Fog of War

War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.

It is this uncertainty that prompted me to issue my statement on Trilema this morning (as promised, the signed version proving it was from yours truly), and it was Mircea Popescu's prodding to write about myself that prompted me to create this post. So here it is:

Simply speaking, I do not think I am currently capable of annulling the noise around me to direct myself towards +ev republican work. I'm not sure where my hands should go. Unless I'm misunderstanding the proper role of a lord, then I think I'd be best served 'going back to school' and filling the role of a knight of the republic.

Yes, it is true that I want to be able to make these decisions for myself, eventually. I want to be a lord. But wants are different items from facts. I have made my living the last decade as a data analyst, and right now the data is telling me something. Take, for example, the last 12 months of various "hopper updates"; items that I promised to deliver on. Let's do some data analysis: I enumerated roughly 16 distinct items from that set, and out of those 16 I delivered on only 4 of those items. That's only a 25% success rate, or a 75% failure rate on delivery.1

Maybe I'm making too big of a deal of this failure, or maybe not. Maybe I just haven't been communicating enough. After all, the environment is constantly changing by its very nature, and sometimes it is necessary to change focus to adapt to it, sure. However, all that aside I still have the very real problem of lack of technical knowledge and general experience.

I want to make clear something: When I first came through these doors back in 2014, I had no idea what was going on. Even back then when the snr ratio was much lower than today, I only understood about about 10% of what was being said at any given time. The main reason I even followed pankakke's original breadcrumb to the then fledgling republic, and the only reason I kept reading Trilema back then was because I kept witnessing a strange effect happening over and over again: for some reason, all of the things these people were saying kept being proven true. But it went beyond Bitcoin! Indeed, as the years went by, as I toiled through my various meatworld work and interfaced with the various anti-models, I kept seeing the ever-emerging TMSR ideology being proven correct in my everyday life. The more I learned, the more things made sense.

Fast-forward to today and I somehow understand much more of the logs, of the blogs, and what is being discussed. Not to jerk myself off too much here, but I had never touched an OS besides Macintosh/Windows before TMSR. I had never written a lick of python code, nor of php code, nor of lisp, nor of etc. My programming experience was limited to making Macromedia Flash games using "Action Scripting" when I was 16, followed by 5 or so years of nothing until I got my first job out of college.2 Even in my professional life, the most complex 'technology' I have ever really touched is SQL and loading data into the backend of SAP ERP.3 Even worse, these days I don't even get to touch THAT; being confined to toil on various Excel-like toys. My brain would have surely atrophied by now if it weren't for this place.

Nevertheless, it is clear to me that I still have much more to learn. For example, while I've attempted to read the trb source code, I just don't have the c knowledge to grok any of it, really. Hell, after a year's time my own trb node still hasn't fully synced, even with the aggression patch. Obviously this is a very real problem. And while I learned enough about clisp to run the logbot and to build a python command router off of it, I still would never say I know any lisp or clisp at all.4 The list of things I don't know goes on and on, but I guess at least I can say I know enough to know what I don't know, you know?

So, to bring this full circle, I think I need to go back to focusing on learning. I'm going to spend some time in #asciilifeform and #ossasepia, helping the respective lords of those castles out with whatever they need help with. Hopefully I can learn a thing or two in the process. I sure as hell am not going to stop participating however. My goal is to one day get to the point where I have enough knowledge so that I can truly grab my environment by the throat and bend it to my will. But I am not there yet. I have climbed out of the primordial soup, I have learned to crawl and daresay I have learned to walk, but I am not running yet, nor have I come close to taking flight.

And all of the above is just in regards to the public sphere. As far as my private sphere goes, well, I have a pretty clear path there. In the short term I simply have to continue following-through on what I laid out in my most recent forward looking statement. In the long term, well, lets just say that one Trilema post I read in 2018 started out like a majority of them did: first my 'cognitive kill switch'5 kicked in, but then the switch shorted out. The words continued to burn in the back of my head. Slowly burning and burning for months until suddenly it was impossible to ignore. Nevertheless, just like the above, I know what I don't know, and it will be some time before I have the technical knowledge and experience in that realm as well. All in time, I guess, save for that proverbial truck that may one day take me away.

