AiMesh | ASUS Global

By | January 12, 2021

 

ASUS routers are designed to give you the best possible WiFi coverage, and in most cases a single ASUS router will deliver smooth, reliable WiFi to every part of your home. But WiFi coverage can be affected by many factors: room layout, construction materials, and even furnishings! If your home has dead spots or unreliable signals, ASUS AiMesh is the answer! AiMesh is an innovative new router feature that connects multiple ASUS routers to create a whole-home WiFi network. It’s a powerful and flexible way to solve your WiFi problems that also makes the most of your existing hardware: you can mix different ASUS router models, so when you upgrade there’s no need to throw away your old router — you can use it to expand your AiMesh network! AiMesh gives you time-saving central control over all the routers, and seamless roaming capability means you never need to switch networks. AiMesh is WiFi you can rely on — for all your devices, all the time!

Source: AiMesh | ASUS Global

In the wake of the Ubiquiti hack, I was reading a HN discussion on their gear — since I use it extensively at my church — which got me thinking about mesh networking again.

Asus is the brand I really favor for home stuff, over Linksys (Cisco) and Netgear. Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different routers and access points. Asus products have consistently worked better, had better software, and respected the privacy of the end user. My $600 Netgear Orbi mesh system was so bad, needing a reboot almost every day, that, one day, I got so frustrated that I literally chucked it into the trash, and immediately went and bought a $400 Linksys Velop. I’ve come close to chucking it as well, based on problems I’ve had. It seems that almost every time I check the system, one of the nodes is offline, and needs to be rebooted. My plan C was to try the Ubiquiti Amplifi system next.

So I checked into where Asus was with mesh networking these days, and I see they now have a mesh system called Lyra. It’s $273 for a 3-unit set, and reportedly has the best wifi of anything in the space. The reason I’m bothering to write this, though, is that Asus has come up with a way to use their regular routers to establish a mesh network with just new firmware, called AiMesh. So you can have different models of Asus wifi routers, and mesh them all together. I see they also have a Zen line of wifi routers, and, at least according to the first and only article I read about it, it seems all of these units work together with their AiMesh firmware. This is such a cool idea, I almost want to buy some new routers to try it.

Now I need to go reboot my basement Velop unit…

My Friends the Complot Theory Believers · Jacques Mattheij

By | January 9, 2021

But I just can’t deal with the degree to which they have slid off into the abyss, it is too hard to watch, remembering them as they were seems to be the easy way out. For those two there are probably 100’s of thousands if not millions (more?) of others who are equally detached from reality.

Source: My Friends the Complot Theory Believers · Jacques Mattheij

This essay is a nice summary of why I say #SocialMediaIsDestroyingSociety. Before the informational overload days, before the internet and the rise of social media, people generally didn’t have access to fringe ideas: sparse “facts” strung together to form specious narratives. You had to really go out of your way to get to them.

Probably the biggest conspiracy theory before the internet was the assassination of JFK, right? But even that whole phenomenon arose because of the availability of facts. The real-time TV and radio coverage of the event led to a lot of speculation of what had happened, and people rushed to fill in holes with their own interpretation of events. Because of the public view of the event, and all the bizarre things that happened (uh, umbrella man, anyone?), and the doubt turned up by the plot-hole-riddled narrative the government was trying to peddle, the government was publicly forced to do an inquiry, which turned out to contain even bigger whoppers than the previous explanations.

Now, literally everything of importance that happens can be dissected and analyzed like a huge government conspiracy. Take any big news story, like the recent invasion of the Capitol building. There are a couple articles about it on every major news site, but the thing is just exploding on social media. Social media has become more important than the news.

Social media. Really? Where everyone is supposedly equal, but which is quietly a gigantic popularity contest? We’re going to let the prevailing sentiment and direction of our country be decided by blue-checkmark “influencer” celebrities? Is this appropriate? Is this desirable? Social media. Where every timeline and information stream is being manipulated by whoever is writing the biggest checks. Did Trump’s election teach us nothing? In one sense, it did. They “fixed” the algorithm, and preventing Trump from abusing the platform this time. In another sense, the 2016 election taught us nothing, because we’re still allowing Twitter and Facebook to invisibly program society, and manufacture public consent. But, hey, as long as it’s working in your side’s favor, it’s cool, right?

And “social media” is not just Twitter and Facebook. Imgur is about 70% reposted Twitter hot takes at the time of this writing. I can only imagine what Reddit looks like. (I stopped going there, if I can avoid it, a long time ago.) I’m morbidly curious to see what my wife’s Facebook looks like.

