chronovore: (sweater)
Printing is not fun. What's the opposite of fun? It's that.

I bought an Epson printer which supports AirPrint, among other transmission formats like Google Cloud Print, and some Epson thing they've done on their own. I set up the printer, no problem. Print via wired connection - it wants Letter paper. I'm in Japan. No-one uses Letter. Why is it asking for Letter? I think it is related to system language somewhere on my wife's Win7 machine. It's a Japanese Win7 machine, but I may have told it somewhere to prioritize US English, because Epson's installer ran in English. I don't know why.

Anyway. It did.

I switched the PC's printer default to want A4 paper. That worked. Then I told the printer to print its own report. "Letter, please." I burrow down all the printer's own onscreen menu items until I find its internal preference: Letter. OK, set that to A4 as well. Now the printer knows it prefers A4 paper.

Print from iPad: "Insert Letter." WTF. Where is Letter defined on my iPad? I don't have a page setup option on iOS Safari's Print my iPad. The printer defaults to A4, so why is it asking for Letter?

It turns out FileMaker Go, at least, allows me to perform page setup before acting, so I was able to set A4 there and get on with things. Now I have to figure out why it's printing two pages and bleeding off the side, but that's a minor issue.

Anyway, yeah: Printers. I hate them.
chronovore: (sweater)

  • grains of sand in an oyster

  • little bits of soil still clinging, somehow, to my spinach

  • small stones between my shoe and sole

  • people who use hashtags and at-symbols in Facebook; it doesn't support that, and they're annoying everywhere they ARE supported, so knock it off

  • people who "Like" their own posts and their own responses; what happened? did they mis-click? are there other times where they DON'T LIKE what they've written?

chronovore: (Default)
By the time I reached the bike parking lot near the station, I had less than a minute to catch the special express, and maybe 20 more seconds to catch the regular express, which takes off just after it.

Crosswalk light was green, so I was off to a good start. Despite a lingering cough, I took off at a jog. In front of me, a woman was also jogging. She clearly was moving toward the station, and it looked like she thought she'd make it, so I made myself keep up with her; we ran the length of the block leading up to the station entrance. As we neared the gate, the special express departed. I had maybe 20 seconds left. Clearing the ticket gate with my electronic pass, I watched the departure announcement sign change, meaning the express was about to depart. Now running at a slightly more brisk pace, we both cleared the corner, the escalator leaning upward toward the raised platform, just a little more... Halfway there...

At which point the woman in front of me decided that she wasn't going to make it, and stopped climbing the escalator steps. Stopped, right in the middle, not off to either side. Stopped, so I had to stop too, or shove past her to maintain my speed. Which I didn't, so I slowed, scootched past her slowly, then continued climbing. Just when I crested the top, the train started moving.

I'm pretty sure if the woman hadn't stopped on the escalator, I would have made it. So my perspective, seeing a small pattern writ large, is this: If you're going to fail, if you're going to concede, at least have the decency to do it in a way that doesn't impede others who haven't yet given up.
chronovore: (mouthy)
(OK, it looks like this is a 3.1 issue; I thought I'd installed 3.1 at launch but apparently I was running 3.0.whatevs until this morning.)

TLDR version:I hate being made to feel stupid. Why do engineers ever think it's a good idea to put multiple search fields available in an application's user interface? iTunes does some weird crap, but even iTunes knows enough to make Search contextually sensitive to location within the app. In your Library? I'll search the library. In the Apple Store? I'll search the store. It probably also isolates if you're in your iPod or iPad...

One of the things which irks me a lot are shortsighted UI changes which look efficient but are actually confusing. Like MS Office "ribbon"? I hate that thing. It may be great for new users, but for users who are accustomed to Office, suddenly it's just about impossible to find my own ass with both hands, a flashlight, and a GPS.

Thunderbird mandated a "minor" revision this morning (actually with 3.1) and its search functionality has changed. Until this morning, it had a single search field, and the magnifying glass icon was a drop down for Search Type, e.g. search all messages, message body, subject, to: and subject, etc.

In today's revision, in addition to the Search field at the top, now there's a Quick Filter bar underneath it, with the ability to show only mails with attachments, tagged mail, mail from contacts, etc. The whole Quick Filter bar can be minimized/hidden, so you don't have to see it all the time. It also has its own Search field for text entry.

The functionality for Quick Filters was previously inherent to the universal search field, but now the various drop down Search options are now buttons. These are displayed only if text has been entered, so what was one step is now a progressive isolation of search results. That's not inherently bad, but it's a big change.

