SiKing

August 18, 2011

the next phone?

Filed under: noki — SiKing @ 5:21 pm
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My old phone is getting … old. So I started looking around at what else to get. I really like the sound of the new N9! However, in a twisty move by Nokia I suspect a lot of people are going to get rich off of this phone. I’m still looking at other possibilities…

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July 18, 2011

Windows 7, downwards compatible NOT!

Filed under: automation,windows — SiKing @ 3:13 pm
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I’m currently working on something new – another post coming later – and as usual I try to write scripts for everything which can subsequently serve as a roadmap for full automation. This time I’m doing it on a Win7 machine, which is a 64-bit operating system that is supposedly fully compatible with 32-bit applications. In the file system there are two locations where new programs get installed: c:\Program Files and c:\Program Files (x86). I don’t know if the location of the install actually matters to the operating system – actually makes the system consider the application as a 64- or 32-bit app; I suspect it does not. AFAIK it only serves to further confuse and break stuff. ๐Ÿ™„

March 17, 2010

AUTHORIZATION AND CONSENT

Filed under: meatspace — SiKing @ 1:46 pm
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I am going to be moving to a new job. They handle other people’s money, and so they asked to do a security check on me – so far no surprise.

In a day I get a phone call from some third-party (no need to slander anyone) that they were asked to do the security check. This is important, so pay attention: I am considered the first-party here, my new employer is considered a second-party, anyone else who we directly ask to do something on our behalf is considered third-party. After the lady got my SSN and DOB, she told me that she will also mail me some consent forms (yes, that’s plural) that I must sign and fax “to the number at the bottom”, and that she will also send me a link to a website where I must provide additional information – essentially the full rubber gloves treatment.

In an hour the forms showed up (two .doc and two .docx files) in my mailbox, along with full mail history of some “Team Coach, Client Services” from a fourth party. Not even trying to sanitize anything, just FW of the whole thing.ย  I started pouring over the forms.

The first attachment – background screening and fingerprinting instructions – ask me to go to an “office of L-1 Enrollment Services”. I tried to find this online, and it seems that these offices are only in country other than where I currently live. The bottom of the form has no fax number.

The second attachment – criminal check process – appeared like extra instructions to go with the next form, as there was nothing for me to fill out. And again, no fax number.

The third attachment – criminal consent form “updated Dec 14” – the very first instruction says:

An applicant must provide government-issued identification prior to undergoing a name-based criminal record check (when appearing in person before the Agent.) “Agent” being a representative of the Hiring Company. Applicant must sign the consent form.

Again, I pointed out as gently as I could, that it seems to me that this must be completed once I show up at my new job. And again, no fax number.

The last one – consent form “new” – was the only form with a fax number on the bottom. However it had entries in the legal text such as “< Insert Company Name >”. I pointed out that it seems to be a template, which must first be filed out by them.

She apologized for the confusion, and said that I only need to fill out my part on the third form, and fax it to the number on the fourth, and not worry about the others. I checked the name of the company at the top of the third form – it’s some company (I think I am up to fifth party now?) that operates out of Ontario, Canada. The fax number is area code in New York. The forms allows someone, presumably at the end of that fax number, to pull my criminal records and show them to anyone. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Not wanting to risk my new job I hit send on the fax machine, and (to my great relief) there was no answer on the other end.

Next came the promised link to a different fourth party. The website looked like it was designed by my grandma, and had (and obvious copy-paste from a Word document, along with improperly encoded characters) several pages worth of instructions. The instructions basically told me that their website is extremely user unfriendly and laid out some of the obstacles that I am about to encounter (like US only addresses) and how to work around them (try your best). The very last instruction was:

WHEN YOUโ€™RE READY TO BEGIN CLICK the “Continue” button, below

However, the page does not have a “Continue” button anywhere. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I eventually managed to hack through that, and reported the achievement back to my third-party contact. She casually replied that they will also have to check my references, using a completely different fourth party (I lost track of how many that is now) website. As soon as I arrived at the website, I was greeted by a “congratulations, you have been shortlisted for a job with the third-party”. Since these guys can’t even get their facts straight, I decided to browse around their site a bit more. One of the “Features & Benefits” of this site was:

Each employee must accept the terms and conditions in order to proceed. This protects the raters and the employer from any potential legal action.

