What’s important is:

  1. not changing fundamental OS behavior behind users’ backs

  2. not changing decades-long behavior without explanation

  3. giving users a choice and voice, not assuming that whatever some Apple designer happens to personally prefer should be hard-coded and hidden from users, treating them like infants

  4. not #%*@$% confusing users about what is going to happen, creating unexpected, unpredictable or dysfunctional results

Those things are what’s important; those things are part and parcel are the original Macintosh principles of design, and those are the things we have lost in recent years as user interface ignoramuses have taken over “design” at Apple.

— Ric Ford on what modern Apple gets wrong

30% more!


Komi Comes Calling

October 6th. New promo.

Biden-esque

Deadpool: “Who knew these winds would be so strong?”

Domino: “Everyone. Everyone on the helicopter. And everyone not on the helicopter.”

Downside of non-Amazon ordering…

Globalkitchen Japan is doing a great job of sending me the products I ordered, but DHL is driving me bonkers with random text messages tracking the box through Customs. I have never had an international shipment that was this chatty before. I hope to never have another.

Seriously, nine emails and at least as many texts in just over 24 hours, half of them in the middle of the night because it was business hours in Tokyo. Every status update at Customs triggers a new text, but since the status isn’t actually changing, there’s no useful information.

Slime Talkin’

You know what’s better than showing the big fight they’ve been building up to? Setting up multiple big fights with lots of talking, and then ending the episode.

By the way, have I mentioned that I hate the new OP song?

How Realistic Is It That Only The Hero Learns Things?

In a land where some races live for centuries, and tsunamis are a familiar concept, only cranky old men of the shortest-lived race know about a pretty damn big one that regularly afflicts the land Our Hero wants to build a city on but can’t understand why no one else was already using. Also, isn’t there a civil war brewing? Plenty of time for that before the season ends, right? Right?

(I have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s probably unrelated)

Catch-25

Even if the Democrats admitted that Biden is (coughcough) “no longer” competent to hold office, they can’t allow him to be removed, because if they promoted Kamala, they’d no longer have a tie-breaking vote to confirm a new VP to be the new tie-breaking vote, locking up the Senate until they lose any seats they can’t afford to steal in the mid-terms.

Maybe when he signed off on the plan, Joe thought “Kabul Krumble” was a new Ben&Jerry’s flavor?

Twitter, Public Enema Number One

The browser version of Twitter is getting very invasive about insisting that you sign up before it will show public tweets. Over the past week, more and more often tweets have been obscured by a signup page, to the point that today I can’t even click on a thumbnail picture to see the whole thing, or see a thread that someone’s embedded. Because bullying is a proven strategy for converting casual visitors into users.

Never mind that I deleted my Twitter account over three years ago and have never had a reason to revisit that decision.

(Zelda has the right idea here)

“OPS5 Tie Fighter simulators for everybody!”


(approximately 12 people would get this joke… in 1990)

IO Terminal 10

Development on Iosevka has been pretty rapid, enough so that since I last released my custom build a few months ago, it’s gone from 6.0.1 to 10.0.0. So I updated it:

IO Terminal (zipfile)

I had to make a minor change to the build plan. They’ve continued to make it easier to customize your version just the way you want it, down to the shapes of individual letters. I’m still mostly using the “ss02” (Anonymous Pro) base set, overriding some gratuitous serifs that were added back in 6.x.

Dear Amazon,

Three of the tiles on the “recommended for you” page currently show me products related to the one you completely failed to deliver and then took several days to process the refund for. Just sayin’.

I’m not sure why I even have a “women’s apparel” tile, but the contents consist of men’s socks, gaudy self-defense keychains, and pleather coin purses. Ditto the “baby” tile, which consists entirely of insulated lunch bags, ice packs, and bento boxes.

The “grocery and gourmet foods” tile would make sense, but it’s just canned cat food, powdered everything (milk, butter, cheese, eggs, etc), and Nespresso pods. None of which I need more of, especially the pods.

As for the home page, it seems to be evenly divided between “sending your kid to college” and “wedding gifts for people who don’t have registries”. Haven’t you heard there’s a war on?

The Dungeon Harem Only I Can Hide-The-Salami In

The end of this series felt abrupt and forced, as if they’d skipped a book or two. Which is precisely what happened, if the description of the upcoming book five is correct. Of course, without that, the story would have just petered out, and Yui Horie wouldn’t have gotten to actually do anything, wasting her completely.

