marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-11 11:54 pm
Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Clearing out my bookmarks: the outré 'Comey condensed' Russian edition (updated 6-21-17 w/tiny ETA)

Timeline to dismissal; updates with ongoing Russian contratemps*, Flynn revelations that tie in, Comey set to testify 10am EST on June 8th, June 14th BREAKING NEWS Trump is now under investigation, and other still-unfolding events

Follow me here... )
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-23 12:04 am

Later model HP laptops might be recording your every keystroke

In a weird twist, it's not HP recording your keystrokes on certain laptops - technically it's a Conexant audio driver that does the actual keystroke recording (it includes a debugging program that went a little haywire; whether that's by design or error is not yet known). HP has since released a security advisory that claims the driver's keystroke logging is "caused by a local debugging capability that was not disabled prior to product launch".

Because Conexant makes audio drivers for many computer brands, this privacy intrusion may ultimately affect many other computer, laptop and tablet makes and models, as well.

That means check your tablet, laptop or computer for this driver - no matter which make, model, device form factor or version of Windows you have.

You can follow these steps to find the Conexant audio driver on your device and to get a new HP driver without the keylogger in it:

  1. Using Cortana or a search tool like Everything, look for C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe (you can right-click, copy and paste these words right from here into either one of those tools).
  2. If either file turns up, right click the computer taskbar, select Task Manager and look for either MicTray.exe or MicTray64.exe. If either of these turns up, right-click it and select End task.
  3. Go back to the file you found in C:\Windows\System32, right-click it and delete it.
  4. Install the latest HP driver from here. [ed. note: requires FTP to download]
  5. Now search your computer for C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log or check C:\Users\Public\ for the file; if it turns up, open it and check for login names, passwords, banking info, and so on, then change your passwords at the affected websites. 

Microsoft says in this advisory that "Windows Defender AV detects and removes this threat" but also warns "[d]oing so also disables the keyboard short cut that turns the microphone on and off."

Affected laptop models the public has been made aware of [list]:

* HARDWARE PRODUCT MODEL(S):
HP EliteBook 820 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 828 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 848 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 640 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 650 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 645 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 655 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 450 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 430 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 440 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 446 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 470 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 725 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 745 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 755 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 15u G3 Mobile Workstation
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Tablet
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 with Travel Keyboard
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Advanced Keyboard
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 17 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation
HP EliteBook Folio G1 Notebook PC

Affected operating systems the public has been made aware of [list]:

* OPERATING SYSTEM(S):
Microsoft Windows 10 32
Microsoft Windows 10 64
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 32-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 64-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7 32
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7E 32-Bit

I'm pretty sure merely having one of the operating systems listed above - by itself - isn't enough to predict "MicTray.exe" or "MicTray64.exe" will be found on your computer, but any make, model or type of computer - such as your tablet, laptop or computer tower - could have it, so it still doesn't hurt to check.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-22 04:05 am

Why do people keep ruining computer how-tos 1000 needless steps at a time?

Seriously, for the love of God, PCWorld has you do so much just to boot into Safe Mode and it's so unbelievably torturous and will so make you want to stab your eyes out with forks (they didn't even have the simple courtesy to turn their many needless steps into a perhaps easier-to-read list, instead pushing you through a gigantic wall of text that barely passes for a normal paragraph) using both hands at once I'm quoting it just for others to share in my sheer horror (emphasis mine, and oh, do I emphasize! [Bracketed step numbering like so] is also mine.):

Step 1: Enter Safe Mode

[in which I've scraped out two paragraphs of useless fluff you can google which has absolutely nothing to do with how to actually boot into Safe Mode]

Sadly, Microsoft has turned the process of booting into safe mode from a relatively easy process in Windows 7 and Windows 8 to one that is decidedly more complicated in Windows 10. [1] To boot into Windows Safe Mode, first click the Start Button in Windows 10 and select the Power button as if you were going to reboot, but don’t click anything. [2] Next hold down the Shift key and click Reboot. [3] When the full-screen menu appears, select Troubleshooting, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings. [4] On the next window click the Restart button and wait for the next screen to appear [5] (just stick with us here, we know this is long) [ed. note: NO, really?]. [6] Next you will see a menu with numbered startup options; select number 4, which is Safe Mode [ed. note: Finally, yay! Oh, but wait...-->] . [7] Note that if you want to connect to any online scanners you’ll need to select option 5, which is Safe Mode with Networking.

Dear God.


My way, or the highway

Type "safe" into Cortana. Click on the first result; on the next screen hit the Restart Now button. After restarting, click Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings; on the next screen hit the Restart now button.

*drops mic forever* (this came in many words under PCWorld's version even once I had to edit shortly after posting for leaving most of the steps out*)


I could make my version even shorter, but it'd just be nitpicking.

Bold is used in my how-to to help the eye track better, so you stay more focused. And if your steps involve a computer re-start at any point, like these ones did? You need to ask your readers to bookmark the instruction page so they can find it again.

The thing is, if you're gearing words toward the computer-learning, don't use lots of words. You need a clear, short, simple, easy-to-follow framework, preferably in list form if it takes more than 2-3 steps. I struggled with just this issue in learning to write how-tos, and still feel some of them should be even shorter/more concise than they are.

Computer users often know what to look up if they don't understand why they're doing something, so simply tell them how and let them figure out "why" in Google or by asking you or others. You can also explain "why" before you start the actual how-to, but somehow separate it from the actual instructions to help minimize confusion.

