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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
Member since
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
Description

The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2138 Articles
93 Comments

9 months Ago

File-system consistency

Published on in Programming

The long and technical article Files are hard by Dan Luu discusses several low-level and scholarly analyses of how common file-systems and user-space applications deal with read/write errors.

  • How theoretically consistent is the file system?
  • How well-documented are patterns that guarantee consistency?
  • How well-understand are these patterns in the communities using them?
  • How do common applications (e.g. source control, databases, etc.) use these patterns?
  • Are these applications guaranteeing consistency?... [More]

10 months Ago

The scandal of mining currency with energy we don’t have

Published on in Technology

From the article New botnet infects cryptocurrency mining computers, replaces wallet address by Dan Goodin (Ars Technica)

“Records show that the attacker-controlled wallet has already cashed out slightly more than 1 Etherium coin.[1] The coin was valued at as much as $1,300 when the transaction was made. At the time this post was being prepared, the records also showed that the attacker had a current balance of slightly more than 1 Etherium coin and was actively mining more, with a calculation power of about 2,100 million... [More]”

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2018.1

Published on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Oh, Hello On Broadway (2017) — 8/10
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney... [More]

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (2017) (read in 2018)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997) (read in 2018)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin (2017) (read in 2018)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (2016) (read in 2017)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

In Denial

Published on in Quotes

“And they would not believe me precisely because they would know that what I said was true.”
James Baldwin (cited in Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Page 314)

MacOS System folder is huge

Published on in Technology

I noticed that when I emptied the trash in High Sierra, I didn’t see a corresponding rise in available space in the status bar of open Finder windows.

I opened “About This Mac” to the “Storage” tab. Here I could see that my System was using 70GB.

 Huge system (not mine)

A search turned up the article macOS High Sierra – Huge System Storage (Apple Support), which explains that High Sierra introduced a feature called local backups for Time Machine (About Time Machine local snapshots (Apple)).

It does pretty much what you would expect it... [More]

Keep fighting

Published on in Quotes

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

11 months Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2017.8

Published on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) — 5/10
I’m too old for this movie.... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2017.7

Published on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Star Trek: Discovery S01 (2017) — 8/10
This is the latest series... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2017.6

Published on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1200 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special (2017) — 5/10
This was... [More]

Books read in 2017

Published on in Books & Movies

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2010)

by Michael Lewis

This is the book on which the movie was based. My review in that link was extensive and I liked the book just as much. Lewis really did a good job outlining the players, explaining the financial instruments and their holders, inventors, connections, weaknesses and ramifications.

It’s an extremely financially technical book and will prove a challenge for many to figure out what’s really going on. Lewis emphasizes several times... [More]

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller C...atrick Rothfuss (2007) (read in 2017)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (2016) (read in 2017)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (2011) (read in 2017)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2002) (read in 2018)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Small Mac Notebooks, January 2018 Edition

Published on in Technology

Use Cases

This evaluation is for a machine that is excellent at the following tasks:

  • Photo editing with Photos
  • Playing HD movies
  • Using Word processors like Pages and Word

The following tasks are not a priority:

  • Playing high-powered 3D games
  • Video editing

Requirements

  • Must run MacOS[1]
  • Must be relatively quiet (fan noise only in extreme usage scenarios)
  • Long battery life (6+ hours)
  • Lightweight/portable/easy to store in most bags
  • Sturdy (doesn’t feel plastic-y or cheap)
  • High-quality... [More]

1 year Ago

Magic

Published on in Quotes

From somewhere in The Expanse, season 2:

“When I was a kid, I thought the stars were magic. I made up all sorts of ways they might work. Children are stupid, though. My father disabused me of the notion and explained what they really were. I was even more fascinated. What’s the moral of the story?Just because you can’t figure something out doesn’t mean it’s magic.”

Recycling of e-waste at only 20% worldwide

Published on in Science & Nature

The article Just 20 percent of e-waste is being recycled by Scott K. Johnson (Ars Technica) provides a good overview of the global recycling situation, based on a recent report from the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

As you would expect, amount of recycling and waste produced per region differs considerably.

