JGOMENU

6/17. For some mysterious reason I haven’t posted the beloved jgomenu so, if you’re annoyed at computers and life and would like to see them all obliterated permanently in a fiery ball of incandescent gas, you could download the thing! With obsolete Delphi version 7 source! Wildly configurable with an INI file! Unintelligible help!


Windows Firewall Control

1/17. I see that all through through this beautiful web site I keep referring to “my firewall” or other equivalent sentiments, without actually explaining what it is. I googled “Windows7FirewallControl” and the first hit was http://sphinx-soft.com/Vista/ “Windows 10 Firewall Control” which looks OK; actually it appears to be the inheritor of my beloved Windows7FirewallControl program. http://sphinx-soft.com/Vista/order.html has a comparison chart between the free/pay versions. ... On the one crate where I installed it — because my beloved traditional Windows7FirewallControl wouldn’t start anymore — the “Windows10” flavor wouldn’t start either at least easily, but that was stupid me mistakenly using the portable version! The regular version seems to work great! ... And you can ignore the “windows 10” sobriquet; he doesn’t claim it’ll run on vista anymore, but it does run on windows 7....

Forever Firewalled

Please understand, since Vista, Windows has come with a firewall, but it’s wonderfully polite and in particular will definitely let anything Usux™ desires talk to anything.

... So I’ve installed the thing on every computer I got since Vista — a disturbingly endless herd — and it seems to work. And by “work” I mean it pops-up for practically everything you do or just by itself, asking if it’s OK for some program you’ve never heard-of to contact the internet, and you must tell it yea or nay, whereupon it will allow it or block it as per your orders and not bother you anymore. And if your “no” was incorrect, something you prize and love will cease to function.

If you think you’d enjoy that sort of thing, it’s the firewall for you. ... Historically I got involved with firewalls after I realized some ancient win98 (?) crate of mine was enthusiastically dialing home presumably as part of a denial-of-service attack network, presumably not very effectively with my pitiful modem, and I only discovered it because I could notice the modem doing things when it shouldn’t’ve, because it had little lights on it or something. I don’t really remember, but I do want a firewall so not only can I notice things like that, but so I’ll also notice all the stupid Usux™ and other vile programs that want to chat with mother for reasons ranging from squalid to criminally pathological....


Bluray Stinks

Well it’s probably perfectly useful for stealing Bluray movies, but then again, nobody won the bluray/hddvd battle — everybody streams their movies from somewhere or copies to hard drives or something. But basically your average bluray disc contains 25 very slow gigabytes, at least slow to write in drag & drop fashion, but costs 50 while a 32Gb SD costs around $12 this week, price to fall no doubt as the weary eons pass us by. But a USB SD read/write gadget costs around $12 also, and many modern PCs have SD sockets already.

The bluray drive can be got for less than $100 but, of course, doesn’t actually work with random file writes. ... Actually in my pitiful experiment, when I wrote stuff to an LG WH16NS40 drive with a single program it seemed to work — very slowly — but when I tried to write simultaneously with two programs, definitely keeled over. And cranked the disc. ... And a firmware update from LG reliably failed.

Drag & Drop

An alternate “steal bluray” mode copies all the files you want in a huge chunk and is probably more reliable, but I’ll never know, because it’s useless, unless you happen to regularly need to save 24Gb chunks of data. I don’t. ... And of course you can’t rewrite bluray discs any which way, unlike SDs. And in terms of future compatibility, nothing’s particularly likely, but SDs’ll probably last longer than the slow write-once don’t-work blurays. ... Of course my simple interests inevitably wander towards the antiquarian which is probably why I even bothered with these things — well that, and simple ignorance. ... Despite my vast technical accomplishments which, of course, like the bluray, became obsolete a few eons ago. ... So now the drives, attached by the totally-superfluous speedy USB3 on two desktops, are my gee-whizziest newest antiques.

... So see by my outfit than I am a programmer, and hear my sad story....


Broken Old Pendulum Clocks

The trouble is, they can’t be fixed. Unless they’re expensive broken old clocks. Because it’s not worth it to fix a cheap broken old clock, in money or time. The internet is awash in helpful fellows who’ll give you detailed instructions on how to meticulously disassemble your intricate clock works, carefully clean it, reassemble it, and then it’ll work just like before, i.e. not at all. Because it’s old and worn-out, just like so many of us....

Many fancy clock repairers are equally helpful, and will happily waste your time with a day or two “estimate” and then tell you it’ll be $3500. Our experience is, if there isn’t someone knowledgable you can communicate with, i.e. who speaks whatever language you speak and knows something about clocks, i.e. not some pitiful ignorant drone — don’t waste your time. Or theirs for that matter, not that I care....

Once I had a clockwork looking something like that => and the pendulum’d just stop swinging. We took the clock to a guy in a mall who actually knew something, and he managed to get it going, but the magic only lasted for a year or so. I bought a replacement action at Amazon which proudly boasted it was made in India, and didn’t work any better — it was probably a “pull” from an Indian goverment mechanical clock that had served many wonderful years in the jungle, as ours had in upstate NY somewhere, but both were the cheapest possible mechanical wall clock of the era, and they just get old and fall over.

