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Did this happen elsewhere? [Sep. 17th, 2016|05:52 am]
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Immediately before Trump entered the stage of Fallon's Tonight Show on NBC, the local CBS station - which I was watching at the time (because I like Colbert more) - suddenly went off the air for several minutes, returning approximately 30 seconds before the end of Fallon's "interview" with Trump.

While it's likely that the CBS station just had to do some transmitter maintenance to get their closed captions working (they were absent before the outage, but worked fine afterwards), I still find the timing somewhat suspicious.

The only reason I'm mentioning this publicly is because I want to know if this happened anywhere else, or just on the digital TV airwaves in Utah. Did anyone else get that?

Getting Spammed by the GOP - part 2 [Sep. 13th, 2016|12:58 am]

So, today, we got another letter from the Republicans... the third one so far this month, that I know of.

They are now doing that thing I really hate where a group will actually -send- money or gifts while soliciting donations.

I think we'll keep the dollar... But I'm tempted to reply with a little note:

Dear Reince Priebus,
Thanks for the dollar.
We promptly burned it to save you the trouble.
...And that's how to do sarcasm!

Getting Spammed by the GOP [Sep. 8th, 2016|09:26 pm]

Click the image to view on DeviantArt

During August 2016, we'd receive as many as three envelopes in a week from these people, each one containing a long letter describing how desperate they are for money (for reasons that I don't consider valid), and a reply envelope (or, in one case, three) with which to send our contribution.

To put it mildly: "This seems excessive."

Plus, there's some sort of really stupid irony in the whole idea of Donald Rump asking my family for money. It's the kind of irony that makes me wish people could be arrested, fined, and/or jailed for excessive irony.

Frankly, I don't like either side very much (I'm actually leaning towards the Libertarian candidate right now), but there's no ambiguity about which one is spending more money to directly bother my family.

I'm currently in the process of composing an angry letter to them, asking them to stop.
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An experiment in graphics programming [Jul. 1st, 2016|05:47 pm]

Lately, I've been digging through some of my really old QuickBasic graphics experiments, and figuring out ways to convert some of the more interesting routines to JavaScript... (Because, dang, I was imaginative in the early 90s!)

I figure this trippy thing is especially worth sharing, as it's one of the more interesting results.

Later, I want to make a version of this that will measure its own performance and allow users to send it in as feedback. If this sort of thing runs smoothly enough on enough computers (and if I can get sound to work well enough), I might try to convert some of my old unfinished games into versions that can be played online. That will be interesting!

Goals for 2016 [Feb. 9th, 2016|05:36 am]
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This year, I hope to:

- Backup all the hard drives over here. It's been a while... (It's 2016; Have you backed up your files lately?)

- Get a ref made of my new sona. The design's pretty much all together in my head; I just need to find the time and the motivation to sit down for a few hours and try to set it to pixels. (And I might stream that, too; hoping that having an audience might help me stay motivated and productive... Or at least it's worth a try.)

- Commission more art of my characters. I actually did manage, somewhat recently, to come into enough money that I was able to set aside some of it specifically for art. The main problem now is that I can't decide whether to wait until I can get a ref of my new sona put together (a debut that's long overdue) and then get lots of art of it (because I know I'll want that), or get some art of some of my other characters in the meantime even though that will mean less art of my sona when that's ready. I'll admit, this decision would be much less taxing if I didn't have to worry so much about the money. Thus the next item:

- Find some source of proper, regular income. To be honest, I think I've developed a minor phobia of spending money on "nice things"; That's the natural result, though, of having had so little for so long. Would you believe I've been unemployed for over a decade? While I do manage to earn a few dollars here and there, mostly with doing computer repairs for the neighbors, I really need something more substantial. (I'd consider a Patreon, for example, if I had something good to offer...)

- Finally, if there's time, maybe I should try to figure out just how the heck I manage to be kept so busy by so much nothing! Fun fact: This list was originally supposed to be of my New Year's resolutions. See how good I am at getting things done on time?

A quick question about here and there... [Dec. 13th, 2015|07:42 am]
I keep pretty much forgetting this thing exists. Not sure if I should bother posting stuff here again or not. (And it's not like I have much to say nowadays anyway...)

Is there anyone watching me here who isn't also watching my DA and/or FA pages?

