piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so yesterday i was prompted by an email to check where the 3D printed gun project had gotten too. very timely, since apparently they just managed to print the entire gun (not just the lower receiver, which had been done previously). and shoot it. once. short report from the BBC which is not terribly alarmist. i guess the heat ruins the plastic barrel; i am surprised it actually fired successfully (but then i don't actually know how much heat gets released). cody wilson, the crypto-anarchist, techno-libertarian law student (not sure what he considers himself) helming the project shared the CAD files[*] on the net.

this is all there is to it. simple, eh?

so, predictably, hysteria ensued. US legislators rush to make the technology illegal, the state department demands the site take the files down. which it has; not like there's a lot of choice if your organization is in the US.

but no matter how firmly the barn door is being slammed shut, more than 100,000 people had already downloaded the files. last i checked they were also hosted on mega, kim dotcom's new venture. and however much i think he is a prick, he does enjoy sticking it to the US government, so those files will remain available somehow. also, knowing that it can be done will spur other people on to replicate and improve on the design. and the US government being its usual ham-fisted self, that alone will make some people want to help distribute the files far and wide. i sympathize with that notion; these days it doesn't take much huffing from the feds for me to cheer anyone who defies them.

it's a good time to reflect on how my views have changed from the idea that guns should only be legal for hunting (and that reluctantly). i don't like the US's gun culture; it's full of testosterone-poisoned posturing. i think rabid 2nd amendment fans live in a fantasy world, because if you actually want firepower to protect yourself from the government, go for anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. hand guns are not what wins wars against governments gone bad (cf libya). well-regulated militias? militias in the US seem to be populated by racist, neo-nazi morons; pretty much the last people i'd want to rely on to save me from the government.

i've never owned a gun. i've never really felt the need for one, though living with US gun culture got me close to wondering whether i should get one -- not to protect myself from the government, but to protect myself from the gun-wielding nut cases. i came to north america with lofty ideas about gun control. i've pretty much given up on those. it seems that in every country that's not brutally controlled by its government, the number of unregistered handguns vastly outnumbers the registered ones. ergo, these are laws people don't obey, even if they might not agitate against them. laws people don't obey are worthless. and really, laws are not the best answer to a cultural problem anyway.

so it feels weird to be on what feels like the opposite side from where i used to be, and very firmly so. i am not worried about 3D printed guns. i know now how very easy it is to make your own gun with rudimentary metalworking skills, materials and tools one can get from any hardware store. and that gun will be cheaper, safer, and much more durable. sure, plastic guns can't be detected by metal detectors, but neither can ceramics. personally i have no need to evade a metal detector. and terrorists are not gonna be falling over each other 3D printing weapons that can only get off one shot, for heavens' sakes.

i am hoping cody wilson stays out of jail. if anything, his initiative is showing all of us how dangerous a government with too damn much power is to personal liberty.

no, i'm not worried about 3D printed guns. i am worried about drones, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. i am not terribly worried about terrorists. i am much more worried about governments in cahoots with big business curtailing democracy and my own choices.

[*] not only that link, but the entire server was down when i checked just now.


Jan. 12th, 2013 19:17
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
aaron swartz committed suicide.

fuck you, depression. and fuck you very much, obama's department of justice. i know what and whom i am blaming here. if anyone ought to hurt tonight, it should be the people who think it's imperative that somebody like aaron swartz rot in prison for mass-downloading academic articles, while mass-murdering politicians congratulate themselves on their secret drone strikes and assassination without due process. but they don't hurt. countless people have been driven into ruin in the wake of the mortgage crisis -- but the architects of that crisis are not in prison. they don't hurt. "department of justice" -- what a sick, sad joke.

fuck you all, you murdering and avaricious assholes. if only there were justice in this world.

aaron was brilliant. creative. and funny. committed to social justice and the public good. and at only 26 years of age had already done more to make the world a better place than most people do in a lifetime. i hung out on an IRC channel with him and some other very smart people for a while; i was too tired to keep up with it, but it was amazing; inspirational and fun. i rage at the darkness that has taken a person like this from us.