And if there are multiple ways to do something, show the simplest way possible. Make it look easy; make it seem like fun! Or they'll never want to follow your steps again. Even I got a headache trying to envision how to perform all of PCWorld's steps: knowing the most complicated way to do something is far from knowing the one way that makes you look l33t even if you have no idea what you just did.

And I'm hoping no one says, "But what about people who disable Cortana?" Can't be done, for one thing. Even if people choose to keep Cortana "hidden", there are still easier ways; for instance, the latest version of Win 10 Pro allows you to find Safe Mode by looking in the taskbar tray for All Settings; from there just go to Updates & Security-->Recovery-->Advanced Startup and hit Restart now, then click Troubleshoot-->Advanced Options-->Startup Settings and hit the Restart button. That's it - for real.

*last paragraph also left steps out; now fixed

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 02:32 am
Entry tags:

Democratic/left-leaning myopia, ftw

In tonight's "myopia" series, I explain people not being able to see the forest for their own asses taking up the entire view. Another case in point: Us. Let's get our heads out of our asses and stop Republican gerrymandering (witness another House seat we should have easily won; we are screwed right through 2018, should this continue) and stop ogling Trump's supporters.

Y'all have damn short memories. I mean really damn short.

Do any of you all recall what it was like to support Bill Clinton after his first election? Any Bill supporters out there?

OK: *waves*...I was. He won with only 43% of the popular vote and the right insta-hated him. I cannot emphasize this enough: they hated him right out of the gate; he hadn't taken his first post-McDonald's jog around the White House before you could feel it in the air that they wanted him gone. You can quibble with me, but I followed Clinton's every word/move/bill/action/reaction almost as breathlessly as though he was the actual prophet selected to announce Jesus's return.

If y'all want to know why, it's because - and I've said this before - I have a strong weakness for the underdog as long as they - unlike Trump - seem honest, above-board and act well-intended enough (though having my political and social preferences also clearly helps).

Bill was the underdog, so Bill was my president, no ands, ifs, or buts. The only time I *ever* disagreed with him - for like a half a second - was after he signed off on NAFTA, and I'm still pissed about that, so yeah, I rather vehemently disagreed. But walk away? Oh hell, no. Back then I had two obsessions: the New York Knicks winning their championship that year (they got eliminated in the East Finals) and Bill Clinton becoming and staying president, and you'd easily pry either concept from my cold, dead hands before I gave them up without a fight.

Has it ever occurred to people that Trump's supporters simply feel the same way?

As a past True Believer, I can tell you you're not going to win the fight for 2018 or 2020 by winning them back, so quit it. Stop talking about their underemployed, opiate-and-Faux News-laden self-made hells on Earth. Stop interviewing them in their fucking trailers. Stop bemoaning their disappearing lung-cancer-causing mining jobs and stop doing summations of Why They Voted For Him that ignore the second most important part of why they did: mostly because they're racists - or the more well-heeled folks after big tax cuts and the hell with the rest of us - so again, mostly because they're racists.

The most important reason, though? They wanted a leader, and to their minds, they got one. Don't ask why; it's an irrational thing considering Trump is all smoke, mirrors and one too many Twitter rants. While edges of his base will peel away, the core will remain. Don't mess with it, let's just move on.

For success in 2018/2020 we need to stop finger-pointing, we need to stop ogling, we desperately need to redraw Republican-gerrymandered districts, and we need to stop being divisive. Oh, and you think that's just Faux News! Well, that's us, too. A house divided will always fall. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

  • Every time a progressive points at a Democrat and says: "not left-leaning enough" that's not only complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time a Democrat blames something on "the Bernie bros" that's not only also complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time Bernie gets mentioned, it's divisive. I hate to rip a page from Orangado's book here, but folks: Bernie lost; get over it.
  • Every time progressives single out publications for their hate - most recently, they went after The Washington Post for not feeling progressive enough, something I cannot forgive because it's my favorite newspaper - it's divisive.
  • Every time an (obviously) self-proclaimed "antifa" hits the streets to stand in opposition to Trumpsters, it's divisive; also, "antifa" are quite possibly just plain nuts.

If "antisoc" had hit the streets in protest every time Clinton supporters breathed in his direction they might arguably have been locked up (not to mention back then, no one would have dared. My, how times have changed). A really good argument can be made in either direction that Republicans/right-leaners/Trump in particular are fascist scumwads OR that Democrats/left-leaners/Clinton in particular are socialist scumwads. I'm entirely capable of agreeing with both arguments equally.

Did I mention I was so fucking mad about NAFTA I nearly turned Republican myself, and have considered myself "moderate" (with a few admittedly more liberal aspects) ever since? While I was never gonna give up on Bill, the entire Democratic Party could pretty much blow me at that point, and while I've recovered most of my left-leaning equilibrium since then, in some ways it still can. And I refuse to feel bad about this.

So stop being divisive, stop Republican gerrymandering, and quit with all the "why Trump's supporters support him" songs and dances. Because, nope. Really. It's not helping.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 02:08 am
Entry tags:

Historical myopia, ftw

Forex: the idea that TV cultivates authoritarianism. Then explain 1930s-40s Germany - I don't think TV was that big a deal then - or North Korea: I doubt there's a TV set in many homes nor that its mostly starving population stays glued to it like our Faux News addicts do, many of them yelling at it day in and out (oh, and if this reminds you of a fake office holder, that's because it should: Faux News fosters not just division and acrimony, but successful presidential runs based on everyone - including the fake office holder - feeding off said division and acrimony).

