Strange search-engine queries (411)

In case you’ve missed the preceding 410 installments of this feature — well, it’s not like you need a whole lot of training to comprehend it. Web surfers go to search engines to look for stuff; search engine sends them here; log files reveal the details. Simple as that.

what are the biggest challenges to shape our country’s future:  Getting it away from the people who’ve been screwing it up.

what is needed to diagnose CD4E mazda transmittion:  More tools than you have, and the ability to spell wouldn’t hurt.

what is the new old-fashion way:  Brenda Lee, what hath thou wrought?

can old ATF cause hold light:  Real question: “Is there some way I can get this fixed without paying $2500?” Most likely answer: no.

what is the conceptual and operational meaning of “up means good”?  Down, boy.

is mikandi adware:  Are you getting ads? If not, then no.

click to view larger image and other views … have one to sell? sell it yourself 2004 2005 nissan maxima radio cd player dash trim be:  Ruined after you pry out that head unit with a screwdriver, as we know you did.

nicole kidman inseam:  If I had the ability to measure that, I wouldn’t have time to look up search queries.

mazda 626 1997 carburetor:  Fuel injection, son. Look into it.

nude ka hot sexiy imagas mull:  Next time, try typing with both hands.

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Something up their sleeves

Nobody expects much of the Orlando Magic these days, and that perhaps included the Thunder, whom the Magic knocked around rather roughly in the first few minutes. That, of course, would not do, and Scott Brooks moved to reset their motivation, or whatever the heck he does. OKC went up 28-22 after the first quarter; the Magic managed to tie it about three and a half minutes before halftime, fell back by a dozen or more several times, and closed to within two (100-98) in the last minute with a 10-0 run. Kevin Durant sank one of two free throws, and a last-ditch block by Serge Ibaka iced the game: with 1.3 left, a jump ball was called, the Magic got one last chance, but that was it. OKC 101, Orlando 98.

All five Magic starters did manage to make it into double figures, led by Arron Afflalo with 25; Nikola Vučević had 13 plus 16 rebounds for the only Orlando double-double. They’d had the early rebounding lead, and finished just even (45-45); they also had problems (17-26) at the foul line. But they were scrappy from beginning to end, and maybe this was just a case of running out of minutes.

There were a few issues on the OKC side as well. Durant (28) and Russell Westbrook (20, 12 rebounds), as seemingly always, paced the starter scoring, and Reggie Jackson (10) and Jeremy Lamb (16) led the bench; Ibaka, however, did not have a great night despite that last block — at first, it was called as a goaltend, which would have been utterly horrible for the Thunder — and that fourth-quarter collapse will undoubtedly be Brooks’ topic on the plane to Denver.

This is a tricky week: out to Denver, back to play the Bulls, out to San Antonio and then back the next night to play the Raptors. Then again, no team is supposed to get a schedule they actually like, right?

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Mama said knock you off

This is obviously, or perhaps not so obviously, a fake:

Fake warning from Instagram

“Randomly deleting”? As if. Still, there’s always someone who’ll believe it.

Disclosure: I don’t have an Instagram account.

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As decreed in the Apple

A peek at a store window in the City of New York, and a call for an explanation:

NYC store window

The question posed at Pergelator:

NYC: $12 for a pack of smokes!?! $5 for the Sunday Paper!?! … Last time I noticed smokes were $5 locally. Seems like the older I get, the faster inflation goes (runs? inflates?).

Which may be true, but the culprit in this case is not inflation at all, but another government-inflicted pathology: taxation. New York State charges an excise tax of $4.35 per pack, and Greater Bloombergia tacks on an additional buck and a half. (Where I live, the tax is a more modest, but still deliberately punitive, $1.03; where he lives, $1.18.)

It occurs to me that were the Vampire State primarily interested in the actual health of the citizens, it would apply that same $5.85 tax to the Washington Post.

(Picture purloined from Burro Hall.)

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Say hello to Patsy

First female CEO at General Motors. Historic moment? Maybe — or maybe not:

I am not as thrilled as the rest of the country seems to be by the appointment of a woman to lead General Motors. If not for the $10.5B-losing bailout, GM would have have had to examine their practices, make changes and compete in the real world market place. The Saturn never would have been killed and Cadillac models would once again have names instead of numbers. As it stands though, the bailout provided a soft landing for all of their stumbles and they are now upright and undamaged. But are they changed? If they’re not, God Help Mary T. Barra the first female CEO of GM and the patsy set up to take the blame for the coming fall.

