Thursday, December 7, 2023

New developments in CassieIsWatching

From the "Cassie Is Watching" discord server (yeah... a handful of us never quit playing the game... We've got less than three years to solve the final anagram before the 20th anniversary of our first failure to do so cost us Cassie). Ahcapella made an interesting observation.
The WHERE poem from Oct 2, 2006 (and solved on Oct 4):
Inside the gate you will defend
the doe-eyed moppet’s only friend
The picture has not yet commenced
so depicts a rose in soil fenced (soil fenced anagrams to second life!)
The garden where the killer wined
Still holds the cup for you to find
The interesting bit was the double anagram, as Cassie's presence in Second Life wasn't known until the Revelation 3 video.

Another interesting tidbit is that Cassie's Second Life avatar was quite obviously created to look similar to Jessica Rose, the actress who played Bree aka Lonelygirl15, which CiW played off of. "Depicts a Rose in Second Life," indeed.

A final interesting tidbit it that the picture I posted the other day was from the Revelation 1 video from October 1, 2006. (Due to a technical issue with YouTube back in 2006, the last second(s) of videos were frequently cut off. We're not sure of the puppet master of CiW would have been aware of that. Until YouTube fixed that issue years later, it would not have been possible to discover that clue). We missed that clue. Since discovering the picture, I have speculated that we may have missed a drop, but it was still likely to have been recoverable. If he was the picture of the cathedral back then, there were a group of players in CA ready to go looking.

So frustrating to be 17 years removed from the clues to be able to verify any of this, as the puppet master of CiW remains a mystery. I have my suspicions, along with other players, but those suspicions continuously sing towards then away from one particular party. These recent developments point those suspicions squarely at them. If it were them, I don't think they'll ever break their silence, which would be the only way to confirm any of these thoughts at this point. A physical drop in a public area is likely long gone. And a virtual drop in Second Life is most definitely long gone... Unless anyone who reads this has an in at Linden Labs, and Linden Labs happens to have backups from that long ago which could be scoured. lol

edit: A final, final interesting tidbit. I had partially solved the first Maddison Atkins 1.0 clue as TWO BAGS. I was not aware at the time (and Jeromy eventually had to find another way to get us the final solution) but this was a reference to OpAphid clues frequently being double-encoded. I wonder how many other double anagrams Cassie slipped in which went unnoticed. But this leads me to believe maybe, just maybe, OpAphid's PM was already double-encoding clues before they launched OpAphid ;)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Sunday, November 5, 2023


I do not remember much from my childhood from before I was a teen, and even what I do remember is generally not very specific. But every now and then, something will open some floodgate and memories will come rushing in. Usually, that something is completely random, such as a random video about rock power ballads which didn't include the Kiss song "Beth," which I suspect should top everyone's list of hard rock ballads if they're over a certain age. And since the person posting the videos invited comments, I posted that this would be number one on my list, and the floodgates opened. Suddenly, I was transported to Lehigh Acres, Florida, and I was eight years old. I only lived there for just under two years, but I had a small group of friends. James, Jay, Sean and I were pretty inseperable for the short time I knew them. We were in one of their homes, I can't remember which, and they had just gotten Kiss - Alive II. My dad, who I lived with at the time, and his various wives had always had country music on the radio, so hard rock was entirely new to me. And I fell in love with it right away. I was too young to really understand most of they lyrics, but I knew I liked the sound of it, and "Beth" just oozed melancholy to eight-year-old me. And I loved it, too. But the memories didn't stop there. I remember we moved to Florida with my dad's third wife, but she wasn't in the picture very long after the move. But I also don't remember my dad being around much, either. Just me and my two sisters most of the time, and us hanging out with our various friends. I remember in the winter of fourth grade, my class were all required to take either band or orchestra. If you took band, you had to buy or rent your instrument from a music store, and my family was way too poor for that, so that left orchestra. The school had a couple of violins, cellos, and upright basses which could be loaned to students, and a couple of girls got the violins. I was way too short to handle an upright bass, so that left cello. So I learned to read sheet music, and the first stringed instrument that I learned was cello. I don't remember being particularly good at it, but I do remember practicing it, and I remember having to lug that thing back and forth between the school bus stop and my house, which was not an easy task for such a little guy. Poor eight-year-old me would have been able to carry a violin much more easily ;) I don't remember much about my time in Florida other than that, and an aligator walking into our kitchen while my older sister was preparing dinner once. Sometime during the fifth grade, my sisters decided they wanted to move back to Ohio to live with my mom, who had remarried by then, and my dad gave me the choice of going with them or staying with him. I don't know if he would have honored my choice if I had chosen to stay with him, but they were my sisters. What kind of choice did a 9-year old really have? I think I saw my father one time after we moved back in with my mom and step-dad, when I was maybe 15 or 16. He wanted to give me advise about some personal stuff one of my cousins had told him I was going through, and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him at that point. I no longer even resent the man. I just don't know him, so don't really have any feelings at all at this point. I do know he remarried yet again, and had another family. So I have two half-sisters and a half-brother whom I've never met.

