Miskatonic University Press

STAPLR is down

staplr unix

STAPLR is down for a while.

The server I was running it on had been set up so that passwords expire after a year. I never logged in with a password: I used SSH and so I would connect to the server and open up a shell by magic without having to type anything (by which I mean a short series of conversations happen between my laptop and the server and they exchange incredibly complex cryptographic information).

Earlier this month, when I tried to connect, it told me my password had expired and demanded I change it. To start, it asked for my current password.

But the password I had in my password manager didn’t work! I have no idea why. Maybe this happened to me last year and I changed it in annoyance and forgot to note the new one. I had no way to log in, and neither did anyone else. The people running the virtual server can’t break in.

There was nothing to do but spin up a new one and start to configure it. I have backups and documentation, so nothing is lost, as far as I know, but it’ll take a little while to install and configure all the parts that make STAPLR work. I was running quite an old version of Sonic Pi, and I may need to do more work to get STAPLR working with the newest version, but that’s necessary anyway.

Ah well. I’ve made sure all my passwords for the new server are accurate in my password manager, and I used chage to change when my password expires. It was set to 365 days, but I made it 3650.

I used Certbot to get HTTPS going on the STAPLR web site. It took about a minute. That is one amazing piece of software. So powerful and so easy! (That is, if you’re comfortable on the command line, but even if you’re not an expert, you can just copy and paste the commands they give and it’ll work.)

Riverdale Public Library librarian: Ms Hoskins

archie libraries

“Buccaneer Buds” is a rare Archie story: a librarian is named! Ms Hoskins only appears in the first panel, where Archie tells an audience of kids at the library that she asked the gang to put on a show.

Ms Hoskins is seen and named
Ms Hoskins is seen and named

I’d have to check with children’s librarians, but this seems like something that could well happen in a public library. Possibly the high school students get some sort of credit for it, and there’s a nice audience, so it’s bringing in children.

“Buccaneer Buds” was written by George Gladir, pencilled by Bob Bolling and inked by Jim Amash (no colourist or letterer is given). I don’t know where it first appeared, but I saw it in Archie and Me (Jumbo Comics) Digest 14 (March 2019). It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Another named librarian is Mrs. Bell, who talked to Chuck Clayton in a Life with Archie: The Married Years issue.

Riverdale High librarian seen

archie libraries

Here’s a rare sighting: the (always unnamed) librarian who works in the Riverdale High School library. She appears in the Archie story “Innocent on Paper,” which I think first appeared in Archie and Friends Double Digest Magazine 15 (June 2012). Midway through the story Ethel and Chuck are walking down the hall. Ethel asks what Chuck is doing next, and he says he has a free period: “Reggie and I are helping the librarian move some old books and papers out of her office!”

Here they are beginning their work:

School librarian seen in this panel
School librarian seen in this panel

This is an unlikely scenario: no librarian would have people move books by carrying them like this. She’d use a book truck. Book trucks are fantastic for moving lots of books around, and they are very safe. Also, she’d probably do it herself. Librarians like moving books on book trucks.

Because the story is about Archie’s contagious clumsiness, naturally Reggie and Chuck trip over something and the books and papers go all over the floor. (This is why they would have used a book truck.) The librarian gasps and says, “I feel faint!” Then in the next panel: “Whew! I’m okay now!” The librarian is portrayed as weak and helpless in the face of just a mild accident, when in real life she’d be very capable of dealing with mishaps and would immediately help.

“Innocent on Paper” was written by Mike Pellowski, pencilled by [Tim?] Kennedy, and inked by Jim Amash (with no colourist or letterer given). I read it in Archie and Me (Jumbo Comics) Digest 15 (April 2019). It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Mount an Android phone on Linux/Unix with sshfs

android unix

Peter Rukavina’s typically clear and thorough How to mount an Android phone on a Mac using SSHFS showed me how to get just what I wanted: easy access to the files on my new phone from my Ubuntu laptop. Bluetooth never works right for me, and GSconnect looked good but had too much overhead. Now I have something that suits me nicely.

First, I installed Termux from F-Droid. Then I ran it, installed sshd, set a password for the account (there is no username), and ran the daemon:

pkg install sshd
passwd
sshd

This is what running sshd looks like:

Running sshd in Termux
Running sshd in Termux

Second, I set my router to always give my phone the same IP number when it gets on my home wifi network. Then I edited /etc/hosts to include a line matching that IP number with a hostname:

192.168.0.100 phone

That means I can just refer to the host phone and my laptop will get to the right other machine.

Now I could ssh into my phone!

ssh -p 8022 phone

(No username is required.) But I couldn’t access any files! Internal and external storage told me how the fix that. I ran

termux-storage-setup

in the Termux window, and that made a storage folder that had symlinks to storage folders.

Then I made a mount point on my laptop:

sudo mkdir /media/wtd/phone
sudo chown wtd:wtd /media/wtd/phone

Now I can mount the phone with this command (which will ask for the password):

sshfs phone:storage /media/wtd/phone/ -o follow_symlinks -p 8022
Accessing the files
Accessing the files

To close it off, I unmount on my laptop:

sudo umount /media/wtd/phone

And then stop sshd on the phone, with this in the Termux window:

pkill sshd

Now, this doesn’t give me access to application data folders, which I need when I do backups. For that I’ll still use adb, the Android Debug Bridge. But for getting and managing photos, which is mostly what I need, it’s great.

Josie and the Pussycats filmed in a library

archie libraries

Here’s a rare Archie story where Josie and the Pussycats go to the library. “Not Real-Ly,” which first appeared in Archie and Friends 91 (July 2005), is about the band being filmed for a reality TV show.

