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An evening of personal growth with Dr. Jordan Peterson

Picture by Gage Skidmore.

It has been many years since I attended public lecture, something I like to do back in the day. I have seen Stephen Hawking in Stockholm University, the amazing Randi (James Randi) and as of lately, Trevor Noah at Hovet.

A few days ago, an ad for an upcoming lecture by clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson came up in Facebook flow and decided to go. And so, I did. This is a bit of a walkthrough and some of my thoughts on him.

Jordan Peterson started his public speaking career as a lecturer with swiftly rising approval and spoke about psychology and your biology. Then he got more creative and started to compare development of a person by talking about Disney movies, books, and the bible. He compared stunted development of some people with “Peter Pan”, noting that Pan is the “god of everything”. He meant, that as we grow up, we must stop being capable of everything and chose to limit ourselves. When we were young, we could have been a cowboy, an astronaut, or a boxer. But as we go into adulthood, we choose careers and maybe a partner. The “Pan” part is now gone, and we specialize. “Peter Pan” is really a book about a boy who refuses to grow up. That did not work splendidly for Michael Jackson, now, did it?

But Mr. Peterson began talking outside his expertise more and more, causing him to become more and more divisive, as he became political. A darling to right wingers and not as much to the left. Personally, I think it’s a sad state of business, as he could have been a voice for everyone across the board. No one seems to get out of entering the political debate without losing a lot of followers and people that listen to your message.

I think most people will get something out of listening to him, and I most certainly did even though I have some points where I cannot agree. This is par for the course with everyone, so let’s not linger, with no further ado – I give you Dr. Jordan Peterson.

The show started 25 minutes late and was introduced by his wife, Tammy Peterson. The intro was way too long in my opinion, but she introduced the subject “rule 7” from of Peterson’s upcoming book “beyond order”. That rule is by the way “Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.”.

He came on stage and started up by noting that the most common question he gets is something like “how do I find a perfect partner for me”. Then he pointed out that the question is wrongly formulated. The better way of seeing it would be asking “how do I become a better person to be attractive for someone”. Those are not the exact words he used but set the tone for the whole lecture.

He then went on by going into identity politics and pointless pursuit of trying to label him as conservative or not. While I’m not sure what to label him in that regard, one thing was readily clear: he is a collectivist. Not authoritarian in any way, but he is very much against the identity politics as they are. The point he makes is that an identity is not atomic, as I “I am what I am, and you must respect that”. Instead, he said “you negotiate your identity with others”. Totally in agreement here, but he has a tendency of compromising that vision of his as well.

And so, he did by alluding to the trans person debate by just touch on the idea of biological and gender identity. Just by looking at his previous speeches, you know that he pretty much disqualifies the difference between biological and psychological gender identities. This is dumb! It’s been proven that trans persons have a biological difference that accounts for their identity not matching their biology. This is natural and Mr. Peterson ends up contradicting himself here. It’s not a good trait of a clinical psychologist to ignore biology just because he does not like gender identities. Also, few modern people would argue against trans people existing and being allowed to. Because they do and they should! But I’m not here to be contrarian, so let’s go on.

The most important part of the lecture was rule seven, but he methodically moved towards it by talking about development of personalities. He spoke about listening to a set of interviews with then President Donald Trump. He noted that he wasn’t really going to talk about Trump being narcissistic or not and instead offered a very interest view as a psychologist: “Trump is a nine-year-old bully”.

He noted that in the interviews he watched, Trump sent out uncommon assertions about every ten minutes. “I’m the greatest president in the history” or “I’m the most honest person ever”. This is strange for anyone to say once – but doing it every 10 minutes is remarkable.

And Trump did. According to Mr. Peterson, he simply uses the assertion to ask anyone to challenge him. Like a nine-year-old bully he screams “I’m the king of the school yard, fight me!”. That’s some sort of stunted development right there, eh?

Leaving trump, he went on to talk about the necessity of other people and connecting with them to build up your own constraints and sanity. Others will tell you when you’re out of line or plainly wrong. He talked about a particularly bad night out on the pubs with three married men that he said, “seemed to be in the marriage counseling business”. I think that was just a bitter joke. But they did nothing but complaining about their wives, while assuming everyone else did. Peterson recalled that they called them “bitches”.

He wryly stated something like “imagine arguing and then ‘winning’ against your wife every day? What have you won? If you won 20 times in a row, you now have loser of a wife. And she will resent you for It”. He meant that in a relationship, we all must sometimes put up with each other, but not with everything.

It seems to be up to everyone to follow their nature and interact with others in a meaningful matter, rather than demanding to the world that they accept you as you are without ever changing. To me it sounds about right. Mr. Peterson has met critique for those standpoints, but also acclaim.

The mantle piece of the storytelling was the “hard work”-part and he spoke with visible emotion about his first job. He was 14 and worked at a restaurant with the dishes. It was a horrible job as he struggled and barely managed to complete his task in time. Hid did it for a week and then decided to try a little bit more, before giving that crappy job up. The next week, just as he was getting ready to quit the job, the German chef come up to him. He taught him to order the plates before washing them, and suddenly the work was manageable and easy. You might say, “Nice to let him go through torment for a week before teaching him how to do it”. But there was a reason: most dishwashers quit and training them was useless as they disappeared after just a few days. But the chef saw that Jordan did not and decided to teach him the work. And that work gave him many personal friends and lead to career development.

