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CHIRP on Python3

https://github.com/mpoletiek/chirp-gentoo

chirp-gentoo

A custom repository for CHIRP, a tool for configuring HAM radios.

What’s Different?

The official CHIRP project does not support Python 3 and depends on pygtk which hasn’t seen a stable release since April 2011.

chirp-gentoo is a fork of the py3 branch of the official CHIRP project with some syntax fixes leftover from Python2.

The Story

When I first started using Gentoo again CHIRP was still a part of the main Gentoo Portage Repository.

Eventually Gentoo began migrating away from Python2 and due to a lack of movement in the official project it was removed from the official Gentoo repository.

I still needed to configure my radios and maintain an up to date Gentoo desktop so I cloned the py3 branch from the official CHIRP project and fixed a few syntax errors leftover from Python2 and everything worked great.

I was able to download an image from my BF-F8HP, fully reconfigure it and upload the new image back to my radio.

Repo Source (Forked From)

Bugs and Patches Submitted to Official Project

Related Bugs in Gentoo

Social Media, Platforms, Government, and the New Frontier

The Beginning

In the beginning the Internet was full of promise. With the advent of the Internet, Humanity began connecting and communicating in ways that were never available before. Individuals from across the globe with various backgrounds and casts, were able to meet each other, share ideas, and get exposed to things that inspired us to reach for the stars. 

Innovation exploded. Open Source projects that allowed practically anonymous contributions from millions around the world and accepted based on quality, escalated our technology to levels only dreamed about in science fiction novels. 

A new frontier was discovered and every generation that followed jumped head first into the future. 

The Challenge

Over time, it became apparent that the greatest value this new technology provided was communication and the ability to share ideas and content. Developers built platforms that enabled them to communicate quickly and efficiently in order to make changes to their source code as fast as possible. However, the rest of the world was still operating outside of these systems and needed to communicate more subjectively.

There was no formula yet for how the average person would communicate with the rest of the world, and many platforms were created to solve this problem. MySpace started out as a place for musicians to share their music. VampireFreaks began as a place for alternative culture to connect and share interests specific to them. Forums for everything from body-building, to photography popped up on the internet. Still, it took a while for a platform to be created that could be a place for people from the entire spectrum of personalities and interests to be created. Even in its beginning, Facebook targeted university students. 

Eventually Twitter allowed people to connect with each other using keywords known as hashtags. This became the first place where individuals could show up en-mass and self-organize and communicate about what was important to them. The end result was a demonstration of it’s power and the world witnessed its catalytic powers during the Arab Spring.

Following Twitter, Facebook allowed the use of hashtags as well, and create user-groups that could promote and speak for themselves. 

This newfound technology, now known as Social Media, became so popular that it is now the primary method of human communication for everything from news, to business, to keeping in touch with family and friends. 

The Problem

To deliver this technology to the people all over the world, these technologies needed corporate sponsorship. 

Companies were created that could satisfy humanities demand for the instant, global social network that would catapult social issues and injustices into the forefront of business, politics, and local & federal governments globally.

These companies still operated within a traditional economy and were required to generate a profit. Even the most benevolent of organizations can’t operate with their books in the red forever. 

To corporations the caveat was that the market was already used to the experimental nature of internet engineers, and the Open Source philosophy. Even though users never stopped to think why they could access these platforms for free, while every other service in the traditional economy had charged a minimum, they never questioned what they were signing up for. Corporations couldn’t begin to ask for payment for using their platforms, and instead asked for ownership of the data users generated on their platforms. 

Often these demands were buried in long, complicated, and cryptic legal Terms of Service & Privacy Policies. The details are the subject of a complex, evolving debate in current times. However, to the general public it’s assumed that essentially every piece of information created on these platforms, unless explicitly stated, are property of the platform owner and they can do with it whatever they please.

This gave the corporations owning these platforms a business model. They could now essentially sell either the data itself, or access and insights into what the data says about their users. With ownership of the data, platforms began adjusting strategies to compete for users by providing them the most personalized and addicting experience possible.

Users were no longer aware of how their data was being used as they became more and more intimate with their choice of platforms.

The insights gleaned from hundreds of millions of individuals and their intimate lives were powerful. Demand for these insights grew exponentially outside the realm of the basic goods & services economy. Over time other stakeholders became interested in the power of these insights. Governments and stock markets readily paid for access to individuals in their most intimate moments.

The individual was powerless and had absolutely no rights to say how their data was used once it was created on the platform. This created a situation where a digital form of feudalism became the norm. Serfs (the lowest class of a feudal society) had no way of operating outside these platforms and had no rights to the value they generated. That value (information) was now the most coveted commodity on the planet.

The Response

While the economy and supply chains were going digital, innovation was now being funded by large corporations and financial institutions. The most desired commodity on the planet shifted from food and energy, to information and the users that create it. 

The new market demanded for individuals to contribute globally, by generating information as value instead of goods and services. Ultimately, this created a social and economic rift between the resourceful and the general public who’s only method of sustenance was a traditional economy. 

