May. 4th, 2016 08:13 am
shadowspar: Members of the band B'z, sitting down (b'z sitting)
[personal profile] shadowspar
So, uh. This happened at work.

The University's been facing a tough time with declining enrollment. To make the books balance for next year, they had to cut eight staff positions.

I got called into the Dreaded Uncomfortable Meeting with five other staff members yesterday afternoon, where we learned we were being laid off. They went to great lengths to say that these reductions were a strictly financial decision that had nothing to do with our individual performance.

While I'm understandably annoyed that my position is winding down, I'm not bitter about the situation. The current leadership at AlgomaU has a lot going for them, and I truly wish them well in meeting the challenges they face. The University has the potential to be a profoundly important institution for all of Canada, and a crown jewel of our local community. I hope I see them turn that vision into a reality.

That said, I'm taking this as an opportunity to springboard on to greater things. =)

Because of our family situation, I very strongly prefer to stay local (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada), but at this point I'm open to substantial travel -- say, 25%, possibly even 40% or more depending on how it's spread out? So if there are any cool places out there who could use a *nix nerd in Software Development, QA, or Systems Administration, right now I'm all ears. ^_^
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
I've been feeling frustrated for a while now that I tend to freeze up hard whenever one of my stories glances past anything sexual; in purely practical terms, it's been limiting what kind of stories I can tell and what tools I have for telling them. [livejournal.com profile] phoenixfalls knows I've been struggling to get past this hump (heh!), so when [community profile] smutswap nominations came up a few months back, she encouraged me to sign up. I was planning to tell her no--I have a bunch of WIPs I'm busy with, thank you--but then I saw someone had nominated Kat/Isabelle for Strange Empire, and... Well, the fastest way to get me to sign up for an exchange these days is to dangle the possibility of a Strange Empire fill in front of me. We were still in the treat period for [community profile] chocolateboxcomm when this-all happened, so I dashed off 500 words of Toast/Furiosa PWP as a test-of-ability, just to be sure I wouldn't die of a stroke or something if I committed to writing actual trufax porn, and then I signed up for Smutswap.

Delight of delights, I actually got my Kat/Isabelle story!!!!!
Flesh of My Flesh, by [archiveofourown.org profile] brigdh for [archiveofourown.org profile] sanguinity
Strange Empire
Explicit, No Archive Warnings Apply
Marriage of Convenience, Accidental Soulbonds (Made Them Do It), First Time, Enemies to Lovers, Oral Sex, Fingerfucking
6,413 words

An AU that takes off immediately from the point in canon of the marriage between Isabelle and Kat.

In a world with soulbonds, a marriage of convenience carries extra risks....
(I keep promising myself that I'll do some kind of proper pimp post for Strange Empire, but how about this for starters: there's a canon marriage between two ladies in 1869 Manitoba. And not just any two ladies, but between a Metis woman and a black woman, both of whom are main characters. This is my show.)

Brigdh did a lovely job with the story, and I am a very happy giftee. The characterizations are spot-on; it's by turns funny and poignant and earnestly tropey and hot.

My own offering was 7K of 1920s vibrator porn:
Recommended by Galen and Avicenna, by [archiveofourown.org profile] sanguinity for [archiveofourown.org profile] within_a_dream
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Dr. Mac/OFC
Explicit, No Archive Warnings Apply
Orgasm Delay/Denial, Praise Kink, Overstimulation, Vibrators
7,334 words

I never did come up with a proper summary beyond "exactly what it says on the tin," and I figure you can all read the tin well enough. And yes, it comes complete with a historical footnote or two, because I apparently can't write historical anything without 1) hitting the books first, and 2) sharing what I found.

It's too early to know how much of a success the exchange was for shifting my comfort window--time will tell!--but I'm happy to say that the experience was positive overall. (And I got Kat/Isabelle fic out of it, hooray!)
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Just testing something on the mobile site. This entry will be deleted whenever I get around to it. Please stand by. Thank you and take care.
erika: (me: don't panic!)
[personal profile] erika
(subject line solely because Thom Yorke gives such a concise description of the torment inherent in human existence, no matter how limited and bland.)

More links! Again, I've done my best to have them from most recent to least. My reading list is all about our struggle to understand ourselves these days, y'all.

Apathy: the Curse, the Cure Psychology Today: that self-defeating attitude could derive either from early childhood programming, which led you to believe that no matter how conscientiously you applied yourself, you still couldn’t succeed...

