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iPhone Regress

So, a few months ago I upgraded to an iPhone XR, which I thought was pretty okay, but there’s been an accumulation of issues with it that have me back on my old iPhone 6S for a bit. I dunno if I’ll stick with this or what, but so far I’m liking the 6S tradeoffs better.

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Memories

Much has been written about how Electron apps take a lot of memory; after all, each one is running its own instance of a web browser, and pulling in all of the overwhelming amounts of support code that implies. Slack can easily end up taking over 1GB of RAM, and Discord usually takes a few hundred as well. As someone who used to use IRC back in the 90s, when a single task taking even 1 MB of RAM was considered a lot, this feels rather horrifying:

Activity Monitor showing memory usage for Slack and DiscordActivity Monitor showing memory usage for Slack and Discord

On my iMac, with 24GB of RAM, that means that chat apps – doing the equivalent of an IRC client (granted, with a bit more visual stuff, but not that much) – are taking about 6% of my RAM!

But come to think of it, back in the mid 90s, when a typical computer had 8MB, an IRC client probably took around 400KB of RAM, which is also 6%. So have things really grown proportionally in that way?

Well, I’ve figured out a way of getting these chat apps to take half as much of my total RAM overall, but first, let’s talk about my personal history of memory usage.

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Re: Intermediate auth service

Jacky:

Oh yeah my plan for the indieauth profile service was to also provide h-card and (optional) micropub endpoints. :) I wrote more about that on one of my Subl-related blog posts (which I’m short on spoons to find at the moment).

So I’ve been thinking about this more and more. Having an intermediate service that lets people log in from a silo is excellent for the case you’ve ((@fluffy@queer.party)[https://queer.party/@fluffy]) mentioned. I think I got too far with this and was wondering if they’d use this to do replies, likes and the whole range of responses one could do from their own site.

Having the intermediate service be log-in-able via a silo would certainly be an option but what I was suggesting was actually having an intermediate service where you can also log in with a username/password or whatever. Like, it could be a “silo.” Like, have it as a bootstrap for people getting into IndieWeb without needing to self-host anything.

What I meant by “provide MicroPub endpoints” was me being overly terse and just saying that on the profile you set up on the profile service you could also link your profile to arbitrarily many other services (hosted by others), including MicroPub, as well as authority sources for RelMeAuth or whatever. Basically, a little catch-all tool to fix the bit that I feel is currently missing from the IndieWeb experience for someone who doesn’t have/want to self-host anything.

Incidentally, this is the blog entry I mentioned in that thread where I kind of rambled about this stuff. Also since then I’ve come to realize that there’s no real reason to integrate Pushl directly into Publ since now it does a lot more stuff and more generically than what is suitable for putting into the Publ side of things. (That said, you absolutely can use the same pipenv/venv for both Pushl and Publ, which is how I have things set up on the dayjob website. But that’s getting off in the weeds of minutiae.)

Also, it seems that both of our respective Markdown implementations have gotten confused by the parentheses around the queer.party link. Neat.

Sending ActivityPub backfills

For folks following this site via ActivityPub, I need to run a WebMention backfill which is going to look quite spammy (one post per five seconds when it gets going). Feel free to mute or unfollow; I promise this will end eventually and then things should be sensible for a while.

The process should take around three hours. I’ll post from my main Mastodon account when it’s theoretically safe to follow again.

Not that I expect anyone to really follow this site via ActivityPub anyway! So far this experiment has proven to me what I’d already suspected – ActivityPub isn’t really a great replacement to RSS/Atom.

More ActivityPub testing

Okay so it looks like re-pinging of existing content to fed.brid.gy doesn’t cause it to reappear again, although it’s still a bit of a UX disaster how backfilled toots show up (namely as a gigantic flood to every follower’s timeline). I think that’s more of a Mastodon UX problem than ActivityPub or fed.brid.gy though, and it’s probably a necessary evil based on what happens when a Mastodon sidekiq queue gets backlogged or whatever. Not to mention even in a things-are-current context, the nature of how Pushl works means it’ll probably still cause stuff to get missed.

