misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
More evidence of budding Doctor Who geekery in the boy:

While building something with Lego, he told me: "I'm building a Dalek prison place. This opening is for them to get groceries through, so that they don't take over the world while they're out getting groceries."

As I was trying not to die of laughter, he paused thoughtfully, and added "Daleks are pretty cute, but they aren't very friendly."

. . .

Shortly afterward, he decided that it was actually a Dalek house, rather than a prison: "But only for the good Daleks."

"The ones that don't try to take over the world?"

"That's right. The Doctor built it for them. He's not the kind of doctor who makes sick people better, he's the kind that finds good Daleks nice places to live."

. . .

Later on, he was playing with a bunch of little plastic animals, and announced that they were sick with "a really bad, go-to-the-doctor flu".

"So they have to go an see a veterinarian?"

"Yes! But the girl veterinarian isn't very good at it yet. The father veterinarian is better."

(Trying to process this:) "Uh... so there's a father and daughter veterinarian, but the daughter's still learning and isn't a very good vet yet?"

"That's right. She isn't very good at it yet, because she's still young. But she sometimes fights off bad chemicals. And Daleks."
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
From the always-fabulous Clients from Hell:

"I hate blogs. Blogs are for angry people who are sitting at their computer with a glass of wine at midnight with nothing better to do. No companies use blogs anymore."

If I ever get around to starting a blog on my business site, I am strongly tempted to put that quote in the sidebar or something...

. . .

In other news: Kiska would apparently like to register a formal protest against the current heat wave. Her usual means of doing so is walking really, really slowly when out on walks, and periodically stopping and looking up at me with that unmistakable expression that says "We're going home now, right? Right?"

Me, I'm weathering it OK, due in large part to good cross-ventilation in my apartment, and a fan. But I have been somewhat low on energy... Hot weather always seems to leach it right out of me. Also, I am nearly out of sunscreen, and it's only May. This strikes me as wrong, somehow.
misslynx: (Default)
Follow-up to this post:

[livejournal.com profile] berecyntia deciphered it (thank you!), and here is what she says:
OK. Basically, this is a simple little bit of javascript that's been obfuscated by running it through a nice little utility called Packer. You can get the original code back by replacing the "eval()" by "document.write()" and running the code. You'll get a nice big string of hex that you can run through a javascript beautifier and get nicely formatted javascript.

When you do that, you get a little thing that uses Facebook's SocialGraphManager utility to select all your friends, suggest this app to them, and select the "like" button for you.

So fairly harmless as far as viruses go. Not too malicious, just annoying.

Interesting. Sounds like maybe someone was trying it as a proof-of-concept exercise, perhaps with the intention of doing something nastier with the same technique later if it worked. Or, possibly, they were doing it deliberately to expose a security flaw in Facebook, in which case the "Worst thing I have ever read" title might have been meant ironically. No way of knowing, I suppose...

But the bottom line is: do not follow a bunch of instructions from some anonymous source telling you to do weird things with your browser, unless you actually know what the hell it's for and are prepared to stop if it tells you to do something potentially dangerous, like, say, paste a huge chunk of obfuscated Javascript into your browser's address bar and then execute it. FFS, people!

Methinks I shall drop a message to the friend who "recommended" this to me (i.e., followed it all the way through so that it recommended itself).
misslynx: (Default)
I got a Facebook message yesterday, purportedly from one of my FB friends (albeit one of the really old friends I haven't actually talked to in 20 years or so), saying "[friend's name] liked W0RST THING I HAVE EVER READ! WARNING! on Facebook and suggested you like it too."

I was (a) bored, and (b) mildly curious, so I clicked on the link to see what this thing was. It did indeed go to a page on Facebook (I always make sure any e-mail link is showing the same destination in the status bar when moused over as it appears to go to before clicking it), but the content was seriously disturbing, and not in the way someone might anticipate from the "W0RST THING I HAVE EVER READ" bit.

