17 November 2007

well duh...

So, I'm printing a doc right now, and notice this helpful tip the printer manufacturer has decided to put into their status screen:


Assure high quality printouts on special media by loading the printable side up.


umm... really?
wtf.

15 August 2007

Legal Disclaimer Redux

So, I got sick of stupid email disclaimers again.

The thing that set me off this time was that this particular disclaimer, after wasting 1.3K and 280 words, actually provided a link to a website and a mailto: so you could view the *full* disclaimer.

WTF?!?

This annoyed me so much, that I felt the need to use the provided mailto and contact the company about the fact that their disclaimer was stupid. Thing is, I forgot to mention the dumbness of providing a link after wasting a ton of time/space with text because there was so much else to pick on.

Here then, is my email to them.
I highly encourage anyone that feels inclined to take this text and use it as a template for your own response to stupid email disclaimers.

Maybe if enough of us bother administration (which impacts the bottom line by wasting *their* time for a change) they'll see the stupidity of the damn things and stop sending them.

right. =/


Received: by 10.114.59.16 with HTTP; Wed, 15 Aug 2007 15:59:34 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <355c7d900708151559j6b8d04b7n792a0ebe05f45484@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 18:59:34 -0400
From: "Jason Ross"
To: administrator@xxx.com.au
Subject: a question about the XXX XXXXXXXX email disclaimer
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline
Delivered-To: algorythm@gmail.com

Hello. I have just received an email which was sent to a public mailing list, and which contained your company disclaimer at the bottom.

I read the disclaimer with some interest, and have a couple of questions/comments about it.

> The information in this email and any attachments
> is confidential. If you are not the named
> addressee you must not read, print, copy,
> distribute, or use in any way this transmission
> or any information it contains.

I am curious how one is to know what one should do if they are not not the "named adressee" ... as they (according to the disclaimer) should not then be reading the message, nor the disclaimer which is appended to it?

> If you have received this message in error,
> please notify the sender by return email,
> destroy all copies and delete it from your
> system.

and then later:

> It is your responsibility to scan this
> communication and any files attached for computer
> viruses and other defects

Forgive me if I am being obtuse, but does this not grant permission to use the transmission you formerly forbade one to "use in any way"?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to your response.

Regards,

Jason Ross


btw: yes, i know i wrote "not not the named adressee" ... no need to ask. i never said i was perfect. just not retarded ;-)

24 July 2007

one more reason i hate tv

ok, i'm (almost) willing to accept that, since i have an HDTV, and most of the programming on cable is not yet shown in high-def, i have to deal with things like the stupid banners stations put across the bottom of the screen to tell me about some stupid new show coming up next being 1/3 of the entire screen and covering things i actually may want to see (like subtitles in non-english movies for example...)

but there's a new "feature" of these banner ads being used that is simply not ok. specifically, sound effects.

i'm sorry, but when i am attempting to watch a show, it is simply not acceptable to have a banner pop up in the corner of the screen and start making destructo-electric noises all over the place, making it so that i am unable to hear the dialogue going on.

i'm not sure whom to hate more, the tv executives for giving this interruption the go-ahead, or the advertising flunkies that came up with the idea in the first place.

accordingly, i hate them both.

28 June 2007

firefox tips part II

it turns out that there are some very interesting things hidden in the dom.* section of about:config.

Specifically, there is this handy key which defaults to false, but if set to true is actually a rather beneficial security enhancement:


dom.disable_window_status_change


Setting this to true will prevent javascript from manipulating the status bar. This "feature" is often used in phishing attacks to disguise the real location a given link is referencing. If you set this to true, you will be able to see where you're really going to end up, rather than where the script is programmed to make you think you'll be headed.

For some more reading on the topic, designed around building a custom security policy for firefox suitable for pushing out to end users, check out this article.

