darkoshi: (Default)
It occurred to me that "vlog" may be the first word (non-person-name, non-place-name) in the English language to start with the "vl" sound. I checked my paper dictionary, and indeed there were no other such VL words. Now I checked online, and there is one other:

vlei: a grassy or marshy wetland.
The etymology of this word is from Afrikaans and Dutch, and its most common pronunciation is actually with "FL" rather than "VL", which makes sense as German, which is related to Dutch, also pronounces V as F.
darkoshi: (Default)
bloomity bloomity bloom, bloom bloom. Deep Pink!

not so minty mobile

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 11:20 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm not very impressed with Mint Mobile so far. I got my number ported over ok. Phone calls and texts and internet are working ok.

The configurations they had listed on their website for getting texting to work, didn't work for me at first. I got it to work using alternate configurations I found on a different website. A few days later I switched back to the other configuration, and then it worked too. So I dunno about that. No big deal, though.

What's giving me a problem is logging into the voicemail. When I enter my password to log in, often it says it isn't the right password. When it reads the numbers I entered back to me, it skips numbers as if it didn't receive them all, even though they display ok on my phone's screen.

To begin with, it was doing this about 9 out of 10 times, from the phone with the Mint SIM. Yet I had no problem logging into the Mint voicemail from my other phone, on the Verizon network.

To verify it wasn't a problem with the phone, I switched the SIMs between both phones. Then the other phone (now with the Mint SIM) had the problem, and the original one that had the problem didn't anymore. So it's not the phone.

I emailed customer support with a detailed description of my problem. Mind you, I don't want to turn the password off; I want the digits I press to be recognized. If I'm having this problem with their voicemail, there's a good chance I'll have the same problem with other automated phone menus.

Other than the standard "we received your message and will reply soon", I didn't get a response from customer support until 3 days later. And then their reply only had stock answers about how to access voicemail, how to reset or change your password, or turn it on and off. They didn't respond about the actual problem I described, at all.

This evening when I tried to take a video of the problem, it worked ok about half the time. Grrr, of course. That makes pointing out the problem more difficult.

I suspect now that it is due to the network signal fading in and out, dropping part of my transmissions. What else could it be? If that's the case, there's probably nothing their customer support can do about it. Mint's coverage is supposed to be good here in the city, though. The signal strength shown on both my phones vacillates up and down. Neither signal ever drops out completely, although the Verizon signal is generally a bit higher than the Mint/T-mobile signal.
darkoshi: (Default)
Comrade Cluck "No Chicken" - I didn't buy this for a long time due to it's high price, but finally did, out of curiosity. I didn't cook it in any fancy way - simply heated it up in the microwave.

It tastes rather good, similar to Tofurky, but with a more appealing texture. It comes in shredded bits and pieces, like Thanksgiving leftovers. Also, compared to Tofurky, it's very nice to be able to simply microwave it (or put it in a stir-fry, etc.), rather than having to bake it in an oven for a couple of hours.


I also tried Beyond Meat Sausages for the first time. They tasted good, but not particularly better than other vegan sausages I've had. It creeps me out a bit how these sausages, as well as Beyond Meat's burger patties which I haven't tried, are made to look like real meat. Upon reading the cooking instructions, I was annoyed that it recommended against microwaving them, and made a point that the sausages needed to be heated to some internal temperature (which I also think is a marketing gimmick, trying to make them seem more like real meat, but who knows). So I had to defrost them first and then heat up the saute pan to cook them. (Other vegan sausages and hot dogs, I can put them straight from the freezer into the microwave.) I cut them into slices and sauteed them in peanut oil, and then added canned diced tomatoes. They smelled good while cooking and tasted fine, but I probably won't buy them again.
darkoshi: (Default)
While putting away dishes yesterday, I noticed some odd irregular shaped small spots on one of the Rubbermaid plastic containers (the bottom clear plastic part, not the lid). At first I thought it was food stuck to it, but washing it again, and scratching at the spots with my fingernails made no difference. It seems to be spots etched out of the plastic.

I asked my sister what food she had in the container last; baked apples with oranges, cinnamon and vanilla (hmmm, sounds tasty). So at first I thought that maybe the acid from the apples or oranges had etched the plastic, which was surprising as I'd never known plastic to be eaten away by acidic foods.

But the below thread indicates the spots are most likely from microwaving food in the container, and having the food get so hot that it melts the plastic in those spots. That makes sense, as I never microwave food in plastic containers, but my sister and niece do.

What is this white stuff on my plastic storage container?