Maybe I need to mass-mail a Security 101 primer to everyone on FB )
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
Mostly on less portentous matters than Liberation Day, bike accidents, etc.:
  1. Today's parenting discovery: a child who is totally uninterested in eating spaghetti with roasted beets when presented with it in a bowl the normal way may yet be enticed to eat a whole lot of it if you:

    1. allow him to loll on his back with his mouth open like a baby bird while you drop bits of food in, and

    2. tell him that the spaghetti strands are worms and the beets are red ants.

    Elsewhere in today's visit, he had me tuck Spiral Bear inside the front of his hoodie and zip him in, and then proudly informed me that he was pregnant. I wasn't quite sure what to say to that, so I just responded with "Well, er - congratulations, I guess!"

  2. Another Lynxcub cuteness/weirdness highlight: he has advanced to peeing standing up, but is not quite tall enough to actually pee in the toilet that way without standing on something. So in the absence of a suitable stepstool, I have been letting him stand on the (covered) litter box which is next to the toilet. I commented last visit that that meant he was peeing half like a cat and half like a human, and he delightedly exclaimed "I PEE LIKE HALF A CAT!!!" I am not sure he quite understood why this made me practically collapse in hysterical laughter...

  3. One detail I forgot to mention from [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech's visit - I finally got to try La Terrible with her at Volo. I'd been wanting to try that one for a while and was definitely not disappointed - it was amazing! Kind of in the same ballpark as Trois Pistoles (as in: pitch black, slightly sweet, awesomely rich flavour and alarmingly high ABV), but with its own distinct character as well. Definitely an automatic entry into my top ten beer list, and further proof that Unibroue can pretty much do no wrong.

  4. Lastly, whoever decided to put Stephen Moffatt in charge of the new season of Doctor Who deserves a medal of some kind, or at least my undying gratitude. The first few episodes were just kind of not bad, but OMG, he really pulled out all the stops for the Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone set. Absolutely awesome, as long as you don't mind never sleeping again. Though I suppose you can say that about most of the episodes he was a guest writer on before they put him in charge, but it's nice to see he hasn't lost his touch. And I am really, really looking forward to the rest of this season.

  5. And now, speaking of sleeping...
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
With all due apologies to those who hate the whole idea of Valentine's Day, I had a pretty good one. This was mostly due to the fact that [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech came up for the weekend, which is always a good thing. :-)
  1. Saturday we were intending to go to a 40s-themed party, so we spent the afternoon acquiring appropriate clothing at Kensington Market vintage shops.

    Clothing squee )

    Sadly, we discovered - once we were all dressed up and ready to go - that the party had been cancelled due to illness, so, not wanting to waste our fabulousness, we went out to Volo to enjoy assorted really interesting beers. I think my favourites were one called Bogwater that was flavoured with some kind of bog myrtle, and Dieu du Ciel's Aphrodisiaque, which is a cocoa/vanilla stout with a name that seemed highly appropriate for V-day weekend.

  2. V-day itself was partly taken up with collecting and putting up some nice shelves that [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik were getting rid of. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik came along to help us put them up, since it's really a three-person job, and as we were working on it, it occurred to me that happily putting up shelves with one's current partner and ex-partner, and everyone getting along, was probably not exactly the most common way to spend Valentine's Day, but it was certainly a pretty good one.

    The hallway looks a million times better now, and people are no longer attacked by random kamikaze books every time they pass through it. Later in the evening we put most of my mass-market-size paperbacks up there, and later still, after [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech had gone home on Monday, I was inspired enough by all this to actually start sorting and organizing books. Paperback fiction is now handily separated from everything else, and alphabetized. Also, I unpacked two (2) more boxes. Miracles can happen.

  3. Next up was visit time with the Lynxcub, which also enabled Kettu and Optimystik to have their own V-day outing. We took him to the sushi place around the corner from me, after some prolonged negotiation that went a bit like this:

    Sushi vs. cookies )

    Thankfully, we were able to keep the cookie component to a minimum, and he actually did eat a lot of sushi and edamame. But the most awesome thing was that he finally got the hang of using chopsticks! Granted, they were the kids' training-chopsticks that are hinged and have little finger-loops on them, but he's never managed to use them before as anything other than a projectile weapon, and this time he actually managed to successfully pick up bits of cookie food with them and transport them to his mouth with only a few accidents. Better than some adults I've seen try to use chopsticks, really. And pretty damn good for two and a half!