Twitter and Facebook are throwing Trump off their platforms, along with identified people who took part. It might look like something substantive, but this is just cover for their own exposed culpability in this mess. They’re trying to prevent legislative blowback on their revenue and influence.

For decades, I’ve watched people on the internet complain about censorship on various platforms, and the answer is always, “It’s a private company. If you don’t like it, go start your own platform.” So people did. They went and started Parler. But now that the MAGA crowd has a place to go, people are calling on Apple and Google to deplatform the Parler app. Those poor MAGA people just can’t win! 🙁

A lot of people have been crowing that rescinding the FCC’s Section 230 would cause an undue burden on social media, and essentially force them out of business. Aww, poor babies. I say good! Remove that law, force platforms to take accountability for illegal speech on their services, and let it all shake out. Inciting a riot is illegal, but claiming that the election was stolen is not. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be hypocritically trying to use the law against speech they just don’t like.

Another thing that people like to point out is that the First Amendment only restricts government, and private companies can do whatever they like. That’s fine, but it shows just how dangerous the outsized influence of Twitter and Facebook have become when we’re arguing about whether the President of the Unites States is allowed to have an account. They have become a de facto governing body now, and I just don’t think that should be allowed. I have a hard enough time with how disconnected I am with my government as it is, and how little influence my one vote has on our process. When I think about the influence my government has on FAANG companies, it makes me despair to be so far removed from something that has become so vital to the national infrastructure.

When Standard Oil started basically running the entire country, the government jacked up the income tax to take NINETY PERCENT of Rockefeller’s income, and he is STILL the richest person to have ever lived, accounting for inflation, beating Bezos or Musk by a factor of over two times. They did this to at least float the country on his success. It is said that his income taxes funded 25% of the government by himself.

Social media companies want it both ways. They get to control the political discourse of the country, while raking in unprecedented profits, but pay essentially zero corporate tax, and their executives probably pay less, on a marginal basis, than I do. They’re breaking how democracy works, and we don’t even get a “kickback” to help, say, fund a proper social safety net during a global pandemic which has caused the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. There’s something seriously wrong with this picture.

Tenet

By | January 8, 2021

I watched Tenet last night. It’s confusing. I watched a YouTube video to clarify it. In the process of explaining it, they showed the scene where The Protagonist is in the first inversion room, dodging the bullets that cause the holes he sees when he first enters it. Of course, we later understand that it is his inverted self that is trying to shoot him.

Why?

Why is The Protagonist trying to kill his former self — when he knows this is his former self — and risk making himself disappear?

In my old age, I’m convinced that time-travel movies just never work.

OK, except for Primer, but that’s more of a time-dilation movie, rather than time travel.

Or maybe Time Cop (despite JCVD, and it’s budget), which actually gets time travel right.

Or 12 Monkeys, which is one of the best movies ever made.

OK, never mind. I guess it’s possible to make a good movie involving time travel. But Tenet isn’t one of them, despite what the Tomatometer says.

UPDATE: Another YouTube video says that The Protagonist was shooting at himself to empty the gun, and render it safe, citing his disassembly at the end of the sequence (which, by the way, is a lot freaking harder to do with a Glock than shown in the movie).

That’s a good explanation, but, like so many other things in the movie, you’d need to stop the movie and think about it to understand it. That’s not the mark of a good movie. The movie should explain itself. If you’re going to put a sequence in the film, you need to give the watcher enough info to understand why this is happening, in the context of the sequence, especially in a purposely-mind-bending movie like Tenet.

I just think Christopher Nolan started believing his own hype on this one. It’s a good story, but just a little more exposition, a little more emotion from The Protagonist, and slowing the whole thing down to give people a chance to absorb it — cut some action, if you need to — would have made this a far better movie.

UPDATE: JWZ, with whom I usually agree on reviews, excoriates Tenet is his usual, brilliant fashion:

Tenet: I remember that sinking feeling when they finally found the MacGuffin. “Fuck, that means it’s only half over??”You know how they say Trump is a poor person’s idea of a rich person? This movie is a stupid person’s idea of clever. Much like Inception. I mean, Bill and Ted 3 had better use of its cosmology. The camera tricks with the backwards fights weren’t even any good, or even comprehensible. And a backwards person sitting in a forwards car makes it backward? The stupid, it burns like inexplicable frostbite.

