October 2021

‘Quality Improvements’, you say?


This security update includes quality improvements. Key changes include:

  • Addresses an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.

Things I never thought I’d say…

“I know that terabyte’s around here somewhere.”

I eventually found it under a post-it note.

4 Cheesecakes and a Catgirl

The first episode of Restaurant To Another World 2 dives right into the food porn with no more than a token-but-talky reminder, picking up the fairly loose storyline where they left off, and treating the characters and situation as a given.

The first season wasn’t noteworthy for its animation, but the new studio leans pretty heavily on 3D CGI and panned stills, with some camera moves that are just there to save them the effort of doing more character animation. Not bad, but they’re definitely not in it to impress. The new character designs are close enough to the old ones that you probably wouldn’t notice if it hadn’t been advertised.

It follows the established formula sufficiently well to reassure fans of the first season that it won’t suck.

Oh, and that’s not my rating for this episode. The new character is a catgirl, and she eats four helpings of cheesecake. “Spoilers”, I know. 😁

Sticky Note

The only accessory makers Apple can never put out of business are the ones who make their mobile products less slippery. I thought the iphones were ridiculous until I tried to pull an AirPod Pro out of its equally-slippery case. Then had it fall out of my ear within a minute.

I was reminded of this in a reddit discussion of Nespresso’s Origin line of cups, where people were complaining that they had a “chalkboard” texture.

I thought this was a baffling way to describe matte-finished ceramics, especially since I find both the Origin and Lume lines very pleasant to look at and hold, precisely because they’re not shiny and smooth and slippery and cheap-looking. And I’ve cleaned plenty of chalkboards in my time, so I’m pretty confident in saying that there’s no real resemblance.

A bit pricy, perhaps, but they go on sale fairly often.

I do not understand how Time Machine manages to find hundreds of megabytes of changes on my MacBook Air multiple times per day, especially since the single largest deltas (virtual machines and the output of rebuilding my blog) are explicitly excluded from its coverage. As are all source-control repos pulled down from servers.

…and, no, it’s not that my disk is being slowly encrypted by ransomware (I checked, and compared to my regular SuperDuper backups). I think TM is simply doing it wrong, and the net effect is that a portable computer can’t just be picked up and taken somewhere, because interrupting a Time Machine backup can leave it in a state that the OS insists (usually incorrectly) is unfixable, and the only solution it offers is to completely wipe your backup history and start over, leaving you with no backups until the first one completes.

More on Heinlein

I know someone has been trying to get the rights to his novels sorted out so they’re all available in relatively consistent editions (including rebranding an abandoned draft as a “parallel novel”), but it ain’t there yet. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond The Sunset are still not available as ebooks, although you can get audiobooks (something I’ve never felt any urge to try out; I simply can’t “read” that way, and the most distracting background noise you can make around me is human speech in a language I understand).

Back on the supply-chain gang

My local Toyota dealership’s web site shows only two new cars on the lot this week, and 46 used ones (only 21 of which are Toyotas). The regional inventory has one that exactly matches what I want if I were to buy/lease a car right now, but I am definitely not in the market; it’d just sit in the driveway gathering dust for at least three months. Maybe more, if Benito Newsom ups his game.

On that note, if I don’t have to go into an office in January, I’ll likely never have to do so again, at which point I might as well go live near my parents while they’re still around. Between my RSUs and the equity in my current place, why, I could even live in Oakwood!

Although, honestly, the most promising house on the market right now in that town is a three-story built in 1937, which my knees wouldn’t thank me for; and it would be downright weird to live in a brick home again after nearly 30 years in earthquake country. The only house I actually liked (within about 15 minutes of my folks) costs about the same as my current place in California is worth, except it has twice the square footage plus a full basement, a three-car garage, and is set on a full acre of wooded land, while still being about five minutes away from a Kroger, a Costco, and a Cabelas. Definitely not Oakwood. 😁

It’s one of the very few I saw where I wouldn’t feel a compulsion to strangle the kitchen designer. Pro tip: you’re not a pro, and you’re not hosting a show, so don’t have your kitchen renovated to look like a Food Network set.

Aero in the air

My new laptop is officially on its way via UPS, and:

The package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.

I believe this parses as “Customs agent awaiting customary donation”. Still more-or-less on track to arrive Wednesday. I did like the email update this afternoon that excitedly warned me I’d be getting Windows 11; intended for all the models that had previously shipped with 10, no doubt, which this one never was.

Let's do the Time Machine again!

It’s just a jump to the left

I downloaded the free trial of BackupLoupe to find out what the hundreds of megabytes of changes Apple was backing up every few hours actually contained. It took hours to fully analyze the 91 snapshots going back to November 2020, but it was worth it.

Number one with a bullet in its head: /private/var/db/diagnostics. The Persist and Special sub-directories are full of trace files. This is Apple just dropping turd files and never cleaning them up or recognizing that they are turds, and shouldn’t be backed up.

Number two would be ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Data/vms/0/data/Docker.raw, if I used Docker more often; it’s up to 3.5 GB, and I hadn’t manually excluded it from TM. I only have a handful of utility containers on this machine, though, and I rarely update them, so it was only getting picked up maybe once a month.

Number three with a giant sigh is ~/.config/joplin-desktop/log.txt. The app never rotates the log, which logs every sync operation quite verbosely, so it goes back to when I first installed Joplin. Six months worth is about 96 MB, and because it’s a (fucking) log file, it changes any time the application is open, setting the minimum size for every backup. Bug filed.

(and promptly converted to an “enhancement request”, with a suggested solution that doesn’t accomplish jack shit…)


There are a number of manga series no longer available as Kindle ebooks, mostly because they contain naughty things. Some of them are still available in paperback, but even then there are some gaps. Yen Press sells on a number of platforms, though, and the one that doesn’t completely suck is Kobo, a piece of the Rakuten empire.

And by “doesn’t suck”, I mean that there are tools to strip the DRM from their books, back them up, and read them on the epub application of your choice, something that’s not true for the competing BookWalker service.

Kobo has their own line of dedicated ebook readers, including one that allows stylus markup of PDF files, but I haven’t used a dedicated reader for a few years now.

