Eric's Journal

Below you'll find some of my most recent Journal entries.

Site Updates - Now with More Magic and LibreJS Validation!

TL;DR — I added some new content (including custom Magic and Illuminati cards, and an expanded blogroll) and did some JS housecleaning.

👓 less than 1 minute

A couple of website updates to announce:

While I was fixing the client code, I went and disabled my (already broken) concatentation and minification script, opting instead to serve up all 8(!) JS library files individually (and, thanks to HTTP/2, concurrently)

I mean, I’m using minification for the libraries I’m importing (I’m not a monster), but I don’t use it for the (small) bit of code that ties those libraries together and makes the site work. This way, anyone can see how (and why) the site works the way it does, as it should be, and all without the added complexity of generating source maps or similar unnecessary complications.

And for those minified libraries, I’ve provided a link to each library’s repo and added automated license info, so the LibreJS validator gives this site a ✅. #FreeSoftwareWin !

Killing Thur

TL;DR — I've removed the "Thur" section of the website because I'm ashamed of some parts of it.

👓 2 minutes

After hosting it here for the better part of a decade, I’ve decided to remove my RPG, Thur, from this site.

Thur was an RPG that I ran while I was in college, a custom system set on a world of my own design, full of all of the stuff that I thought was cool at the time (and still do, for the most part): Fremen, ninjas, Gunslingers, psychics, wizards, aliens, mutants, technomages, tears in the space-time continuum, a global economy (and shared culture) based on huge teleportation gates - all kinds of gonzo stuff.

I ran several adventures as 1-on-1 games with a former friend of mine, and ran a couple of sessions other friends, but eventually the demands of full-time work and parenting didn’t leave me with much RPG time, so I shelved it. I pulled it out about a decade ago when a friend was getting into Pathfinder. We played a couple of sessions, and that was when I published it here. However, since the rules were never really fully fleshed-out (and thanks to some bad writing on my part), the game fell kinda flat, and so was shelved again, where it’s remained since.

So, what changed? A few things.

As I said before, the rules were a hot mess, with the magic system in particular in shambles. Incomplete as it was, I probably should never have published it here in the first place.

Additionally, my thinking on rules has evolved over the years. I’m now much more interested in simpler systems that don’t systematize flavor (thus leaving more of room for roleplaying). I’m also more into tweaking existing rulesets over building entirely new ones, since it’s easier to introduce new players (and bring back old ones).

But honestly, the main reason I took it down is because I’m genuinely ashamed of some of what’s there. The version of me that wrote most of that was younger, dumber, and had a far-simpler (and naively incorrect) conception of the world at large. He was also far more casually racist, and for that, I am truly sorry.

So, I took it down.

It may come back, it may not. If it does, it’ll probably be in a very different format from what it was before, like an online zine for OSE (so others can play), but that won’t happen until after I’ve made it into something I can be proud of.

Web Site Re-Re-Re-Relaunch!

TL;DR — Website maintenance navel-gazing.

👓 2 minutes

Greetings, and welcome the bi-annual tri-annual periodic relaunch of my website!

Yes, after a few years of neglect, I finally got around to updating it again.

Like the last few versions, it’s mostly a static site generated by Javascript. The biggest change with this iteration is the lack of a central library for doing all of the heavy-lifting. No more harp or gulp - instead, I’m using a hodge-podge of different, smaller libraries (like ejs and front-matter) which I string together via a series of fairly short js files, (mostly) all using modern async and await code to do things in the right order.

The end result is that it’s bad fast, taking the build time down from 10+ seconds to under 2 (although that may not be a fair comparison, as it doesn’t do everything the gulp version did… yet).

Some of the biggest changes under the hood:

Once I get the source code cleaned up a bit more, I’ll post it in a public git repo.

I’ve got some more ideas for what to do next, like adding in-browser file editing, a homespun blogging engine, and expanded IndieWeb support (most likely via the IndieKit project) with an eye towards IndieAuth, MicroPub, and WebSub.

It’s all part of my (continuing) attempt to rest control back of my social-media-life from the corporate silos.

Along the way, I hope to grow the content-side of this web presence as well, so keep on the lookout for more new stuff, like:

  • notes from my various RPG campaigns,
  • homebrew for D&D and OSR games,
  • my custom Magic cards,
  • some hardware stuff I’ve been playing with,
  • and a whole lot more!

Thanks for stopping by!

Hacked - Extortion Wall of Shame

TL;DR — I've received even more emails telling me that I've been hacked. Since I still don't believe their empty threats, I'm posting their bitcoin addresses.

