A Myriad of Little Projects

I’ve neglected posting much lately, not so much because I haven’t been doing anything but more because I’ve been busy and not really with anything deserving of it’s own post.  I hope to remedy this a bit next year but for now I just wanted to run through some recent projects I’ve been working on.

The All New All the Same Lameazoid.com

Probably the biggest monopolizer of my time has been my other blog at Lameazoid.com.  There isn’t a lot there now, but my intention is to do a relaunch of sorts in 2017.  I’ve managed to keep up with my current regular posting, which amounts to roughly two posts per week, one Weekly Haul post and a recap of Agents of SHIELD.  I want to do much more next year.  I even made up a spreadsheet to plan everything for the year.

I have regular content set up for every day of the week.  The idea right now, is to build up a long runway.  I have the time now to crank out reviews and take photos as needed.  If all goes to plan, I will have content scheduled out through roughly May in every category.  The idea is that this content, while good is a buffer that can be shuffled as needed for NEW content to be inserted on demand.

I’ve also taken steps to try to line up content with related new content.  For example, Logan, comes out on 3/3.  So in the weeks before, for the Marvel Movie Review of those weeks, I’ll do Wolverine and The Wolverine (yeah those names are similar and dumb).  I could also pair this with some Wolverine related Marvel Legends reviews, or maybe some other Hugh Jackman reviews.

I’ve been up to a few new tech related projects lately as well.


I’ll probably do a post just on Mail-in-a-Box and my set up experience.  Mail-In-A-Box is a simple install Mailserver for hosting your own email.  I’ve spun up a second VPS and attached this domain to it, since I previously didn’t have any email for this domain.  It was a little tricky but I worked things out.  The hardest bit is that Mail-In-A-Box wants to handle the DNS and core domain, but I’m hosting these things on two separate servers.

I’ve gotten a little extra cozy with DNS lately, but I also had an issue come up because Mail-In-A-Box seemed to be pushing the SSL https domain for BloggingIntensifies.

Encryption Everywhere

You might notice, I’ve enabled HTTPS on this blog.  This came out of necessity since after setting up Mail-In-A-Box, Firefox kept forcing the site to the HTTPS version, which nothing was set up for so it didn’t load.  This is a change I’ve been meaning to make anyway since the launch of LetsEncrypt!  Google is supposed to start penalizing non HTTPS sites at some point plus it’s good practice anyway.  I set up HTTPS for this blog, Lameazoid.com and Joshmiller.net.  Once I am confident in things I’ll set it up for TreasuredTidbits,.com and TheZippyZebra.com as well.

I had some issues with Joshmiller.net though because of the way Cloudflare works.

Cloudflare Integration

I also recently added Cloudflare to all of my sites.  Cloudflare is essentially a DNS provider but it also lets you mask and reroute traffic to help protect your server.  I had to pull BI off of it though to get Mail-In-A-Box to work and apparently Lameazoid.com wasn’t set up for rerouting.  I ended up having trouble with Joshmiller.net when I tried to enable SSL encryption.  Basically, as near as I can tell, the set up was looking at the Cloudflare IP and not the server IP, so things weren’t meshing or hooking up properly.  Everything corrected itself once I removed the Cloudflare rerouting.  I still need to play with this a bit before I set things up on my wife’s two blogs.

Part of why I experiment with my blogs vs hers is that I get way less traffic and I don’t like to irritate her.

Cloud At Cost VPS

I did a post on Cloud At Cost, but I wanted to mention it again as a recent project.  I have two VPSs from them, plus some.  I’m still having issues with the Windows VPS but the Linux one has been running pretty well since I got it up and running.

PLEX Server

My Synology NAS has the ability to act as a PLEX server.  I recently cleaned up a bunch of space on the NAS by throwing some spare drives into an older machine and creating a “Deep Archive” for things that I never need to access that take up a lot of space (read: My 500GB of raw video from ten years of my bi annual DVD making projects).  I also shoved some things like old ISOs and Game Install files onto the Deep Archive.  I then proceeded to start filling this new space with rips of my DVD collection.  I’m still working on the long and arduous ripping process as time allows but the idea is to run everything through PLEX to the two Firesticks I’ve set up on each TV.  This means my family doesn’t have to drag out a huge binder of DVDs to find a movie and it means I can stop worrying about discs getting scratched up and ruined.

