Hackers is one of my favorite movies. Inspired by the folks at Hackers Curator, I decided to build my own replica prop. But I plan to go one step further, and make mine at least somewhat functional. So, I've obtained a supposedly functional Motorola Advisor, plus a Motorola Bravo Encore to match Kate Libby's, plus several Motorola Advisor Golds for testing, since they were really cheap for a lot of 9. But before any of that came in (so far, the Advisor came in), I worked out how I was going to make it functional. Here is my plan:
  • Test all the pagers and figure out their capcodes.
  • Forward my Google Voice SMS to Gmail
  • Create a filter in Gmail to label SMS messages (I recommend SMS, which is in my .fetchmailrc below)
  • Allow imap in Gmail
  • Use fetchmail and a custom script to download/convert the SMS "folder" to a Raspberry Pi.
  • Use instructions here to transmit those messages to my pager, at least within range of my Pi.
So far, I've received the Motorola Advisor and made sure it powers on and holds time. I do not know the capcode, so I am working out how to find it. I have ideas, though ;) I've also configured fetchmail on my Raspberry Pi and written a custom script which leaves just the From and text of the SMS in a file on the Pi. Here's my fetchmail config.

protocol IMAP
user "" with password "" mda "/home/pi/"
folder 'SMS'
fetchlimit 1
FilenameUniqueId=$(date +"%Y%m%d_%H%M%S_%N")
echo "" > $TmpFile
while read x
#echo $x
echo $x >> $TmpFile
while read line; do
if [[ $line =~ From ]] ; then echo $line > $OutputFile; fi
done < $TmpFile
sed '1,//d;/To respond to this text message, reply to this email or visit Google Voice./,$d' $TmpFile >> $OutputFile
rm $TmpFile
Once I have the capcode of the pager, I will add code to */home/pi/* from the link above to actually transmit the text of that file to my pager. **UPDATE:** I wrote a quick script to go through all possible 7-digit capcodes:
for i in {0..99}
for num in {0..99999}
# printf -v cap "%02d%05dn" $i $num
# echo $cap
printf -v cmd 'echo -e "%02d%05d:CAPCODE %02d%05d" | sudo rpitx/pocsag -f "929037500" -b 3' $i $num $i $num
bash -c "$cmd"
sleep 30s
My pager frequency is labelled as 929.0375 Mhz, 929037500 above represents. That script sends "CAPCODE nnnnnnn" to every possible capcode on that frequency, sleeping 30 seconds between each. I do this for two reasons. First, so that when the last pager I have receives its capcode, I can break out of the script. Second, to keep it from completely spamming the frequency. I don't plan on running this without a bandpass filter and the output power is pretty low, but even so, I'd rather be a good neighbor and not interfere with anyone else. Considering the Pi outputs almost-square waves, the harmonics can be pretty nasty. Even though they're low power, a highly-tuned antenna could pick up a harmonic and piss someone off. Best to do what I can to mitigate that, and to stay within FCC part 15 rules. And the reason for the nested for loop... From 0 to seven 9's is just too much for bash on the Pi to handle via a single loop. Splitting it into two nested loops makes it begin execution much more quickly. I got tired of waiting when it was a single loop, and even only doing is to size 9's caused a significant delay on execution.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Russian warship, go fuck yourself!

The exchange between Ukrainian defenders on Snake Island and Russian invaders has been on my mind a lot. I won't link the clip here, since it's easily found, but how powerful is it to hear a soldier ask, presumably a superior, "Should I tell them to go fuck themself?" followed by, louder, with more authority, and directly addressing the aggressors, "Russian warship, go fuck yourself." This is quite possibly the most powerful thing I will hear in my entire life.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Slackware 15

Since version 15.0 was announced not too long ago, I decided to install Slackware for the first time in years. I took a notebook that I was having trouble doing a factory reset of Windows 10 on to use as guineapig before I put it on my daily driver, as the last time I tried it, it took some effort to everything going properly. I think I finally gave up on it after I couldn't get my particular soundcard working properly. This time, I decided to just install everything, so chose a "terse" install and let it do its thing. It surprised me a bit to come back to it a little later to it asking me to set up lilo. Man, it's been ages since I've seen this, since most distros seem to use grub2 these days. It was a pleasant surprise, though, as it is still just as simple to use as it's always been. When everything was done installing (after a few config questions, such as which version of vi to use) and the system restarted, I was presented with the old, familiar login prompt. I added and logged into my user account, and startx brought X up without issues, but it wouldn't quit properly. I figured I'd be in the GUI more on this than I have with Slackware in the past, so I switched to a terminal, edited the inittab file to change the default runlevel to 4 so that X would come up automatically, and everything just worked. Next stop, installing it on my daily driver and seeing how difficult the nvidia drivers are these days ;)

One, an Algar the Bard cover

Pretty cool medieval cover of One.