Friday, October 30, 2009


For this post you'll know that my sleep schedule isn't normal. I sleep during the day. Deal with it.

Anyway, sometime between noon and 3 PM I momentarily woke up long enough to hear the UPS guy knock on the door. Fortunately I knew it wasn't a package I'd have to sign for, so I just went back to sleep. At 3 I got up and brought the box inside. It was some stuff my mom had ordered from L.L.Bean. Then I went back to sleep.

During this time I had this dream that I opened the door and there was another package there that I somehow hadn't noticed. I remember in the dream it had been pretty much right next to the first one and I just hadn't seen it or picked it up. I don't remember what it was.

I got up at 5 PM and lo and behold, there was another package on the front porch, this time from FedEx. It was the Hamilton Beach nonstick contact grill that I'd gotten off of My Coke Rewards for 1700 points.

So I bring in a package, go to sleep, have a dream about opening the door and finding another package out there, then I get up, open the door, and find another package out there.


The grill itself is pretty neat. It's pretty much a takeoff of a George Foreman grill, slightly slanted with a little catch tray for the fat or whatever. I reheated some taco meat in it, and it worked pretty well. Being nonstick it also cleaned up really easily.

The only real drawbacks are its size (it's tiny, you could only really fit two hamburger patties in it) and that it doesn't have any form of adjustment knob. You just plug it in and it's on. The tray looks like the sides are designed to be a little drawer, but it doesn't actually have rails for it, so if you pick the thing up you'll leave the tray behind.

It came with a manual that aside from instructions and warnings has some recipes designed to be cooked with the grill. It's also bilingual (English and what I believe is French). It also came with a scraper/spatula thing designed for it (you know, so it won't harm the non-stick coating).

Monday, October 26, 2009

linuxmancy level up

That's right, I am now a level 2 Linuxmancer. I got level 1 when I got pissed off at how Ubuntu tries to hide everything from you.

So for a while I've wanted to rid my server of its aging unsupported Ubuntu install. It took a while to get to the point where I could reformat and install just a server configuration on it. This was due to me needing to find a way to get ~75GB of data that I cared about deeply out of my home directory (analogous to My Documents on Windows, it's where you store all your stuff. Because you don't have write permissions for the rest of the filesystem. Because this isn't Windows). Eventually I manually scp'd over and deleted enough of the large files (anime, mostly) that I had enough free disk space to archive the remaining files into one 27GB .tar.gz file that I could scp over to my desktop and be done with it.

The primary reason that I wanted to reinstall was that it was in fact a desktop configuration that was being used as a server, so it had a lot of graphical crap (X, GDM, xfce, graphical applications, etc.) installed. Those things were running in the background and cluttering up my RAM and hard drive while not actually being useful.

The secondary reason was that the version of Ubuntu I had installed (Feisty Fawn) no longer has package repositories available, meaning I couldn't install anything or upgrade existing packages. This needed to be fixed, because I kind of want to have access to security and feature updates.

The first problem I encountered was actually with the 27GB .tar.gz file. I was trying to extract it using IZarc, which is the normal archiving program I use for pretty much everything. I figured it was going to take a while so I set it off and started playing Guitar Hero to pass the time. A few songs later I notice it's done, so I browse to the directory and there's nothing there.

After investigating a little I discovered a fatal flaw in IZarc: it extracts files to a temporary directory on your C drive and then transfers them to where you actually told it to extract them to, instead of just extracting them where you told it to. In most normal cases this wouldn't be an issue, but due to my setup, it was. My C drive is only 20 GB, and only about 9 or so are free. So with its flawed method of extracting files I couldn't do it. If it would move (it is a move operation, not a copy, right? This is mostly directed at IZarc's developer(s).) after every file it would work, but it seems to want to transfer after the entire operation is done. It errored after a while and transferred what it had extracted, but it clearly wouldn't do.

So I downloaded and installed 7-Zip. Thankfully, it extracts directly to where you told it to extract instead of this "temp directory on your C drive and then transfer after we're done" crap. So I lit it off and played some more Guitar Hero. Eventually I FCed a couple more songs and as a bonus I had all those juicy files to sort through. I've done some of it but I keep putting it off.