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Haha, oops

Looks like fed.brid.gy will happily re-ping itself for already-ingested content, and it also shows up on your timeline as a flood of current items with whatever random dates are in place.

That seems… suboptimal.

Progress

It’s April 1, and nobody seems to have noticed the little joke I put on my site, or at least didn’t react to it. Which is fine, it was mostly a last-minute commentary on web UX patterns and so on.

(If you’re seeing this in the future, I added a GDPR compliance popover that prompts you with, “This website uses cookies to remember if you’ve clicked this button,” and a button which reads “I clicked it.”)

Anyway! It’s been a few days since my last post and I’m feeling somewhat better right now, so I’d might as well share what’s changed.

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Whatever happened to progress?

Ever since my diagnosis I was doing so much better, because I was able to practice self-kindness. But over time I’ve been slowly ramping up on doing more stuff, and now I’m back to trying to do all the things, and the amount of time I can do all the things gets shorter each iteration. So now I’m back to being in pain and being frustrated and feeling ineffective at everything.

I’m not sure if the medicine isn’t working after all or if I’m just expecting too much out of it; it’s probably a bit of both.

There are so many things I want to be working on but I’m just too tired to do any of them. I haven’t worked on music in a while – when I was so looking forward to getting back into streaming – and I’m coming up with things to do on Publ faster than I’m actually doing them, and am only really focusing on stuff that directly benefits the day job. And forget about comics, even though I really want to work on Lewi and a Unity Book 3 story.

I’m tired of being tired, and it’s useless to feel useless. I need to remember self-kindness.

More fun with encodings

On a Slack I’m on, there was a conversation wondering why so many websites disallow passwords with spaces, punctuation, “special” characters, and so on; shouldn’t they all be hashing the passwords rather than storing them in plain text anyway?

Yes, they should, but that’s not where the problem is. Once again, encodings become a problem.

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Backslide

So, whatever positive effect I’ve gotten from the nortriptyline isn’t enough to make up for my current baseline pain levels. At least I’m able to get out of bed again (unlike a week ago) but holy moly do I fall into agonizing pain after not doing a whole lot. This weekend I wasn’t even capable of doing my usual 3-to-5 miles of walking a day, and I’m thinking tomorrow I might end up having to take a bus or even a Lyft to work. Very frustrating.

Also, lately I’ve noticed that the extra weight of my iPad in my purse is taking its toll on me. I should probably switch back to using my backpack as my main conveyance; it’s heavier but at least it’s symmetrical and puts the stress on my back rather than my shoulder and neck.

On the plus side, I’ve finally gotten my CPAP working well enough for me. I ended up finding a decent video on how to adjust the nasal pillows and those have turned out to be much more comfortable, given a second chance. The face mask ends up being too disruptive for a bunch of reasons (the slightest movement makes it leak around the sides and I have no way of scratching my nose without hecking the fit up) and I somehow managed to lose the nasal mask (which was nearly as bad as the full mask anyway) so the fact that I’ve gotten the one I’m “supposed” to be using to work reliably and comfortably is nice.

I still feel like it disrupts my sleep somewhat, though. I hope that’s just a matter of something I Need to get used to. Hopefully I’ll eventually start getting reliable deep sleep on it once I’ve fully acclimated.

Anyway. Being up this late and typing a blog post isn’t exactly helping. But I figured an update was in order.

Encodings are the worst

These past few weeks I seem to keep on running into issues where things have been really bad about handling character encodings.

Back in the day, encodings were an absolute nightmare. You had different 8-bit encodings for every language, each with a bunch of different ISO standards; a very commonly-used one is ISO-8859-1, aka Latin-1, which is basically the characters needed to render all of English and most of several Romance languages (although a bunch of stuff is missing), plus a little extra stuff for math, scientific notation (µ), and German (ß), as well as a bunch of miscellani which were generally useful.

Unfortunately, a lot of Internet standards decided to default to that, including HTML.