Until then, onward!

  1. Granted, this is a quick n' dirty enumeration, and some of the items I did deliver on (like ditching the dysfunction in my private sphere, or getting a proper Cuntoo workstation working for me) had arguably more weight to them and a greater positive effect on my life than other items in that set. But I'd like to also point out that making a auxiliary logotron was something I promised back in November of 2018. Which... I did not deliver on, and now look where we are! []
  2. Fun fact, I started out college as a CS major, only to switch immediately to Business Management. Partly because I genuinely enjoy studying business, but mostly because I believed it to be the 'path of least resistance' to a degree that would net me a high salary. Sadly, I was right. I 'exam took' the shit out of that thing... and was high for most of it. Oh well, wasted youth []
  3. LSMW and BDC macros ftw! []
  4. and fuck me if you ask me to delineate the difference between clisp and lisp! Even though I've read the threads in the logs, I just can't fully grok it yet []
  5. ty tlp for that coinage, and fuck you Great Inca for putting it there in the first place []

16 Responses to “Fog of War”

  1. For what it's worth, I do believe you should pick one. I think some kind of knight-of-many-castle model is intrinsically broken and outright toxic, both on the castle end, as it breeds a certain sort of non-commital castration in the castle lord, and on the knght end, where it breeds a sort of shinohai-esque "i am not really here" dissociation / ready excuse for anything. There may be exceptions, but I can't imagine when.

    Don't start your knightly road by eschewing choice, it's like starting on the crusade by hanging yourself.

  2. admin says:

    This makes sense, and thank you for the read. Looks like I have some thinkin' to do.

    Unrelated, but I really need to figure out how to post on my own blog as 'lobbes' and not 'admin'...

  3. Diana Coman says:

    The programming experience/path you list there sounds already familiar - I don't yet know if it's really all that narrow nowadays (a few years ago rather as it's a certain age group, yes) or there's some sort of affinity with data analysts.

    The way it reads, it seems to me that you are looking for more than just "who to help with what they need" - for one thing the one most in need of help there is yourself and for the other the whole point seems to be to engage in a more focused way. So maybe read the logs of both (when there's a working logotron I'll publish my local log of #ossasepia too), hang around both for a bit and choose whichever pulls at you more - fwiw I think this sort of decision is best made in its own time as it's not just a "think more" sort of thing, if it's to work at all.

  4. Go into "users" (wp-admin/users.php) and change the name field of the admin account.

  5. lobbes says:

    @Diana Coman

    Regarding data analysts, most of my old friends/acquaintances that went into "tech" are doing either:

    1) Some sort of data analysis work
    2) Developing bloatware for companies. Companies who in turn become bloated and are often bought by holding companies for the purpose of... being sold again in 5 or so years time
    3) Data entry
    4) "Help desk"

    Though I tend to use 1) as a catch-all term for anything that brings data from point A to point B, be it business report writing, actual analysis in order to solve problems, data migration, etc. They tend to be related anyhow, though the focus varies depending on the job.

    Speaking of focus, I think you have summed up my main point perfectly. I really just need help focusing; it is one of my biggest weaknesses right now. In terms of TMSR work I don't trust my judgment on making the call of when to stick with something or when I should abandon a certain path and change course. The cause for this, I think, is simply a lack of experience. I don't understand enough of the objects in this world to see the forest for the trees in the majority of cases.

    But anyway, thanks for reading and offering your advice. I'll definitely just take some time and hang around both castles for a bit. I need to finish a few items anyways, so I guess there's no real rush atm.

    @Mircea Popescu Ah, much better. Ty.