I rather liked the elf haremette dual-wielding healing pistols, but everyone’s just a bit too oblivious about the fact that Our Hero’s definitely-related-by-blood little sister is determined to be the winner in the harem sleepstakes, and in the interest of acquiring skill points, Our Hero leads her on.

And, well, what’s left to do? He’s saved all the girls, has an infinite supply of loot, and has a team of hot chicks competing to provide the points he needs to edit himself into an unbeatable demigod. Literally the only thing holding him back is that he’s not letting them take turns riding his cock yet.

Related, I see that absurdly-titled imitation light novels are picking up steam on Amazon, with series like “Who let a demon lord into the mage tower?”, “Reincarnated as a familiar”, and “Everyone knows you shouldn’t rescue maidens in alleyways” (gosh, what could that one be a ripoff of…).

(Our Hero and one of the few girls who isn’t a confirmed haremette yet)

The last three companies I ordered from…

…because Amazon let me down:

All three have shipped; Umamimart already delivered, since they’re in Oakland. The other two packages arrive Friday.

🎶 “Hey, Joe, where ya goin’ with that cone in your hand?” 🎶

When I called Trump the last American president back in January, even I didn’t expect the Biden puppet show to do this much damage this quickly. I’d yell at the people who voted him into office, but I don’t speak photocopier.

Nice things...


Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

My Hero Academia live-action film. Good news, right? Nope, Hollywood, which doesn’t get the concept of heroism, and which is unlikely to get the character designs right.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

There’s a new biography of James Beard, one of the giants of food and food writing. It’s all about dragging his private life into the open, because he was apparently not a vanilla heterosexual.

Um, who fucking cares? I don’t care if he was taking eggplants up the ass; his private life is his own, and if you need to dig through his underwear drawer to validate your own life choices, you need professional help. And I don’t mean a hooker.

Worst thing about it? It’s #21 in “holiday cooking”, because people see “oh, a new book about James Beard! My friend Betty loves his cookbooks, so this will make a great gift!”.

(no, I’m not linking to it; the title is “The man who ate too much”, if you’re desperate for tales of his “queer life”)

(picture is mostly unrelated)

But is it creamy lemon?

JBOX has Tenga-shaped chocolates, which is probably better than chocolate-shaped Tenga.

Mapfail

After Amazon failed so spectacularly in delivering products to me, I thought I’d try local retailers. I searched an assortment of store web sites, some of which at least attempted to track local inventory, and it looked like Macy’s might have something, but when I tried to check if it was in stock anywhere, it thought the closest store was in Monterey. That’s odd, says I, I didn’t think they closed the Macy’s that’s 2 miles from my house.

Sure enough, their store finder thinks the Macy’s in the 93906 zip code is 42 miles away from the 93906 zip code.

In the end, the only thing they had that was a decent match would cost three times as much and take 5-8 days to ship, so maybe I’ll go to Del Monte Center in Monterey after work soon (that is, “after my last Zoom meeting of the day”). And stop off at the Safeway that carries Boar’s Head meats.

(shopping gal is at best loosely related)

I have no slime and I must stream

You know what the Slimeworld series was missing? Lengthy conversations between brand new characters, sharing their misunderstandings of things we already know. Also the person formerly built up as a major villain being shown to be a raving tool about to have his ass handed to him. In small pieces.

Giles on Fauci

“Don’t taunt the fear demon.”
     “Why, can he hurt me?”
“No, it’s just… tacky.”

(related, and reassuring, if true)

That’s Professor Arson to you!

Serial lecturer arrested as serial arsonist. Apparently, teaching sociology and criminal justice is a gateway drug to helping wildfires break containment.

(pistol-packing miniature bunnygirl maid is unrelated)

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)

I feel better already...


Good news, bad news…

Brickmuppet is recovering from his stroke, but Funimation finished acquiring Crunchyroll.

Alexa’s Advancing Assholery

J: Alexa, five minute timer.

A: Five minute timer set. Why not pass the time by listening to a…

J: Alexa, stop.

A: (keeps talking)

J: Alexa, shut the fuck up.

Related, the Amazon package that was promised for Friday has allegedly been sitting at my local post office since 7:30 AM Saturday with no further updates, and another one that was part of an order on July 30th was Prime-but-not-really, so it’s supposed to arrive by Tuesday, and still hasn’t shipped as of Monday night.

(Jahy-sama and friend are completely unrelated, and provide much better service than Amazon products)

I Can Haz CA COVID QR!

