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Alternative Web Browser Engines
8

I don't think I have to spell out the problem with the current shape of the web browser landscape in detail. Almost every HTTP client uses one of the now three big engines, WebKit, Blink and Gecko. Blink, as the big bad Google one is definitely one that nobody should consciously choose to use. Not everybody trusts WebKit much more because it is developed by another powerful global player that inadvertently collects more data in one hand than can be considered healthy, Apply. And Gecko, the one developed by Mozilla has been criticises for being pushed into a direction that is less free and user-friendly than it is expected from Mozilla. Since Mozilla has received large sums in funding from Google for a while it can be argued that any recent fork of the engine has a history of being influenced by Google. All the other large engines are no longer developed and thus not seen as a possible choice for the future. But there are some options to be discussed for users who want to avoid using a browser that relies on one of the big engines. And there are signs that the lack of competitive differences in browser engines will be reduced in the coming decade.

I like that the recent financial development in the SerenityOS/Ladybird project has prompted discussions about alternative browser engines and has shone some light on upcoming new browser engines written from the ground up. The interest in a new kid on the block has been growing over the last couple of years. So it should not surprise that several projects are undergoing and aim to create alternatives to the current big three browser engines. But in my eyes most of them are still not well-known enough. Not all are equaly useful. So I've decided to mention some options that could replace a mainstream browser at least in some use case.

Using Old Browsers

Yes, I'm covering the less practicle options, too. Using an old browser with security issues that won't be fixed not only might add security holes in the system it is used on, it also doesn't do anything to tackle the problem. The development of browser engines that are used in newer releases will not be affected by some people using them less. Choosing an older browser merely sends a signal and possibly changes statistics to look like you now also forget updating for a long time. But there is range of different lightweight browsers with engines that have no trouble with HTML4 and CSS2 and also offer good JavaScript support. KHTML (Konqueror) becomes an option again, Internet Explorer with Trident or EdgeHTML could get another chance and an old Opera with Presto could continue to shine. But you might need to maintain an envirement of outdated libraries to make your choice over a long time.

Flow

The Flow browser with its own HTML engine is developed by ekioh, a company with experience in developing browser for various embedded devices. As a free product, the preview of a Raspberry Pi version is available. But browsers for all major operating systems are planned. It uses an existing JavaScript engine the JS support is better than with other newly written browser engines. But it also doesn't add as much competition in the market in this regard. I have not tested Flow. As a product from a commercial business it didn't look interesting enough, yet, even though it is reportedly relatively mature.

Haphaestus

The Haphaestus TV Browser is a project by Adrian Cochrane that forms a web browser specifically aimed to be easily navigated with with few buttons (like on a TV remote control). It is a very interesting project because it is made up from several individual parts (CSS engine, font rendering, box layout engine, …) that all are written from the ground up in Haskell. A JavaScript engine is not part of the project. The web is nowadays more pleasant to browse without JS anyway. Adrian also recently started a free year-long course that encourages others to write their own HTML rendering engine (surely with the intention to collect experience for future paid programming courses).

Goanna

Of the browsers that use the Goanna engine, I see Pale Moon recommended most often. Goanna is a fork of Gecko that, by now, differes in features from the current gecko engine. It looks like Goanna may be the way to keep using a relatively old engine that supports all majer web standards very well with an actively developed browser that runs reliably in the OS of your choice. It may not be performing as well as current Gecko browsers like LibreWolf, but there's supposedly a smaller chance that their developers have been influenced by payments from Google.

Dillo

Small, realy light-weight, very simple and currently with no intention to pay any attention to scripts. Older versions of Dillo had been ported to many other systems. The current version 3 is only developed for the now big OSs (Linux, BSD, OS X). But it is very light-weight and snappy compared to mainstream browsers. CSS support is still lacking in the eyes of users who are used to every positional property to work. (Float support is also still missing.)

