I forgot about a server I’m using to host a friend’s project until today, and now I can’t get Ubuntu (18.10) to upgrade to a newer, supported, version. The usual upgrade tool won’t work because a) the release isn’t supported any more – although I can hack around that sorta easily enough, and b) there are also a couple of package updates pending… but I can’t install those updates (easily) because the release isn’t supported any more and the sources don’t exist now. I could try editing sources.list, and using apt dist-upgrade, but that path usually leads to a lot of pain.

While I’m sure my friend won’t mind they’re running an out of date OS, as long as it’s running fine – I do mind! But it doesn’t look like I’m going to get it sorted tonight 😑

Today’s one of those days where I’m really struggling to concentrate and focus on anything at all. Which is slightly bothersome, as I’m working from home today to “concentrate” on doing some online training I’ve struggled to find peace to do in the office.

Reposting: Tom Chivers on Twitter

“A thought that just occurred to me: everyone should be required to play D&D or Warhammer or some other dice-rolling game at school, to get a visceral sense for how often "low probability" events come up. Rolling double ones is a <3% chance, but it happens ALL THE BLOODY TIME”


What I mean about that last Inoreader thing:

When I first setup the OPML subscription I had to map it to a folder created in Inoreader. All feeds were dumped into this folder as the feature didn’t support the category information in my OPML file.

The number of sources in my OPML file was starting to get unwieldy in just a single folder, so I had begun the process of reorganising into topic-based folders. The subscription management preference UI in Inoreader is a bit clunky, so this was slow going.

Anyway, I more or less finished, and went for lunch. When I came back, there were a whole lot of new folders showing in the sidebar. I figured there was maybe some old organisational data kicking around (tags and folders seem to be  more or less synonymous in the app, and a feed can belong to multiple), so started moving things around again and deleting the excess folders. It wasn’t until  I’d deleted a couple that I realised they matched the category names in my OPML file, and put two and two together.

To tidy everything back up again, I deleted all subscriptions, folders, and tags, before re-syncing with the OPML file. Everything was automatically nicely organised, and hopefully will remain so 😃 The only dowside was losing the read status of the feeds, but a quick “Mark All as Read” sorted that out.

I was in the middle of reorganising my feeds in Inoreader, when they appear to have rolled out an update to the OPML Subscription functionality, completely throwing things off and causing me to need to start all over again.

Last night, Mrs K. and I were at a loss for anything new to watch, and not in the mood to read or do anything hobbywise, we ended up rewatching several episodes of Tabletop.

First thing’s first: gosh I miss that show. It was so simple, fun, and “pure”.

Secondly: we couldn’t believe it when YouTube was telling us the newest of these videos was four years old. It really felt like just a year or two had passed.

Anyway. I was watching with a slightly different perspective than the first time through. At the weekend we had played Munchkin with one of the kids, and we all had a really good time*. I was looking for some more games to add to the collection, that would be friendly to young children, while still fun and appealing for the whole family… and preferably not take long to play through a game or a round.

The first candidates which met the criteria were Roll For It and Sushi Go, coveniently both played in the same episode. Roll For It has a simple premise: roll a number of dice, then try to match the values on a card to score the points on that card. Sushi Go is a brightly-coloured card game where players score points for “collecting” various dishes.

No longer having to deal with The Wheaton Effect, both games were readily available for around £13 each. which made them good “impulse purchases”.

It’ll be a couple of weeks until we get to try these games with the kids, but I’m already looking forward to it. I love exposing them to new and different ways of spending their free time.

* I don’t think they really understood the game, or really read most of the cards, but they quickly developed a strategy of making monster fights harder for the other players before offering to help them in exchange for some of the treasure.

TIL it’s possible to put certain domains on an allow-list in Firefox, which stops them from being automatically deleted when the browser is closed (if you have that option turned on). Handy if you have some sites where you don’t mind a session persisting, but want the default for all other cookies to be “only persist as long as the browser session.”

screenshot of Firefox Cookies and Site Data options, with a callout pointing to 'Manage Permissions'

I’m copying some virtual servers around our ESXi hosts, using ovftool, and ran into a problem with one of them throwing Error: Fault cause: vim.fault.FileNotFound.

This support thread gave me a clue to the eventual solution. Adding the --noImageFiles didn’t fix the problem for me, but going into the VM properties and disconnecting the virtual disc drive from the .iso file it was attached to did get rid of the error and let me kick-off the transfer.

💬 Replied to: The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10

“To reach its potential, Apple needs to recognize they have made profound conceptual mistakes in the iPad user interface, mistakes that need to be scrapped and replaced, not polished and refined. I worry that iPadOS 13 suggests the opposite — that Apple is steering the iPad full speed ahead down a blind alley.”

Daring Fireball

This write-up summarises my feelings about the iPad quite well. I love the iPads I’ve owned over the years; at times they’ve been my primary computing device. My mum is still running my “iPad 2”, and my partner has my first generation iPad Mini — both run well enough for most things they want to do (although the Mini is going to need replaced this year). The iPad form-factor – to me – is the natural expression of Personal Computing for Most People.

The software has never quite clicked though, as you say, and it’s always the reason I end up retreating to having another class of device around. The more Apple tries to bring it closer to a “real” computer, the more it breaks down. A lot of the interactions in iPadOS 13 are so unintuitive I regularly forget they are there, or how to initiate them. I’d happlily pay a small charge for Slide Over to be removed completely. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve accidentally triggered it and found myself unable to dismiss the hovering app now getting in my way. During the public beta period I wrote multiple pieces of feedback that drag-and-drop actions triggered far too easily, making tap-and-hold actions needlessly difficult to execute on some interfaces. If anything, it feels like this has got worse as iPadOS 13 has matured.

I wish I had a good answer for where the software should go in the future, to fulfill the iPad’s  potential. Even more, I wish Apple did too.

An iOS Shortcuts tidbit I figured out yesterday: if you start with a piece of HTML as your input, it will be converted by Shortcuts to its internal “Rich Text” data type by default.

To send that HTML as HTML to another shortcut or an external service (such as a Micropub endpoint) then you need to convert the Rich Text back to HTML using a Documents > Make HTML from Rich Text action. If you don’t do this, your endpoint or whatever that doesn’t natively understand Shortcuts’ Rich Text format will receive the plain text value.

I really need to revisit my IndieWeb iOS Shortcuts article from last year. I’ve added and improved so much about my workflow since then.