If I am going to be inconveniencing my friends, I wanted to find out just how much I am going to be inconveniencing them. I am not current on my legalese, but some gems from their “IMPORTANT TERMS AND CONDITIONS” follow.

Read this carefully, this changes your legal rights.

You agree to everything here, whether you have an account with us or not. Several times they mentioned that they are allowed to change any or all parts of this agreement, and simply by posting it on their website you agree to that too.

You are not permitted to lie to us. If you do, we will terminate your account. In fact, we are allowed to terminate your account on a whim, and we don’t even have to tell you about the termination or the reason. However, we get to keep all the dirt we dig up on you. We will use any means, whether you agree with them or not, to dig up dirt on you. We can “rebroadcast” the dirt to anyone we feel like. There is no way to have your dirt removed from our system.

Everything you find here should be taken with a grain of salt. We are not responsible for the accuracy of any content. In fact, we are not even sure if our Service (they capitalize that word all the time) serves any useful purpose whatsoever. I’m not making this up; they actually said that in their agreement!

In several places they mentioned that they can modify or completely shut down the Service on a whim, and you are SOL. I interpret that as: out the back door we sell confirmed targeted e-mail addresses to spammers.

My favourite part was: we are not responsible for errors caused by our own incompetence. We blew all our cash on designing the website front end, pretty marketing, and lawyers. If you are at least a little tech savvy, you will notice that we could not even spring for a certificate, so that we could get your information over a secure connection. Again, not our fault.

Speaking of lawyers, we’re actually not sure how much of this is legally enforceable in a court of law. We drafted this up in California, we don’t much care for laws in the rest of the United States, let alone for the rest of the world. You will have to take us to court – in California – at your expense to find out what parts are actually enforceable. If things go against us, we are liable only for the amount you paid us – most of our services are free.

Software from this Website (the “Software”) is further subject to United States export controls. No Software may be downloaded from the Website or otherwise exported or re-exported (i) into (or to a national or resident of) Cuba, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Iran, Syria, or any other Country to which the U.S. has embargoed goods; or (ii) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the U.S. Commerce Department’s Table of Deny Orders. By downloading or using the Software, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list. Ha, too late!

big brother is watching

Long story short … not really. Is this what it has come down to? On one hand everyone has become so extremely paranoid, that you need to run multiple checks on the people running multiple checks on you. And on the other hand we take the word of any pimple-faced bugger-eater that is dumb enough to register a corporation name that ends in .com as THE LAW. People with absolutely no notion (or financial motivation) of technical security are entrusted with the task of collecting and processing our personal data from any source whether reliable or not, and in turn responding to security checks and essentially determining our future?

George Orwell and Groucho Marx had a child, and he is in charge!

December 18, 2009

Please make it stop!

Filed under: cyberspace,meatspace — SiKing @ 11:40 am
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End of the year, but no end to people’s stupidity. ๐Ÿ™„

We had a big storm … in Calgary … in December … that caught the city by surprise. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Snow in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere? Please say it ain’t so! Obviously for all you bitchis out there, the price of gas and the cost of parking in downtown is still not expensive enough. Take the bus and get off the road.

So apparently newspapers are having problems selling … newspapers. Well, dear Mr. Murdoch, I will tell you why: because nobody cares for that drivel you claim to be news! When crap like Tiger sleeping with I-don’t-know-how-many-women makes top news, people just don’t care. I don’t understand why Google does not give them exactly what they want, and delist them into oblivion? First off, those idiots had a technical solution to their so called problem all along, but they have to make a big whoop out of it. Second, they are just blaming their outdated and dying business model on someone else. I’m sorry Mr. Murdoch, but you’ll have to get in line. The *AA‘s were here first.

The EU has finally beat the giant MS into submission, or has it? You know what: who cares? Nothing will change! This benefits MS, and it is only busy-work for the EU – their primary activity. As far as MS is concerned, “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”[Oscar Wilde] As for the bureaucrats in the EU, if they were serious about competition in the marketplace, they would sink the taxpayer’s money into alternative operating systems (there is more than The one alternative) and applications, rather than frivolous litigation.

Bah! Humbug!

September 29, 2009

Big loss for Linux today

Filed under: linux — SiKing @ 6:33 pm
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Approximately 2 and half years ago I became a serious proponent, dare I say evangelist, of Linux. As of today that is no longer the case.

