Party like it’s 2020

Flash! Aaa-aaaaah!

Y’know, I’ve almost missed the Adobe critical-security-update emails I used to send to the entire company every week or two. Here’s today’s reminder that Flash is bad; delete it.

Dear Amazon,

Rennet, starch, and twine? Your definition of party supplies is a bit different from mine.


Nobody tell this foxgirl that it’s still 2020…

Now with heated keys!

Bought a supposedly-new-in-box gaming keyboard on Woot, with warranty. It’s the sort that has two USB connectors, to power the pretty backlighting and supply a data connection for the one-port hub that you attach your mouse to.

The hub works. The keyboard doesn’t. On three different machines. And it gets really, really hot. Guess I’ll be exercising that warranty…

🎶 Whistle while you… eat brains

Brought to you by the letter I

Ball joints

The trending Pixiv tag #I字バランス (“leg-hold pose”, literally “letter-I balance”) separates the artists who know anatomy from the ones who really don’t understand how legs are attached to the body.

The Seven Deadly Virtualizations

I’m finally off of my old 12-inch MacBook. The nearly-last step was stripping down the install and virtualizing it. The plan was to create a new Mojave virtual in VMware, add a second disk big enough to hold the old install, mount the old machine in target disk mode, clone from A to B, shut down the virtual, and swap the drives in its config file. I have done this before, and it worked.

This time, the perfectly good OS install image booted up but refused to install, insisting the installer (created with Apple’s official tools) was “damaged”. Never mind that that exact same ISO had been successfully used to install Mojave twice before…

However, while it refused to just install the OS, it was happy to format the disk and restore a Time Machine backup onto it. So I booted the old machine back up, fed it a freshly-formatted USB disk, waited, attached my shiny new TM backup to the virtual, and said “go for it”. It happily launched the OS installer it had claimed was damaged, installed Mojave, upgraded it to match the release the backup had been made with, and then restored all my data onto it. Except /usr/local, because why would I ever want that?

(because my shell was set to /usr/local/bin/bash, of course…)

I can’t run any of my 32-bit games on this virtual (because Apple has never exposed APIs in a way that VMware or any other virtualization software can use to provide decent graphics performance), but everything else works, and the only games that worked on the MacBook will run fine on any of my Windows boxes.

Or on the Mac Mini I’m leaving at Mojave. I’m keeping the virtualized MacBook on the Air for a while, so I can pull anything off of it that might have been missed in my manual migration, but eventually I’ll move it to the Mini as well.

Counting the stripped-down image I just made, I now have five separate backups of the MacBook, so it’s safe to scrub that machine completely, install Catalina, and use it as the lightweight sterile Japan-vacation laptop.

In the Spring. Because the borders are still pretty darn closed right now, with no end in sight. (TL/DR: camp out at the Consulate to get an appointment for a new visa, and if they issue one, show up at the airport with the right kind of negative Covid test result issued in the previous 72 hours)

On that note, I added the Planyway add-on to my vacation-planning Trello board, and it dramatically sped up the task of moving the trip from November to March. Even at the free tier, it’s basically the calendar that Trello should have already had built in; it not only allows you to drag items onto the calendar from your lists, but it has an honest-to-gosh Day view.

Another foreign agent endorses Biden

This time, Scoldilocks. It’s nice that she catalogs her mental issues to reinforce the context of her recommendation. Honestly, as susceptible as she is to outside influences, I’m surprised she hasn’t transitioned yet.

Dear Apple,

In Catalina’s, if you toggle off “Organize by Conversation”, it is incapable of viewing the messages marked as part of a conversation. Click on one of them, you see the correct body; navigate to another with mouse or keyboard, and you continue to see the body of the first. You have to go to a message that’s not part of the current “conversation”, then go back to see the next message. This behavior is only possible if no one ever bothered to QA what happens when you turn this option off.

Apparently if you want to see a simple list of messages sorted by date, author, etc, you’re holding it wrong.

Quarantine all the things!

Catalina .out

Downloaded a new version of Hugo from Github on my new MacBook Air, and it wouldn’t run, because it was not branded with the Mark Of The Apple. You can force any app (even CLI-only) to run by right-clicking them from a Finder window and begging for permission to run unsigned apps. But it seems silly to have to switch from keyboard to mouse just to run a command-line tool from the command-line, so I wrote the trivial script openanyway:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
xattr -c "$1"
exec "$@"

This probably won’t be enough in the upcoming Big Brother Sur release.