But now there are two fields for text entry when searching: "Search All Messages" field and a "Quick Filter" field. I just don't see a reason why this wasn't included in a "Search" bar. Anytime a user has to go multiple places to find things, it's confusing. And I can't believe the change isn't advertised in mile high flaming letters on the greeting screen.
chronovore: (furious)
At work we have fingerprint reader locks at the entrances leading to the building's common spaces such as the elevators and hallways leading to the building's restrooms. Unfortunately they are kind of a pain in the ass, because the registration of the fingerprint alignment is quite finicky, and the bond between the glass and finger does not work well if the proffered digit is overly dry, there is no user feedback from the lock while it scans (Is it reading now? Did that go through? Is it active, or is it warming up to read? Do I need to try again?), etc. I've joked that, if these locks were used in a horror movie where the main character is fleeing from the monster or alien, in movies they always open at the last minute but with these locks the character would just get eaten. They are really uncooperative locks.

So it's quite a stroke of when I'm returning from the restroom and someone else is leaving the dev floor. All they have to do is push a button and the door unlocks, but from the opposite side you have to go through Fort Knox procedures to get back on the floor to work.

Sometimes, however, there will be someone standing on the dev floor side, waiting... they can hear the beep-beep-beep of my employee number being entered, they can then hear the long delay after those beeps, while I fumble my finger around on the glass, trying to find a position that the lock accepts my fingerprint. They're planning to open the door, but they're waiting for me to do it. WHY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON AND OPEN THE DOOR. DO YOU THINK HANS GRUBER IS OUT HERE WITH A BAND OF TERRORISTS, ABOUT TO KICK IN THE DOOR? DO YOU THINK HANS FUCKING GRUBER IS GOING TO BE WAYLAID BY A FINICKY FINGERPRINT LOCK? OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR FOR ME, JOHN McCLANE.
chronovore: (furious)
More fun in the new world: The place which advertised out-of-warranty iPhone repairs does not, for some reason, repair iPod Touch.

A long story, short: my iPod Touch headphone jack went flaky 3 weeks ago, which was 6~7 weeks past its one-year warranty. Apple wants 23,200 yen to give me a refurb unit, but recommended buying a new, same-capacity unit for 29,980 yen. Because of a 100 yen headphone jack. I have been pissed off since then.

Last night I called the US support line, and they reiterated the same policy: After 12 months, "it is a gamble" to own the iPod without extending the warranty through AppleCare, and the cost of my unknowingly cast bet is 199USD. This advice was not endearing.

During lunch today, I took a rushed trip by train to Nipponbashi to again visit the shop which had been closed on Tuesday. This time it was open, but the first thing the guy said was "Oh, this is an iPod. We do iPhones..."  He was helpful and gave the old college try to open the iPod, but the sucker-grip used for iPhone didn't work, and jimmying it with a guitar pick didn't have any more luck. He couldn't get it open and was worried about warping the case, especially since they didn't carry replacement cases. At this point, I'm considering shipping it to one of the US-based, third party repair places, then getting them to ship it to my sister, and having her bring it with her in June.

Also "at this point," I'm pretty sure that my current set of Apple goods are the last ones I will buy. Apple suggesting that a 13-month-old, 500USD piece of kit should be repurchased over a headphone jack, combined with the cascade of problems my refurb PowerBook had, with which Apple dealt so gracelessly, Apple is no longer the apple of my eye. My planned iPad purchase, my MacBook replacement for the still-ailing PowerBook, are no longer in the works. If Softbank gives me a free iPhone I won't refuse it, but I'm done sending Apple my money.
chronovore: (furious)
Who the hell do I complain to about the ads that are appearing on Xbox Live's Dashboard?

The Dashboard auto-loads the "Spotlight" channel which has, until now, limited itself to new game announcements, content, tips and strategies, community events, and in the non-game category, special Netflix offers or Xbox media-specific music and videos. All about the Xbox 360 and things you can do with it, no problem. Occasionally there are TV show and movie promotions for items which are not yet for download on the service, but they usually offer free gamerpics or themes for the 360; those are called presents.

The other day there was a item in it for Progressive Auto Insurance. Like a trained monkey, I automatically selected it to see if it had a contest or some DLC for it, or Forza or PGR DLC associated with it. But selecting it just played a low resolution TV advertisement. Nothing to do with games, nothing to do with Netflix or any other XBL-connected service. A TV ad hosted front and center on the Live service I'm paying US$50 a year for. What's next, unskippable advertisements?