Sadly, the series I most want seems to be in licensing hell. Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs isn’t consistently available on any platform I’ve found. Kobo currently has books 6, 13, and 15, for instance, while Amazon has 11-15 in paperback only.

Looney Tunes

Former child actress Alyssa Milano, vaguely remembered for some TV shows and a movie or two, has declared, from inside her secure compound, that Now is the most dangerous time to be a woman in America.

Ya misspelled “Afghanistan”, honey-muffin. And whose fault was that?

Gosh, I’d love to open the windows, but…

…someone is power-washing a neighbor’s roof for the second day in a row. It’s tile, and the wrong side to install solar panels on, so I’m not sure why.

Whatever the reason, since it’s a two-story, I can’t open any of my first-floor windows without getting some unpleasant-smelling damp air coming in, and I have to turn up the music to mask the noise.

Overexplored territory

“Reincarnated in my own past as the girl next door, I try to fix me so that I don’t grow up to become such a loser that I end up being hit by a truck and reincarnated.”

Order status

New laptop still reportedly in Customs, new lens hasn’t shipped yet. Both still on target for Wednesday arrival.

Monday morning update

Laptop and lens are in the air!

The X of Y Z

The Bureau of Magical Hotties

I’ve made it through several more episodes, and Kimie Tsukakoshi remains the best reason to watch this show. Not just for her sleek hotness, but as the only one of the younger actors who’s keeping up with the grownups, particularly Christopher Sommers. I get the feeling Elizabeth Cullen could keep up, but so far her character is just weakly written; you could say she’s doing a good job in a bad job. I honestly don’t have a strong impression of the others yet (except that Rainbow Wedell is quite striking, despite the best efforts of the stylists); they’re just filling out the cast.

The world-building has some issues. They can’t seem to decide between “magical beings hiding in plain sight” and “parallel civilization that doesn’t understand the muggle world”, and it leads to numerous fridge moments and me fast-forwarding to the next scene.

The Department of Interface Redesign

There’s a lengthy discussion on MacRumors about Safari 15’s confusing and terrible new tabs, and I found it completely baffling… because I still run Catalina. I fired up Safari for the first time on my work Mac, which runs Bug Serf, and sure enough it’s a child so ugly even its mother will have trouble loving it. It was not designed, it was committed.

The Credit of Limited Usefulness

Amazon makes a big fuss about the benefits of selecting “Amazon day” shipping, offering a dollar or two in credit on digital purchases if you let them delay shipping your order and try to fit it into slightly fewer packages.

The catch is that the credit is applied to a book of their choice, so I now have 7 days to purchase Stranger in a Strange Land at $5 off, but only that one book. It’s not on any of my wish lists, it’s not one of my favorites, and I’ve already read both versions of it, so this “credit” will expire unused. I seem to remember that this used to be an actual credit that you could apply to any Kindle book, but someone chose to optimize the experience.

The Randomness of Everyday Essentials

Amazon, in what universe is rackmount Chromebook storage an “everyday essential”? I’m particularly intrigued by the $22 “protection plan”; come on, it’s a 3U shelf for a 19-inch rack, how much protection does it need?

The Tiniest of Pie Slices

MacRumors reports on a survey proclaiming that Apple is now the most popular brand of watch… among upper-income US teens… replacing Rolex. Exactly how many of these formerly-Rolex-wearing American teens exist?

(Komi is unrelated, and held hostage by Netflix for two weeks)

The Lateness of New Laptops

Early Monday, the status went from stuck-in-Customs to:

Your package is in transit. We’re updating plans to schedule your delivery.

Which would be great, but it hasn’t updated since. And that message had it still located in Chongqing, China. Which means that it didn’t make it onto a plane, and still hasn’t.

Check back tomorrow for an updated delivery date.


The Arrival of New Lenses

The lens, on the other hand, is definitely in the hands of FedEx, and will be in my hands sometime between 8am and 8pm, with a signature requirement that leaves me tied to the front door all day.

I’m not complaining about having to sign for a $1,000+ lens, I just wish they’d narrow down the window just a tiny bit.

The Randomness of Apple Upgrades

There is no way to deliberately update Apple Airpods to new firmware; it just happens, under conditions that can’t be arranged or predicted.

“…even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing…”

The Pharmacist of Rural Fantasyland

Meanwhile, Our Former Hero talks his way through the premise of the show, preparing for Slow Life, With Girl. Just the one, despite the huge tracts of land possessed by the cute adventurer-guild poster girl who’s obviously a bit smitten. The OP and ED make it clear that there won’t be any competition here, once they meet up next episode.

(no fan-art for this one yet, so here’s a maid on a skateboard)

Pump and dump

“Alexa, give me a unicorn chaser, stat!”

TIL that Amazon Music includes the Tim Curry solo album that features I do the rock, a song I associate with the classic Rocky Horror midnight-movie experience. I couldn’t make it all the way through, and had to request Zappa’s Be in my video to clear my head.

(we’ve secretly replaced the ‘related pictures’ with Folger’s Crystals Komi-san; let’s see if anyone notices)

Delay of Harem

The World’s End Harem show, set to premiere today, has rather abruptly been moved to a January release. Either the animators did a terrible job, or they did a really good job…

(episode 1 aired in Japan, but was not streamed with English subs, so someone may have to actually create a fansub rather than simply copying it)

Interspecies Reviewers, reviewed

One of the many manga series that got jerked around by Amazon (who also licensed the anime and suddenly dumped it when they belatedly realized it was about men fucking whores), I bought this on Kobo. Like the anime, this is light-hearted sexy fun.

The light novel, on the other hand, is clumsy pump-and-squirt porn written in first person mostly from the perspective of a character who only vaguely resembles the other two versions of Stunk. It’s pretty bad. (and note that it’s based on the manga, not the other way around)

More fun with Time Machine

I applied the recent Catalina security update this week, which involved a reboot. Surprisingly, the connection to the docking station did not reset this time, so it didn’t end up putting itself to sleep before the battery ran dry.

It did, however, slow down backups. Not because of the unnecessary garbage it’s (still) backing up, but because at boot it reverted to the “run backups really slowly in the background” setting, which can be fixed with:

sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

I like the fact that the name of this kernel variable contains no hint that it’s related to the performance of backupd.