laurence lessig writes at http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

"That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you."

if only there were justice in this world.

i am SO ANGRY.

cory doctorow's obit: http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html#more-205376

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
for anyone else who lives under a rock, apparently a couple of australian shock-jock DJs prank-called a nurse who had been caring for the duchess of cambridge in hospital, pretending to be family members, and faked their way into getting information about her condition. they then put the recorded call on the air (with consent of their management). ha ha ha, funny, right?

the nurse committed suicide. nobody knows for sure why, but common reasoning is that she was so humiliated that she couldn't handle it.

the backlash from the public has been pretty decisive; the two shock-jocks appear to have been in for a shock of their own at the reaction. they deleted their twitter accounts, and their facebook walls are full of hate mail. some of the world media seem to be doing renewed soul searching about their ethics. but the radio network in question, not so much. "Southern Cross Austereo Chief Executive Rhys Holleran told a news conference in Melbourne on Saturday that the company would work with authorities in any investigation. He said he was 'very confident' that the radio station had done nothing illegal."

"The media fallout from the tragedy could extend beyond Australia’s shores, said British radio presenter Steve Penk, who has made a career out of prank calls. 'I think it will probably be the death of the wind-up phone call. I think (British media regulator) Ofcom will wrap it in so much red tape that it will make it almost impossible to get these things on the air,' he told Sky News."

and now there is backlash to the backlash, all about how some people can't take a joke, and how you'd have to be "unstable" if you didn't just laugh it off.

this just points out once again how out of touch my own ethics are with the mainstream. yeah, it may not have been illegal, but IMO most pranks done to embarrass or humiliate people -- whether or not they result in tragedy -- are unethical, because they are done without the person's consent. they are unethical even if the person laughs it off. (we all know how often such laughter is just a way to not let them see you sweat, to cover up how you really feel). nobody in my circles does pranks. and i am... not exactly surprised, but non-plussed that this is apparently still an uncommon attitude. because most people are upset that the nurse committed suicide; if she hadn't, they'd probably not be anywhere as het up, and they'd laugh at the prank.

steve penk up there sounds upset that he might not be able to continue with his career, a career that is built on using other people to make fun of. "Austereo’s Holleran said that the company was concerned for the welfare of the radio hosts. 'These people aren’t machines; they’re human beings. We’re all affected by this.'" -- no shit sherlock? HIS people are human beings? what about the nurse? what about the duchess of cambridge? they're also human beings. they were fair game for public humiliation -- and hey, it's not illegal, that's all that matters? the total media frenzy about the royals is a constant violation of their rights to privacy IMO. it's disgraceful. the public may be interested, but it is NOT in the public's interest to know every detail of their lives.

the *poing* wrote a good post about this, titled "do you speak consent". and i am reminded of this guy craig in ssm, who many years ago claimed that "all humour is cruel". then, my response was that cruel humour is just a failure of imagination. but it goes deeper than that.

if i don't laugh at such pranks, at racist or sexist jokes, and jokes that are made at other people's expense, it's not my sense of humour that's lacking -- that's actually quite well developed, and delights especially in puns, weird allusions, and lateral thinking. it's the joker's sense of ethics, zir empathy, and zir respect for the other person's humanity that's lacking.

If you want to use someone else, you have to ask first. It's not a hard concept. indeed. your fun does not trump another person's dignity. this should be in the code of ethics for every radio station. time to grow up.

