Dave Wilson, Nova Scotia’s opposition Liberal party health critic, thinks the government’s health officials have lost their marbles on this one— although he can’t say that because “losing your marbles” is one of the government’s blacklisted phrases.

— The National Post, on government censorship of "outdated, negative, inappropriate" language

Let's do the Time Machine again!


It’s just a jump to the left

I downloaded the free trial of BackupLoupe to find out what the hundreds of megabytes of changes Apple was backing up every few hours actually contained. It took hours to fully analyze the 91 snapshots going back to November 2020, but it was worth it.

Number one with a bullet in its head: /private/var/db/diagnostics. The Persist and Special sub-directories are full of trace files. This is Apple just dropping turd files and never cleaning them up or recognizing that they are turds, and shouldn’t be backed up.

Number two would be ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Data/vms/0/data/Docker.raw, if I used Docker more often; it’s up to 3.5 GB, and I hadn’t manually excluded it from TM. I only have a handful of utility containers on this machine, though, and I rarely update them, so it was only getting picked up maybe once a month.

Number three with a giant sigh is ~/.config/joplin-desktop/log.txt. The app never rotates the log, which logs every sync operation quite verbosely, so it goes back to when I first installed Joplin. Six months worth is about 96 MB, and because it’s a (fucking) log file, it changes any time the application is open, setting the minimum size for every backup. Bug filed.

(and promptly converted to an “enhancement request”, with a suggested solution that doesn’t accomplish jack shit…)

Kobo-ing

There are a number of manga series no longer available as Kindle ebooks, mostly because they contain naughty things. Some of them are still available in paperback, but even then there are some gaps. Yen Press sells on a number of platforms, though, and the one that doesn’t completely suck is Kobo, a piece of the Rakuten empire.

And by “doesn’t suck”, I mean that there are tools to strip the DRM from their books, back them up, and read them on the epub application of your choice, something that’s not true for the competing BookWalker service.

Kobo has their own line of dedicated ebook readers, including one that allows stylus markup of PDF files, but I haven’t used a dedicated reader for a few years now.

Sadly, the series I most want seems to be in licensing hell. Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs isn’t consistently available on any platform I’ve found. Kobo currently has books 6, 13, and 15, for instance, while Amazon has 11-15 in paperback only.

Looney Tunes

Former child actress Alyssa Milano, vaguely remembered for some TV shows and a movie or two, has declared, from inside her secure compound, that Now is the most dangerous time to be a woman in America.

Ya misspelled “Afghanistan”, honey-muffin. And whose fault was that?

Gosh, I’d love to open the windows, but…

…someone is power-washing a neighbor’s roof for the second day in a row. It’s tile, and the wrong side to install solar panels on, so I’m not sure why.

Whatever the reason, since it’s a two-story, I can’t open any of my first-floor windows without getting some unpleasant-smelling damp air coming in, and I have to turn up the music to mask the noise.

Overexplored territory

“Reincarnated in my own past as the girl next door, I try to fix me so that I don’t grow up to become such a loser that I end up being hit by a truck and reincarnated.”

Order status

New laptop still reportedly in Customs, new lens hasn’t shipped yet. Both still on target for Wednesday arrival.

Monday morning update

Laptop and lens are in the air!

‘Quality Improvements’, you say?


KB5005565

This security update includes quality improvements. Key changes include:

  • Addresses an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.

Things I never thought I’d say…

“I know that terabyte’s around here somewhere.”

I eventually found it under a post-it note.

4 Cheesecakes and a Catgirl

The first episode of Restaurant To Another World 2 dives right into the food porn with no more than a token-but-talky reminder, picking up the fairly loose storyline where they left off, and treating the characters and situation as a given.

The first season wasn’t noteworthy for its animation, but the new studio leans pretty heavily on 3D CGI and panned stills, with some camera moves that are just there to save them the effort of doing more character animation. Not bad, but they’re definitely not in it to impress. The new character designs are close enough to the old ones that you probably wouldn’t notice if it hadn’t been advertised.

It follows the established formula sufficiently well to reassure fans of the first season that it won’t suck.

