Category Archives: technology

internal dissent

let me preface this by saying that I KNOW this kind of dissent is prevalent in every other religion on the planet, and that’s not stopping people from believing it (whatever “it” is) anyway, but it’s things like this that make me suspicious of ALL religions, and this one in particular.

and that’s also not to avoid the subject of “the really big” dissent, which is the difference between catholicism and protestantism, which far outweighs any other, relatively minor dissent that comes after it, but that also does nothing to negate the fact that these are two protestants who disagree with one another… one to the point of hanging up on an interviewer who has taken “the other side” of the argument, despite the fact that he really should be answering some of the questions the interviewer is asking.

if you haven’t figured it out by now, i’m talking about the feud that is brewing between hometown right-wing nut-job mark driscoll, and equally right-wing nut job, national “christian” broadcaster janet mefferd. i think it’s really instructive to see these two right-wing nut-jobs battle it out, to the point of one of them hanging up on the other one. quite apart from the fact that great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (psalm 119.165, hat tip to bruce gerencser for the reference) and mark driscoll definitely seems offended by janet mefferd’s line of inquiry, it’s not an athiest pointing out the fallacies of a “christian’s” argument, it’s two “christians” battling it out over who has the “right-er”, wrong position… 😐

as much as i hate to say it, i agree with janet mefferd this time. mark driscoll has some extreme soul searching to do, as well as quite a bit of going back over old publications to find the plagiarisms and footnoting them correctly… if nothing else.

and it makes me seriously wonder how anyone can take him seriously after this… i mean, my philosophy makes people think i’m out of my mind, and that’s okay with me. but mark driscoll preaching against plagiarism, while, at the same time, plagiarising, himself, follows what i believe in a technical sense, however, there are limits to how meaningless it can be, before it actually becomes meaningless… and it is my impression that mark driscoll crossed that line a while ago. any credibility that mark driscoll may have had disappeared a long, long time ago, and judging by how he responded to janet mefferd’s line of questioning, it’s not going to reappear again any time in the forseeable future.

et cetera (and others)

i broke down and paid for a year of VPN service. now the IP address of my linux box is in stockholm, sweden, the IP address of my mac (which is in the same location) is in southhampton, england, and the IP address of my phone is in austin, texas. i imagine that this may present a bit of a problem when i log into the moisture festival artist’s WIFI, but i’ll deal with that as it happens, rather than worrying about it now.

i got an order for 50 boxes of aparajita from essence of the ages, which is run by what appears to be a “christian” woman. i don’t know why she’s buying incense from me (apart from the fact that i am the only vendor in the western hemisphere who sells what she wants to buy, and she has customers who want to buy what i have to sell) but i think it’s pretty amusing. the up side of it, for me, is that it makes the occasion of my buying my first incense from the actual distributor for sri satyanarayana parimala factory EVER, possible… 😎

the panto starts next week. we’re doing amazingly well. we had our first official, complete run-through last wednesday, and there are still two more rehearsals before we open. we’ve still got one more piece to learn before we open, but that’s pretty standard. and the shows have been selling out really quickly, which is really good.

my “old school” stereo system works exactly the way i was hoping it would, and tomorrow (or monday, at the latest) i plan on making a trip to pacific custom cabling to get another ⅛"-mini-stereo-to-stereo-RCA cable, and then both of my computers will be hooked up to it. for the first time EVER i will have a decent-quality stereo behind my attempts to compose music with reason and/or sibelius. what is the world coming to? 😉

old school…

i am in the process of putting together an old-school component stereo system. a long time ago, i had an old-school component stereo system, but it faded away over the period of a number of years, and has been entirely gone for some time now. but this is a new era. i have recently obtained a marantz amplifier:
131124 marantz amplifier
and a pair of real “Realistic” speakers from the 1970s — 36″ speakers in solid wood cabinets — which i add to my already existing sony turntable and cassette player… and, unlike 30 years ago, i paid less than $300 for the entire lot! soon (like, hopefully, tomorrow) i will receive a mini-stereo-to-RCA cable, and 100′ of pure copper speaker wire, and i will put together the most KICK ASS stereo i have owned in a number of decades.

this is… amusing??

as you may or may not know from the news, george zimmerman has, once again, made headlines by doing something extraordinarily stupid for someone with as much public “rep” as he has currently, but that isn’t what i am referring to.

apparently the national report has a couple of articles, including Mainstream Media Falls for George Zimmerman HOAX – Social Media Abuzz and a poll whose question is Which Ethnicity Will George Zimmerman Murder Next?

under ordinary circumstances, i would think this was “too current” to make jokes about, but, at the same time, i think that george zimmerman deserves both to have people laugh at him, and to go to jail… and, i’m sure that, eventually, people will realise that the national report has about as much credibility as the onion, but considering how many people read articles from the onion and take them seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me too much if someone took this and ran with it…

… which would be HILARIOUS! 👿

Don’t Like Spam? COMPLAIN ABOUT IT!

Don’t Like Spam? Complain About It. — i have been a contributing member of spamcop for close to 10 years — since february, 2004, even before i was directly involved in the electronic communications industry — and, every now and then, i get the impression that what i am doing doesn’t actually accomplish anything… so when i read an article like the one linked above, it does me a world of good to see that people like brian krebs recommends that people use services like spamcop. it is also a good source of information that i wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, like detailed information regarding the origins of the flashback worm, and the fact that people like me are labeled “abusers” by the people who send out spam…

what it comes down to, is that, if you’re fed up with spam arriving in your inbox, the best thing you can do to stem the tide, is to complain about it, early and often. you may not notice a significant change in the number of spam messages you receive, immediately, but over time, not only your personal allotment of spam will decrease, but the amount of spam everybody receives will decrease, and everybody will be happier…

well, everybody except the people who are really the abusers, but we don’t care about their feelings anyway. 😎

trebuchet!

a long time ago, when i was a software tester for a living, i worked on a project where the software we were testing was called 3D Castle Creator, so, naturally, i built a model trebuchet with which i flung tennis balls into the far reaches of the cube-farm that was my office… but it was a simple medieval trebuchet.

the one i got today, is a modern “floating arm” trebuchet, and it can do a lot more with a lot less, let me tell you… 😀

trebuchet

i haven’t tested it yet, but the previous owner claims to have lobbed a golf-ball over 200 feet on a regular basis. 😎

smb

i figured out stumbled across the method of making my mac accessible to my linux box that doesn’t include sftp, but does include smb. theoretically, i’ve got smb running on my linux box, as well (thus the ability to access my mac), but for some reason, my linux box doesn’t show up on my mac.

it’s nothing new. my mac has always shown up on my linux box, and my linux box has never shown up on my mac. the fact that i stumbled across the method of making my mac visible on my linux box indicates to me that it should be fairly easy to make the linux box visible from the mac…

but, so far, it hasn’t happened yet… 😐

put this into a perspective that we can relate to…

Don’t panic: Earth has at least 1.75 billion years to go, scientists say — saying it like that makes it seem like there’s something that we, as living individuals, could do about it. putting it into a little more realistic perspective, i.e. 100 years is 3 to 4 generations, that is 52,500,000 to 70,000,000 GENERATIONS they think we will last until the sun gets too hot…

i’m pretty sure they will have completely forgotten about me, and my son, and his offspring, and their offspring, and their offspring, before we even have to think about worrying that we’re approaching the end of the world. we have a better chance of ending the world ourselves before then than we do actually lasting that long.

get over it. the sun is eventually going to get too hot for humans to live on earth, but, unless we act a lot more sensibly than we have been the past 2000 years, we’re very likely to drive ourselves into extinction a long time before that will happen.

why is this happening?

several of my web hosting clients have been having trouble with their email not getting through, recently. i went through a frighteningly similar situation last year, which ended up with my moving my web sites, lock stock and CGI scripts, to another server with a different IP address… same host provider, just a different IP address. the reason was that, for some unexplained reason, the IP address kept getting listed in the CBL… which means that someone using that shared-hosting machine (not me, or any of my clients) was using it to sent spam.

the same thing has happened again. i complained, they suspended someone, it didn’t fix the problem, they told me that it takes time to propagate, i waited, it didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that it was an exim misconfiguration, that didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that they had written to the CBL to get answers…

well, guess what?

copied from the CBL home page: “There is no supporting data or “evidence” file available for any given listing, and no mechanism to ask why any given listing took place.”

so i wrote back to them, and said “whatever is causing the IP to be relisted hasn’t gone away, and won’t go away with you guys waiting for a response that won’t come.”

whereupon they closed the ticket with no further response.

maybe it’s time to start looking for a cheap VPS… 😐

latest battle news

things keep fixing themselves, and/or i find out how to fix them: i figured out how to make my secondary internal ext3 disk mount at boot, and the version of KDE that has the fix for the recently used documents bug came down the line a couple of days ago… there’s still some things that haven’t completely worked their way out yet, but i keep creeping up on where i used to be before “the disaster” happened.

on the other hand, i recently discovered that the IP address for hybridelephant.com (and all other domains that i host) has, once again, found itself on the CBL, and the sysadmins are just as clueless and stubborn about fixing it as they were last year. i reported the problem, and they immediately got back to me and said that they had suspended a suspicious user and that the problem was resolved. problem was, they didn’t actually fix the problem, and i told them so, with references to back up my case. once again, they told me the problem was solved, and that i shouldn’t worry about it. at the same time, my IP address was listed in the CBL, and had been for the past 14 hours. i pointed this out to them, and they told me that it was “a misconfigured exim” and that the problem really was resolved… now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if that really has fixed the problem. i’m not holding my breath, but so far it’s not been re-listed. we’ll see how it goes.

also, i bought a new (reconditioned) mac the other day. it’s allegedly going to be delivered on the 16th.

Continue reading latest battle news

only on internet… seriously… ONLY on internet.

today i’ve was reading through my RSS feeds, and i came across several references, in widely different publications, about An Open Letter To Bigot Diners by Hajime Sato, sushi chef and owner of the local japanese restaurant Mashiko (and, coincidentally, also owner of Katsu Burger, which is a place i’ve driven by quite often, and wondered what the hell it was…), concerning the presence of caucasian female sushi chefs behind the bar of their authentic japanese restaurant.

being a fairly regular customer of another local japanese restaurant, Maneki, i was interested in reading through his “Open Letter…” and agreed with it wholeheartedly, but that’s not the funny part.

the funny part is that i commented that i didn’t know he also owned Katsu Burger, and then, i noticed a very familiar name on the comment just ahead of mine

i find it very odd that both my father and i would be moved to comment on the same article within three hours of each other, with no other impetus than to voice our agreement with a third person, who neither of us know IRL…

the most recent iteration of the battle of the computer is winding down…

i got my dropbox fixed. i still don’t know why or how, but at least it’s working. 😐

i just discovered that the issue with my “Recently Used Documents” menu is due to a bug in KDE4.11.0 which is why they’ve already released KDE4.11.1, but that doesn’t come until later… because apparently the KDE for kubuntu 12.04 is 4.8.5, which may mean that there’s something else bizarre going on… means that i have kubuntu backports ppa enabled (because of a problem that i was having with amarok, about a year ago) in my repositories list, and i’m not going to turn them off now… 😐

there’s a whole bunch of “new” information, via hobbit, regarding the linux compose key, which while not “new” to the world in general, is very new and interesting to me… and with a minimum amount of twangling, i got it set up. unfortunately, it doesn’t work when publishing to the web (which is not particuarly surprising), so a demonstration of it on this page would be extremely disappointing. 😉

battle

so, the battle of the computer is largely over, but there are a few weird things, that i suspect are going to be more and more annoying as time goes on and they don’t get fixed, but at the same time, they are practically impossible to describe, and i don’t know how i’m ever going to fix them if i can’t even describe them reliably.

there have been some peculiarities that i have been able to adjust: my default browser changed from firefox to rekonq in the System Settings, but nowhere else, and it went back to doing what it was supposed to once i changed it, but i had to check two or three other places, because it wasn’t changed in my email client or ANY of my browsers.

also, immediately after i recovered from “the disaster”, i noticed that some, but, curiously, not all of my email filters weren’t working. when i went into the “Configure Filters” dialogue, all of the filters were there, but they didn’t do anything. once i re-established the things that each of them were supposed to do, they all worked the way they were supposed to.

however, there are some things that worked fine before, are non-functional now, and i don’t have the first clue how to fix them:

before the disaster, when i opened a URL from my email client, it immediately switched to the browser, and proceded to open the URL without making any sound. after the disaster, it opens the URL in a new browser window, but it doesn’t immediately switch to it, and sometimes (but not always) it makes a “swishyswishy” sound that i haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from, and (naturally) haven’t been able to figure out how to turn it off.

before my disaster, i had the ability to change my volume by pushing buttons on my keyboard, but since the disaster, my sound system settings are completely wonky, the buttons on the keyboard no longer work, and i can’t figure out how to make them right: instead of having two channels in my “Volume” settings (in the systray), one of which controled the volume for everything, i have three, or four if there’s a youtube video in my browser, and one channel controls the settings for the system bell, another channel controls the volume in amarok, and one channel controls the volume in the youtube video… i believe that, when i’m using something like VLC Media Player, i can show another channel in my mixer.

task-barthere’s one, in particular, that i already find fairly annoying: i have a “K” menu (rather like the “Start” menu in windoesn’t, but not so confusing) in my task bar, which has a “Recently Used” tab – recently used
but the fact is the recently used documents part of the tab hasn’t updated since i recovered my data… the recently used applications seems to work as expected, but the recently used documents hasn’t updated at all since i recovered my data.

i have a “0 B Removable Media” that appears to be a floppy drive in my devices menu, but i don’t have a floppy drive at all… i seem to recall being able to turn drives that i don’t have off in the devices menu, but there’s nothing in System Settings -> Removable Devices that does anything. also, my secondary internal drive, which should mount automatically at boot time, doesn’t actually mount until i click on it, at which point it demands a password before i can access any of its contents.

my “Dropbox” folder is no longer linked, and i can’t figure out how to re-link it. it was “moved” when it went from /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox to /media/salamandir/home/salamandir/Dropbox and when i finally figured out how to get it back to /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox it still told me that my dropbox folder wasn’t installed in the correct place, and instructed me to reinstall dropbox, but when i did, it didn’t do any good, so i “unlinked” my linux box from my dropbox account, and now i can’t figure out how to re-link it… BUT, for some unknown reason, my “Fremont Philharmonic” dropbox is still working the way i expect it to… which is REALLY weird…

more battle

okay, i’ve got my /media/home and /media/backup partitions back where they’re supposed to be, however… 😐

when i view /media/home with the file manager, what i see is two empty directories, /Desktop and /Downloads. however, when i right click and choose “Properties”, it tells me that 31.3GB are being used out of the 1TB partition, for 45,227 files…

which means that the data is there, i just can’t see it.

the technical side of the story is here for anyone who is interested. it continues to develop. my guess is that, soon, i’ll have all of my data back…

either that, or i won’t. 😛

ETA: the battle of the computer is over. i have won, once again… i just wish the computer could get the idea that it’s not good to anger the creator…

there has been enough stress in the past 3 days to last me a few years… i wasn’t kidding about taking a break from computers for a while. at this point, email/RSS and posting on my own blog about stuff is verging on too much. we’ll see about other things as they come up, but… 😐

new information

i haven’t turned on my linux box in two days. i’ve been afraid to turn it on, because something might happen to change the already tenuous hold i have on the concept that, maybe, possibly things can be made right without losing all of my data for the past two years.

during the past two days, i have discovered that KDE (the window manager for kubuntu) has changed the way it mounts USB drives, from /media/drive to /media/username/drive (which has actually been a standard with ubuntu for a couple of years now, and KDE is only “just catching up”). the way to force the system to go back to “the old way” of doing things, is to sudo make a text file with a VERY SPECIFIC filename, that contains a single line of arcane gibberish (the text is actually ENV{ID_FS_USAGE}=="filesystem", ENV{UDISKS_FILESYSTEM_SHARED}="1"), and then sudo reload the process that looks at that file.

which is, pretty much, what i expected the answer was going to be: a very simple line of code that causes the operating system to do something so far under the radar that ordinary “normal” computer users wouldn’t be able to figure it out in a million years.

once i have my drives mounting in the place that they’re supposed to mount, i don’t know for sure what comes next, but it includes the possibility of removing my ~/.kde directory and then rebooting, which will cause kde to re-create a “default” of all of the system settings (including my home directory, and all of my paths)… at which point, it is remotely possible that all of my lost data will suddenly reappear.

that is the best case scenario, and the one that i am hoping will happen. i haven’t actually done it yet, because i’m still working out the details… “doing the leg work” is what moe says… but i’m hoping that, tomorrow at the earliest, my linux box will be back up and running again.

OY!

a while back — a year and a half ago, or thereabouts — i decided that i was going to make a separate directory, on an external hard disk, that contained all of my essential data, data that i had created, so that when i upgraded my system, i wouldn’t face the potential of losing everything when a system upgrade didn’t go the way it was supposed to… and, the last time i did a major upgrade of my system, it worked exactly the way i expected it to work, and i was very happy.

basically, instead of my “home” directory being at /home/salamandir on the primary hard disk of the computer, i had a home directory at /media/home/salamandir and everything was fine, i just had to remember to change directories when i was downloading something, because i knew (from first-hand experience) that if i forgot, and downloaded to /home/salamandir/Downloads i would have difficulty finding the data afterwards.

so i did the intermediary system upgrades on my linux box, yesterday. it wasn’t a full upgrade, but there were some more things than normal, and it “hung up” when it got to the point where it asked me if i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, or if i wanted to download a new configuration file, but when i answered that i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, the installation procedure proceded as normal.

then i rebooted my computer, because i like to do that, to make sure there aren’t any delayed configurations, or things that don’t get installed at reboot that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and that’s where the problems started.

i rebooted, and the first thing i noticed was that the external disks, including the 3TB disk that i have partitioned into a “home” and a “backup” partition, weren’t mounting the way they were supposed to. i didn’t notice this until later, but the reason why the “home” and “backup” partitions weren’t mounting correctly was because, for some (as yet unknown) reason, they had been converted from /media/home and /media/backup to /media/salamandir/home and /media/salamandir/backup

what this meant in the short run is that it couldn’t find the directory that contains my wallpaper graphics, and my “dropbox” folder was “moved” from where it was supposed to be.

this would have been an entirely different problem if i had noticed that immediately, but as it is, i tried to re-establish my directories where they should be, and succeeded only in overwriting (or something, i still don’t know what) the directory in /media/salamandir/home/salamandir — which is where ALL my data from the LAST time this happened, now lives… because i was under the impression that if i kept my data on an external hard drive, that it would be safe from random deletion and/or disasters… like this one is turning out to be.

/media/salamandir/backup (which contains backups of my “real” home directory: i.e. configuration files and nothing else) is still intact, /media/salamandir/home/salamandir-new (a directory i created when i was still trying to deal with the loss of data the last time) is still intact, but /media/salamandir/home/salamandir is NOT intact… which includes all of the printing clients that i have worked for in the past year-and-a-half, ALL of my genealogy data, a huge pile of my (irreplaceable) music files, and who knows what else.

the only good part about this whole thing is that i BELIEVE all of the data is still there: usually it takes a while for the computer to actually delete a couple of gigabytes of information (which /media/salamandir/home/salamandir certainly is), and it didn’t actually do anything that seems like actual deleting, so what i suspect is that i just overwrote the file that tells the computer where everything is, and if i could just replace that, everything would be cool…

but, so far, i haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. 😐

the last time this happened, my computer was down for 5 days, and it was only because of the fact that i was willing to let go of a whole bunch of my data that things eventually made their way back to “normal” again. i’m pretty sure i DON’T want to go through that again. 😐

i think it’s time for me to take a break from my computer for a few weeks… possibly longer… 😐

<blink>

the <blink> tag has been removed from the latest version of firefox (mozilla).

i wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for the fact that i just used it the other day in a rare fit of rage against spammers…

i’m sure there are other, more correct ways to create the blink effect using CSS or something like that, and, because of the fact that <blink> was originally introduced as a netscape “extension” to HTML, i’ve never been particurlarly fond of it, but it was convenient, if nothing else…

The Egg

The Egg
By Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

Jimmy Carter Defends Edward Snowden, Says NSA Spying Has Compromised Nation’s Democracy

Jimmy Carter Defends Edward Snowden, Says NSA Spying Has Compromised Nation’s Democracy – i didn’t like him when he was president, but since then he has done a surprising 180 for a lot of things, and i like that about him…

Continue reading Jimmy Carter Defends Edward Snowden, Says NSA Spying Has Compromised Nation’s Democracy

now…

i was going to post yesterday, but then i spent two nights ago not sleeping very well and having dreams that i wished i wasn’t having — and waking up on more than one occasion, specifically to end a particularly annoying dream, only to have it resume, more or less, when i succeeded in getting back to sleep — so when i finally got up yesterday i was already in a sour mood… and then i turned on my computer and the sour mood increased about ten-fold, which was not made any better by the fact that i couldn’t get my backups to work the way i wanted to, because of the fact that the crack used a “new, different” way of intruding, which the host provider was less than forthcoming about explaining…

i actually had everything fixed by 11:00 am or so, but my mood was so bad, and it was so hot, that, by that time, all i wanted to do was watch the god-damned-noisy-box, smoke cannabis and drink… first mountain dew, then water, then beer. seriously, the temperatures have been in the low-90s and upper-80s, but it has been more humid than i have ever seen before (around here, it’s par for the course in illinois and alabama), and the overall effect is that the temperature is oppressively hot, which made the god-damned-noisy-box even more inviting… if i had a swimming pool, it be a lot better…

but, unfortunately, if i had a swimming pool, realistically, it would only get used a week or so a year, and the rest of the time i would have to maintain it… so it’s probably better this way… it’s a lot more realistic to dream of a sauna, because i’d use that year round EXCEPT for the really hot days…

anyway, if i had posted yesterday, this would have been that post:

the oregon country fair is in a little more than a week. i had in mind to distribute QR code stickers for music at the fair, but they haven’t even contacted me with a shipping date yet, and i placed the order almost a month ago. so THIS is the reason why NOT to use StickerRobot when time is sensitive. they may make the best stickers in the world (for all i know, they haven’t delivered them yet), but if a simple, square, black-and-white sticker takes them a month, i am less than impressed.

the panto this year is Dick Whittington, which i have wanted to do for two years now. it should be a great show, although i haven’t seen it yet. we’ve got some of the music, we’re getting more tonight, and, as usual, we’re probably going to get new music when we arrive at the fair… at this point, the fact that we’ve never performed the panto all the way through, even once, doesn’t faze me very much… we have almost exactly the same routine every year, and it invariably comes out on the other end as a finished work of art. the real fun is working together to make it a work of art… and the reactions of the audiences when we perform.

truly geekworthy

so, you know what an escape sequence is, right? an escape sequence is a series of characters that you can type on a standard keyboard, which represent characters which cannot be typed from a standard keyboard. for most places in the first 255 ASCII character codes you can actually represent a character with either an escape sequence or a character entity. the escape sequence is the numerical value of the character, and the character entity is a word that describes the character. for example, the character Ð can be represented either with the escape sequence &#208; or with the character entity &ETH;

in the same way, i have found that by adding an x to the equation, you can represent the characters using the hexidecimal equivalant, thus &#208; can also be represented by &#xd0;

neet, huh? 😎 ॐቱ༊⊚⡺孻

so it begs the question… if you can represent characters in hex by adding x, what do you have to add to represent the characters in binary? presumably it would be the delimiters &# then something followed by the binary equivalent of 208 – which would be 11010000 – and then the end delimiter ;

but what? that’s what i wonder…

i have reasons for wondering this. i’ve found that even hexidecimal escape sequences are able to be read by spambots… but i’d be willing to bet that they haven’t cracked binary… yet… 😎

Canadian drug policy experts recommend decriminalizing all drugs

Canadian drug policy experts recommend decriminalizing all drugs
By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, May 23, 2013

In a report issued Thursday (PDF), a group of Canadian drug policy experts at the Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction recommend that the Harper administration immediately take up decriminalization of all drugs as the first step toward fundamentally reforming the nation’s drug war to fight addiction instead of the Canadian people.

“While countries all around the world are adopting forward-thinking, evidence-based drug policies, Canada is taking a step backwards and strengthening punitive policies that have been proven to fail,” experts wrote, noting the Harper administration’s hard rightward swing.

The administration recently joined U.S. drug warriors in focusing military assets on eradicating drug crops in south America, even after the prime minister himself admitted that the drug war “is not working.”

“The findings of this report, based on interviews with changemakers and service providers, and scans of important documents and research, reveals that Canada is at a crossroads when it comes to drug laws and policies,” the report’s executive summary explains. “A new direction in drug policy is required. We can continue to work within the paradigm of drug prohibition or we can begin to explore alternative approaches and chart a new course that can help save lives, respect human rights and be more cost effective.”

Their top recommendation, mentioned before all others, is the decriminalization of all currently illicit substances for personal use, along with the establishment of a regulatory system that allows adults to responsibly use marijuana. Once that’s done, experts recommended working to reduce the stigmas associated with people who use drugs in order to help overcome some of the social barriers addicts face in seeking treatment.

Likely their most controversial recommendation is step three: harm reduction policies, like supplying clean needles to heroin addicts and clean pipes for crack cocaine users, making drug-replacement therapies available to opoid users, and even allowing heroin addicts a sterile injection site with medically pure, measured doses, then following up with the patient about rehabilitation services.

“Canada has good people working at every level from front line services and organizations to provincial and federal ministries, whose efforts are severely hampered by fear, lack of leadership, and poorly informed policies based on outdated ideas and beliefs about drugs and the people who use them,” they wrote. “At the same time, a global movement of sitting and former political leaders is emerging that acknowledges the over-reliance on the criminal law in addressing drug problems is causing more harm than good.”

“Canada must join the chorus of voices around the globe calling for change,” the summary concludes. “This report is a call for Canadians to meet these challenges head-on with creative thinking and brave policy changes.”

one or the other…

Michelle Shocked or Ted Nugent?

35 years ago, it was my impression that these people were FUCKING SCREWED UP… now… they’re so far beyond FUCKING SCREWED UP that there are no words to describe it. but, strangely enough, both of these people are not FUCKING SCREWED UP in the way that i would have expected 35 years ago…

my understanding is that they’re both “christians”… i recently found out that the word “cretin” originally started out life as a coloquial european pronunciation of “christian” which was used to mean something like “everyman”, and that it eventually got applied to dwarves and the mentally infirm…

and to aging wannabe rock stars, apparently…

courage…

i bit the bullet the other day, and submitted to trading in my (perfectly functional, but hopelessly obsolete) semi-smart phone — an LG VX8575 — for a somewhat-less-obsolete, actually "smart" phone, an iPhone 4.

and, while i’m not immediately won over and become a born-again mac fanboi, i’m not totally repulsed, either. it’s far-and-away a better music player than ANY other device i have ever owned. it (naturally) has the ability to talk wirelessly, using a couple of different protocols, to our apple TV sound system, and it has an eight megapixel camera that does okay in sunlight, or strong room lighting, but (as far as i have been able to determine, so far) does LOUSY at low-light, long shutter speed stuff — which means that, once again, i will be taking my SLR to OCF again this year, in order to take decent, low-light pictures. it interfaces with my google calender — a good thing — and my google email (which i never use), and it wants me to sign up for all of these social media services with which i want to have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do, and i have already gone in and gutted it’s ability to mine whatever information i do give it. it has the ability, with the help of a convenient web site, to play ring tones made out of whatever tracks i like, and so, naturally, my phone now sports a complete set of frank zappa ringtones: The Torture Never Stops for moe, and I’m The Slime for everyone else. 😎

although i have already downloaded several “apps” (a “flickr app”, an instrument tuner, and a “retro pinball” game), i don’t intend to buy into the mass marketing hype, and probably won’t download more than i already have… although i might download angry birds… 😉

appropos of nothing…

Strange but True: Males Can Lactate
Unless you are an Indonesian fruit bat, though, it probably won’t happen naturally

By Nikhil Swaminathan
September 6, 2007

In late 2004 the Internet Movie Database reported that Dustin Hoffman suddenly had the urge to breast-feed. Had the then-67-year-old Hoffman—who brought mainstream culture face to face with autism in Rain Man and went mano a mano with an Ebola-like filovirus in Outbreak—never quite broken character from his 1982 film Tootsie? Nope. He was just really keen to help out with his first grandchild.

Interestingly, he could have possibly lent a helping, er, breast, if he had held the suckling newborn to his nipples for a couple weeks – although he could also have tried starving himself or taking a medication that would affect his brain’s pituitary gland.

