January 31, 2006

Eh, wot now?

Watching a Bond movie tonight, I decided I'd really like to pick up Live and Let Die on DVD.

Except, as I found out, you can't.

Live and Let Die is no longer in print as an individual DVD.

And the third volume of the James Bond Collection, which includes LALD, is also out of print and unavailable.

So is the case for most of the Bond series. Borders lists but a few titles as available; Amazon has none available new. I hate it when I'd like to spend my money but can't. I'd gladly part with my $20, letting both MGM and some retailer get their cut: they get their money, I get to watch a fun movie over and over again. Instead, they get no money and I have to rent the dumb thing.

Posted by Colin at 8:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

Bad Way to End Your Night

Note that you're unable to remove your contact lens from your right eye, and it's rather uncomfortable when you try to squeeze it to dislodge it.

Laughingly muse out loud that it could be worse; you could be trying to rip your cornea off.

Then note, looking in the mirror, that you can't see the outline of your lens, and yet stick your finger into your eye again to poke it and notice it doesn't feel right.

Come to the realization that you have, in fact, been trying to rip your cornea off, as your contact lens is already in the case waiting to be sealed up.

Posted by Colin at 11:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

1&1: Screwing the Pooch

Last time, in the continuing saga of 1&1 Internet, Colin had responded to another ill-composed "hack warning" threatening the suspension of his account. He begged again for at least an acknowledgment that his reply had been received... And today I finally got a reply. Wherein whoever contacted me from network operations admitted that, in fact, the logs they had sent me indeed contained no evidence of a compromise. And then promptly launched back off into la-la land, stating they'd been receiving reports that a script on my account was attempting to bind to an unavailable port, and that's why I'd been contacted. But that there's also no evidence of that in any of their logs either. So, to review: * The initial contact for my web space "having been hacked" took nearly two months to be generated * The HTTP logs that initially resulted in contacting me indeed include nothing at all suggesting malware * The human beings with their names attached to these contacts either do not review or do not know how to review HTTP logs for false positives * The HTTP logs were, in fact, completely unrelated to why my account was under investigation * Audit scripts are reporting that something in my account is attempting to bind to unavailable ports... * ...While 1&1's own system logs, upon review, contain no evidence of this either Keep in mind here that **1&1 is the largest hosting company in Europe.** Major European businesses are hosted with 1&1. Apparently any dedication to quality hosting they have on that side of the pond didn't make it to their U.S. division.
Posted by Colin at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

Black and white paper: Ilford's Not Dead

Some people have apparently been spooked by Ilford's mention of their product availability lists, and have taken it to mean that black and white papers have all been discontinued.

This isn't true; you can check the product availability list yourself and readily see that their popular papers in both fiber and RC are stock items. Standard sizes are well-represented; the majority of no-longer-stocked papers are either (a) unusual sizes, like 8.5x11, or (b) large quantity packages.

Unless you're really itching for a 250-count box of Multigrade IV, and can't bring yourself to buy anything smaller, there's probably little doom and gloom to be had in the products Ilford has decided to halt production of.

Posted by Colin at 3:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why buying cars sucks

Just for fun, I sat down this morning to price out a Nissan Xterra. I won't be buying unless I win the lottery tomorrow or something, but it's always nice to get a feel for what's out there.

Even if it always dredges up the spite I hold for the stupid decisions automakers make to force you into spending more money.

In Nissan's case, they offer an optional cabin air filter for $60. This is not a bad idea in an off-road vehicle, and one I've often wished my Jeep had.

But you can't buy that option by itself, oh no. You also have to purchase the $300 Sirius satellite radio option, though you can substitute XM if you prefer. So to get a $60 optional cabin filter installed by the factory, you have to buy $360 worth of add-ons.

This kind of bundling isn't nearly as annoying when the products are somehow related. Like, say, "Cabin air filter requires purchase of advanced air conditioning system." But to require satellite radio to get an air filter? That's just stupid on paper.

Posted by Colin at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2006

Installers Suck

Yet another cool new app for the Mac has been tarnished by a cross-platform developer who thinks every application needs an installer.

So I'll say it again, though I know many other people have said it, and that this won't be the last time:
Don't use installers. Don't use the Mac OS X system-provided installer. Don't use a third-party installer.

Saith Apple from upon high to developers:

Because most applications for Mac OS X are built as self-contained application bundles (defined below), users can install them in most situations just by dragging the bundle to a folder for which they have write permission. This drag-and-drop type of installation is the preferred method for installing Mac OS X software.

Unless you've got the absolute need to install files into system locations, lay off the installer and make a pretty disk image instead. Heck, in most cases you can even avoid an installer then by building what Apple dubs a "self-repairing" application—this is, in fact, how Microsoft Office works. Drag Office off of CD and onto hard drive, launch Office, and it can install any files that are missing.

Posted by Colin at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

1and1 Still Sucks

Apparently incapable of basic reading skills, 1and1 is still inaccurately flagging people's (e.g., my) accounts as having been "hacked."

I got my "2nd Hack Notification" yesterday morning, replied shortly thereafter again explaining that they're absolutely full of shit, about to lose my business permanently, and that they're misleading their users rather thoroughly with their almost wholly incorrect description of what the "problem" (which doesn't exist) is.

Seeing as how I never received a response from them the first time, I was sure to request the favor of a reply this time.