The band at the library
The band at the library

At the table, left to right that’s Josie, Valerie and Melody.

Generally libraries do not allow use of cameras on their property, but in a case like this the production company would have got special permission.

I read “Not Real-Ly” in B & V (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 271 (August 2019). It was written by Angelo DeCesare, pencilled by Stan Goldberg and inked by John Lowe (no colourist or letterer listed). It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Archie finds a lost library book

archie libraries

There’s a brief mention of libraries in the Archie story “Lost and Found,” which first appeared in Betty and Me 183 (June 1990). Archie and Betty are looking for his tennis racket in his room and he finds an old library book.

Archie finds a lost library book
Archie finds a lost library book

Archie’s usually broke, so even a small fine could drain his savings.

I read this in Archie (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 298 (June 2019). It was written by Hal Smith, penciled by Stan Goldberg, inked by Rudy Lapick and lettered by Bill Yoshida (no colourist is given). It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Radio Aporee Maps

field.recordings

I enjoy listening to the Radio Aporee audio stream, which I learned about from Framework Radio. Today I uploaded a couple of my own field recordings to Radio Aporee Maps. The first is Juniper Island Porch, recorded on Stony Lake, Ontario. Here’s what it looks like in a browser:

Juniper Island in Aporee
Juniper Island in Aporee

What is Radio Aporee Maps? It says:

[I]t is a global soundmap dedicated to field recording, phonography and the art of listening. it connects sound recordings to its places of origin, in order to create a sonic cartography, publicly accessible as a collaborative project. It contains recordings from numerous urban, rural and natural environments, disclosing their complex shape and sonic conditions, as well as the different perceptions, practices and artistic perspectives of its many contributors. this makes it a valuable resource for art, education and research projects, and for your personal pleasure.

The second recording was done in Oshawa (a city east of Toronto): Westbound GO Train Departing for Toronto. This is what it looks like in the browser of my phone, where it works very well:

Oshawa GO Station in Aporee on a phone
Oshawa GO Station in Aporee on a phone

Look to see if there are some sounds from a place you know or would like to visit!

Tasker problem on Android: alarm on lock screen when no alarm is set

android

I got a new phone last week: a Moto G7 Play.

My previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S3 I bought in September 2012 (I remember I got it the day after Andrew Sookrah’s incredible In Fear We Trust Nuit Blanche event at the Arts and Letters Club). In 2015 the operating system was out of date so I put CyanogenMod on it, and later LineageOS, both free and open Android variants. Last year LineageOS stopped supporting the phone. Then the battery started getting really bad, to the point where I could watch the percentage tick steadily down while I was catching up on the news. And then it started shutting off when I tried to use the camera. And then it started shutting off randomly for no reason.

Various reviews (including Peter Rukavina’s) said the Moto G7 Play was a very good low-price Android phone. Given what I was coming from, any decent new phone would be a huge improvement, and sure enough, it is. It can run two days without needing a charge, even if I watch video and listen to music! It doesn’t take thirty seconds for a web page to load! Turns out all those apps I thought were really slow are actually pretty fast. And with Peter’s instructions on mounting the phone over SSH yet another thing will get easier.

The one problem I had was with Tasker (one of the handful of non-free software packages I use on my phone). I have it set so that when I leave home the wifi and Bluetooth go off and it goes into vibrate mode, and when I come back the networking comes up, it rings, and it speaks text messages and email From: and Subject: lines. But it wasn’t registering when I was at home.

I turned off Moto’s Peek Display (where it briefly shows you a clock when you lift the phone) but that didn’t do it. I made the Display Off Monitoring > All Clocks Seconds settings longer, but that didn’t help. I always saw this on the lock screen (except the time and alarm were centred—I had to fake this):

Screenshot of alarm on lock screen
Screenshot of alarm on lock screen

Then I saw this Alarm icon showing without setting an alarm thread in a discussion forum, and found:

For me it was Tasker, I just found it. Use the 3 dots in the top right for Preferences>Monitor>Use Reliable Alarms under the “General” section (it’s the 4th one there) and then change it to “Never.” If you change it to “When Off” then it will show the alarm on your lockscreen for a split second while your display turns on.

Thank you, member F1558063743773!

I changed the setting.

Tasker preferences
Tasker preferences

Now it all works like it did before (helped also by using the new API for scanning local cell phone towers).

Honey

vagaries

How much honey could a honey bee be if a honey bee could be honey?

Whip Radio

code4lib music

I’ve been listening to more streaming radio recently, thanks to Resonance FM and Radio Aporee combined with a wish just to hear some good old radio even though my tuner died years ago and CBC Radio isn’t good any more.

It’s a bit of a pain to bookmark stations in a browser, though, and I use NoScript so the players never work without a bit of fiddling anyway. So I started to make a list of the URLs of the actual music streams, which are hidden in the web pages. If you know what to do you can use that URL to play the station without running a browser. Once I had a few of them I realized I should make a list, and the list turned into a script: Whip Radio. If you’re comfortable with a command line, you might like it.

Screenshot of Whip Radio
Screenshot of Whip Radio

The source code is on GitHub: Whip Radio.

It suits me, because I know what the stations are, but there are some improvements to be made, and I’ll do what I can. If it’s useful to anyone else, have at it.

If you’ve never heard Radio Aporee, do try it. It’s “a responsive stream of sound, a topographic radio that listens, that may (or may not…) recognise and react to events, e.g. new sound uploads, listeners tuning in, mobile app activity, live sessions, phone calls etc. it’s an ongoing experiment and exploration of affective geographies and new practices related to sound/art and radio.” A few minutes after you start listening you’ll probably hear a robot say someone in your area has started listening, and it’ll play a recording made near you.

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