New Procedure Allows Kidney Transplants from Any Donor NY Times

People with Anxiety May Be Hard-wired to See World Differently Reuters
Cautionary note: very small preliminary study!
On a basic level, the concept that people with anxiety overgeneralize fear-causing stimuli is fascinating. I wonder if that's why my anxiety levels only really dropped after I took up meditation and started taking care of myself—clearly a holistic issue even if Western mind-body duality keeps LYING to everyone. (Erika: outraged at the weirdest shit since 1985.)
Wonder what the limits of the brain's resiliency are, but really, no one knows and I'm (surprisingly to myself) comfortable with that uncertainty. BRAINS ARE SO COOOOOOOOOL.

11 Nutritionist Approved Midnight Snacks
for the Erika in your life who always gets hungry before bed! & with a headline like that, you know it's probs a listicle from Buzzfeed as is the next:

17 Expert Tips To Help Couples Actually Solve Rship Isuses
(Thanks to this article, I tried to nickname Travis. Do you know how hard it is to nickname the name Travis? Almost as hard as it is to nickname the name Erika! So instead I nicknamed the behavior, a particular type of snipe-y arguing I do, as "gremlin-ing." because you don't want to see what happens if you feed me after midnight.
For the record, it makes it wayyyyy easier to be called out when he uses that word, so yeah, thumbs up.)

Unconventional Productivity from Zen Habits, one of my favorite blogs
Once you’ve started to work with the discomfort, you’ll see that it’s No Big Deal. Nothing to worry about. It’s just a feeling, just energy. You’ll relax a little around it. Try to develop a friendly attitude toward it, instead of being harsh on yourself. Just notice, just smile, just breathe, just be gentle.

Why Speaking Up about Mental Illness Is A Privilege—some australian newspaper I don't know and am disinterested in learning more about, as I hoard spoons like a dragon, inclusive of firebreathing.
The only reason I'm able to share my experiences with mental illness is that I do so with little risk. I have a family who love and support me with full awareness of my illnesses. I'm self-employed in a dual-income household. I will not be out on the street, I will not be broke and I will not be ostracised by the people I love. I'm already ahead of the mental health game before I even start.

Ask Bear - I Don't Want to Spend 2016 Feeling Bad About My Looks | Bitch Magazine

whether you get picked up in bars may not be a good barometer of whether you’re attractive, it may just mean that you’re more of a slow burn than a quick hit.
Here, allow me to pause for a few words in praise of being the one who takes the initiative. It’s all very well and good to be noticed, but it’s totally possible that people are noticing and not acting—just as I imagine you have done on many previous occasions.

Sick Woman Theory Mask Magazine
I hope I've linked this before, but assuming I haven't, or you didn't read it the first time... enjoy this piece of genius.

I only wish to point out the presumptions upon which her horror relies: that our vulnerability should be seen and honored, and that we should all receive care, quickly and in a way that “respects the autonomy of the patient,” as the Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics puts it. Of course, these presumptions are what we all should have. But we must ask the question of who is allowed to have them. In whom does society substantiate such beliefs? And in whom does society enforce the opposite?

Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse with Self Compassion Psychology Today again
"Self-criticism [will] trigger the fight-or-flight response—[...] mobilizing the strength and energy needed to confront or avoid the threat. Although this system was designed by evolution to deal with physical attacks, it is activated just as readily by emotional attacks—from ourselves and others. Over time, increased cortisol levels deplete neurotransmitters involved in the ability to experience pleasure, leading to depression."

the 36 questions that lead to love NY-Times
full PDF of study
"practical methodology for creating closeness in an experimental context"

The New Rules of Relationships Psychology Today
Because people's needs are fluid and change over time, and life's demands change too, good relationships are negotiated and renegotiated all the time.

Thinking about the internet... Nobody knows how to deal with an asshole disturbing others like a librarian, so why aren't they designing the comment systems? Has anyone in tech ever asked a bunch of librarians what they think about the problem of curating access to culture when we want as many people to enjoy the culture as possible?

Librarians are some of my favorite people. Yes, they were super nice to little girl Erika, but I'm not entirely speaking from my cronyism. It's their instinctual dislike of most people as well as the mandated desire for complete quiet that pleases me so greatly.
erika: Text: A traditional troll saying, from WoW. (games: wow: kill two dwarves)
[personal profile] erika
In Spanish, and particularly in Venezuelan Spanish, there's an expression I love. It's "echar para adelante" (eh-char [like fire charred], pah-ruh ah-deh-lan-teh, I need to learn IPA notation) or echa' pa' lante' for short. It means, roughly, "to be knocked forward", to bounce—not back—but ahead, the opposite of being knocked down. A set-forward.

With echa' pa' lante' in mind, I'm delighted to announce I'm moving to the Bay Area!

