Oh, damnit, I’ve been spelling accordion wrong for the last couple of years, and no one told me that it was spelled accordion and not accordian!? Some friends you all are. ;-)
Archive for the 'Stupidity' Category
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it took me about 30 seconds longer than it should have to figure out what was “wireless” about my co-worker’s “One Subject Wireless Notebook.”
So here I am half-watching DS9, when suddenly Dr. Bashir said “… a broken femur, and a hairline fracture of the right parietal lobe.”
Man! What kind of moron does it take to make that ridiculous of a mistake?
Good News: Holding down command when dragging files around the OS X finder causes them to snap to a grid. Admittedly, this was the case in OS 9, too, but:
Bad News: In the OS X, they made the command key a selection modifier (command-clicking on a selected item will unselect it; In OS 9, command clicking on a selected item didn’t do anything), so if you don’t like the grid position a particular file snapped to, you’ll have to let go of command, grab the file in question again, then hit command again and let go of the file, and rinse and repeat.
Gah, irritating and hard to use. See, the thing is, in OS 9, shift was the only key which functioned as a selection modifier. But while shift behaves the same as it ever did in OS X’s Icon view, in Column or List view, shift is a range selector, selecting everything between what was selected and what you just shift-clicked, much like Windows (Of course, if you already have multiple items selected what will actually happen just gets murky…). So they needed to move the toggle selection to another key, and command won that dubious honor. Thankfully, they didn’t try to make shift-clicking behave like Windows in the Icon view, but this just results in a shift-click and command-click in OS X’s Icon view behave identically.
And since it’s possible to select a range of items in at least two other ways (1. click on the first item, hold shift and hit the up or down arrow (Of course, command-up/down doesn’t work for this, because though command behaves as a selection modifier when clicking, command-up and command-down do something else entirely… Damn, still more inconsistencies.). 2. In list view drag a selection box over the range you want. In column view, click in white space between the name and the arrow and drag up or down.), this change in behavior was not necessary, confuses existing mac users, doesn’t behave intuitively in the first place (What should happen if, in list view, you hit command-a (select all), command drag a box across every item but the first and last so only two items are selected, and then shift click an item in the middle? Apparently it selects everything between the first item in the list (which was still selected) and the item you just shift-clicked, and unselects anything that was after the item you just shift-clicked.), and makes other file manipulations more difficult to complete.
Psst, the OS X Feedback page is over here. Go tell Apple to change the behavior of command and shift back to the way things worked in OS 9. As nearly as I can tell, this was an unnecessary change for the worse that was implemented just because “Windows does it that way”.
Crikey, this is just ridiculous. Why must Microsoft be so stupidly evil? And why do I find myself asking this question more and more as the months fly by? I’ve asked myself that about 6 times so far this week. Grah.
(Link from Nisa.)
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Mac OS X 10.1, and today, not only did I get my laptop back, but Apple announced the availability of 10.1, and made lots of neat movies showing off features available, and so on. And all in all, this should have been a very happy Mac day for me. But no. I am left highly frustrated.
Here’s a quick review of the facts:
- Mac OS X 10.1 is announced as being available Saturday, September 29.
- As a user of Mac OS X 10.0, I have two options to upgrade to 10.1.
- I can get Mac OS X 10.1 through the “Instant Up-To-Date Program,” wherein I physically go to an Apple retail stores or a participating Apple reseller and pick up a completely free OS X 10.1 CD and OS 9.2.1 CD “before through October 31, 2001, or while supplies last.”
- Or, I can participate in the “Mac OS X Up-To-Date program,” wherein I mail or fax (“Before December 31, 2001″) an order form and proof of purchase to Apple, along with $20, and wait 6-12 weeks for “upgrade install CDs.” (By the way, when I got Mac OS 8.0 through the Up-To-Date program, it seriously took them like 8 weeks to deliver the damn CD)
Um. What the fuck? This is the Internet age, and this is an “Internet operating system,” and both of these options are so 80s. Here is some specific reasoning:
- Apple is offering free upgrade CDs without proof of purchase to anyone who physically goes to one of their stores.
- Apple’s Mac OS X Upgrade Page calls the CD you get through the “Instant Up-To-Date Program” an “Upgrade CD”, while it calls the CD you get for $20 + Proof of Purchase + 6-12 weeks “10.1 CD (upgrade install)”
- Based on their names, both CDs will require 10.0 to be installed before 10.1 can be installed.