A common theme of his is the path to personal growth. By the end of the lecture, he noted that the are levels of heaven above and many that leads into the deepest part of hell, if you want to make that fun journey.

So where lies Peterson’s heaven? I get the feeling of very traditional values coming into play when it turns out to be “get a job and a family”. Yeah, and friends. He reluctantly accepts that “some people may not want kids”. This is probably when you get not only what he is saying, but who he is: a counterweight to the counterculture. Not by any means wanting to turn the clock back to before the unkempt hippies but trying to counter what he sees as “rampant individualism”.

He sometimes comes out looking like an old man screaming “get off my lawn” and “my times were better”. But still, he is clearly skilled and insightful, and it was a pleasure to yet again attend a lecture held by a true intellectual.

Netizenship needs to come back!

All right. The connection between this graph and Netizen may feel weak. But remember that the idea of netizenship started years before the whole play field changed. It may be what can push it back into feeling much, but thinking more, instead of feelings out of control and little thinking. Am I right?

Back in the 90s, I learned about the term “Netizenship”. I learned it from Usenet, as Internet wasn’t a thing (at least for me) back then. It is a portmanteau of the words “Citizenship” and “Net”. If you access a local- or global network with more users on it, you’re a Netizen. As in “you live as a member of a village”. Yes, it harkens back to the days of the “Global village” discussion, and its come back in the 90s. I won’t bother you with the details. Suffice to say this: netizenship was important. It’s the computer equivalent of “Above all, cause no harm”. In short: as a network user you must not become a problem for others.

A true netizen (not that Scotsman fallacy!) must act in a proper, non-aggressive and secure manner. I found out that there is an old, but oddly useful RFC called RFC1855, describing among other things how to “Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive.”. That’s not a political statement, but a rule that truly fits today. In short don’t blow a fuse when people write stuff that is dumb or hateful and choose your own words well. Just imagine everyone applying that on Twitter, and I don’t think Elon Musk would have bought the company. Yes, I wrote that! Twitter is what it is DUE to the raging wars, no despite it. And social media builds on this divide. “Digital divide” used to mean those with access to Internet vs those without. Today, it’s a false dichotomy of “angry left” vs “raging right” or “whatever” vs “whatever else”. We don’t need that. It’s like going to a bar, meeting some drinking buddies, and then starting a fight over soccer teams or political parties. Please don’t. It was nice when it was just drinking beer and talking about everything and everyone.

But my main intent of this text is not just social issues and proper behavior. IT-security must now be in the driver seat. A modern netizen MUST consider his or her presence when online and offline. A good netizen should always know that lax security on their part, can, and probably WILL constitute an emergency on someone else side of the net. I mean, if your work or private account gets hacked, because you have bad password discipline, that account can be used in your good name to send malicious email to others. That’s just an example. There are many ways this can play out against you and others. Back in the naughties, we had the “security triad” of “Firewall, patching and antivirus”. It was a mantra, that we were told. Was it a bad idea? No, absolutely not. That was a part of netizenship even when the term was long gone. But it’s 2022 today, and the list of obligations to stay secure is growing and changing fast.

I think, as the headline said, that we should take the term back. Internet has been libertarian since its popularization in the 90s. But it never was meant as an anarchy. Self-governing and making ourselves and others into informed users was what it was meant to be. If we want that to be true now, we’re probably out of luck. But Internet is still somewhat free. In some parts of the world. And this puts the responsibility on YOU and me! We must keep your equipment safe, our manners at least somewhat decent and educate ourselves in being observant. A citizen should “trust but verify” and so must a netizen. In short, we must understand better than to Google for what we already believe in, stop helping in spreading unverified rumours, cease and desist connecting insecure stuff directly to the Internet because “who cares?” and remember where we came from. I saw texts from 1979 on one of the first Swedish bulletin board systems and it had a lot of disagreements. And, yes, drama and nasty comments. This has not changed a bit. BUT. The SCALE of things has. Everyone and their dog are a netizen (ever heard about electronic dog collars?) today.

If we intend the Internet to be more of a positive than a negative force in this world, we must bring netizenship back! Not regulate it – foster it! Inspire it – not force it. Talk about consequences for others when you’re not acting properly rather than forbidding certain words, views, and ideas. Laws still apply, that will not change. The Internet does not give you the right to do illegal stuff (which jurisdiction, btw?) or to harm others. But if we cannot get our act together, a lot of things that are acceptable today, may be illegal tomorrow.

