Pens in Space


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from protodrew

If you are reading this its likely because you've been redirected from my bare bones website and are wondering why it looks so simple. Here I'll outline when I'm going to spiff it up, and what tools I'll be throwing on my Rockpro64 to make it cool.

So college is wrapping up which means finals which means less time for personal projects :/ you might have noticed my output on projects has been way lower than normal, hopefully that will increase soon. Since then, I've set up my rockpro64 SBC to act as a little server, but I'm hesitant to move everything there yet. Basically because I'm going to be moving to [REDACTED] from [REDACTED] and so the server will have some necessary downtime for a few weeks while I set up shop in my new city.

With this in mind, I'm keeping my stuff on the few platforms I'm on, and I'll move to my home server in mid-July when I'm set up in [REDACTED]. Now lets talk about the services I'm using and what my future plans are regarding both the website and the services I'm hosting.

First, I'm going to be using yunohost because while I have a passing knowledge of system administration and could do all of that myself, I have no real interest to spend time troubleshooting web stuff all the time.

Now lets move on to the apps. The landing page will just be static HTML/CSS, then I will be self-hosting writefreely for my blog which I chose for its fediverse integration. Then I'm going to start self-hosting git via gitea for all my personal projects, and operating an invidious instance to securely access YouTube without dealing with as much traffic from the more popular instances.

For some smaller services I'm using I'm going to have tinytinyrss for rss, distbin to host code snippets for devlogs and tutorials I'm planning on making in the future, searx for searching on the web, and Bitwarden to host my passwords.

So that's my list of services. If I have extra processing power knocking around I'll throw a little mastodon instance on it for me and some friends, but we will have to see.


from solarbluejay

I don't particularly know why I want to write about this. Perhaps because I'm proud of myself for letting it go. I felt beautiful wearing it and it's full of good memories.

But also, I'm not going to wear it again. If my husband and I do a vow renewal, if I get married again, or if I/we find another partner who wants to have a wedding, I'll wear something different. Probably in red. It was a fantastic wedding dress, but like most wedding dresses, it's one wear only. (Well, two in my case, because we had the reception two weeks after the ceremony and I wore the dress for both.)

As I've gotten older, I've started to care less and less about making money off my stuff. I used to sell everything on Facebook Marketplace, but (coupled with my desire to get away from Facebook altogether), I've started giving things away on Freecycle + Trash Nothing. It only seemed right that I give away my dress.

It was suprisingly hard to find a charity I actually wanted to give my dress to. I eventually decided on Cherie Sustainable Bridal, who will resell my dress and use the proceeds to give clothes to people who need something professional for job interviews. It feels right and kind of freeing to let go of things, especially something this big, in a way that will benefit others.


from protodrew

The time has come for a new way of thinking about green space. The automobile industry pushed it to the side, and made it an afterthought to fill in all the empty spaces in their massive roads. The public spaces we can enjoy nature in are relegated to areas outside the urban center, while inside the cities we are treated to small patches of manicured itchy invasive grass. Our trees (when we have them) provide little in the way of shade, and simply exist to greenwash the crushing weight of industrial capitalism and the toll it has on the people who live there. It is time to think about our ecology in a new way.

Native plants should no longer be seen as “invasive” or weeds that must be plucked from the earth. It is time to utilize the benefits that our unique climates provide us with. Utilizing plants like clover, moss, and even the little patches of native grass we all call weeds will both cultivate a much richer relationship between flora and fauna, and also allow for the plants we grow in our common spaces to strengthen our local ecology.

The reason we have fallen so far and have almost unanimously decided to worsen our environments is largely due to two factors. The first being the need to pursue traditional aesthetics that were formed in the 50s, and the second being the parasitic nature of fertilizer and seed mega corporations like Monsanto that seek to create fertilizer dependent non self-seeding ecosystems that will create a consistent cashflow. This is detrimental both to the cities who purchase from these companies, and the people who live within these cities. It is time for a dual approach to urban ecology, which allows both local growers to form community gardens, and cities to plant native plants only. This will be more cost-effective (as the city won't need to constantly buy fertilizer), easy to maintain (as the plants are adapted to the city's climate), and will create a strong sense of local identity, as the city will stand out in pictures rather than looking like a carbon copy of every major city.

We need a way for people to plant locally now more than ever. This, however, is where a gap in our collective knowledge is most obvious. There is no one service that anyone can visit to see what plants are native to their area. Obviously there are local sites and papers, but the knowledge is spread out and often incredibly disorganized and incomplete. I believe that the key technique to utilize to maximize functionality and usability is an open-source web frontend, that allows a Wikipedia style system of editing and adding information. Each zip code in the US should have a planting calendar, a table for native plants, and maybe even a list of local CSA's or gardening organizations. Over time a dedicated group of volunteers could populate the site with information and utilize its open-source nature to ensure the data is open and transparent, as well as workable to allow other software-engineers to create tools utilizing this backend. Maybe one day I will start working on it, maybe someone else will get to it before me, either will need your support both in signal-boosting its existence, and contributing your local information.


from protodrew

If you aren't familiar with Open Street Map, you've probably at least used something that relies on them. They create some of the best mapping out there and release it all under the Open Data Commons Open Database License, and these maps are completely volunteer supported. Here's how you can help make them better.

