Posts Below
5/3/2015 - Evil Toilets for Cats (Corporations Gone Wild - I Wish This Was Just a Joke)
3/22/2015 - Modified version of new2dir for Puppy Linux; and thoughts on Linux package management (Puppy Linux)
3/19/2015 - Short blog comment about systemd and Puppy Linux (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web)
3/19/2015 - systemd - probably a bad thing (Linux)
3/11/2015 - Spotify is nice to use again; thoughts on alternatives (Music - News)
3/9/2015 - Sorry for my mistaken suggestion about Music Unlimited; I accidentally canceled my subscription (Music - News)
2/11/2015 - Astroblahhh Desktop v2.0 (Site Update - Software Release)
2/11/2015 - Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.1 (Puppy Linux - Software Release)
1/29/2015 - Sony's Music Unlimited is closing at the end of March 2015 (Music - News)
12/2/2014 - A few ideas for business models that might work despite an impoverished world (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web - Forum Replies)
12/2/2014 - Short blog comment on how I choose tools (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web - Blog Comment)
10/5/2014 - Mercury retrograde; and Eryss astrology software delayed again (Astrology)
9/30/2014 - Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.0 (Puppy Linux - Software Release)
9/26/2014 - Some Criticism of HeroNetwork.com (Charity)
9/24/2014 - More thoughts on alternatives to MOG and Beats Music (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web - Link)
9/12/2014 - Firefox Add-On: Use Page Title as Saved File Name, Change Unusual Chars to Dashes, and Add Current Date and Time v1.4 ApMod v3.0 (Site Update - Software Release)
9/9/2014 - My new favorite music service - Sony's Music Unlimited (Music)
8/27/2014 - Bash Script: Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template) (Site Update)
8/5/2014 - Procrastinating about checking my email (Site Update)
8/1/2014 - Video Link: Michio Kaku - "The Future of the Mind" (Science - Video Link)

Welcome to Astroblahhh.Com. This site, consisting of both blog and non-blog pages, features a gradually growing assortment of miscellaneous things on a variety of topics. I, the author of most of the stuff on this site, usually go by the name Apollia on the internet.

This blog was generated by the WordsPlatz blog software, which I wrote from scratch.


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Evil Toilets for Cats
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
00:09:02 GMT

Corporations Gone Wild
I Wish This Was Just a Joke

Unfortunately, it appears my evil toilets satire is now partially a reality - for cats.


An article from ifixit.org:

DRM Kitty Litter: The Only Thing Stupider than DRM Coffee


I wish this was just a joke!

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Modified version of new2dir for Puppy Linux; and thoughts on Linux package management
Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
18:19:45 GMT

Puppy Linux

new2dir is a wonderfully useful script included with many (all?) Puppy Linuxes, which makes it much easier to create .pet and .sfs files.

The original version of the new2dir script is by Barry Kauler, the creator of Puppy Linux.

The original new2dir and my modified version of new2dir are under the GNU Lesser General Public License, so anyone is allowed to modify them.


Unfortunately, the original new2dir makes my hard disk alarmingly busy, even if the software I'm building is all inside the RAM disk.

So, I made a modified version to solve that problem, at least for myself and anyone who runs Puppy the same way I do - entirely in a RAM disk.

Here's the source code. It's a Bash script:

new2dir with modifications by Apollia


For more information, see this Puppy Linux Discussion Forum thread:

new2dir modified version, imperfect & not thoroughly tested


That, by the way, is the first thing I ever posted to the Puppy Linux Discussion Forum.

I could (and perhaps should) have posted about other Puppy Linux-related stuff I did in the past - but, I had always either been too shy, too busy, too stressed out, or, in some cases, I didn't think my stuff was polished or useful enough.


Anyway, I'm tempted to also post about my Puppy Linux Setup Kit. But, I think I'm going to put that off until I release an update with setup scripts for Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.

My Puppy Linux Setup Kit update will also probably contain stuff related to the next release of Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK and Astroblahhh PH-GTK. I've been working on that lately, because until I finish those, I can't use any of my PHP-GTK software, nor the Eryss astrology software, in LH64.


Actually, I think for the next releases of Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK and Astroblahhh PH-GTK, I'm actually not going to make them into large, combined packages of stuff.