How to become a netizen, summed up in a few points, that will not form a complete list:

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident” does not mean “Hey, it does not specifically forbid that dumb thing I want to do, so I will”.
  • “Free speech” means that the government (if you’re lucky to live under such a government) cannot censure you. You still cannot spew racist comments on a cat pedigree forum if the admins don’t want you to (they won’t!).
  • You may have a right to speak, but I have no obligation to listen. Same is true in reverse.
  • Writing dumb and incendiary stuff is probably legal – but you will face a backlash if you make that a habit. A Swedish proverb: “Angry cats get their skin torn”.
  • Fox Mulder “wanted to believe”. A netizen needs to get in the know.
  • Learn to observe and place your naivete outside the Internet connection.
  • Netizens inform others when needed, try to understand who they’re communicating with when doing so and say something when they see something.
  • It’s not mandatory to be a netizen, but it may be what keeps the Internet from becoming a controlled zone where you cannot voice some opinions.
  • If your opinions are always controversial to large groups of other people, nurture the thought that those people may not be the problem.
  • If it feels wrong or bad in a conversation, disconnect! Pull the plug or the better yet, the mains circuit breaker.
  • Trustno1 is a poor password, but a decent way of navigating the Internet until you have unlooked the “Trust but verify” skill in your netizen skill tree.
  • Microsoft once wrote something like “If someone controls your computer, it’s no longer yours”. Given their track record when it comes to IT-security, that is hilarious. It’s also very true.
  • Unique passwords and multi-factor authentication. That’s where it’s at today. I’m not selling running shoes but must still say this: “Just do it”.
  • It’s advisable not to be an arse. That is the beginning of the road to true enlightenment, netizenship and maybe one day getting married.
  • Open your mind a bit and close the firewall a lot.
  • The internet is not the Twilight zone. That would be the dark net.
  • OSSINT is a word you MUST understand and consider when on the Internet. Google for it if you don’t know what it means. Just don’t Bing for it, then you will never find it.
  • Authentication is meant to make sure that you know who you’re really talking to. It does not work. Always been that way.
  • If you try to be anonymous, you will shine like a beacon. Try to be like everyone else, it works better.
  • Make sure your brain is connected, before checking the keyboard cable.
  • If keyboard is not found, please press ‘F1’ to proceed. If brain is not working, don’t press any key.
  • ”Cool app. I can age my face 40 years. I gotta check it out”. Great, soon you will wonder why the airport security in the banana republic you travel to immediately recognize you.
  • Looking at cat videos on YouTube for a whole day every now and then, causes no harm. Cats are cool and you won’t have time to vent your frustration about some dumb stuff some celebrity did, when you are on Twitter. Dogs are also nice.
  • Create stuff because you love to. Not because you want to be famous. That place is already taken. And not by you or me.
  • If you write tweets, short posts on Facebook or show your lunch on Instagram all the time, you’re draining your creativity pool. This way, you are content enough not to write the great novel, the scary radio drama, the great software, mixing up that strange new mint-flavored Whiskey or maybe writing a new secure communication protocol. Some of that would be sad if not ever created.
  • Don’t get angry. Don’t get even. Go somewhere else.
  • Being agreeable leads to Netizenship. Want to learn more?

Links:

http://cybra.p.lodz.pl/Content/1081/issues/issue3_7/preface/index.html

https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/rfc1855

DJ Daemon’s seven lemon and tonic (Non-alcoholic)

Drink responsibly: i.e. outside the control room.

The drink you can do while broadcasting. Just don’t drink it near the mixing console.

Ingredients

  • 7UP (Sodastreamer or normal)
  • Tonic water (Schweppes)
  • Concentrated lemon (liquid)

Get a big glas! No alcohol, so just go nuts. Fill it to one quarter with 7UP. Fill three quarters with Tonic water. Add so much lemon, that it gets that “sting”, but doesn’t go sour.

Ice cubes can be added if you like, but then reduce the amount of tonic water somewhat.

Sympathy

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I avoid political messages on this blog as a rule. I have a lot of political ideas, none which are extreme. But given the news I’ve heard over the weeks, I will leave this picture here, to show my sympathy with Ukraine and its people that are going through hell right now.

I hope Russia can stop being an aggessor, that harms the rest of the world while bringing chaos and destruction to us all.

[Swedish] Några tankar om Jon Karlungs “Nord stream 3”

Jag sänder podcastar idag snarare än radio. Men det är givetvis lagligt.

Som en inbiten radionörd har många av mina vänner på sociala media skickat med länken med Jon Karlungs “Radio Nord stream 3”. Jag är ett stort fan av Radio Nord, även om de lade ner många år innan jag föddes. Så humorn i namnet är otroligt skön, tycker jag. MEN…
Jon är en slug räv som skriver att han kallar på alla “radioentusiaster” och inte radioamatörer eller professionella radiooperatörer. Han vill helt enkelt få folk att börja sända piratradio med budskap som han skaffar fram åt de hugade. Som radioamatör vill jag säga några ord angående detta. Jag sympatiserar med Ukraina och anser att Putins invasion måste besvaras med sanktioner snarare än arga tillmälen. Men låt oss bryta ner detta med att sända olagligt till en värld som ändå inte kommer lyssna.

