I listen to things, 3

@ftrain on the Vergecast

Listening to Paul Ford and Nilay Patel talking about online communities. They’re talking about small groups of people who share Plex passwords, and log into each other’s Plex servers to watch pirated TV/movies/etc.

I’ve used Plex for years and it has never occurred to me to share the password or get a password for someone else’s. Plex is just its own thing, for me, like my TiVo or my iTunes collection.

I’m reminded of Google Reader shutting down and the howls from people who said “I made so many friends on GR! How can you take it away?!!” I had never noticed the social part. I was just using it to skim as many headlines as I could. ”Whaddya mean there’s people chatting, under the hood?”

Always missing the fun part, that’s me!

They’re also discussing Dunbar’s number, and that in Paul’s opinion a fun community really should probably max out at 30, which is not enough to pay the bills, if you’re trying to monetize the group.

Tumblrrs seems like it’s the right size, to me.


(UPDATE: a couple of minutes later Paul mentions “private Slacks” for just goofing off with friends. Phew.)


What I read in July 📚

Unholy Land, Lavie Tidhar. I loved the last book he wrote; I skimmed the second half of this one in about 30 minutes. Not my thing.

That’s it. Lousy month, almost exclusively eaten by a dumb web-app project.


Proofing as a Service?

Here’s a real thing I’d enjoying doing for money: Proofreading & ”proofcoding” JS framework tutorials. Maybe even on a subscription basis; every 3 months I’ll rework your tutorial from scratch and see what breaks.

Bonus: An excuse to learn All The Things.

CV: 10 yrs executive & legislative lawyering (reading/writing/editing/critical analysis/critical communication), 3 years self-taught JS via dozens of half-broken tutorials trailed by years’ worth of comments.

(This post brought to you by a graphQL & Authentication tutorial that I don’t want to name-and-shame.)


What I Read in June 📚

Fiction:

  • ”The New Prometheus,” a new short story in the Michael Swanwick ”Mongolian Wizard” world, free from Tor.com.

That’s it. Too much other stuff swirling around. Blah.


Plex on Pop_OS with external USB files

It’s about file permissions, yeah, but the thing that eluded me for a few hours until I hit on this post, was that it’s also about mount points and security rules.

You gotta get the UUID of your ”plex files” partition(s) and edit /etc/fstab to have your system mount it/them somewhere other than the default.

I think the example the Plex employee uses in his walkthrough is unfortunate because on my Pop_OS drive /media is already used by the system. I created a new folder at the root level called /plexmedia, chmodded it to 755, and listed it as the mount point for a partition on my external USB drive. When the system rebooted, suddenly the Plex server could see all my subfolders. Hooray.

NOTE: Before figuring this out, I had already tried the following; now I don’t know if they were unnecessary fiddling or if they were also a needed part of the solution:

(1) The drive and media files were originally part of a Mac setup. The drive was formatted HFS+, journalled. I took the drive back to a Mac and turned off journalling using diskutil.

(2) Once I’d done (1) I could mount the drive in Linux in a write-able fashion, and chowned the entire thing to user plex and group root. (As a read-only volume they had been showing up as ”503: root” where 503 is the ID of my everyday Mac user. I read some tricky posts about creating a Linux user with a matching ID and ”stealing” those ”orphan” files, but I’m glad I didn’t go down that route because the security/default-mount thing would still have been in the way… [I do think this mattered, because once I discovered the Plex post linked above, I didn’t need to do the 755/644 stuff; it just worked.]


Things I read in May 📚

Non-fiction (tech):

Fiction:

  • Home and The Night Masquerade, Nnedi Okorafor. Books 2 and 3 of this series. I said of the first, “A little thin on plot but a refreshing character…” The plots got more interesting. I liked ‘em.
  • The Raven Tower, Ann Leckie. I liked this, too. I gather this is a continuation of a fantasy world she’s already built in short stories over the years; it was all new to me.
  • Revenger, Alastair Reynolds. I didn’t finish this until June but I was still on vacation so it counts in May. A little different than most of his stuff but pretty good. (I don’t love it when he leans into ultraviolence; happens in Revelation Space books here and there, too. I guess I’m just a squish.)
  • Permafrost, Alastair Reynolds. An unexpected time-travel thing from AR. Novella-length maybe? I read it on my Kindle while on vacation. My complete Goodreads review: “Good, but Connie Willis has mined this vein so deeply it’s hard not to compare.”

In May I said, “I got 10% of the way through an absolute doorstop of a fantasy novel.” I ran out of newer books while travelling, and plowed through another 20% or so of The Dragonbone Chair. Having put this much time into it, I’ll probably finish it, but it really is such a pastiche of better work that I won’t mind putting it off.


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