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[personal profile] tcpip
This past week started off with [livejournal.com profile] txxxpxx's x0th birthday party at their beautiful apartment which never fails to impress and nor does txxxpxx's organisational and catering skills, not mention the entertaining performance of Three Fat Pirates. It was a great night and I have been reminded that I must organise a smaller gathering of such people for an exploration Willsmere, as many have not had the opportunity to properly explore the grounds of the former asylum. At the other end of the week but equally of alternative rock star sensations, [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya and I attended Pop Crimes : Roland S. Howard tribute, courtesy of The Dwarf. My impending review will mention the extraordinary who's-who of Australian alternative music but also note the variation in sound quality at various points during the show. With any luck the next review will be for Dream Theater.

Gaming this week started with Werewolf:The Yugoslav Wars with a journey into the heart of the Siege of Sarajevo. Research of these topics is pretty off-putting but necessary for verisimilitude. On Thursday, a couple of players were unable to attend the usual Call of Cthulhu game was cancelled and replaced by a one-off of the narrativist game, The Shab-al-Hiri Roach, which poses the question are you willing to swallow a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying human civilization? No? Even if it will get you tenure? (to which the competitive New England 1920s academics rush to agree in the affirmative). Previous reviews rate it very highly; whilst very enjoyable I will be more circumspect.

Congratulations are due to [Bad username or site: ozraptor4 @ livejournal] for their artwork in Nature. Ubuntu has it's 10th birthday. Around the same time [livejournal.com profile] imajica_lj ordered a special cake, expressing some joy at recent experiences with said distribution (the fact that it said "Happy Birthday!" underneath was a beautiful coincidence).
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[personal profile] compilerbitch

My new Queer of Swords post is up at Patheos. Halloween from a transgendered perspective, with a touch of rant just to be sure.


Grr Arg!




Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/24/new-queer-of-swords-post-halloween-the-secular-festival-of-becoming/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#QueerofSwords, #TransgenderActivism

Dear Yuletide writer

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:53 pm
ceb: (utena)
[personal profile] ceb
Dear Yuletide author,

Thank you for writing for me! I love hand-made presents and this is the first Yuletide I've properly taken part in, so I am extra easy to please. This is me at AO3.


General likes/dislikes:
I would strongly prefer gen fic for all the fandoms I've nominated. I don't mind whether I get a happy ending or not (though if you go for an unhappy ending I would prefer bittersweet to crushing doom).

I adore unusual formats (and, apparently, lists). Please, if you want to, tell me a story as a game or a series of drabbles or a shopping list or a puzzle or a poem or an ASCII map or half of a scribbled note exchange... if there's some crazy thing you've been wanting to try to write forever but aren't sure if your recipient would get it, I am the right person to send it to. If you're not that person and just want to write a story, I will also be delighted, so please play to your strengths and don't feel you need to reach for a weird format if you don't want to.


AO3 Name: molybdomantic

Fandom 1: Pandemic (Board Game)
Characters: any


I would be delighted with any story set in this universe, whether it features the role characters or wider world-building. I have played this game quite a lot and am familiar with the base game and with On The Brink (though I haven't yet played the bioterrorist version). I have so many suggestions to offer... The diary of a field operative. The many and varied logistical headaches of a dispatcher. The operations expert's promotion on the release of On The Brink. What's it like to be an air-drop pilot? Or a victim of one of the diseases? The story of an outbreak told in overly-sensational tabloid headlines, or press releases from the CDC, or a shopping list of lab supplies, or the academic write-up for the Lancet afterwards, or as choose-your-own-adventure from the point of view of the diseases... I love unusual story formats and I love meta-analysis of the game elements of the situation. Also I'm studying infectious disease epidemiology at the moment, so if you want to give me something hugely technical like the speculations on the transmission mechanism and reproduction number of the different diseases, or the lab book of the poor technician who has to try to isolate the infectious agent from a small blue wooden cube then I will be over the moon.


