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It's Been Fun, Linux Community, But It's Time To Move On

Date/Time Permalink: 10/19/13 02:27:44 pm
Category: Site News

Those of you who pay attention (all two of you) know that my webcomic will complete its run by New Year's Eve of this year. And you've also heard me rumble that I have bigger and better things in mind for after that project's done.

Well, I've arrived at a conclusion today: Starting January 1st, 2014, penguinpetes.com will no longer be focused on Linux, Free & Open Source Software, or even technology in particular. Before you all cry "sell-out!" or just cry in general, there's three very level-headed arguments in support of this:

#1. The computer era has passed.

That's the biggest issue. Check your stats, webmasters: the overwhelming majority of devices visiting your sites right now are smartphones, tablets, and pads. Devices are getting even smaller, not larger, and users are going more towards being read-only every day, not do-it-yourself. If you own a desktop computer or a laptop right now, you're officially a dinosaur. I am a dinosaur too, and anything I have to say about computers from here on out is irrelevant to all but 1% of the population. The thing is, if installing your own operating system was a fringe concept in the PC era, it's a dusty ancient practice in the smartphone era. Smartphones, tablets, and pads are for consuming, not hacking.

Update Days later, Apple starts releasing their desktop operating system free of charge. Which is their way of also saying the desktop era is over.

#2. I have fought with every drop of blood in my veins to preserve learning, intellect, and literacy for ten years, and the world just got 1000X stupider since I started.

When I started, Linux had a foothold and my purpose was to teach everyone that we can all use technology to be self-sufficient and have maximum tech freedom. Then that proved too hard for most of you, so I had to advocate against the misologist zealots and show, no, really, manpages and Google are not too hard to use. Then even being pro-literacy proved to be too controversial a position to take, so I started focusing on the need to improve education in this country. Then science and reason came under attack, so I started advocating for civilization to start with, then promote learning, then promote computer literacy, then promote technology, then promote Linux. Eventually I lost even that foothold when the entire technology world went stark batshit crazy and turned into a collective paranoid-schitzophrenic conspiracy theorist. I am now reduced to being the only one screaming that the world is NOT going to end, and I'm being drowned out by the mobs screaming every single day that it will. Reminding me of this old meme...

In short, the zombie apocalypse is over. The zombies won.

#3. My career has focused more on being an author and artist anyway, so my website should be, too. I'm ready to become someone else now. I think I'll be the Gen-X Robert Anton Wilson. I'm going to devote the rest of my career to the most audacious messing-with-minds possible, pulling off feats of culture-jamming, cranking out books, and making you all feel stupid. I have tried to teach all of you how to be wizards, but none of you want to be wizards, you only want to sit in the audience and gawp while I'm up on stage being the wizard. Fine then, I'll be that wizard. From this day forward, you'll never know when I'm kidding and when I'm being serious. I'll just fool you, fool you, and fool you, and you'll never know how I did it. I don't show my cards any more.

#3-1/2. I will no longer be associated with assholes like this. Me, when I advocated Linux, I was saying Linux is all about Google and Amazon and being installed on supercomputers and the space station. Only to get dragged back down to be associated with these endless filthy hippies everywhere. If there was a way to make Linux explode and kill everybody in the room whenever a hippie got close to it, I'd submit the kernel patch myself. Knowing Linus, he'd probably approve it, too.

NOTE When the above-mentioned hippie's story ran on Reddit's Linux forum, I replied to somebody championing this idiot as "the right sort of person to open up free software and open source ideas to a broader community." I ran across my reply to that thread, now long-since deleted in the dusts of time. I have saved a copy here, because it says everything I have ever had to say about "Linux advocacy":

"the right sort of person to open up free software and open source
ideas to a broader community. "

Ooooooh, I get it! This is yet another populist ploy to hold a
folk-music festival for the penguins and bang tambourines and shave
heads and hustle people for money to spread the tent-revival good news
of FOSS. Because it's not just sensible technology deployed by all the
top Fortune 500 tech companies save one - it's a religion, a
"lifestyle," a "philosophy." A charity.

This is fun! I've played this game before! Let's see here, I remember
my role. Ah, yes, for not joining the circlejerk, I must be an
obstructive meanie elitist who wants to keep Linux away from people
and have it restricted to only us exclusive ivory-tower eggheads! Did
I remember all the adjectives this time?

Yeah, we've been there, Bob Dylan. The times, they really did a-change
- to the mobile platform. It's too late to push for the "year of Linux
on the desktop" now that the desktop is going away.

But I was there for the drive to get Linux on TV, and the charity rush
to promote Linux in a radio ad, and the crooks who wanted to shake us
all down to have a Linux sticker on that racecar, and on and on and
on.