Without going into all the boring and filthy details, I had some minor problems running a new 64bit kernel, on somewhat new-ish hardware that almost supports 64bits, with some older software. I tried to downgrade – clean reinstall – to something which I had previously confirmed on another machine works perfectly fine. After the install I had serious problems even connecting to the local network – plain DHCP. This is normally an immediate KO criteria for me, and I don’t even bother trying to figure out anything else. This time I did give it a second chance, only to run into more serious problems. ๐Ÿ˜ก Well, I’ll just reinstall back what I had at the beginning of the day and live with the small issues, right? Last time, the install took me under 60 minutes. After the second install I could not get anything to work again! How is it possible to use the exact same install media, on the exact same machine, and get two completely different results? After a day of pondering this dilemma – downtime for my employer – I am installing that other system first thing tomorrow morning. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Here are some myths, that I personally have proven wrong:

Linux is cheaper. You know what? Nobody in the corporate world cares! I have yet to meet anyone anywhere who actually gives a hoot to save money for their employer in this area. Licensing costs for proprietary software, in the corporate world, are somebody else’s problem somewhere else and the software is effectively free to us here.

Linux is technically superior. That may be, but only if you are a geek that reads source code all day. One of my colleagues, whom I respect very much, runs Windows on his desktop, has a MacBook sitting on the desk next to him, wears OpenBSD T-shirts, and runs several different Linuxes in the back room. He is quite fluent in all these OSes. When someone asks him which OS he prefers, his answer is always: โ€œwhichever gets the job done the fastest.โ€ The โ€œjobโ€ that he is faced with on a daily basis: some marketing drone hassling him to โ€œjust get my laptop to work!โ€ Bottom line: All operating systems will have problems. It just so happens that for Windows the problems are assumed by the (l)users, and there is always somebody around who knows how to โ€œjust get it to work.โ€ However, if you run into a problem with your Linux machine, everyone just gives you that you-asked-for-it look and a shrug.

I am not expecting to see Linux on the corporate desktop any time soon. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

August 24, 2009

pwned by Windows

Filed under: automation,windows — SiKing @ 3:50 pm
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I am starting to put together a new piece of a continuous integration framework (the self-test part, of course). This one has to be done on a Windows platform, specifically it has to run on XP and Vista, a first for me.

I am used to having everything that I could possibly need at my fingertips on a base install of Linux. I can’t remember EVER having to go and hunt for some tool that I would need to get something like this done that was not already installed.

I first decided to see how far I could go with a base Windows install; that is, the minimum amount of tools that are not part of the original install. This means that I tried to resort to pure .bat scripting. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Syncing different Windows machines

As is often the case, this has to run on multiple machines. I am just too lazy (and error prone) to go and make one small change on every single machine every time I update something. I want the framework to be self-updating! In order to achieve that, I had to install SVN on all he machines. My first rule broken, and I did not even get started. I did not even try to work around this one: some sick munched up network test if a drive is mounted properly, copy over network if the machine is not down, verify the copied files, decide which one is considered the master, …

Getting the day of week on Windows

I want different tests to run on different days of the week โ€“ this is strictly a management decision, there was no technical reason to do this. No big deal. In pure .bat scripting this is quite difficult to get, but not impossible … or is it?

The only command that I could find that gives you the day of week is date /T. It dumps out something in the format: “day date”, where “day” is a three-letter code for the day of week, like “Mon”, “Tue”, etc; and “date” is the current date. Now how to parse that? After like an hour of Googling and browsing the specs, I ended up with:

for /F "tokens=1" %%d in ("%date%") do set day=%%d

Nice, huh? They even have a different way of naming the variables inside the loop, depending if you are doing it from the command line or from a script! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ To tell you the honest truth, I am not really certain how this actually works. However, the first time I ran it on one of my test machines, %day% ended up being something like “18/08/09”. I’m thinking WTF? Tried it on another machine and got “Tue”. After some more trial and error, I discovered that the output of the date command varies depending on what locale you have set in your preferences. What sick sadistic MF over at Redmond thought this would be a good idea?

