Friday the thirteenth
This is it
I’m terrified. If Boris Johnson gets a majority after today, it’ll take most of the rest of my working life to undo the social and economic damage.
Stop the coup
Like a lot of other people in London, I was moved to get down to Downing Street straight after work last Wednesday after the news broke about the Johnson administration’s cunning wheeze to suspend Parliament.
Using U2F for passwordless sudo
Now that I’ve got my SoloKeys working for website authentication, I’ve been looking at other things I can use them for.
SoloKeys on Ubuntu Linux
I finally received the SoloKeys open source FIDO2 U2F security keys I ordered via their KickStarter last year.
They’re little USB devices that you stick into your computer to act as a physical second factor when authenticating to websites (or, potentially, other software). Instead of typing in a code received via SMS or from an authenticator application, you press a button on the device and it cryptographically identifies itself.
That’s the theory, anyway.
In response to a consultation on cash and digital payments the UK government has announced that the 1p and 2p coins will not be scrapped, as had previously been suggested.
The government can confirm that it has no plans to alter the current make up of UK coins and notes in circulation.
Inflation has long since robbed them of a useful role, but in a country so obsessed with its imaginary glorious past (see also: Brexit), it’s easy to understand why getting rid of them is a battle no one in government wants to fight.
On my way back to my hotel in Taipei last week, I spotted an intriguing bit of writing inside the glass of a soft toy grabber machine:
Although I’d previously been to Paris quite a few times, I’d never actually visited Notre Dame cathedral until two years ago.
Escalation of commitment
I was one of the million plus people marching on Saturday.
At the time of writing, there are fewer than ten working days left until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. No one knows what is going to happen, and no outcome has been adequately prepared for. Living in a constant state of uncertainty is not good for the mind, or for the financial situation of a nation.
Last week, the UK Parliament voted against leaving the EU without a deal, and in favour of an extension. But all this is meaningless without action. Unless the Article 50 notification is revoked or an extension is requested and agreed with the unanimous consent of the European Council, the UK is leaving next Friday.
There are now 16 days, 23 hours, and 53 minutes left until the UK leaves the EU with no withdrawal agreement, unless something changes very soon.
It’s not looking good.
Shamisen tablature for everyone
As I wrote recently, I’ve been working on using LilyPond to produce attractive and readable shamisen sheet music. It’s not all been for my own purposes, though. I’ve used it to put together a free collection of traditional pieces that I have learned, so that others can benefit from more readable scores.
If the UK’s Article 50 period were a progress bar, it would now be at 97%. When it reaches 100%, the UK will leave the EU by automatic operation of law in circumstances that are currently unknown.
Ten years earlier
Today is ten years to the day since the first Rewired State “National Hack the Government Day”.
Shamisen tablature with LilyPond
I’ve been playing the Tsugaru shamisen for a couple of years, with a lesson almost every week. In that time, I’ve made good progress, and I’ve learned a whole lot of pieces. What I haven’t seen much of, however, is good quality sheet music.
The shamisen has its own tablature-based notation system. As it’s quite a niche instrument, especially outside Japan, there’s not really much software to help with making scores, and a lot of scores are handwritten and/or multiple-generation photocopies that are hard to read.
Motivated by one particularly illegible score I was trying to learn, I decided to do something about it.
I haven’t written much on here for a long time, and one big reason for that was that my old publishing platform was unmanageable: it was a hacked version of a very old version of TextPattern that would only run on a long-dead version of PHP.
Shambolic means shambolic
I knew they’d make a mess of this. I just didn’t anticipate quite how much of a mess.
As of today, there are twenty-six days to go until the UK leaves the EU. With a deal? Without a deal? Nobody knows. With things staying mostly the same? Crashing out with tailbacks at ports, shortages, and chaos? Nobody knows. What happens about Northern Ireland? Nobody knows, and, at least on this side of the Irish Sea, nobody seems to care.