“‘You’re the System Administrator?’ Yes. I’ve been asked this before, and I think it mainly is because my head is shaved and I wear jeans and t-shirts to work everyday.”
“Who else would you be?”
—Jeff Blaine vs. Joshua Geller

Tuesday, October 21 2014

How sausage is made…

From TheWorstMuse:

If your alien culture isn’t a thinly veiled allegory for contemporary politics, what’s the point?

Monday, October 20 2014

Not included: a text editor

From today’s Emacs 24.4 announcement:

Highlights of this release include:
  - A built-in web browser (M-x eww)
  - Improved multi-monitor and fullscreen support
  - "Electric" indentation is enabled by default
  - Support for saving and restoring the state of frames and windows
  - Emacs Lisp packages can now be digitally signed
  - A new "advice" mechanism for Emacs Lisp
  - File notification support
  - Pixel-based resizing for frames and windows
  - Support for menus in text terminals
  - A new rectangular mark mode (C-x SPC)

Looks like I’ll need to add a few more disabling commands to my .emacs file…

Sunday, October 19 2014

Not your usual title string…

Amusing QA error on a maid-cafe web site; the title and keywords section of the page header are error messages of the form: “Warning: mysql_fetch_array() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /var/www/html/www_maid/S/wp-content/themes/maid2013/functions.php”.

This is the sort of thing that announces to the world, “Hi, we’re clueless PHP users; please try to crack our site”.

Also, I have to say that while I understand what they were trying for with the maidreamin.com domain, my initial parse of the URL was a bit… anal.

Wednesday, October 15 2014

Sad attempt at a halloween costume

On sale now at Amazon: The Lame-Ass Samurai.

Samurai Loungewear

Badly-held sword and ninja socks not included.

This is far from the most cringeworthy “asian” Halloween costume available…

[Update: Sigh. Genghis Khan Samurai Costume (cosplaying for the other team?); Ninja Warrior Set (extra-shiny, to blind opponents when you fail your Stealth check). ]

Friday, October 10 2014

Ranking the modern Doctors

  1. Eccleston
  2. Tennant
  3. Hurt
  4. Smith
  5. Morrissey
  6. Capaldi

Wednesday, October 8 2014

Dear Amazon,

I can find a very faint trace of relevance in the first recommendation, but not in the second one. Please enlighten me.

From from kindle to kinder, from music to mattresses?

(and the reason this image is so large is that I took the screenshot on my Surface Pro 2, which has a high-density 1080p display, and Photoshop refuses to make the fonts readable if I shrink it any further)

Dear Former President Obama,

When Jimmy Carter calls you a sissy, you have failed utterly at foreign policy.

Monday, October 6 2014

Hawk, by Steven Brust

The new Vlad Taltos novel arrived. Drat that horrible evil Amazon! It’s not bad enough that they work hard to sell me the things I want at prices I like, but they had to go and deliver it a day early. The fiends!

I haven’t even read the blurb on this one yet, since I’ll pretty much buy anything Brust writes, the moment it’s available. He may be an unrepentant communist, but the man can write.

Friday, October 3 2014

There’s a perfectly good reason for this…

9-element Shigeuchi layout

…and here it is:

(Continued on Page 4468)

Wednesday, October 1 2014

Stylish, Well-Engineered, Reliable

Pick two. Or, if you’re feeling less charitable toward Apple, one.

“Just today: My iPhone 6 rebooted after I changed the home screen wallpaper. Tapped a new image in the wallpaper settings, and poof, it rebooted. Worse, it never stopped rebooting. Endless reboot cycle. Now I’m doing a full restore with iTunes. After changing my wallpaper to a different image.”

(of course, anyone who buys brand-new Apple designs on launch day is playing with fire in a fireworks factory…)

(not that anyone else’s first shipment of new stuff is necessarily glitch-free, but Apple does seem to be particularly bad at it sometimes)

Update: I followed the link from the article I linked, and while reading it… Safari crashed.

Wednesday, September 10 2014

Dear Amazon recommendation system,

Never change.

Tongs, because USB3

Boom and Bust

Y’know, I was just thinking that there isn’t enough terrible anime on the shelves any more…

(direct link for those whose ad-blockers won’t show Amazon iframes)

Sunday, September 7 2014

Tip of the day

Don’t practice martial arts barefoot on artificial turf, on a hot sunny day. My sunburn and my rugburn are competing to see which one is the most annoying. Apart from that, the Shinkendo seminar was terrific.