This does not remove all extended attributes, because in Catalina, there’s a brand new “this specific application can always open this file” attribute called, which you can see but not touch.

Dear Amazon,

This almost makes sense…

Cry, bully

Just received a letter from NANCY PELOSI (all caps). The outside of the envelope reads:

John, someone had to stand up to the bully in the White House.

Dear NANCY, all the masks are off, and we’ve seen who the bully in the House is. I’m not planning to open this… missive, because I’m not sure my sewer pipes can handle the load.

2020 continues to suck…

California has guaranteed election-month chaos by promising to count ballots postmarked by the 3rd that arrive up to 17 days later.

…or until they decide they’ve manufactured enough.

IMHO, the choice is pretty stark this year: you can have Western Civilization or Kamala Harris, but not both. Definitely not both.

Unicorn Chaser, Red Half-rim Edition

The Gods Must Be Evil Maids


The Japanese title for the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” was コイサンマン (“man of the Khoikhoi/San people”). I just learned this, because the Amazon Prime video version of the movie has the Japanese box art. Adding to the goofiness, the “trailer” is just a random scene of some of the side characters, with a completely different tone from the core of the film.

Apple and the Evil Maid

Apple left a debug interface open on their T2 security chip, potentially allowing anyone with physical access to your laptop to tracelessly hijack it, even with full-disk encryption (by keylogging your password).

Be careful to distinguish between the evil maid attack and naughty maid attacks; the latter only happen in anime.

Woot Stereotyping

One of these fonts is not like the others…

AI: not a big fan

The big feature in FontExplorer X Pro 7 is, and I quote, “the all-new, AI-powered Discovery Engine”. The first thing it discovered was my new laptop’s CPU fans, which spun up to full speed for what felt like days but was probably only hours.

Spoiler: if you ask it what fonts are similar or would pair well, the suggestions are displayed alphabetically, and you can’t see the original at the same time to evaluate how well, say, Adobe Caslon pairs with Rigid Square. No kidding, that was on the list. So was Helvetica Ultra Light Condensed Oblique.

Amusingly, Lithos is only similar to knockoffs of Lithos, and should only be paired with knockoffs of Helvetica. 😁

(and yes, my font library includes two full suites of knockoffs, rescued from my archives as I consolidated everything onto the Synology NAS: the CorelDraw 7 bundle and the infamous Bay Animation shovelware CD, via DynaCom; I don’t actually have any real use for them, since I can get pretty much anything through my Adobe CC subscription)

90% migration

The only major thing I haven’t migrated from the old MacBook to the new Air is email. Mostly because there are still reports of significant bugs in the Catalina version of with importing large mailboxes, especially ones that go back multiple releases. So I’m exporting everything over about 3 months old into my EagleFiler archive, to minimize the potential loss.

After that, I’ll strip all the migrated apps and data off of the old machine, de-cruft it as much as possible to free up space, and virtualize it so I can run my (many) abandoned 32-bit apps.

GPU Impact

The website for the online freemium RPGlike Genshin Impact is a cleverly disguised load test. And the invasive “anti-cheat” system was recently patched so that it only takes over your PC while the game is running, instead of “always”. Or you could play it on an iPad, where only Apple gets to monitor your every breath.

I like using Amber as the PoV character, since she wears hot pants. This satisfies the well-known “if I’m going to stare at a cartoon ass for hundreds of hours” constraint. Not that Lisa’s view is dull

Note: much like anime, switch the voices to Japanese for a better experience. Since you get subtitles for all quest dialog anyway, there’s no loss of information. The iOS client is playable, but mostly useful for crafting and non-combat quests.

Olive Garden Hentai

Can’t Unsee That, Windy City edition

She’s no Remo

The mayor of Chicago showed up at a news conference cosplaying a pack of Clorox wipes, as The Corona Destroyer.

“Who was that masked lunatic?”