Originally, I made them that way for convenience (and laziness) - just one all-in-one package to download and install. (Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK if you wanted web server+database server-related stuff, and Astroblahhh PH-GTK if you didn't.) But, now, a better way is possible.

My Puppy Linux Setup Kit has some nice, convenient downloader scripts, so, it would probably be better to build a lot of different, separate packages - one for MariaDB, one for PostgreSQL, one for PHP, one for PHP-GTK, etc., and one (or more) for the example scripts, documentation, etc. I bundled with GLMP-GTK and PH-GTK - and then make a bunch of Puppy Setup Kit scripts which will download and install everything in the proper order.


Another, probably even better idea I had was - using the foundation laid by my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, it's now conceivable that I could create some kind of package-building kit, so people could more easily download source code, compile it themselves, and make it into their own .pet and .sfs files.

The package-building kit would provide clear, step-by-step guidance, along with a bit of helpful automation which would do boring things like downloading source code, extracting tarballs, and launching new2dir, dir2pet and mksquashfs.

That would pave the way for people to be able to far more easily build their own possibly customized GLMP-GTK or PH-GTK for whatever Puppy Linux they want, without having to do things as tediously slowly and manually, and without having to wait for me or someone else to do it for them.


Also, it has long bothered me about Linux in general that Linux users are often encouraged to be dependent on package repositories and/or downloading precompiled packages of software for their Linux distro, rather than being more encouraged to download source code and build things themselves.

Even my own Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK and Astroblahhh PH-GTK packages kind of encourage that problem - and so does my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, since it currently mostly downloads .pet and .sfs packages rather than source code - and I'd like to stop encouraging it.

Fortunately, perhaps my not-yet-created package-building kit might be a solution to that problem. It wouldn't be quite as fast and convenient as just downloading a precompiled package, but it would be more educational, give the user the opportunity to customize things themselves more, should be a bit faster than downloading, extracting, and packaging everything manually, and could provide more hand-holding than a source code tarball's README or INSTALL file might.


Having the source code is always better than having precompiled binaries with no source code, for various reasons already explained in this thing I wrote that I so frequently link to: What is free, libre, open source software?

But, until drastically improving my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, I wasn't even able to imagine a convenient, easy way to provide Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK and Astroblahhh PH-GTK without providing precompiled binaries. It seemed so unthinkably difficult originally that I just gave in and provided the precompiled binaries despite my qualms.

Anyway, it will definitely take some work for me to create some package-building scripts, but, thanks to all the work I've already done, going that extra mile doesn't seem like such an overwhelming, intimidating, practically impossible chore anymore.

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Short blog comment about systemd and Puppy Linux
Thursday, March 19th, 2015
14:32:17 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web

I posted a short comment in response to a blog post at the fascinating IgnorantGuru's Blog, by the author of SpaceFM:

Updated Info On SpaceFM

Which, despite the title, also mentions systemd and has comments about it.

My comment is like an abbreviated version of what I said in my preceding blog post, titled systemd - probably a bad thing.

The Updated Info On SpaceFM blog post itself and other people's comments are far more interesting than my comment!

But, it seemed worthwhile for me to post my comment, since no one had brought up Puppy Linux yet.

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systemd - probably a bad thing
Thursday, March 19th, 2015
13:56:08 GMT

Linux

Here's an interesting thread I found on the Puppy Linux Discussion Forum:

Puppy Linux Discussion Forum - boycott systemd


Barry Kauler, the creator of Puppy Linux, doesn't like systemd either, according to this blog post from March 2013:

Barry's Blog - eudev, fork of udev


Addition, 3/22/2015, 6:14 PM: And also according to this more recent blog post from Nov. 14, 2014:

Barry's Blog - Alternatives to systemd

End of addition.


I'm still not a Linux expert, and I ought to pay more attention to news in general (not just Linux news)... so, until the past couple hours or so, I wasn't even aware of "systemd" and how bad it is reputed to be, and quite probably actually is, in my opinion.

"systemd" isn't used in Puppy Linux, so no wonder I mostly hadn't encountered stuff about it before.

Except I had recently run across this post on Tumblr, which I didn't understand at the time:

DevOps Reactions Tumblr - Watching systemd evolve


Anyway, even though I don't fully understand what "systemd" is and all the arguments for and against it, it seems like this is probably a pretty important issue, and thus worth spreading the news about.