Note: There are some updates based on feedback at the very bottom.

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Shout-out to Lending Club!

A couple weeks ago I started getting 2FA emails from Lending Club (an online peer-to-peer broker for loans and investments thereof). 2FA is of course a good thing, but less good is when the 2FA emails are addressed to my dead name, rather than my current, legal name.

So, I forwarded it along with a complaint about what was wrong, and fully expected to be brushed off like most companies do. However, they actually responded amazingly, with an explanation of the problem, an apology for it, and a commitment to fix it!

To all the other companies I’ve experienced this issue with: this is the right way to respond.

Thank you for your patience while I took a deeper look into your inquiry. Please know that I was able to find out the reason why the emails you are receiving use your previous name when your current name listed on your account is [current name].

When our engineering team set up the notification emails for our two factor authentication security feature, the source that they used to pull investor data from was the credit reports at the time of account creation, rather than the name listed on the account currently. I do apologize for this and please know that your case has been escalated to our engineering team in the hopes of fixing this issue.

Ongoing stuff

So, Friday I took a day off from my day job to go out to Quincy, WA to visit the Quincy Valley Historical Society and Museum, a farming museum which the AR startup is doing an app for. It was an interesting trip and I learned some stuff, although mostly we were there to guide the filming of greenscreen footage that’s going to be part of the app.

Quincy reminds me a lot of Las Cruces, where I spent a total of 8 years as a college and graduate student, only it’s even smaller and there’s no university.

Anyway, Friday night I didn’t sleep particularly well, then Saturday we drove back and after a brief nap I went to a local Twitch streamer meetup and met a bunch of people. Which was a good time and I made a bunch of contacts, but unfortunately the combination of that with the previous day meant I was already pretty much at my spoons limit.

Then Sunday, because of the dumpster fire that is Daylight Saving Time, all those dirty spoons got thrown into my garbage disposal.

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Places to follow my content

For folks who were following me on Patreon and don’t have an RSS reader, here are some alternate ways of following me:

  • All my stuff gets automatically posted to Twitter, Tumblr, and Mastodon, although that’s not ideal because updates are really easy to miss on those places
  • You can use IFTTT or Blogtrottr to get posts delivered by email (here’s a tutorial on IFTTT)
  • There’s also the #site-updates channel on my Discord (which is also a fun place to hang out anyway)

But of course your life is a lot easier in general by just using a feed reader like feedly, The Old Reader, or Newsblur. Or if you have your own web hosting that can run PHP, you might consider running your own private Feed on Feeds instance!

Tag-reply posts?

In response to my tagging announcement, Marty McGuire writes:

This could be a use case for tag-reply posts!

Brid.gy supports this for tagging people in Flickr posts, as well as adding labels to GitHub issues.

(wow I really have got to write some sort of reply-to post importer… hand-converting that to Markdown was way more work than it should have been!)

I’m not quite sure I understand the use case that’s being called for, here. Publ tags are “tags” in the Tumblr sense, where they’re used to filter and organize posts, like being able to limit things to rants or whatever; I get the feeling that this is confusion over multiple uses of the word “tag,” like how on Twitter/Facebook/Flickr/etc. “tagging” means signaling to someone that they should read a post (akin to “Tag! You’re it!”). Think Technorati tags from way back when, or Atom categories, which are most akin to hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.

I think a tag-as-in-notification thing would be implemented in Publ the same way I implement in-reply-to and so on – I have a corresponding header in the entry file and my template generates an invisible <a class="u-in-reply-to" href="..."> in the post body. The relevant bit in my entry template is:

{% for type in ('like-of', 'in-reply-to', 'repost-of', 'bookmark-of', 'mention-of', 'rsvp') %}
    {% for link in entry.get_all(type) %}
        <a href="{{link}}" class="u-{{type}}"></a>
    {% endfor %}
{% endfor %}

So in that sense Publ already supports that at the template level; I can simply add tag-of to the list of microformat types. Or am I completely misunderstanding what is being suggested?

