## Brilliant political marketing: in a lawn sign of all things!

September 12, 2021 Incoherent ramblings No comments , ,

I’m not a fan of political signs.  I don’t think they do any good, except to show off tribal affiliations.  Nobody is convinced by a lawn sign, and if reading a lawn sign changes your mind, then you haven’t looked at any of positions of the party.

The argument for political lawn signs must be one of marketing, but I’ve always wondered what the cost benefit ratio for this particularly stupid form of advertising is.  There is no room for any substantive content.  However, I’ve now been proved wrong, by the following sign:

(photo credit to Connor, who took this nighttime drive by in a car, sending it to me figuring I would be amused.)

Year after year, one is forced to conclude that there are no good options in any election, and this sign channels Brewster’s Millions, to point that out brilliantly.

I don’t believe any vote that I cast, assuming I do so, will do any good.  My vote, as always, has no meaning, and serves to perpetuate the fraud that we call democracy.  A small subset of the population will succeed in voting for somebody who has won enough of the popularity contest that they will get to enact their desires to become as corrupt as it is legally possible to be.  Those new corrupt popularity contest winners, will not be anybody’s representative in any real sense, not even to those that voted for them.  That is especially true here in Canada where the party whip rules forbid one’s “representative” from expressing or acting on their perception of their constituent’s desires.

Other than the PPC, here are my voting options:

• Voting liberal will aid the return of the vapid puppet, “hair-boy Trudeau”.
• Voting conservative will probably result in a federal clone of corrupt Ontario dictator Rob Ford.
• An NDP vote is like a vote for a tax hike.
• Voting green is pointless, as they probably still don’t have a well thought position on anything (in their defence, I haven’t re-read their party platform to see if it has changed.)
• There is no Libertarian candidate in my riding this year (and there has never been a strong one.)
• Believe it or not, there is actually a communist running in my riding this year.  How many millions of their own people have to be killed by communists before it is enough to acknowledge by those seeking to resurrect this evil?

It is certainly true that “The other options suck!”

Based on interviews with Maxime Bernier, not any sign, I had planned to vote PPC this year.  They seem to be the only party that is taking a stand against the abhorrent authoritarianism that is running rampant in the name of covid-19.  That should be the only issue people should care about right now, so it is clear how I will vote, if I decide to play the fraudulent democracy game.  I have no optimism that such a vote will do any more good than any previous one that I have ever cast.

## Playing with an inheritance scammer: Molobane Karabo

Correspondence with an inheritance scammer.  I don’t live up to the great James Gleitch, but this at least illustrates the mechanics of the scam technique.

Hello, I sent you an email about a pending Inheritance of US$17.3Million. Did you get my previous email or should I re-send it. Regard, Mr Kelvin Roberts (playing dumb:) Hi Mr Roberts, I did not receive your email, but it surely was not intended for me, so you should check and correct the email address you sent it to. Peeter Thank you for your email, as you already know my name is Kelvin Roberts , I contacted you regarding the sum of US$17.3Million, this fund actually belongs to a deceased customer, of our financial institute  who passed away without leaving a will/next of kin to any person,and contacted you because i have made several inquiries from here to locate any extended relatives or friends of his, which has proved unsuccessful for me, after these several unsuccessful attempts, so for the funds not to be forfeited to the bank /government as an unclaimed funds that is why i wanted to present you as the beneficiary to the funds.

So I am prepared to make you the next of kin if you are ready to cooperate with me. I shall provide all the information needed to approve you as the beneficiary and all this will be done in a legal manner.

Let me know if you are willing to proceed with me so I can tell you what your role will be and what is required from you. Do keep confidential.

Mr Kelvin Roberts

(still playing dumb:)
Hi Robert,
I’m sorry, but I am not a US citizen, and am surely not eligible for your transfer.  My mother, who passed away with pancreatic cancer a few years ago, was a US citizen.  However, I never went ahead and acquired my official dual citizenship, and cannot do so now.
Peeter
It does mean because i am writing from South Africa not US so go through my email below then understand this transaction better.

First I want to thank you for your prompt response to my email. I really do appreciate your kind of gesture towards this matter. But as a matter of fact I want you to also be rest assured that this transaction is real and is 100% legitimate and risk free, consequently there is nothing for you to worry about.

Basically, I want your total full co-operation and trust, somebody who will entrust this funds in his hand before/prior my coming over to have my share of the money. And please, Bear in mind that, if there is going to be any problem I will never even start or rather embark on it, considering my position at the bank and my life entitlement, my families and children. This is my lifetime opportunity, I planned and waited patiently for this opportunity, so please be very understanding about this transaction.