Job title

Post-reorg, my never-used business cards are functionally obsolete, and the title on them was hopelessly generic anyway (“member of technical staff”). Should a post-Covid normal come to pass, I think I should get a new set printed, and see if I can get approval to use a title that better reflects my role and expertise.

I’m thinking “Self-Aware Perl Script”. 😁

Meet the new lens

I did not expect the new Sony lens to arrive with its own soft-sided carrying case, complete with handle, shoulder strap, and belt loop. Nice for storage, but a bit bulky for air travel, since I always keep computer and camera gear in my carry-on bags. Hypothetically speaking, I mean; it’s not like I have any travel plans right now…

Since it arrived after sundown Wednesday night, I didn’t get a chance to try it outdoors until after my first meeting of the morning, so I snapped a few quick shots of the backyard bloomers. As expected, working with an effective 150mm focal length made the framing a bit tight, and the depth of field at f/2.8 is extremely shallow, but the apodization filter really delivers on the “creamy out-of-focus area” feature.

Laptop in motion

Early this morning, it officially “left the facility” in Chongqing. Maybe by Monday it will finally show up somewhere else!

Dead Eyes

At the beginning of each photo shoot, every glamour model should ask herself, “what can I do better than a plastic doll?”. This shoot (NSFW! Javascript off!) featuring Korean model Zenny (신재은) is a classic example of not asking that question.

Lack of affordances

To my surprise, I just acquired a KitchenAid 5-cup food chopper. Surprised, because I didn’t order it, and it’s apparently an early seasonal gift from a family member who’s been in my kitchen, and should know that I own an electric food processor, a manual one, and a quite large array of sharp knives. Also that I haven’t been cooking much for a while now with nobody coming over.

It took me five minutes to figure out how to get the lid off without breaking the damn thing.

The catch is that even slight downward pressure on the lid locks it into place, because the part that extends over the handle is also the power/pulse switch. And there are no convenient arrows showing the direction to turn either the lid or the base, and the procedure in the documentation actually starts after you get the lid off. Even the video on the product page only shows you how to put the lid on.

Sure enough, there are a number of reviews on various sites from other people who were baffled by the opaque user interface.

Outdated Cultural Depiction

Worse than smoking!

I was idly flipping through movies on Amazon, and accidentally double-clicked on Fletch (I like the movie, but I hadn’t been planning to watch it). One of the pre-movie warnings was:

OC: Outdated Cultural Depiction

Yeah, whatever, junior.


My DeLonghi Livenza convection toaster oven lasted 16 months. The warranty was, of course, 12 months. Fortunately I was in the room when it made a very peculiar noise, started smelling of burnt plastic, and then killed itself off forever with a beep-beep-beep.

If you’d asked me yesterday if I would recommend this model, my answer would have been an emphatic yes. Now, not so much.

Restaurant to Another World #2.2

Lots of CGI and panned stills again, and there’s something wrong with the eyes on Adelheid and her maid. The food porn meets its usual standard, but the character art is definitely a step down from last season.

I thought it was a pity that the “no garlic please” vampires didn’t twig to the fact that the goddess they pray to was right there in the room with them, waiting tables. In fairness, I don’t think Kuro actually knows she has followers.

“It’s raining in Shanghai!”

UPS tracking for my new laptop now shows a delivery date of Wednesday the 13th, one week after the original estimate. It spent two days in Shanghai, but at least it didn’t make it to Japan before me!

(classical reference)

“For everything else, there’s MastercardMagic Cards”

While chucking out boxes of old trading-card-game cards that have been gathering dust in my closet for twenty years, I just happened to open a box that had about a dozen classic Magic: The Gathering cards that are collectively worth several thousand dollars. I’d wondered why I’d never been able to find them when we did the previous sell-off.

Anyway, that just paid for the new laptop and the new lens. Or will have paid for them, anyway, when I figure out the easiest way to sell them. Last time, I had a friend who’d sold all of his cards and vintage computer equipment on eBay, and I let him take care of unloading them. Since then, he’s moved to Georgia, so even if he’s willing to handle it, I’d have to first ship a carefully-insured package to him.

I don’t care about extracting the absolute best price, so if there’s a reputable company I can just sell them to online, that’ll work.

Girl in a box

I was kidding, honest!

After my laptop left Shanghai, its next stop was Incheon, South Korea. Fortunately, it just had a two-hour layover and then got back in the air, headed to Anchorage, where it’s sitting now. So, it didn’t stop for snacks in Japan, but then again, it probably couldn’t. Still.

Do it again, stupid!

I went back to my original Breath of the Wild save, which I ragequit after my Nth attempt to do the Rohta Chigah shrine. I didn’t have any problem solving the puzzles, it was the fact that it’s the only shrine in the game where you have to solve the final step in a limited amount of time, and you’re forced to redo all the previous steps if you fail. This takes several minutes each time, and there’s no real challenge once you’ve done them once, just tedium.

This time, I got it on the second try, so now I can finally experience the DLC content that was locked away behind it. I cheesed my way through Vah Ruta first, just to read Mipha’s diary.

Which reminded me that the final scene after defeating Ganon doesn’t make much sense:

Zelda, cleaned up and in her pre-calamity traveling-princess outfit, has reclaimed the Sheikah Slate from Link, and after staring at the ruins of the castle and talking about rebuilding the kingdom, says that Ruta has apparently stopped working, and they should head there and take a look, stopping off to talk to Mipha’s father about her.

Where did she get the clothes? Sure, Link could heat up a pond, let her take a bath, and then loan her something from his extensive traveling wardrobe, but she’s wearing her clothes, which don’t resemble anything you’ll find at a village or stable. And Link’s been in her bedroom, so we know it was completely trashed a hundred years ago. (my headcanon is that she wears the Nintendo t-shirt until they get to a stable, riding double with Link and showing off her creamy thighs)

Also, how does she know what’s happening anywhere? The only means of communication faster than a horse or a Rito is teleporting with the Slate. The towers are still lit up in the background, so presumably the network still works, but unless she’s unlocked new functionality that would have been really nice to have when we were saving the world, it would take days for any information to reach her from Zora. And her words imply that they haven’t met with anyone yet; it’s just A Girl And Her Knight, On The Road Again.

