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1281 interviews since 2009

A picture of Blackle Mori

Blackle Mori

Demoscener, artist, writer

in artist, developer, linux, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Blackle Mori, founder and resident shark girl at Suricrasia Online. I'm a demoscener, artist, and writer. I do a lot of random stuff on the internet, but most recently I've been making CSS Crimes on the website cohost.org, which are little HTML gizmos/games that only use inline CSS.

In my natural habitat you can find me at the Revision Demoparty, competing either in the 4kb executable graphics categories or in Shader Showdown - a competition where two programmers must write a GPU shader from scratch in 25 minutes.

I also maintain a directory of cursed computer knowledge, and I write fiction from time-to-time. I can be found on cohost, the fediverse and my nascent blog.

What hardware do you use?

I primarily use a sleeper PC I built inside a Cooler Master Wave Master case, both because I like the aesthetic, and also because I need an opaque case to block out the RGB lighting that nearly every computer part comes with these days. Inside the aforementioned case is an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-Core Processor, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and 64 gigabytes of RAM. I have a 2TB laptop drive for storage, and a Samsung SSD 980 for the OS and whatever projects I'm currently working on.

I generally put much less though into peripherals. I use a run-of-the-mill microsoft membrane keyboard with a mouse to match, as well as some random 1080p monitor. I've covered all of the logos at my workstation with black electrical tape so I've forgotten what most of them are. I use stereo speakers with a headphone plug so I can quickly switch between the two.

For audio recording I use a Blue Yeti (whose raised logo will not accept the black tape) and for video I use a random webcam I got from my local FreeGeek. For digital painting I have a Wacom Bamboo CTL-460 which I love. I fear the day that thing breaks, because it doesn't look like there's a reliable replacement on the market anymore.

I have a ThinkPad P14s which is mostly used by my girlfriend when she's over.

I use a Pixel 4a because you can get them for fairly cheap and they work quite well.

And what software?

I use Debian 10, which I am planning to upgrade to the latest version once I find a suitable gap in my schedule. All of my software choices are based on what ran well on my bargain basement laptop from 2008, when I started using Linux full time. I use the Awesome window manager with a configuration file I've been maintaining for about as long. The result is a UI whose buttons look a lot like NeXTSTEP.

I use Firefox as my web browser. I recently switched from Google Chrome due to the impending adblock-pocalypse. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to force Firefox to show all my tabs, since I generally have scores upon scores of them open and I don't like Firefox's tab scrolling UI. I've written a blog post on the topic if the same problem ails you.

For graphics I generally use GNU IMP for 2D editing, and Krita for digital painting (I love their brushes). I use Inkscape for vector graphics.

For 3D I use Blender, which I also use for video editing - it's the best video editor I've ever used on Linux!

I use Bonzomatic for shader live coding, but ShaderToy and Posh Brolly are always in arm's reach for when I'm working on something off-stage.

For programming I use a registered version of Sublime Text (a going-away present from some former coworkers, thanks guys!) and MATE Terminal running fish shell. Not a week goes by that I don't end up writing a shell one-liner for something.

For programming languages, my top choices for personal projects are Python or C. If I want to make a web-based gadget, I generally write everything by hand. I'm an ardent user of Vanilla JS.

I do all my writing in Google Docs, since I can't seem to find an equivalently-featured and lightweight rich text editor for Linux. The automatic syncing is really nice, too, I can't deny that.

To listen to music I use Quod Libet. To make music I use Audacity, LMMS, VCV Rack, and MilkyTracker.

I use Pinafore as the front-end for my self-hosted gotosocial instance.

My mobile life is very simple. I just use stock Android. I do use Nova Launcher with a theme that makes everything look like Windows 95. I just love raised borders and pixelated icons! The only other hint I'm a nerd is the Termux icon on my home screen.

As a sort of digital fidget toy, I play Texmaster 2009 on World/Sudden mode when I'm listening to a podcast or YouTube video. It's probably the most frequently executed UI program on my system.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm quite happy with the hardware I have, though the setting could use some work. My pipe dream is a demoparty that somehow never ends. I could live the eat/sleep/demo/repeat lifestyle, eating free hard-boiled easter eggs behind the E-Werk, sleeping on an inflatable mattress behind the projector screen, throwing back Club Mate after Club Mate...

But more realistically, I would love to have some kind of local computer clubhouse to go to and socialize with other hacker types. Unlike the hackerspace I frequented when I lived in Germany (shout out to CCC Darmstadt!) the hackerspaces in Toronto are largely tool libraries, not software focused as I would like.

As far as dream software goes, I want a search engine that works :(