Job creation slowed as automation creeped into every part of the human supply chain. Investments shifted from traditional businesses to technology first businesses. Very few new jobs replaced the old ones. Platforms that were supposed to distribute global audiences, instead funneled them to a few particular platforms where content was created and shared. 

Diversity slowly gave way to algorithms that suggested what the majority of people would consume, instead of letting the individual explore on their own. These algorithms were created using the data generated by the users they fed suggestions to. The end result was a feedback loop that resembled an exponential echo chamber. 

The individuals who felt the most pain and suffering were the ones prevented from interacting in this new world. Instead their rhetoric devolved into extremist ideals that were nurtured by organizations that depended on the sensationalism to further their own agendas. 

The rise of populism began prior to 2016, but was cemented with social shifts in governments around the world.

Out of fear, the individuals and corporations that controlled the platforms began to censor their users. This reaction resulted in ostracizing half or more of humanity against itself. Both sides refused to allow any healing to be accomplished on unselfish terms. 

The ideals of democracy, free speech, and other civil liberties gave way to the desire to absolutely destroy anything that didn’t resemble one’s self, experienced and expressed within that exponential echo chamber.

Ideas like Privacy, which were once discussed as a common knowledge, have become all but synonymous with heresy. Fundamental truths about nature and how the world works are targets for identifying one’s enemy and providing all the excuse needed to continue to enforce global ostracization. 

Without access to the platforms needed to continue to progress as a species, essential organs of the larger body are completely incapable of functioning.

With the platforms controlled by a central authority, it’s impossible to make the right decision for the whole. 

The greatest gift of communication humanity has ever been given, has become the source of it’s most critical illness. A new balance must be discovered if it is to survive. 

The Solution

Even though the political and societal issues of the day are daunting and infect everything an individual does, the communities that began this innovative wildfire still exist today and continue to produce valuable, quality products that augment and improve upon the solutions in production. 

Today, technologies exist that allow platforms humanity depend on to be decentralized. Democracies can be re-established in the digital landscape, with new borders that enable users to be heard louder and clearer than ever before. 

We don’t need to submit indefinitely to the kings of the current platforms. We can build our own, or shift the architectures of the current to allow for individuals to own their data and take back their rights. Also, users can dictate how, where, and when their data is used on the platform. 

A decentralized platform can serve the people better than any centralized one ever could. Resources to produce and provide the platform can easily be generated by the users simply using it. 

These new decentralized platforms could not only become self-governing, member-owned organizations, but complete digital sovereignties that can serve the larger body of humanity by informing and acting on the behalf of its members. 

The Dream

To start, the first member-owned, decentralized platforms will provide its users with everything they need to communicate as normal. This will include the privacy, security, and stability of their corporate, centralized counterparts. 

These platforms will evolve over time to provide the fundamental framework for others to create their own platforms and groups to connect and establish identities that align with the desires of the whole. 

They will govern themselves, and exist as long as they are relevant. Empowered individuals will come and go as they please, generating value where they see fit, to satisfy their own demands and therefore the demands of others. 

These platforms will become the modern form of human organization and governance, superseding states and corporations in the long run.

The Prince

Picked this book up to try to gain some insight into current times.

My opinion is that it seems that the human race is entering into a new way of organizing and governing itself with newfound technologies and the powers who rule those technologies acting very similar to the kings and empires of the 15-16th centuries.

The Prince is a treatise by our favorite (and probably original) political theorist; Niccolo Machiavelli.

The text concerns the ruling of Principalities (by Princes of course) and considers the rise and fall of various types of Principalities and the Princes who ruled them.

Niccolo obviously leverages his experience of the times in which he lived, as well as ancient history of Rome.

It was interesting to consider how this applies today as I found parallels between Principalities of Niccolo’s time and today’s Corporations.

Some additional parallels are drawn in articles discussing a new “Digital Feudalism” like the one below.

https://towardsdatascience.com/digital-feudalism-b9858f7f9be5?gi=d28866976895

While reading this book, I decided to watch “The Borgias” which was a TV Series that aired years ago.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1582457/

Niccolo Machiavelli plays a role in the TV Series, which made reading the book even more entertaining.

I discovered, while reading it, that the book itself is quite controversial. I found this ironic, because a lot of the blame for this controversy was placed on the author himself, while I was reading it with the understanding that Niccolo was merely a man who observed and studied the politics of his time and that the blame for any controversy should fall squarely on the shoulders of those who committed these controversial acts.

Working in Corporate America today, it was quite ironic that I found so many parallels between the way leadership within the corporation acts & how Niccolo expressed how Princes should act back in the 1500’s.

Certain things stuck out immediately. The idea that a Prince should be viewed to be benevolent, yet feared struck a chord. It’s obvious that an individual cannot hold both ideas in their head regarding a single individual at any point of time, yet Niccolo explains how it’s important that a prince should be viewed differently depending on who is doing the observing. In this situation, the nobles or more influential individuals within a society should fear the Prince, yet the general populous, or those who server the nobles, should view the Prince as benevolent.

Another parallel I found was when Niccolo was explaining how it might be beneficial to keep the most powerful nobles from gaining more influence within his Principality. One tactic being to play one Noble against the other, while keeping them both within their influence. I see this at play everyday in Corporate America.

