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Shawn

Yes, 2nd story of woman pulled from bathroom is fake, but 1st one is very real

1 min read

I was informed today that the latest bathroom story I shared earlier is a hoax - the story was made up with pictures from something else:

http://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/910969-transgender-woman-not-kicked-from-bathroom-arrested.html

So I went back to check the first story I'd heard about (which happened to a different woman) and the link I'd posted returned "Not Found." However, the story is still being reported by The Advocate. The latest is that she's filing a lawsuit:

A Detroit woman has filed a lawsuit against restaurant chain Fishbone's after a frightening incident in which she was mistaken for a man and tossed out of a women's bathroom, reports TV station WXYZ.

http://www.advocate.com/business/2015/06/17/detroit-woman-kicked-out-restaurant-bathroom-looking-man...

So, yes, I was taken in by the hoax, but the problem is VERY real.

Shawn

Morality Police Attach Anti-nudity Clause to Much Needed Rape Kit Testing Bill

2 min read

Today a friend shared this post about a new bill in WA State that seeks to address the massive back-log of rape kits that need to be tested. We should all be ashamed of the number of rape kits nation-wide that are - apparently - ignored after being collected. Something needs to be done, and this looks like a good first step.

Then I read this line:

"and imposing a small fee on admission to sexually oriented businesses, such as live adult entertainment clubs"

Wait, what? Why? Exactly how small is "small," and how far does this extend?

According to the text of House Bill 2530, the fee

  • consists of $4/person, collected at admission to the venue, and
  • applies to "Adult entertainment," defined as "any live exhibition, performance or dance of any type"

So the bill doesn't appear to apply to stores like Lovers or Castle, but is defined so broadly that it could apply to any of the following:

  • burlesque performances
  • nude modeling
  • caressing a dance partner's buttocks

I want to support HB 2530 - the number of untested rape kits is deplorable, but this kind of bullshit gives me pause. We always seem to find money for building new stadiums and invading other countries.

Do your jobs, legislators - find that money and start treating women with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Shawn

Automated phone scams? Yikes!

2 min read

I just got a call from a phone number in South Carolina that I didn't recognize. (As far as I know I don't know anybody in SC.) This is Google's transcript of the voicemail they left:

Angry as a way of thanking you for being one of our premier customers you qualify for our all inclusive promotion which covers your accommodations and all your food and drinks for up to 2 guess that's right all you can eat all you can drink for 5 days and 4 nights. that's valued at $1,800 also as a bonus you will receive a free 5 day 4 night magical Orlando get away that includes your accommodations and Disney tickets to any Disney Theme Park Which alone is valued over $800 just for taking advantage of one of our all inclusive exotic destination promotions, so I just need to ask you a few questions to see if you qualify is that okay. I'm sorry. I didn't hear you clearly so I just need to ask you a question to see if you qualify is that okay. Our records show that your at least 28 years or older and you still have a credit card or a debit card correct. I'm sorry. I didn't hear you clearly nowadays almost all resorts require credit cards Do you have a credit card that you can use on your trip? Okay, no problem. Sorry. I bothered you I hope you have a really good day.

Wow. "Do you have a credit card?" Are you sure? "Nowadays almost all resorts require credit cards." How many people can this robo-caller fleece every hour, I wonder? Yikes.

Shawn

Tooting my own horn: My work helped win "Best of Breed" award

1 min read

Got a huge "thank you" today from a customer who just won the Best Integration of Legacy Systems or Line of Business Applications award at Microsoft's Ignite conference. They're using a beta version of the product I'm responsible for to integrate with their legacy/LOB system.

Few things are better than seeing your efforts get used and being useful :-)

Shawn

Old Man Kitty

1 min read

We've noted for awhile that Oreo has been having some trouble with his stomach. It gurgles a lot and lately he's been throwing up more and more frequently. This morning I heard a horrible "HAK!" sound from the bathroom and came out to discover that he'd thrown up across half the bed. Yuck :-(

So Katrina took him to the vet this afternoon. Apparently there are lots of things it might be, so they took some fluids to test. Also, a chart on the wall informs us that he's now 56 in human years.

They still look like teenagers to me :-/

Shawn

Bad tutorials

2 min read

Inspired by something a friend used to say and a recent discussion, I present a parody of a common type of frustration-creating tutorial...

How to create a ZIP file

Why: Sometimes you need to e-mail somebody just one file instead of a whole bunch. Maybe the files are large and you need to make them smaller. In any case, zipping up your files can be extremely useful. So, let's get started!

Step 1: Find your files. For this you will need to locate where the files are. If you're on Windows or Ubuntu try searching for them. If you know what folder they're in use the file explorer - explore.exe on Windows.

