eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-07-02 08:27 am

Proto-geek-wear from the 80's

Well that was a nice way to start the day.
I'm sure I remember some of these ads from PCW and C&VG:

vintage geek t-shirt ads from the early 80's  (Nostalgia from vintagecomputing.com)

Thinkgeek needs to make reproductions. :)

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-07-01 12:51 pm

One for language geeks...

...oh hey, that's me too, I guess!


The 'A Girl And Her Fed' webcomic on bad innuendo, literalism and subverting wordplay

Don't worry, you don't need the backstory, just enjoy. (and yes, you can get this on a  t-shirt. ;)

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-29 02:58 pm

A quickie:

What I did at the weekend:

"Carm orn - evveryfing's got ter gow! Goood prices!"

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-29 08:40 am

Since I posted this friday evening (GMT):

Is Facebook telepathic? Or just being dodgy with your data? A cautionary tale

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-26 06:53 pm

Update!: Facebook's paranormal friend recommendations *whoo-oo-ooo!*

A-ha. Solved it. Maybe. Partly.

Facebook does indeed keep your email list once you've uploaded it - but just doesn't like to admit it.

Really! To find out that they do this, go to the "Suggestions" Page, click on the tiny link in the tiny text note: "Facebook will not keep your password Learn More" (Really, it's teeny)

If you click on that, the window that opens also tells you that it keeps your addressbook data too: "We may use the email addresses you upload through this importer to help you connect with friends, including using this information to generate Suggestions for you and your contacts on Facebook"

Not that I mind that it tells you about not keeping your password, mind - but slipping in that it will also keep your uploaded contact data is at best accidental obsfuscation and at worst, straightforward corporate nastiness.  Worse: There's actually an implied suggestion that they are not intending to re-access your data in the statement that they don't keep your password.

Once you have found your way this far, however, it does also give you a link to an opt-out mechanism. Clicking on the button takes you to http://www.facebook.com/contact_importer/remove_uploads.php which offers to actually remove your contact data from their system but warns that "Note that it may take some time before your name will be completely removed from Suggestions.". And indeed, these suggestions haven't gone away yet. We'll see what happens.

Searching the help system for explicit help on the Friend Finder points you at information on the Friend Finder, but gives you not a sniff of any of this, by the way.

So this looks like the most likely solution - and we'll see if doing that has any effect. Of course, while memory is a funny thing, I'd still swear that I didn't see those two names in the half-dozen suggestions Facebook came up with when I uploaded - or that those names appeared in my uses of F'Suggestions' since then until today - and as those names are meaningful to me, I'm pretty certain to go *boink* upon seeing them in a odd context, just like I did today in fact.

So half a solution, perhaps. :/

eponymousarchon: (Angled)
2009-06-26 04:46 pm

Facebook's paranormal friend recommendations *whoo-oo-ooo!*

Okay - this is freaky [Update, I think I've partly figured this out - but it's still scary and possibly worse - see below]

One of Facebook's more-fun features (I find) is the 'Suggestions Friends' page, wherein Facebook looks at your friends and who they friend and looks for patterns that suggest people that you might know and want to friend. When it works, it's really good - and when it's bad, it is occasionally amusing. So like I say, it's fun.

Recently, they've also added a 'Suggestions' box to the main Facebook page which simply displays one of the recommendations in the same format and changes it when the screen refreshes.

Okay, that's enough background. Today, hand-coding for partially script-generated HTML pages was breaking my brain, so I was taking a five minute Facebook break (as people do) when the following popped up on my main Facebook page:

At this, I went *boink* but then thought for a moment. "Now, this is surprising, but not impossible" You see: Angela Melick draws a webcomic called Wasted Talent that I'm a regular reader of (really - it's very good) but I'm pretty sure Facebook doesn't know that. Eeek.

Okay - deep breath. I have other friends who are into or actually create, webcomics. It's not impossible that one of them has friended her and that that's what Facebook is picking up on. Okay, check this - go to Ms Melick's profile and check for mutual friends.


Now that qualifies as spooky. I know that she has a seperate group for followers of the comic and keeps her main page to people she knows in real life - so I'm not actually surprised that there's no overlap. And I'm not a friend of her group or any of the other fan groups on there.

So how did Facebook make the connection?