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-21 01:15 am
Entry tags:

And now we'll never know how Otto Warmbier died...(updated 6-22-2017)

Because his parents refused the autopsy and he's being buried tomorrow morning. While refusal to have an autopsy might be in keeping with the family's Judaism (even if the family hasn't yet publicly raised this as their particular objection) I'm still disgusted that his parents could not make an exception when no one even knows how - or why - their own son died.

Short of that, someone needs to introduce a bill - call it the Otto Warmbier Act - stating that in cases of potential murder (especially by an enemy or rogue state!) the family's wishes are automatically overridden regarding autopsies. Call it outrageous. Call it anti-religion (Muslims raise a similar objection) but let's keep some perspective here: any God who'd reject a spirit over how its body was handled after death isn't a God we should want to spend too much time shooting marbles with, anyhow.


ETA, 6-22-17: In light of my suggestion that a law should be passed preventing families from forbidding an autopsy being performed in certain circumstances (and while I was researching another aspect of this issue, entirely) I ran across an article on Judaism and autopsy which states, with emphasis mine:

In general, Jewish tradition forbids autopsies on the grounds that the body is sacred and should not be violated after death. However, autopsies are permitted in two specific cases:

  1. When the physician claims that it could provide new knowledge that would help cure others suffering from the same disease;
  2. When the law of the land requires it.

The normal stricture against autopsy would be overridden by the requirement to follow "the law of the land" so Warmbier's parents - if the law was in effect today - would be incapable of violating it without violating their own religious tenets.

Another article states autopsy is not forbidden if performing one prevents a possible "plague"; as I pointed out in comments, "botulism" counts, and since that's what North Korea claims put their son in a coma, the parents have little reason to forbid an autopsy, since no medical determination concerning botulism was made stateside before his death.

And though I'm having a hard time finding a more definitive-sounding source, this website on Islamic rulings doesn't rule out autopsy to determine the cause of death when a "crime" is suspected, so in their case, the law might not be needed.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-15 03:23 am
Entry tags:

I'm getting tired of doing this

To say that "Russian interference affected vote totals in 39 states" is a lie, or, at best, an unsubstantiated opinion without basis in fact, if you read the article the person quoted linked to for their latest waltz through alternate reality. Better yet, read the article that the article links to, because Esquire is not exactly an arbiter of all things political.

I hate to sound pedantic here, but this is not the first time I have called out this particular user without mentioning them by name for either misstating the truth (but perhaps innocently enough, the last time) or else flat out misrepresenting it, as in this case, and the sad part is that it probably won't be the last if this pattern holds. I'd like it to not hold, which is why I'm going a bit out of my way here.

Misleading and lying only every once in a while is still misleading and lying. Credentials do not negate that; if anything, they amplify it. The truth is still the truth, whether obfuscated by someone who Knows How To Do This or not. Someone who does Know How To Do This has a greater responsibility to stick to the truth than someone who doesn't.

Also, charmingly enough, because I don't know whether to feel flattered or tell them to go find their own gig, this same person recently cribbed my words to describe what topic matter they cover and why they cover it, while being completely incorrect about the second part of that because the first part is completely different from what I do.

Yes, really. Comments are disabled; discuss under your own locked post, because I have nothing further to add to this.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-14 05:31 am
Entry tags:

Am I the only one who thinks...

Being in a room full of people making a well-coordinated, flawlessly executed public go at kissing my ass is a rather horrifying spectacle of a situation to find oneself in? Am I the only one who finds it not only cringe-worthy, but the idea of it being done anywhere, in any context, even more so?

In my mental roleplaying of this meeting of ass with lips, I duly note my role as a self-involved narcissist who opens with intensely kissing my own ass for doing everything short of turning water into wine for the Murcan people (but wait, there'll be big, fat, water-to-wine-turning in 2020 right next to that big, beautiful Wall I'm building right after we Lock Her Up - believe me, it'll be a tremendous turning of water into wine).

I'm having trouble getting through the first minutes of it, in other words.

Assuming somehow I did, though, I'm faced with a roomful of people who actually praise, thank, flatter, cajole, joke with, and cringe at me - many of their faces reflecting fear, distrust, and repulsion, despite the smooth words flowing from their lips - like I'm a god. Or simply God, as when Rinse Priapus thanked Trump "on behalf of all of us" for Trump's "blessings", turning it into one of the most intensely churchlike scenes of worship I've seen in a government building.

The cognitive dissonance is amazing; is this what he (perhaps that's "He" in his own mental imaging of himself?) expects?

I'll be blunt: I'd expect a roomful of people coordinating to lavishly praise me to my face on live TV to also be coordinating in the shadows to stick something sharp and pointy in my back any one of these old days.

I could not even read the summations of this meeting (and can't watch more than a minute of the video before my stomach turns) without thinking, "Et tu, Brutus?" No, I wouldn't wonder, wouldn't worry; I'd expect them to turn tail sooner or later. These are the very people I'd put as far away from me as possible in any official capacity, and I mean all of them, as soon as possible: "Thank you for gathering with me today, because now I know who to fire!". And I'm either super-paranoid (just call me Nixon *makes double V signs*) or I'm onto something.