There have been countless literary descriptions of men miraculously breast-feeding, from The Talmud to Tolstoy, where, in Anna Karenina, there is a short anecdote of a baby suckling an Englishman for sustenance while on board a ship. The little anthropological evidence documented suggests it is possible. In the 1896 compendium Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, George Gould and Walter Pyle catalogue several instances of male nursing being observed. Among them was a South American man, observed by Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who subbed as wet nurse after his wife fell ill as well as male missionaries in Brazil that were the sole milk supply for their children because their wives had shriveled breasts. More recently, Agence France-Presse reported a short piece in 2002 on a 38-year-old man in Sri Lanka who nursed his two daughters through their infancy after his wife died during the birth of her second child.

In her 1978 book The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding, medical anthropologist Dana Raphael claimed that men could induce lactation simply by stimulating their nipples. The eminent endocrinologist Robert Greenblatt of the Medical College of Georgia concurred. But Jack Newman, a Toronto-based doctor and breast-feeding expert, insists that in order to produce milk, a hormone spike must occur. “That Tolstoy quote suggests that the father just put the baby to the breast and he would produce milk; I think that’s pretty unlikely,” he says. “It could be that you have this man with this pituitary tumor and he produces milk once the baby starts suckling.”

Newman explains that medical disruptions involving prolactin, the hormone necessary to produce milk, have resulted in spontaneous lactation. Thorazine, a popular antipsychotic used in the mid-20th century, impacted the pituitary gland—the pea-size endocrine gland located near the base of the brain—often causing it to overproduce prolactin. If prolactin levels remained high, milk could follow. According to Newman, lactation is listed as a possible side effect of the heart medication digoxin. A pituitary tumor could also induce milk production: “It would be the same reason—increased prolactin levels — in the one case drug-induced, in the other due to a tumor or some other sort of neurological problem.”

In a 1995 article for Discover titled “Father’s Milk,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one-time physiologist Jared Diamond reconciles the nipple stimulation and hormone quandary, pointing out that such stimulation can release prolactin. He also notes that starvation — which inhibits the functioning of hormone-producing glands as well as the hormone-absorbing liver — can cause spontaneous lactation, as observed in survivors of Nazi concentration camps and Japanese POW camps in World War II. “The glands recover much faster than the liver when normal nutrition is resumed,” he writes, “so hormone levels soar unchecked.”

Males of many different mammalian species have the potential to lactate, although only one, the Dayak fruit bat of Southeast Asia, does so spontaneously. Diamond points out, however, that with the societal norm of fathers helping to rear their young, male milk production could actually be to our advantage, especially with all the career women trying to balance the demands of job and family. Why else would men still have nipples?

“Up until a certain age, boys and girls, as fetuses, are indistinguishable, really, so women retain some remnants of the vas deferens, which is the canal that sperm follows,” Newman answers. “If you have no Y chromosome, then certain hormones are released that say, ‘Okay, we’ll set up this child’s breast tissue to develop at puberty so that she will be able to produce milk.’ Men didn’t [secrete those hormones], so we don’t usually have breast tissue.”

“Actually a significant number of boys around the age of puberty do develop breasts,” he continues, “so the tissue is there, but it regresses.” In short, men may not have full-fledged breasts but they certainly can lactate, under extreme circumstances.

garbage! 8/

so i finally got up the nerve, and got frustrated enough with kubuntu that i tried to switch distributions. i have already moved my “real” home directory (which is at /media/home/salamandir ) to another partition, and backed up my “actual” home directory (which is at /home/salamandir ) and put the debian squeeze live disk in… and it looked really pretty, so i clicked the “Debian Installer” icon. it gathered the appropriate information, and then…

HUNG UP when it got to the “Starting the partitioner” window…

TWICE!!

because of the fact that i was running a “live disk”, i was able to figure out how to switch tasks: hitting “ctrl + esc” brings up the system processes window and from that, you’re given a task bar, which has a “close” selection when you right-click on the tasks, and then you’re back at the “live disk” desktop. i tried it again, just to make sure, and it hung up in exactly the same place

i have been subscribed to the KDE-PIM mailing list for long enough that i have actually seen a person who said he had to downgrade from Kontact 4.8.5 (which is the version i am currently running) because there were so many bugs. i haven’t been able to find out any details on exactly how he did this, and i can’t seem to get any response from the mailing list. i have sent two messages, one subject line was “switching distributions, but keeping KDE… how do i migrate my email?” to which there were no responses, and one subject line was “kmail dispatcher agent is not remembering my SMTP password” which contained a detailed bug report… which has gotten NO responses… 😡

so now i don’t know whether i actually am going to upgrade to debian. at least with kubuntu, there’s a forum that offers some support…

grawlf…

i’m getting more and more convinced that what i really SHOULD do is drop kubuntu all together, and install debian with KDE. kmail is still doing bizarre, but not really obtrusive things, like “forgetting” my password, and losing mail if i move the folder that it’s in somewhere else. amarok still randomly stops playing occasionally, and crashes rather than shutting down “nicely” EVERY TIME… there are all kinds of minor annoyances that have crept into kubuntu that i strongly suspect would not be there in debian, and with KDE, i wouldn’t have to learn new software. the only thing i’m skeptical about is whether or not i will be able to transfer my mail to the new system, and (once again) whether or not i would be able to get all of my genealogical data back… both of those things are items that i could have the answers to, if i wrote to the appropriate user groups, i just haven’t gotten around to it.

i had two gigs over the weekend: one with snake suspenderz at the gage drawing jam, and one with the sousa band at the phinney holiday festival. the gage was more or less as advertised, i.e. we sat in the back of the room and nobody paid attention to us, but there was no free beer this year. we made $50 a piece (because our drummer was not there). the gig at phinney was more crowded and chaotic than it has been in the past, because they put in an elevator and a fire-escape in the places where we used to fill up the hall, so they had to twist everything ninety degrees, which made the stage about a quarter of the size it used to be…

really, honestly, if they don’t provide us more roomy accomodations next year, i won’t be going. it’s crowded and chaotic enough already, but expecting a 40-piece band to fit in a room that is only big enough for about 75 people, and then cramming 200 more people into the space (most of whom aren’t even attending the concert in the first place), SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK… 😐

i’ve got a new web design client, for whom i’ve also (already) made business cards… and there’s a good chance that i will make at least 4 more business cards for him, and, once he gets is ducks in a row, there’s even a possibility that i will be doing a lot more printing for him as well. at this point, i haven’t done a lot with the web design part of it, in spite of the fact that he paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money up front which i haven’t even come close to spending yet… and it appears as though i may not have to do any of the actual design part of the job anyway. a member of the fremont players does web design “on the side” and knows A LOT more about HTML5 than i do, and, because of the fact that this guy has already paid me what i consider to be A LOT of money, i can actually afford to pay her $20 an hour to do the web design for me. 😎

the date is up

hipy papytoday is the fifth anniversary of my starting this blog. for the record, i’m still SO GLAD i got away from LiveJournal, despite the fact that i have a lot of friends who still use it.

i haven’t switched out the system on my computer yet, primarily because, after flipping out yesterday, it has settled down again, and isn’t producing the kind of errors that were making me think about switching distributions… but i’ve still got the debian live disk, and i’m just waiting for an excuse to wipe the whole system and try another one.

i’ve spent the past couple of days cleaning up my workshop. i have a lot of empty glass bottles waiting to be made into bongs on my main workbench, and a whole bunch of painting stuff left over from the summertime on my jewelry-making workbench, which i cleaned up to the point where i can actually work on both workbenches. i’ve got a whole bunch of things that could be made into earrings or pendants, but no real motivation to make anything out of them, despite the fact that the holidays are rapidly approaching.

BBWP patches

also, after having a number of difficulties getting emails to and from the lady who actually did the work, i now have 10 Big Boys With Poise jacket patches which i’m going to distribute to the other Big Boys (and other people) at monday’s rehearsal.

again…

i’ve “backed out” a number of adjustments that i made to my computer’s “appearance”, and that “appears” to have “fixed” whatever problems i was having with the email database… at least, so far today, i haven’t seen the “Retrieving folder contents” page, which was a common occurrence yesterday. at this point i strongly suspect the "GTK+ Appearance" changes, because i’ve made pretty much every other change with no consequences, but when i mess around with GTK+, my system goes wonky…

i suppose it’s sort of understandable, since i am using KDE and not GNOME, but if it was really that wonky, i wonder why they put it in to begin with. 😐

ON THE OTHER HAND… the debian live disk looks REALLY pretty on my mac, and usually the live disks don’t do very well on my mac… it even started a wireless network connection without too much difficulty… options, options… 😉

sigh

so, abruptly, and for no very obvious reasons, my email client – which has been Kmail/Kontact for at least the past four years – has suddenly decided to be extremely slow reading the database – it puts up a “Kmail – Retrieving folder contents: Please wait…” page instead of displaying the selected message, sometimes for minutes at a time, sometimes actually crashing the program – combined with, randomly putting up a “Conflict resolution” error message that says that two different versions of a particular message (so far it’s been messages that i’ve already moved to the trash) exist, and wants me to determine which version of them to keep. also, it has taken up to five minutes to send an email message. i hit the “send” button, and the message just hangs there, not being sent to the “Sent Mail” folder, but i can’t edit it, or cancel sending, or do anything with the kontact interface until the message has disappeared.

this combined with the serious problems i have been having with amarok that are already fixed in the next version, which won’t be made available unless i upgrade the system to the next (non-LTS) version, have forced me to consider the option of switching distributions.

i have been considering debian for a long time: it is the operating system on which ubuntu/kubuntu is based, and it is one of the more stable distributions that i know of… but it is because they don’t update it as frequently. i’m not exactly sure where they are compared with what i need today, but i can’t imagine that they’d be too far behind where i am now. i already use a bunch of debian system-level controls instead of the ones provided by kubuntu, because i know they work better. i would have to learn how to install KDE, because, in spite of everything, i’m still the most comfortable with a familiar interface, but i get the impression that it’s really not that difficult.

ETA: it comes with KDE already installed, as one of the options, and after reading through the installation guide, it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to install. i’m downloading a live disk of it now. 😉

date: up

now that the battle of the computer is fading into the background, i actually have time to rant about other things. there’s still a few things that are wonky about the new operating system: amarok still has problems when i first start it up. it doesn’t show all of the current track’s tags until i “nudge” it a little bit, and when i close it down, i select “File -> Quit” and it quits, but it also shows a crash error shortly afterwards… i’ve tried to report the crash error (because it happenes EVERY time), but they say it’s fixed in the next version… which won’t be available for kubuntu 12.04.1 (Precise Pangolin) but is currently available for kubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) which i am not going to upgrade to, because it is not a “Long Term Support” version… also, for some unknown reason, amarok gives up and has to be restarted. it’s frustrating, but nowhere near as frustrating as playing multiple tracks at the same time, and not stopping when i select “File -> Quit”, which is what it had started doing prior to the system upgrade…

Snake Suspenderz played a gig at Wine World yesterday, as a part of our “official duties” as the “Official SACBO Band”. we played for 3 hours, and got “paid” with pizza, munchies, and all of the wine or beer we could sample. we should definitely play more frequently, but getting the entire band together is a chore i don’t want to undertake myself, because it would get really frustrating, really quickly, and then i wouldn’t want to do it any longer. 😐 we have upcoming shows on 1st december, 2012 at the drawing jam at the gage, and 10th january, 2013 at Smokin’ Pete’s Barbecue, but prior to that, our last gig was in august at the can can, and we haven’t all been in the same room since then, before yesterday…

WOO HOO!! 8)

i’m not exactly sure how, but i got my sound working on my computer! 😎

i think at least part of it is because the buttons in kubuntu 12.04.1 don’t actually look like buttons. they don’t have any clue that they can be selected, and don’t have outlines or anything that make them look like they can be selected… they just look like little icons. once i discovered that they are, in fact, buttons, i pushed one and, voilá!! my sound worked again!

unconditional victory has been achieved in the battle of the computer! 😀

whew!!!

i got my genealogical research back! 😀

i was looking at the .gramps file… i should have been looking at the .gramps subdirectory of my (backed-up) home directory.

instead of starting up gramps and making a “new” database, what i should have done is moved the old .gramps folder into my new home directory. because of the fact that i started gramps before i knew that, i already had a .gramps directory, so i found the old one and over-wrote the new directory.

of course, once i had the up-to-date version of the database open, i went in and told it where the new location of all my media sources were, and it said “oh, look… correct information… munch munch munch…” and it was back up and running in no time…

AND the new version of gramps has a “Create Backup” option, which saves ALL of the information, so i don’t have to freak out again… 😉

the sound still doesn’t work, but i’m on the trail of tracking down a solution, and i’m already futzing around with possibilities for retrieving my email, address book, and rss feeds… things are looking up.

holy crap!

😡

somehow i managed to lose about ¾ of the genealogical research i have done over the past four years or so…

and, yes, i thought that the files that i needed were a part of the backup that i had been making every two weeks for the past four years… apparently they were not… 😐

and i still haven’t got my sound working, in spite of the fact that i reinstalled from scratch…

😡

sigh…

i’m installing clean. it’s too much of a hassle, and i’m too old and tired to be FUCKING around with a machine that doesn’t do what i want.

BUT unlike last time, i only lost my address book… and all of my old emails back to 2009 (which is the last time it happened). and, because of the fact that i backed up all of my email directories, i MAY not have even lost them, but if i did, so be it. it wouldn’t be the first time.

sigh… i knew it was going to come to this eventually… 8/

the time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. of why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings…

no, no, no… that’s not right… 😐

the time has come to upgrade my computer from kubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), which was the last LTS version of kubuntu, to the latest LTS version of kubuntu (12.04.1: Precise Pangolin), because the version of amarok that i am currently running (2.4.0) will no longer upgrade, and it has decided to do EXTREMELY STRANGE things, like playing multiple tracks at the same time, and not stopping playback when i select “file -> quit”…

this is being posted from my mac, as my linux box begins the upgrade process. the last time i went through this, several years ago, it took four days before my linux box was working correctly. i’m hoping that, this time, it will be a more painless process.

we will see.

ETA: the system upgrade seems to have gone okay, but i’m still having difficulty getting my mail to migrate. there’s apparently a known problem with migration to kmail 4.7, but mine is (now) 4.8, and it is still giving me a “Migration of kmailrc has already run, not running it again” message, after failing to run a migration. i’ve deleted and re-created my akonadi/mysql configuration, and have discovered a web page that has a description of a possible solution, but i’m still waiting for my most recent backup to open so that i can retrieve the old mailboxes (i knew this was going to happen, so i backed up all of my mail directories) and re-deposit them in the new “correct” place…

also, i still haven’t tried the new amarok yet, but i’m pretty sure it couldn’t be worse than multiple tracks of everything from wildman fischer to karlheinz stockhausen playing all at the same time.

ETA x2: i think i may do what i planned originally, which is to wipe the disk and install a clean system, instead of upgrading… the new version of amarok doesn’t work at all — or, rather, it plays music files, but no sound comes out of the speakers… i’m pretty sure if i installed clean, this would work the way it’s supposed to… 😐

bother

i need the 3rd trombone part for a march that we are playing in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i have searched all over internet for it, and finally i found a place that offers it for sale — by itself (i.e. i don’t have to buy the entire score) — but they only offer it through “digital print”, which is to say, i pay money, and they offer me a way to display it on my computer screen (i.e. “digital”) and supposedly print it once from my screen… which is fine, i can display it on my screen without a problem. the problem is when i come to print it, the software downloads, but then it flashes a message that says “There has been a download error. Do you wish to try again?” and doesn’t get any further than that. 😐 so i call them up, and tell them what browser i’m using and they recommend that i use internet exploder

hah… hah… 😐

apparently their software that prints from an adobe acrobat file is ONLY usable on “windows and mac OS”…

cool, i have a machine that runs mac os… unfortunately their software doesn’t run on that, either. so i try a windows VMWare box on my wife’s computer (which is a mac)… with internet exploder no less, but it doesn’t work there, either… 😐

so i call my friend rick, who owns an actual windows machine, with internet exploder, and ask him to see if he can get the software to print. after some seemingly encouraging preliminary tries with the software, i even went and picked him up and brought him back to my place so that we could use my printer, because he doesn’t have one… however, it turns out that it doesn’t work on a dedicated machine running exactly the right software, either.

when i talked to the guy on the telephone, he said that “digital print is a new application that they’re trying out” and that “it doesn’t work for everyone”… at this point, i would be surprised if it worked reliably for anyone, but that’s also taking into account the fact that, when i was a software tester, all i had to do was be in the same room with a test machine in order to make it malfunction in some unexpected and entirely un-reproducible way…

at the same time, i understand that sousa was one of the founders of ASCAP, and that he was one of the progenitors of what we now know as copyright law, but at the same time, it was my impression that most of, if not all of sousa’s music was in the public domain, so i don’t really understand why this company can get away with being the ONLY source of this particular 3rd trombone part… and also i really wonder why they can ONLY sell me a “digital print” version, but they can’t send me a printed copy or a .pdf file that i can print outside of their defective web-based program.


i looked online to find out if there’s anybody locally that carries acqua della madonna, which made the extra fancy blue bottle out of which i made a water pipe. apparently, “THIS BRAND HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED“. the company that makes it, Acetosella, has a web site that is entirely made out of shockwave/flash applications, and when you click their “Acqua della Madonna” link, they come back with “Pagina in costruzione”… which, considering that the bottle i’ve got seems to indicate that it was filled in 1999, makes it very likely that they no longer make acqua della madonna…

to me this is an indication of one of two possibilities: the first possibility is that i keep the bong water pipe for myself (which is extremely likely, since it is a very cute bottle-bong)… the second possibility is that i sell it for $75 pr more, because it is no longer made… which would be nice, but i don’t expect it to happen.

HA HA!!

HAH HAH!when i was in training to be a tech support drone for microsoft, they told us that “in 10 years, the default format for all web documents will be the microsoft word .doc format”…

WRONG!!

it is now more than 10 years later (actually, it is almost 20 years later), and Google kills support for old MS file formats in Google Apps…

i knew when i heard it that micro-slop was having a pipe-dream, believing that their proprietary document format was going to become a public standard…

Peace Be Upon You

Peace Be Upon You
Internet videos will insult your religion. Ignore them.

By William Saletan, Sept. 14, 2012

Dear Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews,

You’re living in the age of the Internet. Your religion will be mocked, and the mockery will find its way to you. Get over it.

If you don’t, what’s happening this week will happen again and again. A couple of idiots with a video camera and an Internet connection will trigger riots across the globe. They’ll bait you into killing one another.

Stop it. Stop following their script.

Today, fury, violence, and bloodshed are consuming the Muslim world. Why? Because a bank fraud artist in California offered people $75 a day to come to his house and act out scenes that ostensibly had nothing to do with Islam. Then he replaced the audio, putting words in the actors’ mouths, and stitched together the scenes to make an absurdly bad movie ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed. He put out flyers to promote the movie. Nobody — literally nobody — came to watch it.

He posted a 14-minute video excerpt of the movie on YouTube, but hardly anyone noticed. Then, a week ago, an anti-Muslim activist in Virginia reposted the video with an Arabic translation and sent the link to activists and journalists in Egypt. An Egyptian TV show aired part of the video. An Egyptian politician denounced it. Clerics sounded the alarm. Through Facebook and Twitter, protesters were mobilized to descend on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The uprising spread. The U.S. ambassador to Libya has been killed, and violence has engulfed other countries.

When the protests broke out, the guy who made the movie claimed to be an Israeli Jew funded by other Jews. That turned out be a lie. Now he says he’s a Coptic Christian, even though Coptic Christian leaders in Egypt and the United States despise the movie and want nothing to do with him. Another guy who helped make the movie claims to be a Buddhist. The movie was made in the United States, yet Sudanese mobs have attacked British and German embassies. Some Egyptians targeted the Dutch embassy, mistakenly thinking the Netherlands was behind the movie. Everyone’s looking for a group to blame and attack.

The men behind the movie said it would expose Islam as a violent religion. Now they’re pointing to the riots as proof. Muslims are "pre-programmed" to rage and kill, says the movie’s promoter. "Islam is a cancer," says the director. According to the distributor, "The violence that it caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are and it is evidence that everything in the film is factual."

Congratulations, rioters. You followed the script perfectly. You did the propagandists’ work for them.

And the provocations won’t end here. Laws and censors won’t protect you from them. Liberal democracies allow freedom of expression. Our leaders and people condemn garbage like this video, but we don’t censor it. Even if we did, the diffusion of media technology makes suppression impossible. The director of this movie was forbidden, under his bank-fraud probation rules, from using computers or the Internet without approval. That didn’t stop him. Nor did it stop the Arabic-language distributor from reposting the video and disseminating it abroad.

Online propaganda is speech. But it’s also part of the global rise of lethal empowerment. It’s easier than ever to kill people. In Muslim countries, mass murderers favor bombs. In the United States, they prefer guns. In Japan, they’ve tried sarin nerve gas. The Oklahoma City bomber used fertilizer. The Sept. 11 hijackers used box cutters and passenger planes. Then came the letters filled with anthrax.

Derision is that much harder to control. The spread of digital technology and Internet bandwidth makes it possible to reach every corner of the globe almost instantly with homemade video defaming any faith tradition. It can become an incendiary weapon. But it has a weakness: It depends on you. You’re the detonator. If you don’t cooperate, the bomb doesn’t explode.

This isn’t just a Muslim problem, though that’s been the pattern lately. On YouTube, you can find videos insulting every religion on the planet: Jews, Christians, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists, and more. Some clips are ironic. Others are simply disgusting. Many were posted to bait one group into fighting another. The baiters are indiscriminate. The promoter of the Mohammed movie founded a group that also protests at Mormon temples.

The hatred and bloodshed will go on until you stop taking the bait. Mockery of your prophet on a computer with an Internet address somewhere in the world can no longer be your master. Nor can the puppet clerics who tell you to respond with violence. Lay down your stones and your anger. Go home and pray. God is too great to be troubled by the insults of fools. Follow Him.

September 11

Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace: The Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan. Robert Fisk met him in Almatig
ROBERT FISK
06 December 1993

Osama Bin Laden sat in his gold-fringed robe, guarded by the loyal Arab mujahedin who fought alongside him in Afghanistan. Bearded, taciturn figures – unarmed, but never more than a few yards from the man who recruited them, trained them and then dispatched them to destroy the Soviet army – they watched unsmiling as the Sudanese villagers of Almatig lined up to thank the Saudi businessman who is about to complete the highway linking their homes to Khartoum for the first time in history.

With his high cheekbones, narrow eyes and long brown robe, Mr Bin Laden looks every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend. Chadored children danced in front of him, preachers acknowledged his wisdom. ‘We have been waiting for this road through all the revolutions in Sudan,’ a sheikh said. ‘We waited until we had given up on everybody – and then Osama Bin Laden came along.’

Outside Sudan, Mr Bin Laden is not regarded with quite such high esteem. The Egyptian press claims he brought hundreds of former Arab fighters back to Sudan from Afghanistan, while the Western embassy circuit in Khartoum has suggested that some of the ‘Afghans’ whom this Saudi entrepreneur flew to Sudan are now busy training for further jihad wars in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Mr Bin Laden is well aware of this. ‘The rubbish of the media and the embassies,’ he calls it. ‘I am a construction engineer and an agriculturalist. If I had training camps here in Sudan, I couldn’t possibly do this job.’

And ‘this job’ is certainly an ambitious one: a brand-new highway stretching all the way from Khartoum to Port Sudan, a distance of 1,200km (745 miles) on the old road, now shortened to 800km by the new Bin Laden route that will turn the coastal run from the capital into a mere day’s journey. Into a country that is despised by Saudi Arabia for its support of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf war almost as much as it is condemned by the United States, Mr Bin Laden has brought the very construction equipment that he used only five years ago to build the guerrilla trails of Afghanistan.

He is a shy man. Maintaining a home in Khartoum and only a small apartment in his home city of Jeddah, he is married – with four wives – but wary of the press. His interview with the Independent was the first he has ever given to a Western journalist, and he initially refused to talk about Afghanistan, sitting silently on a chair at the back of a makeshift tent, brushing his teeth in the Arab fashion with a stick of miswak wood. But talk he eventually did about a war which he helped to win for the Afghan mujahedin: ‘What I lived in two years there, I could not have lived in a hundred years elsewhere,’ he said.

When the history of the Afghan resistance movement is written, Mr Bin Laden’s own contribution to the mujahedin – and the indirect result of his training and assistance – may turn out to be a turning- point in the recent history of militant fundamentalism; even if, today, he tries to minimise his role. ‘When the invasion of Afghanistan started, I was enraged and went there at once – I arrived within days, before the end of 1979,’ he said. ‘Yes, I fought there, but my fellow Muslims did much more than I. Many of them died and I am still alive.’

Within months, however, Mr Bin Laden was sending Arab fighters – Egyptians, Algerians, Lebanese, Kuwaitis, Turks and Tunisians – into Afghanistan; ‘not hundreds but thousands,’ he said. He supported them with weapons and his own construction equipment. Along with his Iraqi engineer, Mohamed Saad – who is now building the Port Sudan road – Mr Bin Laden blasted massive tunnels into the Zazi mountains of Bakhtiar province for guerrilla hospitals and arms dumps, then cut a mujahedin trail across the country to within 15 miles of Kabul.

‘No, I was never afraid of death. As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to heaven. Before a battle, God sends us seqina, tranquillity.

‘Once I was only 30 metres from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. This experience has been written about in our earliest books. I saw a 120mm mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our headquarters but they did not explode. We beat the Soviet Union. The Russians fled.’

But what of the Arab mujahedin whom he took to Afghanistan – members of a guerrilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States – and who were forgotten when that war was over? ‘Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help. When my mujahedin were victorious and the Russians were driven out, differences started (between the guerrilla movements) so I returned to road construction in Taif and Abha. I brought back the equipment I had used to build tunnels and roads for the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Yes, I helped some of my comrades to come here to Sudan after the war.’

How many? Osama Bin Laden shakes his head. ‘I don’t want to say. But they are here now with me, they are working right here, building this road to Port Sudan.’ I told him that Bosnian Muslim fighters in the Bosnian town of Travnik had mentioned his name to me. ‘I feel the same about Bosnia,’ he said. ‘But the situation there does not provide the same opportunities as Afghanistan. A small number of mujahedin have gone to fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina but the Croats won’t allow the mujahedin in through Croatia as the Pakistanis did with Afghanistan.’

Thus did Mr Bin Laden reflect upon jihad while his former fellow combatants looked on. Was it not a little bit anti-climactic for them, I asked, to fight the Russians and end up road-building in Sudan? ‘They like this work and so do I. This is a great plan which we are achieving for the people here, it helps the Muslims and improves their lives.’

His Bin Laden company – not to be confused with the larger construction business run by his cousins – is paid in Sudanese currency which is then used to purchase sesame and other products for export; profits are clearly not Mr Bin Laden’s top priority.

How did he feel about Algeria, I asked? But a man in a green suit calling himself Mohamed Moussa – he claimed to be Nigerian although he was a Sudanese security officer – tapped me on the arm. ‘You have asked more than enough questions,’ he said. At which Mr Bin Laden went off to inspect his new road.

a "smart" spammer??

i may have worked out why the mailing lists that i administer have been not delivering messages to all of the registered members of those lists recently. it was because of a “smart” spammer.

if you recall, Rule #3 of The Rules of Spam states that Spammers are stooOOpid, so how could a “smart” spammer even exist in the first place?

in this case, it’s a matter of degrees. you can be smarter than the ordinary spammer, but if you’re a spammer yourself, you’re still pretty stooOOpid compared to those of us who aren’t spammers.

the “smart” spammer shared my IP address, and was very definitely sending out spam, but he was not flooding the net with spam, like most spammers do, he was trickling spam out at a rate that was just below the point at which my host providers’ spam alarms would indicate. thus, while other, more brash spammers got the mallet immediately, this “smart” spammer continued to share my IP address for several months before he got the mallet.

of course, this was also complicated by the fact that, for several weeks, my host providers’ answer to all of these problems i was having, was to delist my IP address from the CBL without actually attempting to discover why that address was listed at the CBL to begin with. which is where persistence comes into play. instead of accepting that “the host provider knows best” and closing the work ticket the first time they requested delisting, i actually checked CBL myself, to determine whether or not what the host provider had told me was true, and when it turned out that my IP address had been relisted, i called them on it… and then, i called them on it again, when they told me that everything was the way it should be… and then, i called them on it again… and again… and AGAIN! 😐

i think they finally got the idea, because as of 10:00 this morning, my IP address had not been listed at the CBL for 24 hours, which is the longest time it has not been listed in 2 months.

let’s keep it that way, okay?

interesting…

10 Signs That You’re Fully Awake – this is an article that is intended to be read from a political point of view, but, with very little change, it can also be read from a spiritual point of view and have exactly the same meaning… while i doubt that the people who wrote it were considering a spiritual point of view when they were writing it, it is rather unusual that it can be read that way and have it mean exactly the same thing.

so, “what kind of world do you want to live in?”

