andyhat: (Default)
2009-05-18 11:58 am

Dreamwidth

Thanks to [personal profile] desperance, I now have a proper dreamwidth account.

I'm still mostly a twitterer, but maybe having a new site will encourage more long-form blogging.
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2008-12-17 09:04 pm

Fuck Obama

So, Obama has revealed what he really thinks of his GLBT constituents, inviting bigot Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation.

I can't say as I'm entirely surprised, but I am disappointed at just how quickly Obama has shown himself to be just another simpering politician willing to associate with bigots and other scum.
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2008-12-09 05:20 pm

No more Loudtwitter

It was broken for a week anyways, and twitter seems to have reached a critical mass of users in the last few months, so I'm suspending my Loudtwitter cross-posts to Livejournal.

In future, if you want to keep up with my quick updates-that-fit-in-140-characters-or-less in addition to my occasional longer posts here, go follow me on twitter. Or if you want to comprehensively stalk me all in one place, subscribe to my friendfeed.
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2008-12-08 07:47 pm

Today's swag

So, as I twittered Saturday, I finally tracked down the weird circular wrench needed to open my whole-house water filter housing at Pope's True Value in Durham, at the Village Shopping Center. Then Sunday morning I see this. Guess that might not have been the safest place to be shopping, though I didn't feel unsafe when I was there.

Anyways, in more pleasant news, today's mail:



That's Prince of Persia for the 360; the new issue of Dalkey Archive's Review of Contemporary Fiction; one of the final books from the abruptly closed Humdrumming Press, Tim Lebbon's novella The Reach of Children; Edge of Our Lives, a collection by Mark Rich from RedJack Books, mostly reprints, with a few new stories; and the newest from Paper Golem, Alembical, containing original novellas by [livejournal.com profile] jaylake, Bruce Taylor, James Van Pelt, and Ray Vukcevich, and companion chapbook Cucurbital, containing four short stories by the same authors, both edited by Lawrence M. Schoen & Arthur Dorrance.

Coincidentally, Alembical is the second book I've noticed this week that is using a cover photo under a Creative Commons Attribution License (in this case for "To the Skies -- a photograph by Philipp Geisler of Gertrude Reum's 'Geformte Chromnickelstahlrohre'").
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2008-12-07 03:36 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 13:39 I hate it when sites exceed planned maintenance windows, but don't bother to update the outage page with new info. Bad bloglines, no cookie.
  • 18:05 After many months of searching finally found tr.im/1yl1 at Pope's True Value. Water filter now replaced, and water pressure restored.
  • 23:00 Enjoyed Jaap ter Linden's performance of the Bach Cello Suites 2,3&6 at the Nelson Music Room. Some of the most perfect music ever written.
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2008-12-07 12:47 am

Security fail!

I've been using mycheckfree.com for years to pay my utility bills. So tonight, I get an email that purports to be from them informing me that if I had attempted to access online bill payment between 12:30 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 using Windows, their site may have redirected me to a site that might have infected me with malware which may have escaped detection by virus scanners. I use Opera and Chrome, not IE, so I'm probably safe, but I have no idea if I accessed the site during that time (I quickly log in and schedule payments when I get notification that bills have arrived, so I don't really remember when I used it), and they say they're working with McAfee to provide more information and assessment.

So, assuming this is legit, it's good of them to let customers know about the potential problem, though it would have been nice if they'd included a bit more detail on the malware in question. But they obviously have very little clue about how to handle this sort of thing.

The email they sent was mailed from mail17c.mkt030.com, and the return address is ebillinfo@customercenter.net. Links in the mail go to links.mkt030.com. That may be a legit bulk mailing company, but who knows?

They have a mechanism in place to deliver messages via the web site after you log in, so I check that; no copy of the message there, and no info on the site about the breach.

I go look up their customer service 888 number and call that; it's already closed for the night, and the message there says nothing about the problem.

There's an 877 number in the email I got, but the only google hit for that is a copy of this very email, and the guy who answers it admits it was newly registered to deal with this problem. So, um, how do I know I'm talking to Checkfree?

The email did contain my name and the out-of-date address I have on file with them, but of course, if their site was actually hacked, that doesn't tell me anything - and that much is public record anyways.

So, it's great they sent out a timely message about their breach. But I got it on Saturday night, and it appears there's no authenticatable method of contacting them for further information until Monday.

Checkfree Corp obviously has no clue about security and social engineering. Unfortunately I'm not sure there are any better options, since most billpay sites end up using Checkfree on the back-end. Anyone have any suggestions for other sites that do bill presentment and payment for Duke Energy and AT&T that don't use Checkfree?