LibWeb, LibJS

The Ladybird web browser is becoming more known now that a company has been formed around it that has been promised major funding for the next few years. The project started as "the web browser of SerenityOS" but has since gained indipendent support and in turn supported hope that a novel web browser with a new engine will be established on the market of web browsers in the near future. The libweb and libjs libraries were started to build an intependent engine behind Ladybird. An application that will be seen as a usable alternative to Firefox in daily use with no need to fall back on another browser is still far away though.

NetSurf

Another small web browser that good HTML, CSS and JS support is NewSurf. LibDOM, LibCSS and Duktape (JavaScript) are combined to create a simple and portable browser. NetSurf can be found on Atari, Haiku, Linux, RISC OS and other systems. I've also found it a few times on my journay through alternative operating systems (about which I still have to write in this blog). It's the portable, small browser.

Servo

This is one that I like a lot personally. A noval web engine written in Rust. There is currently no full-fledged browser application that uses it. But there is a GUI demo that allows to test the engine with any URL. In my experience, web sites with elaborate design that make use of different layout rules and a lot of JavaScript tend to render better with Servo than with a current Ladybird (LibWeb, LibJS). Support for CSS3 rules is also better than with the small browsers NetSurf and Dillo. The potential is more readibly visible with this one compared to other new projects. Maybe the fact that browsers based on Servo only exist for specific devices is responsible for it being less known than Ladybird. No wonder Mozilla sucks up Serve during their project to replace parts of Gecko with re-implementations in Rust. I guess eventually there will be no big difference between the two engines.

Text-based web browsers are probably not an option for most users. Most web sites are designed for a graphic layout only and even when a page is structured well and can be read with a screen reader, seeing people usually prefer a GUI to a text-based interface. But if you want or a use case requires it, text browsers like links2 or lynx are also worth checking out, of course. Another thing that I'd like to mention here because it could be considered an alternative web browser are auditory browsers. But this entry is meant to be about browser engines, not browsers. Otherwise there would be many more projects that I should mention (browsers with a small user base, forks of Firefox, browsers for quick keyboard use).

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7

Consciousness is such a heavy topic that, even if I keep clear of actually trying to address the so-called hard problem, writing anything on it feels like I'm over-stretching my copetence in both science and philosophy. But I've decided to be confident enough to type out some of my thoughts an how the subject is discussed.

The topic interests me on an academic hobby level. Consciousness in dreams especially is something that I've read and thought a lot about and experimented with over years. Really explaining the nature of the brain-tingling that a good philosophical chain of thoughts gives me would take a lot longer than I'm prepared to spend writing this entry and would probably produce enough related sentences to write a book about it. Suffice it to say I'm interested - among other things - in how experiences and thereby people's realities change when input is filtered differently by the brain that processes the input (more of less or differently consciously).

One reason why I find it hard to structure thoughts around the topic is because of the definition of consciousness. There is none that encopasses all the cases where it is regularly used with the assumption that the meaning of the word in the context it is used in is clear, or obvious. That is OK in principle. And I've decided to do thew same here and not define it in any way, for simplicity. But when discussing the topic academically, when writing a paper on a related subject or when writing a book on it (with an academic target audience or not), a definition that prefaces the presentation of any concept or theory is necessary to allow for a productive discussion. Without a definition on such a varied subject interesting things may be said on it. But it's complicated to impossible to discuss them in a structured way or to do epirical reasearch on them. In other words, they lose some very important possibilities of being useful above entertainment. That is probably why a definition usually is brought forth in such publications. But not always. Introducing a concept on most other topics doesn't require the author to first define what they think the field of research actually is about. But such a requirement inheres - in my opinion - in discussing the subject of consciousness; something that can be experienced by somebody who agrees to the fact that they are experiencing it (according to some definitions) but who at the same time argues that it (according to some definitions) may not exist as a distinguishable state. I've seen a panel discussion once where two of the participants discovered their diverging definitions of consciousness in regards of what they wanted to talk about that day halfway through the discussion, which lead them to agree to every seemingly contradicting statements based on the assumption that they each other were the expert on what they were talking about. That was a funny and useful one compared to other panel discussions that muddle ideas and thoughts on the topic by mixing concepts that are not reconcilable with each other.