In defense of Barra, she does seem to understand cars, something no one ever would have said of predecessor Dan Akerson.

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Advice to the wannabe

If you don’t like the current wisdom on how to do your own blog, all you have to do is wait a few minutes, and something marginally fresher will come along. This one dropped into my lap yesterday: “10 Shortcuts for Writing a Blog Post in Record Time.”

Usually this is the point where I say I don’t do any of these and I’m doing fine, Jack. But I have to admit to using one of these, and using it quite often; that would be Number Three, “Practice Content Recycling.” I wouldn’t say I’m the absolute master of repurposing, but of all the blog vu, I’ve got to have some of the déjà-est.

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Hanging off the edge of the dial

I was glancing down the news listings at RadioInsight, and this little bit of broadcast history caught my eye:

WLFM-LP [Cleveland] debuted the locally oriented “Sound” format in July 2012, as one of the so-called Franken-FM’s. These are low-powered analog television signals operating on Channel 6 using the fact that its audio signal on 87.75 is able to be tuned by many radios. These signals are required to convert to digital operation by September 1, 2015 at which point they will no longer be able to operate as a radio station.

“Are there any more of these?” I wondered. More than a dozen, in fact, including WNYZ-LP in New York, about which an “out of date” Wikipedia article says:

During most of its life, the station has been operated more as a radio station than a television station; though WNYZ-LP broadcasts video, it is usually silent movies that are repeated throughout the day, and only to fulfill the Federal Communications Commission requirement that some sort of video be broadcast on the frequency. Since the digital transition, WNYZ broadcast color bars, a legal ID, and a message telling viewers to listen to 87.7 MHz, the audio of the digital channel. It is the last remaining analog television station in New York City.

So what’s on? It’s Danu Radio, billed as “The Only Russian-Speaking Radio Station in North America.” At least, that’s what it is Monday through Friday, according to the schedule; presumably something else (Caribbean?) fills up the weekend.

And at some point, we’re supposed to hear, maybe, the lovely Tatyana Rodos:

Tatyana Rodos of Danu Radio NYC

She has Twitter and Facebook presences, but hasn’t done anything with either of them lately.

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Waiting for the magenta pin to drop

T-Mobile, once wooed to no avail by AT&T, perhaps will now be courted by Sprint:

Sprint is mulling a potential bid for rival wireless carrier T-Mobile, according to a new report.

The report comes from The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter.” According [to] the Journal, the company is “studying regulatory concerns” and it could be prepared to make an offer as soon as the first half of 2014.

A Sprint/T-Mobile merger would pair the United States’ third and fourth largest carriers into an entity that could better compete against the two largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon. A Sprint/T-Mobile merger is something Sprint executives have sought for many years. Over the last year, in the wake of the failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, executives from both companies have gone on record arguing that a merger should be allowed.

This is presumably relevant to Deutsche Telekom’s interests, one of which has been to get the heck out of the US market entirely. There’s this bit of fine print in the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger from earlier this year:

In its agreement to merge the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier with MetroPCS Communications Inc., Deutsche Telekom pledged not to sell shares of the listed carrier on the stock market for 18 months. The German company holds a 74 percent stake in the company, which has a market value of $14.2 billion.

“There is an exception clause in the contract regarding the lock-up,” said [Timotheus] Hoettges, who will take over as Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive officer next year. “We are in a position to sell all shares in one go.”

“Why not take all of me?” sings TMo.

The T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger received regulatory approval in March, so the 18-month window closes in September 2014. Market cap is currently about $23 billion.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Damned normalization

Very few people, says Jack Baruth, are both extraordinarily talented and emotionally stable:

Dave Grohl, by all accounts, is a sober, decent, hardworking, trustworthy, fan-focused, sense-of-humor-possessing, completely dedicated individual. W. Axl Rose, by contrast, is completely and utterly worthless in every respect, except for the minor fact that he was responsible for Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion. Ask yourself who the rock star is: Dave Grohl — or Axl Rose? If Axl Rose could get his shit together long enough to perform for an evening with at least part of the original Gn’R lineup, and Dave Grohl was also performing that evening somewhere else, where would you go?

In a perfect world, Axl Rose would have Dave Grohl’s sterling personal qualities and we’d be awaiting the release of the seventh or eighth brilliant Guns N’ Roses album on iTunes any day now. In a perfect world, John Bonham and Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix and Bon Scott and Keith Moon and every other incandescent talent who left the stage too soon as a result of their personal problems would still be making music. Instead, we have endless tours from hardworking nonentities like Phish and the group that has the nerve to call themselves the Who.