    Behold the photographic evidence! )

  4. After dropping the Lynxcub off, we went to see Sherlock Holmes, which was a lot of fun. Movie theatre popcorn is tastier than it has any right to be considering how horribly unhealthy it is. It's probably a good thing that I don't get out to movie theatres very often.

  5. Sadly, LGBTech was only here for the weekend and had to leave yesterday. But we have resolved that there will be less time between this visit and the next than there was between this one and the last. But all in all it was an excellent visit, even if she did end up catching my cold (or "Moose flu", as her American co-workers dubbed it the last time she came back from Canada sick).

  6. And what with all the shelf-putting-up and subsequent organizing, I am feeling highly productive. Enough that tonight I decided to finally try installing Ubuntu Linux on my little red netbook.

    The first half of the process was hell and the second half was pretty much bliss. Ironically, given their respective reputations for ease of use and the lack thereof, the homicidal-fury-inducing part was the part dealing with Windows (specifically, trying to make a bootable USB drive from an ISO file, and then induce the machine to actually boot from it), and the oh-hey-this-is-really-easy part was the Linux part. Yes, really. Installing Ubuntu - including partitioning the drive to make it dual-boot, and create an extra partition on which I'm going to attempt to install OS X - was on a par with most Mac software installations: pretty to look at it, and requiring virtually no conscious thought. I knew Ubuntu had a reputation for being a much more user-friendly Linux distribution than most, but wow! My grandmother could have done it.

    And the graphic interface of the "Netbook Remix" is really gorgeous. Colour me impressed. I'm not about to give up my iMac, but I'm pretty sure Ubuntu will be the primary OS for the netbook. It makes the Windows XP installation it came with look like something designed by the Spanish inquisition as a test of character by comparison.

    Most surreal moment: at one point during the installation, it briefly flashed the following message: "Preparing to completely remove ubiquity". I have no idea what that meant, but I can only assume that from now on, nothing will be ubiquitous.
misslynx: (Default)
Well, assuming everyone who bid follows through, I'll have raised $195 for Médecins Sans Frontières via my [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti offerings. Two of the four winners (three for web services, one for a story) have already sent me their donation confirmations.

(Re the web services, those who have in the past chided me for working for magic beans, or just overworking in general, will hopefully be pleased to know I set very definite limits on what was included, so as not to let any of them turn into huge massive time sinks that would prevent me from doing the work that pays the rent.)

Sadly, I did NOT win the crocheted dinosaur I bid on - someone outbid me this morning, and due to my sleep schedule being all messed up because of my recent crazy string of all-nighters, I did not wake up until after noon, so bidding was closed. :-( But there will be another auction in February, so maybe I'll have another chance then, if this person or someone else offers something similar. I just think Aidan would really like it...

I did win two smaller auctions, for stories. One for a mythology-based story featuring Erzulie Dantor, and one for some sort of an urban fantasy story, for which I can apparently specify a few details like species, setting, etc. - haven't decided what I'd like to request for that one yet.

I'm also starting to have interesting ideas spinning around in my head for the one story of mine that was bid on - the fairy tale she wants it based on is All-Kinds-of-Fur, from the Brothers Grimm, and I can think of a number of ways that could go...

. . .

Oh, and in other Haiti-related news, gamer geeks should take note that Drive-Thru RPG, a web site selling PDF versions of many and various role-playing games, from the popular to the obscure, is doing their own fundraising effort, including an offer where a $20 donation to MSF through their site will get you a coupon good for downloading a massive bunch of stuff free (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wire_mother for the link).

I took a quick look over the list of products you can get with the coupon, and while certainly not all of them look all that interesting (in particular, a lot of them are add-ons for games I don't have), there were a small handful that looked quite cool (Seven Leagues, Summerland and the Kerberos Club, in particular), so I might do it.
misslynx: (Default)
Being as I am primarily a Mac person, and secondarily a bit of a UNIX person, at least via working on remote web servers, I am not always up on matters in the Windows world except as I occasionally encounter them via clients and friends needing help.