I'll leave it at that for now because I don't want to actually say anything about consciousness before producing a formal definition, which, in confusion over different views on what consciousness is, I'm not prepared to do.

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6

I like to recommend movies. Because I like to discover movies that serve me as a source of a good mystery, an emotional journey, or fun. But it's not easy to recommend some film to somebody with a different taste than me, which is everybody that I know. But I think it is pretty likely that you will like this recommendation - if you take the time to follow it.

Something like three years ago I've started to watch the titles on the then current IMDb Top 250 Movies list. The way I do it is to keep the next 8 to 16 titles with me, ready to watch when I like to. When I'm not in the mood for a movie, find it booring or for other reasons not worth following through, I skip to the next one but keep the skipped movie to give it at least another two chances. That way I always have at least some very good movies with me, ready to be watched, even when I'm travelling or have no access to the internet. I started this because there are some very well known and very popular movies that I had never watched and I didn't know if that's because of a preonception or not. I'm slowly going through the classics of all genres. Even the horror movies I at least watch for a while. Although I say that horror is not for me, there are some very good ones that I enjoyed in a way. I've watched Casablanca and North By Northwest and get those references now and I know that I don't need to watch them again. I get to see some Chinese and Indian movies that I would have never had the idea to check out. I've seen 12 Years a Slave and To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time and now their relevance now. So many other great movies that I had missed out on for a long time for various reasons. I've eaven discovered some movies that really are for me but I've never heard of before, like Paris, Texas and Jagten. Again, all the classics people from different generations expect others to know, like and Psycho, are in the reportoir of comparisons I can make now. From some I learned pieces of history, like from Hotel Rwanda and Gandhi. Some Anime like Hotaru no haka and Kimi no na wa., I would probably have never watched if they weren't rated that highly. ANd in between all of that, I get to watch many of my favourite movies as well as very good movies that I haven't seen since I was much younger.

I don't watch all of them, by far. And that is where I'll stop naming titles in pairs, or at all. I just don't like some movie styles and others are too boring or too far outside of my reality (without any element that keeps my interest up otherwise) and so I abandon them after a couple of attempts to make me interested. I'm not through yet. There are still many classics coming up. And even now there are new titles on the current list, like Oppenheimer and Joker, that I know I'd like to watch. So either when I will be through my list, I'll look at the then current one and see if I want to catch up or start anew. Because many if these movies are worth wathing again after five years.

In my experience, watching one after one of these movies has been a great way to discover new movies of very high quality, rediscover old gems, get to know classics and re-watch favourites because it is a relatively broad list. Not one that is confined to genres, a time period or a culture that I'm familiar with and that I already know has movies that I like.

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5

There is this thing that I've noticed happen when I'm speaking about something I've heard or read about but don't feel like an expert on. I believe that one should not spread information unless one truely understands it as well as how the information was gathered, what knowledge it builds on, what relevance and meaning it has in the context it likely will be applied in by the person who receives the information, and a few other principles that are hardly possible to honour every time. Those principles cannot be applied to everday conversations like smalltalk, without eliminating the interaction. (That's another topic, though.) So I don't apply them in general conversations with colleagues and customers and often overlook them in conversations with friends and other peers. So it is almost inevitable that I at some point say something I'm not 99.99% sure is correct the way I present it. It happens a lot with "interesting facts" and "what most people don't know". What happens then is that I feel in the wrong to some degree - because I have not made absolutely sure that I'm neither wrong nor going to be misunderstood - while the person I'm speaking to (if they see me as a peer, take me serious and are listening to me) takes what I say as new information and fits in into what they already know and believe. They don't know about the tiny feeling of guilt that I have. So I am regularly surprised when I speak to someone and seem to influence their set of beliefs inadvertently.

How to convince somebody of something is quite a complicated question psychologically. I've read enough about it to know that and to know that I'm not interested in learning how to do it in any professional way (or with style). But there are some interesting aspects to know about how easily people can change their mind in some situations and how tough it is to make somebody change their mind in others.

