Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy. 
Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy. 
Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy. 
Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy. 
Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy. 
Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy.

Jeri Ryan and Wil Wheaton discuss filming battle scenes in Star Trek. (x)

Classic Wil Wheaton.  Enjoy.

(via wilwheaton)

“You and I both know, learning to code is the best way to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Hell, look at me. Other than my affluent Orange County family, my Stanford bachelor’s degree, and the $10 million that my uncle invested as seed capital for my innovative advice column start-up, I have nothing but my ability to code.”

Wow.  I hope nobody has to go to the bathroom…

(via wilwheaton)

Spinning Up an Ubuntu VPS & Running Wordpress in 10 Minutes

I am fortunate to have a friend (Facebook friend - we’ve never met in person) called Michael Arrington.  He seems to be rather polarizing.  I respect his work tremendously for a very specific reason.  I think some people confuse his brutal honesty with some sort of verbal abuse.  Brutal honesty is a beautiful, rare phenomena.  Mike’s intellect seems to free up a level of authenticity that a lot of people can’t handle or appreciate.  I like Mike because if you can desensitize yourself to brash, blaring analysis that happens to be correct most of the time, you’ll discover a lot of original thinking.

My “friendship” with Mike started when I sent him an admittedly unsolicited (read: spammy) email after Steve Jobs passed away.  It was authentic.  He friended me.

This is what I wrote:

I like the new uncrunched.com logo. I chuckled thinking: Mr. Jobs was throwing flames out the back of the Batmobile all the way up to heaven. He was truly an American hero.

As a longtime reader, I’m glad that you continue to make us think.

-Eli

Uncrunched is Mike’s personal blog and at that time he had replaced his text logo with the Apple logo… I think the apple was flat black with Jobs’ profile depicted within it, hence the Batman reference.  It moved me I guess.  I can’t really say why.  I think all of us in the tech industry were mourning the loss of Steve Jobs even though most of us never had the pleasure of knowing him… we only knew of him.  There was a deep sense of loss in all of us.  And it wasn’t, “Oh NO!  We’ll never see another iPad again.”  It was human loss more on the level of, “Oh NO!  We’ll never see another Steve Jobs again.”

image

Sigh.

My point about Mike is that when he says something is good, it’s probably amazingly good.  If he says something is shit, it’s probably horrifically bad.

Last week (or so) I saw one of his posts float by on my feed.  It was just a link to a blog entry he published about a new company called DigitalOcean.  I’m so glad I clicked on that link.  If you’re a fan of what Slicehost was all about pre-Rackspace acquisition then you should click that link too.

DigitalOcean has somehow, through simplicity and price and thoroughness, created a VPS that outclasses Slicehost.  It’s better than AWS.  It’s cheaper than traditional VPS by a lunar mile.  I’m not sure what a lunar mile is but it sounds fucking huge.  That’s what I’m trying to say.  It’s amazingly good.

I spun up and tore down $5/month instances, what would be equivalent to or better than AWS tiny instances, with reckless abandon all weekend long trying to finish this Wordpress install script and it probably cost less than $1 total.  I’m not sure of the actual amount but who cares, right?  I just looked.  I owe $2.23 for the whole month so my guess isn’t far off.  It’s the best feeling to have a fresh Linux box at your fingertips in 60 seconds flat.  And at these prices it’s basically free hosting.

So without further ado here’s how you set up a Wordpress box in less than 10 minutes.  Just follow these steps below.

  1. Sign up for DigitalOcean.  It’s free to sign up and poke around the interface.  It’s wildly efficient UX.
  2. Click that big green button that says ‘Create’.
  3. Enter your billing info to start a droplet.
  4. Enter a hostname for your droplet -> ‘My-First-Droplet’ works.
  5. Pick Ubuntu 13.04 x64 and click that big green button that says ‘Create Droplet’.
  6. Watch the magic begin… 60 seconds countdown.
  7. Check your email for your new Droplet’s IP address and generated root password.
  8. Open console/putty and ssh to your Droplet.
  9. When you’ve logged in as root type these commands and follow the prompts:

    wget https://raw.github.com/ecolner/wordpress-installer/master/wordpress-installer.pl

    chmod a+x wordpress-installer.pl

    ./wordpress-installer.pl

  10. Follow the prompts.
  11. Enjoy.  You’re done.

What have we done here in ~10 minutes?  We’ve spun up a VPS, Installed Apache2, Installed PHP, Installed MySQL, Installed the latest Wordpress, Created a virtual host for your new website, Created all the database and Linux user accounts and privileges… basically everything you need to start building & publishing your content besides DNS.  Most notably, and probably most importantly, we did all this with zero stress because we know we can spin up another droplet in a minute and start all over again fresh.

This whole thing might not sound very novel to you.  Try it.  It’s a different feeling than what you get from AWS.  It’s lightweight.  It’s straightforward.  It’s very exciting.

Good luck with your install.  Let me know how it goes.

- @rivveting

PS - Remember that the script sets up a virtual host in Apache for your site i.e. - you can run this script multiple times and create a bunch of sites.

PPS - If you don’t change your local hosts file you’ll likely need to user a path like this to access your site http://<droplet-ip-address>/example.com/wp-admin/install.php  Once you set your DNS to point to this instance then your virtual host will take care of the rest and you’ll be able to use http://example.com/wp-admin/ as expected.

wilwheaton:

So any journalist passing through London’s Heathrow has now been warned: do not take any documents with you. Britain is now a police state when it comes to journalists, just like Russia is.

In this respect, I can say this to David Cameron. Thank you for clearing the air on these matters of surveillance. You have now demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that these anti-terror provisions are capable of rank abuse. Unless some other facts emerge, there is really no difference in kind between you and Vladimir Putin. You have used police powers granted for anti-terrorism and deployed them to target and intimidate journalists deemed enemies of the state.