Step 2: Gather all the files together. I find it's useful to create a temporary folder as a staging area. Just right-click wherever you would like to create the new folder and select "New Folder" (or something like that) from the pop-up menu.

(Optional) You may also want to organize your files into sub-folders. Use the same technique described above to create as many folders as you need.

Step 3: Zip the file.

You now have a bunch of files perfectly packaged into one. You can e-mail this to somebody, copy it to a USB drive or just tuck it away for safekeeping :-)

Shawn

New blog, etc. addresses

1 min read

I've been making some behind the scenes changes that will ultimately (I hope) help me be able to write and share more with all of you. As part of those changes I've got a couple of new web addresses - one for my personal WordPress blog and another for my new stream at WithKnown:

The previous addresses will continue to work, but I strongly recommend that you use these from this point forward. The systems that host this information may need to move, be replaced, etc., but the addresses above should never change.

Shawn

Testing syndication to WordPress

1 min read

This post should show up in my WordPress blog.

Shawn

Powers mini-review

1 min read

Spoiler Alert: This review assumes you've read at least some of the comic.

So, the pilot for Powers was decent. The opening scenes had me thinking I may not stick around for the rest, but I'm glad I did. I'll chalk it up to some suit thinking there needed to a be a bunch of exposition up front because they think the audience is stupid.

I didn't agree with their choice for Olympia and was surprised that they went with that storyline out of the gate, but I guess that gives Retro Girl a chance to be a primary character. Some of Walker's behavior struck me as a bit out of character, but I've only gotten just past the Olympia storyline in the comic, so I recognize they might be pulling stuff in I haven't gotten to yet.

They could use a bigger budget for special effects, but overall it wasn't a bad start. If I had a PS4 I'd definitely keep watching. But I guess I'll just have to hope it comes to Netflix or Hulu some day.

Shawn

First-blush impressions of Known

4 min read

So, I'm trying out a new social network platform called Known. It's part of the IndieWeb movement, which I don't know much about yet but seems to be an effort to get us back to the roots of The Web - when people had control of their own content and systems worked together. I'd like to thank Dan for bringing both of these to my attention.

tl;dr (too long; didn't read) summary

So far I really like what I see. It's still a beta and that shows in some places, but it already has several of the features I've been wanting. And it sounds like it may be much easier to set up my own server than Diaspora.

A solid start

I've always really liked Tumblr's approach of defining different kinds of posts (e.g. link, image, quote) so I'm enjoying being able to specify whether I'm sharing a status update, post, photo, bookmark, etc.

And the ability to syndicate those to Twitter and Facebook is the reason I'm on it. Unfortunately, the results have a kind of hit-and-miss so far: My attempts to share a YouTube link refused to show that link on the Facebook post.

Unfortunately, the free account hosted on withknown.com doesn't include all the services that the site says Known supports. And it sounds like other service connections aren't yet complete. Connections to the following services are included in the free account:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (but not Pages)
  • Flickr
  • Foursquare
  • Soundcloud

For the rest, you'll need to get a Pro account - which I think is priced a bit high - or, I assume, set up your own server. I also saw some mention of a WordPress connection in the forums, but haven't looked into the status of that.

While I'm not opposed to setting up my own Known server, at this point I'm mostly content to go with hosting services so I don't have to manage the server myself. Depending on how this evaluation goes, I may decide Known is worth it though.

As I mentioned, I think the price of $10/mo is a bit steep for what they're offering. I looks to me like they're assuming the only people interested in the other features would be businesses and/or anyone maintaining a brand. I'd like to see an offering between Pro and Free that provides (for example) support for a LinkedIn profile*, webhooks, javascript and CSS. I'm a power user who doesn't care about branding. Even on services where I have access to analytics, I've never looked at them.

Features I'm eager to try

  • I'm interested to see how the comments system works. At the moment I'm not sure if commenting on this post is available; I haven't enabled Public Comments at the site level yet.
  • I'm really interested in seeing the two-way syncing of comments between posts on Known and the other service(s) it was shared with.

Hrmmm... while writing this, I just noticed that I need to set up the brid.gy service in order to sync comments, etc. I've disabled most all my blockers, etc. but still don't seem to be able to set up the connection. Further investigation is required.

  • I plan to look further into what it would take to a) get my own server set up, and b) contribute to the development. I definately would like to be able to syndicate to/from WordPress. Diaspora too (although they still don't have an API).

Onward!

Anyway, those are my first impressions. And this is my first test at writing a larger post (and syndicating it to Facebook & Twitter). I'll let you know how it goes :-)