(My Youtube doesn't count because it doesn't have a "Journal" feature... Or at least one I intend to use at all.)
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My take on the recent IMVU drama over at FA...‮ [Apr. 1st, 2015|05:54 pm]

I'm with the community that will come together as a sort of plan. Yes.

Just because this is the response can be free from bias, then yeah, this acquisition was. Heh, I make the changes, doesn't mean new crazy rules / art bans / censorship on FA, I'll be on Facebook that rely on your page so you have a few of my head - Weasyl, Inkbunny, others hate them, users that have fallen through, this is kinda harsh if they want to check if it, a quick message to all watchers?

Please, bothering me is definitely not right...Collapse )

Alert for Avast users, danger of data loss! [Nov. 14th, 2014|04:48 am]
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I figure this is important enough to post here as well...

Avast's "Browser Cleanup" tool has a bug that may cause it to delete a large number of installed programs and/or other files on your hard drive, while supposed to be only removing "unwanted" toolbars.

DetailsCollapse )
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The things I do for money... [Dec. 18th, 2013|01:39 am]
So, after getting to bed and falling asleep at around 4 AM last night, I had to get up again at 5 to answer the phone, because one of my neighbors was having internet trouble.
By the time I had a very early breakfast, finished waking up all over again, and got into the car, it was 6 AM... And the full moon was still out, and big and bright.
Long story short, a DSL modem needed to be reset... And I figured, having to be up so early is very likely to mess up the entire day, and I predicted I was going to need caffeine.
So, on the way home, I brought a mug by the local 7-11 and got a refill. 4 parts Mountain Dew, two parts Fuze Raspberry Tea, one part Cherry Coke... with one shot of lime and two of coconut. It tasted pretty good!
It did a pretty good job of keeping me awake enough to get some work done, too. By the time suppertime rolled around, I had had about half of it.
...And then my mom, without asking, dumped the rest of it into some punch she was making for supper.
And it tasted weird. And now I'm sleepy.
What a day.

A Star Trek pun dream. [Nov. 22nd, 2013|06:49 am]

The man and his two sisters were captains, each of their own Federation starship, and tended to travel as a group while patrolling one of the more dangerous Neutral Zones at the edge of Federation territory. During their many missions, and their many adventures, they had to have been doing something right; for, at some point, they had managed to incur the attention of some sort of unknown, unseen, unidentified assassin.

Read more...Collapse )

This was a dream I had a few weeks ago. I have never been so impressed by the punning ability of my own subconscious! (Although that does seem like a lot of setup for just that one pun, doesn't it?)
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What I've been up to the last few months... [Oct. 19th, 2013|07:15 am]

I haven't been feeling very creative lately. I've been too busy with other things to bother coming up with more stuff to post here. Sorry about that!

I repaired a neighbor's TV recently. A huuuuuge flat-screen HDTV. I had to remove 31 screws just to get the back off, 3 more to get a bracket out of the way, and then 6 to get a circuit board out. That was mounted on a backplate, which had to come off, and that involved undoing 16 more screws plus 11 of those little plastic standoffs that you had to pinch with pliers (those count, right?)... All to get to the back of a circuit board and solder on a part I got for $2 at Radio Shack! ...And then 3 more screws to move a fan out of the way so I could wrestle that board back into place and reconnect all the wires!

Imagine using the total number of screws you have to undo as an indicator of the complexity of the job you're doing. This TV repair job would have a score of 31+3+6+16+11+3, or 70 screws. That's a lot! (Especially considering how I had to lean over the TV at a very painful angle - it was too big for the table so I had it on the carpeted floor, and was practically standing on my head while undoing most of these screws! Oh, my aching spine! Don't worry, it's all better now!)

In comparison, I also recently replaced a power supply in a friend's computer, because the 5V line had become "flaky" and was causing the power supply to shut off (thank goodness that's all it did!) whenever a USB device was plugged in. That was only a 6-screw job: Two to get the side open, four for the power supply!

The good news: I earned a lot of money!

But I'm not done yet: Eventually, I gotta replace the motherboard in my own computer because of its bizarre sensitivity to cold. I'm also building more computers: some to sell, and some which will be Christmas presents to friends and family members whose computers badly, badly need upgrading!

I am so, so busy!

(By the way, it's probably worth pointing out that I collect old dead computers sometimes. Some of them just need replacement parts to be as good as new, while others usually have useful parts worth salvaging!)
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‮Sometimes I hate Unicode... [Aug. 23rd, 2013|09:44 pm]
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The Unicode character set is meant to contain pretty much every possible character from every language, including a variety of miscellaneous symbols, and even spaces of varying widths for multiple purposes.