Scheduling things in Windows

Of course not everything everywhere is the same. Some parts of the tests need to change between different machines. From the Linux world, I normally did this through environment variables. Bill’s posse decided to outdo Linux by introducing three types of environment variables, only two of which are properly documented! After some trial and error I found a combination that worked … until I tried to run my tests as a Scheduled task. The facts that the tools for scheduling a task 1) are found in completely different location between XP and Vista, 2) have completely redesigned interface, and not for better, and 3) have their file formats that you export/import totally incompatible between the two, no longer dissuaded me. It makes work that much more interesting. But the fact that different variables are passed to the scheduled tasks in different versions of the OS, is another example of Windows’ big middle finger for the programming world.

There was a time once that I used to run a liberated version of Windows on my machine. Today, they could not pay me enough to install that piece of dung on my machine. I wouldn’t want it even for free!

Next: PowerShell. ๐Ÿ™„

August 11, 2009

Happenings?

Filed under: noki,tech,windows — SiKing @ 1:19 pm
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Not much actually. ๐Ÿ˜

So my Noki is now officially outdated. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Man, โ‚ฌ500 and 19 months later, and stuff is no good anymore. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Am I the only one who thinks that a device I pay that much money for should last me at least a decade? Yea, naรฏve, I know. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Update 09/08/21: Now I know why. Nokia N900 running full Linux. Yea baby!

I am so over 64bit operating systems, regardless of the vendor. I suspect the biggest problem that is killing the whole thing are peripheral vendors. Apparently 64bit support was available in CPUs from 2003, and OS supported it from 2001 – both on the desktop. However, five years after the fact, support from (closed source) hardware vendors is flaky at best! Here is just one example of a miserable issue I recently ran headlong into.

Here is a good one. The other day, while I am installing something – something that I have been installing the same way at work for the past 6 months – out of nowhere pops up the following:

Site Server 3

This is a 10-year old product โ— And I get this popup only when I am installing over the network. Anyone know where the heck this comes from โ“

May 27, 2009

Biological computer virus

Filed under: cyberspace,meatspace — SiKing @ 7:43 am
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Every once in a while I have a day when lots of unexplainable and unreproducible things just happen to computers all around me. Yesterday was one of those days.

It started out trying to get VMware to acknowledge my wireless network. No good, but this never worked for me, so nothing new so far. Next, when trying to connect to work, I found that VPN networks was gone from the network manager – OpenVPN was still installed, just not showing up in the GUI. Then the kicker: I noticed that OpenOffice.org Quickstarter was gone from the notification area, so I go to launch it from the menu. It just disappeared from my computer; like not just the Quickstarter, but like the whole thing! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ It was even reported as not installed in Synaptic. After reinstalling it, Quickstarter still would not come up. I have come to expect things like my RSS feeds on the partnerpage.google.com not working, but yesterday they were redirected to a completely different feed. Well I chose this day to install my son’s new computer – how do you think that went? Well, you would be wrong! I burned the .iso onto a CD and had the computer confirm that the burn was successful. When I took the CD over to the new computer it told me that the CD is blank. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I got smart – just gave up, turned off everything, and went to bed with a book.

This morning at work I find, of course, that all tests from previous day failed. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

May 3, 2009

e-mail: Bad form of communication

Filed under: cyberspace,meatspace — SiKing @ 6:11 pm
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Today we live in a society where people are unreasonably easily offended or they can misinterpret even the best of intentions and freak out. If you don’t believe me ask any guy what started the last fight he had with his girlfriend. I am surprised how often we are ready to shoot the messenger, and nobody stops and considers that perhaps the problem lies on the receiving end. How did we get this way?

The email is the worst medium. It seems to me that people completely loose their brains when given access to email. How many times have you received a joke email, that has been forwarded around the world several times and the mail contains the complete history of all addresses that it has passed through. Sometimes, these jokes can be quite offensive. I personally am hardly ever offended, usually just pissed at the waste of bandwidth. But I know how to set up my mail filters to not even be bothered by these slightly-better-than-spam annoyances. What gets me though, is the history: everyone’s mail address, along with their fancy signature “VP of this large company”, “Senior PR Manager of that prestigious corporation”, and these people never stop and think … maybe this is going to get, with my name and all, somewhere I don’t want it to go. The best IMHO are the legal threats at the bottom of each and every single iteration: “intended only for the recipient only … please delete immediately or we will take action …” These people are obviously not even paying attention to what they are spewing out into the world. Crackberry addicts are the worst; someone may be the most intelligent and most well spoken person you will ever meet, but put a Crackberry into their hands and within a matter of minutes they turn into a drooling mumbling moron. GMail has even created the Oh shit button because of these people! Can you imagine that particular development session: “So majority of our user are idiots, can we do something about that?”