I've seen a widely agreed upon rumination of Why This Occurred - because Trump demands public shows of servile fealty, or else - but I can easily think of two more: one, these people want their jobs and figure they sold their souls just by taking work under this guy, so they have nothing to lose by fawning and cringing a bit more to try they keep them (I have no idea who's idea this meeting was, but that alone might explain a lot) - even if it is extra-disgusting to have to do so on live TV - and two, that they are all literally planning to overthrow him.

Let's hope it's the latter, though it may just be a dream.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-14 12:00 am
Entry tags:

Am being amazed by LastPass...

These days, it...

  • Let's you use it on all devices for free (which used to be a paid feature; I think you could use it on up to two different devices for free but beyond that, you had to pay)
  • Has apps for everything (authentication, Windows phone and all other common devices, though I'm not sure about Mac/iOS)
  • Can be used with many forms of authentication for two-factor
  • Has its own security challenge tool that...
  • Checks if email addresses are involved in known website hackings
  • Checks length and overall security of passwords, and for password duplicates
  • Automatically changes duplicate passwords and passwords on known compromised sites by running what appears to be a macro (which is pretty neat to watch, but sort of hammers Firefox to a crawl)
  • Only costs $1 a month to upgrade to Premium, I mean...*smh* that is cheap (if Dreamwidth were that cheap I'd be like, "Fine, treat me like crap, here's more paid time")

It also does minor things which fill me with joy: if you manually copy a website password from the add-on dropdown or from within the vault (and I do this a lot for cross-browser website testing) it only lets you paste it once before destroying it (of course, if the paster pastes it into Notepad or similar then all bets are off, but if they don't - and I'd imagine the majority of home hackers stealing your password won't even think to - it's yet another way to minimize disaster).

And it destroys your add-on dropdown searches as soon as you complete them. And it keeps a list (if you want; this is opt-out) of recent sites you've logged into in the add-on so you don't have to visit them directly to log back in. And I could go on but there's other things I want to do tonight.

People will always find vulnerabilities in password managers (which I say because all code has holes in it). In fact, I'm surprised most of the vulnerabilities in password managers popping up these days weren't exploited years ago*. The only things I can think to thank for the discrepancy between potential for exploitation and zero-hour are increasing code knowledge and increases in processing power, which was not great enough until recently to get such holes out into the open.

*In the Lastpass forums anywhere between 2007-2010 people who claimed to be home users and/or pro hackers would say: "Look, there's got to be holes in this code somewhere" and the Lastpass owner himself would jump in to deny it and I would spend days wondering how anyone who codes could do so. It's like denying shoelaces need to be tied lest you trip on them: you can deny there are holes but keep that up long enough and you'll just fall in.

marahmarie: Cockroaches get cancer, too (cigarettes)
2017-06-12 04:30 am
Entry tags:

Testing DW icon image names (which are actually numbers)

ETA2, 6-14-17: Request filed.

ETA, next night: Definitely need to report or at least ask about this over in Support; I tested my page in Pingdom last night and both recent icons I used in posts came up with the same file number, again, which rules out my computer as the cause. Got a screencap of Pingdom reporting them as such.


In this delightful bug, if you go to the Upload icons page and right-click/Save Image As, any icon you choose saves with the same image name: 440557.png. I mean, they all do. This in Firefox latest on Windows 10; you're mileage may vary and if it does, I'd like it if you let me know (I do have other accounts I can test this in, which I have not done yet) before I file a support request, which is still a ways off.

Testing the Update page as I write this, if I click the icon next to my username in the upper right hand corner (using the default site skin, I think it's called Tropo) the file saves with the same name, 440557.png. So all the icon images have the same name. I mean, I *think* this counts as a bug, that all the icons have the same names/numbers, so I'm thinking of reporting it.

What I'm testing here is a different icon than my default to see if posts show different icons with the same image number as well (probably will; post Preview page shows the same image number on right-click/View Image); this post can also double as a reminder to report this, eventually.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-12 03:31 am
Entry tags:

CSS/s2 todo (feel free to ignore)

ETA: asked.

--ask around for s2 to move (back to) Top link from $this->print_body(); to $this->print_module_section("two"); - specifically, it should land right after .module-section-two but still within the same code block. More specifically, it should land after .module-section-two but before <div style="clear:both"> in the HTML above the footer (find screencap showing exactly where, if you post this).

This could fail spectacularly, but based on what I see in the live HTML editor, if I move the link where I say it should work and it actually works, it'll clear the page entirely on resized/mobile CSS (and on pages with very little content, which it currently can't clear even with CSS hacks) and stay where I put it - a 3-for-1 which, so far, has not been doable any other way.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-06-11 09:19 pm

Email from Microsoft informing me 404 ACCESS DENIED to my own files on OneDrive as of Sept. 7, 2017

In my last exciting post on the topic, It's not that hard, really, so why use multcloud or mover.io or..., in which I got mad at myself for using a middleman (in this case, Multcloud) to move files I could have easily moved between cloud storage services myself, causing me to go into a Brain, where art thou sort of fit, I ended with the single uplifting thought that:

"The one upside to OneDrive's rate limits is they apply only to new uploads; after re-reading the details on Microsoft's 2015 blog post [...] and checking out the fine print on the current offer, it seems they won't delete previously uploaded files, nor deny access via downloading or sharing.".