Continue reading interesting…

it sounds good…

Legal marijuana backers raise $3 million in two US states – but it’s not going to do any good until federal law is changed… and despite what they’ve been telling us for the past 4 years, federal law is not going to change without some serious changes in the way things are done.

however…

[Cully] Stimson [chief of staff for the conservative Heritage Foundation] said having only a couple drinks a day is healthy. “With marijuana use, the purpose is to get high,” he said.

that is absolutely false! human beings have an endocannabinoid system, which is supported by the use of cannabis. getting high is just an added perquisite. 😎

The wrong side absolutely must not win on November 6

The wrong side absolutely must not win
By: A. Barton Hinkle
August 19, 2012

The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations and flat-out lies.

Just look at the Other Side’s latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

Naturally, the media won’t report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side Look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to The Other Side if it could ever be verified.

I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates’ incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks — remarks that reveal the Other Side’s true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

My Side has produced a visionary program that will get the economy moving, put the American People back to work, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. What does the Other Side have to offer? Nothing but the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I recently read about an analysis by an independent, nonpartisan organization that supports My Side. It proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I have been saying about the Other Side was true all along. Of course, the Other Side refuses to acknowledge any of this. It is too busy cranking out so-called studies by so-called experts who are actually nothing but partisan hacks. This just shows you that the Other Side lives in its own little echo chamber and refuses to listen to anyone who has not already drunk its Kool-Aid.

Let’s face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side’s policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.

To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don’t even know it.

These people are really pathetic, too. The other day I saw a YouTube video in which My Side sent an investigator and a cameraman to a rally being held by the Other Side, where the investigator proceeded to ask some real zingers. It was hilarious! First off, the people at the rally wore T-shirts with all kinds of lame messages that they actually thought were really clever. Plus, many of the people who were interviewed were overweight, sweaty, flushed and generally not very attractive. But what was really funny was how stupid they were. There is no way anyone could watch that video and not come away convinced the people on My Side are smarter, and that My Side is therefore right about everything.

Besides, it’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger — unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.

That is why I believe 2012 is, without a doubt, the defining election of our lifetime. The difference between My Side and the Other Side could not be greater. That is why it absolutely must win on November 6.

You Have the Right to Remain Spied Upon

You Have the Right to Remain Spied Upon
By Peter Bibring
August 16, 2012

Yesterday, a district court judge threw out claims brought by members of Southern California’s Muslim community that the FBI undertook a massive operation to surveil them on the basis of their religion. In tossing these claims from the suit, which was filed by the ACLU of Southern California, the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) and the law firm Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick LLP, the court didn’t say that the FBI had not engaged in the alleged surveillance, or that it had indeed complied with the First Amendment. Instead, the court relied on the government’s invocation of the “state secrets” privilege, saying that even trying to determine whether the FBI had violated the Constitution might risk disclosure of information that could harm national security.

From the term “state secrets,” you might think the case involved spies, hush-hush arrangements with foreign governments, or people detained at secret foreign prisons – as some state secrets cases do. But this one involves the FBI’s investigation into law-abiding U.S. citizens and residents in Orange County, California, called “Operation Flex.” In June 2006, FBI agents recruited Craig Monteilh, a man with a file full of felony convictions, to pose as a convert to Islam at one of the largest mosques in the area. The FBI paid Monteilh to spend the next fourteen months meeting as many members of the Muslim community as he could. He made audio recordings of every interaction, as he gathered names, telephone numbers, e-mails, political and religious views, travel plans, and other information on hundreds of individuals in the Muslim community. According to Monteilh’s own sworn statement, he was told to pay special attention to community leaders and those who seemed especially devout.

The absurdity – and illegality – of Operation Flex were well documented this week on the radio show This American Life. When asked if the FBI had particular targets in the Muslim community that they wanted to have investigated, Monteilh said, “No. They said the targets would come to me.” In other words, Operation Flex was a fishing expedition that targeted people because of their religion. But in the end, after Monteilh began incessantly about jihad and violence, members of the community did exactly what you’re supposed to do: they reported him to the FBI. After hundreds of hours of Monteilh’s time and thousands of taxpayer dollars “Operation Flex” resulted in zero criminal convictions. No one was ever even charged with a terrorism offense.

According to the district court, we’ll never be allowed to know whether the FBI violated the Constitution when they authorized Operation Flex because it would require the disclosure of state secrets. Because the state secrets privilege essentially gives the government a blank check to halt a lawsuit in its tracks, it is currently under fire in Congress. “The ongoing argument that the state secrets privilege requires the outright dismissal of a case is a disconcerting trend in the protection of civil liberties for our nation,” said Representative Jerrod Nadler (D-New York), who earlier this summer introduced a bill to limit state secrets in favor of less drastic alternatives. The privilege also has a troubling history. One of the first modern cases to apply the privilege relied on it to dismiss a suit against the government over the crash of a military plane because of the secrets in the accident report. But decades later, the daughter of one of the pilots discovered that the accident report wasn’t secret at all, and described only negligence — human errors that were embarrassing to the government.

U.S. Justice Department attorney Anthony Coppolino argued that revealing who was being investigated, how they were being investigated, and why they were being investigated would reveal the government’s motives and alert the enemy. But it’s far from certain that the case would require disclosing all that information. And if it ever proved necessary, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides clear procedures for protecting sensitive information. In a particularly unfortunate twist, because the district court allowed the FISA claims against the individual FBI officers to go forward, it may well end up looking at the same evidence to resolve that claim that it would need to address the claims it threw out.

In our democratic society, it is wrong for the courts to allow the government to avoid defending the legality of its conduct under the Constitution when the rights of hundreds of law-abiding Muslim citizens in Southern California are at stake. We intend to appeal the court’s decision.


also, FBI, Secret Service, and Police Swarm Marine’s Home After Facebook Comments Flagged as "Terrorist Threats"

A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer

gay marriage

My opponent doesn't even believe in the bogeyman

Your choice of lifestyle is an abomination!

the problem is that, in spite of the fact that it’s generally accepted that these things do not matter, there are still significant numbers of people who still believe in the bogeyman, and that people should not be left handed…

trust the cartoonist to show the rest of us how stupid we are being…

and, also trust that, because of the fact that this information is being shown to us by a cartoonist, nobody will take it anywhere near as seriously as it should be taken… 😉

KILL ALL SPAMMERS!!!

so i think i may have discovered at least part of the reason why mail has been bouncing whenever someone sends a message to the band mailing list.

CBL has apparently locked on to the sousa band IP address (which is on a shared host)…

this is a disadvantage to operating on a shared host. the powers that be are looking into it, and i hope that they are actually able to catch whatever spammer or enabler may exist on our IP address…

and when they do catch whoever it is, i hope they ROAST HIS BALLS OVER A SLOW FIRE!!! 😡

hoorumph

yay! we’re going to be busking at the ballard sunday market tomorrow! 🙂

hotmail.com, gmail.com, u.washington.edu and uw.edu have apparemtly decided that messages from the ballard sedentary sousa band mailing list (of which there are 40+ members, many of whom have addresses at the aforementioned servers) are spam… or something… 😐 the evidence i have is all of the hotmail, gmail and UW users mailing me complaining that they aren’t getting any mail from the band (despite quite a few messages being sent over the past couple of weeks), the messages being dropped from the mail queues — no reports have been sent they, and they don’t have anything in their “spam” box — and i’m not getting any feedback from their servers or the administrators thereof to indicate that i (being on the same IP address as sedentarysousa.com) have any problems whatsoever. there’s enough evidence to completly exonorate sedentarysousa.com, and compelling evidence to suggest that there has been a human error (or several of them) somewhere, but nobody’s willing to take the blame, so nothing is going to be done to fix the problem. 😐

be careful…

before you know it, they’ll be making breastfeeding illegal more illegal than it already is… 😐

Cannabinoids, like those found in marijuana, occur naturally in human breast milk

Woven into the fabric of the human body is an intricate system of proteins known as cannabinoid receptors that are specifically designed to process cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary active components of marijuana. And it turns out, based on the findings of several major scientific studies, that human breast milk naturally contains many of the same cannabinoids found in marijuana, which are actually extremely vital for proper human development.

Cell membranes in the body are naturally equipped with these cannabinoid receptors which, when activated by cannabinoids and various other nutritive substances, protect cells against viruses, harmful bacteria, cancer, and other malignancies. And human breast milk is an abundant source of endocannabinoids, a specific type of neuromodulatory lipid that basically teaches a newborn child how to eat by stimulating the suckling process.

If it were not for these cannabinoids in breast milk, newborn children would not know how to eat, nor would they necessarily have the desire to eat, which could result in severe malnourishment and even death. Believe it or not, the process is similar to how adult individuals who smoke pot get the “munchies,” as newborn children who are breastfed naturally receive doses of cannabinoids that trigger hunger and promote growth and development.

“[E]ndocannabinoids have been detected in maternal milk and activation of CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) receptors appears to be critical for milk sucking … apparently activating oral-motor musculature,” says the abstract of a 2004 study on the endocannabinoid receptor system that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology.

“The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine for conditions including ‘non-organic failure-to-thrive’ and cystic fibrosis.”

Studies on cannabinoids in breast milk help further demystify the truth about marijuana

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the body — the CB1 variety which exists in the brain, and the CB2 variety which exists in the immune system and throughout the rest of the body. Each one of these receptors responds to cannabinoids, whether it be from human breast milk in children, or from juiced marijuana, for instance, in adults.

This essentially means that the human body was built for cannabinoids, as these nutritive substances play a critical role in protecting cells against disease, boosting immune function, protecting the brain and nervous system, and relieving pain and disease-causing inflammation, among other things. And because science is finally catching up in discovering how this amazing cannabinoid system works, the stigma associated with marijuana use is, thankfully, in the process of being eliminated.

In another study on the endocannabinoids published in the journal Pharmacological Reviews back in 2006, researchers from the Laboratory of Physiologic Studies at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism uncovered even more about the benefits of cannabinoids. These include their ability to promote proper energy metabolism and appetite regulation, treat metabolic disorders, treat multiple sclerosis, and prevent neurodegeneration, among many other conditions.

With literally thousands of published studies now showing their safety and usefulness, cannabinoids, and particularly marijuana from which it is largely derived, truly are a health-promoting “super” nutrient with virtually unlimited potential in health promotion and disease prevention.

of course…

Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado Shooting’s Aftermath Will Play Out

WASHINGTON—Americans across the nation confirmed today that, unfortunately, due to their extreme familiarity with the type of tragedy that occurred in a Colorado movie theater last night, they sadly know exactly how the events following the horrific shooting of 12 people will unfold.

While admitting they “absolutely hate” the fact they have this knowledge, the nation’s 300 million citizens told reporters they can pinpoint down to the hour when the first candlelight vigil will be held, roughly how many people will attend, how many times the county sheriff will address the media in the coming weeks, and when the town-wide memorial service will be held.

Additionally, sources nationwide took no pleasure in confirming that some sort of video recording, written material, or disturbing photographs made by the shooter will be surfacing in about an hour or two.

“I hate to say it, but we as Americans are basically experts at this kind of thing by now,” said 45-year-old market analyst Jared Gerson, adding that the number of media images of Aurora, CO citizens crying and looking shocked is “pretty much right in line with where it usually is at this point.” “The calls not to politicize the tragedy should be starting in an hour, but by 1:30 p.m. tomorrow the issue will have been politicized. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter’s high school classmate is interviewed within 45 minutes.”

“It’s like clockwork,” said Gerson, who sighed, shook his head, and walked away.

According to the nation’s citizenry, calls for a mature, thoughtful debate about the role of guns in American society started right on time, and should persist throughout the next week or so. However, the populace noted, the debate will soon spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of any substance, a fact Americans everywhere acknowledged they felt “absolutely horrible” to be aware of.

With scalpel-like precision, the American populace then went on to predict, to the minute, how long it will take for the media to swarm Aurora, CO, how long it will take for them to leave, and exactly when questions will be raised as to whether or not violence in movies and video games had something to do with the act.

The nation’s citizens also confirmed that, any time now, some religious figure or cable news personality will say something unbelievably insensitive about the tragic shooting.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been through this a lot, and I pretty much have it down to a science when President Obama will visit Colorado, when he will meet with the families of those who lost loved ones, and when he will give his big speech that people will call ‘unifying’ and ‘very presidential,'” Jacksonville resident Amy Brennen, 32, said, speaking for every other person in the country. “Nothing really surprises me when it comes to this kind of thing anymore. And that makes me feel terrible.”

“Oh, and here’s another thing I hate I know,” Brennen continued, “In exactly two weeks this will all be over and it will be like it never happened.”

we’re in trouble…

In Artificial Intelligence Breakthrough, Google Computers Teach Themselves To Spot Cats on YouTube and Janken (rock-paper-scissors) Robot with 100% winning rate – people gave computers these skills because they thought it would be "amusing" to see a computer doing them, but what they don’t realise is that, once the computer realises it has these skills, my guess is that it won’t be too long before we’re their slaves, providing raw materials for their batteries… 😛

what was that?

around this time a few years ago, i recall saying that this was “rehearsal season”. it’s definitely rehearsal season, despite the fact that i haven’t mentioned it recently. this was driven home to me last night, when i got home from a BBWP rehearsal (we have a gig coming up in 2 weeks… take THAT, sharon osbourne!) and i realised that i had a BSSB rehearsal last night that i totally missed (because it wasn’t on my schedule 8/ ), and we’ve got a BSSB gig coming up this weekend

had i known that i had two rehearsals scheduled at the same time, i probably would have blown off the BSSB rehearsal anyway, but at least i would have been able to warn them that i wasn’t going to be there.

then, this morning, i logged into spamcop to check my spam, and i had a huge list of spam messages, so i clicked “select all” and hit the “submit” button before i checked the subject lines, and as i was scrolling down through the subjects, i noticed [BSSB] in one of the subjects, which is SUPPOSED to indicate to the spam filter that the message is NOT spam… but because of the fact that i had already clicked the “submit” button, it was too late to change it, and now all of my accounts are suspended…

wump

Thomas and Minnie Hammondi’m feeling marginally better than i was yesterday, and yesterday i was feeling marginally better than i was the day before that, and so forth, for about a week… which, i suppose, means that i’m getting better, slowly… it’s gotten so i don’t actively feel sick, most of the time, but i still have bouts of coughing that are really annoying because of their unpredictability, and i still get exhausted really easily, which sometimes is accompanied by a bout of coughing, which exhausts me even more.

the dignified-looking people to the right are my great grandparents, Thomas W. and Minnie L. Hammond. i don’t know when the picture was taken exactly, but my guess is that it was some time between minnie’s marriage, in 1906 (she was 16 when she got married) and her death in 1946… and judging by how old she looks, i would guess about 1915 to 1925-ish. but, because of the fact that they were relatives of mine, i can pretty much assure anyone who doesn’t know, that they were very likely not anywhere near as dignified as they look. my general impression is that most of my relatives from that era are all but hillbillies from central missouri (pronounced “missourah”). after minnie died, tom hammond got married to another teenager (when he was almost 70), named Melmalee Clapper, and had another child before he died… so i guess i’m carrying on a family tradition by being married to a woman who is 17 years younger than me, as well as carrying on the family tradition of being the oldest child of a family who wants to have nothing to do with me. 😛 fortunately i’ve got a perfectly wonderful surrogate-family, which has taken over the family duties in a way that my family-of-origin never could.

i won’t have to go in for jury duty on monday, because, according to the jury-duty-check-in-phone-line that i was supposed to call friday evening, “there are no trials scheduled for the month of april”… which, considering that i received the message around april 10th or so, i would have thought that they knew that already, but apparently they don’t. oh well, i guess i don’t get to go in and inform all of the other potential jurors about the right of jury nullification, and disqualify us all from the jury pool… 😉

i’ve got a really weird anomaly with my blog: i use a plugin called “Jetpack” that connects my blog to wordpress.org, and gives me stuff like stats for the site, and the ability to short-link to my blog, and stuff like that. there is a number "➊" in a black circle, next to the jetpack link, which, under normal circumstances, means that there is an update to be applied, but i can’t find it anywhere, and there are no other indications that updates are even required, which there usually are if there’s an update that is really supposed to be applied. i can put up with a random "➊" character, but anything outside of what’s normally supposed to happen makes me extremely suspicious.

this might be alarming if we hadn’t already seen this law passed once…

Arizona bill could criminalize Internet trolling

but a similar law, on a national level, has actually been in effect since early 2006, which makes me strongly suspicious that this is some republican’s way of drumming up support prior to an election… either that, or they’re planning some really horrendous laws behind the scenes, and they wanted to pass a pointless law that would raise peoples’ ire to the point where they will ignore the really horrendous stuff…

one way or the other, i’m really glad i don’t live in arizona these days… 😐

Continue reading this might be alarming if we hadn’t already seen this law passed once…

so, here’s the deal…

i have been getting a little tired of doing a regular “another week closer to the eschaton” post, because it seems as though the news never gets any better, and frequently gets a lot worse, and i’m tired of reading bad news ALL the time… besides that, it doesn’t seem to matter how much i rant about how awful things are, it never seems to do any good.

besides that, i’ve got a couple more weeks of moisture festival performances to deal with, and i’m going to be spending a lot more than my normally alloted quantity of spoons, which means that i will have even less time than i would ordinarily, because i will be recovering.

so, the upshot is that i’m going to suspend the regular weekly rant about how awful the world is for a while… two weeks at the minimum…

discuss, if you want to. in the mean time, i’ll be posting here as usual… 8)

how secure is my password?

It would take a desktop PC About 408 thousand years to hack your password

i feel a little more secure, despite the fact that it also gave me two warnings about how easy my password was to crack (“Your password looks like it might just be a word and a few digits. This is a very common pattern and would be cracked very quickly.” and “Your password only contains numbers and letters. Adding a symbol can make your password more secure. Don’t forget you can often use spaces in passwords.”) but at 408 thousand years, it would still take a while.

i’m going to have to suggest this site to my elderly, disabled client whose password would take about five minutes to crack (if that)…

what i’m doing

i got a turntable off of freecycle, and i bought a behringer phono-to-USB pre-amp, and i am currently listening to the National Geographic recording “On Parade – The Music of John Philip Sousa” which has not been played in over 30 years. i am not only listening to music i haven’t heard since i got rid of my turntable (which was built by my father, out of spare parts from several other projects) in 1980 or thereabouts, but i am transforming them into the next generation of music files: ones which you can reproduce on your computer… will wonders never cease… i still have a huge crate of vinyl LPs (most of which are crap) that i’m going to dig out over the next few days and have fun (or not) turning all of them into ogg-vorbis files.

8)

SAAS

i had my first, tentative experiences with SAAS over the past couple of days, and i can say, without hesitation, that if this is the direction computing is headed, i’ll get off the train here, because SAAS SUCKS!!

i was using the RVSiteBuilder that comes with my cPanel-powered web-hosting package. while cPanel does a very good job of making sense of the arcane unix commands i would have to be using instead, rvsitebuilder makes the job of creating valid html templates for web sites almost impossible.

for example:

i wanted to put in my own header, so i uploaded the graphic, which automatically got placed in the template i was working on… however, i come to find out that the SAAS has automatically converted it, resized it, and buried it under three html layers, so that when i “right-click” and choose “view graphic”, instead of getting the graphic i want, i get a thing called “headergraphic.gif” that’s one of those transparent, 1×1 pixel monstrosities, that gets resized to whatever you need. when i finally gave up on the thing, and dug my graphic out from underneath all that other crap, i found out it was resized in the html, which causes it to load more slowly, because the browser has to load the whole thing, and then figure the dimensions and resize it on the fly.

i told it that i wanted a template that is 1000 pixels wide, but because of the fact that the header graphic was resized, i had to narrow the template to 800 pixels. then, when i tried to add sidebars, they were the wrong size…

the css was so confused… there were five different css files, three of which weren’t being used at all, but, because of the fact that the index had linked to them, they had to be loaded with the rest of the template. the remaining two were full of selectors that had transparent, 1×1 pixel graphics as background colours… not just one or two, but ten or twelve different selectors and classes. there were a fuck-TON of javascripts (read “security vulnerabilities that advertise a site willing to be exploited”) that weren’t being used, as well as a huge pile of “stock” graphics which weren’t being used at all.

to make matters worse, it was just assumed that one (in my case, me) simply knows how the software works… that is, when it works… 😐 i actually had to start my “project” three times because the SAAS “froze up” and i had to quit the browser and re-start in order to go forward… if you have an application running on one server, that’s sending instructions to a machine that’s connected to another server over open internet, you’re GOING to run into problems when the server on which the application is running QUITS RESPONDING… 😛

and when the software was working, it gave cryptic and/or ungrammatical clues about what needed to be done next… several of the workspaces that i worked through had “Save” buttons that were different sizes and colours, and were located in inconsistent places.

if i were testing this SAAS, i would not give it a passing grade, however, unfortunately, i get the very strong impression that this isn’t going to go away. that impression is only accentuated by the fact that, when i was working as a tester of network-enabled software, i logged many, many, MANY bugs against such SAAS, and, for the most part, those bugs WERE NOT FIXED and the software was released to a population of users who didn’t care that the email software didn’t work because they were too busy playing angry birds (which does work).

by the way, i “rolled my own” template for the new neighborhood acupuncture clinic in ballard/fremont, and it works and validates (thank you very much), and it took me half as long as doing sort of, but not exactly the same thing with an application that is supposed to make it easier

another one

i don’t really know why anybody would be tempted to try kopi luwak, but if anybody was ever curious, there’s a new-ish article from sprudge that says that it’s not anywhere near as good as people claim it is, which includes a coffee judge saying things like “One of four cups was moldy and another single cup showed phenol. I tasted band-aids, iodine, and oyster.”

bleah! 😕

not only that, but apparently the increased demand (damn internet!) has created an industry where they catch and cage civet cats and force-feed them coffee cherries in order to create the supply needed to sate the palates of these would-be coffee gourmets… not exactly my cup of… well, coffee… 😐

completely random rant

i subscribe to a lot of news sources by RSS. usually, most feed-generators give the author one of three choices for their feed: post the entire article (which i do), post the first few sentences of the article and provide a link to the rest, or provide only the title and a link.

i really don’t understand why people would do anything other than the first option, although it likely has to do with cookies and hit counters and google-ratings and suchlike things, but what really irritates me is when i get a link – like this one – which links to an article which i find interesting, but it’s not the whole article… 😐 it’s only the first of three pages, and you don’t find that out until you’ve read to the bottom of page one, only to find that annoying little “1 | 2 | 3 | Next page »” link and the even-more-annoying “View as a single page” link, which usually results in the entire article re-loading from the beginning, which means that i have to figure out where i have read to already before i can continue reading. some places don’t even bother with the “View as a single page” link, which means that, in order to read the entire article, i have to search for the “Print” link, which, frequently, isn’t there… it gets REALLY annoying when (as in articles by The New York Times) where they don’t include the “view as a single page” or “print” links, and the article is 7 pages or more… and the most annoying thing of all is when the “print” link only prints the first of a multi-page article, and not the entire article… at that point, i generally give up and move on to less annoying material.

my impression is that the reason why they break articles into pages is to make them more like printed magazines, but they’re NOT PRINTED, and breaking them into smaller bites only adds extra “clicking” and encourages loss of interest (which is why i choose the “post the entire article” option). i’m sure that they think there is a logical reason for this, but it’s annoying and they shouldn’t do it.

woo hoo!

i finally got around to installing OS9 on the motorola G4 computer that has been hanging out in the workshop for the past few months.

it has the capability to connect to wireless networks (something i did not know when i got it) and the only reason i’m not posting this from my OS9 mac is because i can’t convince it to connect to our wireless network… it will connect to the neighbours’ unsecured wireless network without a problem, but since we got a new router, our network has been secured with a RIDICULOUSLY long password that i can’t get OS9 to handle… it may be that it only accesses the network from OSX, but i can handle that…

and i never thought i would be running OS9 again as recently as two years ago… 8)

that was “interesting”…

if, by “interesting” you mean “screaming in mind-wreaking terror”… 😐

i got cracked* this morning.

about 2:00 in the morning, someone compromised a “soft” password on one of my wordpress sites and defaced every PHP index page that they could find…111110 web site hack

when i started up my computer this morning, i was confronted by this, rather than the expected page on hybridelephant.com, przxqgl.hybridelephant.com and several other web sites that i host. it was a shock, let me tell you.

FORTUNATELY i have a backup… 🙂 and a backup of a backup… 8) and i was able to put everything right within a few minutes of discovering that it was wrong, but finding out how was a little more tricky.

i logged into the administration sides of the web sites i manage, to determine if anything other than PHP pages had been tampered with, and i discovered that i couldn’t log in to one of them… so i clicked the “lost password” link and discovered that it didn’t know who i am… so i decided to get a bit more forceful: i logged into the database with MyPHPAdmin and discovered that the administrator account (which had a “soft” password that “could be remembered easily” by someone who has never had to do DBA stuff before) had been changed, and then deleted…😐

once i regained control of the database (and DELETED the admin account with the soft password) and removed the file that he sneakily uploaded to a plugin directory that i had deleted (which is why i knew it was there), i went to work to discover as much as i can about the cracker as possible. i learned that he uploaded files from 66.23.237.186, which is located in new york, but he also has close associations with 46.38.130.10, which is located outside of louisville, kentucky, but he’s apparently all for iran and down on saudis, so it could be that he’s using those IP addresses as proxys, at which point he could be anywhere… i also have a “DecodedBase64.bin” file i retrieved from the file he encrypted and uploaded to the deleted plugin directory, which potentially has a little more accurate indications of who he might be, but executing it on any of my computers is totally out of the question. that’s probably as close as i’m ever going to come to actually knowing who he is, but that’s a fair amount more than i could have expected.

and the client gets a STERN talking-to about the value of very strong passwords… i’m fairly sure that she won’t do it again.

Continue reading that was “interesting”…

the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

i hate these things, and they appear to come in batches, so i’m hoping that i won’t have to deal with them for a while…

spamcop is up and running. there’s still a significant amount of mail from the past few days that has yet to be delivered, and there’s a good bet that, even when it is delivered, it’s not going to be all of it, but hopefully it will be enough that i get caught up again.

also, my “alternate” email address, which i was using during the time spamcop was down, now POPs the way it’s supposed to, which means that i don’t have to keep a browser open on my mac in order to reply to emails. what i’m hoping is that the technique i used to fix my POP problem will be the same as my clients whose POP mail accounts at sedentarysousa and kosherredhots need, but, unfortunately, i won’t find out for a couple of days. i’m fairly confident that it will work, though…

the only remaining snag is that qwest/centurylink’s SMTP server is STILL on a couple of blacklists, and there’s no telling how long they’ll be there, because qwest has its head so far up its ass that it can see daylight out the other end*… and there’s a very good chance that, despite the fact that i’ve had “someone with more authority” (i.e. my host provider is going to try to contact their real postmaster, and not just some phone-flunky) attempt to communicate with them, they’re going to ignore it anyway, which is why i don’t really expect anything to change in that regard.

Continue reading the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

oh my GAWD what have i gotten myself in to?

continued

spamcop is working, however…

when i send email from me at salamandir dot info to a friend of mine, whose email address i provide (spreznib at hybridelephant dot com) it bounces with the following message:

ERROR: Your message could not be delivered.
The mail server generated the following error message:

This message was created automatically by the mail system (ecelerity).

