Saturday, October 19, 2013

3783 Snubbed by Google

Saturday, October 19, 2013

" ... the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy."
--Carl Sagan:--


When you have some wait-time, visit this site:  The name comes from the fact that Google's street camera has nine "eyes".   Jon Rafman has collected images from Google map street views, from all over the world.  Some are beautiful, some are interesting or unusual, some are disturbing.  [There's one I can't look at.  It's the fifteenth photo, the one right after the one with three kids carrying speakers past a slummy apartment building.  You might want to unfocus your eyes and skim quickly past the 15th.  I wish I could eliminate that one.]

Whoever collected the views seems to like "working girls".  There's a lot of police action, a few accidents (one seems to be fatal), some tourist sights, some shots that appear to have been taken in a large aquarium, and lots of exotic scenery.

This site,, about using Google street view to track  invasive species, mentions that there are views of Antarctica, the Galapagos, the Amazon, Mount Everest's base camp and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, including links.

Now, here's my problem.  If you go to those links, you see one-lane roads through forest, dirt roads through prairies,  barely discernable tracks through deserts, streets in obviously dangerous parts of cities, streets covered, literally, in garbage.  Streets where there's nothing, for miles and miles.  Even places where there are no roads at all.

Do you see my street?


One day a few weeks ago I was at the stop sign at the end of my street when the Google camera car went past, right in front of me on the cross street.  Did it go down my street?


I  am insulted.

Friday, October 18, 2013

3782 Catchy little tune

Friday, October 18, 2013

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words.
If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.
--Philip K. Dick--


 From an NPR article:
In November 1972, Italian pop star Adriano Celentano released a song that hit No. 1 in his home country, despite the fact that it wasn't performed in Italian.

It also wasn't performed in English.

In fact, it wasn't performed in any language at all.

The song, called "Prisencolinensinainciusol," was written to mimic the way English sounds to non-English speakers.
From "Now I Know" (a great place to visit, by the way): [A better link for the same place:]
Despite the fact that the words aren't actual words, the song was incredibly popular in Italy and in other parts of Europe, cracking the top 10 on the Italian, Belgian, French, and Dutch charts (peaking at #1 overall in Italy) and hitting number 46 in Germany. Perhaps the listeners didn't know that the words were made up. Perhaps they didn't care. The song was catchy, regardless, and as any American non-Korean speaker can testify (think Gangnam Style), sometimes the "words" don't matter all that much.
Bonus fact: In 1963, a group named the Kingsmen covered the song "Louie Louie," originally recorded by Richard Berry eight years prior. The Kingsmen's version is a classic and you've almost certainly heard it (but if not, here you go) and likely can sing the whole thing -- kind of. You probably have no idea what the actual words are because they're a garbled mess which is impossible to understand. But that didn't stop an angry parent from writing to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and insisting that the lyrics were obscene. For some reason, this lead to an FBI investigation (!) which concluded, no, the lyrics are just unintelligible. The FBI was right, but they missed something. At about 0:53 into the song, Lynn Easton, the band's drummer, dropped a drumstick and yelled out the f-word. It's audible (but not obvious) in the recording (which if you didn't click to listen to before, you probably will now).

Wikipedia puts it a bit more humorously:  " In June 1965, the FBI laboratory obtained a copy of the Kingsmen recording and, after four months of investigation, concluded that the recording could not be interpreted, that it was "unintelligible at any speed".


Back in maybe the late 60s or early 70s there was a Japanese song that was very popular, all in Japanese, and no one knew what it was about.  I heard it on the radio constantly, and I can hum the tune now, but I never learned the name.  It was one of my favorite songs ever, and I may never find it again.

Anyone know what it might be?

Later - The Queen  nailed it in the comments! I had the years wrong, but she still got it.  It's "Sukiyaki", by Kyu Sakamoto, on YouTube at  Same version with Japanese and English subtitles:  I was almost afraid to see the translation, afraid the real words would spoil the song, but they didn't.  The English is pretty, too.  Sad, but pretty.

