I have a Librebooted Lenovo Thinkpad T400. After swapping its spinning hard drive for a solid state drive (big improvement), I needed to install a new operating system. I went with the LXDE version of GNU Trisquel (in the spirit of it being a Librebooted Thinkpad T400 and all). However, when I tried to boot from my live USB, I ran into the following error:

graphics initialization failled
Error setting up gfxboot

I vaguely recalled having run into this problem before (maybe even on the T400), but I did not remember the solution. I performed a quick search and found a proposed solution posted by user utapyngo on February 8, 2014, on the Ask Ubuntu forum: “Just type help and press Enter. It will continue to boot normally.”

The solution looked vaguely familiar. I tried it and it worked without a hitch. I was able to boot from the live USB and install Trisquel from the live session. Talk about an evergreen 10-year old fix.

My favorite writing tool is KDE’s Ghostwriter markdown editor. Back in 2021, I installed Ghostwriter on a computer running Manjaro Linux and encountered a segmentation fault when I tried to launch it. I eventually found a fix and described it in an article. Since then, I had no trouble installing and running Ghostwriter on multiple systems (usually Arch-based EndeavourOS) until I installed it on my new laptop running Fedora 40. After installing, Ghostwriter failed to launch. I had a bad feeling about the culprit and confirmed when I tried to launch from the terminal that Ghostwriter had segfaulted. You may be wondering where my solution article is. For my laptop, I uninstalled the Fedora package version of Ghostwriter and replaced it with the Flatpak, which works without any problem. One reason I did not do that in 2021 was because the Flatpak (note 2021 was before Ghostwriter became a KDE app) was out of date. However, the Flatpak is now keeping up with the non-Flatpak version, so I saw no reason to not just go with it and check again later to see if the issue with the regular version resolves itself in a future release.

Qwant is a French-based privacy-focused search engine, albeit I have always understood it to be a front-end to Bing (similar to DuckDuckGo) for all practical intents and purposes. I have tried it on occasion but I generally prefer DuckDuckGo for my Bing front-end purposes (after not prefering anything having do with Bing when Microsoft blacklisted The New Leaf Journal without explanation). Back in 2021, I wrote an article on alternative search engines (most of which were front-ends) and praised Qwant for relying on OpenStreetMap for its maps, noting that DuckDuckGo uses Apple Maps. According to AlternativeTo, Qwant Maps has been discontinued subsequent to Qwant being acquired by Synonfonium (I am not up to date on this change). Being AlternativeTo, AlternativeTo recommends alternatives to Qwant maps. I would personally recommend OpenStreetMap in browsers and Organic Maps as an app.

A friend told me about the likely ill-founded rumor that Microsoft is preparing to make a serious offer to buy Valve. As I suspected, it does not look like it is happening. One might think in light of the fact that I use Linux instead of Windows, have general criticisms of and personal grievances with Microsoft, and qualified praise for Valve’s Steam, that I would be relieved. Not so! Microsoft buying Valve would make some things much more convenient. For example, I use OBS to record gameplay. If Microsoft owns Valve, I could count on them to do it for me. I also trust that Microsoft would take steps to take the guesswork out of which Steam games are DRM-free. Where do I sign up? (I hope readers see that this is a joke.)

Integrating Koko Analytics stats by Mikko Saari (relevanssi.com)
It’s possible to integrate all kinds of external data to Relevanssi weights. Koko Analytics is a great analytics plugin. It collects stats about your visitors and stores them in the local database, which means those stats are available for Relevanssi. For some sites, this makes a lot of sense. For...

I have been using Koko Analytics on The New Leaf Journal since 2020 and I also use it on this site. Moreover, I use Relevanssi Light to improve on WordPress’s (sub-standard) default search after having briefly used the much heavier and more robust Relevanssi plugin. While I plan to stick with Relevanssi Light because it is good enough for my search-improvement purposes, I was still interested to read a 2022 post by the developer of the Relevanssi plugins about “[i]ntegrating Koko Analytics stats as a factor in the weight calculations [fior Relevanssi Premium].” In short, he demonstrates a PHP snippet that would allow Relevanssi Premium users to slightly favor popular posts in searches. This is very neat and I would definitely try it if I were running Relevanssi Premium. For those of you with less intense search needs or limited resources, however, I recommend giving Relevanssi Light a try — it is as good as it is simple.