Oh, and that’s not my rating for this episode. The new character is a catgirl, and she eats four helpings of cheesecake. “Spoilers”, I know. 😁

Sticky Note

The only accessory makers Apple can never put out of business are the ones who make their mobile products less slippery. I thought the iphones were ridiculous until I tried to pull an AirPod Pro out of its equally-slippery case. Then had it fall out of my ear within a minute.

I was reminded of this in a reddit discussion of Nespresso’s Origin line of cups, where people were complaining that they had a “chalkboard” texture.

I thought this was a baffling way to describe matte-finished ceramics, especially since I find both the Origin and Lume lines very pleasant to look at and hold, precisely because they’re not shiny and smooth and slippery and cheap-looking. And I’ve cleaned plenty of chalkboards in my time, so I’m pretty confident in saying that there’s no real resemblance.

A bit pricy, perhaps, but they go on sale fairly often.

I do not understand how Time Machine manages to find hundreds of megabytes of changes on my MacBook Air multiple times per day, especially since the single largest deltas (virtual machines and the output of rebuilding my blog) are explicitly excluded from its coverage. As are all source-control repos pulled down from servers.

…and, no, it’s not that my disk is being slowly encrypted by ransomware (I checked, and compared to my regular SuperDuper backups). I think TM is simply doing it wrong, and the net effect is that a portable computer can’t just be picked up and taken somewhere, because interrupting a Time Machine backup can leave it in a state that the OS insists (usually incorrectly) is unfixable, and the only solution it offers is to completely wipe your backup history and start over, leaving you with no backups until the first one completes.

More on Heinlein

I know someone has been trying to get the rights to his novels sorted out so they’re all available in relatively consistent editions (including rebranding an abandoned draft as a “parallel novel”), but it ain’t there yet. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond The Sunset are still not available as ebooks, although you can get audiobooks (something I’ve never felt any urge to try out; I simply can’t “read” that way, and the most distracting background noise you can make around me is human speech in a language I understand).

Back on the supply-chain gang

My local Toyota dealership’s web site shows only two new cars on the lot this week, and 46 used ones (only 21 of which are Toyotas). The regional inventory has one that exactly matches what I want if I were to buy/lease a car right now, but I am definitely not in the market; it’d just sit in the driveway gathering dust for at least three months. Maybe more, if Benito Newsom ups his game.

On that note, if I don’t have to go into an office in January, I’ll likely never have to do so again, at which point I might as well go live near my parents while they’re still around. Between my RSUs and the equity in my current place, why, I could even live in Oakwood!

Although, honestly, the most promising house on the market right now in that town is a three-story built in 1937, which my knees wouldn’t thank me for; and it would be downright weird to live in a brick home again after nearly 30 years in earthquake country. The only house I actually liked (within about 15 minutes of my folks) costs about the same as my current place in California is worth, except it has twice the square footage plus a full basement, a three-car garage, and is set on a full acre of wooded land, while still being about five minutes away from a Kroger, a Costco, and a Cabelas. Definitely not Oakwood. 😁

It’s one of the very few I saw where I wouldn’t feel a compulsion to strangle the kitchen designer. Pro tip: you’re not a pro, and you’re not hosting a show, so don’t have your kitchen renovated to look like a Food Network set.

Aero in the air

My new laptop is officially on its way via UPS, and:

The package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.

I believe this parses as “Customs agent awaiting customary donation”. Still more-or-less on track to arrive Wednesday. I did like the email update this afternoon that excitedly warned me I’d be getting Windows 11; intended for all the models that had previously shipped with 10, no doubt, which this one never was.

Hybrid Vigor


“She also briefly practiced as a corporate lawyer”

This is not something you expect to find on the bio of a 22-year-old actress. Who’s also quite pretty, and a decent singer. Courtesy of Australia, with the help of China, Singapore, and Japan, Kimie Tsukakoshi:

Yes, I watched the first two episodes of The Bureau of Magical Things on Netflix. How is it? Setting aside the very strong pitch to the teen market (“omigod, the cute elf boy likes me!”), it’s… passing the time until the new anime season starts (Restaurant To Another World 2 on Friday). I really hope the rest of the “teen” cast gets better writing, direction, or acting soon, whichever would help the most; as characters, they make good props.