Friday, October 13, 2023


If you know where I'm from, you probably know the outcome otherwise why bother posting it? ;)

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Bait and switch

The retail place I was going to lease was listed at $2.50/sf/yr. I should have known something was up when the person at the property management company drug his feet and, even though he knew I was ready to sign the lease before I met with him on Tuesday, sprung "there's an application proceess" on my at our meeting, and said he'd email me a link. The whole process started via email, and I had already met his maintenance person, so why would he wait to spring this on me? Disappointed, but still OK. I had been talking about how a big driver for me was the low cost of the lease, and he never corrected me, so we never discussed price other than what the "modified gross" term of the lease included and didn't include. So, we're walking out of our meeting, I'm a little bummed about not having signed the lease and taken possession at our meeting, and he springs the cost on me which comes out to over $14.50/sf/yr. It's not like he had it listed at the lower price on one site. No. It was listed that way on several sites. Because it is still listed that way, despite having over 48 hrs to have had it corrected, I'm going to assume it's an attempt at bait-and-switch, and this is why it's sat empty for so long. Debating reporting it to the state AG to force corrective action with the listing, as it is deceptive and wastes a ton of time for any interested party. My guess the manager drags his feet and wastes so much time that it's not worth it to walk away from, but I was going to lease it more because I'm a hobbyist who needs space, not because I actually need it for commercial reasons, so I had no choice but to walk away from it when it significantly more than I expected. Bummed, but oh well. With the additional utilities and such, it may have spread me a little thin, so he probably saved me from a bad decision ;)

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Link rot, and how the Internet is dying

This is the post I teased. ;)

Methos is a bit younger than myself, having stated that his first computer as a kid was running Windows 95, but I believe he has a history degree, or was at least a history major, and is a civil war re-enactor. At ahcapella's suggestion, I started sharing some of my interest in computer history, and my collection, and how my goal is to open a computer museam and such, and Methos is apparently also into the retro-futuristic aesthetic, personified by r/cassettefuturism, which is not a Reddit I was aware of, so thanks for the link ;) There are also sites like the Vault of VHS tumblr, which are interesting in certain circles, I suppose, but not something you're likely to stumble upon unless you know exactly what you're looking for or, in my case, provided a link by someone whose interests overlap my own. (Also, there's a guy who does videos like this one where they watch and review mystery VHS tapes. The YouTube algorithm likely never would have put it in front of me, and I never would have known to look. But it's fascinating.)

He started bemoaning the fact that the Internet is dying, partially due to link rot, but also partially due to the commecialized nature of it, instead of the "wild west" that it used to be. Used to be that everyone end their mother, brother, uncle, etc, had a personal website somewhere, either on Geocities or some other free space, or with their ISP under their ~username folder. You could get lost for hours down one rabbit hole or another, just following links from someone's personal website. Some of those pages still live on the Wayback Machine at The problem is, while sites like TheOldNet make it easy to access those old pages, if they exist, the search engines don't exactly show results for personal pages these days so there's no longer an easy way to just stumble across them.

I mentioned tilde club to him, which he found very interesting, and we discussed webcomics (thanks for the index, Methos!) as well, and conventions and fandoms and such. If it's packaged up as a nice, shiny commercial project, it'll rank on searh engines. If it's on a personal website, unless there are few other hits on the specific search terms, the algorithm which once saved us from blackhat SEO has made things worse for the rest of us who are not commecial entities.