Dear Reportlab…

When your product is a commercially licensed document-production Python library that costs a minimum of $1,705 per year (with a stripped-down open source version on the side), one would think you’d keep your own documentation current. Instead, I keep tripping over references to files that are either missing or misplaced, even after registering to download a trial of the commercial version.

Send $20 to avoid ripoffs…

Just got an email from Bank of America with the following subject line:

J, be alert. Hackers are targeting home networks like yours.

It contains a prominent hyperlink button labeled “Stop fraud now”.

Permit me to point out that this is exactly what a “hacker targeting my home network” would do…

(it was a legit email, by the way, with both the envelope headers and the body links all going to consistent BoA-owned domains; but how do I know that without careful inspection?)

China to Hong Kong to Taiwan to Alaska to Kentucky to California

Courtesy of UPS, my new laptop is getting more vacation travel than I’ve had this year. It’s still supposed to make it to my house today, despite having just arrived at Oakland at 5am this morning.

Um, Apple?

Why is this running on my Mac right after a reboot?

find /private/var/folders ! -name *SafariTechnologyPreview* -name ** -exec rm -r {} ;

I’d ask why lsd and tccd (and cloudd and SafariBookmarkAgent and suggestd and…) are chewing holes in the CPU for ten minutes after reboot, but that’s not a new problem.

(I will not be migrating my existing installation to the new one; this might improve things slightly…)


For the ghouls salivating at the thought of Trump’s imminent demise by Corona-chan, testing positive does not mean death, hospitalization, serious illness, or even sniffles. Most likely it just means that Biden’s handlers can cut back on the ritalin for a week or so.

Although it’s tempting to spread a rumor that Trump’s medical team believes that bathing in the blood of rioters and looters is a sure-fire Covid cure…

Smoke gets in my eyes

Oh, look, the wind shifted and Silicon Valley is covered in smoke and ash again. Thanks, California “forest management”!


Pruning Dock Images

Anker PowerExpand Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock

That Thunderbolt 3 dock I bought arrived before the new Mac (currently promised by Friday). Since it is fully functional (just slower) with a USB-C MacBook, I tried it out. The good news is that it’s much faster and more stable than any of the mini-docks I’ve used. Some of that is due to having a real power supply rather than relying on a standard Apple power brick, but it also runs cooler and has a better Ethernet chipset, avoiding the problem of random bus resets when you try to do something like rsync a USB SSD to a NAS, which was always annoying with the 12-inch MacBook’s single USB-C port.

The only downside so far is that Anker’s firmware updater only runs on a Windows machine with Thunderbolt 3. Which I don’t have, and likely won’t until the middle of next year. Hopefully they’ll release a Mac version soon, which they have for some of their other products. I suppose I could set up Boot Camp on the new Air, and just not bother activating Windows for the brief time I’ll be using it (although a Win10 Home license only costs me $24).

Second-most exciting Amazon order this week…

Okatsune Pruners. It might not excite you, but after struggling to prune bamboo with a pair of crappy hardware-store clippers, I sprung for the good stuff. I have a good pruning saw for thick culms, but it doesn’t handle the little dead branches as well.

Must be Thursday

Apple software update causing data loss (iOS/Watch edition)

October Surprise

Improve Your Word Power

So it turns out that transindifferentia is a perfectly good Latin construct for the reality of what’s falsely labeled “transphobia”. Modern activists need to feel oppressed because they can’t handle the reality that, by and large, society doesn’t really give a damn what they do or how they live. It’s their in-your-face demands for praise that provoke the negative reactions they then point to as proof that they’re hated and feared.

Transincuria works, too, and of course you can substitute other prefixes commonly spot-welded to -phobia.

“Thanks, I just had it stuffed.”

Is it wrong for a loli to pick up baked goods in a dungeon?

Legally Loli

Courtesy of The Volokh Conspiracy, I now have the perfect anime title:

Doli incapax is a common law presumption that a minor between the ages of seven and fourteen lacks the capacity to commit crime.

Bread: this should not happen

File under peculiar the fact that Corona-chan taught the local Safeway how to stop burning their french bread. (admittedly, grocery-store “french bread” bears only a vague resemblance to a real baguette in the first place…)

🎶 Good girls don’t…

Coming Real Soon Now (as in “this weekend”), season 3 resumes the saga of the divine ribbon.

🎶 …but I do!

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