So I went and got a battery wall clock and put it into the old case and it is good. And I got a little battery phoney-pendulum mechanism and stuck it in there too, in the wrong place but it wacks back and forth so industriously. I had been thinking of doing some kind of hitechery like a pendulum prosthetic that’d kick it every second or so to keep it going, but the wall clock route was just as stupid and much less work....

If I get real bored someday, I can take apart the orginal or Indian clockwork mechanism and seriously repair it to destruction....

Learn Clock Repair in Your Spare Time at Home!

I mean if you really want to acquire a valuable part-time hobby/living out of clock repair, a cheap broken clock is probably ideal. ... But I don’t....


Solar Lights Don’t Work

At least the decorative flavor. For all I know the giant solar panels the survivalists and other lunatics erect work perfectly....

The ~$20 Signals catalog “Light Bulb Solar Garden Stake (HU6272)” was particularly impressive. It actually managed to produce its feeble illumination for two nights in a row — but then, it rained. So sad. I mean, the “bulbs” had visible water on the inside! And of course their electronic innards — well, one of the two still flickered briefly when I flicked its switch.

So that’s about five decorative solar lights I’ve encountered here in Paradise — where after all we have quite a supply of the solar stuff — and they all failed after it rained, of which also we have an adequate supply; I think some have lasted a week or two! ... I couldn’t “fix” — restore to operation until the next deluge — the Signals “light bulb” — well, I didn’t try very hard; there were no screws or obvious way to take them apart, and the sight of tainted water rolling around inside the “bulb” was disheartening. ... But I have managed to whack several of the others so they work. Until it rains again. ... But of course, that’s pointless — Sisyphean....

Amazon Bogus Reviews

And then I thought I should try an Amazon product, with good reviews! ... But no dice; all such I found were the crooked kind, where at least Amazon admits the reviewer was given a free sample to do the review. Actually, the presence of such bogus reviews is a fairly reliable shoddy product indicator, so I suppose I won’t complain. But no actually positive reviews for solar lights, although I only spent a few minutes.

Moonrays 91381 Payton Solar LED

(6/16) So then I persevered and found a positively-non-bogus-reviewed product which I’m sure’ll work perfectly. ... And actually they did work good: all eight of ’em’ve lasted at least a week — at least three months — through numerous patented Florida deluges! Finally after a 100 days, one of them seems to have lost its way, so before attempting a probably-hopeless repair, I bought another bunch for <$40 what I’ll keep around as spares. ... However I lucked out; in the interval its availability has shifted occasionally to the dreaded “these sellers” for different numbers & vast sums but it was available when I wanted it.

... But chances are, the solar lights you buy won’t work; heck probably my new batch won’t! — but of course they did, and the defective unit looked to be an intermittent DeOxit case: when I brought it in, it immediately flashed on, presumably as I jiggled it, and then I DeOxited the thing, but I had already replaced it with a new unit so the definitive DeOxit test awaits time and tide and the next hurricane. But the obvious superiority of the product design was striking: the rechargable battery compartment faces down, unlike the obviously demented competition — so the water runs out, instead of forming a pool in the battery compartment....

... But do try the amazon good-reviews route, and don’t be fooled by those “free product” reviews, which are clearly labeled if you scroll to the bottom of the review. Which is probably why they’re all so lengthy, so they get a shortened presentation and the pitiful scamee might miss the paid-for part....

Eternal Moonrays

(12/16) ... My Moonrays lasted so long, some of the NiCD batteries wore-out! This is unheard-of; all the solar lights I had before were so wretched they’d never wear out the batteries, unless you count being designed so that any rainfall would submerge the batteries destructively. ... No, the Moonrays went on shining for months and that’s 30 discharge/recharge cycles per. Wikipedia claims 2,000 cycles, but they also claim 10%-per-month self-discharge, which was never approached by my cruddy NiCDs — more like 40% a week. ... And it explains something; the lights come with the batteries charged and a little piece of cardboard preventing their discharge, which I thought was a trifle high-rent but now I understand: it’s a cunning quality-control scheme, where they buy cheap NiCDs, test them in the actual solar light, and throw-away the failing NiCDs. ... I tested three NiCDs from non-lighting lights in my fancy battery recharger, and it certified ’em dead. Replacements are cheap-enough — I could upgrade to NiMHs! — and on we go into the night....


Canon ix6820 “Buy Ink” Malware

It’s been doing it for a week at least. I have a low duty-cycle with the printer, so the ridiculous early-warnings might be applicable to someone about to print a 200-page document — which only an idiot would do with this printer. ... Today the window refused to go away; no close control. They really really really want me to buy some ink. I pressed the flashing amber button on the printer to make it print; lovely color of course. ... I got a refrigerator with lots of ink and have no intention of replacing ink cartridges until the printing visibly deteriorates. ... So I suppose I’ll just move the malware window to a corner off the screen as far as possible, and rock on.