That was a completely inaccurate conclusion to jump to. The truth of the matter is the polar opposite:

An email from Microsoft informing me I'll be denied access to my OneDrive files on Sept. 7, 2017

The body of the email featured in the screencap above reads, with emphasis mine:

Your [redacted]@live.com account is 5.8 GB over your storage limit of 5 GB.

You can no longer add or sync new documents or photos. Changes made to existing OneDrive files will not sync between devices or the web. If you remain over your storage limit, your account will be frozen on or after September 7, 2017, and you will not be able to view or edit your files.

Please remove 5.8 GB of files or purchase more storage to bring your account back to normal. [Right? Sure, let me hop right on that, you thieves. I mean, why can't I even access the files I'm entitled to keep on OneDrive after the time limit is up (5GB worth)?]

Luckily (well, I don't know how "luckily", since I don't like using any Google product besides search, but Google sure is coming in handy right now) I've got 15GB free storage on Google Drive - more than enough to keep what I've got going on and add a few files without having to pay M$ to "upgrade" to the still-limited storage they used to give away unlimited and for free.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-31 04:29 pm
Entry tags:

I've turned myself into a fractal

The post title is in honor of my new default user icon. Like most images I create, it was done (re-done) in Paint.NET. If you reverse engineer it, it's still my old Dreamwidth icon, the one that says, "Sheep go to heaven and goats go to hell" with a lamb in the middle. You just can't tell anymore - thanks, Paint.NET! I've been meaning to work on that for a few years.

In other news, I've had recentish problems with others being unable to tell public from more private (say, access-only) posts, which I blame Dreamwidth for, at least in part. All there is to show a post is access-filtered is a single, tiny icon image (it's a gold lock, 16 x 16 by default, and while I'm pretty sure no one views my page in my style, I have it re-sized down to 12 x 12 in case anyone ever does; the original access filter icon image is here) which apparently isn't enough of a visual indicator to prevent a few "oops" moments others have had.

I hovered over the icon today to see if it at least has title text to tell you what it is or why it's there, but it doesn't. The alt text isn't informative, either; it just says "protected". Protected from what? Scratches? Bears? The public? Hmmmm. This is sort of a travesty, so I added content CSS to print the words "non-public/access filter only" next to lock icons. It's a mouthful, shows at the wrong line height and doesn't wrap well on mobile edit: fixed (I'll work on all that soon - I just wanted to get a working example online, asap, so it's viewable and looks like...this).

If I ever get involved in reporting DW things again - which I like to say I never will, but only until another bug rears its head, like the one I stumbled over today (possible bug: all of our usericons have the same image number, so you can't download and save more than one of them without overwriting the last one downloaded - not unless you rename the next one before saving, which I don't *think* is the correct behavior!) I might post a Suggestion asking for access filter text to display next to access filter icons.

If adapted it would mean printing more stuff to the page, but could save quite a few "oops" moments sitewide (or at least minimize them, as there's no fixing people who just won't pay attention) so it might be worth doing, not to mention having actual text (as opposed to merely alt text) reading out from a screen reader to indicate what sort of post you're on might make the experience somewhat smoother all-around.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-20 05:22 am
Entry tags:

Au revoir!

I've never seen anything as fucked as Cheetolini's stupid overseas trip - comprised mainly of him wandering aimlessly through the Middle East while indiscriminately firing off his mouth and cocking his POTUS Twitter account at folks like the loaded weapon it actually is in any angry and temperamental six-year old's hands.

Question, apropos of nothing: would you let your angry and temperamental six year old run a POTUS Twitter account for say, any normal POTUS? Would any sane or thinking person? No, of course not. Yet this six year old is not only running that account, he's running our entire fucking country because some Trumpists both in and outside of Russia thought they should let him. Thanks, y'all.

This trip is gonna go very badly. Why? Two things. There are many, many more things, but let's just focus on two.

  1. He's turned tail on Israel, giving their code-worded, "highly classified" info to the Russians while boasting he gets such "great intel". And now he's going to Israel, because of course he is. I mean, that won't be awkward or anything.
  2. He's supposed to give a speech in Saudi Arabia; guess who's writing it? That's right, smart people: "American Carnage" speechwriter and destroy us some MOOSElims broNazi Stephen Miller because who could do a better job of wording the words? I'm sure it'll go over just swell!

If I were the betting type (and oh, I am) I'd place wagers on which country does the thing first in which something something something will there be a White House procession with Clydesdales is this WWIII are we all fucked now. Obviously I'm a bit biased on how this might turn out, but not in the way you might think.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-20 01:51 am
Entry tags:

Going with the theme of "obvious things"...

Dreamwidth was unintentionally DDosed by someone's homework a few weeks ago. And no, you can't make this stuff up: Tonight's intermittent 404's.

While I was busy being mostly unable to use the site (along with [personal profile] conuly, whom I was having a comment exchange on this DW with at the same moment said homework went on a rampage) I hit upon a few DW pages that thanks to our CDN (CloudFlare) had been converted on-the-fly into read-only, which lets us view the site without actually being able to use it.

Fascinated, I studied the read-onlyness of them while exchanging replies with someone on an Anti-AOL post about AOL shutting off their News comment sections, which occurred approximately eleventy bajillion years ago but somehow is still news. The person replying was in a pique that comments to that post were less than, shall we say, civil.

