* Too hot for actual lap. Pants potentially on fire.
* Also, possibly too big and heavy for actual lap.
* Battery lasts less than two hours, even when typing in a text editor on most conservative power settings.
* AC adapter cable constantly getting frayed due to its own weight. I just ordered a new one for the second time.
* Fragile plastic chassis that has not coped well with the heat the thing has produced over the years. Two of the teeth in the frame over the fan have cracked off, and there's a spot on the bottom that's a little warped.
* Can't actually run modern games.
Also, this is what you do when it refuses to restore files on the grounds that the pathnames are too long*:
1) Find the folder in which the files need to be restored. (This itself may be a Herculean task if you've got multiple files in multiple folders with overlong pathnames, but I can't help you with that part.) Right click this folder and select "Restore previous versions."
2) Right-click any file within the folder and select "Properties." Under the "General" tab, copy the "Location" field, which should look something like this:
(The @GMT-2012.05.31-18.37.27 represents the date and time at which the shadow copy was made.)
3) Create a directory into which to copy the files in question. Here, I'm just calling it Z:\Restore
4) Open Windows PowerShell. Enter this (but don't use my pathnames):
older Name" "Z:\Restore"
5) Repeat for any other folders in which you need to restore something.
* If Windows 7 honestly feels so strongly about this, why does it permit the creation of files with pathnames in excess of 260 characters in the first place? And why can't it just rename the files something shorter rather than giving an error message and giving up? You can dump them with three-character names in the drive root for all I care, Windows 7, it's fine.
You know what happened when I installed Python on this computer? Python was installed. And everything was fine.
(I got it for my parents, but given that it, you know, benefits me as well, I also got them other stuff.)
CrashPlan is an automatic offsite backup program, similar to Carbonite, Mozy, or JungleDisk. CrashPlan's a kind of an unusual entry in the genre: the basic software, which is free, won't back up to their servers - it will back up to external drives, local folders, or remote computers, which can be your own or those of friends who also have CrashPlan installed. The data is encrypted using 128-bit Blowfish, so those friends can't open it. (I mean, unless you choose a crappy password. There's an option to use a private key, as well.)
This strategy is interesting, but it's probably not particularly practical unless you are a huge nerd who knows many other huge nerds. Hence the paid version, which allows you to back up to their servers. The family plan, which is unlimited-data-unlimited-computers, is $72 a year. The unlimited-data-single-computer plan is $36.
Carbonite was my main offsite backup service for the past year, so I considered getting that for Mom and Dad. But while it seemed to be backing up my frequently-accessed files acceptably, I found a lot of horror stories from people trying to do full restores. Mozy, its nearest competitor, had the same problem. CrashPlan's reviews are surprisingly uniformly positive there. The interface is also much cleaner and more customizable, and the background process doesn't seem to take up as much RAM. It has version control built in, and doesn't delete files on the server when you delete them locally. (The latter ought to be a standard feature, but Carbonite and Mozy don't have it.)
The only place where Carbonite and Mozy beat CrashPlan is that they offer browser-based access to your files; this not something Mom and Dad need, but it's something I do. Fortunately, I can replicate it with a DropBox account for my most-accessed files. The fact that CrashPlan can simultaneously back up both to the remote server and to a local drive makes up for it, in my opinion - this way I no longer have to have two separate backup processes going on.
Snarp-Variant, Version 3.00, 3 September 2010
Copyright (C) 2010 Snarp. <http://www.sarahpin.com/>
This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (cc by-nc-sa) Version 3.0. The terms of the license may be viewed at:
The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works. It can be read in its entirety at this address:
The GNU Unpleasant-People-Excepted License may be considered identical to the GNU General Public License Version 3, with the important distinction that the rights granted in the license apply only to people who are not unpleasant.
The GNU General Public License was designed with the aim of giving programmers the ability to share and modify works freely, encouraging innovation and the exchange of ideas. For the pettier among us, this has always posed a problem. Software released under the GNU is available for use and modification not only to thinkers and innovators, but also to the sort of people to whom we might refuse loan a dollar, because we do not trust them not to offer it to a small child on the condition that she sticks a bug up her nose, or draw human genitals on it in red Sharpie before smirkingly handing it to a female cashier, or donate it to a candidate for public office who "just think(s) it's too soon to rule out" the forcible sterilization of diabetics.
