Posted on August 3rd, 2020
Oh... that time is now, isn't it?
Posted on June 24th, 2020
This has not been a good week. Adobe updated their Creative Suite (which includes the primary tools I use for my work... Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) and, just like last time, there have been serious problems. Things that used to work great no longer work at all. Things that used to work one way now work an entirely different way. It's as if Adobe doesn't bother to beta test with people who actually use their tools, because so much of the stuff I'm having problems with are not esoteric, hidden, or new features. These are basic functionality issues that have been killing my productivity during a busy time.
I guess the good news is that I have less time for all the political drama. Facebook has gotten completely out of hand, and I just don't need it.
Tonight as I was listening to YouTube videos while I (tried) to work, I found out that even that's not safe...
Holy shit... Impeached President Cadet Bone Spurs is calling Uncle Joe "diminished?" I'm not even going to argue that point, but the most diminished person in this fight is so obviously Cheeto Jesus that I guess he pretty much has to point fingers.
It's all he's got, really...
I suppose it's too late for Spider-Man 2020?
Hasan Mihaj from Patriot Act has a really great take that pretty much mirrors where my head is at these days...
So long as we keep clinging to a busted-ass, shitty system, we're going to continue getting busted-ass, shitty candidates. I don't even think that's something that's up for debate.
Time once again to post this fantastic video from CGP Grey on the Alternative Vote...
And if you haven't seen his amazing look at elections, do yourself a favor and take a look at the entire series right here.
Sorry, if I'm forced to be mired in this shitty political bullshit, you get to as well.
Posted on April 12th, 2020
I MAY BE GOING INSANE IN ISOLATION, BUT DON'T THINK THAT WILL STOP ME FROM BLOGGING... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Live? From New York! I am continuously impressed with the many television shows that have been carrying on during quarantine... namely the late-night shows like Trever Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon. What was unexpected was that Saturday Night Live would do a show. I didn't find it particularly funny overall, but I was impressed that they managed to do it at all. The best part was the opening credits where they even got the band in on things before Tom Hanks' monologue...
The most successful bit was Weekend Update which doesn't really require direct interaction... and they even got Alec Baldwin to reprise President Trump as a call-in. Pretty great. The most surprising bit was a tribute to longtime SNL music coordinator Hal Willner by cast members past and present. Yet another person having fallen to Coronavirus-related health problems. Thanks to all the shows that are carrying on for continuing to entertain us during these strange and difficult times.
• Quarantine! Every. Single. Day. I wonder what it would have been like if the Coronavirus pandemic had happened while I was taking care of my mom. I'd like to think that something positive could have come of it...
Maybe at the beginning of mom's decline it could have. But near the end before I had to find a facility to care for her? I cannot fathom it. There's just no way. And if the outbreak had happened while she was staying at the hospital or at the facility? I honestly don't know. All I doo know is that I wouldn't have been able to visit. Heaven only knows if she would have survived this, because both places are hot-spots for outbreaks.
• Animal Cursing! I usually don't have a lot of time to play video games. Even in quarantine I have television, social media, work, housecleaning, and chores that need to be done. But ever since Animal Crossing came along, all of that has been taking a back seat to working on my island. I'm resculpting the landscape. I'm decorating my house and the exteriors. I'm crafting tons of junk to make my island exactly how I like it. Problem is the "Island Designer" tools are total fucking insanity to use. I thought the regular tools were bad... I seriously had no idea. The Island Designer tools are absolute shit. Wherever you THINK you're aiming, you're really not. Sometimes while paving pathways my character will randomly flip a 180º and hit BEHIND me. WTF?!? I keep thinking that surely I'll get the hang of it, but no. You can't get the hang of it. Add to that the stupid-ass "Bunny Day" bullshit that's plaguing the game lately, and I spend a lot of time resisting the urge to scream obscenities at my television (which I would except it scares my cats). But the worst thing? Finding out that where you placed stuff when the game was first starting is not where you want it once you get playing. All my houses and buildings have to be moved (1 day a piece), you can't move the Resident Service Center at all, and all my bridges have to be demolished (1 day) then rebuilt (1 day)...