For her, this included comments from my commenters (who think my blog is officially sponsored and run by AOL, and who therefore address the blog owner - that is, me - as though I'm not only an AOL employee, but also like I'm The Reason Why They Can't Have Nice Things) and comments from me, because I don't enjoy people still thinking I work for AOL after telling them a thousand times a second that no, I don't.

After exchanging a few comments with her (she was actually rather nice, which I appreciated) I looked back at DW's Support page, which I was also trying to reach while it was set to read-only, so thanks specifically to DW's homework DDoS Anti-AOL is now (permanently) read-only, because while I was waiting for DW to get un-DDoSed I shut comments off, just like they did over at AOL News.

If you're a Wordpress.com blog owner who wants to completely disable comments, it's not that hard, just time-consuming. Step 1: Log in, go to WP admin and disable comments. Step 2: Screen all publicly visible comments - that's it. It took a while because WP.com's admin is 1983 dial-up slow and you can only screen one pageful of comments at a time.

The way I did it (I'm not sure if there's a sorting option or if having one might help) newest comments screen first, which gave me a nice, chill walk down memory lane back to when Anti-AOL was on LJ and nearly no one thought I worked for AOL and sometimes I miss the hell out of just being thought of as myself but oh well, the blog will be 12 years old this November and I stopped having anything constructive to say about AOL years ago.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-20 12:55 am

It's not that hard, really, so why use multcloud or mover.io or...

After logging back into DW tonight and having a look at my email and recalling what my last post was about I instantly had my "duh" moment..."duh" being why would I think I have to use a moving service like MultCloud or Mover when duh...*tears hair* you can just download any drive service at all (Google Drive or whatever) and fucking transfer the files yourself?

*vicariously takes a moment to smash things*

I mean Jesus Christ it's just copy/paste it's not that fucking hard

OK, I'm done destroying myself over my Captain Obvious moment. I don't always have one but when I do they're often actual fucking tragedies.

Now I wonder why third party services choose to get involved in transferring files from one drive (or cloud) service to another (besides the obvious goal of "money") when really, it's not that fucking hard - what are they looking to get from it? Usernames and passwords to various file storage services? The files being transferred? Both?

And I guess I wouldn't be so pissed - both at my lack of foresight and the mover services for existing when I don't trust their motives, especially if they offer as generous of a "free" service as MultCloud does - but in 24 hours MultCloud *still* hasn't finished moving files, so I just got done moving them myself, which was when I realized I could have done the entire move without them - just download the Google Drive software and let the copy/pasting begin....

Christ, my own burns burn me sometimes. Ouch? But yikes, this was just too obvious self-flagellation ftw

Also, Google has no Drive for my Win10 phone, so at best using it on my laptop will be a temporary solution. The one upside to OneDrive's rate limits is they apply only to new uploads; after re-reading the details on Microsoft's 2015 blog post and checking out the fine print on the current offer, it seems they won't delete previously uploaded files, nor deny access via downloading or sharing.

Then again, you have to trust Microsoft to not cut off your access at some point, which I don't trust them not to do, not at all.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-18 11:25 pm

Freakin' OneDrive (they should rename it OneGigTimesFive)

Updated 5-20-17

So, back in 2015 when OneDrive decided their free, unlimited storage for Office365 was no longer free or unlimited, and that free storage for all other users was no longer capped at 15GB but was now just 5GB, I too was stuck with the prospect of losing several gigs of data if I didn't Do Something.

Most of those gigs were comprised of music (about five out of eight) so I just transferred the entire contents of my OneDrive to an external notebook, copied the music into an offline folder on my laptop and let Microsoft cut my storage down to the new, much lower 5GB limit. Yeah, we all went from having "free, unlimited storage" or "15GB free" to 5GB, how does that even happen?

Well, ostensibly because Microsoft was mad at people "abusing" it by keeping 75TB in the cloud, which makes no sense - which part of their own "unlimited" offer did they not understand? I'd have walked away from OneDrive at that point, but it's tied directly into Windows 8 and 8.1 and Windows 10, and I've pretty much stepped up to each new OS as soon as the betas have come out, and having cloud storage integrated into my OS has been totally privacy-wrecking convenient, so I didn't want to give it up.

Luckily (if you could call it that) I broke another person's tablet around this time last year when it bounced off a table I was vacuuming under, which smashed up the screen (I really, really hate Asus tablets; the stupid, smashable screen is just one reason for that), which made me the unproud owner of said tablet (I never use it; I'll probably flip it, broken screen and all, on eBay someday) and forced me to buy another tablet to replace the one I broke.

When the other person got their replacement they offered me their license for Office365, which also gives you one free terabyte of OneDrive storage, so that undid my cloud storage limit until tonight, when I got the dreaded email saying the subscription expires soon.

Microsoft first offer was to keep my subscription going by "automatic renewal", which made me log into OneDrive and cancel right away (though Microsoft doesn't seem to have my bank info on file at the moment). With that fire out, I decided to see how much they want. Well, of course they want a lot, so their next offer was to renew at $69.99. Naaaaaah. The next was to renew at $99.99. Don'tcha love it when you reject their last offer so the price goes up? What for? Oh, for the "Premium" package, of course. Pfffffft.

