Archive for the '@Uncategorized' Category

Google sure is fast nowadays

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

I created a page on the Adium wiki at 07:07 PST, and Google had it indexed by 08:01. This screenshot is of a search for “darcs patch bundle binary”.

The times shown in the screenshot are in EST; I created the page at 07:07 PST, and found it among those search results at 08:00 PST.

I think somebody mixed up their phishing emails

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

From: Bank Of America Security Dept. Subject: IMPORTANT: Security Issues [Incident: 0409252]. Body: You have just received a virtual postcard from a family member!
What is this, scamming for victims with ADD?

I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

And despite Google Transit’s insistence, I cannot legally cross all those lawns:

Google Transit told me that to get from my location in Cupertino to 1 Infinite Loop, I can simply walk in a straight line (which it depicts as an arc)—crossing through a residential block and apparently jumping over most of the Apple Campus.

How much of an Alex is it?

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Those of you who listen to MacBreak Weekly are familiar with the imaginary unit of currency, the Alex.

For those of you who don’t listen to MBW: Alex Lindsay, one of the co-hosts, typically goes in for very expensive software—upward of a kilobuck. So his co-hosts defined one Alex as equal to $700 USD (roughly the price of Photoshop at the time). With this, the hosts express the prices of the software that they spotlight each week in fractions of an Alex: a $10 program, for example, would be stated as costing “¹⁄₇₀th of an Alex”. Something that is free costs “zero Alexes”.

To that end, here’s a table of prices expressed in both USD and Alexes. If you ever have an urge to tell a friend how much some piece of software costs, simply look up the price on this table and give it to your friend as a fraction of one Alex. Alternatively, use this converter service, which I created with ThisService.

If you want a more complete table, here’s one from $1 to $14,000.

USD Alex
1.00 ¹⁄₇₀₀
2.00 ¹⁄₃₅₀
3.00 ³⁄₇₀₀
4.00 ¹⁄₁₇₅
5.00 ¹⁄₁₄₀
6.00 ³⁄₃₅₀
7.00 ¹⁄₁₀₀
8.00 ²⁄₁₇₅
9.00 ⁹⁄₇₀₀
10.00 ¹⁄₇₀
15.00 ³⁄₁₄₀
20.00 ¹⁄₃₅
25.00 ¹⁄₂₈
30.00 ³⁄₇₀
35.00 ¹⁄₂₀
40.00 ²⁄₃₅
45.00 ⁹⁄₁₄₀
50.00 ¹⁄₁₄
55.00 ¹¹⁄₁₄₀
60.00 ³⁄₃₅
65.00 ¹³⁄₁₄₀
70.00 ¹⁄₁₀
75.00 ³⁄₂₈
80.00 ⁴⁄₃₅
85.00 ¹⁷⁄₁₄₀
90.00 ⁹⁄₇₀
95.00 ¹⁹⁄₁₄₀
100.00 ¹⁄₇
150.00 ³⁄₁₄
200.00 ²⁄₇
250.00 ⁵⁄₁₄
300.00 ³⁄₇
350.00 ¹⁄₂
400.00 ⁴⁄₇
450.00 ⁹⁄₁₄
500.00 ⁵⁄₇
550.00 ¹¹⁄₁₄
600.00 ⁶⁄₇
650.00 ¹³⁄₁₄
700.00 ¹⁄₁
750.00 ¹⁵⁄₁₄
800.00 ⁸⁄₇
850.00 ¹⁷⁄₁₄
900.00 ⁹⁄₇
950.00 ¹⁹⁄₁₄
1000.00 ¹⁰⁄₇

Man, this song sounds familiar

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Here’s the background music for episode 1, map 1 of Doom:

(Alternatively, you may prefer this version by Paul Burdette.)

And here’s the first twenty seconds (I’ll spare you the rest of it) of “Snake Devil” by Scary Kids Scaring Kids:

I found the similarity interesting.

Weird Target ad

Monday, October 15th, 2007

So I was flipping through the 2007-10-15 Target ad and I noticed this Halloween costume:

A photo of a kid wearing a really bad ninja costume.
“I look forward to killing you soon!”
“For the last time, go to your room!”

What kind of ninja costume is that?!

First off, the chestplate. This makes a certain amount of sense for, say, a Superman costume, but why would a ninja have one? More to the point, why does this chestplate look slightly H.R. Giger-esque, rather than having a six-pack?