There are also some very special Unicode character codes (I believe the technical term is "code points") that, instead of being printable characters, mark the formatting of the following text. For example, there's an invisible code that can be placed at the beginning of Arabic or Hebrew text to specify that the text is meant to be read in a right-to-left direction.

This seems perfectly reasonable, until you see that same special formatting code used in filenames, directory names, and Windows registry keys... Suddenly you're trying to delete a virus and you're getting error messages like ".yek gniteled elihw rorrE" and wondering what the heck language that is... Or trying to look through a virus scanner's log file and seeing a messed-up line of text, or trying to tell people on a message board that you're having problems with the "gupdate" service, when in fact the problem is named "(reverse)etadpug" and regedit can't even parse that name correctly because of that Unicode cheat!

(Yes, my nephew had that virus on his computer. After spending several hours trying to deal with it manually, some Googling pointed me to a program called "RogueKiller" which took care of the problem very nicely.)

Unicode has its good points (pun intended), but sometimes I just hate how much potential for malfunction and mischief there is! (For example, is there something up with the tags in this LJ post?)
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Firefox sound vs sound reasoning. [Mar. 11th, 2013|03:20 am]
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Regarding my experiments with generated sound in JavaScript, I'm officially declaring them a failure, at least for now. HTML5 still seems like a good platform for programming simple games, but I'll be using an embedded Java applet for sound. (Of course, if I'm going to do that, I might as well just abandon HTML5 entirely and program the whole thing in Java, right?)

Mozilla's Audio Data API, in addition to being proprietary (which I actually don't mind), is also not working correctly in current Firefox versions (it actually never worked the way I wanted it to), and it's apparently also already deprecated, despite not having anything good to replace it with yet!

(There is, apparently, a new standard that they're supposedly considering; I even found the specs for it, but the whole thing reads like the ramblings of an Eastern European mental patient who's halfway through his first month of an "English as a third language for mental patients" night school course. My rule is: If I don't understand it, I'm not using it!)


During my experiments, I began thinking up a list of criteria for what I would consider a good sound API...Collapse )

With these criteria in mind, a functional API pretty much designs itself. Still, I'll consider typing up a detailed specification later, if anyone seems interested in it. (Even though I don't expect much to come of it!)

(In Firefox's defense, it's possible to do some nifty things with the sound functions provided; it just can't be used adequately for games or any application where one needs to minimize lag.)

Toshiba 64GB USB flash drives. [Mar. 9th, 2013|03:31 am]

Wow, there are a lot of inexpensive Toshiba 64GB USB flash drives on eBay right now...

There's only one problem: Toshiba doesn't make 64GB USB flash drives! (At least not yet...)
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Missed opportunity [Mar. 5th, 2013|04:12 am]

My dad got an interesting phone call earlier today. Some unidentified guy with a foreign accent (sounded Indian, perhaps even Pakistani) was trying to convince us that our computers had malware on them.

When I asked him why he would think that, he couldn't answer. He just said the same things over and over again. I'm not even sure he knew much English; he may have just been reading from a script.

As soon as he insisted for the third time that I turn on my computer, I knew what was coming up next: He was going to ask me to go to a certain webpage and download something terrible. That's when I hung up on him.

...I probably missed an opportunity to mess with a scammer's mind. I should've pretended to go along with his instructions, and then made up some sort of random error message for him to try to help me "debug".

"Hang on, the web site isn't coming up. I'm getting an error message saying the site is blocked."

And then, if he asks what anti-virus program I use, I'll make up some random name. "The screen says, 'Warning: Vengeful Spirit Web Sentry has blocked access to this site because it contains content that may harm your system'... Are you sure you gave me the right web page address?"

Oh, the fun I could've had... If my family ever gets another phone call like this in the future, I'm totally gonna try this.

Because those damn hacker-wannabes are just begging for some trolling.

Lisa Simpson hates to disappoint you... [Dec. 12th, 2012|05:00 am]
My 2012 calendar ends on December 31st! That means the world is going to end, waaah!

...Either that or I should start shopping for a 2013 calendar. Duh.

