Since my old “home page” was from the 1990s and looked it, I’ve decided to just host my home page here, where it can enjoy some styling and markup and not look so much like it’s from the 1990s.

You can find most of the content from my home page at the page, “Malcolm’s Projects and Resources”. These are links to and explanations of major bodies of my work and things you can find out about me, further.

You can see my latest activity primarily either on this blog or on my Patreon page (patrons get access to one or two patron-only posts per month in addition to public posts and commentary there).

Do let me know if you think something’s missing or if you think I could provide more/better, or even less information.

## Toxic Masculinity, the Real Scoop on What it’s Like to be a Man in it, and Related Thoughts

Let me start by laying my cards out and saying why I’m writing this. I was assigned male at birth. I was raised a feminist boy in the late 60s, early 70s. I have a strong and assertive mother. I have a minor in Women’s Studies, I’m trans, and non binary (since I was 19). I’ve held to feminist principles all my life and plan to continue. I have a strong partnership with a woman. I make strong friendships mostly with women. I don’t expect cookies or sex or even affection for anything I do in the name of feminism. I do feminism because it’s the right call and the way to the future. I’m writing this because I was talking with my partner about it this morning, and it occurred to me that I haven’t seen anyone write about this yet, especially not men, because there’s a wall of silence around it, still, even amid all the accusations and firings, so I’ll talk about it and see if it gets any traction.

## 2017 Thanks Taking

Let me start with a statement about “Thanksgiving”. We’re supposed to give thanks for all that we have. That’s great, but it elides the genocides, massacres, and wars that US settlers had with the natives of North America before taking possession. It elides the biological warfare. It elides centuries of neglect, abuse, and outright murder that settlers perpetrated against Native Americans, as well as the ongoing social and political programs to disenfranchise and further steal for natives and native families. This is why, for more than 20 years, I’ve privately referred to the holiday as Thanksgrieving, and may start calling it Thanks Taking, based on a workshop/discussion title I saw last week. I am also grateful for friends, family, and plenty and food and drink and wonderful company and projects running up to the holiday, but let’s not forget these atrocities.

This said, read on for how we celebrated with family and friends, what we cooked and ate, how we prepared it, and notes for future endeavors.

## What happens when Facebook goes down?

I think part of this is user migration, but probably a lot of it was that one of the big Content Data Networks (CDNs) may have gone down. I don’t have proof. I was watching with DownRightNow.com, which uses Twitter for some of its metrics, so I likely don’t have the complete picture. But I also know that my blogs (hosted on Dreamhost) were also down, so it was something vast enough that storage/operations on big and little were affected.

It also might have something to do with the death of Net Neutrality. But it’s hard to tell, given all these secret, private networks that all our traffic navigates.

## A modern dev’s Git/GitHub centric process to change a file

Just so you know, and this probably isn’t the most modern/bleeding edge process or platform, but as a modern-ish dev who’s interested in using and leveraging the cloud service equivalent for tracking changes to my self-hosted WordPress files, this is my process.

I don’t know about you, but I am rough on computers. In the course of the weeks and months I spend doing geeky shit, I tend to load and overload and reload and reconfigure and rebuild and reinstall a bunch of different kinds of development tools and platforms and language interpreters for different purposes and projects, most of which are over.

## Javascript geeking – p5.js and matter.js

I haven’t done HTML/Javascript geeking in a while, but thought while I’m in downtime between courses for my Data Science studies, I’d noodle around. I’ve been idly watching instructional videos by The Coding Train (Dan Shiffman) on YouTube for a while, but I was intrigued by both p5.js and matter.js (as an aside, there are other physics engines/libraries/frameworks besides matter.js, and Shiffman also has a couple of videos on THAT), as well as his videos on rendering certain kinds of fractals in Javascript (and other languages), so I thought I’d mess about with it. Along the way I also (finally) figured out how to use git to deploy code (in this case, a single developer, and only deploying HTML/Javascript so far, but this could also absolutely work for release management – though there are packaging and deployment techs that would likely be better for real companies to use). Continue reading

## Making a Home WiFi Network faster

My friend Deb came by yesterday and after some fiddling we got her computer on my wired Ethernet network, which is pretty fast (150 Mbps to the Internet), and 15 times faster than her computer’s usual 10 Mbps WiFi connection. Anyway, she asked how to improve her home WiFi, and by the end of the night, I forgot to make thorough suggestions, so I’ll do so here.

## Taoism and the Sage

I’m not going to write a huge tract here, but I am going to talk briefly about the “Sage”, who is the putative ideal political-operative Taoist.

Aside

Said I on some social medium somewhere, “If you ever come to California and find yourself driving ‘the 5’ (highway 5) from south to north or north to south, time it so you get to Tita’s Pupuseria in Buttonwillow for lunch or snack or dinner. Hands down the best I’ve ever had. They often have a truck at the highway exit. If that’s closed or not there, they also have a brick and mortar restaurant up the street a ways. The uncertainty makes them ever more legendary, but they deserve the 28/30 Zagat rating they have, which blows every other eatery within miles out of the water. It’s weird, kind of American Gods weird. But totally worth it to find it and go.”

Aside

Just a note: I’d like to thank the freeware program, Lyx, for helping create LaTeX markup for various mathy-sciency things I post about. Very helpful. You have to know what to include/not for Jetpack’s LaTeX interpreter, Beautiful Math (most especially the preamble that makes a Lyx document a document, and various carriage returns that tend to confuse Beautiful Math.

