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The "gig worker" is the new hobo

I've recently read several articles lately on the so-called "gig economy" and had the epiphany today that we've seen these people before.

A "gig worker" is simply a modern, hipster version of the hobo.

No benefits, temporary and usually labor-intensive work, constantly moving around, and regularly living on the borders of poverty and homelessness. Nothing has really changed here. New day, different name. Calling it a "gig economy" is a nice way of saying that the companies offering "gig work" are too cheapskate to hire for permanent positions.

And some gig workers freely admit that they are actually hobos: Hobo with a laptop

Welcome to 2018.
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The medical reason I use tabs instead of spaces

Oh the old war between tabs and spaces. The battles that have been fought and won and lost. The friendships born and destroyed. The style guides that have been created that demand one or the other. The insane auto-indentation calculation systems that mix tabs and spaces in the same document. The difference in pay that can be achieved...and then debunked.

But enough waxing poetic. I used to be a spaces guy for many, many, many years and even went so far as to tout "two-space tabs" as "the best indentation format". All of my code consistently used spaces and I loved it. But then I switched to tabs and haven't looked back. There's a simple reason to use tabs that universally beats out all other reasons:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Years ago, I got carpal tunnel not once, but twice in a fairly short period of intense coding. I made the realization that I needed to cut back the number of times I was hitting the spacebar. So even "two-space tabs"…

Linux LVM is a disaster

I just got done converting my last LVM enabled system to non-LVM. Not by choice, mind you, but because Linux LVM is a disaster and creates disasters. Every system I've ever deployed Linux LVM to (servers mostly because Ubuntu Server LTS edition "recommends" it), I've encountered nothing but problems. I've got a decade of experience deploying and running Linux servers so it's not a competence issue. LVM is a technology that simply isn't ready for real production environments. LVM also lacks mature community support when things go sideways. RedHat created and barely maintains LVM, which is all I need to know since anything RedHat touches usually winds up a convoluted mess.

What is Linux LVM (that's lvm2 to the initiated)? In short, LVM is a set of user and kernel space modules that give greater control over partitioned space. To that end, it works pretty well. You can partially assign partition space on a drive and leave the extra storage avai…

Dear Google: Follow your own demands/recommendations!

Google has a problem with following its own rules. Here's how you can prove it: Start a web browser on a desktop, visit and search for something, and now shrink the window to the smallest possible size.

Notice anything unusual? Well, the page, for one, does not follow Google's own rules for their own search engine indexing. Webmaster tools says that website operators that run websites without responsive designs will get a reduction in PageRank. Yet Google Search results, probably one of the blandest pages to make responsive, is not actually responsive. Google: You don't get to dictate rules if you aren't willing to follow them yourself (just try plugging in a search URL into that box) for all screen resolutions (including desktop browsers). So either make your search results pages fully responsive or back down from your position.

Dear HP, Canon, Lexmark, Brother - fix your printer drivers

I don't do a lot of printing (but I currently own four printers...). When I do print things on paper, I expect things to work. Unfortunately, none of the major brands of printers out there actually work on Linux over Samba network shares to Windows with any reasonable measure of consistency. It is, however, a reasonable expectation that such things work out-of-the-box. Trust me, I've tried and I give up. My current solution is to use the free version of this software:

VirtualHere USB over IP

I currently have to SSH into the Linux box, start up VirtualHere server, run the VirtualHere client on my Windows machine, attach the printer I want to connect "locally", and pray that it works without any issues. Unlike Samba, which didn't work at all, doing all of that generally works but sometimes I'll have to reinstall the printer drivers because attaching a device to a major OS is apparently too much to ask for.

Two of my printers come with a WiFi hub built-in…

I, um, broke stuff

While I had a lot of fun putting that comic panel together, I'm not planning on getting into the webcomic business. I keep getting told to "keep my day job" as if I'm not hilarious or something. The comic does provide a nice lead-in to a more serious topic whereby firewalls are able to be circumvented in unusual, hard to detect ways.

This story begins with "needing" the ability to connect two clients together. Since I don't generally operate in web browser land, I'm not constrained to whatever features are only available in a web browser. Since that's not a restriction, I could use whatever protocol I came up with/wanted to use. Since ports 80 and 443 are most commonly accessible through even the craziest of firewall setups and I had previous experience writing my own HTTP and WebSocket clients and servers, I knew very well how those protocols worked. My main issue with just using WebSocket is that it transitions into a framing protocol…