Archive for PEBKAC

Aw, shuddup and do yer job

Friday a friend of mine received a notification from his Smart Thermostat:

Alert! Loss of Cooling

Your cooling equipment is not adequately cooling your home, and the temperature inside your house is at least 5 degrees higher than your thermostat temperature setting. This problem can be caused by the following:

  • A door or window may be open
  • Power to your cooling equipment may be lost
  • Your cooling equipment may not be working properly

Evidently beyond the gizmo’s ken was the actual cause of the situation: it was 109 degrees Fahrenheit outside, tying a record for the date, and only four degrees short of the all-time — well, since 1891 anyway — record for this town.

In my own house, with classic/antiquated (choose one) equipment, the gap was 9 degrees.

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Amateur blackmailer wants help

No other way to explain it: How can I make a time bomb that will delete system32?

Get a load of this:

Hello. I have been grinding for two months at this company where I’m summer working to earn a slight amount of money before university year starts again.

Problem is, I haven’t even been offered a contract. Whenever I ask to be offered one, I’m told to wait for the manager to come, but she doesn’t come.

I’m familar with programming. If someone can give the code to a batch file, that will delete C:\Windows\system32, in 7 hours, if a password isn’t typed in before the deadline. This way I can propose one last time for a contract, if none given I will launch the .bat and make it affect the network (all of the wired desktops).

What I have typed so far is:

@echo off
del C:\Windows\system32

If someone can add to this program to make it irreversible upon launch and affect all IPs within the network, that would be much appreciated, because companies who have people working without payment, they should pay heavily.

P.S: The reason why I can’t do it myself, is because I’m only an engineering student, so I am familiar with programming (in C only), but don’t have the knowledge to do it myself.

Thank you.

This is the very definition of a cybercrime, and he’s probably not going to have much time to study engineering in the Big House.

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As floppy as we wanna be

Thirty years or so ago, I was working with these artifacts:

8-inch floppy disk from NEC

The very first eight-inch floppies were read-only; IBM used them to distribute microcode. But demand grew for a version you could write on, and these were the disks we used to load stuff onto — and, rarely, retrieve stuff from — our gargantuan System/36, about the size of a Whirlpool washer-dryer combo of those days.

A double-sided diskette with 256 bytes per sector could store 985,088 bytes, or about four copies — click for it — of the full-sized photographic image. Our needs were greater, and IBM had rigged up a 10-disk magazine which could be operated as a unit of nearly 10 MB. If this sounds feeble, well, the system DASD (hard drive) was only 200 MB in those days. (And today, we’ve used up about two-thirds of a 1.5-terabyte disk array. Data isn’t shrinking.)

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I want it my way

“Is there a way to mimic the Google Search Engine layout with another search engine?” asks this joker.

Why would you want that?

I cannot ever find the information I am looking for with the vast amount of bias that Google puts in the search results. I want to switch to something more apolitical such as DuckDuckGo that provides results based on web traffic rather than political leanings, but being that I grew up using Google I can t stand the layout on any other search engine and am wondering if there s some sort of pseudo-Google extension for Chrome or anything that could fix the layout.

After twelve years of looking at people’s search strings, I submit that the guy’s real issue is that he’s too goddamn dumb to put together an efficient search.


California screaming

Amazon notes on Prop 65:

California’s Proposition 65 entitles California consumers to special warnings for products that contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if those products expose consumers to such chemicals above certain threshold levels. We care about our customers’ safety and hope that the information below helps with your buying decisions.

Um, I ordered a farking mouse. A plain, ordinary, seven-dollar USB mouse. What’s to warn?

WARNING: The wires of this product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.

They does? Oh, horrors!

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Desperately seeking assistance

Now this is hilarious: What should I do if my computer needs repair and I don’t trust the only nearby computer shop?