( It should be noted that this license does not actually place the bar particularly high. )
I've tested out a few Linux distributions on LiveCD, and Xubuntu looks good for 95% of my needs.* However, I do need to keep Vista around for the other 5%, so I want to set it up to dual-boot. I've never tried that before, and was looking at this guide - does anyone knowledgeable in such things see anything terrifyingly wrong with it? It's been heavily linked, so I have no idea how seriously to take any of the debates going on in the comments.
* I'm not new to Linux, so you need not warn me about its peculiarities in general - though warnings about Xubuntu's in particular would not come amiss. (I used Red Hat before.)
1) Google Chrome is wayyyy faster than Firefox.
1a) But my life depends on search-as-you-type, and that’s presently only available via an extremely jittery alpha plugin.
2) It’s actually pretty easy to write a Second Life bot.
3) I like Metaplace’s aesthetics enough that I’m actually playing the Facebook time-waster game they set up when Metaplace went down.
ETA: 4) CVS house-brand cold cream is scented with something absolutely vile. It’s like citronella mixed with camphor and death. I’m sure they were trying to mimic the rose scent in the Ponds, but they… I actually have no idea how they could have ended up with this. Perhaps someone accidentally hired the mad doctor Jizabel Disraeli from Count Cain as a perfumist.
Anyway, the discovery is that in the future I’m going to have to remember to spend the extra two bucks on the Ponds. Also, try to return this stuff.
You cuss at Game Maker for having no mechanism for stepping through your code when something goes horrifically wrong with a script containing multiple layers of nested loops.
AND OH WAIT I THINK I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG HANG ON
(this is what the blog is for)
ETA: HAHAHAHA YES I am in charge of A* pathfinding!
“what the blog is for” = getting my brain into critical mode and out of “my code isn’t wrong yours is” mode. See, that’s why I mostly only post about books I didn’t like! It’s not just because I’m a jerk!
In general, it is not constructive when I convince myself that my code is perfect and there is clearly something wrong with the interpreter/compiler. I am sure that people have existed who have found that there was a bug in the interpreter/compiler, which just happened to affect the long piece of code they’d written in one inspired sprint without any testing. However, given my habits, the odds that that will be the source of my problems are not high.
I know because my computer is dead.
This means that EVERY PERSON IN THIS FAMILY’S COMPUTER HAS DIED WITHIN THE PAST THREE MONTHS. So maybe it’s the Three-Month Period of the Dead Computer. I guess I shouldn’t have brought the Chinese Zodiac into it; I apologize; the lunar calendar is clearly in no way responsible for the condition of these computers. More likely the problem relates to voodoo.
I have double-backups of everything because I’ve been obsessive about that recently - my last manual backup was the 27th, and I just checked and my Carbonite seems to have been working fine. I’m pretty sure that some kanji flashcards and MP3s are the only thing neither of them would have caught, and the MP3s are on my phone’s SD card. THANK GOD I AM ANAL-RETENTIVE.( Read the rest of this entry » )
Fortunately, this time through I’d erased my debit card number from Yahoo Wallet. (I had to use it to renew my Flickr a couple months ago, but I remembered to erase it again afterwards.) Not having anything to charge, they instead sent me a “Past-Due Payment Notice” demanding $35. For the domain I transferred last year!
(For those who don’t feel like clicking the link, the last time this happened they just charged me without warning, and I had to contest it on PayPal to get the money back - because, since I don’t actually have an account with Yahoo Small Business, Yahoo Small Business customer service won’t talk to me.)
To summarize Yahoo’s domain registration behavior thus far:
1) Yahoo offers a “private registration” option, which allows you to keep your real name and mailing address out of the WHOIS database. It is impossible to transfer one of these private domains to another registrar. Ever. (See my post from last year, or this guy’s post from 2007.)
