BlathrWayne Lorentz

Does your landlord know about this?

Thursday, June 1st, 2023 Alive 19,028 days

A napping bee

This morningʼs promenade in the garden revealed a sleeping bee and a baby pepper.

A perfectly puny pepper
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Dumb terminals

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 Alive 19,027 days

I am both impressed and disappointed with macOS.

I set up a new user account so that I could telnet in to a macOS box to perform certain tasks that can only be done via telnet, and with a CLI.

Not surprisingly, in 2023, macOS doesn't come with terminal definitions for a TRS-80 Model 100. It's a 40-year-old machine, so it makes sense that I would have to build my own. Which I did.

But as I was doing so, I noticed that macOS still comes with terminal definitions for far older, and more obscure computers than the one I'm connecting to it with.

  • Altos machines
  • Amigas
  • Apple Lisas (natch)
  • 85 types of AT&T terminals
  • C. Itoh (I didn't even know C. Itoh made computers)
  • Commodore B-128s
  • HeathKits
  • I.B.M. computers running Aixterm in Japanese
  • Microbees
  • Minitels
  • Dozens of NCR terminals
  • Several types of Kaypros
  • Four types of Zenith machines

Granted, these terminal definitions are just part of the stock set that is packed in with many Unixes. But I still find it surprising that after a half-century, these files continue to proliferate, and still exist, even though the number of people who would use them is basically zero.

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Squint harder

Sunday, May 28th, 2023 Alive 19,024 days

The New York Times on a TRS-80 Model 100

Weekend project: Coming up with a harder, slower, less-reliable way to read the New York Times. Mission accomplished.

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Underwater Armour

Sunday, May 21st, 2023 Alive 19,017 days

Show me an armored aquarium, and Iʼll show you a fish tank.

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Rough patch

Saturday, May 20th, 2023 Alive 19,016 days

The Houston Botanic Garden isnʼt the worldʼs greatest botanic garden. Itʼs probably not even in the top 100. But itʼs less crowded than Hermann Park, and after a long series of misguided “improvements,” it's added a coffee cart, so I keep going.

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Click on all of the things!

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023 Alive 19,006 days

A counter-intuitive dialog

Can you figure out how to close this error message dialog box? No, itʼs not by clicking on the red circled × that looks exactly like a close window control. You do it by clicking on the ellipses.

Good job, Microsoft.

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Smells the same

Thursday, May 4th, 2023 Alive 19,000 days

A Budget Waste truck

“Budget Waste?” I didnʼt even know the legislature was in town this week.

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Zoom excuses

Monday, April 17th, 2023 Alive 18,983 days

Guys, I gotta go. The cat just barfed on my computer plug.

The magic of work-from-home.

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You have nothng to worry about

Sunday, April 16th, 2023 Alive 18,982 days

I donʼt think I could ever date a movie starlet. Movie stars are people who make their living pretending to be things they are not. How could you ever really trust someone who is a professional liar?

Not that I was ever in danger of being wooed by an actress. Still, lying seems endemic to the entire social, moral, and monetary economy of Hollywood. Take, for instance, this movie poster for the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon.

The Maltese Falcon movie poster

It features a pair of disembodied Bogart hands, each paw with a pistol, furiously filling imaginary bad guys with lead. The testosterone-tantalizing tag line reads, “A story as explosive as his blazing automatics!”

Except, that at no time in the movie does Bogart shoot any bad guys. The closest he gets to violence is backhanding a dandy half his size. His character even makes a point of it in the movie:

Cop: What kind of a gun do you carry?

Bogart: None. I donʼt like ʼem. Of course, there are some at the office.

Cop: You donʼt happen to have one here?

Bogart: Shakes head “no”

So why did the movie studio so conspicuously add non-existent gun battles to this movie? After viewing many dozens of 1940ʼs and 1950ʼs movies and their associated posters, my inexpert opinion is that it was to get men to agree to take their female companions to see the pictures.

Bogartʼs lady fans were more than ready to consume whatever tale he told on celluloid, no matter what the actual story. But getting the men to go along required a little extra push. You can also see this in the titles and artwork of other films of the era that use cheesecake imagery and vaguely-naughty titles that have little to do with the actual content of the films.

Itʼs for this reason that when presented with an old movie, itʼs important not to judge the film by its poster. The two may be only distantly related.

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Maybe they didnʼt pay their copay?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023 Alive 18,977 days

A clamped cart

How many parking tickets does the Methodist Hospital courtesy buggy have to rack up before it gets booted by Methodist Hospital?

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Go figure

Monday, April 10th, 2023 Alive 18,976 days

An anonymized stick figure on Apple Maps

Among tech companies, Apple has a reputation for being the tightest with protecting peopleʼs privacy. Apparently, that extends to stick people on road signs.

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I can taste the spirals

Saturday, April 8th, 2023 Alive 18,974 days

A packet of Nutty Chocolate from Ampersand Coffee Roasters

Todayʼs coffee is Nutty Chocolate from Ampersand Coffee Roasters in Colorado.

Bull shit is good for fertilizing coffee crops. And bullshit is apparently a key ingredient in this coffeeʼs marketing. The package is so crammed full of sanctimonious later-day hipster buzzwords that thereʼs barely room for the trophy case of “look how extra I am!” stickers. The only thing missing is a gold participation star from Mrs. Keaneʼs kindergarten class.

Howʼs the coffee? Itʼs slightly below average. The flavors arenʼt as pronounced as the packaging would have you believe, and thereʼs a bit of a chemical-style aftertaste. It is unkind to say that the coffee doesnʼt live up to the hype, because no coffee could possibly accede to the level of boastful globalist hype cosplay in which this company engages.

Still, those poor coffee beans. The weight of the global order is on their shoulders. The only way to put them under more pressure is to actually put them in an espresso machine.

The package promises they will “[provide] the ultimate holistic coffee experience through quality coffee, womenʼs empowerment, environmental regeneration, and upward spirals.”

Itʼs a bag of coffee beans, not a United Nations resolution.

I find it curious that a company so aggressively engaged in forthrightness as performance art should describe its product as “An insane blend of our nuttiest and most chocolaty-tasting coffees.” I guess Ampersand didnʼt get the Slack message that youʼre not supposed to use the word “insane” anymore, as it offends those who choose to be offended on behalf of imaginary mentally unstable people they donʼt even know.

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lɒiɿɘqmI ɘʇɒƆ

Friday, April 7th, 2023 Alive 18,973 days

Three things I learned from watching the 1944 film The Conspirators:

  1. Nazis thugs have really good penmanship.

    A Nazi writes down a potential spyʼs name
    Casually jotting down a guyʼs name in perfect Palmer
  2. The mirrors in Portugal are defective; they project an image, instead of reflect the image.

    A cigarette girl looks at her projection in what is supposed to be a mirror
    I canʼt fix my hair in that
  3. Lisbon has the same johnny pumps as New York.

    A car pulls up to the curb in what is supposed to be Lisbon
    Yep, thatʼs totally Portugal. Not a generic New York movie set in any way.
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