There was an experiment done that is often referred to in social media sometimes as an interesting bit of knowledgle and sometimes as an argument of an almost political nature, hinting at the stubbernness or irrationality of people with different beliefs (usually beliefs that deverge from the widely accepted set of scientific knowdlege). The simplified conclusion of this study is often presented as this: Presenting a person with a firm belief evidence that their belief is factually wrong makes it even stronger (see Backfire Effect). The conclusion that people draw from this sometimes is: Arguing rationally with somebody with an irrational belief will have the opposite from the intended effect. That is not usually true, though. Not only are cases where that happened rare even in the study that is referred to, the effect could also not be replicated when several researchers tried.

Sometimes I come across a person and learn of a belief of theirs that I find problematic for some reason or another. An extremist attitude to societies basic questions, fascist ideas formulated into political demands, a conspiracy narrative that results in hostile behaviour, things like that. These are usually beliefs with a large foundation that was built over years if not decades and they are often embedded in a world view that justifies and explains anything that might appear to others to oppose ethical code or the reasoning behind the belief. But "often" is not "always". And even if those things are the case is the assumption that simple, rational arguments won't have a positive effect is an erroneous one that is made too quickly. Yes, it seems like a hard undertaking to craft responses that take the opposite of your own beliefs into account properly, not as the hallucination of the enemy camp but as an equal to your own opinion. It also feels like the work necessary to formulate a response that foresees all the expectable counter-arguments and to answer all the antagonistical follow-up questions. That's the things I expect to be confronted with after objecting to something somebody said in a conversation. Correctly so. But if forging a plan to optimally convince the opponent to abandon a belief of theirs is not what I want to do, then it's not necessary to put that much work into it. You can just respond honestly with a simple thought and even end the conversation if it becomes too cumbersome. When a topic has an emotional component, it's easy to forget that keeping this on the level of a regular conversation with no expectation that it will have any meaning to anybody other than passing time.

The insight that I keep having and intend to remember in applicable situations more often is that it is not necessary but possible to convince somebody to take on a different view on something. My mind is not short of explanations and explanation attempts from opposite viewpoints and I'm ready to share them with others to encourage a broadening of their thinking. If it's my own view, a belief based on my own experience, I'm often more reluctant to share it if it opposes somebody else's belief. But it is worth it. Provided both conversing parties bring forth the necessary trust to take other's assertions seriously, a calm, rational objection is far better than cutting the topic short. The latter can easily have the same effect as saying something like "Oh, you're one of those." Derogatory remarks should be avoided just like dismissing a concern, be it ever so irrational. Ignoring an argument for being too absurd or discrediting a source without a reason, talking down or being in any way not as respectful as you would like to be treated yourself in an emotional discussion will not get you closer to invoking insight nor to learning something useful yourself. Those aren't new ideas. The realisation that is, as a conscious insight, new to me, is that I'm far more likely to influence somebody's thinking than I assumed. If a respectful discussion can't be maintained for after small talk got out of the area of the mundane, I don't need to maintain it any longer. One sincere offer of a different view on something is better than none, and better than one with a snarky remark about anti-science belief systems appended, which will likely not make your conversational partner want to think about any of what you said. Say something positive and let it sink it. The hours and even night after you talked can do a lot for making a new idea a familiar one that can or needs to be integrated with ones world view.

I will not continue to give tips on how to convince people of anything. That's not what this entry was supposed to be about. And I'm not experienced enough to give good tips. But I want to leave a book referral here. I can't recommend it, because I haven't read it. But it appears to me that Lee McIntyre knows what he's talking about in his book "How to Talk to a Science Denier". I conclude that from what he says in book introduction (YT, IV.

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4

Here's a controversal conviction that I've developed over the past couple of years: Humans are not able to operate a car savely at road speeds. Ergo, humans should not be allowed to drive.