“That’s some fine QA work, Apple”

Injecting arbitrary URLs into AirTags.

TL/DR: found a lost item with an AirTag attached? Don’t scan it. Ever.

Fraud yesterday, fraud today, fraud forever

From now on, California will always mail out ballots to every address used when someone was automatically registered to vote by the DMV, with no attempt at validation. Well, this will end.

And I’m not Yoda-ing my syntax there.

Ponies are the new shipgirls

I’ve been seeing so many pony-girls on Pixiv recently that I’m wondering if the show is actually good.

Genshin Impact’s fan-art popularity has continued as well, but I stopped playing it… goodness, all the way back around Thanksgiving 2020.

Pop Quiz

What classic science fiction novel would you use this as the cover illlustration for?

Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel. I shit you not.

A Sense Of Calm And Ease


On October 6, I am scheduled to receive my new windows laptop, pre-loaded with Windows 11, so I thought I’d take a look at The Benefits.

I couldn’t even get through the first one without calling “bullshit”:

  1. The new design and sounds are modern, fresh, clean and beautiful, bringing you a sense of calm and ease.

What is the sound of one bluescreen crapping? Seriously, has anyone ever felt calm and ease when trying out a brand-new operating system release? Or felt warm and cozy when trying to figure out where they moved everything to this time?

  1. With Start, we’ve put you and your content at the center. Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what device you were viewing them on.

Yeah, that shit’s gettin’ turned off.

more...

Fake it ’til you make it


How a realist hero plans for a second cour

“Just keep throwing balls in the air and promise that you’ll catch them later, and you can end the season with lots of talking and limited animation.”

(…but still no real fan-art, so Fubuki’s resemblance to the loli mystic wolf will have to do)

Next stop, January, in which the princess of freshly-conquered Amadonia will finally show her true power and resolve.

Yeah, she’s joining the harem, and as a princess, she gets to be senior wife #2, with Juna and Aisha joining the second tier. #5 should be the last, though, if they make it all the way to the coronation and mass wedding.

What fresh Hell is th… oh, wait

The new Doctor Who showrunner, to replace Chibnall after he painted the series into a very tiny woke corner, is… Russell T. Davies.

The buried lede is that the BBC is ceding at least partial control to a new production partner, Bad Wolf, owned by two of Davies’ allies during his first run of the show.

Fingers crossed for a Bobby-Ewing-steps-out-of-the-shower retcon of the Mary-Sue Who “revelations”.

Search strings I’d never use…

The “add-an-inch tool”. 😁

Speaking of Mellow Mail…

Pretty much the last thing they managed to do was release a CDROM slideshow/screensaver app for Windows, containing 846 of their catalog pictures at a whopping resolution of 420x280 (uncompressed BMP).

Why, yes, I do have a copy…

more...

Win a date with our cover girl!


Delay of Slime

The reason they’re not just going into season 3 of Salaryman Slime Demon Lord is that they’re adapting from the manga version, which is currently way behind the light novels. So in addition to the movie, I imagine they’ll do something with the other spinoff series that overlaps with the main story.

Cheating on Amazon

“It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that, well, you’re too nice a guy, I guess. I think I’d rather go out with someone more, uh, unpredictable.”

(classical reference)

I recently:

  • bought a laptop directly from HP (in fairness, it’s a custom config)

  • bought a lens from B&H Photo

Both of these should arrive in two weeks, the laptop because it isn’t out yet, and the lens because B&H is closed for Succos (although Amazon quoted me the same delivery date for in-stock-Prime-shipped-by-Amazon, so…).

Yes, it hasn’t been that long since I said I wasn’t going to do either of those things this year, due to the uncertanties of the Bidenhandler regime’s tax-and-tax-and-vax-and-spend plans. Well, I think we can call those certainties now, but at the same time, my first big batch of RSUs just vested, which is going to make my taxes more complicated anyway, and neither item is at the high end of pricing in their respective categories.