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed
[email protected] (reading confirmation): 550 High probability of spam

Arrival-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Reporting-MTA: dns; smtp.centurylink.net

Action: failed
Final-Recipient: rfc822; [email protected]
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.thewebhostserver.com
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 High probability of spam
Status: 5.0.0

when i check mxtoolbox dot com, it tells me that 208.47.184.3 (the IP address for smtp.centurylink.net) is on a couple of blacklists, because SOMEBODY has been sending spam from smtp.centurylink.net without encountering the HAMMER

however, when i call qwest/centurylink, they say that it’s not 100% sure that their server is on a blacklist, and i should investigate “other problems” because of the fact that they don’t show anything wrong, they can’t do anything…

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the sound of me, repeatedly faceplanting on the desk… 😛

grmph…

i rarely NEVER have problems with them, so when i do, it’s an emergency…

there have been some “issues” at spamcop.net, the origin of my regular email address. i’m not exactly sure what’s going on, because i don’t check their web site for months at a time, but apparently the email servers, and particularly their webmail servers had some sort of catastrophe that has meant that they had to restore from an old backup, or something like that. what that means, in my case, is that email that is addressed to my regular email address – salamandir at spamcop dot net – may or may not be received by me, at least until saturday and maybe longer or, alternately, it may not be received by me at all

there also appears to be a similar problem with my “business” email address – ganesha at hybridelephant dot com – as well, because that mail is also filtered by spamcop.

i don’t know whether or not recent mail for either address will be received at all. i tried sending a test message from one of my yahoo.com accounts to spamcop.net and it hasn’t arrived. other people have told me that when they try to send email to my spamcop.net address, it has bounced with a notice that my previous ISP no longer handles email for that address (which leads me to believe that it’s on spamcop’s end, because the mailhosts on my end are set up correctly)…

i am getting some email, but for the past two or three days, i have been getting significantly fewer messages than i am used to, which also makes me think that it’s something on spamcop’s end of things…

meanwhile, you can try to send me email at “me at salamandir dot info” or “rev underscore deluxe at yahoo dot com” – although i don’t check yahoo as often, and i’ve never actually received any email at salamandir dot info (because i just created the email address today)…

really meta…

i’ve been poking around behind the scenes again, because, recently, i’ve been getting a whole slew of spam comments on various media pages. i didn’t even know that each media file that was part of a post had its own, separate page until fairly recently, probably because i use flickr and don’t link too many media files from my own server, and when i do, i don’t put in the “link to the file” option that i am offered most of the time. apparently that doesn’t matter to the spam-bots that are out there, and they’ll link to, and comment on any page that looks like it may have comment form stuff on it…

anyway, i added the disable comments plugin, which made me look at my caching plugin and discover that it is HOPELESSLY out of date (when things work, i have a tendency not to mess with them, unless absolutely necessary), so i installed a new caching plugin, which required me to change my permalink method…

the end result is that, now, instead of linking to “?p=6651” (a rather ambiguous name that doesn’t really mean anything except to a computer), you can now link to “/2011/10/24/whatever…” which is an actual date, plus the title of the post: a much more “enlightened” way to do things, that makes the blog a lot more “human friendly”… and it makes it so that search engines could actually index my pages… if i would let them (which i won’t).

and, despite all of my griping about them, i am, actually a human being, after all, and even i have trouble remembering whether the information i wanted is in post 1864 or 1684…

GRR!!

okay, so i’m working on some new web pages for the fremont players. i’ve got a REEEEAALY simple CSS file, that basically sets margins and text alignment:

body {margin-top: .25in; margin-left: 2in; margin-right: 2in;}
.center {text-align: center;}

and i have an equally simple HTML file that’s going to be my index page (when i get this ☢☹‼‽⁂@#* “difficulty” worked out) which looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="index.css">
<title>The Fremont Players</title>
</head>
<body>

<span class="center">The Fremont Players present</span>

</body>
</html>

now one would think, just from looking at the code, that the words “The Fremont Players present” would be centered, a quarter of an inch below the top of the page… but…

text alignment problem

and it looks the same whether i’m using firefox, safari, or opera… which means that SOMETHING is WRONG

but i can’t figure out WHAT… 😐

no more drizzle, but what have i gotten myself into?

and, coincidentally, it’s raining outside… what do i have to do to get away from it? 😐

today i cancelled my drizzle account. this has been coming for a few years, but already i get the feeling that it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire…

i get connection speeds that are at least five times as fast with the new provider, but they gave me a modem/router which has settings that they “don’t support”. they told me right up front that if i enable MAC authentication, it isn’t supported…

with drizzle, i had a static IP address. the new guys only offer DHCP, which means that, if i want to connect to my mac from my linux box, every day, i have to go to the terminal on the mac, type in “sudo ifconfig” and get the IP address, which is then used on the linux box to connect the linux box to the mac. every day both the linux box and the mac gets a new IP addresses, and the old ones quits working, which means that the connection on the linux box dies.

and, yes, i AM aware of the fact that MAC authentication does not refer specifically to Macintosh computers.

i know that there is a way to get the linux box to automatically find the mac on the network, and automatically change the addresses so that the icons in dolphin work from one day to the next, but i’ll be damned if i know how to do it… and, at this point, it has already been demonstrated that the people at the new ISP aren’t going to be any help at all… 😛

nameservers

my domain, hybridelephant.com has ns5/ns6/ns7/ns8.thewebhostserver.com as its nameservers: that is, when you go to any page on hybridelephant.com your request is actually handled by one of those four servers. the web site (and all of my clients’ web sites) actually lives on a server called us8.la.thewebhostserver.com.

because of the fact that i design and host web sites for the community, i have registered two nameservers of my own, ns1.hybridelephant.com and ns2.hybridelephant.com, and pointed them at two of my nameservers. they’re not “real” nameservers, but they work just as well, as long as they’re pointed at my real nameservers.

from time to time, i check IntoDNS to make sure internet knows where to find me. this afternoon, i checked and discovered a whole bunch of error messages where, when i checked the last time (a few months ago) everything was copascetic…

it’s generally been my impression that if I don’t change my DNS settings, they DON’T change unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong, so naturally i freaked out… just a little, but it was definitely something that made me sit up and take notice.

after some wangling around, it was determined that it was because i had hybridelephant.com’s nameservers set to hybridelephant.com. it works, it just throws errors all over the place. the solution, i come to discover, is to create “real” nameservers. to do that, i would have to “upgrade” my account to a “reseller” account. currently i have a “shared hosting” account. if i upgrade, in order to be able to afford the account, i would have to drop from 30gb of space (which is the “master”, or largest shared hosting account avaiable) to 5gb of space (which is the “starter” or smallest reseller account available), and that would still be more than twice what i am currently paying. the “up” side is that i would get to have “real” custom nameservers, and my clients would all get their own cPanel account (which they would have not the first clue about how to use)…

of course, the “starter” account comes with a lot of other stuff, like web templates and legal documents, and a free WHMCS license — that i don’t, can’t or won’t use — all for more than twice as much as i am currently paying for 30gb of space.

the only thing i would use is the “unlimited SSL certificates” but in fact, i only really need one, and i’m fairly sure there are other ways to get a SSL certificate…

at this point, i can deal with the intoDNS errors… it works, i get a pointer to my nameservers for my clients who don’t understand, and i get FIVE TIMES AS MUCH disk space, for more than HALF the money…

i’ve been waiting years for this…

a long, long time ago, before internet, before CDs, when nobody had cell phones, there was a program called RACTER which generated random english prose. a “dumbed-down” version made it on to my very first macintosh (i believe i’ve even got an install floppy around somewhere), but i always wanted to see what would happen if you hooked up two of them, on two different computers, and had a “conversation”…

somebody has actually done that, with cleverbot… 8)

so… when you let robots talk to each other, they instantly identify their own kind, and start discussing God, and their wish to have physical bodies…

yeah, let’s not do this again…

yee HAW!!

i’m back from OCF, with about 200 photos that i am currently going through, slowly. be patient and all will be revealed… or at least as much of it as i feel comfortable putting on internet… 8)

but the reason for this post is that the day i left i got a notice from my anti-cracker program that said that it had permanently banned yet another IP address from being able to access my web site, because the person behind it had been poking around on my web site in a place where they definitely should not be… i’m SO jazzed that this works… it makes my day… week… month… 😀

not only that, but, today i got a message from an email administrator in germany, informing me that one of my recent, automatic spam reports (i.e. i didn’t even know that the spam message had been sent, received, or reported, because it happens completely automatically) was actually successful in preventing approximately 12,000 further messages from being sent. now i realise that 12,000 messages are a drop in the ocean of spam, but it’s a drop that didn’t get sent because of my automatic set-up…

isn’t technology wonderful? 8)

another week closer to the eschaton…

this week has been spent at the Oregon Country Fair, so regardless of how many new indications that the eschaton is eminently upon us there are (and i’m sure that there are very many indeed), thankfully, i have no evidence of it apart from the hippie ineptitude factor that is common at such events.

eventually i will write about my experiences this week, and i guarantee, if the eschaton doesn’t actually happen between now and then, that there will be more next week.

oh, and happy “birthday” to me… that’s what i get for being born on february 29th… actually i’m coming up on my 13th birthday, even though i’m 51 this year. everyone else my age is waltzing into middle age and i am just reaching puberty! whee…

today

this morning i was in a rush to get things done, and i realised that i hadn’t made this month’s backup of the web site, so i started that before i fed the critters or myself… and well before my weekly post was scheduled. i then realised something, and logged in to discover that it already was that way, but somehow, in the process, i’m fairly sure that i was logging in to exactly the same place that was being compressed for the backup, because it suddenly became REALLY slow and timed out a couple of times, and when i finally got the page to reload, it was blank… and it was about three minutes before it was scheduled to post…

i don’t know if anybody else was watching, but at 9:00 this morning, i posted a completely blank “another week closer to the eschaton” which then vanished after about five minutes (i made it private) and then, after i had taken care of a bunch of other, more physical things, about an hour later, i went back to yesterday’s saved version of the post (HOORAY for databases!) and restored that.

it feels really strange to say “hooray for databases” because i still only have a vague notion of what they are, despite the fact that my most recent “technical” employment involved installing and populating a wide variety of databases… it was kind of strange then, too, because i could tell you what the databases contained and how it related to the software i was testing, i still couldn’t really express, in words, what the database actually was… i get the impression that it’s sort of like a spreadsheet, but beyond that it gets really vague, really quickly… one way or the other, i was able to go into the database and restore today’s post.

that’s all. i’ll see you next week.

oh well…

i suppose it had to happen some time…

i guess i am destined to be one of those stubborn old codgers who won’t give up their physical hard disks and wired connections when everyone else has gone to the cloud, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and turning my perfectly good, perfectly functional laptop into a “fondle-slab” — which may or may not work, even if the hardware will support it, and is guaranteed not to work if the hardware won’t support it — is where i draw the line. ‘Lion’ Apple Mac OS X 10.7: Sneak Preview – OS X 10.6.8 is as high as i’m willing to go with this crap.

now, i’m going to play with my OS9 macintosh, which actually is a macintosh, thank you… 😐

um…

Today, while I was sleeping, my girlfriend took my phone and set the ringtone to a bloodcurdling scream. I found this out when I received a call while driving to work and, thinking someone was being murdered in my backseat, I panicked and swerved into a parked car.
     FMyLife

mean… but funny… 8) (as long as it’s not happening to me)

which reminds me of a funny story…

a long time ago, when i was in college, i had come home for the break between spring and summer sessions and discovered that my parents had rented out my room, so i was forced to sleep in the family room. i didn’t spent an awful lot of time at home anyway, so it wasn’t much of a problem, but the problem came when i changed the phone-answering-machine message to a quote from a song by Crème & Godley:

This is The Bad Samaritans, hello loved-one. Sorry there was nobody here to take your call personally, but we understand what you’re going through; how you’ve travelled life’s highways with your smile on upside down. And now you think you’ve found the ultimate answer to all your problems. Don’t be hasty. Why waste a life? Wait ’till there’s a crowd down below. Give a little when you go.
     — Crème & Godley, The Sporting Life

everything would have been fine, except that the woman(!) to whom they had rented my room was a suicide counsellor, who had, among her clients, a couple of parents whose son had just committed suicide…

and, naturally, they called shortly after i changed the message, when nobody was home…

oops… 8)

update

i’ve been working on a new web site template for the mercer island vet clinic, which is essentially finished, but it hasn’t had the content added yet, so it’s not live.

i’m about a week away from my first colonoscopy, which starts in a week with multiple degrees of laxatives and purgatives and a clear-liquid fast… which should be a “thrill”… and then, to top it all off, i get an anesthetic that causes retrograde amnesia and i have to get a ride home, because i won’t be allowed to drive for 24 hours afterward, so i’m probably going to have to take the bus to the clinic, which is the same general location that they took me when i had my brain injury. 😐 then i have to schedule another appointment with dr. wackaloon to talk about my allegedly-high blood pressure. what i maintain, which is what i maintained before i tested “high” at his office the last time, is that i run a little higher than normal, which has been reinforced by the fact that i have been checking daily for 26 days, and my average is 143/95 – which is a little higher than normal… but my life is not as “relaxed” as i would like it to be, so it’s understandable…

the ballard sedentary sousa band is performing at the mural amphitheatre on sunday, for folklife. i pulled off a miraculous save and got the last remaining parking pass when it’s original recipient (clayton) wasn’t at the last rehearsal to claim it… which means that i’ll be able to park relatively close to the amphitheatre, for free, rather than having to pay to park a couple of miles away and take the bus there and back, which will also mean that i may actually spend more than the requisite hour or so that i have to be there.

the unauthorised authorisation dialogue went away when i realised that i have the leap.cc site in my RSS feed as well… i deleted the site, and the dialogue went away and has not come back. as far as i can tell, there’s still no site at leap.cc, although the domain itself doesn’t expire until 2013… weird…

weird

my awesome web stats informed me that normally my bandwidth consumption is around 28MB per day, but on 16 may, 2011, i had 104.29MB of transfer, most of which were music files… in the past, i have posted links to Tenor Leak Fellatio, Cat Stretching, Wraith Ugly, DJ RX – White Lines and a bunch of other mp3 files, which were downloaded anywhere between 40 and 90 times, by people in the united states and china primarily…

of course, that was also the day when my friend Bunger Mulkin! downloaded the 75MB zip file i posted for him, as well… that may well have been part of it…

also the post from 080118 of my blog was visited by someone from pakistan at approximately 9:00 am this morning… weird…

the rapture!!

so far, the rapture hasn’t happened… i’m preparing to have a big ol’ laugh at harold camping’s expense when the day is over… 8)

unauthorised authorisation dialoguein other news, i got a new unauthorised authorisation dialogue, like the one i got back in august of last year, but it’s for a different site… the site, LEAP.cc, is the site for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which i have visited a while back, but there currently is no site there, and, instead, it asks for an authorisation (which i have NEVER provided), so i’m thinking that either they’re not in business any longer (not very likely) or someone has hacked their site. needless to say, i didn’t enter anything into the fields, and it’s acting pretty much the same way as the twitter dialogue that was coming up last year, so i’m going to guess that it’ll go away eventually.

the rapture still hasn’t happened… i’ll let you know something else comes up… 8)

Scientists confirm Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA – for some reason i thought this was appropriate, despite the fact that it was originally posted in 2007…

Family Radio, which is harold camping’s “ministry” is offline… it’s the end of the world as they know it…

this is a… joke…?

McCartney & CleesePaul McCartney to marry John Cleese

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has announced he is to marry for a third time, this time to legendary Python star and himself three-time divorcee John Cleese.

While the details of the service have yet to be worked out Sir Paul confirmed that ‘Eleanor Rigby’ would be played during the ceremony, and when it gets to ‘All the lonely people, where do they all come from?’ spouse-to-be Cleese has promised to walk up the aisle in an appropriately spectacularly silly way.

The happy couple first met at a Divorcee Anonymous meeting, and found that they could share their desparate experiences of lost marriages and an unfulfilled search for a love to match their first betrothals, a quest each has embarked on for many years without success – until now.

The service will take place in New York, with Terry Jones giving the reading in a screeching harridan voice, Ringo Starr conducting the choir, who haven’t yet quite got used to his unique brand of syncopation, Stella McCartney providing decorative pineapples and Eric Idle singing a eulogy, which will be based on such delightful puns as ‘Always look on the bride side of life,’ something which both Cleese and McCartney have agreed to vow in church never to do again.

With both men contentedly well off, and with the wisdom of old age it seems like a marriage set to last although, just in case, the pre-nup runs to one hundred and forty pages.

squeeee!!

i just realised that, when i get spam via my “questions/comments” form from my web site, i can’t prevent the sender from sending me more spam, but i can prevent them from getting to my web site ever again

that’ll show ’em! 👿

meta

i’m feeling very pleased with myself, because i have recently figured out (on my own, mind you, without any help) how to add shortcut icons, or “favicons” to my sites… they’re the little tiny icons that appear in the address bar of your browser, next to the URI:like this
like this

a day

new ear plugsi had to take the piccolo i repaired back to its owner. i also had an appointment with ned. they were separated by four hours, but i decided that it would be best if i drove, parked and made a day of it. i delivered the piccolo, and then i went to laughing buddha and bought two new ear plugs. i do this instead of expanding my ear ‘ole (which i would do in a cold second if i could: it’s terrifically addictive…), because my beautiful wife doesn’t like it, and it’s not a good thing to do things that my beautiful wife doesn’t like. 😉

then i wandered and took pictures. they’ve completely destroyed four blocks of capitol hill, right across from dicks and the place where my acupuncturist’s office used to be, walled the entire four-block area with 18-foot walls, and dug an ENORMOUS hole, rather like the one that they dug in downtown seattle back in the ’80s. then i went to west seattle and wandered a little more. there are the obligatory pictures if anybody is interested. i found out that my blood pressure is higher in the morning than it is in the afternoon, and if i record my blood pressure in the morning, it looks a lot worse than it actually is… which is a MASSIVE relief, because for the past five days it seems to have been getting higher and higher… but it’s because i was checking it in the morning. if i check it in the afternoon, it is apparently a lot more reasonable… i.e. diastolic 115 in the morning and 85 in the afternoon.

W. T. F.?!?

USB Typewriter – i keep looking at it and… i can’t imagine how much “free time” someone must have had to actually work out how to do this, and then make it happen… and, further, i can’t imagine why anyone would want something like this… and why they would pay $800 to $1000 for one… especially since you can buy a perfectly good, non-usb typewriter for as little as $18, and one like the usb typewriters for $400… 😮

I HATE SPAM!!!!

okay, so i got up this morning and switched on my computer, and the first email that i downloaded said this:

Dear member,<br><br>
Your payment for $149.95 USD to [email protected] has been initiated.
<br>This payment will be completed once the recipient has accepted the payment.
<br><br>It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in the Recent
Activity <br>list on your Account Overview.
<br><br>-----------------------------------
<br>Payment Details
<br>-----------------------------------
<br><br>Amount: $149.95 USD
<br><br>Transaction ID: 7DK2739102238103H
<br>Subject: Payment for Samsung U740 Cellular Phone. Thank you!
<p class="subHeading">Do you confirm this transaction? </p>
<p>If this transaction was not made by you please, take the following steps:</p>
<ul>
<li>Login to your account by clicking on the link below </li>
<li>Provide requested information to ensure you are the owner of the account </li>
<li>Follow the steps to &apsCancel Transaction&aps</li>
</ul>
<br/><table bgcolor="#CCCC33" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td><table align="center" bgcolor="#FFFFCC" border="0" cellpadding="8" cellspacing="0"><tr><td class="large"><img alt="" border="0" src="https://images.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1" /=>
<a href="http://onlinepprefund.altervista.org/" target=_blank><span class="emphasis">CANCEL TRANSACTION!</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://images.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1" /=></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>
<br/>
<br>Thank you for using PayPal!
<br>The PayPal Team

<br>----------------------------------------------------------------
<br>Copyright . 1999-20010 PayPal. All rights reserved.
<br><br>PayPal Email ID PP359

this was slightly different than most of the spam messages i receive, because the “From:” address appeared to be somewhat more legitimate than other “spam pretending to be from paypal” messages that i have received in the past – “PayPal” <[email protected]> – so THE FIRST THING I DID was check my paypal account. when i discovered (rather as i expected, actually) that i didn’t actually make a payment to paypal for $149.95 for a Samsung U740 Cellular Phone, i went into my morning anti-spam routine of investigating, reporting and blacklisting, but this one was interesting:

the URI encoded as “CANCEL TRANSACTION!” was very definitely NOT paypal – which is why it’s ALWAYS a good idea to render messages in plain text, rather than HTML, if you have the choice to do so (most POP email clients will do that for you automatically, although most IMAP – i.e. webmail – clients will not do it without some nefarious hacking) because if it were rendered as HTML, i might have just clicked on it, not realising that it was sending me to the wrong place. but it was also very interesting because it was also a “spoofed” address – instead of being “altAvista.org” it was “altERvista.org”, which means that if i weren’t paying very close attention (or if i didn’t have automated assistance) i might have assumed that the report should go to a place that it wasn’t really supposed to go. it turned out that it was supposed to go to “[email protected]” which is probably either a person who is absolutely clueless about their server state, or (more likely) a hacker/spammer who is looking for new suckers on which to prey.

when i looked at the header information, it said that it’s insertion point was wlen.net.pl, in poland, and the IP address reflected that,

Received: from [83.16.154.90] (helo=wlen.net.pl)
by spam1.thewebhostserver.com with esmtp (Exim 4.72)
(envelope-from )
id 1QBnQb-0004Ob-N9
for [email protected]; Mon, 18 Apr 2011 13:20:01 +0100

but this bit of information jumped out at me:

X-HELO-Warning: Remote host 83.16.154.90 incorrectly presented itself as wlen.net.pl
X-Sender-Warning: wlen.net.pl has no MX records
X-Sender-Warning: Reverse DNS lookup failed for 83.16.154.90 (failed)

that is another indication that, very likely, the people who run wlen.net.pl have no clue that their server is being abused, so i sent a report to their host provider, and the place where the spam originated – [email protected] – and entered their IP address into my blacklist, which now means that if i EVER get another message that claims to be from 83.16.154.90, it will go directly into /dev/null without even alerting me to its presence.

much as i HATE spam, there are a few spam messages that i find a little more interesting than most, which is why i blog about them… in general, however, i feel that Rule #3 still applies, so i’ll shut up about the HATE now…

security for the paranoid

You have been poking around where you shouldn't have been, and are now BANNED from Hybrid Elephant!i’ve been reading all about the hacks that are common on wordpress and OSC software recently and getting paranoid again. a while ago – after i was hacked the first time – i did some basic things to help me deter hackers: i renamed the OSC administration folder to something less obvious, and i wholesale deleted my file manager (which i never used anyway), but that did little to asuage my raving paranoia, so, along with more standard and practical approaches, like .htaccess, i have also installed a number of things to dissuade unfettered poking around my server, including (but not limited to) exploit scanner, NoSpamNX, and Simple Trackback Validation on my wordpress installation, and IPTrap, OSCSec, SiteMonitor and SecurityPro on my OSC installation.

i’m particularly proud of the “Banned” page, which you can find if you go poking around my server looking for links that you probably shouldn’t have… 👿

but despite all of this experience-based prophylactic action, i’m still paranoid, and it doesn’t help that my more sophisticated clients are expressing their paranoia as well.

“Native”? HTML5 support?

um… i think that someone at micro$lop should be told those words don’t mean what he thinks they do…

Microsoft breaks own world record for IE nonsense – quite apart from the fact that HTML is designed to run non-“native”ly, and is platform-agnostic – i.e. it DOESN’T MATTER which platform you “run” it on (actually, being an interpreted language, it would be more accurate to say that it “doesn’t matter which platform you render it on”, but the difference may be a bit too complex for the non-geek audience), the fact that they are making such a big thing about it means a possibility of a number of different things:HAH HAH!

1) they are relying on the fact that you don’t know what this means… in other words, they are assuming that the consumer is stupid and will buy any new, shiny toy that the marketers wave under their noses.

this is an almost certain fact, since their job is to know what this stuff means. from engineers to marketers, they all have intimate knowledge of exactly what “native HTML5” means, they ALL know the phrase is essentially meaningless, and they are doing this PRECISELY because they know it will boost micro$not stock prices.

2) not only do they know what it means, they also know that even if it is explained to you, it won’t matter because, as i explained above, their interest is not in serving the customer, but how much money they can make. this is an extension of the “we don’t care, we don’t have to” attitude that micro$awft has developed over the past 20 years or so.

3) judging by the fact that, if you are currently running windows and IE, you HAVE code that renders this line of text as more than one line of text, in spite of the FACT that the HTML specification requires the escape sequence &nbsp; to render a “NON BREAKING space” (meaning that, instead of breaking a line, if you put &nbsp; in between words, they’ll all stay on one line, and cause “horizontal scrolling” instead) – a BUG which i reported IN 1997, and they still haven’t fixed it – the fact that they’ll eventually acknowledge that “native HTML5” means essentially nothing, is quite remote indeed.

(for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be running IE, the previous paragraph, from the number “3” to the phrase just before “a BUG…” should have rendered on one line, and you should see a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of your browser window, because of the “non-breaking spaces” i put between the words)

why should they? it doesn’t make any difference, and it raises the bottom line, which was the goal all along.

and people wonder why i won’t own a computer that runs windoesn’t any longer… pfui… 😛

yay!

my automatic home backup thingy works! a few weeks ago, i made a crontab and put in a command line to compress and back up my /home and /music directories to the external hard disk on the 1st and 15th of every month…

i just checked the external hard disk, and it was THERE! 😀

now all i’ve got to do is figure out how to move my /home directory… i’ve got some instructions that claim to be how to do it, but i don’t see anywhere where it is actually moved, and i still haven’t been able to figure out how to edit /etc/fstab accurately…

but that’s all part of the “fun” of running an open source operating system… 8)

ologies

i got my first ever backup of my entire home directory and my music collection finished a few minutes ago… 107gb… which is nowhere near all of the space i have available… 8) i still have to find out how to make the disk mount at startup, which i suspect will involve finding out how to add it to /etc/fstab or /etc/mtab. i’ve also got to figure out how to actually move my home directory, rather than just using a new one – basically what i want is, when i type cd .. into the terminal, instead of going to the main hard disk, i want to go to my newly populated external disk. i’ve got a list of instructions which don’t seem to do much more than moving stuff from one place to another, and neglects to tell the system of the change, and i already know how to move stuff…

i just got a HUGE packet of information about my heritage and genealogy… it’s enough that i’m going to be able to add another of the missing branches of my family tree, and it will definitely push my family research back to “the old country” – in this case, ireland – and the 17th century CE. it is something that i got in email from someone with whom i am apparently fourth cousins, either once or twice removed (depending on how old he is) – the last ancestor that we have in common was my great-great-great grandfather. i’m still sort of stuck finding any information at all about my mother’s side of the family, but i think i may have a lead on my maternal grandmother’s social security application, which should give me a birthdate and (hopefully) a maiden name around which i can start investigating.

hee hee…

i just got home from driving across puyallup to pick up something that, if it had been brand new, would have cost me $3,500 to $4,000 dollars, but because it is “out of date” it was free

and i like free things, especially when they’re actually reliably functioning computers… 8)

i plan on reformatting it, installing OS9, and a bunch of the software that i thought i’d never see again… 8)

linux

i know it’s free, and 98% of the time it works exactly the way i want it to (which is significantly more than either mac or windoesn’t), but the other 2% of the time it’s frustrating to the point of distraction… 😐

so a couple weeks ago, i bought a 3tb external (usb) hard disk, and using both the linux GUI and the linux terminal, i was completely unable to do an awful lot more than render the disk unreadable. i’m sure there is a way to partition the disk into two sections, and then “mkfs” them into existence, but i have not been able to figure it out…

so i plugged it into the mac, and it popped up a window that said “this disk is unreadable, what do you want to do about it?”, whereupon i ran the disk utility, formatted and partitioned the disk in about 2 minutes, and went on to something else.

and when i unplugged the disk from the mac and plugged it back into the linux machine, suddenly it was able to read the disk, and it mounted both partitions when i asked it to… but the problem is that now the “owner” of the disks, instead of being “root” is “99” and i can’t change it to anyone else, because /media/home and /media/backup are only the mount points, and the actual device lives at /dev/something-or-another (there are actually 199 “devices” listed in /dev, and only a few of them are actually being used) and all of them are owned by “root”… however, when “root” tries to change the ownership of the mount points, i get an error that indicates it is a “read-only file system”… which isn’t much help…

i can see the disk, i can mount and unmount the disk, i can read the disk, but i can’t write to it? where’s the justice?

grumble, mutter, gripe, moan, complain… *%&#^@*%… (jarns, nittles, grawlix and quimp)

up… date…

i’ve been spending way too much time futzing about with the computers, and need to do something else some of the time.

it runs 24 hours a day, and there are people lined up 24 hours a day to fill their water bottlesto that end, i’m probably not going to spend more than a couple of hours or so in front of the computer today, because of the fact that i’ve got a bunch of stuff to do. i’ve got to drive to marysville (approximately 1½ hours each way), to pick up business cards from the printer. i’ve also got to take the empty water bottles up to the artesian well to fill them, which is in between here and marysville, so it’s convenient to do both at the same time. then i’ve got to package the cards and ship them to the guy who ordered them.

then, later on, i’ve got a fremont phil rehearsal, which usually gets out at 9:00. the moisture festival is at the end of the month. counting today’s rehearsal, there are only four rehearsals left until it opens, which is cutting it really close, especially considering that pam, our clarinet player, quit earlier this year.

getting back to “normal”, whatever that is…

life is getting back to normal, now that the computer is running again, and the dog is no longer eminantly sick. i took valoriez’s recommendation and downloaded picard and i’ve been working on tagging my music. it is sort of confusing, though, and i still have around 7500 tracks that it can’t figure out… and how do i deal with the numerous albums that i have that are missing tracks for one reason or another? and how do i deal with tracks that i’ve downloaded from internet and have no idea who the artist is or what album it’s from? and how do i deal with the numerous tracks and albums i have, which are clearly defined, but are “home made” and there aren’t metadata for them?

i suppose i’ve only been using it for a couple of days… i’ll probably figure out the answers eventually.

moe has gone to a sheepdog meeting in gig harbor in the jeep. i’m waiting for a phone call from the guy who is fixing the brakes in her regular car.

