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October 29, 2008

ATTN: San Francisco drivers ()

by fluffy at 6:38 PM
A rhetorical question for you: Say you're on a street that is one lane each way. Say there is a car in front of you that is turning left, and thus blocks you from going forward until the oncoming traffic clears up. Do you get mad and honk, or do you wait?

A followup question: Given the exact same situation, except instead of a car in front of you, it's a bicyclist that is turning left, only said bicyclist does not actually block you from going forward if you take the time to move just a little bit to the right (and in fact it could be argued that the cyclist is going out of its way to be as far to the left as safely possible specifically to let cars go around). Do you get mad and honk, or do you simply go around the cyclist?

A followup to the followup: Why would you get mad, honk, and go around the cyclist (with dangerously fast acceleration)? How the fuck does that help any situation in any possible way?

And, back to the first question: Would you do that if it were a car in front of you?

October 25, 2008

iPhone annoyance (, )

by fluffy at 10:13 PM
For some reason, every time I turn off my Bluetooth headset, my iPhone decides that means I want to redial the last person who called me. I really don't understand why it would do such a thing.

October 24, 2008

ATTN: chatty coworker ()

by fluffy at 2:48 PM
When I spill hot water all over my left hand while making tea and shout profanities, it is not an appropriate time to block my access to the sink and quip about how you don't understand why we need to be "protected" from hot water (in reference to the safety lock on the spigot, which has nothing to do with the reason I just spilled the water on myself).

I guess I could have used the cold water spigot on the water cooler but I wasn't quite thinking straight, what with being in, you know, pain.

October 21, 2008

I just got a phone call from Roseanne Barr! ()

by fluffy at 1:23 PM
Well, sort of. It was a recorded message from her about how I need to vote against Nancy Pelosi and for Cindy Sheehan.

It's a bit annoying that the FTC's rules on what constitutes a telemarketing call are so narrow, and don't cover political campaigning and the like. I mean, just because I agree with the message doesn't mean I want to be bothered on my cellphone. So, on to the FCC.

Thunderbird's "email scam" detector sucks ()

by fluffy at 10:48 AM
Here is what Thunderbird thinks of my inbox:
  • Registration confirmation from MWSF: a scam
  • Weekly newsletter from SFBC: a scam
  • "You have an eCard" linking directly to a .exe file: not a scam
  • "Account verification" email purportedly from a bank I'd never heard of: not a scam
  • Nigerian fund account transfer manager "job" offer: not a scam

Yes ()

by fluffy at 8:28 AM

October 19, 2008

Comcast admits to traffic shaping (, )

by fluffy at 3:35 PM
Just got this email from Comcast:
Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer:

Comcast is committed to providing you with the best online experience possible.

One of the ways we do that is by managing the leading fiber optic network in the nation to ensure it is fast, safe and reliable. As part of our ongoing efforts to continuously improve the quality of our service, we are switching to a new network congestion management technique by the end of the year. It is focused on managing network congestion only when and where it may occur. It will also replace the current technique and will help ensure that all of our customers receive their fair share of network resources.

What does this mean for you? Probably nothing. We ran five market trials of this technique over the summer and found that less than one percent of customers were affected. So, the vast majority of customers will not notice any change to their Internet experience as a result of this new technique. During the times of busiest network use (which could occur at any hour, depending on your neighborhood), those very few extraordinarily heavy users – who are doing things like conducting multiple and continuous large file transfers – may experience slightly longer response times for some online activities until the period of network congestion ends.

As we transition to this new technique, we have amended our Acceptable Use Policy ("AUP") and posted it on the Comcast.net Web site. For links to the amended AUP, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions and more information about this new technique or our network management efforts in general, please visit our Network Management Policy page at: www.comcast.net/networkmanagement.

Thank you again for choosing Comcast as your high-speed Internet provider.

Personally I'm in favor of traffic shaping as long as it doesn't completely deny service.

October 16, 2008

Dear upstairs neighbors ()

by fluffy at 10:25 PM
INDOOR VOICES

Also are you riding a motherfucking horse or something? Christ

October 15, 2008

New Macbook Pro! ()

by fluffy at 7:48 PM
So today I broke down and bought a Macbook Pro. It took a lot of deliberation if I wanted better graphics and firewire vs. lightweight and portable, and I decided the better graphics and firewire won (all of the USB devices I could find to replace my Inspire 1394 apparently have terrible latency - even the Tascam 144 I had my eye on). So, after work I bought the 15" MBP (base configuration). This thing is nice.

The Forever War ()

by fluffy at 10:54 AM
Some time ago (I can't find the weblog entry so it was probably one of the ones lost in the Great Server Hard Drive Failure) I was saying how much I'd like to see a TV series based on the premise of actual real-life relativistic-speed space travel. Well, The Forever War (which I still need to read) is becoming a movie directed by Ridley Scott! So that promises to actually be, you know, excellent.

