this is why we can’t have nice things

As you may know, I am involved in, an attempt to build a better social network atop of Solid. The developers are chugging along at a slow but steady pace, expect a new version to come out soon.

Solid itself is a really intriguing and awesome idea: Everything you want to share or publish, regardless of public or for a limited audience gets stored on your Solid Pod, completely uncoupling data from application and publisher.

So your theoretical Facebook posts and likes and comments would not be stored and owned by Facebook. They would just handle the presentation and feed and recommendations and so on. And if you want to change the network, you get to keep all your content and contacts.

Now, the way Solid is designed has one big constraint: You cannot change the URL that points at your pod, ever. If you do, all the links between your content and that of others would get lost otherwise. So, if a pod provider would got belly up, that would be a bad thing.

One of the earliest pod providers is solid​.community. Or rather. Was. The service is shut down. Which is fine, it was advertised as experimental anyway, it was free and purposely only had a very small storage space. It was meant for those earliest of adopters and for developers to see how all this works.

Alas, someone thought it would be helpful to keep it alive and managed to migrate everything to solidcommunity​.net.

Which is also fine and helpful, except two things:

  1. I, as a user on solid​.community learned about this whole thing from someone completely uninvolved in this process, basically by accident. The move included my login data, whatever private data I may or may not have stored on that Pod, everything. I have never agreed to this, nor do I have any idea who the new person is. That is a major GDPR violation, and erodes a LOT of trust.
  2. The move is useless. As I pointed out above, now that the URL is changed, none of the linked data is properly linked anymore. It completely broke everything. And considering the amount of data (I think there was 2 MB of available space), it is not even a thing of „hey, people probably want to keep this!“.
useless people links on my Solid Pod

Seriously, my Fellow Nerds, especially if you work on something that promises privacy: These things matter! No one will adopt your project, if you fuck this up, and here, you fucked up quite a bit.

Before you rant at me: Yes, I am quite aware that what I was using was basically a test system. And I bet that 99,9% of all other users of that system knew this too and acted accordingly. I highly doubt that any actual private data was compromised. And I don’t think there is any foul play involved. People did what they thought would be best. But, well, guess what: They thought wrong!

Return to Hypogea

It has been a while. So long that I couldn’t even find my stack of characters and had to roll up a new one.

But yesterday, I returned to Hypogea, the karst under the valley of fire. Joining the Clockwise Observatory as Alpascal, a short, stocky first-year student of the School of Artificers with an everful crock of shit.

This was a very happy reunion, even though I didn’t know any of the other players yet. Still, Alpascal was quickly welcomed by his peers, and the backstory involving Alpascal, a frog, and the chimerists love spell ended up happily for me, as the chimerist now has to care for the five pollywog-creatures. (Who are adorable, but Alpascal isn’t ready to be a father yet, and Fred the frog needs the help,)

The group made its way to the sickle marsh, looking for the lone savant that imprisoned a few errant students into some gem. They swam, stomped, rafted and walked on the way, met water vipers, cephalopod patrols and other assorted creatures and during the whole time never stopped punning.

Really, the punning, it was bad. So bad. All the time. All the punning.

Can’t wait until next time!

RPGs in Beirut

And no, we’re not talking about war. We’re talking warGAMING and roleplaying games.

I was in town for Bread & Net, and when we were walking the city on sunday, we came across a game store: Multiverse. And frankly, this place is awesome:

It is mostly board games though

The staff is actually pretty knowledgeable and full of hustle. They know their games, have several painting stations for the table top gamers in the cellar, host regular wargaming and MtG tournaments, you can rent tables and play a wide variety of board games (sorted in terms of complexity, so you can easily grab something easy for the family from the shelf), and then they told me they also have a dedicated D&D room.

What?! I need to see this!“

Behind a door labelled „Emergency Exit“, I then first was greeted with this…

yeah, this thing is a bit cheap looking, but A for effort!

And then there was a foreboding doorway..

Let’s light this up…

oooh, this looks promising!

You can see the D&D library. Plus a bunch of self-printed PDFs, downloaded from online stores.

yeah, I was pretty amazed.
really, I like this.
I could get used to this.. All the space for the savvy GM.
looking at all the nifty stuff on the walls.
but wait, what is THIS?
need monsters for your campaign? We got you covered!
a bunch of custom lasercut 3D signage all over the place.

They even get you in touch with GMs that can run games for you, if you find yourself in Beirut without a group. Really, this place is magical and apparently thriving too!

So, when in Beirut, go to Multiverse!

