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Journal Journal: I am a masochist 5

I'm a masochist. No, not of the sexual variety. Of the slashdot variety. For some reason, not only do I still continue to read this site, I click on links to stories about cars and phones. The raging stupidity and arrogance is amazing.

And yet I come back.

User Journal

Journal Journal: DeviantArt thinks this is spam 2

[Just saving this here in case I need to point to it. Long story short - never try. Someone posted a question. I wrote an answer. Then wasted five minutes signing up because DA pretends you can comment when you don't have an account then hits you with the sign in barrier. So you sign up, enter lots of crap, open Yahoo mail to retreive the confirmation email, confirm, then you're landed me on an unrelated page. So I had to back out until I found the comment form in my history. Fortunately the comment was still there. Then I resubmitted it. "DeviantArt can't post this message because we think it is spam." Uh, what? So I cut the comment, reloaded the page - in case there were expired magic tokens or some other never-works-in-practice anti-spam crap, repasted, and got the same message.

So.... then I said "Screw it", and tried to cancel the account. Which it refused to do, because it had forgotten my password. I knew my password, but no, DeviantArt thought I didn't. (OK, perhaps I made a typo when setting it up, but just curious DA assholes: you prompted me twice for my email address, which I can read, and which you're going to send me a confirmation email to anyway, but only once for the password which I can't read because each letter's replaced by a black circle. Does this make sense to you? No? Me neither.)

But, of course, DeviantArt didn't need my password anyway, it jsut insisted on it. You see (1) I'm already logged in and (2) DA's going to send a confirmation email to that email address I had to enter twice. But, fuck, OK, send me my password reset thingie. What's that? You can't? Not until I log out? Oh. My. Fucking God.

Last action on my part while still logged in is to send a nastygram to the person who wanted help. OK, it was polite actually, but I was seething.I actually signed up to DeviantArt to show you. Unfortunately DA says my comment is "spam". There are no links, it's just a list of instructions. To add insult to injury I can't now cancel the account as it reports the password - the one I set five minutes ago - is incorrect.

So, anywho, log out, remind password, open Yahoo mail, click on link, reset password, log in, close account, yes I'm sure, re-enter password, open Yahoo mail, click on link, YES, I already said YES SEVERAL SODDING TIMES you DICK. Why? You're asking me WHY? You call me a fucking spammer because I try to help someone? Reason entered. Yes. OK. Closed.

No good deed goes unpunished.]

It's not pretty, but I found you can get by by using unity-2d-panel.

1. Make sure you have Cinnamon set up to only show a bottom panel.
2. Open a terminal and run "gnome-session-properties"
3. Click "Add", and in the dialog box that comes up enter "unity-2d-panels" in both the Name and Command field. Save and close.
4. Restart your Cinnamon session.

This, obviously, only works if you're running Ubuntu. It may not work in very recent Ubuntus - I recall reading somewhere Unity 2D is not supported in more recent versions (I'm running 12.04) - if in doubt, before doing any of this type "which unity-2d-panel" at the command line and see if it can find that application or gives you an error message.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [w00t] RHCSA cert 3

I took the RHCSA exam this morning, and managed to pass it on the first try.

And the villagers rejoiced.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Does anything work anymore? 3

Does anything around here work anymore? I go to the zoo.pl page (uid changed to mine to protect the guilty) to try to change friend/foe/neutral status, and I get:

OK

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, admin@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/2.2.3 (CentOS) Server at slashdot.org Port 80

I have to click in three different places to find the right link to let me do a JE.
I was gonna give a laundry list, but fuck it, it's just pissing in the wind. I figure Dice was able to buy it for, what, the price of one week of coffee at Starbucks?

User Journal

Journal Journal: [Music] This about sums it up 1

If every day goes like this, how do we survive?
We're working late on the night shift to get peace of mind.

Eric Prydz, "Every Day"

I can relate to this one all too well, especially of late...