It also gives me a nice way to watch all of the home video footage I’ve recorded over the past 10+ years.  This whole project met a bit of a roadblock when I found that I need to pre transcode all of the video in PLEX before it becomes watchable.  The NAS isn’t powerful enough to transcode it in real time.


Self Driving Cars

Robot Car
Robot Car

Every so often, I’ve seen the “ethical dilemma” of Self Driving cars come up for debate.  Specifically, the scenario goes something like this:

A self driving car is approaching a crowd of children, it can veer off a cliff and kill the occupants, saving the children, what choice does it make?  Who is responsible for the deaths?”

Its a dilemma to be sure, but it’s also completely absurd and effectively a non issue, which is an angle no one seems to really look at or realize.  This specific scenario is completely absurd because, why are a bunch of children blocking a road on the side of a cliff to begin with?  It can be toned down to be a bit more realistic of course, what if it’s a blind corner, maybe the children are just on a street and it’s just a crowd of people and not children.  The children are just there to appeal to your emotional “Think of the children!!” need anyway.  Maybe the alternative is to smash into a building at 60 mph after turning this blind corner into the crowd of people.

No wait, why was the car screwing around any corner where people may be at 60mph?  That’s highway speeds, there’s a reason we have different speed limits after all, open view open areas like highways are faster because we can see farther down the road and we have more room to swerve into other lanes or the shoulder and not into buildings or random crowds of people.

Exceeding the speed limit like that is a human problem, not a robot problem.

So, maybe the car is obeying the speed limit, maybe the brakes have suddenly, inexplicably, failed, and the car simply can’t stop…

No wait, that doesn’t work either.  Brakes generally don’t just “fail”.  A robot car will be loaded with sensors, it will know the instant the brakes display even a little bit of an issue and probably drive off to have itself serviced.  Or at the very least it will alert the driver of the problem and when it reaches a critical stage, simply refuse to start or operate until fixed.  Should have taken it into the shop, that on demand last minute fix service call will probably cost you three times as much while you are late to work.

Looks like ignoring warning signs of trouble is also a human problem, not a robot problem.

So what if there simply isn’t time to react properly because it’s a “blind corner”?  Maybe some idiot is hiding behind a mailbox or tree waiting to jump out in front of your self driving car.  Except this is still more of a human problem than a robot problem.

All of these self driving robot cars, are all going to talk to each other.  You car will know about every crowd of people in a twenty mile radius because all of the other cars will be talking to it and saying things like “Yo dawg, main street’s closed, there’s a parade of nuns and children there,” and the car will simply plan a different route.

They will even tell each other about that suicidal fool hiding behind the tree.

Maybe your car is alone, in the dark in a deserted area.  First, it’s a robot, it doesn’t care about the darkness, if there isn’t some infrared scanner attached telling it there is someone hiding somewhere, it’s going to still see the obstruction.  It will be able to know “How fast could a dog or a person jump out from behind that thing, how wide should I swing around it, how slow should I pass by it.”

It knows, because this is all it does.

Speaking of dogs, or possums, or deers, this also becomes a non issue.  The car will be able to see everything around it, in the dark, because it can “see” better than any human.  It also constantly sees everything in a 360 degree view.  The self driving robot car will never get distracted rubber necking at an accident, it will never be distracted by that “hot chick” walking along the side of the street, it will never road range because some other robot car cut it off (which won’t happen anyway).

It just drives.

And it will do it exceptionally well.

And even if our crazy scenario comes true, even if a self driving car has a freak accident and kills a buss full fo children every year or really every month, it will still kill fewer people than humans kill while driving.

So feel free to waste time debating which deserves to die, the driver or the pack of people, or debate who is responsible, you may as well ask who will be responsible for cleaning up all the poop cars make when they replace the horse and buggy.