It’s Really DRM?

I was so jejune I didn’t realize until months later it was doing it because of my counterfeit ink! ... Of course! I wasn’t using genuine Canon ink — I bought the cheap junk. ... I mean, according to the specially-tuned super-smart Canon software, I was printing for weeks with a totally empty black cartridge. ... But then again, it just correctly predicted the demise of a yellow cartridge which didn’t say Canon anywhere on it. So who knows? ... I figure the printer programmers are a totally different bunch from the buy-ink gang or at least the latter are an inferior caste of morlocks somewhere in the basement, and their works have a kind of naturally shoddy randomness.

... And then again, maybe the empty black cartridge phenomenon was the well-known two black cartridges mystery, where the printer has a large black cartridge for printing text I think, and a small one for color shading. ... But after obviously defective black printing, I replaced both and the effect wasn’t noticeably different. ... I mean the ix6820 isn’t one of those super artistic printers; its main talent is printing on 17’’-wide paper, which I find amusing on occasion....

... But ...

I must concede that I replaced the ink cartridges with all counterfeit ink, and the stupid “buy buy buy” box hasn’t reappeared. ... Mysterious fate is ruled by rogue DRMs. ... And now that the no-ink window has started up again, I’ve concluded it’s particularly disdainful of the black XL ink, which is apparently doomed to be forever empty....


Camelot Dump Hours

The Camelot Forest Conservation Association, Inc. — a lovely private vacation spot in Blakeslee PA — has a sworn mission to keep its dump hours def con 5 level secret. However by clandestine underhanded methods I have discovered the following unreliable info.

  • The “events” page at http://www.camelotforest.org/events.php — I suppose garbage is an event? — @ Tuesday, August 2, 2016 3:04 pm claimed “Spring/Summer Dumpster Hours // Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday // 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. aka FRIDAY-MONDAY + WEDNESDAY. No suggestion is supplied as to what dates the Spring/Summer hours begin or end at.

  • It is my suspicion, not substantiated by any tests, that Camelot “Winter” is from 9/15-5/15 or so, and Winter hours are FRIDAY-MONDAY only, omitting the Wednesday. This is totally uncorroborated rumor. ... But Lo! Come a few stapled pages in the mail at 10/16 reporting Camelot affairs, within which is printed in black & white that “fall/winter hours are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday ... 8:00a.m. - 6:00p.m.” Which to my limited perception appear to be the same as the summer hours. But perhaps another newsletter will reveal the latter have modulated also....


Amazon Decays

As Jeff Bezos plays around in outerspace and at The Washington Post, his great internet retailing institution falters, as is the way of all things, and especially monopolies. Sad, but inevitable.

  • 9/15. Delivery optional? ... Apparently that’s the new thing; if the vendor can’t manage to get it to you, well, that’s your problem. ... And thus a once great merchandiser stumbles. ... And oh yes, a negative review of the vendor for his sins (a book seller known as COYOTEZBOOKZ) was verboten. It appears to be incompetence + vendor sleaze — but still a definite blot on the holy amazon....

  • 8/16. Amazon Prime isn’t what it used to be, which is particularly stupid since this pay-for extra treat is an obvious money-maker. But when I click the “prime only” filter, non-prime things nevertheless show-up, no doubt paid-for promotional tripe from dubious merchants.

  • 4/17. Anti-Prime Delivery got me at least twice! ... It’ll say “prime” in the color graphic but regular print’ll say “ships within” some ridiculous time. Tricksy, eh? ... Fortunately, with the leisurely delivery it’s easy to cancel. Which I do of course....

  • 8/16. Returns optional? The “8944 UltraClub Adult Nylon Coaches’ Jacket (Red) (XL)” came with special undisclosed extra lining I didn’t want, but when I went to return the undesired product, there’s some kind of special procedure where the shady merchant gets a chance to deny his obvious fraud — which I can’t help expecting he will. ... Well he’ll take it back, for $4.50. Jubilation at the UltraClub Shady Vendors....

So Amazon’s “outside” services have devolved to the shoddy norm of the rest of the internet. I suppose that’s fair-enough, although of course undisclosed. If the product says “shipped by Amazon” or whatever cryptic language they use to indicate that, then they’ll do their high standard of return — well until Bezos wants another rocket. ... Otherwise, you’re on your own, and you might as well buy from the shady tree web site. ... Got it.

... Well to be mercilessly fair, offering a $4.50 return policy is still way above the internet norm of super-javascript website / outright fraud....

  • 10/16. I mention elsewhere the fake reviews, but slashdot recently suggested Amazon will dump them....

And incidentally,

The bizarre advertising on Amazon’s “Kindle” electronic books? Where Oprah wants me to read her latest? Or some wacko fantasy/sci-fi? ... I had foolishly imagined this was Amazon’s idiosyncratic robot wasting the great monopoly’s money — but no, of course not, Amazon gets paid to do that! ... That’s the way to do it; money for nothing....