And why is it red?

Then we come to the mask. The top half is riding way too high: you can see his hair. Ninjas are supposed to be unidentifiable; as such, the mask should completely cover the hair, so that the ninja’s hair color cannot be determined.

Then there’s the footwear—or lack thereof. Socks? Really?

Get some shoes! (Obviously, I mean soft shoes—not like hiking boots or something.)

Finally… the sword.

I realize it’s just a fake plastic sword that can’t really bisect anybody, but even so, YOU’RE HOLDING IT THE WRONG WAY, KID! The would-be-sharp-if-it-were-real side of the blade should face AWAY from your thumb, NOT TOWARDS IT!

You can tell how easily I notice details like these, that I noticed them on just a casual perusal of the Target ad.

I can’t tell whether this is spam

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Dear Candidate,

We have a job offer available for you. I am Darnell [deleted], Recruiting agent [deleted] Consultant Group Of Co., an establishment that deals in the import and export of Cocoa butter cream, Rubber, Cotton, textiles and fabric materials based in the UK.

We are looking for a trustworthy representative in the United State that will aid as a link between us and our customers in US for getting and remitting our payments. I would like to know if you are interested, respond only if you will like to work from home (part-time) and get paid weekly without leaving or affecting your present job.

if you are interested, forward the following info. to my email address which is :


Full Names.
Mailing Address.(PO BOX NOT ALLOWED)
Present Occupation.
Mode Of Identification.

I would be expecting your email ASAP if you are interested and want to know more about this job.

Darnell [deleted]
For: [deleted] Consultant Group Of Co.

Points to consider:

  • The message did originate from LinkedIn‘s servers. (LinkedIn, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a social network intended to be used for corporate networking—i.e., getting hired or finding somebody to hire.)
  • I don’t have an account on LinkedIn.
  • So he must know my email address, in which case, why not email me directly?
  • This person seems to know that I work with Cocoa.
  • But didn’t notice that I’m a Cocoa programmer.
  • Much of the language reads like a Nigerian 419 letter (e.g., “We are looking for a trustworthy representative in the United State that will aid as a link between us and our customers in US for getting and remitting our payments.”).
  • OTOH, nothing about deposed rulers or millions of dollars.

I still can’t tell whether this is spam. :\

Tear down this wall

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Quoth MacJournals:

Thaler says, “But really, seriously, dude. The kid is cool. Don’t be like that. Don’t be a ZFS hater.” No one who reads our analysis in MWJ 2007.06.11 could possibly accuse us of hating ZFS.

Yes, but nobody read that analysis, because it is behind a pay wall; you can get a free trial subscription to read it, but nobody wants to do that either.

Of course, by “nobody”, I don’t mean literally zero people. Obviously, there are a few people with subscriptions, because otherwise MacJournals is not profitable. But it is irrational to assume that the entire internet should have read the article because you generously provide a free trial; most people, upon seeing your subscription wall, will say “fuck that” (or a cleaner equivalent) and move onto some other activity.

That’s assuming they even see a link to the walled-off article. I never did. The small (one-page) public article they had was the only one I saw.

Reddit and Digg compared

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Parallel coverage of this hoax on the two sites.

The titles:

The comments (summarized):

  • Reddit: It’s fake. You can tell because the frame shown in the “screenshot” doesn’t appear anywhere in the actual YouTube question.
  • Digg: This was really really funny and the candidates deserved it, but it embarrassed the internet on national TV, and CNN will never do a debate like this again because of it. BTW, it’s fake.

The scores:

  • Reddit: +179-132=47 (and dropping)
  • Digg: 2510 (and climbing)

UPDATE 2007-07-25:: See Simone’s rebuttal in the comments.

Free stuff on iTunes: TV edition

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Turns out that the iTunes Store has a complete list of all free TV episodes—more complete than the list of free stuff on iTunes that you can have on the main store page.

Still no free movies, though.

What’s in your menubar?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Synapse forwards the question: What’s in your menubar?

Here's a screenshot.
Screenshot taken 2007-06-23.

From right to left:

  1. MenuCalendarClock
  2. User MenuExtra (AKA Fast User Switching)
  3. Volume MenuExtra
  4. Text Input MenuExtra
  5. Keychain MenuExtra
  6. MemMeter (MenuMeters)
  7. NetMeter (MenuMeters)
  8. URLWell
  9. Strings Menu (lets me insert strings from a list I’ve predefined; eventually I’ll port this to a service and release it)
  10. GrowlTunes
  11. (Not shown) Adium

Of course, that’s not nearly as bad as it used to be…


Reddit for Digg users: A tutorial

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Fresh from Digg? Welcome to Reddit!

