“Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea— massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.”

— Gene Spafford, 1992

Deus Ex Chibi

Endro! finishes strong.


Yes, last week’s Manaria Friends was the last episode. It did feel that way.

Dear Amazon,

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this passport wallet has been linked with the wrong Q&A section:

  • Is it hard to assemble?
  • Is this comfortable for long sitting sessions?
  • What tools are needed for assembly?
  • Does it feel comfortable for the back?
  • What is the height of the highest setting off the floor?
  • Does this chair make noise?

First Zenni specs

After my unpleasant experience with “wear-all-day HD digital progressive” glasses, you think I’d avoid anything related, but for my first purchase from Zenni, I ordered a pair of near-range progressives, with rimless frames and blue-blocking lenses, and threw in a pair of amber clip-ons to use them at the pistol range (“front sight focus!”).

They arrived yesterday, and after adjusting the fit with a pair of needle-nose pliers, they’re working out great. For computer work, you need to have your monitor properly set up ergonomically, since the arms-length section of the lens is at the top. For reading, unlike the standard progressives, there’s no fuzzy edges or “swimming” effect. And a quick test confirms that they’ll be perfect for pistol shooting.

Zenni throws in a cheap hard case that offers some protection (padding only on the bottom), a good microfiber cleaning cloth, a keychain combo screwdriver (philips, slotted, and two sizes of hex nut), and a generous collection of spare screws, nuts, washers, and nose pads (not specific to your frame, so they may not match the color and style).

For their rimless frames, they offer a wide variety of lens shapes, and I’m quite happy with the ones I picked; they look just like I expected from the “try on” feature.

The one thing I didn’t realize, and regret slightly, is that the frames don’t fold; they just have spring arms. I’ll have to hunt through my old cases to find something that they fit into well.

Next pair will be simple single-prescription driving glasses with magnetic clip-on polarized shades, for about $35.

Power Girl

Yuumi auditions for the next DC ensemble movie…


Dear Apple,

Will you ever figure out how to sync data between devices?

Seriously, how long have you been shipping the Reminders app now, which is, I note, one of the single most useful features of your watches, now in their fourth generation?

You know, the one that constantly gets out of sync if you own more than one device, like, say, a Mac, an iPhone, and an iPad?

That’s right, the one where the only reliable fix is to open the Calendar app on each device and manually refresh your list of Calendars.

Hell, you could buy 2/3 of the third-party sync solutions in the world out of petty cash, and your entire iCloud platform would benefit.

Mapping our Japan trip…

On previous trips, I’ve carried an old Sony GPS logger that I could sync up with the timestamps on my photos, both for geotagging and just figuring out where all we went (“remember that little backstreet temple where you wanted pictures of the fallen leaves, but those kids kept playing in them?“). Sadly, since the GPS epoch is about to roll over again, and Sony hasn’t supported that device in many years, it’s e-waste now.

The fallback plan was to just snap phone pics whenever I wanted to remember where I’d been, but my new camera can use Bluetooth to pull GPS from my phone, and Sony just replaced the flaky PlayMemories app with one that promises to be a lot more reliable. Incidentally, since this isn’t a serious photo trip, I won’t be taking big lenses or a tripod, just the a6500 body, the 18-105mm f/4 G lens, and a new find, an Eighties-vintage Minolta 100-200mm f/4.5 (with mount adapter). I was considering the big old beer-can 70-210mm f/4, but I’d have ended up leaving it in the hotel a lot; this one is a lot easier to keep with me, and the effective 150-300mm zoom range is perfect for hand-held use. Also, it was under $40 at Green’s Camera World in Monterey, which I visited during my iPhone-replacement woes.

But I still needed to decide how to share map bookmarks with my sister, as mentioned previously. With perfect timing, Trello came to the rescue with their brand new map power-up. I was already doing all our trip planning in Trello boards, so it was pretty easy to add location data.

And since you can always export a Trello board to clean JSON, I was able to trivially generate a matching Google Maps/Earth KML file.

Since this is the first version of their mapping support, there are a few issues. First, it leaks memory like nobody’s business, crashing the app if you try to add too many locations in one session. Second, it only works in the Android/iOS apps at the moment, not the main Trello web site. Third, the search functionality is quite crude, and had a lot of trouble with non-English names; I spent a lot of time trying to outsmart it, and eventually had to give up and manually place about 10% of the pins (basically, switch to Google Maps, look up the location, find something nearby that’s less obscure, search for that in Trello, and then move the marker to the right spot).

The result, however, is a very clear overview of our options every day.

Nhung Nguyen

Okay, I think I’ve found my next vacation destination…


“Oh, I Wish I Were A Robert Mueller Jingle…”

(with apologies to Oscar Mayer…)

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶
Your baloney has a first meme,
it’s ‘Rus-sian Col-lu-sion’.
Your baloney has a second meme,
it’s ‘Or-ange-Man-Is-Bad’.
Oh we’ll laugh in your face every day,
and if you ask us why we’ll saaaaay,
“​…cause Loony Leftists have to pay
for screwing up the USA.”
🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

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