Linux is on the space station. It won, and it won without any help
from filthy, stinking, pot-reeking hippies like this guy and his
little fan club. It has been built by, maintained by, used by, and
will continue to thrive by the people like me who got a haircut and a
real job and took Linux to the industrial and business sector, where
profits, not flower power, win the day.

If self-righteous, idealistic, clueless hippies like these are the
solution to anything, I want my problem back.

EDIT Ooooh, downvote the scary, scary smart person who's known what
he's talking about for 20 years in the tech community. I hope I didn't
make you soak your Pampers pull-up!

Don't Panic! - The strip archives will still be there, blog will be overhauled or maybe scrapped and replaced altogether, new sections will be added, and I might even change the domain name.

One thing for sure, I'm not going to care about having a "geek" audience anymore. "Geeks" are dead, and although president Obama and I and a few others have made a valiant effort to get the STEMmer thing off the ground, it isn't going to happen this generation. I've raised my kids and talked to their friends enough to know that the Millennial generation is on its way, God bless 'em, and some of them are 10X the STEMmer spokesperson I'll ever be. The spark will pass, so it's time to get out of the way and let them talk to the generation that has hope. Baby Boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Y: as far as Western enlightenment goes, we're three waves of the greatest waste of protein in the history of civilization, and the books that the Millennial generation writes will seriously ask why our time was known as "The Second Dark Ages."

For everybody older than 25 and younger than 70, you are the people who want magic, not science. And it's about time I started working towards my retirement.

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Why I'm not blogging much this summer

Date/Time Permalink: 07/16/13 01:16:48 am
Category: Site News

It used to be September. September used to be "idiot season," when new students entered the university system for the first time and got access to the Internet - at which point they'd make perfect clods of themselves until they'd gotten to know Internet culture a bit. Hence the expression "eternal September," for when 365-day-per-year Internet access became a fact of life for the general public.

We have a new September now, called "June 3rd." That's the day, in the US, when school is more or less out for everybody for summer break. Suddenly, students of every age from grade school to college have an extra six hours of their day free per weekday, no homework, no studies, and a buttload of free time on their hands.

The current Snowden-noia, as I'm now tagging it, has infested the widest corners of the Internet as a true cancer and won't stop until September. This happens every summer, regular as clockwork. Think of every idiot panic that swept the Internet in years past. Track it down. Yes, it started in the summer.

In the meantime, it's absolutely impossible and hopeless to get anyone to listen to anything you have to say on the web right now unless it's about tin-foil-hat Libertarian paranoia over the NSA, Snowden, PRISM, and Obama. Even the Zimmerman trial has come and gone like a blip on the radar; a couple days of demonstration and it'll be forgotten. All Julian Assange, Wrong Paul, Bradley Manning, Glenn Greenwald, or Edward Snowden have to do is announce that they took a poop this morning, and your eyes will be back to them. Puppet masters know their puppets, and the Lords your Gods are jealous Gods, meditating upon how to manipulate your attention day and night.

I am not a jealous God. Rather, I know that all I have to do is wait out until the current shitstorm ends... about the last week of August when school starts... and then you will all come out of your spell as you do every year. You will see that the world did not end with PRISM, exactly as it did not end with CISPA, ACTA, PIPA, SOPA, the NDAA, #Occupy, KONY2012, the DMCA, the PATRIOT act, and Wrong Paul and the Crusade to End the Fed. You will all blink your little mole eyes at the daylight and wonder what came over you, as you do every year. Long about Thanksgiving, you'll all be asking yourselves what the hell all that was about and why the screaming outrage suddenly stopped and yet nothing happened from it, exactly as is your holiday tradition.

The retard-masks will go back in the closet.

Everybody will be done having their little circlejerk party.

I am particularly disappointed in some people I used to respect. Some of the paragons of FOSS and digital freedom, who used to have sense enough to distance themselves from such crotch-grabbing redneckery, have apparently decided can't beat 'em, join 'em, and have sold out to the annual summer idiot festival. What a shame. I will be honoring them all the less in these pages.

I don't know which hurts more, that I have praised GNU software so ringingly in the past, or the fact that my own hometown Linux user's group has abandoned its normal programming to foam about Teh Evulz Gov'mint and hold an emergency encryption seminar. That's a mailing list with about 20-40 active members, but oh, no, that was still too large a place to hide, too much comfort to provide me.*

Me, I'd be happy to land on an NSA terrorist watchlist or two. Compared to my usual run-of-the-mill enemies, at least I'd get to be persecuted by a better class of people.

September is now the month I look forward to every year. It's at least a time when technology news websites once again start talking about technology, and leave politics to the sewers where it belongs.



* UPDATE Would you believe the Central Iowa Linux User's Group (CIALUG) actually kicked me out for not being sufficiently worshipful of Snowden? The group resisted Snowdenoia the longest, yet like the cancer it is, it crept in and took over the whole board.

