The end of an era

WebTV goes dark

What I want to know is, has some poor soul been maintaining epgparser all this time, or did they finally break free from Andrew’s giant hairy Perl script?

(and when I say “hairy”, I mean “had to run as root so it could newfs file systems, and no one could ever figure out why it needed 4GB of RAM and ran for 26 hours a day”)

My first Korean spam email

Looks like they’re selling performance-enhancement pills for men. I was hoping it was something different, like the “gyaku enjo” ads that have started popping up again in my Japanese spam.

From:  [비ㅡ아ㅡ클ㅡ리ㅡ닉]
Subject: 정품. 저렴하고 빠르게판_매합니다...[비ㅡ아ㅡ클ㅡ리ㅡ닉]
♣ 사이트접속후 관리자에게 실시간 문의도가능합니다.
♣ 당일배송을 원칙으로 합니다
♣ FDA허가된 상품이되 처방전없이 구매가능합니다
♣ 건강한 性생활을 드립니다.
♣ 묶음상품은 더욱 저렴하게 드립니다..^^ 

Carve it in stone, that it shall never be forgotten

"If you don't have the social skills to phrase a polite question, Slashdot is perhaps not the ideal place to go looking for advice..."

(via, where the person quoted is actually answering the wrong question…)

Unhelpful Youtube behavior

If you search for the K-pop band named “시크릿”, the default sort-by-relevancy will put their videos at the top of the list. If you switch to sorting by upload date, however, you will see only a long list of completely irrelevant videos whose titles happen to include the English word “secret”, which is what 시크릿 spells out phonetically.

The underlying idea makes some sense, but it’s not applied evenly or consistently. Many videos will not be found if you search for them in the wrong/other syllabary (a different subset will be found by searching for シークレット, for instance). Fortunately, putting double quotes around the string disables the auto-translation, excluding irrelevant results.

WebTV finally shuts down

September 30th. I wonder how much of my procedures and scripts survived to the end, on what was once the largest Solaris deployment inside Microsoft.

Baidu, WTF?

Dear (aka Beijing Baidu Netcom Science and Technology Co., Ltd.), this blog is not Amazon, nor is it an open HTTP proxy, kthxbye.

[Tue May 14 04:05:16 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/GU10-SMD-4-5w-Cool-White/dp/B004BEC9QY
[Tue May 14 06:34:45 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Agatha-Christies-Miss-Marple-Collection/dp/B00012SYQY
[Tue May 14 07:19:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Watt-6400k-Energy-Saving-Light/dp/B003BF3TE0
[Tue May 14 07:49:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Technote-Trumpet-Stand/dp/B002S0NN22
[Tue May 14 08:34:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/technology-expectancy-typically-maintenance-including/dp/B003VR9NV6
[Tue May 14 09:49:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Satya-Champa-Incense-Sticks-Special/dp/B000SARC4O
[Tue May 14 10:19:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Rockburn-foot-Moulded-Jacks-Guitar/dp/B000GG4B4O
[Tue May 14 11:04:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Rifle-Pellet-Takes-targets-17cms/dp/B003Y21ATQ
[Tue May 14 11:19:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Polypropylene-Rope-Blue-30m-6mm/dp/B000U5A0E6
[Tue May 14 11:49:24 2013] [error] [client] File does not exist: /htdocs/Plastic-Pirate-Crossbones-Bunting-Metres/dp/B000MSP80W

Baffling Japanese spam

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot more infected-Excel Chinese spam than usual, and the majority of the Japanese spam has been bland one-liners with a link to a pay site, so I haven’t mentioned any of it.

This one stuck out for two reasons. First, there’s no URL at all, so no easy payoff for the spammer. Second, well, see for yourself:

From: 栄村良子 【BBガルダン 企画部】
Subject: 読むだけ簡単、貴方の脳の不思議発見

こんちには みさなん おんげき ですか?
わしたは げんき です。
この ぶんょしう は いりぎす の
ケブンッリジ だがいく の けゅきんう の けっか
にんんげは たごんを にしんき する ときに
その さしいょ と さいご の もさじえ あいてっれば
じばんゅん は めくちちゃゃ でも
ちんゃと よめる という けゅきんう に もづいとて
わざと もじの じんばゅん を いかれえて あまりす。
どでうす? ちんゃと よゃちめう でしょ?

Not only is it all written phonetically in hiragana, most words are scrambled, so that the first body line reads “konchini wa, misanan ongeki desu ka?”

It does not appear to be written by assistoroids, so I don’t think the alien catgirls have found my email address.

Web-translation pitfalls

Spotted this one just now while using Google Translate on a store’s information page: 定休日 was translated as “Closed Sundays”, instead of “regular closing days” or something similar. If, like me, you expect Google to make a hash out of Japanese and are only using it to fill in the gaps, you’ll be okay, but not only is Chrome doing automatic translation, I’m running into more and more Japanese sites that supply an “English version” that’s copied from Google output, and if you don’t know you’re reading gibberish, you might end up thinking that the store really is closed on Sundays.

How did Google screw this one up? Well, 日 can mean “day”, “sun”, or “sunday”, distinguished by context, and both 定休 and 定休日 mean “regular holiday”, used by stores to indicate their regular closing schedule. Google picked the shorter match and then decided that the following 日 meant Sunday, which would make perfect sense if there were some punctuation to make it unambiguous (such as “定休:日・水” for “closed Sunday and Wednesday”). A human translator would have picked the longer match, and expected the next block of text to contain the actual set of closing conditions, which in this case was “third Wednesday of each month”.

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