Jackie and Laurie on the Trinity

Jackie and Laurie

From the Jackie and Laurie show this week:

Discussing church, God and the trinity:

Laurie Kilmartin: “They lose me when they try to explain the holy trinity to me. It’s God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s three different things but they are the same thing. What? That just doesn’t make sense to me. If you can explain to me how three and one are the same number, by all means but no one ever has.”
Jackie Kashian: “You’ve never watched The Transformers? You take three different action figures …”

Kinivo Headphones RIP

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My Kinivo BTH240 headphones have been a workhorse. I bought them when my wired headphones died my first week of work at my current job, and have used them pretty much all day every day since then. After 2.5 years, they have about had it. First the left ear started going out intermittently. Now, they shut themselves off randomly. It could be every hour or sometimes after 30 seconds. I just can’t hang with them.

I am moving up a tier in headphones (these ones were < $25) and going with the ones recommended by The Wirecutter, the Jabra Move wireless. I went with blue, because I don’t care what color they are and those were the cheapest.

The only bummer is that I completed my order about 25 minutes too late on Tuesday night so I won’t get them until tomorrow. As it happens, today is the day the Kinivos just became unusable. I’m hoping the fully over the ear cup of the Jabra headphones will help to serve as a noise suppressor when I travel or am in coffee shop type situations. Here’s hoping for the best. I’m counting on you, Wirecutter!

Attempting Normal on Sale

For those of you who are fans of Marc Maron’s podcast, his book Attempting Normal has been out for a few years but the Kindle version has been over $10 for all that time. Right now it is on sale for $1.99 and there is never any way of telling for how long so if you have an interest in the book I’d suggest getting it sooner than later.

No time like the present, friends. I just bought mine because my experience in these offers is there are two primary time periods for them: now and never.

Me on the Kindle Chronicles

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I am struggling to get the show out this week. I really owe everyone a show right now, but I am so tired I am going to bed in about 10 minutes. I’ll get the show out soon, but for now I wanted both point to and put in the feed the recent interview I did with Len Edgerly for the Kindle Chronicles.

I was extremely honored to be invited to be on the show. I’ve been listening for at least 5 years, probably significantly longer, and it was great to be a guest on a show of which I am a fan. We talked about writing, reading on Kindles, how I am one of the few book lovers who doesn’t exempt their books from the rules of hoarding and stuff like that. Len is a very good interviewer and the time just flew by. I would love to fill the role for him that Tony Randall once did for the David Letterman show. When you are short a guest, let me know. I’ll jump on anytime.

The show is downloadable from Len’s site, or if you are a subscriber to this podcast it will come down automatically. Let me know what you think about it!

Fingers Crossed

The Macbook upgrade is over and seems to be a success. I used the basic template from this post (and followed its links to iFixit) and it took maybe 20 minutes from opening the case to closing it for good. By comparison, cloning the drive to the new SSD took about 4 hours. As the article says, this is the last model of Macbook that a consumer can do upgrades like this with standard tools.

I won’t get a really good test until tomorrow because right now, Dropbox, Spotlight and Time Machine are all working really hard on this new drive. Tomorrow I will get a better feel for the true impact of the extra RAM and the new SSD. For now, I’m going to bed to let the indexers work, secure in the knowledge I will wake up to a zippier computer.

Mobile Twitter Client Request

Does anyone know of a mobile Twitter client (preferably at least one each for iOS and Android) that allows you to point to arbitrary sites that implement the Twitter API? I know of some that let you use multiple services, but I want to use this with a demo of how easy it would be to replicate the API on our system. It can’t be a predefined system the client knows about, I want to point to the top of a hierarchy with the Twitter API under it and have the client work.

Anyone have any ideas for this? It is a remarkably hard thing to Google for.

Living in the Future

I still find it tremendously cool to SSH into my server box to iptables drop a malicious IP from my phone in a park. It is also cool to be able to blog about it at the same time.

First Episode of Mad at Dad is in the Can

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Just for this first episode, both Butler and I are adding it to our regular show feeds. If you are an Evil Genius Chronicles listener or a Rock and Roll Geek listener and you want to hear more, you’ll need to go to the Mad at Dad website and subscribe. RSS links are up now, iTunes will be coming soon whenever they do whatever black magic voodoo it is that they do over there.

Other than me screwing up the original Blab and making us get a new link 3 minutes before the show, it went OK. There was a little weirdness that you always have from a new thing on a new system but it was fun. We plan on doing it again next week. If you want to get notified when we go live, you can go to Blab.IM and subscribe to our channel or whatever it is. It seems to work pretty well.

The audio player is below, it is included in the regular feed, and the video is embedded. What more do you want from me?

New Podcasts

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This week I defy the weather and local flooding to start not one but two new podcasts!

First, I will record tonight, Monday October 5th at 10:15 PM EDT with Michael Butler of the Rock and Roll Geek Show. It is called Mad at Dad, and it is the two of us talking about our lives, David Bowie and other matters of import. It will stream live via Blab.IM and you can come join us.