Now I have to ask myself if my writing has gotten better, or worse, since I started getting a grip on my own emotions. (First guesstimate: it’s been a wash.)

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Quote of the week

As predictable as the dawn, and a hell of a lot less illuminating:

News trucks and reporters are descending on Newtown to exploit the almost-an-anniversary by interviewing residents about how they don’t want news trucks and reporters descending on them to exploit the almost-an-anniversary.

Not one mention of the fact that not a single piece of antigun legislation proposed since then would have even slowed the killer down. Not a single mention of the fact that making a desperate loser the Single Most Talked About Person On The Television is only adding fuel to the fire of the next guy, who already has his spreadsheet laid out with the numbers to beat.

As Don Henley once observed, “It’s interesting when people die.”

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More purple than gold

The Lakers are not at all accustomed to being the Other Team in Los Angeles, and their injured list is as lengthy as any team’s, which hasn’t helped their cause. But heck, why can’t Kobe Bryant play point guard? Bryant admittedly hasn’t been himself lately, but he’s been somebody, and without the Gang of Steves — both Blake and Nash are on the DL — well, he turned in a PG-ish line, with only four points but with 13 assists and two steals. Unfortunately, he gave up the ball seven times, and the Lakers, who jumped out to an early lead, couldn’t sustain it beyond the middle of the first quarter. The Thunder claimed a 10-point lead after one quarter, increasing to 15 after two and 20 after three, and somewhere in the midst of all that it ceased to matter anymore: Oklahoma City 122, Los Angeles 97, and as always with Loud City, they love to beat anyone, but they especially love to beat anyone from L.A.

If anyone in purple and gold really shone tonight, it was Nick Young, who led the Lakers with 17 points, including four of seven treys. (Overall, the Lakers were 7-24, which means that apart from Young, they were 3-17 from distance.) Xavier Henry got fouled rather a lot, and earned 16 free throws, but he missed seven of them. On the upside, it was good to see Chris Kaman again, even in limited minutes: he nailed nine points in 12 minutes.

Once again, none of the Thunder starters showed up for the fourth quarter except Andre Roberson, who continued to start in place of the wounded Thabo Sefolosha. Kevin Durant knocked down 31 points in just under 31 minutes; Serge Ibaka, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson each checked in with 19. (Give Serge ten rebounds, and Russell twelve dimes.) Jeremy Lamb contributed 11 to the score. Even Hasheem Thabeet, pretty much #11 in Scott Brooks’ ten-man rotation, got some burn, what with Steven Adams fouling faster than he could score.

The Magic will be coming to town Sunday; after that, it’s off to Denver on Tuesday, followed by a single home game against the Bulls on Thursday.

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Down at the end of Cyanide Court

Those hardy souls up there in N’Hampsha can deal with anything — with the possible exception of French:

Since she opened her indoor skydiving business in 2006, SkyVenture co-owner Laurie Greer has been coping with an unexpected downside to her location in Nashua.

The business is on a small stretch of pavement off Daniel Webster Highway. Called Poisson Avenue, the roughly 500-foot-long road leads up to the edge of the Merrimack River.

It bears a fitting name, given the geography; “poisson” is the French word for fish. But Greer said people often make a different association, mistaking the street name for “Poison Avenue.”

In other news, there’s an indoor skydiving business in Nashua.

Ward 7 Alderman June Caron and Mayor Donnalee Lozeau are sponsoring legislation on behalf of the business to rename Poisson Avenue. They’re proposing “Adventure Way” as a replacement. Greer said the mayor suggested Adventure Way because it speaks to the type of experiences people have at her business.

I must point out that few experiences are quite as memorable as Poison.

(Via Fark.)

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Something to rail against

On the off-chance that you think our local transit mavens are just slightly deluded — well, imagine what it’s like in we-gotta-do-something Austin. Chris Bradford sends an open letter to City Council:

It is thus remarkable that Project Connect’s planners managed to choose the only sub-corridor — Highland — that lacks either a current or future Core Transit Corridor connection to downtown or UT. Airport Boulevard, of course, is a Core Transit Corridor. But it does not connect to downtown/UT, and there is no Core Transit Corridor connecting Airport to downtown/UT through the Highland “sub-corridor.” (Of course, Guadalupe-Lamar — the preferred alternative of many — connects UT and Airport quite nicely, but it appears to be off the table.) Choosing the Highland sub-corridor will require that our next high-capacity transit investment be made on Duval or Red River… Neither of these has been identified as even a future Core Transit Corridor.

