Archive for PEBKAC

Too long, or not too long?

This is a question because:

Most edit boxes pass the string you enter into some sort of processing or database. Within the processing process or the database table, the code expects some sane limit on the amount of text entered.

Now “sane” is open to discussion, but I’m guessing you’re probably not planning for this many:

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, stripped of line breaks and punctuation, contains 135,014 of the most thought-provoking characters in the English language. This should exceed the limits of most individual controls unless you’re testing a word processor.

I ought to try that on some of our 40-character fields, just to watch the database stand and unfold itself.


The OS that wouldn’t die

Microsoft can’t possibly be happy with this: BGR reports that Windows 7 has over 47 percent of the PC operating-system market, while Windows 8 and 8.1 combined barely broke 10 percent.

This, however, escalates to Utterly Flabbergasting:

According to the latest report from Net Market Share, XP’s market share increased from 28.98% in December to 29.23% in January.

XP. Otherwise known as 5.1. Who knew? (Me. I still run XP at home and on my work box.)

Implausible as it may seem, there are still a few actual Vista (Windows 6) users out there. Everyone I know who bought Vista either downgraded to XP or happily jumped to 7 the moment it appeared.

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Core weaknesses

Apple was getting insistent about iTunes 11.1.4, so I yielded. Not a good idea: the installation halted halfway through because one of the supporting packages hadn’t started. Okay, fine. The package wouldn’t start. The install claimed to have completed, but then the program wouldn’t start, claiming there was a missing DLL (for those keeping score, it was msvcr80.dll).

WTF are you talking about? I didn’t lose any DLLs. I attempted a reinstall, which wouldn’t even start. When that failed, I called up trusty System Restore, which went 0-3 on the dates chosen. Finally I had to uninstall everything Apple-related on the box, throw out a bunch of files manually, and only then would the installer work.

At least it didn’t screw up the actual iTunes library (7400 tracks, several playlists, and a couple of radio stations).

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Case insensitive

The only way this could have been sillier would have been if the password had been “PASSWORD” or something like that:

CBS Super Bowl Command Center coverage screenshot

And I thought my security might have been, um, somewhat porous.

(Via Deadspin.)

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Hardware update

The old box, once restarted, managed to go six hours without one of those inexplicable reboots. Which means that the problem has been greatly reduced, but hardly solved.

Then again, with Ol’ Man Winter descending upon us heavily again, I’m not in a shopping mood, and delaying the process is a Good Thing.

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Hardware blues

Consider this a brief summation of what goes through your head as you desperately search for ways to keep this old clunker running for just a few more weeks. And by “you,” I of course mean “me.”

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Just don’t call it “support”

As everyone knows, after the 8th of April you and your antiquated Windows XP box are on your own: Microsoft assumes no further responsibility for the safety of your data.

Well, except for this:

Microsoft will be able to silently reach into Windows XP PCs for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS to clean malware-infected machines, sources close to the company confirmed Friday.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) will continue to be updated and deployed via Windows Update through July 14, 2015, 15 months after the Redmond, Wash. company serves its final public security patches for XP on April 8 of this year.

By extending the life of the MSRT — and more importantly, automatically running it each month — Microsoft will be able to clean some PCs if massive malware outbreaks hit Windows XP after it’s retired from support.

“If”? The phrase “sitting ducks” comes immediately to mind.

What’s more:

Previously, Microsoft said it would stop shipping Security Essentials’ signature updates to XP PCs after April 8. But in a tacit nod to XP’s widespread use, Microsoft postponed the cut-off until July 14, 2015.

This will do wonders for Redmond’s public image. Now if they could just vend a few more Windows 7 licenses…


Otherwise occupied

I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with your tech request at this time:

Oh, in case you weren’t paying attention:

Anti-government demonstrators in Ukraine are expanding their protests after talks between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych stalled.

In western Ukraine, the activists seized the regional government office in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk and are storming another one in Chernivtsi.

Protests were reported in Lutsk, in the north-west, and Sumy, in the east.

Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovych vowed to use “all legal means” if a solution to the crisis is not found.

You can see how this might affect one’s concentration.


