Nick's Web Log

So Verizon is giving up email, like it gave up web hosting? It is pretty bad. Emails take forever to get delivered. Spam processing is non-existant. However, much like Yahoo giving up telecommuting, I'm going to call this as the death of Verizon as a technical company. If you can't manage email, you don't have the staff who can do things like implement the next generation of whatever it is Verizon actually does now. They can't run a website, I can tell you.

Peter and the Farm: while a nice farm, does not embody the shack life.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/lancaster-ohio-glass-house/519351/

2017-03-12

Embers: I enjoyed that, though some of us already live without much of a short term memory. Part of it was filmed only 90 miles from here, and you'd assume the land would have to be cheap, given the post-apocalyptic appearance. I was looking at some of the zillow pages for possible Project Binchoustan sites, and I noticed that one of them now has 2 neighbors for sale as well. One was too much because it is sports history site, but there are only 3 other properties on the hill top. I could have the entire hill to myself. What was I talking about again?

The Lovers and the Despot: fun Best Korea movie, though it makes the escape seem like a sudden decision, and not like they just made a movie about an unstoppable monster who eats everything.

While I was out, the phone stopped sending messages, so I rebooted it. This has fixed the problem in the past. When it rebooted, it demanded a wifi connection, which was unavailable while I was circling the Newark Airport's ring road. I did eventually find my mother, but she was out in the cold for an hour.

2017-03-05

Last week, iTunes downloaded the entire run of Rebound, this week, the entire run of Magic Tavern.

The Bodyguard (2016): Old, gray (well, more so), senile Judy Hopps, still kicking.

Once upon a time in Shanghai: kind of off in the middle, but some good kung fu. One of these days, somebody should write up a comparison between the Boxer Rebellion and Trump. Industrial automation leading to lose of traditional employment modes, perception of lost authority, trade imbalances, alternative culture based around sub-culture heroes and ideologies.

Zoom: Didn't actually watch all of it because I started to hate all the characters, but after reading one of the comments I skipped ahead, and it did come together in the end.

Nobel: didn't like it. Economy of characters left little doubt about the overall shape of the mystery.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/trump-foreign-policy-elites-insiders-experts-international-relations-214846 - the image to the bottom reminds me of Kim Jong Il's and Un's photos: the great leader expressing thoughts to note pad carrying followers. That the article is about consolidating power in the ruling family is not helping. I do have sympathy for destroying The Blob, though. As the Daily Show pointed out on multiple occasions, our current problems are just fixes to previous problems which are fixes to previous problems. The solution to Syria probably isn't doing nothing, but arming random separatists isn't going to fix things this time, either. Or no fly zones, or "advisors" proxy-combating the Soviet menace. Speaking of The Soviet Menace, what's up with the dead Russians in NYC?

https://overcast.fm/+ERKNzbAHE John Hodgeman explained what I picked up on but didn't understand about Star Wars 7's weird political view: neo-conservatism.

I don't feel at home in this world anymore: weirdly dark. The Binchoustan lifestyle offers salvation to everyone here.

http://ideas.ted.com/the-rise-of-the-useless-class/ The author seems to think this is something that will happen in the future.

2017-02-26

Mr Robot 1: not sure as the antihero is really the thing for the Trump era. Also, that we might be looking back at a time when losing only the international banking system looked like a big deal.

Kill Command: terrible writing.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams: one of the series "Places Werner would like to visit".

Valley Uprising: The Man and gravity, always keeping you down.

So the stars aligned and the verizon account reset thing didn't ask me for a security question, didn't send me to the mobile site, and actually called me. Insanity is visiting verizon.com repeatedly and expecting the same result. They never did sent me the account number by mail. Turns out, they did just jack up the price twice, and added more random fees. I signed up for another contract to save 3/4ths of the increase. (which, at the rate of inflation, is fair enough. I can't afford to move anyway.) This time I manage to avoid paying $40 for the separate phone service, but now pay $30 more for internet, and a mysterious tech support fee of $10 which was not mentioned on the thing I signed up for, but is on the bill. It promises the same sort of phone features Vonage offered in the 00's, so there's that.

