Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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5.25-inch Floppy Diskette Article Archive

Stupid Computer Tricks

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
This is my last entry for today. I promise.

Rod Shelley writes:
These images are the result of 8 years in the retail computer industry – 8 years that are thankfully behind me. I used to work in the service department in a retail store of a very famous computer company (think cows...). During this time, I was able to observe (and preserve for posterity) the aftereffects of the – shall we say – "technology challenged" folks. My friends and relatives couldn't believe the stories I told – thus this collection of photos.
These are absolutely fabulous. Having done this sort of work before, I have seen some of these things. Was particularly fond of the pictures of people's displays. Those were all too familiar.

[ check it out ]

Sex, Lies and Videotape

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
This is a "too much time on the hands" investigation. No puns necessary.

Whilst reading an article about a current lawsuit against once domain monopoly VeriSign, Inc. (d/b/a Network Solutions) by the original registrant of the domain name sex.com. In the suit, which has risen past the Ninth United States Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to the California State Supreme Court, alleges that VeriSign violated its own policy regarding registrations and registrants when it transferred the "owner" of the sex.com domain to another party based on some forged documents. VeriSign's obtuse defence is based upon the idea that "domain names are not property and [VeriSign] cannot be held responsible for giving its customers' registered names away."

So far, this appears to be a seemingly valid case against a company notorious for screwing their customers. Never was I happier than the day I moved my final domain name away from them. However, I digress. My valid curiosity brought me to the sex.com website wherein upon I was told I could not continue without enabling cookies. No thanks, I am not that curious (especially since I bet my first born it is a straight porn site). Nevertheless, there was a link titled "2257 Compliance" that caught my attention.

This page contains the names and addresses of the record custodians in charge of proving the persons depicted in the sexual material were in fact over 18 "at the time of the creation of such depictions." I briefly scroll down the list and find this:
Blane R. Richard III
Custodian of Records
1066 Timberline Rd.
Apopka, FL 32703
"Wow," I think, "that must be right around here." So, with the aid of mapping software and the country property appraisal site, I locate this property. That address does not really exist, because that street is located in a warehouse area. A company from Denver, Colorado owns the entire parcel noted to have two structures for commercial and/or warehouse use, a pool, several shed-like buildings and many concrete slabs. So what of Blane Richard, I wonder.

A quick search shows that our friend Mr. Richard has been a busy fellow being the custodian for such sites as "extremefootjobs," "stmmultimedia," "allxamateur," "rubber-doll," "fantasytoonz," "ebonyxxxfantasy," "69webmasters" and my favourite, "bigboobpornstars," among others and operates under the corporate identity "Graphical Images of Florida, Inc."

While that company (with other addresses in nearby Altamonte Springs and Maitland) went into business in 1993, they failed to file their annual report to the State and were administratively dissolved as a corporation in 1997, according to State records.

So where does that leave me, the uber-curious one? Now that the corporation responsible for the records is defunct, if I needed to look-up the information, where would I go? Is one responsible forever for these records? Reading the laws did not help much, but then again this concerns me little.

The moral of the story: hyperlinks and online databases are wonderful things, even for useless and unnecessary research.

Sigmund Freud would love me

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Although I profess to be a generally sane person, I have been known to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about certain things. For example, upon being seated in a restaurant and presented with a silverware roll, I immediately unroll it, flatten the napkin, fold it in half the long way, place the open end toward me and then arrange the silver in order of fork, knife then spoon. Yeah, I know. Here is another one for you; I loathe tables in restaurants. I will wait for a booth rather than be seated at a table. Now, there are a few exceptions to this or any rule, but for the most part, a happy meal begins with a nice cosy booth.

My computer is also a focus for my pseudo-psychoneurotic behaviour. While many people just install programmes and use them, I have a very specific set of configurations that must be met. Every aspect of my system is scrutinised for customability, efficiency and stability. Even though it only one month (to the day) since my last format, my system's recent abhorrent operation necessitated another wipe. I decided to try something a little bit different this time, further tailoring my careful installation and configuration process.

I have to say that sometimes neuroticism is a good thing. My system has never run better under Windows XP Professional. It would be nice if all the little things I do were somehow a default setting, but thanks to Microsoft's world domination technique, this will sadly never be the case. And as much as using disk ghosting software seems like an excellent solution, that is a rather timely procedure for someone who makes modifications as often as I.

Now I do not want to get off on a rant here, but partly for my own amusement and the delectation of fellow techsperts who may be reading, here is a brief synopsis of some of the things I do to make things nice and happy.

One of the first things I do is disable Windows File Protection and remove all the unnecessary programmes, files, folders and registry keys Windows installs by default. This includes MSN Messenger, Outlook Express, Pinball and a list of other delightfully useless and disk-consuming items. Next, I go through all Services, disabling most and setting others to manual. This particular step was perfected for this format, contributing to the increase in performance. After installing my firewall, I configure it to block not only the bad things floating around, but also entries from my ever-growing list of advert-spewing IP addresses (mostly from places like doubleclick and the like). Whenever installing a programme, I install the bare minimums. Afterwards, icons are resorted according to category (communications, entertainment, multimedia, productivity and security) and unnecessary files are removed. During the normal course of operations, I routinely scan for spyware, scan, clean and repair my registry, submit all spam messages to SpamCop.

Okay, that is enough for you to get the idea. It may over the top but it all pays off when I can still use a system that is approaching four years old as my primary computer. This, of course, coming from the person who was bet he could not install Windows 95 on an Intel 386, 25 megahertz with 4 megabytes of RAM. Needless to say, I won the bet and when I was finished it that system was as stable as any Windows 95 machine.