Watching Josie and the Pussycats

I’m not entirely sure why I’m doing this, but man, this is a treasure! I’m liveblogging, so this might be disjointed…

The movie first shows you an absolute inanely hyped boy band that has to die when they figure out some nefarious plan from their record company representative played by Alan Cummings.

How do they die? Plane crash. How does Alan Cummings order it? „Take the chevy to the levy“

We then get introduced to the titular girl band and learn that they don’t have any audience at all, but they are obviously cool, full of rock’n’roll and generally loveable. Also some interpersonal tension and we get to know the handsome but clueless love interest.

Then we realize how full of product placement the movie is. Like, two brands a second full. I think there is no shot that doesn’t feature an obnoxiously obvious brand logo. Apparently this ties in to aforementioned nefarious plan, but right now, we don’t know how. But an emo girl gets annoying enough that Alan has to order her kidnapping: „smells like teen spirit“…

A short 4th-wall break later the band is hired. (After a short gaffe by Alan which hasn’t memed at all: He says he’s so proud to meet all the Pussyhats) Everyone and the annoying hanger-on girl gets on a plane to New York. Why her? Because she’s in the comic, she tells us.

Finally we learn what the evil plan is: The Mixmaster 6000 adds in a bunch of subliminal messages to get kids buy lots of stuff. Evil. Genius. MTVs Behind the Music just exists to explain the downfall of those bands that don’t play ball…

A week later they are #1 on the billboard charts and the band will get a biopic, starring Drew Barrymore. Everything is peachy — or is it?

(also: It’s funny to see how many of the internet brands prominently displayed in the movie are defunct now. Everything non-internet is still relevant though)

Then the ditzy band girl ignores the creepy warning about the music and we cut to the romantic confusion between Josie and the loveable but dumb love interest. The sexual tension immediately gets defused by Alan Cummings bursting in and sweeping Josie away to some gala.

At the big party the girls get suspicious and the evil record label owner and Alan cumming plot murder and do dramatic evil laughs. But they can’t kill the whole band, because they have already ordered a gazillion electronic mind control pussycat ears

(also, there’s even advertising inside a frigging giant fishtank. Evian water, if you need to know.)

The murder plot is underway while love interest tries to get a gig and Josie soaks in a bathtub after being pressured into compliance by Alan Cummings. It gets foiled by „if I weren’t a key player in this nefarious plot to brainwash americas youth, we could totally date“, cued by ditzy bandgirl smashing some brains in.

But woe! The bathtub soak came with listening to brainwash-music, so Josie is now convinced that she doesn’t need the band, so DRAMA!

The band is broken up, Josie is slave to the brainwashing CD and who knows if friendship will ever prevail?

Ah, she is running, and then she falls, the CD stops and she finds the magical bus pass of friendship and ominous music shows us that things will get better!

Only that now the other two girls are gone, „like a flock of seagulls!“

To the studio to inspect the CD! And lo and behold, they find the hidden message, voiced by Mr. Moviephone. The plot is uncovered and what happens now? (they actually played the dramatic dun-dun-DUHN! jingle for this!)

Some blackmail about fiery car-death, Josie agrees to play the concert that will brainwash the masses. But not before some heart-to-heart friendship talk that hopefully will make things everything up. Shot while Mel and Bel are in a car that is slowly revolving on some presentation platter.


The boyband from the movies beginning is NOT DEAD AND SAVES THE DAY! They landed the plane just fine, but they got beat up by Metallica fans, which is why they kept being missing.

Ok, they don’t save the day, but they were a good diversion and now we have a cat fight and can watch Rosario Dawson beat up Alan Cummings.

Josie is clever and tricks the evil record label lady into smashing the brainwashing machine. 

Turns out, the actual evil plan was to brainwash everyone into loving evil record label lady, and to hide her lisp. And this is the moment where Alan Cummungs recognizes her as Lisping Lisa and reveals himself to be Whiteass Wally, so the two former high school losers admit their faults and love to each other. IS THIS THE TOTAL HAPPY END?

The government that wanted in on this shuts down the whole thing and arrests the bad persons because it turns out, subliminal messages work better in movies!

And then we do get the big final concert. Will the band actually rock, or was it all smoke and mirrors? (spoiler: No, everyone still loves them, after a short tense moment where the audience just stares wordlessly, now that the mind control headsets are off)

And then we get the inevitable love confession between Josie and Love Interest. They kiss, but Bel has to remind them that they are actually in the middle of a song and should shelve it for later…

And that’s it. Yes, you want to wach this movie. It is stupid, but fun.