Upon your full assurance and willingness to proceed on this transaction, I will start the whole process immediately to put in place all relevant  your full name and information should appear on our central computer database,  having you as the rightful heir to the funds. With my position in the bank to make sure everything goes well when it comes to the point of making the transfer to your account in your country and this must be done before submitting your application for release request.

Consequently as a result of the urgency and time being of the essence I will appreciate you forward to me with the  following
information

5 Occupation/profession.
6 Marital status

I will want to give you the assurance that this project is scheduled to be completed within 7 to 10 working days if all instructions are followed up religiously. and i have also agreed to give you 50% while i get 50%. But you have to assure me that you are going to be trustworthy and honest because the bottom line and most important thing is for both parties to be honest and fair in this matter, especially when it comes to money issues.

Let me know if you are willing to proceed with me so I can tell you what your role will be and what is required from you. Do keep confidential.

Mr Kelvin Roberts

(He wants my identity, but not my banking info.  Interesting.  I added a couple of weeks delay on purpose, since he said there was a 7-10 day timeline.)
Hi Mr Roberts,
I was excited about the possibility of all that money, but for some reason your email went into my spam folder, and now it is too late.  Should an opportunity like this arrive in the future, please keep me in mind.
Peeter
(he repeats himself:)

First I want to thank you for your prompt response to my email. I really do appreciate your kind of gesture towards this matter. But as a matter of fact I want you to also be rest assured that this transaction is real and is 100% legitimate and risk free, consequently there is nothing for you to worry about.

Basically, I want your total full co-operation and trust, somebody who will entrust this funds in his hand before/prior my coming over to have my share of the money. And please, Bear in mind that, if there is going to be any problem I will never even start or rather embark on it, considering my position at the bank and my life entitlement, my families and children. This is my life time opportunity, I planned and waited patiently for this opportunity, so please be very understanding about this transaction.

Upon your full assurance and willingness to proceed on this transaction, I will start the whole process immediately to put in place all relevant  your full name and information should appear on our central computer database,  having you as the rightful heir to the funds. With my position in the bank to make sure very things go well when it comes to the point of making the transfer to your account in your country and this must be done before submitting your application for release request.

Consequently as a result of the urgency and time being of the essence I will appreciate you forward to me with the  following
information

5 Occupation/profession.
6 Marital status

I will want to give you the assurance that this project is scheduled to be completed within 7 to 10 working days if all instructions are followed up religiously. and i have also agreed to give you 50% while i get 50%. But you have to assure me that you are going to be trustworthy and honest because the bottom line and most important thing is for both parties to be honest and fair in this matter, especially when it comes to money issues.

Let me know if you are willing to proceed with me so I can tell you what your role will be and what is required from you. Do keep confidential.

Mr Kelvin Roberts

(What I gave him:)
I don’t have a phone number at the moment, and am working on picking a new service (long story.)
Peeter Joot
67
40 College Street,
Toronto ON M5G 2J3
5 Occupation/profession.
Retired.
6 Marital status
Married.

Just finish a meeting with the lawyer it was successfully, he told me it will cost us $2,550 to help obtain the full relevant documents in your name from the court and other government departments, signed them on your behalf send to you that you will forward to the bank for the release of your inheritance as the sole beneficiary of the funds , so we split it as partner please get back to me so that i will tell you how to send it to the lawyer. I await your reply. Mr Kelvin Roberts (more playing dumb:) Hi Mr Roberts, Sorry, I didn’t fully understand. Do you need$2550 or half of that?
Is a personal cheque okay, and if so, where should it be mailed?
Peeter
Yes, it is $2550 for the lawyer to help us put together the whole relevant documentation that we make you the beneficiary to the funds but you have to send it through western union money transfer via my secretary name that i will send to you which will be faster so i await your reply. (more playing dumb:) Hi Mr Roberts, I’ve never done a western union money transfer. Is that hard to do? Peeter No is not hard all you need do is to go to western union money office and tell them you want to send money to a friend in South Africa then they ask for the information i am to send to you also your information as the sender thereafter after payment they will issue you a payment slip that you will scan and attached to me for pick up to enable the lawyer start the process. (I didn’t reply, but he must have thought he hooked one, and sent me enough identity that he or somebody else could do a Western Union pickup:) So find below the payment information, you are to send it to my secretary via western union money transfer after payment send me the payment scan slip to enable me forward it to the lawyer so that he can start the whole process. Payment information First Name Molobane Middle Name Karabo Surname Mogaone Question To Whom Answer Friend Address 78 Clive St Robindale, Randburg, 2032. Randburg City Johannesburg .. Country South Africa Now I thought I’d get to mess with him: Hi Mr Roberts, When I searched for the address of the closest western union, I found that Elon Musk had announced that Doge coin had replaced money transfer services like western union. I guess that he has so much money that he bought the company. However, I can’t figure out how I can convert$2550 into doggies.  Can you give me detailed instructions please.

