Web

Banished from the Internet by a log4j vulnerability, I struggled to watch this week’s episode


Funimation’s streaming seems to be down today, and their authentication takes a long time to silently fail, so perhaps their servers are busy mining crypto after the latest round of log4j vulnerabilities.

(donut-lover is unrelated)

Update

Yeah, it was the Amazon outage.

I could work with that


Reddit ambushed me with their new automatically-generated avatar feature, where an accidental misclick overwrote your existing custom avatar completely. I reverted to my usual, but I have to say, their randomizer came up with a surprisingly good likeness.

Add some glasses, fill in the beard, and we’re good to go.

Dear Amazon,


[this random update brought to you by a server crash over at the Pixian Empire just as I posted a comment to Mauser’s blog…]

Since neither of my orders had arrived as of Wednesday morning (with one of them allegedly sitting in my local post office since Saturday morning, and the other having never even been shipped), I was permitted to cancel them. But the first order still could show up, if there really is a box in the wild somewhere, and I don’t need two of them, so I’m not going to order a replacement yet.

In fact, the last two orders I’ve placed for physical items have been with other, smaller companies, who don’t offer free shipping or an N-day guarantee. They do, however, have a reputation for promptly shipping products to customers, and searches through their sites are not polluted by Chinese products from fake brands with random all-caps names.

All the hysterical posturing of activists and bureaucrats hasn’t damaged Amazon as much as the company’s own leadership taking their eye off the ball. All of my support for Amazon has been based on the core deal of them selling me products I want and delivering them promptly; everything else I do with them (ebooks, DNS, EC2, S3, Echo, etc) is based on trust created by a satisfying customer experience over many years.

Which I don’t get any more. They arbitrarily refuse to allow some vendors to sell certain ebooks, while permitting the same product on paper (light novels and manga have been hit hard by this). They have shifted from excessive-but-reliable packaging to “maybe it will survive the trip this time”. They have cut their shipping costs by using an unreliable carrier with mostly-fictional “package tracking” for last-mile deliveries. They’ve actively encouraged knockoffs and fly-by-night dealers to dominate their product listings, with bait-and-switch becoming the norm for both the products and the shipping times. And when things go wrong, it’s up to me to fix them, on my own, after a lengthy delay.

J: “Alexa, what’s in it for me?”

A: “This is Sukiyaki, by Kyu Sakamoto”.

(does not play song)

(cast of Shingu is completely unrelated, I just like the picture as a unicorn chaser)

What was the plan?


Long ago and not so far away, I worked down the street from Netscape. It was the glory years, and many of my co-workers jumped ship with stars in their eyes and dreams of a glorious future that included retiring before age 30. A few of them did so, but most were of course too late to get the kind of juicy stock options that could enable that sort of thing.

A recurrent theme among the Ex-Scapees, with JWZ perhaps the most prominent, is “Microsoft killed our company”. Some go for a softer form, “Microsoft stunted Internet innovation”; when I once asked for an example, the speaker pointed to VRML. Since he was a friend, I didn’t laugh, just stared open-mouthed in shock.

But the strong claim, that Microsoft’s entry into the web market killed Netscape, has never made sense to me. Because I’ve never understood how Netscape planned to make money in the first place.

I mean, I was there, a not-quite-literal stone’s throw down the street from their headquarters, watching them burn through insane amounts of money to produce only 2.5 products: a free browser, a rudimentary mail/calendar suite that was free to anyone who had an account with pretty much any ISP, and a very specialized item that was already facing competition, Commerce Server.

Everyone was already using free alternatives to Commerce Server for everything but their main secure-ordering site, and those alternatives existed before Microsoft released IS and IIS, and were getting better with every release.

So what was the plan? How was Netscape ever going to make enough money to offset their massive burn rate? What were they going to sell that someone else couldn’t create a competitor for? If Microsoft could kill them so quickly and so easily, with a product that was utter crap, how did they ever expect to succeed?

3D Printing, Reconsidered

Well that's embarassing...


“Route 53, Where Are You?”