I get the impression from what I've read that "systemd" might be a serious threat to free (as in freedom), libre, open source software.

I don't understand it well enough myself yet to write clearly about it, but, hopefully just pointing out that boycott systemd discussion thread will help raise awareness of the potential problems. That discussion thread is currently 14 pages long and contains a lot of interesting info and links.


And, for people who'd prefer non-technical information on this topic, here's another amusing Tumblr post about "systemd":

DevOps Reactions Tumblr - Systemd

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Spotify is nice to use again; thoughts on alternatives
Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
08:05:11 GMT

Music
News

I just tried Spotify again for the first time in a while, and their web player is no longer horrendously slow in my web browser.

So, I guess either Spotify fixed something, or maybe it's faster now because I recently totally switched to Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.

I guess Spotify might even be nice enough now for me to subscribe - but, mostly because of my bad financial circumstances, I'm not going to.

Besides, it would be so cool if I could figure out how to make my own music service using the MN Open API from MediaNet. I wonder if there's a way for me to make money from that without compromising my ideals about libre software and copyleft? Ideas are welcome at The Eryss.Com Forum.

My uncertainty about that is one of the top reasons I'm reluctant to go ahead with it. It's likely to be a lot of work and take a lot longer than I wish it would, for possibly very little reward. On the other hand, I guess there might be no harm in fooling around for a couple weeks or so trying to code up something cool. (I'm not quite ready to begin, though, because I haven't fully made myself at home with Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux yet - that's still in progress.)


Maybe what would be best would be a streaming music site which tries a lot harder than existing streaming music sites to help out musicians, perhaps by providing a lot of external links to musicians' own official websites, so people can go there and buy things and/or send tips directly to the musicians they love.

I've read that the so-called royalties most musicians get from streaming music tend to be depressingly tiny and nowhere near enough to live on. So, perhaps a music site which does a lot more to encourage purchases and tipping might really help musicians out.

I wish there was a payment service which didn't have any fees at all, whose top goal was to help people rather than to make money. But, creating something like that would probably be a lot more difficult than creating a music service, so I don't think I feel up to it. But, someone should definitely create one.

Paying musicians more per stream would also probably be good - though I wonder if it's even financially possible, given that the average price for a streaming music subscription is probably around $9.99 per month for unlimited streaming.

But, even if the price per stream were higher, I think it still would suck for musicians that musicians probably have to just blindly trust (or hope) that streaming music companies are being honest about how many times the musicians' music got streamed.

If I were a musician trying to make a living from music, I'd much rather have potential buyers and tippers sent to my own website which I control, so then I wouldn't be in the position of having to just blindly believe (or hope) that various middleman websites are being honest about my quantity of sales or streams.


Spotify still has a free (as in price) version, and I believe the audio quality is better than YouTube's, at least.

But, perhaps I might end up just going back to collecting legally free MP3s (or even FLAC files - FLAC being a lossless audio format) from sites like Bandcamp or VGRemix.com.

Or maybe I'll return to collecting legally free MIDIs, a hobby I acquired back in the olden days when I had only slow dialup internet, since MIDIs were some of the only music files small enough to enable me to download a lot of decent-sounding music in a reasonable amount of time.

Maybe somehow I'll be able to figure out (or maybe someone will tell me?) how to make MIDIs sound really great in Linux. I have thousands of MIDIs already, and it would be nice to be able to listen to them again without having to use one of my old Windows computers to have decent audio quality.


Donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services (somewhat available, but please don't expect quick responses) are welcome.

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Sorry for my mistaken suggestion about Music Unlimited; I accidentally canceled my subscription
Monday, March 9th, 2015
03:12:17 GMT

Music
News

Today (Sunday, March 8th), I found out my Music Unlimited subscription unintentionally expired. I manually canceled it sometime in the few days before I was due to be charged on March 7th or 8th, and found out at 10:42 PM EDT (I might as well be exact, since my web browser history enables me to :-) ) that I'm now considered a non-subscriber, despite what this Sony FAQ page says:

If you have an active Music Unlimited subscription at the end of February 2015, you will be able to continue listening until the end of March, and you will not be charged during the month of March. Music Unlimited subscriptions will automatically expire on March 29 and will not renew again.