Not that I need this just to test websites in various versions of IE, but this is a cool concept: bootable Virtual Machines. Don't mess with inflexible partitions. Don't worry about registry build-up or viruses, just keep launching clones. https://twocanoes.com/products/mac/boot-runner Semi-related, and from below: if Apple does make an ARM low power computer that runs x86 code on a sub-processor, would it not be nice to run an entire Windows install under the hypervisor-style master OS? (not an actual hypervisor, because you want copy/paste, etc., but also not provide the HAL from a VM.) The ARM MacOS core could pause/stop the client os like VirtualBox if it wasn't doing anything. The client os could even be the Intel based MacOS. You could switch between OSs like desktops.

Another PC case thing: the reviewer points out taking out the 2 supplied fans from the front and putting one up top (has to be a different sized fan, because there are only the 2 mounting points so you can't just move the existing fan) produces a substantial decrease in cpu temperature, but then doesn't condemn the case design for being useless, or the manufacturers for being useless. I don't like, but won't condemn, the glass side panels or led lighting. Even the other side glass panels where it's nothing but cables. It is not a terrible look, even though all the moving fans would drive me insane. I will condemn the user-hostile design choices like removing or hiding all the front ports or the drive bays (even if you don't use DVDs, that's not the only thing you can put there), the lack of design features, like ducted cooling or flip out boards. There is a very compact Asus case (ducts) that doesn't look terrible, but the compactness defeats the upgradeability. Except for that one case with the lobes, I don't see anything with any real effort or new features. There is one case with an iMac style "case as heatsink" feature, but it suffers from the Apple port-phobia lacking on the iMac's back, and lacks the convection effect as it appeared to be horizontal. How about mounting the board backwards, so all the ports are available on the front/side (you'd be looking at the windowed side, of course, so isn't that the front now?), but the fan noise still goes out the other way? I'm picturing this on the desktop, next to or behind the monitor, with the fans pointed away from user, but all the ports behind the monitor. It looks like MiniITX cases have all the looks, but fewer options. (other fun case features: putting all the fans "outside", so the inner area has fewer damageable parts and a secure metal frame while you are putting parts in.)

2017-02-19

Orphan Black 3, 4:

Sanctuary 4: nice they had an actual end for it

https://medium.com/@DaleBeran/4chan-the-skeleton-key-to-the-rise-of-trump-624e7cb798cb#.p3nboguj1 - good article, though it doesn't mention 8chan, in which paranoid schizophrenia is held up as a lifestyle choice. The parallel in history is the Stalinist purges: once every random element holds deep ideological meaning, armed men "self-investigating" pizza parlors is inevitable. Also does not get into the inherent contradictions between what they say and who they are: Brietbart's most anti-semitic articles written by Jews, poor men repealing subsidized healthcare for the underemployed, the gay furry Nazis. I get the willingness to burn down a system that doesn't support you (although being unable to fix it, I, like B5's techno-mages, just left instead), but I don't get why you'd throw support at somebody who's stated platform is openly hostile to your interests. I'd also argue that it is not the left in general that can solve the problem. Read any autopsy of the Clinton campaign and note the disconnect of Brooklyn and the grass roots. That was just more of the system telling you where you should stay, even as you can see it is wrong, the same as working a "real" job in the service economy that pays less and costs more than hustling gigs. Socialism, specifically the message "largely through luck, you have become very wealthy, so share or we'll burn down the system that gives money value" is a solution. I wouldn't argue that is realistic though. Nobody wants to share, particularly people who inherited vast wealth but whose own careers have been poor. The only realistic solution is cannibalism. The parallel in history here is the Irish Potato Famine. Ireland didn't stop creating and exporting food during the famine. The system hugely benefited the 0.1%, and it simply didn't matter how many millions died. But the Irish didn't have more guns than people or spent thousands of hours in murder simulators.

As predicted, the Horizon Blue Cross billing is not working: it is still on, but is a month late. So every month, it is going to bill on the first of the next month, so every month I'm going to get a paper bill. And the paperless setting still can't be turned on.

2017-02-12

Turns out gocomics just had not turned on the ads. So now all the pages that they make you click through now have ads that move the content when they load. And that's the end of that.

