Blathr Wayne Lorentz

What is Blathr?

“Harmful if swallowed”

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 Alive 19,146 days

A screenshot of a grocey list organized by macOS

MacOS Sonoma has a new feature that groups items in grocery lists by aisle, to make navigating the supermarket more efficient. Itʼs an interesting idea that needs a bit of help.

Based on what it put under “Beverages,” I think my computer is trying to kill me.

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Think of the computers!

Friday, September 15th, 2023 Alive 19,134 days

A screenshot from inside an iTunes music library

Appleʼs iTunes software has a habit of upgrading the music in a person's computer every once in a while, without telling them.

But if you're the sort of person who occasionally looks through one's file system, you see it in action, because anomalies arise when automation is allowed to make changes to something as arbitrary as music.

In the screenshot above, you can see the directory that stores a copy of the Tori Amos album American Doll Posse.

Of note is the song “Fat Slut,” which has been upgraded to “Fat S__t.”

The music isn't different. Mrs. Amos still shrieks, “Fat Slut!” into the microphone. But Apple has thoughtfully sanitized the song's file name to protect the sensitive circuits in its modern computers that might become offended by the term.

Nobody tell Fat Agnus.

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Tender vittles

Sunday, September 3rd, 2023 Alive 19,122 days

The Randallʼs deli case.

Going to the deli makes me sad. It reminds me that I used to always bring home a slab of turkey as a special treat for Henri. He knew when I came through the door with grocery bags that it was special treat time, and heʼd hop up on the kitchen counter and dig through the bags looking for it. He was never a patient creature.

Rest in peace, little friend.

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Peak nerd

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 Alive 19,121 days

It took me a while, but I finally managed to buy each of the original cartridges released with the Atari 2600 in 1977.

The sticking point was Star Ship. It took almost a year for one to show up on fleaBay for under $50.00. My budget was $5.00. So when one finally appeared, I was all over that Buy It Now button.

To mark the occasion, I put them in a stack on the dining room table, and took photos which I then turned into i-device wallpapers. They look pretty good on my iPhone. I haven't tried them on an iPad yet, but I made them with plenty of space around so that they'll work in both portrait and landscape on an iPad.

iPhone X screenshot of Atari cartridges pile
iPhone X screenshot of Atari cartridges in a helix

You may notice that the screenshot with the cartridges arranged in a helix has squiggles where the time should be. This is because on weekends, I don't want to know what time it is, and iOS doesn't allow one to remove the clock, so changing it to a language I can't read is almost as good.

It's also not possible to remove the date bar, but I can replace it with the weather, which is less awful than seeing the cold, bony hand of time scratching across the top of the screen.

The original wallpaper files I created are here:

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Friday, September 1st, 2023 Alive 19,120 days

This is what happens when you don't validate untrusted input

So, if I set up an iCloud e-mail address, all of the e-mail that everyone around the world sends without an address will come to me? That doesnʼt sound like fun at all.

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Lawyers on Mars

Thursday, August 31st, 2023 Alive 19,119 days

A portion of the text inside an R.E.M. Imitation of Life CD.

I have one of the Imitation of Life CDs that was sent to radio stations in early 2001 just before R.E.M. released the album. Today I noticed that the leaflet inside states:

Published by Temporary Music, administered in this and all worlds, inclusive, by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Emphasis mine

I'm so glad that music industry lawyers are getting addressing the problem of Martian music bootleggers.

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Youʼre a long way from Wall Street

Thursday, August 31st, 2023 Alive 19,119 days

I shall work here today. But first, lunch.

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Newspaper of record fails

Thursday, August 31st, 2023 Alive 19,119 days

Part of the boilerplate from the Chicago Tribune

It turns out, it is not possible to subscribe to the Chicago Tribune without an e-mail address.

Youʼd think a publication with the Tribʼs circulation numbers would make it easier for people to subscribe; not harder.

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Can't even spell googol right

Monday, August 28th, 2023 Alive 19,116 days

A screenshot of a borked Google Analytics page.