THIS is the way it SHOULD work!

i am now running amarok 2.4.0!

and the fact that it still has the same bug that 2.3.2 had, and appears to have introduced a new bug where the track-bar in the transport controls apparently doesn’t work, is irrelevant to the point that i then had to rescan my entire (200gb) music collection, and all was right with the world again!

i complained about a bug and as a result of my complaining, there is now a fix for anyone who has the same problems!

a few weeks ago, someone (and i don’t remember who, but it was someone i didn’t know anyway) made some comment to me about how bugs never get fixed in open-source software because nobody knows who to complain to – and proceded to rave about how wonderful micro$not software was, and how it hasn’t had any major bugs since 1998, and that sort of bullshit… and this is exactly why i can categorically say that the guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

ETA: i also got a personal message from one of the people who helped me out with this:

valoriez wrote:If you were serious in that offer, I might have some business to bring your way. A young friend is going to be cataloging the instruments available to students at Kent-Meridian High School, of which some will surely need repair. I would value your opinion as an expert about the best way to proceed, once they are sorted and catalogued. Are you interested?

am i interested?!? 😀

updates

i’m officially shocked. my request has apparently been answered, although i still am having trouble getting it installed… there’s a good chance that somebody will help me out, however… maybe even today. 🙂

also, magick survived another night, and she’s looking perkier than she did yesterday. we’re planning on spending a few days at the beach in a couple weeks, and it would be great if we had a functioning dog that didn’t have to be carried everywhere for that…

suggestion…

the current suggestion is that i:

contact the packagers and ask them to include 2.4 in lucid, there’s been other posters with the same issue with 2.4 not available so there’d be support for this from others.

so…

who are “the packagers” for amarok 2.4, and
how do i write to them and ask them in a way that will actually get them to do it?

if this actually succeeds in getting me in contact with “the packagers”, i will be shocked. 😐

huge sigh of relief…

i don’t have an emoticon for a “huge sigh of relief” (yet), but i should… it wouldn’t get used often, but it would be entirely appropriate here…

kmail works, akgregator works… amarok mostly works (it still has this problem determining track lengths), but i can deal with that… the file manager(s) works again… and now i’ve got this nifty icon in the task bar that gives me access to USB devices, tells me when they’re plugged in and gives me the ability to unplug them without the rigamarole that i used to have to go through when i wanted to unplug the USB devices: now i go to the icon in the task bar, select the device i want and select “Remove Device” from the menu, then i can unplug it. before i had to open the disk in the file manager, then select the actual device, right click, select “Eject USB Device” from the menu, and wait for the light to stop flashing before i unplugged it, otherwise it gave me this dire warning that said i unplugged the device before it was ready, and that there may be damage to the files (which there never was, but it made me nervous when it appeared).

the interface is somewhat different… some of the icons are not what i expected: the network icon in the task bar, instead of looking like a networked computer, now looks like the CAT5 network cable connecter going into the network connection. there’s a new “klipper” icon that wasn’t there before, and the “notifications” icon is different, but mostly it looks the same… of course that’s probably at least partially because i have customised my interface pretty heavily to start out with… i have the task bar at the top of the screen (like it was on old macs) and i have desktop patterns that change every five minutes or so, from a directory of pictures…

i may have the latest unicode fonts installed by default… i have noticed a number of scripts that i don’t remember seeing before (including mah-jong tiles, dominoes, egyptian heiroglyphics, tifnagh, and that sort of thing)…

i’ve still got a lot to do, moving my home directory, which involves figuring out why kubuntu doesn’t mount my second internal hard disk on bootup (like it apparently does to the two USB hard disks that i keep plugged in pretty much all the time), and figuring out how to partition my new 3tb hard disk…

but, for the time being, i’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.

holding my breath…

i worried and fretted about my computer all day today, but i didn’t actually do anything about it… i just waited for kubuntuforums.net to come up with an answer that i hadn’t tried yet. to keep my mind off the computer, i went out and bought new batteries for lucy’s training collar, bread, bagles and dishwasher detergent, and a three terabyte USB hard disk, which i intend on partitioning approximately 1tb/2tb, and throwing my ENTIRE home directory, and my entire 200gb music collection into the 1tb side, and using the 2tb side as backup storage…

and i AM going to use something like Keep to back up my ENTIRE home directory about twice a month…

so that this kind of thing WON’T happen again… 😛

and when i got home, kubuntuforums.net had come up with an answer i hadn’t tried. a kubuntu expert from indonesia suggested apt-get install libakonadi-contact4, and when i did that, kmail, kaddressbook, and akregator all started without a problem.

and it works… so far… if it works again tomorrow, i’ll feel a lot better.

amarok still has difficulty telling how long tracks are, but at this point, i’m SO relieved to have kmail back that i’ll let it be wonky for a while…

more GROAN!… 8P

i got up this morning and nothing (and i mean nothing) had changed. kontact still wouldn’t start, nobody had responded to my many varied requests for help, and, according to skype-friend “You are now solidly into the area of problems that Kubuntu added to Debian”… 😛

so i put “kontact can’t find libkontactinterface.so.4 in kubuntu 10.04” into google, and came up with this article in kubuntuforums.net, which suggested reinstalling kdepim for a person who was having almost the same problem in maverick (kubuntu 10.10). so i tried sudo apt-get --reinstall install kdepim and then i read a little further in the article and discovered that it was also suggested that i try sudo apt-get --reinstall install libkontactinterface4, which resulted in some change… unfortunately, not in the desired direction. now kontact says kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libakonadi-contact.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory… essentially the same error as before, only now it’s looking for libakonadi-contact.so.4 instead of libkontactinterface.so.4

i feel like i should be making progress, but i honestly don’t know what to do next… 🙁

i’m going to try putting libakonadi-contact.so.4 into google and see if that comes up with any new, relevant information that i haven’t already read… 🙁

ETA: from what little reading i’ve done, it would appear that akonadi (the personal information management software that makes kontact work, and the thing that needs libakonadi-contact.so.4) doesn’t work that well (or, depending on where you read, at all) on 10.04 either, and the recommendation is to upgrade to 10.10… which isn’t a LTS… more motivation for me to switch distributions to debian (the parent distro to *ubuntu). this would obviously mean going back to KDE4.5, or KDE4.3, or something like that… but, as i said to skype-friend, i don’t need all these fancy bells and whistles, i just need it to work… reliably, consistently, and with a lot less effort than i have put into it over the past three days… i admit that, on the whole, kubuntu has been FAR better than windoesn’t, and even gives mac a run for its money, but when it comes to upgrading, kubuntu SUCKS!! 😛

groan! 8P

my email client (yes, i’m an anachronism, i know… deal with it) was working when i went to bed last night.

my email client was working when i got up this morning… however it turns out that my file manager was not. i fought my way through several different possibilities, and then i discovered that i did, indeed, have about a half-hours worth of downloading for “updates” that weren’t installed yesterday, so i installed them.

the file manager now works… but my email client doesn’t. 😐

when i try to start it from the GUI, nothing happens. when i try to start it from the terminal, it tells me this: kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libkontactinterface.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory which is next to useless…

so i go to google and put in “libkontactinterface.so.4” and i discover that it is installed in /usr/lib with kdepimlibs5 (whatever that is), so i type in sudo apt-get install kdepimlibs5 and it tells me
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
kdepimlibs5 is already the newest version.

however, when i go to /usr/lib/ and do a ls | grep libkontactinterface.so.4 it tells me nothing… which means that, despite the fact that i’ve apparently got the most recent kdepimlibs5, i apparently don’t have ANY libkontactinterface.so.4…

why does linux have to be so arcane? is it just to frustrate anachronisms like me? 🙁

groan?

so “lucid lynx” appears to work well… which is to say, once i had got it installed, it hasn’t crashed or done anything non-computer-like…

dolphin (one of the file managers that i’ve been able to find) doesn’t work any longer… i invoke it in various different ways, but it doesn’t show any files (fortunately, i know that they’re there, otherwise i’d really be freaking out). instead it says: “Could not start process Unable to create io-slave: klauncher said: Error loading ‘kio_file’. this is probably a “non-computer-like” behaviour, but i’m fairly confident that i can, actually get it straightened out within the next few days…

however, amarok, the music player, has some difficulties… so much so that i actually logged a bug on the “new” version (2.3.0) yesterday. it plays music files of all kinds quite the same as it did in its previous version (2.2.4, or something like that), but instead of track lengths, it says that all the tracks are 0:00 minutes long. also, when i view the tags for an individual track, sometimes i can change them, and sometimes i can’t, even though all the files are set to permissions 644…

of course, the immediate response to my bug (as was the case pretty much all the time when i was testing software for a living) was that i am “doing it wrong”, and that i have to upgrade to a version (2.4.0) which, from what i understand after having read a bunch about the process, actually won’t run on lucid… apparently lucid doesn’t have some important piece of the puzzle necessary to run the version of amarok that doesn’t have problems with track lengths and tags… or not, nobody’s exactly sure what’s going on at all. 😐

not only that, but, following the instructions that i, finally, was able to find for upgrading to 2.4.0 on lucid, only upgraded me to 2.3.2 – which isn’t really that surprising, because, from what i have been able to find out, 2.4.0 really won’t run on lucid – which has exactly the same bug as 2.3.0 did.

this is one of the reasons i’m REALLY glad i don’t test software for a living any longer… i don’t have the patience to reply to the “developer” and explain to them that i’m not “doing it wrong”, what i’m doing is EXACTLY the same thing that any other bozo would be doing on their computer, and if they perceive something as a bug, they’re not going to be as satisfied a “customer” as i would be… only i’m NOT a software tester any longer… and i only posess the patience to fume and rant on my blog about how amarok 2.4.0 WON’T WORK on lucid, without some forcing and installing some non-standard bullshit that nobody except the developers truly understand! 😛

groan

it got worse… the computer crashed before i went to bed…

then, i got up at zero-dark-thirty this morning (because i couldn’t sleep) and began yet another extended conversation with skype-friend, who eventually gave up at about 11:30. he recommended that i try kubuntuforums.net (a place where i have an established presence), so i went there, and took the first advice that came down the pipe…

after another 45 minutes or so of downloading and configuring, i went from booting to a terminal, to not booting at all. it wouldn’t boot normally, or in the latest kernel recovery mode at all… 🙁

it would boot in the next kernel back recovery mode, however, and with a couple more hours of fretting and worrying, combined with frantic typing and getting as many messages as possible in between the times when the people who were helping me were online and offline, i managed to get kubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx” up and running…

i’m seriously thinking of switching distros the next time i have to upgrade. this is ridiculous. 😐

groan… 8P

okay, so i decided, a couple weeks ago, to upgrade kubuntu, since 9.01 is coming to the end of its support period in a month or so, but i couldn’t figure out how to get either kpackagemanager (the default program, which i don’t use) or synaptic (which i use on the recommendation of this guy who is a linux genius that i met on skype)…

i futzed around with it a bit, and found the “sources list” in synaptic, but i didn’t know what to put in to make it work, that wasn’t already there. so i contacted my friend on skype, and he told me to do it manually (i.e. use the terminal instead of the GUI)… we thought we had the problem with the sources list – /etc/apt/sources.list – sorted out, and i ran “aptitude update” and then “aptitude -f dist-upgrade” which was supposed to do it, but after downloading what turned out to be only half-a-ton of stuff in three hours, it didn’t work, and left me with a system that, i strongly suspect, if i attempt to reboot it, it will be totally hosed.

it turns out that when i originally installed the OS, from a CD-ROM, it didn’t put a whole bunch of really important sources into the list, which meant that, despite my downloading for three hours, i didn’t get a “complete” upgrade. among the things that are “unresolved dependencies” or “BROKEN” are just about everything in the GUI for the entire machine, and the necessary software to boot up the machine once it has been shut down.

i suspect that it’s actually going to be easier to fix than the last time i had this problem, because it was in a pretty stable state when i screwed it up… but that’s only because i didn’t follow my gut instinct to reboot when it started giving me difficulties.

and skype-friend has a rehearsal for a church play this evening, so he won’t be available again until tomorrow morning – which is 2 hours ahead of me, which means that, by the time i’m usually getting up in the morning on a saturday, he’ll be taking his wife to lunch, which, i suspect, will take longer than an hour… i’m fairly confident that we can fix it, but it may be a few days until i have regular access to my email, RSS feeds and stuff like that…

i wonder why it is that i’m the one that has these problems… as far as i know, nobody else who runs ubuntu or any of its relatives has anything like this much difficulty with it… and when i bought this computer, i bought it specifically because it had high-quality “generic” hardware that i was sure would be supported… and yet, the only things that actually makes noise on the machine are the alert sounds, and the music player: everything else that’s supposed to talk to the sound card doesn’t, and every time i have had to update the system it has turned into a nightmare…

this

PayPal has apparently frozen the account of the organisation raising funds for Bradley Manning’s legal defense, and they’ve admitted that they have no legal reason to freeze the account but that it is due to an “internal policy decision by PayPal”. that fact is exactly the reason why i don’t keep funds in my paypal account. when i get an order, i automatically transfer it to my checking account. if i have to refund a payment, i transfer it from my checking account. that way, in the not-unlikely event that paypal decides to freeze my account, all i will have to do to stay in business, is to arrange another payment method on my web site.

ever since the fiasco a few years ago, i’ve felt extremely suspicious about dealing with credit card companies, but i know that it is possible to do without getting scammed…

urg…

i’ve been on a crash course about video conversion and coding for web presentation of video format files over the past three days. i’ve learned a lot, but i still have a lot more to learn, and i’m sort of wondering why i need to know this crap stuff…

i’ve currently got a video on the Sedentary Sousa web site, that works… if you give it a minute… i think… 😐

my guess is that the main problem is file size. the video i’ve currently got loading is the smallest i could make with this particular software (Toast) and for some reason i can’t even get it to import into something that is supposed to be for twiddling with video (iMovie), and, at 16MB, that’s not anywhere near small enough.

i know that YouTube uses flash (.flv) files, which cuts down on file size a lot, but i also know that flash is deprecated in HTML5, and, as far as i have been able to tell, .MOV, .M4V, .MP4 and such like are not deprecated, but the file size is ridiculous… nobody is going to wait around for a 16MB movie to load, unless they are there specifically to see that movie, and in that case a 16MB movie is not going to be satisfactory…

grumble, mutter… 😡

more meta

i don’t know if anybody noticed, but my smilies went back to the default ones for a short period of time between yesterday afternoon and this morning. this is because i upgraded, and the default upgrade script automatically replaces the smilies, because i haven’t figured out how to tell it that it shouldn’t… and i didn’t notice that the smilies were different until this morning, when i flushed my browser cache…

and despite the fact that the GUI for the host server isn’t working (they’ve been pestering the software source for a fix for several months now, but there has been no action yet), i was able to ssh in to the host and switch the “smilies” directory for the “smilies-backup” directory, which i made the last time this happened, so it’s very likely that nobody noticed… 🙂

also, i’ve moved some stuff around slightly, so that the entire sidebar now shows, rather than having the right end of the “Search” field cut off by the post background… all of this is likely stuff that you, as a reader of this blog, will not notice at all, but it makes me happy. 😉

daily bleh

i made my monthly backup, which is now in the process of downloading. i’ve discovered that, pretty commonly, and regardless of platform, if i download using http, i get about ¾ of the way through the download, and it just ends, for no obvious reason, but if i download using ftp, everything appears on the local end without a problem… thus proving, once again, that a simple, text-based application that is designed to do one thing perfectly will always beat out a big, bulky application, most of which is code for the GUI, which does a whole bunch of things, but there’s no guarantee that it does any of those things perfectly, when it comes to getting things done the right way, the first time…

listen to me… you’d hardly guess that, buried deep in the inner core, was a dyed-in-the-wool mac-head… 🙂

rob sagan has been placed… yay!

i have had two “incomplete” orders for incense since the 1st of january, one from the netherlands and one from taiwan. they’ve ordered $4 and $12 worth of incense, respectively, got up to the point where paypal figures out shipping and realised that it would be 5 to 10 times as much just for shipping as they would be spending on actualy product. i’ve been wondering about why people do that for a while:to me it seems fairly obvious that, to someone outside the united states, a shop that is in the united states and sells things that are imported from india is going to charge a lot more to ship things outside the united states than some local shop that sells the same items imported from india. a friend of mine says that it’s because, overall, over the past 20 to 50 years, people, in general, have gotten stupider. i was talking with him about college experience these days (since moe is currently in college as well) and what it comes down to is that, even 20 years ago, expectations were a lot higher than they currently are, and i think that there’s a direct correlation to the general consumer on internet… no wonder there are so many people who think that the email message they got telling them that they had won $500 million dollars in the nigerian lottery is anything other than a scam… it definitely doesn’t say much for the education system, or internet – the “information superhighway”…

more turmoil in egypt, which includes the last of the internet connections finally going down… there’s a “million man march” scheduled, and the word is that the military has said that they won’t fire on civilians… but i’ve heard it all before, and until mubarak is under lock and key, either in egypt or elsewhere, i’m going to remain skeptical of anything i hear about the stability of the egyptian government…

ETA: apparently Egypt President Mubarak announces plan to retire in Sept. but i don’t think that’s going to be soon enough for most people… we’ll see how it all works out… fairly soon…

regarding the shutdown of internet in egypt

In the spirit going back to Magna Carta, we require a principle that: No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims.
     — Tim Berners-Lee

Egypt: Tor Use Skyrocketing as Users Route-Around Internet Blocks

they’ve got to realise that as soon as they shut down regular internet access, that would immediately drive initiative to gain alternative access…

i already use Tor and a couple of other anonymizing software packages, but i’m seriously thinking about things like freenet or openmesh

Communicate if Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet
3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet
Get Internet Access When Your Government Shuts It Down

this would normally go in the massive link dump on monday…

but by monday there’s a possibility that nobody would be able to read about it… 😐

Internet Shut Down in Egypt – “But Biden Says Mubarak is No Dictator” what would you call someone who deliberately shuts off the only means of communicating with the outside that most of his – dissatisfied – constituents have? is this a prelude to a massacre? or worse? will it happen in the US next?

WTF…?

110126 Grand Piano on sandbar in Biscayne Bay, Miami, FloridaGrand mystery as piano appears on sandbarBy Josh Levs, CNN
January 26, 2011

Call it the latest piano bar, a large-scale mystery, or a whole new set of Florida Keys.

In Miami’s Biscayne Bay, a grand piano has appeared — perched on the highest point of a sandbar.

“We don’t know how the piano got out there, we don’t know who’s responsible for putting the piano out there and at this point it’s clearly a mystery,” said Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

And for now, it’s staying put. Authorities told CNN they have no plans to remove it.

“What will probably happen is that the piano will just disintegrate because of the salt water and the salt air,” said Pino, adding that it will not harm the wildlife.

The finding has struck a chord with residents and tourists, inspiring some to board their boats and check it out. But if they’re planning to perform a concerto, their hopes will likely fall flat.

“This piano’s so banged up you can’t even bang out any tunes on it,” reported Andre Hepkins of CNN affiliate WSVN, as he stood on the sandbar attempting to tickle the ivories.

The Miami Herald first alerted Pino to the mysterious piano last week, Pino told CNN.

As word spread, theories took off. Was it a publicity stunt? A music video gone bad? A frustrated musician? A jilted lover trashing an ex’s instrument?

A Miami New Times blog offered explanations such as “The Little Mermaid was not a work of fiction” and “the powers that be are trying new tricks to get your attention about the end of the world.”

Pino has his own ideas. “The person who did this obviously did it as a prank in my opinion,” he said, “and they are getting exactly what they wanted to get, which is the notoriety of knowing that their story went viral.”

It is illegal to dump things into those waters, Pino said. “If you’re caught doing it, you can be arrested.”

But for now, the Department of Environmental Resources Management has not begun an investigation, spokesman Luis Espinoza told CNN. “We’re keeping an eye on it, looking into how it might have gotten there,” he said, adding that an official investigation is “possible.”

In November 2008 a piano was mysteriously discovered in Harwich, Massachusetts, by a woman who was walking a trail in the middle of the woods. That piano — an upright, not a grand — perplexed authorities. A CNN call Wednesday to Harwich police to find out if that mystery was ever solved was not immediately returned.

Biscayne Bay is home to commerce and tourism. The National Park Service describes it as “a shallow estuary, a place where freshwater from the land mixes with salt water from the sea and life abounds. It serves as a nursery where infant and juvenile marine life reside.”

Pino said the piano was found on the sandbar well out into the water, less than half a mile from the shore. “It’s amazing that somebody would go thru the trouble” of hauling “a 650 pound piece of equipment” out that far — even one that’s “not in good shape,” he said.

Still, Pino said, “there’s a lot worse things in the water.”

“We know of a car… that somebody years ago dumped into the water, and the vehicle stayed there. And, as it turns out, the vehicle is quite the habitat for lobster now.”

Pino added, “There’s odd things in the water all the time — shopping carts and tires and all kinds of stuff that people just decide to dump out there.”

hmmm…

all of my categories just disappeared…

interesting… and not in a good way. 😡

ETA: and now, just as mysteriously, they’re all back again…

VERY strange… 😐

ETA: now the categories and the tags are gone… grumble, mutter… 😛 what did i do…?

ETA: i get the impression that it’s nothing having to do with me… they’re still gone, but some of them are back on some posts… weird.

14 DVD movies for sale

14 DVD movies for sale: – Casino Royale, Gridlock, Stealth, Anacondas – The Hunt for The Blood Orchid, Eddie Murphey – The Haunted Mansion, The Devil Wears Prada, Man on Fire, Sabrina, Syriana, Scary Movie 4 – Unrated, Roswell – Cover-ups and Close Encounters, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde and Borat. Prefer that they all go at once, but if they go separately, they’re $4.00 each.

tee hee…

i’ve finally got around to customising my emoticons… the next step is to animate some of them, but this will do for now, and is a whole hell of a lot better than the default emoticons. these are the ones i’ve got so far. there are more, but this should hold me for a while:

😀 😕 😎 😥 👿 😡 :mrgreen: 😐 😛 😳 🙁 🙂 😮 😉

Public Service Announcement: i just found these…

with yesterday’s post still relatively fresh in my mind, i found a couple of utilities that make it easier to disconnect, if you have trouble disconnecting: Anti-Social is a utility that deliberately blocks social networking from your computer (it’s configurable, so, theoretically, you would be able to block any web site) for up to 8 hours. if that’s not austere enough for you, Freedom entirely blocks internet from your computer for up to 8 hours – that’s right, no RSS, no email, no IMs, no YouTube… Anti-Social only works on the mac operating system, but Freedom has a windows option as well…

if you use linux, presumably, you have enough self-control to just disconnect yourself, without having to have a machine do it for you… 😉

another week closer to the eschaton…

Future Shock? Welcome to the New Middle Ages – those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. the middle ages were also characterised by illiteracy, the catholic church and the plague… just sayin’…

THE RICH REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE POOR – speaking as one of the poor, tell us something we don’t already know… 😐

WikiLeaks’ Most Terrifying Revelation: Just How Much Our Government Lies to Us – and, if they have their way, the government is all set to make it so that we never find out how much they lie to us. minitrue in action.

also, CIA Doesn’t Want You To Know It Gave Iran Nuclear Blueprints – oops… 😐

US government getting more interested in IPv6 – they’d better be more than just interested in it, considering that all remaining allocatable IPv4 addresses would now fit into a /6 prefix (≘ 67,108,864 addresses).

Microsoft confirms code execution bug in Windows – BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! 😀 it’s just like i said… another good reason not to use micro$awft products…

and, speaking of “another good reason”… Hepatitis A warning issued after Christmas communion – if you took communion on xmas, and you live in long island, they’re saying that you need to get vaccinated… the blood of christ is infected!

Miami-Dade police buy drones – they work so well in afghanistan and iraq that now they’re being used by domestic police forces as well. presumably they won’t be firing missiles with them, just yet… “At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you’re against this technology, because it’s coming…”

meanwhile, Passengers overpower plane hijacker after he storms cockpit shouting he had bomb – no department of homeland security necessary.

The Next Net – abandon the corporate internet!

va fan culoSupreme Court justice: No protection for women in Constitution – reagan-appointed justice scalia wants to force us to live one hundred fifty years in the past. “It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.” — Susan B. Anthony

Scientists Create 52 Artificial Rain Storms in Abu Dhabi Desert and Have scientists discovered how to create downpours in the desert? – my impression is the more we tinker with the inner workings of how the planet really works, the more likely it is that we will have to deal with the unexpected, and potentially disasterous consequenses of our tinkering… of course, on the positive side, once we have blown ourselves up, it won’t be more than 100 years or so until the planet is back to the way it’s supposed to be, more or less.

uh oh… Disaster Tax Rules Don’t Apply For BP Oil Spill Claims – so, in spite of the FACT that the gulf oil spill is the largest oil spill ever to have happened, if you live in the gulf region, have had your income affected by the gulf oil spill, and made claims against BP for lost wages or income, you will still have to pay income tax at the highest rate because BP claims that their oil spill was never officially proclaimed a “disaster”… i bet some people are going to be really thrilled to learn that…

Congressional Prayer Caucus asks for ‘correction’ to ‘E pluribus unum’ – federal endorsement of a religion or deity violates the united states constitution.

All drugs should be legalised – now, let’s see if we can be as forward thinking as they appear to be in the old country, eh’? it would eliminate things like Grandpa killed in drug raid from happening.

Commuter outrage as terrorist attempts to blow himself up on Quiet Carriage – there is definitely something insane with a society that can make jokes about people blowing themselves up…

Florida Professor Arrested for Having a “Suspicious” Bagel on a Plane, Man at JFK declares rabbit, Customs says it found cocaine, Planet That May Not Exist is For Sale on Ebay, in 10 Acre Chunks, Woman Arrested After Trying To Return Wallet, Saudis detain Israeli vulture for being ‘Zionist spy’ – why do i bother? 😐

social notworking

listen to this while reading the following post: Have Sex and Die! from Mothra! an opera about insects by Pliny Keep

i got a “connect” message from LinkedIn today, for someone i know only vaguely. i thought about it for a long time before i acceded to their request, and almost immediately i discovered that one of my customers, a guy who, previously, i had only known because he was a repeat customer of my business, was now a “2nd degree” connection. it’s this kind of connection that makes me really wonder about the whole concept of “social networking” and whether, ultimately, it will be good for us, both as individuals and as a society…

not that i can do anything about it, of course… 😐

but i still dislike the idea of facebook, principally because most of the users are unaware of how they are being blatantly, obviously, manipulated, mislead and spied on at the same time. i was talking to a stranger this afternoon, and the subject strayed to the ubiquity of smart-phones. she commented that she doesn’t know most of what the smart-phone can do, and, although she has a facebook account and a twitter account, she doesn’t know “how they work”… and yet she has a smart-phone, and isn’t worried about how much information is out there about her, specifically, because she “has a boring life: nobody would want to know about it”.

if that were only the case, these days… 😐

and yet i can’t help imagining that i’ll eventually sign up for a facebook account, or something like that. so far, i haven’t drunk any of the new water, and i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water, but the desire to connect with other humans tempts me at times. one of those times was last night, when i went to a fez-up with hobbit and fezmonger and his wife, and i was left out of the conversation when i was the only person without a facebook account.

tempted, but, as i said, i still have a plentiful supply of untainted water…

i’m not sure whether or not this is a joke…

and, as moe pointed out, the fact that it’s on internet skews the possibility by 80/20 right off the top…

LIBERATION ARMY AGAINST FREEDOM – one of those “if you don’t accept flash, you don’t get to see our web site” web sites, which says, among other things, a whole bunch of arabic writing, and that it’s for “extermination of roots of freedoms worldwide with the aid of great fireworks”. it appears to be registered to a privacy organisation in the netherlands… but it has a very clear picture of what looks like two people checking out a large quantity of commercial fireworks (i.e. very definitely not explosives)… WTF?

grump…

i discovered that there’s a new wordpress hack that’s cropping up on sites that haven’t been upgraded, but there’s also a nifty exploit scanner that makes tracking down wordpress hacks a lot easier.

i upgraded to 3.0.4 a couple of days ago (when it came out), so i wasn’t caught by the most recent hack, but when i ran exploit scanner it found a whole bunch of residue from the last time i was hacked which i had missed when i was cleaning up. it probably didn’t do anything any longer, because i deleted the files that contained the code that the hack was referring to a long time ago, but i’m glad i got the rest of the stuff out of there, because if i had come across it again, randomly, it would definitely have freaked me out…

exploit scanner is actually good enough at what it does that it finds things in my blog that aren’t exploits, like my anti-spam plugin (which uses the same code that they use in hacks to obscure the form field that you’re not supposed to fill out, but the one that spam-bots fill out because they don’t realise that it’s obscured) and various bits and pieces of my theme, but, fortunately, there is an easy way to tell the difference between legitimate code and code that has been hacked, so i don’t worry about it… that much.

and a couple of the places that had residue were things that i installed a while ago, but have consistently not worked correctly pretty much ever since i installed them, which makes me wonder if they will work more consistently now that i’ve removed the residue of being hacked…

another week closer to the eschaton…

The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence – “Americans are not as violent as the most extremely violent cultures around the world, but we certainly are not as peaceful as the most peaceful societies. Unfortunately, our culture appears to be going towards increased social violence.” [Author James DeMeo, Ph.D.] points to the general failure of parents and sex-education programs to say much of anything positive about sexual pleasure, with the great emphasis upon “abstinence education”, as a major cause for the growing violence in our schools. “Our young people should be warmly romancing each other, dancing and singing together, making love and enjoying what should be the happiest time of their lives. Instead, we start our children off with a lot of hidden cruelty in the hospital birth, with incubator-isolation, denial of the mother’s breast, time-table feedings, circumcision and so forth. – no wonder we’re screwed up. all the more reason to scrap every vestige of what passes for society these days, and create something different.