I am basically peeved that 1) people do not think before they forward something, and 2) when they get offended by an email, they don’t stop and consider: “hey, maybe it’s me and not them.” Well, at least smileys make everything if not better than acceptable.

PS: I really do like you, and I do want to be your friend, but please remove me from your address book. Thank You.

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

April 13, 2009

Recycling is wasteful

Filed under: meatspace — SiKing @ 6:59 pm
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Recycling and that whole green movement: I don’t get it!

When I was a teenager, over 20 years ago in the ‘ol country, all backwards and stuff, I used to go around the neighborhood collecting discarded paper, old metal, glass, etc. I took it to the recycling depot where I got money for it … usually to buy ice cream and gum. Today, after two decades of innovation, I have to pay somebody else to take my recycling away?!?! What the hell happened? All the people working on recycling projects are COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT! What have you been doing all this time. Are you even aware that technology is suppose to improve over time and make things easier and cheaper?

December 13, 2008

No good deed shall go unpunished

Filed under: canuckia,meatspace — SiKing @ 12:00 pm
Tags: ,

Good guys, honest people, always get screwed, and not in a good way. My life is usually SNAFU, so I am pretty used to life’s ups and especially it’s downs. But these past few months have had a rather high density of incidents, even for me.

Back in mid-August things started out pretty good. I got a transfer to California. I was thinking that I would cash in on the housing crash there. Some of the reports are way overrated BTW โ€“ it is not possible to buy a home at 10 cents on the dollar, but it is quite possible to buy a home at 40 cents on the dollar. The day after I put an offer on a house I got fired. Don’t want to get into the particulars right now; might air out the dirty laundry later. Basically, I spoke my mind, and my boss and I did not see eye-to-eye. If only I would have kept my mouth shut, and just kept on keeping on like the rest of the sheep, I still would have been gainfully employed.

While all that was going on, being in California, I had to get a car. As with the house market, the car industry was hit just as hard if not harder. So I was shopping round for a bargain. Found a nice 2002 Volvo V70XC, with little over 50k miles, for little over $12k including all taxes and registration. All the fixin’s too, you could still see the imprints of the child-seats in the leather back seats of the car โ€“ obviously a pampered mommy mobile. Everyone we spoke to told us that Volvos are very reliable cars, so we went for it. Being a nice guy, I even tried to make it before the end of the month so the dealership makes their quota. Two weeks later, the transmission fell apart! Almost two weeks and $4000 after that, we had a new transmission in it. The mechanic told us, that we had better drive it as much as possible, and bring it back after about 1000 miles for him to give it a quick look over. Only 325 miles later, that transmission started going! At least this time it was under warranty. However, by this time, we decided that the economy is not going to improve any time soon, and so we are going back to Canada. The landlord called from Hawaii to tell me she will not be able to refund me the $1500 deposit because I am breaking the lease, and so we were just holding out until the car got fixed, this time by Volvo personally, or until we get forcefully evicted, whichever comes first. The car won.

When crossing the border with the car, I got another shocker. I had once previously brought a car from the US to Canada. It was a while back, and I remember very little: I showed up, paid the GST, they filled out a bunch of paperwork, and I went along on my way. This time however they wanted me to prove that I am paying the GST for my car. I actually had to prove that I do not have some odd fetish about paying taxes for someone else’s property. The only way to prove that is with an original title. I had paid off the car only like a week earlier, and asked to have the title mailed to my Canadian address (the mailing, normally takes several weeks or months). So now I am screwed! I had to call my dad, luckily only 3 hours away, to come and pick up us and my crummy stuff, drive my car back over to the American side, get ridiculed by more customs guards, and park it in a field behind the nearest bar for $21/week. From the number of cars parked out there, I am not the only unfortunate. If I had instead told the customs officials that I am only visiting my parents for Xmas, everything would have been fine. I still had what definitely appeared to be a valid work permit for the US, along with all the necessary documentation to get it. I could have driven the car on American (cheaper) registration for another 8 months, thereby completely avoiding something like $1300 in import duties because I have owned the car for less than 1 year. A year later I could have saved some more of the $1200 GST (aka: Gouge and Screw Tax) as the car would have been another year older. I could have avoided all the hassle and more than half the costs, if only I had told a little white lie. The best thing is, that if I do honestly get a job down in the States again and take the car back there, I will probably not be able to get any of the taxes back!

