2016 — 14 September: Wednesday

Today's walk will clear some autumnal cobwebs.1 Or, at least, take my mind off a bizarre story about Union bosses demanding the new PM wears flat shoes.

"Braided with rue"?

Not a phrase one sees every day. Source and snippet:

Dissolving your identity, physically and digitally, is not a crime. It isn't simple, either, thus the consultant who destroys as much information on you as possible while sowing false leads. Then you must live off the grid, an austere ecosystem for sure: you must work off the books, pay all your bills through an LLC, leave behind almost everything, though there are devious ways of making contact with loved ones. File for any piece of paper — like a library card — under a false identity, and you have committed fraud. Now you are a criminal, a like-it-or-not fugitive.

Peter Lewis, reviewing a book by Elizabeth Greenwood in B&N

Recall "The Stainless Steel Rat"? [Pause] An amusing Steve Bell cartoon here with Brenda taking the traditional John Cleese rôle.

I love the way...

... chaps who, until recently, I'd never even heard of can claim in speeches to speak for 500m Europeans...

People in Europe want to know if the political elites are capable of 
restoring control over events and processes which overwhelm, disorientate, 
and sometimes terrify them.

Actually, it's the bureaucrats who usually terrify me. And isn't "political elite" a bit of an oxymoron? (Link.)

Pleasant walk...

... pleasant chatter, pleasant lunch while the washing machine does its washing thing, and I browse a useful "Markdown" tutorial published before I became hooked on Linux Voice. Now I'm smiling at a comment poking at Facebook, though the surrounding El Reg piece — I wished to see what El Reg had to say about a story on GCHQ and a "Great British Firewall" in the Grauniad — is not actually very funny:

Like every other male on Facebook, I kept getting adverts for "Hot young promiscuous women in YOUR AREA inexplicably want to meet you!" Kept rejecting the adverts as offensive (which, since Facebook knows I'm married, they are), to no effect. Then one day my wife got our daughter the DVD of Annie, and I happened to make some comment on FB about a silly detail I noticed in the film. Immediately, all those ads vanished, to be replaced with "Lithe young men in stripy leggings and leather caps in YOUR AREA want to meet you!"
Facebook are supposedly one of the world leaders at personal data-mining, and they have an algorithm that goes something like
IF [mentions a musical] THEN [gay].

"Squander Two" in El Reg

Leggings? Really?

Given the tenor...

... of some of the comments about Gmail in the El Reg piece I was less surprised this evening to discover the long list of stuff that gets blocked by Gmail. I wished to send all my Kodi stubs and I wished not to fall afoul of the filename mangling that they are subject to by FAT32 at any point of the handling. Thought #1: compress them all into a .tar.gz and send it. No can do. All I got was a warm invitation to read one of Google's support pages on blocked attachments.

Thought #2: just package them all up in an uncompressed .ar and try that. So far, it has yet to provoke any complaint.2 But Gmail definitely wants to be able to scan the contents of such attachments and takes a dim view of either or both compression and passwords. Now ain't that interesting?

The recent review...

... by Terry Eagleton of this (in the LRB) made it sound like an enticing read:

Georgian insanity

One lives in hope. Yesterday's Heinlein bio is proving fascinating.


1  Binge-watching "Big Bang" gives them a chance to build up :-)
2  Well, none from Gmail. My recipient was unhappy though as he had to resort to some command line incantations to unpack in a way that preserved the subfolder structures. I had naïvely assumed that if the Caja File Manager offered you a package option of ".ar" then the reciprocal extract operation at the other end would have some idea how to handle that. But I forgot the email was going to a Chromebook system. My bad. Worse yet, I've just been told that the files (quite a few thousand Kodi XML stub and nfo files) weren't archived with any directory information, so there was an awful lot of overwriting of identically-named stub files going on during the extraction at the destination. Poop!