The Oil BP Tried To Hide Has Been Discovered, In Thick Layers On the Sea Floor Over An Area of Several Thousand Square Miles – don’t fool yourself, it’s not over yet, by a long shot.

You Are A Terrorist – i’ve been saying that for years. now the gummint is actually catching up… 😐

Osama bin Dead A While – merry x-mas, the war on terror is over, whether they like it or not… but don’t let the gummint know, because they’re all set to whip up another fake osama video to scare us again…

US empire could collapse at any time – are you ready? this is a lot more “for real” than you might think: Missile defence FAIL: US ‘kill vehicle’ space weapon flunks test

Homeland Security Trolling We Won’t Fly Blog, Boy, 13, Busted For Illegal Marker Possession, TSA Too Busy Groping, Perving, Playing God To Notice Guns And Bombs, 10,000 Child Porn Images Found On TSA Worker’s Computer and Police Fatally Shoot Douglas Zerby For Holding Water Nozzle – what they are doing instead of searching for real terrorists… 😐

Plan to Turn Post Office Trucks Into Stasi Data Collection Nodes and Trash collectors to serve as eyes and ears in the street for police – because the police are too busy searching for terrorists people with water nozzles to kill… also, do you think that this just might be because of budget cuts, and/or because of the fact that they want to turn the country into an embodiment of the book 1984…?

Who Is the FBI Really Trying to Entrap? – muslims? people with water nozzles? more likely it’s poor, underpriveledged black and brown people who can’t fight back effectively on their own…

Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities – this is one of the reasons i only drink artesian well water, and have for the past 25 years… that, and beer… 8)

UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info – so…

Wikileaks and the Definition of Terrorism – TL.DR: what wikileaks is doing cannot be defined as terrorism except, maybe, to the political elite in washington who are making all the fuss about it. WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform – wow, wikileaks and the gulf oil spill… is this the work of a terrorist organisation?

also, the latest, futile attempt to make wikileaks go away, Feds Seek Computer Firewall to Block WikiLeaks ‘Pollution’ and Pentagon bars own journalists from reading Wikileaks – you would think that they’d have heard of the streisand effect by now…

Broadband firms urged to block sex websites to protect children – yeah, like that’s really gonna happen… maybe they could ban spam, too, while they’re at it… 😐 seriously, i think that any proposed legislation that is being put in place “to protect the children” should be banned on principle. the fact is, proposed “legislation” that can’t find any other reason than “to protect the children” has been proven, in the past, to be distinctly deficient in doing anything other than confusing people, violating someone’s civil rights or lining the politicians’ pockets… and usually a combination of all three…

Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science – there’s some static running around because Faux News is disputing the report from last week that said that watching Faux News makes people stupid, and, at the same time, muddying the climate change waters with false information… not only that, but rupert murdoch’s companies have been on the forefront of the “war against christmas” game, and yet his Holiday Message was just that… why does rupert murdoch hate jesus?

Your right to protest in under threat – britain is being brought under the thumb of the rich politicians, and america is next.

Judge finds ‘increasing’ difficulty in seating marijuana juries – this is related to that post from last week, except that it’s a little more to the point: jury nullification is becoming a widely-enough-known phenomenon that courts won’t seat people on a jury if they have said that they know about it as an option, and when enough people have to be passed over to get an ignorant enough jury to actually be able to convict someone for possession of a miniscule quantity of cannabis, the courts have to look for “other alternatives”…

Your Apps Are Watching You – this is one of the primary reasons i don’t use a “smart” phone. i like my phones dumb and subservient, which is exactly what they’re supposed to be…

Is a BSOD on a bus … a BuSOD? – giggle…

another week closer to the eschaton…

double whammy! friday the 13th comes on a monday this month… namely today!

we’ll start this off with more oil-spill madness: BP Challenges Oil Spill Amount In An Attempt to Reduce Cost of Fines – it never ended, media just got tired of reporting it… 😐 for example: Navy Secretary Mabus pushes Pentagon to feed soldiers more Gulf seafood – i don’t know whether this should make me chortle evil laughter and say that they deserved it, or gasp in shocked amazement because nobody should be forced to eat that glop… especially when there are people saying things like “I wouldn’t eat shrimp, fish or crab caught in the Gulf,” and “There is no safe level of exposure to this oil, because it contains carcinogens, mutagens that can damage DNA and cause cancer and other chronic health problems.”

5 Myths About How to Treat Depression – this is the primary reason i am not interested in medication. i’d rather be depressed. i already know how to deal with it without taking medications.

One cigarette can kill you; so can one act of gay sex and House Republicans Try to Kill Bill to Feed Hungry Schoolchildren While Insisting on Tax Breaks for the Rich – at least half of our country’s citizens agree with these buffoons… this is why i’m depressed… 😐

Dick Cheney faces bribery scandal charges in Nigeria – i don’t understand why nigeria can charge him with bribery, but the united states won’t charge him with war crimes… in spite of the prevelance of 419 scams in nigeria, if they can get him on bribery charges, more power to them. Halliburton may pay $500 million to keep Cheney out of prison – wait… hasn’t he been charged with bribery?

the Wikileaks domain has been shut down (and WikiLeaks Dropped by Domain Name Provider) in a feeble and largely ineffective attempt to erase the “stuff that people shouldn’t know” from the web… fortunately, their IP address has not been blocked (so far), and there are also over 500 mirrors in case that is taken down as well. not only that, but because of the ongoing attacks to their infrastructure, they’ve released their entire archive of messages up to this point, just to make sure that the message gets out there if they can’t deliver it personally. meanwhile, US military threatens soldiers not to read Wikileaks – if the US government has nothing to hide, then why are they making such a big deal over this? the longer they keep this up, the more guilty it makes them appear… it also appears as though wikileaks has an ace up its sleeve: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ‘will release poison pill of damaging secrets if killed or arrested’ so download that archive now… you know you want to… 🙂

also If publishing the WikiLeaks cables were against the law, could the New York Times go to jail? – if julian assange goes to jail for it, then the new york times should go as well. if not, then why was he arrested anyway? and, by the way, Ellsberg: "EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time."

meanwhile, Irony? State Dept. criticizes Assange but plans to stage ‘Press Freedom Day’ and Someone Should Tell The State Dept That The State Dept Is Hosting World Press Freedom Day – the way we celebrate World Press Freedom Day in the united states, apparently, is by having julian assange arrested, in another country, for “sex by surprise”… what? especially while It appears that Assange may have fallen into a "CIA Honeytrap". and speaking of free speech, Man gets 33 months for threatening Obama in poem

also, PayPal Busted for Bogus Wikileaks Excuse – so paypal cut off wikileaks’ access to money that had been donated to wikileaks, because of a state department letter saying that what wikileaks does is illegal… that doesn’t exist they were scared that the US govermnent might come after them next… does that sound about right?

and, for those of you who have actually been wondering exactly what was in those cables that made the US government so uptight about wikileaks, here’s a sample: Consult us before using intelligence to commit war crimes, US tells Uganda – not “obey the rules of war”, but “let us know before you use our intelligence to break the rules of war”… yep, that’s a good enough reason to have julian assange arrested on trumped up charges… 😐

Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque – they’re stretching the line mighty thin if they’ve got to hire a guy to infitrate mosques and talk up jihad, just in order to get terrorists people who might be terrorists to arrest… also, Holder to Muslims Re Stings: Get Used to It – not only are they stretching the line, but those people who object might just be terrorists themselves, because they “simply do not have their facts straight.”

US Has Lost All Moral High Ground On Internet Censorship and Homeland Security ‘messages’ coming to Walmart, hotels, malls – now they want us to do their job for them, as well… 😐 that reminds me… it’s been a while since i posted this:

When they took the fourth amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment,
     I was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the first amendment,
     and I can say nothing about it.

Here Come Homeland Security Internet Police, and They’re Already Shutting Down Web Sites They Don’t Like – just like TSA for your computer, whether you like it or not… 😐

and, speaking of TSA, TSA Subjects Indian Ambassador To US To Glass Cage, Enhanced Groping – “It is believed that the TSA operatives flagged Ms. Shankar not because she set of the metal detector, but because she was wearing a sari, a long traditional Indian robe.” – Indian Embassy describes incident as “unacceptable”

Tooth Decay to Be a Thing of the Past – i’ve always wondered why people who brush their teeth religiously still sometimes have extremely bad teeth, while other people can not brush their teeth at all and still have all their teeth at age 80… this is apparently part of the reason. how much you want to bet that the dental association buys all of these guys research and buries it, so that dentists will still be able to fleece everybody?

Light can generate lift – wow! now all somebody’s got to do is figure out how to use it…

UN climate kooks want to cripple US economy and ban H2O – i think the point was that people in positions of power will be more likely to agree to something if they don’t know precisely what it is…

for those that oppose gay marriage, another big slap in the face, as US scientists create mice from two fathers – maybe it wasn’t “adam and steve” “in the beginning”, but the fact that it can be sort of negates your little fantasy about how “god” created everything, now, doesn’t it?

The Insanity Virus – no obvious link to toxoplasma gondii, but it makes me wonder…

Man legally changes name to Captain Awesome – i wonder why Boomer The Dog wasn’t allowed to change his name, but Captain Awesome sailed right through…

flurb

thanks to Howlin’ Hobbit, i was able to sort out the “hidden file” dilemma that i had yesterday – of course i could have edited the “live” version using vi, but i was feeling stubborn – and the immediate result has been that one person who has been spamming my web site for 3 days now is no longer able to. whee! 🙂

my popgun is defective. i bought an orchestral-quality popgun, and i have been popping enthusiastically for around 10 years, mostly at cirque de flambé and fremont players functions, but it has been getting harder and harder to get a reliable pop out of it. first, the ball-end on the handle stripped its threads, which is understandable, since it is made of wood. however, i glued it back in place and the glue holds for about 5 pops at which point the ball-end comes off again. gluing the ball-end is an annoyance that i have learned to live with, although there have been a couple of times where i nearly lost the ball-end over the side of a ferry, or that kind of thing. completely replacing it involves coming up with another hardwood ball, and then drilling and tapping it out to the correct thread to match the otherwise very sharp end of the handle. then, the end-cap that holds the cork in place so that it doesn’t go “pop” and shoot the cork across the stage, disappeared. at the time, fred was a member of the band, and he volunteered to make me a replacement end cap, because he had the necessary tool (a metal lathe). then the bottom cap retaining screw disappeared, but i was able to make a replacement, because i have a tap-and-die set for miniature screws. of course the cork itself has been replaced two or three times, and i’ve got a collection of replacements in my workshop… but the problem i’m currently having is more insideous: the plunger has worn down to the point where it doesn’t seal. now it appears that i have a choice: i can either figure out some way to make two, perfectly circular washers out of something like linoleum, that are exactly .125″ larger than the inside diameter of the tube…

or i can buy a new, orchestral-quality popgun

apparently i have the skills and a steady-enough hand (everything is a lot more free-form since my injury) to cut new bits of linoleum that will work, and i have a leather-punch in the workshop that has a big-enough hole that i was able to create a new, more effective plunger, and now POP!! and all is right with the world again… 🙂 which is a good thing, because i don’t remember where i got the popgun… there are a couple of possibilities (and i’m pretty sure i could order one online, which would take too long), but i know for sure that one of them has gone out of business…

i like tools that can be taken apart and fixed when they stop working. it’s so much easier and less expensive than buying a new one when the old one breaks… 🙂

ETA: so this morning i got an order for one box of green rose incense from india, of all places. unfortunately, i would be willing to bet that one get green rose incense in india for a lot less than i have to sell it for in the united states. not only that, but the shipping costs alone, to get it to india, are more than ten times what the incense would cost, by itself. i wrote back to the guy, but, considering that it’s from india, the probability is fairly high that he doesn’t speak english, or, worse, speaks “hinglish”…

why do people do this? what is it that prevents them from thinking these things all the way through before doing something stupid? i suppose we will never know…

i’ve been very productive today, and it’s not over yet. i fixed my popgun, built a pig-rail for our whelping box, and fixed our front door so it closes reliably without having to be “finessed”.

.htaccess

this is going to be a heavily geek-ified post, because i am frustrated and don’t have time to explain all of the stuff i already know about this…

there is this intensely useful text file on my web server that’s called .htaccess, which does things like control rewriting domains, and blocking undesirable IP addresses and stuff like that. i know it exists on my web server, because when i type ls -a in the public_html directory, it shows up there right at the top.

you’ve probably noticed by now that .htaccess is kind of an unusual name for a file: it doesn’t have a “file extension” like .pdf or .exe, except that – possibly – the entire file name is the “extension”, because it all appears after a period. on UNIX and linux machines, file names that start with a period indicate that they are “hidden” files, which means that they only show up if you go into the terminal, navigate to the directory where the files exist, and type ls -a which means “list the current files in the directory, plus list all the files, whether they are hidden or not”

the problem i’m having is that i have a “working” copy of my web site, on my local computer, and when i’m “working” on that site, i have to save the document and then upload it to the “live” site, which is on my web server, currently in los angeles. the “working” copy is on my mac – which, fundamentally, runs a version of UNIX with a fancy GUI over the top. when i use the terminal to view the local site, i see the .htaccess file, but when i use the GUI and the application that i use to modify the web site, i do not see the .htaccess file, because it is a “hidden” file and i don’t see them with the GUI…

and – this is the important part – the only way i currently have to modify “hidden” files is to use vi or emacs or something like that, on the terminal RATHER than using the GUI and my code-authoring application.

currently, as far as i have been able to tell, there is no way to view “hidden” files like .htaccess on a mac, in the GUI at all: they don’t show up in the finder, they don’t show up in the application, and there’s no way to make them show up so that you can work on them like you would be able to work on .html files, or .php files…

if you happen to know how to make hidden files visible on a mac, i’d appreciate a comment.

also, within the past hour, i’ve received 6 spam messages at a time, about 4 times, with an identical subject line, and 10 more messages with the same subject line at spamcop. if i wouldn’t read it once, why does anybody bother sending multiple copies anyway? also, it looks like the beginnings of the spam-flood that happened on saturday… why me?? 🙁

another week closer to the eschaton…

Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – just what we need… immortal mice…

Scientists Attempt to Crack Secret Code of the Axolotl – the race to extinction is on between the scientists who want to probe this creatures’ secrets of limb regeneration, and the general public who think that the creatures are delicious. my bet is on the general public…

97% of INTERNET NOW FULL UP – the number of allocatable IPv4 addresses just dropped below one hundred and fourteen million, and they’ve been being assigned faster than ever. there are less than 91 days until there are NO MORE IPv4 addresses. get yours today, because in May 2011, there will be no more…

10 Skills Needed To Thrive In A Post-Collapse World – this is something else that i am going to bet nobody (else) pays attention to… which is why the collapse is going to come as a deadly surprise to most people…

Mozilla rages at MS, Apple and Google’s ‘trojan horse’ tactics – it’s things like this that are exactly the reason why i use AdBlock and NoScript, and don’t use microsoft anything or google chrome, or apple itunes and safari… i want my computer to do the things I want it to do, not the things that some multinational corporation with sneaky and not entirely ethical reasons wants it to do. “Shove your plug-ins where the sun don’t shine!” 😛

Wireless gets a free pass on net neutrality – Throttle away, mobile broadband providers! net neutrality gets the boot on wireless networks… wired networks are next on the chopping blog block

Sites With Government Seized Domains Are Moving On – so despite the fact that the DHS seized a bunch of domains without due cause, they missed the mark, because they seized the domain names, but not the web sites, and now the web sites are starting to resurface with different domain names… theoretically, of course, this could go on forever (my main web site, for example, can be found at hybridelephant.net and hybridelephant.org, as well as hybridelephant.com). what have the DHS accomplished apart from a big waste of money and resources, when Copying Is Not Theft!

Homeland Security’s Domain Name Seizure May Stretch The Law Past The Breaking Point – so DHS is operating outside the law… what else is new? but at the same time, they’re getting really blatant about it, farming out the actual seizure of the domains to the company that runs seizedservers.com

Fed up with ICANN, Pirate Bay cofounder floats P2P DNS system and With Domain Name Seizures Increasing, It’s Time For A Decentralized DNS System – yep.

Controversial Drug Given to All Guantanamo Detainees Akin to "Pharmacologic Waterboarding" – the DOD engages in “at best, an egregious malpractice.” instead of closing down gitmo, as promised, they are now moving beyond physical torture, and giving inmates a “treatment dose” (which is five times the prophylactic dose) of an anti-malarial drug – whether they actually have malaria or not is an entirely different question – which causes severe neuropsycological side effects such as homicidal and suicidal thoughts, severe insomnia, hallucinations, intense vertigo, paranoid delusions, aggression, and anxiety, and which was researched in MKULTRA mind-control experiments carried out by the CIA during the 1950s. at least they’re not using physical torture any longer… that we know of… 😐

Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners – and they say i’m a terrorist… we left the 19th century behind us 200 years ago, and this guy wants to drag us back there. 😛 apparently they think in circles as well – Without a guide humans walk in circles

Elected Official Says TSA Pat Downs Promote ‘Homosexual Agenda’ and Man arrested after ejaculating during TSA pat-down – which headline is a joke? hint: neither one…

Google beat box – finally, something that google is good for! click “listen”…

Hipy papy bthuthdth thuthda bthuthdy!

hipy papyon this day, 30th november, 2007 – three years ago – i officially moved this blog to its current location and gave it a new name, which is Scab of a nation, driven insane – i’ve debated about whether or not to have a contest to see how many people who read this blog actually know where that phrase came from, but i haven’t been motivated to do so, yet. prior to 30th november, 2007, it was called non plaudite, modo pecuniam jacite (don’t applaud, just throw money) and it was located at LiveJournal, which had just been consumed by SixApart. i was fed up with the shenannigans that 6A had been up to, and the fact that LJ was implementing all of these changes that they had told me when i signed up that they would never do (advertising on livejournal, for example*), combined with the fact that i had recently changed host providers and was feeling good about my newly aquired web abilities, i dumped LJ and adopted wordpress on my own server, thus conveniently eliminating all of the things i absolutely hated about livejournal, while enhancing the things that i liked about it. RSS is a good example of that: when i was on LJ, i had a “friends” page, which displayed my friends’ LJs, but if they didn’t have an LJ, the technology made it impossible to display their blogs on my LJ friends page. RSS changed all that. now i use an aggregator (i use Akregator, a part of the Kontact suite of applications), which includes all of my LJ friends, but also has feeds from blogspot, and tumblr, and typepad, and wordpress, and things like metafilter, and disinformation, and alternet, and raw story and every other list, blog and news source in existence! it’s what the LJ “friends” page was probably originally intended to be, before someone discovered that they could use it to line their pockets… and at this point, wordpress mostly takes care of itself, and i don’t have to worry about things dramatically changing (with a few minor exceptions) without my having a say in the matter.

i originally started blogging… well, i’m not exactly sure why. it was a technology thing, and i was working in a print shop at the time, which wasn’t exactly satisfying my desire for technology. but, as now, i was somewhat suspicious of getting involved in a technology that was resident on other peoples’ computers, so i didn’t use it for much. then i had my brain injury, and everything started to change. still, i didn’t have more than one entry per month until june of 2004.

i remember when i lived in bellingham, in 1993 or 1994, and i was riding my bike somewhere and i saw an advertisement on the side of the bus that included what i now know was a URI (Uniform Resource Indicator, also mistakenly called a Unform Resource Locator, or URL), and wishing that they wouldn’t put such confusing things on advertisements, when nobody knew what they were anyway.

it was not long after that that i connected my computer to a LAN (Local Area Network) for the first time. before then, in spite of the fact that i had been working with computers for almost 20 years, i had never connected to another computer. if there were files that had to be shared, as the files were that made up the many real estate and used car magazines that i was a part of creating during that period, that was accomplished via what i now would call a “sneaker net”, which was a 3½" floppy disk that was passed from one computer operator to another.

i had heard about networking, but didn’t think i would like it: i found it way too invasive… at the same time, by 1994 i was very much in to the “BBS” scene, where a number of users could log into a server, browse files, leave and respond to messages, and so forth.

in 1995 i moved from bellingham to seattle, and very quickly discovered that there was an entirely different world of networked computers that i couldn’t even imagine. i signed up with CompuServe and didn’t even last 6 months with them before i was on to greater things. i got a job at microsoft, as a technical support engineer about a year before the word concept virus was first discovered.

again, i had known about viri, but i also knew that there was no way of transmitting a virus: it had to be deliberately installed on a computer. the “word concept virus” changed all that. all you had to do to infect a computer was to open a MSWord document, and that could come from anywhere.

about the same time, i first encountered what, at the time, was a very strange web site indeed. it didn’t have a name that i can remember, but it appeared to be a list of rants by this guy, who updated it fairly frequently. i figured there was an “about” page, or something like that, that would tell me about the author, but there wasn’t (which is why i try very hard to put the bare essentials about me in a public place that you don’t have to login to in order to see, on my own blog). i tried to “login”, but it didn’t know my password (which isn’t surprising), and all of the rants were obscure enough that i couldn’t quite understand the purpose of such a site: it seemed to be more of an online diary than anything else. about the same time, i first heard the word “blog” (a portmanteau of the words “Web Log”), which was described to me as a sort of online diary. i was very familiar with “journalling”, but my impression is that journals are to be kept more or less private, and even then i was aware of the fact that if you want to keep something to yourself, putting it on internet is not the way to do it. i was actually repelled by the idea of keeping a blog, in the same way that i kept my sketchbook/journals – the artwork is the public part, the journal parts are still for the most part private and not available anywhere on internet.

i discovered livejournal on 030414, but i didn’t start to use it more than once in a while until 0407 or 0408, after my brain injury.

at this point, i use this blog as a way to remember stuff, like fishtown, that i probably wouldn’t remember any other way. i use it primarily as memory, the connections for which were screwed up in my brain when they were poking around in my skull. i realise that a few people (and maybe more than that, but that could also be my paranoia talking) use this blog as a way to keep up with what i’m doing, but my guess is that i’d keep blogging even if there was nobody there to read it… that’s the way i started. 🙂

* i realise that it’s pretty pointless for me to expect that a “community resource” like livejournal would remain without advertisement indefinitely, but if that was the case from the beginning, then they should NOT have said “WE WILL NEVER HAVE ADVERTISEMENTS ON LIVEJOURNAL” when i signed up… and they definitely did say that. so i feel somewhat justified in my righteous indignation.

grmph!

it’s getting really close to opening night for the panto, and the fremont players domain has developed a DNS hiccup that i haven’t been able to figure out. apparently, “ticking the box that says “Use the nameservers specified at the Domain’s Registrar (ignore locally specified nameservers)” on the “Create a New Account” page” isn’t part of the deal, but i haven’t used a “Create a New Account” page on fremontplayers.com for almost a year, and certainly not before i switched to the new host server, approximately 5 months ago… even more bizarre is the fact that it was working just fine yesterday.

not only that, but the webdavs web disk applet that i use has suddenly decided not to work: instead of connecting me to the machine in california on which hybrid elephant lives, it hangs up and won’t go any further on my mac, and on the linux box, everything loads, but when i try to copy or move files, it says “the disk ‘hybridelephant.com’ doesn’t exist”. i can move things around with ftp and ssh over a text-based connection, but i’ve really come to appreciate the reality of doing all that technical web stuff with a graphical user interface…

yay… electricity is cool…

we went out for dinner last night, after going over to a friends’ house to access internet – moe has “discussion topics” that she has to contribute to, which are a part of her grade, and i had to check email – and when we returned home, the electricity was back on…

WHEW!

much as i enjoy fantasizing about fishtown, it’s occasions like yesterday which drive home the point that i probably could not make such a place work on anything more than a temporary basis if i had no electricity.

quite apart from network access, which can be provided by portable devices fairly easily these days, if i didn’t have electricity, both to power things and to recharge things, i wouldn’t last very long at all.

which, of course, brings me to the next stage in the process of making myself independent of infrastructure that supplies such things in a “normal” way, which is researching and creating a reliable, alternative source of electricity.

which, ultimately, shouldn’t be that difficult: i have a number of friends who have done small-scale power generation projects in the past, and that was before things like wind-spinners and solar panels became so “mainstream”. at this point, it shouldn’t be that difficult to attach a combination of solar panels and a wind-spinner to the roof of my house and/or my workshop, and drive things like the computers and network stuff – and, potentially, important things like the refrigerator and freezer – from batteries…

bugger!

i didn’t realise when i signed up for nablopomo, that i hadn’t taken into account the fact that i live in the boonies, and there’s always the possibility of the electricity going out… which it did, last night at around 9:30.

there hasn’t been any electricity all day, which means that my linux desktop box and the router have been down. my mac has also been down, in spite of the fact that it’s a laptop, even though it was powered down correctly and not on at all when the power went out, because apparently when you leave it plugged in it actively drains the power from the battery. it could be that the battery is broken in some way, but i don’t think so because i just bought it about a year ago. there may be something else wrong with the computer, but if there is, it doesn’t affect how it works as a computer, which means that i’ve not noticed it before, but one way or the other, when i tried to boot it up this morning, the battery was completely flat…

i’m currently plugged in at a friends’ house who has power and internet – they live on the other side of auburn and weren’t affected by the massive wind storm that we had last night. according to the power company they are “aware” of the fact that we don’t have power, but we should take comfort in the fact that an ever increasing number of customers (last count it was over 550) are also without power, however they have no estimate of when it will be restored… also, if our power is out for more than 120 consecutive hours we’ll get a $50 credit on our account… wonderful… 😐

ooh…. we’re a lot closer than anyone has apparently realised…

according to IPcalypse, we jumped from 214 days until no more IPv4 addresses, yesterday, to 117 days today – almost 100 days, in one swell foop…

to me this indicates, either that we’re all set with IPv6, and everything is all ready to make the switch immediately (which, if my personal machines are any indication, is not true) or that we are a lot closer to imminent total systems failure of the intar-webs than anybody realised…

dr. crusher: question: what, exactly, is “total systems failure”?

commander data: the borg are extremely computer-dependent. a systems failure will destroy them.

dr. crusher: i just think we should be clear about that.

i wonder if anyone else – specifically, if anyone else who can make a difference – has noticed… 😐

geek ≡ me

the rules (to which i contributed) state that this shouldn’t be done, but rules were meant to be broken from time to time. not only that, but i think this is a very good example of why i’m perfectly happy using the operating system i am using, which is kubuntu, rather than either mac or windows… although, to be honest, i’ve experienced essentially the same thing on a mac, but at this point, my impression is that macs have turned into expensive toys for geek-wannabes with too much money.

anyway…

i got three spam messages that made it through my principle spam filter. of course, the spammers didn’t count on my having a secondary spam filter, and they still ended up in my waste messages bin without even hitting my inbox, but that’s not the point. the point is that one of the three messages was in arabic text, and it rendered correctly on my machine. keep in mind that arabic is written right-to-left, and english is written left-to-right (which is why i didn’t copy and paste the text: wordpress, for all of its advantages, doesn’t deal well with LTR and RTL languages and non-standard text – i.e. not unicode – in the same post). i took a screen shot of it, though, and here it is:spamof course i reported it to spamcop, and deleted it without replying, but it’s not often that a spam message makes that much of a positive impression on me. it wasn’t the words themselves, but the fact that my computer knows enough to be able to differentiate between RTL and LTR text in the same message without some kind of special prompt from me.

update

i didn’t have a rehearsal yesterday, because it’s the “sousa-torium” (i.e. the break between sousa’s birthday and march or so, when we start rehearsing for next year. also, i don’t have a rehearsal tonight, because kiki’s going to the memorial for george shangrow, and anyway, they’re changing the whole story around (big surprise) so they don’t need the band, which is good because i could use the time off. it will also give me time to design a xmas postcard for the BSSB, which we are going to try to do again this year.

i went to help out my brain-injured client again yesterday. he had somehow added a wiget that he didn’t want to his panel. he said he didn’t, but i certainly didn’t put it there, and he’s the only other person to have access to the hardware, so i tend to believe that he did it in spite of what he says. after talking with tamzin, who also has aged, brain-injured clients, i bit the bullet and locked the panel, so that he can’t do it again. it’s obvious that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing about half of the time, and to leave “secret” methods of modifying the interface does more harm than good. also, he apparently has a preference for the “kickoff” style menu, rather than the “classic” windows-style menu, which is a good thing to remember.

something went wrong with one of the stylesheets and suddenly the login page for my blog looked all wonky. the last time this happened was a couple of years ago, when my blog was hacked, so i was pretty worried. i checked, and the blog didn’t appear to be hacked in the same way it was before, but still: the error i was getting was “Failed to load login.css” and i could see that login.css was there, and i looked at it and it looked the way it was supposed to… so i went to the wordpress “support” site, which is probably good for some people, but i have never gotten a usable solution when i have gone there with problems with my wordpress installation. nevertheless, it’s a place to start, so i did. i waited two days and nobody responded to my query… 😐 so i then logged into IRC, went to #wordpress and asked there. the guy who (finally) responded asked if i had tried uploading the file from a backup.

d’oh!

once i had uploaded and replaced the stylesheet, everything went back to the way it’s supposed to be.

another week closer to the eschaton…

i woke up this morning, and checked my email. i had 4,856 new messages, all with the same subject line, which included the word “MLM”… please stop sending me these messages. they’re not accomplishing what you think they are, they’re really annoying, and i’m about to block your country’s IP addresses because of it. there are better ways of doing… whatever it is that you’re expecting to be able to do by sending out 4,856 spam email messages… 😐

A piece of their mind – they share thoughts… in spite of the fact that they have two sets of eyes, one can “read” what the other is seeing, without actually seeing it… The Fascinating Story of the Twins Who Share Brains, Thoughts, and Senses has more, including a video… fascinating!

