Peripheral vision

The “desktop” metaphor for our computer rigs fails here:

[I]n the old days of a real desktop, they did not bother extending desks out to 10 feet long in a lame attempt to maximize productivity. Having too many separate sub-areas of the desktop makes it hard to focus on the one at hand. About the only task that truly benefits from two separate areas visible at the same time is manually copying a target document onto a blank one, analogous to dubbing cassettes. Otherwise, the world churned right along — and saw greater productivity gains over time — with just one central work area on their desks.

As a non-multitasker from way back, I can testify to the ease with which I am distracted.

And this is even less comprehensible:

Something similar is going on with the phenomenon of “twenty tabs open at a time,” as though keeping twenty books open on a real desktop would somehow make you absorb information more efficiently. Or as though playing twenty TV channels simultaneously would make for greater entertainment. In Back to the Future II, that was presented as satire; today it has become the unremarkable reality.

If I have more than five or six tabs open, I get antsy (not to be confused with ANSI). I know people who can do ten or twenty or forty; I’m simply not one of them.

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A close clipping

This was one of those games when you wonder just what the heck is going on. For one thing, the Clippers occasionally got fouls called on them, something experience says is nearly impossible. Oklahoma City had a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter; they ran it to 15 in the second before the Clippers started clawing their way back. At halftime, L. A. had cut that lead down to five. The Thunder then pulled away to a 17-point lead in the third; the Clippers started clawing their way back, and had closed to within nine when Reggie Jackson made a 28-foot jumper just ahead of the horn. In the fourth quarter, the Thunder had a 15-point lead when, yes, the Clippers started clawing their way back; they ran off 14 consecutive points to pull to within one. Creeping fatigue? Radio guy Matt Pinto certainly thought so. In the last minute, it was all free throws — two by Kevin Durant, one by Chris Paul, one by Russell Westbrook — and then J. J. Redick put up a jumper, blocked by Serge Ibaka. Westbrook snagged the rebound, dropped in two more freebies, and that was it: Oklahoma City 107, Los Angeles 101, splitting the season series at 2-2 and leaving the Thunder needing only one more win in four games to clinch the #2 seed in the West.

Durant, in fact, had a sub-Durant outing: 27 points, but it took him 26 shots and ten free throws to get it. Maybe he was the tired guy. Westbrook didn’t seem too worn out, collecting 30 points and 11 rebounds. Ibaka came up with 15 points and four timely blocks — though really, almost any block is timely. And maybe the issue for the Clippers was their lack of prowess at the stripe; they clobbered the Thunder on the boards, 52-44, shot about the same percent (41 versus 42), but made only 21 of 34 free throws while OKC was hitting 26 of 32. That’s a seven-point difference right there.

Blake Griffin got the sort of numbers Blake Griffin gets: 30 points, 12 rebounds. (DeAndre Jordan matched him for boards; Chris Paul tossed in 25 points.) The benches: OKC 26, Los Angeles 25, though Darren Collison led all reserves with 12.

Two and two isn’t the worst road trip in the world, and the Pelicans will be in OKC Friday.

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This gets an #FFF

Some students at Dartmouth produced what they call a “Freedom Budget,” justified by the following:

This Freedom Budget focused on redistributing power and restoring justice for communities who suffered economic oppression at the hands of rich, white power structures. This budget was not a proposal for better interpersonal interactions, but a proposal to transform oppressive structures. Dartmouth epitomizes power being isolated to rich, white males. As such, there is no better place than this campus to campaign for a Freedom Budget that will address the consequences of white male patriarchy today.

Robert Stacy McCain questions that “no better place” bit:

Why are these kids so obsessed with white people? First, it’s “rich, white power structures,” then it’s “rich, white males” and “white male patriarchy” — white! white! white! The repetition conveys the intensity of their fixation, but why? Let’s see: Dartmouth College is in Hanover, N.H., and the census says New Hampshire is 94.4% white. So if you have a problem with white people, maybe Dartmouth isn’t the place you want to be, but since you decided to go to Dartmouth, whose problem is this? It’s as if you moved to Tijuana and then started complaining, “Hey, why are there so many Mexicans around here?”

Oh, but they love Mexicans. Well, except maybe these guys.

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I before E, if you must

I admit that this made me laugh:

The computer came with Chrome and he installed Firefox. I said I didn’t care as long as it wasn’t Internet Explorer and he fistbumped me over that (heh. I guess no one likes that browser).