Sea shells? See shore

Modest aspirations, these, or maybe not:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I want to create a website for creating websites. like people can create website directly using that website?

Oh, he could probably do it, but I’d hate to see the documentation, which would inevitably read something like this:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Background check

Over at Pergelator, we find a screenshot of, well, an earlier Pergelator article:

Screenshot from Pergelator

Now what was perturbing at first, of course, was that little circle just above the beginning of the second line of text, which was eventually blamed on Chrome, because it’s a Google product and when in doubt, you might as well blame Google, especially since the article was posted via Blogger, which is a Google product.

But what’s more interesting is the second complaint:

You know what else is weird? The background in the screenshot is a different color than the background here, even though they should be identical. I mean, it’s a screenshot, right?

It is. And so is this:

Screenshot from Pergelator

I took that via Firefox 26. Obviously I’m not using the same typeface or size. More important, I didn’t save this as a JPEG; I saved mine as a PNG, which works better on text and charts and graphs than JPEG, which is better suited to actual pictures of stuff.

There’s still the question of why my copy of his background is darker than my background, but that’s also pretty easily answered: his text-area background color is just a hair darker than mine. (I use flat #FFFFFF in this theme; he uses #F5F5F5 in his.) And actually, the slightly off-white is probably a bit easier on readers’ eyes.

This is not to say that I’m any kind of graphics whiz or anything, only that I’ve been at it long enough to manipulate the rudiments reasonably well.


And no corned beef, either

Nancy Friedman did a Visual Thesaurus piece about the word “duds,” and, as usual, put up an excerpt on her own blog. Near the bottom, she mentioned a trademark that was abandoned a few years back: “MILF Duds.”

Feigning horror, I attempted to post the following comment:

I truly hate that term “MILF” and the occasional variations thereupon; there’s no reason I should care about someone else’s prurient interests.

TypePad wasn’t having any of this, and popped up this cryptic message: “Not a HASH reference.”

Now TypePad is a relative of Movable Type, which is written in Perl, often disparaged as a “write-only” language: any code that actually works will be unreadable. I guessed that this might be some sort of Perl issue, having seen a few in four years of running MT, and found several TypePad users complaining about it.

This is not to say that I understand PHP, which is at the core of WordPress; but PHP, so far, has never kept me from complaining about acronyms. And there really is no reason why I should care about someone else’s prurient interests; in fact, most of the time, I can scarcely bother with my own.

Update, 3:25 pm: She asked if I’d try to post the comment again. This time it worked.

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We are the eye in the sky

You may remember this from a few days back:

Last week, Ford’s Global VP of Marketing and Sales, Jim Farley, told a panel discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that Ford has access to data on its customers’ driving habits via the GPS system installed in their cars. “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone,” he said.

It took about 24 hours for Farley to backpedal:

The next day Mr. Farley adjusted his statement to avoid giving the wrong impression saying that the statement was hypothetical and that Ford does not routinely collect information on, or otherwise track, drivers through their GPS systems without those drivers’ consent and approval. That approval comes from turning on and opting into specific services like 911 Assist and something called Sync Services Directions, a system that links the GPS system to users’ cellular phones.

Which you, as a Ford owner, were aware you were consenting to, right?

Then again, most of us give up information something less than grudgingly:

Years ago I read a factoid that said when most Americans have the opportunity to opt out of junk mail, things like advertising brochures and store catalogs, we actually sign up for more. I think that’s as true today as it was back then. We don’t like intrusive forms of advertising like phone calls during the dinner hour and pop-up ads in our browsers, but generally speaking the average American doesn’t mind things like targeted ads that appear off to the side or above a website’s banner. These things are, we know, a necessary evil, the price we pay for free content. After all, someone has to pay the bills in order to keep a website running and targeted ads based on my browsing history are an effective way of getting me to see a product I might actually buy.

Or, in my case, getting me to see one I looked at but didn’t buy, and continuing to get me to see it until I give in.

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It was either that or “Vista 3″

Yours truly, just last week:

Windows, say the wags, runs the opposite of Star Trek films: the odd-numbered versions are good, the even-numbered versions (like Vista, which was 6) not so good.

