April 2012


Two hours on the phone with Paypal, six password resets, three escalations, two different computers and four different browsers, and still they don’t have the slightest idea why I can’t log in to my account.

Ten days ago, I successfully paid for something through Paypal. Now, nothing that tier 1-3 support can come up will get me into my account.

…but they think that if they escalate even higher, they may have something for me in 24-48 hours.

[Update: Amusing; if I do a password-reset and try to give it the current password, it detects this and refuses to allow me to use it. But that same password didn’t work fifteen seconds earlier, so the problem can’t possibly be on my end, especially since I’m pasting it in each time rather than typing it from memory.]

[Update: it appears they don’t like my home IP address…]

News you can use

An online cosmetics shop in Japan has published the results of their survey of “where the boobs are” in Japan. Failure to publish their methodology and sample size has not interfered with their primary goal of attracting hits to their site.

Those interested in converting the claimed cup sizes into their local measurement system may use this helpful calculator.

(via the never-safe-for-work Sankaku Complex)

The Hakama...

…was invented by unionized seamstresses who wanted to ensure there would always be hemming work.

Also, I’m short for my height.

[Update: Put on your gi jacket and obi normally. Measure from top of obi to ankle-bone. If inches, divide by 1.49; if centimeters, divide by 3.79. If you’re buying cotton, round up; if tetron (polyester/rayon), round down (half-sizes are sometimes available). This is your hakama size. If a store sizes them 0-6 or S,M,L,XL,etc, leave. Try E-Bogu instead.]

Google+ hates you

Apparently Google’s web design team has been hijacked by rogue optometrists who are attempting to drive people into their offices by creating eyestrain.

Why else would they have decided that medium-gray text on a light-gray background is a good way to present all comments, especially the sort of long, detailed comment that contains information that's actually worth reading?

And of course they’re wasting acres of space on useless crap like chat, “trending” tags, “you may know” (but almost certainly don’t), and “you might like” (but definitely won’t) sections.

E-book price-fixing, continued

The publishers are not looking good here, and in fact are looking exactly like corrupt racketeers. I love the quote from Steve Jobs:

"you set the price, and we get our 30 percent, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway"

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; lots of juicy quotes, and the DoJ is serious enough to have acquired the various CEOs’ phone records. Even without this investigation, though, the publishers are screwed in the long run, and they deserve to be. They think they’re pushing back at an uppity online discount bookstore, and have failed to notice that Amazon is not only far more popular than they are, but has become the best place to shop for damn near anything.

Where else can you get two-day free shipping for polearms, diesel generators, gym-grade fitness equipment, gourmet foods, and fishing boats? I was honestly surprised to find that they’re not selling cars and motorcycles yet, but that’s probably just because the red tape for title transfers is too much of a hassle to navigate.

Dear Microsoft,

Why did this month’s Office patch for the Mac force me to re-enter my product activation key? As it happens, I had it available, but many people won’t.

"...just helping them get their start."

Latest Japanese spam email. This week’s pitch is for a BBS where runaway girls gather; that’s the from line. The subject is “Please become the God of needy girls” (lit: Kami-sama). They promise a community of 50,000 hungry, homeless, poor runaways all over Japan, and wouldn’t you like to help a cute runaway girl? Safe, easy to use (the site, that is), and free (until you actually find one to “help”, of course…).

From: 家出中の女性が集まる掲示板です。 
Subject: 貧しい少女達の神様となってください。
(C) 家出中のかわいい女子を助けてあげてくれませんか?

[Update: and another one today, this one specifically identifying their runaways as high-school girls; it’s officially the new thing]

Clove underwear

There are three ways to write the word for cloves in Japanese: クローブ (phonetic loanword), 丁子 (common kanji), and 丁字 (which can also be read as “teiji”, where it means the letter “T”). In JMdict, these are completely separate entries, and I just submitted a request to have the first two merged, with 丁子 as the primary. Arguably, they should all be consolidated, but I just did the one; I wouldn’t be surprised if the editors merge the other on their own after looking at my suggestion.

And the underwear? A Google image search for 丁字 is all about the T-backs

Another reason to hate Paypal

I spent two hours trying to buy stuff from a site that uses Paypal’s shopping-cart system. Why? Because it kept resetting the cart. This seems to happen at random intervals, but is guaranteed to happen if you’re actually logged into your Paypal account and that session times out while you’re loading up the cart.

It was so bad that I ended up pre-staging the desired items in multiple tabs, so that I could rapidly add them all to the cart and hit the checkout button before the session expired. As it is, I ended up missing the click on one item, so the merchant will not be selling me that particular $250 product today.

Obama's race war heats up

Here’s one thing he can’t try to pin on Bush!

I can haz Ice Cream Sandwich

[Update: two problems so far: 1. video codec eventually crashes, requiring a reboot (after a few days). 2. increased power draw in sleep mode, even with wireless and bluetooth off. So, I expect an update soon.]

Well, my Sony Tablet S does now, anyway; my doctor still frowns on gratuitous sugar for me.

Dear Microsoft Mac Team,

Just a quick FYI: the default encoding for text files on a Mac is UTF-8 with no byte-order-marker, with each line terminated by the ASCII NL character (0x10); this has been true for many years. I say this because Microsoft Word is still incapable of opening a UTF8-encoded text file without turning it into garbage, even if I explicitly override the default (wrong) encoding in the dialog. Outlook does some goofy text-molesting as well.

I can, at least, override the default (wrong) encoding in the save dialog, and it will write out the file in UTF-8, but then it will add a byte-order-marker for no good reason, which then has to be edited out. Quoting:

UTF-8 always has the same byte order. An initial BOM is only used as a signature — an indication that an otherwise unmarked text file is in UTF-8. Note that some recipients of UTF-8 encoded data do not expect a BOM. Where UTF-8 is used transparently in 8-bit environments, the use of a BOM will interfere with any protocol or file format that expects specific ASCII characters at the beginning, such as the use of "#!" of at the beginning of Unix shell scripts.

Ironically, the best way to get Unicode text files into Word is to convert them to HTML first…

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”