The spots on my container look similar to the photo at the top of that page, except mine are on the sides of the container instead of the bottom, and more spread out rather than one big splot. More like the first photo link on this comment. (But neither me nor my sister has been using the dishwasher, so it has to be from microwaving.)
darkoshi: (Default)

They let you use phones from any of the major networks. They provide a different SIM card depending on which network your phone works on. For Sprint's network you don't even need to change your SIM card.

They offer unlimited text/talk/data with up to 5GB LTE data for $30/month with auto-refill at the above website.

If you buy a year's worth at a time, you can get cheaper per-month prices for the same plan - $20/month or less.

The yearly plans are only available from eBay (or Amazon, but Amazon has fewer options than eBay). There are so many different ones listed on eBay, that it is rather confusing.

This is a non-renewal one for unlimited everything (5GB LTE data) a year at $18.75/month

This is a yearly renewal one for the same plan at $20/month - I'm not sure why it's more expensive:

This is a single month for $30:

It looks like the difference between the renewal & non-renewal ones is only whether or not SIM cards are provided. But I'm not certain.

I'm not sure if (I don't think that...) the color of the cards means that they are limited to a certain network, but in one of the above links, it does correspond to which network's SIM card is included. So pay attention to that if ordering them.

If you don't want unlimited everything, they also have other cheaper plans available.

Here's a review from a year ago: Red Pocket Mobile Review
darkoshi: (Default)
Logging onto the nytimes.com website, they present me with a Google Recaptcha. I select the appropriate images and click to continue, and the page displays a new set of images. After 3 or 4 pages of image tiles, I realize this is going to be never-ending, as it has been several times in the past. I try a different browser, as I might have already fixed the uMatrix settings for this there. But that browser has the same problem.

I check my uMatrix settings, and enable some more domains. Then I click the appropriate images on the Recaptha page and continue. It still doesn't work, so I enable practically all of the non-redlisted domains that are shown in the uMatrix popup.

It still doesn't work, and I'm annoyed enough to want to hit things. I only want to unsubscribe from the mailing lists I had subscribed to a while back, as I don't have time to read the emails and I'm tired of seeing them pile up in my inbox. Now I can't even login in order to unsubscribe!! Gah!! (Maybe I could just click the unsubscribe link in the emails, but dagnabbit I wanted to do it from the website.)

I look up how to make Google Recaptcha work with uMatrix. I find out about ruleset recipes, but I don't see how to enable them. The puzzle icon in the uMatrix popup is disabled.

So I walk away from the computer for a while. After an hour, I come back and find out there's a checkbox in the uMatrix settings (at the bottom of the Assets tab) that you have to select, for the rulesets to be enabled. But after selecting that, the puzzle icon still remains disabled for me...

Later, it's enabled but I don't remember what I did, if anything, for that to happen.

So now I am able to import the ruleset which is supposed to make Google Recaptchas work. (I swear, those are the same rules that I already enabled manually via the uMatrix popup, but who knows...) It still doesn't work!!!!

I try clicking the Audio icon on the Recaptcha page, as some other webpage indicates it will tell you if it thinks you failed, versus the images which just keep redisplaying with no error message. That gives me the popup message,
"Your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. For more details visit our help page."

Does that mean there's still a problem with my browser/uMatrix settings, or are they completely blocking my IP number now?

I try logging in with Chrome, which doesn't have uMatrix installed. It worked after only a single page of Recaptcha images. I unsubscribe from all the mailing lists, hallelujah!

So anyway, my IP number must not be blocked. But wait, what happens if I click the Recaptcha audio icon in Chrome? So I log out and click the Audio icon when logging in again. It shows a popup with a "Play" button. But nothing happens when I click on Play. I make sure my speaker volume is turned up, and click Play umpteen times, but nothing plays. So much for that.

I'm still not able to login from the other browsers. I still think Google has blocked me as it's still giving that same error message for the audio; maybe the block is based on IP number plus browser id. I wonder how long it takes for the block to expire.

If it were only nytimes.com that had this problem, I could ignore it. But I have the same problem on other websites which use Google Recaptcha too, sometimes.

i am a teapot

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 01:10 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I was looking up an HTTP status code...

and as I scrolled down that page, "I_AM_A_TEAPOT" scrolled by... wait, what?

After finding the code I was looking for (NO_CONTENT or some such one), I went back to read what the Teapot status code was for.

418 I'm a teapot
The HTTP 418 I'm a teapot client error response code indicates that the server refuses to brew coffee because it is a teapot. This error is a reference of Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol which was an April Fools' joke in 1998.

Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP/1.0)
Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error code "418 I'm a teapot". The resulting entity body MAY be short and stout.