It's going to take forever to get everything straightened out. And... um... don't mind my Bunny Day dress and hat. I have to do something with all those fucking eggs that are popping up everywhere.
• Cursing Again! "Supreme Court Blocks Extended Voting In Wisconsin, Forces Voters Out To The Polls"...
I mean, holy shit. The "vote" has not been representative of the people in a very, very long time. It's outright manipulated to provide exactly the results that the people actually running this country want to see. We are not free... we're governed. Sometimes governed to death.
• Mail the Vote! As you may have heard, the US Post Office is in serious crisis. Our government is bailing out all kinds of businesses, but has ignored their cries for help... probably because the Trump Administration knows that if people end up voting by mail and don't have to jump through hoops to vote, they're fucked. Washington State has is all vote-by-mail, and I haven't been to a polling station in years. So convenient to be able to vote whenever I have time instead of trading to a voting station and standing in line! If you want to help the Post Office survive, go buy a sheet of stamps. The post office is an essential service. It costs what, 55¢ to mail a letter anywhere in the country? Do you know how much it woulds cost to do that with UPS or Fed-Ex? At least $15... probably closer to $20 if the destination is in a non-business, rural location. If everybody goes out and buys a sheet of stamps, maybe we can help the USPS weather this storm. There's plenty of cool designs to choose from, including this awesome set with military service dogs!
• Vegas Memories! Las Vegas is a city I visit often. I loathe to go there on my own for work because it feels like one of the loneliest places on earth to be. But it's a fantastic place to go with friends because there's so much to see and do. Usually by April I've been at least twice and end up going 5-8 times annually. This year I likely won't be going at all. It's strange how a city I both love and hate has been on my mind so much lately. Probably because I've had so many good times there when hanging out with people I care about. Right now I'd give just about anything to be pounding Long Island's and eating nachos with friends at Nacho Daddy...
Maybe in 2021.
• Watching the Watchmen! I think I've linked to stories by David Bordwell in the past. His site provides thoughtful and interesting analysis of film, and his latest article takes a look at my favorite show of 2019, HBO's Watchmen...
A really good read... even if you have no interest in the series. Hopefully it will make you want to be interested in the series though! It really is a brilliant bit of television.
And that's my bullets for today. Come back next Sunday for more bullets you didn't know you couldn't live without!
Posted on December 12th, 2019
On Friday I was walking through a parking lot to the mini-mart when a car came bombing around a corner and hit me. I was knocked down and my keys and iPhone went flying. They weren't driving terribly fast... but it was way too fast for a parking lot and totally fast enough to knock me off my feet.
The screen protector on my iPhone was shattered. But when I removed it the iPhone was in flawless condition. Since nothing was broken (including me) I told them to be more careful and slow down, then went on with my life.
Alas, the next morning my iPhone display was "banding" (there were dark stripes going across the display). Later in the evening my display was getting progressively dark and when I woke up on Sunday it was completely black.
I am still traumatized from the heinous fucking treatment I had to endure courtesy of Apple "Support" when I attempted to make a claim on my AppleCare+ insurance plan... so it will be a while before I'm ready to blog about that bullshit. But I absolutely will. Suffice to say that Apple "Support" is made of 100% asshole, still, and the number of times I heard "There's nothing I can do!" from "support" leads was staggering. Which means either A) They are lying for whatever reason, or B) Apple management doesn't empower their leads with the power to do
Eventually I did FINALLY manage to get my phone replaced and it arrived today.
Setting up a replacement iPhone is blissfully effortless. You log in to iCloud and restore from a backup. BLAM! You're done.
Except... not so much.
After my email accounts transfered over, I had the same error THAT I HAD A YEAR AGO when I got a new phone. The same error THAT I HAD THREE MONTHS AGO when I got a new phone.
A message pops up which says "CANNOT VERIFY SERVER IDENTITY"...
You click "Details" and the pop-up disappears but nothing happens.
You click "Cancel" and the pop-up disappears but nothing happens.
Then the dialog box comes back over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over AND FUCKING OVER AGAIN! And it simply will not stop no matter what you do. Every five seconds it comes back.
When you search through Apple's knowledgebase, you'll see that this bug has been discussed SINCE TWO-THOUSAND-FUCKING-SIXTEEN! It's been around and been reported FOR THREE DAMN YEARS! And Apple won't do fucking shit to fix it. Your ONLY option is to delete your email account and start over. Which means that migrating your email accounts is essentially useless. How damn hard is it to have the "Details" button bring up a sheet where you can choose to "trust" the server?
I guess Apple has bigger fish to fry.
Like ensuring that their "support" team treats their customers like shit.
Posted on October 15th, 2018
Like most everybody, I would prefer not paying taxes.
But the only way it all works is if everybody kicks in money so that things we rely on can continue to function. Like the fire department. Like our military. Like food inspectors. Like so many things that keep us safe and make sure the services we enjoy have the funding they need.
And so... we pay taxes.
The problem is that the way we are taxed is incredibly fucked up.
Our progressive federal tax scale means that the more money you make, the more money in federal taxes you pay. The base rate goes from roughly 10% for the poorest among us to roughly 40% for the wealthiest among us. Except... there are so many fucking loopholes and bullshit conditions to taxation that somebody who should be paying 40% can end up paying less than 10% if they are creative in their finances. Billionaires can easily pay nothing if they figure out a way for their income to be tied up in investments and shit.
Like I said, the system is incredibly fucked up.
Now, I don't pretend to be an economics genius or anything... but there has got to be a better way. Something more fair and honest. But since the billionaires control all the wealth (hence they control all the politicians making the tax laws), "a better way" will likely never happen. Instead we're getting even more tax cuts for the wealthy that are paid for by huge cuts to things like Medicare and Social Security that we have already fucking paid for along with critical services... like public education.
Personally, I am all for abolishing income tax of any kind and eliminating the IRS. Instead of income tax, the taxes we need will come from the shit you buy. This is called a "consumption tax" and, in my mind, seems a lot more fair than the bullshit we have now. Everybody pays the same consumption tax on absolutely everything except food and medical expenses. Buy a new fingernail clipper? Pay a little tax. Buy a fucking mansion? Pay a lot of fucking taxes. And no buying your fingernail clippers in France so you can avoid paying your consumption tax! Anything you bring into the country is immediately subject to taxation. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything.
In the meanwhile though...
Since I am paying an outrageous amount of federal income tax on every dollar I make, I try very hard to not pay sales tax. Any large purchase... like camera equipment... I purchase out of state so I don't have to pay taxes on it. At least I did...
I get it. Honestly I do. Washington State (which doesn't collect a state income tax) relies on sales tax to pay the bills. An astronomically high sales tax that's near 9%. So when I order a $1000 camera lens from B&H Photo in New York, Washington State is losing out on $90 in tax revenue.
A tax I'd be happy to pay if it weren't for all the other shit I'm taxed on. Hell, run it up to 20% for all I care... so long as you get rid of the IRS and my fucking income tax so we have a consistent, fair tax rate that everybody has to pay equally.
But what do I know? A consumption tax sounds fair and transparent to me, but maybe it's a dumb idea. Maybe a flat-tax is better. Maybe there's an alternative to taxes which will still allow us to pay for public safety, infrastructure, and defense that's far more fair than what we got. I really don't know and I honestly don't care. So long as we get rid of the fucked up insanity we're stuck with now.
Especially since I'll now be paying more taxes than ever before.
Especially since politicians are spending more tax revenue than ever before.
Especially since Americans are getting fucked over by our government worse than ever before.
Posted on February 19th, 2017
Stop what you're doing, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Phone Home? Are you an American who travels internationally? Or a foreigner visiting the USA? Then here's an article for you: I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you. We're quickly coming to a point where personal privacy and freedom is being tossed right out the window. It's only going to get worse.