Anyway, with the files backed up and accessible, it became time to reformat my server and get it going again. With this came a change in Linux distribution, to Arch Linux. See, the neat thing about it is that it's fairly user friendly, but puts you in full control over everything. It assumes you know what you're doing, but has really good documentation so you can easily see how to do something. Unlike Ubuntu, which assumes you know nothing and tries to hide all the inner workings of everything.

So I've spent the last few hours installing and configuring my server, and I did way more stuff (and learned way more about how this Linux stuff works) than I'd ever have done if I was using a recent Ubuntu. Thankfully, Arch Linux has a wiki full of documentation, so it's pretty easy to see what you need to do so you can do what you want to do.

The first thing, that I always encounter after a virgin install of Arch Linux (I've been playing around with it in VirtualBox, but this is my first system-native install of it) is that I can't access the internet. I always grief about this trying stupid things that don't work and then I facepalm and realize there's one simple thing in /etc/rc.conf you have to change for it to work (setting up the default route to your gateway, for anyone who's so inclined and wants to know). If only I'd remember this one stupid setting, I'd save myself a lot of time.

So with the internet accessible, it became time to update. The thing about Arch Linux is, it operates on a rolling release. Whatever install disc you have is basically just a snapshot of everything that's current when they make the install disc. So the older your install disc is, the older the packages are on it, and the more stuff you need to update after installing it. The awesome thing about a rolling release is once you install it, you never need to worry about distribution upgrades or any of that junk like on Ubuntu. You just keep updating your packages to their most recent versions. Even if another install disc is released, if your packages are updated you've got what's on that disc (and a whole lot more, the disc images are only 300MB or so and don't include everything).

The gist of that previous paragraph is: this initial mass-update takes quite a while.

So I chatted on IRC and watched some YouTube videos and stuff. Went back to it, and it had finished. If I'd started up Guitar Hero, I'd have played for so long that I'd have gone to sleep and forgotten entirely. Anyway.

The next thing about Arch Linux is that it installs only the bare minimum amount of stuff necessary to get you a working system, and then it's up to you to install anything extra. Which is exactly what I want. Ubuntu and other distros clog your system's arteries with so much stuff it's amazing your computer doesn't have a heart attack after the install finishes. So anyway I take my bare-bones text mode only install and start adding stuff. The first thing is ssh, which I neglected to add in the install process. Here's the next thing that Ubuntu insulates you from: having to configure what daemons are allowed to use network connections. It's a fairly simple edit to /etc/hosts.allow in Arch Linux.

Now that I can ssh in, the rest of the setup can happen remotely, via my desktop and the awesome Windows SSH client PuTTY.

I'm not going to intricately timeline the rest of this, so I'll tell you where I stand right now and explain a couple random things along the way. In addition to everything else I've mentioned (and a few other things like htop and fortune), I have Apache (web server), PHP (server-side scripting language), and MySQL (relational database) set up and linked together and all that good stuff. So my web server can serve dynamically-generated web pages constructed with information from a database. Good stuff.

Then I went through the hell of installing and configuring phpMyAdmin so I could add users and databases and stuff to MySQL easily. I think that the developers for phpMyAdmin deliberately make it as hard to get to a working configuration as possible.

First you have to copy a config file from one directory to another and edit your web server's config to include the contents of that file. Then you need to edit a .htaccess file (its name is just .htaccess, the leading dot hides a file from view on *nix filesystems) to comment out a deny from all that prevents you from accessing it. Then you have to make a directory called config in its directory, set its permissions so the web server can write files in it, and go to its setup URL in your web browser. If you're lucky, that will work and after you finish setting everything there will be a sitting in that config directory. If not (as was the case for me), you tell it to show you what it would be writing to that directory if it was playing nicely and then copy/paste it to where the config file it generates is supposed to go. Then you have to remove the config directory so won't nag you about it later. Next, it has a file with a bunch of SQL you have to run on your server. That's easy enough, start up the command line client and import it. Then you install some modules/extensions/whatever for PHP that it needs to give you full functionality. Only now are you done, and only now can you sit back, relax, and write a blog post about your experience.

So yeah. Arch Linux is awesome. IZarc would be good if not for that fatal flaw.

fortune -o
fortune -o
fortune -o
fortune -o
fortune -o

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's that time again...

Wallpapers! 19 of them!

