Wooden Tsuro tiles

Well, plywood, really. With printed paper glued on top to make the paths. What I actually want is a set of tiles where the paths and the background are made of different coloured wood veneer, but that would require investing in some new tools and spending a lot of time cutting the pieces. So, for now, I’ll settle for the plywood tiles so I can start playing.

IMG_1120-tsuro-full-set-top

Making the tiles

I started with a piece of cheap hardware store-grade 6,5mm plywood, which I cut into 44mm squares.

IMG_1091-tsuro-cut-pieces

Continue reading

Posted in Games, Making stuff | 3 Comments

The number of uses of the word “fuck” in Tim Minchin’s “The Pope Song”

This is a breakdown of how many times Tim Minchin uses the word “fuck” or some derivative thereof during the performance of “The Pope Song”, as performed in the Royal Albert Hall with The Heritage Orchestra.

fuck-count

The lyrics have 454 words in total.

“motherfucker” is used 42 times (9%)
“motherfucking” is used 11 times (2%)
“fucker” is used 4 times, 3 of which as part of “kiddie fucker”
“fucking” is used 17 times (4%)
“fuck” by itself is used 33 times (7%)

Other words comprise 76% of the words in the song (347).

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Carcassonne tile counter

While playing Carcassonne this Christmas, the discussion turned towards optimal playing, and how that would require memorizing the distribution of different tiles in the deck, as well as keeping in mind which tiles have already been played. We thought that making decisions based on knowing what’s left in the deck, instead of guessing, would make for a more interesting game. But, since we didn’t feel like memorizing all the cards, we figured it would be easier to just keep a list of which cards have been played and which ones were still available.

I created a simple web page that can be used as such a list for the base game of Carcassonne: Carcassonne tile counter.

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WordPress 4.0 not vulnerable

Related to my previous post, I emailed WordPress lead developers about the vulnerability, and got this response from Andrew Nacin:

We’re aware of the report and have been investigating. If you are running the latest version of WordPress (4.0), you have nothing to worry about.

EDIT 2014-11-21: WordPress 4.0.1 is out, with several security fixes unrelated to the major vulnerability discovered by klikki.fi. There are also security releases in the 3.x series.

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Comments disabled due to WordPress vulnerability

UPDATE 2014-11-10: WP 4.0 is not vulnerable.

The commenting feature on this blog has been temporarily disabled (using the Disable Comments-plugin) due to an apparently discovered vulnerability in all current versions of WordPress. The details of the vulnerability have not been published yet, but WordPress will publish fixed versions in the next few days.

I’m not certain disabling the comments will fully fix the vulnerability since no details have been published, but disabling commenting on all WordPress sites is something I’d recommend to everyone, just in case.

More information about the vulnerability in Finnish:
https://www.viestintavirasto.fi/tietoturva/tietoturvanyt/2014/11/ttn201411041006.html
http://klikki.fi/adv/wordpress_ennakko-fi.html

EDIT: There are rumours that the vulnerabilities are even worse. In order to prepare for that, I’ve now disabled write access to the database from my blog user, and removed write access to the file system as well, until more actual information is available. I’ve also wrapped an extra layer of tinfoil around my head.

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OS X 10.10 Yosemite phones home

After OS X 10.10 Yosemite came out, a lot of people noticed the OS sending private information to Apple’s servers without the user’s consent. I haven’t updated to Yosemite yet, and I might not update at all, largely because of such disturbing findings. Apple has released a statement saying “we take privacy seriously”, but sending my data anywhere should be my decision to make, not Apple’s.

In case I do decide to update to Yosemite later, I’ve compiled here all the settings changes that I need to do first thing after the update:

Disabling Continuity

“Continuity” is the name of the feature that allows you to continue working on the same files even though you switch devices. Unfortunately, this means that pretty much all your data and files(including ones you didn’t save!) need to be sent to Apple.

If you do not want files to be automatically sent to Apple’s iCloud servers, turn the feature off using the following method:

Click on the Apple icon (top-left of your screen),
Select System Preferences,
Click on iCloud, and
Deselect the “Documents & Data” checkbox.
You can continue to upload and download documents to iCloud using Apple’s iWork for iCloud apps. But your edited and unsaved documents will no longer be saved to iCloud, and you will lose automatic access to them on iOS 8 devices.
(http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/apple-mac-os-x-yosemite-secretly-uploading-private-data-icloud-servers-1471901)

Disabling Spotlight suggestions

By default, all your searches done through Finder and Safari are sent to Apple and/or Bing in order to give you autocomplete functionality in the search.