I guess my mistake was, not realizing that I wouldn't be charged if I left my subscription active. Shouldn't have unsubscribed manually.

Sorry for suggesting that idea - I hope it didn't inconvenience anyone else.

I'm going to call customer support tomorrow to see if I can get my account reactivated.

(Addition, March 10, 2015, 10:39 PM: Unfortunately, customer support was unable to do anything. I was sent in circles and told to call various different numbers, and no one was able to help in the end. Oh, well. At least that will motivate me to try doing something with the MN Open API from MediaNet, sooner than I would have if I still had a music service.)

In addition to posting this news here, I've also edited my original blog post about Music Unlimited closing.

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Astroblahhh Desktop v2.0
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
14:22:48 GMT

Site Update
Software Release

I finally managed to make a pretty much releasable edition of Astroblahhh Desktop v2.0.

Astroblahhh Desktop v2.0 (457 KB Zip File)

The source code is hopeless mess which I can't even hope to perfect in a reasonable amount of time. I also didn't adequately update its documentation. But, it's amazing how well it works, despite such hideously messy source code.

I still use it very frequently because I still haven't completed Astroblahhh Desktop v3.0, which is in progress, but not useable yet.

More info is on Astroblahhh Desktop's home page.


Perhaps someday Astroblahhh Desktop might become a plausible rival to things like Evernote or Trello.

Or, perhaps I'm only daydreaming. On the other hand, maybe the only thing that might make it impossible is the oppression caused by my and my family's financial struggles.

As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services (again, somewhat available, except for the fact that I keep avoiding even checking my email) are welcome.

Edit, 2:38 PM: Had to reupload the zip file several times, because I kept noticing little problems that had to be fixed. The timestamp of the hopefully final zip file is 2:31:20 PM EST, and it was uploaded probably less than 2-3 minutes after that.

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Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.1
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
00:09:02 GMT

Puppy Linux
Software Release

I updated my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, mostly because in version 1.0, there was an incredibly stupid and annoying glitch where the launch scripts would act as if you clicked "Yes" if you clicked the "No" button to stop things from installing.

There were also other small updates and improvements too, which I didn't document because it was too much trouble.

Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.1


For now, I've abandoned the idea of making the setup kit set up Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.

I couldn't get my favorite window manager (IceWM) to work, and running multiple VirtualBoxes didn't seem to work much (or maybe at all) better than running them with Lucid Puppy 5.2.8 version 004 - my usual 4 GB RAM computer still got slowed down. So, since the benefits weren't as dramatic as I hoped they would be, it seemed best to stay with Lucid.

I'm pretty satisfied with the setup kit overall, so this might be the last update of it for quite a while.

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Sony's Music Unlimited is closing at the end of March 2015
Thursday, January 29th, 2015
08:15:03 GMT

Music
News

Today, I found out via an email from Sony that Music Unlimited is closing at the end of March.

How disappointing! I'm so tired of great services getting shut down.

But, here's one good bit of news. Quoted from http://www.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/music/:

"Current Music Unlimited customers will be able to listen throughout March even if their subscriptions end before the month is over."


Not so good is this quote:

"Music Unlimited subscriptions will not renew after March 29."


So, if your subscription renews before March 29, then, you might want to manually cancel it in March before you possibly get charged.

(Addition, March 8, 2015: Actually, this was a bad idea. I did this, and I'm now considered a non-subscriber, so I'm going to have to contact customer support to see if I can reactivate my account for the rest of March.

Originally, I hadn't seen this FAQ page which says:

If you have an active Music Unlimited subscription at the end of February 2015, you will be able to continue listening until the end of March, and you will not be charged during the month of March. Music Unlimited subscriptions will automatically expire on March 29 and will not renew again.

End of addition to this blog post, added March 8, 2015, 11:29 PM.)

Unless you want to subscribe to Playstation Music, which seems to just be Spotify streaming through your Playstation.

I'm not going to subscribe to Playstation Music because I don't have a Playstation 3 or 4, and I shouldn't get one in the near future, both for financial reasons, and to avoid distractions. And besides, I just don't like Spotify as much as Music Unlimited.

I think I'd rather try creating my own music service. Maybe I really will try, perhaps using the MN Open API from MediaNet.