Peeter

Sigh.  At this point he either gave up on me as a useless idiot, or figured out I was playing with him.  I didn’t get any more replies.  He’s not a very good coach, and didn’t even object to me wanting to convert money to “doggies.”

## Installing CUDA SDK on Fedora 34

June 10, 2021 Linux No comments , , ,

I’ve been wanting to try GPU programming for a while.  My non-work laptop, which is now installed in a Windows-10 + Linux Fedora 34 dual boot configuration, has a GPU that I can play with.  lspci -v shows that it is:

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile

I’m sure this is an underpowered GPU compared to what you’d find in a desktop gaming machine (my stepson has an RTX 3XXX series GPU in his machine, which I’m sure could be made to do much more interesting things — although he thinks it’s for games.)

Setting up the nvidia driver and the cuda SDK on Linux turned out to be a bit more trouble than I figured.  This required:

1. Installing the cuda SDK.
2. Building a downlevel gcc version (gcc-10) so that I could run the cuda SDK samples, as Fedora 34 ships with gcc-11, and the SDK doesn’t like that.
3. Disabling the default nouveau driver
4. Building and installing a Linux kernel from source, bypassing the default Fedora kernel, which has a debug configuration that enforces GPL symbol purity.
5. Manually installing the nvidia driver.

Step 1.  Installing the cuda SDK.

The nvidia site has an options dialogue for selecting the packages for your operating system.  The closest I was able to select was Fedora 33, for which the installation instructions were:

wget https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/11.3.1/local_installers/cuda-repo-fedora33-11-3-local-11.3.1_465.19.01-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo rpm -i cuda-repo-fedora33-11-3-local-11.3.1_465.19.01-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo dnf clean all
sudo dnf -y module install nvidia-driver:latest-dkms
sudo dnf -y install cuda


Needless to say, this didn’t work.  After installation (and reboot) I was able to create a working copy of the SDK samples using:

/usr/local/cuda-11.3/bin/cuda-install-samples-11.3.sh

Trying to build one of those samples bombs right away, with an errors like:

139 | #error -- unsupported GNU version! gcc versions later than 10 are not supported! The nvcc flag '-allow-unsupported-compiler' can be used to override this version check; however, using an unsupported host compiler may cause compilation failure or incorrect run time execution. Use at your own risk.


Step 2.  Build a downlevel gcc:

git clone git://gcc.gnu.org/git/gcc.git
cd gcc
git checkout releases/gcc-10.3.0
mkdir ../build-gcc
cd ../build-gcc
../gcc/configure --prefix=\$(HOME)/gcc-10 --disable-multilib
make -j12
make install


With that done, I’m able to compile CUDA samples, but they all fail with cudaGetDeviceCount errors, like so:

matrixMul> ./matrixMul
[Matrix Multiply Using CUDA] - Starting…
CUDA error at …/…/common/inc/helper_cuda.h:779 code=100(cudaErrorNoDevice) “cudaGetDeviceCount(&device_count)”


A bit of googling shows that those errors all mean that the nvidia driver isn’t running or installed properly. This was confirmed by trying to run nvidia-smi which gave me:

NVIDIA-SMI has failed because it couldn’t communicate with the NVIDIA driver. Make sure that the latest NVIDIA driver is installed and running.

Step 3. Googling suggests that the following might help:

sudo su -
echo "blacklist nouveau" > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
dracut -f
reboot


(but it didn’t.) I’m not sure if this step was required or not, but I haven’t undone it.

Step 4. New kernel build and install.

The basic steps are:

• telinit 3 to switch to console mode.
• try running the NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-465.31.run installer.
• Look at /var/log/nvidia-installer.log and see what went wrong.

The first error I found was that the symlink in /lib/modules/5.12.8-300.fc34.x86_64/build was a dead link. I actually seemed to not have matching sources and modules. I upgraded:

sudo yum clean all


to grab matching kernel+sources (figuring there was an update available.) That also didn’t work, because /lib/modules//build pointed to a -debug location that wasn’t available. Correcting that link gave me different errors, namely, gpl symbol errors like:

FATAL: modpost: GPL-incompatible module nvidia.ko uses GPL-only symbol ‘mutex_destroy’

(there was a whole pile of similar errors.)