October 14, 2008

My thoughts on the new MacBook stuff ()

by fluffy at 11:48 AM
  • So either I can get a nice form factor with no FireWire, or I can get something bigger and heavier with FireWire. If I got a normal MacBook I'd also need to get a new recording interface (which of course costs a lot less than the price difference).
  • Even the low-end graphics seem to be quite powerful (supposedly faster than the old pro graphics? 55% the speed of the old Pro graphics, which is still quite good), and are probably enough for gaming, but having the extra-fast chipset available would keep me happy with a system for that much longer. So I guess MBP it is. Maybe.
  • Big middle-finger at Apple for how they're handling DisplayPort, though. Not only are they doing their own proprietary connector (instead of real DisplayPort), but they're charging $30 for MiniDP→VGA and MiniDP→DVI, and $100 for MiniDP→DVI-DL. What the hell? They could have at least just used a regular DisplayPort connector and let us use third-party VGA/DVI/DVI-DL adapters (but of course then they couldn't bleed people for more money). Not that I tend to hook up to a monitor anyway but I do occasionally need to hook up to a projector. Also I was hoping to keep using my old MiniDVI adapters but I guess I'd might as well just sell them now.
  • I don't mind the gloss-only screens. If glare is a problem there's always anti-glare addons, and I've never had a problem with glare on the glossy MacBook or on the iPhone (which is what the new screens are most similar to).
  • If only they'd had updated the old plastic MacBooks with the new graphics I'd probably just go for that since spec-wise they're perfect, except for the crappy graphics. Oh well.
  • Basically it's disappointing that their "midrange" model (the high-end 13") ups the specs I don't care about (drive size, keyboard backlight) but ignores the ones I do care about (connectivity, graphics chip). Oh well.
  • Apple marketing sure uses the phrase quantum leap a lot. I don't think that phrase means what they think it means (or maybe they really are just saying it's a tiny, almost-immeasurable incremental improvement).
  • Oh, dang, RAM is no longer user-serviceable, or at least not easily. That could be a problem. Although the 2GB base configuration is plenty for now. RAM is actually user-serviceable, they just didn't show it very well.

October 8, 2008

So Netflix is rolling out the Blu-Ray price increase ()

by fluffy at 9:48 AM
So because Blu-Ray movies cost more to purchase, and because Netflix wasn't already making enough money off of me, they're charging another $1/month for Blu-Ray access.

Let's see. I'm on the one-at-a-time plan and I tend to watch one or two movies a month. This costs me $9/month. (Sure, this also includes unlimited streaming access, which would be great if I had a PC at home, or wanted to spend another $100 for a Roku box, or whatever, but I hardly even have time to watch my shipped discs.) That's already more expensive than just renting from iTunes or the like. I mostly watch older movies, and I'd say only about 5% of my queue is in Blu-Ray. So I'm getting a 10% price increase for a 50% quality increase which covers 5% of my queue. Lovely. I'm also pretty sure that I'm not an atypical user, in this case.

October 6, 2008

Stocks ()

by fluffy at 11:10 AM
I am really glad the majority of my money is tied up in my condo right now, because damn. My stock portfolio has lost 20% of its value overnight, but thankfully my stock portfolio isn't very big.

October 4, 2008

How to: make Windows XP remember what the hell a mouse is (, )

by fluffy at 4:01 PM
For a few weeks now, Windows has been unable to remember how to install drivers for basic USB class-compliant devices, such as mice, keyboards, or thumb drives. It would only allow devices to work if they were still plugged into the same port on the same hub where they last worked. Everything else would make it bring up the "found new hardware wizard," and everything in it would insist that there was no driver found, or that the driver I specified "did not match the hardware," or whatever.

But I appear to have found the secret to fixing this: when the "found new hardware wizard" comes up, tell it to search for the driver in c:\windows\inf (which is of course where Windows is supposed to search for it TO BEGIN WITH — oh and note that you can't browse to it, since it's a hidden directory for some reason), and then that seems to get everything back in order.

Of course, none of the billions of forum threads I've seen about this even remotely touch upon this issue. ARGH.

The new Kindle design leaked ()

by fluffy at 1:08 PM
So, photos of the new Kindle have been spreading around for a couple days. I personally think that the new design looks terrible, and in fact it's ridiculous that the only really bad thing about the old design (the horrible attempt-at-paper-white plastic) is the only thing they kept!

Also apparently they've replaced the scroll wheel with a joystick. I can understand them wanting to replace the scroll wheel (since it was a terribly unreliable part) but it sounds like the joystick they've replaced it with is worse.

The only true improvements seem to be build quality, and the fact that now it charges via the miniUSB port instead of through the (also failure-prone) round-style wallwart plug. Well also the new pageturn button placement looks a bit better. But the overall design just looks ridiculous.

October 2, 2008