There were a fair number of detexts/other edits this time around. I actually caught the one with the transparent background this time instead of accidentally letting it slip through like I did in the previous update. That wallpaper's been fixed and the post edited to link to the new version.

Also, plenty of Sakaki.

Monday, October 12, 2009

UAC configurability

I guess I should have inspected the Group Policy Editor in Windows 7 a little more thoroughly before. I've now found that it's possible to require the user to enter an administrator password in the UAC prompt. Why this isn't on by default, we'll never know.

The source of this information is a Microsoft TechNet article written for Vista, but the options are exactly the same in Windows 7. It's mostly tl;dr, so the key information isn't intentionally hidden, but outside of descriptions of settings it's mostly stuff that will probably make you enter "skim over huge amount of text" mode. If you're curious, the options we're changing in the Group Policy Editor are covered in Table 2.1 and Table 2.2.

So here's how to get UAC set up to actually be secure. These directions are written for Windows 7, since that's what I'm using to test them. I don't have a copy of Vista to run virtualized, so... yeah. These instructions should work on Vista though.

There are two distinct tasks here, making UAC prompt as often as possible, and then configuring it to require password entry. These instructions assume you have administrative access to the computer. As always, it's important that you follow the instructions exactly and don't randomly change things that aren't mentioned. The Group Policy Editor is a very powerful configuration tool that can change a lot of aspects of your system, so just like with the registry, you should be careful.

Making UAC prompt as often as possible:
  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Go to the Control Panel.
  3. Open the Action Center.
  4. In the pane on the left, click User Account Control settings.
  5. Move the slider all the way up to Always Notify.
  6. Click OK.
  7. If UAC prompts you, allow the change.
Requiring password entry:
  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type gpedit.msc into the search box and press Enter.
  3. You may have to answer a UAC prompt here, especially if you already set it to Always Notify. You want to get in here, so you should allow Microsoft Management Console to make changes.
  4. In the pane on the left, under Computer Configuration:
    1. Expand Windows Settings.
    2. Expand Security Settings.
    3. Expand Local Policies.
    4. Select Security Options.
  5. Now, in the right pane, scroll down until you find the options whose names begin with User Account Control.
  6. Double click Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode.
  7. In the dropdown, select Prompt for credentials on the secure desktop.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Repeat this process for Behavior of the elevation prompt for standard users.
  10. Go back to the pane on the left. Under Computer Configuration:
    1. Collapse Windows Settings.
    2. Expand Administrative Templates.
    3. Expand Windows Components.
    4. Select Credential User Interface.
  11. Now, in the right pane, double click Enumerate administrator accounts on elevation.
  12. Set it to Enabled and click OK.
  13. If you want you can enable Require trusted path for credential entry as well, this will make it so you have to press Ctrl+Alt+Del before entering a password. This will prevent trojans, keyloggers, and the like from getting your password.
  14. Close the Group Policy Editor.
  15. Go on with life.
Now you will be prompted for an administrator password whenever you do something that should rightfully generate a UAC prompt. Ideally your everyday user account shouldn't be an administrator, but that's another rant...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

youtube fail

They've forced everyone to the new channels now, despite the overwhelming majority of people hating them.

Why don't big websites (facebook, youtube, etc.) actually fucking LISTEN to their users' input?

The new channels make it impossible to put together a quicklist of videos, something I'd used somewhat frequently. They also have horrible navigation and you can't view comments on the video from them at all.

People have been telling them how much the new channels suck since they were unveiled, and they've made no effort to even address criticisms or complaints. They just acted like we, the users who have to use their now shitty site, don't know jack about what we actually want to see and use. In reality it's the exact opposite, they don't know jack about what users want and in the process they're succumbing to all this "oh web 2.0 for everything nobody should ever have to experience the jarring process of a page load more than once" bullshit.

They're just out of touch. Where's my option to not have videos autoplay dammit? It wouldn't be that hard to implement, especially considering your channel's featured video has an autoplay toggle. I wouldn't mind having them auto-load, so that I have the entire damn video when I hit play and I don't experience the hell that is YouBuffering, but... seriously, your site sucks, YouTube.

I might as well just bookmark my subscriptions page because my channel page is ugly and unusable now.

