Winter Holidays

I feel at a loss of what to do, given there is little time between now and when I take my lunch, so I might as well fill it with the “winter holidays” blog post.

The events described here transpired between the 24th December 2013 and 1st of January 2014. If you don’t wish to know about my personal life, then stop reading and don’t complain in that annoying “people putting their lives on the internet even though no-one cares” way. I tried to stop you reading it.

Really early getting up for the plane flight. Although in a way that’s good. You can get to the airport easily, and through it easily, and onto the plane easily. I had a curry Panini for breakfast. Another good thing about getting up early is that you can arrive early too. An entire day of… well. It’s just good that my Granddad had a laptop he could let me use.

Night meal was a “Chinese Fondue”. Not sure where that name came from, because there’s no melting involved. It is quite lovely though. Dipping meats into boiling broth of some kind.

25 ░Across the Street [||]

Christmas day was spent across the street. I wanted to bring my book, but my mum said no. Apparently it’s rude to read a book when you’re in company at a party. Well, to that I respond: Is it any better to mope around not really talking to anybody (Guess what I did a lot of)? I busied myself with taking photos and video of family and the far reaching relations of mine. This helped avoid awkward anti-socialness.

Insane amounts of smoked salmon were consumed this holiday. It started today. The problem of course was the lemon. Our kind host decided it would be better to have them sliced. Have you ever tried to get juice out of a sliced lemon? According to @sandidee25, it’s “decorative”. Hmm. Anyway, After this were some roasted meats of the feathery avian kind. Capon and Turkey. that was nice.

After people started mingling I somehow got roped into handling some mathematical problems (of course). It wasn’t maths, it was logic. I know they’re similar, but you don’t call a problem maths when  it is clearly logic. I don’t know what that kid’s teacher was telling them. I forget what the puzzle was about. Something to do with 50p coins or something. Then I tried to explain Linux and other technological things. I’m not sure any of the other guests will remember even the slightest after the word “Linux”, but I can at least say I tried.

26 ▒Inside [||]

<img src=http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2014/004/3/f/snowy_garden_by_lonmcgregor-d70dn9r.jpg />

The snow was coming down very hard. Well, softly, but very fast. Well, slowly, but very heavily. You can guess at what I mean. About a foot or 0.3m of snow in some places. Not much reason to go outside today. So I styed inside and read books.

27 ☼The countryside [||] – │﴾◌﴿⁰│

&lt;img src=http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2014/002/e/a/winter_field_and_sky_by_lonmcgregor-d70dkej.jpg /&gt;

All of the snowfall from the previous day had frozen over and had become very crisp. For this reason, an excursion to the surrounding countryside was well in order.

The visibility was pretty much horizon-to-horizon. Wonderful blue skies, contrasted nicely with white crisp snow. Not too cold, not too windy. I had to wear sunglasses because of the glare. a very nice day. We saw some deer frolicking in the snow. This day was what winter should be about, not Christmas parties and all that. You can do that any day of the year.

&nbsp;

28 ░Geneva [+] – │﴾◌﴿⁰│

&lt;img src=http://th02.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2014/002/6/7/geneva_botanic_gardens_greenhouse_by_lonmcgregor-d70dilh.jpg /&gt;

Today encompassed an excursion to the Geneva botanic gardens, of all places. No snow in Geneva, some rain. However, it wasn’t very busy, which it most certainly would have been in summer. At my dad’s request, we had lunch at a&nbsp;mid-town brewery (Where else?). Also we visited a small museum of science. they had Mercury. Health and safety wouldn’t have allowed that in Britain.

I also got on the Trams in Geneva. Now, you would think with all the EU ties and such diplomatic niceties, the Scottish government would have at least asked Geneva for some tips and hints on how to build and run a tram line. I’m not sure if they did or not, but it kind of puts Edinburgh to shame. Still. Hopefully sometime this year the trams will be working.

&nbsp;

29 ░ – ?&nbsp;[||]

What did I do on this day? It escapes me. Did I take pictures? No. I think I had pizza to eat… Or was that another day? Hmm. Weird.