(Note that there are a few English covers of the song, but they changed the lyrics entirely.  Same tune, but NOT THE SAME SONG AT ALL!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3781 Getting up to speed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
--Hermann Goering--


Later last night I installed GMarks on the new laptop, and all my 2,375,984+ bookmarks were there!   But, in looking for the code to download, I came across some disturbing forum discussions - it seems that the guy who wrote it hasn't been maintaining it, and Google has changed some interfaces, and although GMarks SAYS it bookmarked a site, and the bookmark is there when you look, the next time you start up it may or may not be there anymore.  Uh oh.

In the meantime I figured out how to make folders on the Firefox bookmark toolbar, and put some of the most important there, so maybe I'll just slowly transition to that.


I also discovered that my favorite online shopping site - the rather expensive boutique with a great online outlet, with nice sales, who gives me discounts and free shipping because I'm a favored shopper, and most importantly whose sizing runs pretty much the same across all items - yeah, that place - the place where with outlet, discounts, sales, and specials I have actually received a box containing seven items with original tags totaling over $400.00, for a total cost to me of $5, which led me to ask how the heck they are staying in business - well, they may not stay in business.  They are in big trouble.

Actually, I'm not surprised.  Not because of the deals, but because the quality of their stuff has fallen badly over the past three years, but the catalog list prices haven't.  They still have boutique prices on chintzy stuff.  It's getting harder to find the quality pieces, so customers are dropping out.  I've been frequently disappointed lately, but I pay so little it doesn't bother me if half the lot is crap.

But - everything always fits, and I am hard to fit.  I am really going to miss them if they disappear.

(Fifteen or twenty years ago, Speigel was like that.  Really nice stuff that pretty much always stayed true to size.  But then it all turned to crap.)

I'm still fussing over my documents.  Commenters "Z" and "Rocky" say there are some Word  knockoffs available, but I haven't looked yet.  Those green quotes at the top of my blog posts are randomly generated from a Works document.  I have something like three more post drafts set up, and then I won't be able to get to the quotes for a while, I guess. 


I'm rather proud of my calmness with this system transition.  I still hate the "apps", but it's easy to get to a desktop interface, and that's familiar.  I haven't freaked out yet, not like this person:

It's true.  She really did take a hammer to a brand new $1300 MacBookPro, right out of the box, because she couldn't get it to immediately play a Lady Gaga video.  The guy she's talking to, who isn't responding, is her husband of three weeks, and I suspect she's really wanting to bash him, not the laptop. Notice how she starts with threatening little taps.

 (There's a video on her channel from just before this one, where you do hear him respond, and a video after this on Lamarr Wilson's channel (to which I am subscribed, that's how I found it all).  Lamarr had seen this video, and rushed over to her place to find out if it was true.  She seemed to think Lamarr could get it to work after she'd bashed it all to Hell.  Lamarr was pissed, because he's been saving for a MacBookPro for ages and isn't there yet.  Lamarr's involvement convinces me that it is for real.)

Yup.  Proud of my restraint.  I would NEVER wear green lipstick, either.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

3780 Stumbling, but still moving.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"[T]he West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion
but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often
forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
--Samuel Huntingdon--


Played with the new laptop some more today.

I installed IrfanView, so now I can find, edit, and play with all my photos.

I installed WOT (Web of Trust), so now I know at a glance whether a website is considered safe or not.

I installed Flash, so now I can watch YouTube videos.

I verified that the Microsoft virus detector is on and automatically updating.

I bookmarked my most frequently used sites on the tool bar.

So far, so good.

But I have a few major problems:

I can't seem to use the regular Firefox bookmarks list.  I found it, but it's not bookmarking anything but the ones for which I used drag-and-drop to put on the tool bar.  "Bookmark this page" doesn't seem to do anything.  After Google killed their bookmark support a few years ago, I moved to GMarks, and that was working fine for me on the old system.  I downloaded GMarks, and the instructions said to open the installation thingy under Firefox, but I can't figure out how to do that.  This one I may be able to figure out if I play with it some more.

The one that freaks me out totally:
I have a few hundred documents on the hard disk, and almost all of them are Microsoft Works format (.wps and .wdb).  I don't have Microsoft Works on the new machine, and nothing else will open those files!  Let alone edit them.  I really really really don't want to have to buy Microsoft Word (although I guess I'm going to have to), and I absolutely don't want the whole Office package.