This needs to be a thing

As much as I love Nick's phone, the top of Susumu Hirasawa's website is also very cool idea. I'd use a gradient fade to black to make most of the text unreadable in the darkness, but that's just me.

2017-02-05

Apparently, Fark lost its ads because Google called an image of a clothed adult woman child pornography in a thread about the overreach of government in charging a man with possession of child pornography for having a professionally produced (if subsequently pirated) pornograph of a 19 year old. At least the government had already managed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actress was underage. Google just said is so, so there. Recursive irony. I only read Fark headlines once a week on Sundays to keep up on my weird news. (It replaced "Wait, wait" for weekend weird news jokes.) As such I can't comment on 6/7th of the posts so I'm not part of that community, and am not sure any amount of money is worth 10 minutes of light entertainment a week. But I will mention Fark on what passes for my social media. For some bonus irony, even though I don't have an ad blocker, I wasn't seeing the ads on the article about how advertisers are hurting themselves with the extra-invasive ads because the extra-invasive ads on that page tripped something in the firewall.

Rodger Corman's Death Race 2050: The ideal Corman movie: not great, but it amused and didn't cost too much.

Best of Enemies: Poor Buckley, to have spawned Trump must be the greatest indignity.

http://www.macworld.com/article/3165284/macs/why-a-dual-processor-fusion-mac-makes-a-lot-of-sense.html - Even since I wrote a term paper on heterogeneous multiprocessing, I've been waiting for something like this. I think it would enable a new form of mobile computing: the entire computer is an iPhone. You can use the phone for messages, web browsing, or plug it in to whatever computer you are sitting in front of and all your settings and files are available (either on the phone, or via iCloud), and it can use whatever CPU or GPU resources the host machine can provide to run the native software better, or special software too big for the phone. The bad end is Apple does exactly that, but with only iOS apps. That would be a workable solution for most people, but I think it would be a step back in enabling more powerful user interfaces.

Volpin the not-so-Elusive
Look who Chiku the Fox Hunter finally found

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/ That didn't even mention the Rosneft deal. Unrelated, maybe: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/30/from-book-to-boom-how-the-mormons-plan-a-city-for-500000-in-florida You want to buy Utah? Trump could make it happen.

Canter also lamented that Director doesn't receive the same appreciation for its pioneering role in interactive content creation as does Apple's HyperCard, which appeared two years after Videoworks and had a much briefer period of relevance.: I'd disagree with that. Hypercard was available to and usable by a much greater range of people. It was also more explicitly a hypermedia/proto-web tool. The fact that you could stop the animation and add buttons to a frame in Director was always a clunky interface for that. Director was definitely a much more powerful tool, though, and not just because it could do color.

2017-01-29

Kill Zone 2: beginning was boring, skipped up to the fight at the end. Suit Guy was pretty good.

From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses: Thought this might be relevant. The magician leading his somnambulant masses turned out to be the good period.

NetBeans 8.2 has some sort of memory leak, or isn't working with the jvm I have, again. It was working fine, but then I caught it occupying 17GB RAM. I restarted it with only 1 project, opened 4 files (2 php, 1 js, 1 css), 500M, fine. Switching back and forth between each of the files would consistently occupy another 100MB, up to 1.3GB when I quit it. Not even editing, but just switching files. Fortunately I didn't uninstall 8.1, which might be part of 8.2's problem. I've usually had problems with installing 2 versions at the same time, but it is usually major versions.

One of the many reason I haven't yet purchased a pc (mainly: I'm cheap.) is the cases on gaming computers: The [Corsair] Spec-Alpha uses the same tooling used on the -02 and -03 Spec cases, but adds a plastic extrusion on the outside for that “1980s cartoon robot” look – a quote we're lifting from Corsair, who previously used the phrase to describe competing, unsightly cases. I don't like the tempered glass, either. The case with the translucent lcd screen seems the height of this trend. I can't find pre-built computers with PCI M.2 NVMe SSD, either. And there might be new video cards in April? And nerds are upset the 10x doesn't include the right kind of high bandwidth memory. I might just watch game footage on twitch or something.

Travelers: decent, cliffhanger is a bit irritating, child custody subplot was dumb. I did like the pacing of reveals. Not certain if the same person can travel repeatedly or not.