Thursday, September 4 2014

Quote of the day

“I can’t believe I just got rickrolled by your cubicle.”
– Jennifer

…because I taped this to the wall.

Wednesday, September 3 2014

Not your typical celebrity car accident

One K-pop singer dead, another one in critical condition, and a third hospitalized, because:

“Around 1:30 AM in Suwon, an issue occured with the car’s back wheel coming off. With the rainy road and wheel coming off, the vehicle spun several times, hitting a guardrail.”

Monday, September 1 2014

This will make sense later…

7,8,9; 10,11; 23,24; 25,26. Dots to dot; shift, left over right; shift, right over left; reset. Repeat.

Saturday, August 30 2014

I find this argument oddly compelling…

Brian Cates has a healthy dialogue about modern feminism. Only work-safe if everyone around you admires the sight of Sofia Vergara in very little clothing.

I wish they’d run reruns of Fuera de Serie sometime; while the main attraction was Sofia’s amazing body, it was actually a fun little travel show, even if you don’t speak any Spanish.

Wednesday, August 20 2014

Bullied by the 1%

From the basic rules in the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons:

You can play a male or female character without gaining any special benefits or hindrances. Think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture’s expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior. For example, a male drow cleric defies the traditional gender divisions of drow society, which could be a reason for your character to leave that society and come to the surface.

You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.

Therapeutic role-play rarely mixes well with gaming, and SJWs are no fun at (or in) a party.

Update: how would I write this, to get the point across without bullshit gender-studies jargon and really stupid examples? (note that I’ve added back the first and last sentences, above. I originally left the first one out because it was the only sensible part, but then I read multiple complaints that it was still too “binary”; I added the last sentence just for completeness)

There are no sex-based restrictions or penalties in D&D; you are free to create your characters as you imagine them, and role-play your choices.

Monday, August 18 2014

Ninja Nonsense

This is just… kinda sad. It’s one thing to cater to the wannabe-ninja crowd by selling outfits and weapons that are as historically-accurate as the katana from Highlander, but $140 for this is pure sucker-bait:

This hand forged Shuriken set is not only made according to Meifu Shinkage Ryu specs but also include a certificate of authenticity signed by Yasuyuki Otsuka himself, Soke of Meifu Shinkage Rryu.

We are also glad to present with this Shuriken Set our original and unique carry pouch. Made from durable canvas and double layered in the Shuriken tip area this pouch is perfect to carry the Shuriken to your Dojo.

At least if you buy these, you’ll be getting hand-made iron spikes that are good for something. And that won’t get you unpleasant attention from law-enforcement.

I understand the need to cater to the wannabe-* crowd. It’s hard to stay in business as a martial-arts supply store that only sells to serious students, and the high margins on goofy/cool-looking stuff pay the rent, much the way Gil Hibben’s multi-pronged fantasy knives used to.

(I should also note that I have nothing against the various “ninja” schools; apart from their historical claims and taste in weapons, they seem to be legitimate modern martial arts, and there’s nothing wrong with being modern. After all, while Judo was invented in 1884, it didn’t really spread until it was made part of the 20th-century middle-school phys-ed curriculum (along with a newly-standardized Kendo, and Naginata-do for girls), and Aikido and Karate came after WWI. In fact, the art that Aikido is based on, Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu, may have been invented about the same time as Judo, despite claims to a 900-year history)

I sort-of miss my Japanese spam

For a long time, I’ve been getting email spam in Japanese. I let it pile up in the spam folder and went through it occasionally for laughs, but I haven’t had any since the end of July. Even before that, it had been gradually tapering off, mostly coming from a single source that for some reason always included “LINE” somewhere in the subject.

I still get plenty of Chinese spam containing infected Excel spreadsheets (or, very rarely, infected Word documents), phony warnings from random banks and courts that contain infected zip files, whatever the latest domestic scam is (mostly weight-loss for the past few weeks), and the usual assortment of get-it-up or make-it-bigger medications, which mostly come from Russian domains.

But nothing in Japanese any more. My spam folder has 5-10 per day up to July 24th, and nothing after. The last amusing one was all the way back in December, when one of them dragged out the gyaku-enjo ad again.

The closest I’ve gotten to actual fun spam recently was the Spanish-language one offering a how-to class on making sushi, from a cooking school in Buenos Aires.

“Need a clue, take a clue; got a clue, leave a clue.”