Maybe this is why I'm so interested in resurecting the old ISP I used to work for, at least to some extent. There was such a wealth of information of the ~user sites on it which have been lost to time. I would love to recover what I can and restore the long-dead links. The current world wide web feels sterile and corporate. I miss the days where you could spend hours exploring links off of some randome page you stumbled upon. I want to restore at least a small slice of that.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Kane is (not) full

Every Saturday night, there is a gathering of Cassie's Watchers near the church in Second Life. Normally, there are only a couple of people on at a time, and I don't make it nearly as often as I like, so it's been awhile since there have been six of us on at once. Modelmotion also joined, but not before someone else had jumped off. In case you cannot read, the people who joined were:

  • ahcapella
  • Nath
  • Methos
  • Jupiter Vale
  • Pizza Gator
  • Modelmotion
  • myself (Wintermute)

As I tend to do, I either stay quiet or talk about old computers, or the Cassie Is Watching ARG itself. Mostly I stay quiet and talk about the game, because many of my interests are somewhat niche, but apparently Methos is a history buff and civil war re-enactor, so we got into a discussion with him about not just old computers, but also the current state of the Internet, link rot, and associated subjects. We shared some links, and it has given me an idea for a post. This is just a teaser for it, to set the stage a little bit ;) More to come...

Friday, October 6, 2023

New lease and other news

I may be leasing some office/retail space coming soon, in part because my vintage computer collection is overwhelming my home, and in part because my wife needs space for her craft business. Just storing my collection in an environmentally-controlled environment would cost more than this lease, so it will be a really good thing. It also allows me to do restoration work on items in my collection, a place for my 3D printers (yes, plural. I got a larger-format one, and may add a resin one at some point). Finally, since I am 100% work-from-home, it gives me office space to work out of should I need a little separation in order to concentrate.

In other news, I am looking to obtain the greenapple domain from its current owner, but I am not 100% certain if anyone is even monitoring the email address I sent my message to. From my understanding, the people who bought it are no longer maintaining a website for it, and the site they were forwarding it to appears to be down at the moment. I believe there may be maintaining an email server for the domain, but I would be able to maintain one for any former customers or employees that which to continue using them. If I get the domain, I don't have any contrete plans, other than to possibly pull some specific content from the Wayback Machine to make it live in it's original home. I may do some limited web hosting under the brand, or even set up an extremely small-scale dial-up ISP under the brand, just for kicks. Nostalgia. It's a helluva drug. ;)

The office that I'm hoping to lease also gives me plenty of space to set up for video production to launch my own retro YouTube channel, and maybe even a small vintage computer museum.

More to come.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

PiDP11 running 211BSD

I can't believe I haven't posted this here yet, but I odered a PiDP11, built it (with one switch that is either faulty or has a bad solder joint. I'm guessing the latter.) and installed BSD 2.11 on it, which includes a minimal web server. I'll build out the website on it a little more soon, but it was a fun little project, which I continue to work on whenever I have a few minutes.

I came up with a way to make "~user/" spaces work in the web server, but it's a kludge which requires at least the / at the end (if not the index.html too), so I plan on adding the capability into the server itself instead of doing stuff on the OS to make it work. (My technical-minded friends have probably already figured out how I made it work. lol) I've also compiled a minimal irc client, but it requires that the server and nick be hard-coded into the source. I plan on using the username as the nick, which would resolve that issue, and I'm thinking of also building a minimal irc server, so I can hard-code localhost into the client and use it local-only.

I'd like to build it out into a tilde server, but it only supports telnet at the moment. A friend gave me an idea on how to secure it, and based on that idea, I may be able to (sorta) enable ssh via keys, then telnet to BSD automatically upon connection . I'd have to do some security testing to make sure that the users couldn't gain access to the ssh endpoint. There are also a ton of other services which would need built out, but maybe if I get a minimum-viable system in place, the users who join may help built it.