 

This movie was better when it was the Sugar Water video by Cibo Matto, which was mercifully only 4 minutes long. And had better physics.

Playstation 5 and Twitter

By | January 8, 2021

I have a very tolerate/hate relationship with Twitter. I think I’m literally on my 14th account, and I’ve deactivated my current one, only to reactivate before the 30-day time-out period, about 10 times now. There are many reasons.

One is that it’s just depressing. “Doomscrolling” is very much a thing, especially after something as tumultuous as people storming the Capitol building, or people storming the Portland police station, and attacking the mayor.

Another is the absurdity in the swings of the takes. Back and forth it goes, between hard-left and hard-right, while people always presume to read other people’s minds, in what has become the logical fallacy of the age.

Another is the brevity. You get just enough characters to make one point, without context. This leads directly to the problem above, in forcing people to make a contrary statement on a presumption of the conclusion of the statement they’re responding to.

Another is that ephemeral nature of it. Even if you can find a good exchange, it disappears “like tears in the rain,” and quickly gets lost. If you don’t bookmark it somehow, good luck finding it with Twitter’s “search” feature.

Last, but certainly not least, is the porn. I’m tired of the porn. You can tell Twitter to hide most of it from you, but it still leaks through. I’ll come back to this point.

For about 20 years, I’ve built (or bought) gaming PC’s, but a few years back, I decided to give my rig to my son, and try just using a Playstation 4 Pro for gaming. What I found surprised me. Besides a work computer for the past 6 years or so, I’ve only used Windows for gaming, personally, for about 25 years. Even with just this specific focus, I was always fighting to keep it up to date: BIOS updates, Windows updates, antivirus updates, video driver updates, mouse driver updates, keyboard driver updates, game updates, Steam updates, GoG updates, etc. The weekly maintenance on the thing was a not-so-invisible burden.

When I want to play a game on a console, I hit a button on the controller to turn it on, and within seconds, I am playing right where I left off. Updates are very rare. There are no intermediaries (like Steam) to patch. Occasionally, there will be an update to a game, but the system intelligently notifies me about them, and then waits for me to update them. If there are driver updates, they’re buried in the system updates. (It’s amazing how little code it takes to get input from a mouse, when you don’t need to be able to program a light show inside of it, program its 32 buttons with macros, and track every movement to sell back to the 3rd-party personal data market exchange.)

It’s just a completely different world. Just like when I finally moved from Gentoo Linux to Ubuntu, and realized how much of my time was being spent keeping Gentoo happy, moving to a console was eye-opening about how much time I was spending on Windows for gaming. (Don’t even get me started on the care and feeding of Windows for programming.)

On top of all of that convenience and streamlining, there are no cheaters! Glory hallelujah! When playing a game like Battlefield on PC, I could always safely assume that there would be at least one cheater, and if I wasn’t already, my one and only goal in the game would be to switch to the cheater’s team, so that at least he wouldn’t aggravate me.

The downside, of course, is that you can’t have some super-specced monster running the game at 120 FPS in 4K. But $400 vs $1,500? $2,000? $3,000? And the knuckle-skinning hassle of building the rig and keeping it up to date? You can keep your graphics. Besides, if you tell me I’m missing something, graphically, when I’m playing, say, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Horizon Zero Dawn, I’m going to laugh in your face. Those games look incredible on a PS4 Pro, no matter what you say.

So, yeah, I’ve been trying to “cop” a Playstation 5. Specifically a digital edition. (I only have one disc. It’s the Arkham bundle that I got for $5 at a second hand shop. I’ve seen it on sale on the Playstation store for $5, and I’ve almost just bought it again so I can throw away the disc. I will probably play through both games again before I die.) Anyway, at this point, the only way to try to get in on a “drop” is to watch some select Twitter accounts which make publicizing when they go on sale their only purpose in life. So I reactivated my account. Again. I installed Tweetbot, added the PS5 drop-tracking accounts to a list, and turned on notifications for that list.

Yesterday, a notification went out that Best Buy was going to do a drop. I don’t know why I was bothering, because I’ve gotten one in my cart twice before, only to be told that none were available within 250 miles of my location. But I saw the notification, and I tried again, and nothing was working for anyone. I commented in the thread the same thing I said here, and several people liked the tweet. I gave up.

About an hour later, another notification came through that it was actually working, and even though I had to take the time to enter a new credit card, I managed to get one on order. So I commented back to the Twitter thread that I had, and an obvious cam girl (from her avatar and name) commented on my comment. This is what I mean about porn just being pervasive on the platform. You can limit it, but it’s everywhere. There are so many porn site come-ons. I’ve seen hard-core clips as comments for this sort of thing, so I was actually thankful it was just an honest comment.