(quotes are from reuters.)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i don't get particularly het up about politicians having affairs, except that it tends to tickle my hypocrisy bone when they are "family values" people. generally other politicians act like it's a much bigger deal than i feel it is. so per se i don't really care whether david petraeus shtupped other people than his wife; that's between him and her. but now i hear such sentiments coming from politicians.

and what a strange concept some people of honour they seem to have: david petraeus is considered to be ever so honourable for resigning his post as CIA director due to his extramarital affair. i am not impressed. honourable would have been to not have the affair in the first place. believe it or not, most people can resist their hormones, and i expect somebody who is the director of the CIA to manage that, because the stakes are so much higher than for a person who is not in a position to be blackmailed. but since shit happens -- especially when it comes to sex -- if he didn't resist, honourable would have been to come clean with his wife and his president right after he started the affair, and to consult as to whether this was a big enough deal to resign right then and there. it might not have been, because the danger here isn't so much the public's lowered opinion of its hero, but his vulnerability to being exposed. if he prevented that by telling the people who most needed to know, there was no danger of blackmail.

to only resign once caught, and once it was clear the shit was gonna hit the public fan, doesn't strike me as particularly honourable. i guess waiting until after the election is the only honourable thing i see here. if he did even that. i can't be bothered to track the timeline; too many conspiracy theorists already swarming around that.

as an aside, i am kinda amused by the fact that we now need a relationship diagram for the cast of characters in this sordid little morality play.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
and the way republicans deal with the fact that even polls generally friendly to their candidate now trend obama is to blame -- not themselves, never themselves -- hurricane sandy! (i am so NOT linking to any of the douchebags saying so.)

but wait -- nature doesn't just happen, does it? something is driving it, and the something isn't global climate change, because that doesn't exist.

and since nature doesn't just happen, sandy must be an act of ghod. and ghod usually punishes good people for the transgressions of... gays. are gays to blame for obama's reelection? those few gays outdo all that hard republican voter suppression work? you can see why gays need to be feared.

aging infrastructure can't keep up with this level of storm -- alas they "didn't build that", because government shouldn't be so spendy domestically. that money should go to destroying infrastructure in the middle east.

real americans don't need government help, only losers do -- republicans in storm-stricken areas surely won't sacrifice their principles to make nice with the president now. or will they? damned RINOs.

private enterprise is better and faster at dealing with... well, anything socialists liberals might consider the job of government. that's why there are power problems, gasoline shortages, and price gouging evident in the stricken areas.

yup, republicans are right, hurricane sandy is to blame. it might've been ripping the blinders off the eyes of more people to allow them to finally see that so much republican propaganda is pure narrow-minded, egotistical bullshit.

p.s. it is almost over. in a couple of weeks i might actually be able to open a newspaper again without being bombarded by the circus and its clown posse that bangs through town every 4 years. then the question shall be whether i want to subscribe to the NYT to reward them for nate silver or Rolling Stone to rewards them for matt taibbi. oh, i can feel another post coming on about paywalls.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
your reporter in atlantic city standing up to his hips in water is not brave, he is an idiot. one live power cable is all it takes.

clearly we could not live without such fully immersive reportage of disaster porn. thanks for setting such a great example for other idiots. really, what is it with reporters throwing themselves unnecessarily into danger in these circumstances? like emergency services don't have enough to do? et tu, anderson cooper?

i am really glad i no longer live at the shore in NJ. hope everyone i know in the path of this monster of a storm is safe.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
These popular resources are almost gone forever!

From must-have magazines to favorite books - get them before they disappear!

so claims today's email from interweave press (a crafting magazine publisher).

dear interweave.

i actually like a lot of your offerings. ok, so you still haven't realized that some of us are fat, which limits the usefulness of your patterns for me, but that's besides the point here.

the point is that you're sending me email pushing your offerings. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. yes, i subscribed originally, but i am about to unsubscribe. i am not actually paying attention anymore because email every single day about something that is not urgent news is too damn much. i bin most of it. which means i almost didn't see this. ironically, that would have been better for you.

what the hell, interweave? we live in the digital age, and you actually caught on fairly quickly, and i can now get a lot of crafting information, whether written or video, by downloading it from you. all very painless, and you might have noticed that this inclines me to purchase more.

but not when you throw pretend-scarcity in my face. these popular resources are almost gone forever? really? in the past, if a resource was popular, the publisher would eventually do another print run. now that is a whole lot less effort -- scan the thing if you haven't already (hey, google might do it for you! would you prefer that?), and format it nicely into a pdf/epub, and you're done. if indeed the resource is so very popular, and some people want to hold it in their lanolin-softened hands, you can do a print-on-demand offer just for them. so don't give me this bull to hasten me into purchasing something because it might be gone otherwise.

my urge to buy pretty knitting candy is all gone for today because i hate being manipulated. funny how that works.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
of course, i'd have said, since we're talking actual physical goods, not ebooks or software (don't get me started!) -- this is actually under question?

oh yes, it is. and to me it seems to not have attracted enough attention in the mainstream media so far -- which is how the MPAA, RIAA and their ilk like it.

the US supreme court is set to hear argument in "kirtsaeng v john wiley & sons" starting on october 29th. thai student supang kirtsaeng, while studying in the US, discovered that the expensive textbooks required for his courses could be bought much cheaper in thailand. so he had his relatives buy and ship them to him. being an enterprising young man, he then built a business on this discrepancy by selling textbooks on ebay, where publisher wiley & sons took notice and sued him for copyright infringement. which they won in the lower courts.

and that opens a nasty can of worms, which could lead to your next ebay -- or garage -- sale being illegal, depending on whether the items you sell were made abroad. there is a thing called the "doctrine of first sale" in the US limiting copyright and trademark rights, which means you can resell any copyrighted item if you have bought it legally, without permission or any further payment to the copyright owner. the US supreme court affirmed this right in 1998, regarding goods manufactured in the US, even if they were originally sold abroad.

but when it comes to products sold in foreign markets, there's also a statute concerning imports (and when reading this, you can immediately tell which industry had extraordinary influence in its creation). which is how supang kirtsaeng ended up getting sued. ok, you could say that kirtsaeng was acting more like an importer than an individual, but the law doesn't actually make a distinction between selling one ipad (assembled in china) and thousands. huge secondary markets rely on the doctrine of first sale -- i have no idea what percentage of the economy, but it's got to be significant. ebay, craigslist, amazon market, goodwill, the salvation army -- oh, and libraries could be affected.

so yeah, y'all need to pay attention to this one. i find it ridiculous that certain intellectual property owners want theirs to be protected better than any other type of property, screwing with our rights and liberties in the process.

more detail on the legal issues:

a citizengroup formed to fight the continued expansion of copyright: http://ownershiprights.org/
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i'm mostly staying away from it, but if the alternative is kate middleton's bared breasts...

so the mass media is in an uproar over romney's "47%" bit. (if you live under the same comfy rock where i am normally curled up, he was secretly taped at a closed, wealthy donor fundraiser, where he spouted a lot of really lovely crap, see [*] for verbatim quote about this particular bit).

and i gotta say, i see why the uproar is handy, of course (and a nice present for the obama campaign), but it's not like this is news. isn't this what the right wing has been flogging for more than a year already? hasn't there been some anti-"occupy" reference like "we're the 53%" from them? ok, so it's news that the candidate for the presidency said it, with the addendum that he doesn't worry about these people (which will be taken out of context, but he clearly meant it in regards to his election strategy)(well, "out of context" -- i think romney does in actuality not care about most people, but he wouldn't ever say that out loud as president, or act overtly as if he believes it. heck, maybe he doesn't even realize it.).

so some people say "stick a fork in him, he's done". and i say "alas, no".

because his base will gobble it up. seriously. they think it's poor people driving the US to the brink (nothing could be further from the truth, but truth was a victim of republican talking points long ago). they're dead set against helping poor people, because they think they're lazy freeloaders. they have become a lot less compassionate than they were even under reagan (who started the whole "welfare queen" malarkey). they don't recognize who these 47% are. since i know how to, uh, quack (using duckduckgo as my search engine), i looked it up, to be sure i had actual data instead of gut feelings: most of the 47% pay other taxes, just not federal income tax -- they simply don't make enough for the latter. but they pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, state income taxes, etc. most of them are not lazy, shiftless bums lying on their couches eating government bonbons, they're working in menial jobs where they barely make ends meet because they also have children. or they are retired, after a working life of, well, not being a corporate raider; the 47% includes many seniors. the idea that they're not taking responsibility for their lives is preposterous.

and a huge part of his base don't even realize that they are quite possibly part of these 47%. they just don't think of themselves as lazy victims, dependent on government handouts, unlike those obama voters.

so no, romney's not gonna lose those voters. not a chance. in fact he might fire them up some, which he badly needs, since they're not that excited about him. well, maybe a few seniors will stay at home, the ones who're already worried about medicare and medicaid.

he's just not gonna win any undecideds. but i doubt there are many of those left. how can anyone still be undecided? it's not like the republicans are actually fiscally conservative; they just prefer to direct their welfare at the corporate sector. of all the people to rail about debt, romney is their champion? romney, who made his fortune off pushing companies into debt? romney, who has never created anything, and who got his own personal bailout for bain? why paul ryan isn't throwing up every time he looks at him, is a mystery. or hell, not so much. he's a republican; hypocrisy comes with the territory these days.

i mean, for me obama has been a crushing disappointment, but if i could vote, i'd vote for him 10 times over romney. people are supposed to become more conservative as they grow older, but so far it looks like the opposite is true for me. i used to have respect for some republicans, but that group is tiny now, and most of them have already left the party.

last but not least, romney saying anything at all about people not paying taxes? the irony, it slays me.

[*] “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. …. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
piranha: inui's disgusting red juice dripping out of a glass (penal tea)
why do you want me to hate you? i really don't want to. i don't actually want to uninstall all your software because i am coming to distrust you as much as i distrust microsoft. i've dumped gmail, picasa, chrome, and search when you decided you knew better than i do what my real name is and that you somehow have a greater right to it than i do, but i still love google maps and google earth and google sketchup, and a whole host of lab stuff. you've given me a lot of neat software. but frankly, i'd rather pay for it in $$ than have you extract your price in whatever way you feel justified. because it's not "free".

now it looks like i might need to uninstall those apps as well, because you have decided you know better than i do what connections i allow to breach my firewall, and when.

for the last month every hour a process called ksfetch got stopped by my network monitor littlesnitch (HIGHLY recommended) when trying to connect to tools.google.com over TCP port 443 (https). it doesn't take long to find out that this is a google update process, probably serving apps related to keystone. usually i have always whitelisted google update processes because i've considered them trustworthy enough. though in general i prefer to have an option to tick "automatic updates" rather than have it happen behind my back, which option doesn't exist in google software (black star for that). but worse, ksfetch started to hammer my system, i had to dismiss 4(!) dialogues each time, and in fact i couldn't whitelist it with littlesnitch, which is what i had initially wanted to do. what the fuck?

turns out google does something sneaky for which i haven't discerned the reason -- ksfetch gets created as a new process in /tmp, and therefore littlesnitch can't associate any white (or black) listing parameters with it because it isn't a standard app. why in the world would google do such a thing? this is the sort of thing malware does! i looked in google's product update forum, where there are tons of people inquiring about this, and the only customer service rep who showed her face warned sweetly that disabling this would mean we'd no longer get security updates. no shit, sherlock! whose fault is that, do you think? why doesn't google act like a good software citizen on my machine?

so i archived and removed the /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate directory. felt a bit drastic, but i wanted some peace while figuring out a more elegant solution. except it didn't give me peace for long; seems google software recreates that directory and its files when it notices it missing.

the littlesnitch people offered this workaround (in terminal, either use sudo or issue as root):
defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 604800

which supposedly sets the launch agent to check only once a week (in seconds; can be set to longer or shorter as you wish). that slowed things down on 10.6.8, but it's nowhere near once a week; it still dials home several times a day. i don't want to waste any more time, and i am stopping myself -- barely -- from just wiping all google software from my system. this is my last try; restricting all access to the directories, including for all users (if present).

chmod -R 000 /Users/yourPersonalHomeDir/Library/Google
chmod -R 000 /Library/Google

most people won't ever even notice, so google seems not to care about those of us who're actually active in monitoring our systems.

i wonder whether there is a growth limit to corporations beyond which they simply no longer give a fuck about anything but their bottom line. if i ever allow myself to run a corporation, somebody please knock me over the head when i start to act like i know better than anyone else what's good for people instead of actually listening to them.

ETA 2012-08-22: ok, so denying google all permissions on both directories "works". i am writing a script to undo the permission once a week for a short period of time, so it can phone home and check for updates. the whole thing is kludgy as hell, and i don't really like running my system with kludges like this; automatic updates are supposed to be a winning proposition for everybody. it also means that GoogleUpdateUpdateAgent throws an exception every time it tries to run: "KSStatsCollection requires a storage path." but that's less annoying for me because it just clutters up the log, like so many other apps. as this has been going on since june, it looks like google doesn't give a shit that some techies are complaining; alrighty then, i'll have to treat google software as actively hostile to my system. sucks when companies i used to love turn more and more to crap.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
since neither the paramour nor brother wanted the ipod touch the paramour won, and i'm kinda the mac person in this family, i've inherited it. which seemed convenient at the time, since my android phone has bricked itself (no, really, it wasn't me rooting it; i had in fact not rooted it if you can believe that). anyway, the phone is dead, and i've not bothered to get a new one because i don't actually use it much.

so, i figured i can use the ipod for some of the things i do like, such as listening to music when out and about among noisy people (it works great for that), and keeping my shopping list.

oy. now, that is rather more complicated than it should be. first of all there is the app store. for which one needs an apple ID. ok. the apple ID enforces a certain degree of password security, which i am all in favour of - it wants a mix of capital and lower case letters, and at least a number. fine by me; add some punctuation and i am all set.

except such a password is a royal PAIN IN THE BUTTOCKS to type on an ipod. the virtual keyboard needs me to switch from alpha to numeric for every number or punctuation symbol. and it's not the easiest thing to type on this, unless you have dainty, pointy fingers. i don't.

so i type and switch and type and switch and type, and then it tries to load the app i had searched for and chosen (a free app in this case -- why in the world does it need my password anyway?). and once it's done loading, it tells me that my password was incorrect, and i get to try again. after mistyping it twice, it asks me innocently whether i might have forgotten it and offers me a choice to cancel or reset it. NO, i've not forgotten anything, I JUST WANT TO USE A BETTER KEYBOARD! and if i cancel, then i get to start over.

this, needless to say, is not winning me over to apple's app store model. it's easier to print my shopping list. which i will proceed to do now. i refuse to change my password to something easier to type, you bastards.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
and even large companies like adobe and amazon seem blissfully unaware of such a thing. what is this, the dark ages?

so today i installed the kindle for mac program since i broke down to buy a book i really needed right away, and which was most easily available on the kindle.

the app died on me right away with the incredibly helpful error message "there was a problem". no shit?

fortunately we have the console, which told me:
12/07/15 5:23:42 PM [0x0-0xa90a9].com.amazon.Kindle[1427] dyld: Library not loaded: @executable_path/../Frameworks/libWEbCoreKRF.dylib
12/07/15 5:23:42 PM [0x0-0xa90a9].com.amazon.Kindle[1427] Referenced from: /Applications/Kindle.app/Contents/MacOS/../Frameworks/libWebCoreViewer.dylib
12/07/15 5:23:42 PM [0x0-0xa90a9].com.amazon.Kindle[1427] Reason: image not found

thanks to adobe i am primed to look for case-sensitivity issues, so the difference between libWEbCore and libWebCore jumped right out at me. looking inside the app bundle showed that indeed, libWebCoreKRF.dylib is present and accounted for.

fortunately this is easily fixed by creating a dynamic link from the correct lib to the misspelled one:

using terminal, admin privileges, go to the directory in question (/Applications/Kindle.app/Contents/Frameworks if you've installed in the usual place), and issue this command:

ln -s libWebCoreKRF.dylib libWEbCoreKRF.dylib

and the app will work for now -- until the next update. any bets on whether that'll fix the problem? yeah, didn't think so.

in better news, market day left us with ripe, local strawberries, and they are SO GOOD. and moroccan spice bread. and baked bread pudding. and fresh fudge.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
Dear XXX,

Did you know your current contact settings have cancelled all Microsoft communications to your inbox?

obviously not ALL. silly me. why did i think clicking several opt-out checkboxes would mean youd actually live up to the promise of no longer contacting me?

