prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
Well, this is a big fat Ew.

Originally posted by [ profile] versaphile at Good riddance
I just dusted off my website FTP in order to remove a previously-innocuous widget from all of my hosted archives. It's called AddThis and it's this little bit of script that makes it easy to share links to the pages that the widget is embedded in. But in the years since I set it up, the AddThis company has turned evil. They're creating something called canvas fingerpriting:

A new, persistent web-tracking technology developed has been used to track web users across many of the world's most popular websites, including those of the White House and even wholesale smut platform YouPorn.

The canvas fingerprinting technique was described in 2012 by University of California researchers (PDF) as a means to silently track the web sites users visit. Surveilled users watched over by canvas attacks cannot defend themselves by clearing the tracking mechanism by normal browser flushing nor guard against infection using apps like AdBlock Plus.

If you use AddThis in any of your websites, make sure you remove it ASAP. This is nasty stuff if you care at all about your privacy (or the privacy of whoever visits your site). Also, check out Ghostery, a browser plugin that blocks widgets like this.

prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
"Of course if they'd teach engineers to write, that might help. "They're engineers, why would they ever need words?" Well, to communicate with other engineers, as it turns out they do not in fact speak solely in a series of grunts. Contrary to popular belief. I know. I was surprised too."
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)

Testing crosspost of a post with images, this time. This here's a digital illustration I did of Gerald Tarrant, from CS Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I'm running some additional tests on LJ crossposting, now that I have it set up through IFTTT ( is a website that lets you plug in channels for all your social media properties and then set up automated crossposting, with various rules and triggers).

Right now, I've got one post behind an LJ friends-filter, and one post that's public. We'll see if either or both go through.
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
If this shows up on Tumblr, then I'm successfully using IFTTT to crosspost from LJ to Tumblr.

As [ profile] white_aster reminded me, IFTTT doesn't have channels for LJ or Dreamwidth, but it does have them for RSS feeds, so I can just rip it off that!
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
I had forgotten this about Livejournal: you can't import ANYTHING.

It is, however, easy as pie to export a Livejournal or Tumblr blog to Wordpress (and from Wordpress you can export an XML file so you can back up the whole thing and move it elsewhere if you so wish), so at least backups are doable. Except that's only part of what I want to do.

It looks like currently the only way to automate crossposting between Tumblr and LJ is if you post everything to Wordpress and then have it crosspost for you. Theoretically Tumblr's API can apparently support crossposting to Tumblr, but apparently nobody's bothered to write that code.

One's a creaky old platform and the other's a stupid platform, and the world at large doesn't seem to think either one is relevant. I wonder if I should try my hand at coding...
prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
So, I've been mucking about over on Tumblr for the past, um, year (admittedly in between doing things like Getting a Job and Writing and Life).

And the thing about Tumblr is--you folks who never moved from LJ might know this--it sucks.

I miss being able to have actual conversations that aren't basically shouting across a large room full of complete strangers.

I need to find some way to automate crossposting.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)

Buzz Settings Page Goes Live in Gmail, Allows Total Disabling - google buzz - Lifehacker

I also just noticed that a "public" and "private" option has been added for posting.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)

So!  I have, er, a lot of Google Wave invitations.  Would anybody like one?  It's really pretty awesome stuff--good for srs collaboration on srs bsns and also for interactive chatting and playing games and being a total dork via more types of media than you could ever incorporate in one place before.

I'll screen comments so anybody who wants to put their email there can, or you can email me at prettyarbitrary at yahoo dot com.

They don't necessarily get these things out right away, but my experience was that they got back to me about a week and a half later.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
This may be the most useful computer tip ever.

# Open notepad
# Put this code into the file: dir /b>filelist.txt
# Save it as “filelist.bat”
# Place filelist.bat into the directory you need to get the list from
# Click on filelist.bat from within the folder
# You’ll now have a .txt doc called “filelist.txt”

Creating a list of files within a directory | OpenJason

I discovered it because we just needed to do this on a list of about 2000 newspaper scans, so I can verify: it works.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Oh my GOD these monitors are mind-blowing.

I don't remember if I mentioned it before, but our old!equipment was old. Productivity-wise, we've been falling apart at the seams around here for the past year. But! The technology life-cycle was due to come around this year; that magical time that occurs every four or five years when the IT department upgrades and/or switches out every computer in the building to get our technology roughly up-to-date. The standard bulk-buy units, however, are office productivity machines with about the same specs as our current computers, which already curl in on themselves on a regular basis screaming, "No more, no more!"

So I spent the spring hassling our supervisor into hassling the IT department into agreeing to let us buy customized new rigs for the life-cycle. Supervisor even had me spec out the new machines and everything (whee, tech-shopping!), and IT nobly offered to go halfsies on anything we spent above the price for the baseline units. (IT incidentally has become such an impressively functional department since Mairead Martin took over that I'm actually giving her a shout-out in my blog.)