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30 – La Saleve&nbsp;[||] – │﴾◌﴿⁰│

&lt;img src=https://31.media.tumblr.com/bfb486d8232f6125676e5559ba146f21/tumblr_mys3k4ysoe1rvaalyo3_500.jpg /&gt;

My brother went snowboarding this day. My mum and aunt and myself went along too. Walking, mind you, not snowboarding. The views from up there were rather astounding, but the pictures don’t do it justice. This mountain is one of the main features of the area, and allows you to see many others. I’m not sure I’m very good at describing it. Here’s some GPS data so you can find it on your 3D earth viewing program of choice: 46° 3.359′, 6° 5.975′

&nbsp;

31 ░&nbsp; – Inside [||] – │﴾◌﴿⁰│

Mega epic crowded rooms noise and food party this evening. Time to engage “people photographer” persona.

Euugh. The food was good, though. That’s definitely something.

Lots of people, lots of food. New years. Yeah. yay. I wasn’t mopey as I’m making it sound here. I’m just not sure how to put it into words.

&nbsp;

1&nbsp; ░&nbsp; – Charly&nbsp;[||] → Geneva&nbsp;[+] → Edinburgh [X]&nbsp;→ Glenrothes [X]

After the events of the previous night, an early start. Not as early as the first one, but early enough. Back home just in time for lunch.

There was a humorous advert banner at the side of Edinburgh airport. Do you know what it said? “Well worth the wait”. The banner was next to a tram stop.

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I tried to write this using the wordpress app for Windows 8.x. Here are some problems I encountered:

  • You can’t TAB →&nbsp; Paragraphs
  • It is very difficult to copy special&nbsp;characters in from the character map.
  • HTML PLEASE

Evening meal was some onion soup made by my brother. Not many bits in it, though. I like bits. It was nice nonetheless.

&nbsp;

24 ☼Glenrothes [X] →&nbsp; Edinburgh [X] → Geneva [+] →&nbsp;Charly [||]

Metro Data Bar [Rainmeter] Support Page

This is a support page for the “Metro Data Bar” package for Rainmeter 3+ on Windows XP+.

The versions are:

Rainmeter can be downloaded here.

If you have any bug reports or suggestions you would like to make, Please use the form below below to do so.

Thanks for taking an interest in my rainmeter package!

I remain,

lemcgregor3


Feel free to simply use the name “anonymous”. I would like an e-mail, in case I have any follow-up questions to your comments.


Changelog:

1.1

Added 12-Hour clock variant

1.0

Released

Custom Speed Dial Extension Support Page

This is a support page for the “Custom Speed Dial” Speed Dial Extension for Opera 15+ only.

The latest versions are:

  • Navigator: Unreleased 0.2 (You will need to download folder as .zip, and then unzip, and then load it as an unpacked extension)
  • WARNING!: Be careful when using unmoderated extensions, as they could harm your computer. I take no responsibility for this.

If you have any bug reports or suggestions you would like to make, Please use the form below below to do so.

Thanks for taking an interest in my extension!

I remain,

lemcgregor3


Known Issues:

Image cannot load until extension is restarted.


Feel free to simply use the name “anonymous”. I would like an e-mail, in case I have any follow-up questions to your comments.


Changelog:

0.2: Added custom Title/Image Fields

0.1: Copied base code from Twilight Sparkle Extension.

Oh no. Not this. Anything but this.

Well. I’ve just given nancymitchell@zianet.com a right grilling. Point worth noting: Don’t send spam to someone who just wrote a report on it and found out a bunch of EU regulations on the matter.

What’s worth noting about the e-mail is that it has gotten past filtering by embedding the offending text within a word document attachment rather than in the body itself.

For your enjoyment, here is the entirety of the message:

[[Email]]

View attachment for important details

[[End email]]

[[Document: BZP-849-967.docx]]

Microsoft Cooperation India

Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai – 400016,

Maharashtra. India.

Dear Esteem Winner

We are glad to inform you that you have won the sum of £1,000,000GBP (One Million Great Britain Pound Sterling) as a Microsoft User in The Microsoft Online Annual Promo in collaboration with the EuroMillions Millionaire Promotion to aid the use of Internet Worldwide and this Prize is given out randomly to worldwide individuals, for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans.

Your Online Ticket Number BZP-849-967 with draw number 609 and this draw was held in Fife, Scotland on 23 July, 2013. You are to keep your ticket and draw numbers confidential to avoid double claim of prize amount due to our past experience. Find below link of our winners who have not claimed their prize and you are expected to claim your prize immediately without further delay.

http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/player/p/results/unclaimedPrizes

The objective is to make a notable change in the standard of living of people all around the Universe (From America to Europe, Asia to Africa and all around) like in the next 20years. Your email was electronically selected as a winner in this Year Annual Draw. In order to claim, contact the claims officer via the email address below.