Two Windows-related questions have arisen recently, and if anyone out there who's better versed in that OS than I am knows the answers, that would be very helpful:
  1. Is there a free or inexpensive text editor out there for Windows that's similar to BBEdit on the Mac? By which I mean: geared toward web designers and/or programmers, and does stuff like highlight tags in a different colour, and maybe basic syntax-checking and stuff like that?

    I should add: I know there a million and one cheap web design programs for Windows. What I'm mainly looking for (for a particular client) is one that is NOT a WYSIWYG editor, just a text editor, and is not going to throw all kinds of crap into the files or choke on the bits of PHP they contain. And basically, what the Windows geeks on my friends list would most recommend of whatever assortment there are.

  2. One thing I've been highly frustrated with when working on my dad's textbook manuscript (on his computer) is font handling in Windows. It seems like with most font families that have a number of different weights and styles (i.e light/book/demi/bold/black, etc.), Windows insists on treating each one as a wholly separate font instead of as varieties of the same font, so if you've got a document set in a particular font, and you apply some bold here and some italics there, it does NOT display those in the actual bold and italic versions of that font, but in a sort of fake-bold and fake-italic that look like ass and disappear when you try to print the document or convert it to PDF. In particular, this seems to happen with most of the higher-quality PostScript fonts.

    The crappy TrueType fonts that came with programs like WordPerfect (which he still uses in preference to MS Word, meaning I have to work with it too when working on his manuscript) do display as proper font families, but are mostly boring and would not be my first choice for the print version of the manuscript.

    I wouldn't be as annoyed about this if it was just a matter of the manuscript that was going to be submitted to publishers, because they're probably used to seeing everything in Times New Roman, but there's also a work-in-progress version that he gets printed every year by the York bookstore and uses as a text in his courses, and I'd like it if that could look decent.

    Does anyone know how to solve this problem? Is there some way of making Windows realize that the different versions of a font do in fact belong together?

    If we had more time, I might just try flowing the whole thing into InDesign and dealing with the font issue from there, but we're on a really tight deadline for this year's edition of the in-progress text, and everything but the cover is probably going to be printed straight from WP. Which, annoyingly enough, has no way of searching for applied styles of a font. You can search for, say, Franklin Gothic or even Franklin Gothic Italic, but NOT for Franklin Gothic with the italic style applied. Unless you are searching for a specific piece of text in that font and style - THAT it will let you do. But it won't let you just search for all instances of that style having been applied to that font.

    Did I mention I hate Word Perfect? I tend to hate word processors in general, mainly for the (probably irrational) reason that they are not page layout programs and won't let me do everything I can do in Quark or InDesign. But I think I hate WordPerfect more than most.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
From the CNET Mac Download Dispatch this morning:
Publisher's description of Ethnic Clock Screensaver

Watch the eye-filling beauty of curious strapworks and smooth movement of everlasting time. Try and guess the concealed images on the patina-covered walls and the ethnic style clock face. Feel the ethnic energy flowing from the ancient timing mechanisms

Apparently an "ethnic clock" is a vaguely Victorian-looking clock with a faint Celtic knotwork pattern on it. I'm still trying to figure out WTF the "ethnic energy" this screensaver is apparently supposed to generate might be.

But I have to confess that I downloaded it anyway. Because it was pretty.

Don't think I am going to make it to the Drupal Users Group tonight, despite the topic being one I was very interested in. I got hit with a small bit of extra work that needed to be done right away just as I finished that last post, and from past experience I know that hitting the gym between 5 and 6 pm is a Very Bad Idea. The after-work crowd is just too big and getting through the weight machines in a timely manner next to impossible. And there won't be time to go afterwards, so it's one or the other.