Obviously Microsoft is aware of this phenomenon:

Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment. That’s a disaster, and Threshold [the next major release] needs to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users while enticing users to adopt this new Windows on new types of personal computing devices. In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not…

To distance itself from the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft is currently planning to drop the Windows 8 name and brand this next release as Windows 9. That could change, but that’s the current thinking.

Will the Start Menu return? It just might.

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H8ers again

According to various strings hidden hither and yon in the operating system, I’m running Windows 5.1. (You may know it better as XP.) Windows, say the wags, runs the opposite of Star Trek films: the odd-numbered versions are good, the even-numbered versions (like Vista, which was 6) not so good.

Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog complained about Win8 last year:

Like Windows Vista, it is an absolutely awful OS that our company has banned any employee from using on a company machine.

He kept it out of his house, too, until his son needed a new laptop. And now he reports that it’s even worse than he thought:

The system boots up into a tiled mess that looks like some cheesy website covered in moving gifs and viagra ads. To make matters worse, nothing on this tablet-based interface is organized at all logically. The interface is like the room of an ADD child that dropped all of his toys and books in random spots. I am sure these tiles have some sort of navigation paradigm, but it is completely different from any used in past windows versions. I could not, for example, figure out how to easily exit the store except to alt-tab out (there is no exit or quit option and right-click context menus which are one of the great advantages of windows over mac don’t seem to work a lot of the time). Again, I am sure there is some way to do it, but I have no idea what it is and no desire to learn new navigation commands. Perhaps Microsoft intends that one use a gamepad instead of a mouse — I would not be surprised at this point.

There are, I’m sure, third-party tools to avoid this particular pixelgasm, but I’m not sure I’d want to install them on a machine used by a tot.

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It’s an email from your pot roast

Wait a minute. Isn’t the whole idea of a Crock-Pot to avoid constantly fiddling with dinner?

If ever there was a sign that the “Internet of Things” is finally here, it’s the internet connected Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker launched at CES in Las Vegas this week.

Costing $99 (£66) when it launches in the US in the coming weeks, the internet-connected slow cooker uses Belkin’s WeMo connected tech to connect to the internet and then be controlled via your phone when you are out of the house.

Once it’s connected to the internet, you have full control over the cooker via the WeMo app, be that in your home or anywhere in the world for that matter.

I dunno. Goes against my grain, I guess.

Goes against Bill Quick’s grain, too, but for a different reason:

Great. Now the NSA will be monitoring what you’re having for dinner tonight.

They’ll probably just hand it off to HHS, so Sebelius can see if you’re eating an Approved Diet.

But yeah, that’s enough to kill the deal right there.

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Future hate

Canadian author Sheila Heti has spoken (or tweeted, anyway) positively about Her, the Spike Jonze film about a fellow who falls hard for the disembodied voice in an operating system. I’ve been avoiding the film, officially because it hasn’t opened locally yet, but really because I know I’m susceptible to this same sort of crush and I’d just as soon not be reminded of myself, though of course I’ve never looked anything like Joaquin Phoenix.

Then she sent this up:

What did he mean by that? I suggested that this merited further thought, to the extent that what I do can be considered “thought,” and she replied:

by “this” I’m pretty sure he meant the scenario in the movie. Kill so many so only computers are left to love? Who knows?

It looks to me, down here in Third Hand Alley, that the chap really doesn’t want to kill anyone, but fears that the film might lead him — or, perhaps more likely, someone else of a type he recognizes with a different set of values — to bring about this binary dystopia. Then again, guys in love do some incredibly foolish things at times.

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Windows 86

Just a slight addition to the title screen is all we need:

Sure it looks nifty but everything is in the wrong place and more complicated. It now takes three clicks just to shut down the computer. I know … “Poor baby, you have to click the mouse three times. Boohoo.” But darn it, why? And worse, where did all my stuff go?

Microsoft has evidently decided that since the bulk of their customers don’t know where their stuff is in the first place, this must be what they actually want.

(For you young folks, the title is explained here.)

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Not the best idea ever

Still, there will always be someone to ask:

Yahoo Answers screenshot What happens when you delete C:\?

On the other hand, if this be trollage, it’s pretty seamless.