Dr. John David Allen (Director)

Email address: msoft13@outlooom

Endeavour to provide The Details Below for proper claims verification and Authentication.

1. Name of Winner:

2. Address:

3. Country of Origin:

4. Gender:

5. Date of Birth:

6. Valid Telephone Number:

7. Occupation:

8. Scan copy of your identity proof:

Please note that we need you to send the details above to enable the awarding committee refer you to our transferring bank for transfer of your prize funds to your bank account which is the Government of India approved mode of remittance. Further details will be sent to you in receipt of your email.

Sincerely

Mrs. Githa Reddy

Online Coordinator

[[End document]]

Clever as this is, it is a breach of a number of regulations, most notably, the Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002. Under article 13, this is unsolicited e-mail, and therefore in breach of the law. I’m assuming there are equivalent laws for elsewhere in the world.

Yeah. The problem here is that other than blacklisting spam e-mail sending addresses, there is no way of filtering other than invading privacy and checking attachments. It would also be very resource intensive and essentially be a non-viable option.

So, if you see any e-mails like this, don’t bother with them. DON’T DELETE THEM. DON’T TRASH THEM. PUT THEM IN YOUR JUNK/SPAM FOLDERS. This helps to improve anti-spam filters, and every e-mail provided will help to weight the results making it easier to block them in the first place.

sigh

What is the internet coming to?

TyreBurn Android Application Support Page

This is a support page for the “TyreBurn” Android application for smartphones.

Tyre Burn is a game where you attempt to evade various enemy vehicles. As a top-down vertical scroller reminiscent of classical arcade games, i’m sure it will give you minutes hours days of fun! Use the rotation of your phone to control your vehicle, and tap the screen to use poweups as you collect them.

The latest versions are:

  • Beta: 5.3r2
  • Not fully released yet:

Known issues with 5.3r2:

  • Canvas sprites may on rare occasions fail to interact correctly

Note that this application is designed for android smartphones, not really tablets.

If you have any bug reports or suggestions you would like to make, Please use the form below below to do so.

Thanks for taking an interest in my application!

I remain,

lemcgregor3


Feel free to simply use the name “anonymous”. I would like an e-mail, in case I have any follow-up questions to your comments.

There’s something about spam…

In my attempt to write a report bout spam I have realised something, something which should have been obvious to me before.

I have multiple e-mail addresses. One for making transactions/personal conversation, a public one, ones for specific public tasks. And yet, the only one which recieves spam is the one I use for everyday use.

You would think that “lonmcgregor@outlook.com”, my public e-mail would get the most spam, but in fact it doesn’t. In all of it’s history it hasn’t received a single spam e-mail. This raises concern that the people who I trust with my main account are in fact leaving it open to abuse by others.

And given that most of the accounts are either professional accredited services such as Amazon, or simple people I know, I have to think that it is the big companies that are somehow leaving my e-mail open to harvesting somehow.

You might be wondering, “oh, but Lon, what if they’re just using automated senders to blanket spam everyone?”. This is not the case. A large number of my e-mails all are begin with similar letters, so this is impossible.

I DEMAND ANSWERS. Are big companies really leaving my e-mail available for misuse, or is there some considerably more shady goings-on where e-mails are being sold off?

I guess I’ll never know.

Twilight Sparkle Speed Dial Extension Support Page

This is a support page for the “Twilight Sparkle Yes! Dance” Speed Dial Extension for Opera Presto and 15+.

The latest versions are:

If you have any bug reports or suggestions you would like to make, Please use the form below below to do so.

Thanks for taking an interest in my extension!

I remain,

lemcgregor3


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Brand and Characters (c) HASBRO & Lauren Faust.

Feel free to simply use the name “anonymous”. I would like an e-mail, in case I have any follow-up questions to your comments.


Changelog:

2.4

Fixed issue with custom site not being saved on opera restart

2.3

Fixed packaging error

2.2

Updated options page and new support page

2.1

Fixed issue with non-saving data

2.0

Upgraded to Navigator

Windows 8.1

So… Windows 8.1. Where to start?

