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For some obscure reason that I'm not even going to waste time contemplating, ROOL announced in February 2022 that the network bounty was underway (step 2 of 4), which will be bringing a new Internet module with foundations laid for WiFi (step 3 of 4) and IPv6 (step 4 of 4), along with updated libraries and blah blah blah.

The reason this is obscure to the point of being obtuse, and possibly a grand demonstration of "Not Invented Here" syndrome, is because various people including myself were testing a new stack created (and paid for by a commercial partner who wanted it) by RISC OS Developments.

It doesn't, yet, support WiFi, but this was part of the design stage. It does, however, allow me to do this:

*ifconfig -a
lo0: flags=8049 mtu 32768
 groups: lo
 inet6 ::1 prefixlen 128
 inet6 fe80::1%lo0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x1
 inet netmask 0xff000000
ej0: flags=208843 mtu 1500
 lladdr b8:27:xx:xx:xx:xx
 groups: egress
 media: Ethernet autoselect (100baseTX half-duplex)
 status: active
 inet6 fe80::ba27:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx%ej0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x2
 inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
 inet6 2a01:cb08:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:3b31
       prefixlen 64 autoconf pltime 582 vltime 1782
 inet6 2a01:cb08:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:33f0
       prefixlen 64 autoconf autoconfprivacy pltime 582 vltime 1782
*ping6 -c 3 -s 256
PING (2a00:b980:2:3::1242:34c2): 256 data bytes
264 bytes from 2a00:b980:2:3::1242:34c2: icmp_seq=0 hlim=52 time=28.774 ms
264 bytes from 2a00:b980:2:3::1242:34c2: icmp_seq=1 hlim=52 time=28.527 ms
264 bytes from 2a00:b980:2:3::1242:34c2: icmp_seq=2 hlim=52 time=29.425 ms

--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/std-dev = 28.527/28.909/29.425/0.379 ms

There's not much else I can do with IPv6, as it's so new pretty much nothing on RISC OS has any support for it.

There's not a lot of new developer documentation, and as far as I'm aware, little in the way of new libraries, because it's pretty much a drop-in replacement for the existing ancient stack. Simply run the installer, let it reboot twice, check the network settings (and turn on IPv6 if you want), reboot and... stuff just works. For the moment, the main changes are better documentation of MbufManager and Resolver (which have been replaced by open source components written to follow the same API), and of course the IPv6 stuff. The existing TCPIP libraries? They work just fine. As does all of the existing code.

Unlike the ROOL bounty, IPv6 was developed at the same time as IPv4. It's a bit weird to do them in different phases, given that whatever incarnation of the bsd stack is in use (this is OpenBSD, RISC OS traditionally uses FreeBSD, there are minor differences) will likely have both present together as, well, as much of the world supports IPv6 in some manner these days. Hell, even my Livebox has an IPv6 option, though it seems prone to randomly deactivating it for some reason...

The stack is running and is functional. To come, at some stage, is WiFi support. This means a whole host of potential changes such as the network randomly dropping out, the possibility of the assigned IP address changing at any time, not to mention potentially changing network. Oh, and of course the whole deal with authentication. It's quite a bit different to the RISC OS concept of "here's a wire, your address is either fixed or given at boot, there, done, now go wiggle the wire".

While it's good to see that the stack is finally being overhauled, it's a bit of a concern as really only one can be built into ROM. Now, RODev probably isn't that bothered given that work has already been commissioned and paid for and we're just benefiting as a side effect, but does this mean that those of us who with to continue with the RODev stack will have to keep on softloading it in place of whatever the ROM image might contain? Even if, as appears to be the case, this stack is more advanced? It already does IPv6, while the ROOL bounty has pushed IPv6 off to a part 4 of 4 of the stack development, that crucially they haven't even set up a bounty for as yet.

I dunno. Given our very limited developer resources, it's kind of depressing that the same work is happening twice at pretty much the same time. But, then, I guess it's better to have a stack that is more recent than 1997 even if there are two of them!




The pink cherry tree.

Cherry blossom
Yesterday evening.

Cherry blossom
Loads of blossom.

Cherry blossom
Looking up.

It's been like this since Tuesday, but today was the first day I could really appreciate it in the sunlight, as it's mostly in shade by the time I get home...


That big tree out front

A bloke in a van came around at noon, looking for old metal. I didn't have anything, and honestly I wasn't about to go looking. Thankfully he was a lot less pushy than the last bloke who started to wander around looking at everything. Casing the joint, if you'll excuse the cynicism.

He said he also does garden work, tree surgery, and so on. He even gave me an A5 sized generic-as-hell card with his phone number scrawled upon it.
So I asked for a rough estimate of how much it would cost to take down the big pine out front, plus take the bits away.

