Un naufragio personal

Ángel Ortega

Music that made my 2020

The 2020 log of... events

Last year, following a suggestion by my friend Víctor, I wrote a so-called brag document where I related all the achievements I got during 2019 in an attempt to feel better about myself. I tried to do the same for 2020, but found no achievement to tell about. For me, same as for most people, this year has been between awful and catastrophic.

This is the list of achievements happenings during 2020:

  • I lost my job. The motives were unfair (at least as I see them), so I won't go into further detail.
  • My depression is not getting better. Peaks are getting worse and longer.
  • My joint pains are getting worse. They are not continuous, but more or less like sinusoid curves with different phases for arms / legs / back.
  • My gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett's esophagus is getting worse.
  • One of my dearest aunts died of COVID-19. My uncle (her husband) also died some months earlier, though due to unrelated complications. On the other hand, my son also got a COVID-19 infection but he recovered quickly and without further problems.
  • During August, I had a three-week-long sickness with continuous 39º degrees of fever. I got two PCRs made, but was found negative of COVID-19. No explanation was found, so I don't know what the disease was, and finally just went away. Having a fever this high and for this long is not nice when you are 52 years old.
  • Finally, on December 9, my wife and I were confirmed COVID-19 positive. We have moderate symptoms. Let's see what happen.
  • I wrote a 20000 word horror novelette (in Spanish) for a contest. I didn't won.
  • I wrote more than 10 short stories for several spanish writing contests. I didn't won any of them.
  • I wrote several short stories as a way of keeping my mind busy because confinement was driving me mad. They are written in English and can be read here.
  • A spanish satellite I worked on since 2011, the SEOSat-Ingenio, was launched on 17 November 2020 but the Vega rocket that transported it malfunctioned and crashed and everything was lost. The picture above is a digital rendition of a situation that will never happen. My work in this project was already finished and validated, but I cannot help feeling a bit sad about it.
  • I'm somewhat sick about free software development, so I delegated the maintenance of the Minimum Profit Text Editor and the rest of my still alive software projects to some fellow developers. Overall, they are doing a good job. Sometimes I have confronted feelings about this, though.
  • Due to money restrictions I had to sell my car. Man, did I loved that car.
  • I moved back to Madrid to a tiny (27 m²) flat. It was also for money reasons, but I like this city and I don't see this as a totally bad thing.

I'm experimenting a feeling I never had before: that nothing good will happen to me ever again.

Libro homenaje a Tim Burton: «La muerte: instrucciones de uso»


Tinta Púrpura Ediciones ha iniciado un crowdfunding para la publicación de una antología de relatos inspirados en los universos de Tim Burton en el que tengo el honor de aparecer junto a un montón de escritores sagaces y geniales. Ya sabéis cómo va, así que, ¡echadnos una mano para que el libro sea posible!

Os encontraréis un manual lleno de pistas, sugerencias, normativas y guías para orientaros en el mundo de los muertos sin perderos ni hacer el ridículo. ¡Nunca ha sido tan fácil empezar una nueva vida en el más allá!

Para los mecenas que suelten bien de pasta hay recompensas especiales:

Seis para el camino

Tengo el placer y el honor de haber sido incluido como autor invitado con mi relato Seis para el camino en la revista online Círculo de Lovecraft en su número doble especial dedicado al universo de Stephen King.

Estoy muy contento y orgulloso de aparecer entre tanto talento. Editores, gracias por la oportunidad.

HOWTO Save Yourself From Ransomware Using btrfs

All these things must be run as root on a btrfs filesystem.

First, create the working path:

mkdir -p /path/to/data/snaps

Then create a subvolume:

btrfs su create /path/to/data/current

This last path is where you and your lusers will save your crap (of course, remember to set appropriate permissions and ownerships; it works mostly as a regular directory).

Then, from a crontab or similar, run this:

btrfs su snapshot -r /path/to/data/current /path/to/data/snaps/$(date "+%Y%m%d")

And that's all. If/when the intruders encrypt your data and ask for a ransom, you still have pristine copies inside the snapshots. Not even root can modify these files, they are pure read-only; the only thing that can be done with the snapshots is to delete them, which you should do a periodical basis.

If Jeff Bezos got a nickel every time I misspell snapshot as snaphost, he would be rich by now.