The last time I went there I wanted them to fix my external HD. When I went back to pick it up, the tech handed it to me in pieces and said they couldn’t fix it. Now I don’t trust them. There’s one further away (about 60 mile round trip). I called them and asked if they could clean out my CPU insides and fans while I waited. They said they don’t do any work at that shop since it’s only a satellite office — they sent everything to a shop in Wisconsin and it would take 10 to 14 business days and they only accept credit card payments (which I don’t have).

You have basically two options here:

  • Move;
  • Learn to do this stuff yourself.

Surely you can clean the internals without anyone holding your hand.

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Hardware issues

They happen to all of us at one time or another:

Please tell me the MacBook’s battery is actually replaceable.

Rebecca Black punches the keys

At least her phone seems to be working.

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Each other’s shadow

Roberta X isn’t swallowing either of these:

One of Indiana’s Senatorial seats is up for election this year. Democrat incumbent Joe “Almost a Blue Dog” Donnelly and Republican challenger Mike “The Working Man’s Pal” Braun (and their various Committees To Support…) are continuing to wage negative campaigns, focused on the alleged venality and duplicity of their opponent far more than their own qualifications to serve. Both men are sons of the wealthy families, working hard to seem like “plain old guys” and entirely blind to the source (or even the existence) of the crease in their slacks and the shine on their shoes.

So she’s going for a different beverage entirely:

The Libertarian Party of Indiana is running someone: Lucy M. Brenton. She’s good on the issues, a right-down-the-middle Libertarian. She’s raised a passel of children, which I figure is probably better preparation for serving in the Senate than being the boss’s son.

I dialed over to Brenton’s site, and it appears she’s paid the expected dues along the way. And I noticed this down in the corner:

Tag for Libertarian WordPress theme

For real. Or rather, it was for real:

It’s been a wonderful honor to have been chosen by so many candidates over the last four years that this theme has been part of our collection. We know that other foundries will step into the void created by this themes depreciation. Please take a look at our roundup of great political WordPress themes.

Deprecation, maybe.

Then again, my theme goes back to 2006, so it’s not like I’m looking down my nose at the Libertarians.


No self-esteem issues, anyway

But still not someone you’d rush to save from drowning:

So I have 3 accounts on instagram. My personal account, spam account, and a fan page. I am REALLY embarrassed about my fan page and would die inside if people knew it was me running it. Will my followers from my personal account know that I run a fan page as well?

Not embarrassed enough to take it down, evidently.

Oh, and yes, if they’re paying attention.


Weird scenes inside the pyrite mine

There were a couple of folks whose every comment here, irrespective of content, was winding up in the moderation queue. I let this go by until the number of them doubled one week.

I’m not quite sure what to do about it. Perhaps they’ve tightened the little routine that compares incoming email addresses with a local blacklist. (Yes, I do have a local blacklist, containing the names of people who are dead or just dead to me. If you have to ask, you weren’t on it.) In an effort to test this notion, I have cleared out every name in the blacklist. (A few IP addresses remain, but matching an IP address is tricky, especially an IPv6 address, which all of those are.)

I will report back if any results are obtained.

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So fearful, these tech types

A handful of whining ectomorphs with a phobia about firearms, and we end up with this:

Now technically, this action does not constitute an actual infringment of either 1A or 2A. However, one should never pass up the opportunity to point fingers at the pathetic little crapweasels who have no regard for either.

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I dint do nuffin

That’s what they all say. Few, however, say it at this length:

It first started with my first ever Instagram account, I reached almost 1 million followers and all of a sudden I get a disabled email from Instagram saying I was disabled for violating the terms of service. This has happened to me before with the same account and they had to re-activated it for me before. And ever since from there every new account that I opened gets disabled within a couple months. I don’t know if I have someone after me that keeps reporting me and I have tried to discuss the issue with Instagram but they either ignore my emails or respond with you have been disabled for violating our terms of service but I never did anything wrong. and ever since from there every new account that I opened gets disabled with them a couple months. What does it make sense to me is that every account that I opened with Instagram they disable it after a couple months and usually all have barely anything posted on the page. I also use my account for business purposes and they are supposed to return business pages but they refused to return mine and all the other 10 Instagram accounts I opened and got deleted after a couple months or days. Can I sue them for this?