Fandom 2: The Cyberiad - Stanislaw Lem
Characters: klapaucius, Trurl


I love these stories for their whimsicality, their combination of fairy tale tropes with hard maths and physics, the way they are sweet but always in an unforced, natural-feeling way. I also love Trurl and Klapaucius' rather competitive friendship. Please tell me a story of an unlikely invention, the problems it causes, and how Trurl and Klapaucius find their way out of the mess again. Or something else in keeping with the tone of the originals, if you have a better idea. Definitely gen fic only for this fandom, please. Though there's plenty of mention of love and relationships in the stories I would prefer this kept as background detail, as in the originals.


Fandom 3: STÅLENHAG Simon - Works
Characters: Young man on flooded clockwork


I'm not the original nominator for this fandom but this picture (http://www.simonstalenhag.se/bilderbig/flooded_clockwork_1920_badge.jpg) really caught my imagination. What is this place and why is it important to the person in the picture? (The character is listed as "young man" but I would be happy with any interpretation of gender/species/robotitude/etc.) Do they have a history there? Have they heard stories about it? Maybe they're about to help bring the contraption back to its former glory, or oversee its destruction? (If you like writing crossovers, it reminds me strongly of the Myst games.)

Dravidian languages

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:01 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Today I drew a tree of the relationships between the Dravidian languages (because someone asked about Tamil). Source.

"The sweetest milk I had ever tasted"

Oct. 24th, 2014 01:13 pm
rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (cooking)
[personal profile] rosefox
I actually don't remember how long it's been since the last time I had dairy products. As a long-established dairy-defier, I frequently give advice to people who are reducing or eliminating dairy, and I figure it makes sense to have that info all in one place.

Allergen note
Almost all of my preferred creamy/buttery dairy substitutes are nut-based. I've done my best to make non-nut suggestions for those with nut allergies, but I'm not really an expert on that front.

Equipment note
If you're going to go fully dairy-free, I highly recommend investing in two kitchen tools: a high-speed blender and a food processor. Mine are made by Vitamix and Cuisinart respectively, and I don't know what I'd do without them. These tools will let you easily make dairy substitutes that are tastier and usually cheaper than the storebought ones. A less essential but still useful third tool is an ice cream maker, which will let you experiment with sorbets and non-dairy ice creams.

Shopping note
When buying packaged prepared foods, look for the word "parve" or "pareve" under a kosher symbol. Keeping kosher requires separating milk from meat; "parve" means that something contains neither milk nor meat and can therefore be eaten with either. This will save you a lot of time checking ingredient labels for sneaky things like whey in sandwich bread, casein in shredded fake cheese, etc. Note that parve things may still contain eggs, honey, and other non-vegan ingredients.

Essential reading
The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook has amazing legume-based recipes for butter, cheese, whipped cream, and other dairy substitutes. Throughout this piece, I'll be referring to NDEC recipes. I've read and used a lot of non-dairy cookbooks, and NDEC is by far the best.

Now, on to the substitutions!

Milk (for drinking, cereal, smoothies, etc.)
This is totally a matter of taste. Try a bunch of different store-bought milks and see what you like. I prefer almond milk for cereal and soy or hazelnut milk for drinking. Hazelnut milk can be used to make amazing Nutella-like hot chocolate! You can also make your own nut milks in a high-speed blender. I use the NDEC recipe for almond milk, which is just almond meal (aka almond flour) and water, and it's intensely almondy and delicious. Coconut milk (the sort intended for drinking, not the sort that comes in a can) is the best non-nut non-soy option, in my opinion, but some people prefer rice milk. I do like making my own horchata, and should really try it again now that I have a Vitamix.

Proportions for almond milk: 3.75 c water to 1 packed cup almond meal/flour or 5 oz. blanched almonds

Proportions for almond cream: 4.5 c water to 1 POUND (one full bag) almond meal or blanched almonds

Butter (spread)
Earth Balance is the standout spreadable butter substitute. There are many varieties, including soy-free. NDEC has a butter recipe but I haven't tried it yet.

Butter (baking)
Melted butter can be replaced 1:1 with canola oil or melted REFINED coconut oil. (Unrefined coconut oil tastes like coconut. Refined tastes like nothing.) For butter sticks, try Earth Balance sticks, but be warned that they are pre-salted; if you use them, you'll probably want to reduce or omit any salt you usually put in your recipes. Fleischmann's unsalted margarine, which is kosher parve, is reportedly very good for baking, but I'm allergic to another ingredient in it so I can't personally vouch for it.

