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Oh, I don’t like that…

Eh, I just did a Google search on my sad old machine upstairs and for the very first time, at the bottom of the search screen, it said something like “based on your search history, your location is THE LITTLE TEENY VILLAGE POPULATED MOSTLY BY SHEEP THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIVE IN(!!!)“. Substitute the real village name for the phrase in italics, obvsly.

Usually, the closest it gets is a largish town at least twenty miles away. When I use Opera, with its built-in VPN, it defaults to Amsterdam (which sometimes plays havoc with authentication).

I was sure I turned off location services on all my devices, but they have a bad habit of turning themselves back on after just about any software update. So the question is, who ratted me out — my phone? My Kindle? One of my three tablets? My desktop machine? The wheezy old thumper upstairs?

One thing’s for sure, it won’t be Uncle B’s machine. Dude is crazy paranoid.

So…what are you doing to keep Google out of your panties? Are you using a VPN? Are you paying for it? I…really don’t like this.

April 18, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 22

Toys

We may be out in the boonies, but we’re along the flight path to the Continent (just ask that nice Mr Hitler). Traffic is high and lately I feel sure we’ve heard an uptick.

Enter Uncle B, who’s a bit of a plane geek. He turned me on to a site called Flight Radar 24. It tracks every plane in the sky. Click one, and it tells you the registration, the destination, all sorts of neat flight information.

If you hear one go over and it ain’t on the map, that’s military. We get a lot of that, too.

When you hit that link, if the map isn’t showing your part of the world, drag the screen until it is. Next time, it will remember.

I love the flight arc of planes flying the Atlantic. They always go up and over, like somebody throwing darts.

March 22, 2018 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 29

It finally happened to me

wetphone

I thought it would never happen to me. I’m not one of those people who takes her phone to the loo and watches Gone with the Wind on the throne. I didn’t even remember the silly thing was in my pocket until I heard it >plonk< into the swirling waters of Flushing Stream.

It’s…okay. I peeled off the case and the seal and put the whole lot on the radiator for a few hours. Works okay. Looks kind of wonky.

The video is sort of de-interlaced and I have a spooky purple vignette around the edges of the screen, but only sometimes. I don’t know, is that residual moisture or actual damage? Doesn’t matter. I’m not due for a new phone yet and I’m kind of attached to this one.

Also, I just now tried to update my plugins so y’all can preview comments again, and the preview plugin broke the blog. I nuked the plugin from the control panel and it’s working again, but you still can’t preview. But I think you can edit! Will that do?

March 12, 2018 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 15

Babby’s first blackmail

blackmail

I received this charming email at work this morning.



Subject: [Nothing personal, do not take to heart

Hello,

If you were more careful while caress yourself, I wouldn't worry you.
I don't think that playing with yourself is really awful, but when all
your friends, relatives, сolleagues receive video of it- it is
definitely for you.

I adjusted malisious soft on a porn site which was visited by you.
When the object press on a play button, device begins recording the
screen and all cameras on ur device begins working.

Moreover, my virus makes a remote desktop supplied with key logger
function from your system , so I could save all contacts from ya
e-mail, messengers and other social networks. I've chosen dis e-mail
because It's your corporate address, so u must read it.

I suppose that 300 usd is pretty enough for this little misstep. I
made a split screen video(records from screen (u have interesting
tastes ) and camera ohh... its funny AF)

So its your choice, if u want me to erase this сompromising evidence
use my bitcоin wallеt аddrеss: [redacted]

You have one day after opening my message, I put the special tracking
pixel in it, so when you will open it I will see.If ya want me to
share proofs with ya, reply on this letter and I will send my creation
to five contacts that I've got from ur device.

P.S... U can try to complain to police, but I don't think that they
can solve ur problem, the inquisition will last for several months-
I'm from Latvia - so I dgf LOL


I detect the fine literary influence of Google Translate.

Poking around the internet, I found more about this one. It’s a common scam, but this is the first time it’s hit the UK. It arrived in a number of inboxes just today, always to a business address. Slightly different bitcoin accounts, slightly different amounts demanded, slightly different wording and claiming to be from different (but always Eastern European) countries. There was no tracking pixel.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I felt not the slightest twinge of anxiety when I read this, for the obvious reason. That’s right – my computer doesn’t have a camera! ha HA!

But I wonder how many English butt-cheeks slammed shut over coffee this morning.

February 20, 2018 — 8:52 pm
Comments: 23

Nerdling

backup

Hey, lady, what’re you doing Friday night?

Backing up, of course!

I’m really awful at backups, but my computer refused to boot three times this morning and I think I need to face the fact it’s probably on its way out. No complaints, it’s nearly eight years old, but it took Windows 10 pretty hard.

I always buy as much computer as I can possibly afford, so this one’s going to hurt. Just hang on until after Christmas please, honey.

Good weekend, folx!

December 8, 2017 — 9:27 pm
Comments: 12

Feh!

plugs

I rolled out of bed this morning, made a cup of joe, sat down and switched on my computer monitor and…watched the screen fade to white. Like, totally white.

I did the usual cable-rattling, multi-booting and Googling without much luck (looks like a common problem with laptops, though).

As demonstrated by this crappy photo I stole off the net, my graphics card’s main plug is the one in the middle, the DVI. It doesn’t have the top one, the old VGA, but it does have several variations on HDMI. My monitor has VGA and DVI. BUT! I have an HDMI to VGA adapter thingie (huh! Wonder how that happened). Trust me: this paragraph made sense.

So I’ve got my monitor plugged into the HDMI-to-VGA. It works. Everything looks wrong and shit, but it works. (Hence probably no shiny new monitor for weasel, boo!).