Edit: Apparently SONY already had this great idea. I am speechless.
http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3175430
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] andrewv for the clue.

much ado

Jun. 30th, 2008 04:24 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
Listening to The Savage Lovecast again today, and remembered [livejournal.com profile] chernobylred condemning Loveline's Dr. Drew. Driving home late at night during crunchtime, I really used to enjoy Loveline when it was Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla. The two of them were a great pair, because Adam is hilarious and Drew always seemed very insightful in terms of being able to identify trauma in someone's past that they'd not brought up in the question. And they were always at each other's throats, Drew largely through scathing silences, and Adam coming down on Drew for not loosening up a little.

surprize! buttsecks! )
chronovore: (furious)
Go get 'im, Wil!
your republican authoritarian bullshit of the day - Vox
"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do." -- Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri), explaining why his fellows had to lock arms with him and grant telecom immunity.
(via boingboing)
Also, Senator Bond? Fuck you. Fuck you right in your fucking face, you asshole. Try reading that Constitution you swore an oath to defend, you son of a bitch.
chronovore: (mouthy)
This morning I woke up to a contact's link to Animation World Magazine, Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art. My first thought was, That doesn't sound right. That just sounds alarmist and scary, though there certainly is a lot of MAFIAA behavior that would qualify as scary and dishonest. When I read through the article, it seemed to largely be about "orphaned works" (wikipedia) - this is particularly an area where I'd like to see copyright reform begin to take effect. After all, there are heaps of works out there where there is no clear ownership of the original work, so using it is questionable and generally legally inadvisable. However, because of the cooling effects of copyright law, these works may fade entirely away; they're not in print, they're not being maintained and there's no positive result from trying to save them, only perceived potential for litigation.
“As the Copyright Office said in its notice, the evidence suggests that a large number of works may fall into the category of orphan works. We consider it extremely important, not only for the artists who are creating new work today, but also for the ideas created in years past, that orphan works be made as widely available as possible.

"The greater availability of orphan works will provide a new and valuable source of inspiration for writers, film-makers, musicians and artists generally. (Save Orphan Works)
I am not sure where the author thinks that work which is readily attributable to him will legally become open fodder for Disney and Halliburton, but that's not what orphaned works are really about. So I went looking for examples to counter this guy's perspective. It turns out, there's been a minor firestorm over this in teh blogospherez today, and at least one person has written up what's fundamentally wrong with the positions expressed in the AWM article: read Six Misconceptions About Orphaned Works for some common sense and insight. [via boingboing]

twit

Mar. 18th, 2008 05:28 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
Global Geek News Blog - Twitter Etiquette.

Dude. Get a life. Whomever you're following, they don't have a contract with you to follow your rules. Don't like the way they're using it? Drop them. If you're feeling giving, let them know they've been dropped, and why.

I'm not the system's biggest fan, but even I know you can input "follow [name]" to get updates pushed to your device, and "stop [name]" to cease that person's twitterrhea at a local level.

Edit: Hee! I'm a dork. It's "leave [name]" to drop them. "Off" will just c&d updates. Have a handy list.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Manhunt 2 is as irrelevant and boring to an inverse degree that the rest of the world was upset about it. Talk about a flubbed sequel; nothing is advanced from the original; it feels less harrowing and suspenseful, and the story is like a comic book, compared to the cult-film/exploitation style of the original.

I think I'm about to finish it, so I may update this with a changed opinion dependent on the ending. But right now it's a struggle to work up the energy to play it through; it's turned into a stupid run-and-gun with very little difficulty. GAH. Lame.
chronovore: (OMFG)
My family just got back from a trip to San Jose, California. I very much wanted to see my local friends, but instead decided to keep the entire trip entirely focused on being with my Dad's widow and my sister's family. My two kids get to play with their Japanese family every day of the year, as they're literally 20 steps away down the block from our house, but they've only seen their single US cousin once before. We made up for some of that discrepancy on this trip, and we really got my Dad's widow into the Christmas spirit, and she helped us do the same.

My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] weezie13, [livejournal.com profile] tsanders, [livejournal.com profile] allera, [livejournal.com profile] hedr_goblin, [livejournal.com profile] cyclopea, [livejournal.com profile] toxgunn, and heaps of friends who don't have LJ accounts. I know everyone was probably busy with their own plans anyway, but I feel bad for being incommunicado about it.

The trip started off badly but became better as the week went on. cut for length and video )
chronovore: (mouthy)
I was just over to Utilikilts; I was thinking of picking one up.