The web server currently resides at, but that may change based on some other projects I'm working on.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Frog Leap Friday: Burning Down the House


Since I just purchaced another Tandy to add to my small but growing collection, I thought I'd mention that September means #septandy over on YouTube. I may actually join in this year if I get a chance to make a video, but if not, I thought I'd share my new aquisition.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Retro Computers

I just bought another retro computer, a Tandy 1000HX, and it should be here tomorrow. I also picked up some items to hopefully allow me to capture MDA/CGA/EGA, so I might start making some videos. Regardless, there will definitely be some more posts here, since my collection is slowly growing. ;)

Monday, August 21, 2023

Macintosh & Co

Back in the before-times, when e-commerce was still barely a thing, (1997, actually, according to the shipping label) I ordered several yards of fabric to make my own kilt in the Irish National tartan from a kiltmaker in Scotland. Their website at the time acted more-or-less as a catalog, as you couldn't order from it yet, but you could visit the shop in person, or order via phone. Not wanting to deal with the costs of international calling, I emailed the shop what I wanted, arranged to send encrypt my credit card information in a separate email, and the entire transaction was performed via email.

I am not sure why, but this entire thing popped into my head yesterday. I ordered slightly too little fabric back then, but kept the tartan and the paper packaging it was shipped in. I knew exactly where I have it stored, so I went out to grab a picture of the shipping label because I decided to look and see if the company was still around. Unfortunately, Macintosh in Scotland is like Jones or Smith is here, so Macintoch and Company doesn't really help. So I decided to look up the address it shipped from, which apparently houses a sweet shop now.

I am sure the owner would have retired by now. Or grown and changed their name. Or been put out of business by a larger company. Or merged with another company. Or any number of other possible fates. At any rate, if anyone happens to know what happened to Macintosh and Co, which was located at 499 Lawnmarket in Edinburgh back in 1997, please contact me. I would love to know what happened to the owner in the 25+ years since.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Capture the Flag

Awhile back, I fired up some VMs on my laptop and did some CaptureTheFlag stuff. Since I have a couple of weeks off before I start work, I'm thinking it might be time for some more fun ;)

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

And Hello, new employer!

I start on July 3 with a vendor on the same project I was on, in the exact same role reporting to the exact same manager. But for a different company.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Farewell, old employer

My last shift at my employer just ended, so I am now officially unemployed. Probably not for long. Likely to be on with a vendor soon, in the exact same role. Kinda sad, though, because it was a good run. And if the vender doesn't work out, I have some other opportunities to follow up on as well.

Weird Science

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Last week!

This is my last week at my current employer, but I have a meeting with the boss and all the others who are directly impacted about a potential re-badge, so we would work for a vendor instead of directly for the company. He was supposed to be negotiating so that we would make roughly the same amount, have roughly the same benefits, but since it's a contractor, allowed to work remotely. I am leaning towards accepting that, because I have several options on the table for my living situation. Some of those options involve relocating ;) Option one is to keep renting, but pay off all of my bills. With just rent and utilities, I'd be able to survive on just unemployment if I absolutely had to, even while supporting my family. Next option is some land down south. Somewhere between 3 and 10 acres, with one (or two) derelict mobile homes on them. It's in the middle of nowhere, will cost next to nothing to obtain, and I would probably buy an RV to live out of while I completely strip those things down and rebuild them. They have their own wells and septic systems, so there's be no rent and just electric, which will eventually be solar. I'd still pay off my other bills, so they only recurring bill would be phone and Internet. A lot of hard work, though, but... No bills, and no nearby neighbors. ;) Also, no winters. lol... But I'd also own an RV, so more travel options. I've also been considering buying an old church and converting it to a residence. One of the most promising prospects is again south, so less harsh winters. But I'd likely not be able to pay off all my bills if I want to buy it outright. It's on 14 arces and in the middle of nowhere as well. It's less work than the previous option. No chance to immediately buy an RV if I bought the one I'm looking at, but still, no rent. Final option is to buy a house outright. What's in my price range would definitely need repairs but should be in habitable condition. I'm looking at one about an hour away which I may be able to pull off while still paying off the bulk of my bills, and honestly looks like it needs a paint job and new flooring throughout. It's in a nice village which I lived outside of before, and is plenty big enough. It would still have water and sewage, on top of electric, and I'd have neighbors. But this village goes all out for Halloween, which is the only holiday that really matters. lol. The house has a fireplace, but no AC, so I'd have to deal with that. It's on about half an acre, so the yard is plenty big enough. There's also a detached garage which is listed as 1-car, but appears to have enough space for a small apartment in it as well, which I could probably convert to a studio. I could potentially buy an RV, since the house would be habitable, either a van/truck to build out as a stealth RV, or a bus to build a skoolie out of. But I wouldn't necessarily have to stay local, either, though I do kinda like where that one is at. Good thing is that I don't have to decide immediately, especially if there is a re-badge option with no (or little) break in employment. Regardless, there is a new chapter coming. I mostly wanted to put some of my thoughts in writing and see if that helps me figure out where my head is ;) My wife and kids get a huge say, of course, but I want to be able to present the options to them and be able to address the pros and cons of each. I think this helped some. (And if anyone is still reading this blog in 2023 and wants to weigh in via comments, it would be greatly appreciated ;)