To build a kernel that didn’t have the gpl issues (which apparently comes with the fedora default kernel due to some sort of debug configuration), I ran:

sudo dnf group install "Development Tools"
sudo dnf install ncurses-devel bison flex elfutils-libelf-devel openssl-devel

git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux.git
cd linux
git checkout v5.12.9
cp /boot/config-5.12.9-300.fc34.x86_64 .config
make oldconfig
make -j12
sudo make modules_install
sudo make install
sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
sudo grubby --set-default /boot/vmlinuz-5.12.9
reboot


Step 5. Install the nvidia driver manually, last try:

After reboot:

telinit 3
/path/to/NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-465.31.run
reboot


With all this done, I nvidia-smi runs successfully:

Thu Jun 10 00:30:35 2021
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| NVIDIA-SMI 465.31 Driver Version: 465.31 CUDA Version: 11.3 |
|-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
| GPU Name Persistence-M| Bus-Id Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan Temp Perf Pwr:Usage/Cap| Memory-Usage | GPU-Util Compute M. |
| | | MIG M. |
|===============================+======================+======================|
| 0 NVIDIA GeForce ... Off | 00000000:01:00.0 Off | N/A |
| N/A 44C P8 5W / N/A | 5MiB / 5944MiB | 0% Default |
| | | N/A |
+-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+

+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Processes: |
| GPU GI CI PID Type Process name GPU Memory |
| ID ID Usage |
|=============================================================================|
| 0 N/A N/A 5867 G /usr/libexec/Xorg 4MiB |
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+


Now I should be setup to try some CUDA apps (the samples, GPU crypto miners, parallel numerical code, password crackers, or whatever else might be interesting to fool around with.) I’ve got a couple CUDA books on order from the Toronto public library, and will start fooling around in more depth once I get those.

## Reimaged Windows laptop for dual Windows-Fedora boot.

I used my funky usb-C external drive enclosure to facilitate an operating system switcheroo today.  I wanted to try a Windows/Linux dual boot configuration, something that I haven’t done in a long time.  There was enough room on the original 1Tb SSD, but I’d bought myself a 2Tb SSD for backups (and crypto-mining experimentation) and decided to repurpose that as a replacement drive for my Windows (xpg) laptop.

Since both my new and old drives were both M2 SSD drives, I was able to pop the old drive and put it into my external enclosure.  If I messed up reinstalling either Windows or Linux, then at least theoretically, I could have recovered by just putting the old drive back in.

I didn’t mess up the installation and now have a brand new dual boot configuration with Windows-10 and Fedora-34.  I’ve got WSL-2 + ubuntu-20 on the Windows side:

and a grub boot selector for the operating systems:

and the Fedora-34 desktop configuration for the native Linux installation:

I opted for Fedora over Ubuntu, since I figured both track the state of the art fairly well, but with Fedora I don’t have to keep looking up the dpkg equivalents of the rpm commands I’ve used for so many years and have memorized.

I have a whole bunch of install fine tuning to do still, but have all the bare bones now installed on both sides.

Having an external enclosure for the SSD made migration really easy.  I was able to mount it after my Windows reinstall was done, and just move my old \Users\peete directory.  I’ll have to weed out the bits that I don’t care about, but I’m now ready to blast away the partitions from the original laptop installation, and then use that 1Tb drive for backups and file transfers between machines.

## 100 pushups a day challenge with my brother

May 12, 2021 Incoherent ramblings No comments , ,

My brother and I have started a 100 push-ups a day challenge, with the goal of at least 100 each day for at least 100 days.  This is our second attempt, as the first attempt fizzled after a week or so (that first start was very painful, and this reboot has been much easier.)

We are now a few days in to this second start, and I’ve managed my part of the challenge, but my brother who doesn’t have a lazy sit-on-his-ass job like I do hasn’t met target a couple of those days:

It’s been at least 20 years that he has been far stronger than me, but those ancient memories of being bested in wrestling and arm-wrestling must still be strong in Erik’s memory!

## Second order surface tension

Here’s a bubble of bubbles, kept from overflowing the edge of the cup like a plain old bubble.

## Nice day for a bike ride today

May 8, 2021 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

I’m not sure how long it took me, but only one person passed me, despite all my fat.  It was a gorgeous day, and nice to get out on the awesome bike that Sofia made me buy for myself.

## New (pretty) SDD enclosure and backup drive.

April 20, 2021 mac osX 1 comment , , , ,

The SSD on my 2015 era macbook died, but once I got a new machine, I was pretty impressed how well the MacOS restore from time machine worked.  It was dog slow, and took over 24hrs, but I got back all my work, and most of the MacOS configuration too.