Friday, October 9, 2009

so yeah, guitar hero

I've been posting about other things and actually trying to avoid talking about it too much. I still play the game though, and I'm still racking up the FCs. Here's a summary of FCs I haven't mentioned and other notable stuff.

GH1: I fired this up after playing Bark At The Moon in Smash Hits a bunch, and holy crap Bark At The Moon is severely undercharted (just like everything else) in GH1. I cleared it on my first try. No reason to play this game ever.

GH2: Nothing since the FC of Mr. Fix-It.

I don't have GH Encore Rock the 80's.

GH3: No FCs since Bulls On Parade, however, I'm getting better at The Way It Ends, to the point that I've 4-starred it a second time with a lower score. Still haven't cleared Raining Blood in Expert career yet. I have a lot less of a hard time with Before I Forget's octave chord bridge now and can usually pass the song.

GHWT: Bought all the clothing and guitar/bass parts that I have available to buy. Whee.

Guitar: Obstacle 1 and Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast) FCs. Stupid chokes on The One I Love and Some Might Say. I suck, I know. Passed Hot For Teacher and Satch Boogie on Hard, still can't pass either on Expert.

Bass: A bunch of FCs. I forget where I left off. Looking back through posts tagged "Guitar Hero" I see the last WT Bass FC I mentioned was Livin' On A Prayer, so... Escuela De Calor, Toy Boy, You're Gonna Say Yeah!, Rebel Yell, Mountain Song, American Woman, Go Your Own Way, and Do It Again.


Guitar: For Whom The Bell Tolls. I use this one as warmup, similar to GHWT's Beautiful Disaster and GH3's Generation Rock. I'd probably try for Turn The Page - Live, but the song's note chart cramps my left hand about 1/4th of the way through. Other than that, it's an easy song.

Bass: For Whom The Bell Tolls, Turn The Page - Live, and The Unforgiven.

GHSH: Staggeringly close to both Guitar and Bass FCs of YYZ. The Bass part is every bit as hard as the Guitar part on this one.

Guitar: I Love Rock 'N Roll (the easiest song in all of Guitar Hero), Killer Queen (75% of the chart is piano), Heart-Shaped Box, and Hey You (I still think the end of the solo is overcharted, but I haven't slowed it down in practice to listen for notes), 327k Through The Fire and Flames.

Bass: Hey You (1st place sightread FC! It's still 1st even, my 1st on Enter Sandman is now a 5th), Hit Me With Your Best Shot 100% overstrum (Pat Benatar's bassist loves strummy outros it seems), I Love Rock 'N Roll (sightread FC), Take Me Out (sightread FC), Killer Queen, Nothin' But A Good Time (sightread FC)

I don't have GH5 or GH Van Halen.

So yeah, that's about it. Mostly bass FCs, but a decent amount of guitar mixed in.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frozen Food Rant

Since I'm single (and American), I eat a fair amount of frozen convenience foods. It's only natural to have some aspects of things annoy me, and since I like to rant, here's a rant.

Idiotic cooking times

Most frozen products have both microwave directions and oven directions. Sometimes they have skillet/pan fry/deep fryer directions, but it's dependent on the product. The presence of more than one set of cooking directions makes sense, since they're convenience items. They give the microwave directions so you can prepare it quickly, and the oven directions so you can prepare it correctly. Now I know microwaves are faster than ovens at cooking things, but sometimes the cooking time for the oven directions is crazy.

I have in my hands (well, on my desk, my hands are obviously typing away on my keyboard) the box for Red Baron Singles Deep Dish, pepperoni variety. Let's take a look at its directions, shall we?

Preheat oven to 375°F, remove it from packaging and put directly on the rack. The "directly on the rack" thing I'll cover in a moment, but the next bit is what I'm on about right now. Cook for 21-23 minutes. TWENTY ONE TO TWENTY THREE MINUTES. For a pizza that's approximately 5 inches in diameter (I measured it with a ruler to be sure) and about an inch thick (I didn't measure this but there's no way it's significantly more than an inch). Red Baron's regular full-size pizzas only take 17-19 minutes. What the hell.

Most frozen things' oven directions use a temperature of 400° or 450°. I'm sure if I jacked it up I could cut the cooking time down tremendously. But I don't have the money or time to experiment with it, nor do I wish to eat a shitton of pizza.