So I checked what it would cost for just storage: $1.99 per month for 50GB; not bad, considering most cloud storage can cost a lot more. So I tried to sign up to see what the final cost looked like - if they'd be charging me for a year or more in advance, or if they'd actually be charging me by the month, only to be taken to this page telling me I currently have an Office365 subscription with 1TB of storage. I tried again and again, thinking maybe their system is just hiccuping, but no, Microsoft will not let me buy more storage. So there's no buying it in advance, I guess?

Being unable to see what the final price would be for more storage has ticked me off so much I'm moving everything to Google Drive as I type this. I'm using MultCloud to do the entire file transfer, which has made 41.27% progress copying files (out of 10.5GB of data) since I opened DW's editor to write this. I imagine it'll take a while, but I can wait.

The one thing that bugged me about moving to Google Drive is I don't want my OneDrive files tied to my main Google account (I do have one, but use it mostly to recover my main Outlook accounts when I change passwords; I use another to forward Dreamwidth email to Outlook, because Microsoft mostly just bounces it) but I got around that by just picking another Google account I never use, that might've once been tied to an Android phone of mine (or two) but no longer is.

The next thing is figure out how to get Google Drive to show up on my computer (I last used it years ago, long before it was an official app, and that version did have software for the computer side of things) so I won't have to go online to find and work with my files, but the phone side is where I might get screwed; I use an older Windows phone, and while it's running Win10 Preview (it's not supposed to, but it does) the Win10 app store is awful, so I'm unsure if there's a Google Drive app for it, or if there is, if it'll work (the camera in BoA's app, for example, doesn't, so I can't use it to snap pictures of checks, which was the whole point of having it, since I already get alerts and notifications by email).

But when I think of Microsoft charging $2 per month for something they used to offer 10GB more of for free, and realize they're holding all my intangible things hostage, that's all it takes to realize I don't care what a PITA Google Drive might turn out to be because it's the principle of the thing.

ETA, 5-20-2017: The Windows store doesn't have a Google drive app for Windows phones - there's a small chance I might be able to "sideload" the correct app, but if not, I'll either have to go without or find something else that syncs my phone with my laptop.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-16 05:51 am
Entry tags:

What if I don't *want* to speak Russian?

The Republicans have washed their hands of this country.

I'm starting to think Trump could break out an Uzi on live TV at his next address to the joint chambers of Congress but as long as he only hits Democrats (the more the merrier, of course) there will be no recourse and no stopping him; no public outcry will change a damn thing, nor will it result in any charges or end up in any impeachment because the Republican's plans are set (and don't think Russia doesn't know and isn't taking advantage of this; they do and they are).

Republicans are handing the keys of US power over to the rich while giving the rich two huge tax cuts to help them take the reigns: one in the form of stripping viable and affordable health care away from the vast majority of Americans; the other in the form of simply giving them another huge tax cut, because why stop at just one tax cut when you can eventually convert the rich into tax-exempt status, two gigantic tax cuts at a time.

Meanwhile, Trump allowed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - and by extension, Putin and all of Russia - to flat-out troll us over Comey's firing even as Russia state news agencies published what were supposed to be unpublished pictures of this same meeting, which the US press was not even allowed to sit in on or photograph, all while opening us up to possible espionage in the form of the photographer's so-called "camera". Then Trump immediately handed Russian ambassador Kislyak state intel about ISIS for Russia to do whatever they want with, and all this just one day after he fired FBI Director Comey to obstruct the FBI investigation into his Russian dealings, clearly breaking US law and even more clearly trying to hide not just something, but likely a whole lot of things.

Against all this, including Russia's latest order (likely directed solely at the US) to not respond to North Korea's threats with anything but meek offers of negotiation, if the silence from the Republican faction of Congress was any more deafening my eardrums would split open and pop out of my head onto the floor, which is not nearly as disgusting of an image as what might happen next in this country.

If this is all the reaction Republicans will ever have then we're done, all so we can watch them hand this country over to the elite (which will suit Russia just fine, as oligarchies have always kinda been their thing).

Enjoy the show, folks.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-13 01:17 am
Entry tags:

Funny thing about this Oatmeal comic going 'round about the 'backfire effect'...

Is that most of the time, what you're seeing probably isn't one. While Matthew Inman's descriptions (including visual) of why one might feel uncomfortable around new-to-them facts rings true and sounds rather like a fact, a new study suggests the backfire effect may be "a very rare phenomenon" that's not impossible to overcome.

People entrench around factually wrong information for many reasons: personal or in-group bias, feeling an emotional or intellectual discordance, thinking their view of life or actual way of life is under threat, rhetorical or semantical differences, philosophical disagreements...whatever. Calling it a backfire effect - and explaining it by what goes on in your amygdala - does little justice to what disbelieving a fact actually involves. It has little to do with brain chemistry, which I'd say is more a part of the process of fact-disbelieving than its direct cause.

Let me change your mind: people can be convinced to change their minds through a process called "factual intervention".

Which reminds me: people can convince themselves they hate something. Anything. Matthew's image of a house with walls scrawled over with formative reasons for disbelieving facts, which bizarrely enough includes the phrase "hatred of cilantro"? Cilantro is probably on there because it's not something you hate - there are several genes that actually change the flavor of it for some of us. Judging by how I think soap cilantro tastes, I also have the little buggers.