I always feel bad when a new company tries to make a big splash on the internet, and then has a hard time of it. I know how it is trying to do ambitious things with a small team and little funding.

In this case, it's a scrappy little startup called “Google,” and its product is called “Google Analytics.” As you can see, the web site is a disaster. Hopefully it gets some money and people to work things out.

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But I donʼt have Venmo

Monday, August 28th, 2023 Alive 19,116 days

A truncated e-mail notification

It looks like my meth dealer now does electronic billing.

Also, heʼs going to send me a bill tomorrow morning.

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I say, “Doctor!”

Sunday, August 27th, 2023 Alive 19,115 days

Iʼm starting to think that my doctor is completely untrained in what to do when someone puts the lime in the coconut and drinks it all up.

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Hopefully itʼs insured

Saturday, August 26th, 2023 Alive 19,114 days

Screenshot of an error at

Looks like some web developer at State Farm is having a bad day. Maybe I should call him a tow truck.

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You grow fries, they grow you!

Saturday, August 26th, 2023 Alive 19,114 days

The seed display at Home Depot

Today at Home Depot, I was surprised to find that you can buy french fry seeds.

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Our of your cotton pickinʼ mind

Saturday, August 26th, 2023 Alive 19,114 days

Cotton plants

One of my local nurseries is selling cotton. Next year, Iʼm totally growing to grow my own pants.

A cotton plant for sale
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Unhappy hours

Friday, August 25th, 2023 Alive 19,113 days

The phrase “Itʼs five oʼclock somewhere!” is very useful for convincing oneself to consume alcohol. Itʼs less useful for convincing your boss to let you go home early.

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Youʼll never blink

Friday, August 25th, 2023 Alive 19,113 days

A truncated instruction

All of the “in” devices are slowly blinking this season.

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More flashy is more safety!

Friday, August 25th, 2023 Alive 19,113 days

A Midtown traffic stop

Remember when police cars had just one, single rotating red light on their roofs?

This Harris County constable truck has over 50 flashing lights on it. Is a truck with 50 flashing lights more safe than one with 49 flashing lights? If more flashing lights is better, why not a hundred flashing lights?

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Narrow view

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023 Alive 19,111 days

I shall work here today. And also redact my screen.

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Data feed

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023 Alive 19,111 days

An error message from

Considering the state of the Randallʼs (Albertsonʼs) and Kroger stores in my neighborhood, Iʼm not surprised that H.E.B. canʼt keep up with demand.

Seriously, how is it possible that every time I go into Randallʼs, itʼs out of milk?

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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 Alive 19,110 days

An incorrect string

Somehow, I donʼt think this is right.

The tech industry would benefit from ditching “Move fast and break things” and segueing into “Attention to detail is a sign of quality.”

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Nes. Yo.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 Alive 19,110 days

A confusing message from Adobe

Adobe canʼt decide if Acrobat is up to date, or not. I finally had to uninstall the whole suite in order to get it to start making sense of itself.

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Book ʼem, Danno

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Alive 19,107 days

A panoramic view of Kaboom Books

This store has a wide selection of books.

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Itʼs curtains for view!

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Alive 19,107 days

Curtained blocks

The menʼs room at the Yale Street Diner features a set of homey curtains. If you part the curtains, you will find… more cinder blocks.

The entire wall is just cinder blocks. The curtain is a facade. The promise of a window is a lie.

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Does it have the pellet ice?

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Alive 19,107 days

The iconic red Pizza Hut cups live at the Yale Street Diner in Houston

I think this diner raided Pizza Hutʼs garage sale.

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As in “head in the clouds,” not Hollywood

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Alive 19,107 days

La La Land Coffee

I tried a new coffee joint today. Itʼs called La La Land.

The person who told me to try it said that itʼs a chain out of Los Angeles that hires mentally challenged people to give them a better life. None of that is true.