Thursday, June 1, 2023

T-7 days!

I have 7 work days left at my current employer, but there is a chance of just getting re-badged as a contractor and continuing doing what I'm currently doing. I haven't really actively sought anything else because I want to see where I am after June 9 but have been entertaining the opportunities which have popped up over the past month or so. Turns out waiting may have been the best choice ;)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Goodbye, Netflix

When it came time for me to renew Netflix this month, I finally cancelled instead. Other than a few short stints, I have had Netflix since they were the mail-order DVD rental company which was trying to kill off Blockbuster. Ironically, I cancel right as something seems to be going on with Blocbuster, as their website and socials popped back to life a little while ago. Why did I finally cancel my account after all this time? Because Netflix has changed. They used to be pretty prograssive, with a "Sharing is Caring" type of attitude towards password sharing. When they started changing this and piloting bleeding their customers of every cent we'd pay, I started looking at other options. My wife and I were separated when Netflix started their trials, and we have Netflix mostly for the kids. Had we need wound up back all under one roof, and the kids were still splitting time between the two locations, we probably would have been nailed by an extra charge if I were too lazy to implement the most trivial solution. I already have a server running at home. I could have used a spare Raspberry Pi to build a VPN gateway from her network to mine, thus, as far as Netflix is concerned, all the activity from my account would have been coming from one location, thus avoiding the extra fee. But whether I could have used technology to avoid the fee or not, and despite me not having to resort to it, the fact of the matter is that Netflix has let corporate greed of short-term profits blind them to the long-term profits of customer loyalty. I cancelled my account as soon as they announced the extra fee was almost to the US. I want them to see that their attempt at sucking the last cent they can from me has backfired. As long as they continue this lunacy, I will remain an ex-customer. I really hope that Blockbuster is developing a direct competitor to Netflix. I'm in, if so ;) (Also, Netflix was doomed the moment compatition caused the streaming market to fragment. No one is going to pay more for all the streaming services than they were for cable, for less convenience, in the long term. Netflix will not be the first nor last casualty of the streaming wars.)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Future plans

I mentioned the other day that I'm being impacted by an upcoming RIF at work, with my last day being June 9. I will get severance pay and will be able to cash out both my 401k and ppension (with the option to roll them into new plans by the end of the tax year to avoid penalty), and will also be eligible for unemployent benefits after June 9 while I look for my next employment opportunity. Because of this temporary financial security despite future uncertainty, and because there are so many posibilities on the table, I don't plan to do much active job search until decisions are made on where, exactly, I plan on landing. One idea is to buy some cheap property somewhere as a permanent address and buy an RV and travel, while doing enough remote work to feed the family and maintain the RV. Another is to buy an old church and convert it to a home, and there are several that are close to my price range where I could drop cash on. I love old church architecture, from the tiny country chruches to the giant gothic-esque city structures. You typically get more square feet for your money, too, though frequently a lot less land, than buying a house. If I go either of these routes, I'll likely be relocating, so I don't want to actively seek a job that I may have to turn down because of this. Which is why I'm waiting. ;)

All this is to (also) say, that with at least some amount of free time coming, I hope to be writing here a little more than I have been in some time. I've already started, and am enjoying it immensely, so hopefully I can get on a roll and keep it going, regardless of where everything else lands :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Anti-snoring device

