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Sheogorath's Blog


Depending on the time of the day a friend, a colleague, a wise guy. The beauty of the world is its sense of humor to show humans their way by letting them search their own.


  1. A Highway is not a motorway

    Today I learned that highways and motorways are not the same. Every motorway is a highway, but not every highway is a motorway. According to Wikipedia a motorway is a “controlled-access highway”. The signs for those motorways as well was their basic setup were standardized by the “Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals” which has more than 60 participating parties around the world, making sure that driver’s licenses become more universal. A motorway, by the definition of this convention, is described as the following: …


  2. How a map defeated cholera

    Today I learned that a map by John Snow defeated a cholera outbreak in the middle of London by tracking down cases and carefully mapping them out to proof his theory that cholera was transmitted by water. In the 19th century there was a world-wide spreading cholera pandemic. The around that time common “Miasma theory” was considered as explanation for the spread of cholera, even after John Snow was able to proof that the main transmission took place through water by locating a polluted water source in the street, getting it taken out of service by the city, which drastically dropped case numbers in the area, and additionally explain why anomalies in his map data even appeared in first place. …


  3. The standard of the Federal President

    Today I learned that the standard of the (German) Federal President is only hoisted while the president is at the place. While there are certain exceptions the rule says: “The standard of the Federal President is hoisted at the official residence when the Federal President is in residence.” This rule means that only if the president is residing in Berlin, the standard will be flying above Bellevue Palace. It won’t fly there while the president is visiting a foreign country or reside in their second residence in Bonn. …


  4. You have to listen to the president

    Today I learned that Android provides settings to manage what emergency alerts you want to receive, but not for all categories. Those alerts work by requiring the mobile telephone service providers to announce certain events as so called Cell broadcasts, SMS messages that are received by all phones in a mobile service cell. By default phones and pages are configured to announce those alerts by playing alarm sounds, vibrating and alike to draw attention to them. The levels range from “Extreme threats”, which require your immediate action as your life might be in danger, to “AMBER alerts”, which stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response” and tries to motivate you helping in case a child got lost/abducted in your area. There is also “presidential alerts”, which are directly issued by the president of the United States. Those alerts can’t be disabled in the settings, not even on phones that have never seen the USA. …


  5. SeedVault Android Backup with Nextcloud

    Today I learned that LineageOS provides SeedVault, an Android Backup app, that lets you backup your phone to a local storage device or cloud provider of your choice, given it implements the right Android API. The Nextcloud app does so and allows the “regular” Android backups, you might know form stock ROMs, which usually end up on Google Drive, to end up on your Nextcloud instead. Of course, properly encrypted with a 12 words passphrase that you should note down. …


  6. Free Software Workouts

    Today I learned about a free software app for Android that provides you with instructions for sports workouts. It’s called openWorkout, it’s available on F-droid and generally speaking a simple, but nice app. It provides you with written instructions along with basic animations on how the exercise go. They provide some basic courses, there are more available for download and if you don’t want to bother, you can even create ones yourself. …


  7. iPhone 12 and the right to repair

    Today I learned that apple decided to completely lock down the iPhone 12 to prevent hardware manipulation. A nice or horrible side-effect, depending on what you are into, this also means you can no longer swap parts of a phone to repair it. If you still do, the device will maybe refuse to boot until you plug it into a charger. Once it does boot, it’ll not only refuse the use any of the existing battery health or face-ID features, but also refuse to re-initialize them and have various odd issues along the way.1 It basically denies “owner” of those pieces of e-waste the ability to repair them or get them repaired to non-apple prices. Apple itself seems to be able to re-pair2 those phones, but I wouldn’t expect those capabilities to leave apples own stores. The fact that the behaviour is just weird, not straight forward denying all usage, also makes it appear as if it’s not a security measure but either a really bad bug, or an intentional manipulation of the device to keep them off 3rd-party repair shops, as customers of those shops would end up with more problems after the repair, not less. ↩ Making parts considering each other trusted again. ↩ …


  8. USB-A and B

    Today I learned that the original USB-A and USB-B connectors had this fundamentally different design to prevent people from using them to plug computer together and causing short circuits, as the ports back then weren’t able to detect whether there as a peripheral device or another host on the other end. Therefore the incompatible A and B connectors were introduced. And even while the short circuit problem was solved down the line, until USB-C for larger connectors there was no USB socket, that could do both, acting as host and as peripheral device. While this was already possible for mini-USB connectors, since the first version of the Mini-AB connector. …


  9. The form of deadly crossroads

    Today I learned that the shape of crossings might cause deadly incidents even when the landscape is flat, easy to overview and the doesn’t appear to be any traffic. An angled cross-road, means less than a 90 degree angle, can result in biker on the main road becoming invisible to car drivers while they slow down to approach the crossing, as the cyclists end up behind pillar that keeps the car’s roof up, preventing it from resting on your head. In worst case scenarios, this configuration also prevents the cyclist from noting the vehicle before it’s to late, because it approaches from an angle behind the cyclist. …


  10. wtf - please explain

    Today I learned that Fedora contains a package called bsd-games, which provides a binary called wtf. wtf is a tool to “lookup the meaning of one or more term[s]”. It can help to decipher acronyms that you encounter in your daily (online) life. Some examples would be: wtf wtf, wtf iirc or wtf ianal. …