The second is called Milkfed Crime Blotter. It is a show devoted to comic book writers Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick (their company is Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, hence the weird name of the podcast.) I will have different co-hosts from show to show but for my first will be joined by Christiana Ellis. I am lucky for this, as she is a rock solid podcasting partner and I can worry about everything else without having to worry about my co-host. That show will also be streamed live, this one via Google Hangouts, and will record Thursday October 8th at 10 PM EDT.

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Fun stuff, no? This makes two of the three potential projects I mentioned during the Dog Days of Podcasting actually coming to fruition. Just wait on that third, there is time.

Questions for Podcasters

Hey fellow podcasters,

I am setting up two new podcast sites right now. I get to start over clean without all the cruft of my EGC site. If you had to do it all over again, what WordPress podcasting plugin would you use? I have tried a number of them over time and am not sure which one to start over with. Powerpress? Podcasting TSG? Podlove? I am using Podpress on EGC and it is fine but I many not know what I am missing.

Thanks friends.

Server Fun

FYI, if you noticed and were wondering why my various sites have been down so much … there is a story.

I noticed lots of reboots starting this afternoon, and this evening I found that the site would only stay up for 1 minute at a time. It would reboot so much that Linode would stop trying and leave it powered off.

I filed a support ticket and then tried various rescue mode things. I fsck the disk, I did the whole chroot thing and updated all packages. The tech handling my ticket noticed the console.log was full of apache2 processes spinning up, running the VM out of memory and then kernel panicking. I configured apache2 to allow for a lower number of max processes.

When I did that, the server stayed up long enough for me to get to my home directory and do a multi-tail on every access log of every site on there. When I did, I noticed that one obscure site was getting hammered on its xmlrpc.php, to the tune of multiple hits every second from three IP addresses. This was the culprit. Three iptables DROP rules later, all this nonsense was gone.

This wasn’t the most fun evening I’ve ever had (and this shit consumed the ENTIRE evening) but it probably has a positive outcome. This Linode server has always rebooted more than I like, daily at times but is seldom up more than 2 solid weeks. That has probably always been a problem with the apache2 default configuration being more than this small VM can handle. By configuring it to have a lower max usage, that may solve the rebooting issue.

New Iron Maiden Album

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I have never bought an Iron Maiden album in my life, but I think Michael Butler is selling me one. Here is his track by track of the album, Part 1 and Part 2. I really love this and in fact where he gave Disk 1 a 5.5 out of 6, I would have given it 6/6 because I like the song “Speed of Light” better than Butler does. Wow!

Dog Days of Podcasting 2015

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The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge for 2015 began yesterday. In this, a group of podcasters (23 this year and climbing) spend the month trying to podcast every day for 31 consecutive days. This will be my third year on the challenge and I did succeed at it both of the previous years in that I had no missed days or even many under-the-wire days.

This year as the previous two, I am subscribed to the master RSS feed for the challenge and am listening to every show published down the feed. Some are shows I am already subscribed to and some are shows I wouldn’t regularly listen to but in solidarity with my co-participants I am listening to everything.

One wrinkle that is new this year is that BeyondPod on Android is my podcast client with a more mature setup. One of my favorite things about it is the “Smart Playlist” feature. This allows you to set up a playlist made of components, and I have it set to put in up to 20 episodes of podcasts from my “Timely” category, followed by up to 50 from the regular categories. I can also define different update schedules per category, so I have it checking “Timely” every two hours. Because the Smart Playlist keeps the currently playing show at the top, when new shows come in they slot right in behind what I’m already listening to and keep going. It is actually pretty sweet and a better listening experience that I had in the previous years. It is enriching my listening experience as I hear all the shows coming down the pipe.

My theme this year is listener questions, and I have gotten a good load of them. I haven’t counted if I have enough to fully cover the month already, but there will be plenty of time to answer more. Ask em if you got em!

As always, thanks to Kreg Steppe for originating the idea and running the website. Rock on.

One Million Spams

Sometime in the next 24 hours, I expect that my blog will cross an important threshold. That will be 1,000,000 spams blocked by Akismet. Thanks guys. If it took 1 second to deal with each one of those, I would have spent 11.5 days of my last decade handling them. I appreciate not having to do that.

Antony Johnston and the Incomparable Network

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I am a fan of Antony Johnston’s comic The Fuse and have read some of his work on series like Daredevil. I listened to the episode of Surviving Creativity on which he was a guest, which was how I found out about his podcast Unjustly Maligned on the Incomparable podcast network. I love the high concept, which is that he gets a guest to defend something that is widely considered to be crap. I can’t wait to eventually hear Scott Kurtz defend Garfield.

The other surprise – other than Antony doing this podcast – is that there is an Incomparable network. I was a listener to the show on 5by5 for a relatively brief time. I can identify the episode that caused me to unsubscribe: 191, which featured a draft of old computers. I didn’t like the draft mechanic at all, and it felt at the time like scraping barrels to find things to draft so I unsubscribed. I had no idea that Jason Snell had broken away and used that program as the flagship of his own network. It seems like 5by5 has birthed more spin off podcast networks than any other source other than maybe TWiT (I haven’t checked these stats.)

There is no danger in my resubscribing to the main Incomparable podcast but I am listening to my first episode of Unjustly Maligned and I am enjoying it. My subscription list is like the tide, shows come in and shows go out. I’ll listen to this as long as I enjoy it, long may that be.