Trick. Just... trick.

Little-monster report

45 kids. So, maybe a bit less than half of a typical year, but at least they were out and about without face condoms, and had no fear of socializing. I went to the trouble of reassuring media-frightened parents by pre-packing half-pound assortments into zip-lock bags, and got some thank-yous for that. Half the kids actually squeezed right past the socially-distanced candy bin and headed toward my front door like seasoned troops, though. Warmed my evil maskless heart, that did.

I might have gotten more if the neighbors at the end of the court had had lights on. The downside of being in the middle is that if a group has to pass by several unlit houses to find out if there’s any candy, they’ll often just keep going.

Next year? Well, perhaps I’ll be somewhere else.

503, Microsoft?

The US site for was hard down this morning. Coincidentally, I hope, Pixy commented on a large-scale brute-force login attack on their cloud accounts.

(I do not have a picture of a cloud-based minefield, so please, just think about protecting your vulnerable accounts catgirls)

“I speak QA to my Apple”

…because nobody at Apple speaks it any more, leading to bricked Macs after Monterey upgrade. There’s also a series of crippling memory leaks being reported, but that just puts the cherry on top.

(trash-fire is related)

Crisis On Infinite Housing

I chatted with my parents Sunday afternoon, and sent them my current short-list of houses in the area. My mom emailed back that she’d actually been in #6 for their estate sale, and it was quite nice. Baffling decision on the range, though; the space is clearly designed for a standard range hood, but they went with a drawdown fan and left the hood space empty with a bit of decorative framing on the opening. Also, the custom-built kitchen island has no power whatsoever.

Am I accelerating the move? Maaaybe. Not so much the moving-in part, but quite possibly the buying-and-renovating part. I’ve acquired considerable affection for my top 3 houses, and while they’ve all been listed for more than 30 days in a market where most are being snapped up in 3-4, I’d honestly hate to miss them all. Especially the top one, which just really appeals to me.

I have sufficient cash on hand to put 20% down right now and still cover closing fees, and I could double that a month from now when our stock lockout period ends, making it possible to pay on both for at least six months with no worries, with the final move in March/April. Meanwhile, my mortgage company’s current estimate of my equity exceeds the total cost of the new house, so I’d have plenty when it was all over to rebuild my reserves, and no mortgage payment at all.

(I’d be able to afford regular maid service at the new house, but regular maid-service will continue to be a blog-only feature)

Japan in the Spring?

Gosh, I hope so. We’re rebooking the not-gonna-happen-in-two-weeks trip to the matching dates in March. Which more-or-less coincides with when I’d hand over the keys to the realtors and officially move to Ohio. We’ll still be flying out of SFO, but when we get back, I’d just spend the night at an airport hotel and then fly away to my new home.

Alexa The Too-Friendly Puppy

My biggest gripe about the “classic” Mac OS was that it treated everyone as an eternal beginner. It was always right up there in your face, refusing to get out of your way and let you do the things you had become expert at. They’ve been trending back this way since the limited functionality of the i-devices began to influence their desktop environment, and Microsoft is flirting with it as well in some aspects of the Win11 UI. Both are also motivated by making you dependent on their Clown Services, of course.

The most in-your-face slobbering puppy on the block, though, is Alexa, which started out as the “AI” sage who set your alarms, turned on your lights, and answered your questions, and gradually shifted to yapping at you after every interaction and shitting on the carpet if you try to make her stop. And it’s the same canned advice every fucking time, no matter how you respond.

“by the way, did you know that you can…”
“while you’re waiting, how about…”
“to hear the rest of the album, say…”
“would you like me to…”
etc, etc.

Apparently there’s an executive at Amazon who thinks that everyone adores the experience of dealing with an attention-starved and slightly incontinent pet.

(this dog is welcome to get in my face and slobber, as long as he brings his handler…)

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)



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

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.

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:


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!)


“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)

“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)

“…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 email address, and was sent through the spam-launderers at

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.