• This Guy. Thank heavens John Oliver has returned from hiatus to save our sanity...
And just when you think things can't get worse...
• Sorry. It would seem an apology to Sweden is in order...
Guess I'm going to have to make apology graphics for all the countries of the world. I'm confident President Trump will get around to saying stupid shit about all of them eventually...
And I thought George W. Bush was a fucking embarrassment.
• Merry Marvel. The little promos that Marvel is releasing in anticipation of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok have been really funny. This past week they released Team Thor: Part 2...
The surprising thing is that the next Thor movie isn't here until NOVEMBER! Before that we've got Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5 and Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7. If you haven't seen it yet, Team Thor: Part 1 can be found on YouTube.
• Gerrymandering. Yes. It's time to stop this fucking bullshit...
We get the government politicians buy for us. Time to start giving a shit.
• PAY! PAY! PAY! As I mentioned a while back, LEGO addressed complaints about having to buy additional toys to complete a mission by adding "Hire a Hero" where you can have temporary access to the toy you need... for a price. A price that gets more expensive the more often you need it. But... hey... beats having to buy a LEGO set you don't want, right?
As I found out by playing the LEGO Dimensions Knight Rider fun pack, you need the LEGO Dimensions Mission: Impossible level pack because the 30 seconds you get for "Hire a Hero" Ethan Hunt isn't long enough to solve one of the puzzles. And now I find that I can't really completely LEGO Dimensions A-Team fun pack without the LEGO Dimensions Adventure Time level pack because the 30 seconds you get for "Hire a Hero" Finn the Human isn't long enough to solve one of the puzzles.
I PITY THE FOOL WHO MAKES ME BUY MORE SETS TO COMPLETE THE SET I JUST BOUGHT!
Needless to say, this is pretty shitty. When you "Hire a Hero" you should get to keep that hero until the puzzle has been solved. Anything less is just going right back to a massive paywall that's incredibly unfair. But... there's money to be made, so whatever. Guess buying one toy will never be enough.
AND I AM DONE WITH BULLETS FOR THE WEEK!
Posted on June 23rd, 2015
The biggest drawback of watching Apple's latest wankfest of all the "insanely great" technologies they've got coming down the pipe is me sitting in front of the computer screaming "WHY DON'T YOU FUCKING FIX THE SHIT THAT'S BROKEN BEFORE ADDING MORE PROBLEMS FOR YOUR USERS?"
Because more and more, Apple's myriad of bugs and busted shit in OS X is giving me Microsoft Windows flashbacks. What's worse is that Apple seems to have little interest in fixing stuff. No response in the forums. No fixes in the updates. No acknowledgement of anything wrong, despite many, many users reporting the same problems.
Take for instance iTunes.
The program is utter crap. It has been for years. I could go on for ages about how stupid it is that you can't stream movies you buy, but are forced to download them. I could rage for days on how utterly insane it is that the iTunes Store doesn't let you know which movies you're already bought. Or how your movie purchases never show up in the "My Movies" tab unless you've downloaded all of them. It's just such a steaming load of bullshit. Yet it's been going on for years. And Apple doesn't care. And the way you can tell they don't care is that they never fix this moronic crap. But what's worse than helpful features being omitted are the legions of bugs that make using iTunes such a horrendous experience.
iTunes Match is FOREVER fucking up. Every damn time I fire up iTunes expecting to be able to play the music I purchased "in the cloud," iTunes just sits there spinning it's wheels. It doesn't matter which computer I'm on. It doesn't matter if I disabled all virus protection. It doesn't matter if I clear caches. It doesn't matter if I try all the idiotic work-arounds people come up with. It doesn't even matter where I'm at around the world. Sometimes, after 20 minutes or so, it will tell you there's a problem and tell you to logout and login again... which does work... but should I have to do that every fucking time I start iTunes? It's become almost automatic for me now, which is fucking bananas. Because, of course, if you logout you end up having to re-start Match which takes ages to get going again.
And I can't tell you how many times a day I have problems with iCloud. I'm consistently and constantly seeing this on my screen...
