THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 374 August 7 - 14, 2005
Highlights this week:
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August 8, 2005
Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the day the column was due, but I didn't quite make that, it being Sunday and my birthday and all, so I am working on it all today. You will find items in the Friday View and Mail for last week. Weekend was devoted to the column for the most part.
This appears on the "View Home Page" and some readers have asked why. It's an old joke and I suppose I should delete it although it takes less than a second to download for a 24K Dialup system, so it's not really a burden.
In the early days of the web there were "browser wars", and some web sites chose one, some another, for their reference browser. This sometimes meant that their site looked terrible when viewed with the wrong web browser. They then posted notices, "Best viewed with Internet Explorer" or "Best viewed with Netscape" or "Best Viewed with Chuckleheim", etc. I grew weary of that while I was learning to make web objects, and made that one. It was funny at the time. I expect it's time to go, but for some odd reason I like it.
The pollen count has been bad the last few days, and I have found I have needed to flush out my nose daily, and sometimes more often, to avoid sinus headaches and for that matter to be able to breathe. Once again I recommend
which is a nasal pump. I have no stake in the company but if you buy this through the above link I get a modest royalty, as I do if you buy books through my Amazon link.
And while I am doing my gouge pitch, you can renew your subscription to this site, or start a new one, through a number of means. The simplest is the Paypal buttons you will see scattered across the various pages. This site is operated on the Public Radio model: you don't have to subscribe, but if you want it to stay open, a sufficient number have to pay so that I can afford to keep it open. Subscribers get mailings, particularly about security threats, from time to time, and a few other benefits, but mostly you're helping pay expenses. I do thank all current subscribers. Think of this as a gentle nag to those who have meant to subscribe but never got around to it as well as to those who haven't thought they ought to...
And now I have to go pound out the August column, which is turning out to be pretty good.
|This week:||Tuesday, August
Column is done, I am doing final revisions to get it on the wire in an hour or two. After that I can turn some attention to this place, and to cleaning up the horror that Chaos Manor's Great Hall becomes when it's column time. Ye gods, what a mess!
August 10, 2005
Polish and corrections took longer than I thought. Now I am taking Sable to the dog wash. I also have to pick up sugar, as the humming birds and orioles have exhausted a 5 pound bag in the last couple of days.
When I get back I will spend the afternoon cleaning up mail, doing a couple of essays for this site and posting a huge backup of mail, and generally cleaning up around here.
As to the need for cleanup, here is the Great Hall in the aftermath of the column:
Sable seems resigned to it all...
Back in a couple of hours at most.
Well I am back, having encountered one of the reasons that affirmative action in positions dealing with the public is probably not a very good idea. I have in mind the "supervisor" at Vons (Laurel Canyon and Ventura), who was supposed to be at checkout line 5, but was in fact doing some kind of transaction on aisle 6 (where the clerk is a lady we have known for years and who was clearly embarrassed by all this); especially since they had just announced "no waiting" on Aisles 5 and 6. They announced no waiting on 5 & 6. I went to 6, only to see there was a customer using the card swipe device. So I went to 5.
Aisle 5 had no clerk, because the customer at 6 was the clerk from 5. I waited a while, and then began loading my groceries back into the cart preparatory to finding a checkout that didn't have another clerk as customer. I was urged to wait. Just a moment.
After about 5 minutes with both 5 and 6 occupied -- 6 occupied by the person who should have been at 5 -- the aisle 6 customer came to do my checkout (mostly bags of sugar and a lot of coffee cream; orioles and humming birds go through sugar something fierce). The bagger had long since left off waiting for her to finish her business with Aisle 6 and return to 5, so this middle aged female with the word "supervisor" on her badge bagged my purchases -- and left them there by the bag dispenser, not bothering even to move them down to the end of the counter where I could get at them. So I had to reach over the signing stand and bag dispenser, awkward at best, and get my bags of sugar and half gallon of coffee cream and put it in the cart.
