Archive for December, 2012

Amazon recommendations broken

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Once again,the idiots in charge of the Recommendations feature of amazon.com have totally screwed up.  They are so stupid they think that if you’ve bought any movie from the Criterion collection, you must want every movie in the collection, regardless of long expressed distaste for genres or directors.  As if higher quality prints make better movies.  It’s the kind of mistake you should be ashamed to have made, and shows a complete lack of customer focus in testing the change.  I really hope they get around to firing the team responsible, and bringing back a working recommendations system.  Seriously, if someone just bought a stack of 100 DVD-R’s, there is zero chance they are going to buy a stack of DVD+R’s, and if you wrote a recommendation system that make that suggestion, you are an idiot.

Science ignorance abounds

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I was visiting a friend, who had other friends of  his over as well, and we are watching football on TV.  An advertisement for a cell phone comes on, which mentions DNA, and one of the FOAF’s says something about how he’d never even touch one of those phones, or else the government would have his DNA on file and be able to ????  That part wasn’t clear.  As the discussion went on, what was clear, with each mention of a technology, real or imagined, that they thought could be used against them, was how little they understood, what is science-fiction, and what is actual science.

I used to get very frustrated, and try to explain things to people.  Now I just smile and nod, and blog about it later.  I don’t have so many stomach problems anymore.

Weed Tourism

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Now that Washington state has legal weed, presumably we will get our share of stoners who couldn’t make it to Amsterdam, before that party ended.  Whatever your opinion on our state’s collective decision, it’s hard to ignore the potential for capitalism to do it’s thing.  I will be surprised if people don’t start opening W&B (Wake and Bake)’s instead of B&B’s, where in addition the the regular room and board, you are provided a curated selection of weed, locally grown, organic of course, alongside artisan munchies of the highest snackability.

Once there are stores and cafes where people smoke, there will be the potential for guided tours.  I should call the people that do Seattle’s underground tours, see if they already have plans in the works.

Advertising nationally would seem problematic, with the feds being who they are.  Maybe people will post ads for Seattle weed shops, on Dutch websites.  Hard to say how this will all play out, but like a gold rush, the green rush is going to make a lot of people very excited for future riches, but only handful actually rich, most likely.

Strange plugs

Friday, December 28th, 2012

The stats system for this website uses a bit of javascript to see what plug-ins visitors have.  It’s is always surprising to me, to see what it finds.  For a period of time, I saw a bunch of silverlight visitors.  Today, there are a bunch of people with Macromedia Director.  I can’t even begin to imagine what sites require Director these days.

Crystal power

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

The russian guy I work with, is giving out little quartz crystals, to enhance our workplace energy.

I had not suspected him of such woo.

Physical access == pownership

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

One of the key lessons of computer security is that physical access is important.

We are preparing for moving to a new office, in the new year.  A contractor has been tasked with finding the owners of all the miscellaneous boxes we have scattered about.  He was getting stuck on one of the Sparc Solaris 8 machines, with none of the typical root passwords working.  I showed him how, with a copy of the OS cdrom, it is trivial to reset the root password.  The hardest part is identifying which disk slice to mount, when you are in single-user mode, and that’s more of a tedious task of try until it works, than any sort of actual though or research.

My kingdom for an intern

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

I have the tedious task of reverse engineering the SFTP protocol, into an XML representation of the data flow, for feeding into a fuzz testing generator system.  The idea sounds very useful, but this seems like a long and boring task ideal for a college kid, soul uncrushed.

Decisions I will never understand

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

I can understand having fun tickling your child, that you don’t get to see very often.  I can understand letting enthusiasm take you too far, ignoring your child’s cries to stop.  What I can’t understand is continuing the tickles, when the cries have turned to actual tears, and the joy has turned into full on panic.

What I can’t understand is how you could do that, again and again.  Not just a second time, but more times than the child could count.

Jimmy and the megastud

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

The guy was bigger than most.  Not the biggest he’d ever touched, but second largest he’d ever tried to take on, and the only mega tool he’d gone back to for a second helping.  It wasn’t like it felt better than a less heroic size would…it was all about the man attached to it.  Strong, but not scary, caring and compassionate, and more than anyone else ever in Jimmy’s life, aware.  Aware that Jimmy was a real person, with fears he couldn’t express, hopes he couldn’t voice, and desires he was afraid to share.  Aware when he was getting too excited and causing pain instead of pleasure, and capable of holding himself back when those moments arose.

Jimmy knew it couldn’t last, and so threw himself into making the megastud happy, pushing his limits, and desperately trying to anticipate the role he was expected to play.  In the days between visits, they texted constantly, sometimes sexy, more often simply passionate and considerate, like real love growing between two strangers.  Jimmy wanted to believe, to hope, that it was all real.  But Jimmy owned a mirror.

LG washer recall

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Got notice that my brand new washing machine has been recalled.  Oh joy.  It seems it can come apart during high speed rotation, and cause serious injury.  D’oh.