This is the tree in question.

The big pine tree
The big pine tree.

Growing as four branches, I think it was intended to be an ornamental thing that, decades later, is just too damn big for it's own good.

He said "between €1,500 and €2,000". Unknown to him, mom had already obtained a quote. It was quite a bit less than that.
Plus, I'm not going to use this guy for two reasons. The first is that he had me write down the price, after asking me if I knew numbers. I don't know if this was truly because he is not numerate, or if it was some sort of wheeze to avoid putting anything in writing so I can be handed a much larger bill at the end. Also, there's absolutely no mention of a SIRET, which means he's probably uninsured and not actually working, shall we say, legally?
Given the size of the tree and the proximity to buildings, power lines, and a well, I am not willing to engage a "professional" (as the paper claims) who isn't adequately insured.

But it has put in the back of my mind a need to get somebody to give a real quote for taking that tree down.


Early morning

I volunteered to come into work at 7am on Thursday, as one of the plonge girls was off sick and the other needed to take the day for personal reasons. My boss's underling asked if I could come in earlier, maybe eight or seven? Whenever...
I'm sorry, but "whenever" just doesn't work for me. So I nailed it down to an exact time, 7am.
Of course, 8am would have been better, but I had to remember that I needed to do my restocking round beforehand and god knows what will have been piling up since around 5am when the morning shift starts.

As it happened, rather astonishingly, numerous things came together to make it actually a really great day.

Firstly, there was practically nothing waiting being done. Two caddies of baking trays and one proof-rack half full of silicone moulds.

So I did the restocking and there was surprisingly little that needed done, so I was finished in about fifteen minutes.

I then went into plonge and worked by myself and got through the baking trays pretty quickly. It was slower than with two people because I had to load everything into the big machine, then go to the other side and unload the stuff as it came out the other end. But I steadily made my way through it all.
I was working on the silicone moulds. I had to do these more carefully as they have a habit of getting caught in the conveyor belt as the machine spits them out, meaning either the belt stalls and they pile up, or they end up spewed onto the floor (and need to be washed again). But if I load twenty into the machine, it gives me just enough time to go to the other side to catch them as they come out.

That's when my helper turned up. A young man who was absolutely brilliant. I have had the misfortunate of being paired with people who put exactly zero effort or attention into things, to the point where the need to keep on checking their work and explaining over and over again that there are actually different types of baking tray and no, you can't just pile 'em all together, that - once - I want to the production line manager and asked her to take this person back as I'd literally get stuff done faster by myself.
But not Thursday. The guy I was with was competent, friendly, and best of all motivated. For most of the day not a lot came in from production, so I (the one putting stuff into the machine) would take a caddy and go collect baking trays from the pick-and-pack to wash. Which meant effectively we were on top of everything and there were no surprises like four caddies arriving at once, most specifically at the last minute.
Indeed, the afternoon team were blown away by the fact that, asides from some cake trays that just arrived, there was nothing. It's not usually like that. It's really not at all like that.

But I'm not going to say I was great. It was a combination of things turning up on time and not in bunches (so the work could be balanced), not having to play catch-up from stuff from before, other people helping out in various little ways, and being paired with a good worker. I didn't do good work in plonge, WE did.

I went on break at 1pm, back to work at 1.45pm and had an hour to do all of the stuff I habitually do in the day. It wasn't quite enough, but I did manage to get it done by 3pm at which point it was time to go home.

And I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun with several cups of tea and a little furball that wouldn't leave me alone. ☺



Since I had to go to bed early on Wednesday, due to waking at 5.30am, I didn't feel like cooking anything complicated. So I made some toast. On the toast I tipped a tin of canned spaghetti bolognese. On top of that, some bits of cheddar (Seriously Strong, proper stuff). That was then shoved into the microwave to heat it up.

Uh... haven't I just invented pizza?

Thursday evening, I had time as I was preparing the rubbish and recycling, so I popped three big spuds into halogen cooker and let them slowly roast. After an hour each side, I topped them with butter and cheese and a dash of pepper.

Cheesy spuds.



For some reason I had lots of energy on Thursday. I worked two hours earlier than usual, came home, sat with tea and kitty, sat a bit longer, then did some mowing, and afterwards sorted out the rubbish.

And not just sitting on the big mower, no, weilding little mower to munch through knee-high grass on uneven land. Erk!

Grass, cut
Grass, cut.

I did some other areas too, but nothing I'm going to upload photos of. One bit of mown grass looks much the same as the next.


And elsewhere...