I drive a lot in my current job. I may not be the best of drivers for many reasons but I tend to accept and abide by the rules if in doubt (and in general, because that's what rules are for). I've learned to save gas and breaks by coasting just right. I've learned to adjust my speed not only to road conditions but also to amount and type of traffic. I don't use apps that warn of speed cameras or police check points because I don't have to. I drive sensibly. I'm not payed more if I get to the customer earlier. I gain quality of life if I drive calmly and defensively. By the measurements that I learned in driving school, I'm a relatively good driver. In practice, when I share a road with other drivers, in the real world, I don't think I can count as a good driver though.

Most people seem to make their own rules for the road and assume that everybody will drive by their rules. They drive 5 km/h over, 10 km/h over, 20 km/h over. They assume a right to overtake because they chose to drive 50 km/h over the limit. They expect you to jump a red light if it's been red for less than two seconds. They assume right of way if no sign reminds them of the rules. Not everybody does all of those things. Most people try to respect the rules as they are put down by law (maybe except driving 5 km/h over). But some people, sometimes, follow their own rules, which is when everybody who doesn't gets in their way. That is often argued to be aproblem of "those drivers" being selfish, stupid and/or respectless. But the truth is likely that all of the people who sometimes drive according to their own rules do so because they are convinced that it's the right thing to do. In fact sometimes drivers spend thousands of Euros to argue in court that their own rules where the right ones to follow as opposed to the ones written down in the relevant law. They get angry and frustrated at people who strictly respect the official rules as the other way around. Of course I'm simplifying a lot here to make my point. I'm not describing any particular example for that reason. But I reckon most people don't break rules and make it harder for others on purpose. Two exceptions: Some people sometimes do have the intention to harm others and try to do so by driving a car. And people sometimes spontaniously decicde to provoke other drivers after they felt provoked or feel like somebody should do something about the behaviour of another driver. I can't say anything about the first exception. That's not the topic of this entry. The second exception I'll come back to later when I talk about stress.

So, when driving intend to drive sensibly according to the rules they deem the correct set, and still clash with other drivers, as it constantly happens on busy reads, that means that either simply setting up rules and hoping that everybody will follow them as well as possible isn't enough or that people are always going to make their own rules. I think the latter is close to the trouth considering the amount of work that goes into trying to make people abide by the defined rules (teaching classes, enforcing physically, convincing by extra signs, commercials, punishment, …).

It is so common for drivers to breaks the rules that certain rules are expected to be broken by the vast majority of drivers most of the time. Driving below or at the speed limit is a very easy way to tease other traffic participants. Driving 100 or 80 km/h in the rain where that is required by law is seen as traffic obstruction by most people. Not stopping at a stop sign in a driving test will immediately revoke your chance of getting a licence. But stopping at a stop sign after you got your license tells others that you're a bad driver or an ass. Hardly anybody ever does it. Good driving doesn't only come down to following the rules like I may have made it sound just now. But the fact that despite all the investments some people see the rules as something that should be generally followed and others drive with the assumption that some rules obviously will and should not be followed creates a constant conflict that seems almost impossible to resolve. Maybe truely impossible as long as so many so different infdividuals control cars on the same road.

Another thing, probably the more important one when it comes to explaining why I believe that humans can not drive cars acceptably well, is how hostile male drivers become when driving under stress. And people are stressed. Working full while also having a life is regularly stressful and I don't need to list the range of hundrets of reason why people get overly stressed every day. It's a point that's often made: People chance character when driving a car. They are capable of atrocious thoughts when driving under stress. They are easy to develop hate at other road participants without being able to communicate much with them. It's a known problem. Men build up rage while driving unless they do some really stupid thing. Knowing about your own tendency to react that way to other drivers being on the same road you're going on doesn't prevent you from reacting with anger to repeated small inconsistancies in other drivers behaviours. And with contempt at people who make up their own rules and ignore your rule set. And with hate to manouvers that you see as an indication of a respectless attitude in other drivers. And with rage at the constant occurance of such situations.