Cream
NDEC has an excellent almond cream recipe that substitutes well for heavy cream, including whipping up into schlag. Coconut cream—the thick stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk, not to be confused with pre-sweetened cream of coconut for cocktails—can also be put in coffee or whipped. There does exist canned non-dairy whipped cream, but it's quite hard to find outside of hippie specialty groceries.

Sour cream and buttermilk
The easy way for making ingredients to use in recipes: add 1 Tbsp cider vinegar per cup of cream to make sour cream; add 1 tsp cider vinegar per cup of milk and let stand 5 minutes to make buttermilk. NDEC also has recipes for sour cream and buttermilk that stand well on their own.

Cream cheese
I never liked it, so I couldn't tell you which substitute is best, but NDEC has a recipe and there are a few packaged vegan cream cheese varieties available.

Yogurt
There are many, many soy and coconut yogurts out there. WholeSoy unflavored unsweetened yogurt is the best for cooking, and can be used as a starter if you want to make your own yogurt. I've never been a fan of eating yogurt qua yogurt, but I expect brands etc. are mostly a matter of taste anyway, so try some and see what you like.

Cheese
Cashew ricotta was one of the first substitute dairy products I ever made, and it was life-changing. Soak raw, unsalted cashews for four hours, pour out the water, put the cashews in your food processor, and drizzle in fresh cold water as you process them until the texture becomes creamy and ricotta-like. Add salt to taste. When I use it for lasagna, I process in fresh basil and nutmeg.

Regal Vegan makes a basil cashew ricotta called Basilicotta that's out of this world. Unfortunately, it goes off very quickly. If you buy it, make sure there's still plenty of time before the expiration date, and use it up as soon as you can.

NDEC has superb recipes for a wide variety of cheeses: some for slicing, some for shredding, some for eating by the fistful. I made NDEC's mozzarella with homemade almond milk and it was incredible; the texture wasn't quite perfect, but it was splendid on pasta and pizza, and yes, it melts! It doesn't get gooey, but next time I might add a bit of xanthan gum to help with that. The cheese melts best in steamy/liquid environments, such as when stirred into a pasta sauce. Under direct heat, it will brown but hold its shape. To get an effect like near-liquid melted mozzarella on pizza or lasagna, I recommend shredding the cheese, melting it in the microwave, and pouring it onto the dish. Then bake until browned and bubbly.

Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese isn't quite as good a cookbook as NDEC, but I do really like her gruyère recipe; it makes killer fondue and croque monsieur. Schinner's recipes frequently call for rejuvelac, which is made by soaking and fermenting grains. It's very easy to mess up rejuvelac and get a jar full of mold. My usual substitute for 1 cup of rejuvelac is 1 capsule (1/8 tsp.) of vegan probiotic powder in 1 cup filtered water. It's not quite as live-culture-y as rejuvelac but it works well enough.

Cheesemaking does take a bit of time and effort; if you're not up for that, try the many packaged shredded cheese substitutes. Lots of people like tapioca-based Daiya cheeses. My personal favorite packaged vegan mozzarella is Follow Your Heart (the shreds, not the block cheese). But homemade cheese is always the best.

As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as non-nut non-soy vegan cheese. If I were to try to make some, I'd probably make my own rice milk and then try it in a cheese recipe, but I don't know how well it would work without the soy/nut protein.

Frozen pizza
My preferred brands are Daiya and Amy's, not least because their pizzas are gluten-free. Udi's pizza crusts are also GF and DF.

Pre-sliced sandwich bread
Stroehmann Dutch Country whole wheat bread is my preferred brand, but any brand that's kosher parve will do.

Milk powder
If a recipe calls for both milk powder and water, replace the water with your preferred non-dairy milk. I haven't tried powdered non-dairy milk but apparently it exists.

Frozen desserts
I recommend exploring homemade sorbets and granitas before you try tackling homemade non-dairy ice cream. Williams-Sonoma has some good recipes. A Vitamix blender can also be used to turn frozen fruit into frozen desserts; there are instructions for this in the manual.