Attempt To Remove Joke 'I'm A Teapot' Web Error Ends Up Making It Official Instead

cellphone plans

Sunday, February 24th, 2019 09:57 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Verizon's Visible prepaid cellphone service ($40/month unlimited) is now available for Samsung Galaxy S9 phones, as well as iPhones. Support for other Android phones is "coming soon".


BestBuy and Sprint have an offer available until 4/4/2019:
"unlimited data, talk and text, video streams up to 480p, music up to 500 Kbps and gaming streams up to 2 Mbps. Just $25/mo. with Autopay when you buy an unlocked phone or a Sprint phone via one-time payment."


Mint Mobile has an intro offer available for new customers until 2/28/2019: $20 for the first 3 months of unlimited text/talk/data with up to 8GB LTE data per month.

The taxes & fees are an extra $4.28 in my area, and the price includes the SIM card and free shipping.

I'd been planning to sign up with them anyway, so I went ahead and ordered that.

menstrual pad hack

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 07:44 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I prefer menstrual pads that have wings. But nowadays most companies make the wings long and narrow. Those kind of wings tend to come unstuck* and then they start sticking to my skin instead. Ouch. This hack prevents that: cut a notch in each end of the wing to make it shorter on the part that folds over.

*You have to fold a long narrow flap onto a curved surface; of course it's not going to stick well that way. What are the people who design these things thinking?

vulture effigies

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 05:02 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
We got an email at work a couple of weeks ago that mentioned "vulture effigies" being installed on the grounds in an attempt to keep the vultures away from the buildings. (I'm not clear why; it seems the Canadian Geese make much more of a mess with their droppings than the vultures. But maybe it's a different story up on the building roofs.)

I searched to see what vulture effigies look like:

Those look way more realistic than the fake owls we had in the parking lot a long time ago, but are still obviously fakes.

I forgot about the email until some days later when walking out the back entrance. A feathery thing was hanging from a tree limb. I realized it must be one of the effigies, but it sure looked like it had real feathers, so I had to wonder.

Now I've read that sometimes people hang up real dead vultures as a deterrent.

door bell anger

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 11:50 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Woken up by a door bell.
Get up, check the door thinking it's something I ordered.
Then see that it's a car seat for a baby.
First think, oh that's what Qiao ordered for my niece's baby.
I see a FedEx truck driving away down the street.
Then remember that Qiao ordered a stroller, not a car seat.
Worry that Amazon sent us the wrong item.
Check the label on the package, see that it's addressed to our neighbor, not us.
Oh! I wonder if they got our package instead?

Walk over to neighbor's house for the first time and wonder which door to use.
There's no package of ours by either door.
I choose the front door, as it has a door bell.

They've rung our doorbell before, to bring back our little dog who had dug out of the yard.
We've said hi before.
I may have given them Qiao's phone number, but I don't think we have theirs. Qiao has spoken with them briefly a few times.

Ring the door bell. Wait. Ring door bell again. Wait.
Knock on the outer glass door. Wait.
I see a dog inside through the glass of the doors, eating or drinking or something. It didn't hear me yet.
I knock harder, and the dog hears me, and barks. It jumps up on the door.
Hi there! (Nice doggy!) Tell them someone's at the door!

I can hear kids running around inside.
They've heard the door bell or the knocking or the dog barking by now, I'm sure.
I hear one of the kids say "Don't answer it!"
There are 2 cars outside the house. I'm pretty sure an adult is home.
I keep waiting. Maybe it just takes them a few minutes to get out of bed and dressed, like me.
I knock a few more times, waiting.
Waiting. Kids running around inside.
I decide to send them a message on Nextdoor.com instead. For F*CKS sake.
Sudden irrational anger.
(Remembering the other times I've rung neighbors' doorbells & knocked on doors, waiting in vain for someone to answer. Dammit; people not answering their doors anymore in this day and age.)
I walk back to my house, maybe stomping as much as one can stomp in flip flops.
I bang the top of the package with my fist in passing.
Maybe we should just keep the dang thing.
That'll show them, not answering their frickin doorbell.

Now I'm all riled up; certainly no chance of falling back asleep.
I send them a message on Nextdoor, from Qiao's account.
Any reply they send will go to his email, so I guess it will have to wait until he gets up to see if they've answered.
I start writing this post.

Noonish. Our door bell rings.
It's the neighbor.
I give them their package.
They don't have ours.
Not surprising. It'll probably come later in the day. Hopefully.
I wonder if FedEx will notice their mistake.

Then I remember that I can check for a reply on the Nextdoor.com page too.
They sent a reply before coming over. They didn't hear the door bell; "guess it needs to be fixed".
Great. I still don't have their phone number. I forgot to ask.
I'll ask via Nextdoor.

