The Burger Of Eternal Fullness

02/04/11 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Common Sense, Science

In a wonderful (cough) thread talking about cancer prevention and why-is-there-so-little-focus-on-that which turned into a thread of big paranoid ranters versus skeptical rebutters, there was a comment that caught my eye that just gave me a chuckle:

The answer is obvious: Preventing cancer doesn't bring in any money. Unless the pharmaceutical industry wants to start selling cookbooks and gym memberships. It's *exactly* like McDonalds. How would they feel if someone invented a hamburger that kept us full forever? Drugs=McDonalds=BIG BUSINESS

Well, yeah, how would they feel? Huh?! HUH!???

So I had to just run with that thought and write a little hypothetical conversation...

Full story »

 

Truth in Spamvertising

01/21/11 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Internet, Spamming

I have been very happy about the collective realization of e-mail software that automatically loading images puts you at risk for more spam simply by having tailored image tags expose to the spammer the fact that you read the e-mail.

Online web mail has been a little slower to come along, especially the versions run by various ISPs. The workarounds, like turning the web browser's own image loading off, are annoying.

I am thus pretty happy that my internet provider has put in a feature into its beta web mail software where images are not automatically loaded.

In the provider's spam trap folder, I have a message about some crappy penny stock scam. The images are set not to load, so there is only a small chunk of text with just a little request:

Please Enable Links and Images to Confirm Your Email!

Ha, ha! How about: NO.

 

DCPIL Insanity

01/03/11 | by Nimble | Categories: Programming

If you are using one of the CodeGear Delphis for .NET and are using an assembly made elsewhere, perhaps in C#, and something in that assembly has changed, say the visibility of a method, you may occasionally run into a case where no matter what you do, the Delphi compile does not seem to recognize the change at all.

It can drive you completely mental.

It turns out that there is a wrapper that you have to delete in these particular cases, and such wrappers have the extension .dcpil. They may be stored in a dcp directory, possibly under C:\Users\Public\Documents\RAD Studio\5.0\dcp if you have a Vista box.

Delete them, rebuild, and all will be well.

 

There Is No Compulsion

12/31/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Religion

I've often seen "there is no compulsion in religion" taken from the Koran/Qur'an to demonstrate moderation and tolerance.

This is from Surah 2, verse 256. That surprised me a little, since the second Surah is known to be somewhat nasty about heretics and unbelievers.

Well, it turns out that it is only a demonstration of moderation and tolerance if taken alone. Here is the fuller context, with that verse and the following verse:

There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.

Whatever the no-compulsion statement means, it seems as though "whatever you believe is fine" is not what is meant.

Perhaps Surah 18:29 would be better: "whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve."

Oh. Maybe not:

Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!

There is one final one that might actually pass muster: the entirety of Surah 109, which is fairly short given the way that the Koran is sorted from longest to shortest:

Say: O disbelievers!
Let each person believe (or disbelieve) whatever he or she wishes.
Is each person be free to believe as he or she wishes?
I worship not that which ye worship;
Nor worship ye that which I worship.
And I shall not worship that which ye worship.
Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.

That's much better!

There are, unfortunately, more verses on the intolerant side, especially in Surahs 3, 4 and 9, but that can wait for another time.

Fortunately, everyone is more than the sum of verses.

 

They Want Your World of Warcraft Password

12/21/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

"Oh my god, somebody else is just about to steal my account!"

That's the fear they prey on, hoping that you will do anything to stop your account being stolen, and in doing so, will type in your name and password on a fake site, thus ensuring that your account will be stolen.


Subject: New Request Notification - Change the Login Address
From: "noreply@blizzard.com" <noreply@blizzard.com>
To: [my e-mail address]

Hello,

Blizzard Entertainment recently received a request to change the e-mail address used to log in to the Battle.net account with the username [my e-mail address]. The e-mail address k***@hotmail.com has been specified as the new username for this Battle.net account. An email has been sent to this new address containing a verification link to complete the change.

