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Mike Kreuzer

...and listening

September 12, 2023

When I was a little kid, five or six years old maybe, one clear summer's day long, long ago, I made a crystal radio set from a kit, & ran around my backyard listening to music from afar on a single giant earpiece and a few components strung together with twisted wire, all powered by nothing more than the invisible waves in the air around me. Then as now, that is indistinguishable from magic to me.

When I wasn't much older I was given a radio that covered not only AM & FM, but also short wave. I used to string up antennae I made out of red twist-tie wire on a spool I got from the kitchen & listen to international stations. The World Service of the BBC, & the lilting strains of Moscow Nights on Radio Moscow. This was during the Cold War. I was ten years old & deep in enemy territory. A secret agent. I'd listen to crazy talk back radio on AM as a teen on rotation with music stations. I ended my teens as a radio operator in the army, but then for the longest time computers replaced radios for me as a hobby. I listened to the radio less & less & hadn't though about short wave in years. Then COVID happened. Government lock-downs. Bushfires. I remembered my old radio then.

I'm no Prepper. I've never prepared for anything in my life. But it was only two summers ago now that I sat in a smoke filled house & listened to reports on my childhood radio about where the fire fronts were.

Over the last two years I got a digital (DAB) radio. I got a cheap RTL-SDR & built bigger & better designed antennae. I listened to the amateur bands & after all these years finally got an amateur license. I'm VK1OMG. I replaced my cheap-o SDR with a transceiver.

I talk now as well as listen, but after all these years I'm listening to the radio again, and it is still indistinguishable from magic to me.


Twitter has left the building

September 12, 2023

Social media limps along. My idea that Big Tech would swoop in & somehow fix Mastodon was, let's say, completely & totally wrong. It didn't happen.

Twitter broke into a bunch of squabbling successor states, bringing to mind the ever vaguely racist Churchill's quote that "When the war of the giants is over the war of the pygmies will begin." I thought too of the Beatles breaking up, but couldn't make that work, even Ringo doesn't deserve to be compared to "X". Then I thought of a man at war with himself, so likening it to different eras of the King Of Rock & Roll we currently have:

Combined they were Twitter. Apart they are so much less.


So much for Reddit

June 13, 2023

Reddit's going to start charging an exorbitant amount for the use of their API, which is killing off its third party clients like Apollo, the app I use to browse it. Lack of a third party client won't make the site unusable, but it will make it a whole lot less fun to use. Probably enough so for me that I won't be going there much any more.

This again.

I was never a very heavy poster, but I was a user for a long time, & for a while now had been appending the word reddit to Google searches to try & make the results returned less terrible. I did also write Ripley, which counted users on programming language subreddits, that crawled the site to start with but I rewrote it to use that same API. Ripley ran for a few years there & wouldn't be possible now.

I don't feel the anger I felt about Twitter imploding, & who knows, Reddit may continue just fine after this, but I do feel disappointment – "I'm not angry, just disappointed" – disappointment that I seem to be witnessing the nihilism of a failing regime yet again. Après nous, le déluge.


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