Congratulations, condolences on the rent, and advice all accepted with a mere press of your comment button. Please give me all your responses about how much you totally believe that this random internet stranger can accomplish this near-impossibility, too.

From having this topic brought to my attention in various places, I'm noticing I use a lot of ableist language in day to day speech. Often, I grit my teeth and reclaim language related to mental illness with deliberate nonchalance, a habit from work, but I've slipped into and/or never gotten out of the common problem of using terms in ableist ways too.

Realizing this, I feel super disappointed in myself. Treating people with respect is one of the things I strive the hardest to do. Tolerance is one of my most important virtues. It sucks that I haven't been reflecting that in my language.

I know that I can change. And I will, because I *also* know I'd rather give people respect than stay comfortable. I fucking hate that I've said things that way in the past, and I'm going to try harder not to say them that way in the future.

#lifegoals, all about the importance of continued progress. SIGH turns out being an adult is all about routine fucking maintenance tasks y'all! WHO KNEW

but hey get a good schedule/routine going and you can almost set yr self-care on autopilot
(unlocking that was like realizing the secret mystery level up easy mode option does exist, as long as you schedule it properly and then actually do it)

Links, from most recent to least:

Finding Life after Abuse - Beyonce's LemonadeI wonder if a Black woman called a narcissist is merely just a Black woman who dares to step up and say she matters.

Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day

How to Politely Have an Amazing Threesome

27 Super Easy Ways to Eat more Fruits & Veg
27 Bad Bitch Anthems That'll Bring Out Your Inner Goddess

19 Naturally Curly Hairstyles for when You're ALready Running Late

Benefits of ADHD

When Forgiveness Isn't a Virtue

Executive Function Primer Part 4 I link to part 4 because the other three parts are linked from there.

Kero Lantern Chronicles

Apr. 26th, 2016 12:38 am
shadowspar: A pixellated adventurer grooving in time to music (necrodancer: cadence)
[personal profile] shadowspar
So...our ski club hosts a lantern ski two evenings a year, so people can putter along enjoying the trails and the twilight. They used to use oldschool kerosene lanterns, but the club got rid of them a few years back. It sounds like they were getting dirty and rusty, and nobody was quite sure how to make them less so.

Unfortunately, the candle lanterns that replaced them don't work very well. They don't provide any substantial illumination, and in the winter, the candles burn out quickly -- they don't retain enough heat to melt their own wax well, and burn down the middle instead of across their entire width.

I went looking for a better solution, and was surprised to find that new kerosene lanterns are actually still a thing sold in North America. Like, ones for real use, as opposed to collectables or antiques that are just supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice. So I ordered one.
Read more... )

Circumventing Ubuntu Snap confinement

Apr. 21st, 2016 06:31 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Ubuntu 16.04 was released today, with one of the highlights being the new Snap package format. Snaps are intended to make it easier to distribute applications for Ubuntu - they include their dependencies rather than relying on the archive, they can be updated on a schedule that's separate from the distribution itself and they're confined by a strong security policy that makes it impossible for an app to steal your data.

At least, that's what Canonical assert. It's true in a sense - if you're using Snap packages on Mir (ie, Ubuntu mobile) then there's a genuine improvement in security. But if you're using X11 (ie, Ubuntu desktop) it's horribly, awfully misleading. Any Snap package you install is completely capable of copying all your private data to wherever it wants with very little difficulty.

The problem here is the X11 windowing system. X has no real concept of different levels of application trust. Any application can register to receive keystrokes from any other application. Any application can inject fake key events into the input stream. An application that is otherwise confined by strong security policies can simply type into another window. An application that has no access to any of your private data can wait until your session is idle, open an unconfined terminal and then use curl to send your data to a remote site. As long as Ubuntu desktop still uses X11, the Snap format provides you with very little meaningful security. Mir and Wayland both fix this, which is why Wayland is a prerequisite for the sandboxed xdg-app design.

I've produced a quick proof of concept of this. Grab XEvilTeddy from git, install Snapcraft (it's in 16.04), snapcraft snap, sudo snap install xevilteddy*.snap, /snap/bin/xevilteddy.xteddy . An adorable teddy bear! How cute. Now open Firefox and start typing, then check back in your terminal window. Oh no! All my secrets. Open another terminal window and give it focus. Oh no! An injected command that could instead have been a curl session that uploaded your private SSH keys to somewhere that's not going to respect your privacy.

The Snap format provides a lot of underlying technology that is a great step towards being able to protect systems against untrustworthy third-party applications, and once Ubuntu shifts to using Mir by default it'll be much better than the status quo. But right now the protections it provides are easily circumvented, and it's disingenuous to claim that it currently gives desktop users any real security.
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