What's normal: Lying Tory scum are lying Tory scum, Brexit is still delivering bollocks instead of benefits, and the environment is still trying to eradicate this global pest known as humanity.

What's new: Certain organisations (mostly American) are really ramping up the FUD against AI. Now, rather than whinging about it ripping off every artist in every form of digital media in half a nanosecond, we're supposed to piddle in our pants over "non-state actors" (clearly a euphemism for "terrorist shitheads") using AI to make advanced weapons. Of course, no details whatsoever are provided. Not because of National Secrets, more a case of plucking random factoids out of their arseholes and attempting to stick them together like the excrement it so clearly is (feel free to bring your own subtext).
The thing is, AI is not smart. It's just able to give the illusion of intelligence to some really gullible people, who are themselves about as dumb as AI is.
AI is complex advanced pattern matching. But it has many many limitations, as you'll soon discover if you sign up to OpenAI and play with Dall-E2 or ChatGPT.
This being said, no terrorist is going to bother to use AI in their weapons. Why? Well, what's the point. If you want to put something nasty on a drone, you don't want to send it off with instructions to "go blow up an important target". It's just as likely to wipe out some poor sod in a Prius after mistaking the car for a battleship. Instead, it'll be much simpler to give the drone a list of waypoints to follow, ending up at the target. Then let the onboard GPS go and do it. Hell, drones in the €400ish price band can manage to do that much.
The use of AI in weapons might make sense to the US military, where their conditions of engagement usually result in "if it moves, shoot it". For doing stuff like that, maybe there is a place for AI, especially if it can tell the difference between something moving and clouds passing in front of the sun. But for "non-state actors", those tend to fall into the category of being either some opportunistic arsehole believing that killing a bunch of random people will help him get to his own personal Valhalla... or things that have been carefully planned. In neither case does the application of AI make any sense.

What's shocking: Twitter is, apparently, still a thing despite Musk's best efforts to wreck it.


More Dall-E2 messing

So I asked it for a photo of a punk cat riding a Harley.
Punk cat on a Harley
A punk cat on a Harley.

Let's try a heavy metal version, shall we?

Heavy metal cat on a Harley
Whoa, da fu....?

Okay, let's do the audience participation part:

#  I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram
On a silver-black phantom bike
When the metal is hot
And the engine is hungry
And we're all about to see the light...

It's quite good at abstract stuff. It's when you get to trying to do real things that it falls apart, and needs a lot of careful prompting to approach something that isn't completely gonzo.

Here, I'm asking for a picture of two girls playing table tennis.

Two girls playing table tennis
Two girls playing table tennis.

Okay, loser-death-glare aside, it's not that bad until you start to examine the hands of the girl on the right, then it becomes body horror.

This is what it considers a massive spider infestation in the London underground.

A few spiders
A few spiders.

That's not massive, there are more spiders in the kitchen... ☺

A few prompt modifications later and something marginally less naff.

A few more spiders
A few more spiders.

Clearly Dall-E2 hasn't absorbed the movie Arachnophobia, or Spiders, or... At this point I give up, as the freebie only has something like 15 credits a month.

I ask for the Sun exploding into a supernova and wiping out the Earth. This is the best of it's attempts to visualise that. Honestly, this could have been a screenshot from Ulysses 31, don't you think?

A solar supernova?
Photonic Induction's most impressive "Popped it".

Next, I ask for a picture of Earth and Mars colliding. These are the four it dreampt up, none of which were anything even remotely similar to what I had in my mind.

How two planets don't collide.
How two planets don't collide.

Gotto give a special shout out to the upper left image. It's clearly Mars because it's a recognisable picture of Earth centred over Africa tinted red.
Upper right? Words fail me.
The only one that makes any sense is the lower right, but it wouldn't look like that. Trust me, something with that amount of innate gravity won't sort of sneak up like that.

The land would not look as we know it, as upon crossing the Moon's orbit, Mars would have started seriously messing with the oceans. If Luna gives us tides, what do you think an actual planet would do? As it approaches even closer, the massive tides would turn into the sorts of tsunamis that only exist in movies, and the messing with the atmosphere would create hurricanes so powerful that the existing categorisation scales wouldn't come close to assigning a number to it. Shifts in the planet's gravity would distrupt the crust. Expect earthquakes for which there is also no numerical category, and volcanoes to appear where they weren't before.
Just prior to the actual collision, as suggested by the picture bottom right, the atmospheres of both planets would become supercompressed, and thus superheated, and would glow brightly. Pretty much anything around would be vapourised, the ground itself turning into magma.
It only gets worse. And... it may have already happened. Google "Theia".

Finally, a girl playing an epic cello solo (well, Apocalyptica is on the radio).

