Have yourself a merry little Christmas

I had two christmases this year: an American style Christmas, and a British one. The first I achieved the simple way, by hijacking a passing American family and attending their festivities. The second required a little more effort: I had to simulate it in my apartment. I collected together a couple of presents for myself, from things I happened to have lying around. These included the new motherboard for hughanchor, so I spend most of the morning performing the transplant operation. It seemed to more or less succeed, modulo a rush to buy some thermal grease, and the realization that a P4 chip is a lot smaller than you would think given the size of the heatsink. It seems to be accepting the transplant so far, but it's hard to tell, given the sporadic nature of the recent crashes.

Then I put on "Carol's from King's" while I cooked the dinner --- nothing too fancy, just roast chicken and roast potatoes (not complex enough to attract the interest of Angel and her cronies). Then I enjoyed the adventures of Doug Who in the Christmas Invasion (which, thankfully, I'd managed to avoid constant hype for by the simple expedient of being in a different country), and the somewhat less impressive Chopratown. All in all, most satisfactory.


I'm not here

Right-o, that's enough for now. I'm going on a de-tox retreat to cut myself off from the Internet and work for a while. So, the subsequent radio silence on my part will be due to necessity, rather than through choice. Merry paganmas one and all.


Bad Spam Bot!

Some naughty spam bot posted 30 comments to old articles last night (I don't know which ones, it doesn't appear to be anything recent). This irritated me sufficiently, that I have enabled the "type in the word in the picture" checking feature for posting comments. I have no idea whether this is effective or not. If the bot comes back for more, then I'll have to enable the "moderate comments" feature in addition. Which would be a shame, since I don't care about moderate comments, I want to only see immoderate comments.

If you notice where these spam comments have been posted, I might be able to edit them out, although I don't know how easy it is to delete comments with blogger, while leaving the legitimate comments that directly insult me in place.


Christmas Lolly Extraveganza

I've been tidying the apartment, and in the course of it have turned up dozens of discarded lolly sticks in all manner of places: one inside hughanchor (see, the problematic memory stick was actually a lolly stick), down the back of the couch, stuck to the cat, piled up in front of the door, and so on. So here's a big catch up. Some may be repeats, in which case, too bad.

First, I've noticed a certain trend for tedious literality: consider

Q: What has two banks and no money? A: A river
Q: What is the most important thing you need when you go skateboarding? A: Your skateboard.

Not so much jokes, more plain statements of the obvious. Next, a couple that are just unlikely combinations:

Q: What has spots and rids on a fire truck? A: A fireman with measles.
Q: What has wheels and a trunk but no engine? An elephant on roller blades.

Note for non-US readers: a trunk is Americian for a boot. Hence, an appropriate anglicizes version of the above joke is as follows:

Q: What has wheels and a boot but no engine? An elephant wearing a boot on roller blades.

Which is about as funny as the original, ie not.

Rounding off the batch, more unfunny half-attempts at puns:

Q: How do you avoid ticks on your pets? A: Don't let them have a watch

Which is a common problem I understand.

Q: What did the hamburgers name their daughter? A: Patty

This relies on knowing that the uncooked meat formed into the shape of a hamburger in preparation for cooking is referred to as a patty. No reason why you should know this. Also, not entirely sure how hamburgers are meant to procreate, but I suppose that is left up to your imagination.

Q: Why were the refrigerator foods afraid? A: The milk went bad and turned rotten.

I don't think I've ever heard of rotten milk. For something to go rotten, there has to be something to rot, and I can't really visualize that.

Q: Why did the computer squeak? A: Somebody stepped on the mouse.

And presumably someone had configured the system to make sounds when the mouse was moved. Nothing surprising there.


Badly reported news story of the day.

According to the BBC, you only need to learn 100 words of english to understand a large fraction of what is being said! Wow! Isn't that amazing? Doesn't that just blow your mind? By learning just 100 key words "youngsters could understand books written for both children and adults" (which presumably means Harry Potter).

If we stop there (the report does go on to qualify this in more detail that is largely unrelated to this "100 words" claim, we might believe that we need just 100 words to understand things. Well, let's give it a try. Here's the BBC's list of the top 100 words:

a, about, after, all, am, an, and, are, as, at, away
back, be, because, big, but, by
call, came, can, come, could
did, do, down
for, from
get, go, got
had, has, have, he, her, here, him, his
I, in, into, is, it
last, like, little, live, look made, make, me, my
new, next, not, now
of, off, old, on, once, one, other, our, out, over
saw, said, see, she, so, some
take, that, the, their, them, then, there, they, this, three, time, to, today, too, two
up, us
was, we, were, went, what, when, will, with

And here is the opening paragraphs of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", where I've taken every word not on this list, and replaced it with the word "marklar". I've also been overly generous, in assuming that the reader can recognise that Alice is a person, and that they know the other forms of words on this list. So, do you understand this:

ALICE was marklar to get very marklar of marklar by her marklar on the marklar and of having marklar to do: once or marklar she had marklar into the marklar her marklar was marklar, but it had no marklar or marklar in it, "and what is the marklar of a marklar," marklar Alice, "marklar marklar or marklar?'