Perplexed, I refreshed the page a couple of times to see if this was a freak error. A few refreshes later:

Now I know Facebook is screwing with me. Samantha Cherolis draws another webcomic: Random Assembly (Also very good - really, you should check these guys' comics out) Again, we have no friends in common:

...and she doesn't even have an 'followers group'. Facebook really doesn't know that I follow this person.

So how the hell are they pulling out this connection?

By this point I was seriously re-evaluating the semi-paranoid rumours I've heard about the alleged link between Facebook and the American FBI. Did I dare go down that mental  that rabbit-hole, was it true? But if so, then why would they make it obvious? It made no sense.

Then the penny dropped and it rasies different questions.

One thing both comickers have in common is that I've corresponded by email with them in the purchase of books and similar. And I let Facebook look at these once a few weeks back as part of its "Find people you know on Facebook via their email' feature. But that's supposed to be a one-off deal: It checks the list against the (normally hidden) emails and then dumps the list.

If it isn't dumping the list, it needs to flag this in b-i-i-i-g letters. If Facebook didn't keep the list, then how is it connecting us now? 

Hm, Except... Except that if Facebook did keep the list, then why did it only find them now and not at the time? These two guys are showing up pretty frequently in my 'Suggested' box, I'm pretty damn sure that they didn't show-up in the list of suggestions from Facebook that were generated as a result of the email list and I've checked my full page of suggestions (including the extras that don't appear until you start removing suggestions from the list) a few times since then (Look - it was a lunchtime at work - okay?)

Suggesting that Facebook kept my email results and two people that I know, and are in the same field, both decided to update their emails at roughly the same time and they both added emails that they've advertised on their respective websites for several years, but apparently hadn't added to Facebook a few weeks previously...

...is stretching credulity more than a bit. But that's the only answer.

I'm almost certainly missing an important piece of the puzzle, but I'm otherwise ferklempt here.

[ Update: See next post - Aha! What's actually happening: http://eponymousarchon.livejournal.com/121522.html - (Hint: Naughty Facebook, no cookie.)]

eponymousarchon: (Angled)
2009-06-26 10:26 am
Entry tags:

Oh. My. Goodness.

"Hahaas Comedy Ringtones" on eMusic

Comedy. Hmm... "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

(Incidentally, aside from the above - eMusic really is to be recommended. Don't let this put you off. )

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-23 04:00 pm

Small Ads: The 'as new' Palm Pilot.

Discussion about my previous small ads post reminded me of this:

Previously, the local small ads paper had a regular customer who was trying to sell an unwanted Palm IIIc (the first colour Palmpilot) for around 300-400 quid if I recall correctly. They obviously felt the need to justify that price as they explained that this was the sale price of this ithem hich was an unwanted prize and had been stored for years - and hadn't been used since bought. I beleive that the Small Ads gave you extra weeks if you couldn't sell the item, so the seller wasn't spending too much on this - as believe me, it really wasn't selling.

What the seller wasn't getting was that the Palm IIIc did cost the figure they quoted, but that was (mumble mumble) years ago!

Since then, you could get a current spec Palm that had
  • 4 times the pixel, count
  • an orders of magnitude or two worth of extra colour depth
  • 32-64 times the internalmemory
  • a 10x (or more) faster processor
  • An external card slot included
  • Bluetooth included as well as IRDA.
  • a Lithium Ion battery (and associated battery life instead of AA or AAA batteries
...for about half of the price that they wanted - brand new - and that was from Argos!

The ad was there for months and month and months. The inability of these sellers to work out what was wrong with their money making scheme was the cause of many exasperated conversations between myself and Kit.

Although it took months and months for them to work out that it wouldn't sell, but eventually one week the ad was conspicuous by its absence -- and the Friday Ads were never quite as annoying again.

I do hope they didn't manage to to sell it to some unfortunate person.
eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-22 01:42 pm
Entry tags:

It's not good...

 ...that my first response to any challenge today is "How appropriate - you fight like a cow." is it?
eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-22 12:08 pm
Entry tags:

Small Ads: Adventures in typesetting.

I often browse through the local Friday Ads small ads magazine. While I don't often buy things this way, I enjoy the range of items for sale. They also have a wonderful run of accidental (and often charming) errors and typos that raise a smile.

In the 90's, sellers had to phone-in their ad content to over-worked and non-technical call handlers.  This caused a continuous stream of 'Omega' computers and 'Epsom' printers advertised for sale. Now that most sellers submit their ads via email or text message, this kind of thing is much rarer (but usually much more mind-bending when it does happen).

