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Talking Points Memo presents a glorious compendium of moronic questions asked of Joe Biden by a Florida newsanchor. Biden's response are, I think, pretty restrained given the stupidity of the questions.
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(double FAIL if you count the misplaced apostrophe, but they've been doing that for months)
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My online banking stopped working with Safari. Known problem, apparently. I just tried logging in, got the error page, and recycled back to the front page only to discover that there's now a separate link for people using Safari to follow.

When you click on it, it goes to an IP address, and you get a certificate error on account of this (hostname doesn't match certificate). This is exactly how people get spoofed by phishing sites, and here's the Bank of Ireland doing it all by themselves. Most excellent.

update: for bonus points: the IP address doesn't have a reverse lookup (although whois reveals that it's at least in BoI's IP space); and for extra bonus points, there's a "Protect yourself online" link which, when you follow through it and click its "Proceed" button, dumps you back to the real site where your hapless Mac browser will fail to work once more. A+.
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Maybe instead of saying "written by Robin Luckey" it should say "loosely edited from a generic template by Robin Luckey:
If you wish to update or correct any of the foregoing information, you may access your account and review, correct and delete your personally identifiable information or you may contact us at: [insert applicable e-mail address]. (link)
(my emphasis)

Interestingly, for something purportedly geek-friendly, this is the first site I've tried to remove my account from that doesn't advertise any sort of account removal link or procedure.
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Today I decided I'd use some of my large pile of change-jar coins to pay my way on the DART. Since they've got a 20-coin "rule" on the manned window, I figured I'd feed my coins to the machine. Which, er, broke. With a message like "can't display template 82" or thereabouts. It eventually timed out whatever it was doing, but would not allow me to insert more coins, so I cancelled the transaction and tried again, this time with less coins. And I broke it again. And the third time, I used more high-denomination coins and less of the crappy 5¢ ones, and got my ticket just in time for the arriving train - because otherwise I'd actually have taken a picture to capture the moment, and possibly have taken the time to figure out exactly how many coins break the system. Seriously, though. I wrote vending machine logic in college, in FORTRAN, as part of my college girlfriend's project. It's not hard. Getting it this badly wrong is pretty dumb.
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The telemetry was busted in the gym last night, so I figured I'd enter in what I could manually tonight. It's all FitLinxx kit, oddly configured in that some machines are in metric while some are in imperial, and the user interface is all in imperial. That aside, though, entering cardio details manually includes a "rate on a scale of one to ten how hard you went at this" box, which alters your calorie burn. It's all fairly meaningless, I'm sure, but I figured I'd try and get it to match what the machine said. So I punched in distance, converting - poorly - in my head from km to miles, added weight and time, and looked at the calorie box. 10 calories? Hmm, must have one of my numbers wrong, since I know the warm-up run is usually 60 or 70 calories. So I figure I'll tweak the distance and see what happens...

Long story short, the user interface apparently sees a difference between (for example) 0.4 miles and 0.40 miles. I'm trying not to think too hard about how badly you'd have to code to mess this up.

(updated to add: I poked around on the Fitlinxx site, and came across their Pace Calculator. Which asks you to enter your one-mile pace and then select one of 4 race distances, two of which are in kilometres...)
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So I was regaling the office folk with my timing mishap.

And then my boss pointed out that the weekend I'm running and stagging is also his wedding weekend.

And for good measure, [livejournal.com profile] zefren pointed out that it's a Significant Birthday.

I'm cashing in my liver right now.
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Last month, I attended a wedding on the far side of the country, requiring me to drive for over five hours to get there and the same to get home; I drove down on Friday, back on Saturday, and on Sunday ran a five-mile race that I'd entered without checking what else I was doing on the weekend.

I've just now realised that the ten-mile race I'm running in August occurs on the same day as a stag party I'd agreed to attend, said stag party being again on the opposite coast, albeit slightly less of a drive and on better roads so there's a good chance I can start the race at 10, finish at about 11:15, get back to my car by 12, and get to Galway some time after 3pm.