User Journal

Journal Journal: [misc] Still here 4

It has been close to a year since I have bothered to post anything on here. I still read almost daily, and once in a great while I find something on here that entices me to comment though it's rare. Anymore the room is quiet, with the occasional political post or the intermittent technical post.

I am not really sure why I have stayed. I guess part of me is comfortable here and just cannot get motivated to move on, even though there isn't too much holding me here. At one time I had a good number of friends here (a few of whom I actually met in person), but I have slowly and steadily lost connection with almost all of them. I know it's my fault.

So why am I posting now? I am not really sure, to be honest. I think I am just reminiscing about times past, friends that have sailed for bluer waters and a portion of my life that has slipped through my fingers. *shrug*

User Journal

Journal Journal: Aaron Swartz and I 1

I still remember the day that I nearly met Aaron Swartz. I was at a hackers convention in my bedroom, and as I stared at my computer screen, I started writing a journal entry about some political thing or other. I forget which. But anyway, if Aaron had happened to be in my house at the same time on that day, which he wasn't, but if he had, and I'd gone down to the kitchen to get some orange juice, I think it's highly likely we'd have met.

I like to think that Aaron would have read my journal entry and said "Well said, I agree entirely with what you just wrote." And in that regards, I feel like the two of us ultimately were fighting the same war for a greater good. True, Aaron was liberating locked down academic information that should have been available to everyone, and I was probably complaining about the lack of universal healthcare, or criticising the latest version of Ubuntu, but in the sense that we were both "out there", saying what we believed in and fighting for what we believed in, and I'm sure Aaron would have agreed with me, I think we were on the same team.

RIP Aaron Swartz.

(c) All IT commentators and pundits

Security

Journal Journal: what do you think about so-called "security questions"? 3

My car ins. is thru State Farm. They've started asking for my mileage periodically, apparently to move away from a two-tier pricing system (regular (avg 12K/yr) or low-mileage (under 7500 mi I think)) to better-matched tiers. (Thankfully they're not yet quite as "Progressive" as to ask to put a device in my car that spies on my driving.)

I've haven't gotten around to making my password manager program (and I don't want to have to trust someone else's, and I am a programmer afterall so I shouldn't have to), so unimportant things like this get put on stickies, which invariably seem to be eaten by my desk like socks by my dryer.

This is no problem as I can just request that login credentials be e-mailed to the address they have on record, like Slashdot does. EXCEPT when they implement those stupid "security questions".

My take on them is that they're a huge security hole in an otherwise fairly secure (if you choose an obscure username and a strong password) system. They typically necessite answers in common words (if you want to be able to remember your answers, that is), and on topics that are susceptible to public records and social engineering techniques.

So I do what I think is the best I can do to mitigate this weakest link in all-too-common login schemes and fill these fields with random garbage characters.

So on State Farm's web site I find a # for "technical support". So I call asking for a password reset, and the lady asks me the same questions as the auto function for doing this on the web site. I explained why I'm incapable of recalling the answers to the security questions, and was told they couldn't help me without them.

Well what good is their so-called tech support dept then? If they're just monkeys reading scripts, and can only type things into the public web site like I can, then that's not "technical support".

I called technical support for their web site because I was locked out of my account. I'm still locked out of my account, because their technical support couldn't offer any actual technical support!

After that I found a comment/suggestion form, and typed in my contact info and the current problem and gave my background explano, and got:

Technical Error

We are unable to complete your request due to technical difficulty.

Please click on any navigation link at the top or you may return to State Farm homepage.

With an organization this technically inept, I don't even want to risk having an online account with them. Now I want to close it, and just do everything thru my agent (a system that's been working fine for around 20 years now).

p.s. I guess from now on I should alter my behavior slightly and type in and write down strong passwords (and record which question I "chose" (in case a given site ever changes the order of which one appears first/chosen by default in the dropdown)) for these fields.

p.p.s. Another consideration in using these fields as intended is that I don't esp. want to give away to companies (and their partnering companies?) answers to some of these kinda personal questions. If I were devious I would've tried to corner the market on security questions way back and urged web sites to outsource them to me like that Discus or whatever for web comments, and then build dossiers on people and sell to Google and other such bastards who only generally know about us by what we give away in our searches and emails.