Once the new address has been verified, the e-mail address [my e-mail address] can no longer be used to log in to this Battle.net account or any World of Warcraft accounts merged with this Battle.net account.

If you did not initiate this request, please click here to contact the Blizzard Billing & Account Services team immediately.

Sincerely,
The Battle.net Account Team
Online Privacy Policy

You have to be very mildly savvy to know that the click here link is to a bogus domain, loginconfirm.net:

   Domain Name: LOGINCONFIRM.NET
   Registrar: HICHINA ZHICHENG TECHNOLOGY LTD.
   Whois Server: grs-whois.hichina.com
   Referral URL: http://www.net.cn
   Name Server: DNS23.HICHINA.COM
   Name Server: DNS24.HICHINA.COM
   Status: ok
   Updated Date: 20-dec-2010
   Creation Date: 20-dec-2010
   Expiration Date: 20-dec-2011

Domain created yesterday... in China.

I'm sure they're snagging some people with this assholery.

I'm glad this was flagged as a phishing site relatively quickly; the link for the last e-mail I got like this took a lot longer to be flagged.

Need I say that you should never ever ever click on a link in your e-mail folder purporting to be from Blizzard?

----

Another fake one today (January 7):

Greetings

This is an automated notification regarding the recent change(s)As you may or may not be aware of, this conflicts with the EULA and Terms of Agreement.If this proves to be true, your account can and will be disabled. It will be ongoing for further investigation by Blizzard Entertainment's employees.If you wish to not get your account suspended you should immediately verify your account ownership.If the information is deemed accurate, the investigation will be dropped.
This action is taken because we at Blizzard Entertainment take these salesquite seriously. We need to confirm you are the original owner of the account.This is easiest done by confirming your personal information along with concealed information about your account.
we recommend you Login verify Information your account: http://battle-wow-confirm.net/

If you ignore this mail your account can and will be closed permanently. Once we verify your account,we will reply to your e-mail informing you that we have dropped the investigation.billing@blizzard.com. Account security is solely the responsibility of the accoun tholder. Please be advised that in the event of a compromised account, Blizzardrepresentatives typically must lock the account. In these cases the Account,Administration team will require faxed receipt of ID materials before releasing the account for play.


Regards,
Blizzard Entertainment Inc Account Administration Team

They are from:

   Domain Name: BATTLE-WOW-CONFIRM.NET
   Registrar: XIN NET TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
   Whois Server: whois.paycenter.com.cn
   Referral URL: http://www.xinnet.com
   Name Server: NS1.WYDNS.COM
   Name Server: NS2.WYDNS.COM
   Status: ok
   Updated Date: 06-jan-2011
   Creation Date: 06-jan-2011
   Expiration Date: 06-jan-2012

Sigh.

 

Blog spam reduction

12/16/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Spamming

UPDATE: No, it slows them down but it does not stop them. I am going to have to put up with it in the short term and trying to dig into B2Evolution's code again at some point. F-ing jerk-ass spammers.


The comment spam was really picking up this season: 10, 20, 30 a day. I looked at adding my own field to the comment posting, but unlike the code for the forums (mwForum), with the blogging software, it seems comparatively hard to figure out how to code such a feature.

The technique from here seems to work. I did the first three steps, but it seemed that the first two were insufficient to stop the spam.

What worked at last - and I cannot say for sure whether renaming the htsrv directory helped or not - was following step number three: adding the following to the .htaccess in the root directory of the blog domain.

# Fix for comments 
RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://yourdomain.net/.*$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*comment_post\.php$ 
RewriteRule .* - [F]

So far, it seems to be keeping me safe. It has been a few days now with no comment spam at all.

I don't feel safe enough to turn the comment moderation off anytime soon, but that is a future possibility if this comment spam fortification holds :)

 

Microsoft Totally One-Ups Me After Eight Years

12/03/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A], Programming

Eight or nine years ago, I embarked on a small project to make non-blocking concurrent programming easier.