Yes, this means I have just prioritized going to the gym to lift weights over learning cool tech stuff. I fail at geekdom. But on the bright side, I am starting to have really nifty-looking visible musculature in my arms. :-)
misslynx: (private parts)
For those who enjoyed the April Fools Day article from the Scriptorium that I posted, they've now got an article up with links to all their April Fools pranks
from 1998 onwards. Very much worth checking out:

http://www.fontcraft.com/fontcraft/?p=681

Edit: Unfortunately, several of the links in the post appear to be broken, but you can still see at least a few of their April Fools gems. I've left them a message about the broken links, so hopefully they'll fix them at some point.
misslynx: (Default)
Typocalypse

This may be one of those only-appeals-to-graphic-designers things, but I was laughing out loud at some of those. I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved that none of my particular favourite fonts were included.

. . .

BTW, sorry to have more or less disappeared on people lately (in RL as well as on LJ). Due to having been sick on and off for so much of the winter and thus falling behind on work, I am now drowning in past-due bills, and trying to work my ass off and pull in as much money as humanly possible before any Very Bad Things happen as a result. There are a number of hard deadlines coming up for things to be paid by, and I will probably re-emerge into the world of the living once those are past. Assuming I've met said deadlines successfully, that is...
misslynx: (Default)
Apparently some clever people have figured out how to use ActionScript, Flash's scripting language, to do nasty virus-like things - that work across all computer platforms that are capable of viewing Flash animations in a web browser. So basically, you're at risk for this regardless of whether you're on Windows, Mac or Linux.

The malicious scripts are being embedded in ads - including some on popular mainstream sites. So Flash ads have become hazardous to your computer's health...

If you use Firefox as your browser, you may want to download the FlashBlock plug-in - I just did.

If you use IE, there's one called Toggle Flash.

Both of the above allow you to selective enable Flash content for things you trust and do want to see, so you're not completely losing out on the ability to watch videos and animations and what not.

Don't know of a solution for Safari, sorry.

More information available here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1733

(found via [livejournal.com profile] bipolypagangeek)
misslynx: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] rowanf. Click on the link, and wait a couple of seconds. Everything looks normal at first...

http://producten.hema.nl/
misslynx: (Angry cat)
(This is primarily what I would like to say to people sending in tech support queries to me for sites I maintain, but it probably applies elsewhere as well...)
  1. Do not assume that because you ran into a problems with a site, that therefore everyone must run into the exact same problems and that the site is therefore horribly broken and must never have been tested. You can test a site 500 times and not necessarily replicate every single bizarre thing every end user might think of submitting to it...

  2. You might want to at least consider, before pronouncing the site "broken", "badly designed", etc., the possibility that you might have done something wrong. Especially since this turns out to be the case about 80% of the time. Yes, a well-designed site should try to anticipate the various ways in which end users might break it by doing stupid things, but no one can fully anticipate every bizarre thing that anyone might do to their web site. As the saying goes, every time you think you've made a system idiot-proof, someone comes along and builds a better idiot. That better idiot might, in fact, be you.

  3. Do not complain that the site simply "didn't work", "shut you out", "is broken", or that "something went wrong", without providing any further details, and expect a helpful response. Contrary to popular opinion, web geeks do not diagnose technical problems through our amazing psychic powers. Generally, we require actual information on what happened. Shocking but true.

  4. The above applies especially when right before the link to the support address, it says to include as much detail as possible, particularly the text of any error messages you may have received.

    and last but definitely not least...

  5. The level of snarkiness and/or verbal abuse in your message is likely to be inversely proportional to my desire to help you find a solution to your problems.
This public service message has been brought to you by the department of STFU.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Strange but true: all the cleaning-up-text functions PHP has to offer will not stop a submission form from generating database errors... If, in the actual insert statement that puts the data into the database, you persist in using the array that holds the original data, before it was cleaned up rather than the new array that holds it after applying the ever-increasing list of cleaning-up-text functions.

And the fact that it took me weeks of fielding tech support messages and tinkering with the code to spot that little detail is not something I am particularly proud of.

Well, at least it's fixed now. On the very last day of Magenta's Emerging Photographers 2007 call for submissions. All the photographers submitting in a panic at the last minute will still benefit, at least.