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Lots of mice have been plugged into my trusty desktop, and all but one of them have been unplugged for various reasons, the most recent being a Logitech rodent that for some reason couldn’t complete a cut/paste cycle.

So out it goes, in favor of what the label says is a Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000. Using the same settings as the Logitech, it’s absurdly fast; I had to crank everything back to get to the point where I could keep track of the pointer. What’s more, it’s silly-looking: two-tone silver over black. Still, it works, which the old meece in the cabinet don’t.

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Are you User Experienced?

What GM has to say about the Cadillac User Experience:

CUE blends first-of-its-kind technology with highly intelligent design, bringing the intuitive control of smartphones and tablets safely to the road. With a clean, uncluttered design, Natural Voice Recognition and responsive touch-screen technology, CUE creates an experience that’s as simple to use as it is advanced.

With his thumb firmly downturned, John Phillips of Car and Driver [January] says that the system is “about to lap itself in the Indy 500 of Idiocy”:

[CUE] urged me to differentiate between “Infotainment Gestures” by memorizing the seven secret finger movements: “press/tap,” “press and hold,” “drag,” “nudge,” “fling or swipe,” “spread,” and “pinch.” I’m not making this up. Turned out that my personal favorite was “punch real hard,” followed by a finger gesture I already knew.

I hope these are intended for use in stationary mode, because if I’m flying along at freeway speeds — or, perhaps, freeway speeds plus 10 percent — I don’t have time to remember whether I’m supposed to be pointing this way or that.

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Cast into the wilderness

Once upon a time, the great digital god Google smote me with the back of its algorithmic hand; I had to mend my ways and atone for my wickedness before I would be readmitted to Google’s good graces, a process which ultimately required me to hire the services of a white-hat malware consultant, my own mad skillz being insufficient to the task.

But that’s Google: it knows the quality of mercy, even if it’s difficult to entreat them to extend it to someone. Lesser entities have their own methods of persuasion:

The McAfee Site Advisor website claims, about, “We tested it and found security risks. Beware.”

These claims by McAfee are utterly false and highly defamatory. By spreading this information through its downloadable browser tools, McAfee is severely harming the reputation and web traffic of Natural News while misleading potentially millions of users about a website that they find to be highly informative, reputable and completely free of security risks.

UPDATE: McAfee contacted us and explained that if we paid them $38,000, they would certify our website and “take care” of the red reputation rankings. In a second conversation, they told us that if we made the decision to go with them TODAY, they would reduce the fee to just $32,000. Feeling forced into having our website reputation destroyed if we did not pay, we paid McAfee $32,000, which we consider an “extortion fee.” Magically, within minutes, all the red flags on our website were lifted and Natural News is no longer being blocked by McAfee. This cost us $32,000!!!

“We tested it” seems arguable:

Site Advisor’s scores are derived from users who sign up to be “site reviewers.” The ratings from these “site reviewers” are then TRUSTED by McAfee to be accurate, regardless of whether they are accurate or not.

This faulty reputation structure allows gangs of online paid trolls (so-called “anti-P.R. companies”) to game the system and coordinate a campaign of submitting negative ratings for any targeted website (such as Natural News).

I need hardly point out that if there’s one thing trolls like better than trolling, it’s getting paid for trolling.

They haven’t sent Maggie a bill yet, but they’ve blacklisted her on the flimsiest of “evidence”:

[T]he warning on Site Advisor about Maggie’s Notebook points to Blogads as my problem, and to be clear, Blogads is not the problem, and because of McAfee, Blogads has not been on my site for months. BUT here’s the story: McAfee says they “haven’t tested it [Blogads] yet,” and by their own admission they “don’t have enough information,” but flagged me anyway. Many, many sites use Blogads as an advertising source. They are completely reputable.

If nothing else, this shows you how often they update their “information.”

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Having a bad day

I started using this plugin last year; it does a pretty good job of hosing out the database when used on a regular basis.

Until, of course, it doesn’t. Judging by the changelog, it’s been a rough few days for the poor guy:

2.7.3 [12/09/2013]

    BUG FIX: deleted some CR/LF’s from the end of the plugin sigh

2.7.2 [12/09/2013]

    BUG FIX: forgot to delete a debug item… oops! sorry!