There was a fair bit of code out there on semaphores and mutexes and getting threads to just wait, also known as blocking. The threads in this state do not take up CPU, but they do take up resources. Thread stacks can get to be significant.

Many multi-threading examples at the time had you extend a thread class with the information you wanted.

I wanted to be able to give myself a limited thread pool, for one. Closely related to this, I wanted the contents to be divorced from any particular thread.

I started with a 'BasicTask' nine Februaries ago - very similar to the Task in Microsoft's System.Threading.Tasks - and had it launch very small 'TaskStage' derivatives.

This worked well for simple processes, but it quickly ran into trouble when we started to get into loops, branches and error handling. Since every task stage was its own class, all it could do was suggest to the task where to go next, and when exception handling is added to the mix, it quickly turns to a mess of angel-hair pasta.

From this initial frustration was born the 'FlowedTask' which I have been using in the interim eight years. The concept is fairly simple: all those little task stages are now methods, and all the logic flow between the stages are now instruction objects. The instructions handle the "spaghetti factor" by being able to access matching instruction numbers, such as where the corresponding 'try' and 'finally' are, or where 'until' should go when its conditions succees or fail.

Full story »

 

"Started and then stopped" Service Error

11/16/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Programming

This is a quickie.

I was having one heck of a time trying to figure out what was going on with a legacy service an old coworker had written in Delphi. It kept saying "{X} service on Local Computer started and then stopped".

There seemed to be nothing wrong with the code at all.

The fix in this case was simple, though the cause of the error violated a sacred principle of Delphi events: an empty event handler should always be equivalent to no event handler.

There was an OnExecute handler for the service with its contents commented out. When I started comparing the service with other working services, this was the only non-cosmetic difference left.

I chopped out the event handler from the service completely, and it worked just fine.

Feeling: relief and mild anger

 

Sleep Number Beds

10/17/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Reviews

We have been looking around for a more comfortable bed for a long time. We also stay up really late on occasions, so we are often drawn in by late-night infomercials.

You can hardly flip a channel in the wee hours without happening across bed commercials for Tempur-Pedic and Ultramatic and Sleep Number beds...

Full story »

 

Some ID Comments Just Take The Cake

10/04/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Religion, Science

ID is still developing it's scientific framework but many of you evolutionists are like hypocritical people who want to kill a new born baby on the basis of the argument that the baby does not talk and does not run even though you know it is a new born baby.

Ahhh! Where did my cake go?

I don’t have any idea how different species got their internal organs. I DO know how they didn’t. Take a look at the fossil record. It shows the appearance and extinction of millions of different species, a small percentage surviving today. Not a phylo-tree, not one species morphing into another, no species growing legs, eyes, arms, fingers, toes, wings. THAT is what the fossils show. They don’t support evolution at all, in any way. How did they all initiate? I have no idea. You think you know because someone told you, and you are willing to believe them for some strange reason. I did as well, but no longer.

I swear I put my cake down here somewhere...

Now ask yourself, once these processes resulted in Atomic Particles with valences, and s/p/d/f shells that fill in a certain order, and isotopes that decay, and on and on, did the Atoms HAVE ANY CHOICE IN HOW THEY INTERACTED? WAS INORGANIC CHEMISTRY ALWAYS DETERMINISTIC? I think most would agree it always was.

Was it cake gnomes? Cake just doesn't disappear like that!

I hate to spoil your Christmas Ritchie but just recently they found platypus fossils dating back over 112 million years ago, more than twice the previous fossil age of 64 million years ago…
Findings…NO transitional modifications were evident but exact “stasis” as exist today!

Hey, there is now but a puddle of liquid where my ice cream cake was, and the modern platypus has no molars!

No mutations have occurred in 300 million years among beetles. None!

AGH! NOT THE MUFFINS!

