wiki status update, 27 May

The wikis went down on 9 May. After several false starts, I
think I have a sound plan to restore them, but it won’t happen until
this weekend (30-31 May) because of time constraints.

 All wikis on, including the Mentat Wiki and the Piecepack
Wiki, will be migrating from MoinMoin software
( to OddMuse software

 MoinMoin served us well for several years, but it is an overly complex
package and very difficult to maintain, upgrade, and — as it happens
— restore from backup.

 OddMuse is simple, robust, up-to-date, and has excellent antispam
measures. It can do just about everything our old software did and
more, including importing our old wiki pages, unchanged. No one I know
who has ever migrated from MoinMoin to OddMuse has regretted it.

 I will do everything I can to make the migration smooth, but wiki
users will probably have to touch up pages here and there. I will do
so as well. However, I am going to need a substantial stretch of
uninterrupted time to make this happen, and that’s why the migration
must wait until the weekend.

 Thanks for your understanding. I hope that when this is over, the wikis will be even more fun and useful than they were.

 Ron Hale-Evans


#Scrumble round 2 update + fun drinks in SF

[begin administrivia]

 Lion Kimbro and Limbic both scrumbled splendidly last round and it
would be great to see something from them again.

 Dave Howell commented to Marty a couple of days ago that he needs to
get his hack in. Scrumble first, pls.

 Marty Hale-Evans refuses to scrumble. How can we make it more fun for
her? I know she likes gin and tonics (also spelled jinnentaanix,

 OK, so far John Braley and Paul Snyder have “pre-pledged” to scrumble
this round Real Soon Now, but have yet to say anything: Come on,
dudes, drink up!

 John thinks the rules are confusing. These are the short rules for
your part in a round:

 1. Toast a principle you believe in.
2. Toast a person who embodies those principles.
3. Boast about one or more of your accomplishments.
4. Swear an oath that you’ll accomplish one or more deeds.

 For every deed you accomplish by the next scrumble round, you gain 1
honor. For every deed you don’t, you lose 1 honor.

 That’s it. The current full rules are here:

 [end administrivia]

 Now for the fun stuff. In my boast for the second scrumble round, I
said, ‘And I lift a tumbler filled with “a bracing mixture of
Confidence and Optimism” to myself”. I included a link to clarify my
allusion, but Posterous deleted it because it was between angle
brackets. So instead, here’s the actual quotation, from chapter 8 of
Permutation City by Greg Egan. The character in this scene is a
billionaire who has been uploaded into a virtual reality after his


 His dizziness had passed, but he strode into the library and poured
himself a drink from two cut-glass decanters, a bracing mixture of
Confidence and Optimism. With a word, he could have summoned up a
full mood-control panel — an apparition which always reminded him of
a recording studio’s mixing desk — and adjusted the parameters of his
state of mind until he reached a point where he no longer wished to
change the settings . . . but he’d become disenchanted with that
nakedly technological metaphor. Mood-altering “drugs,” here, could
function with a precision, and a lack of side effects, which no real
chemical could ever have achieved — pharmacological accuracy was
possible, but hardly mandatory — and it felt more natural to gulp
down a mouthful of “spirits” for fortification than it did to make
adjustments via a hovering bank of sliding potentiometers.

 Even if the end result was exactly the same.

 Thomas sank into a chair as the drink started to take effect — as a
matter of choice, it worked gradually, a pleasant warmth diffusing out
from his stomach before his brain itself was gently manipulated…


 I thought you might also enjoy the following conceptually similar
scene from Charles Stross’s sf novel Accelerando that was one of the
inspirations for Scrumble.


  “Say hello to the jellyfish, Boris.”

 Boris, in human drag, for once, glares at Pierre, and grips the
pitcher with both hands. The contents of the jug swirl their tentacles
lazily: One of them flips almost out of solution, dislodging an
impaled cocktail cherry. “Will get you for this,” Boris threatens. The
smoky air around his head is a-swirl with daemonic visions of

 Su Ang stares intently at Pierre who is watching Boris as he raises
the jug to his lips and begins to drink. The baby jellyfish – small,
pale blue, with cuboid bells and four clusters of tentacles trailing
from each corner – slips down easily. Boris winces momentarily as the
nematocysts let rip inside his mouth, but in a moment or so, the
cubozoan slips down, and in the meantime, his biophysics model clips
the extent of the damage to his stinger-ruptured oropharynx.

 “Wow,” he says, taking another slurp of sea wasp margaritas. “Don’t
try this at home, fleshboy.”

 “Here.” Pierre reaches out. “Can I?”

 “Invent your own damn poison,” Boris sneers – but he releases the jug
and passes it to Pierre, who raises it and drinks. The cubozoan
cocktail reminds him of fruit jelly drinks in a hot Hong Kong summer.
The stinging in his palate is sharp but fades rapidly, producing an
intimate burn when the alcohol hits the mild welts that are all this
universe will permit the lethal medusa to inflict on him.

 “Not bad,” says Pierre, wiping a stray loop of tentacle off his chin…


 Don’t Drink and Drive, but Do Drink and Do!


Second #Scrumble round begins

The second Scrumble round begins.

 I, Stormhair Rainbowbeard, hoist a thimble of glowing neophilia serum
to toast the principle of early adoption. If some folks weren’t
willing to try new systems that might work only halfway, technology
would slow and stop. Skål!

 And I lift Robbie Burns’s original cup of kindness to my
short-duration personal saviors Limbic and Lion, who embodied the
principle of early adoption when they courageously jumped skull-first
into Scrumble. Skål!

 And I lift a tumbler filled with “a bracing mixture of Confidence and
Optimism” to myself, for fulfilling
both of my pledges to (1) read the latest MoinMoin documentation
before the next scrumble, so as to reinstall the Mentat Wiki (there
were something like 150 pages of close print), and (2) read and
comment on any hack drafts that people send me, also before the next
scrumble. Skål! +2 to Stormhair Rainbowbeard.

 I also boast that Lion submitted his hack to me by 10 PM on the night
indicated. +1 to Lion.

 Woe to Limbic, for he did not submit his hack by his self-imposed
deadline, and scores a -1. The mere attempt was a mighty deed,
however, and he finished it a few days later.

 Since everyone started with 0, the scores now stand as follows:

 Stormhair: +2
Lion: +1
Limbic: -1
Everyone else: 0

 (New rule: the old Scrumblegiver calculates the scores, and the new
Scrumblegiver announces them during the next boasting round. In this
case, I’m both. It’s not surprising that the major stakeholder in the
project is scoring most of the points and continuing as

 Last, I lift a hefty crystal goblet with 13 grams of lysergic acid
diethylamide dissolved in champagne — enough to get me committed, for
commitment is the name of this game — to pledge my oaths, which I
will fulfill by the next scrumble round:

 1. I will write a Great Tale, with a lesser tale for everyone
partaking in the scrumble.
2. As before, I will comment on all hacks submitted to me. (Lion and
Limbic, check your hacks in Google Docs for my existing comments.)
3. I will submit at least two hack drafts to Marty, whether new, or
revised per her previous comments.

 Let this magic mead horn now pass from me…