Thankfully, the half-marathon in September occurs the weekend before the associated wedding.
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Bank of Ireland, once again: http://bankofirelandlifeonline.ie/ currently redirects to a placeholder page with the text, "we've just hosted our site with irishdomains.com but we haven't moved in yet.". Add a www in there and you get the Bank of Ireland Life site you'd have expected. Oh, and the placeholder has a "click here to log into the site management stuff" link.
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Apparently one of our elected representatives is embarrassed at being arrested for driving under the influence. But it's okay; one of his fellow TDs says he had apologised profusely, and was aware that it is inappropriate to drink and drive. Well then! I'll be sure and remember that the next time I feel like putting my own life and the lives of others at risk!
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Tried doing some speed training tonight. After consulting some websites I learned that I should basically try a bunch of 400m sprints. For pacing, I found, I should take my 10k per-kilometre time and subtract 45 to 60 seconds depending on how lucky I felt. So I fed my 5-mile time into the McMillan Running Calculator, read off my 10k pace, then did a little fiddling with Map My Run to find some running distances, and then I went out running with no further thoughts.

Stop trying to point out my mistake just yet, I'll get to it.

I ran the first 400m pretty hard, and failed to get the time, mainly because I still hadn't figured out my per-400m time, and also because I was reading off my regular watch - analogue - instead of my stopwatch, which had a misadventure with the washing machine after the recent 5-miler. The second run clocked in at somewhere over a minute and a half, and by this point I was working on mental arithmetic to figure out what my pace should be, and not doing very well. See, not only do I have difficulty reading analogue watches at a glance, I also can't do math in my head particularly easily - I have to think about it rather hard, and lose my place if I don't concentrate. And I'm trying to do this while running, so it's not exactly working. Long story short, when I eventually figured out what times I should have been running, I'd clocked in a few around 1:15 and finished up with a 1:10, which, multiplying back the other way, made for a pretty hot 1k except I'd never keep that pace up for a full kilometre.

And here is the mistake you were trying to point out to me: the calculator link above, if you enter your time into it (try 32:59 for 5 miles to get my times) gives you the 400m speed training time. Gah. Well, at least I know I can put in a fast 400m if the situation demands it.

junk news

May. 8th, 2008 01:38 pm
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Data Commission subject of security breach, trumpets RTÉ news. Wow, that'd be embarrassing. Except all that happened was that yesterday, someone fished out a URL for a report due to be released today. OH NO3S ALL OUR PRESS RELEASE ARE BELONG TO IDIOTS.

Given the very real privacy leaks that have occurred recently (HELLO BANK OF IRELAND), it's completely crass of the alleged news media (and also some blogging types who Should Know Better) to declare this a security breach.
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  • Independant review of drug classification in the UK says, "leave cannabis as a Class C drug"
  • The Labour party (the incumbents), having recently had a fairly dramatic loss in support in both polls and local elections, ignore the review and reclassify it as Class B.
  • The Tory party (the opposition with the best chance of being the incumbents at some point in the future) say that it shouldn't have been declassified, or reclassified from B to C in the first place.
  • And the Lib Dems, who will never have any power worth talking about, say something or other in support of either the Class C ranking, or possibly complete decriminalisation. It doesn't really matter, as noone votes for them anyway.

And, you know, amid all this speculation about the possible but unproven side-effects of THC, both alcohol and nicotine remain freely available, non-criminalised drugs despite the mountains of proof that they cause personal health problems, social problems, and financial burdens for already beleaguered health services.1

Just as well I live in a more enlightened country... oh, wait. Never mind.

[1] Not saying I necessarily support the criminalisation of drink and smokes. Just that the continued hypocrisy annoys me no end.
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Last week, the bank said that medical records, bank account details, names, addresses and dates of birth of 10,000 customers were on the laptops.
In an update, Bank of Ireland said an assessment had concluded that the risk of fraud arising from the thefts was 'very low', as the data on the laptops did not include bank account passwords, PINs or copies of signatures. (link)
This is so pig-headedly wrong I can't come up with a suitable comment. You have someone's date of birth, bank account details, name, and address? You can get some pretty funky fraud going right there, with a little ingenuity and some social engineering to grease the wheels of the process.
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I got an IM this morning from someone I've not talked to in a long time. It was a url for what appears to be a photo-sharing site. I say "appears to be" as the first thing it wanted me to do was give it my MSN username and password to log in, and it's not a Microsoft site, so I declined and opted to read their T's & C's instead.