This is so stupid on so many levels. First of all, my Macs are all password protected. If I've got them password protected, nobody is accessing them but me... so why in the hell is iCloud logging me out? Even if I were to accept that this is a valid security concern, "periodically" to Apple means SEVERAL FUCKING TIMES A DAY. I have to login to iCloud to use iTunes. I have to login to iCloud to use iMessage. I have to login to iCloud to FaceTime. I have to login to iCloud to scratch my nuts. Once a month would be fine. But I am sick to fucking death of this CONSTANT need to have me login over and over and over and over AND OVER again. Shit... if I logout of iTunes to try and access my Match music, I'm forced to login to iCloud THREE GODDAMN TIMES before the nonsense stops. That alone causes me to go ballistic. Add in all the other times I have to deal with this shit and I'm in thermonuclear meltdown over Apple idiocy daily.
Who the fuck is in charge of fixing busted shit? ANYBODY?
But that's old news.
The latest boatload of crap coming out of Cupertino? This...
I click "Always Allow" of course.
But Apple must not know what the fuck "ALWAYS" means, because I keep getting this damn dialog box popping up all the time. Sometimes at random. Always when clearing my browser history. Does Apple give a shit? Of course not! NO response to those sick and tired of having to deal with whatever the fuck "PluginProcess" is. No patch to fix the problem. No acknowledgement a problem even exists, because if it goes unacknowledged, the problem isn't real to Apple! It's all in your imagination!
Apple used to have a motto of "It just works."
That hasn't been true in fucking ages.
Macintosh isn't superior to Windows any more. Sure it looks better and is more logical but, in the grand scheme of things, it's not better.
If you're not going to aspire to be better than your competition, just fucking close it down and concentrate on your iPhone or iPad or Apple Watch or Apple Music or whatever the fuck is your flavor of the moment. Anything less is just wasting everybody's damn time.
Posted on October 30th, 2014
I hate to sound like a broken Apple-bashing record here but, in all seriousness, things have gotten so overwhelmingly bad that I'm feeling as frustrated with Mac OS and iOS as I ever was with Windows.
First of all, quality control is total fucking bullshit. I am running into bugs within minutes of installing updates... MINUTES! And these are not esoteric one-in-a-million-users bugs, but problems so basic and ordinary that I cannot fathom how they get missed when Apple is testing their shit (they DO test their shit, don't they?). So far as I know, my set-up on my iPhone, iPad, and Macs are fairly typical. I am not running any hack software of any kind. I am not on a custom network or using a VPN. I am not using terminal tweaks or altering the system software at all. I'm just trying to get through my damn day without a crash or running into some idiocy that makes my life difficult. But that's almost impossible now-a-days with even the simplest of tasks.
Like using email.
I have four email accounts. One personal IMAP account. One work IMAP account. One charity work IMAP account. One ThriceFiction IMAP account. All four are synced using Apple's iCloud. Except they're not. If I make changes to an account... or add an account on one of my devices... or delete an account... or change any account information... it's supposed to sync up and make changes on all my devices. But it doesn't, and I have no fucking clue why. Not that Apple makes it easy to figure out what you're doing with your accounts anyway. In what has to be one of the most inexplicably stupid-ass design flaws ever, there is no single place to go to manage your accounts. There are THREE. The first two can be found in the Mail menu...
There's the "Accounts..." option, which opens up a panel from the System Preferences.
There's also an "Add Account..." option, which opens up a sheet on your main mail window. This is ten flavors of stupid, because you'd think that if you wanted to add an account, you'd click on the "Accounts..." menu option and just add it there (which you certainly can). But Apple has it as a separate menu item, duplicating functionality for no reason that I can tell.
And then things get really strange.
Click on "Preferences..." and you now how account management options in a third place...
WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK?!??
Seriously, what in the hell is going on here?