"Place directly on the rack"

I know why they want you to do this, but I'm not going to do it. They want you to do it so the item (usually a pizza) doesn't sit in its own grease and get all soggy. But all that grease has to go somewhere, and gravity dictates it's going to go down. Towards the heating element in the electric oven. Thanks a lot. I think I'll avoid setting the house on fire thank you very much.

Also in addition to avoiding setting the house on fire, putting it on a baking sheet makes keeping your oven clean a lot easier. You can always soak up the grease with a paper towel. Just sayin'.

"Cook to an internal temperature of 160°F" in addition to regular cooking directions

Like hell I'm going to get out a meat thermometer or something and measure the temperature of something frozen I've just heated up. As long as there aren't any spots that are still cold, it's good. Plus, shouldn't your directions ensure that it reaches whatever internal temperature it's supposed to reach?

Frozen items are convenience items. It's not convenient to have to jam a thermometer into it to see if it's at some arbitrary temperature. Fail.

Warning that the product will be hot

One should hope. I just stuck it in a 375° oven for 21 minutes, if it's still cold there's a problem with my oven. Are people really so stupid that they need to be warned that something that's just come out of an oven will be hot? Oh wait, that's why we have the Stella awards.

What a sad world we live in, when the obvious requires warnings.

Different directions for different amounts of the product

Now I can see where this makes perfect sense. If you've got, say, a party size box of TGI Friday's Chicken Quesadilla Rolls and you're heating them up in the oven, it makes sense that you might want to save some for later, and therefore you'd be heating up less than the entire package. It does take less time to heat up fewer things.

However, they completely arbitrarily assign the point at which you're supposed to use the longer cooking time. I know they have to divide it somewhere, but... there are directions for 6 or fewer and 7 or more. Normally I make half the package, which is usually 8. The 6 or fewer directions are 450° for 4:45, then flip and another 4:45. I question the need for flipping, but whatever. The 7 or more directions are 450° for 7 minutes then flip and 7 more minutes. I don't feel as though heating up 8 of them should require 150% of the cooking time required for heating up 6 when I'm only heating up 33% more.

Oven directions saying "flip the product over"

It's an oven, not a microwave. It'll heat stuff evenly without having to flip it or rotate it. It's true that some things are helped along by being flipped, or in the case of those TGI Friday's Chicken Quesadilla Rolls it browns the tortilla evenly. But hardly anything actually needs to be flipped in an oven. Only if you care about aesthetics.

Microwave directions without a specified microwave wattage

The major difference between microwaves that is responsible for cooking time changes is the wattage of the microwave. Our current microwave is 1200 watts. Our old one that died was 700. It doesn't help me adjust the cooking time for my microwave when you don't tell me what wattage you formulated the directions on. Companies are getting better about this, but it's still an issue.

The microwave directions don't work at all

This is mostly found with frozen burritos. Even if you follow the instructions perfectly that burrito will still have a cold spot. Guaranteed. I think they're written for convenience store microwaves which are typically a lot more powerful than your typical home microwave, but they don't tell you this and they're on the freezer aisle in regular grocery stores too.

Boxes with way less in them than they can hold

Consumer Reports has an award for this. It's called the Black Hole award. There's sometimes a product that gets awarded this oh-so-prestigious award in each month's Selling It, which is a collection of user-submitted advertising/marketing/packaging/instructions goofs and general WTFs. This mostly happens with the smaller boxes. Buy the party size whenever you can. It usually works out to be cheaper in the long run anyway.

The finished product doesn't look like it does on the box

This happens approximately 100% of the time. Why are companies allowed to misrepresent what the product looks like on its own label?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dodgeball DVD Easter Eggs

Dodgeball's been out for a while, but it's awesome, so who cares.

In the Special Features menu, highlight the Globo Gym Purple Cobras logo and hit Enter to see the overview of the easter eggs: Every time White Goodman snaps his fingers in the movie, you can hit Enter for an easter egg. Naturally, at this point, your memory of every single time he snaps his fingers is immediately erased, so you'll either have to poke around the scene select menu or consult an online list (like *ahem* this one).