I’ve already mentioned the laptop, but the lens is the Sony 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS LOL AFK BRB ROFLMAO WTFBBQ. This is the updated version of the “bokeh cannon” lens, specifically designed to produce the creamiest out-of-focus areas in both foreground and background. Like the old Minolta A-mount lens, the special filter reduces the light transmission to effectively f/5.6 (“T/5.6”), while still having the depth-of-field of an f/2.8 lens when used wide open. Unlike the old one, it’s a bit shorter (100mm vs 135mm), and not only has autofocus, but also in-lens image stabilization.

Until I also buy a full-frame body, it will effectively be a 150mm lens, which would be really tight for portraits (but extremely flattering), but it should be awesome for picking out details and reducing clutter in vacation pictures. (and if the trip ends up Covid-pushed off to Spring, then I’ll definitely buy the A7S III body by then, and its incredible low-light performance will overcome the T/5.6 limitation for use inside temples, castles, amd museums)

And, yes, I hate using the English term “bokeh”, because it is emphatically not the Japanese word for the quality of out-of-focus areas in a photograph; also the abuse of “prime lens” to mean “non-zoom lens”, but no one outside of an optics textbook gets that one right.

What if they opened a porn shop and nobody came?

Mandarake, the otaku-goods chain that opens half a dozen different specialty shops near each other rather than one catchall, added an adult-oriented one in Nakano Broadway. Apparently their neighbors complained, and it was at least temporarily shut down. It looks like their focus was vintage and modern porn that flirted with the boundaries of what’s currently legal, or at least that’s what they were allegedly shut down for.

(if Jahy-sama can’t make a living as a waitress, she has a real future in adult films)

Speaking of porn…

I should call Carmen and see if this offer is still good!

File that under “things you find when cleaning out a closet and going through boxes that haven’t been opened in more than 20 years” (in this case, probably more than 30; I don’t think Mellow Mail and Night Classics lasted very far into the Nineties, and they were still using photos in their catalogs that were shot in the late Eighties).

Mellow Mail was a light-and-fun fashion/lingerie catalog in the “sell things to men who try to get their girlfriends to wear them” genre, and they added Night Classics for naughtier stuff and toys as the competition got, um, stiff. Fun fact: their headquarters was down the street from the Sunnyvale Fry’s Electronics, although Carmen and the other gals did their modeling work in Chicago and LA.

Paging Rorschach!

So a careful investigation of real-estate-listing photos of the bedroom of the alleged girlfriend-killer eagerly being sought by police revealed that he… owned a copy of Watchmen. Damn, I hope they never search my house and find my copies of Those Annoying Post Bros

Although, honestly, that wouldn’t even make the top-10 list of Problematic Things Found At J’s House…

Know your beastgirls!


What are they teaching kids today?!?

Everyone who tried to identify the character in this animated GIF of Lili from DanMachi thought she was Raphtalia from Shield Hero.

…which just makes me want to locate/commission fan-art of the two of them together…

(technically Lili only transforms herself into a beastgirl to hide from the enemies acquired when she was a bad girl, but since her power allows her to assume anyone’s appearance as long as they’re the right size, she could transform into pre-growth-spurt Raphtalia, which would appeal to a certain class of doujin artist…)

Dear HP,

When you offer someone the opportunity to create an account as the last step after placing an online order, it would be useful to link that order to the new account. Especially since you also ask them to join a “club” that gives points for how much they’ve spent online…

Cross your fingers, I bought the new Pavilion Aero 13, fully tricked out, which will supposedly ship next Friday with Windows 11. I think I’m going to name it Beelzebub:

Another note to HP: unlike pretty much every other online computer store in the world, you do not provide links with more detail about the customization options when creating an order. Seriously, if I want to know which warranty option to buy, I have to google each one and hope I end up at the right page (spoiler: it took several tries, and I’m still not entirely sure, because it looks like the most comprehensive option is also the cheapest). Ditto for all the accessories.