Card Sale

I think I’m going to try out Card Kingdom with some of the lesser (under-$100) cards, and if I like the results, send them the big ones a few at a time. If that goes well, I’ll do a bulk sale with them for the rest of the near-minty Legends and Dark cards, which are the only ones that seem to be worth anything (Fallen Empires was the first set where WotC actually printed enough that people weren’t camping the stores waiting for UPS trucks to arrive; coincidentally, it was pretty much the last set I bought any of).

I’m keeping the unopened starters and boosters of XXXenophile, though. And the three full sets, one of which has a lot of signed cards. 😁

The laptop that Magic bought

Card sale update

I sent out a big batch of The Dark cards to Card Kingdom Tuesday, which they promise to pay $1,500 for, assuming their graders agree that my near-mint cards are actually near-mint. They’ve already sent a confirmation email that the cards have arrived, so depending on their turnaround, I could find out as soon as Monday.

Inspired by this possibility, I dug out more of the stuff I’d been about to throw away, and was surprised to find good-sized stacks of Legends, Antiquities, and Arabian Nights. The estimated value is, um, impressive, with several cards over $250 and a few over $1,000.

Yesterday morning, I opened up a box full of miscellaneous Illuminati: New World Order cards and found a near-mint Unlimited Mox Ruby and Gauntlet of Might. Now I have to go through everything, even the Jyhad and Mythos boxes!

It may take a while to sell everything off, just because I don’t want to risk them all in one UPS shipment.

🎶 “Mammaries light the corner of my eye…” 🎶

Still watching Kicked Out Of The Hero’s Party So I’m Shacking Up With A Busty Blonde Princess, and in episode 2, Our Retired Hero Guide is reunited with The Tsun Who Loved Him, and pretty much the entire episode is flashbacks documenting her quick and extremely thorough transformation into Very-Very-Dere, accompanied by frequent mutual blushing. I’d say “get a room”, but she’s already taken care of that by bullying him into letting her move in.

Since the point of this show is the clumsy romance between these two, having the first two episodes be their introductions works. I don’t know if they’re going to try to cover all of the first four novels, but that would be the obvious stopping place, resolving the fate of the entire Hero Party while getting these two to finally boink.

Given the genre conventions, it’s important to note that Our Couple first met five years ago, and both were already adults. They’re probably both 25-30, although Rit’s Amazing Rack is no more than 18.

(this is the only recognizable image I’ve seen for this series on Pixiv so far, and the text at the bottom suggests it’s official art, not fan-made, although perhaps the NSFW images in the set are not canon…)

(update: no, the descriptions for the set say it’s definitely fan-art)

HP Aero 13.3 with Windows 11

So, what’s the out-of-box experience on a brand-new laptop that shipped with Windows 11?


Cheesecake, Cards, and Games

Free to good home…

In an unusual twist, a pinups&nudes blog moved to new hosting before being shut down by their current provider, so there’s a convenient redirect to the new site: the new Overflowing Museum of Cheesecake. Looks like the complete archives made it over. The owner has been experimenting with ad networks and embedded videos for pay porn sites, but it hasn’t descended to the level where it’s hijacking clicks to load other sites; blocking ads and turning off Javascript just makes it faster, rather than being necessary for protection.

Card Kingdom results

Cards received at 10:15 AM Thursday, processed at 6:14 PM. Estimated price was $1,525.70 and the check (sent out Friday morning) is for $1,517.91, so they graded almost every card as near-mint. This bodes well for the next batch.

Aero gaming

I fired up No Man’s Sky on the new laptop as a quick performance test. It spun the fans up to high, which I couldn’t notice over the game music and background sounds, and ran surprisingly well. I didn’t load an old save, so there was no ready source of complex geometry to throw at it, just the basic starter exploration, and it handled that quite well. The bottom of the case got warm, but not even close to hot.

(it started me on a radioactive planet, so I had to hustle to get through the basics of acquiring materials to recharge my suit, air, and mining tool, and then find shelter during a storm while hunting down parts to fix my ship)

Fallout 4 stayed consistently over 30fps at 1280x800 on the “High” graphics settings. I stopped even looking at the fps counter after the first few minutes, and then completely forgot it was still on, because I hadn’t noticed any issues at all. The bottom-left of the case was warmer than with NMS, but mostly on the left side, and the fans quickly spun down after I exited.

Misc. laptop notes

Full-disk encryption is on by default, but one of the few meaningful differences between the Home and Pro versions of Win11 is whether you get the full Bitlocker experience (the other noteworthy features are Active Directory support and Remote Desktop server, as far as I can tell). The control panel did say that the recovery key was backed up to my MS account, and allowed me to also save a copy to my NAS. (it does not let you save it directly to your encrypted drive; I had to save to the NAS, and then store it in 1Password)

The fingerprint reader is either a smaller target than it appears to be, or a bit less reliable than the one Apple uses. It’s failed my finger three times in a row several times now, and falls back to PIN/password authentication when that happens. It could also be that it’s less generous than Apple’s, and effectively more secure as a result. I’m mostly interested in using it for 1Password, in any case.

The keyboard is as good as or better than my MacBook Air, which is fine for portable use. When I get serious about working on projects, I always connect a clattery mechanical keyboard.

(oddly enough, while I often use external keyboards with a laptop, I almost never use external monitors; I just got out of the habit a long time ago and never picked it back up)

“…and for you, the human power elite”


Restaurant To Another World episode 2.3 delivers teens devouring burgers, and the legendary black dragon of death devouring new forms of curry. The food porn is up to snuff, and at least some of the closeup character art is well done. Happy Kuro with curry on her face is adorable.

Terminate and Stay, Resident

Logged into my Pi-hole and found it was now blocking 49% of all web requests. That was a little nuts, but all of the new traffic turned out to be Google analytics being called every 3 seconds from my new Windows 11 laptop.

The culprit (kill, kill, reboot, kill, kill) was HP’s Omen Gaming Hub. There’s no tray icon associated with this, and no hint that the application leaves shit running all the time on your system, reporting data at a quite unreasonable interval. plonk

Now, it’s possible (but unlikely; it persisted after multiple reboots) that it really only intended to report once, and was frustrated by my blocking, but even that reflects sloppy and insecure development practices; retrying a failed transaction every three seconds without any kind of backoff is a recipe for disaster when you ship something on every new computer you sell. “Ask me about taking down 1/3 of MCI’s west coast long distance service every time WebTV’s Oracle server crashed”.