Thankfully, there is still an old staple (ahem) of the Ad magazines to fall back on, untouched since the 80's. As a sales feature (and to aid browsing) the first two words of an ad are set in bold type - free of charge! The catch in this is that the typesetters embolden the first two words exactly. Whether you want this to happen to or not and without care of the consequences.

Unfortunately, the sellers don't always take this into account when providing ad copy:

Newborn Baby (huh?) ...cradle and swing with lights and... Oh! I see,

Semi-retired Camper
  ...disposing of a large variety of gear.

Men's Fat ...Face brand clothing

and frequently much worse.

Also: Just to prove me wrong, this week's issue has *two* printer cartridges for Epsom printers for sale. No Omegas though. Sadly.

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-22 11:14 am
eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-22 10:51 am

Woobots redux.

And now I'm also being followed by 'denyreligion'. that's an unexpected 3 to 2.

Do I need an 'atheistbot' tag to go with Woobot? :)

[Edit: The spiel at http://denyreligion.com/ is quite, er, interesting. It includes an page of counter-argument to put into hotel-room bibles. I must admit that I'd not think of being that, er argumentative myself. ]

eponymousarchon: (Angled)
2009-06-22 08:39 am
Entry tags:

A parallel world (chink chink!)

...well I must have slipped into a parallel world.

During a recent visit to Asda, their CD section was carrying Flanders and Swann, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Kraftwerk (Trans-Europe Express *and* The Man Machine) and The Alan Parsons' Project.

I've slipped into another reality. One where Wal-Mart sells quality music!

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-19 04:19 pm

Twitter and the WooBots (Part two - or possibly three)

Ah-hahahaha! I've been rumbled!

Today at 10:45. I cast another lure (all in the name of experimentation):

By 1pm I was getting ready to admit defeat. However, at 15:48 - Ding!

So, who have we got?

From Michael Nugent's twittter profile:

Michael Nugent

...I've been rumbled!

So apparently it's not just the purveyors of Woo that grep the timeline!

As an added bonus, his photo is whole orders of magnitude less scary than the previous two:

eponymousarchon: (Angled)
2009-06-18 01:25 pm

Twitter and the WooBots (A Twitter experiment)

That's truly remarkable!

After being followed twice on twitter by scary new-age users (See posts here and here) promoting their dubious wares, I decided to run a small experiment today. At least one of the followings seemed to be triggered by references to fairly obscure new-age pseudoscience in my twitter, which lead me to suspect that such terms were being searched for in the public timeline. Time for a test!
Read more... )


eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-18 10:46 am

Blood. Pressure. Rising...

Nice article on the latest entirely unbiased anti-science, psychiatry  'museum' - and it's not the creationists this time. :/


Choice quote from article: "Psychiatry is behind eugenics, all acts of genocide, the Holocaust, and terrorism."... "There are enormous posters of patients in restraints, and models of evil doctors weilding their implements of torture."


eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-16 11:12 am


(held over from yesterday)
That's amusing.

I've just been 'followed' on twitter by 'FlowerEssence (SeanMartinezDantonet)'. whose bio details that they: 

"Love working with people, and have the pleasure of bringing negative mental and emotional states into balance w/Flower Essences b4 becoming physical problems."

I assume that she's picked me out from the twoi polloi as her automated searches in the public timeline showed that I was discussing "Energy Medicine" and the "e-Lybra energy balancing system" versions 8 and 9 with http://twitter.com/bluedevi .

I think perhaps, they should have checked the contents of that discussion a little more closely. I was actually helping with links to refute the claims for this obvious piece of quackery, including appropriate links to JREF and Quackwatch (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=50824 and http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/electro.html, respectively) along with the giveaway key phrases:

"And she's still *buying* one of these?! Eek!",
"still scary that she's trusting this thing"
"Presumably, the version 9 solves all those pesky rational doubts..." 

""This IS Energy Medicine at its best" Yes - I'm afraid it probably is..."

I'm probably not the kind of person they want on theIr spam list.

Oh, and as per the last time this happened, here's the obligatory scary userpic for this user:

Need I add that I've already hit block for that user?

eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-16 10:37 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

And today's earworm is: "Ninety-nine per-cent  of gar-goyles look like  Bob Todd..."

Thank *you* Half-Man, Half-Biscuit.
eponymousarchon: (Default)
2009-06-15 02:20 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

/mug/coffee: Sync complete. Please insert new media.