Cycling again…

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

From Bernal Hill to The Presidio and back

…after a five year break and while it’s true that you don’t forget how, your knees can stop being quite so flexible. I’m eyeing up the dog’s glucosamine laced treats quite enviously.

Download.com goes nuclear

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

CNET download.com Download Manager

CNET stopped being a useful source of downloads for me ages ago. Over the lifetime of my account I’ve had nearly 100,000 downloads through CNET, but these days it’s one or two a week. I left my products up there anyway, but I’ve just asked them to remove everything they have listed for Catfood Software.

The reason is that CNET has rolled out a download manager that wraps every single download. Instead of the customer getting the product they thought they were downloading they are dumped into a CNET experience that tries to install a toolbar and push Bing / MSN into your browser defaults. Yuck.

It’s one thing for a vendor to partner this way. It’s quite another to roll it out site wide with little notification and no opt out, let alone a revenue share. CNET sell this as being about analytics. Of course it’s all about referral dollars. This isn’t the experience I want for my customers and so I’m pulling the plug on download.com.

Cam of Fortune!

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

We are working on a concept for a new game show. The working title is

Many thanks for sending us your outline for 'CAM OF FORTUNE'. Please bear with us while we consider your proposal, we will get back to you just as soon as we can...

Thank you for sending in your programme proposal

My first and last foray into being a TV production company. Tragic that this never got made…

Android: Insane Contacts Storage

Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020

Oh no:

Low on space (Android)

My phone keeps running out of space. A little sleuthing under Manage Applications shows that Contacts Storage is using over 32MB. Can’t move it to the SD Card – I guess this makes sense, although it would be nice to cache some of the non-essential data there. I’ve no idea if this is a HTC problem or an Android problem (I have a HTC Aria), but some Googling would seem to indicate that it’s not uncommon.

In the People app choosing View from the menu allows you to pick which sources to use to display contacts. I had 5,854 contacts from Twitter, despite having configured the Twitter app to only sync with existing contacts. I also had a bunch of Facebook contacts, with the same configuration (existing contacts).

I tried deleting Twitter from Accounts & Sync. This warned that it would remove contacts (great!) but after blowing it away Contacts Storage had more than doubled to over 70MB.

Time to go nuclear. I backed up existing contacts and then deleted all data from Contacts Storage. My phone is happy again.

Contacts and sync in general is the worst part of the Android experience. HTC Sync is a contact-duplicating, pop-up-and-wave-my-arms-in-the-air-every-time-I-do-anything piece of Adobe Air uselessness. Google really needs a better answer for people who live in Outlook on the desktop. Or maybe they’ll eventually grind me down into GMail…

Episode Four

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

President Barack Obama meets with staff to discuss ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction, in the Oval Office, July 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I became a US Citizen in 2010 so I didn’t get to vote in the last presidential election. If I had been able to vote it would absolutely have been for Obama. I was captivated by the promise of a transformational presidency. I should have known better and I was completely mistaken.

The outcome of the debt ceiling negotiation is motivating me to write about this now, but it’s really just the final straw. Well, not quite a straw, it’s unconscionable that an increase in tax revenue isn’t part of the deal. And how was the conversation boxed into subtle differences in where to cut trillions of dollars rather than why? It’s hard to think of a better way to increase unemployment and decrease growth.

Reasonable people can disagree on the budget. What really bothers me is that Obama has failed so comprehensively to rectify the damage that Bush did to America’s reputation and moral authority. If you want to spread democracy and freedom it would seem to me that the most powerful tool is providing a shining example and an inspiration. America has often played this role – never perfectly but the imperfections have historically been an embarrassment. Now, increasingly, they’re a source of pride: celebrating assassinations, brushing torture under the carpet, a war on whistleblowers and increased use of ‘state secrets’ to brush aside inconvenient due process.