Latest hilarious spam

As usual with most of the crap landing in my spam folder these days, this went to my cpan.org email address, and was sent through the spam-launderers at pobox.com:

Greetings, from The illuminati world elite empire. Bringing the poor, the needy and the talented to limelight of fame, riches, powers and security, get recognized in your business, political race, rise to the top in whatever you do, be protected spiritually and physically! All these you will achieve in a twinkle of an eye when you get initiated to the great Illuminati empire. Once you are initiated to the illuminati empire you will get numerous benefits and reward.

Yeah, because the Illuminati have always been about raising up poor and needy Perl hackers. And terrible grammar.

Interestingly, this is just an email pitch, with no embedded malware or links to sketchy web sites, just a gmail address to contact for more information.

…which doesn’t match the sender address, of course, which is in the .lu TLD.

(Komi-san is unrelated, but will finally debut on Netflix on Thursday)

Toast & Fry

I was actually enjoying the counter space freed up by the dramatic slightly-out-of-warranty failure of my DeLonghi Livenza convection toaster oven, but I did miss the ability to turn frozen pizzas and other common household objects into food, and Costco happened to have a deal on the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven. This precise model isn’t on their web site, because the SKU is Costco-specific, but it appears to be identical to the SP101; I don’t see any difference in features. Two things about it that aren’t quite as useful as they initially appear:

  1. it’s only 8 inches tall when in use.

  2. it stores vertically when not in use to reclaim counter space.

The catch is that you need to leave several inches of open space behind it, especially if the outlet you’re plugging it into is directly behind, as mine is. The net result is that even in the storage position it chews up a full 11 inches of a standard 24-inch-deep kitchen counter. The old one took up space all the time, but you could at least store things on top of it. So, mixed blessing there.

First note: it’s quite loud in air-fry mode. To the point that it’s distracting from 20 feet away in the next room.

Second note: checking the table of suggested settings for frozen food, I find it interesting that they consider the Standard Unit of Pizza Rolls to be “50”. This is like the honest serving size of Fig Newtons, which is “one sleeve”. (classical reference)

Third note: it gets quite hot on top when in use. If you need a plate warmer, Ninja’s got you covered.

Does it work? So far, so good. It competently air-fried a frozen personal pan pizza in 10 minutes, which is a common task at my house. It also did a good job baking cheese-stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, so we’re two for two.

Laptop fingering

With more use, I think the difference I’m seeing with the fingerprint sensor is that Apple has programmed a slight delay into theirs, so that you can slide your fingertip into position, while the one on the Aero starts reading as soon as you touch it, and rejects the half-seen fingertip.

Also, it’s a pain in the ass to switch back and forth between Command-C/V and Control-C/V for cut-and-paste. It’s been a long time since I’ve had MacOS and Windows side-by-side on the desk; I’ve really only been using Windows for gaming for the past 15 years or so.

Retraining my Japanese text entry is going to be even harder; the input methods have basically nothing in common.

One thing I’m not going to port over directly is my command-line Japanese dictionary tool, which for historical reasons uses MongoDB as its database. In fairness, I wrote it 11.5 years ago, when I was using MongoDB at work, and just haven’t touched it since then (my laptop even had spinning disks inside it!). I made a stripped-down lookup tool using Sqlite, but that threw out a lot of the available data in order to create compact page-by-page vocabulary lists for my custom book-reading scripts.

Our Digital Future

Nope, Kannagi’s not streaming anywhere, and the DVDs are long out of print, and the only used DVD offer on Amazon is for $86. Quick, Robin, to the TorrentMobile!

…which seems to be missing an engine today, as my client struggles to connect with peers. I confess, my first response was “what did Apple break now?”.

WTF, Acronis?

Okay, I go to the Acronis web site, and what do I find? They’re pushing a conference called “Cyber Fit”, prominently featuring the co-founder of Reddit, an expert in cybering. Someone should really tell them that adding “Cyber” to everything is about as fresh and modern as advertising a Prodigy-compatible modem.

And, yes, services for individual home users is third on their list. Their primary interest is clearly selling to service providers and businesses now. It’s like they’re telling me up front that they’re not motivated to support me, with Cyber Protect Home Office playing third fiddle to Cyber Protect Cloud and Cyber Protect.

And, yes, they also sell Cyber Appliance, Cyber Backup, Cyber Disaster Recovery, and #CyberFit Tool; they really, really want to cyber with IT directors. It’s their kink.

Me, I just want reliable backup and recovery of my laptop. Everything else they want to cyber me with is something I don’t want.

Fuck it,

I’m going to try out Synology Active Backup for Business, which comes free with my NAS. It took about five seconds to install the client agent, and then I manually kicked off a full backup from the server, which quickly and successfully backed up 128 GB. The backup/restore portal looks nice, too, with an interactive browser that let me easily navigate to a specific file and download it to my Mac. If the incrementals are successful and the agent doesn’t chew up CPU and memory (always a possibility), then it’s going to work out great. If I ever travel again, I’ll have to see what ports it uses and try out remote backups.

Synology also has a free tool for backing up Microsoft 365 business accounts, which I’m considering using for one of my email domains. Mostly because it’s $30/user/year at the company store with my MS alumni discount, and I only need the one user.

“There's a click before the strike”

Back To Reality

After scrubbing all traces of HP’s Omen Gaming Hub from my new laptop, it is no longer attempting to contact Google Analytics every three seconds, and my Pi-hole is back to blocking a safe and comfortable 9% of web traffic.

I can find no way to actually contact HP about this, so for amusement I posted a carefully-written question to their community forums. A “Top Expert”, whoring for feedback points, linked to a page on how to manage your company’s Google Analytics account. Gosh, thanks.

(cat-shark and detective are unrelated)

No True Cocksman, episode 3

In the world of Forcibly-retired Adventurer Gets A Girl, apparently the downside of receiving a divine blessing that’s specifically designed to help you train up The Chosen Hero is that you don’t get a lot of time to yourself for things like dating. And since the same is true for tsundere gladiator princesses, Our Couple is fumbling with the basics. Fortunately Rit’s well-displayed giant boobs and eager clinginess are overcoming their lack of romantic experience.