  • Kortvågsradiolyssning (SWR) är en rolig hobby och jag har givetvis sysslat med den själv. Men hur många har en kortvågsradio hemma som de lyssnar på idag? Ja, då även i Ryssland… Inte många. De som lyssnar har det som en hobby, eller för att de kommer från länder långt borta som de vill höra program från. Karlungs sändningar kommer att höras av mycket få personer. Det är inte som när Voice of America sände in i Sovjet och Ryssarna gömde sina kortvågsmottagare och lyssnade i smyg. Då hade det verkan!
  • Skulle detta mot förmodan bli ett problem för Ryssland, kommer de svara med att störa brett över alla band som de kan. Effekten blir att radioamatörhobbyn kommer få en mycket tråkig tid.
  • PTS (Post och Telestyrelsen) kommer garanterat inte dela Jons entusiasm över detta. Det är olagligt att sända på frekvenser du inte har tillstånd till. Om du är radioamatör, kom ihåg att du inte har rätt att sända rundradio på amatörfrekvenser. Det står klart och tydligt att hobbyn är till för tester av utrustning, sändningsslag och för att utveckla radiokunskap och teknologi (för att förenkla det). Inte för politiska budskap, åsikter och att signalera protester och värdegrunder. Sorry, det är det tråkiga sanningen.
  • Jag förstår att protester ofta är olagliga, det ligger liksom i deras natur. Men betänk vad jag skrev ovan, det kommer inte hjälpa någon och ställa till problem för folk om folk börjar sända lite på måfå utan kunskap om vad de sysslar med.

Jag har ingen jurisdiktion annat än i mitt 69 kvadratmeter stora hem, så jag kan bara ge er ett gott råd: sänd inte olagligt. Tack.

Method to madness: how Flashback is made

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On Friday the 11th of December 2020, I made a one hour long show on this station. It was without a name and I soon wanted to continue producing more of those shows. I thought about naming it after what I call the hours between 9pm and 11pm: the “golden hours”. It’s a time of relative quiet and nothing that needs to be done. So, you relax and just chill. But I realized that it was a bad name, given it’s close to another phrase that has sexual meanings. Then one of the users at Discord suggested making it into a podcast and a few weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. Therefore, it’s both a show that now runs on Saturdays at 9 pm and a podcast. It’s first broadcast and a few hours later made into a podcast episode. Today, the show/podcast is known to the world as “Flashback, tracks from the past”.

But this is not the history of the show. That’s something I will write later, so let’s instead look into how an episode is made. I’ll walk you through a fictitious episode of the show, just to give you an idea. Remember that all the pictures can be clicked on.

It’s Monday and work is over. in those “Corona-laden days”, it does not matter as much as I am already at home. A Discord-channel just announced that the Revolution 2022 demo party in New Zeeland will be held this Saturday. And good news, there will be a tracked music competition. I directly know, I just must make a top list episode and play all those tunes. Generally, demo parties will not allow previously released songs to enter the competition, so I cannot have them in advance. Next step: I go to their homepage and note the local time using a converter.

I note that their tracked music competition will run at Saturday morning at 6 am Swedish time. Perfect! I have about 12 hours to get the music as my show will air at 9 pm Swedish time and I take time to record the show. Swiftly, I compose an email and send it to the organizers, asking them to provide me with the music as soon as the competition is over. They’re almost always busy, as a demo party is a lot of work and very stressful. Some orgas are super helpful, whereas others don’t bother to respond at all. The response comes on Wednesday, and they tell me they will try to send of the entries as soon as the party ends on 9 am Swedish time. This compacts my time frame even further, but I have no choice. The songs often later appear in various sites such as ModArchive and Modland. But I don’t know when they will be there or if all will be. It’s not uncommon for some of the songs to go missing due to orgas forgetting to upload them. They also note that I really must push any Amiga modules to mono due to the weird wide stereo the Amiga has. I spend some hours in the evening, adding that function to the script I use to convert the modules to mp3-files for the broadcasting software. This script converts the tracked music files, normalizes them, and adds the instrument-lists to the mp3 comments. Friday evening, and I setup the equipment for recording the audio of the demo party stream. My idea is to record the party Twitch-stream as a backup if I cannot get one or two of the songs working due to some weird reason. I need to be up before 6 am, so I set the clock radio to wake me up.

Saturday morning, I wake up mere minutes before the compo as I overslept the alarm. I barely manage to get the recording started before the competition begins. I note down thoughts on each of the entries. As a rule, I comment on quality and how the songs sound. I often use words to describe speed, complexity, and my immediate feelings for it. Often, I must listen to them the first time while writing the manuscript. But today I lie in my bedroom with a cup of coffee, playing the stream on the TV with the Chromecast. The party ends at 9.45 am due to the obligatory delays those parties always have due to technical problems. Covid19 has been around a long time now, but not long enough so the orgas has learned how to broadcast the streams without interruptions. Few parties manage to get this right. The delays and the problems are now part of the experience and bothers no one. At 10 am, I send a reminder to the orgas and ask them to send the email. The hours go as I wonder what to do if I can’t get the files in time. If the time expires I can either use the recording from the stream or must create another show without having time to prepare it properly. This will become another “Just playing music and talking” episode. Those are nice but does not really advance the podcast much in the direction of storytelling or adding something to the retro hobby itself.

At 3 pm, the mail arrives. They have uploaded the files to Modland already, and I get a link to the ftp-server. Download is simple, but the files are named inconsistently, and I must mail again to get their chart positions and then a third time to point out the winner is listed as both first and fifth position and I can’t find the song on position 7. Turns out the file name and the song name are different.