 

To The Assholes Who Left Their Tires Outside Our Fence

10/01/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

Tire Garbage

That is the fucking living end.

To whomeverso left their fucking tires against our fence.

FUCK YOU. JUST - FUCK - YOU.

Other little bits of garbage, we could chalk up to the wind, but not the suddenly-appearing fucking little chair from some old school desk, and YOU fucking human pieces of shit decided that you didn't want to bother yourself with taking the time out of your shitty little day running your three fucking tires over to the landfill and paying the fucking disposal fee, so you SNUCK OVER and LEFT THEM ON OUR FUCKING DOORSTEP.

Between that and other weirdness in our back alley, I'm off to investigate by-laws re: surveillance, because I just don't want to let you fuckers get away with this shit ever again.

So thanks. Thanks ever so fucking much.

 

Language Review: Russian

06/23/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Languages

Russian [1 - see footnote]:

Alphabet

Difficulty: Medium

Much of the issue with the Russian alphabet is that there are distracting similarities to the English alphabet. The letter that looks like a C (с) is pronounced like an S. The 'P' (р) is pronounced as an R, etc.

That said, knowledge of the Greek alphabet really helps, because it is similar in spots. The Russian 'P' sound looks like a π (pi), for example.

Pronunciation

Difficulty: Medium-hard

There are streams of consonants in Russian. A polite greeting, здравствуйте, is pronounce z-d-r-a-v-s-t-v-oo-ee-ty-ih.

There is also a similar concept to narrow and broad sounds in Irish, called soft and hard consonants. Soft consonants are pronounced like you are trying to say a 'y': your mouth would be wider and your tongue tenser and closer to the front roof of your mouth or even in contact. The difference is pretty important in Russian.

There is also a 'kh' sound (х) which sounds like a really rough 'h'. Scottish, Arabic, German and Hebrew speakers will recognize the sound.

Many Russian speakers will use this sound in English words that have 'h' in them because Russian has no plain 'h', and that can make their English pretty distinctive, on top of making consonants 'soft' where they would not be in English (e.g. okay -> okyay or okyiy).

Keep your jaw loose, your face loose and your tongue tense. It is a little hard to smile while speaking it - something I've experienced from speakers and from trying to speak it.

Full story »

 

Blocking Unwanted Callers

04/02/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Thoughts, Ethics, Spamming

I must admit, a few months ago, we were bandying about the idea of changing our phone number.

Why?

The incessant barrage of telemarketers and scammers was getting to be too much. They outpaced our actual calls from friends and family by about a 4:1 ratio.

Full story »

 

Picture Of The Day

03/06/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

What I want to know is... how do they get their ingredients so cheaply?
Stuffed baby Yorkies?

 

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part V

02/06/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Religion, Science

[Other parts of the review]

No book by a creationist would be complete without an obligatory reference to Michael Denton's infamous book, Evolution, a Theory in Crisis:

Michael Denton points out that 97.7 percent of living orders of land vertebrates are represented as fossils and 79.1 percent of living families of land vertebrates - 87.8 percent if birds are excluded, as they are less likely to become fossilized.

This is meant to imply that the fossil record is "pretty much complete", and thus any ideas of transitional fossils would be laughable.

It relies on the reader not knowing a great deal about fossils and taxonomy, though, and that is sneaky and disingenuous.

For example, you can find transitional whale fossils classified in the order Cetacea. Modern whales are also classified under this order, so *bing*, their order is represented in the fossil record.

What about [taxonomic] families, then? Well, transitional whale fossils have a whole set of their own families. Ambulocetus natans is under the family Ambulocetidae. If there were living members of Ambulocetidae, they would be actually be counted towards Denton's percentage. There are not, so they do not count either for or against.

The only things that could detract from Denton's family percentage are really new or hard-to-fossilize families. Is it unreasonable for 12-20% of all families to be classified this way?

Isn't that sneaky?

Full story »

 

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