Epic cello solo
Epic cello solo.

As expected, the photo is "almost but not quite". A leg sprouting from the instrument, weird non-hands, and it completely didn't bother with a face.

And that, right there, is the thing with AI. It's close enough to fool the gullible, but still quite wrong in so many ways.
After all these months, I don't see Dall-E's concept of faces improving much, so I'm guessing the AI doesn't know it is doing it wrongly. Well, how would it? It doesn't "know", period.

This isn't to say that AI won't be a problem. It will. It'll soon be a massive problem. Not because of any specific intelligence, but because it'll make it easy for people to pull all kinds of deceptions. We have already seen a fake Oasis album created with the aid of AI. What happens when this sort of thing moves into the political arena? For instance, convincing video footage of some sleazy event that never actually happened? This would take "fake news" to new heights.

I don't think AI's danger lies in weapons, or even in ripping off people's copyrights. I think AI's danger lies in the absolute chaos it could cause to social order if used as a weapon against important public figures. I'm not sure the legal system, or people's minds, are quite ready to look at photos and videos of events and regard them as fakery. Unless, of course, said person has eight fingers and a swirled up face. But these things will improve to the point where it could be possible to depict anybody doing just about anything. Argue that while your popularity ploughs through the floor faster than a set of Raptor engines, and the police (oh so willing to investigate non-issues) are hounding you as much as the sleazy journos who are amplifying this crap in every way they can.

That's the real danger of AI.



I can see why people might find them cute. Big smiley dolls, often shaped like gingerbread men, with equally big eyes and smile, it's a sort of Bambification in a doll form.
However, they are black. Maybe in this day and age, if somebody created a black doll, it might be seen as, I dunno, progressive? Inclusive?
Unfortunately, the golliwog is a doll form of a blackface minstrel, the minstrel show being all sorts of controversial. As such, it's hard to think that it would be possible to have a golliwog doll without the racist undertones lurking through the hundred odd years of it's existence.

As for the name, "golliwog" is sometimes thought to be a variation of "pollywog" which is a colloquial term for a tadpole. This, in turn, was shortened down to "wog" when used as an insult against foreigners, mainly of the darker skinned variety.
The idea that "wog" means "western oriental gentleman" is a false eymology (in other words, bollocks) that was thought up later on as an attempt to legitimise casual racism.

So, the cute golliwog dolls were once a very popular children's toy, but pretty much their entire purpose was to exist to reduce black man to objects of ridicule. By making them children's toys, this innate racism gets passed along from generation to generation.

Whether or not one chooses to keep golliwog dolls is entirely up to the individual. It shouldn't be considered a hate crime to own one (for god's sake, there are actual crimes happening that are more worthy of police time).
Displaying them in a window or shop front, however? Well, that's getting a bit more problematic. As was discovered recently by a clueless Karen running a pub that got raided by the police for their display of such dolls, followed by the utterly tone deaf interviews the woman then gave seemingly not understanding (or wanting to accept?) the racist connotations, followed by somebody vandalising the place because, well, yeah. That sort of thing can annoy people. Who'd have thought, huh?

Golliwogs, really, belong in the past. A caricature that, for some reason, used to adorn jars of jam. But, then, the time when I grew up (the '80s) was an era so far removed from political correctness that few people even noticed the golliwog on the label. All we wanted to know is do we get paid if we return the empty jar?

If you're looking for a black role model, don't. A role model should be a role model because of who they are and what they do, irrespective of the colour of their skin or their country of birth.

But if you really want a black role model. Oh, okay, fine. You can't go far wrong with a trifecta of Laurence Fishburne, Barack Obama, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.



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David Pilling, 23rd April 2023, 13:12
AI - one of the easy ways to spot fake emails was their bad use of English - banks usually write perfectly. Coming soon perfectly written scam emails. 
There was an article about people making huge amounts of money by getting AI to do their work, allowing them to hold down several jobs. Things like copy-writing. 
Some of your images could be usable (meaning an artist has not been hired to produce them). 
Already, real world effects. People finding out if their skills are "real" skills. Like hand-loom weavers. 
Find a "swastika" in my possession, do I like Nazis or Hindus, the sin is in the eyes of the beholder. I had the complete set of Robinson's badges, as a child I loved them every one. 
J.G.Harston, 24th April 2023, 01:54
My ex-wife has dozens, probably hundreds of swastikas in her possession, she has several books with a row of swastikas along each page. Bhuddist.
Rick, 24th April 2023, 05:42
True, but then the swastika is an ancient religious symbol that was appropriated by the Nazis. 
When was a Golliwog anything other than a crude caricature of a black person?

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