This jerkette is going to somehow have to prove that (1) the Constitution guarantees her the right to have an Instagram account and (2) all that stuff about mandatory arbitration doesn’t apply to her.

Two words: “summary dismissal.” Next!

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Way down at the low end

This HP Stream box has arrived:

HP 14-inch Stream laptop

I picked this up for $139 from in anticipation of my next hospital stay. It is a marginal sort of machine — 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of eMMC disk (it’s solid-state, but not all that solid, if you get my drift), and Windows 10. The Windows install itself is probably the most expensive component in the box. Pretty minimal. But this is the justification: it’s not a Chromebook.

In case you’d forgotten:

It is extremely difficult to run this place off a Chromebook; no respectable FTP clients, and Google of course thinks it knows what you want in a keyboard. (They don’t.) I had major problems with the next Vent [#971], because CHROME DOESN’T HAVE A GODDAMN TEXT EDITOR and HALF THEIR APPS ARE FUCKING AD- DISTRIBUTION DEVICES. It will be very short, and mostly video.

Avoiding that, to me, is worth way more than $139. I just have to set up a handful of applications — obviously there’s room for no more than a handful — before the next time I land in the ER.

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She knows a cue when she hears one

Another argument for getting iDevices from Apple:

I just asked Siri on the HomePod to go to volume 11 (it adjusts from 1%-100%), and Siri responded, “Why don’t you just make ten louder, make ten be the top number, and make that a little louder?” Swear to god.

I’m starting to understand why Joaquin Phoenix would have it bad for an otherwise-intangible Scarlett Johansson.


Defined by his worthlessness

Get a whiff of this: Is there a free hosting service for a Java Tomcat Server with MS SQL, Hibernate, Servlet, and Struts support?

And then he repeats all the criteria, with “FREE and no credit card required” tacked on.

He was actually dumb enough to put a name on it, so if you’d like a look at someone who thinks himself deserving of Free Stuff that someone else has to pay for — as if you couldn’t find someone like that within five minutes on the evening news — feel free to dial in before he wises up.


Netflix and jail

File this Netflix-cancellation question under “grounded until the day you die”:

so i put in a email that isn’t my registrated apple id email. i am a very bad person because i went in my moms wallet and stole her credit card info because i knew i will cancel it before it started charging the account. so i looked for the subscription in my account on settings and it wasn’t there. i have been trying to find out a way to cancel it. i don’t know if i did it correct but i, logged in to my account with my apple id and put my moms credit card info on that one bc that is one that ik i can cancel. then i logged into the account that i can’t cancel and signed out.

will this stop the subscription?

Were this my mom, kid’s never going to see another screen in his life, except the kind that’s used for mosquito netting.

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Meanwhile at the back end

Dullsville, man:

I figured out why I don’t do any web programming: it’s not that interesting, at least not from a puzzle solving point of view. Putting up a web page mostly involves displaying a bunch of data. You might also want to collect some data from the user which you will pack up and send to the host, but it’s all pretty straightforward. Now it might get a bit gnarly when you have to interact with complex data base system residing on the server, but that’s mostly a matter of minding your p’q and q’s in the protocol you use. Once you have a web page up, things could get a little complicated, but it takes a bit of work to get to that point.

Out here in the Land of WordPress, we have a little game we hate to play called “What Just Broke?” Sooner or later, something will break, and we have to be prepared, even if the best we can do is to draft a plaintive email to our host. It gets more complicated as you add functionality; rare is the tech type who won’t stare at you in disbelief when you list all nine plugins you have running at the same time.

What? Me? I have, um, twenty-six plugins. One of them does nothing more than list the other 25. Makes for some, shall we say, interesting debugging sessions.