👓 2 minutes

Since my last few posts about script-kiddies and the fake extortions they try to commit, I’ve received upwards of 50 such emails, each with a different bitcoin address, and many with slight differences in text, style, or form, but all basically the same: an email from myself (gasp) claiming that I have been hacked, that some non-descript OS or “device” I own has some magical virus installed on it, and that, if I don’t pay the hacker a ransom in bitcoin, my life will be ruined.

However, I know from past experience that these messages are little more than spam, sent out en masse in hopes that they can rope in some poor sucker who falls for this. I know most of these are bogus from the beginning because the email I use for my phone is completely unrelated to the ones that keep receiving these messages. Other times, the email will make vague references to programs I don’t even have installed, again betraying their carboon-copied nature. In truth, I have never paid ransom, even though I’ve personally received dozens of these messages, and my life has yet to be ruined by these lamers.

So, as a public service, I have included the bitcoin addresses for these fakers, in hopes that some other would-be victim finds this page (possibly through a web search), and they learn that they can ignore this BS as well:

====== BEGIN WALL OF SHAME ======
====== UPDATED: 2022-12-23 ======

1KE1EqyKLPzLWQ3BhRz2g1MHh5nws2TRk (sic)

======= END WALL OF SHAME =======

Again, if you received an ominous email about your device being hacked and it uses one of these bitcoin addresses, just know that I received one of those messages, too, and I never paid. Since I’m still here, posting this, obviously none of their doomsday prophecies came to pass - no mass email to my contacts, no embarassing footage, no ruined life… and no hacked device.

Hacked!? Again!?

TL;DR — I've received some more emails telling me that I've been hacked. Since I still don't believe them, I thought I'd make fun of another one instead.

👓 3 minutes

Since my last post about script-kiddies using spam to try and commit fake extortion, I’ve recevived plenty of other threatenting emails from lamers, so here’s another one from the (spam) vault:

From: [redacted-address]
To: [redacted-address]
Subject: Security Warning. Third party accessed to [redacted-address].


I’m is very good coder.

Just not much of a writer, apparently.

I am known by my nickname finn29.

Look, man - I’ve known The Finn since 1984. And you, sir, are not The Finn.

I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago,
through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been spying for you a very long time.

Somehow, I find this hard to believe.

I understand it is hard to believe, but you can check it yourself.
I’m sent this e-mail from your account. Try it yourself.

No, “you’re” didn’t send this email from my account. In fact, if I had to guess, you tried to send it from your parents’ basement (which I have the IP for, by the way), but my SPF rules caught it, flagged it, and dumped it into my spam folder. As they should have.

Even if you changed the password after that - it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer
and automatically saved access for me.

I think you’ve been watching too much CSI: Cyber.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

Oh noes, all of the contacts stored on my computer? What is this, 1998?

I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

I do, actually, but not in the way you want.

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!

I don’t even know what to say to that.

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $643 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

$600 to erase the pictures and videos you don’t have? What a bargain!

Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin): 19kXyFbvetft819v4QV5g9vzrjwNqRtvgA
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Well, you seem trustworthy, so I’m sure I can believe your “guarantee”.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I’ll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!

I’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out what he’s saying here, but I just can’t make sense of it.

Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I’ll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

Doubtful, since it’s now been 96 hours since you sent the message, and my contacts still haven’t received anything from you. I mean, me. Whatever.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don’t enter your passwords anywhere!
Good luck!

Indeed, you have taught me a lesson: how not to extort money from someone.

The Wave of the Future

TL;DR — A brief history of "The Wave of the Future".

👓 less than 1 minute

While watching Weird Science for the hundredth time today, I noticed this amazing image hanging on Wyatt’s wall:

Catch the Wave!

I don’t know how I’ve missed it all these years (although I suspect it was because I’d never watched a high-def version before). I’ve long been a fan of the original Great Wave off Kanagawa woodblock print, and have enjoyed the many images that parody and/or were inspired by it, but I’d never seen one with such a great “digital” look to it, and I was curious to find out how it came to be.

Apparently, it was made by a design agency called Grafik in 1981 for a computer trade show. The amazing thing is that, despite its appearance (and intended use), it wasn’t actually computer-generated at all, and was instead created by meticulously coloring each square by hand… with pencils.

“The Wave of the Future”, indeed.

Fortunately, I was able to find a larger version of it, and now, thanks to the power of the internet (and, in particular, reddit user acoolrocket), I’m happy to have this image on my laptop as my wallpaper. Too cool!