I'm 52 now


La antología Tormenta e Ímpetu, candidata a los Ignotus 2020

La antología Tormenta e Ímpetu de Tinta Púrpura Ediciones (coordinada por Josué Ramos) en la que he tenido el honor de participar con mi relato Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo opta al premio Ignotus 2020 en su categoría.

Enhorabuena a todos los implicados en este gran trabajo.

Y a los que podáis votar, hacedlo sabiamente.

A message from the new Minimum Profit Text Editor maintainers

A new, special version of the #MinimumProfit text editor has been released. The only real change is the people in charge: the original author and maintainer, Angel Ortega, has left this project under our hands. We are the TTC Dev Team. Thanks to him for the great work and for the necessary server resources and know-how.

It can be downloaded from the usual place. As well, some Github repositories have been created for the editor and its components:

We're excited with this announcement. We hope to add new features to the editor real soon. Stay tuned.

the ttcdt

I'm not the Minimum Profit Text Editor's maintainer anymore

I have an important change to announce regarding the Minimum Profit Text Editor development process: I have delegated its maintenance to a team of fellow developers.

Since several months ago my labour in this regard has been mainly to integrate patches written by others. My health and personality problems have proved to be a bottleneck and that had to be fixed. So, officially from now, the maintaners of the Minimum Profit Text Editor are the TTC Dev Team.

I wanted to keep using this host as MP's site (to avoid losing more users due to link rotting and such), so I've been busy this week preparing the infrastructure for the change of management to be as effective and painless as possible: a new email address, users in the server, permissions, etc.

I started this project in 1991, so it's about to be 30 years old, some months older than my son. Of course I still love it. Of course I'll still be here. Of course I'll watch closely.

Thanks to the new team for taking control. You are great, people.

OpenBSD in a laptop, part 3

And while I was deep diving into OpenBSD 6.6 [1, 2], OpenBSD 6.7 came to life.

I thought it was a great opportunity to learn how version upgrades work under OpenBSD. This is always a hairy process; a full-system upgrade has to take so many things into account, as every system is a unique one.

Of course, there is a detailed 6.7 upgrade guide. From it I learned that this used to be a complicated process (downloading a special kernel, boot from it...) but it's no longer: there is a tool aptly named sysupgrade that makes it much easier.

In the guide I was instructed to delete a user/group (that I didn't have) and to check for available disk space. Everything was fine so I ran the sysupgrade tool and it downloaded the new system, made me reboot into a special kernel, did many system-upgrade-y things, rebooted again and I found myself with a brand-new OpenBSD 6.7 system.

I still needed to manually execute syspatch (I remember a set of patches being mentioned in the previous step, I don't know why they weren't automatically installed) and of course pkg_add -u. I did this from a console because I didn't want unnecessary jump-scares from the GUI.

Summarizing: the 6.6->6.7 upgrade process is smooth, quick and without glitches nor surprises. Again, kudos to OpenBSD people, you are awesome.

Given that I don't plan to continue these post series, I finally decided to stop intentionally delaying the setup of the CUPS printing system, so I ran

pkg_add cups gtk+3-cups hpcups

My printer is an HP OfficeJet 6960 (connected by Ethernet to my local network), that's why I installed hpcups. I then needed to configure CUPS to run at system startup, so this is how my /etc/rc.conf.local ended up looking:

pkg_scripts="messagebus avahi_daemon cups_browsed cupsd"

I connected to the CUPS system web interface at localhost:631 with a browser and spent the usual huge amount of time finding the correct combination of connection type, printer model, small mammal sacrifice and PPD file until I found the one that worked (color do not look OK, though). Man do I hate CUPS. Concerning OpenBSD, this was not worse than in any other CUPS-infected system.

I also installed LibreFuckingOffice. Yes, I hate it too. I hate many, many things.

Regarding Bluetooth: I checked this laptop's specs and it does not have a Bluetooth chip, so I decided to buy a Bluetooth USB dongle, as they are cheap and capable these days. But then I learnt that OpenBSD does not support Bluetooth; it used to (at least partially), but because of lack of hardware drivers or security issues or whatever they dropped it. I think this is a mistake, but who am I to disagree. No Bluetooth headphones for Ángel in this machine, go listening to your crappy music somewhere else.

Anyway, my final opinion is that OpenBSD still fucking rocks. This great software project accepts and needs donations, so I did mine.