I'm getting flooded with virus-carrying emails lately. I use a Mac, so it's not a problem, but a warning to anyone I know with a Windows machine: if you get an email saying it's a deliver failure notice, or 'illegal signs in your mail', 'Returned mail: Data format error', 'Mail System Error - Returned Mail' and many other similar subject lines, do not open the zipped attachment, it's the Sober.I virus described here and here.
It's probably wreaking havoc in corporate mailboxes as they build up while everyone is on vacation.
A Crumb of Earth Stretches II
I realize the loss of thousands of tourists are a large part of this story, but is it THE story?
The Sun Times seems to think blonde children are the most important part of this tradgedy.
A crumb of earth stretches
Excuse me while I spit in the face of every American news media producer.
Joe Scarborough's headline lead included the words "stranded super models".
CNN repeated the faces of blonde, European tourist children in Thailand - all day. Tens of thousands of dead Indians and Indonesians weren't enough to sell advertsing. They needed white kids in order to convince us 'to care' for a few more minutes, to sell a few more commercials.
I've stayed un-political for the most part on these pages, through 9.11, the Irag invasion, and the election. I shook my head in disbelief at how most of it was reported to me. I never ranted about it here because too many others have pointed it out. Besides, I thought it was obvious enough.
But I've never been more disgusted with those who claim to represent America, those fucking hacks who deliver the TV media to anyone brainwashed enough to think that American TV is the place to find the truth about what's happening in the world.
Tens of thousands drowned. A hundred thousand will be buried without any dignity or headstones before the count is complete. And one blonde child's face was repeated all day on CNN. More important than the geologic scale of the event, was a few words, between the UN and the US, which may have hurt someone's pride. I sat in an airport, as a captive audience, watching this, and when I got home, and turned on Fox, CNN, the networks, and MSNBC, I was assaulted by a Western Hemishperic bias that pissed me off past the point of disgust.
Tens of thousands die, and we are told the important ones are the hundred or so white-tourists, some relatives of Sir Attenborough or some super models that may have to do without a hair drier for a few days.
Fuck those hacks who think the "white" angle is the way to "touch our hearts" and get us to feel for the largest natural catastrophe we hope we will ever witness in our lifetimes.
A miniscule crumb of Earth streches, deep beneath miles of ocean, and countless humans are wiped out in the time it takes a sitcom or two to be broadcasted. And instead of having such an event put our little human-grade-school-playground squables in perspective, we are told that the important thing to worry about, is a few stranded super models.
As many bloggers know, there's a full frontal assault of comment spam going on Web-wide. I'm away from my broadband connection for the holidays so I have to wait a few days before I do some repairs. So I've turned off comments for a short time. (Actually I broke the script which I'm hoping will cause more problems for the spammers).
UPDATE: I did a quick fix that will stop the majority of spammers -the automatic ones- and it seems to be working, so I turned them back on.
East Coast Again
I'm back on the East Coast for Christmas.
Here's a couple of airplane pictures.
Holding at Ohare.
Over Chicago at night.
I haven't had time to make any obscene cookie scenes, and Live Journal has just flooded my server for requests for the gingerbreadmen. Apparently some doofus built an image collector to display recent images posted on Live Journal pages. Live Journal people, being natural copycating sheep, have reproduced this collector about 25 times, and counting. In addition there's a forum where people can post funny pictures to add to this collector.
So my cookie picture has been linked 11,481 times in about a week. The flood won't come close to threatening the generous bandwidth Fatcow.com allows, but enough is enough.
My innocent cookie picture, appearing on a countless number of 12 year-old girl blogs, which they posted in childlike anticipation of Christmas, has now been replaced with a nasty note. I don't imagine many people want that on their personal page, and hopefully the flood will stop, and the happy cookie people will be back in time for Christmas.
Anybody who really wants the cookie picture, go ahead and steal it, but host it on your own server.