Telling Southwest I’m On Vacation · The New Leaf Journal by Nicholas A. Ferrell (thenewleafjournal.com)
I use a Southwest Airlines napkin to tell New Leaf Journal readers that I am on vacation in Texas until May 15, 2024.

A Southwest Airlines napkin. The top says in orange text "The best ideas are born on napkins" and below "What's yours?" In black ink, I wrote "Telling Emu Cafe Social 'I'm back."


This is the second time I am publishing this. I initially published it right before (1) rebuilding our server (2) before the daily backup had been taken. I had been in Texas from May 7 to 15 but I went on vacation without informing my many (self-flattery) loyal fans. I used a clever Southwest Airlines napkin question mark to break the news. Now I suppose this post shows both that I returned from Texas and my two WordPress projects returned from the (very temporary) abyss. I used the free and open source OSS Document Scanner to scan my napkin scribbles instead of taking a photo like I did for The New Leaf Journal napkin post.

URL as a sentence by Adam Newbold (Neatnik Notes)
I wondered about the idea of a URL being a complete sentence, and I picked up the domain newbold.is as the basis for my goofing around with the concept.

I came across an interesting post by Adam Newbold about “the idea of a URL being a complete sentence.” He picked up a domain specifically for the purpose (name.is) and created some sentence-style URLs with note-length content. While this domain is not purpose-built for that, you will note that I wrote the URL of this post in the form of a question about URL sentences. The post made me think of one WordPress-related area where these fun sentence URLs could work well; I reviewed a simple extension for having a WordPress site produce a TWTXT feed (see it in use here and on The New Leaf Journal). By default, it each post is represented with the title and short URL. However, if one went all in on Mr. Newbold’s sentence URLs and modified the TWTXT plugin to make each feed entry the full URL of the post and nothing else, it would work very nicely (note that this could be done with non-WordPress sites, I am only focusing on WordPress since that is what I use for my two projects).

Review: IPS 16Bit Pocket MD HD - A Genesis / Mega Drive Handheld That Plays Carts by Damien McFerran (Time Extension)
Back in 1995, Sega released the Nomad, a portable Genesis / Mega Drive which, for many fans, felt like the stuff of a madman's dreams. It offered the ability to play your 16-bit library on the move, as well as connect up to your TV for more traditional play. It was like the Nintendo Switch 20 years ahead of its time – and it was also something of a commercial dud, sadly.

Time Extension reviewed a new handheld device designed to play Sega Genesis carts. My first thought when I saw a modern Sega Genesis handled was the Sega Genesis Nomad, a 1995 handheld device created by Sega to play Genesis games. Time Extension, which is a game history site, unsurprisingly led with the Nomad, noting that it had many neat features but was ultimately a “commercial dud.” I actually had a Nomad back in the day to play my Genesis library on the go and I distinctly remember bringing it on a trip to Texas in 1998. It worked well and I must note for the benefit of kids these days who grow up with the Nintendo Switch and powerful phones that being able to play consoles on a handheld device was novel back in the 90s. But the first thing I think of when I remember the Nomad is not any specific gaming experience, but the batteries. As the Wikipedia entry for the device notes, the thing burned through six AA batteries in about 4 hours. One can chalk up many reasons the cool device was not commercially successful, but the battery life was unfortunately atrocious even by the standards of when it was released.

I watched the second season of The Dangers in My Heart (“BokuYaba”) as a simulcast after watching and reviewing the first season. While I do not want to fully spoil my upcoming New Leaf Journal review of season two, I’ll note that the second season is was the strongest anime of winter 2024 and a very early anime of the year candidate (impressive in light of the fact the first season came in outside of my 2023 top six series). The second season finale aired on Saturday, March 30 and I watched it a little bit after midnight on Easter the 31st. It was an excellent final episode that ended on a very sweet note. But maybe it was too sweet. I was satisfied with the way the season concluded but I needed a change before a checked out for the night (or morning). I have been watching Initial D for the first time after being inspired to try it by MF Ghost (which aired in fall 2023). For those not in the know, Initial D mostly consists of street car racing against a Eurobeat sound-track. It is not at all sweet. It has some awful anime romance writing but the races are great fun. I watched the first two episodes of Fourth Stage right after the Dangers in My Heart finale. Just the contrast I was looking for — very satisfying.

Blogging and AI: A Personal Take by Greg Morris (Greg Morris)
I've been mulling over this clash between AI and the content it's trained on for some time now. As a frequent user of AI and a regular online publisher, I see both sides of the coin. I'm well aware that the articles I put out there probably end up as fodder for some AI training algorithm. And while I know many writers are upset about their work being used this way without compensation, I personally don't get too riled up about it.