Which explains why I got the IM in the first place:
We may temporarily access your MSN account to do a combination of the following:
1. Send Instant Messages to your friends promoting this site.
2. Introduce new entertaining sites to your friends via Instant Messages.
I am very much NOT going to link to the site, I will just point out that it's "myfriendz.info" and leave you explore if you see fit. Don't log in, though.
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Esat BT's bill for my internet service, which contains a single line item - DSL for the next three months - now runs to three pages (it used be two). And when I pay it, they'll send me at least another two pages of a receipt.
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In the past week or so, it has been independantly noted that I am very bitter and I am cynical beyond repair. Sorry if you were on the receiving end of that. Also, sorry if you encountered Cranky Waider this week, as he was in pretty full effect due to some technical stuff that was going the wrong way down a one-way street, and doing so while honking its horn at people coming the other way trying to point out the error.

Having gotten that out of the way, I will note the following (we'll call it "residual crankiness")
  • My Amazon Wishlist is now titled "Yes, it's up-to-date". Even though there is stuff on it from 2004 that's no longer available from Amazon themselves, and there's other stuff there that Amazon UK simply won't ship to me due to an ongoing issue with recycling laws in Ireland.
  • Twitter comes with a feed. So does your blog. If I'm interested in the latter, you really shouldn't need to tell me about it on the former. Announce your blog, sure. Tell me every time you post? Not so much.
  • Daylight savings time can bite me. Twice. And the alleged US energy-saving legislation from 2005 that made things even more screwy can seriously bite me.
  • Livejournal posts of your twitter posts: same deal as going the other way. If I'm interested, I'll have subscribed to both. If I'm not interested, I'm not frickin' interested, ok?
  • This weather has got to stop. I got snowed on last weekend. I came home yesterday with hands so cold I could barely type. And now it's blazing sunshine, after blowing a storm this morning. Maybe humans were meant to sleep through this.
  • Dear local bar, please clean the taps or something. Three beers giving me a headache? That's not right.

In the immortal words of the TBSC:
Whew, that was fun. Actually, it has nothing to do with any of that. I'm just killing time until this Pat tape runs out.
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Apparently there's been a bunch of suicides in Bridgend, Wales. It's hard to tell if it's abnormal without studying statistics on the subject, but the current google results tell me 17 suicides "since the start of last year" (let's pick an arbitrary starting point to compress our data, right?) There seems to be some debate over whether the 17 suicides are actually linked, or whether it's just the media playing join-the-dots on a scatter plot, but tonight's Faux News (actually Sky, but not materially different in attitude or typical content) seemed to be running a loop about how The Intarwebs are to blame, specifically that there are sites telling people how to commit suicide.

Because let's face it, today's youth are so feckless that if you don't tell them how to off themselves, they'll just get distracted and go play football instead.

Now, if these are copycat suicides (as is being suggested by some), how is it that nobody's talking about the blanket TV coverage? While I was doing my 25 minutes on the stairmaster tonight, FauxSky News ran a video clip of a guy showing you how to make a noose at least 4 times, all the while (as best I could tell with no sound) running various voiceovers from "concerned people" about the effect such videos would have on "the youth".

This is the sort of thing that reminds me, in case I've forgotten, why it is I don't watch Sky News any more.
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You know how people always say that trying to make ISPs enforce arbitrary filtering is like trying to make a telco block obscene calls a priori? Well, Eircom are being sued for not implementing anti-downloading measures. I feel conflicted about this: eircom are, bar none, the purveyors of my worst customer service experiences; however, I feel in this issue that they are the target of a nonsensical lawsuit. I wonder if the Irish legal system supports amicus curiae-type things submitted by members of the general public?
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I'd say your Apple freaks will be queuing out the door when we launch. (link)
Way to appeal to your customers.


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