We tore the office apart Wednesday, replaced seven computers, hosted the entire IT tech support staff for two days and fed them chocolate, and at this point it's all over but the cursing and stray driver error messages. Sooooo, we now have monster data-crushing machines with top of the line 24" LED monitors courtesy of EIZO, whose beauty is such that I'm still adjusting to them.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Yes, another sweeping LJ drama is rushing through fandom--and like the last one (that'd be RaceFail '09, for those keeping track), it's actually useful. This one is all about whether online writers ought to risk spoiling their stories by putting up warnings for things that could not only offend or disgust readers, but potentially actually traumatize them--for widely used example, rape survivors who stumble upon a story with rape in it.

(There's a thing that's lately known as "triggering," where a person encounters something that deposits them back into the emotional state they were in during a traumatic event from their past. I had always thought this was a form of flashback, but then this is why I'm not a psychologist. Either way, you can imagine it screws you up, and considering that various forms of sexual assault and other violence--think gaybashing--are sadly common, this is not a matter of histrionic theatricality. If you want to know about triggering, check out this post by a member named [ profile] impertinence--but be aware, her tale is graphic and potentially triggering in its own right.)

Anyway, the thing about warning labels. Some of these survivors think people ought to warn them before they dive headfirst into something that might end up being triggery. It seems that a number of writers object to this on the grounds that--well, on lots of different grounds. For example, some think it's too much trouble. Some protest that they suck at knowing what to warn against and would fail to accomplish anything anyway. Some think that this whole triggering thing is just a bunch of whining. Some believe it ruins the integrity of their story due to spoilers. (If you want to read about the arguments, you can start at this post by [ profile] lcsbanana.)

But I'm not here for that. I'm here to talk about the technology behind it all. )
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
I've downloaded several things here, so I know it's reliable. The site offers commercial software for free, and I know that I, for one, have more than once wished I had a data recovery tool.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Okay, I've got a slew of people on my f-list who're having trouble with AVG lately, and I've recced this to a few of them individually, but I think it's time to make a public service announcement:

Try Avast! Anti-Virus. I've tried most of the usual alternatives, and most of them either end up eating my hard drive or conflicting with something. Avast! has never given me any trouble. I've recced it to the rest of my family and several friends, who all report satisfaction.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Like the subject says, I'm looking for recommendations on monitors. We've been using the same 22" CRTs for five years now, not because the library is too cheap to upgrade us but because the LCDs they want to stick us with are small and cheap and not sufficient for our purposes.

We haven't switched to LCDs before because we want at least a 22 inch screen, and at that size, most LCDs begin to suffer color bleed at the edges due to the viewing angles. Also, most LCDs do not feature the depth and range of color that CRTs do.

So what I'm looking for is opinions from anybody who's in art or graphics design, who's going to art school or something like that and can speak on what their place uses, or who keeps an eye on display technology, or just has a really nice rig or knows people who do. We're looking for a 24" display with a wide viewing angle, to avoid color bleed, and a wide color gamut with good blacks. Recommendations, in particular or general. Advice, warnings, opinions, facts to take into account while shopping. I've filled myself in on the current interfaces, so you can assume I know how to deal with DisplayPort or HDMI. (What's really damn sad: the video cards in our current machines don't even offer DVI! But never mind; we'll deal with that as we have to.)

I'm particularly interested in anything anybody can tell me about LED screens (a subset of LCD screens with an LED backlight). They seem to be almost too good to be true. I've noticed a few models are being released this year, and from all accounts, the display is mindblowingly fantastic. Did anybody manage to make it to a trade show to check them out? Are there side-effects? Sacrifices? Particular models to avoid?
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
We just got CS4 at work today, and it is both several kinds of awesome and bugger-all.

The library still runs on XP--certain security holes in Vista make it impracticable or something--and, somehow, we apparently don't have Service Pack 3. Which CS4 insists it needs in order to run properly.

X( And it's right. In the past two hours, I've been slammed with four BSODs with the code "Page Fault in Nonpaged Area." Never mind what caused it--I already looked it up, it's easy enough to sort out--but blah! I got to play with Photoshop for about ten minutes before it crashed and it was sweet!

I want a copy of my own. My staff discount actually makes it startlingly affordable...except that I was going to be fiscally conscientious and not blow $200-$300 on things besides my car and vacation this year. :P I keep telling myself, I have a Plan. I'm going to pay down my credit card debt and save up for a new car and for moving.

But I use these programs, and at that price, that suite is a steal, and if I wait till I'm not saving, then I won't be working here anymore, and it'll be $900 like it is for the rest of humanity. :P

prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Courtesy of [ profile] x_los: comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

1) She Blinded Me With Library Science.
2) Office Politics: How A Nice Girl Like You If Forced By Circumstance To Care About The Doings OF Stupid People Like This
3) Reading Fanfic As Literature
4) History/historical fiction in lit
5) Foooodz.

1) She Blinded Me With Library Science.

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

I stumbled into this job, actually )

But I feel like I should make an effort to target the requestor's (requestrix's?) intent. )
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
In my neverending quest for the perfect webspace, I've been banging around on Movable Type in Penn State's free web/blog space. It interesting application. Endlessly flexible, but the experience is trying to move a really stupid steer, where you have to hit it the forehead with a sledgehammer in order to get it to move.