But, due to my chronic financial difficulties, I'm probably going to have to do something else instead.

As usual, I welcome donations, microdonations, and purchases of goods (none available yet as I write this) and services (which are somewhat available now, but I've been avoiding my email again lately).

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A few ideas for business models that might work despite an impoverished world
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
11:40:27 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web
Forum Replies

Here are some forum replies I posted way back in February 2014:

Beats Music Support Forums - making a suggestion

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Short blog comment on how I choose tools
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
11:40:16 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web
Blog Comment

Lately, I haven't been posting much of anything anywhere on the entire internet. (Which actually isn't that unusual, since I am overall a shy person.)

But a couple weeks ago, I posted a comment at the The Freelance to Freedom Project blog in reply to this blog post:

How To Choose Your Tools

Here's a direct link to my comment.

I just was writing about free, libre, open source stuff again, mostly.

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Mercury retrograde; and Eryss astrology software delayed again
Sunday, October 5th, 2014
19:37:38 GMT

Astrology

I'm probably not going to release the Windows AutoHotkey* version of Eryss astrology software in the near future, but it's definitely not because of superstitiously avoiding doing it during Mercury retrograde (Oct. 4th-25th, 2014).

Actually, some articles I've read say that Mercury retrograde would actually be a good time to work on something like this.

From SladeRoberson.com:

35 Great Things To Do During Mercury Retrograde

The Positive Side of Mercury Retrograde

What To Do During Mercury Retrograde

But, even so, I'm probably not going to get around to Eryss yet, because, as usual, something more important (which is too private to write about) came up.

Additions, 10/5/2014, 4:52 PM EDT, etc.: Which will also delay everything else I was thinking of releasing. Just another unfortunate consequence of not having enough money. Who knows how many projects of mine will never even come into existence at all, simply because of my poverty?

Donations, microdonations, and purchases of goods and services are welcome.

However, donations or microdonations would be best, since I'm too preoccupied to figure out what goods to sell (none are available currently), or to provide services at the moment. I still welcome requests for services, but, I can't do them in the very near future.

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Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.0
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
17:23:11 GMT

Puppy Linux
Software Release

I'm very happy to announce that I finally have finished a releasable edition of my Puppy Linux Setup Kit.

Here it is:

Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit v1.0

See its home page and readme for more details about what it is and what it does.

Below, I'm not going to rehash that - I'm just going to jot down some extraneous, digressive notes.


It took a lot longer for me to finish the Puppy Setup Kit I thought it would. I got started on it last May or maybe even April. I didn't work on it non-stop since then, but, darn, I expected it to hopefully only take less than a month. But it took much longer, especially with (as usual) other crap in my life (mostly related to my and my family's continual financial problems) getting in the way.

(As always, donations, microdonations, and purchases of goods and services are welcome.)


Anyway, I think I worked on the setup kit most in May, August, and September, transforming it from the mess you can see here to something much more elegant and polished, if I do say so myself. It is my best work in Perl ever, so far, and even just a couple years ago, I would have been incapable of creating it.

I learned a lot from the book Code Complete, 2nd edition**. which I read around Oct./Nov. 2012. I also learned a lot from my still-incomplete (but remarkably successful) attempts in 2013 to convert Astroblahhh Desktop into a PHP-GTK app, while at the same time keeping it fully capable of running on a web server.

Why did I bother with the project of converting Astroblahhh Desktop? Partly just for fun, and partly because I do get a bit tired of being dependent on the non-libre Windows XP, even if I'm only using it inside a VirtualBox*.

And I also wanted to get away from having to depend on a MySQL or MariaDB server, too, so I also added already fully-functional SQLite conversion capabilities. The newest unreleased version of Astroblahhh Desktop can use both MySQL/MariaDB and SQLite databases, and seamlessly transfer data between each type of database. (At least, it seems pretty seamless so far.)

But I digress from the topic of the Puppy Setup Kit.


Apollia's Puppy Setup Kit is the thing I wrote about in 2013 in the Apollia's Puppy Setup and History With Puppy section of the page Some Puppy Linux Basics.

Back then, it was terribly messy and primitive - partly because I simply didn't have the time to learn how to do things right and polish it up nicely, and largely because I didn't even yet know how to make Perl modules from scratch.