La La Landʼs web site doesnʼt say where itʼs from, but most of its outposts are in the Dallas area, with a sprinkling in the Houston area, and one in Santa Monica. So, Iʼm going with “It's from the Metroplex.”

Also, the workers are just normal cafe workers. The La La Land web site contains a lot of puffery about “giving back” and “being seen” and a lot of other trendy yet meaningless buzzphrases, but never says exactly how it achieves any of that, and certainly never goes anywhere near stating that it hires disabled people. So, no, itʼs all just a bunch of hooey.

The coffee, though, is pretty good.

I had a Cookies ʼn Dream Latte. Even though it has Oreo cookies and honey, it doesnʼt overpower with sweetness. It also contains “la la cloud,” which is think is Dumbass for “steamed milk.”

The decor is unusual, but fun. It reminds me a bit of the Woody Allen film Sleeper, but with a lot more yellow. Itʼs kind of retro-futuristic, in a 2001: A Space Odyssey-meets-Benjamin Moore Golden Orchards #329 way.

I thought it was bright, and lively, and cute. To my slight surprise and complete dismay, the people at the next table couldnʼt grok it. The aging Millennials with the tired vocal fries complained, “Whatʼs with all the… yell-o?” Sorry youʼre too cool for school. Maybe youʼd be more comfortable at Starbucks, or perhaps suckling at your Keurig.

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Smoke ʼem if ya got ʼem

Thursday, August 17th, 2023 Alive 19,105 days

A macOS operarting system update in progress

The companyʼs InfoSec team insists that itʼs super important that I update my computerʼs operating system as soon as possible.

So, I guess this is what Iʼm doing at work for the next few hours.

† “Information Security”

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Thatʼs 11:16PM

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023 Alive 19,104 days

Something that didnʼt need to be a region-wide alert

Do you want to get people to disable emergency alerts on their cell phones? Because this is how you get people to disable emergency alerts on their cell phones.

But at least the police destroyed some innocent guyʼs entire house with a tank making the arrest.

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Start me up!

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023 Alive 19,104 days

A screenshot of a broken Microsoft web page

This Microsoft Azure web page promoting Redmondʼs acumen tells me two things:

  1. Microsoft spends more than $1 billion annually on cybersecurity research and development.
  2. All those rumors about Microsoft disbanding its Quality Assurance department in favor of “AI” and “telemetry” were true.
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At least someone finally cleaned the sidewalk

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 Alive 19,103 days

Suds pooling on the sidebwalk below a broken pipe on the outside of the AC Hotel

Have you ever wondered what it looks like when a hotelʼs 100-year-old cast iron laundry wastewater pipe breaks, raining suds down on the street below?

Todayʼs your lucky day.

Suds raining down from a broken pipe on the outside of the AC Hotel
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What happened to the Mac BU?

Monday, August 14th, 2023 Alive 19,102 days

An insufficient menu item

Hereʼs another example of how Microsoft no longer understand Macs.

When trying to attach a file to a message in Microsoft Outlook, it gives the option to Browse this Mac. Thereʼs a reason that real Mac-native apps donʼt use that language. They just use “Browse.”

This is because the resulting file dialog allows me to browse not only “this” Mac, but also other Macs, as well as file servers, other locations on the internet, or even a P.A.N.

Microsoft used to have a very thorough and competent group called the Mac Business Unit. The Mac was where Microsoft tested new Office features before rolling them out on Windows. I guess all of that has been value-engineered into oblivion.

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Iʼll take two bomb pops and one of those things with the strawberry crunchies on the outside

Saturday, August 12th, 2023 Alive 19,100 days

A precariously parked purveyor of popcicles

I am very glad to see an ice cream truck prowling downtown Houston.

I will be very sad when a Metro train turns him into soft serve for parking on the train tracks.

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If you set something free and it comes back to you…

Saturday, August 12th, 2023 Alive 19,100 days

A sad Sony CD player at Goodwill

In 2006 I donated a Sony CDP-435 five-disc CD player to Goodwill.

I wonder if this is it.

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