After six weeks, California is finally willing to provide digital proof that I got vaxxed (despite texting the availability confirmation to my cellphone, it couldn’t match by that number, and I had to supply the email address I scrawled on the back of the form back in May). Sadly, Japan’s lockdowns spread again, so the odds of them letting tourists back in by Thanksgiving are not looking good, but at least I can… no, wait, Lucy pulled the football away again.

Just got email from my doctor’s office that proof of vaccination is now required to enter all hospitals in California in any capacity other than that of patient or minor guardian. Please plan ahead if you expect your wife to go into labor in the coming months or wish to take a neighbor to the emergency room.

(platonic-harem dragon girls are unrelated, except for their mood)

Also, California has effectively banned bacon. Word must not have gotten out yet, since there’s still plenty in the stores. If you have freezer space, buy now!

Mail-order Tried

I tried out a meal-delivery service called “Factor_” (factor75.com). Unlike some of the others that do ready-to-cook meals for 2+, they ship refrigerated heat-and-eat single-serving meals, with a fair amount of variety in their menu. Their three-week promotion on keto meals made the price only twice as high as a decent frozen dinner, and I’ve been trying to improve my portion control while stuck at home, so I signed up.

Sadly, like many food-faddists, they achieve the “keto” goal by creating facsimile foods (“rice”, “mash”, “noodles”) out of assorted vegetables, which for the most part were pretty vile. Worse, though, was that every single one of their beef meals was too lean and cooked to death; one poor “burger” patty even had gristle ground in.

Basically, the best of their offerings had texture and flavor slightly inferior to a $4 frozen dinner, and without the promotional discount, they cost $12. Sorry, Factor_, but that’s just a bad deal.

(Halkara’s cooking may not be good for you, but her flavor and texture are first-rate)

Dear Best Buy & Whirlpool,

I do not understand how A leads to B:

Since the family is sitting in the kitchen, surrounded by appliances, I’m forced to assume that the ad is specifically referring to the washer and dryer, which are so far away that they can’t be heard, and which will frequently interrupt “game night” because… they run for an hour or more at a time? Or is the app warning them that the roast is burning, which they can’t detect because they all have no sense of smell?

But what really bothers me is the kitchen layout. The giant pillar in the background appears to run from the countertop to the ceiling, so it’s not structural, and yet it not only blocks the windows, it splits the counter space in half. What’s it for, and what’s behind it?

(this was actually one of the least-baffling ads I’ve had pop up on Reddit recently…)

Vaxx The Vote!


Victory Over Corona-chan Day!

Joe Biden announced that over 350 million Americans have received the COVID vaccines. This includes approximately 100 million photocopied vaccination records that arrived in unmarked panel trucks, and were stored under tables in the counting room “for later”.

Or maybe he’s just including all 57 states. 😁

(samurai corn-pop is unrelated)

How A Realist Anime Director Padded Out The Runtime

Episode 6 had approximately 20 minutes of as-you-know-Bob, followed by 30 seconds of plot advancement. The credits show the fourth future wife (and she had a cameo already), but they’d have to get through book 4 to properly add her to the collection, and they’re apparently pretty early in book 2 right now. Maybe they’re ending it after crushing the rebellion and hoping for a second cour?

Related, a quick look at Tenka Seiha’s review of the second episode of Jahy-sama confirmed my worst fears: she’s going to spend almost all of her time in annoying-loli form, so not much grown-up Jahy eye-candy. Which is the only attraction. Pass.

Speaking of overly-talky anime, season 2 of Slime Demigod just drags on, and yet the few things that actually happen don’t get enough exposition. I’m sorry, but everyone at the conference should have wet themselves when Rimuru casually invented a spell that rendered national borders obsolete, and then used it at a massive scale twice in one night without any sign of strain. Instead, they don’t react at all.

Dear Amazon,

I’m not loving the new Prime:

“Get delivery tomorrow if you order in the next 10 minutes!”

“Your product may arrive up to four days later than promised.”

Promised for Friday, don’t complain about it until Wednesday. Now that’s what I call service! No, wait, that’s what I call poor service. The US Post Office is involved, naturally, and the tracking status claims it made it to the Salinas PO only to be sent back to San Jose, adding an additional delay.

(I ran out of shocked/enraged Misty pics, so barmaid Jahy-sama it is…)

For the children: don’t buy them iPhones

Apple is in mass-ass-covering mode this week, as they very carefully avoid explaining precisely what their accidentally-leaked new surveillance features are for. So far, the scenarios they’ve come up with for How To Protect The Children sound like they’d be a lot more useful for How To Erase Tiananmen Square. For instance.