And, yes, for curiosity’s sake, I went ahead and took the gamble with the click. At that point, I just had to laugh. If a girl that average looking can make money on OnlyFans, then good for her, and God Bless America.

Anyway, for all of these reasons, now that I’ve secured a PS5, I’m deleting my Twitter account again. The trash-fire-you-can-see-from-space will just have to burn without my attention again.

It’s not like half of Imgur isn’t Twitter reposts anyway.

Trump finally faces reality — amid talk of early ouster

By | January 8, 2021

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that “the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America.” She called him “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office. This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”

Source: Trump finally faces reality — amid talk of early ouster

In case anyone on the Right is still trying to weasel out of the thought that Trump is responsible for the attempt to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes: don’t forget this is a culmination of months of agitation about “stopping the steal.” I usually try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, because, in politics, it’s all hyperbole, and we all understand that. But, this time, and just for the record, I think the people who lay the blame for storming the Capitol directly on Trump are exactly right.

To make the case that Trump incited the riot, prosecutors would have to show that he intended to provoke violence, but his words are vague enough that it’s possible to argue that he was simply urging his supporters to peacefully protest outside the Capitol.

Source: Trump May Be Shielded From Riot Charges by Klan Speech Ruling

And this is the part where all communication breaks down, in America’s social-media civil war. Even Bloomberg admits there’s a lot of gray in what the President actually said, and concludes that it would be very difficult to prosecute, let alone convict. I’m convinced they wouldn’t have been there if the President hadn’t been talking about showing up on 6th, but he didn’t call for actual violence. But that doesn’t stop half the country from ranting and raving on their social media accounts as though the President told people to take up small arms, break into the Capitol, and kill every Democrat they see.

He is to blame for starting this, but why? Did he expect them to extrapolate to violence? Or did he want them to make a show that a lot of people were upset about the voting issues? Did he mean for mob craziness to take over? Or did that happen on its own?

They appear to have been mostly rudderless, and seem to have “just gone with it” when they saw how little resistance they faced. The pictures don’t show a lot of “protest” signs in the group, and they certainly brought hammers to smash windows to open doors. You can factor all of those things into your conspiracy theories, but it just doesn’t seem — at least to me — that they, as a group, were determined to “overthrow” our government, and install Trump as king. Rational discussion on this whole topic is really rare, which is why I’m updating this with an actual example from a serious news organization.

UPDATE: As this continues to reverberate through the news, it’s important — at least to me — to clarify that while Trump encouraged people to show up and do something in regards to “stopping the steal,” but fell short of encouraging actual violence, the whole premise of showing up to do anything to interfere with certifying a concluded election was facile to begin with. I, too, think the evidence points to systemic election fraud, but they couldn’t make that case in court (which is a whole other topic), and that’s the way the system works. So contending with Congress after failing at the bar, is, in fact, seditious, and that alone is reason enough for political opponents to bring another case for impeachment. I think it’s a waste of time, but they absolutely have a case. If they want to give Trump another official middle finger, and they’ve got the votes to see it through, then, I guess, you know, whatever. Seems like there are more substantive things the Congress could be working on, but I get it, and I won’t begrudge them for it.

My Pre-Ruined Programming Typing

By | January 7, 2021

I use a “grip” on the keyboard that’s off-by-one. My right index finger hovers over the K key instead of the J. I can touch type if I concentrate, but this is just how I learned on the Vic-20, when I was 10. I convinced myself a long time ago that this was fine, as it gets me closer to all of the special keys for programming. However, several of the special keys (notably the *, @, and &) were in different places on the Vic-20 and the C64 than on a standard, modern keyboard, and it still occasionally throws me, 40 years later.

Trusty Rusty

I think I lost a programming job because, in the interview, they put me in front of a computer, and I didn’t fly through the editor with nothing but keyboard shortcuts, but it’s my weird typing method that pushes me to just use a mouse for a lot of it.

Meet the Hollywood divorce lawyer hired by Kim | Evening Standard

By | January 6, 2021

After six years of marriage, titillating headlines and rumoured meltdowns, it appears that the first couple of Calabasas are (almost) no more. Kim Kardashian is said to have filed for divorce from Kanye West.