The new macbook has ONLY usb-C ports.  Luckily, I had the foresight to order a thunderbolt-2 to USB-C adapter with the new macbook for the monitors, so I was able to use one of my monitors as a USB hub to access my old time machine drive.  The time machine backups on my old macbook, with the drive plugged in directly, never seemed that slow, so I think that some of the slow restore was due to this indirect connection.  However, some of that must also have been due to the older magnetic drive too.

Having just gone through a harddrive failure scenerio, backup and restore speed seemed worth spending some additional resources on, so I went ahead and splurged on a new ASUS NVM SSD enclosure:

This direct connects USB-C to USB-C, and is currently equipped with a 2Tb SSD.  It is also really pretty.

I went ahead and enabled time machine encryption on this drive, and was able to do a full (0.7Tb) backup in about 4hrs, even with encryption enabled!  The big 2Tb NVM drive wasn’t cheap, but has lots of space for incremental backups of the macbook’s 1Tb drive.

It is easy to swap out the SSD, so I can use this enclosure to backup my windows machine too (provided I buy an additional drive.)

## Welcome to the Ontario police state, in the era of covid-1984

Our morbidly obese Ontario premier seems to be attempting to protect himself by instituting another phase of lockdowns and by granting additional police powers.  People can build their immune systems with exercise and fresh air, but he is probably so obese that the cardio that he would require to reduce his weight would give him a heart attack.  So, like a petulant and vindictive abused child bully, if he can’t do it, you are not allowed to either.  Gyms are now shut down for the second year of “two weeks to flatten the curve.”  Somebody who can’t exercise doesn’t care if he is inhibiting the ability of others to do so, regardless of the mental and physical health benefits of doing so, or to the livelihoods of those employed by or dependent on those gyms.

At the beginning of the covid scare, we had no idea what was going on.  We now know a great deal.  Among all the things that we now know, are the particular facts that obesity and vitamin D deficiencies are key risk factors, and that most transmission appears to be in indoor environments.  Our bodies utilize exposure to sunlight to manufacture vitamin D, so being incarcerated indoors puts us at risk.  Getting outdoors for exercise is probably the single biggest thing that we can do to keep ourselves safe, yet Ontario police have now been granted the power to stop people on the streets, demand to know their identity, their address, and their purpose of travel.  This is clearly not something that has been imposed to encourage people to get out for exercise, sunlight and fresh air.  I stopped paying attention to the so-called regulations that are being imposed$${}^1$$, so I do not know the full extent of the rules that I am supposed to be complying with.  If I were out on a bike ride by myself or with my wife, who I share a space with anyways, would I have to justify that to the police?  Do I face fines or jail for attempting to keep myself healthy and safe (not just from covid, but many other conditions that are enhanced by inactivity)?

Thankfully, it appears that there is some push back to the new dictatorial measures, and a number of police forces have stated that they will not enforce their new inquisitional power to stop people on the streets nor in their cars.  I’m not optimistic that the Toronto police will take this position, as a force that large is statistically more likely to abuse power.

When I am out of the house these days, it is usually because I am getting groceries, running errands, or walking my beast of a dog.  I can’t help wondering how I would respond if I were to get stopped by the police for any of these.  If the fear porn was truly justified, then those police officers are putting themselves in danger by approaching potential disease carriers.  How do they feel about that?  Would I be brave enough to attempt to politely ask that off the record?  Does an officer making such a stop not cringe internally against the stupidity of what they are being made to do?  I am not optimistic that would be the case.  Police depend on their jobs and paycheques, and part of their paycheque means that they have to enforce the laws, regardless of their opinion about them, and then have to justify those actions so that they can live with themselves.  There is the open question about whether these executive decrees are truly lawful, but if the police believe they are, these mandates will be enforced until challenged in the courts.  There may not be much internal Police dissent, and if there is, it is probably on the down-low, quiet, and off the record.  Is there much chance that the police who have been enforcing the “Now you do what they told ya” mandates, will end up collectively fighting back in a screaming “FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME” crescendo that pulls the power out from under the slovenly dictator who has assumed control of the province?  I doubt it, but I can hope.

Footnotes:

1. Because there are so many signs about it, I know that I can be fined or jailed for not wearing a mask when shopping indoors.

## John Cleese’s “Creativity. A short and cheerful guide.”

April 11, 2021 Incoherent ramblings No comments

This book reiterates some of the hare-brain/tortoise-brain points from Cleese’s “Professor At Large.”  However, despite the redundancy, it was worth reading just for the following remark:

“Begin with simple stuff, such as…, Who are you writing for?  You might be writing for academics, in which case you don’t have to be interesting.

I thought this was so funny, but was it intended to be funny, or just reflect reality?