Follow me to my new blog: https://isene.org

This site is kept open for archival purposes. There are lots of blog posts on everything from tech stuff to Scientology on this site. It will remain open for years to come.

But, my new home is at isene.org. That is where I continue blogging and sharing materials for your free use. You can subscribe at the bottom page over at isene.org to keep yourself updated on new posts.

Articles, books, my artwork and music is shared at one of the pages on my new website, and easily reached via isene.com.

Snowflakes are dancing

I have been a serious contributor to the HP Forum for the past 15 years, having contributed software, prototyping and ideas for a number of calculator models – especially the HP-41. The Forum is a part of the HP Museum – a resource dedicated to Hewlett Packard’s range of calculator products.

Lately something interesting happened, something that validates the OnePageBook “And?”. I got banned from the forum with this message:

A few weeks back, I referred to the “Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License“, twice. That got one of the moderators on the forum all riled up. He didn’t ban me but was fuming. Then, when another member posted his reimplementation of the Brainfuck programming language, I replied that he would get in trouble with the moderators for posting that. Now THAT got me banned – with the message above. The moderator then went postal and started manually deleting all my close to 600 contributions to the forum, missing only 8 posts along the way.

Now this wasn’t the first time the moderator had blown up. He has a history of being toxic with escalating conflicts with users in public. While that moderator has some clear anger issues, the root cause is that the forum owner, Dave Hicks has kept him as a moderator, even after a major debacle back in 2015 when the moderator went full frontal on another major contributing member. There has also been several deletions of whole threads of work – just because someone was offended by some words in there.

Snowflake n.
A very sensitive person. Someone who is easily hurt or offended by the statements or actions of others.

Don’t be a snowflake.

All this made me realize that I cannot trust posting any serious contributions to that forum. Who knows whan another random moderator would go batshit and start deleting my work.

I tried my best to resolve this back channel, but the moderators kept ignoring my messages. Then I was suddenly unbanned, but my posts were put in a censorship queue. Every new post were to be reviewed by a moderator before it got posted. A post where I criticized the forum owner got blocked. It included a message I sent to Dave just before:

As I posted in one of the queued posts, I cannot trust posting anything of value to this forum anymore. And with all my contributions permanently gone and with the level of censorship going on, there is no reason for me to remain. I saw Dave’s rant about Thomas and account deletions, but since I have basically been deleted from this forum, I would like to let you off easy: Rather than facing a few hours of work to retreive my posts, you will now go ahead and permanently delete my account and all the remaining posts of mine – along with the moderator thread discussing me. I am not mad or angry. I am not even disappointed. But as I said, Dave has lost my respect and I cannot trust the forum. I request the deletion of my account in accordance with GDPR. This is final. There is no regrets or need for any cooling period. Please send me an e-mail to g@isene.com confirming the action. If I ever want to join the forum again, I will do so with a fresh account.

Dave then went on the forum saying I had been “mad at him since 2015”. While that is untrue, it only confirms my decision.

So, what can I learn from this? First of all, integrity trumps snowflakes. Secondly, it has helped me exercizing enjoying debacles. And thirdly, I should remember not to be too terse or succinct in my communication as it could be interpreted as harsh or angry – when I am really just trying to be efficient. Maybe more emoticons would help?

Alternative places to discuss HP calculators:

Creating the AstroCalc

My requirements: Being able to do astronomical calculations while observing through my telescope during cold nights while not hurting my night vision.

With a smart phone, I’d have to use touch gloves or take off my gloves to press “buttons” on the screen. And then I’d have the hassle of filter programs to dim the screen and make it red to keep it from impacting my night vision.

With my HP-41, I’d have to use a led light to see the screen.

But with an old red led calculator, I could get all my requirements at once. Except there are few of these old pre-1980 calculators that would be capable of doing all the calculations I need; Date -> Julian Date -> Date, Sun rise/set, Moon rise/set, Moon Phase, Field of View calculations fro various eyepieces, etc. Fiddling with magnetic cards for the HP-67 would not be ideal.

hp-25e

HP-25E to the rescue! Bernhard Emese (Panamatik) has created a true piece of art with his “brain transplant” for the old HP-25 calculators. His HP-25E boast a 100x increase in programming memory, on-board GPS with time, Latitude, Longitude, heading, speed and more as well as a stop watch, chess clock, hexadecimal conversion and much, much more. It’s the ideal calculator for my requirements. Except it still had only 50 program steps memory per program. Although it had the possibility of storing 100 HP-25 programs in a constant memory (not lost when you turn the calc off – unlike the original HP-25), you couldn’t write programs with more than 50 steps. And this was way too small for the programs I need.