Also, Red’s as-you-know-Bob exposition on how blessings work reveals that their god is a bit of a dick.

(Raphtalia is unrelated, and won’t be back in season until April)

Dear Amazon,

When I see something on my wish list that’s suddenly dropped in price, I now automatically assume that you’re pushing gray-market goods from a shady Marketplace dealer. For instance, the Epson scanner that I’ve been thinking about for medium-format film has been showing up at a 4% discount recently, because instead of coming from you, it’s sold by “BecTech Global” (90% positive ratings out of only 118 total, apparently located in the men’s room of someone else’s warehouse). Or like the Asus portable touchscreen USB-C monitor that I was considering, which is suddenly 24% cheaper… from “BeachAudio” (88% positive ratings, located in a UPS Store). In both cases, you still have it in stock yourself, but you’re promoting a bait-and-switch operation instead.

OneNote no more!

I finally got around to exporting everything from OneNote that I originally exported from Evernote (~750 notes in total, across 16 notebooks). I had to do it from a Windows box with both OneNote and Office installed, so I used the new Win11 laptop. The open-source exporter worked extremely well and produced excellent conversions, with the one hitch being a known bug where some old note-history records would make it barf. The workaround is disabling note history in those notebooks, which I didn’t care about and couldn’t export anyway.

The import into Joplin ran faster than the export, but the sync was slow because it’s encrypted at rest in the cloud (OneDrive, because I couldn’t get WebDAV on my Synology NAS to work with it; they have their own service now, but still support a variety of storage options equally).

I still have some old stuff exported from Yojimbo to EagleFiler, but that just stores things in flat files with a separate full-text index, so I can easily import it into anything when I finally migrate completely off the Mac.

Derry Tsun, Murderhobo

So, since my lightweight little Win11 laptop plays Fallout 4 quite capably, and I haven’t run through the game in a few years, I decided to take it for a very casual spin. And by that I mean setting the difficulty to easy, hacking my stats and hit points and perks from the console, and using the Cheat Terminal addon to auto-unlock terminals and pick locks. I can take damage from radiation and falling, but otherwise I’m more-or-less unkillable, so I can just run around enjoying side quests. Basically, I’m playing as a typical overpowered isekai protagonist. 😁

I did end up getting far enough into the main questline to meet SHAUN!, though.

It’s an interesting contrast to replaying Breath of the Wild, because the decision to fully voice every quest in F4 severely limited their ability to create new content. Some of the voice acting is great, and fits well with the quests, but the bottom line is that adding a single new quest required delivering completed scripts to several voice actors and booking recording time, with a measurable impact on the schedule and download size of the game.

Yes, it can be annoying to hear half a dozen voices just emoting in most BotW quests (“yaya!”), but it meant that they could add a lot more subtitle text in more languages, and the scenes that are fully voiced gain more emotional impact (well, the way the Japanese voice actors performed them, anyway; what little I’ve heard of the English voices makes me glad I switched in the first scene).

Speaking of the new laptop…

I dug out a spare Bluetooth mouse for it, but when I was checking out the MS company store to see if they had anything interesting these days, I saw that they had Bluetooth mice and game controllers in a matching white color, so I picked those up. They have a new white Bluetooth keyboard and numeric keypad, but the keys are mush; I’ve been spoiled by my CODE keyboards with deliciously loud Cherry MX Green keys. Come to think of it, they sell those in white now…

(science pony-girl is unrelated)


“War never changes”

I used to think that the world-building of Fallout 4 was the least-believable thing about the game, with people failing at even the basics of creating a pre-modern society after a full 200 years, and still living in rubble-filled open-air unheated shacks in Boston. They’re not even keeping out the rain, much less the snow, and are wearing filthy clothes scavenged from the ruins. Twenty years, sure; fifty years, maybe, but two hundred years of taping together rotting lumber and pulling clothes off of mannequins?

Then I saw how people responded to Covid-19. China didn’t need nukes to destroy American society…

Komi-san: Our long national nightmare is over

“Hey, Netflix, after delaying it for two weeks, this had better be good.”

Episode 1 did not suck.

I find it interesting that male lead Gakuto Kajiwara sounds remarkably familiar, despite the fact that I’ve never seen any show he’s had a significant role in. I can’t say the same about female lead Aoi Koga, because I’ve seen Kaguya-sama, but then again, Komi isn’t really much of a speaking role.

Komi’s mom, on the other hand, is a major player.


コミュ症, Komyu-shou = difficulty speaking

コミュニズム症 Komyunizumu-shou = Leftist’s disease

Restaurant to another world, #2.4

The character art was significantly improved this week, apparently by the simple expedient of letting the Diners Of The Week have the place to themselves. First, not-Hansel and not-Gretel find out that not all witches are wicked, and then a pair of enterprising halflings clean up both in the market and in the restaurant.

Good clean fun, as usual.

Dirty books are contagious?

So, the Mandarake “banned publications” store was shut down for being within 200 meters of a medical clinic; yeah, I don’t get it, either. The initial complaint was that it was right across the aisle from a store for teenage girls (one-stop shopping!), but the criminal charge they managed to come up with was based on a doctor’s office and two dentists being in the same building.

H!P Update

Momona Kasahara (笠原桃奈) was only 12 when Hello!Project promoted her into the group ANGERME, with pictures that made her look a lot older than 12. I decided to set an alarm for her 18th birthday to see if they’d toss her like kleenex once her sexy-loli appeal was used up. That would be today, and it seems she’s still with the group… for another month.

(this is the first time I’ve actually looked at the current H!P stable for several years; I’ve been playing a lot of Melon Kinenbi music recently, but the glory days of H!P are long, long gone)

Spam from an alternate universe...

The batshit-crazy is strong in this one…

I just checked my tertiary spam folder (the catchall for my domain that catches randomly-generated usernames, as well as things I’ve explicitly blocked due to spam-harvesters). It had this little gem, that arrived Saturday, October 23, 2021:

Subject: Exposed: This Could End Trump’s Presidency

Whether he knows it or not, Trump’s actions just set in motion one of the most terrible events in human history…

An event foretold 2500 years ago!