22 June 2007

time warner can bite me

i've been playing with 'traceproto' a bit lately.

if you haven't heard of it, it's a nifty tool, which is likely best summarized by the debian package description:

Traceproto is a traceroute replacement written in C that allows the user to specify the protocol and port to trace to. It currently supports TCP, UDP, and ICMP traces with the possibility of others in the future. A network server version is also planned.


so, i decided to see (very informally) how my roadrunner service from time warner cable may be impacting my VoIP service.

here's the results:


trace to tcp/80
hop :  min   /  ave   /  max   :  # packets  :  # lost
-------------------------------------------------------
1 : 0.76100 / 1.1050 / 1.7550 : 3 packets : 0 lost
2 : 0.76600 / 0.78167 / 0.80800 : 3 packets : 0 lost
3 : 1.2240 / 3.4590 / 7.8880 : 3 packets : 0 lost
4 : 1.0330 / 1.0933 / 1.1680 : 3 packets : 0 lost
------------------------Total--------------------------
total 0.76100 / 1.4859 / 7.8880 : 12 packets : 0 lost



trace to tcp/5061
hop :  min   /  ave   /  max   :  # packets  :  # lost
-------------------------------------------------------
1 : 0.73500 / 0.94200 / 1.3470 : 3 packets : 0 lost
2 : 0.80200 / 0.80333 / 0.80400 : 3 packets : 0 lost
3 : 1.2040 / 1.2520 / 1.2910 : 3 packets : 0 lost
4 : 0.98400 / 1.0927 / 1.2770 : 3 packets : 0 lost
5 : 1.2880 / 1.9990 / 3.3890 : 3 packets : 0 lost
6 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
7 : 14.598 / 14.985 / 15.470 : 3 packets : 0 lost
8 : 14.341 / 15.993 / 17.198 : 3 packets : 0 lost
9 : 14.772 / 16.039 / 18.456 : 3 packets : 0 lost
10 : 21.179 / 27.981 / 34.584 : 3 packets : 0 lost
11 : 20.403 / 25.081 / 31.883 : 3 packets : 0 lost
12 : 20.033 / 23.694 / 30.763 : 3 packets : 0 lost
13 : 28.431 / 29.986 / 32.682 : 3 packets : 0 lost
14 : 27.798 / 28.413 / 28.807 : 3 packets : 0 lost
15 : 34.406 / 34.864 / 35.174 : 3 packets : 0 lost
16 : 37.561 / 40.920 / 42.843 : 3 packets : 0 lost
17 : 37.916 / 38.145 / 38.337 : 3 packets : 0 lost
18 : 38.952 / 39.225 / 39.401 : 3 packets : 0 lost
19 : 39.711 / 41.577 / 42.546 : 3 packets : 0 lost
20 : 46.463 / 50.698 / 58.449 : 3 packets : 0 lost
------------------------Total--------------------------
total 14.341 / 22.377 / 58.449 : 57 packets : 3 lost



trace to udp/5060
hop :  min   /  ave   /  max   :  # packets  :  # lost
-------------------------------------------------------
1 : 0.66200 / 0.72800 / 0.78000 : 3 packets : 0 lost
2 : 0.78300 / 0.83800 / 0.93100 : 3 packets : 0 lost
3 : 1.2470 / 2.9330 / 6.2640 : 3 packets : 0 lost
4 : 0.98200 / 0.99433 / 1.0130 : 3 packets : 0 lost
5 : 1.5360 / 3.6990 / 7.9890 : 3 packets : 0 lost
6 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
7 : 14.158 / 14.761 / 15.356 : 3 packets : 0 lost
8 : 16.964 / 20.113 / 24.459 : 3 packets : 0 lost
9 : 14.521 / 22.357 / 26.446 : 3 packets : 0 lost
10 : 19.974 / 20.604 / 21.070 : 3 packets : 0 lost
11 : 19.958 / 20.173 / 20.493 : 3 packets : 0 lost
12 : 20.204 / 24.639 / 32.201 : 3 packets : 0 lost
13 : 28.219 / 28.462 / 28.705 : 2 packets : 1 lost
14 : 28.063 / 28.400 / 28.900 : 3 packets : 0 lost
15 : 34.316 / 34.737 / 35.148 : 3 packets : 0 lost
16 : 36.924 / 39.390 / 44.055 : 3 packets : 0 lost
17 : 37.674 / 38.012 / 38.211 : 3 packets : 0 lost
18 : 39.119 / 39.444 / 39.718 : 3 packets : 0 lost
19 : 39.005 / 39.188 / 39.481 : 3 packets : 0 lost
20 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
21 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
22 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
23 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
24 : 0.0000 / 0.0000 / 0.0000 : 0 packets : 3 lost
------------------------Total--------------------------
total 0.0000 / 15.300 / 44.055 : 53 packets : 19 lost



yeah.
that sucks.