Upgrade this, pal

Last night I had just left a comment over at Fillyjonk’s place, and somehow hit the dreaded Wrong Button. A popup of arguably greater than normal hideousness appeared and lectured me on my “outdated” browser: Pale Moon 27.9.0, released 17 April 2018. Apparently I inadvertently tried to invoke the Blogger editing platform, and they’re not prepared to support this ancient artifact (more than two weeks old!) on said platform. I’d complain to Google, which owns Blogger, but Google’s remedy for any and all such complaints is to switch to the pertinent Google product, in this case Chrome.

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Remembering when stalkers were good

But now we have pitiful weasels like this: If I viewed someone s page on LinkedIn and delete my page shortly after, can they tell that I viewed it? Could they have still been notified that I viewed their page via email?

Sheesh. As a general rule, these no-one-must-ever-know types don’t even contemplate notifications until it’s too late, and darn their luck, LinkedIn (or whatever network) won’t tell them the settings used by their targets. Then panic ensues.

After more than 30 years online — taking time out for meals, of course — the one thing I’m sure of is that you can’t keep a secret unless you cancel your connection, and sometimes even then.


Insanely jealous

I suspect this is a nonstandard usage of the term “friend”:

I have a friend who receives about 15 to 25 new actual followers (not fake) per day and they will not tell me their secret. The account is private. They do not post new photos (132 photos total, the same 3 months ago). They never post stories. They follow only 611 people (that number has not changed in months). About 2 to 3 months ago they had 3,000 followers but now have 4,200. Does not use bots. A thousand extra followers is interesting considering the above. How can I do the same?

If you’re paying more attention to someone else’s account than to your own, you’re doing it wrong.

And note the sense of entitlement: doofus thinks “friend” is in some way obligated to tell this mysterious “secret,” because doesn’t everyone have a right to the maximum number of followers?

Hint: No.

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I swear

Oath is the Verizon subsidiary which is tasked with breathing some life into AOL and Yahoo, previously thought to be moribund at best.

This is what I think of them:

Feel free to look at said splash screen. I don’t think it presents a threat to epileptics, but I could be wrong.

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This could take a while

There was much hilarity based on the fact that the IRS Direct Pay site was down on the annual tax deadline. The real punchline, though, was in the government’s Official Notice:

IRS Direct Pay is down

Now that’s a serious maintenance period.

(Via American Digest.)

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Live, except when it’s not

I don’t think I could explain it to this bozo: How to watch Coachella live stream in west coast time from the east coast? Compensate for the three-hour difference? Not good enough:

I wanna watch but I don’t wanna stay up til 3 am as a beginning set time meaning I would go to bed at like 4 am, it’s just impractical, is there any way to watch the live stream in California time without the east coast time lag? Can I just change the IP address to a California one? Will people be streaming it via periscope or anywhere else?

This would work if someone sent a delayed feed — but then it isn’t exactly live, is it? Otherwise, he’s gonna need a time machine.

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Apparently out of their league

“Play ball!” came the call — it happens every spring — and I figured it was time to dust off the old MLB At Bat app for my tablet. It remembered my Default Team (Los Angeles Dodgers), and my subscription, it said, expires in mid-August, at which time I will have to put up another twenty bucks. What it doesn’t seem to know is today’s date: the app refused to cough up any games since last year’s World Series. (That said, they were happy to stream Game 7 for me.)

Maybe I should say “Fark it” and buy that iPhone I was thinking about. But first, an uninstall/reinstall cycle, just in case.

Update, 5:20 pm: And that did the trick.



It certainly isn’t our fault

“An error occurred. Please try again later.” You get this on YouTube and you summon the online help, you’re likely to be shown this:

  • If you have many browser tabs open, try to close most of them except the one you’re using for YouTube.
  • Restart your browser.
  • Restart your router.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Update your browser to the latest version.
  • Use Chrome.

If all else fails, says Google, switch to Google’s own product.

Nothing self-serving about that, nosiree.