You’ll find that Reddit has a lot of advantages over Digg. In order to save you a lot of time, I’ve compiled a list of them. These are the same things I had to learn when I came over from Digg, about a year ago IIRC.

  1. Reddit doesn’t have descriptions.

    When you submit a link to Digg, you have to enter a description. Reddit doesn’t have this feature; instead, you must completely sell the article in the title.

    The field that appears when you submit the article is not a description field—it’s the comment field. What you enter there is a comment, not a description, so it won’t show up on the new page, the recommended page, or any other list of articles.

    That means that it won’t help you sell the article. Your title must stand alone.

    (And don’t worry about the length limit. It’s high enough; trust me.)

  2. Comments support rich text.

    Unlike Digg, which has no styling support whatsoever (except for auto-linking), Reddit uses Markdown, a really, really easy plain-text mark-up format. The syntax makes emphasis, links, blockquotes, lists, etc. almost as easy as plain text. Yes, really. And you’ll find it makes your comments so much better (and be received so much more happily) when you style them correctly.

  3. You can reply to any comment.

    Digg only has single-level threading: you can reply to top-level comments, but not to other replies. Reddit allows virtually any amount of nesting. This means you never need to say “@someotheruser: My comment here”—replying directly to that comment automatically implies that you are addressing that comment and no other.

    And definitely do not use the comment field at the top of the page. That’s for top-level comments only, not replies; you look quite silly if you try to reply with it. ☺

  4. “DUPE” is not appreciated here.

    First off, it isn’t uncommon at all to resubmit a page that didn’t do well before—in fact, it’s explicitly allowed by Reddiquette. (When it’s the exact same URL as the previous submission, the resubmission has a query string on it—usually just an empty “?”.) Second, if you do have a real dupe to speak of (one that actually made the front page by getting over 100 points), then link to the original Reddit story so that we know that you aren’t just crying “DUPE” for no reason—we won’t search for it for you. If you do that, then your comment will be voted up instead of down.

    Also, sometimes when a submission doesn’t do well, the submitter deletes it and tries again (maybe with a different title). This is normal and in line with Reddiquette, and doesn’t count as a duplicate. This is another reason to search for the original before crying dupe—if the original doesn’t come up in the search results, this suggests (not conclusively) that this is what happened.

    Speaking of Reddiquette…

  5. Reddit has a code of conduct that we all expect you to follow.

    You will be much better-liked by the community if you follow the rules set forth in Reddiquette. That and other help pages provide broader coverage of the advice I’m giving you here.

  6. You can easily see replies to your comments.

    Since comment threading isn’t the clusterfuck it is on Digg, Reddit is able to provide an “inbox” that shows all replies to anything you’ve said. (The same page shows private messages that have been sent you by other users, but this is much rarer.) The inbox is marked by a ✉ (envelope) icon in the top-right corner of the page, and if you have replies or messages waiting for you, it will be colored red.

    On a related note, you can click on your username in the same corner to get an “overview” of every comment and article you’ve posted. You can use this to quickly see how your articles and comments are doing.

  7. We have a very small definition of “spam”.

    On Digg, an article submitted by its author must meet a very high standard of quality in order to not get booted from the front page (or forestalled from even reaching the front page) for being “spam”. On Reddit, self-submission of articles is allowed and even encouraged (as you’ve seen already if you’ve already read the Reddiquette page), as long as your article is good (by the same standard as any other article).

    So please don’t cry “spam” or hit the report button just because the author and the submitter are the same person—that’s not enough. It’s only spam if the submitter lifted it from somewhere else and copied it to his site (that is, linkjacked it).

  8. We don’t mind curse words, but wanton cursing will get you downmodded.

    By this, I mean two things.

    First, you don’t need to say things like “f*ck”, “fcuk”, etc. There is no swear-filter to evade, so don’t worry about it. If you’re going to use that kind of language anyway, I think most of us would prefer that you use the real word.

    Second, you can use words like “clusterfuck”, “bullshit”, etc. without problem, as long as you use them judiciously. If you just throw every swear word you know into every comment, you’re wasting good words and you will be downmodded for it.