How about we start at the beginning [saying "start at the new start screen" would have been too obvious]. The installer. The terms and conditions page [which I attempted to read] contained URLs, or web links, which you can’t actually use unless you’ve accepted and installed the system. So there’s that. A pretty major problem.

The privacy settings in the installer seemed a bit odd. Some of them had a sensible on position by default, and some were not turned on. Not quite sure what’s going on there, but OK. The defaults are better than some I’ve seen elsewhere.

The metro UI:

The start screen has some new backgrounds, and you can set your desktop to be one of them. Pretty neat stuff, although one minor issue is that if you change backgrounds all your colour preferences get overridden. No big issue. Speaking of which, there are lots more colours to choose from, which is very nice to see. Also, the new “all apps” screen seems to do the job nicely, although there is a noticeable delay in waiting for the button that opens it to load onto the start menu.
The settings app now looks a lot more organised, and integrates a lot more of the features of the computer, which is good. It’s much easier to see what everything is doing now.
Snapping is easier than ever, plus you can have more than 2 apps open at a time! 3 apps at a time. 3 is more than 2, but that’s your limit for now. This is very useful, I must say. I have noticed though, that some apps don’t support some of the sizes you can choose, and have some letterboxing. This is more of an issue for developers, though.

The Aero UI:

The taskbar has a start button now. I had just gotten used to the idea of it not being there any more, but now it’s back, uglier than ever. It goes all black when you mouse over it. And given that my taskbar is at the top of my screen this isn’t very useful for me.

The built-in apps/functions:

So the mail app has been given an overhaul. While a bit jarring to get used to, it does seem a bit nicer. I had to disable the “social updates” nonsense, because that just sounds terrible. A pro tip: if you often use folders for sorting them, use the “star” icon next to them, so you don’t have to keep going into the folders menu each time. Something I don’t understand is the need for “favourites”. I don’t understand what purpose this functionality serves. hmm.
Messenger seems to have been removed completely in favour of skype. Not that I used either of these very much. Hopefully this means we will se some development into making skype more feature rich, then? [hint: adding irc as a chat option?]
Search. Now It’s worth noting that i have bing fully disabled, and even then the search function still works very well. While not delivering web search content, it shows me every single thing I could find useful. Take the example search “opera”. The charms menu displays the opera web browser first, as i expect, with some other junk. Clicking the suggestion “Opera” in the list takes me to a screen filled with everything related to opera on my computer. Even the opera twitter account, which i assume comes from integration to the “people” app. All in all, very good.

Major Issues:

The only major issue I’ve come across thus far with the upgrade is that your oblytiles will be erased, so make sure to export them beforehand, unlike me who forgot and is now stuck with a fairly empty start screen. It’s also worth noting that any oblytiles will look like internet explorer shortcuts if you use the zoomed-out start screen, or the all apps menu. This is purely to do with how oblytile manages it’s shortcuts.
Now, my graphics card has always been a bit temperamental, but after the update I have seen wackier and wackier things happening. Clearly they’ve done some updates in that department and I’ll recommend you check to make sure your drivers are up to date. (This is not a windows 8.1 issue, per se) though.

Miscellaneous Improvements worth mentioning:

The bug I have experienced with dragging apps from metro taskbar to the start menu seems to be fixed, which is nice to see. Also, I have seen many apps running moderately faster than they were on windows 8.
There seems to be a new security option, offering people to use a “pin” to log in. This doesn’t seem as safe as the apparent randomness of a picture password, but I guess it’s good for people on mobile devices running w8.1.

Pervert! – [Fractale Spoilers]

image

I finished watching the Anime series “Fractale” yesterday. That spelling still seems weird to me, but oh well. Regardless, I say that I enjoyed it a lot.

Fractale - A1 Pictures / Ordet

 There is a lot of subtext and many messages in this anime. They are fairly obvious to spot, I think. There’s the religious aspect, the technological aspect and the human aspect.

As for the Religion, it ties closely with the technological one. The religious part of the story seems to reflect a lot of the brutality that once sees in the history of real religion. Like the thousands of Nessa/Phryne clones being created and destroyed to find the key, this reminds me sort of the way that Herod killed kids to find Jesus. Similarly, N/P chose to give their lives to save humanity in the end, much as Jesus did.