2.7.1 [12/09/2013]

    BUG FIX: query and depreciated item (mysql_list_tables) fixed

2.7 [12/06/2013]

    NEW: deletion of expired transients (optional)

I’d deactivated it for a while, figuring he’d straighten it out eventually. Looks like maybe he did.

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Your photos shall not escape us

Yahoo!, which managed Flickr competently until last year’s system-wide makeover, which got on users’ last collective nerve, is now looking for another photo site to mess up:

This fall, Yahoo began serious talks to buy photo-sharing site Imgur, a source with first-hand knowledge of those discussions tells us.

Since she joined Yahoo in July 2012, CEO Marissa Mayer has acquired dozens of startups. Most of these acquisitions have been acqui-hires.

The buy that cost Yahoo the most was its $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr. Yahoo bought Tumblr because it has a deeply engaged, youthful audience, that uses the product on mobile. It would buy Imgur for all the same reasons.

Not that Imgur is going to cost that much, even allowing for the standard 50-percent markup on brands ending in R:

Our guess is Yahoo would have to offer something between $100 million and $500 million. But who knows in a world where Snapchat supposedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook.

And what the frak is “acqui-hiring,” anyway?

[It is] the process of acquiring a company to recruit its employees, without necessarily showing an interest in its products and services (or their continued operation).


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Press Escape to continue

A lone Republican, noticing the absence of the horse, calls for more security measures affecting the stable door:

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would prevent the federal government from deploying new websites that don’t adequately protect personal data.

His Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act, H.R. 3635 [pdf], would also require existing websites to show they [are] safe and secure. If a website fails to meet that standard, the government would have to take it offline until it is repaired.

This is, of course, a shot across the bow of, which was introduced with no discernible security and the functionality of GeoCities.

“In its haste to implement ObamaCare, the White House has acted with reckless disregard when it comes to protecting the public from hackers,” Bentivolio said Tuesday. “With this website, they have jeopardized not only the personal information of users attempting to obtain health insurance, but also potentially compromised dozens of other federal agencies and their systems.”

What “haste”? They had three whole years to develop this thing. And you have to figure that by now anyone’s private information, yours, mine or the government’s — which latter is therefore yours and mine — has already been picked up by NSA, awaiting bids from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg.

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In-house, out of mind

I’ve never worked for Walmart, but I suppose if I did, I’d at least sample the Great Value and Sam’s Choice wares. (Some might argue that if I worked for Walmart, I couldn’t afford anything but Great Value and Sam’s Choice, but that’s another matter entirely.)

Yahoo! of late has been trying, really trying, to get its employees to use the newly revamped Yahoo! Mail. No, not at home: Marissa Mayer hasn’t gone that far yet, and probably won’t, given the negative response she got for her call for less telecommuting. But apparently only 25 percent of Y! staff have actually switched to the corporate mail product, clinging, maybe even bitterly, to the devil they know: Microsoft Outlook.

Clearly something had to be done, and that something was a memo from a pair of Y! execs with the satisfyingly snarky title “Windows 95 called and they want their mail app back.” This runs ten paragraphs of varying length, of which I will here expropriate only the fifth:

First, it doesn’t feel like we are asking you to abandon some glorious place of communications nirvana. At this point in your life, Outlook may be familiar, which we can often confuse with productive or well designed. Certainly, we can admire the application for its survival, an anachronism of the now defunct 90s PC era, a pre-web program written at a time when NT Server terrorized the data center landscape with the confidence of a T-Rex born to yuppie dinosaur parents who fully bought into the illusion of their son’s utter uniqueness because the big-mouthed, tiny-armed monster infant could mimic the gestures of The Itsy-Bitsy Pterodactyl. There was a similar outcry when we moved away from Outlook’s suite-mates in the Microsoft Office dreadnaught. But whether it’s familiarity, laziness or simple stubbornness dressed in a cloak of Ayn Randian Objectivism, the time has come to move on, commrade [sic ... go deep in this pun, it is layered].

This isn’t the situation for which the phrase “LOL NO” was invented. But it could have been.

(Via Doc Searls.)