To effect a transfer, you have to downgrade the domain to a non-private one, thus revealing your personal information. This means that if, for any reason, you’re in a position in which you can’t allow your real name and address to become public - say: you’re being stalked, you’ve expressed certain uncomplimentary ideas about your employer on your blog, you’re a Venezuelan political dissident, you’re an oil industry whistle blower, you’ve converted to Islam or Linux or come to some conclusions about your sexual orientation and your grandmother is an Old Regular Baptist Microsoft project manager who’s waiting in line for a heart transplant - you can’t leave Yahoo for another registrar.
2) According to this blogger, Yahoo will also expose your real name and address if you allow your domain registration to expire.
So, if for some reason you can’t allow your real name into WHOIS, you also can’t cancel a privately registered Yahoo domain.( Read the rest of this entry » )
I’M READING ANNE BISHOP AGAIN apparently I suffer from masochistic tendencies.
So I’m about 3/4 through this book. And there’s this guy Lucivar, and he’s explaining evil magical roofies to his zombie-vampire father, Saetan SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell. And this is the third time he’s talked about the evil magical roofies, and Saetan SaDiablo is shocked by the cruelty of mortals and has to sit down on his dark throne, and Saetan SaDiablo has been shocked by the cruelty of mortals and had to sit down in every single scene he’s been in. Except for the one where he was pretending to be a pedophile serial killer to trick the other pedophile serial killer into coming into his bedroom so he could kill him.
Not his bedroom in Hell, his bedroom in the Shadow Realm. The Shadow Realm’s someplace else.
Lucivar spent 2/3 of the book enslaved to a rapist, and his father Saetan SaDiablo (third-most powerful male wizard in the world) and his teenaged adopted sister Jaenelle Angelline (most powerful wizard in the world) know that, and stuff, but they kinda don’t do anything about it. I guess it’s not that important? So there are all these scenes where Lucivar’s being tortured, and then there’s a scene where Jaenelle shows up at Saetan SaDiablo’s grim palace with a unicorn or an adorable telepathic wolf cub and Saetan SaDiablo goes “OH MAN IT IS A UNICORN AND/OR TELEPATHIC WOLF CUB AND THAT IS NOT OKAY FOR MY IMAGE” and people smile and offer him a drink, and he’s sitting down in his dark throne again I mean I don’t know why he bothers to stand up. And then Lucivar escapes by himself and shows up, and they say, “Oh, hey! You made it!” And Lucivar hangs out with the unicorns and things are basically fine. He isn’t mad about how, you know, they didn’t rescue him! He knows they were real busy.
(I came up with a new way to describe Anne Bishop today: “Laurell K. Hamilton writes licensed Disney Princesses books.”)
It is because Anne Bishop is not good at remembering what the plot is. She also forgot how Lucivar has a brother named Daemon Sadi - alias, The Sadist, other alias, Hayll’s Whore - and Hayll is also a different place from Hell - who is a 1700-year-old Warlord Prince sex slave with the second-strongest magic powers in the world, and is impotent (and random people just up and start talking about his impotence because everyone knows - stuff gets around in 1700 years, it’s just a thing - even though people periodically forget that he generally kills the women he sleeps with), and who was the protagonist of the first book and spent half of it being sad that he was an impotent sex slave unworthy of the woman he loves (Jaenelle, his then-twelve-year-old adopted sister), and the other half being angry about the same issue, and killing people in many ways.
Anyway, she forgot Daemon was there. This book he went insane in a way that makes him weep all the time and occasionally refer to himself in the third person, mainly to keep him out of the way so we can get this big important The Unicorns And Telepathic Wolf Cubs Move In With Saetan And Wacky Antics Ensue thing established. There are also some scenes where Jaenelle goes clothes shopping and doesn’t get along with the other kids.
I totally forgot about how, in this book, there is an evil queen named Dorothea who wants Daemon to father her children. There’s also an evil priestess named Hekatah who used to be married to Saetan and wants to kill him. I think sometimes Bishop forgets which one of the two has which set of motivations.
I like how it’s possible to forget about things like that in this series.
Unrelated note to the internet: Nobody buy a Samsung Magnet, please. Dad bought one and I just spent three hours trying to get the drivers installed so I could sync up his address book. At least for Vista, there are no working drivers for this phone.