Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


When speech recognition goes terribly wrong

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:17 am

The catchphrase of the week: “Dear Aunt, let’s set so double the killer delete select all.”

No, it’s not the deranged rambling of some homicidal maniac. Rather, it’s the horribly inaccurate misinterpretation of perfectly ordinary dictation by Microsoft’s speech recognition engine.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Egg Freckles.

(via Digg)


One less thing to gripe about…

Filed under: Car-Free,Grad School — codeman38 @ 11:39 am

Yes, it’s official. Athens, Georgia, will now have bus service running off-campus until 11 PM.

More detail from this Athens Banner-Herald article (registration or BugMeNot required):

Beginning Aug. 14, Athens Transit will start a new night service that will extend hours for many of the most popular routes.

Instead of stopping the routes 1 (North Avenue), 2 (East Athens), 5 (Beechwood/Baxter), 9 (Macon Highway/Five Points), 20 (Georgia Square Mall) and 25 (Lexington Road/Gaines School) around 7 p.m., buses will continue until 11 p.m., according to Margaret Pettus, a dispatcher for Athens Transit.

Most of you probably don’t even realize how elated I was to read this. I may very well be enjoying life in Athens starting this fall. This will also make me feel a whole lot less stressed, as I actually have time to decompress in my apartment after my assistantship before I go off about town…


A spam which will live in infamy

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:27 pm

Seriously, do phishing scammers even try anymore? I just received an obviously counterfeit notice claiming to be from “Brian BlackWell” of the “eBay Pearl Harbour Security Departament.”


Whose Plugin Detection Is It Anyway?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:43 pm

So I was trying to head over to to see about a TV show that someone had mentioned in a forum thread. But before the page could even finish loading, I was automatically whisked away to this page, telling me that I needed to upgrade my Flash plugin, with no means of escape.

Only one problem: I can’t download a newer version of Flash from the site they’ve linked; I upgraded to version 9 the day it was made available. Nor can I download an older version; Adobe no longer has version 8 or below listed on their download site, from what I can tell. And turning off Javascript is completely useless, as all I get then is a blank page.

Aren’t web developers paid to fix these sorts of things? Flash 9’s been in beta for a while now, so it’s not like its release was a sudden revelation or anything…


Surreal blog spam of the day

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:33 am

A trackback spammer spammed my blog yesterday with the link text of “0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34.” The text of the spam was even less enlightening— and I quote:

Rubber stamping card Insurance resources Distance education graduate programs Ringtone software mac Weight loss tablets Background and credit check Mortgage rates us Pixies ringtone Loan tools Mortgage buying Football parlay odds Experian credit union …

Yeah, not very enlightening at all. So I just had to make an exception to my normal rule of not following spam links just to find out exactly what these spammers found so spam-worthy about the Fibonacci series. The result? A fake ‘search engine’ result leading to a bunch of blackjack-related sites. Ah, the card game also known as 21! It sort of makes sense now.

Well, that is, it would make sense if the top results on Google for ’21’ had anything to do with blackjack, which they don’t. Maybe I’m severely underestimating the tenacity of these spammers, but I seriously doubt that, even if they try as hard as they can, these spammers will ever beat Century 21 Real Estate in PageRank for that term…

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