This may be a case of “nobody likes it, but everybody uses it.” From NetMarketShare:

Screenshot from NetMarketShare March 2014

One might ask, I suppose, how many of those folks using IE actually know they’re using IE?

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While you’re at it

WordPress announced the release of version 3.8.2 yesterday; I was planning to do the update later that evening, but an email around dinnertime announced that the dirty deed had already been done. Three others followed in short order, for some other sites I maintain, and one of them deviated slightly from the formula by telling me that “You also have some plugins or themes with updates available.”

Heck, you’d think that if they could update the whole WordPress core remotely, they could also update those plugins — especially since those plugins are their plugins (Akismet and Jetpack). But this is just grousing; anyone who updated WordPress in the old days, by which I mean before about 2010 or so, isn’t likely to complain about the automatic (or is it Automattic?) core-update system.

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Now featuring a face

Yesterday I posted something about perceived invisibility, accompanied by a picture of someone who was “actually” invisible. This was, of course, motion-picture special-effects work; but for 1940, those were damned good effects. (In fact, John P. Fulton was nominated for an Academy Award for them.)

I was tempted to turn that in for a Rule 5 roundup — she does look good, to the extent that she looks at all, in that dress — but decided that might be a bit too hard to deal with, so here’s the visible Virginia Bruce (1910-1982):

Virginia Bruce at the beach

Really good shots of VB are hard to come by; I am indebted to Dr. Macro for this one:

Virginia Bruce not at the beach

So how does a Hollywood-pretty actress end up in a role where she can’t be seen? It went something like this:

Deadly serious fans of the Universal horror films have never quite come to grips with The Invisible Woman; somehow its screwball farce just doesn’t seem to fit into the rest of the series. They’re missing the point. Invisibility of any sort is bizarre; the original H. G. Wells story was full of weirdly humorous bits, and James Whale’s 1933 film, which launched Universal’s Invisible series, successfully translated that weirdness into visuals. Even the more formulaic later pictures in the series still contained scenes that inspire giggling, and not always by accident.

It was this sort of whimsy that, judging by her previous appearances (consider, for instance, The Shop Around The Corner), you might think would have appealed to Margaret Sullavan, Universal’s first choice for the role of Kitty Carroll. But Sullavan refused to take the part, which got her suspended by the studio, and Virginia Bruce was chosen to replace her. The actress formerly known as Helen Virginia Briggs grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, moved west as a teenager to attend UCLA, but wound up doing bit parts in pictures instead, graduating to leads shortly thereafter. She was thirty years old when she signed for The Invisible Woman. It’s not likely that she considered it anything more than a paycheck, but today it’s one of the roles for which she’s best remembered. Her last appearance was in Strangers When We Meet in 1960, playing Kim Novak’s mother; she died in 1982.

“Appearance,” he says. Haw.

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Baby’s brain and an old man’s heart

Took eighteen years to get this far.

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The once and future (maybe) Kings

It is a measure of something, I suppose, that the last time the Kings were in the playoffs, they finished fourth in the Pacific. Today they’re fourth in the Pacific, having demonstrated that they’re at least somewhat better than the Lakers, but they’re mired deep in the lottery. Inconsistency consistently befalls Sacramento: down twelve at the half, they fought back to within three, ended the third quarter down eight, and then didn’t score a point for six minutes — well, 5:59 — in the fourth against the Thunder bench. At the time, it was Oklahoma City 101, Sacramento 79; had a faith healer suddenly brought Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas to life, it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of difference. Thunder 107, Kings 92, and that’s the season sweep.

How good was the OKC bench in that fourth quarter? There was no reason to bring in Kevin Durant, who finished with 23 points, ending his streak of 25-plus at 41. And Caron Butler, more or less the official sixth man when Reggie Jackson starts, also finished with 23, hitting six of six treys. (Jackson, of course, started under Restbrook conditions; Russell is being saved for the, um, “big” game tomorrow against the Clippers.) Butler had a ridiculous +28 for the night. And Steven Adams, keeping Kings out of the lane, blocked three shots, three more than Serge Ibaka. Then again, Ibaka scored 19 points, Adams 5.

The Kings, though, had the two top scorers: DeMarcus Cousins (24, 14 rebounds) and Travis Outlaw (24, a season high). Further, the Kings outrebounded the Thunder, 44-39, having demonstrated, at least early on, a talent for second-chance points. But shooting was an issue: 41 percent, only 3-14 from outside. And unexpectedly, the Thunder didn’t give them a whole lot of opportunities to cash in on mistakes: OKC had zero turnovers in the first half and finished with a mere six.