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At the very center of the universe

That’s where you’ll find this guy, or at least where he thinks he is: Why do some websites shut down without notice?

You see, he thinks he’s entitled to be informed in advance:

Hi. I have been using the ‘Net for years and I do a lot of research. It can be a bit annoying when you use a certain site for a LONG TIME, and you have material on there that you want to copy and save, and then the site shuts down without the site staff — mods, admins, etc.— letting patrons of the site know in advance they are shutting down.

I think that is kind of rude.

Why do some people who run such sites do that?

I have been on a few sites and the site staff let people know a few days in advance they were doing so.

It would be nice if the people running ALL sites would post a public notice or send emails to let people know they are planning on shutting down.

I would prefer that — that would give me time to archive my material. I hate having to lose material unexpectedly.

I am curious — please help. Thank you.

Well, basically, Bunkie, you’re a shitty researcher and an overbearing jerk. Nobody on the Web owes you anything unless you’re paying up front for stuff, and if you had been, you’d have been griping about how many dollars you think you lost. And I can show you fourth-graders who know how to save Web pages. Are you not smarter than a fourth-grader?

The world doesn’t revolve around you. Never did, never will. It’s time you learned this on your own.

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Please don’t think ill of me

So the guy asks, “Can your friends on Instagram see what feeds you are following?” Which is a reasonable enough question, but then he explains:

Sometimes people will ask to follow me on Instagram, but I really only follow channels like @hotbabes, @sexywomen, etc. so I don’t want them to think I’m a scumbag and shallow.

First answer should break his heart, or at least his concentration:

Yes. They absolutely can see who you are following. Go to anyone’s profile — anyone at all, not just people you follow or who follow you — and click on “following” in the top right. There you go — all your sex channels show up for everyone to see.

I’d suggest he throw in some decoys, though it might be tricky to find, for example, @fansofwallacestevens.

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Meds gone unrefilled

You have to wonder what’s wrong with this character. The question is nonsensical by itself: If I unfollow on pintrest? And then it gets strange:

I accidentally followed a board I DON’T want to follow, I know this person. I immediately unfollowed. I then changed my name. And deleted my account. Do you think they will still have gotten a notification? If so I changed my name 30 secs later will they see the new one in the notification at least? I deleted my account will they get a notification at all?

After nearly a decade on Y!A, I operate on the assumption that 99.44 percent of the time, “accidentally” is a damned lie, and that they are never able to explain why, if it’s so important to avoid this person, they were hanging out on the one place on the Web they’re most likely to encounter that person.

I expect they’ll expel this guy from the International League of Stalkers, for sheer incompetence if nothing else.

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Once again, Google worms its way into a technology, and then oozes out the back way while no one is looking:

The link is very common on the web and was first launched by Google in 2009. However, the company announced [last week] that it’s winding down the URL Shortener beginning next month, with a complete deprecation by next year. Fortunately, existing links will continue to work.

The URL shortener service launched in 2009 for FeedBurner and the Google Toolbar. With neither of those services available, the same is now happening to for both consumers and developers. The latter group is being directed to Firebase Dynamic Links with today’s announcement meant to “refocus” Google’s efforts.

All that Firebase crap is intended to work inside your app. So basically, this is just another effort to force people into apps, especially apps running on Android, which means apps under Google control.

[F]or average users that just want to truncate a link, there is no new alternative from the company, with Google suggesting Bitly and

I’ve used Bitly for several years for my personal stuff. However, I am not inclined to conflate my links and the company’s, for which I have been using

(Via Frank Denis.)

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Future imperfect

I shudder at the thought of scrolling this much:

Someone did go back to AD 1, but I didn’t attempt to determine if these dates were Julian or Gregorian. And I still don’t know the upper limit. Since calendars repeat after not too many years, it’s not like you’d need every last byte of RAM on the planet to get to, say, AD 802701, the year in which H. G. Wells’ Time Traveller met up with the Eloi and the Morlocks.

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