POSTSCRIPT: After I swapped the image, I went out and viewed a few of the sites using my image. I laughed with glee at several Xanga, Myspace and Live Journal sites who now had curse words sprawled across their backgrounds instead of smiling gingerbread men. Then I realized that several of these sites were made by actual 12 year-old girls. I was being sarcastic about that in my post. I imagine some girl rushing home after school, or waking up early to log on, to see if friends have commented and see her happy smiling gingerbreadmen, cheerfully obscuring the text of her posts from the background, which she "luvs" because they "rok", only to see her page is black, except for a nasty note with a 36 point type F-word and skull. I think I'll wait until after Christmas.
I did take the time to optimize the image, cutting the weight from 84k to 22k, thus reducing some of the load. I love Photoshop's "Save for Web" command, it roks.
Chicago then and now
Luke Seeman has a great photo essay up at Gaper's Block, where he reshot Chicago scenes taken by amateur photographer Charles Cushman in the 50's.
Particularly interesting to me is this shot taken on Erie in 1951 in which my office building is in the background. The apartment building in the photo is leaning, which coincidentally, the only other wooden building left in the area, The Green Door Tavern, is doing too.
Work-related reading assignments
Cookie update: When I was making the gingerbread dough, I added some coconut milk which made it to moist to form into men, even when I tried to freeze it. It made a nice bread though. I'll be making more dough soon. But for now, here are some work-related links.
Mask details no bigger than a hair If you can do all the 23 steps used to create a professional-level mask without the recipe in front of you, you truly are a Photoshop master.
Mezzoblue's post on Web Stock has a long string of comments listing cheap stock sites. I need to consolidate my list of Stock Photo sites someday.
InDesign CS Tips: Creating Layout Standards "Few things are as tedious as numbering pages by hand. That's why page-layout applications have master pages -- only one of the ways in which you can standardize the look of your documents in InDesign." I'm a master at Quark Master pages, but nothing I took 5 years to master in Quark works anywhere near they way I expect it does in InDesign.
Bandwidth and image theivery
Anyone who posts pictures on the web and checks their referrer logs will notice occasional image theft. That's when other websites link to an image on your site, thus stealing the image, and bandwidth. But of course these thieves aren't smart enough to know theives not only left their address in my logs, but have opened themselves up to potential revenge if I decide to switch the picture with something else. When I've done this in the past, it's usually done in good humor, and normally taken that way. Except for the time when a southern restaurant linked to a picture I took of an omlette I made. I switched it with a picture of some doo-doo on a plate (which I didn't take or make). They were quite irate, since no one told them their home page featured a piece of shit for a few weeks. They threatened to sue me if I didn't change the image back. Morons.
I usually don't mind so much, because except for the occasional heavily-hit Fark post or similiar well-read forums, the bandwidth is minimal. But the holiday season is coming up, and my most stolen image is these gingerbread men from my food blog.
Most of these theives I don't mind, they seem new to the Web, and they use the image in cute ways, no harm done. Although some overdo the cuteness a bit (never mind the legibility factor). There seems to be a large crowd of xanga users stealing the cookies.
It's a pain in the ass to have to register to all these forums and xanga-type sites to either yell at these people, or tell them it's ok to steal the picture, just not my bandwidth. I know there are technical solutions to this problem. I know some services like Tripod and Geocites have made their own changes to disallow hotlinking of images and other files.
But I prefer to have some fun by baking some anatomically correct cookies this weekend and photographing them in comprimising positions for a switcheroo. So this is a warning to some of you, download the image if you really want it, but put it on your own server. Although something tells me naughty pics of gingerbread men may not offend these people.
Another word about bandwidth: My most excellent host, fatcow.com gives me more than enough bandwidth (30gigs a month) for $99 bucks a year. And they've just doubled the disk space - they give you to a gig! I've set enough clients up with them that I get lots of months free for referrals.
So if you need an excellent host try fatcow.com, (and make sure you put kiplog.com in the referral spot). It's a great way to get a real website (hear that xanga people?) and help kiplog at the same time.