So, in each original setup kit script, there was a lot of needlessly repeated code. I also didn't even yet know that it's a good idea to use these statements near the top of each Perl script:

use strict;
use warnings;

If you're not used to using those statements, they'll probably cause you a lot of annoying warnings at first, but, they'll help you catch a lot of little problems you'd otherwise miss, and help make you more careful and scrupulous in general.


So, happily, now I'm a lot more comfortable with Perl than I ever was in the past. It's still not my favorite language - that's still PHP - but I think now Perl might be my second-favorite language.

And I'm so glad I've finally gotten something so useful finished and released.


I'd like to expand the Puppy Setup Kit to make it capable of nicely customizing Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2. I quite like LH64 because it seems to run faster than Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004.

My main obstacle so far with that is that I haven't been able to figure out how to get my favorite window manager, IceWM*, working in LH64. If anyone has some clues on how to do that, I'd love to read about it.




Anyway, at least with this long-overdue project finally finished and released, I now feel far more free to move on to something completely different, if I want. And I might, since I'm likely to take my time with the LH64 part of the Puppy Setup Kit.

Probably my top focus should be trying to figure out how to really fix my financial situation for good.

I guess maybe I might relatively soon start up two more of my websites - one of which will be focused on free (as in freedom), libre, open source stuff, and the other on stuff which is free, but only free as in price.

On the latter, I might point out various examples of the many hidden costs of supposedly "free" (but only as in price) things. And also draw attention to the superior alternatives - stuff which is truly free, as in freedom.




I've owned Apollia.com since Oct. 2013, and I'm thinking I might like to make that into some sort of nice portfolio website, something more polished and more impressive at first glance than Astroblahhh.Com. I've been getting ncreasingly annoyed by Astroblahhh.Com being an informal, messy, too-seldom-updated assortment of stuff of varying levels of quality, and I'm itching to reorganize it somehow, perhaps by installing a CMS.

So far, the CMS I'm most likely to install here is CouchCMS. And maybe someday I'll expand my WordsPlatz blog software, and merge it with features of Astroblahhh Desktop, maybe throw in some wiki-like features, and whatever else seems like a good idea, and hopefully wind up with my ideal, dream CMS.

Or probably I should call it a WRS - website revision system - as GNU.org sensibly recommends calling CMSes, given how absurdly ambiguous the term "content management system" is.

Quoted from this page on GNU.org:

The term "content management" takes the prize for vacuity. "Content" means "some sort of information," and "management" in this context means "doing something with it." So a "content management system" is a system for doing something to some sort of information. Nearly all programs fit that description.

:-)


Apollia.com will probably not be anywhere near as formal as the average curriculum vitae/resumé site, and I hope I will find some way to keep it from being static and boring.

My main goal with it will probably be to try to impress potential employers, probably by pointing out my best work, and maybe I'll put up some glitzier, fancier special effects than I normally like to use on my websites - once I learn how.

Probably my $9.00 a month subscription to Learnable.com will help me learn how to deal better with the cosmetic side of web design which I've typically largely neglected. And it already has helped me gain a deeper understanding of some technical things, and I was a bit surprised to find I quite liked their project management ebook.




Hmm, what else can I mention in this post? Oh, yes. One of the best things I discovered lately was the Mercurial* distributed version control software. It was of great help to me while building the Puppy Setup Kit.

The website hginit.com is a great intro to Mercurial.

I wish I had looked into version control software years ago. I thought version control software was mainly intended to make it easier for multiple developers to collaborate on one project, so I didn't realize it would be of so much use to me as a solo developer who has never yet directly contributed code to anyone else's project.

Sometimes I like to work on the same project on different computers, and in the past I had run into the problem of not having a really good way to merge the changes I made to the same project in each different location. Mercurial solves that (among other nuisances).

So does Git too, I guess, but I find Git quite confusing in comparison. And also, it seems like the copy of Git installed in Lucid Puppy 5.2.8 version 004's DevX SFS file (containing development tools) is partly broken - I couldn't get it to display log entries.




I'd still like to release the original version of my Eryss astrology software - the AutoHotkey* version I threw together in Oct. 2011 and have scarcely touched since Nov. 2011. Perhaps I should quickly just do that, even though it's nowhere near as polished as I'd like, and I'm now aware it has some errors with the code for calculating midpoints, which I really don't feel like struggling to fix.