    Wanton cursing doesn’t make you look more adult, it makes you look less adult. Please think about using alternative words (or omitting the curse word entirely if you can’t think of one) rather than slathering your message in an excessive amount of curse words. If you use too many, it drowns out your message.

  9. If you have nothing to say, please don’t say it.

    I have seen many comments lately along the lines of “hahaha great link”, or “this article sucks, downmodded”. These comments invariably get downmodded because they are essentially empty.

    If all you want to do is express your like or dislike for the article, then vote up or vote down and move on. You don’t need to comment for that. And if you’re thinking of karma, it didn’t work: Comments don’t count toward karma.

    In a similar vein, random bashing of Bush/Microsoft/Apple/the Cookie Monster does not impress people here. You need to have a point, and make a salient argument backed by facts and logic. Otherwise, you will be downmodded.

    So you should only post a comment when you want to:

    • contribute a meaningful point to the discussion, or
    • make a joke (in which case, please make it funny—bad jokes are worse than no jokes)
  10. You can edit your comment at any time.

    On Digg, the ability to edit a comment expires three minutes after you post it. Reddit, on the other hand, does not impose a time limit on comment editing. So there’s no need to reply to your own comment to get in an edit that missed the window—there is no window.

Thank you for reading through my list of advice, and thank you in advance for following it. By doing so, you’ll help keep Reddit a better place.

And if you’re one of my regular readers and wondering what brought this on: Digg blew up recently, and a legion of its users moved over to Reddit. With this post, I hope to help them fit in in their new environment with its slightly-different social rules.

Well, this sucks

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Just as I had almost finished writing the blog post for Apple Bug Friday! #56, my display blinked off. “Rats—here comes a power failure”, I thought.

But the computer didn’t turn off, nor did the lights.

By listening to the hard drive, I was able to establish that my computer was not only still on, but working. I even restarted (forcibly, as I had xterms running and X11 always complains when you try to quit when xterms are running)—the display still did not come on.

My display is an Apple Studio Display 17″ LCD, from 2003 (IIRC, I bought it just after they discontinued the Studio Display). Because of its age, it uses ADC, rather than DVI, to connect to the computer. My Mac Pro has DVI, so I had to buy the DVI to ADC Adapter to use the Studio Display.

I had the Studio Display long before I had the Mac Pro; I’d been using it on my G4 Cube for years. I still have the Cube, so I had a way to test whether it was the display that crapped out, or the adapter (or the video card). So I unplugged the display from the adapter, fished my Cube and its power supply out of the Mac Pro box (where it normally inhabits, with all the other peripherals that I bought for it that my Mac Pro has built-in), and set it up in the kitchen.

To quote the operator on the Zero Wing, “WE GET SIGNAL !!

So either my DVI-to-ADC adapter is borked, or my video card is borked. Later today Monday, I’ll head on down to the Apple Store and find out which. Fortunately, they’re both still under warranty.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what I’m typing this on: my mom’s iBook G4, which I borrowed to help pass the time.

Today is Mitch Hedberg Day

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Here are three of my favorite Mitch Hedberg quotes.

  • Hey, if you find yourself lost in the woods, fuck it—build a house. “Well, I was lost, but now I live here! I have severely improved my predicament.”

  • Imagine being killed by a bow-and-arrow. That would suck; a arrow killed you? They would never solve the crime. “Look at that dead guy!—Let’s go that way.”

  • [A commercial] says “You can have this product for four easy payments for $19.95”. I would like to have a product that was available for three easy payments, and one fuckin’ complicated payment. “We can’t tell you which payment it is, but one of these payments is gonna be a bitch!

    “The envelope will not seal,
    the mailman will get shot to death,
    and the stamp will be in the wrong denomination.

    “Good luck, fucker!”

    The last payment must be made in wampum!

RIP, The Show

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

the show with zefrank has ended.

And he went out the way he came in.


Prepaid cell-phones in the US

Monday, March 12th, 2007

This post makes for a fascinating display of how a thread can evolve.

Simone, in the comments for my post about the HP M425 camera’s drivers, links to his own experiences with the HP PSC1210 printer+scanner+copier+paperweight. In that post, he says:

This is one thing that really annoys me about technology. Companies try to make their products do so many things that it just makes them do everything crappily. No, I do not want a cell phone that plays games or does web browsing or plays MP3s or takes SHITTY-ASS PICTURES. If I want a cell phone, I want to be able to store contacts (and sync with my Mac), I want to be able to make calls, and receive calls and voice mails. That’s it! (Oh, and I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR A MONTHLY CONTRACT — NEWS FLASH TO CELL PHONE COMPANIES IN THE U.S.: HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE WORD “PRE-PAID”?!)

