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”.

My non-existent Tumblr blog #3

“If I were to create a Tumblr blog…”, he says, refusing once again to enter the swirling vortex of multi-panel animated gifs, endless-scrolling memory hogs, and myspace-like design aesthetics, “I think I’d have to call it Baffled Cheesecake, in honor of a sexyfail expression that’s almost as common as Bored Porn Star, Angry Stripper, Constipated Chick, and Wannabe Realdoll.”

Two samples below, one nude.


Fun with machine translation

Dear Google Translate, the adjective いけ好かない can be translated as disagreeable, disgusting, nasty, or creepy. I think you’ll find that there are very few contexts where it would be correct to translate it as “dicksplash”.

Google Translate Fail

Another reason to hate Paypal

I spent two hours trying to buy stuff from a site that uses Paypal’s shopping-cart system. Why? Because it kept resetting the cart. This seems to happen at random intervals, but is guaranteed to happen if you’re actually logged into your Paypal account and that session times out while you’re loading up the cart.

It was so bad that I ended up pre-staging the desired items in multiple tabs, so that I could rapidly add them all to the cart and hit the checkout button before the session expired. As it is, I ended up missing the click on one item, so the merchant will not be selling me that particular $250 product today.

Google+ hates you

Apparently Google’s web design team has been hijacked by rogue optometrists who are attempting to drive people into their offices by creating eyestrain.

Why else would they have decided that medium-gray text on a light-gray background is a good way to present all comments, especially the sort of long, detailed comment that contains information that's actually worth reading?

And of course they’re wasting acres of space on useless crap like chat, “trending” tags, “you may know” (but almost certainly don’t), and “you might like” (but definitely won’t) sections.


Two hours on the phone with Paypal, six password resets, three escalations, two different computers and four different browsers, and still they don’t have the slightest idea why I can’t log in to my account.

Ten days ago, I successfully paid for something through Paypal. Now, nothing that tier 1-3 support can come up will get me into my account.

…but they think that if they escalate even higher, they may have something for me in 24-48 hours.

[Update: Amusing; if I do a password-reset and try to give it the current password, it detects this and refuses to allow me to use it. But that same password didn’t work fifteen seconds earlier, so the problem can’t possibly be on my end, especially since I’m pasting it in each time rather than typing it from memory.]

[Update: it appears they don’t like my home IP address…]