So! Is the HDMI cable screwed? Is the HDMI port on the card screwed, or the one on the monitor? Do I just need to take it all apart, give it a good shake and a clean, and put it together again? Who cares? I’ve brought a shit-ton of work home this weekend and I don’t have time to mess with it!

Hope yours goes better…see you after the weekend.

July 21, 2017 — 9:12 pm
Comments: 18

POOP. Also BUTT.

poop

This cartoon is from a serious article on fecal transplants, part of my course on gut bacteria. Also, it says POOP and BUTT a lot, hee hee!

As horrifying as the very idea of fecal transplants might be, it’s one of the most promising treatments to come along in ages, particularly for dealing with Clostridium difficile. C. diff, as I devoutly hope none of us knows from experience, is a truly nasty bacterial infection of the gut and highly resistant to antibiotics, even the stupid expensive new ones. From the article:

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January of this year [2013] found that 13 out of 16 people treated with fecal transplants were cured of C. diff. Two of the remaining three were cured with a second transplant. The results were so impressive that the researchers found it unethical to continue the other study group on antibiotics, and they received transplants as well.

When it works, it works overnight. Word.

So why aren’t fecal transplants the first line of defense against C. diff? Simple: money, honey. Drug companies can do little to capitalize on or patent human feces. It’s highly unlikely that, without an opportunity to make money, transplants will get the research funding they deserve. Without more research, they remain controversial — a lot of doctors won’t perform them, and some C. diff sufferers resort to at-home transplants [ack! – Weasel]. To further complicate things, the FDA tried earlier this year to regulate transplants by classifying human stool as a biologic drug. That means doctors would have to get an IND (Investigational New Drug) application before performing a transplant, slowing down the process and delaying life-saving treatment. Thankfully the FDA backed off, but it’s possible they’ll attempt regulation again in the future.

This lady was completely cured of her C. diff after a single transplant from her (horribly embarrassed) nine-year-old niece. I should add, though, she still has a nasty, lifelong dose of inflammatory bowel disease, so it ain’t everything. Still.

I used to think blaming drug companies for not following up unprofitable treatments was a bit unfair. Well, actually, I still think it’s unfair — it costs bzillions to research a new drug and carry it through to approval, so of course they don’t follow up on things they can’t patent. It would be a dereliction of duty to their shareholders to do otherwise. Now I blame medical research for not stepping up just a little better. And the regulatory state for getting in the way, of course.

So that’s Week 4 of 6 – two weeks of POOP and BUTT studies yet to come!

June 7, 2017 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 20

The old card with the new card in his arms

cards

By gum, that’s a big-ass video card. It fit in the case, just. For an awful moment, I thought I didn’t have the right power connector — the old one had two banks of six pins, and this one had a bank of six and a bank of eight — but I found that my old power supply had an extra two pin connector zip-tied to the cable for just such an eventuality.

‘Scuse me, I’m off to play the Witcher Wild Hunt, with that last bit of new DLC.

Oh, by the way, I haven’t disabled the rating system, it’s just not working somehow. I started to hunt down the problem and fix it, but I’m kind of torn. On the one hand, I really liked being able to rate comments, but on the other hand I didn’t think this particular widget was very good. Sometimes I had to refresh the page before my vote would take, and the rating thingie popped up at unwanted times sometimes.

Did y’all have problems with it, too?

sock it to me

July 13, 2016 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 9

Well, there’s one

shoe

As you guys may have gathered, I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of 3D printing technologies without having the faintest fucking idea what I could do with it.

I was chatting to someone in my electric bicycle forum (yeah, I get around, baby!) who makes his own bike motors, very substantially using parts he 3D prints. When I expressed some skepticism that PLA would be strong enough to do useful work, he said the material is strong under compression and weak under tension and he designs part thicknesses accordingly. Yes, I saw a picture of his motor in action (it’s a friction motor that works by directly driving the front tire).

Later that night, I sat straight up in bed (I did, too — I’m not kidding) when it occurred to me that I could print *・°☆.。banjo components:*・°☆.。. Like, bridges and armrests and ornamental headstocks and shit. I didn’t think PLA would be very impressive tonally, but then I discovered people are printing wild-ass electric guitars. In nylon, I think. How do they sound? I DON’T CARE!

And today this Kickstarter campaign hit my inbox: you download a free cellphone app and scan your feet and they 3D print custom insoles to match. I am unclear whether they offer the shoes, as well but I DON’T CARE!

We live in wondrous times, my friends.


sock it to me

February 29, 2016 — 10:28 pm
Comments: 17

It’s a toy that makes toys

3dweasel

This is not my work. This is the tragic result of typing “3D Weasel” into a Google Images Search. This bad boy is available on Turbo Squid (the online 3D model repository) for the low, low price of $99.

Any of you gadget hounds fallen for the 3D printer yet? I keep getting flyers at work for a £500 model and a £1,000 model. A little poking around and it looks like the consumer/hobbyist versions are in the $100 to $2,000 range.

Like laser printers, I gather the manufacturer makes their money off the ‘ink’ — in this case, a plastic filament that looks like fat fishing line whereof this grade of 3D ‘print’ is made.

I must say, the arty prints from this class of printer look pretty jaggy and crude to me, but I have no way of knowing if that’s the printer, the model or a user-selectable switch of some kind. I get the impression you can make useful things if you try.

This is a pretty interesting overview of one man’s first year with a 3D printer. FYI, the printer he’s using is around $500. A reel of filament for it is about thirty bucks.

You may recall, I love love LOVE me some 3D modeling. It’s only a matter of time. Just not, perhaps, any time soon.

sock it to me

January 11, 2016 — 11:30 pm
Comments: 12