Archive for August, 2012

Reading Skillz FTW

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Oy Vey people.

I got a series of very confusing text messages from someone who read my post about a spare PAX pass…back in 2010. I thought it was my buddy who usually hooks me up, with a new phone number, and completely didn’t catch on to what was what right away.

d’oh all around.

Someone’s bad day

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

An emergency call for a hazmat spill, with 11 different incident reports, with 27 responding vehicles, and two medic responses just down the road from that. Sounds like a bad day at the docks.

Well I think it’s a good idea

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I was somewhere the other night, wanting to know if my phone’s notification vibration was for a text message, or an email, when it occurred to me that you could have a non-visual interface for a phone, with it using morse code vibrations for output, and you using morse code tapping for input. Then people could text in darkened performance spaces without even having to take the phone out of their pocket. As long as it was only available on phones whose vibration mode is completely silent, it seems like it would be a net positive benefit to humanity. People who just can’t go without checking in, could do so without bothering others. Well, except for people staring at your crotch, wondering what you are doing with your hands in your pockets =p

Turns out that google made the idea of a morse code keyboard for phones an April’s Fool Day joke this year.

I still think being able to get the title of newest email, or contents of latest text, via morse vibration, is a good idea. I may have to contact my mobile dev-y friends to see how hard it would be to implement.

While they do the coding, I can start learning more morse than S-O-S…which I’m 90% sure I’ve got backwards, and in any eventual emergency, will be frantically and confusingly sending out O-S-O.

Malice or mistake

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I wonder how the ArenaNet password reset dialogue reads. I got a password reset notification, that I didn’t request, and it seems far more likely that someone has a username similar to mine, than an email address.

Metro IS the start menu

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As I’m slowly doing some work with Windows 8, it helps me to think of the metro screen as a full-screen start menu. The knowledge that you can just start typing, once it is displayed, without having to open a charm first, was my first hope that the OS might actually be usable. Still annoying, ugly, unintuitive and anti-productive, but usable.

Of course I still can’t figure out how our X-server’s installer is creating a file that STAF can’t delete, but the user that STAF runs as can, or more importantly, how to work around the problem.

Ignorance Abounds

Monday, August 27th, 2012

This weekend, in my continuing quest for photographic opportunities, I took a ride on another Seattle tourist attraction, the Queen of Seattle. While clicking away with my camera, I overhear a group of 60-somethings behind me, bemoaning immigration, with one asserting that the solution, obviously, is to only grant citizenship to the family of people who’ve served in the military. He of course is only thinking of his father in WWII, completely ignoring that since before the civil war, we’ve been filling our armed forces with immigrants. I think he might be surprised at what kind of people would be left in his dream America.

Windows 8 vs STAF

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Running into unexpected issues, using STAF to automate our test environment, under Windows 8. Seems there are some fundamental security model changes that can prevent non-administrator command prompts from connecting to local network services. I can connect to the running STAF process from a local Administrator Command prompt window, and from a remote machine, but a regular command prompt window gives the dreaded RC 21 error.

Of course, when I try to reproduce the issue on my own VM, things work just fine, which leads me to wonder what my fellow cow-orkers did when setting up their Win8 machine, that is different from mine…And it turns out the difference is that, for whatever reason, he set the “run as administrator for all users” flag on his STAFProc.exe, and sure enough, if I enable that, suddenly a regular command prompt can’t reach STAF, on an administrator console. Now to see if I can fix his machine….

So, I can get STAF into a state on his machine where a regular command prompt window can reach it, but the testing process fails when it tries to delete a leftover directory, part of a safe-than-sorry-clean-up, and is getting a permission denied error (RC 10 OS 5) for an XML file generated during the previous install. I can delete the file by hand just fine, and can’t recreate the behavior by creating my own file with the exact same list of permissions. How very strange. Time to inspect our installer manifest, see what it does to create the file in the first place…

Facebook privacy fail

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Spot-checking my gmail spam filter this morning, I notice an email with a ‘from’ name of one of my facebook friends. Of course gmail correctly looked at the address it was sent to, randomstringofletters@spamownersdomainnamedotcom, and trashed it, but the fact that they knew the name of someone who has no public online association with the email address it was sent to, means that some facebook ‘app’ deliberately misused our combined data to generate their failed phishing attempt.

Interesting and annoying, but ineffective on their part, with me. I wonder how many people it works on.

Bye bye cooliris

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Realizing I am late to the party, Cool Iris having abandoned their original product back at the beginning of the year, but still wanting to express my disbelief that a company would turn their back on a half-million + users, in favor of a market that has given them less than 50,000 users. I get that they are desperately searching for relevance and a way to monetize their basic idea, but walking away from the larger market, in favor of a much smaller market, with a lot more competition, and more importantly, so many limitations due to the form factor, that leave their product with little to differentiate it from the many gallery applications already available. The mobile experience is never going to match the desktop experience, being a wired vs wireless speed competition, restricted to a tiny screen, and a tiny local memory pool.

If I had invested money in the company, I’d be very worried about the diligence that management is putting into their control of the company’s direction, because right now, it seems like they are driving for the nearest cliff at top speed, fingers in their ears, and cloth over their eyes.

Public performance art

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

One of the City of Seattle’s official temporary art projects, Surrogate, involves the artist walking a section of greenwood ave, twice a day, for a couple hours at a time, hugging trees, and leaving behind poems on each hugged item.

I may have to reconfigure my chocolate time, to be in the neighborhood at the right time to witness one of these huggings.