Luckily, Yosemite’s search-snooping can be switched off in seconds. In Mac OS X’s System Preferences, the functions can be found under “Spotlight” and then “Search Results.” From there you need to disable “Spotlight Suggestions,” “Bookmarks and History,” and “Bing Web Searches.” If you use Safari you will then need to disable the same “Spotlight Suggestions” function in the browser (under “Preferences” and then “Search”) to avoid having terms you type into its address bar shared with Apple by default too.
(http://www.wired.com/2014/10/how-to-fix-os-x-yosemite-search/)

Disabling sending location data

OS X sends real time “anonymous” location data to Apple.

To stop the sending of the location data to Apple, you need to disable Location Services.

Open System Preferences
Click on Security
Under the General tab
Click the Unlock button in the corner and enter your Admin password
Select the checkbox next to “Disable Location Services”
Close System Preferences
(http://osxdaily.com/2010/09/20/disable-the-sending-of-location-services-data-to-apple-from-a-mac/)

These are the ones I’ve found on the web so far. If you know of more things that Yosemite phones home about, please leave a comment below.

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Whiskygate

This has been discussed online at length, so I won’t go into details. In short, Finland’s State Regional Administration Agency (Avi) told the organizers of the “Beer and Whisky Expo” that if Google searches for “whisky” return links to their event, they’d lose their liquor licence and the event would have to be cancelled.

According to the organisers, Avi had then said that the event’s license might be revoked if google searches for whisky turned up links to the event.

Consider the implications of that. Either:
A) Anyone can cancel someone else’s event just by blogging about it, or:
B) There’s no way to limit or control the advertising of hard liquors online, since you can always do it “as a private blogger”.

I’m leaning towards B), since the above article also says that:

Helsingin Sanomat reported on Sunday that the head of Avi unit for southern Finland, Anneli Taina, would be seeking an explanation if they had indeed threatened organisers with license cancellation.

If Avi determines that their bureaucrat was in the wrong when they threatened with the cancellation of the licence, we can expect to start seeing a lot of “private bloggers” writing about events and products that can’t be advertised.

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Pepakura Iron Man helmet – Part 4

Continued from part 3

Day 16

Is there no end to the filling and sanding?

iron_man_2013-03-17_1

iron_man_2013-03-17_2

iron_man_2013-03-17_3

iron_man_2013-03-17_4

iron_man_2013-03-17_5

iron_man_2013-03-17_6

iron_man_2013-03-17_7

iron_man_2013-03-17_8

Posted in Making stuff | Tagged | 1 Comment

My worst job ever

I originally wrote this as a comment on the Tested.com Still Untitled episode about worst jobs, and it just seemed postworthy enough to publish here as well.

I ended up with my worst job ever after responding to an classifieds ad about “warehouse work”. I had previously worked at an auto parts warehouse driving a forklift and picking parts for orders, which was a completely decent job, so I figured this one would be something similar.

After I got to the address from the ad, I found myself in an office for a factory manager. He was nice enough, and led me to the factory floor for my orientation, which was given to me by a nice, if rather odd, middle aged woman.

“So, here’s your workstation. See, these spray cans of insecticide come from the conveyor belt on your left. You take 12 of them, put them in one of these boxes, and push the box along on the conveyor belt on your right!”

“Ok… and that’s it??”

“Oh, no. See behind you, there’s a machine that puts on the caps and the nozzles on the cans? You need to keep those vats filled with the caps and the nozzles from those big bags. If the bags run out, you get more from the storage room over there.”

“Ok?”

“That’s it, let’s get to work!”

So, I’d sit there, wait for the cans to come from my left, put the cans in a box, and push the box on to the next conveyor belt on my right.

You’d think that the mind numbing boredom of doing that would be enough, wouldn’t you? Alas, no. The icing on the cake was that if I neglected to fill the vat with the nozzles, the machine wouldn’t notice it. Instead, it would happily keep doing what it did, but without the nozzles, every time the machine tried to install one, it would instead spray a good amount of insecticide in the air. Right behind me, on a factory floor with poor ventilation. And it would keep doing it until I stopped the machine to fill the vat with the nozzles again.