…and one more for your copy editors: when promoting as a feature that your laptop has a “flicker-free display” (whose doesn’t?), this sentence doesn’t mean what you think it does:

“Enjoy a more comfortable and clearer view, without flickering and reduced eye strain”

iOS 15 enters public beta!

You might think that the past few months of pre-releases were the beta, but you’d be wrong, unpaid QA person.

Slime Wars, “soon to be a major motion picture!”

Clayman insisted that they’d only end this season over his dead body, so, y’know, that happened. In the first few minutes, then pad pad pad pad (continuity) pad pad happy-crowd-shot.

Movie just announced for 2022.

Dear Pizza Hut,

When you start putting ads in heavy rotation on Reddit featuring your new “Detroit-style” pizza, you should probably geotarget it to places that still have a Pizza Hut. Covid killed the one in my town about a year ago.

Dear Amazon,

The “religion & spirituality” tile on my recommendations page currently consists of:

  • 2 Clifford Simak novels
  • 4 Christopher Stasheff novels
  • 1 boxed set of 4 Dave Duncan novels
  • a book on how to meet up with god, buddha, and allah, which sounds like a party I’m willing to miss
  • a book on becoming superconscious and activating your magic, which makes the previous one sound almost plausible
  • a how-to book on bushido
  • an introduction to Viking myth and religion
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • a textbook on the religious foundations of Japanese culture
  • a book containing two essays by 13th-century Japanese Buddhist monks

The self-help tile continues to promote Everyday Life with Monster Girls. Which is actually starting to sound like a good idea, after a year and a half of Covid-induced isolation.

Dear Anchor Hocking,

A pitcher has one (1) job: pour liquids without dripping. Given that you know how to make glass measuring cups that don’t drip, why can’t you transfer this knowledge to your restaurant-style mini pitchers.

In fairness, nobody else seems to know how to do this, either. Pity we couldn’t find the really good ones we used in Kyoto at the restaurant supply store they sent us to. I found something pretty close online, but the shipping costs were murderous.

(and, yes, I refuse to try out brands on Amazon with names like “NCnnwovf” and “BCnmviku”, which have somehow escaped the recent purge of pumped-with-obviously-fake-reviews Chinese Marketplace dealers)

(pitcher, watering can, close enough)

Hexhex!


How Realistically Can They Wrap This Show Up In Time?, #12

If this isn’t heading directly into a second cour, the next episode is either going to spend 30 seconds baffling viewers with a summary of each dangling plot element, or ignore the lot of them and just as-you-know-bob the aftermath. They at least briefly showed one of the battles that Team Hero won without significant effort, then moved on to Urban Pacification Through The Power Of Song.

(the Witch of the Highlands says, “my show has fan-art!”)

Random hex strings

If you have Bash 4.1 or newer (Mac users, get it with Homebrew), you can do it this way, without any forking around:

nibbles=32
export LC_ALL=C
read -r -N 1024 hex < /dev/random
hex=${hex//[^0-9A-F]}
echo ${hex:0:$nibbles}

Old-school, and a bit slower:

nibbles=32
export LC_ALL=C
head -c 1024 /dev/random | tr -dc 0-9A-F | cut -c1-$nibbles

Much, much faster, especially in bulk:

count=1000
nibbles=32
openssl rand -hex $(( $nibbles / 2 * $count )) |
    fold -w $nibbles | tr a-f A-F

The LC_ALL=C line is necessary because all the old reliable byte-based tools have been updated to handle multi-byte character encodings. Which means they barf on things that don’t encode correctly, like /dev/random. And, yeah, if I’d wanted to go really old-school, I’d have used dd instead of head -c.

(Lain is not impressed by shell scripts)

Dear Amazon,

Categorizing an adorable kitten as “dog supplies” is just mean.

Your daily reminder that Twitter is garbage

Promoted tweet:

…and so is the Bidenhandler administration

Yes, they’ve finally admitted that our-best-and-brightest drone-murdered an ally and his children to divert attention from their bungling in Afghanistan.

Unicorn chaser: practical applications of kumihimo

I wish to upbraid her…