Thursday, September 29, 2016

So, is it .net or .com ???

If you've been following this little blog, waiting patiently for it to return, you may have noticed that the URL is now http://www.basilsblog.com instead of http://www.basilsblog.net

Or maybe you didn't notice.

Actually, it doesn't really matter. When this little blog launched, back during George W. Bush's first term in office, I didn't have my own domain name. I did shortly afterwards, and bought both the .net and .com domains. I intended to have one as the primary one, and have the other as a redirect URL. I also changed hosts around that time. During all that clutter -- I want go into all the how this happened and how that happened because then we'd be here all week -- it worked out that basilsblog.net ended up being the URL of the blog. I really meant to change to the .com URL, but one thing or another -- no actual valid reason -- meant it stayed with the .net domain.

Well, as part of my recent consolidation of all my domains under a single registrar, I decided to finally get it right, and go with the .com address.

I have an email address under the .net domain, and that still works, but a .com version works now, too. It's easy when everything's under one registrar and they make it easy to configure it like you want. Well, easier.

Anyway, it's now basilsblog.com -- not that it means anything. Because the .net still works, only now that is the one that redirects to the .com address.

It's good to know everything else in my life is in order that I can fret over silly stuff like this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Friends don't spam

Spammers are the lowest form of life on the Internet. And probably in real life, too.

So, guess who has been spamming me for some time now. If you guessed Democrats, you'd be correct.

I check my spam queue from time to time and keep seeing emails from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of that band of low-lifes. They are in the spam queue because after I first began receiving emails from them, I clicked the "Unsubscribe" link. What happened? Even more.

No, this isn't some spoofing of Democrat Party email. It's the real thing. Sending me emails I didn't ask for and don't want. Spammers.

As I said, I check my email spam queue from time to time just to ensure something legit isn't being directed that way. Every so often, that happens, but not much. Still, I check.

I don't open the emails from Obama or Clinton or any of those ne'er-do-wells. But, I do see the subject of the email. And they have taken to calling me "Friend."

I'm reminded of Inego Montoya:

[The YouTube]

Friends don't spam. But then, again, I didn't call them friend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You won't like me when I'm angry...

Network Solutions made me angry recently. And, they lost a little bit of business.

Now, I realize I'm not a major customer of, well, anybody. Okay, maybe Papa John's Pizza or Firehouse Subs. But, that's about it. So, no big loss, right?

But here's what happened. Naturally, the story begins with something else entirely.

It began with a reissue of a card. You've probably had cards reissued from time to time, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it's because a merchant made an "oopsie" and let your data get compromised. Sometimes, that led to cards being reissued with new numbers.

Now, when that happens, any standing payments you have set up -- Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, etc -- need to be accessed and changed to reflect the new card number (or a different card, if you want). Otherwise, they'll attempt to bill you and it gets declined and then you get an email and they think you're a slacker.

Well, when this particular MasterCard was reissued with a new number, I was proactive and got all the standing payments edited. Except for one: Network Solutions.

Now, I've dealt with Network Solutions since the 1990s, when I registered my first domain name. Been using them ever since. Yes, I know other registrars are cheaper. But, Network Solutions is well established, and I just felt comfortable dealing with a company that has been around for a bit. Think of the British Bank scene and song from Mary Poppins.

Renewal time came around for various domain names -- I'm currently down to 17 -- and I'd simply renew, sometimes for multiple years if the savings enticed me.

Well, I knew a renewal was coming up for one of mine in October. It was August, and I remember seeing an email around 90 days out that a domain was expiring. The email contained one of their typical 23% off (or something like that) deals. Got plenty of time, right?

Actually, no. In August, they billed me for a renewal of a service that expired in October. Only, they failed, because, you guessed it, it was was set up for that reissued MasterCard. So, I got an email telling me my purchase had been declined.

Hmph.

As I often renewed early for multiple years, I hadn't noticed that Network Solutions had begun billing -- no, actually attempting to process the billing -- this far in advance. Don't really know when they started. But I know when they stopped.

As of now, I have no more services with Network Solutions. I began moving domain names away from them that afternoon. Didn't do them all at once, just started with the next one due, and began the process. I have no more with them. We're done.

For what it's worth, I'm using Google to register the domains now. I had a couple with GoDaddy, but their interface is a pain in the ass. Can't find anything, and some interfaces break very easily. Maybe they should look into hiring some Web programmers. Anyway, GoDaddy was all primed for all my business from Network Solutions, except their interfaces suck. But, Google's plain jane interface suits me just fine. They have 16 of my domains, and I'm awaiting a hold on my remaining domain to end so I can move it from GoDaddy to Google.

I'm not at all suggesting you not use Network Solutions or GoDaddy. I am suggesting you not put up with anyone's crap.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

iPhone 7 Hack: Adding a headphone jack


[The YouTube]

Let me know how well it works.

Friday, September 23, 2016

And now for something completely different...

Terry Jones (AP photo)
I saw something that made me quite sad today. USA Today reports that Monty Python founding member Terry Jones has been diagnosed with dementia.
In a statement released by Britain's film academy (BAFTA), a representative says the 74-year-old has primary progressive aphasia, which erodes the ability to use language. As a result, Jones can no longer give interviews.

News of Jones' illness came in a statement announcing he is to receive an award for outstanding contribution to film and television from the academy's Welsh branch.
I met him, sort of, in Atlanta a year or two ago. Yes, it was at DragonCon, but I didn't see him in a panel. I ran into him walking down a street in Atlanta.

I was on Courtland, walking toward the Sheraton for an event -- or to wait in a long line for an event. And Terry Jones was coming the other way, toward the Hilton/Marriott area, walking at a fairly brisk pace. I saw him when I was about, oh, 20 or 30 feet away. I knew I was reacting to seeing him, but lost all control of my facial features.

I could feel the smile spreading across my face and I knew my eyes were opening wide, but I couldn't do anything about it. I mean, it was Terry Jones.

He noticed. He looked me in the eye and grinned. As we passed, I said, "Good afternoon, Mr. Jones." Only it probably came out something like "derp durr hurr."

I so wanted to shake his hand, to hear him speak, but he had somewhere he was going, and there were opportunities to see him in panels and at autograph sessions. I regret not scheduling something like that. And, so it appears, I'll never have the opportunity.

It's sad to hear of his health issues. It's a joy to remember all the great entertainment he's provided. I wish him well.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day (2016)

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.