I sift through the files and note two .mptm modules. That’s a format my script based on xmp does not reliably handle, so I fire up OpenMPT for those. Two files require an emulator and is stored away in another folder for now. The rest go into a folder called LinuxImport as I fire up VMWare workstation and power up the Linux-based converter machine. This virtual machine can read and write in the folder on my D:\-drive in Windows. When I start the script, it picks up all files in LinuxImport and converts them. The mp3-files are now ready, but one is just 2 kb, which means xmp failed to understand how to play it. That module has to be manually handled with OpenMPT. The two files requiring an emulator is a .d64 and some Nintendo NES tune. The former is easy to put into C64 Forever and then record it with SoundTap. The other turns out to require Googling and a lot of experimentation. It does not sound right and some more Googling makes me understand it must have the emulator running in NTSC-mode to work. Now I have all 15 tracks in mp3-format. The script has properly generated the instrument-lists as comments and uses the album fields to store the monthly batch number and what kind of file it was before conversion and its original name. This must be manually created for the tunes that needed to be handled outside the script. We’re now close to 6 pm, and I’m a bit stressed as I need to start recording around 6 pm, which I know will not happen.

The mp3-files are then uploaded to PlayIT Live, the broadcast automation system and and I begin to work my way through them. The identity of the artist must be manually determined as modules don’t have an artist field. Artists are notoriously horrible at documenting their artwork, so I must check and double check my notes and the final chart from the demo party. I often prepend the position of the track to the artist during this phase and later remove it after the broadcast. This way, I’m less likely to put the songs in the wrong order. Then I listen to the start and end of each song and set the start and endpoint for it. Many songs are meant to loop forever, so sometimes I must determine a manual ending before the end of the file and its intended loop-point. Otherwise, the song would just abruptly stop. I note that it’s past 7 pm and I start writing my script in a haste. Normally I back-announce the songs. That is, I talk about them after playing them. But the top list episodes need normal announcing, as I must talk about the artist and tune before playing it. Each speech must contain artist, name of the entry, place, points (if available), country of artist and/or a funny or insightful commentary on the songs. Here are a few real examples from previous demo party episodes:

“On place 12, we get a weird start of a song, feeling they just let the recorder run and forgot the actually create a song. You do get a weird pumping sound, as if they were trying to inflate a tire. How this got 36 points is totally beyond me. And the song never starts but should be known as Patjalanda and its by Kaunis Espanjalaien Tyttoe. Please stay until its done – it gets better later in the program. I’m sorry for this.”

“The true top list starts on place 10 with the tune Tuurilla mukaan by Defilus. It gets 37 points. Aaaaand, there’s nothing wrong with your radio, it’s meant to sound like a classic “oumpapa”-song cut to ribbons by a mad and possible drunk sound engineer. I’m innocent here!”

“Bronze time, people. Meritaehti sends the show into a total Tailspin of great guitar riffs and synth chords. This is enough to get it to third place and 55 points. It enters and leaves swiftly and precisely.”

“The zombies are coming! You have barricaded yourself and your friends in a small shack in the middle of nowhere. There is a knock on the door. As you walk towards it, artist Lampovyi Ninja screams “Don’t open that freaking door”. The tune places itself at place 5 and wakes up some lawyers from Nintendo.” “

I don’t know about Tipperary, but EA gets the silver medal with “Long way to DiHalt”. It’s like the last tune, also by EA, so you can probably fuse them together.” “Another artist I have problems finding info about. It’s jump error of Team Moritz and the tune is called Alien Slaphead. Poor aliens. That’s what we do to them…

On the other side, watch any Hollywood movie, and as you can see it’s hardly unprovoked. Place 4.” “Slaze of Defiance comes from Sweden and tells me that he is spending many hours of his spare time composing tunes right now. And it shows, he has been hitting the demo compo charts at Forndata 2021 and earlier Revision 2021. Rumor is that he is aiming for Edison Party 2021 as well. We’ll see. The tune is called Temporal Anomaly.” “There’s nothing strange with that. Distortion has sounded that way since Jimi Hendrix invented it”.

Not all comments are humorous, as I try to mix funny banter with some notes about the tune itself. But as I try to talk no more than 15-25 seconds between the songs, I cannot do both funny and informative at the same time.

I now open PlayIt Live, the software that powers the radio station, and start ordering the playlist.

It’s close to 8 pm and I have one hour and 15 minutes to get it done. I add the break notes into the playlist. This makes generating the playout easier for the podcast notes. Recording lines should be easy, but it’s super stressful and I must rerecord each track until I’m happy with it. The stress makes it easy to become forgetful and starting to mispronounce things. I can get into a loop where I pronounce a word wrong three times in a row as stress gets the better of me. It’s easy to get into a mood where you get more and more worked up over minor errors and finally cannot even read the lines out correctly at all. When I read the lines loud to figure out the timing, I rarely ever make any errors. When I record, I must make multiple takes as I want it to sound as good as I can. I guess stress handling is not my forte. This whole process is done by something called “Voice tracking”. This means that I record my speeches between the songs without having to wait for them to complete, as you used to have to do back in the day. I see and hear the last five seconds of the song ending, record my voice and then advance the next song.

8.30 pm I record the 10 pm top of the hour speech that runs directly after the show and points out the show will be released as a podcast. Now I need to check and tighten the segues, so my speech leaves over to the tune in a timely (“tight”) manner. I also double check the order of songs and the timing. Lastly, I trim the handover to the automated broadcast and calibrate the top of the hours. 9 pm, the show goes on the air, and I shift focus to other tasks as I have another podcast as well.