No dice yet.

If they keep this up, they're just opening themselves up to a class action lawsuit in this litigation-happy country. I imagine there have already been accounts unjustly suspended due to 1and1's complete ineptitude in systems administration.

Posted by Colin at 5:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another one bites the dust

In a move I entirely expected, Konica-Minolta has decided to axe their camera division. They're selling off the digital division to Sony, while the film division will flap in the wind.

Back in high school, I'd been a happy Minolta shooter: I started with my parents' positively ancient Maxxum 7000, built completely of metal, and eventually ended up with my very own STsi a Christmas later. Other than the damnable noisy autofocus motors, I was always happy with what they had to offer. The products were solid and often competed with Nikon and Canon products nearly twice their price.

Hell, back in the dark ages Minolta was actually the leading brand, having brought autofocus as we know it to the market. Canon and Nikon had their wars and Minolta fell to an "also ran" for many people, but still often held a strong third place (and a lot of loyal Minolta owners).

Weak sales led to financial troubles, but Minolta kept on keepin' on. Then in 2003 Konica and Minolta merged (or rather, Minolta was consumed by Konica), the Konica-Minolta brand was established, and things started going down the tubes. I know I'm not the only former Minolta shooter to feel this way personally, and if you watch the market forces, it's backed up with actual numbers as the product lines did some stagnating and changing for the worse.

When my Minolta crapped out at the end of last year, I was faced with a choice: replace it with a Konica-Minolta model, keeping all my accessories and lenses, or go all-Canon and start building my stable again. There had already been cutbacks at K-M in the photography division and—for many of us—the writing was on the wall. I miss my cable release, I miss my collection of filters, I miss my mode dial, I miss having an autofocus button instead of a switch, I miss my spot meter... but ultimately I knew abandoning Minolta was the right choice. This just bears it out.

I feel for people who've stuck with Minolta in spite of what they've become (or failed to become); they had more faith than I did. And now they're all going to get screwed with Konica-Minolta's digital line going to Sony.

Rest in peace, Minolta, you will be missed.

Posted by Colin at 2:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

Intel iMacs... In stores soon.

I just called the Apple Store as rumor had it all the retail locations had a recorded message about iMac availability now.

Indeed they do; Intel Core Duo iMacs coming to Biltmore, Chandler, and ostensibly every other Apple retail store on January 17th.

Demo stations and big friendly boxes to take home with you.

I'm due for an upgrade. I'll be there. And I can't stand waiting a week for one to arrive via FedEx if ordered online.

Posted by Colin at 3:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Nikon announced today that film is dead to them. Production has been halted on all their film bodies except for the high-end F6 and the below-low-end FM10 (manual exposure, manual film advance, no built-in flash, hotshoe flash in manual mode only: it's a bare basics student camera).

They're also discontinuing all their enlarger lenses, large format lenses, and all but a handful of their manual focus 35mm lenses.

Stock up now if any of that interests you, as current stock is anticipated to last only up to this summer. The enlarger lenses are the biggest loss in my book, as I've always preferred Nikon's offerings to the other popular options. At least in my experience, they tended to be better built and more durable. But with even a lot of film shooters printing digitally these days, I suppose it's inevitable that Nikon would find the market small enough to quit making them.

Posted by Colin at 8:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2006

iTunes 6.0.2: Hells yeah!

One gigantic sweet new feature in today's release of iTunes 6.0.2: Multiple speaker support!

Stream to your computer's speakers and an AirPort Express. Or stream to two AirPort Expressi.

Or buy an Express for every room in the house and broadcast the same music to every Express in your house and your desktop computer, resulting in whole-house audio.

Mmm... whole-house audio.

...

No. Just no. If I want to save up and replace my desktop with a new iMac, I can't run about plopping $130 WiFi gadgets in every room.

Posted by Colin at 3:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 4, 2006

A method to my Cleaning Madness

Props, as they say, to the inimitable miss Dyanna.

She made a hilarious post of an IM conversation started by method laundry detergent.

Curious about what the hell she was talking about, I clinked ye olde link to method and found their products interesting. Cleaning products made without the pointless, supergerm-creating antibacterials found in nearly everything else on the market? Astounding! And they're available at my local Target and Costco.

I've frankly never been a fan of Lysol, but it's what I've been using to clean the bathroom for ages. Maybe it's just me, but cleaning products labeled with "MISUSE OF THIS PRODUCT IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE" don't make me all warm and fuzzy inside. Plus Lysol Tub and Tile smells like ass. Not literally like ass, mind you, just not good. To the point I had to turn on the exhaust fan every time I cleaned the tub, and leave it on after I was done.

So I went to Target and grabbed myself a bottle of method tub and tile and then I came home and cleaned the tub.

Damned if it doesn't work better than the Lysol. Lysol never managed to get the caulk between the tub and the shower surround back to white; method managed it on the first wipe.

My hands still feel like flesh, too, as opposed to the abused pieces of soggy beef jerky Lysol tended to turn them into. (Plus they'd smell like Lysol no matter how many times I washed them, which is really awful.)

Verdict: method makes good products at a price comparable to crappy products.

Posted by Colin at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 2, 2006

Fire the laser!

Laser pointers are the best cat toy evar!!!!11one

Posted by Colin at 6:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack