Category Archives: geek stuff

micro$not, mshtml, and activex

back in the dark ages, when i was working at STLabs, before we moved to factoria (i.e. STLabs… so, what? maybe 1995? 1996? somewhere in there), i was testing Internet Explorer version 3.0, which meant, basically, that i was testing micro$not’s browser engine, which is called MSHTML.dll. at the time, a very good friend of mine from college, saint fred (now, sadly, passed on) was mucking about with the innards of micro$not’s operating system, and discovered a problem which had existed for several years prior to this, which micro$not had “made disappear” by changing the technology’s name from OLE — which was, itself, a “renamed” technology, originally called Visual Basic for Applications, or “VB-A” — to “ActiveX”, and, in the process of making it “disappear”, actually made it more prevalent and insidious, by making it work seamlessly with even more micro$not technology.

and, saint fred being who he was, took advantage of this by writing the “Exploder Control”, which could be embedded in a web page, or a microsoft document, and would, when “activated”, perform a clean shutdown of the computer on which it was being viewed… whether you wanted to shut down your computer, or not.

you hit this web page, and, within seconds, your computer shuts down, with no further input from you. 😏

or…

you open this microsoft word document, and, within seconds, your computer shuts down, with no further input from you. 🤣

i watched it happen as it first came out, before anybody realised what it was. it was hillarious! i gave the URI for the exploder control to my boss, and then went back to my workstation and listened, as she suddenly whined “it shut down my computer!” 🤣🤣🤣

and, of course, micro$not’s response to this was to threaten saint fred with lawsuits for doing stuff he shouldn’t have been doing, and when that didn’t work (because fred made sure that the exploder did everything strictly “by the book”, including getting micro$not’s signature on the control), they made the exploder control something that was detected by their anti-virus software (even though it was very clearly NOT a virus, and, actually, did everything totally “by the book”, something to which micro$not never admitted), and, once they figured out that they had caused all of this, they pulled their signature on the control, so that it raised even more red flags before actually activating it…

and, basically, did everything EXCEPT fix the problem, which, after a few months of frantic ass-covering by micro$not’s marketing department, while the tech industry had a good laugh, got swept under the rug, anyway, by more current micro$not fiascos.

but the technology remained, and every version of windows has support for activex, every version of MSHTML.dll has support for activex (which is one of the reasons micro$not got rid of MSHTML.dll a couple years ago, and current versions of Internet Exploder… um… what’s their browser called again? EDGE, that’s it… uses google’s “chrome” browser engine, instead. the browser wars are over! micro$not LOST!) and you can, literally, do ANYTHING with activex, that you could do from the normal user interface of windows, and there is, literally, NOTHING stopping you from doing this — or other, more nefarious things — given A LITTLE knowledge of the technology.

which is why, when i saw this headline: Miscreants fling booby-trapped Office files at victims, no patch yet, says Microsoft the FIRST THING i thought was “Exploder Control strikes again!”

this is one of the VERY BIG reasons i do not use micro$not on my computers. i don’t even have my microsoft 5-button mouse any longer!

i wonder if they’ll ever learn. 🙄

Continue reading micro$not, mshtml, and activex

when HTML is not HTML

i’m REALLY glad someone else is maintaining my business web site these days. 😒

seriously, if it had been left up to me, i would have given up a LONG time ago, and would probably be out of business, because the web design business has gotten REALLY confusing.

example: the places in WordPress where HTML code is not, actually, HTML code…

210603 not html
210603 not html

there are places which display HTML code, and where that code occurs on the back end, it is actually rendered as HTML code in the browser, but if you want to edit the HTML, you have to copy the ENTIRE page, go to another location (or use an actual text-based code editing tool) and paste the ENTIRE page into that location, make the edits, save them in that other location, copy them from that location, go BACK to the original location where you copied the original code from and paste the new code in, and THEN save the original location…? 😕

210603 not html rendered
210603 not html rendered
and, oddly enough, if you try to edit the HTML code without jumping through the copy/paste hoops multiple times, you end up screwing up the page entirely. 😠

and, to make matters even worse, as far as i can tell, there’s no way to tell which locations are HTML, and which locations only LOOK LIKE HTML… you’re just expected to know. 😠

as far as i can tell, backed up by a professional web designer who does this for a living, that’s the routine that works, and it has actually worked for me, in the past… but not this morning… which is frustrating beyond belief…

in my day, if something LOOKED LIKE HTML code, it WAS HTML code, and could be edited as such, wherever it occurred. 😠✊

201111

Trump Tees Up a New Type of Coup: In Plain Sight
by Ted Rall, 201111

Donald Trump revolutionized political campaigning. It was by accident. Because he was too lazy to prepare for or memorize a stump speech, he ad-libbed his rallies; TV networks gave him $2 billion worth of free airtime because something he said might prove newsworthy. Because he was cheap, he made appearances at any random dump that would have him for free; he used the money he saved on big data research that paid off handsomely.

Now the president is attempting to revolutionize the art of the coup d’état.

Leaders of broad-based movements who want to overthrow an existing government usually agitate for revolution in plain sight. The activism of a popular front attracts new recruits.

A coup is the opposite of a revolution. Unlike revolutionaries, who need the masses to succeed, coup plotters require secrecy. A coup is usually carried out by a very small group of insiders. Coup schemers are not interested in, or have concluded that they cannot, obtain popular support. They do not seek to transform society. They simply want power. It is an attempt by a minnow to swallow a whale.

Without the protection of millions of adherents and operating outside constitutional norms, politicians and/or military men who plot a coup must take over the government by surprise. Leaders of the outgoing regime have to be in prison or dead, and thus powerless, before their supporters realize that their nation has been seized by a small faction. A coup d’état is over before it begins in the event that some element of the conspiracy comes to light before the zero hour. The classic example of a failed coup is Operation Valkyrie, the 1944 attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler and overthrow of the Nazi government of Germany by a group of military officers. The plot unraveled when Hitler survived a bomb attack and went on the radio.

Successful coups include the 2004 overthrow of democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, whom the CIA kidnapped and spirited away to the Central African Republic, whose president Ange-Félix Patassé had himself been deposed in a coup a year earlier, the Taliban-supported takeover of Pakistan by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999, and the bizarre 1993 self-coup by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who illegally shelled and dissolved parliament.

All of these events seemingly came out of nowhere. By contrast, Donald Trump is laying the groundwork for a coup attempt in plain sight.

Defying tradition, Trump is still refusing to concede the election since the Associated Press and other media organizations called the race in favor of Joe Biden on Saturday, November 7th. Without presenting evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing, he has filed several lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the vote count.

Most top Republicans are supporting Trump, or remaining silent and refusing to congratulate Biden. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor of the U.S. Senate. “President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” said McConnell. “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.”

Asked whether he planned to congratulate Biden, Ron Johnson (R-WI) replied: “Nothing to congratulate him about.” Even as world leaders called to acknowledge Biden’s win, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Roger Stone, the political adviser and loyalist pardoned by Trump, previewed the possibility of a post-election military takeover in September. If Trump lost, Stone said at the time, he ought to declare “martial law,” invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, nationalize state police forces and round up critics and political opponents including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “the Clintons,” and journalists because they’re involved in “seditious activities.” On November 2nd Stone said Former CIA Director John Brennan, Former FBI Director James Comey and other former officials who offended Trump “must be tried and convicted of treason” and then “they must be hung by the neck until dead.” Stone is still tight with Trump: news just broke that the president had the IRS wipe away Stone’s bill for back taxes, which totaled $1.5 million.

Attorney General William Barr, following Stone’s recommendation, ordered the Department of Justice to investigate irregularities and improprieties in the election.

In order to enforce martial law Trump would need, and has, widespread support among the police. He would also need the military. Though inherently reactionary, active-duty troops have moved away from the president in recent months. So he is replacing top Pentagon brass with compliant loyalists likelier to follow his illegal and unconstitutional orders.

On November 9th Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who refused to deploy troops against Black Lives Matters protesters in June. “In my experience, there would only be a few reasons to fire a Secretary of Defense with 72 days left in an administration,” Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and an official in Obama’s Pentagon, said. “[One] would be because the President wants to take actions that he believes his Secretary of Defense would refuse to take, which would be alarming.”

“Two White House officials said later on Monday that Mr. Trump was not finished, and that Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, could be next in line to be fired. Removing these senior officials — in effect decapitating the nation’s national security bureaucracy — would be without parallel by an outgoing president who has just lost re-election,” reported The New York Times.

In a major, unprecedented transition-period shakeup, policy chief James Anderson, intelligence boss Joseph Kernan and Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart have also been fired from the Pentagon. Anderson’s replacement is retired Army General Anthony Tata, a nutty far-right white nationalist who called Obama a “terrorist leader,” said Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and used a racist slur against CNN host Don Lemon. He will do whatever Trump wants.

What’s going on? Stupid impetuous drama? Or a real coup?

If it turns out to be a coup, it may well prove that teeing it up in plain sight improves its chances of success. Trump’s supporters, disproportionately prone to violence and more heavily armed, are watching and waiting. They can only pitch in as paramilitaries or freelance goons if, like the rest of us, they see the dark days ahead.

Then Trump’s coup becomes a counterrevolution.


Coups For Dummies
by Clay Jones, 201111

On November 10, 2016, President Obama hosted President-elect (sic) Donald Trump in the White House. Vice-President Joe Biden hosted vice-president elect (sic) Mike Pence in the VP residence. First Lady Michelle Obama gave a White House tour to Melania Trump. Today, it’s November 11, 2020, and instead of inviting the future president of the United States to the White House, Donald Trump is hiding inside his bunker in denial he lost. What makes this even worse is that he has enablers. These enablers are helping Donald Trump thwart democracy.

Republicans are pointing out that Democrats whined about the 2016 election. This is true. I whined. I didn’t like the results. I still don’t like it. But while I said the election was tampered with and Russia meddled, I never said any ballots were fraudulent. No Democrats opposed the transition of power. Today, the Trump administration is not allowing a transfer of power.

The Trump Administration could still pursue legal challenges over the election while allowing the process of a transition to happen. That would be in the best interest of the nation. Instead, offices are not being created for the transition, funds aren’t being released, and the next president isn’t even being given security briefings. These were all acts afforded to Donald Trump when he was the incoming president (sic).

The United States condemns leaders of other nations who refuse to leave office and give up power after losing fair elections. Now, our leader (sic) is refusing to give up power and is hiding inside his palace sending his minions out to help him stage a coup. Donald Trump has not been seen since last Thursday.

Mitch McConnell is supporting Trump’s legal challenges even though there isn’t any evidence of massive voter fraud. Lindsey Graham is telling Trump not to concede. McConnell and Graham both won their Senate elections last week but neither one of these two men refused their opponent’s concessions.

Ted Cruz says allowing the media to declare the winner is not how we do it in America. Except, he was more than happy to accept the media’s declaration of a winner in 2016. He was more than happy to accept their declaration in 2018 when he won reelection to the Senate.

When asked if he had congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden yet, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, whose state went for Biden, said he doesn’t have anything to congratulate Biden for.

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said, “We have got to allow our courts to hear these allegations of voting irregularities by the president.” You may as well allow the courts to hear allegations of lizard people running our government too because you have just as much evidence of that as you do of voter fraud.

North Carolina’s Thom Tillis was finally declared the winner of his race yesterday and he said about the presidential election, “Every vote legally cast must be counted.” Who says they shouldn’t? Who says they haven’t been counted? Guess what. Tillis didn’t stop his opponent from conceding saying, “Every legal vote must be counted” bullshit.

Isn’t it fucked up that right after you elect someone, that they make a pronouncement against democracy and fair elections?

Attorney General William Barr is releasing the Justice Department’s legal hounds to fight Trump’s loss in the courts. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani is holding press conferences outside dildo shops claiming the election was stolen from Trump.

It’s funny Democrats stole the election for Biden while simultaneously losing the Senate and seats in the House. It’s also funny that it hasn’t occurred to any of these Republicans claiming fraudulent ballots, that they also have their names on those “fraudulent” ballots. If we’re going to wipe out who won the election, that should also mean we wipe out all those Republican victories. Should we wipe out McConnell’s, Graham’s, and Tillis’ victories?

Each government department is being told to prepare their budgets for next year as though the administration will still be operating. As if they’re still going to be in town and not all applying at Fox News at the same time. And Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the nation’s top diplomat has said there will be a “smooth transition…to a SECOND Trump administration.”

What the fuck? The top diplomat or the world’s leading democracy is telling the world we don’t obey election results anymore. Pompeo said the eletion has not been decided. It has LITERALLY been decided.

Can you imagine the outrage if instead of conceding the election the day after, Hillary Clinton had refused to admit defeat, mounted legal challenged, and claimed the election had been stolen? Can you imagine if instead of inviting Trump to the White House, President Obama had refused to release transition funding?

In Michigan, Trump beat Clinton by 10,704 votes in 2016. In 2020 in Michigan, Biden beat Trump by over 146,000 (and still counting). In case you’re a Republican, 146,000 is greater than 10,000.

In Pennsylvania, Trump beat Clinton by 46,765. In 2020 in Pennsylvania, Biden beat Trump by over 48,000 (and still counting). In case you’re a Republican, 48,000 is more than 46,000. Now, Trump is suing to overturn the election in Pennsylvania.

As the counting continues, Biden is heading for a 306 electoral vote win. That’s the exact same amount Trump won with in 2016. How are they going to win the presidency by overturning one state without any actual evidence of election fraud? They would need to overturn more than one state. Maybe they can do it in Georgia where the two GOP senators are calling for their own Republican Secretary of State to resign because they don’t like that his count shows Donald Trump is losing.

This is banana republic type shit here, people. This is a coup attempt. Maybe people like Pompeo are just trying to appease Trump for now. Maybe Pompeo is a coward. He wants to appease Trump’s base for when he runs for the Senate in Kansas or even for the presidency in 2024, if Trump doesn’t. Or maybe, he’s afraid of being fired two months before he’s scheduled to lose his job. Trump is already lashing out and firing people.

Maybe people like Mitch McConnell, John Kennedy (not the good one), Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Thom Tillis, and Ted Cruz are all just big, fat ass kissers. Or…they’re trying to steal an election and are engaging in a coup.

I predicted before the election that Joe Biden would win… but I did not predict he’d take the White House because I was afraid the Republicans would try to steal the election. Even before the election, Trump said the only way he could lose was if there was corruption and voter fraud. Boy, did I call it or did I call it?

We know this about Trump supporters: They are all cowards. They have made their party into one of a cult. They put one man before their nation. They are putting one man before democracy. They don’t care if they turn our democracy into a dictatorship.

The Trump administration will NOT legally continue, but the resistance must.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Phishing Emails Used to Deploy KONNI Malware

if you are in the habit of using micro$not software, particularly the office varients (word, excell, power point, etc.), you should beware of the new “phishing” (specifically, “spear-phishing”) attack which uses an infected microsoft word document as the vector.

solution: don’t use micro$hit.

alternative solution: don’t use windoesn’t, or, if you do, don’t open ANY files that you receive in email, from ANYONE, if you weren’t expecting it, keep your antivirus software up to date, backup everything, and pray that something doesn’t happen anyway.

this is just the most recent extension of the exploder control controversy, started by my friend fred, back when W95 was current… except that, now, instead of calling it “OLE or “ActiveX” they’re calling it “VBA“, and it can do a lot more nefarious things to your computer than the exploder control could do — and the exploder control was relatively benign, in that it ONLY shut down your computer without your say so…

but micro$lop made a BIG OL’ fuss about it, when fred actually got it signed, because of the fact that it used ActiveX APIs in EXACTLY the way they were supposed to be used, and the automated process of signing didn’t take into account what the control actually DID, and whether doing that thing, at that time, was actually USEFUL… 😂🤣

by the way, the exploder control was SPECIFICALLY designed to work with W95 and IE3, so, unless you’re browsing on your grandfather’s computer, you’ve got nothing to worry about. 😉

MUA

today is the third day of NOT using Kontact, the MUA that i have been using pretty much ever since i switched to linux, back in the dark ages.

i really liked kontact. it did EXACTLY what i wanted it to do: it handled all of my email addresses in a logical way, made it easy to switch from one email address to another, worked well with my business set-up, my installation of sigrot

but it had a fatal flaw which i have been trying (and, mostly, succeeding) to work around for quite some time now, and that is its use of akonadi, which is the interface between the MUA and the SQL database that lives behind it.

for the first few years i didn’t even notice a problem, but then i upgraded my operating system, and everything blew up. i ended up installing the new operating system from scratch, and summarily trashing three or four years worth of collected email. it was a difficult process, but i got through it.

through the years, i have tried installing a number of MUAs, in order to try and get away from kontact, but either they didn’t do what i wanted, or they simply didn’t work at all, so i gave up and went back to fighting with kontact…

“the devil you know”, right?

after that, there were a number of times, primarily during updates or upgrades, when i had to battle with kontact/akonadi/SQL, to get it to work, and i had to trash a number of years of collected email at least one more time before reaching the point at which i am, now.

four days ago, i ran the operating system updates, and, after i was done, i tried starting up kontact, and nothing happened. i tried starting it from the konsole (rather than “clicking” on the “icon”, which is how you start it in the GUI), got a vaguely worded, cryptic message about being unable to start “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell”, and then it hung up.

which is very odd, because i have never even installed the hebrew language pack, and have no idea why it would even be attempting to start the hebrew spelling dictionary…

i tried asking Kubuntu Forums for solutions, and got the same answer that i have gotten every OTHER time i have asked about how to fix kontact, which is “kontact is broken, install thunderbird instead”.

so i tried installing thunderbird (AGAIN), and, after having some “words” with my operating system about whether this new piece of software actually worked (or not), i successfully installed and more-or-less correctly configured it, and started using it.

it’s a little different than kontact… or, at least, my perception is that it is a little different than kontact. after some futzing around, i learned how to configure it to use more than one email address — actually, i may have done it “the other way” first, because the terminology for “accounts” and “identities” is slightly different on kontact — and, as far as i can tell, there is no easy way to add an “X-” header line to outgoing email, like there is in kontact, but that may just be because i have yet to find the place where such a thing is configured.

and, then, yesterday (after i had, more or less, given up on kontact), i discovered that kontact actually worked… it had been a few days since i had given up trying to start it, because of “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell” not working, and, without thinking about it, i “clicked” on the “icon” and kontact sprang back to life!

so, the first thing i did was transfer all of my contacts, and most of my RSS feeds (i got bored and antsy, so i’ll finish them later) to thunderbird.

for some time, now, when i “quit” kontact (select “quit” from the “file” menu), i have had to go to the konsole, and “kill” the process that kontact was running, so that it would actually quit. i also discovered that “kill”ing kontact STILL allows incoming mail to be downloaded, a process that i don’t completely understand (it may have something to do with akonadi interacting with the POP3 mailserver).

also, for even longer (i recall at least two kontact upgrades that have had this behaviour, prior to the one i am currently (not) using), when i first start kontact, after booting up my computer in the morning, about 98.9% of the time it gets to the point where it’s displaying correctly on the screen, but before i have the chance to do anything, it puts up a dialogue box that says that there has been a fatal error and kontact will quit now. the dialogue doesn’t say what the fatal error is, and it only has an “OK” button, which makes everything disappear when i click it. under this circumstance, when i run “ps -u salamandir | grep kontact” in the konsole, kontact is, actually, not running (unlike when i select “quit” from the “file” menu), and if i restart kontact, it works without any further problems…

except that, sometimes (usually at least once a day), it freezes for anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, and when it does, there’s a very good chance (greater than half the time) that it will crash. usually this happens when i have just selected a message to reply to, and/or usually it happens when it is in the process of downloading new mail or RSS feeds. sometimes i can anticipate when it’s going to happen, when i have to reply to a message and it is in the process of downloading.

thunderbird doesn’t have these problem. when i select “quit” from the “file” menu, in thunderbird, it actually quits, and doesn’t keep downloading mail anyway. thunderbird doesn’t crash for no reason, or freeze and crash. it may not be kontact, but on the other hand, it’s not kontact.

my impression is that the operating system struggles when there is more than one MUA running, and, because of the difficulties i’ve been having getting kontact to quit, i don’t like to keep both of them running for long periods of time, especially since, apparently, kontact’s interface with the POP3 mailserver takes precedence, even after i “quit” and “kill” it, and even when i start up thunderbird first (which it shouldn’t, but it goes to support the fact that “kontact is broken”).

database update

the database is fixed. 😌

what happened? that’s complex.

recently, i had my web site redesigned. the new design uses the “Enfold” theme, which uses a lot of what they call “transients” to maintain the look and feel of the site, regardless of the platform on which it’s being viewed. “transients” are sort of like cookies, except that you can’t opt out of them, and they don’t contain any personally identifying information. some of these “transients” expire immediately when a person leaves the web site, and others persist, for a few minutes to several days. they persist on your computer AND on my server… in the one of the tables in the database…

the “Enfold” theme has automatic caching and garbage collection routines that are supposed to handle these expired “transients”, but, because it’s a wordpress theme, it doesn’t do all the jobs very well… or, sometimes, at all… which is why i also use a caching plugin that actually, you know, works ALL the time, and not only some of the time… 😒

except that, for some reason, prior to my site upgrade, “someone” (and i have yet to identify who, but it was either my web designer or my host provider) recommended that i disable the caching plugin, because of some issue with the new version of wordpress… or something like that… as i said, i don’t remember. i distinctly remember disabling the plugin on someone’s recommendation, i just don’t remember exactly who, when or why. 😖

one way or the other, my caching plugin was disabled, which meant that, when i installed the new theme, it was relying on the not-working-the-way-it-should, internal cache… which, basically, didn’t work, causing the table in the database to expand beyond my disk space allocation. 🤯

it didn’t show up in my cPanel because i wasn’t looking at the SQL disk space, which is “below the fold” of my browser, and i just didn’t scroll down far enough to see it. 😕 during the nightly automatic backup, it was overwhelming the server for everybody, not just me. i had to pay my web designer for two days of poking through piles of arcane SQL code and deleting bits and pieces of it. it was not fun.

the solution was to enable the caching plugin(!), and to install a “transient manager” plugin, so that i can delete the expired transients from the wordpress dashboard, and not from the SQL database,… which requires A LOT more “knowing what to look for” and “knowing how to delete stuff without damaging other stuff” than i have on board, personally.

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

you’re probably wondering why i posted this…

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कारचित्तानि नाहं
न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।
न च व्योमभूमिः न तेजो न वायुः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहं शिवोऽहम् ॥ १॥

The processors
Manas, buddhi, ahaṅkāra and chitta are the qualitative differentiation within the mind. They are used interchangeably based on context, and yet they are different.

Manas is the faculty of perception, the instrument by which the objects of senses affect the Atman. It is the faculty of thought, desire, imagination. Buddhi is the intellect, by which one discerns, comprehends. Ahaṅkāra is the sense of identity, that which creates ‘I-ness’, ego. Chittam is the one that observes, is aware. All these are the faculties that process what comes from outside.

I am none of these processors.

The instruments
Shrotra is the ear, the organ of hearing. Jihvā is tongue, the organ of tasting. Ghrāṅa is nose, the sense of smelling. And netra is eye, the sense of seeing.

I am none of these instruments.

The building blocks of matter
Vyoma is the space, the gap between the matter. It is the space between planetary bodies as well as the space around Earth, and even the space inside anything. It is also one of the five basic elements.

Bhūmi is the Earth, or the solid matter.

Tejas is the heat or light (both interconnected) like the fire or the Sun.

Vāyu is the wind, the circulating forces, not just on Earth but also inside our bodies, responsible for circulating whether nutrition or blood etc.

I am none of these building blocks of which the material world is made.

The faculties get the information using the senses about the outside world.

I am none of them.

I am pure bliss form of consciousness.
I am Shiva, I am Shiva.

— Practical Sanskrit

—–

it is Adi Shankara‘s birthday, and, if i can be said to “follow” a “religion”, it would probably be the one espoused by adi shankara.

the reason for this is that adi shankara spoke of a “god” which exists beyond what we experience as “good” or “evil”. this “god” is neither (or, possibly, both) “good” and/or “evil”… which is, pretty much, EXACTLY the kind of “god” i feel, which “operates” this plane of existence. this “god” both “exists” and “does not exist”, at the same time, creating no contradictions. this “god” is both “illogical” and “logical” at the same time, creating no contradictions…

and if you don’t understand this, you probably think i’m crazy.

so be it.

this sanskrit shloka, part of Nirvanashatkam is, pretty much, exactly what i believe about myself: i may have all these things holding me back; depression, anhedonia, a brain injury, etc., but those are relics of 60 years of living in this plane of existence. in spite of how “real” these things are, in spite of how “real” these things seem to be TO ME, they are NOT “who i am”, in the “real” sense of the word. i am beyond all this: i “really” exist in a realm where “good” and “evil” are two sides of the same coin… and that “coin” is worth less than a penny.

new regex stuff!

logical operators! thanks ian! 😉

+ () [] - |

(stuff that remains the same)+(stuff that changes) – otherwise known as “capture groups”

[89] = 8 or 9

[0-4] = 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4

| = logical OR

so…

\D(85\.157\.47\.)+(12[89]|1[3-9][0-9]|2[0-4][0-9]|25[0-5])\D

means “capture everything in 85.157.47.128/25”

which, up until now, has meant “make a separate rule for every IP address between 85.157.47.128 and 85.157.47.255” — 128 SEPARATE RULES, which takes A LONG time, and slows down processing speed.

this is a BIG step forward!

WOO!!! 😎👍

ETA 200205: even more WOO!!! because ian directed me to a RegEx Numeric Range Generator, which means that i don’t have to figure them all out myself! WOO!!! 😎👍

🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬‼

ever since he was born, i have been afraid that i will be forced into the situation where i have to apologise to my son for bringing him into a world that, through no fault of his own, is going to end, for all intents and purposes, before his life will end. to me, it seems a large amount of irresponsible, to have brought a being into the world, who is faced with his own death, before his time, especially since i seem to be charmed when it comes to the potential of my life ending before my time.

and it’s even harder for me, because i have been fighting my entire adult life to change the things that i can, that would lead to my not having to offer that apology.

ezra, i’m sorry that the world is such a fucked up place. i’m sorry i brought you into this world, with no way to change it. i’m sorry you have to share this world with people who don’t care that it will end before your lifetime is complete.

A Grim New Definition of Generation X
by Ted Rall – 191231

People born in the 1960s may be the last human beings who will get to live out their full actuarial life expectancies. “Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat” to humanity, warns a recent policy paper by an Australian think tank. Civilization, scientists say, could collapse by 2050. Some people may survive. Not many.

Some dismiss such purveyors of apocalyptic prognoses as hysterics. To the contrary, they’re Pollyannas. Every previous “worst-case scenario” prediction for the climate has turned out to have understated the gravity of the situation. “Paleoclimatologists have shown that past warming episodes show that there are mechanisms which magnify its effects, not represented in current climate models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the Paris Accords,” reports The Independent. It’s probably too optimistic to assume that we’ll make it to 2050.

Gives new meaning to Generation X.

Millennials and the children we call Generation Z face the horrifying prospect that they will get stuck with the tab for humanity’s centuries-long rape of planet earth, the mass desecration of which radically accelerated after 1950. There is an intolerably high chance that today’s young people will starve to death, die of thirst, be killed by a superstorm, succumb to a new disease, boil to death, asphyxiate from air pollution, be murdered in a riot or shot or blown up in a war sparked by environmentally-related political instability long before they survive to old age.

Long threatened, never taken seriously, not even now that it’s staring us right in the face, human extinction is coming for the children and grandchildren we claim to love but won’t lift a finger to save.

Shelves sag under the weight of books that have been written arguing that we still have a chance to save ourselves. I wish I could believe that. Human population has tripled since the 1950s. More than a million species have gone extinct. Ninety percent of the fish in the ocean have vanished, replaced by one billion tons of plastic. Two-thirds of the trees have been cut down. The polar ice cap is gone; it’s never coming back.

We can’t stop global warming. An increase of four degrees Celsius over the baseline set at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution means game over. We’re well on our way there. It doesn’t make sense to think that we can avoid extinction.

What if we woke up and demanded action from our political leaders? Radical problems require radical solutions; only the most radical of solutions could resolve the most radical problem of ruining our planet’s ability to sustain us: revolution. We would have to rise up and abolish — immediately — consumer capitalism in all the major greenhouse gas-producing nations, prioritize cleaning the environment as the human race’s top concern, and pivot to an economic mindset in which we extract the bare minimum from the ecosystem that we need in order to survive and nothing more.

Voting might achieve some incremental reforms but reform falls far short of what we require. Saving our young people (and their children, should they be foolish enough to have any) would require global revolution, the violent overthrow of the ruling elites and replacing them with people who understand what must be done. It would need to happen today. Fifty years ago would be better. Got a time machine?

None of this is going to happen. We are going to sleepwalk to our doom in a haze of social media and corporate entertainment distraction.

So it’s time for people who are younger than I am to start thinking about how they want to spend the rest of their likely-to-be-truncated lives, and how they plan to face mass premature death.

Pending human extinction destroys the answers provided by religion and philosophy. Knowing that there won’t be anyone to know that we were ever here raises the question: why bother to do anything? This column, this year’s “important” presidential election, love, hate, everything will lose its meaning when the last member of our species draws her last breath. Earth is unlikely to be visited by an alien archaeologist, much less uncover everything we’ve made and created (assuming any of it survives), much less figure out what any of it meant, before the sun expands into a red giant and ends it all.

Much is to be said for hedonism: eat, drink, have sex, and don’t bother to sort your recycling, for tomorrow we die. Stoicism has its advantages too; go out with dignity rather than weeping and gnashing your teeth and making your fellow survivors miserable.

Nihilism is about to become the best worst possible life strategy. Life is meaningless. That will soon become obvious. Moral principles, relics of a time with a future, will blow away like the irradiated dust we leave behind.

None of this will have mattered.

chops

no, not Chopp’s, chops… the signature stamps that are traditionally used on chinese artwork.

i got some.

chops
chops – one says “SHALEMENDUO” and the other one says “RONG”

the one on the left says 沙了門多 which is prounounced SHĀ-LE-MÉN-DUŌ which is the closest the guy could get to “SALAMANDIR”.

SHĀ-LE-MÉN-DUŌ means “SAND-UP-DOOR-MANY”, which is, essentially, meaningless. it’s just a name chop.

"WRONG" or "DIFFERENT"
“WRONG” or “DIFFERENT”
the one on the right says 蝾 which is pronounced RÓNG, and it means “SALAMANDER”.

and i think it’s kind of interesting that the word for “SALAMANDER” is RÓNG

i made a chop several years ago, that says “CHIGAU” which means “DIFFERENT” or “WRONG”… but it’s backwards.

i did it

i finally went through all of my photos and found a “some random hippie” photo for every year from 2004 until the present, with the exception (for some, as-yet unknown reason) of 2010. the current trend of a picture in the mirror began in 2009.

Some Random Hippie, 2019
Some Random Hippie, 2018
Some Random Hippie, 2017
Some Random Hippie, 2016
Some Random Hippie, 2015
Some Random Hippie, 2014
Some Random Hippie, 2013
Some Random Hippie, 2012
Some Random Hippie, 2011
Some Random Hippie, 2010 – apparently doesn’t exist… 😕
Some Random Hippie, 2009
Some Random Hippie, 2008
Some Random Hippie, 2007
Some Random Hippie, 2006
Some Random Hippie, 2005 (with Schmootzi The Clod)
Some Random Hippie, 2004

what?

i’m reading pantagruel, which was written in 1532.

in the introduction, after he addresses the translator, there is a refrence to tobacco:

To drink he was a furious enemy
Contented with a six-penny --
(with diamond hatband, silver spurs, six horses.) pie --

And for tobacco's pate-rounding smoke,
Much had he said, and much more spoke,
But 'twas not then found out, so the design was broke.

according to wikipedia, “tobacco”, as a word, was introduced to europeans around 1552, twenty years AFTER pantagruel was written, and Hernández de Boncalo, Spanish chronicler of the Indies, was the first European to bring tobacco seeds to the Old World in 1559 following orders of King Philip II of Spain.

before that, especially in europe, one would assume, tobacco was quite rare, and usually not available to “ordinary” people.

i’ve never read pantagruel before, and the 16th century, in general, was kind of a weird, amorphous time, during which what we take as “knowledge” now, was a lot more fluid and undecided, so i think i can overlook this inconsistency, but it’ll be interesting.

FLONG!

a while ago, i came across this word in a web-comic that i read all the time. it was in a joke about librarians who were in the process of being stereotypical stoners, and i thought it was just a joke — and, as “just a joke”, it was a pretty good one — but little did i know…

flong

apparently there is an item called “flong” — sometimes called an “ad-mat” or “advertising matrix” in the newspaper business — which is a paper mould used to make stereotypes… which are called “clichés” in French, because it’s onomotapoetic for the sound produced when they’re made. 🤣

pieces of flong
pieces of flong

i should have known that, even in web comics (possibly, especially in web comics) when librarians make jokes, they make jokes by which even the professionals are impressed. 😎 😉 👍

also, i think i want a refund on this life. i’m almost 60 years old, i have been a typesetter for almost 40 of those years, and i have only recently discovered flongs: this is UNACCEPTABLE! 😠

CIDR

CIDR notation is used when you’re talking about blocks of IP addresses. it’s the part of the IPv4 address — the “dotted quad” — where there’s a slash, followed by a number between 0 and 32, which represents a block of IPv4 addresses that are all related to each other. the common ones that i see all the time are /24 — which is 256 addresses, from A.B.C.0 to A.B.C.255 — and /16, which is A.B.0.0 to A.B.255.255 or 216 addresses. i’ve also seen references to /18, which is 214 addresses, but i don’t completely understand what delineates them in the /18 case — or many other cases, for that matter, it’s just that /24 and /16 have relatively visible end-points for people who don’t really understand… 😉

following that subject, i just recently encountered a block — /23 or 2562 (512) addresses — and i wondered what it was, so i looked it up, and while i was reading about it, moe came up behind me and commented that CIDR plugs are used to synchronize the œstrus of livestock animals

ETA 190208: i have, since, encountered /11, /19, /21, and /28, which is beginning to bring about my understaning where the delineations are.

🤯🤪