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Old MacDonald had a stack overflow

Once upon a time, in the early days of software, there was something called “documentation”: if your program somehow went awry, you were obviously unhappy with the situation, but at least there was an explanation of what had just happened.

Today, however, you’re left to twist in the electron wind:

One of the things the guy in his garage had to do, in order to even have a shot at success, was to go through all his error messages one by one and make sure every one of them accurately described what went wrong, in a way that the user could speedily fix or at least address the problem, with confidence, ALL OF THE TIME. All five hundred of the goddamn things, or ten thousand, or however many of them there were. Not like they were professionally edited or anything. Some of them had appealingly rustic little grammar errors in them, but there was some good old honest-to-God work involved in not confusing or annoying the user, because the user was the customer. Think of a hotel maid doing her best not to completely screw up the room, so the hotel doesn’t get a bad rating on the social media … even though her English is broken, she puts priority on it, and these small-business or one-guy software shops put the same priority on their error messages for the same reason.

Our standards with regard to error messages have slipped to an abysmally low depth. It’s like, nobody even stops to question it any more. The application burbles out some bit of nonsense … “web site does not exist” or “you do not have permissions,” or something else that doesn’t even bear a passing resemblance to what’s really busted. Or what we had going on at work this week, “Error 126.” You take this little string of characters, which amounts to nothing more than a — let’s call it what it really is — SIGNATURE. You take it and Google it and open up some “knowledge base” pages with comments from others who have run into the same error. From that, you figure out what’s really going on. The software publisher might as well insert random snippets from children’s nursery rhymes.

I got a wonderfully inscrutable — yet perfectly understandable — error message from a printer last week:


Bad hammer coil! Bad, bad hammer coil!

The numbers probably would have run out to 130 had there been space on the display panel. A call to tech support yielded up a “Wha…?” An actual tech was dispatched, on the sensible basis that they weren’t going to send out a new shuttle (manufacturer’s suggested retail price, about that of a Nissan Versa) on spec, and the truth of the matter was ascertained.

And that truth was weirdly complicated. There’s a teensy bar magnet superglued into the top of the dust cover. What it’s there for, I haven’t a clue. And at the moment, it wasn’t there anyway: ten years of vibration and dust and more vibration had loosened its hold on the plastic cover, and the magnet made a beeline for the first metallic object within the gravitational field.

Which was the cooling fan for the hammer bank.

Shuttle overheats, inscrutable message is generated, printer shuts down to Not Ready.

Then again, this printer is a decade old. Its younger sister on the platform is prone to coming up with uninformative information like “HALT CW1ZX,” which I tend to interpret as “Cycle the power and hope it goes away.” Sometimes it even does.

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Might even work in Netscape

Every time I feel like adding something new to the sidebar, I probably should just click on this:

Your site has three bylines and link to your dribbble account, but you spread it over 7 full screens and make me click some bobbing button to show me how cool the jQuery ScrollTo plugin is.

“I wouldn’t do that, would I?” asked the guy with two dozen WordPress plugins.

(Via the seriously elegant Joy McCann. Not safe for work. The link, I mean, not Joy.)

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Beating a dead llama

AOL has officially killed Winamp. However, an unlikely interloper is apparently trying to keep it from going on the cart:

Techcrunch has learned that AOL is [in] talks with Microsoft to sell Winamp, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft. We have also learned that AOL has been planning to announce the closure of Shoutcast next week.

From what we understand, the deal is not yet finalized, with AOL and Microsoft still working out the price. It could also be very wishful thinking from those intent on trying to save both services.

Microsoft, so far, has declined to comment.

(Via Fark.)

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The llama’s ass has been whipped

Winamp is being sent to the Old Programs’ Home: and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release.

Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

I do, in fact, have the latest version on the home box, and an actual Pro license; there are some things Winamp does that are simply not feasible otherwise.

(Title adapted from the original Winamp slogan (here expanded a bit), after this Michele Catalano tweet.)

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Achievement uncrocked

Tim Holman’s “The Useless Web” promises a useless Web site at the touch of a button. Half expecting to see something of mine, I pushed, and got the stirringly unproductive OMFGDOGS.

Remarkably, that wasn’t the most useless site I found in half a dozen clicks.

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