Saturday, November 29, 2008
One would believe that if, as a phisher, you'd taken the time to set up your fake page, build and deploy your id/password capture app and send your spam, you'd take the time to get the freakin' subject line correct. Click on the image above and enjoy the flushed fruits of our phisher's labor..."Bnak of America"? That's no bnak I've ever heard of. Do they speak English in "Bnak"?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I didn't realize before I arrived at the screening of Bolt that it was a 3D movie. Under which rock have I been living I wonder? I *did* know that, although a Disney picture, Bolt is not Pixar - which admittedly caused me to be slightly dubious. I needn't have worried. Crisp animation (including appropriate use of 3D), great storyline and excellent characterization all contributed to an excellent movie. I'd even rank this higher than recent Pixar movies including Cars and the snooze-fest that was Ratatouille (and not including Wall-e which restored my faith in Pixar). This is certainly a watch-more-than-once show.
Friday, October 31, 2008
My Kindle is now sporting a "Don't Panic" screen saver, a la HHGTTG (The radio show, not the ridiculous movie...). Here follows a brief how-to for setting up your own screen savers:
- Attach the Kindle to a PC using the USB cord.
- Using Windows Explorer, look for a new drive called Kindle under My Computer. Go to that drive. (Or if you have an SD card in your Kindle, you can go to the SD drive.)
- Create a new folder called “pictures” and a subfolder called “screensavers” under it. Make sure both folder names are all lowercase.
- Copy your image files into the screensavers folder. Your pictures should be 600×800 pixels and black & white - .jpg or .png work fine.
- After copying is complete , remove the Kindle from the USB connection.
- Go to your Home menu and press alt-z. This will create a new book called “screensavers” . Open it. You’ll see each of your pictures. You can advance through them with the prev. page and next page buttons. [Note: The new book will appear at the END of your book list]
- While viewing your pictures, look at the bottom of the Kindle screen. If you see your battery indicator & Menu prompt, press alt-F to go into Full Screen mode.
- On each photo, press alt-shift-0 (i.e., alt-shift-zero) . After a brief delay, you’ll get a message that your picture has been exported as screensaver. Click Close on the message.
- Navigate to each of the pictures you want to use and repeat the above step.
- When you’ve got all your pictures loaded, test them by going into & out of sleep mode. Alt-aA (i.e., alt-font size button) puts it to sleep & wakes it up again. Each time it sleeps, it should use a different image. If you see the same image all the time, relook at Step 3.
If you want to get rid of your custom screen savers, follow these steps:
- Attach the Kindle to a PC using the USB cord.
- Using Windows Explorer, go to your Kindle drive under My Computer.
- If you see a folder called system, skip this step. If you don’t see the system folder, click on the Tools menu & then Folder Options. Go to the View tab, and look at the Advanced Settings. Under Hidden Files and Folders, select Show Hidden Files and Folders. Click Apply, then OK. You should now see a system folder.
- Under the system folder, you’ll see a screen_saver folder. Delete all the files that are in that folder.
- After you disconnect from the USB, you may see your last custom screensaver one more time, but after that it will revert back to the pre-loaded Kindle screensaver images.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Current listing on eBay for four (4) twenty five (25) dollar ($) gift certificates. Bidding is now at $105.38. WTF? I really want to understand that there is some great logic behind this. I just can't get there. If you can figure it out, please let me know. If this sale closes and the items are paid for, I *clearly* am in the wrong business...
Friday, September 05, 2008
So in the fine spirit of this political season I give you "things you should know about Sarah Palin, with no commentary from me". (Except to say I really liked her brother when he was in Monty Python. He was pretty good in Life of Brian. Nothing too exciting since then. Oh, except for a fish named Wanda).
- Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2
- Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3
- Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
- Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about , she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5
- Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
- Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
- Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
- As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor." 9
- She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10
1. "Palin: Iraq war 'a task that is from God'," Associated Press, September 3, 2008
2. "Palin wasn't 'really focused much' on the Iraq war," ThinkProgress, August 30, 2008
3. "The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008
4. "McCain and Palin differ on issues," Associated Press, September 3, 2008
6. The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008
9. "Mayor Palin: A Rough Record," Time, , 2008
10. The Sarah Palin Digest," ThinkProgress, September 4, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Political action site MoveOn.org claims numerous success over the years. Their most astounding claim is that in December 2008 (Yes - 4 months in the future from the date of this post) they will successfully lobby Facebook to reverse a privacy gaff that it will make. All I can say is, sign me up for MoveOn.org, ace manipulators of future history!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
1. Security Gestapo - located at the south entrance. Unpleasant, unprofessional. Forcing attendees up a steep path with no explanation. No please, just gruffly delivered instructions. I asked one why: "just get up there" was the reply...
2. Jesus Freaks - all attendees were berated by the barely coherent bellowing of the anorak squad (sans anoraks). Apparently there is no alcohol in hell, but that's OK as we're all going to burn there anyway. The indiscriminate accusations were actually quite hilarious. Do these people actually think that they are doing any good. Sorry, do these people actually think?
3. Honey Buckets - not tucked away unobtrusively, rather lined up as privy's on parade. For a short while I thought the blue houses were the main attraction. They were very valuable for shy tokers though...
Special mention goes to the "No RFID" protesters. As I was leaving the even I overheard an exchange between a pedestrian and a lady holding a "No RFIDs" sign. It went like this:
Pedestrian: "But I just want to ask you a few questions about why you object to RFID's"
Clueless Sign Holder: "No - I'm just being paid to hold this sign"
I doubt the sign holder would know an RFID if it chewed her in the ass.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
August 15 and I find myself with a balcony seat to watch the world premier of "Shrek the Musical" at the 5th Ave. Theater in Seattle. The show program includes a very informative article "From the Desk of David Armstrong - Producing Artistic Director" announcing the opening of the fabulous 'Downstairs at the 5th (DAT) Rehearsal and Education Space". It's 14,730 square feet of studios, a green room, stage management and visiting artist offices. David goes on to positively gush about investment made in this space and to thank the grand folk involved.
David, I always thought that theater was about the audience experience and their enjoyment of that which is being presented. Take my advice, go sit in the balcony (in fact go sit in "GT CTR Row: C Seat: 10") for an evening performance of Shrek and then tell me how much you enjoyed the show. That's if you are not then ensconced in a cold shower for the remainder of the evening trying to get you core body temperature below the 25 gazillion degrees to which it has risen as the 5th ave theater has *terrible* air conditioning. I don't just mean a little warm and uncomfortable. I mean sweat pouring down my face and me tossing a mental coin every couple of minutes to determine if I should just bail. And it wasn't me. Lot's of folks sweating the night through Shrek's swamp.
A suggestion. Redirect any money left over from the DAT5 space and invest it in the enjoyment of your visiting public (who do, after all, pay the bills). Sorry if your fancy "visiting artist office" won't get painted this season -- but the theater-going public will appreciate watching your productions in something that doesn't resemble a Thai sauna (without the happy ending).
The good news. The Shrek show program made a passable fan for a good percentage of the audience.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Knowing how information can be easily distorted and manipulated by the proponents of either side of an argument, I tend to apply a critical and somewhat cynical eye to everything I'm told. After seeing the latest Pam Anderson video - which is shocking (and not in the way you may expect ;-) I'm sold. I'm a true believer that KFC is the physical manifestation of the Antichrist (or at best are a bunch of scumbags than deserve the same treatment they meter out to their "product"). I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years now. This just allows me to walk around with an even smugger grin on my face... Really folks - don't eat at KFC.
Watch more videos at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The Seattle City Council, in a wondrous decision that is sure to be reversed within a few months, have slapped a 20cent charge on plastic shopping bags (effective 1 January 2009). Why? Well they want to encourage the use of reusable bags, reduce landfill oh, and generate some revenue for the city (I suspect the latter reason is the real driver behind this decision). I have a pretty big problem with nanny-state politics. I employ reusable bags for the majority of my grocery shopping, however I do revert to plastic (or paper) shopping bags when I'm caught short. After the initial use of the plastic bags they get recycle via GreenScapes (for which I pay a tidy sum). So as far as I'm concerned, I pay for the recycling of the plastic bags that I use. Charging me 20cents per bag is charging me twice for recycling. No thanks. Oh, and the bags hitherto have been "free" - their cost has been baked into the cost of groceries. Will the cost of the groceries be reduced now that the stores are no longer giving out "free" bags. I can say with almost 100% confidence: Ha!