And on the bright side, Tristania's "World of Glass" is my personal nominee of the moment for Best Song Ever Recorded. There is no problem so great that listening to this song at a very high volume will not make everything better, at least for a while.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
In the future, when working on Drupal sites, do not set the login block to show up only on admin pages, thinking that this will somehow give you a Joomla-like setup where you have to type in the admin URL to get to the login page, and the general public is not tempted to try to log in to something they shouldn't.

What in fact happens if you do this with Drupal is that you type in the admin URL, and get an Access Denied page telling you that you need to be logged in to access the page.

Which of course, you can't do, given that the page you need to be logged into access is now the only page from which you CAN log in.

On the bright side, I suppose this is by far the most secure CMS site I have ever set up. It's so secure that NO ONE can log into it. Including me.

ETA: yourdomain.com/user is your friend. Just not yourdomain.com/admin.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
The "Daily WTF" is often of interest more to hardcore programmers than anyone else -- some of them go over my head, even though I am a programmer of sorts -- but every now and then they post something everyone can enjoy.

Like this latest installment in their Pop-up Potpourri series.

Note: in the interests of preserving your monitor, do NOT be drinking any liquids if you click on the above link.

I think my personal favourites are the Office Depot one, the horrifically translated "afflict nuisance" alert, and, most especially, the one about the funeral flowers.

BTW, behold my latest and most nonsensical userpic, created from a bizarre piece of spam I received.
misslynx: (Waterhouse - Magic Circle)
Tonight's favourite words are LEFT JOIN (although ON DELETE CASCADE is still high in my esteem - take that, test data! Ha!).

Note to self (and others who've had similar join troubles):

When you want everything in the FIRST table you list that meets your condition, along with the related data you want from one or more other tables, to show up in your query, regardless of whether there are some null values kicking around in there somewhere, that is LEFT JOIN. Left join left join left join left join.

If you wanted everything meeting your condition in the LAST table you list in your query to show up along with whatever related data there may or may not be in the tables before it, that would be RIGHT JOIN.

LEFT = the table at the beginning is the one that really counts

RIGHT = the table at the end is the one that really counts

Because, you know, people read from left to right in this language we're speaking. Usually. Unless they're holding a book upside down.

INNER JOIN is basically the same as WHERE. You know: SELECT everything from table x and table y where some-column-in-X = some-column-in-Y. INNER JOIN (like WHERE) craps out if there any null values anywhere in the data you're asking it for.

Maybe now that I've typed it out like that it will actually stick in my brain.

On a semi-related note, I want this T-shirt.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
It's official: spammers are reading my mind. I must now go invest in a tinfoil hat.

Well, OK. Perhaps not really. But still...

Last night, as of about 3-4am, I was wrestling with a SQL query that just did not want to work. I had been able to figure out that it needed to be using some kind of funky JOIN command instead of just the old standard WHERE (i.e. SELECT this FROM that WHERE something = SOMETHING else), but SQL joins have always been a bit brain-hurty for me, and at that hour of the night, the difference between the different types was escaping me completely, and nothing I could turn up in Google was helping.

So, this morning I get up, and what is the first thing I see in my e-mail inbox? A message from a random-looking name with the subject "About Query".

My first thought, in my addled and not-yet-caffeinated state: did I post to some mailing list for help with that query, and then completely erase it from my mind? No, because mailing list messages always go into their own designated folders. Post on LJ about it? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure I posted nothing anywhere. So... some random person somewhere had a psychic flash that I was having trouble with an SQL query and decided to e-mail me?

I clicked on the message. It was, of course, spam. The title was completely random.

It did, however, contain the following delightful non-sequitur in the equally random text it used to get past my filters:
Glueless patches should be kept in your bag away from water or in a small bag. There are enough English-speaking blogs in this world.
I shall leave you with those words of wisdom. That, and the fact that once I'd had a decent night's sleep, I was able to recall that the last time I'd had join problems, I did e-mail a mailing list and the results of that are still saved in the folder for that list, so things are making more sense now. So I shall now attempt to focus on getting my query working, and not on glueless patches, the excess of English-speaking blogs in the world (blogs speak?), or the possibility that spammers are reading my mind.

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