29 March 2007

reason #284 why i love "hacker" culture

from the nmap manual:
If you find yourself really bored one rainy afternoon, try the command nmap -sS -PS80 -iR 0 -p 80 to locate random web servers for browsing.

05 March 2007

overkill

the following may not be true for everyone, but my experience is that it turns out when your wife says:

i would like you to make me a spreadsheet i can use for $foo

she does not instead mean:

i would like you to build me a coldfusion based web
application that connects to a sql server back end database

she really does just want a spreadsheet.
no matter how much more efficient having a database driven web app may be in the long run.

20 February 2007

firefox tips part I

today's wisdom nugget:

  • in mozilla, go to "about:config"
  • there's an entry called "browser.blink _allowed", double click it to set it to 'false'
  • bask in the joy of a not-quite-as-annoying web browsing experience

12 February 2007

30 January 2007

On UI Design

there seems to be a new trend in user interface design that i am quickly beginning to hate. it's the replacement of the 'waiting' or 'loading' status bar with something that, rather than showing you how far along in the process you are, simply cycles back and forth a'la KITT's front end grille lights.

an example of such an image can be seen in the stupid image that google gives you while you upload a video to their service.

it's very cute, and friendly, and has the google colors in it. i'm all for that. but it gives the user absolutely zero clue how much of the video has been uploaded, how much more they have to go, nor even a guess as to how long it may take to finish.

(to be fair, google does start giving you a peptalk after you've been waiting a while ['Almost Done!']. whatever. that's not the same, nor as "satisfying". )

i'm starting to see the same thing crop up elsewhere (ubuntu loading screen...)
it's annoying.

i want to see something useful while waiting, at the very least, i want to see something that makes me feel like i'm getting somewhere.

going back and forth makes me feel like i'm just wasting time.

24 January 2007

voiding your warranty

for the record.

when attempting to short pins 16 & 17 on your wrt54GL wireless router, do *not* accidentally cut off pin number 16.

it's just not a good idea.

08 January 2007

IPTV ... The Future Is Now, And It Sucks

so, i just got my beta login to the venice project today.
for those that don't know, it's an iptv product that's been getting some decent word of mouth amongst the community of folks that care about such things.

i must admit, i was pretty psyched. until i "turned it on".

iptv is cool, but it's got a serious drawback, which i think can best be summed up as "phenomenal cosmic powers ... itty bitty living space".

the problem isn't the client. it's remarkably well designed in my opinion. there's some things that it doesn't seem to do which (to me) are a 'natural' way to use something like internet based television (for example, the ability to bookmark a particular show would be nice...), but hey, it's a beta, not all the bugs are worked out, and i've only had it for a day.

i presume therefore that it's entirely likely the functions i'm looking for are there somewhere and i'm just missing them (which of course, could mean that the UI needs a bit of tweaking...)

nor was the problem a lack of bandwidth (for me anyway) .
i'm using roadrunner (via time warner cable) for an ISP, and while they are currently touting their download speed as 10Mbps (i wish!), my connection is doing just fine at a respectable 3.7Mbps. there were a couple of times where the video halted for a second or two, but overall, i was quite impressed with the quality.

no, the problem with iptv, is exactly the same problem as any other kind of tv. there's simply nothing good on.

i flipped through all the channels with nothing catching my eye. so, i began randomly starting videos hoping to find something that sparked an interest. i even managed to find out how to pull up a list of channels i wasn't currently seeing and add them to my available channels so that i could check out the shows on them.

no luck.

there's about 30 or so channels (i didn't take an exact count) ... each channel has at least 2 - 3 shows, some have many more (one nice thing about iptv is that pretty much everything is 'on demand' ... i must admit i've already become quite fond of that).

so, let's say that there's roughly 120 'shows' currently available.
out of those, there was exactly one show that interested me.

most of the available shows were sports/fashion/"spin off of mtv spring break" type drivel, and i recognize that there is a large demographic for those types of shows.

however, i have some serious doubt as to whether the demographic for "likes these types of shows" is the same as the one for "folks likely to be beta testing an iptv product"... i do know that i don't prefer to watch shows in those categories, but admittedly, i'm not your typical 'consumer'.

of course, like i said, this is all new, and beta, and as such, it's very likely that the content will change quite a bit over the next 'X-amount-of-time' as the venture capital starts burning and the pr/marketing folks start spreading the love.

but for now, i'm left wondering if i've seen the future of television, and there's still nothing to watch?