The technological prediction for the future, where everyone has a chip in their brain, seems pretty in-line with a lot of other people’s predictions. And we are already seeing the start of people becoming more interested in their own lives rather than those around them. Wether or not this will result in people getting “doppels” to do their living for them remains to be seen. Something interesting was the lack of brand competition. The only OS we see if FractalOS, and it’s various incarnations through time. Clain has various historical tech pieces, but the actual computer everyone is connected to is a single one, there is no competition. This seems indicative of stagnation, which is never good.

The human aspect also carries important messages, the main one being that family is good and sticking together is beneficial for life. This can easily be seen in the way LM communities and their insistence of being on time for eating and other social events. And yet, I can’t help but think that when people are using doppels to do this for them, the people on the receiving end might not be able to tell the difference. If computers wee able to process and function as humans, would this be so bad? The issue of course is when you have doppels interacting with themselves, which is pretty much a “sound the falling tree makes when there’s no one around to hear it” problem.

I really enjoyed the music score for this anime. The opening is a quite electro-rock-techno genre piece. These things I like. And this contrasts very well with the sort of Irish folk music that is used in the end credits and as a base for a lot of the general “scenery” background music. As for the “Day Star” song, which is arguable my favourite part of the score, It works brilliantly. While initially sounding a bit like a bad translation, it both sounds very catchy, upbeat and a bit religious, but also very child-like. The kind of song anyone could enjoy, but that would primarily be sung by a kid.

The odd thing about this particular anime is that, while short, it did a very good job at putting the story across. I think that it would have worked just as well as two movies. The animation itself seems to be of near-movie quality, as I don’t recall any noticeable animation errors. And the way they animated the CG “Fractals” was very, uhh, psychedelic(?). Regardless, it worked very well to portray a computer matrix that is essentially a child.

As for the voicing, I can only go per the english dub. In my opinion, the voices were well chosen and are recorded well. Comparing the faces to the voices used doesn’t give cause for any concern. So imagine my surprise once I found that Clain was voiced by a woman. I know that this happens very often, but it’s still surprising. There is a noticeable difference in the way “thinking voices” are mixed, which is good, because at times in the past I have had trouble differentiating between them.

Some of the characters are enjoyable. Some are thought-provoking. Others are downright creepy. The main characters, Clain, Phryne and Nessa are generally enjoyable to watch. Clain and Phryne take the brunt of the emotional issues, but Nessa does get a fair share. Nessa, the upbeat character, does a good job at preventing the entire series from becoming a depressing mess. Supporting roles of Erin and the LM Crew are nice and familial, adding to the series-wide message of Family being important.

The way that the other LM characters work is good, but Dias and his crew are rather morally dubious. Their intentions are good, but very brutal. Kind of like the army and some rebel factions in real life. The high priestess is quite sad, and chooses to inflict this emotional pain on everyone she comes across. A fairly human reaction to have. Barrot, the priest, is one of those creepy savillian ones. He raises Phryne as closely as one would a daughter, then wants to marry her or something? And he keeps basically molesting her and liking her face (that’s not a type) and weird things like that.

So yeah, a very nice varied structure of characters.But I am curious about the photographer going after clain. Was that his dad? I feel like it was implied, but I’m not sure.

I felt that this anime managed to get a good funny:serious ratio. As for the kind of adult humour often seen in anime, it doesn’t go totally overboard on the sex jokes beyond the mis-branding of Clain as a pervert. Given the age of the main character, this kind of theme does play a large part in the story, however. The initial interaction between the various LM (Lost Millennium) crew and Nessa is very entertaining. In particular the silly childish jokes in the first “Hide and Seek” game Nessa plays on the ship’s computer.

But the comedy doesn’t detract from the story. It all helps to show that a person, independent of the Fractal OS, can still have a full, if not fuller, life.

  • Story: 9/10
  • Acting: 10/10 [kind of hard to review when it's animated]
  • Execution: 8/10
  • Bonus: +1 for computers
  • This Series: 28/35

Relevant links: Wikipedia /r/Anime Fractale wiki

When spam goes wrong…

Browsing my wordpress “spam comments” feed, I came across this. My ability to make no sense seems to have confused the algorithms behind this one.

{
{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet
I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web
owners} and bloggers made good content as
you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.
{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in
finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink}
or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?

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LonMcGregor

lemcgregor3 says:
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"Oh Well."

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