The Matrix

Journal Journal: resemblance 3

This looks an awful lot like this to me. I don't see too many of them, but the neighbor across the street from my folks got one recently, and they park it in the driveway, mug outwards. It's disturbing.

(Okay, I was gonna end it there, but the plight of the guy who lives there really bothers me, and I think America is forgetting that there's tons of us facing that.)

I think it's his mom's car. This guy in his early 50's lives in a house he bought with his widowed mom, across the street from the house (actually they're all duplexes/attached homes) my folks downsized to when they retired. He apparently used to do technical support for some airline software, working off the computer in the office he set up in his garage, on the phone frequently, and traveling somewhat frequently. Presumably paying pretty well as he bought himself a Boxster. Then the economy tanked and he took a lesser job, presumably just for the meantime.

I had heard from my folks that he was in the running for some networking job in L.A., but apparently that never panned out, as he's been doing the same job since shortly after the beginning of the collapse. He became a cable guy, and I suppose now he'll be what I consider underemployed for the rest of his working life (which might or might not get him to financially retireable age).

His mom had told my folks that she told him to go back to school like I was doing at the time. But all anyone can do is make their best judgment and pick a path. Mine turned out to be the right one, so far at least, as I got back into my planned career. But I was out of work for a very, very long time, and I could've never found work in my profession again, that growing more likely the longer I was out of it. It was a huge gamble. Other considerations were that I had a sizable emergency fund and was under 45 at the time and could afford health insurance. (Kaiser sent me a notice just before I got hired and switched to my new company's group plan that my rates were going up a chunk due to turning 45.)

He might not have had much in savings, and prolly thought he needed to take something where he could get health ins. He also might've thought this would take a while to work itself out, whereas I foolishly assumed it would only be a few months and that what I had initially assumed was just an overreaction and irrational panic on everyone's part would dissipate.

Anyways, on his off days he would park his big company van in front of his place on the street. Right where my folks' tiny home's only front-facing window on the first floor looks out (their kitchen window). Mom cooks and dad does the dishes, and he got tired of looking at this big orange advertisement so asked his neighbor if he would park it on the side street instead (his neighbor has a corner lot). He told my dad to go to hell basically, that he comes home tired from his job (he used to climb poles to install cable TV, but then he finally got a transfer to a newer neighborhood with all underground stuff) and often there's no parking on that side and he doesn't effing want to hear about it.

So maybe his mom bought that thing with the terrible visage and faces it his way to join in! ;)

Role Playing (Games)

Journal Journal: daily life in the neighborhood 5

Every morning you walk out to your front lawn to pick up the newspaper. And every morning the neighbors on each side of you physically assault you.

For as long as you can remember, you've lived in a house with a particular set of neighbors on either side of you. And ever since you moved there, your neighbor to the right, let's call him Mr. Right, would give you a bloody nose.

In talking with him about it, he argued that it was justified to keep the neighborhood in order. Mr. Left OTOH took your side and thought that that was complete bullshit.

But some many years back Mr. Left had started accosting you as well. Every morning he'd slap you in the face, box your ears, and kick you in the shins. And he added things over time, like nipple twists and indian burns and wet willys, and then later added foot stompings and hair pulling and nose tweaking.

In talking with him about it, he argued that it was justified to keep the neighborhood in order. Mr. Right OTOH took your side and thought that that was complete bullshit.

So in summary, nowadays every morning you are assaulted in ten different ways.

Many of Mr. Left's assaults are kind of silly, but can be somewhat painful nonetheless.