Sharp Objects really hates showoffs! [Dec. 6th, 2012|03:32 am]
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Fanfiction excerpt. Caution: May contain traces of Pony.Collapse )

(An excerpt from "Duff the Magical, Duff the Liar", a novel by my Pony character Sharp Objects. That's right, even my characters are writing their own fanfictions!)
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Was it a wriggler? Deedle-deedle-deedle-deedle-ee! [Nov. 7th, 2012|04:41 am]
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I'm 35 (and one week).
I've been unemployed for over ten years.
I live with my parents, and they're as sick of me as I am of them.
I voted for Romney.

While the election results were coming in, I kept glancing at the TV and seeing the popular vote percentages: 49% for Obama, 49% for Romney.

And, even when they were announcing that Obama had won, the same numbers kept appearing on the screen: 49% for Obama, 49% for Romney.

It's like watching a football game and hearing, "Cowboys win, 49 to 49!"

And then I see the map, with all that red and blue plastered over it, and think some "Team Fortress 2" is going to break out! (Plus, there's obviously more red than blue! Are you blind, metaphorical football referees?)

Methinks Obama's been teaching math to the people who count the votes. Either that or we should just stop trusting government entirely.

Can it be coincidence that the price of silver just jumped a full dollar? (Not that I mind much when the value of silver increases, but between that and an economy in which I can actually get a good job, which do you think I'd prefer?)

Of course, there's always hope... Regardless of the mistakes Obama has made in the last four years, there's always hope that he might, just might, eventually actually figure out how money works. Let's keep hoping!

...What I wonder is: If we throw out all the votes from illegal immigrants, would Obama still win?
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I need your shouts! [Oct. 27th, 2012|05:34 am]

Quite literally, in fact! I'm working on a piece of music right now, and there are parts of it in which I want a crowd of people shouting "Hey Kangaroo!" and "Roo! Roo! Roo!"

Would you like to be part of that crowd? Do you have a decent microphone, a few minutes of free time, and a good place in which to make a recording of you yelling "Hey Kangaroo!" and "Roo! Roo! Roo!"?

Your voice would be most welcome! If you'd like to participate, please go to this page, which contains detailed instructions and a link to related media.

Feel free to spread the word as well! Thanks!

SProtector.dll and why you shouldn't have it. [Sep. 28th, 2012|03:39 am]

Just typing this up for the benefit of others who have the same problem and have to resort to a Google search. (The next-best thing to knowing stuff!)

Here's the problem I encountered on a relative's computer:
  Several programs would not start at all, instead giving the typical "This program died" error message right off the bat. In most (but not all) cases, rundll32.exe will crash in ntdll.dll with exception code 0xC0000374 (This is the "STATUS_HEAP_CORRUPTION" error) yada-yada-yada...
Here's a partial list of the programs that were affected:
• Internet Explorer (and it probably would've affected Firefox and Chrome too if they had been installed)
• Security Center in Control Panel
• Windows Firewall in Control Panel
• Internet Settings in Control Panel
• Various other components...
Even GMER, the experts-only use-at-your-own-risk tool for digging out all evidence of rootkit-like virus activity, gets partway through the scan and then crashes. (UPDATE: Turns out that was an unrelated issue.)

This one had me stumped for a few days. (Plus the time it took to run the virus scans; several different programs, each taking a full day each because it was a Windows Vista system. Damn, I hate Vista!)

The culprit turned out to be this file:
C:\Program Files\SProtector\SProtector.dll

Neither AVG, Microsoft Security "let's look like we're trying" Essentials, Windows Malicious Software Removal Tickler, Spybot S&D, nor Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware identify this file as dangerous. Even some determined Google searching yielded no useful clues as to what this file actually is, or what it does... aside from one report, just one, that it might, just might, be a trojan of some sort.

I didn't even suspect that file until I noticed some interesting things about it: The file loads automatically by using the "AppInit_DLLs" registry section (easy to notice because HijackThis scans there), it contains no version information, it has no other files aside from an "uninstall.exe" in its directory, and there's a "SProtector" section in the registry that contains some sort of encrypted data. Put together, these are enough warning signs to be called "warning signs". (UPDATE: Later investigation showed that the DLL file was compressed with UPX as well, just to make its contents slightly harder to examine!)

Deleting the file, and the reference to it in AppInit_DLLs, fixed the problem.

Now that all doubt's been removed, all that's missing is a way to report my findings to the makers of AVG, MBAM, Spybot S&D, Microsoft's MRT team, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...
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