The supervisor could not be bothered to put the bags in the cart or even to put them on the conveyor to take them where I could reach them. But she did ask me to contribute to some charity or another. I have no idea what the charity is. I often buy one of those "donate a meal" sticker things they sell at supermarkets, but this wasn't that, and I fear my valuation of the charity was much influenced by the fact that this supervisor did not mind keeping me waiting while she transacted her own business, thus taking two checkout aisles (of 3 in service) out of service for several minutes. I said "No thank you, I just want to get out of here." That of course solicited one of those passive aggressive remarks about having a nice day in a tone of voice that indicates they'd rather be damning your eyes.
Well, the remedy is Gelson's, a higher priced supermarket a bit further away where they are all very pleasant, there is always both a clerk and a bagger, and when they wish you a nice day it sounds as if they mean it.
In fairness to Vons, we have always found both the management people and the clerical staff pleasant in the past, and the baggers (convenience clerks) tend to be very nice people with minor handicaps that don't at all prevent their doing their jobs with a smile and a pleasant attitude. This is the worst experience I have had in this market in some years, and I suppose I ought to be charitable. And enough of this. I am tempted to erase all this as mean spirited, but there is a point: if you must promote people because they will sue you if you don't, you might think of promoting them to jobs where they won't lose you customers. Perhaps this woman had some qualities to earn the post of supervisor, but I guarantee you that after my experience I would not promote her in the clerical checkout chain of command. I know at least 4 people who work in that store who are competent and pleasant. I have never seen this "supervisor" before.
DO NOT be drinking coffee or anything else when you visit
and do not try to claim I didn't warn you.
August 11, 2005
Well, Lloyd's Bank is now sending me email in bad grammar telling me I must update my account or they will close it. With a deadline of July 15. Spamming phishers get more clever, but they miss the fundamentals, and can't even get their wares out on time. One day we will find out who these people are, and we can go beat them senseless twice, once for exiting at all, and a second time for insulting our intelligence.
I know many of you do not bother with mail, but today's mail is fairly short and there are some interesting items...
August 12, 2005
Well, the spammers have driven Earthlink out of its mind.
First Earthlink spam blocker routinely blocks mail from me to myself at my Earthlink account no matter how often I tell it to add me to my address book at Earthlink. Today I got an intercept: mail from me, to me, was intercepted, and I had to go fill out a form complete with one of those visual hash things to allow me to send mail to myself. I am told that my approval is pending, and I presume at some point I will get a note from Earthlink asking me if I want to trust myself.
None of which means beans since anyone can fake any email return address, and there is no verification. If the big ISP outfits would offer "verified mail" it would be pretty good, but in fact the big outfits make plenty money off the quick in -- quick out spammers who sign up for an account, pay for it, abuse it until it is discontinued, then abandon it to open another.
What we need is a way to take the profits out of transmitting spam. As well as public execution by painful means of some spammers to be accompanied by several of their customers, all nationally televised. You have been convicted of buy products from a spammer. You will now be bled into the blood banks after which all your internal organs will be sent to needy people. Have a nice day. The Spammer you bought from will he hanged, then, still living, be disemboweled, then his head struck from his body and his quarters distributed to garbage dumps.
Warming hits 'tipping point'.
Does anyone know about this? The source is the Guardian, and it cites a report in New Scientist. While both these publications are well written, they also have distinct views, and neither is generally considered a primary outlet for scientific discoveries. According to the report this area is thawing for the first time since the end of the Ice Ages 11,000 years ago. While that may all be true, and there has never been a warming period like ours since that time, this seems a bit startling. I guess that before I get too excited I would like to hear from sources other than the Guardian and New Scientist.
August 13, 2005
Serious warning to Windows 2000 Users. Update. Patch your system and patch it NOW.
August 14, 2005
I am about to take my dog up the hill for a five mile hike. I log in and see twenty messages phishing for identity information. Those have to be connected to some server that gets the information. Why can't we find the people who have those servers and bomb them. A few hundred pounds of cluster bombs should do the job and it would be good practice for the Air Force. Or if the Air Force doesn't want the mission, let them give the attack planes to the Army and let Army Air Rangers do us and the world that service.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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