Once you're ready to make your own ice cream, check out the recipes in Mark Foy's Desserts of Vitality. Almost all of them call for lecithin, an emulsifier that's extremely useful for making smooth, creamy ice cream; you can get liquid or granulated lecithin (and many other useful ingredients, especially for cheesemaking) at Modernist Pantry. Those with soy allergies can look for sunflower lecithin.

For store-bought ice cream, Turtle Mountain brands—Soy Delicious, So Delicious, Purely Delicious, etc.—are consistently excellent. In my experience, all coconut-based vegan ice cream tastes basically like coconut, no matter what else it's supposed to taste like. As a rule I prefer nut-based ice creams over soy-based ice creams, but tastes vary a lot. Try things and see what you like.


What did I miss? Is anything unclear? Ask all the questions you like!

Physio

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:39 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
I was pleased to be seeing the physio today, because my shoulder was even more sore this morning than it was yesterday....

Her conclusion is that my joints are a bit hypermobile, and because of something I didn't entirely follow this means that some of my muscles are too strong and others aren't doing enough (eg, when she had me my raise my arms over my head, I was actually doing a lot of the work with my neck muscles instead of my shoulders). And my shoulder joints aren't quite properly in the sockets (not sure if that was cause or effect.) It's been building up for a while, and just finally got to the point where my body couldn't compensate enough any more, hence the pain.

She's given me a few exercises to do over the next week (which mostly consist of keeping my shoulders back and down, so that the joint is in the right position), mostly to get things back in the right place, and then I'll go back next week to get some exercises that I should then be in a position to do. And that, plus her speaking to Pilates Girl to make some changes to my routine, should fix it. Hopefully.

The farrier had a poke at Baby's foot, cut a bit off and confirmed that he had just torn it a bit (probably on some flint): keep doing what we've been doing for a week or so and it should be fine.

I was hoping to ride GB, on the off chance that it was daily gentle exercise that made him a bit better yesterday. But it's grey and raining and my shoulders hurt so, yeah.

I changed Mike's plaster this morning, which may have been a mistake. We're going to leave it for a couple of days, this time, and hope that it scabs better....

knee update

Oct. 23rd, 2014 05:47 pm
silentq: (Death)
[personal profile] silentq
So the good news is that it's a 'deep bone bruise on L patella' and the examinations and x-rays didn't hurt too much (I've had x-ray techs be rough when positioning me).
The bad news is that it can take 3-4 months to heal, and I'm in a knee immobilising brace for a week, with a prescription for PT after that. No biking for a week more is going to make me very very cranky.
Having had a bone bruise on my hand from parkour, I can verify that it will take months to heal. *sigh* There's also an outside chance that the orthopedist was wrong and it was a ligament tear (the NP thought it was the one stabilizing against anterior motion, and having moved wrong a couple of times, that's the way I've got some instability), but resting it for a week should sort out any confusion. Not quite sure what the PT is for if it's bone related though, so I'll be looking for a place that's super convenient. They'll probably have a better idea if it's a ligament as well.

Place holder

Oct. 23rd, 2014 10:29 pm
randomling: A wombat. (Default)
[personal profile] randomling
Is holding a place.

N Things

Oct. 23rd, 2014 07:44 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
- My shoulder really hurts. Waa. Physio tomorrow.

- Mike's finger also hurts, after a scissor-related incident this afternoon in the kitchen.

- GB hopefully doesn't hurt anywhere, after a week on the 'bute. Yesterday, he was Not Good when I rode him. Today, he was better but still Not Right. I phoned the Back Lady at home and left a piteous message with her husband. We'll see if she gets back to me.

- Baby has a bit of a manky foot; we've been cleaning it out and the farrier will pop in tomorrow (as he's doing The Horse Next Door anyway).

- The Road Guys still haven't reappeared, but have at least replaced the 'Road Closed' signs with ones saying that the road will be closed from the 30th for three days.

