Month: June 2016

Reading; Command and Control:Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Incident and The Illusion of Safety

The book “Command and Control:Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Incident and The Illusion of Safety” is by Eric Schlosser. I’m only about a quarter the way through the book but it’s fascinating.

It tells the story of a dropped nuclear weapon and the aftermath of it, plus the history of nuclear weaponry. Right now the book is in about the mid 1950’s when little itty bitty thermonuclear bombs were around and missiles still exploded on the launch pad, at least in the United States.

I’m utterly fascinated by the technology advancements of the 20th century from WW II on. It was an era that shaped this modern world we live in.

Stupid User Tricks part 998,772,124

So we get a help desk ticket in. The user is one of our problem children. She even posted a picture to the ticket. Now the image I’m about to share – I also emailed it to couple people in the office. It has a life of it’s own now withing the office. In fact the image she posted is also on imgur, reddit, and flickr. So it’s only fitting that I tell the tale and post the image here.

In the ticket she said she spilled coffee in her laptop and then tried to dry it. Didn’t say what she used to dry the machine.

I  did counsel her that when liquid is spilled into any computer and especially laptops, drop the battery if you can (Sorry MacBook users – you’re screwed.) and remove the power. I also explained to her how liquids and computers as a general rule don’t mix.

So anyhow I talked to her – I just had to. Her ticket has made it to our wall  of shame. And it’s definitely a winner.


As you can see the keys area actually melted. It came to pass she used a blow dryer to dry the keyboard out. Notices the period and comma keys along with the question mark and M key are completely melted off the keyboard. Notice to the J,K,L and ; keys also melted.

The woman must be a great salesperson because she’s the bane of everyone’s existence int he office including her manager.

Google Voice

So I’ve long had a Google Voice account. I use it mostly for filtering out recruiters and work.Plus the number I got is has the first two groups starting to 40.

So the other day I went to make a call and it gives me a message that the call couldn’t be completed. So I log on to Google Voice and they tell me my account has been suspended for Terms of Service (TOS)  violations.

What the hell? I sent them an appeal and got this back:


We have reviewed your request and have determined that your use of Google Voice is in compliance with our Google Voice Policies. Your Google Voice service has been reinstated and will be accessible soon.

If you have any further questions, please consult the Google Voice Help Center.

Google Voice Support Team

Logged on and even tried a test call on the phone and it works again. This worries me because it means that Google’s automated TOS scanner just randomly suspends accounts for no real reason.

I suspect it’s an automated system and perhaps my call blocking might have pissed it off. But here’s the thing, my phone is an Android platform which is a Google product. And it’s running Google Software for the Google Voice service. And one of the features in this particular version of Android is call Call Block. Call black says nobody but your contacts can ring your phone. I like it a lot. It’s a global white listing essentially but based on only those you’ve added as contact. Got to wonder if that’s not what cause the consternation on Google’s part.

Nintendo can try but

Nintendo has gotten a number of sites that hosted java versions of their games knocked offline. But where there’s a will there’s a way. Helpdesk guy gave me Jnes – it’s an app that runs on Windows and presents a Java emulator for NES games.

  • The games  I have are:
  • Elevator Action
  • Legend of Zelda II
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Marble Madness
  • Pac Man
  • Q-Bert
  • R.C. Pro Am
  • R.C. Pro Am II
  • Super Mario Brothers and Duckhunt
  • Super Mario Brothers II
  • Super Mario Brothers III
  • Xevious – The Avenger

That’s enough 8 bit games that will keep me happy.

Who knew you could get lab gear so cheap

So someone is getting into perfume making and wants to start distilling scents. So I knew you could use things like distillation and condensing columns along with certain flasks to accomplish Stupid me – I went and google them and the prices were astronomical.

But then it hit me – check on Amazon. Sure enough – a whole distillation kit is a whole $65. A stirrer/heater unit is half the price. So for about $200. Much better than the $500 to $1,000 I was budgeting. Amazon has in fact become the be all to end all place if you’re shopping for esoteric lab gear, electronic parts, etc. It’s amazing, but it’s Amazon.

And it can do double duty – extract scent from certain botanicals and making distilled alcohol from corn mash. Oh this will be great fun.

Banal Evil

So I’ve long studied the culture behind Nazi Germany. I always wondered why more people didn’t rise up and take Hitler and his henchmen down.

But I think I’m coming to an understanding. First – evil is banal. It really is – I’ve seen a number of documentaries with people who lived right next to concentration camps in Germany and they never thought to question those camps.

Plus I know of the studies of certain Psychologists like Milgram and Zimbardo.

Part of it is that the common man in a normal situation looks at something that isn’t right and chooses to ignore it rather than get involved. It’s the downside of our individualistic society. And of course Milgram’s study – and I know certain mental health professionals who believe it was unethical the way he treated those people. I think a  different way and we should be thanking Mr. Milgram for exposing the seamless underbelly of our society. He showed that people are cowed by authority.

So in essence we’re all sheep being lead to the slaughter. Isn’t that a charming thought.

As if I needed yet another reason to hate UPS

So on I’m scrolling through facebook and came across this article on how UPS did nothing to stop general misogyny being directed at a female aircraft mechanic, and more the the point told outright lies against her. Well – Shit Wrapped in Chiffon fits more and more every day. You can read the article here.

UPS of course started as a small regional package delivery company. They should have stayed in that state.

But it gets MUCH worse – if on that linked page you click the Holy S–t tab – the storeis there also show racial and misogynist treatment of workers at UPS. One of the articles even relates how UPS management retaliates. That’s some seriously fucked up shit.

This only cements my preference that things be shipped to me by USPS. But every once in a while you have Shit Wrapped in Chiffon UPS deliver – you cannot avoid it. But UPS needs to be taken down.