If I manage to release it before Oct. 5th, then, I will just barely avoid having not released it for 3 entire years after I first started building it (Oct. 5th, 2011).

I guess I can just call it an alpha version. It's very doubtful that I'll ever complete it, because I am still plagued with financial problems, and on top of that, I find it rather hard nowadays to get motivated to work very hard on software which is native to non-libre platforms such as Windows or MacOS, because free, libre, open source software is inherently superior to closed source software in so many important ways.


Again, donations, microdonations, and purchases of goods and services are welcome.


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Some Criticism of HeroNetwork.com
Friday, September 26th, 2014
09:50:05 GMT

Charity

I finally updated this old page again:

Prosperity.Astroblahhh.Com

That page features a small amount of info for former members of the Donations & Microdonations for Individuals & Groups forum I used to have on the now-closed social networking site Gaia (previously named Zaadz).

I added some criticism of HeroNetwork.com. I wanted to recommend HeroNetwork.com, but after reading their FAQ page, I couldn't.


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More thoughts on alternatives to MOG and Beats Music
Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
12:10:43 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web
Link

Today, I posted some replies here:

Beats Music Support Forums - BEATS/APPLE CHALLENGE


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Firefox Add-On: Use Page Title as Saved File Name, Change Unusual Chars to Dashes, and Add Current Date and Time v1.4 ApMod v3.0
Friday, September 12th, 2014
23:25:08 GMT

Site Update
Software Release

I finally updated the old "Use Page Title As File Name + Change Unusual Chars To Dashes" Firefox add-on, since I found it didn't work in Firefox 32.

The new version is:

Use Page Title as Saved File Name, Change Unusual Chars to Dashes,
and Add Current Date and Time v1.4 ApMod v3.0

Like the previous version, I didn't write it from scratch. Both versions are modified versions of File Title 1.4. The original File Title 1.4 is by Pavel Cvrcek.


I also updated the Firefox Add-Ons page for the first time since December 2011.

I didn't update most of the text on it, nor even add any new add-ons except the above, but, there's a new Tips for Making Firefox Add-Ons section.

Addition, 9:37 PM EDT: Just added a General Tips section too.

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My new favorite music service - Sony's Music Unlimited
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
02:31:30 GMT

Music

Today, I finally signed up for a 30-day free trial of Sony's Music Unlimited.

It sounds wonderful! To me, it sounds like it might be equal to or maybe even better than MOG* was.

Mind you, I don't have very fancy audio equipment, and have only $30 Radio Shack headphones (which actually sound quite good to me, perhaps for lack of any experience with anything reputedly better).

But, in any case, I'm happy to have finally found a service with such high audio quality that I find it a completely satisfactory replacement for MOG - at least, audio-wise and price-wise.

It costs the same as MOG - $4.99 per month for the Access plan (which lets you listen via their web player, or a Playstation 3 or 4), or $9.99 per month for the Premium plan with access via more devices.


The web interface is definitely nowhere near as nice as the interface of MOG, or Rdio or Google Play Music All Access. But at least it's better than Beats Music's web interface was when I tried Beats Music in June/July.

(Edit, 9/28/2014, 8:49 AM: I have to correct this! Music Unlimited's web player is much nicer than I thought it was. I just couldn't see that because I had my NoScript add-on in Firefox 32 configured wrong. Oddly, it was necessary to unblock JavaScript from twitter.com to make Music Unlimited's web player work properly.

Now that I did that, I have playlist-building capabilities which are similar to MOG - with drag and drop - but even better, because you can add or remove multiple songs at once!

Addition, 9:06 AM: So now, I'm even happier to subscribe to them! And I made playlists for my Tumblrs:

Eryss Tumblr Playlist - Apollia Tumblr Playlist

Addition, 10/3/2014: Today, I noticed that in Music Unlimited's web player, there's a "High Quality Streaming" setting which appears to be off by default, and deleting your web browser cookies can accidentally turn it off. Which definitely changes the sound, because before I realized this setting had accidentally gotten turned off, I started to suspect that Music Unlimited wasn't sounding as good as it used to. Fortunately, fixing this setting fixed the audio problems.

