Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Why word boundaries are important

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:04 am

A recent server-side change in Windows Live Messenger was designed to prevent anyone from sending a link to a domain ending in “.info”, because so many of those were being used for spam and viruses. Never mind, of course, all the perfectly legitimate .info domains (as few as they may be, admittedly)…MS thought it’d be best to just block them all. Not just the URL, but the entire message containing it.

But that’s not the worst part.

The worst part is that there is no check for word boundaries whatsoever in the filter. None.

So good luck linking to anything on through Windows Messenger. And forget about sharing any C# code snippets that refer to MessageBoxIcon.Information.

Oh, and even sadder? This isn’t the first time Microsoft’s done this. A while back, they started blocking any messages containing “.scr” – thus shutting off all discussions about java.awt.ScrollPane, among other things.

(Thanks to the Worse Than Failure forums for pointing this bit of absurdity out to me…)


Another day, another online personality meme…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:41 am

…and as always, I came out as INTP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). Big surprise there.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

100% introverted? I knew I was a bit shy rather asocial, but… O_o

What was a bit more of a surprise was that I scored significantly higher on musical intelligence than on verbal. Most likely because of the overly universal nature of some of the questions— I do almost always have a tune running through my head, but I only sometimes enjoyed English class and writing (often because of the nature of what I was reading/writing about)…

Also amusing: like several other Aspies/autistics I know online who have taken the test, my worst intelligence, not shown in the graph above but visible if you click on it, is interpersonal. On that, I only scored 5%. Guess it goes hand in hand with the complete and utter introversion.


For shame…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:31 pm

After over a year of stagnation, the Proofreader’s Hall of Shame has finally been updated… with a whole new look, to boot!

And yes, I know, there are only a paltry ten new entries. There’s a reason for that: I’m planning on making at least one more update this month…


Un-Nintended benefits

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:32 pm

I’m posting this blog entry from my Nintendo DS.

I am such a geek. :-p


A very rough Safari

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:49 pm

Apple’s beta version of Safari for Windows is definitely not ready for prime time. Many people, myself included, have found that it doesn’t even display text in the UI on some configurations:

Serious bug in Safari for Windows

Edited 9:15 PM to add: Oh, this gets even funnier. A Bugzilla bug was started over at WebKit to document and troubleshoot this issue… and the consensus seems to be that it’s caused by having too many fonts installed for it to enumerate. Not anywhere near the maximum allowed by Windows; simply having over a thousand is enough to cause some fonts to be skipped.


The spelling bee ironies continue

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:27 pm

Remember how, two years ago, there was a contestant in the National Spelling Bee whose placard said he was from “Roanoake”?

Well, the placard proofreaders have managed to embarrass themselves yet again. This year, as evidenced by this photo from The Baltimore Sun, there was one speller who hailed from Baltimore, Maryalnd. Yes, that’s right: “Maryalnd.” (For the curious, here’s the article in which the photo was included; however, there’s no reference to the typo in the article.)

(Thanks to the people involved in this post on Digg for spotting the misspelling and tracking down the original source of the photo.)

Edited to add: Oh, I had seen this one and totally forgotten about it! The Virginian-Pilot‘s contestant was from Norfolk, “Virgina.” The article from which the photo is taken even makes reference to this unfortunate typo, unlike the Sun article.


New blog!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:56 pm

I’ve started a new blog on my site called Normal is Overrated, on the subject of autism and the autistic spectrum. Only an introductory post there so far, but I’ll definitely be adding more as time goes on.


Bee-lated congrats and related musings

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:09 pm

After being in the National Spelling Bee 10 years ago (wow, it’s been that long?), it’s become a tradition for me to watch the Bee on TV every year.

So, congratulations to Evan O’Dorney, who won this year’s National Spelling Bee on the word “serrefine,” a small forceps used for closing blood vessels.

It’s funny; normally I try to work a bit of wordplay on the winning word into my yearly Bee post, but this year, the word simply wasn’t general enough. I suppose I could’ve said something about “clamping down on the words like a serrefine” or “examining the words like a surgeon with a serrefine,” but it feels like stretching to have to use a simile like that.

And, as always, congrats to everyone who made it into the national bee— just getting there in the first place can be enough of a challenge in many cases.



True fantastic, indeed!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:53 pm

From the same bootleggers who brought you “Backstroke of the West,” some interestingly translated subtitles from “spider Men 3”. And no, that’s not a typo. (Found, appropriately enough, through a search for blog posts about bootleg subtitles.)

And yes, there is indeed reference to a good elephant in one of the subtitles, naturally. There are also some very interesting renderings of names.


Another random carfree musing

Filed under: Car-Free,General — codeman38 @ 5:14 pm

From the Washington Post, found via BoingBoing: Lawmakers Find $21 a Week Doesn’t Buy a Lot of Groceries

[Ohio Representative Tim] Ryan and three other members of Congress have pledged to live for one week on $21 worth of food, the amount the average food stamp recipient receives in federal assistance. That’s $3 a day or $1 a meal. They started yesterday. […]

According to the rules of the challenge, the four House members cannot eat anything beside their $21 worth of groceries. That means no food at the many receptions, dinners and fundraisers that fill a lawmaker’s week. […]

“No organic foods, no fresh vegetables, we were looking for the cheapest of everything,” [Massachusetts Representative Jim] McGovern said. “We got spaghetti and hamburger meat that was high in fat — the fattiest meat on the shelf. I have high cholesterol and always try to get the leanest, but it’s expensive. It’s almost impossible to make healthy choices on a food stamp diet.”

I think it would be interesting if lawmakers could participate in a similar challenge, but this one relating to transportation. They’d be deprived of the privilege of driving a car for a week; instead, they would be forced to use public transportation, on a limited budget, to take care of all the tasks they needed to accomplish. And not on Washington’s Metro, either, but instead using their respective hometowns’ transportation systems and their own two feet.

Perhaps this would help shed some light on how horrifically underfunded many public transportation systems are and how they vastly underserve the very communities that would otherwise make more extensive use of them, as well as how pedestrian-unfriendly so many modern roads are by design.

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