- Which, I've just realised, might be a problem: our Riding Instructor happened to mention to another client that we were looking for a horse (actually, probably two: one for each of us, because Mike and Baby just aren't progressing like they should be), and this woman said she might be interested in Baby for her other half. And she phoned today and we arranged that she'd come down on Thursday. Hmm. Note to self: ride him as much as possible over the next week.

- It also might be a problem on account of how the road is full of cows, and I really can't see the Road Guys agreeing to work with them around. In one of those mysterious coincidences, the cows were by the main road and Not Very Near Neighbour phoned Bad Farmer to say she was worried about one of the calves. The next morning, they were in the valley, out of sight. Spooky.

- We had Alison and M staying at the start of the week. On Saturday, Mike's entire family, yea unto the third generation, is arriving for the weekend (and his mother is staying on afterwards). There has been much doing of laundry and making up of beds. Also, on Mike's part, baking.

- We've had no mobile phone signal since early on Saturday afternoon (I mean, actually none, not just the very small amount that we usually get). This afternoon, Mike phoned Virgin to ask when the mast would be back in action, and was bizarrely told that, as they had no report of the mast being down, they needed him to try to make five phone calls in 24 hours, at least half an hour apart, and then email him the details of them. He did actually do it, but I can't honestly see any reason why he couldn't have just made it up. I think I'll ask Mrs Next Door to report it to ee, as it's their mast and she has a contract with them.

- I've got a few possible horses that I'd like to look at. Need to wait until the family have departed, though.

- We've started moving the boys across the field. They have already eaten the new bit bare.... They're nearly as bad as the ducks!
tamaranth: (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
What do I care if it’s shocking? I am shocking. What was done to me was shocking. I am outside the boundaries for ever, no longer decent. I will leave grapes for you in your own home.

All the Truth that's In Me -- Julie Berry
This is a novel for young adults (it was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal) set in Puritan revolutionary America, somewhere in New England. Four years ago, two girls went missing from the small town of Roswell Station: two years ago, Judith Finch stumbled home, unable to speak of what had happened to her. Half her tongue had been cut out.somewhat spoilery review )
tamaranth: (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
"Fear is like a library book: put it in a place you can find it when you need it, but don't carry it with you." Read more... )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the 4th (or 5th), I think in Priest's The Clockwork Century sequence. It primarily focus on Rector, the extremely red-haired chap who gives Zeke the route description to "inside the Wall" in Boneshaker.

It' sfull of "inside the Wall", intrigue, mystery and politics. All in all, a most pleasant read. I suspect it relies on having read quite a few of the prior works, for it to make massive sense, though.

(no subject)

Oct. 23rd, 2014 11:19 am
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[personal profile] fluffymormegil

Bah. I have managed to mislay the DVLA-emitted "your photocard is about to expire" form on which I'd ticked the "do not renew" box, and the only downloadable licence-surrender form is the one for medical non-renewal.

[ Books ] Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

Oct. 23rd, 2014 09:18 am
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[personal profile] flaviomatani
Just finished reading, maybe for the third time in my life, 'Foundation' by Isaac Asimov. , which is the set reading for the next meeting of Bibliogoth How times change (even though admittedly they need to change a lot more). Apart from the rather quaint galaxy the story takes place in, where everything is 'atomic' (but of course he was writing this at the end of the 1940's so nuclear energy was a promise rather than a threat), the first thing that strikes me is the fact that all the characters of any consequence are men and the only woman that has a voice at all in the book, although fierce, is still just somebody's wife and somebody's daughter.

The book is also an hymn to unbridled capitalism, which Asimov clearly believes to be a force for good...well, what we're dealing with in the world, with the consequences of greed on the part of corporations and banks may have put paid to any such beliefs.

Having said all this, though, I enjoyed the book enormously again. It cannot help being a product of its time and has all the corresponding flaws but it's a very good story and a good example of what I feel science-fiction should be, entertaining and thought provoking, a mirror held at us from a distance

Linux Container Security

Oct. 23rd, 2014 08:44 am
[personal profile] mjg59
First, read these slides. Done? Good.