So, instead of getting bored out of my skull doing repetitive and menial work, I’d get bored out my skull doing repetitive and menial work inside a cloud of toxic chemicals! It occurred to me that my co-worker might not have been born as odd as she was.

I lasted until the lunch break, at which point I went to the manager’s office, politely let him know that this wasn’t my idea of “warehouse work”, and left the building, still slightly dizzy from the fumes.

I’ve worked in a restaurant kitchen doing dishes, in a cafe preparing food and as a cashier, as a forklift driver, doing early morning newspaper deliveries, as a pizza delivery guy, a pizza cook, a removalist, an assistant webmaster for a government office, as a warehouse worker unloading containers, as a parachute packer, a parachute rigger, a tandem skydiving instructor, a cleaner in a coal power plant, a software developer and currently as a “technical project manager”.

Oh wow. I don’t think I’ve ever actually listed all of my jobs like that. That’s a surprisingly long list.

Anyway, having experience from so many different walks of life definitely gives some perspective. Any time I get unhappy about my current job, I try to remember that it could be much worse.

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Launching Newsbeuter from the Dock

There are plenty of RSS readers out there, but I just found one that fits my minimalistic CLI needs like a glove: Newsbeuter. It’s available for OS X via Homebrew (as well as multiple flavours of Linux).

Installing Newsbeuter wasn’t quite as straightforward as it could’ve been, especially since I wanted to be able to launch it into iTerm from the Dock, so I decided to document the process here.

  1. Install Newsbeuter via Homebrew
    $ brew install newsbeuter
  2. Once successfully installed, try launching the program.
    If you get an error message saying “setlocale failed: No such file or directory“, you need to set your LANG environment variable. Add this in your ~/.bash_profile and try again:
    export LANG="en_US.UTF-8"
  3. If Newsbeuter is happy with the locale settings, you’ll be greeted with an error message saying “Error: no URLs configured” along with a whole lot of other stuff and usage instructions. Add RSS URLs to your urls-file as instructed.
  4. You should now have a regular Newsbeuter installation up and running. Next, we want to be able to launch it from the Dock.

    Copy and paste this into your favourite text editor, and save it at "~/scripts/launch_newsbeuter.sh".

    #!/bin/bash
    # Script 2/2 of "Launching Newsbeuter from the Dock": "launch_newsbeuter.sh"
    # Requires "newsbeuter.app" to work.
    # See http://blog.xird.fi/launching-newsbeuter-from-the-dock
    
    # Make sure we don't attempt to open multiple instances of Newsbeuter.
    killall newsbeuter
    
    # Remove the lock file in case we have killed the terminal with the previous
    # instance of Newsbeuter, which would leave the pid file orphaned, preventing
    # us from running a new instance.
    rm -f ~/.newsbeuter/cache.db.lock
    
    # Run Newsbeuter
    /usr/local/bin/newsbeuter
    
    
  5. Add execution rights:
    $ cd ~/scripts/
    $ chmod u+x launch_newsbeuter.sh
  6. Launch AppleScript editor, and copy and paste this into it:
    # Script 1/2 of "Launching Newsbeuter from the Dock": "newsbeuter.app"
    # Requires "launch_newsbeuter.sh" to work.
    # See http://blog.xird.fi/launching-newsbeuter-from-the-dock
    #
    # This AppleScript was copied from
    # http://damonparker.org/blog/2005/09/14/iterm-tricks/
    tell application "iTerm"
    	make new terminal
    	tell the current terminal
    		activate current session
    		launch session "Default Session"
    		tell the last session
    			# Run the shell script that launches the terminal window that launches
    			# Newsbeuter.
    			write text "~/scripts/launch_newsbeuter.sh"
    		end tell
    	end tell
    end tell
    
  7. Save the AppleScript anywhere as newsbeuter.app by selecting “File format: Application” in the save-dialogue.
  8. Drag your new application in your Dock, and launch!

Since I wrote the instructions after I’d finished the installation myself, I may have omitted some steps. As usual, comments are welcome.

There is in fact one problem with the setup: If iTerm is running with no open terminal windows, the script crashes with an error message saying 'Can't get «class Ctrm» of application "iTerm".' If anyone knows how to fix that, please leave a comment. I suspect it just needs an extra check for creating a new window if there isn’t one, but it’s already way too late look it up right now.

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