- The only thing I’m getting by going for the second option is a Developer Tools CD, which in the past I’ve been able to freely download.
- If 10.0 has to be installed before 10.1 can be installed, then Proof of Purchase is not necessary.
- Apple is giving away free CDs to anyone without proof of purchase.
- Apple did not inform their resellers of the free CD program, so today, when I called CompUSA and The Scholars Workstation, they said they didn’t know if or when they’d have the free CDs. When I picked up my computer from M.A.C., they said they also did not know if, let alone when, they’d have the free CDs.
- There’s no reason that I can’t “pay for shipping” and get that free CD shipped to me.
So, this isn’t a pretty picture, and I want Mac OS X 10.1 right now. What options do I have?
- Send in $20, 10.0 Proof of Purchase, and wait patiently 6-12 weeks for something I’ve been patiently waiting for since March 24th
- Wait patiently for Apple to send out information to their resellers about how they can get Free CDs, and then wait patiently to find out, and then hope I get there “while supplies last.”
- Pay another $129 to get a full retail copy by some time next week, and pay a harsh price for being an early adopter (and fairly vocal supporter) of 10.0, and be very bitter.
- Pay $69 to get a full educational copy by some time next week, and pay a slightly less harsh price for being an early adopter (and fairly vocal supporter) of 10.0, and be slightly less bitter.
- Pirate a CD image and deny Apple of nothing (Free Upgrade CD, remember), thus not making much of a statement while still being illegal, but I’d get it sooner. I’d do this, but I don’t have a CD burner.
- Repeatedly bug the people I know who work at Apple for one of the free upgrade CDs and watch as my emails have so far gone unanswered.
- Wait for someone I know to get a disc through any of the above methods.
So, possible conclusions regarding Apple’s Idiotic upgrade procedures?
- Apple is trying to get people into retail stores in hopes of getting them to “buy other things while they’re there.”
- Apple hopes people get so frustrated with the upgrade options that they buy a whole new copy.
- Apple hates early adopters and is trying to punish us and make us forsake Apple and become ecks-pee-triates. ;-)
In all seriousness, this is very ridiculous. I want my system upgrade, and I can’t get my system upgrade, and I’m left stewing.
What are my plans? Well, I’m still hoping that my Apple friends come through. I’m considering ordering a CD burner tomorrow and having it shipped next day and burn myself a pirated copy of 10.1 before it’s “released.” I’m going to keep calling the local Mac stores to see if they’ll have free CDs. And as a final fallback, a friend ordered a full copy of 10.1 which I’ll have access to hopefully by the middle of next week.
But it’s released “Saturday, September 29th,” so in my mind, that means it should be on my PowerBook on Saturday, September 29th.
I’ve been eagerly reading previews of Mac OS X 10.1, and reading comments in forums by users who “acquired” a copy of a beta build, and I’ve noticed this really annoying bit of security folk wisdom that has now engrained itself in the mac community. (I’d link to examples, but it’s not worth it — if you read Mac news sites at all, you’ve seen what I’m talking about)
The story goes something like this: “The new login screen, which optionally displays a list of users on the system, reduces the security of the system by an exponential factor, because instead of having to guess a login and password, a cracker only has to guess a password thanks to this list of user names.”
Hooey! For starters, <deadpan>Microsoft is doing the same sort of
login welcome screen in Windows XP, and Microsoft knows how to make a secure operating system.<deadpan>
But seriously, this isn’t a “gaping security flaw that must be addressed before 10.1 ships,” as so many wanna-be security experts like to tell naive readers to make themselves sound smarter in the eyes of untrained Mac users. The first reason is simply that it’s a necessarilly optional feature, as it would be inefficient for a computer lab with hundreds or thousands of users to have an list of users. So if you’re that worried about it, turn it off, and then nothing I say below applies anyway.
In such a multi-user lab environment is exactly where a list of logins might be a security problem. But in that environment, most would-be attackers will already have an account, and a would be attacker will have one of two targets — either the system, or another user’s private files. Taking the system automatically gets him another user’s data, but it’s also more likely to be noticed, and will probably be harder. So as far as getting private data (or gaining access to another account as the launching point of another attack, or what have you) — well, if he’s got an account on the system, it’s trivially easy for the attacker to find out the names other accounts on the system. Further, if he’s after someone’s private files, he probably has a specific target in mind, in which case he already knows the target login.