Overall it was a short, yet wordy and valuable lesson in politics of the 1500’s and ironically, today.

Over the Edge of the World

This book was alright.

I decided to pick this book up because of all the innovation happening in Space Travel today. I was hoping to find some parallels between today and another time in humanity’s past when a new frontier was within our grasp.

It was enjoyable to learn how most people viewed the frontier of that time, that common knowledge regarding the other side of the world was a combination of experience influenced by myth and how the overall lack of real knowledge was filled in by entertaining guesses and while the lack of credibility was well known, it was generally accepted as truth.

I supposed in the absence of real knowledge, humanity will grasp onto whatever makes the most sense to the current culture and priorities of the time.

The overall story of Magellan’s venture around the world was a bit anti-climactic. I was a little disappointed in how the summary and reviews kept referring to some of the most exciting bits of the journey, while the book seemed to gloss over them like the most exciting parts where the least important and hardly worth mentioning. Perhaps, this is similar to movies that are ruined by the previews.

Having read Moby Dick, the details of life at sea weren’t anything new, but I wondered if another reader would be able to appreciate the sacrifices these men were making.

The ingenuity of Magellan was a mystery the entire book. There wasn’t much said about his previous life and/or how he came to be a respected captain in a foreign country where the culture was all but outright hostile. After reading the book I could only assume he was extremely charismatic and downright lucky. This could explain his lack of real character in the end.

The most value I got from this book was the historical political context. It was interesting to learn about the political dynamics between Spain and Portugal. Even then, there wasn’t a lot said.

I’m glad I read the book, since it’s a story for the times, but I suppose I might have been expecting too much. The author himself details how little information there actually is on it and how the voyage’s main biographers seem extremely biased when it comes to some of the most important events.

Perhaps it’s a lesson than sometimes we just get lucky. Sometimes the most important events in humanity’s history are the results of a few lucky men.

WAR on the RUN

John Ross captures one of the most unique views of the American Frontier in this intense novel of Robert Rogers and the French and Indian War.

When I mention this book and The Frontier to most people they imagine Louis & Clark which occurs a good 40 years later after the United States had established its independence. This book describes a world in its infancy, long before exploring the frontier was even a possibility in the minds of the general population. John’s version of the frontier begins when colonial relations with the Native Americans are budding and new. The potentials of the frontier and its inhabitants has yet to be imagined.

If the setting isn’t enough John gives us the life and legend who is Robert Rogers. The original small unit commander, Robert Rogers arguably created the original special forces combat unit. Leveraging his unique knowledge of the landscape and culture of the natives, he was able to infiltrate deep enough into enemy territory to forever redefine modern warfare. To this day the US Army Ranger handbook includes his original rules of ranging.

Don’t sleep beyond dawn. Dawn’s when the French and Indians attack.

US Army Ranger Handbook

Roger’s story spans the colonial French and Indian War which occurred from 1754 to 1763. These 7 years of violence, which was arguably lit by America’s George Washington as a young commander in the British Army, wrapped up Robert and his family at a young age when his father’s orchard was torched by raiding French and Native Americans.

Rogers quickly impressed the British with his knowledge of the landscape and ability to conduct diplomacy with the Native Americans. As a provincial in the British military his successes ultimately turned the tide of the war for the British. He was able to consistently recruit additional provincials to the cause as well as establish the essential training program required to create the infamous Rogers Rangers which conducted patrols and won battles that went beyond the imagined capability of men at war.

The exploits of Robert Rogers and his rangers made him famous throughout the world. His infamy alone if not for his pedigree paired with success became the scorn of his British peers which were not born in the colonies. While the British commanders couldn’t win without him, they mostly refused to recognize him as a superior commander to themselves.

In the end Robert’s successes thrust him into a world of politics where he ultimately failed at basic tasks of administration and died a pauper.

Before death however, he was able to write a play about the frontier that positioned the Native Americans in a noble light focusing on the story of Chief Pontiac. This was a stark contrast to the popular opinion of the savages.

His journals were ultimately published in London and became the authoritative account of the Americas for a long time.

This account of Robert Rogers is the only one I’ve read, but its depth and knowledge of the setting and time as well as military life painted a vivid picture. This book taught me something about marksmanship in those times when I learned that flintlock rifles and carbines actually had a delay after the trigger was pulled and the flint struck before the gunpowder in the barrel was lit and the ball fired. This made Rogers Rangers much more impressive and impactful during the war as they were famed as great marksmen, able to hit a moving target at distance.

I highly recommend this book for people curious about the frontier. I picked it up by recommendation from a random bookseller when I was browsing the history section looking for something that could mirror today with the chaotic unknown inching closer and closer.

This is also a great book for those who are interested in military history as well as American history. I greatly appreciated the depiction of life as a colonial in those times who had to constantly balance their relations with Native Americans as well as the French and the British while attempting to forge a life for themselves and their families.

The descriptions of Military life in those times makes a modern veteran like myself really appreciate the sacrifices our ancestors made to create the world we live in today. Certain stories almost brought me to tears when I realized I would not be here without the selfless sacrifices of those men.

A lengthy book that doesn’t stop until its over. Read it today.