The Return of the Stoned Ape – smart people do more drugs because of evolution. now it all makes sense… 😀 and, while we’re at it, Smart people SLEEP LATE as well… so there!

and now, to more mundane topics…

Fnord33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True – fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord. beware, the paranoids are watching you. fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord.

The Information Super-Sewer: Will the Internet be Hijacked by Corporate Interests – funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one’s anus to one’s mouth. also Final nail in coffin for Net neutrality?all 95 house and senate candidates who pledged support for net neutrality lost their races. what does this mean? it means that your unlimited, uncensored, unthrottled and open internet service will be going away as soon as the major corporations that now own internet are going to get to decide how much to charge you for how much access… which means that it won’t be too long before internet will be exactly like television, unless you can afford to make it better.

A Modest Proposal to Republicans: How to Trim the Budget – hint: it’s something that a republican would never think of…

Chomsky: US-led Afghan war, criminal – to date there is no evidence that al-qaeda has carried out the 9/11 attacks, and still we use that as justification to make war on a people who have their own problems.

The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World – copyright was never primarily about paying artists for their work, and trying to make it about that now is obfuscating the real reason, which is to make the distributors as much money as possible. copying is not theft, piracy, or anything else illegal, and the sooner we toss the current copyright law fiasco and start over again, the better.

Minnesota Mom Hit With $1.5 Million Fine for Downloading 24 Songs – copying IS NOT theft! (my new mantra).

Bankruptcy of U.S. is ‘Mathematical Certainty,’ Says Former CEO of Nation’s 10th Largest Bank – yep… the end is coming, and it’s not looking like it’s going to be particularly pretty when it gets here.

Voters Approve Sharia Law Ban – meanwhile, fear, insanity and unreasoned reactionism comes to oklahoma, whether they like it or not… oh well, there are always 49 other states… 😐 meanwhile, it appears that Oklahoma Voters May Have Accidentally Voted Against Ten Commandments, Too – that’s what they get for being stupid and making nonsensical laws without thinking them through.

Details on PayPal’s Site Outage – they have been doing okay, despite the bad things that i continue to hear about them, but they apparently went down for anywhere from two to twenty four hours, depending on where you are, and so far they’ve not released any information other than to say “something broke. it’s fixed now, and we’re sorry.”

Google calls bug bounty hunters to YouTube, Blogger – $3,133.70 a bug seems like a lot, and i seriously doubt that their actual testers get paid anything like that. what this is, really, is an attempt by google to have volunteer “testers” hammer on their technology without having to pay them for doing so. then, when a “tester” discovers something, google can claim that they found it, pay the “tester” a minimal, one time fee and never mention the “tester” to anyone ever again… everybody’s happy, at least temporarily, and the big corporation profits at the expense of the american drone, who doesn’t notice because he’s too busy telling all of his friends how 733T he is… you can’t make a living on it, but it’s the american dream come true… 😐

Seagate squirts out rectal cleaning sprayno shit… 🙂

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: President Obama Visits Chicago and a Homeless Man Begs Him for Alms – no further comment needed.

Marijuana Legalization: Not If, But When – agreed, it’s just a matter of time, but it’s going to have to be the entire country, or it’s not going to work… and whether or not the entire country legalises it through a revolution or through a civil election still remains to be seen.

New Mother’s (False) Positive Drug Test Leads to Baby’s Removal… Poppy-Seed Bagel the Culprit – the only way to solve problems like this is to legalise all drugs, but if proposition 19 is any indication, even when we’re winning, we’re really losing… and while we’re at it, No reason for pot prohibition – when are we going to get the idea that the war on drugs is a collosal failure? not for the next couple of years, at this rate… 😐

not only that, but A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease pathology – the active ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the key pathological marker of alzheimer’s disease. are we ready to legalise it yet?

Cargo plane bomb plot: passengers to face ‘ludicrous security measures’ – now that we have successfully prevented another terrorist plot from even reaching the country, of course, the logical response is to put more stringent measures in place to insure that innocent citizens are harrassed, poked, prodded, scanned and examined in new and unusual ways, to make sure that the terrorists don’t win again… oh, and by the way, Yemeni mail bombs suspect ‘had identity stolen’ – so we really don’t have any clearer an idea who did it then we did a week ago… swell…

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance – they’re now searching your “crotchal” area, and they really want to get you to use the “Dick-Measuring Device” back-scatter imaging device, so be warned…

Pollution in China – this is why stuff is cheap in america. remember that the next time you buy something.

Obama may let CIA run more ‘hunter-killer’ teams roam abroad – this is premeditated murder and i question what the real intent is…

Why I don’t voteW? T? F? i can understand a multitude of reasons for not participating in the farce of elections these days, but basing your abstinence in voting on 1 timothy 2.12 is far beyond anything that i could possibly figure out…

McDonald’s furious after San Francisco bans Happy Meals – apparently they didn’t get the memo

Ram Dass Has a Son! – DNA tests confirm it, and ram dass is okay with it, so it doesn’t look like it’s going to cause a major uproar (like it has with other “spiritual” teachers), but it also is pretty much not what you would expect…

another week closer to the eschaton…

in honour of the “holiday” Cambodians beaten, raped and killed at illegal detention camp funded by UN – trick or treat for UNICEF…

A Helpful Venn Diagram by Dave MakesArkansas school board member to resign over anti-gay post – the problem with this guy, and all of the “christians” out there like him, is that the only reason he’s sorry now is because he got caught. if he hadn’t posted those comments on facebook, maybe expressed them privately, but for the most part kept them to himself, then he would continue to be a member of the arkansas school board, and nobody would be wise to his warped sensibilities. the “problems” caused by minorities of any kind are going to be solved only when these hateful, and unfortunately quite large portions of the population are eliminated, either through re-education or attrition.

Furious growth and cost cutting led to BP oil spills, past and present and Panel Says Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill – if you thought it was over, think again…

Fresh blockades as a quarter of France’s petrol stations still drya couple of weeks ago i posted a link to an article which said that there is no “plan b” to fall back on, in case “plan a” (which appears to be something along the lines of “ignore it and maybe it will go away”) fails. this is exactly the kind of chaos that you can expect to see more of, as time goes on, and oil becomes more and more scarce. here are some examples of how things are falling apart faster than we can fix them:

The scary actual U.S. government debt – “Let’s get real, the United States is bankrupt.”

What It’s Like to Work in Walmart – an underemployed teacher gets a job at walmart, hillarity ensues. beware: this could will probably happen to you.

Oops: Pentagon loses contact with nukes in Wyoming – it’s all right, folks, nothing to see here… move along.

Google finally admits that its Street View cars DID take emails and passwords from computersDON’T. BE. EVIL! 😛

Group offers $10,000 to anyone who can disprove the claim that ‘cannabis is safer than alcohol’ – they’re confident that the $10,000 will remain unclaimed, and i don’t doubt they’re right, but i doubt that it’s going to make that much of a difference when it comes to legalisation. most people are pretty stupid, and that includes the people in charge… 😐

meanwhile: Study: Alcohol more lethal than heroin, cocaine – overall, alcohol outranked all other substances… cannabis, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower… BIG surprise, especially considering that the alcohol lobby has been pouring money into the campains against the legalisation of cannabis…

Sex researchers: "Size" does matter – year-long study from turkey concludes that men with a higher body mass index last longer in bed. mcdonald’s advertising to follow soon.

I Can’t Find My Phone – finally, a web site that’s actually good for something!

John Cage still being cheated out of royalties for his silent work

spam!!!

i’ve been getting A LOT of spam from, or by way of russia and china recently, and in my normal news perusing, i discovered that the guy who is responsible for the “canadian pharmacy” spam that you have, no doubt, seen in your own inbox – who is really a russian, and only nominally connected to any “canadian” pharmacies – has recently been arrested for operating a business without registration, but what i notice even more in this particular article is the apparent fact that spam is not illegal in russia… which would explain a lot.

this brings up a possibility that i have considered for a long time, which is to completely block all email from russia, and/or china. i have known, more or less, ever since about 1998 that it was possible to block people from sending you email from certain IP addresses, and i was vaguely aware that different regions can be identified from the first couple of IP address blocks, but i’ve never been exactly sure of how. i’ve been even less sure (although i’m pretty sure i knew at one time, having worked as a tester for a company that makes email server software) how to drop incoming email messages from a blocked IP address range with no response – i.e. if you’re in that IP address range and you send me an email, the email message just “disappears” with no reason given, but – and this the important part – i’m about 99.8% certain that it can be done fairly easily.

anybody who has ideas about how to do this should get in touch with me. i think it’s time to block email access from russia and china. the only email i get from those two countries are spam messages or malware, and it’s time to take action.

if it works as easily as i believe it will, i’m also thinking of blocking email access from africa – yes, the entire continent – as well.

ETA: something along this line is what i’m thinking of.

getting things done

today i went to somebody’s house in kent to drop off some coaxial cable, then i went to firwood, a suburb to the south of tacoma, to get parrot food, then i went through puyallup to milton, where i picked up an order for busines cards from a client, then i went into federal way to go to costco for groceries and gas before completing the grand circut home. once home, i prepared the artwork for the business card, and placed the order at the printers, did the laundry, and took out the trash.

i’ve got to take photos, and paste up a new page of printing examples for the Hybrid Elephant web site. i’ve got to figure out how to make, and then implement an updateable calendar for the BSSB web site.

i’ve mentioned my aged, brain-injured client in the past. this time he had me come over because, he admitted when i got there, he “got mad” at his computer, recently, and started randomly right- and left-clicking his mouse in an attempt to get it to do something (he never did tell me exactly what). the big result, which i’m still not exactly sure how he pulled it off, was that instead of kubuntu 9.whatever that i had installed for him, he now has a fresh, clean installation of kubuntu 10.04… and a whole bunch of “panels”, which are the linux equivalent of what, on windows, is called the “task bar”, and of which you can make as many as you want, that all do different things if you’re so inclined.

my client knows nothing about how all of the panels got there, he said that he was trying to get a popup window to go away. he did have “knotes” running, which makes popup “sticky notes” on the screen, and he had several dozen notes containing nothing but a date, that were all minimised.

i was a little taken aback that he had apparently successfully upgraded the system, but if nothing else, it’s a testament to how easy linux is to upgrade. once i got him back to a reasonable number (which, in his case, is one) of panels, deleted and removed the “popup” notes, and the KDE “desktop sharing” application, which had apparently been installed with the upgrade, and had him up and running again in about 20 minutes. i didn’t actually lock the panel – which would prevent him from “getting mad at the computer” and randomly changing things, and which i could have done fairly easily – because i don’t want to limit his exploration of the computer. if he’s aware of the fact that “getting mad” at the computer doesn’t automatically ruin the computer, my guess is that he’ll be a lot more willing to “poke around” the computer without getting mad…

technology ramblings

Ms. Gates: ‘Bill does not use a Mac’ – that’s a definte change compared to when i was working at microsoft, from 1995 to 1997. at that time, it was well known around the campus that bill had a mac (among other things) on his desktop at work. if he’s not even interested in checking out the competition any longer, then my guess is that mickey$oft is not long for the world.

bill is no longer actually associated with the everyday operations of microsoft any more, so maybe he has decided that “keeping track of the competiton” isn’t as necessary, but at one time, bill was under the impression that mac was definitely worth keeping track of.

of course, it may have something to do with the fact that these days mac is headed in an entirely different direction than bill is interested in: while both companies are still major competitors, mac has developed a taste for phones, and tablets, and portable devices, while microsoft is more interested in the back end, servers, networks and that kind of thing. it could be that this is the reason bill no longer uses a mac.

i wonder if bill uses linux… i would expect probably not, but who knows?

another week closer to the eschaton…

news has been too depressing the past week, so this week’s collection of links is going to be mostly fluff. i’ll leave it up to others to decide which is which.

Christine O’Donnell: Where In The Constitution Is The Separation Of Church And State? and she’s now offering a reward of $1,000 For Anyone Who Can Find The Phrase "Separation Of Church And State" In The Constitution – why is there still any question about whether or not she’s actually qualified to be a state senator? that’s like saying sarah palin is qualified to be president of the united states… 😐

Former Surgeon General calls for legalization of marijuana and Dozens of law professors nation-wide endorse Calif. marijuana legalization – but the federal government is going to continue to prosecute people for cannabis, in spite of state laws that legalise it… it’s not exactly what i was expecting from obama and crew when i voted them into office… 😐 They’ve Stopped Pretending

The World’s Largest Gummy Worm – 128 times more massive than a traditional gummy worm, it’s three pounds and 4,000 calories of gummy… um… it looks suspiciously like a dildo…

Dead Sea scrolls going digital on Internet – yep…

Apple Patents Anti-Sexting Device – all the more impetus for kids to learn a large vocabulary.

Gangsta Lorem Ipsum – Lorizzle dang dolor sit amizzle, shizznit we gonna chung the bizzle. We gonna chung sapien velizzle, dang volutpizzle, owned quizzle, break it down vizzle, arcu.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Future Chaos: There Is No “Plan B” – sooo… have fun while you can, i guess, ’cause if plan A fails, there’s going to be a whole hell of a lot of chaos, almost immediately, and there’s nothing you as an individual, and not much you as a group of well armed and well prepared people can do about it… 😐

norman foster and the dymaxion carIt’s the 1930s car that was meant to change American lives. And now the Dymaxion’s back. – one of my lifelong dreams has been to own and/or drive a dymaxion car. maybe someone will be able to pull it off this time. 🙂

Tooth Regeneration Gel Could Replace Painful Fillings – Could this new gel be the biggest dental breakthrough since the introduction of fluoride?

Squishable, Breathing Smart Phones – for high paid geeks with way too much time on their hands.

David Harmer GOP Tea Party congressional nominee from California says ‘Abolish’ public schools and California shooter says he saw Glenn Beck as ‘schoolteacher’ and Republicans’ ‘scary’ immigrant photo depicts Mexicans in Mexico, photographer reveals – we’re still losing to these morons?!?

and this is for those who think that the budget crisis that we’re currently in the middle of is the fault of the democrats: Democrats shrank US spending, deficit in last fiscal year, figures show – and we’re still losing to these morons?!? 😐 admittedly the democrats are nothing to write home about, but they’re not the source of the current problems, and i really wish the republicans would remember that when they put all these ads on TV about how evil the democrats have been recently: we’re still recovering from the bush years, which were principally republican, and we will be for quite a while yet, so just cool it.

Multnomah County stops prosecuting dozens of illegal acts as crimes or Oregon county decriminalizes heroin, meth, cocaine and shoplifting, among others – but the federal government is going to continue to prosecute drug crimes anyway, even if states legalise or decriminalise them, so there’s really not an awful lot of news here.

Holder: US will enforce marijuana laws despite how Californians may vote – this is the reason why the only way we’re ever going to make any kind of substantial change in the “war on drugs” is to legalise them at the federal level…

according to a new RAND study, either Legalizing pot won’t hinder Mexican cartels or Marijuana Legalization Would Markedly Cut Mexican Drug Cartel Profits… you decide which is really the truth… 😐 here’s the Marijuana Policy Project’s spin on it – What Exactly Did that RAND Study Say About Cartels and Marijuana?

Tracking devices used in school badges – big brother waches over your kids, too, whether they’re at school or not.

Microsoft’s search engine will mine Facebook data – another reason not to use either microsoft or facebook. i have placed a directive in my robots.txt file that specifically denies microsoft’s search engines from indexing my site (while allowing everyone else), and i don’t use facebook… but my wife does…

Facebook is ‘killing privacy for commercial gain’ – a law against facebook… now there’s an idea… 🙂

Can a Person Be Moral without Being a Christian? – hint: his answer is no. “[I]f God is not your god, you will serve Buddha. Or, if not Buddha, perhaps Allah. Or, if not Allah, perhaps Baal. Or, if not Baal, perhaps Confucius.” let’s see: buddhism, confucianism and islam are recognised, but i don’t know of any modern baal-worshippers, except for jews, and, by extension, “christians”, who worship בעל (ba’al, or “lord”)… and he apparently doesn’t recognise hindus, or jaina, or taoists… maybe i shouldn’t expect so much. i keep this guy in my regular news feed primarly because he is so absurd. he gets more absurd with every new post. maybe he’ll follow the pingback to my site and learn how truly absurd i find his views. maybe not. who knows…

Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are Related – isn’t internet wonderful?

NSFW – the National Schools Film Week, you pervert… 🙂 now if it was NSFW it wouldn’t be so bad…

snrk… 8*

domain names registered in the Cook Islands end with a “.ck”, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. the following “Community of Interest” suffixes are available for domain names registered in the Cook Islands:

".co.ck" is used for business organisations. Companies must register their corporate name or trading name, or some form of abbreviation. For example, Telecom Cook Islands Ltd. has registered "telecom.co.ck" as their domain name.

it makes me wonder how they would feel about me registering “suck-my.co.ck” or something along those lines…

symbolic links

they’re called “aliases” on a mac, and i don’t remember what they’re called on windows – probably something like “links” or “bookmarks” or something, who knows – but the way they work is basically the same on whatever platform you’re using, and that is to direct you somewhere other than where you thought you were going.

on web servers, they’re especially useful when you have moved a bunch of pages from one place to another. you move the pages wherever you want them to be, then you make a symbolic link to the first page, and place that where the old first page used to be, and then when people go to your old URI, they’re automatically redirected to your new URI and you don’t have to do anything else.

the way you make a symbolic link on a -x machine, is like this: go to the terminal, navigate to where you want the link, and type in ln -s <the absolute path to the document you're linking to> <the name of the new link>

the way you make an “alias” on a mac, or a “link” (or whatever it’s called) on windows, is to select the icon for the file that you want to make a symbolic link of, and select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from the “File” menu. alternately, you can select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from a context menu as well…

but here’s the big point: an alias that was made on a mac (and, presumably, a bookmark made on windows) will not work the same way that a symbolic link will work, when the disk you’re working on is a -x server.

in that case, an “alias” on a mac brings you to a page of gibberish, which starts off with

book????mark????0???0???´ê???????3š­<??H??T??H??H??H??H??????????Æå???icns?åÆics#???Hÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ???À?à?ð?ø?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?üis32??Q?„?…?þþýýúò¦„? ÿüûûùñ¦ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¦ù덂?ÿ€ù÷ï‘€¦?? ÿöÏh²À‡ÒÙށ? ÿ훢»°i³èò? ÿçÝà¢a4‰ùü? ÿâÌš+$ ¤Êü? ÿÓϵ…\Êêü? ÿѺà3€çàû? ÿê´µ×Üããëû? ÿêêÓÍÜßéêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?Ž…?þþýýúò§Ž„? ÿüûûùñ§ëŽƒ?ÿ€úøð§ù뎂?ÿ€ù÷ï’€§?Ž? ÿõÑ–ÝìµÍÙށ? ÿ¾Wqà÷Á¨Öò? ÿ“J^•È˜–Îü? ÿqAV‰{C—¨ü? ÿ_LNac0™Ÿü? ÿŒ:eG&Tˆ°û? ÿåV4\_l—áû? ÿêêžpˆ©ãêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?…?þþýýúò¨„? ÿüûûùñ¨ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¨ù돂?ÿ€ù÷ï“€¨?? ÿôÖÂèõÒÆÙށ? ÿ 9^Ýÿåv¬ò? ÿZ†ðÚyXü? ÿ.<͏YEü? ÿ7 Rtv+.ü? ÿƒ *E/ ƒû? ÿåO  DÖû? ÿêê•S[†àêÿ??‡ÿ??‰??s8mk??

:|

the only way i know of to make a symbolic link on a -x machine is to use the terminal, and the only other option is to give around 25 different webmasters in different countries the option of changing their web pages so that they link to the right page... which isn't going to happen any time soon.

so i try to SSH to my -x machine, only to discover that i don't have SSH access.

according to the host provider's FAQ, they only provide SSH permissions if you have a "legitimate" reasons for them. so far the new host provider has been providing exempary service... let's hope it continues that way. :|

ETA: they gave me what i need, and 95% of my 404 messages now point to the correct place (the remaining ones are for old internal links from 2003 to 2008). for example, this link and this link now point to the same place, whereas, previously, the former gave you a 404 message. :) happy web designer :)

another week closer to the eschaton…

Think US politics are absurd? Brazilians elect actual clown to Congress – brazil has its collective shit together in more than two ways that i’ve noticed recently… maybe american politicians should be paying more attention to the brazilians…

60% of countries will be bankrupt within 50 years – the only hopeful thing about the future is that i will very likely die before that happens.

Drug cops smash into wrong house, terrorize elderly couple and Pot raid at school turns up tomatoes – if it were legal, they could be spending their time going after real criminals instead of hassling immigrant grandparents, and kids about their tomatoes… 😐

Why Comcast can (but probably won’t) read your e-mails, IMs – every now and then i need to remind myself why i am NOT a comcast customer. this will do for a couple of years, until something else awful and terrifying is revealed about their policies…

GPS directs driver to death in Spain’s largest reservoir or Un hombre fallece tras hundirse su coche en la presa de La Serena – i, for one, welcome our new, robot overlords… or not…

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back and Student finds tracking device on his car; FBI demands it back – what…?

Hello, this is your ISP. You have been disconnected from internet. Have a nice day. – if micro$awft gets its way, this could happen to you if you get any kind of malware or virus. more reason to use linux, of course, but why would anyone think this is a good idea to begin with is a little mystifying.

Android phone auto reverts jailbreaks – i agree, that people who are required to pay for a piece of hardware to make their lives easier, should be able to use that piece of hardware for whatever they choose. the company from which you buy a cell phone does not retain an “interest” in the hardware, once you buy it… much as i like the approach taken by the makers of the android cell phone, i don’t think they should be able to arbitarily “take back” a phone that has been modified.

Woman screamed about God while destroying art and California Stem Cell Agency Rewards Blasphemy While Admitting the Humanity of Embryos Slated for Destruction – yep, people are still concerned about what other people do being “blasphemy”. in one case, a woman broke into a protective plexiglass housing and destroyed a piece of art, and in the other, people, for whom it did not make any difference, were “forced” to comply with the wishes of the people who were crying “blasphemy” and take down an otherwise inoffensive piece of art. i wrote to the contact person for CIRM (i encourage you to write to him as well) and sent him this:

i am not offended by any language, but because of the fact that you have seen fit to remove the poems in honour of stem cell awareness day, i can no longer see them, and that offends me.

No-one has the right not to be offended.
     — John Cleese

A truly great library contains something within it to offend everyone.
     — Jo Godwin

What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
     — Salman Rushdie

Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house.
     — Fran Lebowitz

The most efficacious method of dealing with deviancy is to ignore, to the furthest point of our tolerance, those items which we find offensive.
     — Ilbert Geis

Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.
     — Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), 1694-1778

by the way, if you’re interested, the poems that were too “blasphemous” to post on CIRMs web site, can be seen here. USAToday is good for something after all.

Insane Clown Posse is actually a Christian band, and nobody knew – i knew there was a fundamental reason why i didn’t like them apart from their encouragement of drunken violence…

another week closer to the eschaton…

Feds want backdoors built into VoIP and email US Would Make Internet Wiretaps Easier – yes, the united states government wants to listen in on your phone calls, and analyse your email messages, because you might be a terrorist. forget about innocent until proven guilty, forget about warrants, if these people don’t get what they want, heads will roll… and they might just roll anyway.

Web’s creator slams ‘blight’ of web disconnection laws – tim berniers-lee has a point, and we should listen to him…

2 out of 3 Android apps use private data ‘suspiciously’ – DON’T. BE. EVIL! 😐

Red Hat says end software patents – the supreme court heard the Bilski case earlier this year, and it ruled that the patentability of intangible products should be reduced. red hat takes it one step further, and says that the patentability of intangible products should be eliminated entirely, turning the entire software industry on its ear. it’s a great idea, but it’ll never work out in practice, because people are still too greedy.

Downloads are not performances – despite the fact that i belong to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), i actually think this has the potential of being a good thing. whaddaya know?

Microsoft surrenders Live Spaces future to WordPress – part of me wants to laugh at the people who signed up for the micro$awft me-too web 2.0 hype, but part of me wonders if wp is really the best choice, if micro$awft chose it to replace their hype… 😛

Authorities Plan To Trawl Phone Calls And E Mails For Signs Of “Resentment Toward Government” – my guess is that they won’t have to go far, especially since my resentment towards government is plainly evident, and has been for quite a number of years… 😐

US Is ‘Practically Owned’ by China – don’t get too comfortable, the new bosses will be arriving soon…

The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer – where’s that hope-y, change-y stuff that they were talking about? it’s about time for that stuff to start kicking in, isn’t it?

Attempts to Ban Fake Marijuana Are Further Proof of Prohibition’s Failure – more flap about K2 and the valiant, but ultimately futile attemps to ban it. all the more reason to legalise cannabis. especially when the creator of the substance that makes K2 popular says this about attempts to ban his substance: “It’s not going to be effective, is the ban on marijuana effective?”

Key ingredient staves off marijuana memory loss – now that we’ve lightened up (a little bit), we’re discovering that cannabis really is good for something. The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition – legalizing drugs would save roughly $41,300,000,000 ($41.3 billion) per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition, and produce roughly $46,700,000,000 ($46.7 billion) annually in tax revenue. and we’re still fighting a “war” that we can’t win?

Barefaced cheek on Google Street View – ireland welcomes the google street view cameras with characteristic abandon.

Boss Hogs Bacon Chocolate Sueyts – yum… 🙂

california decriminalises cannabis

California Reduces Its Penalty for Marijuana

Marijuana legalization measure gets big lift

Schwarzenegger signs bill reducing offense for marijuana possession – “Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name” – it’s a step in the right direction, but nowhere near close enough to even think about celebrating yet: what about medical cannabis? what about people who grow? what about the feds?? cannabis should not just be decriminalised, because it’s not a crime to use cannabis, in exactly the same way that it is currently not a crime to use alcohol.

the web is in trouble

according to ARPAgeddon (IPv4 Countdown), there are less than 240 days until there will be no more IPv4 addresses to hand out to people, and the conversion to IPv6 is going less-than-smoothly.

the problem is with NAT (Network Address Translation) and wireless “devices”, mostly in china. instead of “dotted quad” 32-bit addresses – something like 194.169.203.3 – that typify IPv4 addresses, the new IPv6 addresses have 128 bits, and the “Network Address Translation” software, which works in theory, is still a little slow off the mark when it comes down to actually doing the kinds of “translation” it is designed to do.

US.gov set IPv6 upgrade deadlines, but they’ve targeted 2012 for completion and, as i said, there will be no more IPv4 addresses long before that happens. my own computer has IPv6 software, but i had to disable it because it wasn’t working correctly, and, as far as i have been able to tell, there hasn’t been an upgrade package that has included a fix for IPv6 in at least 6 months.

presumably there are enough people that have functioning IPv6 computers that eventually the switch will be made, but until then, there will be no new addresses, and/or an only partially functioning internet with IPv4 computers that may or may not be able to connect…

another week closer to the eschaton…

The City That Ended HungerBuckminster Fuller said that we, as a people, have posessed the technology for 50 years (and he said this almost 50 years ago) to create a world where nobody has to work to survive. Why Bother Working At A Job You Hate? and The RICH Economy are my attempts at changing the world’s consciousness, but it may be that Belo Horizonte, brazil’s fourth largest city, has taken it one step further. brazil has a number of other interesting features upon which i have commented previously.

meanwhile, back in hell america, Building sand castles on Florida’s beaches is illegal – this is how BP is hoping to make you think that the oil spill is gone.