And so the one case in which an attacker might use the login list (aka, the “security hole”) to crack a system is when the attacker does not already have an account. And in that case, trying to brute force passwords is not the most effective way of gaining access, mainly because brute forcing passwords will almost certainly be noticed (assuming attentive admins). A determined attacker in a multi-user lab environment is going to be able to get access to an account with a trivial amount of social hacking, because users are dumb.
Admittedly, if users weren’t stupid, the social hacking wouldn’t procure an account as easilly. But of course, if users weren’t stupid, they would have better passwords in the first place, and brute forcing a password would be harder, and the utility of a list of logins would go back down just as quickly as it went up.
Why did I focus so much on the case of the multi-user lab environment? Because to see the list of logins, an attacker will need to physically see the machine. And it’s mostly beside the point, but most remote system exploits don’t even need to know about any particular user other than root, or otherwise default logins, and so the login-screen serves no utility to a remote-attacker.
So the more subtle reason that the login screen listing account names isn’t actually a showstopping security flaw is becuase to see the list of logins, an attacker need to be physically in front of the machine, and once an attacker has got physical access to a machine, the show’s over and the monkey’s dead.
Hi. I’m feeling very helpless and kind of depressed at the moment.
You see, today I got 512 megs of RAM for the lower slot in my PowerBook, and I quickly put it in, and my PowerBook quickly did not boot up. Not even a chime or a crash. Just silence. Nothing.
I was pretty calm about it the first time. I’ve had plenty of things not work the first time. So I pulled everything back apart, and double checked some instructions, and I put everything together again, and my PowerBook didn’t boot again. Rinse and Repeat, several times.
It quickly came to be 2 o’clock, and I had class, so I left my laptop in pieces in the office. I felt naked walking around campus because my backpack was seven pounds lighter than normal. And for three hours I sat in class, growing more and more anxious about my PowerBook. For the last hour of 170 I could barely stay focused (That the lecturer is hard to understand doesn’t help. That the lecturer is going over the exact same thing as last semester when I didn’t get into the class, but attended for three weeks, helps even less).
I hurried back to the office, and I renewed my attempts to make my poor little PowerBook boot. I found this page of links to official Apple Service Manuals (the same manuals that an official repair-person would use). I tried the trouble-shooting tactics that I was capable of with my limited resources (I don’t have a whole spare PowerBook of parts to drop in as a replacement), but it was all for naught.
And then there was a breakthrough! For three hours I’d been trying to make my PowerBook boot, but the processor card hadn’t been seated. I felt like a fool — I should have noticed that the card was freely coming out, but that I’d had to really tug to actually remove it in the first place — I’d just been afraid to apply enough pressure to get it back in. With relief, I put everything back together, put in my batteries, hit the power button, and listened to the beautiful sound of
Nothing, nothing, nothing. I took it apart and put it back together a few more times, trying all the permutations of the RAM. I made sure to actually seat the processor card each time. And each time, nothing. So I gave up and walked home, planning to try using my AC power adapter instead of my batteries.
But when I got home and pulled the PowerBook out of my backpack, it was warm, bordering on hot. It felt like it normally feels after several hours of constant use. I quickly took the batteries out and pulled off the keyboard, and found the insides very hot. So I let it cool down for awhile while I cooked dinner. After dinner, I plugged in the AC adapter, but it still didn’t power on, and it started heating up just like it had with the batteries in my backpack.
So I unplugged it and removed the batteries and put it in the bag. I’m going to take it to the Mac Store on Saturday, since I’m booked solid with meetings and class tomorrow. I hope they’ll be able to do something. At the very least, they should have the resources to run more tests and narrow down what the problem is. And if the Mac Store can’t help, I’ll try calling Apple.
And if it can’t be fixed? Well, I already skimmed eBay looking at used Pismo PowerBooks. I already have lots of accessories for this PowerBook that are incompatible with new Apple Portables (an extra battery and an extra power adapter, for starters). I also like the design of the Pismo better than the new Apple portables, and I happen to like having a dual of batteries. And for that matter, even if they can fix my laptop, I’m seriously considering picking up a used Pismo in six months or a year as a backup, because I like it that much and I want spare parts.