I wandered around a bit, and it gets pretty confusing.  One Microsoft site says $109.99 for Word (is that a one-time payment?), and another says $99.99/year for the full suite (home edition)(Holy Crap!  Do people really pay that?).  Word is supposed to be able to open and edit Works files, and there are several free converters out there (although if Word can read Works, why would you need a converter from Works to Word anyway?).  So I guess I'm going to have to devote some time tomorrow to figuring that all out.

Suggestions or explanations of packages gratefully accepted.   Are there any other word processors out there besides what Microsoft has?


In other business, two days ago my cold seemed to be gone.  Over.  Done.  I had one day of bliss, and then it came back, exactly the same way it had started the first time through.  I am unhappy.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

3779 Turkey

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sometimes when you look in his eyes you get the feeling that someone else is driving.


Dear Teacher, Decorator, Baker, Designer, and anyone else planning to color a turkey:

A turkey cock is not a peacock!

A wild turkey does not have rainbow tail feathers.  No yellow, red, orange, green, purple. 

A wild turkey is a mix of black, gray, brown, dark tan, white, and russet.  The head is white or light grey with a little light blue around the eyes and throat, and the male will have a bright red wattle.  In sunlight, the feathers have some iridescence, so you might see a shimmering surface wash of gold, copper, golden green or blue.  The tail is some shade of brown, with stripes of black and white at the end of the feathers.

The tail is NOT a dime store fake native american headdress, so cut that out!

Ok, I can understand if you have small children coloring a turkey.  A palette restricted to browns is pretty boring.  Let them get creative.  Heck, they think pink horses are perfection, and that's fine.  But when an adult is coloring a turkey for adults, a multi-colored tail simply displays ignorance, and is insulting to your audience, not to mention to the bird.

A wild turkey is amazingly beautiful on its own.  It doesn't need enhancement.
He:  "Come wis me to ze Casbah."
She: "You do realize all that fluff doesn't really make you bigger, right?"

[Photo borrowed from the website for the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,]

Sunday, October 13, 2013

3778 Kicking and screaming into the new era

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homophobia: The fear that gay men will treat you the way you treat women.


In the spring of 2007, I bought my first laptop, and went from a heavily modified (by Jay) Windows 98(?) on a desk PC to Vista on a Dell laptop.  Big jump!  The transition was a bit scary at first, but at least I didn't hate it.

Last July I bought a Toshiba "Satellite" laptop.  Woot had a great deal.  It has more than 10 times the everything than my old one, and it's running Windows 8.

Yesterday Hercules finally got around to helping me with it.  He hooked up the old hard drive as an external drive on the new machine, and copied all my photos, documents, and music from the old to the new.  We couldn't get the cookies or bookmarks, though, because Hercules wasn't sure they'd be compatible, or something, I don't know.

Today I played with the new.  I did convince it to use the house WiFi, I set the date and time, installed and synched Firefox and logged on to a few of my favorite sites, got their quick-access icons on the Firefox toolbar and the passwords stored, and that was about it.

I haven't figured out yet how to get to my photos or documents.  There's one of those silly app tiles for photos, and it automatically scrolls through and displays, on the tile itself, random photos from my photo folders, including the naked ones!, none of which happened to show up while Hercules was doing his thing, thank goodness.  I clicked on that tile, and all it does is throw up a full screen cycling mosaic of my photos (including the naked ones!).  It doesn't take me to the photo files, so that seems pretty useless.

So far I hate Windows 8.   It hides everything in the most obscure places, and shoves those stupid useless apps tiles at you.  With Vista, it was easy to find everything from the Start button.  I didn't even have to remember what the name of the program is that I use to edit documents, it was right there, and the notepad and calculator were right up front. 

Now?  Who knows?  I don't even know where to start looking, or how.  I bought a book.  We'll see how that goes.  So far it's been less than helpful on 9 of 10 things I looked up.

Once I'm fully up to speed on the new machine, the old will go to the country house, so I don't have to carry one back and forth.

(Yes, this is being written on the old laptop.  The new keyboard is just different enough that I keep hitting "Alt" instead of "Space", and "Alt" makes very strange things happen, and I am too tired to swear at it right now.)