Update 12-01-09: Got the paperwork for the car last Thursday. It came in an envelope that had a return address to the bank and not the DMV. โ“ It has to be faxed to the Americans 72 hours in advance; did that. Went to pick up the car today. No problems on the American side. They made me go get the car first; didn’t even have to dig it out of a snow bank, and it started on the first try!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ The Canadians were A-holes as usual. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ At the drive-through window they asked me how much the car was. I could not remember, pulled out the bill of sale, and scanned through the half-meter long (I am not exaggerating here) sheet, written in size 9 font. I picked one of the numerous “total price” values and rattled that off to the cute chick. I was then told to come in, to fill out the paperwork and pay the import taxes. Inside it’s all guns, bullet-proof vests and too much testosterone – sheesh. The best thing: the chick running the cash register – no gun, no vest! ๐Ÿ˜• The guy is scanning through my paperwork, and asks: “How come it says here that the car cost [names some number that is about $400 higher]?” Note that this is a $400 difference on a 12-thousand-dollar car. I told him, that I was not sure. “Well, you need to tell us exactly.” I looked at the paper, and told him that I am sorry and I must have made a mistake, “there are, after all, a lot of numbers on this paper,” I pleaded. The 25-year old kid looks me straight in the eye, and says: “You need to know exactly what the car cost. When you gave us the price the first time, that is the only chance you get. You basically lied to us. I could now reposes the car, you could be fined $10,000, and you could be jailed for 10 years!” ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I wanted to smack him upside the head for being rude to the elderly, but I realized that that would have been more of an insult to me than to him.

As far as I can tell, the world’s longest undefended border works only for terrorists. Every time I cross it, I feel nervous, and all the people wearing bullet-proof vests and guns at their hip are far from friendly. On our recent โ€œvisitโ€, my daughter noticed a bunch of them standing around a computer laughing. She asked me what they are doing. I told her that they are probably watching some funny movie on the computer. She said that maybe she could do a job like that when she grows up. I did not want to tell her in front of the dozen or so armed officers bored out of their minds, that she can already do a job like that at 9 years old! The North America Free Trade Agreement is some lunatic’s work of fiction, as there is nothing free about it that I can see. The only benefit, is that Canadians are allowed to go work there at a cost of $50/year, as opposed to something like $450/3 years for other nationalities. As for moving goods back and forth for free, or some layman going down there (or coming up here for that matter) to just get any job โ€“ forget it!

I often ask myself: Am I actually doing my children any justice by teaching them to be good, law-abiding citizens? Would I not be preparing them better for that cruel world if I were to teach them to lie, cheat, and steal at every opportunity?

Update 16-01-09: I have been corrected. It’s not “lie, cheat, and steal”, it’s apparently called “being diplomatic” and in that case it’s OK.

September 1, 2008

WP bugs

Filed under: wp — SiKing @ 7:59 pm
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I have been with WP for four months now; seems like much longer. Right from the start there were a few bugs that have been bothering me, and they still are today. Here they are, starting with the most annoying at the top.

  1. When you are entering text in the WP HTML editor, for every Enter that you press (or in my case, copy-paste from OOo) you get a silent <br /> – you do not get to see them as you are entering the text, you only get to see them after you Save (possibly View your post, go WTF?) and go back to Edit your entry. How is that HTML or even XML? According to the standard, white space characters, including newlines, should be collapsed to a single space. Transforming them into a <br /> is definitely a very creative interpretation. I work around this in vi with %j (join all lines), but what a pain: an entirely separate tool to work around one bug!
  2. The text box widget (mine is labeled “Flare” on the right) has an upwards compatibility bug with the img tag (note that mine has only images). Image is normally entered as <img src="...">. Since it is an empty element (meaning there is no </img>) it can be entered as <img src="..." />, which is correct XML. However, if you enter it as <img src="..."/> (note the missing space before the closing slash), which is still valid XML, the WP parser does not get it and looses the entire src attribute.
  3. This one is not really a WP bug, at least not solely. Last.fm is a place where I often listen to music, as it runs on all OSes that I use. They also generate a widget for your WP blog. Go ahead, and try it … I dare ya. Just go right ahead and paste that mess into either a post or a text widget. ๐Ÿ˜•
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