I came across an interesting take on blogging and AI by Greg Morris, an independent blogger. He states that while he sees the issue of AI language models training on internet writing without compenstation or authorization, he is not personally bothered by it. From his perspective, “once I publish something online, I’ve pretty much let it go. It’s out there in the wild, free for anyone to use, maybe even to profit from. And I’m okay with that. It’s a part of the deal you accept when you decide to publish online.”

I concur in part and dissent in part.

I concur with him that there is nothing anyone can do from keeping their writing or media from being used by language models or scraped for other nefarious purposes. There are ways to limit exposure, but once one puts his or her writing online, he or she cannot fully control what happens with it. While I accept this, however, I disagree with Mr. Morris’ take that it is not a problem because “[y]our work s both yours and not yours at the same time.” I think my work is mine unless otherwise explicitly stated. I just accept that we live in an imperfect world and I do not think some of the bad or annoying things on the internet should deter people from building their own digital homes.

I read a news report that HiDive, an anime streaming service, re-designed its website. I have been an HiDive subscriber for a few years (two of my top three series of 2023 and my 2022 anime series of the year aired on HiDive instead of Crunchyroll) and I thought the website was an abomination. For that reason, I was curious to see the new design. My first impression is positive and it should work well on my TV set-up.I will try it for a few days and see how my positive first impression holds up.

Back in 2021, I wrote about walking around Manhattan with a friend to see cow statues. One of the cow statues was in Bloomingdale’s. In the post I explained that I had previously not known anything about Bloomingdale’s other than the name. In a recent Washington Times report, I learned not only that Bloomingdale’s is owned by Macy’s (I went to Macy’s many times when I was younger), but also that Macy’s owns something called Bluemercury. What is Bluemercury? Beats me.

Introducing Pokémon Red Novel Project by Nicholas A. Ferrell (thenewleafjournal.com)
I introduce a project to turn a new play-through of Pokémon Red into a serialized novel and quasi-strategy guide with helpful tips and strategies.

I am making progress in my Pokémon Red play-through novel project. I am perfect. But what fun would it be to write a serialized Pokémon play-through novel of me being perfect? To make things more interesting, I decided to pretend to not be perfect on occasion. After I pretended to lose to Misty twice, I reached the entrance to Rock Tunnel and realized that I forgot to exchange my bike voucher for a bike in Cerulean City. Of course, there is absolutely no possible way that I could forget to get the bicycle before leaving Cerulean City behind. I only “forgot” to make for a more exciting story and show my future readers how quickly you can obtain Fly after making it through the tunnel.

(Or so I like to tell myself…)

I have never used Linkedin. I have also never been tempted to use Linkedin. But what if Linkedin added some new feature to make me sign up? I quote from a report by Mr. Mauricio B. Holguin on AlternativeTo: “LinkedIn has introduced new AI-powered features aimed at improving professional networking, simplifying networking tasks such as making connections, job searching, and content sharing.” While using AI to help guide users’ Linkedin network interactions will surely (operative word) make Linkedin a better (other operative word) place, I will continue to sit on the sidelines.

Nintendo is sued the developers of the free and open source Yuzu emulator for Nintendo Switch games and succeeded in securing an agreement wherein both open source projects were shut down. I take no position on the litigation here. Instead, I highlight an absurd GitHub issue raised by a user with an unkind name directed at the Yuzu project (see archived issue). The user explains that he or she strongly disagreed with Yuzu’s decision to drop support for Windows 7 in the last few months (note that Microsoft dropped support for Windows 7 in 2020). This prompted the user to find 93 Nintendo emails and social media accounts and send messages “informing” Nintendo, a multi-national corporation that is very defensive of its intellectual propery, of the existence of Yuzu. After news of the lawsuit broke, the user confidently stated that Nintendo “probably” sued because of his or her awareness effort, but humbly conceded “maybe not.” While the user thinks that it is at least 50.1% likely that his or her spam emails and posts led to Nintendo unleashing its lawyers on Yuzu, I am 100% certain that  Nintendo, which named one of its most popular characters after one of its former lawyers, was well aware of Yuzu and rival Valve’s not subtly encouraging people to use Yuzu on Steam Deck while the disgrunted GitHub poster was still happly running Yuzu on his or her Windows 7 PC.

Main take-away: Imagine having the self-confidence to believe that your email and social media spam spur Nintendo’s legal department to action.