Mr. Right's assault is definitely painful, and a big pain afterwards in that you have to spend some time stopping the bleeding each time.

So, which is worse to you? That depends on if you're more like Mr. Right or Mr. Left.

If you're more like Mr. Left, then:

1) Mr. Right is worse because it's more severe to you, and

2) It's actually far worse to you because you have an ingrained, noticeably skewed sense of proportion anyway.

If you're more like Mr. Right, then:

1) Mr. Left is worse to you because he comes at you with 9 times the assaults, and

2) It's actually far worse to you because he's actually continuing to add more and more assaults to the daily barrage, with no end in sight, and

0) You're wondering, in the first place, do you really even need to be assaulted that much, period, for there to be some minimal level of order maintained in the neighborhood.

Real Time Strategy (Games)

Journal Journal: the passing of a giant 7

Michael Clarke Duncan died today. Actor, celebrity bodyguard before that, and ditch digger before that.

Apparently he had a bad heart attack a month and a half ago, and while his GF 16 years his junior, Omarosa from The Donald's "The Apprentice", gave him CPR until paramedics arrived, it only extended his life a little bit to be lived out in an L.A. hospital until finally passing.

He wasn't a fat man, so it's prolly safe to assume that steroid usage was a contributing factor. He was 54.

I didn't first see him in "The Green Mile", but that's when I first took notice of him as an actor. Apparently he was in "Armageddon" and even one of the "Married with Children" episodes that I know I saw.

Being 6'5" and reportedly around 315 lbs, he was heeuge at the time. And not just from the camera angles in that movie.

I also remember him from:
The Whole Nine Yards - As Bruce Willis' assassin buddy (until the end, that is).
Planet of the Apes - As the seargent soldier ape or whatever.
The Scorpion King - Can't remember, except in a kick-ass fight scene with asshole (see his "Punked" episode) Dwayne Johnson.
The Slammin' Salmon - The manic restaurant owner in this "Waiting..." ripoff.

Other movies I saw that I don't remember him in:
Daredevil - Ben Affleck becomes a superhero.
Sin City - Mickey Rourke in a dark, comic book adaptation.

Already released movies I haven't seen that he's in that I want to see:
The Island - Dystopian future tale.

Stuff he's been in that I don't ever want to see:
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - I don't like Will Ferrell.
A Night at the Roxbury - I hate that other SNL guy, the monkey-boy, even more.
Friday - I can't stand Chris Tucker ever since "The Fifth Element".

Note that for actors, it is their on-screen persona that I like if they're a fave of mine, not necessarily the kind of person they really are. For example apparently he went vegetarian in 2009 and began partnering with PETA to do anti- meat consumption messages. It prolly didn't help his health any to suddenly deprive his body of muscle-replenishing protein.

p.s. I also saw him on the periodically Sandra Bullock produced (and occasionally appearing in) George Lopez TV sitcom, as a wise-cracking dentist.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks 5

Thanks to whoever burned five.

User Journal

Journal Journal: You get that many mod points 6

Wow, you get so many mod points, you feel the need to blast all 10 at me? I'm no longer the most prolific poster on slashdot, why do you bother?

Democrats

Journal Journal: a new strain 21

[From this afternoon, when I didn't have access to my saved link for the older JE creation interface here.]

I'm sitting here with my netbook in my recliner, in front of the tube with the volume muted. I was watching it for some news and then eventually muted it to go on the net, but to occasionally look up and see if FNC was covering anything interesting (usually not).

From the headline above the ticker at the bottom they were playing some of BHO's reaction to the GOP convention, quoting him as saying that Mitt only offered no new ideas and only old ideas of the past.

I watched for a minute and saw serious teleprompter reciting, but with an instance of that characteristic occasional interrupting of it by his snickering.