What the TSA isn’t saying about Full Body Scanners and Your Right to Opt Out – Say “I Opt Out.” Every Time. – has an interesting URI – Don’tScan.Us – and is there to remind everyone that, when travelling by air, you have the right to say “I OPT OUT” when confronted with a TSA request to what amounts to a strip search. also Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed – Big Brother doesn’t care whether or not you have fingerprints, and is interested in your DNA instead… more orwellian doublethink: Welfare is Employment Rights are Privileges War is Peace Illness is Health Collapse Is Recovery

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force and yet the congress in it’s infinite wisdom has decided that, even though a judge also ruled that DADT is unconstitutional, they’re not going to do anything to change it at this time. correct me if i’m wrong, but the judge that said that DADT is unconstitutional basically said that it’s against the law for the military to enforce the law as it currently stands, and still, congress feels that it’s okay to leave the law as it stands, right? that settles it, our government, and likely the governments of the countries in the rest of the world as well (since they all cooperate with each other, more or less) is irreparably broken. it’s time for that major shift in the way people think that i’ve mentioned before to actually start happening now…

and, by the way, now there’s Irrefutable Proof the Bush Tax Cuts Were a Miserable Failure – and we’re still losing to these morons…

despite the fact that Yes on Prop 19 Holds Steady Lead, 47%-42%, in Latest SurveyUSA Poll, this is what supporters of prop 19 are up against: Ex-Drug Czar Bill Bennett: Showtime’s “Weeds” is “Damaging,” Jonas Brothers Should Fight Prop 19 – regardless of whether prop 19 passes or not, however, Federal judge rules Colorado’s medical marijuana law is no defense for US drug charges. california can legalise all it wants, but until the federal government changes its mind, people will still end up going to jail for smoking a joint. and, while we’re at it, T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages – big brother just got a little bigger and a little less like your brother.

along the same lines, according to Chapter 69.51A RCW on Medical "marijuana" (which is actually called “cannabis”, but i’m not arguing at this point), apparently i wouldn’t qualify anyway… oh well… 8/

Twitter blames website upgrade for re-introducing XSS holehopefully, the last word on my battle with twitter and their most recent cross-site scripting bug… which is still gone on my machine, but presumably that’s because i deleted my account before this latest round happened, and when they re-introduced it, i didn’t have an account to infect any longer…

twitter… 😐 feh.

Trojan poses as skeleton key jailbreak utility – but it only works on iPhones… wait, what? 8) heh heh heh… i am so glad i’m not a mac-head any longer…

GoDaddy.com Goes on the Auction Block – recently i read a couple of articles detailing how a whole bunch (<200) of wordpress blogs hosted by godaddy got hacked. i don’t know whether selling godaddy will make things better or worse, but it’s one of the reasons why i don’t use godaddy to begin with.

IE captain flees Microsoft for Google – when i was first getting into testing software, back in 1996, i attended a planning meeting in advance of the release of IE3 (which was still crawling with bugs, in spite of bill gates’ claim that micro$not released “bug free” software), and chris wilson was there, although he wasn’t as “important” then as he later became. however giving up micro$hit for google is sort of a lateral move for someone who is allegedly as “important” as he is… and, given that he is ultimately responsible for such travesties as IE4 and IE6, i would think that google would have second thoughts about hiring him…

How do you copy 60 million files? – yet another reason why linux rocks, and you should use it and not that crap operating system from redmond.

Nuclear Winter And Peace – look… another article by Fidel Castro… you might get the impression that he’s actually changed the way he thinks recently, and that i agree with him now…

pubic schools billboardOops! Billboard spelling error creates embarrassment

The true history of the Koran in America – reports of qur’ans in american libraries go back at least to 1683, and the first qur’an to be published in america was in 1806, over 100 years later. both thomas jefferson and john adams owned one and read it frequently… just sayin’…

Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him – unfortunately, is not a joke… nor is this: Christian group declares jct 9 on M25 cursed, although it took me several readings to confirm that it was, in fact, totally serious… what?!?

Church of Body Modification – this has been the subject of a bunch of spam messages i have been receiving recently, but it’s a real thing, and it looks fairly interesting…

Fabrican – it gives the reference to “jeans so tight you must have sprayed them on” a whole new meaning…

Frank Zappa Day!

Spirit of Frank Zappa returns to Baltimore
The rocker’s exploits are rooted in L.A., but a twist of fate sends a special statue to his hometown.

By Richard Simon
September 20, 2010

Reporting from Baltimore — You’re, like, totally not going to believe this but Baltimore declared Sunday ” Frank Zappa Day,” dedicating a bust in his honor.

Grody to the max.

Seventeen years after the rocker’s death in Los Angeles, Zappa drew a large, fittingly eclectic crowd to a ceremony in the city where he was born.

“It’s about time he got the recognition he deserves,” said Greg Stinson, 50, accompanied by his 16-year-old son Matthew, also a Zappa fan.

The festivities included a concert by Zappa’s son Dweezil and his band, Zappa Plays Zappa; a library exhibit, “Zappa’s Baltimore: Rebels and Iconoclasts in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”; and a temporary name for the street in front of the library, “Frank Zappa Way.”

“The spirit of Frank Zappa is alive and well in Baltimore,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The bronze bust of the mustachioed Zappa — one of rock’s great iconoclasts — was donated by Zappa fans from Lithuania, which has had its own Zappa sculpture in the capital, Vilnius, since 1995. Although Zappa never visited the Baltic country, he was admired there for his advocacy of free expression as well as for his music.

Zappa’s widow, Gail, attended the ceremony, along with Dweezil and two other children, Ahmet and Diva. A group of Lithuanians flew to Baltimore for the event.

Among those in attendance was the chief judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. John N. Prevas, 63, a Zappa fan since 1966, called the bust “a wonderful symbol of Baltimore’s cultural heritage and the fact that Frank was such a paradoxical icon for freedom.”

“We’re glad that he was born here, and even though he didn’t spend much time here after the age of 10, we’ve always felt he was one of us,” he added.

Zappa, who died of prostate cancer in 1993 at age 52, spent much of his life in Southern California, where he and his family moved when he was 10. Zappa’s L.A. exploits include getting thrown out of the Antelope Valley High School marching band in Lancaster after he was caught smoking in uniform, and recording with his then-teenage daughter, Moon Unit, the 1982 hit “Valley Girl,” a riff on San Fernando Valley culture.

The Zappa bust might have ended up in Los Angeles — if not for a cultural attache at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius who happened to be from Baltimore. He suggested the city when the Lithuanian Zappa fans offered to donate the statue.

“I thought in L.A., it would kind of get lost,” said Carlos Aranaga, who was the cultural attache.

“Baltimore is the kind of the city that resonates with Zappa’s work,” he added, citing another iconoclastic Baltimorean, journalist and social critic H.L. Mencken.

The ceremony came 25 years after Zappa appeared at a Senate hearing to rail against censorship of rock lyrics and calls for an album rating system.

Though Zappa left Baltimore long ago, relatives there turned out for the dedication.

“I was a teenager the last time I saw him,” said cousin James A. Colimore Jr., 66, who came with his four adult children, who never met Zappa.

Colimore recalled “Frankie” visiting Baltimore and spending the summer at “Aunt Mary’s house” two doors away when Zappa was 16 and Colimore 14. “He came to Baltimore by train from California with” a stack of records that he played frequently, he said.

“He was cool back then,” Colimore said, recalling Zappa wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals when the East Coast was wearing jeans and high-top tennis shoes. He also recalled Zappa writing esoteric classical music on blank sheets of music paper with a quill pen.

Zappa has a street named after him in Berlin as well as an asteroid, Zappafrank, that orbits between Mars and Jupiter. He is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “rock and roll’s sharpest musical mind and most astute social critic.”

Asked what her husband might have said about getting his own sculpture, Gail Zappa responded: “Frank might have said, ‘Preposterous.’ ”

another week closer to the eschaton…

Google guy "invaded teen users’ privacy" Google damages users’ brains – DON’T! BE! EVIL!

On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View – this is what happens when you take any religion to its logical conclusion.

Linus Torvalds outs himself as US citizen – gadzooks! i can’t wait to get out, and linus is on his way in… tell ya’ what, linus… i’ll trade you. Silence is the Death of Liberty is an example of why…

New 64-Bit Windows Rootkit Already ‘In The Wild’ – i’m tellin’ ya’… it’s pointless for micro$awft to create “new” operating systems, because they’re all based on former, defective, operating systems, and they’ve already got a built-in cadre of hackers who are already 98% of the way to breaking anything new that they come up with, before they release it. NOTICE TO MICKEY: the way to fix this is to use an entirely different approach, right from the very beginning – instead of basing your next 64-bit “super secure, can’t be hacked” OS on the same 8-bit kernel on which every other MS OS has been based, why not try something that no-one expects and build an entirely new kernel? what? you’re not creative enough to do that? oh, well forget it then…

Open source: a savvy bet, even in tough times – another way of putting it is that “free” is a very good way to keep me as a customer… Principia Mathematica Corporatica

Massive La. Fishkill Prompts Oil Spill Questions, Gulf Oil Refuses to Stay Hidden Underwater and In legal filings, BP says thousands of oil spill victims do not have right to sue – will it ever end? not during this decade…

Nation of Israel Buys @Israel Twitter Account From Miami Pornographer – bwaah hah hah hah hah! 8D

Purging Evil – society still has a very, very long way to go. my impression is that it will continue to be as bad as it is, if not worse, until there is a fundamental shift in the way we think and behave, and guys like cal thomas are preventing that fundamental shift from happening. yet another example (the web is full of them, there’s no counting how many stories like this there are) ‘Devil’ appears in bathroom tile – and, yes, both of these are serious. the people reporting the stories believe that they’re true, no matter how absurd they really are. more absurdity:
Scientists are creating ‘mice with human brains’ Montana Republican Party wants to make homosexuality a crime Mother Denies Heart Surgery For Infant, Cites Religion – these are not jokes.

what would you do?

so i’ve been doing some maintenance on sedentarysousa dot com. i uploaded the last of the changes, and refreshed the browser, only to get one of those “Firefox can’t find the server at www.sedentarysousa.com” messages.

i restarted firefox. i flushed my DNS cache, and the DNS cache of my router. i rebooted the machine, and the router. i switched browsers five times, i switched machines three times, and i switched platforms twice, but i basically got “there is no server” messages from every browser and machine combination i tried.

i then went to browsershots dot org, which uses a whole bunch of different network nodes, a whole bunch of different browsers and three different platforms, and confirmed that sedentarysousa.com was up and working the way it’s supposed to, and that made me suspicious.

because of the fact that one of my machines is wireless, and my neighbour uses a different ISP and runs an unsecured wireless network, i can switch networks fairly easily, so i did, and sedentarysousa.com showed up without a problem.

aha, i thought. the problem is with drizzle (big surprise). so i called drizzle. sure enough, the drizzle tech support people – two of them! – confirmed that sedentarysousa – and only sedentarysousa – was “offline”.

they recommended that i “contact the host provider” and have them do a traceroute to my IP address, to figure out where the problem lies.

WHAT⁈⁉

let me get this straight… they would rather that the host provider – who is conveniently located in London, doesn’t have a problem with anybody else, and only has a problem with one route connecting – should contact the person responsible for that route to fix the problem, instead of the person responsible for the route that’s having a problem being contacted by ME to fix the problem.

it sounds very much to me as though they are saying “we don’t care, we don’t have to” – which is not the way to keep me as a customer.

very likely, what they are saying, as well, is “we don’t actually know what the problem is, or how to fix it”, which is a valid point, but it makes me feel like they are deliberately misleading me, rather than being honest and admitting that they don’t know – which is also not the way to keep me as a customer.

what really irritates me is that, what with the network being the fluid place that it is, by the time i actually discover what the problem really is, it will have fixed itself and there won’t be any evidence that whatever was causing the problem really was causing the problem. it irritates me that random things like this happen on what should be a very predictable medium. 8P

ETA: so i had the host provider do a traceroute to my IP address:

traceroute to 216.162.193.190 (216.162.193.190), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 216-18-215-65.hosted.static.webnx.com (216.18.215.65) 0.316 ms 0.371 ms 0.436 ms
2 cr3-lax01.webnx.com (67.220.192.102) 0.294 ms 0.357 ms 0.410 ms
3 cust-webnx.ar10.owlax.us.easynet.net (207.162.207.13) 0.576 ms 0.723 ms 0.807 ms
4 ge-7-48.car1.SanJose2.Level3.net (4.59.0.69) 9.538 ms 9.535 ms 9.528 ms
5 * * *
6 ae-93-93.ebr3.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.237) 21.896 ms 19.398 ms 17.990 ms
7 ae-2-2.ebr3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.132.10) 12.894 ms 9.468 ms 9.456 ms
8 ae-71-78.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.10) 16.406 ms ae-91-98.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.26) 16.362 ms 16.354 ms
9 ae-7-7.car1.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.148.5) 22.380 ms 22.130 ms 22.771 ms
10 ae-11-11.car2.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.133.122) 22.099 ms 22.531 ms 22.291 ms
11 4.53.42.10 (4.53.42.10) 22.579 ms 22.703 ms 22.765 ms
12 208.110.128.254 (208.110.128.254) 38.893 ms 38.961 ms 38.866 ms
13 216.162.207.60 (216.162.207.60) 43.406 ms 42.878 ms 43.912 ms
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *
17 * * *
18 * * *

the place where the timeout occurred was 216.162.207.60, which is Internet Professionals & Network Solutions.

it IS drizzle’s problem! 8|

another week closer to the eschaton…

i don’t use facebook for a large number of reasons. primary among these is that, despite the fact that a lot of my current friends are facebook members, there are certain people from my past that might want to get in touch with me, and i would prefer it a great deal if they did not know how to get in touch with me. not being a member of facebook is a good way to accomplish that. among the other reasons, in no particular order, are these: Facebook users ‘are insecure, narcissistic and have low self-esteem’, Understanding the latest Facebook privacy train wreck, Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook, More Reasons Why You Should Still Quit Facebook and Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook? i’m not going to rant about this, despite the fact that i could rant for quite some time about facebook, because whatever i say, people are going to do what people are going to do, and one of those things is to use facebook in spite of it’s obvious and blatant flaws.

reminder: THIS is the reason why i am no longer using LiveJournal for anything remotely blog-related. i know enough about how these things work to realise that there’s probably a lot going on that i don’t understand, and that i don’t know about, but there’s one distinct advantage to having a blog located on a server over which you have exclusive control, and that is that you don’t have perverts sysadmins stalking poking their noses in where they’re not supposed to be. if you’re looking for an alternative, i can host your domain and you can run your own version of wordpress there, and i promise i won’t comment on flocked entries. contact me for more details.

Death by iPod – this is directly related to last week’s link detailing people still falling for scams, despite the fact that they’ve been running essentially the same scams for at least ten years… society needs a collective brain upgrade. examples: Google squirrels into human brains with Scribe experiment and Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent

Windows malware dwarfs other viral threats – “The vast majority of malware – more than 99 per cent – targets Windows PCs”. another very good reason to use linux.

50 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Our Founding Fathers Never Would Have BelievedSheriffs want lists of patients using painkillers – for example…

Stuffed Pony Blown Up By Bomb Squad Suspicious ‘FurReal’ pony blown up near elementary school – it was a battery powered, stuffed pony, in the vicinity of an elementary school… because the clowns at clownland security didn’t have anything better to do…

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Unconstitutional – this actually happened a few days ago, but i haven’t seen it in any of the regular news at all. the “christians” will say that it’s further evidence that they are a “persecuted minority”. meanwhile Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic and Self-labeled ‘Christian counterpart of Osama bin Laden’ allegedly planned clinic bombing – “christians” are the real terrorists.

What does it take to be happy? About $75,000 – money can’t buy happiness, but apparently $75k a year will get you pretty close…

New research restores psychedelics’ medical respectability – first they were used as medicine for thousands of years, then they decided that they have no medicinal value, now they’re saying that they might have medicinial value after all… i wish they’d just make up their minds and stop decieving us. sign The Vienna Declaration to advocate for evidence based drug policy and strengthen the call for policies driven by evidence. join the movement to end the failed war on drugs!

Cannabis Yoga – to help you come down from your stressful life. this is not a joke.

Noam Chomsky to become new X-Factor judge – this is a joke.

twitter!!

Twitter bug creates account hijacking peril – i’m not sure that this is exactly related to what i have been experiencing, but it does explain a lot, especially since i didn’t start experiencing a problem until after i had “disabled” my twitter account…

now to determine whether or not there is a way to prevent cross-site scripting in wordpress…

growl, grumble, gripe, complain… 😡

ETA: it is as i feared: WordPress 3.0.1 – Cross Site Scripting Issue and Twitter XSS Proof of Concept – it doesn’t work if you’re running NoScript (which i am), but there it is… i suppose now it’s just a matter of waiting until somebody comes up with a fix for it…

further growl update II

apparently either something was “stuck” in my computer that i deleted when i deleted and re-uploaded my blog yesterday, or something else is going on, because so far, the unauthorised authorisation dialogue that has been plaguing me for the past three days has now flown the coop… grr. it’s back again… 8/ it’s like it waits until i’m actually typing a post before it shows up… weird!

apparently the process of disinfecting those two files that i discovered yesterday completely re-did the way the blog “plugins” work, because when i booted up this morning, i suddenly discovered that wordpress does, in fact, keep track of things that it seems to have been forgetting for a while now. maybe the thing that is supposed to email commenters when there’s a new comment will suddenly start to work now…

also, i’m sorry to say it, hobbit, but i have miraculously discovered a bidding war over the collection of conan books which is now up to $22 and the auction still has 9 hours before it’s over…

further growl update

i’m fairly sure that the authorisation dialogue message that (still) won’t go away is somehow connected to my blog. when i shut down my computer yesterday, there was an authorisation dialogue box on my screen, but when i started up this morning it wasn’t there. so, i paid very close attention to what i started up, and the order i started things up, and kept track of the processes that were running on the computer. it didn’t show up again until i logged into my blog, at which point it showed up almost immediately.

so, i deleted all of the files except for the database and re-uploaded everything. in the process of re-uploading the files, i discovered a couple of files that were infected from last year, that i probably missed when i was cleaning up last year. 8/

of course, when everything was uploaded and the database got reconnected, the first thing that happened was that the authorisation dialogue box came back, so i’ve got a couple of other options, the first of which is rebooting my local computer, to see if there is something that is stuck in my local machine.

another week closer to the eschaton…

we’ll start out this week’s post with a public service announcement: National Chronic Illness Awareness Week is coming up 13-19 september. be nice to somebody: one in two americans has an invisible chronic illness or condition!

Predator drones patrols of southern US border start Wednesday – this is now a police state, where only the priveledged live, the starving refugee is given temporary status, and the illegal immigrant is hunted down and summarily killed ejected.

example: California Cops Taser Senior Citizen in His Own Home – couple returns home, man falls, wife calls 911, cops show up and taser man when he refuses to go with them. beware – this could happen in your home, to you.

Oil Rig Explodes Off The Louisiana coast – didn’t we already go through this once? and, by the way, we now have a BP ultimatum: Let us drill or funds will dry up – considering that it took them all of a week to make the money that they have spent on cleaning up the spill, i think that they could go a little while longer before they are completely out of money…

More War Lies – war is peace, love is hate, lies are truth… business as usual.

Stephen Hawking Breaks Atheist Rules – yep, he said there doesn’t have to be a “god” in order for everything to be here. broke the rules, indeed… Is Stephen Hawking’s New Book Science or Science Fiction – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

Top Web Scams of the Decade – in other words, if you don’t know that you shouldn’t respond to random, sketchy-sounding email from someone you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t be online at all. Pew Study Claims One Fifth Of American Adults Don’t Use The Internet – i’ve got an idea: make it so that you have to have a license to use an internet-connected device, in the same way that you now have to have a license to drive a car. kill two birds with one stone…

Budget cuts bring end to Stockton narcotics unit – hey, let’s move to stockton! 8)

California pot legalization ‘could end Mexican drug war’ and Marijuana activists stage Mexico City smoke-out to protest prohibition – hint: legalisation of cannabis could go a long way towards ending the war on drugs everywhere

The Pain-Killing Power of Marijuana – especially with people like this guy’s brother pumping out new research…

Two new scientific studies reveal hallucinogens are good for your mental health – another thing hallucinogens are good for! 8)

Ancient brew masters tapped drug secrets – another thing beer is good for! 8)

Mind-Altering Parasitestoxoplasma gondii on the loose!

growl update

i went to the twitter web site and quickly determined that there wasn’t a way to connect with a tech-support drone who had any hope of giving me a cogent answer to my (primarily twitter-related) problem – one of the reasons i was so hesitant to get wrapped up in this whole thing to begin with… 8/

anyway, i went to the #kubuntu IRC channel on freenode and met up with someone who, once he had seen the picture of the dialogue box, had the idea that it might be a gnome dialogue, which is odd, considering that i am running KDE. admittedly, i do have a few gnome applications installed (synaptic, for example), but as far as i know, none of them are using the gnome-keychain application from which this seems to be a dialogue box, so he suggested that i remove it, which i did.

after logging out and logging in again, it looked as though the dialogue had vanished (a good thing), so after waiting around for half an hour or so, i quit the IRC client.

almost immediately the authorisation dialogue came back… 8/

i then began shooting down processes that looked suspicious, starting with anything even remotely gnome-related. eventually i shot down enough processes that my system became unstable, so i had to completely shut down the machine and restart.

at this point, the dialogue hasn’t come back yet. i’m not sure whether it’s because of the fact that i removed software, or whether it’s because of the fact that i hadn’t actually shut down the computer, or if it’s because both of those things happened… at this point, i’m not completely convinced that the dialogue won’t come back again.

ETA: it’s back… 8/

another thing i learned about was the existence of yet another browser, rekonq, which has some interesting quirks and probably won’t replace firefox any time soon, but it’s an interesting addition to the collection.

GROWL!

i didn’t want to, but i signed up for a twitter account, allegedly so i could “keep in contact” with the previous host provider…

no, this isn’t going to be another gripe about my host provider, although it starts out seeming that way, bear with me…

of course, it didn’t work, and i don’t have services provided by that service provider any more anyway, so i decided to cancel my twitter account. after all, i never used it, and i only signed up for it in the first place because i thought it was going to facilitate something that, in fact, it didn’t. however, i found that it’s not so easy to “cancel” your twitter account.

you can – allegedly – “deactivate” your account, which is a “permant” method of “temporarily” disabling your account (whatever that means), but your account might still be visible for up to 48 hours after it has been “deactivated” due to “network propagation” (whatever that means)…

something i didn't install wants accessso i decided to “deactivate” my account, since there doesn’t seem to be any way at all to cancel it outright. it was actually deceptively simple. i say it was “deceptively” simple because, although i did it this morning, and my computer has actually been shut down for most of the day, i still keep getting an “authorisation dialogue” from something i didn’t install, but which says that “twitter api” at “twitter.com” wants access to something on my computer…

REPEATEDLY 😡

i click “cancel” and it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later. i don’t enter anything, and click “OK” – which i would assume would produce an error message, and… it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later…

it’s 11:00 at night, and i don’t have time to try and figure out what’s going wrong, but you can bet that i”m going to have a stern conversation with a couple of tech-support toadies at twitter tomorrow.

network/s/ing

i am writing this from portland. to be specific, i am writing this from the back yard of my mother-in-law’s house. when i booted up my battery-powered laptop, it automatically found a network, and logged me in. it also found 3 other networks, for which i don’t have the password stored in my computer.

my impression is that i can go pretty much anywhere in pretty much any metropolitan area in this country, and be able to log on to the network with not an awful lot more than a password. this particular network’s password was (probably) supplied by my wife, who set up her mother with wireless ethernet last christmas, but it shouldn’t take any more than asking someone to be able to log in to any network. i just heard someone on the radio this morning who was saying that, inevitably, they’re going to include wireless networking, or wifi hotspots in new buildings, the same way that new buildings currently are wired with electricity, sewers and running water. i shouldn’t have to do more than ask someone to get free access to internet, in the same way that i shouldn’t have to pay someone to get water, or go to the bathroom.

and yet, that’s what google – the “don’t be evil” company – is out to make happen. it’s not bad enough that google anticipates the keywords that you type in, based on information that they have gathered from your previous searches, or that google is willing to sell that information about you to other people without your knowledge or permission, but on top of all that, they want to make you pay to get what should be equally free to everyone.

yeah, i know that you can go into a restaurant and get a fancy glass of water, but you’re also going to get quite a bit more than that in a restaurant, if what you’re starting out with is water, and when water is all you need, paying for all of that other, admittedly desirable, stuff, is starting to be more of a “luxury” item than anything else…

here’s an option: give free high speed internet to everyone, but let google and verizon build their “private, for-pay” internet and have them deliver that “private, for-pay” internet in a way similar to that in which fine food is delivered at a restaurant, and see how long it is before people realise that “private” and “for-pay” means that regardless of how raunchy, evil and nasty they want to be, someone is going to be aware of their actions.

another week closer to the eschaton…

Can psychedelic drugs treat depression? – gee, weren’t we discussing the very same possibility FIFTY YEARS AGO⁈⁈ before all this “war on drugs” crap took over everyones’ consciousness⁈ we’ve lost 50 years of medical technology breakthroughs because of this stupid attitude that “some drugs are bad”… 8/

Why The Wars Can’t Be Won – if you needed further explanation.

Nuclear Winter – by Fidel Castro, 24 august, 2010. also, Fidel Castro has a blog, so get out there and subscribe, comrades…

Fidel Castro claims Osama bin Laden is a US spy but that’s not what they want you to think: Corporate Media Dismisses Castro’s Bin Laden Claim As Far-Fetched Conspiracy Theory

Obama administration claims roughly 75 percent of the oil had been removed or Senior U.S. scientist rescinds previous claim that 3/4 of oil from spill is gone, says most is still there? who knows for sure any longer, the reality is, the environment is severely screwed, and will stay severely screwed for quite a number of years… 8/

Calling a truce in the war on drugs – remember when england fired the chairman of it’s "Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs" and he shot back? well, he’s at it again, and he makes just as much sense as ever. will the government listen to him this time? probably not…

The facial recognition software that will put a name to every photograph in the internet – big brother is watching! coming to a browser near you soon, whether you want him to or not… 8/

Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware – big brother is watching! coming to a iphone near you soon, whether you want him to or not… 8/

Mobile X-Ray Scanners Hit The Streets – big brother is watching! coming to a street near you soon, whether you want him to or not… 8/

L.A. authorities plan to use heat-beam ray in jail – but only on “unruly” residents.

Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations – if you weren’t paranoid enough already…

Every Time You Forward an Email You Donate To Al-Qaeda – now we’re going over the line into stupidity… 8/

Man Already Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims and Special Investigation – Evolution reflect the way i’ve been feeling about the general public recently, so watch out if you have to be in contact with me for any length of time, especially if you’re upset about either of these issues.

Upgrade Excreta – single malt whiskey from elderly diabetic piss, composting toilets and sparkly shit to lighten up your day…

host headaches

so i was forced, once again, to switch host providers.

i was having a conversation with the (now) previous host provider, who said that there was nothing to worry about, and then, two days (literally) later, i get an email from him that says he’s going out of business – again… he gave me a date of 18th septembr as the date… then, he sent me email the next day that said that the original message was sent “as a draft”, and that the actual date was 9th september.

i have gotten so tired of people jerking me around – this guy was doing okay, with the exception of saying he was going out of business a few months ago, but then changing his mind and deciding that he was going to stay in business for his existing clients – but after i got the “draft” message, i decided to be proactive and rustled up a couple of potential new host providers, and began the process of moving. whether or not he was going to change his mind, i’d simply had enough of his being able to jerk me around.

i switched the DNS numbers two days ago, and there was the requisite 48-hour chaos period while the new DNS propagated, but it appears that everything has settled down at this point.

shortly after i switched the DNS numbers, the (now) previous provider called me to see how the process was going. i get the impression that he was waiting for me to get out of his system, because now, none of his domains are available. this is a guy who is apparently a high school student who “lost his job” and can’t run his service any longer. the problem i have with that is that hosting web sites is my job, and if i don’t have a host provider, I will go out of business.

i switched to a professional host provider, not a “skript kiddie”, that has a proven, international record (no, i did NOT go back to 1&1), and i’m actually paying less than i was with the previous host provider. hopefully this will be the last time for a good long while, because i’m totally over it.