Thursday, 29 January 2015

Skyfall - oh dear...

Skyfall - oh dear...

This was dreadful.

I tolerated a sniper taking an unnecessary shot when she said she was going to loose the target - the target that was fighting another agent on top of a train. Now train tracks have a pretty fixed route.   I tolerated her shooting once and only once, using ammo that did not punch through her target and hit both of them, and failing to group her shots. If there are two targets, and she's been told that killing Bond doesn't matter she should be firing several shots to hit them both.

By the sniper scene on a rooftop, I gritted my teeth as the so-called groundbreaking fight cinematics  borrowed heavily from several Asian kung-fu films, Babylon 5's season four fight with Sheridan in the night club and a number of others, and Bond lost his lead because he was incompetent. Remember, bond has been told to kill his source. All previous bonds: Shoot sniper in leg, then twist gun in injury until you get the details. This one? Get into an unnecessary fist fight.

By the shower scene I was praying for Timothy Dalton's Bond to stick his arm round the corner of the shower, shoot Daniel Craig in the head and pull the woman out for interrogation. Screw sex, I want intel.

The scene on the island, with the guy handing him a gun? Bond is there to kill him, not to get out alive. It doesn't matter that there is one bullet. (Also Moore's Bond got the woman killed in similar situations twice, without blinking. Direct quote "You wouldn't kill me not after what we've just done." "I certainly wouldn't have killed you before".)

I quit watching when Q proved too incompetant to live.

You have a laptop of dubious provenance and unknown contents. Do you:
a) remove the harddrive and scan the contents in on an air-gapped virtual machine?
b) Turn it on on an isolated system
c) Plug in an alternate OS drive and boot it to read the data without running any programs on it.
d) Plug this into your network inside your firewall - what bad things could possibly happen?

I don't work with government data. I have worked with credit card data, and I can tell you what happens when someone brings an unauthorised laptop into the building, far less tries to plug it in. Not only would the company's IPSec department be on them immediately, if anything untoward triggered, the speed someone was in the server room pulling power to the switches would amaze you.

I'll allow the virus going through Mac filtering - if their IT guy is stupid enough to plug an unknown machine into a secure network, he's stupid enough not to be using it.

My friend quit watching shortly afterwards when a certain gentleman stole a panda car. Those cars, as most people are aware due to the press fuss over it, are tracked. They've had ways of tracking them since the last century. He did not disable any of them - he simply got in and started it. And from that moment, the police knew exactly where he was. 

For anyone who wants to wash out memories of Skyfall, here's the previously mentioned B5 fight scene - the bit it borrows starts at 2:40:

Read more.

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bailing on a Bakery

My local supermarket just redid its bakery section, from self-service to an assistant behind a counter. It's a nice-looking redo, with wood trays, racks of bread, and that wonderful smell of fresh baking. And I won't be shopping there any more.
I took a look at the assistant – or more specifically, I looked at the assistant's hands, wearing those now-ubiquitous blue gloves.
  • The blue gloves with which he picked up and paper-bagged a loaf for the lady at the front of the queue...
  • the same gloves with which he held out a hand and took her cash...
  • the same blue gloves which he then used to work the till...
  • and the same blue gloves he used to pick a coin up off the floor when he dropped it giving her her change....
  • and then he opened the next bag and with the same gloved hand picked up four rolls for the next person in line.
I  left the queue at this point.
It's not an uncommon problem. For some reason, when working on food service, assistants wearing gloves tend to assume the outside of the gloves are clean because their hands on the inside of the gloves are clean.
The baker I went to as an alternative during the rebuild doesn't use gloves. It does have hand sanitiser on all the walls, and signs to use them, but all the staff are bare-handed. Does this worry me when they pick the food up? Hardly. They use tongs. And wash them.
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Sunday, 25 January 2015

It's official

It's official

In three days after I started moving sites, I've started getting Adsense credit for them.
The same sites that Hubpages insists were getting several thousand views, and Adsense clicks, and yet Adsense was recording no traffic or clicks? They've just earned their first £1. That is in one day, on Wizzley.

My real problem is that having looked at the hubs Hubpages are complaining are 'spammy' the reason is very simple: Hubpages has added nearly three times the affiliate links that were on the original articles. If I have a single href for an image and text they've split the image into its own article and put the href in a text box elsewhere. If a href spanned two lines? That's now two href's. My table tags for data layout? Gone. This isn't the type of work I want my name on, and it is certainly not what I created, so I'm stripping the lenses from hubpages to wizzley.

Still having problems reminding google that these pages have moved, even though some of them have been down for three months, but hopefully the traffic going to wizzley will get the point across... Does anyone know how to get them to realise this?
Alternatively do I just file DMCA on hubpages, requesting a 301 redirect?
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Friday, 23 January 2015

System errors?

System errors?

Here's an interesting case from one of my earlier IT consultancies:
The problem: For many years the company had sent out an email newsletter, text-only, with a substantial and growing subscription. Then suddenly subscribers started vanishing in droves. The challenge: find out why. Was it a system error, a virus, they'd had turned the IT department upside down and found nothing.
The answer: Marketing had discovered PDFs, with images and hyperlinks and whizzy things, and redid the newsletter into a full hyper-linked system without telling the newsletter writers. This had taken the email from 10K to 2MB, because obviously since they could open it on their PCs, so could everyone else...
The moral: Make sure you know what your audience wants  (and that interactive PDFs can get blocked by firewalls that let plaintext emails through).
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And we're off - migration is underway!

And we're off - migration is underway!

It seems hubpages has been quietly delisting several of my pages. I should care. I don't. I'm moving them all to Wizzley anyway.
The Jervis Bay one has just gone, so if anyone can notified google that the content is no here:
that would help.
But it is confirmed. On 26th October 2014  Hubpages pages insist that Adsense is set up correct and I just needed to give it time. They also insisted I was getting lots of pages views. As of 2015, Adsense has recorded not one page view from hubpages...and Hubpages won't take Amazon affiliates or even my US tax number, so they really aren't worth it.
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