ETA: Here's an article about the breach. So it would seem a Checkfree employee fell prey to a phishing attack and leaked their password with Network Solutions for domain registration. And now they're sending out emails to customers that are indistinguishable from a phishing attack. That's some astounding incompetence.
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2008-12-06 03:34 pm

More books

In addition to the The Week and The Economist (shockingly, both delivered on Saturday this week, as they're supposed to be but so rarely are (I do so loathe the Raleigh USPS)), and the new issue of Locus, today's mail included book deliveries from two of my favorite publishers, PS Publishing and Lethe Press:



From PS, the new issue of Postscripts, reprint Bradbury collection The Day It Rained Forever, novellas Living with the Dead by Darrell Schweitzer and The City in These Pages by John Grant, and the new "PS Showcase" collection by Douglas Smith (with an introduction by Chaz Brenchley ([livejournal.com profile] desperance)). And from Lethe, Sea, Swallow Me, a collection by Craig Laurance Gidney ([livejournal.com profile] ethereal_lad), which includes Spectrum Award shortlisted "A Bird of Ice" along with 5 other reprints and 4 new stories.

On an entirely unrelated note, do people give Christmas bonuses to newspaper carriers nowadays? Today's News & Observer included the usual December "Happy Holidays" insert with my carrier's home address on it. I assume that's a discreet way of asking for a Christmas bonus, but I've always felt like it'd be weird to mail a check for that to somebody I've never even met. And how much would even be appropriate?
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2008-12-03 06:58 pm

Hot men and kittens!

In addition to the new issues of F&SF, my favorite CD review mag International Record Review, and the always interesting McSweeney's, my long delayed copy of Spore, and the chapbooks Redemption Roadshow by Weston Ochse (Burning Effigy Press) and Leftovers by Steve Vernon (Magus Press), today's mail includes what has to be the best 2009 calendar in existence:



Hot men and kittens in one beautiful calendar! And it benefits a good cause. Get your own copy today with a $20 donation to the Hull Seaside Animal Rescue.
andyhat: (Default)
2008-12-01 09:59 pm

Too much mail

I'd forgotten what it's like to come home to a week's worth of mail all at once:



That's just what actually came home from my box at The UPS Store; all the junk mail and extraneous packaging has been trashed already.

The squirrel plushy is a "free gift" from amazon accompanying Rune Factory 2. Other games on the stack are Luminous Arc 2, The Last Remnant, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, and Soul Calibur IV.

Below those are books and booklike magazines: The Hounds of Skaith by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories), The Dark World by Henry Kuttner (Planet Stories), The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs and the Currently Accepted Habits of Nature by David Niall Wilson (Bad Moon Books), Population Zero by Wrath James White (Cargo Cult Press), Islington Crocodiles by Paul Meloy (TTA Press), Crimewave Ten: Now You See Me (TTA Press), The New York Tyrant Vol. 2 No. 2, Subterfuge (Special Edition) edited by Ian Whates (Newcon Press), the poetry chapbook War by Harold Pinter (Faber & Faber), Cool Thing: The Best New Gay Fiction from Young American Writers edited by Blair Mastbaum & Will Fabro (Running Press), The Best of Lucius Shepard (with accompanying volume Skull City and Other Lost Stories) (Subterranean Press), and Marveltown by Bruce McCall (FSG).

Magazines are new issues of The Week, The Economist, The New Yorker, Black: Australian Dark Culture, the now sadly ended Flytrap, The Lutheran, The Advocate, Realms of Fantasy, Consumer Reports, Genre, Sport Diver, Out, Weird Tales, Gramophone, Talebones, One Story, Overland, The New York Review of Books, Bookforum, and the New York Observer.

I guess I should go read some stuff now.
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2008-11-27 11:56 pm