In which I finally stop using Patreon

So, hey, Patreon is a pretty popular site for funding the creative people you follow. A lot of people rely on Patreon as their primary source of income. More power to them if they do; it’s where everyone goes to do that sort of thing and it’s really enabled a lot of people to do what they love for a living.

But I just removed all my pledges and also my creator account. It’s not one thing in isolation that led me to do this, but a culmination of a lot of things (some big, some small) that had been frustrating and upsetting to me.

(Want to know where I’m accepting donations these days without reading a long missive? I’m on Ko-Fi for one-time donations and Liberapay for ongoing contributions.)

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Site updates!

So hey, Publ now has a tagging system, so I’ve updated my site to show tags in a lot of places. I’m not sure if I should make some sort of tag explorer view or if it’s okay to just pivot between tags within a category listing. Insight or ideas would be most welcome.

What I want to do at some point is tag all of my comics with subject matter and characters, but that seems like a lot of work. I wonder if there’s a way to outsource that to other folks which doesn’t involve opening up my git repo to the world. Maybe I’ll build a simple tool which lets people suggest tags for entries which don’t have tags. Iunno.

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Treatment progress

On the nortriptyline front, I’m up to 20mg/day and it’s feeling fine. It hasn’t solved my fibromyalgia forever (and after a day of typing and whatnot I’m still in pain, and my pressure points are still indicative of fibro) but it’s helping me a lot all the same. An unsurprising-but-nice thing is that it’s also vastly reduced my anxiety, which isn’t too surprising since that’s one of the on-label uses of this medication that I’m technically taking off-label. Does that count as a side-effect?

On the CPAP front, I’ve switched back to the nasal mask and it’s actually working pretty okay for me. I think the machine has finally learned to reduce its pressure because I’m a lot more comfortable throughout the night, although I still end up waking up at around 4 AM and taking it off so I can scratch my nose. Still, I’m generally feeling a lot more refreshed in the morning. I just need to get in the habit of putting it back on after I wake up and take care of the itching.

Also my cats have gotten used to it, which is nice.

Nortriptylene and CPAP progress

So I’ve been on nortriptylene for nearly two weeks now, and so far it’s feeling pretty promising. I’m still at the 10mg dose (I’m supposed to increase to 20 in a few days) and while it hasn’t completely solved my fibromyalgia so far (not that I’d expect it to), it’s definitely helped me out a lot.

In particular, while I still feel pain after a full day of work, it just feels like something that’s present and that tells me that it’s time to take a break from things, rather than putting me into extreme severe agony.

Basically I suspect this is what pain normally feels like to people who don’t have this disability!

I still have some level of fatigue in the morning (and much more later in the day) and I’m still needing to manage my spoons – that’s not something that is likely to ever go away – but even this early and at this low of a dose I feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

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CPAP and Nortiptyline

Only too late did I realize that trying to adjust to a CPAP machine while already adjusting to a brain medication (that has weird effects on sleep) means that I am once again doing things on hard mode. Oops.

So far I’ve had two nights with the CPAP. The first night I didn’t get any real amount of sleep while on it and ended up taking a nap after I “got up” in the morning. The second night I did a bit better when I stopped worrying about paying attention to my breathing, although that’s hard to do.

Probably the weirdest thing about a nasal CPAP mask is that if you open your mouth, the air gets forced out through it and causes a sort of reverse snore. And it feels really weird. So if I need to talk to a cat, for example, things go strange.

Anyway the lack of sleep has made me feel like I’ve gotten a pretty big setback with chronic pain stuff; the day before CPAP, I was feeling pretty good, and over the last two days my major chronic pain has come back all over and in a big way. I’d hold off on the CPAP for now except insurance will only pay for it if I average 4 hours per night over the next two months, and I feel like in the long term CPAP is much more important for my pain stuff than nortriptyline probably is.

If tonight doesn’t go better I’ll probably go without CPAP tomorrow night though, because I have to be in good shape pain-wise on Tuesday (since I have a couple of big tasks at work plus I’m getting a bunch of cavities filled in the afternoon).