Most of them are at the end of a scene, so they're actually faster to get to by going to the scene directly after and rewinding through the previous scene a bit. In addition to the scene name I'll describe generally what's happening so you can get your bearings while rewinding. This might look kinda weird on Facebook since I'm using an HTML table, which Blogger permits but Facebook doesn't.

Scene 4: Ms. for a Mr. - a Serious SituationJust as White Goodman is getting into the tanning bed.
Scene 7: Ipso Facto, He's Your BossJust before Kate Veach leaves White's office.
Scene 10: Enter the Purple CobrasJust before the Purple Cobras leave the bar.
Scene 13: White Goodman Comes a Courtin'Just before White Goodman makes his exit.
Scene 17: ¿Dónde está la biblioteca, Pedro?Just before Me'Shell opens the briefcase containing $100,000.

I believe that's all of them. I'll leave discovering what they show to you, but I will tell you that the one in Scene 10 does indeed restart the movie with the commentary enabled, so you may want to skip that one, since it's up to you to turn the commentary back off if you'd like to continue viewing the easter eggs without random bits of the commentary interjected.

Also, if you're going to be inserting this DVD into your computer, either to check out the easter eggs or to see the screenplay extra, do yourself a huge favor and disable autorun. It tries to install shit, which is undoubtedly a DRM scheme and a custom-crippled player (I don't want to risk running it to see what it does), which if you've already got a player you prefer you won't need it and even then you should get a proper player. To disable autoplay, on Windows at least, the easiest way to do so is to simply hold Shift when putting the disc tray back in. Keep holding it until the drive's light stops blinking. This is a temporary disable only. Also, instead of hunting all over the disc for the screenplay, simply open dodgeball_mac.swf. The one for Windows is buried and tries to do shit with your web browser. The Mac one just opens and does what it should and nothing more (theoretically, I haven't disassembled it to look for getURL commands).

I personally recommend installing CCCP since it gives you the ability to play back pretty much any video file ever, and it gives you the best player to do that with, Media Player Classic Homecinema. It has a minimalistic interface that's light on resources, and lot of options. Accepting the defaults in the CCCP installer will get you going, but I would change the file associations to MPCHC. It's not that big of a deal, you can do that from within MPCHC anyway (and you get all the formats this way):
  1. Start up Media Player Classic Homecinema (after a default CCCP install, look in Start->All Programs->Combined Community Codec Pack, you may want to right click and pin this to the start menu (or Windows 7's taskbar))
  2. Go to View->Options (or simply press O)
  3. Select Formats in the tree on the left.
  4. Click the Video button.
  5. Click OK.
  6. You're set!
Important to note is that you can play back Flash files in MPCHC, including Dodgeball's screenplay extra. MPCHC doesn't work too well for flash games since the player's keyboard shortcuts (including any actions with the mouse) take precedence over anything Flash does, which means games can't receive keyboard or mouse events that are bound to actions in MPCHC.

You can also play back those FLV files you've ganked from YouTube or other streaming video sites. No need for a separate player that only plays that one format, no need to transcode/convert (which will always result in a loss of quality, no matter how small), none of that crap.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mega Rant

I typed this offline and copypasta'd it into Blogger for reasons stated below.

I updated to the latest SRWare Iron and it's a huge improvement over the last version I used. Chrome themes now actually work. No weird glitches upon maximizing the window anymore either. It's still a web browser with no useful extensions at all (i.e. ad blocking, script/object blocking), but at least I can make it look similar to all the rest of the things I'm running.

Then for shits and giggles I installed Opera. Spent a little bit browsing their widgets site, concluded that there aren't really any useful ones on there with only one or two exceptions. There's a Google Translator one that's pretty neat, and one that hooks into GasBuddy to show you gas prices in the area you specify. The Google Translator one works well, but the gas prices one? Even though its linked site has information on Charlottesville gas prices, it just says "no information for this area." Useless. Opera's widgets have nothing on Firefox's extensions. If you want to block ads in Opera, there's no easy way to go about it. There isn't a community-maintained block list (or the infrastructure to have one and fetch updates from time to time), you have to manually block everything and edit the list to wildcard bad domains yourself. There's no object subrequest blocking either, so you'll still see those ads in YouTube videos.