Does Mail have its own set of accounts separate from the system preferences accounts? Or are they pulling from the same place? If they're the same... GOOD LORD, WHY ARE THEY IN TWO PLACES? If they are separate, are they all syncing with each other? Which ones are synced to iCloud? How do I control what goes where? Does the "Add Account..." option in the Mail menu add to the system prefs or to Mail? Or both? This is absolute madness. To duplicate shit in multiple places, each with different interface, is utterly confusing and just bad design. This is the type of stupid shit I have historically expected from Microsoft... but Apple?!?
And the idiocy doesn't stop there.
Apple is known for creating wonderfully handy and useful ways of doing things which are so great that people switch platforms just to take advantage of how well thought-out a computer experience can be. One of my hands-down favorites is the ability to switch SMTP email servers within a Mail message from email to email. As somebody who travels often, this is an absolute godsend, because some servers I use don't work remotely. Elegant, simple, and infinitely useful...
So guess what Apple eliminated in Mail for their latest OS, Yosemite?
Yes. The ability to switch the SMTP server on the fly is now gone. If you have multiple servers associated with an account, Mail will just keep trying all of them until it finds one that works. The problem there is that my default server WILL LOCK ME OUT if they get too many network errors. This means that I now have to remember to go into email preferences and change the default SMTP server before I compose an email when I am on the road. Which I often forget to do, which means that I get locked out of my work connection over and over and over again.
This is just fucking insane.
Why did Apple remove such an astoundingly handy feature?
Did it clutter up Mail's composition window too much? Did they think it was too confusing even though it didn't even show up unless you allowed more than one SMTP server to be used? Was it simply forgotten when they were re-coding the app for Yosemite? Who the fuck knows? And it's not like there's any way you can call up Apple and ask them. At the very least you'd think that Apple would put this as an app preference instead of deleting it entirely, but I've come up empty looking for it.
And don't even get me started on the hideous mess of trying to get SMTP servers assigned in iOS. Just look at this bullshit...
Any idea why servers are showing up multiple times? If there are different settings between the duplicates, any idea how to tell what's different between them? Not even an Apple Genius could figure that one out.
I am so frustrated dealing with Apple idiocy like this every single day that I'm about ready to fucking burn all my Apple crap and become a luddite.
Not that they'd give two shits. Apple knows what's best for you, even if they don't, and if you don't want to accept that you can piss off because they've got billions of dollars and don't have to care.
Which makes two of us.
Posted on January 4th, 2014
Posted on July 30th, 2013
Yesterday was not a great day.
Today wasn't much better.
Partly because once things start to go wrong, they always seem to continue to go wrong... but mostly because I had an exhausting 3-1/2 hour drive awaiting me at the end of my work day. As I have written many times before, the journey to Spokane is long, boring, and filled with mostly nothing. Which is not to say that I have anything against Spokane itself... it's actually a pleasant and interesting city... it's just not so frickin' mind-blowing that I want to spend 3-1/2 hours driving here.
But... work... and all that.
About 2/3 of the way to Spokane is an exit for the city of Washtucna, Washington. I have never been there. But every time I drive by the exit sign, I find myself saying "Washtucna" out loud over and over again in an attempt to find the proper pronunciation, all the while wondering what the city might be like. Today was no different...
When all of a sudden...
RATTLE! RATTLE! RATTLE! RATTLE!
Apparently my muffler and/or exhaust pipe has now come loose from the frame of my car.
As I said, once things start to go wrong, they always seem to continue to go wrong, because I had already been having problems with my piece-of-shit automobile. And now I have new ones.
So... as you can see by this map, I was not exaggerating about the vast expanse of nothing going on in the Central Washington Columbia Basin...
There was nowhere I could pull off I-90 and travel to where I could be assured of there being an auto repair shop... certainly not one that would be open at 6:00pm. All I could really do was keep going and hope my car didn't fall apart before I got to Spokane. And all the while I was having to listen to...
RATTLE! RATTLE! RATTLE! RATTLE!
Luckily for me, my car held together.
Like the Millenium Falcon, but not really.
And so I did what any normal person would do after driving 3-1/2 hours with a car that's falling apart. PIZZA!!!
Car repairs can wait until tomorrow.