A Community is Defined By Its Center and Not Its Periphery

“My sense is that you need to build up a nucleus of people who know each other and who can network and support each other [in developing a proficiency in a technology with the complexity of R.]”

—Hadley Wickham in an interview with Dan Kopf, “What’s next for the popular programming language R?Quartz. August 17, 2019.

Made me think of a Larry Wall Slashdot interview, question 7, from back in the day.

The tidyverse style guide

All style guides are fundamentally opinionated. Some decisions genuinely do make code easier to use (especially matching indenting to programming structure), but many decisions are arbitrary. The most important thing about a style guide is that it provides consistency, making code easier to write because you need to make fewer decisions.”

-Hadley Wickham, “The tidyverse style guide.” style.tidyverse.org

Probably the definitive guide for writing R code. See also Hadley Wickham’s Advanced R.

GOG Games on Linux, Featuring Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a point-and-click adventure, a genre that was still very popular on PCs at the time of its release. Games like Beneath a Steel Sky had already used the format to tell Blade Runner-inspired cyberpunk stories. Given the usual state of movie adaptations, a Blade Runner adventure game wouldn’t necessarily have been anything to get excited about.‘Blade Runner’ really does make you feel like a detective

What Westwood did with the license, however, was inspired. The game isn’t a straight retelling of the movie. (Harrison Ford’s Deckard is nowhere to be seen.) You play a detective named Ray McCoy on the tail of replicants linked to vicious animal murders. While the story takes place at the same time as the movie and involves some of the same locations and characters, it plays out in parallel without intersecting too strongly. This was a great decision for a narrative adventure, allowing the game to evoke the movie without feeling predictable.

-Sam Byford, “The resurrected Blade Runner game is a genuine classic.” The Verge. December 18, 2019.

Blade Runner is currently on sale for $8.99 until January 2nd, 2020, at 2 PM UTC. And, if you are into free (as in beer!) games, and who isn’t, you could also download the previously mentioned Beneath a Steel Sky for nothing.

But, there’s a catch. GOG doesn’t provide much help getting these games installed on a Linux system. I didn’t see any instructions, but let me save you some time. I documented what I did to get it to work, and now, you have the very instructions that should be on the GOG website, but are somehow, inexplicably, not there. We’re going to use Blade Runner as our example, but while I was looking into how to get this thing running, it was apparent that these problems happen on the Linux platform with many of GOG’s games.

Installing & Getting the Games to Work

Before starting, let’s make life easy for ourselves and get an outdated audio library that is needed in order for the game to launch.

$ dpkg -i libsndio6.1_1.1.0-3_amd64.deb

You’re also going to need Simple DirectMedia Layer 2, which you can install the standard way, through the repository:

$ sudo apt-get install libsdl2-net-2.0-0

Now, with those preliminaries out of the way, let’s get to the task at hand, shall we? Download the Blade Runner file from the GOG website. Open a terminal:

$ cd Downloads
$ chmod +x blade_runner_1_0_varies.sh 
$ ./blade_runner_1_0_varies.sh 

After installation, it should be in your Show Applications, which is in the bottom right corner for people using the standard Gnome window manager, and then, select the game you’ve just installed, if it isn’t Blade Runner.

Or, maybe you’ve learned to love the terminal, you could launch the game from the command line by opening a terminal:

$ cd GOG\ Games/Blade\ Runner/
$ ./start.sh

The game should launch from this point. If not, contact GOG and …Good Luck!

An Introduction To Data Science On The Linux Command Line

…provide[s] the reader with a brief overview for a number of different Linux commands. A special emphasis will be placed on explaining how each command can be used in the context of performing data science tasks. The goal will be to convince the reader that each of these commands can be extremely useful, and to allow them to understand what role each command can play when manipulating or analyzing data.”

-Robert Elder, “An Introduction To Data Science On The Linux Command Line.” RobertElder.org. October 16, 2019.


A note-taking tool for networked thought.As easy to use as a document. As powerful as a graph database. Roam helps you organize your research for the long haul.


I wanted to bookmark this for the future. I currently use org-mode in emacs for journaling and NextCloud Notes for a Keep replacement. But, this looks interesting.


“SocialPath is a django application for gathering social media intelligence on specific username. It checks for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit and Stackoverflow. Collected data is sorted according words frequency, hashtags, timeline, mentions, similar accounts and presented as charts with the help of D3js. This technique allows me to track darknet users who does not use unique nicknames.”

-Wojciech, “SocialPath — track users across social media platforms.” Medium.com. September 23, 2019.

A Second ‘Second Life’: Facebook Horizon

“Welcome to Facebook Horizon, an ever-expanding VR world where you can explore, play, and create in extraordinary ways. At Horizon, you’re not just discovering a new world, you are part of what makes it great.”

Facebook Horizon

At first glance, Horizon seems like a modernized Second Life, a first-person Sims, a fulfillment of the intentions of AltspaceVR and a competitor to PlayStation’s PSVR Dreams and cross-platfrom kids’ favorite Roblox. Back in 2016, Facebook was giving every new Oculus employee a copy of the Ready Player One novel. It seems they’ve been busy building that world since then.

Facebook Horizon will start centralized around a town square. Before people step in, they can choose how they look and what they wear from an expansive and inclusive set of avatar tools. From inside VR, users will be able to use the Horizon World Builder to create gaming arenas, vacation chillspots and activities to fill them without the need to know how to code.

-Josh Constine, “Facebook announces Horizon, a VR massive-multiplayer world.” Techcrunch.com. September 25, 2019.

Imagine. An entire world mediated by Facebook, where they monetize your creativity for their profit.