Source: Meet the Hollywood divorce lawyer hired by Kim | Evening Standard

I normally have a strict no-Kardashians rule, but I called this. I knew that as soon as the mean time between mentions died down below a weekly level, they would divorce. Now that Trump is out, Kayne isn’t going to be able to generate the occasional headline with his crazy, right-wing head fakes, so this is it. They’ll purposely drag this process out for all its worth. And, once all the press attention has been wrung out of it, she’ll find someone else with which to start the process all over again. This is nothing but business, and all very, very predictable.

PS5 Supply and Demand

By | January 6, 2021

I’m watching PS5’s being sold on Ebay to track how supply and demand are converging. Current completed listings seem to be hovering around $700-$800. They started out at $1,000, so I guess it’s getting “better.” The whole business of people using browser bots to snipe units and resell them really chaps my hide, but I wonder what my price point and patience limit actually is. Sony, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart have employed methods to help give non-botters a fair chance, but I don’t know how well that’s working.

I expect that the first place that will show supply and demand convergence will be Sony Direct. After they have them available for sale all the time, I guess stores will start having them on shelves? But what do I know?

In my disgust of not being able to find one, I was thinking I’d build a new gaming PC, but gaming CPU’s and GPU’s are impossible to find as well, thanks to freaking bitcoin miners, and the same sort of silicon supply problems affecting everything during this pandemic. What a lousy time to try to buy new kit.

I briefly had a thought that I’d buy a new M1-based Mac Mini, but it’s clear that the gaming prospects on the new architecture are going to be abysmal for a while.

Why Porn Stars Like Me Are Terrified of VP Kamala Harris

By | January 4, 2021

I respect Harris for seeing gays and women of color through a compassionate lens. After four years of Vice President Mike Pence, it’ll be nice to see someone make the executive branch empathetic again. Still, I doubt Harris’s executive empathy will extend to exotic dancers, porn stars, strippers, prostitutes, or erotic masseuses: The vice president-elect brings a lifetime of animosity toward sex workers to Number One Observatory Circle.

Harris’s hatred goes back to her days as San Francisco District Attorney. In 2008, Harris opposed a San Francisco ballot initiative to legalize prostitution. “I think it’s completely ridiculous, just in case there’s any ambiguity about my position,” Harris told The New York Times. She proclaimed the law would roll “a welcome mat out for pimps” and push vulnerable women into the arms of drugs and guns.

Source: Why Porn Stars Like Me Are Terrified of VP Kamala Harris

So, let me get this straight. Kamala Harris gets to be as politically hard on sex work as you can be, but she still gets credit for being “compassionate” towards marginalized demographic sectors, while Pence — according to my Googling — has not done or even said anything politically, one way or another, about sex work, but he’s still considered un-“empathetic.” Got it.

When it comes to sex work, Harris always has a but. Harris has expressed one too many buts about my chosen profession. We need all Americans to raise a but to her objection to sex work. If not, Americans might soon have nothing to jack off to.

Right. Whatever Kamala Harris is doing or not doing in regards to the legality of sex work, I’m very confident that it will make exactly ZERO impact on the amount of stuff “to jack off to” available to Americans. What an eyeroll-worthy statement! As long as Reddit exists, Americans have nothing to fear. The site used to be a great collection of forums for nerdy interests. Now the site is being run as an experiment in using social media to manipulate national discourse, modded by psychopaths, and driven by crazy people at the fringe of every topic discussed, all as a precariously-thin veneer over the world’s largest, free hub of every type of pornography that can be categorized (and probably some that can’t). Yes, I’m bitter about this, and I take every opportunity I can to bag on Reddit now.

Don’t even try to tell me that you can’t monetize yourself having sex on the endless numbers of paid pornography sites, and don’t even get me started about OnlyFans and it’s copycats. Not to mention that you can post endless come-ons for your site(s) with snippets of hard-core pornography on Twitter. With all of this going on, it’s a little difficult for me to understand how people who want to pimp themselves out online can complain about not being able to get paid. If anything, if you aren’t getting paid for performing sex acts online, it’s because so many people are trying that you are probably just getting lost in a sea of slighty-better-than-average-looking people trying to do the same.

You can tell me that actual, physical sex workers — i.e, prostitutes — face unfair legal problems with making a living. I’ll buy that, and I can say that I support people making money however they want, but don’t try to tell me that pornography is in peril, in any way, shape, or form, from any politician, or that you face difficulties in selling yourself performing sex acts online. With so much porn popping up in the mainstream sites that have become “the internet,” that just doesn’t compute.