Review: 2018

R.I.P. Courage

As 2018 nears its end, it’s time to reflect on a year that isn’t particularly memorable.

If anything, it may be remembered as just a(nother) year of data breaches and security risks. It began in January when it was revealed that just about every CPU (Intel, AMD, ARM) is vulnerable to the Spectre and/or Meltdown exploits that could potentially allow access to sensitive data stored in an operating system’s protected kernel. In March, it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica had scraped the data of at least 87 million Facebook users for nefarious purposes.

MyFitnessPal, Ticketfly, MyHeritage, Ticketmaster, Reddit, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Marriott were just some of the other famous names who had substantial user data compromised during the year (and are known of). Google announced the planned shutdown of its Google+ platform following (two publicised) data breaches.

Mailboxes were flooded with TOS update notifications as the EU parliament implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years” on 25 May 2018. Social media analytics service Klout shut down the same day.

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Summer 2018

I don't remember!

Hello.

How are you? I am fine.

Contrary to the hopes of some I am still alive. Alive and well.

Busy. I’ve been busy. Busy with work that pays the rent, and work during what most people consider leisure time. Been busy clearing out more old data files and media. Worthwhile information contained within goes up on Discogs before they get deleted. Other stuff is getting scanned and ripped and digitised. It’s not the best season to do this because you’d rather spend time outside enjoying the great weather instead of wiping off sweat dripping onto vinyl records.

It’s been a hot, dry summer. Wasps thrived and stuff died. Things happened.

Things are happening. There is much to say, yet little worth writing about.

The lack of words must be remedied. I’m just a bit busy right now.

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The eighteen-year scratch

"The fuck of the century"

Every once in a while you happen across an item that launches an entire avalanche of thoughts and memories. One such artefact is the CD above.

This is its story.

Early in the year 2000 I was putting together a compilation CD-R of electronica tracks. Some were popular tunes, some were more obscure, and all were great at the time. I still enjoy them today (although, admittedly, Cotton Eye Joe is a bit of a blemish that hasn’t aged well).

Most tracks were ripped from original CDs courtesy of a DJ friend — but there was one tune I simply couldn’t source anywhere. None of my contacts had it. The nascent internet was of no use.

That tune was LaTour’s Blue, “as heard in the motion picture Basic Instinct“. It gets played during the nightclub scene. Most people probably won’t remember it.

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Of Duke Nukem and aborted laptop ideas

Duke Nukem 3D LA Meltdown Boss Execution (image via 3D Realms)

A few weeks ago I finally finished playing Duke Nukem 3D.

Yes, you read correctly: That Duke Nukem. The one from 1996. The classic old DOS game.

I finally finished the shareware version. Killed the boss. Had to go “cornholio” just for him but I blasted his ass dead. Over 20 years later. Groovy!

So what took this long?

Well, when DN3D came out in 1996 I immediately downloaded and started playing it. It was awesome, I enjoyed it more than Doom. I played a few levels and then other stuff happened. The other stuff was other games and other interests and paid work.

Real life got in the way.

More games came and went. Some were played, some went unplayed, and others remain “to be played properly when I have the time”. DN3D was one of those. Life continued to happen. “When I have the time” never really comes around when other interests and distractions keep popping up.

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Welcome to 2018

More and more stuff to digitise

We’re well into the new year. It’s a new beginning.

It’s time to turn our back on the past and focus on the future.

The first order of the year is to finish off a long-running task on Discogs which I’ve now abandoned and clear out its leftovers. Stuff will be archived. Printed matter will be filed away. People will be bothered. There will be blood. More on that in a separate post.

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Review: 2017

...and we got us a new puppy.

It’s Christmas. 2017 is almost history, and what a busy year it’s been!

I quit an unsatisfying job and took a minor sabbatical. A lot of old stuff was deleted, sold, thrown out, or upgraded. December’s me is certainly not the same as the one in January. On a personal level, 2017 was the most exciting year in a long time. This is great.

It started off with 49 people getting shot by a terrorist in a Turkish nightclub on New Year’s Eve. Also in 2017, a truck bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia killed at least 512 people. A bombing attack in Manchester, England killed 22 people and injured over 100 as they left an Ariana Grande concert. Three islamists ploughed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then ran around stabbing random others with kitchen knives. Eight people died; the perpetrators were shot dead on the spot by police within minutes. This is good.

Crashing cars and trucks into crowds of people or buildings seems to have become the new vehicle for expressing public dissatisfaction, many of the acts written off as “terrorism” (Barcelona, Charlottesville, London, Manchester, Melbourne, New York, Stockholm).

Refugees have taken to knifing random civilians across Europe. This is not good.

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My mother? Let me tell you about my mother…

Why is that, Leon?

2017 is a year filled with anniversaries.

2017 happens to be the “incept date” of Leon Kowalski, the above replicant in the original Blade Runner movie from 1982. This year is also the one where fans would finally be treated to the unnecessary sequel, Blade Runner 2049.

Furthermore, 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of my mother’s passing.

It was 35 years ago that she took me along to see Blade Runner. She had a knack for horror and science fiction, and through means which remain unexplained by conventional scientific methods my mother passed it on. My mother was cool.

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Windows Phone is dead

Nokia Lumia 930 (green)

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone.

The iPhone would go on to revolutionise mobile communications in ways few could have foreseen – yet these mobiles have since become commonplace to all and sundry. The first commercial Android device was released a year later; today Android has the largest installed base of any operating system in the world.

In 2010 Microsoft also heeded the call with the ill-fated Windows Phone 7 (based on Windows CE). “Too little, too late”, one might say, nor was there an upgrade path to 2014’s superior Windows 8/8.1 generation (now based on Windows NT).

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