To fix this setting, click the "Premium User" link in the upper right corner, and select "Settings" from the dropdown menu. Then, next to "High Quality Streaming", click the "On" radio button. The letters "HQ" should appear underneath the song progress bar next time you play a song.)


Fortunately, the top thing I care about is great audio quality, and Sony's Music Unlimited has that. This is the best audio quality I've heard from a music service since MOG.

So, Sony's Music Unlimited is the one I'm going to subscribe to. Perhaps if I ever make enough money, I'll upgrade to Qobuz or perhaps Pono Music, but, maybe only if I can really hear a difference.


I tried a 30-day free trial of Google Play Music All Access in July/August, but I ended up scarcely using it because I thought the audio quality sounded subtly flawed somehow, and inferior even in comparison to Beats Music.

(As for Beats Music, I always had the impression it didn't sound quite as good as MOG - and others think so too, as you can read here and here).

I did like Google's interface (though not as much as MOG). But for me, nothing can make up for a seeming lack of top-notch audio quality.


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Bash Script: Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template)
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
04:15:04 GMT

Site Update

A new little Bash script:

Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template)

It works in both Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004, and Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.


This script makes it so you can easily open a folder on the same disk as the script, even if the disk containing that folder and this script gets mounted at a different than usual mountpoint.

I call these shortcuts "landmarks" (partly inspired by Second Life). I keep most of them in a "Landmarks" folder at the root level of many of my disks.

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Procrastinating about checking my email
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
18:54:06 GMT

Site Update

To anyone it might concern - I've been avoiding checking a lot of my email, for a variety of reasons. It's partly because it's such a nuisance to check a lot of it. I store my Thunderbird profile on an external hard drive that I usually don't have turned on.

And, I have my Thunderbird email client inside a Windows XP VirtualBox, since I still haven't migrated to a native Linux email client.

And, to my knowledge, I usually get hardly any mail from anyone. And, my email is typically full of spam, and I still don't have adequate spam filters. (Except with my Gmail, but I'm trying to reduce my dependence on Gmail, so, I don't want to share that address publicly.)

So, the bottom line is, checking most of my email addresses is generally a very unrewarding nuisance. On top of that, I'm also shy, as well as quite busy lately, so I'm sure I'm avoiding my email partly for those reasons too.

Sorry if anyone is awaiting replies!


Posts to my forums are actually a much better way to reach me than most of my email addresses, because of the lack of spam. So, things posted there are far more likely to be seen by me sooner than any email. (Even though I don't check the forums every day.)

Eryss.Com Forum

Non24.Com Forum

Another option is my Tumblr - though I haven't been using Tumblr much lately, and that's probably not going to change soon, since I have too much to do.

You can send me public or private messages via my forums or Tumblr. My forums and my Tumblr are moderated (and I'm the only moderator), so, messages won't be posted immediately or automatically, and, if you include a note in your message that says you don't want your message to appear publicly, I won't publish your message.


Happily, on my forums, there are almost never any spambot posts or spambot registrations, ever since 2013 when I changed some settings to make it harder for spambots to register or post.

(Except last month there were some spambot registrations when I made the mistake of replacing the anti-spam verification question with an easy math question. Spambots can do math, it seems.)


Just thought I should post this to explain to anyone why they might not have gotten a reply.

I'm not even aware of anyone who has sent me any non-spam mail (or I probably would have replied by now), but, it's very possible that important things got lost in the floods of spam I get.

I really need to figure out a better way of dealing with my email and filtering out spam. Suggestions and other comments are welcome!


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Video Link: Michio Kaku - "The Future of the Mind"
Friday, August 1st, 2014
15:20:55 GMT

Science
Video Link

I don't often go out and do interesting things, but, one exception this year was - last March, I went to see the famed physicist Michio Kaku* speak at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio.

Due to my sleep issues, I almost stayed home to sleep instead of going, but, I'm glad I forced myself to stay awake and go anyway, since it was fun and interesting.

I don't feel inspired to write an in-depth summary or comments - but, here's a related YouTube link I found. It's not exactly the same talk I saw - the only footage from that I could find on YouTube was this.

Instead, it's a 1 hour recording of (if I'm not mistaken) basically the same talk given at a different time/place. Published on YouTube on April 2, 2014:

Michio Kaku (2014) "The Future of the Mind"


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