LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
When people volunteer to bring you pizza, BBQ, and ice cream, and you can't eat any of it.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Getting Sniffed in Recovery
The iPad is out. I have been one who have been asking, "What's it for?" Houston, I think we have an answer!
Both Crash and Trouble have talking about buying an iPad. Not for themselves, but for a relative they need to provide IT services for. In Trouble's case, he made the purchase for his mother. The idea is she needs to be able to get onto the web and have access to email. These are built-in features of the iPad and Trouble can set this up before giving his mother the device. She would never have access to a file system, and pretty much wouldn't have to worry that she was going to "break" the device. This was similar to the reasoning Crash mentioned in a separate conversation I had with him. He has an in-law whom he provides IT services for, and needs a device she's not going to screw up by simply playing with it.
Both of these conversations made me pause. Dear Leader had introduced a device and I had only thought about how would be benefit my particular demographic. The truth is, my demographic is a minority of Apple's customer base, and I need to broaden my thinking in the future when I assess what a product is really for.
I too provide IT services for a relative. In my case, I gave a MacBook to my mother a few Christmases ago. I stripped the dock down to the browser and email programs. That's all Mom needs in the way of a computer. MacBooks are not the cheapest of laptops. But if I'm doing the IT, I want something that I'm not having to spend too much time administering. Macs are quick and easy. Once a month, I run the system update program, and decide which updates she needs. (I never give her an update that isn't at least two weeks old. There have been updates on Mac and Windows that were released with bugs. Best to let the dust settle.)
But another point to consider is the weight of the devices. The MacBook is about 5 pounds and the iPad is 1.5 pounds. My mother might find a much lighter product easier to use, that is until you hold an iPad. I dropped past the Valley Fair store to have a look. I held the iPad in my left hand while navigating it with my right. After 10 minutes or so, my finger joints of my left hand were beginning to protest. OK, I'm an old fart. Put if I'm having trouble after 10 minutes, do you think this will be any better for Mom?
People who own the iPad are also saying that the on-screen keyboard is crap if you're trying to write a letter. It's fine for short bits of typing like a Google search. You aren't going to touch-type on this guy, it's back to hunt and peck unless you buy a bluetooth keyboard. Then how do you prop up the screen?
I'm not sold on the iPad yet. That might change in time as applications are released. But if you have someone you provide IT services to, it might be your answer. Just beware of the ergonomic problems that may occur. Personally, I think this form factor isn't working in it's current incarnation. The iPad needs a built in kick-stand or something else that props it up. Yes, I know Apple will sell you an overpriced ($40) thing you can lean the iPad against, I think that's further proof this isn't a complete product.
I went to Kaiser for a routine gallbladder removal. This is supposed to be one of those operations where you walk in and 5 hours later, you go home minus an organ, and go back to work in 3 days. My operation didn't go so well, and I woke up in pain with a surgeon explaining what an epidural was. The epidural was poked into my spine, and a catheter was shoved up me; and away my bed went through the hospital searching for a room. I didn't get the Laproscopic surgery as I had hoped, I had been sliced up. When I came to, much later, Mrs. Fek'Lar explained what had happened. I was going to be in the hospital for a week.
A week? But...
The first few days I was so doped up on pain killers, I really don't remember much except I was supposed to drink a lot of water which was painful so I didn't. Then they put me on the non-clear liquid diet, and things didn't get much better, but the drugs were just as good. Finally, they brought me out of the alpha-wave zone and put me on regular hospital food. There's something very funny about hospital food. It never tastes like what they say it is. I had some apple wedges that tasted like something manufactured. (It kind of reminded me of the movie Brazil, but, in all honesty, an awful lot of the world reminds me of that movie.)
Mrs. Fek'Lar brought me 4Q2 and my iPod. I wasn't ready to play with a laptop. With the iPod I managed to keep in touch with everyone who is on the invitation list to my wake. Several people came by for a visit, and others called, or sent email. Good, I was out of solitary confinement.
Then I saw a strange email show up that was addressed from me, to me, and had a link to a sight selling Viagra. (Like I was going to get any action in the hospital!) I was also getting messages from people (including my mother) telling me that was sick, or my computer had a virus. Huh? The account used was one that I only use when a business demands an email address. It's never for personal use. What was going on? It took me a couple days to figure it out (I was still on happy pills.) But it appears that the open Wi-Fi in the hospital was being sniffed. The account that was used was being checked for new email which meant a username and password were sent across the network in the clear. People don't realize that standard email was never secured. My other account uses encryption, but this one doesn't. The spammer simply sniffed the username and password, and then used the account.
Luckily, the spammer didn't change the password, so I did. I also discovered a very old mailing list in the account which is the contact list that had been spammed. I deleted it. After all, this is just the account to use for receiving junk mail from vendors.
What surprised me was this was the venue someone was using to steal accounts. Airports are famous for being an account stealing zone, I had never heard of anyone hanging out in hospitals to sniff credentials. But it makes sense, airports have too many restrictions on free movement. In most cases, you must have a boarding pass to be able to get past the security check point. The hospital is completely open. No one stops you from walking down most hallways. People in hospital beds aren't thinking of security, neither are people visiting patients. This has been a wakeup call. No more unsecured email accounts!
I noticed BBC America has decided to run Star Trek: The Next Generation. They really are promoting the crap out of it. Why? What's so Brit about Star Trek? Yes, I know the star is a Brit (and very nice too, Mrs. Fek'Lar and I met Patrick Stewart in an airport. Nice guy.)
What's the big whoop? Did someone at BBC decide this would be a hit because Doctor Who is a huge hit? There's a big difference between Doctor Who and Next Gen. First, the episodes of Doctor Who are new episodes delayed by two weeks from when the show first played on BBC 1. This is the hot new show. But Next Gen is a twenty+ year old American show. It's also running on other cable channels, as well as local stations.
Or is this a desperate move because, except for Top Gear, most of the shows on BBC America don't attract large audiences? The major demographic for a BBC America show is British expatriates living here in "The Colonies".
BBC America, extreme close up on me, please. You have to carve out a niche and stick with it. If you start playing the same shows everyone else is, you lose. Stick with your stuff, it's unique, and if you do a better job picking from the enormous libraries of excellent British shows, you can make it. But if you are trying to reach Americans, you need to be careful about which shows you bring over. The
programs programmes that are using British slang which never made it out of the Commonwealth aren't going to make it here. Chat shows that feature British stars Americans have never heard of don't attract us. News programs programmes that only have stories about the UK and its Commonwealth will not be watched by Americans. Remember, we're very provincial.
The first lesson in Television Production class was "know who your audience is". So... who is yours? Chose now.
Why Does the GOP Hate Itself?
Another Anti-Gay Republican Comes Out of the Closet
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
I like sucking gravy through a straw.
My God, people are fucking dumb!
He's bald, he scares me.
I think we're about to cross the threshold where we have more Vice Presidents than workers.
Oh flip a coin! That's how Einstein did it!
I have to go find my prototype.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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