But without my PowerBook, I’m feeling very… out of sorts. In fact, I’m feeling kind of powerless. I can’t work in class, and my freedom of work at home is seriously impaired. I wasn’t able to watch TV without getting really upset, because I always have my PowerBook with me when I’m watching TV. And tonight I’m using my desktop (for more than five minutes) for the first time in months. Basically, I’ve become totally dependent on a laptop instead of a desktop, and I’m going to have to get some sort of working laptop in the next month or I’m going to get really cranky.
And for that matter, I better have a working mac by the time OS X 10.1 comes out. Bah, it looks like paying to fix my stupid mistake is going to be karmic balance for working 60 hours of overtime this pay period.
Oh, can I tell you how foolish I feel? I just realized tonight that for the last several weeks I’ve been using “it’s” as a possessive form. Thankfully, before that, I was properly using “its” as possessive. I don’t have a clue what changed in my head, other than having four wisdom teeth removed… But I don’t think I’m quite ready to believe that my wisdom teeth held my knowledge of how to use “its” properly.
I’ll fix all the mistakes later. It’s kind of hard to do a global search and replace to fix the problem, because while regular expressions kick ass, they can’t distinguish between an “it’s” in a possessive context and an “it’s” in a contracted context. Which means I’m going to have to get sentient on my database’s ass.
Awhile back, I mentioned that my parent’s ISP, which had been bought, had been bought by Earthlink. When Onemain bought Lightspeed, the transition was nice and smooth, without so much as a change of settings required.
But then Earthlink came along, and I am so less than impressed with the way this second transition is being handled. First of all, they emailed instructions about what the new PPP login would be. Um, it’s a good thing my family checks their email often, I think.
But that’s barely the ridiculous part that angers me: Under Lightspeed, and subsequently Onemain, my parents paid $24.95 a month, got unlimited dial up access, and got five email addresses (all five of which, I should note, are used regularly (me, mom, dad, brother, family)). Okay, fair enough.
So then onemain/earthlink/whoever sent out a transition email to their customers, informing us that the plan that best fit our needs was the “Earthlink Light” plan. Quick summary of the earthlink light plan: $6.95 a month for six hours of online time, plus $1 for every additional hour, and 1 email address.
A quick check reveals the “Earthlink Unlimited” plan, which clocks in at $21.95 a month for unlimited access and 8 email addresses. Lightspeed only ever offered that one plan, and hence, anyone who was ever a Lightspeed customer going through this transition should have been given the Unlimited plan by default, with an option to downgrade if so desired, instead of being autofuckingmatically downgraded. Heck, the Earthlink unlimited plan actually features more email addresses for $3 less a month.
Besides the fact that we clearly have five email addresses that the Light plan doesn’t support, my brother is online more than I am. My parents probably would have paid more for online access for a month than they pay for rent.
I can’t fathom what kind of moron planned this transition, unless it was some guy who was trying to figure out how to make the Onemain purchase pay for itself in a single month. And then when everyone bitched, they could just say “Oh, we emailed you what we were doing. But we’ll fix it now. But you still have to pay, because you didn’t get your account changed at the time.”
I’m only tangentially involved in this, and it just makes me whistling mad. I can only imagine how all the old school Lightspeed customers feel. So much for support and service. Apparently it’s all about “How can we fuck over our customers?”
And the worst worst part is that of the national ISP’s (including AOL, MSN, Earthlink, et cetera), I by far like Earthlink the best.
- “Do you want everything on your sandwich?”
“No mayonnaise, please.”
No mayonnaise. No mayonnaise. Since when does wanting no mayonnaise imply that I want twice as much mustard? And how come three different sandwich shops I frequent do that to me? And how I come I never remember to tell them not to plaster both sides of my sandwich with mustard?
So here I am, with a mustard soaked sandwich which is destroying the structural integrity of the bread — bread soaks up mustard much faster than it soaks up mayonnaise, apparently. I might as well call it a “mustard italian sandwich,” because the mustard is so overpoweringly strong that I can’t taste anything else but the pickles.
My doubly former roommate
2001_07_01_archive.html#4511393″>point by point
document showing the similarities between Final
Fantasy: TSW and the games. Admittedly, these similarities don’t at all warrant the name Final Fantasy, but they’re there. If for no other reason, TSW shouldn’t have been called Final Fantasy because there was no magic in it.