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!

“NT; big difference”

I don’t think this one’s been written yet…

“Reborn in another world as a tentacle monster, I defy hentai stereotypes by living a quiet life as a potato farmer, rebuffing the unwelcome advances of every kind of horny otaku waifu.”

User workarounds for Apple’s failures

Oh, look, now iCloud’s down!

Apple’s really having a great week. Looks like all iCloud services went offline around 4:45 PM PDT.

Can I at least parry?

(sorry about that…)

Microsoft Loops

I bought the new, well-reviewed Flight Simulator, because it was half-price thanks to my old MS Alumni discount. If you’ve paid any attention to this launch, you know that someone thought it was a great idea to make the downloader play a short music clip, over and over and over while it downloads more than 100 GB of data. Even in the background. Even minimized. Fortunately you can use the mixer to silence a single app, so I was able to sleepwalk through the Diablo 3 campaign while FS downloaded the world (because I’d only finished it on seasonal characters from a now-closed season, so the progress didn’t count when they became “normal” characters).

On the bright side, at least their QA only missed something annoying, unlike Apple’s spectacular screwups with their latest Watch and Mac OS releases. (no comment about the massive Azure auth & Office outage yesterday… 😁)

A few years ago, someone acquainted with the relevant VP tried to share the spin he’d received from his friend about how well QA is handled at Apple. He simply wasn’t technical enough for me to explain how everything he was parroting was a bad idea. Honestly, I think the real reason they’ve moving the Mac to ARM is that they ran out of disposable 23-year-olds who know what the words “CPU architecture” mean.

Amazon Filing System

Using urban fantasy novels to navigate the real world generally doesn’t work out particularly well…

Toothpicks at Dawn

This is the sort of home decor that gets you banned from air travel.

🎶 There’s a ringin’ in your brain…

(classical reference (sadly-censored radio version))

Discount Epic Certs, etc

None Shall Pass

Pro tip: when your SSL-enabled LDAP query throws a error, make sure that your cacerts file isn’t completely empty. It’s always fun when an application startup error turns out to have been accidentally caused weeks ago, making it difficult to find the culprit.

Make Epic RPGs

So, the trailer for RPG Maker MV on Steam is narrated by Epic Voice Guy. I suppose that makes it an Honest Trailer. This is old news, but I only noticed it because MV is steeply discounted right now (both on Steam and Humble Bundle).

Watch that cart!

When I placed this Anker Thunderbolt 3 dock into my cart a few weeks back, it was $320 with Prime shipping. When I went to buy my cart today, I noticed that they’d selected Woot as the dealer for it. That seemed odd, so I went back to the product listing and discovered it was available for $250 with Prime from AnkerDirect. And there was a $20 instant coupon available.

So, um, yeah, I’ll take the $90 discount with no warranty issues, thanks.

Why a new Thunderbolt-3 dock? Because I’m replacing my 12-inch MacBook and its sole USB-C port with a new MacBook Air and its dual Thunderbolt-3 ports. This will likely be my last Mac, between the upcoming ARM shift and the fact that Catalina is about to be replaced while still in beta (most of my old environment will be migrated into a VMware image, so I have a stable OS that still runs 32-bit apps).

Work supplied a 16-inch MacBook Pro, so I don’t need a powerhouse Mac, just something portable that has a non-terrible keyboard. And I’ve got enough time left on the MacBook’s AppleCare that by the time I’m fully off of it, I’ll still be eligible for a keyboard replacement before giving it a new home, if necessary.

I came this close to buying an Asus ZenBook Pro Duo with a 10th-gen Core i9, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, but decided to hold off on upgrading the Windows side of the house until sometime next year. It is still 2020, after all, and I might need that money for whatever comes next.

Inspired by my purchases, you say?

I purchased a branded item as a gift, and now they think I drink the stuff straight.

One of these things is not like the others…

I’d been wondering what all those vaguely key-shaped items were that have been popping up online, and they turn out to be the latest in fear-of-doorknobs technology. The one-hitter hash pipe is apparently also used to relieve virus-based anxiety.

How about them apples?

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