The number to watch, though, is 1.5. OKC is now 56-21; the Clippers, who had the night off, are 55-23. A game and a half. (The Timberwolves, now officially a lottery team again, vented their frustration on the Spurs, which had to be fun.) Can the Thunder win 60? They’ll have to beat the Clippers first. (Four games after that — New Orleans twice, Indiana and Detroit — and the Pacers, despite recent slumpage, are 34-6 at home.)

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Irony chef

These days, pundits speak of the “optics” of a concept. This one, I dare say, is blind as a vampire bat:

An animal-welfare organization is trying to capitalize on the notoriety of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home by suggesting it might turn the house into a vegan restaurant.

Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sent a letter dated Friday to the realty agent who has listed the Bath Township house for sale. In the letter, she asked about the listing and proposed making the house a vegan restaurant “to respond to the past with something positive.”

Local officials were not encouraging, pointing out that the property is zoned single-family residential.

(Via this John Podhoretz tweet.)

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Semi-tremendous waste

That water leak out in the garage last month might have started five minutes after I left for work, five minutes before I got back, or any time in between; there was no way to tell in the absence of a proper time machine without looking at the meter itself, which is a couple of feet underground, and I don’t have the key to open it up anyway. (Plumbers, as a matter of course, do seem to have such things.) The water bill, which came out a couple of days later, did not reflect any of this mess, inasmuch as the city read the meter the week before, so I was definitely sweating the next one.

Normal consumption around here is somewhere between 2000 and 3000 gallons a month, and is billed as one or the other depending on rounding factors: over the preceding year, I had six bills for 2000 gallons and six bills for 3000. The March bill was for 2000. The April bill, which arrived yesterday (one day early, actually), was for, yes, 3000 gallons.

So apparently it wasn’t as horrible as I had allowed myself to think it would be. Still, we’re running about one-quarter normal rainfall this year (after a 60-percent surplus last year), so I hate the idea of wasting the stuff.

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Something of a hurry

We roundball fans tend to whine about back-to-back game scheduling, especially when it comes to our home team tiring late in that second game. But we can’t imagine what’s about to happen to an NHL team:

The [Columbus] Blue Jackets play their final home game [today] against Phoenix, then fly out immediately to Dallas, where their March 10 contest was suspended when the Stars’ Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench. Per NHL rules, the suspended game will start completely over — only with the Blue Jackets retaining the 1-0 lead they had about seven minutes in when the medical emergency ended play.

Adding to the curious nature of the replayed game, the Blue Jackets’ Nathan Horton might not play because of a lower-body injury. So since his goal from the game is retained, he might get credit for a score in a game in which he did not officially play.

Which is mind-numbing enough, but this is what follows:

After the rematch with the Stars is completed, the Blue Jackets take their charter jet to the Sunshine State, where they play Tampa Bay on Friday and Florida on Saturday.

To earn the franchise’s second postseason trip in its 13 seasons, the Blue Jackets must survive four games in four cities over the span of 99 hours.

At least they have Thursday to, um, practice, unless that’s a really slow plane.

One is forced to wonder: “What would Gregg Popovich do?”

(Via this Costa Tsiokos tweet.)

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Imagined unsightliness

For reasons having to do with demographics, I assume, this was all over (meaning “I saw it three times”) Facebook and Twitter yesterday:

Women feel invisible to the opposite sex at the age of 51, it emerged yesterday.

A detailed study of 2,000 women revealed a large percentage felt they no longer received the level of attention they once did after hitting 51.

Many even went as far as to admit they felt “ignored”.

The women claimed their confidence plummeted after hitting 50 and blamed greying hair, having to to wear glasses or even struggling to find fashionable clothes.

The lifestyle study, commissioned by herbal remedies company, A.Vogel, also found more than two thirds of women over 45 had walked into a room and felt “completely unnoticed” by the opposite sex.

Which only proves the wisdom of the old saying “First you have to get their attention”:

Screenshot from The Invisible Woman 1940

You may be absolutely certain that Charles Lane is hanging on Virginia Bruce’s every word. (She was actually 30 at the time, but who’s going to know?)

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Failure to RTFM (one in a lifelong series)

I had a few documents to update yesterday morning, and so I duly loaded the templates into OpenOffice. OO balked. After a standard-length period of staring in disbelief, I came upon the truth of the matter: a font common to all of them no longer existed.