While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank Beautiful Math and the Jetpack team for the work there. I wish there were a better, more distributed way, to present the LaTeX than having a dedicated server actually create the formulas as a graphic element, but slick implementation anyway, unless it goes wrong, then it sucks, since apparently only one person at Jetpack actually understands how it works and what to kick when it isn’t working.

But whatever. That, it seems, is the nature of computing with startups these days. Standardization and reliability later! (I’m only half joking. I don’t like it, but I understand why it’s happening, and I can’t really do much to personally fix it other than kvetching.)

And also I should thank the WordPress.org team for doing good work and keeping on doing updates that go out to WordPress blog self-hosters like me.

## Statistics – This could be you! – Bayesian Conditional Probability and Medical Tests

As many of you know, I’m taking, for career change and self improvement, a certified curriculum offered by Columbia University and Microsoft and edX.org, on Data Science. With this, I hope to be able to change careers from Systems Engineering (which I love, but had become limiting) to a job in Data Analysis/Data Science, which will take me out of the Operations/Data/Server Center and into a cushy not-on-call job in a loving data haven.

## MacBook Pro slow shutdown (macOS Sierra)

Just a quick tech note.

If you have macOS Sierra and you’re a coding/geeky/programming type and your OS is taking a huge amount of time to shut down, update your MySQL to 5.7 (I had to reinstall Homebrew to do that). If you’re not, maybe tweak your ExitTimeOuts (or get your pet geek to do it for you).

## Testing connections

Just a note about a day in the life of a geek. This all starts with the fact that I maintain two MediaWiki servers on my hosting plan. One is for my food-related experiments, recipes, and other household cooking and food info. The other is for game-playing.

For a look at the cooking and food wiki, and central to this narrative, have a look at the Local Eats page I’ve started writing up. This page is for my household to track local eateries and attractions, as well as to help out any house guests or house exchange folks who may stay with us or in our house.

## The notability of \$latex (82,000)_{10}\$

The title is meant to read $(82,000)_{10}$, but WordPress’s Jetpack Plugin’s Beautiful Math component doesn’t execute latex markup in the Title/Subject. I’m still keeping it in the subject, though.

This post is about bases and numbers and elitism and of course, math and meta discussion. If you are interested, please read on!

## Home Networking 3 – A review of the basics

This writeup is inspired by the remote geek consulting I’m doing for my sweetie while she’s visiting Mom and trying to bring her Mom’s computing platform and infrastructure up to speed. Here I will review the basics of a good home network with some solid and useful upgrades for certain purposes.

## Visual Rhetoric – Some feedback for MSNBC

Over the years, MSNBC has been using and reusing a particular visual rhetorical style for presenting job growth numbers since Obama’s taken office. And it’s not bad for presenting good data consistently over time, for keeping the range of values within a reasonable scale. All good things, but what it lacks is punch.

Aside

Fire drills, whispers, curses, checkers – since I’m half Chinese, I know how often these things get misattributed to folks of my ancestry. The fire drill article on Wikipedia provides a pretty whitewashed version of the fire drill’s origin from the one taught me by oral history from my elders. I don’t really fault folks for latching on to these sort of exotic romanticized notions, but for heaven’s sake, do research your basic assumptions. You may find that “Chinese” meant, to turn of the century folks, really just another version of exotic, or strange, or impenetrable.

## Measuring and Calibration – Science Geek Series

A lot of bakers and chefs and chemists will tell you that they’re in the same business. So, in a way, are bartenders and cheese makers and drug dealers and brewers and vintners. Because we all need to measure things a lot and we need both accuracy (the ability to measure amounts reliably) and precision (the ability to consistently measure the same amounts).

When you get right down to it, precise, accurate measurement is terribly difficult to carry out, and it’s critical to turning out a consistent product or sale every single time.

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## Reporting Issues – Geek-as-a-Trade series

One of the geeky intersections I have in personal and professional geekery is that of reporting issues. Sometimes this is with an online shop or app or web service. Sometimes it’s with a network provider, or a cell phone service provider. Sometimes I have to report to a professional IT Networking team. Other times I’m on the phone with Comcast about my Internet service. It happens a lot because I’m very observant, very geeky, very thorough, that I both notice an issue and want to fix it. When I report an issue, I’m very aware that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

## Philosophy and Introduction – Geek-as-a-Trade series

I’ve been a geek all my life. My work, my play, my housekeeping all involve geeking at some level. While plenty of geeks involve geekery in all parts of life, here is how I think I differ from most geeks especially at work and what’s important and valuable about that difference: I write stuff down and I plan for the future of whatever I just did in a world where I no longer do it, remember it, write about it or talk about it. Wherever I go I build a library of documentation about my research and creative process.

Aside

It wasn’t until I’d been sharpening knives for more than 40 years that I figured out that the sharpest knife has the most reflective mirror finish on the bevel on both sides of the edge.

## WordPress, Security, Hacking, Recovering from a Hack, and General Discussion

Sounds like another round of WordPress blog hackings are making the rounds. I had my two WordPress blogs hacked by script 4 or 5 years ago. Here are some things to think about and consider if you own and/or maintain a WordPress blog.

## Home Networking 1

I recently upgraded my home network by buying, configuring and installing a hobbyists’ “performance” router, the Edge Router LITE from Ubiquiti. This after years of sticking with crappy consumer line Netgear products after getting royally screwed by Linksys (just as it was getting acquired by Cisco). This article is about acquiring, setting up and finally putting that router into place (today, as it happens) and what was involved.