I suspect that many other people in the US don’t know about prepaid cell-phones. Hopefully I can make a dent in that.

Prepaid cell-phones have been around in the US for years and years, and they’ve proliferated lately.

First, all cell providers have prepaid service and they’ve pretty much always had it, though they don’t make a very big deal about its existence. Verizon Wireless currently has two prepaid plans called “InPulse” (sic) and “EasyPay”; they used to have only one and they’ve gone through at least three different names for it. Cingular calls it “GoPhone”. I’m not sure what T-Mobile and Sprint call it. Nextel (now part of Sprint) calls it Boost Mobile (which used to be a separate company reselling Nextel service, but which Nextel bought out and now runs itself).

Tracfone was always the one lone company puttering around offering crappy prepaid service while all the actual cell phone providers (Tracfone is a reseller, as Boost was and as most of the prepaid-only companies are) made big profits using regular billing plans, just like landline companies. But now there are several other companies offering prepaid service, including:

Usually, these phones are aimed at younger demographics: kids and teenagers, with lots of subtle hinting toward the parents. The appeal for the parents is that since a prepaid phone makes you define a hard limit ahead of time (put $x on the phone and you only have $x‘ worth of airtime+SMS), the kid is limited in how much time he can spend irradiating his brain.

Prepaid service—especially Tracfone—used to be vastly inferior to the regular service: you had a black-and-white screen, and you couldn’t get a flip-phone, and you couldn’t play games. Now, except for videos (which only Verizon and Sprint have, and which are not available on their prepaid phones AFAIK), prepaid service is on par with regular service.

So yes, Virginia, there are prepaid cell-phones. I, for one, have Boost Mobile (having had Verizon previously), and am happy with it.

Also, 7-Eleven sells refill cards that you can bring back to the store to put more money on—after you use it the first time, it’s tied to your phone, so putting more money on it forwards it directly to your phone without you having to go through the “please enter your ten-digit phone number” bit again.

Strange voice mail message

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Check this out. Any ideas as to what it is? (BTW, the chattering noise in the background is just RFI from the phone. It’s not part of the message.)

Amazing Fantasy #15

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

So I was leafing through tomorrow’s Orange County Register and found this:

Amazing Fantasy #15 — the debut issue of Spider-Man.

It’s a reprint, of course. Apparently this is some kind of Marvel promotion — each Sunday Register will have a reprint of the next issue of Spider-Man. I suggest looking in your local Sunday paper to see if they have the same promotion.

Technorati tags: , , , , .


Monday, July 31st, 2006

For those of you who don’t know, I have a account. My username, as usual, is boredzo.

I’ve started posting there again recently, so if you like my blog, you should check that out too. Some of the most recent links I’ve posted there:

  • unifdef — remove ifdef’d lines: “unifdef is useful for removing ifdef’ed lines from a file while otherwise leaving the file alone. unifdef acts on #ifdef, #ifndef, #else, and #endif lines, and it knows only enough about C to know when one of these is inactive …”
  • -[NSView cacheDisplayInRect:toBitmapImageRep:]: The easy way to draw an NSView into an NSBitmapImageRep (e.g. for generating a TIFF or PNG screenshot, or for creating a CIImage), since 10.4.
  • TextMate Blog — Multi-stroke Key Bindings: A way to easily insert characters like ⌘⇧⌥↑↓ in OS X.
  • OSAtomic.h: Atomic-operation functions in the OS X Kernel framework (yes, there is a Kernel framework). Handy in threaded situations. Google “rentzsch atomic” if you don’t know why these are important.
  • AppleScript Terminology and Apple Event Codes: A complete list of symbols in AppleScript from the language itself, the Standard Additions, and System Event. Includes OSTypes and what kind of symbol each symbol is.

A math koan

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

One sheet of toilet paper is L long. The inner circumference of the roll is C1 and the outer circumference is C2. Each sheet is T thick.

How many sheets are there on a fully-loaded roll? Please post here if you have an answer.

And no cheating by peeking at the package. ;)

Technorati tags: , . (Did you expect to ever see those two tags together in one post?)