  6. As it happens DC was a statistician back in the day.

  7. Jacob Welsh says:

    To the extent that code comprehension skills remain aligned with your quest, IMHO you could do worse than continuing the mod_lisp study. C is a hard language, both superficially (what's the difference between "* const *" and "** const" anyway?) and deeply (how sure am I that this program is never going to barf all over my hdd and leak my keys?), and I believe all the better for educational purposes. For all it's rightfully shat upon in the forum, many of the basic survival tools of the swamp we inhabit demand it, e.g. kernels, SQLtrons, TRB, GNAT. As for mod_lisp itself, from cursory inspection it's one of the better sanelang to "real world" httpd connectors that I've come across, in the vein of "SCGI" that I've worked with; compare for example the megalith the Python folks came up with. Actually "mod_lisp" is perhaps a misnomer; it could be viewed as a generic IPC interface that comes with a Lisp implementation of the server side. One thing to watch out for is the newline-delimited strings: you'd expect http headers shouldn't contain newlines once parsed, but do both sides hold this up?

    > after a year's time my own trb node still hasn't fully synced

    Wondering if I could be of any help here; is there an existing discussion of the problem(s)?

  8. lobbes says:

    The point, though, is that I have only a limited amount of time per day to dedicate towards any one study/work item. I definitely see the value in learning mod_lisp for the purpose of learning c, but I could also learn c by helping Diana Coman out with her Eulora efforts, just to name one example. I see that spyked is chugging along very well with the cl-wwwism kit, and I ask myself "am I really making the best use of my time right now?". I.e. My problem is that I do not know how to answer my own question there.

    The issue I have is a lack of certainty with the path(s) of study/work I have chosen, not really with spotting any one path.

    With re: my trb node, I believe the issue here is really the fact that I have: 1) only one node, where I should really have > one, and 2) it is on an hdd. iirc ssd is what is recommended for a proper trb node. But again... I only have so much time to futz with this or that.

  9. Jacob Welsh says:

    > The point, though, is that I have only a limited amount of time per day to dedicate

    The upside to this condition, I reckon, is that by learning to be effective with a smaller-than-desired amount of a given resource (time), you reduce your risk of lottery winner bankruptcy syndrome ( etc.) once you manage to get more of the resource. For example, after I quit full-time fiat work in late 2013, I ended up spending more time than I'd prefer to recall on mildly educational but largely useless projects. I think this is what @Mircea Popescu means about "underbooking everyone's everything" (

    Have you looked at your reading productivity denominated in hours on the task, rather than calendar months? Not to speak for @Diana Coman or the Eulora code but I don't see you getting very far in any 3D MMO stack at 100 lines a month. Not that the effort wouldn't be worthwhile, but if 90% of your time is spent in the language spec, then perhaps that's the real payoff and the particular code/coad you choose isn't such a big deal at this stage. Anyhow, best of luck mapping out the fog.

    > iirc ssd is what is recommended for a proper trb node.

    Right. Block validation, as I understand, has a highly non-local access pattern across the whole database. (PRB tried to "optimize" by gathering the unspent outputs together for cache-friendliness, as well as to facilitate discarding history, then perceived themselves to have a "UTXO bloat" problem.)

    (btw, blog seems to have eaten my hrefs: "educational purposes" ; "megalith the Python folks came up with"

  10. lobbes says:

    > The upside to this condition, I reckon, is that by learning to be effective with a smaller-than-desired amount of a given resource (time), you reduce your risk of lottery winner bankruptcy syndrome

    This is a real point, huh. I like your idea about weighing my productivity denominated in hours for a task, vs calendar months. Allows for my own metrics to become a lot more, well, accurate.

    Thank you for reading and offering thoughts. Btw, I hope you stick around as it is clear to me you have read the logs/blogs/etc. for some time. We need more hands, that is for sure.

    P.S. Regarding blog eating hrefs: did you wrap your comment in "pre" tags? I find even Trilema eats my comments if I don't do that.

    If you did and it still ate them, then perhaps my blog is borked...