10 pm, the show ends, and I grab the processed broadcast copy in wav-format. This is the high-quality master directly from the broadcast processor. It then cut it to its proper start and end, correcting any problems found and making sure it’s ok. The master is then saved as a .flac and then fed back into “the best of ericade.radio”, the rerun station. I fire up Gimp and create the image that must go along with the podcast. I have a template with the Flashback-logo on. It’s my friend Mattias Jadesköld, who made it out of the box art for the game “Flashback” and then fixed a nice caption for it. I add two small pictures on the top of it to depict the demo party. The Revolution demo party logo is now added as one of them and then a nice picture from the winning Amiga demo from that party! Now starts two hours of creating the mp3 and mp4 files with all data about the episode stored in them. I yank the playout log from PlayIT Live and run it through Excel and Notepad to cut the playlist and my manuscript to size. This is added to YouTube along with the MP4-file. I must have two copies of it since YouTube limits all texts to 5000 characters. I then go through all timestamps and check them, so you can jump between songs and my speech, selecting exactly what you want to listen to. I must sync my two copies of the script. The YouTube clip is then switched to public and now the listeners start enjoying it. My work is not done. I now have to fill in the podcast episode data in the ericade.radio website and the news blurb. Then I test the episode to see the mp3-file is playable from the webserver. I once added the wrong mp3-file, and Spotify still plays the wrong file for this episode to this day. Most podcast sites, read the RSS-feed and then refuse to correct what it once has read or copied. Spotify copies the mp3-file to its own CDN (Content distribution network). They have no standard process to correct errors, so you got to double check. Almost done! I check and double check that everything has been published. Then I hotwire station 2 – “The best of ericade.radio” to play the fresh episode.

This makes it available in the database powering the website, I can then add all the show details. And then there is the PR department, once again yours truly, that must tell the world. This can be walking on eggshells since no one likes spam. So, I carefully think about who needs to hear the announcement. Demo party episodes can be posted in groups and channels that talk about that. Retro gaming episodes and stories from retro Sweden should not be posted to DemoZoo or some other Discord server dealing with the demo scene. I feed the social media dragons with the announcements and then it’s done. At this time today I have worked almost 9 hours to get this broadcast ready. This does not include preparations. All in all, this episode took nearly 11 hours to get to the world, while being one hour long for the listeners. The few comments I get arrive. They are generally positive. But no one seems to share or link to it, so it falls to me to continue building the listener base. So far, the statistics is not good, but it’s still something I enjoy doing as it’s a challenge. So, listeners/viewers are optional for everyone producing stuff for free. You cannot do this for the love, the money, and the popularity. The drive is creative expression. And why not, Covid19 has us all longing for clear skies again, so while waiting, we sit at home and create.

Stuck in the middle with you…

Someone made a furry (!) version of “Stealers wheel” song “stuck in the middle” and it’s awesome! Link in the end of the article.

It’s more than a year ago since I wrote the essay “When are we going to get out of this mess?“. It was my first (I hope) attempt of sending a message back in time to myself explaining Covid19. Just like a UDP-paket, I have no idea if it went through. As I don’t remember getting it, either it failed or was sent to the wrong timeline or dimension.

So, with no further ado, here are the news:

The Covid19 pandemic is over! It ended <TBD>

No! It has even weirder tentacles now! But, hey, it looks pretty tasty as well. What does it taste like? Strawberry! Then death.

Hah! Summer of 2021, we all emerged from the bomb shelters. More and more of us vaccinated and all so happy it was all over, and it was. At least until the infection rate shot up again, and we all went from: happy friends to happy tree friends. Hope became despair, because the bloody tentacle monster came back in a new dress of mutation. The alpha was yesterdays news and out of style, because delta was all the rage. Right now, I wonder if we run out of letters in the greek alphabet before running out of new variants.

The Covid19 zone – the diagram showing our fear of a mutant planet:

Zone A: It spreads more slowly – It’s less dangerousZone B: It spreads more slowly – It’s more dangerous
“The cool zone” : we can start meeting again and try to remember what our friends look like.
“The idunno zone”: You can outrun the foolish virus, but if it catches you, you will be in a certain creek without a paddle.
Zone C: It spreads more rapidly – It’s less dangerous Zone D: It spreads more rapidly – It’s more dangerous
“The realist zone”: they all say this is how it works. And you feel like, “Maybe I get this new mutation and let it be over and done with”.“The 28 days later zone”: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArgh!!! The Zombies are coming!!!!
Can I just zone out and hope it goes away?

Vaccines helps – unless you’re ignorant

Actually, he did not say that. Then again, most of the stuff Lincoln and Jesus wrote on the Internet is probably made up as well.

I’m pretty sure the vaccine helps, but cannot tell, as it does not give off a “beep” when it stops an attempt to infect me. My antimalware software does that. Then again, in order to do that, it would need to have a microchip in it and we don’t have the technology to create such a marvel of science!

I need to clear this up for you anti-vaxxers out there: IT’S NOT TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE TO DO!