Step One: Use their App

this one seems like a no-brainer, download OsmAnd if you are on android or IOS, and start using it instead of Google Maps whenever you can. Keep in mind that they are always improving and to make liberal use of that feedback button in the help menu.

Step Two: Contributing Data

There are a ton of ways to contribute to OpenStreetMap. Their wiki provides a ton of different ways you can contribute, but I will show you my favorite two below.

Step Two A: OsmGo

OsmGo is an android app that allows you to easily click things around you and edit their information, it can be as simple as adding the hours of your favorite restaurant, or as complex as adding an entire city block of data. They have a quick little guide you can check out if you are interested. I have used this for months and its a great little thing to do instead of checking Reddit or the tweetstagrams.

Step Two B: Street Complete

Street Complete makes this process even easier. From their Github:

StreetComplete automatically looks for nearby places where a survey is needed and shows them as quest markers on its map. Each of these quests can then be solved on site by answering a simple question. For example, tapping on a marker may show the question “What is the name of this road?”, with a text field to answer it. More examples are shown in the screenshots below.

The user's answer is automatically processed and uploaded directly into the OSM database. Edits are done in meaningful changesets using the user's OSM account. Since the app is meant to be used on a survey, it can be used offline and is economic with data usage.

This is my personal favorite way to help out. I filtered out the one's about pavement materials or streetlights, and now I can go around adding accessibility guides, small configurations, or hours to things around me. It also has a simple little badge system that really tickles the collector part of my brain.

Step Three: Marketing

Tell your friends! Share them this article, or just convince them to make the switch away from Google! The 7 million + contributors of OpenStreetMap will thank you, and we love to see people using our work!

Step Four: Donate

Enough said. Kick em a few bucks... The've earned it.

Honestly I just love OpenStreetMap, its so easy and nice and has a huge app ecosystem that has feature rich beautiful apps, and hyperspecific apps for hikers and bikers alike. I'm sure you will find something you love using and hopefully will join me and the rest of the gang in contributing to the map.


from protodrew

I was recently given the opportunity to get a vaccination through my University due to being in some categories deemed as high risk. I received the vaccine 1 week ago on the 25, and will give you the rundown on how my University allowed us to apply, what the process was like, and some general musings on the vaccination process in general.

Part 1, Announcement and Application

We received emails that the School (which for privacy I will only let you know is in the northeast of the United States) starting early February that the school was planning on administering the Moderna variant of the vaccine both to the University community and the larger community in the city. We were told the following:

Phase 1 focused on healthcare providers and first responders, and WPI worked with the commonwealth to secure and administer the vaccine to our campus health and safety staff—we are now working on a plan to access vaccines in a timely manner under Phase 2.

Phase 2 includes four groups related to age, medical conditions, certain job categories, and other factors. Per the state’s guidelines, we are planning to administer vaccinations to the small number of community members eligible in Phase 2, Group 1, which includes only those age 75 and over. We have already communicated directly with the individuals who are eligible.

Everyone was invited to submit a form that allowed us to state any risk factors we may fall under and then we were told we would be notified. I was fortunate enough to meet enough categories to fall under phase 2 group 2. I received an email about 1 week later informing me I was eligible and to schedule a time for the following week.

Part 2, Arriving and Receiving

On the 25th I arrived to the designated locations with my two required forms (a medical consent form and a pre-vaccination screening form) and my student ID. I went in, my papers were checked briefly, and then I proceeded into the testing zone.

the vaccination room

After I was done waiting in the short line. I sat down, and was given the vaccine. The entire process took about 5 minutes from entering the room to receiving the shot. I was then given a standard CDC vaccine card with my second dosage being the following month. After all of this concluded I sat in the waiting area for 15 minutes as instructed, and after not feeling any adverse side effects, I was able to leave.

Part 3, Thoughts

Overall I am very impressed with the logistics that my school has had throughout the entire pandemic, we have been tested 2x a week for COVID-19 and utilize a symptom tracker via a Microsoft Power App. My school also has a public facing COVID Dashboard that shows the number of students currently in quarentine and isolation respectively, as well as the number of COVID tests for the past 7 and 30 days, and the number of tests administered.

With this in mind I expected the vaccination process to be equally organized, but nevertheless was surprised by the expedience and professonalism that the entire process contained. I hope that with this level of organization soon this entire city and university will be able to recieve the COVID-19 vaccine, and I will update with what happened upon recieving my second dose.