In case you accidentally unsubscribed, I want to encourage you to re-subscribe so you won’t miss out on any of the great content, tools and resources to help you further your coding career.

my coding career is fortunately no longer concerned with supporting microsoft dreck at all. yay!

All it takes is one click to return to our contact list.

are you gonna send me email then asking whether i really meant to opt in, since i can clearly not be trusted to mean it when i opted out?

yeah, didn't think so.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
salon has redesigned their website again.

did they fix the abysmal comment system? nope; it's actually even worse. did they make content easier to reach? nope; it's harder. is the typography better? nope. is the design at least innovative? nope; they hired a print designer to do it, and consequently it does not pay attention to what works and doesn't work on the web. fire-engine red right next to black and white? *gouges out eyes*. it's not the worst i've ever seen, but it's bad enough to make me write a special user stylesheet for opera, something i usually no longer have to do since web design has become so much better in general.

i can't bitch to them, because i can't get a comment posted. so i'll bitch here. because what's worse than the bad colour scheme, the disappearance of content as i liked it, and the multitude of errors resulting from lackadaisical cross-browser testing, what's worse is that in an attempt to be hip, salon now pipes in facebook recommendations in a side column taking up nearly as much space as the article column.

so i am reading glenn greenwald's indictment of the complicity of federal judges in the torture of innocent people, and right next to it, the wisdom of the facebook crowd recommends to me:

Gay porn’s most shocking taboo
Dunham: “Girls” sex scares men
Nike (still) likes big butts
Zooey Deschanel makes my teeth hurt
When porn meets real motherhood
Porn is coming for your daughter!

WHAT...THE...FUCK. if i wanted to see the inanity on facebook, i'd use my derelict facebook account. i do NOT want to see that on salon. get that invasive, datamining, and juvenile stuff off my screen!

(but hey, the paramour survived the gall bladder surgery, so that makes up for many, many shitty redesigns.)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
first my new iomega external 2T drive conked. that's the second iomega drive that died way too soon, and i am not using these drives a lot; just for backups. needless to say, i won't be buying iomega anymore.

then my mac pro lost its video output. since we have high-end graphics cards just laying around the house, that didn't seem like a big problem. but with the new card (which is confirmed to be working) the mac didn't even boot. put the old card back in, nope, not booting either. i swtched everything to the mac mini, but that would'nt even turn on -- i had originally started using the mac pro because the mini was flakey. so the mac pro went to the shop. last time we used the shop, maybe 2 years ago, we got the machine back the next day. now we were told it could be as long as 10 days. macs are either getting very popular, or are breaking more. this is the only mac shop in town, so there's no alternative either.

not only are we lucky that we have high end graphics cards laying around, but we also have spare computers. no spare mac, no, but a spare PC dual-booting into win2000 and fedora. i don't care for fedora, and especially not v11, which screwed up the sound. debian is my favourite, but i figured this was a good time to try out ubuntu, which has been praised far and wide.

downloaded ubuntu, burnt it to CD, and tried it. looked clean and simple if a bit too kawaii with its large, colourful icons and all. it offered an install while leaving previous installations intact, so i started that process. during which it needed to resize the partitions on the drive so it could add itself on a new partition.

i usually repartition with partition magic, a reliable work horse which never once screwed anything up for me. but since symantec (bastards) killed it after buying the developer, powerquest, that option is running out now; it can't handle ext4 filesystems nor newer windows systems. so i let ubuntu handle the repartitioning.