(.buzz url redacted)

This documentary was banned in most Christian states, but took the Internet by storm…

(and, yes, the garbage characters are in the original; sloppy cut-and-paste from some program with smart-quotes enabled in the wrong character set)

(picture is unrelated, because if you’re going to contact me from another universe, it had better be one that has catgirls)

…and here’s when you should: never

“When you can download macOS Monterey”.

Basically, Software Update will stop nagging you to install the beta of Big Sur and start nagging you to install the early beta of Monterey.

The betas of iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, and watchOS 8.1 will be released later in the week. I’m sticking with the previous major release until at least 15.1.3, because I like it when my devices function.

(Nurse Misty will not kiss it and make it better if you upgrade your Mac too soon)

Dear Apple iFucktards,

Related, WTF is this?

  1. This alert blocks me from seeing what’s on my screen or otherwise using my phone until I respond to it.

  2. It purports to be warning me of a potential security issue, but offers no options but “OK”, and no information about what to do if I didn’t sign into iMessage.

  3. It’s about 90 minutes late, since I put the watch on at 9:30 AM and the alert didn’t pop up until 11.

  4. I didn’t send or receive any messages today.

  5. Note that it’s not a “new Apple Watch”; it’s the only one I’ve ever had, and has been continuously connected to my account since I bought it nearly three years ago.

  6. I’m on the highway doing 65 MPH! If this isn’t a real security warning, why the hell is it blocking my screen and demanding attention under those circumstances?

Alec Baldwin’s negligent homicide

There are very, very few gun “accidents” in the world today, basically limited to wear on moving parts and/or defective manufacture. What there are are negligent discharges, in which someone pulls the trigger and the gun does exactly what it’s supposed to do, while pointed in an unsafe direction.

While the precise legal definition of “negligent homicide” may not be met here, especially if money and influence are passed around freely, the bottom line is that Alec Baldwin picked up a gun and pointed it at human beings, killing one and injuring another. That’s negligence, and that’s homicide.

The latest version of the facts claims that he was practicing his draw for an upcoming scene:

Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he repeated the action, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza.

Since they were shooting a Western, this was a single-action revolver, which must be cocked before it can be fired. If this description is correct, then one of two things happened:

  • the gun was placed in the holster with the hammer cocked, either by the previous person who handled it or by Baldwin, possibly after his first “successful” draw.

  • Baldwin cocked the hammer when he drew the gun from the holster, either deliberately or by somehow catching it on something.

Following that, there are two possibilities:

  • he pulled the trigger.

  • the hammer fell from a full or partially cocked position due to wear or manufacturing defects.

Given the other facts and claims about this shoot, including two previous on-set “accidental” discharges that didn’t kill anyone, I’m willing to believe the gun was both stored incorrectly and defective. My guess is that someone had been using it for fanning, a common Western trope that puts a lot of wear on the working parts.

But Baldwin was the one who broke every basic rule of safe gun handling that would have stopped that bullet from hurting anyone.

(no cute anime cheesecake for you, Alec!)

Master Of His Domain

Seems legit

Everyone knows that the best chow mein comes from Guatamala.

Everyone knows about shrinkage, right?

Went to my doctor for a physical today, and despite being several pounds lighter than she’s ever seen me at, somehow the summary of my visit reported a record-high BMI. Because I somehow got four inches shorter. On paper, anyway.

Is that a camera in your pocket?

Or are you just happy to see me? Sony’s latest ($1,800) phone uses the same sensor as the RX100 VII ($1,300). Fortunately it doesn’t also use the 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens, or every customer would be packing suspicious bulges. Why so big? To shoot 20 megapixel stills at 20 frames/second, plus 4K video at 120 frames/second. They also included a chipset that can keep up.

(meanwhile, the camera body I want might be back in stock in mid-January, lord willing and the creek don’t rise)


I’m testing out Microsoft 365 Business as an email provider, mostly because it’s $30/person/year through the company store, and there’s only one of me. I moved one of my idle domains onto it first, to see how much work is involved in setting up dozens of incoming aliases, a handful of outgoing addresses, and a catchall mailbox for the domain.

There’s no official (GUI) support for a catchall, but it can apparently be set up with a few quick web-CLI incantations and a shared mailbox that doesn’t consume an additional license. It also looks like you can easily put the same user into multiple domains (with different sets of aliases), so one license can span them all. Some of this I was familiar with from when we moved Ooma from Intermedia to Office 365, which was… entertaining.

Migrating an existing domain that I control the DNS for was pretty painless. There’ll be a lot of testing before I move a domain that I actually receive significant email on, especially my primary, which has an extensive list of vendor-specific aliases (~400) that need to be entered once I’m sure the catchall works.

And, of course, I need to test the Synology backup app for MS365; if it works as well as the Windows backup has so far, it will add to my peace of mind.

Virtual house-hunting

I am not (yet) moving out of California back to Ohio to be near my family. I am, however, idly checking out the housing market near their place, and I’ve found several houses that I would cheerfully buy right now if I had a commitment from work that I could be 100% remote forever, and I knew what sort of regional compensation adjustment was involved. My direct manager is on board, but the pre-Covid policy required approval at at least the director level, and they haven’t finalized the post-Covid policy yet (“January…”).

There are a lot of folks in Silicon Valley and elsewhere pushing to reduce or eliminate the regional adjustments, because fundamentally you’re paying for their talent, not the size of their mortgage payment. Based on the prices there and my equity here, I wouldn’t have a mortgage, and I have no other debt at all, so (shh! don’t tell!) some amount of adjustment wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me.

Which means I’ve been looking at Zillow listings for a lot of houses in the $250,000-$500,000 range in the general vicinity of Kettering, OH, occasionally peeking at things up to around $750K. If you’re curious and wish to play along, my searches are currently centered on zip codes 45440 and 45429.

(I don’t want her view, I want the view of her…)

This has led me to add some new rules to my existing preferences:


Upgrade, Retry, Fail

Anime update

This season is a Wed/Thu/Fri schedule for me, with the only things I’m watching being Super-Pharmacist And Clingy Princess, the two-week delay of Komi-san, and Restaurant To Another World 2.

On the bright side, I got an advance copy of Richard Roberts’ new book, A Spaceship Repair Girl Supposedly Named Rachel. Need to read that tonight and give some feedback. Fortunately I recently learned what “sus” means, so it didn’t baffle me when it turned up in the first chapter.

