Blog: 2012-01

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In some ways, the Internet was better in the '80s.

Getting ImageMagick compare in OpenWRT

If you need the ImageMagick compare program in OpenWRT 10.03.1, but were dismayed to see that package imagemagick-tools contains only convert and mogrify...

What I did as a stopgap measure was to set up an OpenWRT build tree, make a very simple patch to enable compare, and build a custom imagemagick-tools package.

Note that this change might also cause additional dependencies on existing OpenWRT library packages. Since this is only a stopgap measure until ImageMagick compare is packaged properly, I did not bother to touch the imagemagick-tools metadata.

Incidentally, the OpenWRT build environment is pleasantly easy to use, although slower than I'd expect.

Relatively Beefy OpenWRT Devices

If you need a relatively beefy device supported by OpenWRT, here's a list I distilled the other day:

Model                 | OpenWRT | Flash | RAM   
Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H | trunk   | 32 MB | 128 MB
Netgear WNDR3800      | 10.03.1 | 16 MB | 128 MB
Netgear WNDR3700 v2   | 10.03.1 | 16 MB |  64 MB
Netgear WNDR3700 v1   | 10.03   |  8 MB |  64 MB

Got Boston Globe Subscription?

The Boston Globe is a pretty good newspaper, and sometimes a great one. They'd be great more often, except they mix in a lot of worthless crap, like advertorial filler, celebrity news, and spectator sports nut pandering.

(Without the Globe, I'd be blissfully ignorant that some guy who is employed by a price-gouging big business to run on the grass with a ball, was glimpsed on Newbury St. with his supermodel wife, and that I am supposed to hail them as royalty.)

Boston -- given the widespread corruption, the large number of people who work in the city but don't live there, and the large number of university people who don't pay much attention to local goings-on -- desperately needs a good newspaper.

Lately, the Globe has been experimenting with a new online format (and doing the technology the right way, finally), and a paywall. The paywall doesn't seem to exist for me, but nevertheless, I thought that the new subscription structure would be a great time to start giving the Globe some money.

Unfortunately, their subscription options bother me:

  • Access Only
    Pay just 99 cents for the first 4 weeks. Then pay the regular rate of $3.99 per week.

  • Access & Sunday Paper
    Pay just 99 cents for the first 4 weeks. Then pay the regular low rate of $3.50 per week.

Them paying you to receive the Sunday Globe is good for circulation numbers, and for keeping some legacy dead-trees infrastructure workers employed, but bad if you really don't want to mess with newsprint and recycling, nor have the environmental impact on your conscience.

I don't even want to log into their site, ever; I just want to do my small part to help fund good local journalism. Like a voluntary tax for a working representative democracy. Or being a patron of the civics arts.

Can't lots of people just send the Globe $10 a month (or $2, or $50, or whatever their household budget permits), and we can dispense with the filler and the ad circulars?

Out of the Mouths of Computers

Just spent a good chunk of time in a personal finance computer program, fixing the classifications for numerous transactions.

Somehow, "Bank Fee" had turned into "Charity/Donations NON-Deductible", which was strangely appropriate.

There was a large variety of kinds of bank fees to change back to "Bank Fee". Not even the best was Bank of America's "MINIMUM INTEREST CHARGE", which was the 'interest' they charged on my $0 credit card balance, because, I guess, it's a small leap from a bank charging interest to lend money it never actually had, to skipping that formality and simply being entitled to everyone's money. (This small fee was far from the worst of BofA's offenses. Some of them have approached being classified "Crimes Against Humanity", but I'll save that for another day.)

I mostly use a credit union nowadays, but BofA will always hold a special place in my psyche.

Bostonian of the Year

Scott Helman, "Bostonian of the Year: Carmen Ortiz," Boston Globe Magazine, 2012-01-01


First three episodes of Portlandia are on Hulu for the next few days.

Update 2012-01-05: Season 1 is now on Netflix Instant.


"President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director.

—ACLU, "President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law," press release, 2011-12-31

Earlier to... 2011-12

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