Half an hour later.
Zorro growls and then barks.
I check the front door.
USPS mail carrier walking back to the mail truck.
(Dithering here over whether or not to use the gendered word "mailman" even though the person looks like a man. But what word would I use for a woman?
Mail carrier. Mail carrier. Mail carrier. Say it enough and it will sound natural, I'm sure. Mail carrier. Mail carrier.)
USPS for this delivery, not FedEx.
It's the stroller.
They didn't even ring the door bell this time.

tight socks hack

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 01:35 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Several of my "hacks" actually involve hacking (i.e. cutting) things.

This hack works for knee socks whose top elastic band is somewhat too tight. It can also help if the socks are a little too short. But if the elastic is very tight, this probably won't help enough. If the elastic isn't too tight to begin with, then doing this may make them too loose.

Many knee socks nowadays have the top elastic band made of an elastic section that's been folded over and knit together on the inside, so that it's two layers of elastic fabric. With this kind of sock, it is easy to cut open the seam where it's knit together, thereby changing it into a single longer layer of elastic.

Right leg: original sock. Left leg: hacked sock.

spicy food

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 12:04 am
darkoshi: (Default)
When food is too spicy-hot, stir in some mayonnaise (or more specifically Vegenaise; I haven't tried it with any other brand) to make it milder.

Once Upon a Dream

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 11:47 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I love this song that was played during the end credits of Maleficent.

Video title: Lana Del Rey - Once Upon A Dream (From Maleficent)(Official Audio)
Posted by: Lana Del Rey
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8waJ7W3QcJc
darkoshi: (Default)
Google Search techniques:

I didn't realize that wildcards could still be used (but only in place of full words, not part of a word).

You can put "cache:" in front of a URL to view Google's cache of the page, even when the entry for that URL in their search results didn't include the option to view the cached page.


In the past I had found a way of searching the Google Play Store for apps without ads. But I don't remember how I did it, as adding -"Contains Ads" to the search string doesn't work today; it still returns apps whose pages show "Contains Ads"

This seems to work ok, but you have to do it as a regular Google search, not from within the Play Store:
site:play.google.com/store/apps/details -"Contains ads" -"in-app purchases"

darkoshi: (Default)

Why is it that when I post photos to DW, they always display as larger than actual size? I have to add a parameter like width="80%" to make them look the same size as they do in my image editor, when I'm displaying them actual size there.

Before I had thought it was browser specific, but now it seems to be happening in all browsers. And I can't tell if other people see the images large or actual sized.

It must be due to me having Windows configured to display things at 125%.

holes in my shoes

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 12:11 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I fixed holes in the tips of my shoes by cutting pieces from an old black synthetic belt, and gluing them on with Shoe Goo.

First shoe done. I used too much goo so you can see shiny stuff around the edges.

Second shoe done; this one turned out better.

To help the pieces adhere well, I stuffed some socks into the front of the shoes and used a bag of pebbles over the glued pieces to apply pressure.
darkoshi: (Default)
I think I finally managed to root my phone...

I had previously unlocked the bootloader (which I now read can't even be done on some phones - I need to remember to check that next time I'm buying a phone).
I had previously installed ADB and fastboot.

Now I installed the TWRP recovery, I think. Except that I selected the "Read Only" option at first, in order to make a backup of my phone before altering it. And after that, I can't figure out how to change it to non-read-only mode. But maybe it doesn't need to be changed; I don't know.

Then I used TWRP to install the Magisk zip.
Then I downloaded and installed the Magisk Manager apk.

After doing that, I think the phone is rooted.

But the whole reason I wanted to root my phone was to be able to increase the number of volume steps, via these instructions:

I downloaded the Baksmali & Smali jars... apparently there is no longer a bat file for running them, so I had to figure out the new commands.
But then, after disassembling the dex files, it turns out that the framework.jar / classes.dex no longer contains any "AudioService.smali" file. There is an "IAudioService.smali" file, but it doesn't contain any string starting with "0xft" nor with ".array-data 0x4". Nor do any of the other files from the disassembled dex file contain those strings.
So those instructions are of no help.

Now I found this: https://www.droidviews.com/increase-number-volume-steps-android/
But I'm not trying that today. I am fried, and I haven't even taken my shower yet and haven't really had my dinner yet, and I really ought to be going to bed very soon. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH
darkoshi: (Default)
the daffodils have started blooming.

I've been reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. It's quite good. There's no humor (that I've noticed so far), but the plot becomes quite gripping after a certain point in the story.