The Arduino blog has posted one of the dumbest things ever... a device which "teaches" on not to snore. I have sleep apnea. No device is going to "teach" me to overcome it. I am going to snore, because I am going to continue to stop breathing in my sleep. cpap is not an option because I also suffer aerophagia and I actually feel worse instead of better. There are a couple of different sugical implants available now, which I will investigate as soon as I have insurance which doesn't exclude prior conditions.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Reduction In Force

When I was first hired by my employer, it was as a contractor but I was eventually in-sourced and kept on the same project. Eventually, that project ended and I was moved to day shift and wrapped into the other project handled by the team. In the first year alone, I survived three or four reductions in force. I've survived several others since then. And then, a couple of weeks ago, the remaining, non-VP members of the US portion of the team were all notified of not making it through the latest round of RIFs. There is one non-VP member of the team in South America who survived, and a few contractors, but the only actual US-based employees on the team who survived are our direct line manager and our team lead. We still have ~ 4 weeks to find something internal or it's our end with the firm. Because RIFs are a regular occurance and I'll never be able to trust that another isn't right around the corner, I decided to not pursue anything internally. I'm also in no rush to find something external, because my plans for after are somewhat fluid. I'm setting myself to be able to live off of savings for at least the remainder of the year if I need to, and unemployment, should it come to that, will extend that another six months. I am actually looking forward to this RIF because I will be nearly debt-free when everything is said an done, and may even own some property. And I find myself happier than I've been since starting this job, which I guess says something ;)

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Hello Blogger, my old friend!

Yes, the site is back on Blogger. I may be moving in the near future, and if I do I am likely to lost the ability to reliably self-host. So, Blogger it is. Most of the data from the old version is imported, which was done by hand. Please report any problems.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

First ride

It's a bit crisp outside, but I *had* to take the new bike for a quick spin around the block. Using throttle-only, it hits just over 20mph, which I guess is the limit for a class 2 e-bike. That's quite zippy for someone who hasn't ridden regularly in quite some time. It's a little too cold out there for me to really push the pedal-assist mode. There are five levels, and I hit 10mph on the lowest level without any effort at all. It felt quite strange to be sitting upright the entire time, because I have ridden drop-bars since I started riding multi-gear bike. More thoughts later.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

My first e-bike

I used to be an avid cyclist, but I stopped several years ago and have gotten myself quite out of shape in the interim, so every attempt I've made to take it back up has been utter failure. I'm so out of shape that just getting on the bike is difficult for me. So, I went on Amazon and found one of the cheapest e-bikes I could find, a 26" mountain bike (I normally ride a 27" or 700c road or racing bike with drop bars) in the hope that the pedal assist can at least get me moving again, and I'll graduate back to my racing bike eventually. It should be delivered Friday, so hopefully I have a chance to post a review of it by next Monday :)

FWIW, here's a non-affiliate Amazon link to the 26" Totem Victor 2.0 that I purchased. I've read that many of the under $1000 bikes of any given style are pretty much the exact same bike with different branding on it, so, in this price range, it's best to go with the cheapest. With shipping factored in, this was, indeed, the cheapest I could find on Amazon. There were ones (basically, the exact same one) available for maybe $20 less which came out to more with the shipping, so, this is what I wound up with. I hope to assemble it Friday night and take my first spin around the block over the weekend. Lots about this bike will be different from the last bike I rode, so I am sure I'll have thoughts ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2023

1932: The Great Emu War

From now on, anyone asking what my favorite movie is gets this - 1932: The Great Emu War. It's historical fiction, based on the actual war. This short film is absolutely fucking brilliant, and is as absurd as a movie based on this part of human history should be. The production value is top-notch, and the acting is over-the-top in just the right places - just as the acting in a movie with this premise should be. My favorite line of dialogue is a throw-away line which breaks the fourth wall, but I believe is the only line in the 30 minutes where it goes meta. Anyhow... On with the film:

Monday, January 16, 2023

20 years!

Here's a capture of my Greenapple page, which is what I first moved over to my own domain, from about 20 years ago. Man, I love!