Hypervisors present a smaller attack surface than containers. This is somewhat mitigated in containers by using seccomp, selinux and restricting capabilities in order to reduce the number of kernel entry points that untrusted code can touch, but even so there is simply a greater quantity of privileged code available to untrusted apps in a container environment when compared to a hypervisor environment[1].

Does this mean containers provide reduced security? That's an arguable point. In the event of a new kernel vulnerability, container-based deployments merely need to upgrade the kernel on the host and restart all the containers. Full VMs need to upgrade the kernel in each individual image, which takes longer and may be delayed due to the additional disruption. In the event of a flaw in some remotely accessible code running in your image, an attacker's ability to cause further damage may be restricted by the existing seccomp and capabilities configuration in a container. They may be able to escalate to a more privileged user in a full VM.

I'm not really compelled by either of these arguments. Both argue that the security of your container is improved, but in almost all cases exploiting these vulnerabilities would require that an attacker already be able to run arbitrary code in your container. Many container deployments are task-specific rather than running a full system, and in that case your attacker is already able to compromise pretty much everything within the container. The argument's stronger in the Virtual Private Server case, but there you're trading that off against losing some other security features - sure, you're deploying seccomp, but you can't use selinux inside your container, because the policy isn't per-namespace[2].

So that seems like kind of a wash - there's maybe marginal increases in practical security for certain kinds of deployment, and perhaps marginal decreases for others. We end up coming back to the attack surface, and it seems inevitable that that's always going to be larger in container environments. The question is, does it matter? If the larger attack surface still only results in one more vulnerability per thousand years, you probably don't care. The aim isn't to get containers to the same level of security as hypervisors, it's to get them close enough that the difference doesn't matter.

I don't think we're there yet. Searching the kernel for bugs triggered by Trinity shows plenty of cases where the kernel screws up from unprivileged input[3]. A sufficiently strong seccomp policy plus tight restrictions on the ability of a container to touch /proc, /sys and /dev helps a lot here, but it's not full coverage. The presentation I linked to at the top of this post suggests using the grsec patches - these will tend to mitigate several (but not all) kernel vulnerabilities, but there's tradeoffs in (a) ease of management (having to build your own kernels) and (b) performance (several of the grsec options reduce performance).

But this isn't intended as a complaint. Or, rather, it is, just not about security. I suspect containers can be made sufficiently secure that the attack surface size doesn't matter. But who's going to do that work? As mentioned, modern container deployment tools make use of a number of kernel security features. But there's been something of a dearth of contributions from the companies who sell container-based services. Meaningful work here would include things like:

  • Strong auditing and aggressive fuzzing of containers under realistic configurations
  • Support for meaningful nesting of Linux Security Modules in namespaces
  • Introspection of container state and (more difficult) the host OS itself in order to identify compromises

These aren't easy jobs, but they're important, and I'm hoping that the lack of obvious development in areas like this is merely a symptom of the youth of the technology rather than a lack of meaningful desire to make things better. But until things improve, it's going to be far too easy to write containers off as a "convenient, cheap, secure: choose two" tradeoff. That's not a winning strategy.

[1] Companies using hypervisors! Audit your qemu setup to ensure that you're not providing more emulated hardware than necessary to your guests. If you're using KVM, ensure that you're using sVirt (either selinux or apparmor backed) in order to restrict qemu's privileges.
[2] There's apparently some support for loading per-namespace Apparmor policies, but that means that the process is no longer confined by the sVirt policy
[3] To be fair, last time I ran Trinity under Docker under a VM, it ended up killing my host. Glass houses, etc.

Zophobas morio

Oct. 22nd, 2014 10:10 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
We got some crickets in the post today, so I put them into a tank we use for feed insects, and there were some Zophobas morio worms in there still. Z. morio is a long wriggly worm when it's a larva, and this is the form in which it's used as spider food. I was surprised, because we haven't had new Z. morio in for months, and I'd assumed that if there were any leftovers they'd be dead by now. But then I noticed the large number of small brown-black beetles in the tank and realised that the worms were (at least) second generation. I don't think I'd ever realised what they looked like when they grew up before: they're small, about a centimetre across, around the size of a new halfpenny.