Duval, if I remember correctly, has about 1.6 speed humps per block; the only advantage I can see to Red River is that you can occasionally see it from the upper deck of Interstate 35. Maybe they’re wanting to push 38½ Street as a connector.

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Desperation maneuvers

Seldom am I moved to read a page a spammer is trying to link here, but I took a look at one — no, he’s not getting a link, don’t be silly — and they’re “offering” this:

  • We create 1,500 up to PR8 Wiki article for only $1
  • Each article will have 3 backlinks for your website “recommended”
  • this will give you 4,500 backlinks for your URL and keywords
  • you can ask for more keywords per article if you want we just recommend only 3 backlinks per article.

And people wonder if the Wiki might not be trustworthy.

In point of fact, I get a small but steady flow of traffic from Wikipedia: there are at least half a dozen pages there that link to my, um, outside sources.

The same dillhole, eleven minutes later, offered to sell me 100 “social bookmarks,” whatever the hell that may be, for a buck.

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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 NaturalNews.com, “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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The velveteen robot

“But I am Real!” No, honey, you’re not:

This particular telemarketer for a company hawking health insurance has her own name and a tinkle of laughter to go along with her denial of actually being a robot.

Time’s Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer encountered the robo-woman when his cell phone rang and the voice on the other end wanted to know if he was looking for a good deal on health insurance (sassy!). Things didn’t sound quite right, so he asked point blank if she was a real person or a robot voice.

She laughs it off and says of course, she’s a “real person.” But she couldn’t answer other simple questions that weren’t part of her script, like “What vegetable is in tomato soup?” (although technically, a tomato is a fruit, but whatever) or “What day of the week was it yesterday?”

When she’s got nothing good to say or is accused of being artificially intelligent, she asks if you can hear her, and ponders whether the connection could be bad, as heard in recordings made by other Time staffers to the same number.

Just once, I want one of these quasi-creatures to call up James T. Kirk. Won’t last an hour.

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Kick that block

From this moment on, blocking someone on Twitter doesn’t actually, you know, block them:

If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline. If your Tweets are protected, blocking the user will cause them to unfollow you.

Kashmir Hill (no relation) reports for Forbes:

It’s the “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to combating harassment. Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser says Twitter made the change because it thinks it will cut down on the vitriol, anger, and resentful Jezebel articles that result from knowing you’ve been blocked.

“We saw antagonistic behavior where people would see they were blocked and be mad,” says Prosser. He also says “block” doesn’t really make sense when the content is still visible. “Twitter is public, we want to reinforce that content published in a public profile is viewable by the world.”

If you ask me, if your delicate sensitivities are upset because someone blocked you, you should hie yourself to Facebook and involve yourself with as many games as possible — and never again speak a freaking word online to anyone.

Update, 10 pm: Twitter caves after about a bazillion appearances of #RestoreTheBlock. The action is reversed.

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Shoes for European industry

While gathering material for the Rule 5 piece on Helle Thorning-Schmidt, I happened upon these shoes of hers:

Shoes worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Couldn’t find any identifying material on them except for this:

Great shoes from Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. European Union leaders meet in Brussels ostensibly to agree on ways to find more jobs for the young, who’ve been disproportionately punished by years of crisis and recession. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

And I did find a shot of what she wore them with:

Outfit worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Well played, Madam Prime Minister. (This photo by Georges Gobet.)

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Not a mail-enhancement product

Wondering about the future of the US Postal Service? Take a look up north to what Canada Post is doing:

Canada Post’s abrupt announcement that it is ending door-to-door delivery in urban areas and charging $1 for an individual stamp has alarmed opposition MPs and postal workers who say the new plan is bad news for Canadians.

The plan — released the day after the House of Commons started its Christmas break — caught parliamentarians by surprise.

Which, if nothing else, proves that Canadians understand the news cycle at least as well as we do.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt defends the moves:

“The Government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfil its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining financial basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians.”

About those community boxes:

The move from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes will be rolled out over the next five years, starting in the second half of 2014. About one-third of Canadian households will be affected. Mail delivery to rural households will not change.

And you may not have to pay a full loonie for a stamp:

The cost of a stamp will also jump from $0.63 to $0.85 for bulk purchase of stamps, or $1 for individual stamps. That change comes into effect March 31, 2014.

There will, of course, be job reductions, though Canada Post expects more than enough retirements in the next year to cover them.

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