Now before I end this geeky madness, I was in a conversation the other day during which I was asked for a screen capture of my desktop. After rolling my eyes, I obliged and now share the result with you as well (image reduced from 1024x768 to nothing). Out of date.

Addendum: Wow, for the exception of that first paragraph this is pretty dry stuff. Oh, well. Not a very exciting week, I suppose.

To sleep, perchance to dream

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
I would first like to state that I was pleased with this post the first time I wrote it. Just as I hit the submit button earlier, Internet Explorer decided to throw a little fit and therefore ate the entire unsaved entry. It is you who will actually suffer because this version seems a bit longer than the original. Cheers to chattiness.

There must have been some weird interconnected subconscious phenomenon during the night between last Tuesday and Wednesday, because strange and/or memorable dreams were abound. Either that or someone secretly applied a nicotine patch to a bunch of us when we were not paying attention. Claire wrote in her journal that she dreamt she was a professional basketball player. I had a rather intense series of dreams that actually awakened me; a feat the combination effect of four alarm clocks is even difficult to master. As I was discussing my own dreams with my bisexual girlfriend Erica (statement of the obvious: an inside joke), I actually started to remember more and more about what occurred in my head in the hours previous.

I am in Denver, Colorado apartment interior with online friend James. I only know it is he because I am playing with and petting Vinnie, his dog. This is the only part of the dream I can actually relate to an actual event, having viewed James' new photographs immediately prior to going to bed.

Next, I find myself walking through a line in a buffet-style restaurant much like Piccadilly. I exit the line with a tray in and approach an elderly woman sitting at a table. I know who she is, sit down and begin trying to talk to her. But she is not listening to me. Then she starts trying to steal my food. I reach out and grab her hand every time she attempts to grab a hold of my food. It should be noted that she was eating and still had food remaining on her tray when she began trying to pussyfoot away with my lunch. As much as I wanted to converse, she was not listening so I threatened to call the police if she did not cease and desist her futile efforts. Finally fed up with this, I leave my food behind and head to the parking lot.

As I am driving away, I spot a group of children running after my car and hitting on the trunk. I quickly exit the parking lot to get away. Apparently I drove over a bucket the kids had placed in the parking lot and they were chasing me to get it back. As I accelerate down the street, I distinctly remember as SR 436, one of the children continues to run behind my car. The bucket comes free and nearly hits the child who now must be running at a speed of thirty miles per hour. This overwhelming feeling of fear and dread overtakes me; I must get away from my pursuer. I floor the gas and take off, but the child runner remains close on my tail. 65, 75, 85 miles per hour and he remains.

I then find myself in what is supposed to be Key West, but is more like an impoverished third-world country. I park and am walking around a living complex that can be described as a mini-shopping mall filled with a vast array of ages, sexes and nationalities. I look through everyone's freezer for something and finally settle on an Asian woman's water. I leave her house and walk outside toward where my car was parked. As I approach the place on the street I had parked I find my car missing. I press the alarm button of my remote to try to locate my car, which I must have simply parked elsewhere. But no, I come to the realisation that the car was stolen. I call 911 to report this crime and am only able to speak to non-English speaking people who cannot even send me a police cruiser to investigate due to the language barrier. A real-life friend of mine attempts to comfort me, but I am upset. I have now lost everything.

Awaken. I sat in bed for a few minutes just trying to comprehend everything that I was remembering having just happened. I honestly was a bit uneasy. The emotions I felt during these sequences were very realistic. I peeked out the front window to see my car was still parked outside, just to be sure. It was, of course, but the events of my dreams would occupy my thoughts for the better park of the day.

So I am telling Erica about all of this and she laughs and comments about her co-worker who came to the office today fresh from an unusual dream. She dreamt her grandmother was stuck on the roof of their neighbour's house. The local fire department, which employed cats, had broken their only ladder creating quite a suspenseful situation. No word on if the firecats were able to rescue co-worker granny or not.

To conclude this book of a post, the post-dream effect for most people must be to drive like assholes. Really, people. Find the gas, refrain from cutting me off and use your goddamn turn signal at least occasionally. La Fin.

Gettin' mah learn on

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
As of today I was formally accepted to study at the ITT Technical Institute. I had previously taken a mandatory school tour and received all of the preliminary information needed in order to decide if I felt ITT was for me.

I went in today with a little trepidation mostly because of the entrance examination I knew was to occur. There was nothing to study to prepare for this test. I only knew it would cover "general" English and mathematics. I filled out all of the paperwork and then was escorted to the small room where the test was to occur. Fifty questions in twelve, yes twelve minutes.

I left that little room feeling I had done not so well. My adviser, José, was explaining to me what would occur should I not pass (after twenty minutes, another testing opportunity would occur; thereafter, one final chance to pass on the day following would be permitted) when the test administrator emerged and congratulated me for having one of the best test scores they had seen. Apparently, around ninety-five percent (95%) of applicants fail this test on the first attempt, due mostly to not having taken any sort of test in some time and nerves, both of which applied to me. The test administrator said, "If [he] were to give [me] a letter grade, it would be A+."

My goals are as follows:
Information Technology Associate Of Science Degree
Information Systems Security Bachelor of Science Degree

Now all that is left to occur is my appointment with the financial aid department to see if I can pay for all of this. As I am currently an independent person per the IRS, I do not think I will have any trouble funding this project fully through scholarships, grants and loans.