Eva: AI robots, but no self driving cars. Except for the butler, emotionless, kind of creepy.

Synchronicity: break down, as view from the top and bottom, past and future: The moment you lived in a society where someone could conceive of an EMT van used as an Über-Uber, you lived in a society where ambulances no longer received the right of way. and “The media is under attack now. They wonder, Is the court system next? Do we go from ‘fake news’ to ‘fake evidence’? For people whose existence depends on enforceable contracts, this is life or death.”

Intelligence Squared debates: As much as I applaud the concept, there seem to be some pretty serious structural issues: with 72-28% result, the 28% sides wins, because they converted more of the audience. Which is fine, if the focus is on rewarding persuasive arguments, except the winning side there had even the moderator calling out a straw-man argument, that team argued with each other as much as the opposition and, as predicted, talked over the other side with selective statistics. I don't think they addressed a single question with an actual answer. Particularly for something polarizing, the "score" is too easy to rig. Just drop it. Have the debate, let people think what they think.

2017-01-22

Ragnarok: snek

https://medium.com/@AlexSteffen/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd?ICID=ref_fark#.es6dtq5nt For example: http://grist.org/briefly/coal-loving-wyoming-legislators-are-pushing-a-bill-to-outlaw-wind-and-solar/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark Although it doesn't address oil's important place in the Economy of The Future: plastics and feedstock for 3d printing.

Room 237: probably not the best movie to have on while working. Something about the Holocaust and minotaurs?

http://nautil.us/issue/44/luck/investing-is-more-luck-than-talent "it’s easier to be sort of rich than really rich", "suppose that Jill is a super-sophisticated investor who is able to obtain an annual return that’s 1 percent better than average. Even after 20 years, Jill would have only a 56 percent chance of being richer than Jack, a normal investor. That’s only a slight improvement over the 50-50 chance she would have if the two of them were equally talented." This is the key to Project Binchoustan, and the failure of Wall Street as the manager of a capitalist society. Everybody at Goldman believes they are above average, and fights regulations that would reduce market volatility because they alone will be the ones to profit during a crash.

I got the money back from AmeriHealth! I wasn't expecting it, but a check arrived without explanation. So while they did eat my money like a broken vending machine, they did eventually get around to giving it back. If only they could communicate faster, I'd still be with them, because the other one isn't exactly speedy either. Speaking of communication and insurance companies, the other one (it is literally the other one, there are only 2 left), despite the email only setting and the automated billing, is now sending me paper bills. If history is a guide, this will continue until I start throwing them out unread, then the automated billing will break down.

The Magicians: far less literary. Given that it is based on a book it seems odd that a lot of the plot threads seem to go nowhere, or contradict others. Something episodic might have issues like that, but you'd assume they had the whole thing laid out at the start, perhaps in novel form. I may try saying "The fox knows how to be happy" every morning. Though the more you think about that scene, the less sense any of it makes.

Netflix's Unfortunate Events: very literary

In Order of Disappearance: very "In Bruges", but the editing is a bit confusing at times.

2017-01-15

Winter 2017 Anime

Winner: the Fang-chans can battle it out for supremacy

That grenade launcher from Ajin #2, the horrifying new weapon? The US Army is considering not deploying it because it is too heavy.

The gocomics.com upgrade appears to be deliberately pooping on the free users. What used to be 1 page is now 4. Weirdly, none of those pages have ads (or I'm not seeing them, which suggests they are flash or something), which would have been the obvious reason to be that user hostile. What used to be an obvious click for the next new comic is now a click for the next comic, whether or not it has new content. The reason it is pooping and not just terrible mobile centric design is the pro version still gives you new comics on one page, so they took a feature out, so you can pay for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp-Qc_VDC9U

I checked to see if Zootopia won anything at the Golden Globes, and even though the giant ad on the page was pushing for Moana, Zootopia won "Best Motion Picture – Animated". Just more anti-pred bias from big Mouse. The Incomparable's year end roundup also praised Zootopia.