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 00:45 Bolt is cute and funny. Surprised all trailers in 3D, too (Up, Monsters vs Aliens, new Ice Age, and Coraline).
  • 13:20 Off to play some sheepshead with the relatives, then consume Thanksgiving dinner (I don't have to do any cooking, thankfully).
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2008-11-25 04:58 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 18:44 Awwww..... tr.im/1gj5
  • 22:46 Restaurants in Milwaukee are eerily deserted during Packers games.
  • 22:51 Quantum of Solace, meh. Overly complicated action scenes.
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2008-11-24 04:17 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 22:42 Enjoyed the special tapestries exhibit at the Art Institute, then took Amtrak up to Milwaukee for the holiday.
  • 01:59 Heh. Extreme Scrabble: tr.im/1fk4
  • 02:00 Should hourly workers be paid while their computers boot? tr.im/1fk7
  • 02:43 Huge cells: tr.im/1fld
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2008-11-23 04:32 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 00:24 Gino's East, then Lulu. That is one f'ed up opera. Where the heck does Jack the Ripper show up from?
  • 00:25 But, it does have fabulous music, and Marlis Petersen's performance as Lulu was amazing.
  • 00:26 I also loved the surreal prologues (with bear costume), and the incorporation of filmic elements.
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2008-11-22 04:12 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 08:48 Off to RDU. Hope flights aren't too delayed (snow in Raleigh in November? Craziness!).
  • 10:40 RDU's new terminal is very nice. It even has plentiful outlets.
  • 13:49 Very pleasant flight, had window seat on my favorite approach to ORD up the lake and west over Lawrence.
  • 13:50 Now bumping along on the Blue Line en route to Clark/Lake.
  • 01:12 Pizza at Aurelio's, then wonderful opera (Porgy & bess, with Gordon Hawkins as an amazing Porgy), dessert at Smith & Wollensky.
  • 01:33 I had forgotten how noisy cities are at night.
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2008-11-21 04:29 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 19:34 "Nothing good comes from adverbs." tinyurl.com/5rrng9
  • 19:34 And now, laundry!
  • 20:12 Sadie is chewing on my boarding pass for tomorrow. When did she learn to identify those?
  • 23:45 Books, magazines, DS, socks, underwear, pants, shirts, t-shirts, phone charger, DS charger, MP3 player, headphones, gloves, all packed.
  • 23:45 Toiletries and laptop to be packed in morning, jacket and tuque to be worn. Newspapers are on hold.
  • 23:46 I used to be able to remember everything without even thinking about it; amazing how easily forgotten the routine is now that I travel less.
  • 02:56 Oh, right! The opera tickets! Just remembered I need to get those out of the desk and into my wallet.
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2008-11-19 04:32 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 13:34 I have finally seen a Kindle in the wild (a woman was reading from one at the table next to me at Pei Wei). They are rather ugly.
  • 18:56 The fluorescent light over the TV that's been burned out for 6 months (since I prefer that one off anyways) just decided to flicker back on.
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2008-11-16 05:54 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 13:49 Tweetdeck: No keyboard shutcuts. Ugh. Twhirl: Scrolls with arrow keys, but no shortcut for mark as read. Twitterific: No Win version.
  • 13:50 Am I missing any options? Or does the perfect twitter client just not exist yet?
  • 14:22 Also, why do clients retain reverse chrono order? That's a stupid web artifact of no client-side mark-as-read function.
  • 14:23 I want new content on bottom. And auto-scrolling should stop before the first unread message scrolls above pos n (I'd go with 2nd from top).
  • 14:25 User interfaces have regressed depressingly since the days of ircii, trn, and pine.
  • 14:26 Of course, I still use trn and pine, though I did give in and replace ircii with irssi. I guess that makes me an old curmudgeon.
  • 14:32 And while I'm ranting, why is it 76 degrees out in November? I have a cold and this warm rainy weather is not helping my sinuses.
  • 15:52 In better news, today's mail included the much anticipated 2666, Niebuhr's Moral Man & Immoral Society, and bizarro novella Zerostrata.
  • 15:56 First time I've seen a stag in the back yard. It's blithely ignoring the neighbor's dogs barking at it.
  • 21:38 On wall at City Beverage: Album cover of "Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space".
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2008-11-15 04:01 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 16:09 Per today's NYT (tinyurl.com/5tgm83), Obama likes the Medici, Valois Cafeteria, and 57th Street Books. He obvious has superb taste.
  • 16:10 And now I'm craving Valois's chicken pot pie. Sadly, while I'll be in Chicago next weekend, I won't be there for dinner Thur or Sunday.
  • 19:50 That Rain-X windshield wiper fluid is cool in heavy rain. OTOH, it sucks at cleaning grime when not raining, so I'm ambivalent about it.
  • 19:52 Now at UNC Memorial waiting for Matthias Goerne recital to begin.
  • 23:24 Wonderful concert of Schubert lieder. Followed by watching the view of cute UNC boys while munching Pepper's Pizza.
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2008-11-14 04:15 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:


  • 15:59 I have a cold, twitter is slow, and bloglines is down. I think I'm going back to bed.

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2008-11-13 04:08 am

Daily tweets

Yesterday's tweets:

  • 10:32 Funny sign (at least to anyone who has seen the ubiquitous warning signs in CA): tinyurl.com/5tpafv
  • 14:36 As a mostly non-TV watcher, I had no idea how bizarre Skittles ads could get: tinyurl.com/6lhuzn
  • 14:41 Why are they setting up Christmas tree lots already? At least the "Booger Mountain Christmas Trees" sign on Lessville makes me laugh.
  • 16:34 Annoying trying to fly to a failing airline's hub. No cheap seats to MKE for Christmas, so I'm going into Madison, out of Appleton.
  • 16:34 Got my GHWT bundle today (with two wired guitars, which makes up for the one that broke last week). Will it be better than RB2? I doubt it.
  • 16:55 Also, new issues of Locus and London Review of Books. But no actual books today :(
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