It’s funny how people for years prophetised the danger of centralised social media websites controlling all your data — and by extension your online identity — with no mechanisms to take it elsewhere. People were told they were paranoid, that large sites like this could not possibly become victim to a hostile takeover in the style of what a certain shady so-called “entrepreneur” did to freenode in 2021 (I was there, BTW).
While I continue to keep my @irydacea account on Twitter in order to safeguard my identity — due to the new inactive accounts policy, although to be fair Musk’s administration really just unshelved an old project of Twitter Inc’s that they backed out of following heavy criticism — I will not be publicising my Twitter account going forward on any public pages, and it will remain private. I updated my About page accordingly, some time ago.
Maintaining open source software can be quite a chore. The bigger something becomes, the greater the chances are that people find bugs in it and that those bugs interfere with their user experience. After a while, you end up with so much work to do – often for free – that you start to wonder if it was even worth embarking on that endeavour in the first place.
Now, what I am about to talk about is my own experience as an open source game developer. The magic of OSS manifests in wildly different ways depending on what the software’s purpose is, but I think some of these feelings are relatable for those who work on anything meant for use by a non-technical audience, such as desktop environment components and apps, image editors, media players, and so on.
On my birthday this year, the unthinkable occurred and things finally came full circle. For the first time ever, I’m joining the Apple world with an Apple M1-based MacBook Pro!
Portable, powerful and able to run on battery power for many hours*, this 16” MacBook Pro — which I’ve dubbed Mia — is without a doubt the most beautiful machine I’ve ever used. Although back in 2012 I moved away from using laptops as my daily driver, I can’t help but be more excited about using my MacBook than my desktop right now, probably because of how seamless the entire experience is compared to the usual Linux or Windows fare. Not to mention, of course, the astounding display quality compared to the 1080p 60 Hz dual screen experience.
* Apple claims this is approximately 14 hours of wireless web browsing, but we all know that’s based on an artificial “normal” workload that’s rather unlikely to happen in practice.)
Saying I’m happy would be a massive understatement, basically. 😄 And as you can see, I already customised it a fair bit to suit my personal aesthetic and preferences — sorry, fans of all-default settings!
On February 1st 2022, at 5:31 pm, I became an Arch Linux user, finally putting an end to over 9 years of running Debian on my desktop machine.
In the process, I also finally replaced my desktop account name shadowm with iris, as well as officially relabeled my desktop from Hanacore to simply Hana. Of course, in order to do this in a way that wouldn’t silently break anything I had to throw away about a decade of configurations and maintenance scripts dating back to October 25 2012, when I originally installed Debian on Nanacore/Nana — the machine whose storage drives, GPU, and operating systems I bestowed upon hana. 👋 By doing this I’m ensuring that anything I’m bringing back has to work with the new name if at all. I’m kind of ridiculous, I know. 🤷♀️
One big bonus of doing the system setup dance all over again like this is that I am absolutely forced to start over and organize my decade-old mess of personal files and forgotten software packages. So far I’ve been enjoying coming up with a proper categorisation of files in my home directory instead of having files strewn all over.
Hi, and welcome to Irydacea.me, my little semi-secret project for the past year that’s finally complete!
After years of relying on other people to host my website, I’m finally in a position where I can do it all on my own and run any software stack I want — and more importantly, use my own personalized domain name, a name that took no small amount of effort to decide upon but is now consistently used for my socials and GitHub.
(The exception being one service where I’m still shadowm because it’s just so, so lucky I got hold of the name before anyone else back in the day and I sort of want to keep bragging about how I got the name before anyone else there. Naturally, Iris is already taken.)
But the new website isn’t just a pretty domain name, no. Following over a year of constant pestering from Vultraz to join the cool kids and learn about —ugh— modern —ack— Web development instead of staying stuck in 2012 or so, I finally got around to learning... React. Yes. This whole thing is written in React + Gatsby, which probably makes it more of a serious project than Iris/Amethyst or Dorset ever were — by virtue of having had to write half of it by hand instead of relying on a pre-existing CMS, and hand-coding a lot of new features.
So let me give you a little run-down of what’s changed.
Oh hi there. Long time no see. Apparently I haven’t posted since February 2017, huh. A lot of things have happened in the meantime, it turns out. Some of those things are to blame for my general inactivity elsewhere, but when it comes to this blog I just can’t seem to come up with anything to say worthy of my trademark text walls, at least not ever since I joined Twitter several years ago— wait, wasn’t that in 2010? Time sure flies. I feel old. Okay, let’s face it, I am old.
In addition to it having been a while since my last post in here, it has also been a while since the last time I gave the website an overhaul, for what little use it sees nowadays. Because of that, plus some of my experiences designing the new website theme for The Battle for Wesnoth last year, I decided to try to modernize my own a little bit so it looks more in tune with my current practices. I also decided to spruce things up with a new colour scheme, like last time, taking things in a different direction to what I’m used to.
An attentive reader who’s been around for long enough might be able to tell that the “Iris” design last year did undergo a slight revision incorporating Font Awesome in order to make icons not look awful on high-DPI screens. This was a natural conclusion of my work designing and testing the Wesnoth.org theme on devices with higher pixel density. Plus it was precisely last year that I actually caved in and got a smartphone given to me by a relative, further highlighting all the inconveniences of designing things on/for 96 DPI these days. Other than that, though, the design remained mostly unchanged from what I made in 2014.
“Iris” version 1.2.0, aptly codenamed Amethyst for reasons that should be blatantly obvious, is mostly the same as before under the hood, but on the surface it hopefully looks shinier and more elegant and modern. Even though I am not using the site much right now like I mentioned above, I have a faint hope that the new look will motivate me to post more again.
Since there wasn’t a New Year post last year, or even the year before that, or uh... the year before that as well... actually I guess there haven’t been New Year posts in here since January 1st 2013. Oops. Anyway, I guess it’s time for a short summary of what I have been up to in recent times. Let’s see...
But as everyone knows, nothing is eternal. Not even the sun. Okay, from a practical standpoint we can assume the sun is eternal. That’s beside the point.
The first chapter of “shadowm”— formerly known as “Shadowmaster’s Lair” — lasted much longer than it logically should have, and I thank grafix for that. Starting today, I am now hosted by AI0867, a close collaborator of mine in projects like Wesnoth-UMC-Dev, my campaign Invasion from the Unknown, and, well, Wesnoth itself. Hence the new hostname, shadowm.ai0867.net.
Around May this year, I went to great lengths with the Iris site redesign to ensure everything would work on any host provided the software dependencies are satisfied, and removed and/or optimized a load of cruft left from earlier iterations. In theory, things should perform more or less fine on the new host, although it is hard for me to gauge this as a user — for you see, I am stranded in high-latency mobile broadband land, making pretty much every website out there equally slow from my point of view. In any case, if there are any glaring inefficiencies, I’ll do my best to correct them over the course of the next few days.
To sum it up, most people (i.e. the handful of followers I have) should not notice a difference besides the new hostname in URLs. Old links will continue to work for approximately a year through the magic of HTTP redirection, though you should probably update them now just in case.
Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Those who have followed me these last five years or so are probably aware that I designed and coded this site’s layout on my own in an effort to learn the basics of Web design. Thus, shadowm.rewound.net has been redesigned no less than eight times since its inception.
Well, the cat’s out of the bag already. Not that I really intended to keep the plan under wraps for very long in the first place—perhaps I should have done that—but I already implied, and then confirmed that this is a thing that is taking place.