Of course rage is not a constant state while driving. And you might say that, all in all, it does seem to work out relatively well because people aren't having accidents every other day. Accidents with injuries are rare with modern cars. But I think that ####### injuries and ######### deaths per year are about 100 % more than it should be. Above that though, I think that the hostility and trauma that driving under stress generates constantly, whether you are one of the agressive ones or one who swollows without externalising your anger, is enough reason to prohibit humans from driving cars at speeds abover 20 km/h. But of course that is unrealistic. Too late, after humans have been driving cars since they exist.

The common assumption seems to be that this problem will solve itself when selfdriving cars become a common reality and over the then following 20 years most cars will be replaced with ones that don't require a human driver anymore. Only poor people will drive themselves, and later only vintage car enthusiasts. But That's still science fiction. Closer than ever, yes. But not a reality that is here yet, and possibly not even on the horizon.

The solution is simple: Make driving illegal. Force people to find other ways of getting where they need to go. People have to walk more, drive bikes and if they want to ride carriages with horsed more often and for more practical reasons than nowadays. The economy will collapse from the sudden change what's possible at short notice. But the problem that people drive badly will be solved.

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Writing To Think
2

Over the last two years or so I slowly realised that blogging is something that I want to do mor often. Or writing in general. Often it was when I read other people's personal blogs that that realisation became a little push. One blog post in particular helped me realise what sort of mental processing the acttivity of writing evokes. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find it to link to it from here. Instead, here is another short blog post on the topic: "The two kinds of writing" by Herman Martinus. The principle that writing forces you to think wasn't an entirely new one to me. I just hadn't ever deemed it relevant to my life before and so never thought about it. Maybe I still haven't properly, because I never forced myself to do so for more than a minute at a time. But I'm writing about it now, so …

In a way, writing forces you to think like explaining something to somebody else forces you to understand what you want to explain first. Sometimes it is in the middle of a conversation that I realise: What I'm saying, or was about to say, is actually not a well thought through concept; but I hadn't realised this before because I never properly thought about it. But the conversation usually flows on. Even if you do take the time to think something through before you continue to talk, somebody else will likey use the pause to interject what they think at that moment. At least most people tend to do that. But when I write, I can pause however long I want, think about what I was about to say, what words are the best to describe what I know already but have never expressed, think about the relevance of my next thought and in what context it stands to what I wrote beforeand so on. I can fact-check something, search for a name, title or quote, read what I've written so far and in general take the time that I need overthink my thoughts before they are out there. That doesn't mean that I always do all of this for everything that I write. For example I often don't re-read immedietely after I wrote something, which leads to a lot of typos living permanently in my blog. I don't research what I write about for a post like this. But to put things into words and to structure thoughts itself already benefits my thinking. It takes a long time for me to write. Even a sentence like the last one can have several pauses and a tree of thoughts that may all end up being bretty much irrelevant to finishing the sentence. But I couldn't have known that for sure before thinking them through. I'm a slow writer, which is part of the reason why I don't write as much as I did when I worked less hours. For a long time though I didn't realise that writing it itself can be a recreational activity and that the very reason why I write so slowly is something that can help me in my life. Granted, with a topic like this, I'm not getting much therapeutic out of it. It's mainly throttling my perfectionist-like attitude on forming sentences that slows me down, as well as dismissing thoughts that I eventually regard as not belonging in the entry. But who knows what some of those thoughts can do in the future. Having had them once may help me make the right connection in a completely different situation some day. But when writing a diary, forcing yourself to think about things can do a lot to set you onto a track to improve your life.

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At least 100 new entries will be published here over the next year.
1

I'll write more regularly here from now on. I won't have more to say than in the past. My thoughts put into words won't be more interesting or important than before. Nor will I have more time or deem writing blog entries more important. The only thing that has changed is that I have decided to write a new entry more often for a year, starting now. After the year: Who knows!

The idea that I'm following with this is that of #100DaysToOffload, a project - apparently started by Kev Quirk - that encourages to make exactly the decision that I just made. I feel that it is just the right form and amount of goal-setting that I need right now. It is voluntary: I'm not forced to do it by anything other than my will to do so. It's free: Nobody tells me what to write, or how long posts must be, or about what. It's forgiving: I don't need to have a 365 or 100 day streak or stick to a strict plan or routine throughout the year. But it's challenging nonetheless: If I would like to be able to sincerely feel that I have accomplished this goal, I need to do something about it multiple times a week. I need to take it seriously and not put it off for a week or two. The routine and fixed plan that I'm glad is not predefined by the challange will have to emerge sooner or later if I don't want this to turn into a new source of constant stress in my life.