bad idea. somewhere during the process the screen went a sickly bright green and ubuntu hung. and of course when i finally shut the machine off and tried to reboot fedora from disk, that wasn't possible (just into windows, which is on its own drive). the monitor remained green (i knew the monitor wasn't the problem since it still displayed normal colours when turned off and then on again).

rebooted ubuntu off the CD, but the monitor was still green and ubuntu hung.

i cursed a little.

then shut the machine off again, unplugged the power, unplugged the video cable and restarted, fortunately that reset everything and ubuntu came up in full colour. allright. finally i could get on with it.

it's ... i can see why a lot of people would praise it; it's quite simple, pretty, and user-friendly -- for people used to windows or to no computers at all. to somebody who knows linux, it's kinda "linux for dummies". i'm pretty much gonna change everything in the GUI because i find the unity desktop insipid; it stands in my way more than it facilitates what i want to do. and the file manager isn't much to write home about -- what is that, nautilus? anyone know of a GOOD file manager?

but first to see whether it can read hfs filesystems without too many gyrations.

but i am feeling good about not losing all my mojo during the obstacles, and keeping at it instead of retreating to my room to read escapist novels. and minecraft runs on it. ;)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
we thought what happened to peter watts was bad?

this is much, much worse.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is holding prisoners in 186 unlisted, unmarked locations, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces. people are shuttled around without a proper paper trail. their relatives often don't even know that they have been detained. they frequently don't have access to legal advice. they might get deported to wherever ICE thinks they should go, without anyone knowing.

i have no words. whenever i think i must have been too negative about the bush administration's actions, i must have been too paranoid (because some people i respected voted for him twice), something comes out that shows i wasn't even paranoid enough; the people on the daily kos whom i wrote off as mild conspiracy theorists, they were right all along.

and this continues to go on under obama's watch. to say i am disappointed in him would be an understatement. i never expected him to be a truly progressive president. but i expected better from him than allowing this sort of human rights violation to go on. he promised transparency. secret police and people disappearing isn't transparent.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
from avaaz.org:

As the world mounts a desperate effort to stop catastrophic global warming in Copenhagen, Canada should be leading the way. Instead, we're receiving global "fossil awards" for wrecking this crucial summit! And new leaked documents show that while the entire world is increasing cuts to carbon emissions, the government is secretly planning roll back ours.

At the Bali climate summit in 07, a massive national outcry forced Harper to stop blocking the talks. But the oil companies that PM Harper works for know that Copenhagen is the make or break moment for climate. It will not be easy to win this time, but to save the planet and our country we have to.

Let's mount a tidal wave of pressure on Harper with the largest petition in Canadian history - click below to sign:


if you're not a member of avaaz yet, and you care about global issues such as climate change, poverty, human rights, you might want to sign up for their alerts. they keep track of what's going on better than i could, and they've never spammed me with unrelated stuff.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i am mostly immune to it by now, except this one is so very clearly geared towards advertising instead of making people feel welcome and safe:

m/f gender will be a mandatory field at account creation.

LJ has never been terribly good about this; years of gender petition have resulted in no action that might make TG people feel considered. but now they're removing even the piddly "unspecified" option.

if you still care about LJ, synecdochic has good advice on how to give feedback.

if they start enforcing the binary choice for existing account holders, i'll stop reading the friends-locked LJs for which i now still visit the site.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
Todd Stern, the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, said Thursday that he "categorically reject[s]" the suggestion that rich industrial countries owe compensation to the victims of climate change. Stern acknowledged that the emissions of rich nations over the past two hundred years of industrialization had caused global warming, telling a press conference, "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere." But, Stern added, "the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations--I just categorically reject that."

more at alternet.

responsibility? we don't haz it.

i'm looking at you too, stephen harper.
piranha: ruri from nadesico says "idiot" (her trademark) (idiot)
so fictionwise has a new ebook reader for sale. the small print says "Items not shippable to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea."



piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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