You have proven that these laws can be hideously abused. Which means they must be repealed. You have broken the trust that enables any such legislation to survive in a democracy. By so doing, you have attacked British democracy itself. What on earth do you have to say for yourself? And were you, in any way, encouraged by the US administration to do such a thing?

If a system is ripe for abuse, history tells us the only question is not if such abuse will occur, but when.”

I am hoping against hope that this profound and clear abuse of power will wake up a critical mass of people, but since most of our modern “journalists” identify with the rich and powerful instead of the rest of us, I’m not especially optimistic.

parislemon:

nevver:

Ben &amp; Jerry’s

Tonight: the beginning of the end.

Is this real?  Please tell me this is a real thing.

parislemon:

nevver:

Ben & Jerry’s

Tonight: the beginning of the end.

Is this real?  Please tell me this is a real thing.

parislemon:

Caleb Scharf:

No matter how conservative or optimistic we are, the statistics tell us that something like an astonishing one out of every seven stars must harbor a planet similar in size to the Earth, and at roughly the right orbital distance to allow for the possibility of a temperate surface environment. In other words, roughly 15 percent of all suns could, in principle, be hosting a place suitable for life as we know it.

Which is crazy, when you think about it. The likelihood of life not existing elsewhere becomes very small with these ratios.

But to discover whether or not we are alone, whether or not something akin to this Earth has happened somewhere else, and perhaps, just perhaps, whether or not there are other minds, on other worlds, thinking these same kinds of thoughts? That’s big, perhaps the biggest thing that could ever happen to a species.

parislemon:

symical:

Mercury, Venus, and Saturn align with the Pyramids of Giza for the first time in 2,737 years on December 3, 2012

Cray.

wilwheaton:

From 20-25 feet away, I couldn’t discern exactly what was happening, but the man eventually stood up to leave. That’s when one of the officers eyed me and yelled something like, “He’s got a camera!

King County Sheriff’s OfficeSergeant Patrick “K.C.” Sauletrushed over and told me toleave or be arrested. He claimed I was standing on transit station property; the plaza belongs to King County Metro’s International District Station and I could not stand there, he said. I backed up about two feet over the line that he pointed out (two parts of the same walkway) until I was unambiguously on the City of Seattle’s sidewalk, near a utility pole by the curb. But Officer Saulet then insisted that I would be arrested unless I left the entire block.

Now, let me pause for a second to say this: When the US Department of Justice alleged that the Seattle Police Department was routinely using excessive force, federal prosecutors stressed in theirreportthat officers wereescalating ordinary interactionsinto volatile, sometimes violent, situations. Now a federal court controls the SPD under a reform plan, and the King County Sheriff’s Department has faced extensive scrutiny forofficer misconduct, so the two agencies should be showing more civility on the beat. Or so you’d think.

[…]

After snapping Saulet’s picture, I rode my bike across the street because I didn’t want to get arrested, even though standing on the sidewalk and taking photos of police from a reasonable distance seemed legal. I was jotting down a few notes so I’d remember what happened when I saw three officers leaving the scene. I asked them who at the scene was the commanding officer. They explained that they were Seattle cops and they didn’t know which county officer was in charge. Then Seattle police officer John Marionasked why I was asking.

I explained to him that I’d just been threatened with arrest for standing on the sidewalk (even though he’d just watched the whole thing), so I wanted to know who was in charge and if he thought it was illegal to stand on the sidewalk.

Instead of answering, Officer Marionasked why I was asking him questions.

I explained that I’m a reporter and I didn’t think I’d broken any laws. He asked what news outlet I worked for. The Stranger, I told him.

Then Officer Marion said this: ”I’m going to come into The Stranger and bother you while you’re at work.”He asked for my business card so he could get the address to come to my office, and, twice more, he threatened to come harass me at work. His point, he said, was that I was “harassing” him.

In other words, I stopped and asked matter-of-fact questions in a normal tone, and this SPD officer—with two colleagues at his side—escalated the situation without prompt or segue by threatening to “bother” me at my job.

Officer Marion became physically agitated when I took his photo (that’s him giving the Come at me, bro gesture), and left the scene.

[…]

Let me be the first say it: This is not a big case. Seattle police have punched, kicked, and killed people in recent years. What happened to me was minor. But I’m writing about it because it’s minor. Officers went out of their way to threaten a civilian with arrest and workplace harassment for essentially no reason. Because they could. Because they didn’t like being watched.

I’ll bet this sort of harassmenthappens every day. Cops treat normal, law-abiding people like garbage—and it works. Most people don’t complain; they get intimidated. They get bullied, they back down, and the cops never face any scrutiny.

As the the DOJ pointed out in its2011 report on police practices: “In a number of incidents, failure to use tactics designed to de-escalate a situation, led to increased and unnecessary force.”

This is part of the pattern that led to the SPD’s consent decree and still some cops haven’t gotten the message. They are part of a stubborn, toxic culture of disrespect and intimidation, and until that culture is exposed and discarded—and until bad apples are fired or retired—the local police will be reviled by people who should appreciate and trust them. So I’m making this an issue because even minor incidents like this shouldn’t be happening in the first place—and some minor incidents turn into major incidents.

The vast majority of law enforcement professionals are just that — professional — but those who behave like the officers in this column create a toxic relationship between the public they serve and the entire police department. These officers should be fired immediately.

"Fuck the police" - NWA

parislemon:

Jacob Aron:

The fastest thing in the universe has come to a complete stop for a record-breaking minute. At full pelt, light would travel about 18 million kilometres in that time – that’s more than 20 round trips to the moon.

Potentially big ramifications for all kinds of quantum technologies.