So she was marklar, in her own marklar (as marklar as she marklar, for the marklar marklar made her marklar very marklar and marklar), marklar the marklar of making a marklar would be marklar the marklar of getting up and marklar the marklar, when marklar a marklar marklar with marklar marklar marklar marklar by her.

There was marklar so very marklar in that; marklar did Alice marklar it so very marklar out of the marklar to marklar the marklar marklar to marklar "marklar marklar! marklar marklar! I marklar be too marklar!" (when she marklar it over marklar it marklar to her that she marklar to have marklar at this, but at the time it all marklar marklar marklar); but, when the marklar marklar marklar a marklar out of its marklar-marklar, and looked at it, and then marklar on, Alice marklar to her marklar, for it marklar marklar her marklar that she had marklar marklar seen a marklar with marklar a marklar-marklar, or a marklar to take out of it, and marklar with marklar, she marklar marklar the marklar after it, and was marklar in time to see it marklar down a marklar marklar-marklar marklar the marklar.

In marklar marklar down went Alice after it, marklar once marklar marklar in the marklar she was to get out marklar.

There's a basic problem with the BBC report: being able to understand half the words in a text does not mean that you have any reasonable approximation of understanding the text overall. Marklar. F'nord. Malkovitch.


Snow Day!

It's snowed: it's 6inches of snowed, in fact. I just spent an hour shoveling snow, which is my exercise for a week. Now too tired to do anything for the rest of the day, so will spend of the day curled up at home.

Also, 610,000 shares x 1 Yen = 1 share x 610,000 Yen, so why all the palaver?



Yes, good news for all fans of Ian McShane: there's a website that links to all the latest Ian McShane news (or Iannews, I suppose). Including a recent posting here. Gosh. Makes you wonder why they bother, really...

Other news: hughanchor had another blue screen moment this morning, after having been on all night. So could be a heat issue, but more reason to do the mobo transplant soon.

I got a card through my door apparently advertising the new Narnia film. But on the back, it says:
"See the movie... come explore the meaning with us... we want to invite you to join us on Sundays as we unravel the spiritual truths woven into the story and the parallels between Narnia and our own world. It could change your life. The presbyterian church at New Providence. Christ Centered, People Focused".

There are many, many, many things wrong with, but not least is the fact that they have a slogan. Since when did churches have slogans? And yes, feel free to quote apposite examples from the bible, I'm sure that there are loads.

Recent internet web searches that have caused people to visit this website:

1. nude drawer (which is where I keep my dirty pictures)
2. Clemence Posey address (learn to spell her name first)
3. wincy willis picture (try image search, fool)
4. sergey brin girlfriend (notable only because it does not also include the words "naked" or "nude", but then...)
5. Linda Bellingham sucked me off (best search term *ever*)

Lastly, I appear to be beset by incompetent phishermen. Many times I've received emails with an obviously spammy or phishery title, but no content. The latest one is even better: it's a multipart message from "Amazon" asking me to log into my account to stop it being deactivated. But they've only remembered to include the plain text alternative that has the correct amazon.com address in it, and forgotten to include the HTML version that would actually have the directions to the phishing website. Idiots.


Security made by Idiots

Imagine the scene at an airport.

"Hi, I'd like to check in my luggage."
"Sorry, is that a suitcase? I'm afraid I can't accept any suitcases"
"Why not?"
"It might have a bomb in it"
"But it doesn't have a bomb in it. I packed it myself"
"I can't take that risk. There have been too many cases of suitcases with bombs in for me to take that risk."
"Can you scan it and check that there isn't a bomb in it?"
"No, I don't have time for that"
"Well, what do you suggest?"
"You could take each item out of the suitcase and take them separately"
"What? That's ridiculous, I must have fifty things in the suitcase!"
"Or, you could airmail the suitcase to the destination. In fact, the airmail goes on the same flight that you are on, so it will get there at the same time"
"So if there was a bomb in the suitcase, it could still blow up the plane..."
"I suppose so, but that's not my problem. Tell you what, why don't you just wrap the suitcase in cellophane."
"Wrap the suitcase in cellophane. I've heard of lots of cases of bombs in suitcases, but I've never heard of a bomb in a suitcase that's wrapped in cellophane."
"Surely that's no protection if there was a bomb?"
"Oh, absolutely not, I expect. Shall I get you the cellophane?"
"This isn't security at all. This is just a pretence at security which just ends up wasting everyone's time and causing me irritation and frustration."
"Always happy to help."

What is this really about? Let me give you a clue: I recently tried to send a zip file to someone whose mail server refuses to accept zip attachments.