So while I was using Opera (and speaking of YouTube), I figured I'd log into YouTube and see if anyone I'm subscribed to had put up a new video. This is where Opera fails. Since I have it set to block third party cookies, as any security-minded person would do, I can't log into YouTube at all. Never mind that I have Firefox set the very same way and I can log in and out of YouTube all I want.

Then while I was browsing around, it stopped wanting to load YouTube entirely. It must have been a Comcast thing because I went back over to Firefox and it wasn't working there either. It was either that or a Google thing, since I couldn't get Blogger to load either and Google owns both.

So with everything I wanted to do on the internet not working, I moved on to something that's been bothering me for a while. Before I panicked and reformatted/reinstalled windows, I had no operational problems with Winwall. Now it seems that even with the exact same wallpaper list I had before, it insists on adding all the images in the root of the drive my wallpaper directory is on when I load the list. I swear I didn't have to hide five million things before. I have IncludeSubDirs=Off in patch.ini since there are two subdirectories I don't want it picking up on, but the images it adds are one level up the directory structure. All the more reason to write my own wallpaper rotator I guess. Since none of the available solutions do it correctly, I'll just have to do it myself.

Last but not least, Sankaku. Artefact has started putting the shock image a few images before the end of the gallery instead of it always being the last image in the gallery. Just when I'd finally gotten all the bugs out of my greasemonkey script. I don't think it's in a predictable location, and there isn't anything identifying about it that I can see (or access via Javascript). At least stick an id="shockimage" on there so it can be easily targeted (in Javascript via GreaseMonkey; in CSS via Stylish; or even via AdBlock Plus element hiding rules, which kick complete ass).

Sankaku has also been undergoing subtle changes to their site's structure that caused it to conflict with NoScript and AdBlock Plus. Apparently Artefact wanted to merge the blog portion of the site with the forums. In the process, the javascript needed for the blog portion got buried so far that I can't have the site work 100% without allowing their ads via an exception rule. I tried making a greasemonkey script to work around it, but came across a critical flaw in greasemonkey: scripts you write run after the target document has finished loading and its scripts have had a chance to run. To uproot Sankaku's scripts and replace them with my own to keep functionality without allowing ads, I'd need to be able to access the page's content before its scripts get the chance to run. Basically this means I'd have to learn how to write Firefox extensions, which will take way more time than it's worth because the documentation is horrible. So instead I just put in the exception rule and then added a few more element hiding rules to get the ads out of my sight. So now I've got ten element hiding rules for Sankaku, nine of which are sets of three that seem to be interchangeably used. Overkill much?

So, verdicts: Comcast sucks, Google Chrome/SRWare Iron are still just flashy toys, Opera always sucked, Winwall sucks, and Artefact is a fag.

Friday, October 2, 2009

/me stabs Bono

So CAINE had a meeting as usual tonight. Only difference: I had to park about a mile away and walk, instead of parking across the street from the building and taking the pedestrian bridge over. Why'd I have to do that?

Streets were closed because of a fucking U2 concert. These closed streets prevented me from getting to the parking lot I normally park in.

God dammit.

And so after the meeting we had our usual gathering to go talk about random things for a few hours, and then we left. And by left, I mean we sat in traffic for longer than it would have taken for me to just fucking walk to where I parked. Having friends who will give you a ride to your own car when it's far away is a great thing, but it just took forever to get away from Scott Stadium. This is because our city's traffic direction sucks dicks.

You know what city is completely awesome at directing traffic? Indianapolis, Indiana. Seriously. For almost the past 100 years, they've hosted the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This event draws hundreds of thousands of fans who all need to leave the city right after the event. So what do they do? They take all the roads around the track (including a four lane highway) and make them one-way out of the city. You can leave a race and negotiate the traffic in no time.

What does Charlottesville do? Block off random left turns and straight lanes, no roads are made temporarily one way, and critical intersections without traffic lights don't have traffic direction at all. It's a nightmare. If you're local traffic trying to traverse event traffic in Charlottesville, you're fucked. Nobody cares about anything other than the event and they assume that if you're driving on those roads you must be attending the event.

Bono really has very little to do with this as it's the same regardless of event, but U2 is so overrated that I'm not letting up.

At least on the mile long walk (or at least it felt that way) from U-Hall to Newcomb Hall, I got to hear Muse opening for them playing their one good song, Knights of Cydonia.