While I'm on the topic of not accepting facts, and while I'm still on the topic of science in general (yes, starting this paragraph counts), science is never a settled question. Some of the latest food studies seem out to prove it by pronouncing butter bad for us again and salt better for us than we thought. It can even help people lose weight, but in doing so increases loss of both fat and muscle, so I'd take this news with a pretty large grain of, uh...

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
2017-05-10 10:39 pm
Entry tags:

In which I continue to pick apart Cheetolini's main ingredients (chink in the armor: paranoia)

Updated 5-12-17

What strikes me most about this week's news is that the Head Cheeto is nothing if not a series of easy-to-spot patterns. In this post I discuss two of them.

The first pattern is clear: being his ally/friend/insider/toady/admirer/boot polisher/vote fixer - as much as he insists upon being emotionally and politically worshiped to inflate his oversized and incredibly thirsty ego - will not help: witness the political corpses of Manafort, Page, Flynn, Comey, McMasters (whom Trump is said to be routinely enraged at - the phrase "was heard screaming at him" is used a lot, so we're counting McMasters down, yo).

Turning back in time, let's look at his multi-decade friendship with the Clintons: he turned on Bill during his own presidential run to drag Bill's alleged "abuse" of women out into the open again - 20 years after the original accusations were levied, a time in which Trump and the Clintons remained close friends - and even had a few of the women speak out at press conferences and sit in on speeches to prove his point (which was something incoherent like, "See, I'm not the only one who does it ha ha").

Throughout his run for office he held his personal friend Hillary out for public skewering at rallies, speeches and on his Twitter - "lock her up", "hang the bitch" and a huge run on official campaign hate memorabilia being just a handful of the still-shocking, though inevitable results.

Zooming in to shortly after the election, the Head Cheese Puff highly praised Obama (after about 6 years of trying to convince us he was a jungle bushman - no big deal, right? That Obama even deigned to meet with this libelous orangutan is beyond my can even) only to turn on him recently to announce - adorned in the most perfectly paranoid mental regalia the world's ever seen - that Obama personally had him spied upon and wiretapped while he still resided at Chump Hour - a laughable allegation if ever there was one.

Have I missed any bodies in the political body count? I don't feel like Googling to jog my memory or complete this post, so if someone (or something) has turned up missing, feel free to dive in. ETA2: I missed Corey Lewandowski. And maybe a few others, but I still don't feel like Googling.

The second pattern is one of showmanship. I don't mean how he gave one "good" speech (though I'm not one to agree with the message - no matter how adroitly it's been phrased) out of an endless series of clunkers or being able to recite - if not actually speak in - complete sentences (good for him, because maybe he's not as demented as some people think - is he in good enough shape to stand trial? Based on his performance that night yeah, he's doing just fine... *wink wink*).

I'm talking about the art of distraction and his total mastery of it: there's nothing he won't do to get people to talk about anything but the Russian investigation, and there's nothing he won't do to keep it from happening.

These factors - paranoia and distraction - are keys to destroying his new career.

He's on his endgame. He knows it, we, the American people know it, and the world is catching on. Everyone's talking.

Obviously it would be in his - and our country's - best interests if he resigns, because he's been too busy since the election trying to make us look away from the Russians to get anything else done. It won't work; he's just needlessly wearing himself out juggling too many balls that have nothing to do with what's best for our country: there's no time or mental focus left for that. Which is doing a huuuuuuge disservice to the American people and the world at large. And it needs to stop.

To be clear: lobbing missiles at North Korea? Won't work. Turning American government into a malevolent dictatorship? Won't change a damn thing; if anything, it turns more of us against him. Firing everyone and their uncle? Won't cut it (though this is key to getting the right people to turn on him, so it's fairly important that he keeps on firing pretty much indiscriminately).

As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, "town coming coming down" come hell or high water, so it's time he pulls his head out of his lower regions and starts coming up with more reasons to work on his golf game or admire the shrubs gracing the main lobby at the NYC Trump Tower.

Because he probably won't resign (he doesn't want the job and never expected to have it, but has some too-strong desire to serve his out-of-control base* to walk away now; still, never say never) the endgame's pretty simple: dig for what you can, find and push it out into the open, and never stop working his paranoia. Rumors are essential. Various players gain his trust and expound upon his fears. Onto his (and other) Twitter(s) these rumors no doubt go, pushing him even further into conspiracy-theory basket case territory than he's ever been before.

Make him believe his time's up and one of two things could happen: a) he might yet choose to resign or b) he might break and admit what he shouldn't (highly unlikely, so focus more on a)), which will pretty much force impeachment hearings, should the Rs agree to it (and given enough damning evidence from any source, it might get to the point where refusing to hold hearings exposes their own complicity - I think we're at that point now, but the Rs clearly hold party above country, so it's going to take a lot more).

ETA1: he's gone with choice b) - witness the Head Cheese Puff's paranoia in action (and see this post for a condensed Comey timeline). So color me wrong about which part of my prediction to focus on, as it goes without saying at this point: FOCUS MORE ON b).

*Re: his "too-strong desire to serve his out-of-control base" (ETA3)? Figured that one out, too. It's not that. What he's doing is using them to gut protections for everyone else but the rich - which will also gut any and all protections for his base - before he declares MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AMERICA'S NOW GREAT AGAIN and hands the keys of power over to the people he's already going out of his way to further enrich through his presidency.

What made me think of it is the 2020 census. With the way things are going, there won't be one. But why take one when everyone but rich whites and their families and friends will long be disenfranchised?