https://thinkprogress.org/the-center-has-fallen-and-white-nationalism-is-filling-the-vacuum-beb0611dfe94#.68ijgzcb2

http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/24/11094524/prt-transit-history-self-driving-cars-alden-starrcar-tomorrowland-1960s https://www.wired.com/2016/02/kai-caemmerer-unborn-cities/?mbid=synd_digg#slide-x These two articles just happen to be published at the same time, but point out that while China is building "a thoroughly modern city", it is only copying the problems of all the other modern cities. I cut this out of the previous note, but I mentioned the issues with SATA and SSDs when buying a new computer. Why limit yourself to old technologies when you are buying a brand new motherboard? If you don't have people in the city to complain about the subway construction, why not build in a subway? And a car-way, and safe pedestrian spaces.

http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/01/windows-vs-macos-drunken-carnival-vs-sterile-art-gallery.html - " It makes me wonder if the Apple leadership team actually uses Macs anymore. I’m sure they have nice iMacs on their desk; they may even check their email using Apple Mail from time to time when they aren’t on their iPhones or iPad Pros. But do they live out of their laptops, like I believe most people still do? (Or at least, tautologically, as most people who buy laptops do?)" This is also true for desktops. While slowly looking into buying a gaming PC, I actually have increasing respect for a great many of the choices Apple makes for the mini and iMac, but the hardware lineup meets fewer and fewer atypical needs as it ages. Generally, this wouldn't be a problem with expansion slots and ports, but Apple seems dead set removing them, too.

Autohead: slow, though I'm probably not picking up on the regional prejudices because it appears he is some random idiot, not, as in "Falling Down", the American Dream Middle Class Office Worker, or whatever that would mean for India. Maybe idiot rickshaw driver is the middle class Indian, I don't know.

https://hackblossom.org/cybersecurity/ - would like to add S/MIME is much easier than PGP for email, OpenSSL is easier than PGP for individual files (though lacking in key storage features), Apple also has encrypted disk images (you don't have deal with encrypting games, 4k video, etc. on the entire drive if you just want to protect some medical documents), and that it is fine to write down passwords on paper, as long as that paper isn't with the laptop or phone when it gets stolen. You should also treat identity questions as passwords: all random data, stored in the vault. I could opine Tor is useless, providing no more utility than a vpn, vastly worse performance, and makes you a target (The article points out tor sites are not necessarily encrypted, which surprised me when I found that out.), and that a 2Factor password is only as strong as the second factor's security. If it's a phone and somebody knows your real name or number, they can probably change your password.

2017-01-01

Binchou-tan's home
Still need to find Project Binchoustan HQ

Project Binchou-stan remained in a holding pattern pending an ultimate resolution of my health problems, one way or the other. I didn't add to or subtract from the Nest Egg, which continues to grow under its own momentum. It passed the point where even with a 0% return, 3% inflation, I'd still not run out of money with abstemious spending. I've only semi-retired, though, working half-time (though I work a 20 hour week the same way I worked a 40 hour week) and I took a month off to play WoW:Legion. I may finally get around to buying a gaming pc with a gtx10 series card with the "left-over" money. This isn't where I'd want to live, but I'm also too lazy/tired to find that exact intersection of cheap, wooded, near nature reserve trails, private enough such that I could build a house made of straw in the back yard, and now near a sufficiently advanced hospital. Also ideally near broadband Internet, though if I could replace the foxes that fill up my twitter feed with actual neighbor foxes, the Internet would be optional. I do still want to take a longer vacation in the woods this year.

The new design does present a usability challenge. Both in that the text is extremely small, angled, and that it is not apparent that it is scrollable text. This continues my theme of picking fonts you probably don't have. Eventually, it will just be 4pt text on a black background. Ideally, trying to scroll the page would scroll the content, but I couldn't be bothered. PgDn, space work with a bit of JS, but you have to scroll with the cursor over the text. I was nice enough to add a phone break point, so you don't have to look at a site on a phone on a phone. (In case you are on a phone or really small window, or really old browser, you are missing out on the fun, but stand a better chance of actually reading this.) It would be nice if clicking on the home button (or Nick) did something, but I couldn't think of anything.

2016 Drivel

My sole remaining career goal is to live in a shack in the woods. No more resumes!

Site built with pSpace, the final frontier
-- 
Patrick Phelan, now more than ever.
w____\\W//___w       Te Hupenui
Exploration, experimentation, exclamation. Lights shine brightly in the many towns.
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