Under the cut: more nattering about Movable Type, blogs, etc. )

But fear not. This blog isn't going anywhere.
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
Instead of bending knee to the tyrannical force of tagging, I'm going to do something different, but probably similarly educational about me because it shows the kind of things I think about on a daily basis.

You know what's weird about all our online Interests lists and "About me" memes? They're all meant to tell people about you, as if they can communicate the essential you in the absence of your physical presence. Do you think it works? Do you feel that, by seeing a list of educational history and work history and hobbies and musical tastes, you're getting to know a person you may never've met? When I first "meet" somebody online, I usually check out their Profile, because they start out as pretty much a blank slate and it's a way of filling in some identifiers. But while I feel more comfortable broaching a conversation with them once I feel I've got something to work with, I don't know whether I feel more familiar with them.

It's easier than meeting somebody in person, in some ways, where they're not walking around wearing lists of ice-breakers and shared tastes. And in person, people wear masks, don't they? Not necessarily to deliberately hide, but you pick and choose the aspects of yourself you present to any given person--the things you have in common, the modes of speech (watch your tongue with this friend because they don't like coarse language; can the nerd references with that one because they're not into Star Wars; put your best face forward on the phone with your mom, even though she can see right through you), mannerisms you've formed a habit of displaying to them...or the polite ones you're used to putting on for people who don't know you yet.

The Web is a different mask. In the absence of physical presence, you don't have to hide those cues that let somebody know the things on your mind that you don't want to reveal. You can be thinking how hot the guy next to you is while you're texting to your little brother, and you don't have to pretend you're not, because it doesn't transmit digitally.

It's all about filters. They come naturally to us, because humans have always filtered ourselves. Our technology is a mirror of us, the electronic brains of computers that function so much like ours (I think if we ever succeed at AI, we'll find we have much in common with our creations), the internet and its social tools that're mostly just digital versions of the tools we've used all along. So the question is, internet or not, when do you really know a person? What is the transition line between knowing *about* them and truly knowing them? And a subjective question, how well do you need to know someone before you can call them a friend? Before you trust them? And are "friendship" and "trust" synonymous for you? Do you need a physical presence to complete the process, or is it possible to stay entirely in this rarified cyber-world of the raw mind?

There are people out there who fanatically keep aspects of themselves apart online. They may have blogs and accounts to reflect the facets of themselves, and never shall those circles meet. I wonder if that's a reflection of their psychology, a dissociative inability to reconcile themselves with themselves? Could it even be a form of therapy, burning out the things they can't come to terms with until they find the key to accepting it? Or is it just a desire to create protected environments where they can follow their interests without having to be polite and restrained for bystanders?
prettyarbitrary: (Default)
The seasonal Great Migration of the students has begun once more. It's a majestic sight, to watch them emerge from their warrens, bundled up in wool coats and fluffy knitted scarves to trudge through the winter weather in trickles and mobs toward their classrooms.

I think I understand what that one zoologist meant when he said that humans are so very primate.

And I'm returning to classes myself, this year! Albeit online. I'm pursuing an IT certification, in order to brush up on my student skills and beat my CV into better shape for grad school. My first class in the program went live this morning, and I've been squeeing with excitement while reading the syllabus.

It's a team-oriented class. I have to start talking to people and collect six other teammates, whom I'll be working with for the rest of the semester. I've worked on teams before, but never to such an extent. Not quite looking forward to it...but I suppose that means it's an area I need to improve on. Anyway, most of the folks in this class are post-college work-lemmings like me, so I won't be dealing with the plague of students who want to slack off and make somebody else do their work. And I am looking forward to meeting them. Working online, it does kind of lack the personal touch you get in the classroom, at least unless you make an effort, so really it's a great move to set things up this way.

The final project is to create a 5 to 8 minute long video on a piece of modern technology of our choice, and take a quick look at what it is, how it's used, and how it affects the way we live. Very briefly. Glancing at the syllabus, it looks like a lot of the technologies we'll be looking at are ones I already use, but I have not done video editing, so this is both intimidating me and making me smile at the challenge of learning new computer crap.

Anyway, that's what the teams are for. I've got the communication skillz, and I can do as the team coordinator OR the researcher in a pinch (but not both), but I'll be looking to round up people who know more about video editing than I do, and who preferably have access to the equipment necessary (I can get it, by dint of working for the library, but it'd be easier if somebody else already has it).

In other news, [ profile] alice_montrose at least will be happy to hear I've worked out the problem with my jasmine tea. It has more tannin in it than usual, so I'm having to heat the water more. Normally I go easy on that tea, because it gets bitter if I scald the leaves, but this batch apparently likes it rough. I don't know if that's a permanent change in the preparation, or just a quality in the leaves for that particular harvest, but either way, I can work with it. Good news.

And now I have a tag for tea. I didn't have one before. I suck.


prettyarbitrary: (Default)

October 2015

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