The damned things are US$155. I will be sticking with cargo shorts.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I returned from lunch to find that my computer had rebooted itself. The cute word-balloon message in the taskbar more-or-less read:
O HAI! [LOLZ] WE OTTO-INSTALLED UR UPDATES, AND HAD TO SAI-KI-D'OH UR MACHINE KTHXBYE. PS: HOPE UR UZING FIREFOX BECAUSE WE CLOSED LIKE A BILLION OPEN TABS. WER U RESEARCHING SUMTING? PPS: SORRY ABOUR UR EMAILZ."
I knew it had installed an update, and before lunch when it gave me a countdown dialog saying it would happen automatically, unless I chose later. I CHOSE "LATER."

OTOH, this excellent Moka French from Kaldi Farm is making me reconsider my Windows Rage. Yummmmm.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Pandora blocked non-US IP Addresses (except Canada and the UK); I briefly got it back with TOR, an IP spoofer.

Then TOR "upgraded" and I've not been able to get it to work since then.

Last.fm told me today that it needed to "upgrade," so I did that and now it won't play music, only track my played CDs. And it's in Japanese, with no clear way to put it back to English UI. And when I say "clear" I mean that the Options (preferences) doesn't show it in any tab, as well as no language directories in the application itself. That's the method for overriding local language settings in iTunes or Nvu or Inkscape - go in and find the language directories, then change the name of Japanese's directory so it defaults back to English. HIGH TECH! GAH!

I WILL NEVER UPGRADE ANYTHING AGAIN. fuck this futchar.
chronovore: (mouthy)
Travelers Tales, makers of the Star Wars Lego games is currently working on Lego Indiana Jones. Though those games were quite fun, I found myself playing largely to complete the game, not just for the joy of it. In the end, I was unable to convince myself to play through each level enough times to get all of the Xbox Live Achievements.

In the end, it turns out to have been a fairly simple miss - in trying to make a game which plays identically on any of its many platforms, they failed to take advantage of the features which are specific and beneficial on particular platforms. The Load Game dialog is suspiciously similar to the Playstation 2's process, which fails then to account for the possibility -no, probability- that a consistent data storage unit will be present and tied to the logged in user's account. Every boot-up, instead of referring to the User Account's save data instead makes you locate the storage unit, then select the Save Data file, then confirm that you really want that Save Data... Does anyone really accidentally load the wrong Save Data file? The Achievements in the game are really lazily implemented - instead of tying in to a number of different stats that are already tracked in the game, it instead tracks whether or not you've died during completion of a level; a fact which is entirely de-emphasized in regular play, and nearly impossible unless you've got the reflexes of a 12-year-old who's hopped up on a brick of Hershey's and mainlining NoDoz through a nasal tap.

The other measure for Achievements is a base check on percentage-completion of the game, which is tied into several variables, but also affected by purchase of unlocked characters, some of which cost over a million Lego bits. So it's a short game which ends up overcompensating by requiring obscene amounts of repeated play, which manage to rob the all the fun of the initial play-through in the name of completion. And all of it could have been avoided if they'd just tied Achievements in to the tasks which award Gold Bricks and Power Bricks.

So, yeah; I started off loving the game, ended up getting kind of sick of it, and if an Achievement Junkie like me won't jump through those hoops WHILE PLAYING WITH LEGO AND STAR WARS FIGURES, they've screwed the pooch.

In retrospect, this post is mainly about how happy I am that the implication is that there will be Indiana Jones themed Lego - though I suspect they'll replace the more generically pulp-themed Adventure! sets, and that's a little sad. But it may mean we get Nazi Lego - and that will just be... weird.
chronovore: (OMFG)
::thisismattfractiondotcom:::
NICK HORNBY: Every time I think, Man, I'd love to write for The Wire, I quickly realize that I wouldn't know my True dats from my narcos. Did you know all that before you started? Do you get input from those who might be more familiar with the idiom?

DAVID SIMON: My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.
chronovore: (mouthy)
CL&P Blog: Companies Claim Right to Interfere with eBay Auctions for Charging Too Little: (slashdot) - In the spirit of Slashdot, I've not even RTFA'd yet. I'm just bookmarking it for tomorrow when I'm conscious again. THEN I'll probably become irate. And I'll add my rant about how insanely lame it is that companies will outsource their labor to foreign countries ("LIKE JAPAN!" -snerk-) and reap the benefits of that, but have not only raised the drawbridge to their castle, they've convinced our leaders that it's all to protect culture.

And after I finish that rant, I'll probably even tag this article properly.

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