Smart phones, smart watches, what’s next, a smart bed?

Lately my sleep has been pretty much garbage, and I probably need a sleep study. But sleep studies are expensive and a lot of hassle to maybe find out nothing’s actually wrong, so in the meantime I got a sleep tracker kit.

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Dysphoria Discourse

There has been yet another explosion of discourse over on Trans Twitter as a result of a couple of prominent people talking about their beliefs regarding dysphoria and what it means to be “really” trans.

The term “transmed” has come about, as an attempt at a more “gentle” form of what many folks call “truscum,” namely that you must feel dysphoria to be Really Trans, and that the end goal absolutely must be a “proper” transition, which is such an incredibly reductive, prescriptive, and invalidating set of concepts that it does much more harm than good to people who are already having difficulty questioning themselves and need support and compassion to figure out where they stand and what they need.

The problem with discussing dysphoria is that it’s such an ineffable, subjective concept that it’s impossible for two people to even agree on what it is – hell, it’s difficult for one person to agree on what it is – and it can also refer to so many things, many of which overshadow each other and behave in confusing ways, and thus how can any objective criterion be formed based on what essentially comes down to what someone’s feeling?

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On chronic pain

Note: While reading this you may be tempted to give me advice on things to help with chronic pain or wrist problems. Believe me when I say I have almost certainly heard it before, and I am not interested in advice; I simply want to help spread understanding.

I have, since my late teenage years, had chronic pain in both wrists, a result of heavy computer use that started when I was very young. I was fascinated by computers and absolutely determined to become an expert at everything that could be done on them; this drive led me to many spans of overworking as I tried to do everything I could in as short a time as I could. This obsessiveness combined with poor ergonomic practices led to a slow buildup of nerve adhesions and chronic tendinitis.

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My useless thoughts on Microsoft GitHub

A lot has been written about the impending buyout of GitHub by Microsoft. As a regular user of the former and not much of a user of the latter, people would probably expect me to be against this happening, but my feelings on it are largely positive.

And this comes from someone who used to refer to them as “M$!” (All I can say is I’ve grown a lot since the 90s.)

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Site updates

Wow, another silly meta update about this new site, go figure. I should probably come up with something more substantial to say, but this is pretty much all I have to talk about right now.

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My Dreamhost exit survey

This feels like the end of an era, after I spent so long recommending them and trying to make the best of their services even over the last few years.

RIP, my Dreamhost hosting plan (June 2007—June 2011).

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The Return of the Flickr Random Image Generatr

So, it’s not that the Flickr Random Image Generatr had actually gone anywhere, but when I migrated all my stuff to new hosting it broke, and while it was easy to get the old, crappy, written-in-Perl-in-two-hours-ten-years-ago version working again, I decided to rewrite it.

First off, the original purpose was for finding random images to post to forums, and as such I had a bunch of stuff to make it easy to do that. That was no longer a use case I want to overtly support, however, and I only keep the FLRIG up because I like using it to get random inspiration for settings and drawings and the like.

Another problem, though, is that the old version was directly parsing the RSS feed, which only provided limited information about the image; notably, it had no useful information about copyright in it, and every now and then I get an annoyed message from a photo’s owner claiming that I wasn’t properly attributing things or that I was stealing their images or the like. I had a standard response about how it’s just reformatting the Flickr public RSS feed, which didn’t provide any useful copyright information for me to display. Well, their Atom feed actually does provide license information, so I am better able to provide that information.

Since I was going to switch to the Atom feed, I figured I’d might as well switch to a proper feed parser, and if I was going to do that I’d might as well rewrite it in Python (which has a pretty good feed parsing library) and Flask.

Most of the code is actually in the Jinja template, and the way it filters stuff out of the description tag is incredibly shoddy, and the formatting could be better in general, but overall I think this is an improvement which will make the photographers happier.

Domain registrar recommendations?

So hey, I’m working on migrating all my hosting and registrations away from Dreamhost. As far as hosting goes I’m just going to host everything on my Linode server for now, since that’s paid up for the next two years or so and it has plenty of capacity available.

But I’m also using Dreamhost as my registrar and DNS provider at the moment, and I’d like to move those as well. (Not only do I not trust them at this point, but their DNS management tools are abysmal and geared only towards people using their hosting.)

What registrars do people recommend, and what DNS hosts do people recommend? In my ideal world they’d be one and the same, although I’m fine with doing a mix-and-match if it makes sense.

My hard requirement is having WHOIS privacy, and a very high priority is having DNS hosting included. Right now my three frontrunners are Hover, Namecheap, and Gandi. Here’s my impressions of them:

  • Hover:
    • Plus: Their DNS hosting is easy to work with, and supports wildcard records
    • Plus: WHOIS privacy is included
    • Minus: Their domain pricing isn’t the cheapest (.biz costs $15.99/year)
  • Namecheap:
    • Plus: They have the cheapest pricing for registrations (.biz costs $12.88/year)
    • Plus: Their DNS hosting looks pretty okay from their docs; it’s definitely better than Dreamhost’s, anyway!
    • Minus: They charge extra for WHOIS privacy ($2.88/year). Or maybe they don’t. Their site keeps flip-flopping on this.
    • Minus: I used them for HTTPS in the past (before LetsEncrypt was available) and they were difficult to work with and felt kinda sketchy/bait-and-switchy
  • Gandi:
    • Plus: Geeks love them
    • Plus: WHOIS privacy is included
    • Minus: Registrations are quite expensive (.biz costs $18.78)

So, it seems like Namecheap is my best bet, but I have misgivings about them based on my prior experiences with them and with how their WHOIS guard thing can’t decide whether it’s free or not…

Has anyone reading this formed an opinion about these three companies? Is there another one I really should look into?

Also, Linode supports DNS hosting as well, although the management tools are kind of crude/low-level and I’d also have to do all the DNS hosting transfer stuff if I were to change hosting providers, so if I’m going to bundle my DNS hosting with something I’d rather bundle it with the registrar. (Although for now I’ve transferred all of my DNS hosting over to LiNode which worked well enough. I guess any time I change hosting providers DNS is going to be a pain anyway, so.)

Update: Looks like the reason the back-and-forth was going on with Namecheap’s WhoisGuard pricing was because I happened to be checking their site while they were rolling out an update — they just officially announced that WhoisGuard is now “Free for life.” Well, that certainly makes my decision easier!

Time marches on

So, this is my first new blog entry on my brand new website, my first (relatively) clean start since the last accretion disc began in early 2003. I realize that the current blog template has none of the old template’s charm; don’t worry, I’ll be bringing the plaid look back eventually.

Here are some ruminations, brought on by me spending all evening going through my old blog trying to find things worth saving. There were a few useful articles here and there, which I have more fully-integrated into the rest of my site, but I’m finding that most of my old “blog content” is just not worth the hassle of preserving.

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