Thanks a lot, guys. Enjoy your sausage-fest (I was the only one who brought women to the group, both wife and daughter) as you hunker in your bunker tuning in Alex Jones on your TOR radio apps. Keep waiting for that end of the world now! It's real important to raise awareness and demand everyone join your personal army for Internet-activism. It's much more important than respecting old friends or supporting young people and minority genders in their interest in open source technology.

Who's turning on me next? Next? Who's next?

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Doomed To Obscurity Enters Its (Planned) Final Year

Date/Time Permalink: 01/01/13 06:48:54 pm
Category: Site News

Four years ago today, I announced that I was launching the webcomic Doomed to Obscurity. While it's had some modest claim to a few links and comments and some cult popularity, it's still pretty much lived up to its title. So by the end of this year, my self-imposed commitment to posting every odd-numbered calendar day for five years will end.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that the series will be dead forever. Maybe I'll keep it up if it gets more popular. Maybe I'll only publish ebooks. Maybe I'll only post it sporadically.

But more likely, I'll turn my energy to other things. The series has sapped a lot of my creative time. I did this as an experiment to find out: "Can I create an extensive work of fiction on schedule for an extended period of time?" The answer is apparently, yes I can, and even pull a few stunts and have some fun along the way. It's been a great outlet for random snarks, jokes, and goofy thoughts, even though it's sometimes also been a drag and some days appears to be running on fumes and desperation.

But I'm capable of a heck of a lot more. Some other stuff I've drawn in the past, for instance:

practice_human_Gordon_by_Penguin_Pete

Generic_Male_Mesh_by_Penguin_Pete

Girl_in_the_Headlights_by_Penguin_Pete

roulette_wheel_1_by_Penguin_Pete

The_Summoned_by_Penguin_Pete

...so how long should I go on puttering on a newspaper-style strip? I'm curious to see what I could produce in a graphic novel published twice per year rather than ~180 so-so strips per year.

And then there's much more I could be writing, and programming, and designing...

Anyway, enjoy the last "official" year of DTO. Strange things may happen yet. And thanks to you few, loyal fans out there! I'm glad a few of you appreciated my weird little universe.

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Advance Notice: I'm going to overhaul the Wallpaper archive in about a week; download 'em while you can!

Date/Time Permalink: 09/09/12 01:07:43 pm
Category: Site News

Title says it all; the wallpaper gallery portion of this site will be radically pruned. As always, it's licensed Creative Commons 2.5, so if you can use them for scraps for something, this is your last chance. I will be putting up new work, also licensed as such, but most of what you see there now is getting thrown out.

After all, I have wallpapers there from the days when 640x480 was the average screen resolution! Most of that gallery is ancient, hoary old drawings from my earliest experiments with 3D ray-tracing. 95% of it is outdated and cheesy. New art going there will focus on a much more modern style of vector art and minimalism, and the lowest resolution for the screen will be 1600x1200. A few pieces there which meet modern tastes will remain, the rest is getting thrown out because, frankly, I can't stand to look at it anymore and I can't believe anybody else can either.

Update: As of 09/20/12, the project is complete. While the new selection is sparse, the important thing is that I can add to it over time. I wasn't for a long while there, because I needed to get rid of the hodge-podge.

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Doomed to Obscurity New Reader's Guide Updated (Finally!)

Date/Time Permalink: 02/10/12 04:32:35 pm
Category: Site News

The tiny handful of regular readers to my webcomic will be thrilled to see that the New Reader's Guide got a badly needed update. I've been meaning to do that for at least a year, but everything else kept getting in the way...

Characters have all gotten shuffled around into new categories. There's now the "core four" main characters, major characters, supporting characters, and satellite characters who only peek in once in a while. As the series evolves, I'll try to keep things current. There's also a new section for most of the shamelessly deux-ex-machina plot props running around now.

Anyway, now those new to the strip will have a place to catch up. But be warned, some profiles necessarily contain spoilers if you're concerned about that kind of thing.

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A Little Link List To All Of Penguin Pete's Departments

Date/Time Permalink: 12/28/11 11:53:46 am
Category: Site News

Hello, true believers! My online operations and productions have grown like creeping charlie, and I'm realizing that many readers might have a hard time finding their way to everything. Here is one, updated post linking you to every project I currently have my hands in:

#1. My blog: No link necessary - you're already here! However, here is the complete archive page to Penguin Pete's Blog, linking to every post I've made over five+ years.

#2. My webcomic, Doomed to Obscurity. Soon to enter its third year. It's a comic about technology and geek culture in general. It updates every odd-numbered calendar day.

#3. My Tumblr blog, Penguin Pete's Daily Funny. Just dumb, silly, goofy caption pictures, advice animals, Gimpz, the occasional cartoon, etc. For those who want to see the lowbrow side of my humor.