But it should be! I want a WI-FI enable vaccine that I can monitor from my smart phone and also upgrade to get the latest protections. Then again, that would became a literal “killer app” if the hackers found a way to hack into it. Just imagine the newest version of ransomware: “Nice immune system you have – would be a shame if something bad happened to it”.

In all honesty:

Nice to know. I’m a rationalist, and I agree.

To be serious: Please get the vaccine. I’m tired of all those new mutations, we don’t need more of that, thank you very much. Also, you can feel really smug and take some vaccine-selfies that just scream “I’m a douche bag”.

Politics are really interesting, try to keep up

Now, that’s a bit harsh. Then again, mr. Mencken wasn’t the wolds most kind and compassionate person. As to which politician this may refer to: too many to mention from both the left and the right.

Trump lost the election, but someone needs to tell him that, as he seems to have some alternate version of how it went. In my opinion, you’re a bit of a sore loser when you ask people to raid the congress because you don’t get to stay up late.

Come back in 2024, and if I may have some stuff to say about Biden as well.

As to everything else, everyone seems to be angry at everyone else everywhere in the world. We don’t have to sing “we shall overcome”, but maybe chill down a bit or at least don’t invade someone over it.

I don’t like losing readers and followers over something like politics, where we will never agree. It can destroy any relationship, dinner or knitting club meeting.

Hackers be hacking

It has yet to happen – but one day, mark my word, it probably won’t.

Effective defence level – effective threat level = “just how screwed we are”-level.

This equation has been producing negative values since the days of Blaster, slammer and Nimda. Sorry, that’s just how it is. And it always gets better – for hackers and pentesters. Right now, you may be excused for believing the IT-security business will provide job security forever and ever.

Facebook managed to both to get hacked and to hack themselves. I must say, I’m impressed.

Back to your bunker – just don’t go full Jack Nicholson

… Next up “Madness – Our house” followed by “High way to hell”. Later this hour “Under pressure” by Queen and “Paranoid” with …

Some countries now ask you to kindly go back home and don’t come out until all is well again. Exactly when that is, isn’t clear. If you are vaccinated and deemed healthy your covid-pass will grant you access to your local pub. Unless a new variant comes out, when they might ask you to shiver in fear and avoid eye contact with anyone that may carry the virus. Also, don’t play the accordion near populated areas, no one likes that.

When you’re home again, try not to talk to yourself. If you do – don’t shout and bang your head in the wall. It hurts and your neighbors will not like it, as it disturbs their “frozen in shock”-Yoga.

If you give yourself advice, remember you will always agree with yourself, if no one is there to talk some sense into you. That is a good insight to have when you wonder “will it become worse?”.

Prepping is good, but you might want to get rid of that stash of 2048 toilet rolls that fill up 3/4 or your house. Could be good to get better stuff instead. I’m just saying.

And yes, here’s something to cheer you up: the aforementioned YouTube-clip:

A fairly incompent sheriff for a human. Pretty decent for a donkey tho’

What a real buffer overwrite may look like

In 2018 I got my Firefox hacked! It was over as fast as it was done. First Firefox crashed. It was fully patched and I had an Apparmor profile on Ubuntu in full enforcemode. Here are the log entries:

May 25 20:17:06 molly kernel: [  372.984627] audit: type=1400 audit(1527272226.649:102): apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”capable” profile=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” pid=7437 comm=”firefox” capability=21  capname=”sys_admin”

May 25 20:17:06 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”dbus_method_call”  bus=”session” path=”/org/gtk/vfs/Daemon” interface=”org.gtk.vfs.Daemon” member=”ListMonitorImplementations” mask=”send” name=”:1.7″ pid=7437 label=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” peer_pid=2161 peer_label=”unconfined”

May 25 20:17:07 molly kernel: [  373.458709] audit: type=1400 audit(1527272227.121:103): apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”file_lock” profile=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” name=”/home/erza/.cache/fontconfig/a41116dafaf8b233ac2c61cb73f2ea5f-le64.cache-7″ pid=7437 comm=”firefox” requested_mask=”k” denied_mask=”k” fsuid=1001 ouid=1001

May 25 20:17:07 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”dbus_method_call”  bus=”session” path=”/org/freedesktop/DBus” interface=”org.freedesktop.DBus” member=”RequestName” mask=”send” name=”org.freedesktop.DBus” pid=7437 label=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” peer_label=”unconfined”

May 25 20:17:07 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”dbus_method_call”  bus=”session” path=”/org/gtk/vfs/Daemon” interface=”org.gtk.vfs.Daemon” member=”ListMonitorImplementations” mask=”send” name=”:1.7″ pid=7505 label=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” peer_pid=2161 peer_label=”unconfined”

May 25 20:17:08 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: apparmor=”DENIED” operation=”dbus_method_call”  bus=”session” path=”/org/gtk/vfs/Daemon” interface=”org.gtk.vfs.Daemon” member=”ListMonitorImplementations” mask=”send” name=”:1.7″ pid=7567 label=”/usr/lib/firefox/firefox{,*[^s][^h]}” peer_pid=2161 peer_label=”unconfined”

May 25 20:17:24 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: [session uid=1001 pid=2062] Activating via systemd: service name=’org.gnome.Terminal’ unit=’gnome-terminal-server.service’ requested by ‘:1.77’ (uid=1001 pid=7611 comm=”/usr/bin/gnome-terminal.real ” label=”unconfined”)

May 25 20:17:24 molly systemd[2035]: Starting GNOME Terminal Server…

May 25 20:17:24 molly dbus-daemon[2062]: [session uid=1001 pid=2062] Successfully activated service ‘org.gnome.Terminal’

May 25 20:17:24 molly systemd[2035]: Started GNOME Terminal Server.