2014 - #118, "Orbus", Neal Asher

Oct. 22nd, 2014 04:16 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This takes place almost immediately after Voyage of the Sable Keech and features primarily Orbus and Drooble. And an assortment of Prador, to round the cast out.

Other than that, it is pretty much your run of the mill Polity novel.

On the arrogance of browsers, part II

Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:46 pm
ihcoyc: Apocalyptic Price (Apocalyptic Price)
[personal profile] ihcoyc
If you, like me, switched to Pale Moon from Firefox, and you still have a 24.* version, you are going to want to at least temporarily turn off browser updates, at least for the interim, because you don't want to be frogmarched into version 25. If it happened to you involuntarily, you can get the last good version here.  Be sure to turn off updates as soon as you run it.

One thing that the 'update' does to you involuntarily is that it no longer tells websites that it's a version of Firefox. This breaks many sites, including in all likelihood many banking and credit card sites. It also broke my legal research site. It also broke DeviantArt.

Apparently the old version was "lying" about which browser it was, which breaks Robot's Rules of Order or some such. Now I know that the Firefox user base has been in freefall recently, as a result of arrogant decisions by those programmers forcing detestable changes in the interface, and their arrogant response: "don't like it? Install another add on." I think Firefox jumped the shark when it removed the ability to turn off Javascript. You don't disable a security feature without telling anybody. Their arrogant response then: "Don't like it? Edit your about:config file....Or install another add on." Well, fuck you too.

So I kind of understand Pale Moon's desire to announce itself to the world, and let the dataminers know that its users aren't using Firefox any more. But this breaks the web. I understand that they're going to fix this in another update, but it hasn't been fixed yet.

Any time the browser itself steps between me and what I'm doing, it's broken. I need unchanging, stable reliability from a web browser more than I need updates. Telling me the internet's a scary place just isn't persuasive any more. Whatever dangers lurk for the users of a months-old version are remote and speculative, while the problems letting the updates run are immediate and obvious. I suppose I can eventually go back to an extended maintenance last good version of Firefox, from the time before they decided to take Javascript control within the browser itself out of your hands.

But I don't need to be handed extra chores by browser programmers who decide to change the way the browser works and impose those changes automatically and without explanations before they're allowed to happen. I'm not really all that interested in the details of web browsers. I shouldn't feel the need to monitor the developers to be aware of whatever unwelcome surprises they're planning in future versions. All I want is for the browser to do its job and get out of the way.

One more thing: the 25.* versions of Pale Moon drop support for Windows XP. Their recommendations are typically arrogant: they want you to pay Microsoft for a newer operating system that will run like sludge on your systems specced for XP. What they're eager to tell you not to do is to keep the un-updated version that still works. Do they eat with the same hands that they type that stuff with?

knee injury

Oct. 21st, 2014 01:40 pm
silentq: (hiking)
[personal profile] silentq
Okay, still behind on recording lots of fun stuff, but I wanted to get this down here for time stamping purposes: on Saturday I fell on a rocky slope and hurt my knee. It can't really bend all that much, and the bruising covers my whole knee cap with two gouges in the centre. It's bad enough that I'm not riding my bike, and taking elevators and escalators. But compared to the bike accident where I loosened my ACL, I didn't cry nearly as much (though I felt like throwing up and then fainting, that was odd, but might have been a bit of shock), and I was able to limp downhill 2 and then 1.5 miles to get back to camp and then the car the next day (granted, I rode my bike to my doctor's office after that fall..). The other leg was in rough shape from compensating though. So I'm not really worried about it, but I am really annoyed by it. It hurts when my clothes brush against it, and when I do have to take stairs, it's one step at a time. Hrmph.
I also lost my sunglasses on that trip, and am beating myself up for not taking the time to verify that they were actually in my pack before leaving camp. We were all cold, wet, and hungry at that point though and I *still* can't remember what I did with them the night before beyond putting them someplace I thought was safe (I was also cold, wet, hungry and hurting then).
I feel cranky, and am cranky about being cranky. :-/ Mobility limiting injuries do a number on my brain.
I also had plans to dress up this week for various events, and soreness/bruising/bandaids/utter fear of touching a razor to that leg are messing up my outfit choices. See: cranky.