It's not the 20 cents. It's the principle. I'm sure I'll forget about this until early in January when I'm in my local Safeway and will be facing a charge of a couple of dollars for plastic bags ("no - you can squeeze one more item in that bag - I don't need another 20cent bag to carry a 50cent newspaper..."). Sorry Safeway, but I'm going to be walking away from the stack of filled bags. I don't pay for plastic bags just to line the pockets of the city council. I know you didn't pass the law - but you didn't lobby sufficiently strongly against it. And perhaps if enough folks get pissed off you'll get the message and pass it on to the city council. Or I'll just buy from Amazon Fresh...;-)
Monday, August 04, 2008
Since I'm still fuming over the rank ineptitude of the management responsible for Delhi airport I'll just give you the blow-by-blow account.
- Arrive at Delhi on flight from Chennai, de-plane and board airport bus.
- Drive the full length of the runway, cross end of runway, drive full length of runway in the direction from whence we came (total time about 20 mins). [During this time there were no takeoff's or landings - clearly Delhi airport personnel have not learned the skill of using a raidio to get clearance to traverse an active runway]
- Approach international terminal transfer desk to, well, transfer. Told to pick up luggage that I had checked all the way through to Seattle. Only airport in the world where I have had to transfer my own luggage...
- Picked up luggage, went back to transfer desk to be pointed (somewhat vaguely) in the direction of a bus.
- Exit terminal building onto ramp. No directions to follow. No one pointing the way. Many random buses from which to select. No security. I could have gone wandering off within the secure ramp area with no challenge.
- Found bus. Boarded. Encountered familar pattern: Drive the full length of the runway, cross end of runway, drive full length of runway in the direction from whence we came (total time about 20 mins). Correct. Back to the terminal from where I had just de-deplaned.
- So bottom line is that it took about an hour and a half for me to travel, with luggage, about 100 yards.
- And it was hot. And humid. Very, very humid.
- Conclude the Delhi airport authority is run by Bozo the clown and several close relatives.
Attempting to login to my online Bank of America account at 3:29am, Monday 4th August I was presented with the following message:
Online Banking is currently unavailable in your area due to scheduled system maintenance. Online Banking will become available beginning at 7:30 A.M. Eastern Time on SundaySo I have to wait until next Sunday until I can conduct on-line banking? Nice work Bank of America...
As a long time customer I thought I'd do the right thing and send them e-mail about this mistake. Of course you can't send e-mail to Bofa unless you are logged in, hence there is no reasonable way to report problems logging into the site. Nice.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
1. Send a spacecraft from Earth to Mars (~10 months travel time, Spaceship) and it touches down to the second;
2. Fly from San Jose to Seattle (2 hours, Jet) and the flight arrives within 5 minutes of scheduled arrival;
3. Ask for a Pacific Gas and Electric employee to visit your house (5 minutes, car) and the best they can do is to provide a four hour window.....
Now, I'm sure we can all think of many exceptions to this rule. But it still pisses me off that PG&E scheduling is so crap. Get a day planner!
(4. If your significant other is asked to do a job and has zero distance to travel and zero complexity associated with getting to the site of the intended work (e.g. bathroom to fix a leaky faucet), the work will never get done).
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Brand Tags is described as a collective experiment in brand perception. Site visitor are presented with brand names and are asked to enter the first thing that pops into their head. Results are presented similar to 'tag clouds' the size of the font employed for each user entry is proportional to the number of times that entry is made. Fun exercise is to browse the tag clouds trying to guess the brand from just the tags - it's eerily easy to do in the vast majority of case. And boy, do people have a negative brand perception of Microsoft... Amazon does well.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
This week's "welcome to the 20th century" award is presented to Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle, WA. While attempting to pay my bill I followed the VM billing department's advice and attempted to set up an on-line account. After filling in the usual guff I was presented with the scree you see above. The key information here is "Your request is being processed and you will receive an e-mail within 48 hours with your password and login instructions". Really?
