Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Garden path sentence of the day

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:46 pm

First of all, if you’re not familiar with what a garden path sentence is, go read the Wikipedia article on them.

Now that that’s out of the way… this was an actual headline in today’s issue of USA Today (though interestingly, it was reworded in the web version), of which I’ve reproduced the spacing exactly as it appeared in the paper:

Obama’s ad
buys dwarf
TV presence
of McCain

I had to read that two or three times before I realized it had nothing to do with little people starring in Obama ads.


Yet another programming font hack

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:06 am

Now that the entirety of Google’s Android phone OS has finally been released under the Apache license, I have modified the Droid Sans Mono font so as to include a more easily distinguishable zero, for the benefit of my fellow programmers. I thought it was a great-looking font for the most part, but the vague distinction between 0 and O simply wasn’t good for peering through long listings of program code.

(Despite the Ascender copyright notices contained within the font files, they are indeed now licensed under the Apache license; check out the Git repository if proof is necessary. I have left the Ascender copyright in the modified font file, in keeping with the appropriate sections of the Apache license.)

So here is the modified font, which I have named “Code Sans Mono Z”. I had originally named it “Droid Sans Mono Z”, but there were potential trademark issues with my using the Droid name, hence the change.

Code Sans Mono Z


SELECT * FROM otaku WHERE geekiness > 9000

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:51 am

This is why I should not be allowed to buy action figures at Anime Weekend Atlanta:

Nagato-san likes MySQL

For those unfamiliar with that character, that’s Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. She’s an alien android who can communicate with the universe’s Data Entity and alter the state of the universe via rapidly spoken SQL statements. (No, seriously— this is canon. One of her image songs is even titled “SELECT”.)

So naturally, I had to have her posing in front of a MySQL administration interface.

I am truly a complete and utter geek.


Why good test cases are important

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:14 pm

I was cashing in some savings bonds earlier today at a bank which shall remain unnamed, and noticed a rather serious oversight in the design of the form they used for this task.

The form was one of those where they give you a limited number of character spaces to write things; I assume it’s because their database was originally designed with certain arbitrary field lengths.

There was an 11-character limit on the ‘city’ field.

I have family in Warner Robins, GA; Milledgeville, GA; and Jacksonville, FL.

Oh, and should I mention this is a large bank that formerly had headquarters in San Francisco?


Tweet, tweet

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:55 pm

Any readers using Twitter? I just joined it because, hey, I’m bored. :-p

If anyone actually wants to follow me, it’s the same username I use everywhere else.


Stupid scammer search-and-replace tricks

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:54 am

The latest phishing attempt sent to my UGA account has the following as one of the lines that’s supposed to be filled out:

“Country or TerUGAory : .. …….”

Why do I have the feeling this scam was originally intended for students at the Rochester Institute of Technology?


Epic phisher phail

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:06 am

I just got what may be the most inept phishing e-mail I’ve ever seen. And I’m going to quote it below just to show how absolutely mind-bogglingly bad it is.



Four capital letters printed in gold

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:48 pm

I just discovered the music video for Justice’s song “DVNO”, and it’s… a typographical feast, which I recommend to anyone who’s a typography geek.

But what’s particularly great is that pretty much everything in the video was inspired by TV and movie studio logos of the past. And as an Aspie who used to obsess over these sorts of TV-logo bumpers… this is fun trying to guess the inspirations. 🙂

Here’s what I’ve got so far…



Adventures in Bad CAPTCHA Design

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:35 pm

I was just trying to register for a forum today, and came across a CAPTCHA that looked like this (this isn’t the one that I actually failed, but it was generated soon thereafter):


Seems pretty easy, right?

Only one problem: it’s case-sensitive. That is, uppercase and lowercase matter.

“X” and “x” look virtually alike, except for size. “O” and “o” do as well. Same with “S” and “s”. And when the characters are distorted in size to begin with… good luck.

Let’s see… that’s five characters that are ambiguous in this particular CAPTCHA… which makes 25 = 32 different possibilities for how this CAPTCHA should be entered.

Oh, no, wait… that third character could also be a zero. That means there are not 32, but 24 * 3 = 48 different possibilities.

Did nobody actually test this before rolling it out?


Bad behavior from Bad Behavior

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:31 pm

Shows how often I update my blog here.

Turns out that, because of a glitch in the “Bad Behavior” plugin that I have installed here to counteract spambots, everyone was being prevented from commenting.

And because I post so little, I didn’t learn of this bug until 20 days after it was discovered, when I tried to post and was blocked from doing so.

So anyway, sorry for anyone who’s tried to leave a legitimate comment here during that time… I’ve upgraded to the latest version of the plugin, so only actual spammers should be identified as such now.

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