% host www.amazon.com 8.8.8.8
Using domain server:
Name: 8.8.8.8
Address: 8.8.8.8#53
Aliases: 

Host www.amazon.com not found: 2(SERVFAIL)

Since connections to amazon.com immediately redirect to www.amazon.com, this is kind of visible.

Update

Took about half an hour for it to come back.

Dear Amazon Japan,


It’s great that you’ve been reaching out to international customers by making amazon.co.jp more approachable to people who don’t speak the language.

But it kinda sucks that you auto-translate about half of the product titles into Machine Engrish with no way to view the actual title without switching site navigation back into Japanese.

And your latest “feature”, attempting to auto-translate search strings into Japanese and search for that instead fails spectacularly on the simple case where someone cuts and pastes actual Japanese text into the search box.

For instance, while I can read Japanese, I leave the UI in English because I read my mostly-native language faster. So you can imagine my surprise when I pasted in “異種族レビュアーズ” and got zero search results, despite it still claiming to have searched for “異種族レビュ アーズ”. I had to find the plaintext undo button to get it to search for Japanese text as Japanese text.

After that, all sorts of results showed up, including the fact that Amazon Video is still streaming Interspecies Reviewers in Japan, and that there are manga spinoffs “Ecstacy Days” and “Marionette Crisis”. Also that the Bluray releases have been pushed back; I imagine a lot of things are being deferred thanks to Corona-chan.

Dear Amazon,


At least you aren’t blaming this one on the Post Office…

Status at 8:30 AM:

Status at 9:30 AM:

Update: Friday at 6pm…

I didn’t even need to make a fresh screenshot. Still promised for Sunday, still hasn’t shipped.

Update: Saturday at 2pm 8pm 11pm…

Still not shipped, still supposed to arrive tomorrow. Given that only USPS typically does Sunday deliveries (or at least marks it as delivered and drops it off on Monday), I’m dying to know how they’re planning to get it to me.

Update: Sunday at 8:30am…

At what point does Amazon just admit they don’t have it and send the driver to Best Buy to pick one up?

Fuck it

Found it at the local Walmart for $20 less and canceled the Amazon order from my phone. This is an inversion of the natural order.

Dear Amazon,


Apparently I’ve gone too far poking fun at the results of your recommendation system, because you’ve stopped recommending anything except a few “buy it again” tiles:

  • “Buy it again in Business, Industrial, & Scientific Supplies”: Loctite, flush cutters, screw caps, and threaded screw inserts. (aka “crafting supplies”)

  • “Buy it again in Office Products”: super-sticky Post-Its, NFC tags, and inkjet business cards. (I go through Post-Its like candy; the cards are for giving the addresses of our hotels in Japan to cab drivers and luggage shippers)

  • “Buy it again in Home”: trash bags, Boveda humidifier refills, and a 12-pack of stick-on pen loops. (I only needed 2-3 pen loops, one for each Rocketbook and the third for my old Surface Pro, so it will be a long time before I run out…).

  • “Buy it again in Home Improvement”: Loctite, Loctite, stick-on plastic feet, and Philips Hue motion sensors. (seriously, Amazon, how much Loctite do you think I go through in a month?)

  • “Buy it again in other categories”: charcoal soap, toothbrush heads, USB3-to-Micro/C/Lightning cable, Gevalia Mocha Latte K-Cups.

That last one is amusing, because I actually have a subscription for the k-cups, but in a different box size, so Amazon knows I like the stuff, but doesn’t realize they’re already sending me 36 of them each month. (4 boxes of 9 is $5.65 cheaper than 6 boxes of 6)

This is my daily “liquid pie” indulgence. I drink it with two Splendas and two Mini-Moos, which is like pouring coffee on cupcake batter, yet still only 100 calories.

If I have any further coffees (instead of drinking Diet Pepsi), they consist of Gevalia or Peet’s medium-roast ground coffees, made in an Aeropress (or the new Aeropress Go travel kit) with three Splendas, a Mini-Moo, and a pinch of sea salt.

(for the AeroNerdly: non-inverted, 2 filters, 2 scoops, 2-ounce pour to wet the grounds for 30 seconds, 2 more ounces and ~40 seconds of stirring, slow press all the way down and scrape the foam into the mug, then milk-n-sugar and add 8 more ounces of water)