Now, "within 48 hours" could mean that I will receive it in the next 30 seconds (that being the average time in my experience it takes the majority of sites to set up an account and send you e-mail confirmation). However I suspect that if this were indeed true, the registration text I received would have gloated in the message "Your request is being processed and you will receive an e-mail within 30 seconds with your password and login instructions - so keep your eyes peeled bucko".
No, I really do believe that it will take them most of their alloted 48 hours to process my request. Given that even my 25 year old Sinclair ZX80 could probably process the account set up in a few minutes (and even run an nuclear power station!) this seems to imply that there will be *gasp* manual processing involved. Plenty of opportunities for them to screw up multiple elements of my personal data. Looking forward to that I can tell you....
Saturday, March 29, 2008
And oh yeah, Garmin's web-based support blows monkey chunks...
1. Is anyone surprised that was a monumental screw up? Just take a look at the rest of Heathrow. They've had *years* to get it right with only backwards progress (and yes - I had the displeasure of flying through Heathrow last Monday so I have recent, first-hand experience). Take a leaf from the pages of many other industries (especially the software industry ;-) It *never* works first time; that's why a "soft opening" is so important. Run a smaller set of traffic through the system first to work out the kinks. Then ramp it up over time. Big bang launches are aptly named...
2. Let us bow our heads and remember the words of Douglas Adams (and I paraphrase as it's been years since I read the quote): "no society in the universe has ever come up with a phase that is equivalent to 'as beautiful as an airport'..."
3. Bring back Dennis Howell. Minister of Sport and then Minister of drought. Where are you Dennis when we need you so much...?
I plugged the cable modem back into my router (remember, the one that had been working fine for 18 months), connected to the router (Linksys) and went to look at the IP, DNS etc setting served by Comcast. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. WTF? Went back to the PC I registered with - all OK. Tried a different PC directly connected to the cable modem. Nothing working there.
Ah.... it all finally makes sense. Comcast don't like you running your own router (they'll sell you their router and access for up to 5 PC's - but you're not allowed to do that yourself). I must have been running under the radar for the past 18 months, someone must have looked at my traffic patterns and reset my account so that when I re-enabled I'd trigger their new security measures that locks your account to a single PC (via the MAC). Yeah - well screw you Comcast. Two minutes worth of MAC address cloning and I was back up and running on my own router. It's rather like the water company saying you can have a water feed - but you can only dispense from one faucet.... Now I know why Comcast stock is trading at the same point they were trading in July 1999. Actually the main reason that I'm pissed with Comcast is that even after asking both support engineers with whom I spoke (and to whom I described my home set up) neither of them flagged the fact that my connection would be locked to the activating-PC and that I could no longer use my own router (ha! that's what they think). Either they didn't know (would figure - given how crappy Comcast is at support - seen their on-line FAQ's recently?) or they knew and were told to keep quiet about it. Dimwits.
Oh, any for any Comcast folks reading this, go fix your packet shaping software that keeps screwing up and turning into traffic "denying" software. Thanks.
Friday, March 07, 2008
In “Seeing Green” (Wired, March 2008) Fred Krupp says “…clean tech is a much more important revolution. We’re talking about the future of humanity, not how to find a date on the Internet”. He fails to acknowledge that the Green movement has been empowered by that same Internet. Significant funding for Green awareness projects has come from revenues generated by the Internet and that same Internet is a significant source of information about global warming. Indeed Mr. Krupp’s book Earth: The Sequel, is available from Amazon.com via the Internet (unfortunately only as a hard copy book and not as a downloadable Kindle e-book as the publisher has yet to make it available in that format. Shame on them).