However, even if their motives were pure, their intentions noble, and their walls secure against armed government agents, it would still be a bad idea, because Apple has terrible QA.

…but excellent lawyers.

(political fellatio is definitely related)

Look, a unicorn!

I’ve previously complained that Korean glamour models, even the amateurs, all appear to have been trained for ad and catalog work, so that when they try to look sexy, they give off that stiff, bored vibe that says “I’m just here to sell the product”.

So, credit-where-credit-is-due for this lingerie shoot featuring a sweet, smiling, soft-bodied cutie (NSFW! Javascript off!).

Fun with SmartyPants…

In November, 2019, the Hugo static-site generator switched its Markdown processing from Blackfriday to Goldmark, a new library with a real parser that supports rendering hooks that allow you to do things like tag blocks with custom CSS classes. One of the supplied extensions is an attempt at the common automatic conversion of straight quotes to curly quotes, etc. Most implementations of this idea are at least loosely based on Gruber’s SmartyPants Perl script, but since this one is a parser, it’s not hacked together with regexes.

It’s also complete shit at quote-smartening, and that’s as true today as it was when Hugo adopted it. Unfortunately, in the new 0.87 release, Blackfriday is officially deprecated, which means that if I want to continue using supported versions of Hugo, I need to switch to Goldmark.

The Goldmark developer has no interest in improving this aspect of the library; English isn’t his first language, and frankly he doesn’t understand how it’s supposed to work (in an old bug, he admits that it’s implemented in exactly the same way italic/boldface markup is). In nearly two years, no one else has stepped up to fix it (including me; just not interested in learning how to hack on parsers in Go).

Which leaves me with two basic options: run one of the existing scripts to post-processes my entire site after every build, smartening the HTML output, or do a one-time conversion of 4,000+ Markdown files to be pre-smartened, and add a step to my workflow to smarten new blog entries as I create them.

Trying to run the Python implementation of SmartyPants on my HTML took, well, a really long time; I gave up waiting for it to finish. The original Perl version took about 45 seconds, which is more than twice as long as it takes to build the site.

So the only practical choice is to smarten the Markdown source directly. I’ll need to strip out the front-matter, pass the body text through some smartening tool, and then merge them back together.

This turned out to be surprisingly easy, because the reference implementation of CommonMark not only has a decent quote-smartener built in, but can generate Markdown as output, passing through HTML comments. All I really ended up needing to do was convert the front-matter delimiters into an HTML comment block so they get passed through untouched, and then convert them back at the end.

Best part: 30 seconds to do the whole repo. Spot-checking the output, it looks pretty good, but it does insert mostly-gratuitous backslashes in a number of places to conform to the CommonMark standard, which creates a bit of a problem when it modifies the arguments to a Hugo shortcode, such as the URL of every picture I post. I can turn those into HTML comments, too, but it ends up inserting an extra blank line sometimes, which might break a few things. And it breaks definition lists, which is something that the CommonMark folks still can’t agree on a syntax for; fortunately I’ve only used that maybe 10 times.

I’ll probably convert everything next week after poking around with a full build. Might be a few more edge cases to sort out that require adjusting the script, which is why I version all my content with Mercurial.

(loosely related, in a “Brickmuppet physical therapy” kind of way…)

Pow-wow chow now, how?


Hoping it’s minor and recovery is full and swift

Brickmuppet had a stroke. No further information available yet.

Rocs fall, everyone dies

I have long been a fan of Robin McKinley’s books, but as with so much of what’s available these days, the Kindle edition of Pegasus was overpriced, so I left it on my list until I noticed that it had dropped to $4.99.

What I didn’t realize is that it just stops. In 2010, it was meant to be the first book of three, but life got in the way, and the others remain unfinished. This is not like Sunshine, which leaves plenty of hooks for a sequel but tells a complete story; this book creates an interesting world, builds a Heroine and sketches the path for her to follow, sets up a crisis in the final chapter, and… (crickets)

Worth the $5, but I would have been quite annoyed at the $11+ price the publisher was insisting on until recently.

Bitch, please

Went to the youtubes to watch an anime opening-credits scene (a bit of a “name that tune” exercise). It autoplayed an ad of Elizabeth Warren squawsplaining why you should vote against the recall of Benito Newsom. Must be heap big wampum involved for them to circle the wagons like this.

