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Mastodon (Toot! Toot!)

So, I’m on Mastodon. Well, I’ve been on Mastodon for a while now, but thought I’d talk about it briefly here.

On most modern social networks, you are the product. Your habits, friends, and interests are all consolidated, packaged, and sold to anyone willing to pay a few bucks to rent your attention (whether you like it or not). If not you directly, then your habits, likes, dislikes, age, gender, sexual orientation, and the same information for all of the people you may know (including ones you may never had connected on that network).

It’s ridiculous what information you’re giving away for advertisers and marketers to exploit.

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Cryptography

I updated some old GPG keys last year after using the same 1024-bit RSA key from 2004. (Honestly, I was just impressed that I managed to dig up the private key in order to revoke it.) I had set the new subkeys to expire every year, and while renewing them I took another look around to see if GPG/encryption had gotten any easier.

PGP
As usual, relevant xkcd.

It hadn’t.

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My Muse

My wife needed a headshot recently for a work related thing. So I broke out some old and simple equipment to do a quick impromptu shoot for her. This is one of the outtakes from that shoot (she didn’t like how her hair looked in this shot so it wasn’t used).

Dot headshot
Dot. (On Flickr) ƒ/6.3 50mm 1250 ISO200
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Styling Discourse Embeds

Comments were something that I wanted to include on posts from the beginning for PIXLS.US. My problem was how to include comments in a way that would lessen exposing visitors to third party tracking, that would let users control and keep their comments if they wanted, and that would integrate nicely into the community in some way.

Luckily all of those requirements were nicely met by integrating the modern forum software Discourse.

Discourse sketchy logo
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Atomic Publishing a Static Website

Yes, yes - Static Site Generators are all the rage these days. It seems like there’s (multiple!) options for every language out there (including homegrown options from back in the day).

There’s a bunch of benefits to using them and once you get past thinking you need a “dynamic” site they make perfect sense. I use Metalsmith (NodeJS) for this site and pixls.us. I used Pelican (Python) for gimp.org, and I just got my feet wet with Hugo (Go) for the new digiKam website.

Whichever system you use, the build system normally ends with your website built into a directory. To publish the site you need only transfer that directory of files to your web server. In my case I use rsync to only transfer files (or parts of files) that have changed.

Care should be taken with how the site is updated on the server, though.

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The Wonderful Art of Pascal Campion

I’ve always had a sensitivity to light. I don’t mean in a Mogwai sort of way, but rather I’ve always felt aware of the feeling and mood that light plays around me.

Gremlins was for kids?!

I think this manifests in my photography when I favor single strong light sources for my subjects. Particularly Rembrandt and side lighting. This also manifests in my seething hatred for overhead fluorescent lighting and a general dislike for direct mid-day sunlight…

This is one of the reasons I am absolutely in love with the art of Pascal Campion. Allow me to (ahem) illustrate why…

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Support GIMP at LGM 2017

The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is the annual meeting for creatives from across the Free/Libre project spectrum. I’ve written about the previous meetings I was able to attend in Leipzig (2014) as well as London (2016). It’s an amazing opportunity to meet with other Free/Libre Software users and projects.

I won’t be able to make it out to this year’s LGM (I seem to be on a sort of biennial schedule), but most of the GIMP team will be there! So I have a favor to ask…

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Bus Factor

The Bus Factor for a project is usually defined as the minimum number of team members that would have to disappear (get hit by a bus) for a project to stall due to lack of knowledgeable people. A low Bus Factor means that the loss of just a small number of people can stall out a project, while a high factor means there is some resiliency in the project.

This was how PIXLS.US was very early on with only myself writing for the site (Bus Factor of 1). As soon as possible I tried to find others to help and also made sure the code was available on a public repository (along with being licensed liberally using Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0).

In the case of PIXLS.US for example, we aren’t doing too bad…

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Your Privacy

When we built the new website for www.gimp.org we moved from a homegrown build system to using Pelican, a Python based Static Site Generator. That migration deserves its own post over on the GIMP website to talk about the process and the specific things we did to support the new site design, but we did use the migration as an opportunity to step up the security of the site substantially. (This was mostly due to the efforts and prodding of Michael Schumacher.)

Security matters to me as well, so when I migrated this to a new site I also implemented many of the same ideas. I’m not quite Content Security Policy (CSP) ready like the GIMP website is, but it’s in my plans!

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Community

Jehan Pagès recently published his interview with GIMP maintainer, mitch. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a fun interview with a very colorful person. I highly recommend checking it out!

Mitch at LGM
Mitch at LGM/London last year.

Some of the responses in various places online were pretty normal for GIMP news (eg: full of vitriol), but there was one comment that questioned the inclusiveness of the project that I took exception with personally.

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