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Useful little app: Videora enables you to convert your regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, etc) into the proper video format that your TiVo understands. Once it's complete it will place the completed files in the directory that is synced with your Tivo. You can then locate and transfer the converted files from your Tivo "now playing" screen. One of the additional benefits of Videora is that you don't have to shell out $25 to Tivo for Desktop Plus. Videora conversion isn't quick (depends on the size of the file you're converting. A feature length movie can take an hour and a half to convert) - but that's OK. I just set it running before I go to bed or leave for the office and the shows/movies are waiting for me when I next turn on the TV.
There's a great set of instructions regarding Videora for Tivo on Lifehacker.
Friday, February 15, 2008
"The SCO Group Announces Reorganization Plan to Include $100 Million Financing by Stephen Norris Capital Partners" [Groklaw]
One of the members of Stephen Norris Capital Partners' Investment Committee is Pamela J. Newman.
Amongst other things, Pamela serves on the board of "Chipwich Chippoppitty".
Chipwich Chippoppitty Incorporated
105 Shad Row, Piermont, NY
You can learn more about Chipwich by consulting "Mr. Chipwich" who has "some exciting news for you". Apparently he's invented a new form of fuel....
So let me get this straight. A member of the investment committee of the company that is pouring $100 million into a company that has just had the shit beaten out of it in court and has been sent running home to find that someone has stomped on their toys, is qualified to do so based on their stunning investment acumen evidenced by their relationship with someone named "Mr. Chipwich"?
Dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria...
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Talk about love at first site! The Kaossilator is something that William Gibson could easily weave into a story. It's a pocket sized synthesizer that employs a touch pad to manipulate pitch and sound. It has a bazillion (well, lots) of built in sound effects including a full drum kit. Even a musical duffer such as I can be turning out halfway reasonable loops within seconds (check out the video to see of what this thing is capable). ThinkGeek sometimes has these in stock for the I'd-buy-two-at-twice-the-price pittance of $199.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Rebate: A deduction from an amount to be paid or a return of part of an amount given in payment.Everyone got that? Clearly our friends at USA Today (yes - the one with all the pictures) don't know what rebate means. USA Today is running an article about the upcoming drive-our-country-greater-into-debt so-called economic stimulus package. Hilarity ensues in the Q&A section:
How is a "rebate" possible if you haven't paid anything in the first place? This is not a rebate it's a "hand out" or "stupid ass giveaway". Robert A. Heinlein pretty well summed it up in his book “Time Enough For Love” when he wrote - “When the people learn that they can vote themselves Cake and Champagne and force you to pay for it; they will.”
Q: What about people who don't owe any income tax?A: Even if you didn't owe any income tax, you're still eligible for a rebate of $300
Pass the fork.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Saturday, February 02, 2008
1999; A federal judge in New York City has dismissed a breach of contract and fraudulent advertising lawsuit against Pepsico Inc. brought by a plaintiff who took its television commercial literally and presented the company with the necessary cash and merchandise points to obtain a Harrier Jet fighter plane... Pepsico, the manufacturer of Pepsi Cola and other soft drink products, ran a television commercial in 1995 and 1996 promoting its Pepsi Points program in which Pepsi drinkers could accumulate points and exchange them for "Pepsi Stuff," gifts from a gift catalogue published by the company.
The commercial showed a male teenager leaving for school attired in various Pepsi Stuff clothing items while subtitles indicated how many points are required to obtain each item. One such banner read, "LEATHER JACKET 1,450 PEPSI POINTS." In the next scene, the same teenager is shown arriving at school in a Harrier Jet. The subtitle then reads, "HARRIER JET FIGHTER 7,000,000 PEPSI POINTS."
The Pepsi Points catalogue did not include the Harrier Jet, but it stated that if a consumer lacks sufficient points to redeem an item, he or she could purchase the required points from Pepsico at 10 cents each.
Inspired by the ad, Seattle resident John R. Leonard set out to accumulate the cash and points needed to claim the jet, which is valued at $23 million. He raised $700,000 from friends -- seven million points at ten cents each -- and sent a check and 15 Pepsi Points along with an order form from the catalogue to Pepsico."
I wonder if John Leonard is an Amazon customer and is planning something similar with Justin Timberlake?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
All I can imagine is the reunion scene from Grosse Pointe Blank. I do hope no one gets killed.