Talking to Berhard about the possibility of “stringing together” different “pages” of 50 program steps, we came up with a neat way of solving this issue. By using some available rare codes, the HP-25E can now jump between various programs – potentially creating programs with thousands of programming steps.

hp-25e_open

And so I embarked on the journey of creating the AstroCalc – the ideal tool for the amateur astronomer. So far, the GitHub repository only includes the calculation of Julian Date from a date and time and the backward conversion, from Julian Date to date and time. With the HP-25E’s possibility of constantly updating the time, this makes writing down the exact Julian Date on my observations a breeze.

I will add the Sun/Moon rise/set, Moon Phase and eyepiece calculations soon. Just check my HP-25E_astro Github page for updates.

I fucking love this calc.

My computer setup

Here’s a HyperList of my current computer setup – for reference in case someone is looking for inspiration:

PC = Samsung NP900X4C

OS = Ubuntu Linux (16.04) (http://www.ubuntu.com/)

Shell = zsh (http://www.zsh.org/)

Terminal = urxvt (http://software.schmorp.de/pkg/rxvt-unicode.html)

Text editor = VIM (http://www.vim.org/)

Document production = LaTeX (https://www.latex-project.org/)

Programming Languages

Mail User Agent = mutt (http://www.mutt.org/)

  • Mail filtering = mail_fetch (from GMail accounts)

SMTP client = msmtp (http://msmtp.sourceforge.net/)

Instant communication = Weechat (https://weechat.org/)

HP-41 link = pc41 (https://github.com/isene/pc41)

Newsreader (RSS) = Newsbeuter (http://newsbeuter.org/)

Window Manager = i3 (http://www.i3wm.org/)

Information display = Conky (https://github.com/brndnmtthws/conky)

Browser = Qutebrowser (https://github.com/The-Compiler/qutebrowser)

Office suite = LibreOffice (https://www.libreoffice.org/)

Presentation viewer = Impressive (http://impressive.sourceforge.net/)

 

conky-screenshot

Tech stuff: Julia, Vim & Vizardry

Been doing lots of tech stuff lately. Here’s a sharing of some highlights.

Through the years I’ve been programming in more than a dozen different languages. Since many years I have more or less settled on Ruby besides my HP-41 projects programmed in FOCAL and MCODE. Now and then I get this urge to learn a new programming language, and after an extensive search for something neat, I finally landed on Julia. I’m trying her out while reading the book, “Getting started with Julia Programming Language“.

The book is good. The programming language seems excellent. It boasts a complete GitHub-based package system to extend the language with various modules. Although it’s a general purpose language, its strength lies in maths and natural sciences. It’s very fast and with a pretty clean and natural syntax. You can even do straight forward math like this:

f(x) = 2sin(3x)^2

And by then executing the function “f” with x as 0.8, you get the answer straight:

f(0.8)
0.9125010165605526

There is a chance I could be falling in love here 🙂

I’ve also been doing lots of work on my Conky setup resulting in this as my “bare” desktop:

conky

If you have any questions about scripts or conky setups, just ask by leaving a comment here.

Then there is VIM – perhaps my the tool I use the most. I’ve been using VIM for writing everything from HyperLists and notes to e-mails, short stories and books since around 2001. It’s a fantstic text editor. But it lacks a good package manager for add-ons :-/

But then I found Vizardry. Using Pathogen as a base to install extensions, Vizardry will let you search for add-ons, install it with a breeze and remove it just as easily. If you’re a VIM user, this is a must. Go get it! You will thank me 🙂

HP-41: The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

Have your HP-41 right where it should be (in your hand) and unable to find the Internetz to look up nifty details of obscure chemical elements? Worry no more, the solution is here, the HP-41 program, “PERIOD”.

14LaAc_periodic_table_IIb

The program will display:

  • Atomic number, Name and Symbol
  • Group, Period and Block
  • Atomic Weight
  • Property (Alkali metal, Noble Gas, etc.)
  • Type (Gas, Liquid, Solid or Unknown)
  • Occurrence in nature (Primordial, From Decay, Synthetic)
  • Melting Point, Boiling Point (in Kelvin)
  • Year of discovery (“OLD” if known in ancient times)
  • Electron Configuration
  • Atomic Radius (empirical and calculated)
  • Origin (Big Bang, Cosmic Rays, Small & Large Stars, Large Stars, Large Stars & Super Nova, Super Nova and Man Made)

You will find the ROM pages, program listing and element details on the Github project page. It is also included in the HP Museum’s “HP-41C Software Library“. Enjoy 🙂