#4. My new weird-stuff blog Mind--Blown. It's basically a museum of curiosities, paranormal, fringe culture, avant-garde, outsiders, historical oddities... weird stuff. No purpose there, just something amusing to play with.

#5. My ancient wallpaper gallery - Old images I did ages ago, kept there for historic links.

#6. My site's outside link directory: Linux sites, other FOSS sites, code sites, and other miscellaneous stuff. I still dump new stuff in there whenever I think of it. It's as much for my own convenience as it is for yours, because I always have a small, fast-loading web directory that I control, accessible from anywhere I can get Internet on whatever device is nearby.

#7. My poor, neglected Deviant Art account. Dumping grounds for more graphic output.

#8. My poor, neglected eZine article account. Those articles are free for anyone to repost, by the way, as long as you keep the attribution, which is the concept of eZine. I mean to add more there. Any ideas for eZine articles you'd like to see there? Please suggest them! That way it'd be like Penguin Pete doing a guest-blog for you for free!

#9. My Delicious bookmarks. Public profile, added to all the time. These don't necessarily have anythign to do with any of my other interests, just plain old bookmarks that I want to keep but don't want to have cluttering up my Firefox menus.

#10. I also have one client who's nice enough to give me attribution on every post I write for his site. That site is Lyric Interpretations, and it's a site about music, and I'm one of the writers on the music blog. The whole place is fascinating, and you are guaranteed to learn things about music that you'd never encounter anywhere else.

Finally, here at last is my Twitter account. Follow me there, and I will try (really hard) to tweet every time one of the above projects updates, with the exception of Lyric Interpretations, because there's other writers there besides me... but sometimes I tweet about it anyway.

Can you see now why I did this? It's almost getting to where I need to clone myself just to keep up with me! No doubt, you stop by the blog and go "No new posts all month? What the heck is Penguin Pete doing with his time, anyway?" Well, now you know. If you're looking at any one site by me or account of mine, you're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I'm building an online Fort Kickass

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Launching Yet Another New Blog: Mind--Blown

Date/Time Permalink: 12/08/11 09:03:51 am
Category: Site News

I'll be getting back to this technology blog shortly - I'm training for the come-back! But in the meantime, with no real fanfare about it, I have another blog to add to my increasingly diverse portfolio.

It's just called "Mind Blown" and it's about... hey, wait a minute, I'm tired of explaining myself! So far, its posts consist of one trippy Gif, a list of every kind of animal I've eaten so far, an animutation video, a sci-fi mag cover, a sorta-review of Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, a video of a busker, an invention, a UFO cult, a video of Mr. T's singing, and a story about a nudism activist. There, you figure out what the blog's about! I know exactly what it's about, and what that is will become clearer with each post, but it can't be put into words, y'dig?

Oh, and I won't have any regular posting schedule for it. I'll shoot for once a day, maybe more.

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New Feature in "Doomed to Obscurity": Random Strip

Date/Time Permalink: 09/15/11 08:32:14 pm
Category: Site News

Not terribly big news, but I've added a "random" link to the navigation bar under the strip on my webcomic Doomed to Obscurity. Click link, random past strip comes up, just like you'd expect. It's about time I caught up with the zillion other webcomics out there and added this.

I should add, a White Knight reader pointed out that there was a problem with my failing to check the input to the "$strip=" parameter in the URL, so some smart-ass could have typed "index.php?strip=0000001.jpg ' <and a bunch of code tags here>" and given it to someone else as a link to click. That is what we call a "code injection vulnerability" and it's a naughty, naughty thing for a variable to do. I did check trying to get Javascript to execute that way and always got a 403-forbidden, so my system is apparently too smart for that (or God knows, I coded something else back there and forgot about it), but I closed that loophole now by rigorously checking the variable's contents before using it.

And then tossed in the random-link feature. See what it takes to get me to update something around here?

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Announcing Penguin Pete's Daily Funny On Tumblr

Date/Time Permalink: 08/19/11 05:22:18 pm
Category: Site News

Well, I guess I've sat on this one long enough, so this is the official launch of Penguin Pete's Daily Funny, a home for whatever cartoons, macros, advice animals, and other image jokes I cobble up.

Now you might be thinking, Tumblr... isn't that that place where everybody re-blogs everything posted by everybody else in an endless parade of the same tired memes 4chan got sick of last month? And that's what makes mine so special: it will always have 100% original content by me only! I'll leave the re-posting to you!

And it will post every day, instead of that complicated posting schedule I have for my "Doomed to Obscurity" webcomic.

By the way, if you've noticed another icon on this site's front page linking to a Blogger blog... I'm not announcing that one, because the idea just isn't gelling for me yet. So no guarantees if that other thing will pan out or morph into something different. I threw it at the wall, but it's kinda not sticking.

But the Tumblr one is all-systems go! Many happy re-blogs!

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suddenly the moon