Firefox bug workaround – NS_ERROR_FILE_NO_DEVICE_SPACE

You probably don’t want to read this, unless you got here by googling the error message. Just a bug workaround, which I’ve backdated into the archives so it gets to exist somewhere online.

The problem: Most websites which use localstorage stop working. You look in the console, and find many errors NS_ERROR_FILE_NO_DEVICE_SPACE. But there is plenty of space on your hard drive

The solution: delete storage.sqlite in the firefox profile directory

What’s going on: the sqlite database that manages localstorage got corrupted (perhaps because the disk was full at some point). Delete the database and firefox will happily recreate it.

…At least, that’s what worked for me. No guarantees!

State of the World

It’s a comforting New Year ritual for me to read along with Bruce Sterling’s* annual State of the World discussion at the WELL.

This year is slightly more predictable than most because the obvious topics are so hard to avoid:

I had it figured that a failed coup would surely be followed by some kind of purge, but I didn’t get it that it would come from a united front of Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Youtube, Reddit, Twitch, Discord and Shopify….
Somebody – who?– got all these tech players on the same page and launched a simultaneous attack without a single rumor leaking beforehand.

But there is at least some of his usual attention to the rest of the world:

Prime Minister Modi, head honcho of India, has become the most attentive pupil of Xi Jinping of China. Modi is much impressed by Xi’s autocratic success, so Modi has become an adept China mimic: he numbers all the citizenry in the Aadhaar databank, he turns Kashmir into Xinjiang with all kinds of surveillance heavy-manners and Internet controls, he turns his BJP Party into Chinese-style party cadres, he cultivates his own Chinese-style cult-of-personality – step by step, Modi is constructing a Modi-centric Indian government that is “Chinese technocracy with Indian characteristics.”

(*) and other people, but Sterling is the main reason I keep coming back.

Blinded Historians

The problem with historians is that they know too much.

In particular, they know how things turned out. When you have the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to avoid simply assembling a narrative leading up to that result.

So I wish somebody would try doing blinded historical research.

Here’s how it would work. You want a historian to analyze the events and the forces at play in some historical context without knowing what comes next.

So you give them access to archives, newspapers, records – but only up to a certain date. They write their analysis of what is going on, and describe what they expect to happen next. Then you reveal what did happen, and compare it to the predictions.

The result? The historian can apply whatever methodology they like – and see how good it is at making predictions. Then you could apply the same methods in situations where you don’t know what will happen (e.g. the present), and have a ballpark idea of how much trust to put in it.