Super-Pharmacist And Clingy Princess, episode 4

I could have done with less male nudity (this episode’s focus is “let’s save the local sauna”), but Rit and Nao shrink-wrapped in bath towels was adequate compensation. And I refuse to believe that Rit isn’t getting up early and arranging the view that Red wakes up to.

Bonus for Rit’s shy confession of why she was suddenly craving a particular beverage, and for Nao’s completely-unsubtle teasing about their relationship progress, or lack of same.

The Trouble With Komi-san, episode 2

So far, so good. I haven’t followed the source material, so this is all fresh to me. Fingers crossed that Komi gradually improves her communication skills over the season; it would get old fast if she doesn’t.

Fun with MS365

The Microsoft 365 service enforces a comprehensive list of rules on all user passwords, and will not take no for an answer. One of those rules is that the username cannot appear as a substring of the password, upper or lower case. So, a randomly-generated 24-character password like sQaHT88LCdx4Mq9z*fTUDTJv is rejected if the email address is j@example.com.

I understand the logic of avoiding “joe” passwords. The very first time I sent out excrutiatingly-polite change-your-password email, a Senior Researcher blew his top at the next faculty meeting. How dare this undergrad tell him what to do!! My manager looked at him and said, “the problem, mike, was that your password, mike, used to log in to all of our servers, mike, was trivial for any student to have guessed, mike.” He received no sympathy from the rest of the faculty.

Sure, block “mike” and “mikemike” and “jeepmike” and “mIkepass2”, etc, but it seems a tad extreme to completely ban a letter of the alphabet.

(zombie idols are unrelated)

Fun with Apple

So, let’s say you’re running iOS/iPadOS 14.8 and you don’t want the beta of 15.x.

Good: for the first time, you can install the 14.8.1 security update even on devices that support 15.x.

Bad: as an over-the-air update only. If you try to do it by connecting the device to your computer over USB, you can only upgrade to 15.x.

Which means that if you want a local pre-upgrade backup, you need to connect via USB, then disconnect and upgrade.

In other news, Safari 15.1 is out for Catalina and Big Sur, disabling the horrifying amateurish tab redesign.

Fun with Adobe

A big update to all the Creative Clown apps came out this week, which took quite a while to install. They really want you to auto-update, which is a terrible idea, but they’re pushing it so hard that you have to enable that option just to get it to transfer your saved settings from the old version of the apps. And then remember to shut it off again as soon as the updates finish.

In other Adobe news, the anime tie-in of the day is that the brush fonts used in the Demon Slayer series are now available in CC. Along with the first Adobe Original Japanese font in several years. Nice to see that they still have a few people in that department; I’d been wondering if it was all pretty much outsourced these days.

Interesting note: the new version of Photoshop no longer accepts the built-in graphics on my Macbook Air for GPU acceleration, insisting I need a driver upgrade. Which is a subtle way to say “install the beta of Big Sur or Monterey”. Nah, I’m good, thanks.

(unrelated, and a lot more fun than updating Photoshop and Illustrator)

Fun with Edge

I want every application to support this option. I’m getting really sick of having to remember to mash down all the modifier keys any time I want to paste text as just text:

Hard to read the gray text, but setting plain-text paste also enables an option to get rid of some background site-loading fuckery that’s even worse than just pasting rich-text. Baby steps, Microsoft.

Expired Semaphore Timeout Period

Restaurant To Another World, episode 2.5

Slight slip in character art, as they fill the restaurant back up for two first-timers; this week Sarah was the recurring character to get a bit wonky-eyed in a scene. First up, pretty boy gets some tail, followed by an adventurer chasing a different sort of treasure, with the latter framed by a conversation with Our Chef’s dessert supplier.

I’ve decided that I need to rip a copy of the “cuisine triumph” tune, so I can play it whenever people eat my cooking.

The simple pleasures

James Hoffmann, a man who has a strong preference for light-roasted “specialty” coffee, freshly roasted, ground right before brewing, and prepared with care, just reviewed every Nespresso-branded pod he could buy. There were a number of knee-jerk defensive reactions on the trash-fire that is Reddit (I don’t even try to look at Youtube comments), but the folks on the Nespresso Discord came away grudgingly approving of his fairness. (update: except for a few of the (actual) teenagers)

(Kumoko is unrelated)

Update: HP Aero 13.3

Still liking the new Win11 laptop, but just ran into an annoying issue: trying to copy data from an SSD connected to the right-side USB3 port threw up semaphore timeout alerts, every time (error 0x80070079). Worked fine on the left, or on the USB-C port. Searching for the specific error shows it’s a long-standing generic message for driver issues with network and storage interfaces (with some very scammy “solutions” high in the search results). So, yeah, fix yer shit, HP.

Speaking of Win11…

Tentatively, I’m using Edge as my default browser, since I needed something that I could quickly set to default to wiping all cookies and local data on exit, but preserve them for whitelisted domains. The interface isn’t as convenient or detailed as the Cookie app for the Mac, but I was able to export the list from there, reformat it in Emacs, and paste it in pretty quickly.

I’ve also imported the Rocky Linux 8.4 image that I set up with my usual shell environment, and a decent set of RPMs (which is how I found the USB issue above). It’s nice that they have official instructions for WSL-ifying Rocky. Like many other custom distros, they start with a Docker image, so you end up needing to reinstall a lot of things for general-purpose use, but that also means that you’re spared a lot of the usual Anaconda cruft.

For font management, I have a test-install of FontBase, but honestly, after all the praise they give themselves on the site, it’s pretty bare-bones. I’ve been using FontExplorer X for a long time on the Mac side (they abandoned their Windows software years ago), and this is… not remotely comparable. It is, however, completely integrated with Google Fonts, putting the entire collection a few clicks away.

This weekend I want to do some side-by-side performance comparisons for Lightroom and Photoshop, and maybe test Hugo build performance in various configurations.

(…or maybe I’ll just feed cats)

Update: Synology Active Backup for Business

So far, the nightly backup job for the new laptop has been running smoothly at 3 AM each day, as long as the lid is open so that it’s just idle or sleeping, not hibernating.

(backups are kid of like maid-service, right? close enough)



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