Oh, and mail-in ballots will be sent out to everyone again, to maximize the opportunities for fraud and corruption.

(zombies are always related to California politics)

Power? Fail!

My work MacBook Pro runs Big Sur, because I don’t have any software on it that I care about; 90% of what I’m doing is either in Terminal.app or Chrome, with coding work done on a Linux VM in the data center.

To reduce clutter on my kitchen table when I work downstairs, I’ve been sharing a power supply between it and my personal MacBook running the almost-out-of-beta Catalina, swapping when they get below 20%. Except that Big Sur “learns” when to charge your laptop fully, so it ends up never going over 80% during work hours, leading me to swap cables more often.

It doesn’t look like you can reset its “learning”; you can only disable it completely or force a one-time charge if you remember an hour or so before you need to take it somewhere…

(hey, it had the word “energy” in it…)

Fun with Reddit…

When someone posts trollbait on a subreddit I follow, I tend to click their username to see what else they’ve been up to. Often it’s all they do, site-wide. This week’s was special, however, because he turned out to be into two things: trash-talking coffee makers, and trying to score free tail on r/AmateurSlutWives. 😁

Pants on fire, masks on faces


Stop shouting!

Tried to watch the first episode of Girlfriend, Girlfriend based on Mauser’s comment. Didn’t make it past the opening scene due to the over-the-top shouty reaction.

Gave Jahy-sama a second chance based on Tenka Seiha’s review that suggested it didn’t linger on the humiliation-panic scene. Regretted it because the director thinks shouting creates humor.

Nothing new here; the constant shouting was the reason I never understood why people thought Archer was funny.

“At midnight, all the agents…”

San Francisco re-mandated indoor masking, until further notice, starting Monday morning. This was a decision by an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat.

Six of the other Bay Area counties joined in at midnight. My county is sticking with “recommended” for now, but it can of course change at the drop of a hat, because we all know that “the science” is as stable as California’s electrical grid and water supply, and as well-thought-out as its forest-management policies.

When I went out to a store last night (Walmart, of all things), they had someone at the door handing out single-use masks to everyone who’d stopped wearing them. I said “that’s adorable”, put it in my pocket, and continued inside.

(slime-hunting is definitely related)

iPad survey…

For no obvious reason, Apple sent me a survey about my iPad Mini, which I’ve now owned for quite some time. Most of the questions were about Apple-branded peripherals and Apple-supplied applications, to which my answers were basically, “yeah, no”.

Not asked: “will you ever buy another Apple product?”

(penguin is unrelated)

Garbage in, AI out

There’s a new story making the rounds about how they tried to build a bunch of “AI” tools to help fight The War On Corona-chan, and none of them helped.

Spoiler: they trained them on the data released by China. Duh; they’d likely have sucked even with honest numbers, but why is anyone surprised they failed when fed pure fiction?

(pony-girl coffee-scientists are probably related)

Where the doors are…

Pete relocated a door, commenting that he’s 3 for 3 on living in homes where the door from the attached garage opens into the laundry room. I’m 0 for 6+ on that one, although I think a few of my friends in San Jose have the laundry machines in the garage, and not as a separate room at all.

My initial attempts to describe the layout of my built-in-2000 suburban California house turned into word salad, so here’s the first-floor floorplan, pulled from the original inspection report:

There’s no real concept of a mud room. If you come in from the front door, you’ve got a covered porch (now extended under the living-room windows, because nothing would grow in that space), but the entry area doesn’t really have room for more than a coat rack and a place to leave your shoes, while if you come in from the garage, the natural flow is to the left, to the stairs, entry, or family room. The floor plan is so open that I bought folding screens to divide the spaces.

Related, you can see that the initial design had the bathroom door opening in, guaranteeing that the occupant would get hit in the knees if the door opened. Before the first house got built, they fixed that so that it opens outward with the hinges on the other side, but they left the light switch in the original position next to the sink, so it’s behind the hinge. Nobody ever finds it the first time.

Fun fact: none of the windows that face the street open, on either floor, for curb appeal. A certain kind of person loves to suggest opening windows as an alternative to air conditioning, but I really can’t get airflow. If I replaced the cat-destroyed screen in the sliding door with something sturdy that locked, and installed a locking screen door at the entrance, then I could get north/south airflow, but east/west just isn’t possible due to the position of the only two windows on the left side that open (one upstairs, one down).

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