On torture in particular Obama’s “…belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” kills me. It’s not a defense I feel I could use to fight a speeding ticket. It’s a complete abrogation of responsibility.

It also really bothers me that Obama can’t just come out as supporting gay Americans having he same rights as the rest of us.

All this leaves me with a large problem in 2012. Even though I live in California and therefore have a worthless vote I still take my electoral responsibility seriously. I just don’t think I can vote for this guy, even if he’s better than the alternative.

Obama: please don’t run in 2012. I need a new hope.

Reviews and links for July 2011

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

4/5

Jon Ronson just has an incredible knack of getting crazy people to talk to him. In The Psychopath Test he mixes with Scientologists, CEOs, psychopaths and psychopath hunters. The book is both funny and very disturbing. There's the theory that a significant proportion of CEOs and politicians are successful because they are psychopaths. There's the somewhat arbitrary checklist that is used to diagnose a psychopath and the impossible situation of trying to prove that you're sane once you've been committed. And there's the profit seeking alliance between drug companies and psychologists that Ronson claims has led to over *three million* children being diagnosed as bipolar in the US when quite possibly none of them are.

 

One Day by David Nicholls

3/5

A sharply observed romance spanning the 80s, 90s and 00s. Initial lust turns to friendship, hatred, some more friendship and finally love. Decent enough read.

 

Links

- Why do so many people online hate "The Smurfs"? from All Salon (Because so many people IRL do).

- Spotify sued over music streaming from BBC News - Home (Trolls with a feeble looking patent. Sigh.).

- Judge blocks circumcision ban bid from BBC News - Home (Then under what theory is female circumcision banned?).

- Is monogamy essential to democracy? from All Salon (No, you're thinking of mahogany).

- We could have had the Moon, instead we get Afghanistan from jwz (Actually nearly three moons...).

- Medical Examiner: Bullet That Killed Kenneth Harding Not From Police from KQED News Fix (Will the protesters turn out for some community service this weekend then?).

- Standards from xkcd.com (Guilty).

- Government 'to back badger cull' from BBC News - Home ('badger' is a British euphemism for 'tabloid journalist').

- The Brain on Trial from jwz (Not guilty by reason of finely tuned initial conditions).

- Unusual toilets from Boing Boing (They missed the pop up toilets from Reading.).

World Time Lapse

Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020

I've just made a new time lapse video using web cams from the Catfood WebCamSaver directory:

If you haven't seem the time zone version it's a completely different take.

Toys

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Kate has a VTech Move & Crawl ball. From the name you can guess it’s supposed to help encourage crawling. Actually she was terrified of it for a couple of days, and now she likes to pick it up and interrogate it.

vtech-move-crawl-ball

I can’t wait for her to get bored and move on to a BigTrak. The ball is going to get some spray paint and be reincarnated as Sargent Major Zero:

sargent-major-zerojpg

If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Bolts of Fabric

I used to work in Woodley, a small town on the outskirts of Reading in the UK. The town center has a pub, a café, a newsagent, etc. It also had something truly remarkable – two shops that combined fabric and general haberdashery with pet supplies.

I never found out exactly how this came to be. I imagine that there was a fabric shop and a pet shop. The fabric shop was struggling and decided to start selling some dog food. The pet shop responded in kind. Both businesses ended up with no real focus, chasing the competition instead of doing one thing really, really well.

Either that or there was a really messy divorce…

Catfood: WebCamSaver and PdfScan

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two new Catfood releases.

Catfood WebCamSaver 3.10 adds support for simultaneous updates in 4 and 16-cam modes. The WebCam Directory has also been completely overhauled. WebCamSaver is a rather voyeuristic screensaver that lets you watch live feeds from around the world. As well as a screensaver the feed is available in my World Webcams Google Gadget.

Catfood PdfScan 1.20 follows hot on the heels of 1.10. The main update is showing a preview of each scanned page which is super handy if you always forget which way pages are supposed to go in your document feeder. Mentioning no names…