Wait a minute, said I. Didn’t I copy all that crap from the old box during the Win7 migration? Alas, some crap went uncopied: Windows Easy Transfer will not move system files, which I knew, and Microsoft deems fonts to be system files, which I should have known but evidently didn’t.

So the first order of business when I got home was to crank up the old box, which hadn’t been used for a month, tell Adobe that no, goddamn it, you can’t bring up a dialup to get your precious update, and copy 900-odd font files onto a flash drive. (They weren’t on the new home box either, for exactly the same reason.) I’m not going to reinstall every last one of these, of course; but the ones I know I’ve used and will use again will be put back into service.

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The browsers have been doubled

As an experiment, I’ve replaced my normal browser with Folger’s Crystals Pale Moon 24.4.2, which takes what was good about Mozilla’s Firefox and replaces that which was not so good (constant memory leaks, constant interface revisions, the need to support really old hardware, and for some, minor political considerations). So far, it’s pretty impressive; there’s a 64-bit version which I could have installed, but didn’t, not being entirely sure what might happen if I did.

Bill Quick definitely likes it:

I wish I’d known about Pale Moon long ago. It does everything Firefox did, with pretty much the identical user interface, but much faster and with less memory use — in fact, that awful FF memory leak issue seems to be gone in Pale Moon. I’m sold!

Interestingly, the user-agent string contains both names:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20140329 Firefox/24.0 PaleMoon/24.4.2

You’ll recall that “NT 6.1,” for reasons known but to Microsoft, is Windows 7.

And the Status-4-Evar addon, in my view mandatory for Firefox once they killed the status bar (circa version 4), is superfluous with Pale Moon. Imagine that.

Hint: If you’re planning to switch from Firefox to Pale Moon, first run the installer, don’t run the importer, and with neither browser running, run Pale Moon’s separate profile-migration tool.

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An overnight suspicion

When all else fails, spammers fall back on the tried and true. I caught this suite of spam early this morning, and it would be easily dismissable were it not for its, um, quirky phraseology. For instance:

VigRx With the addition of The Extreme Spear Enhancement.

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If erotic deportment is a apply to of yours to the limitation that you are perturbed there losing your partner, it may be time to respect something different. There are a two remedies on the trade in that are specifically geared to helping men, but unless you can see sure results, you should close wasting your money. You should also cogitate on the likelihood of side effects, apt to conflicts with other medications.

Deadly serious, yet giggle-inducing. More yet:

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VigRX Grease Can Devote You An Extra 2 -3 Inch’s On Your Penis. What Are You Waiting Exchange for Wonderful Stud.

VigRx lubricant is an erection fuel that has been developed to boost your nitric oxide levels and guarantee longer erections. It has already proved its efficacy away supercharging know memoirs of millions of people around the world. It is made using heady herbal ingredients that straight percolate through into your penile tissues and offer vigorous results.

Wait a minute. Is it a lubricant or is it a fuel? Or do you end up burning oil and needing a ring job?

Still, nothing compares to this:

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Semenax has become an overnight suspicion as a dietary and sexual enhancement supplement. Created by means of a league of pharmaceutical professionals, it is the world’s most crap semen enhancement output available.

Before inspirational the man’s testes, it promises to deliver larger loads of semen ergo creating higher sperm chamber counts, increased fertility and fervent orgasms instead of both partners. The success rate has been stupefying, working in compensation men of all ages, childlike and old.

Why, yes, this was an effort to Googlebomb “crap semen enhancement.” Why do you ask?

And “instead of both partners”? Awfully shortsighted, doncha think?

Even more products were offered, but there’s a practical limit to how much of this I’m willing to read.

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Arachnid pinion (again)

You may remember this from three years ago:

A couple years’ worth of Mazda6 production — about 65,000 cars in all, four-cylinder models only — will be recalled because of, um, spiders.

The 6 has since been completely redesigned, but eight-legged critters still like the old one:

Another recall has been issued for 42,000 more of the models built between 2010 and 2012 and equipped with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

According to the automaker, there have been nine confirmed sightings of spiders in vent lines since the original recall. It seems that covers were applied at the factory to keep the arachnids from entering, but it hasn’t quite exterminated the problem.

This time, they plan to reflash the car’s computer, to change the purge timing in the charcoal canister that collects fuel vapors.

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