I have two categories of problems with the Left, in general. The first is that your ideas -- what you want for mankind -- are evil. But what is also just as evil is your tactics. You could be honest and earnest with people and not be evil in this second way, and just be evil in the "what" that you're pushing. But that hasn't worked for you guys, at least in America's history, so you adopt evil in the "how" as well (which is working, fabulously, if much too slowly for most of you).

So BHO publicly states that his opponents' are ideas of the past. This is true, of course. Both sides' ideas are from long ago. In fact, thinking about the history of man, it sure seems like the philosophy of authoritarian collectivism has been around a lot longer than that of libertarian individualism.

BHO is not a dumb man. He knows both sides' ideas are old ideas from the past, just as you and I know this. But the Left's tactics mostly boil down to "fooling the dummies", and that's what's going on here. He's of course trying to make the dummies, of which there is an asston in America, believe thru implication that it is only the Right's ideas that are from the past. (With the further implication that "from the past" is even a bad thing.)

So BHO is hugely despicable in both of the usual ways that all of the rest of you are, save the few here that are a bit clueless or a bit crazy or both. But he takes it one step further.

He's like the guy I occasionally played chess with in college, who was so much better at it than me/had tremendous advantage over me in that game, if he actually would've outwardly laughed as he enjoyed his advantage and how well the tricks he could play on me worked.

Only BHO is laughing in the face of the Right, for how well his trickery works on the dummies. Because he knows that both the Right and the (non-nomimal*) Left know it's crap, but the dummies don't, and furthermore the dummies don't even pick up on that tell (and in fact actually find it endearing!).

Most Lefties are dead serious about their religion, and I can appreciate that, independent of its evilness. For example I imagine someone like Hillary (who'll prolly resign from Sec of State shortly after BHO's re-election, and be the Dem's nominee for prez next time) would only stab you (metaphorically) with the knife multiple times because she just wants you (i.e. your political philosophy) dead.

But that's old-school, and BHO is of the newer, extra-sick variety of Leftist. He seems to want to stab and pull the knife out and then pause for a reaction of pain, and enjoy the moment before stabbing again. I see a little bit of that here, too, where most of you guys are just fighting for your side, but a few just write things to be cruel; where you know the deception won't work in that case, but you pile it on thick and savor the moment of just trying to be mean.

Unfortunately as evil grows stronger in the world and you guys find yourselves winning more and more, esp. where previously a given ploy would've never worked, your astoundment at how successful it's going and the confidence that'll bring will prolly turn more of you guys into effectively sporting the patented BHO smug grin, that can be seen between sections of serious-face and those momentary snickers when he's just laughing his ass off inside.

*My "nominal Left" is the mushy middle of the American electorate; those who haven't educated themselves about Marxism and made a conscious decision and said yep that's definitely for me, but those who've just been slid into it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: APK stuff 1

Microsoft's Hosts file changes in Windows 8 generated a predictable discussion about, and then by, APK, but this discussion caught my eye and I thought was worth raising in a "Mind boggled" way.

The pertinent points:

- APK made a claim about his code that resulted in someone calculating that it was taking about 4 million CPU cycles, or up to 16 million instructions, to process each HOSTS file entry.
- In the ensuing discussion, APK said that his algorithm processes each entry multiple times. He also claims that a slightly optimization to his method would result in the algorithm becoming 98% accurate.
- He also claims, if I understand it correctly, that his code actually turns off the Windows process scheduler - by apparently giving this batch processing code a "realtime" priority - while it runs, for extra speed.
- The reason it takes 4-16 million cycles per record? Apparently, again quoting APK, this is because there's string processing involved with 11 string operations on each record.

Now, to be clear, we're talking about a program whose job is apparently to generate a hosts file from a list of hostnames, deduping and doing other minor clean-up operations on the list, and writing it all out with "0.0.0.0" on the front of each hostname. For the deduping, apparently APK's using a sort - and he denies using a bubblesort, so I guess that's something. Me, I'd use a hash table, but what do I know?

I'm not trying to get at APK, but is anyone else having a WTF moment based upon the above description?

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