“Africa, for example, accounted for only about five percent of the total e-waste generated—roughly zero of which was recycled. Europe and Russia combined to generate about 28 percent of the world’s... [More]”

The Story of Jerusalem

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

President Trump did something supposedly unprecedented recently: he acknowledged Jerusalem as the de-facto capital of Israel and vowed to move the U.S. embassy there.

When I heard this, I wondered what the uproar was about, since I was sure it wasn’t the first time I’d heard something like this. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, though. I couldn’t remember whether it was Bush or Obama who’d said something similar, or whether they’d said it during their campaign or as President.

Granted,... [More]

Bitcoin Explained (Video)

Published on in Technology

Before[1] jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon, you should acquaint yourself with how it works. I found the following video to be quite helpful.

Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work? by 3Blue1Brown (YouTube)

Another article, How bitcoins became worth $10,000 covers some of the same territory as the video, but also provides more of the history of Bitcoin as well as details about some of the current factions and infighting among the various communities and e-currency proponents.

“Bitcoin’s status as the default medium of exchange in the blockchain world pushes... [More]”

Hyphens

Published on in Miscellaneous

This is another public-service announcement.[1]

I’m a bit of a fanatic about hyphens. Hyphens aren’t really that difficult in English.

With Adverbs

I was recently asked whether an adjective following an adverb needs to be hyphenated. For example, does “This is a fully qualified sentence.” need a hyphen?

It does not. But almost everything else does.

According to the article Adverbs and Hyphens by Maeve Maddox (Daily Writing Tips), the AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style agree:

“When a compound modifier–two or more words... [More]”

Born on third, thinks he hit a triple

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This HackerNews comment by notacoward (Hacker News) on the article Entrepreneurs Aren’t a Special Breed – They’re Mostly Rich Kids by Nimmala (Asia Times) offers a lovely analogy for what it takes to succeed as an entrepeneur.

“Entrepreneurship is like one of those carnival games where you throw darts.

“Middle class kids can afford one throw. Most miss. A few hit the target and get a small prize. A very few hit the center bullseye and get a bigger prize. Rags to riches! The American Dream lives on.

“Rich kids can afford many throws. If they want... [More]”

My problem with John Oliver in a nutshell

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The article John Oliver, Dustin Hoffman have heated exchange over sexual harassment claims illustrates exactly why we should be very careful of whom we let carry our flag for us. Many people like John Oliver because he generally punches upward and he’s quite funny. His schtick is wearing a little thin, but he’s still pretty funny.

He took some time off of obsessing over every detail of Donald Trump’s life recently to interview Dustin Hoffman about sexual allegations.[1] When Hoffman said that “it... [More]”

Books in Zürich Aiport

Published on in Miscellaneous

The book store at the Zürich Airport has a decidedly more diverse assortment of literature than I would have expected. I just expected a ton of Clive Cussler and John Grishman and John LeCarré, but I was pleasantly surprised.

On the first couple of shelves, I noticed three Chomsky books and a Varoufakis[1] book.

Another shelf held Naomi Klein, Chomsky and Varoufakis:

On another shelf, Laurie Penny showed up and, once again, Varoufakis.

Ishiguro’s classic and Arundhati Roy’s latest were... [More]

Blocking Trackers and Ads

Published on in Technology

This is a public-service announcement. There are several ways of blocking trackers and ads on desktop browsers. I’ve been using Ghostery for years, but am a little leery of the company behind it. For a while now, my browser of choice, Opera[1], has included ad-blocking natively. I’d also heard about a tool from the EFF named Privacy Badger that is supposed to do what Ghostery does.

 I wanted to figure out which software I actually need to use in order to turn off tracking. To that end, the EFF... [More]

We Want You

Published on in Quotes

“There’s been a class war going on for decades and it’s time the bottom 80% of us got fucking pissed off, with or without a permit.”

~ 174 ~ Tax Bill Fraud, Secret US Spy Base, Genetic Warfare, Suppressing Dissent by Redacted Tonight (YouTube)

The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best N... Gardner Dozois (2007) (read in 2017)

Published on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]