I found this idea (and indeed the necessary nudge to write this here entry), from JCProbably's note from yesterday, which kicked off their #100DaysToOffload. This is how I found that note coincidentally: I subscribe to the blog of Herman Martinus. He wrote and runs the blogging platform Bear, which is, judging from the output it produces, a really neat, clean, lightweight, no-nonsense, cool weblogging tool, in case you've never checked it out. Sometimes when I read a post of his I take the time to see what else has been written on his platform recently. Just to give myself the chance to discover something new sometimes. And there on the discovery feed of Bear was the title I’ve been living inside my head too much, which got slightly tangled in some of my neurons when I read it. That feeling always makes me interested enough to click something. And in the case of a Bear blog entry, it's always a safe click without either bate or hate. It's generally a very friendly platform.

I don't know yet what I will write about in the coming year. The character of the blog will not change because I write more. Or maybe it will, if you consider the fact that absence of character is what my blog so far amounts to. Then more regular writing may allow the blog to develop its character in the first place. Anyway; There will be shitposts, incomplete posts, lots of typos, short thoughts and unfinished

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Pinkie Pie Laptop Back Light Mod

I once had an HP Compaq 6710b. A typical 15 inch business laptop from 2014: A Core2 Duo, 4 GB, thick and reliable. Thin laptops are nice. But I like about thick, older laptops how well they took a fall on a hard object or a hit with a hard object. There used to be a thick plastic cover followed by an even thicker layer of space before the backlight and the actual LCD panel start. Enough room to make all sorts of fun case mods easy.

Those were the laptop screen covers.

So, what I wanted to do is put a piece of transparent plastic in there, engrave something onto it and light is with colouful LEDs from the side to make the engraved lines light up.

This is the type of look that I initially had in mind. The light from the LEDs enters the sheet from the side and becomes visible to somebody viewing from the front, in places where it is refracted by a rough spot.

I removed the cover and used a Dremel-like tool with a thin burr to cut along a line that I had drown on with a felt pen. But before I continued I learned that the way the LCD backlight apparently works is that it not only lights through a diffusor sheet to cover the whole LCD evenly, but also towards the back, where the light gets reflected by a sheet of aluminium back towards the front. So, in order to make the whole light up pink, as I intended, I had to cover the backlight first so the white light from the backlight wouldn't drown out my pink LEDs. I decided to go the easier way and use the white light and forget about my pink LEDs.

The piece that I cut out. (The scrap.)

After I had cut out the hole in the back cover in the shape that I wanted, I put the cover back on the screen to see how the image looks with a whole in the back cover. I couldn't notice any spots or any difference to before whatsoever. So instead of thinking of a way to mount the LEDs and bring a wire up to them, I found a pink piece of transparent plastic (a slim CD case), cut out a piece a bit larger than the hole that I made in the cover, and engraved my picture into that.

White shines the light of the back. Of the light shines back the white shine. Shine of white light shines back the shine. Shine, shine, white light; back of the shine, the shine. Shine shine the shine shine of the back light white shine.

I don't remember exactly why. But additionally to the pink plastic with Pinkie Pie engraved into, I put in a piece of linen-ish cloth. That's where the line structure comes from.

This is how it looks like after glueing both pieces onto the inside of the screen cover and putting the cover back on.

And this is how it looks like turned in, from the view of someboding sitting across of the opened laptop, looking at the back cover of the screen.

I used this laptop for some more time, then gave it away when I got a new one. (I think it was because the keyboard started to fail and I felt it was time for a new one.)

That was the first anything that I engraved into a plastic sheet with the intention to light it. Next in the evolution of me engraving things into sheets of plastic with the intention of lighting them are these LED pictures of My Little Ponies

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