When I searched through the logs 30 seconds later, almost everything above was gone, leaving only the inconspicious entries. Now, that’s a very professional hacker group at work.

Adding “Now playing” info to OBS for PlayIt Live

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Updated on 2021-11-17 due to some minor errors and omissions and adding a walk-through video.

This is what we’re building today….

Normally I take a pride in making my code presentable, but this is a bit of a rough example of JavaScript and HTML. So please forgive my slap-dash approach to the problem. The code works fine and has served its purpose well for almost a year. Today I use a selfwritten API and JSON to populate text data.

The intended effect is to get a “Now playing” function in Open broadcaster (OBS) that shows what PlayIt Live is playing, like in the picture above.

What you need

  • PlayIt Live.
  • The “Now playing” plugin.
  • OpenBroadcaster (OBS) or Streamlabs OBS
  • A local IIS (Internet Information Services) webserver.
  • My code
  • All components need to run on the same operating system. (Windows 10 or Windows Server 201x recommended)

Visual learner? – Try the YouTube video, with my walk-through

Hit the full screen on this one, to actually see something. 🙂

Steps

First, you need to install a local IIS. OBS seems to support JavaScript-execution on locally included files in the “Browser source” widget, but this requires lowering the security of OBS, and also, I have not tested it. So that’s an alternate route if you do not wish to have a local IIS on your broadcasting server. But in this guide, we will use a local IIS. It’s very useful for lots of other purposes such as rebroadcasting news. Please be adviced, it will be setup NOT to be reachable outside the server, as this could be insecure.

Open the control panel and click “Programs and features”.

Programs and features.

Then select “Turn Windows features on or off”.

Easy as pie

Check the following boxes:

No FTP, who uses that anyway?

The open the manager.

Now setup the bindings for the site like this:

Bindings can be found on the menu to the right in the console

This ensures that noone outside the server will ever reach the web site. The web site is located on %SystemDrive%\inetpub\wwwroot, which generally means c:\inetpub\wwwroot unless you installed your Windows-installation on some other drive.

Good! All set.

Now download my script here. (If you haven’t already)

Then create a folder called nowplaying under wwwroot.

Ah.. good…

Unpack the zip-archive to your Desktop and move the extracted file (trackloader.htm) to c:\inetpub\www\nowplaying\. The file “trackloader.htm” should now be directly under the folder itself. Don’t store the zip-archive itself under the wwwroot.

Create an empty file on your desktop and call it tracks.htm.

Move that file into c:\inetpub\wwwroot\nowplaying\

It should look like this, now!

This will ask for administrative permissions, which you must accept.

Permissions to write…

All files in the nowplaying folder are readonly, and that’s totally fine. In fact, they must be. We don’t want to be insecure. But tracks.htm must be writable by the same account that PlayIt Live runs as.

Select tracks.htm, right-click it and select properties.

Click the Security

Just as Swenglish as I am…

Add that account in question with write permissions. Don’t add Everyone or authenticated users.

Alla (Swedish) = Everyone. Bad DJ, no cookie! 😉

If you are having an existential crisis, press Windows + R, type in cmd.exe and click OK. Then type whoami into the black command prompt. You must be logged in with the same account that PlayIt Live normally is logged in while running. The command will tell you your identity. That must go inte the dialog above. Don’t forget checking “Write”.

So, onto the “Now playing” plugin

I assume PlayIt Live is installed and properly running.

Open the “Now Playing”-plugin.

Ready to rock!

Set it up like in the picture and save it.

Open a web browser and try:

http://127.0.0.1/nowplaying/trackloader.htm

It’s aaaaaaalive!!!! It’s aaaaaaalive!!!

Almost ready. Now open OBS or SLOBS and setup a new browser source.

… And so do we….

Setup the source the way you want. The settings in picture above may have to be adjusted depending on your ideas as how to display it on the page. But this should now, work. Time for a beer…

Audionerdery: the Amiga lofi hi-fi

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Going nuts and then some….

This the auto-eq working on a typical Amiga module. The lowest bars are the treble frequencies and the uppermost ones are the bass. Red means reducing and blue means boosting. A typical Amiga-module has very little audio in the higher frequencies due to limitations in the crappy samplers and the recording techniques. Also 8bit samplers are not magic of high-fidelity. So the auto-eq desperately try to crank the high frequencies up. The manual of the software (Thimeo StereoTool) states those bars should get closer to the middle of the scale. This means the compensation will only kick in if the spectrum is uneven. The calculations make sure this will work by working out median of each band. Good luck with that when almost half of the songs are Amiga 8bit 4-track modules and the other are PC 16bit Fasttracker/impulsetracker tunes with superior audio. I love Amiga modules, but not their “audio quality”.

Audio-version of “split-vision”.

More… This one has the auto-eq going bonkers trying to handle the broad Amiga stereo with the left and right channels living their own life.

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