  11. Jacob Welsh says:

    "Text in a <pre> element is displayed in a fixed-width font
    (usually Courier), and it preserves both spaces and line breaks."
    Not really the goal here, and one problem IIRC is it overflows horizontally at least without further css tricks, and here's a bunch more words to test that property..................................
    and a link

    It also ate a "b" tag in #comment-52. Plain "a" tags worked for me on trilema. IIRC there's a whitelist of allowed tags somewhere in the config? Setting up a blog is high on my list so I might be more helpful on the matter soon.

    Glad it's well received; 'tis a new experience being "inside the light-cone" after a period of more passive reading. I expect one difference is I'll be learning much quicker which of my notions hold water and which leak like a sieve, and so much the better.

  12. Jacob Welsh says:

    So it didn't carry the <pre> into the output and just replaced line breaks with <br>s. Excess spaces visible in the source but not rendered.

  13. Jacob Welsh says:

    Meanwhile, apparently I'm an agent sent to infiltrate your castle, We've been warned!

  14. lobbes says:

    @John Welsh
    I am reminded of a quote by trinque in which he discerns two aims of action: "how one appears" versus "the side-effects of doing"

    Mind that this cuts in all directions. Yes, obviously this anon is trying to posture from the side-lines, but likewise spending too much time posturing from the field about how any random anon is posturing is, in itself, a form of action towards "how one appears" (i.e. "Oh man, this guy on the outside sure doesn't GET it like we do, huh?" kind of in-group signaling).

    I'd rather focus on "doing" right now, rather than whatever derp-of-the-day. As trinque states, it has the wonderful side-effect of greater respect in the eyes of *other humans that are doing* without any posturing necessary!

    That being said and while I enjoy the discussion I must ask: what are you working on right now? Simply talking about TMSR is not enough to be part of it (and that truism applies to myself as well).

  15. Jacob Welsh says:

    Thank you for the observation, I'll try to keep a lid on the meta-posturing. (Or would that be acting towards a purpose too? I'm still a bit fuzzy on the whole cause/purpose distinction.)

    Most recently I've been building and syncing a TRB node and writing a toolset for indexing blocks independently of the existing code/database. The node got stuck twice receiving nothing but bastard blocks for hours (both times with malleus_mikehearnificarum, the second also banning pingers), but as I have plenty of flat block files on hand from a defunct PRB, I've used these tools to start feeding the node through 'eatblock' in the necessary order.

    Next up is provisioning a new airgap in order to get started with a proper key; deploying a blog, for which I've gathered as a promising starting point; and catching up on logs, which I've tried but not yet succeeded to make a daily habit. I'm also occupied with secular business which involves providing a saner computing environment and education to those who've recognized the importance of taking their digital hygiene seriously.

  16. lobbes says:

    Oya, I'd make getting the key your sticking with created and registered with deedbot as a top priority. In the republic of men and not laws, it is your key (and only your key) that allows you to have an identity online. Right up there with that, as you already stated, is getting proper blog up and running. Once you have that then you can start chronicling your work. This has the twofold benefit of not only being able to point to what you've done when asked, but also that you can look back at a later date and reflect/remember.

    Don't fall into the trap I did early on when blogging of "aw this is a n00b post, who would read this?". For one, a lot of my "how-to" guides I still leverage today as notes. For another, you never know who is a n00b in whatever field. For example, I can tell you probably have a tighter grasp on the workings of trb than I, so I would absolutely read your posts on trb just to learn a few things.

    With re: causes/purposes: The key thing is that causes are necessarily in the past, and thus you can enumerate them. It may not be easy to do so, and you may not have the full set of causes for any one thing, but they are finite and knowable. [Imagined] purposes, on the other hand, are necessarily in the future and thus impossible to know.

    E.g. You understand that if you don't properly airgap a box then you expose your mission critical ops on that box to outside actors, so you set out to airgap that box. In that case, you are acting from a cause. You know it is a cause because you have either looked at past data yourself re: non-airgapped boxes being popped, and have determined the causes and/or have been taught this from knowledgeable people that you trust. (As an aside, notice how the action of "trust" is also built on causes, i.e. this person has proven enough times in the past to be trustworthy with regards to whatever thing you trust them with)

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