Yahoo Mail Spam April 24, 2015

I recently signed up for a new Yahoo account to use with Flickr. I have not shared the email address with anyone or any service besides Yahoo and Flickr. However, I have already received spam emails to the account. Do spammers simply bombard every permutation possible, or did they somehow get the address? I find the former more likely; the address is a derivative of my name. I do find it offensive, however, that I do not even need to distribute my email address before I receive spam messages.

World War I April 06, 2015

World War I was started by the assassination of the Austria-Hungarian Archduke Francis Ferdinand. To quote my history textbook:

Waiting for him [Ferdinand] along the designated route were seven assassins armed with bombs and revolvers. The first would-be assassin did nothing, but the next man in line had more resolve and threw a bomb into the open car. … Trying to kill himself, the bomb thrower swallowed cyanide and jumped into a nearby river. The old poison only made him vomit, and the water was too shallow for drowning.

That must be the most epic fail of an assassination attempt in history. Not only did the bomb glance off Ferdinand’s arm without hurting him, he tried two different methods to commit suicide and neither worked.

In the meantime, Princip swallowed poison, which also only made him sick. When he tried to turn the gun on himself, a crowd intervened.

Princip, another of the assassins, shot Ferdinand and his wife dead, then managed to fail at committing suice as well. While ultimately causing a war that lead to millions of deaths, the assassins were not very good at assassination.

(Traditions & Encounters, Bentley and Ziegler, McGraw Hill, page 763)

TI Connect January 16, 2015

Dear Texas Instruments,

I was required to buy one of your graphing calculators this year for algebra II at school. I gave you $100+ and bought a TI-84+ C Silver Edition. This is a very nice calculator, and generally works very well. However, I would to be able to solve systems of equations using this calculator. It can already solve almost any single equation you throw at it, given the values of all variables but one. I searched online, and your website offers an app called “Polynomial Root Finder and Simultaneous Equation Solver App for TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition” (nice name, by the way). To install applications on my calculator, I must install your TI Connect software on my computer. Thankfully, you have released a Mac version of this. I can tell that you have not updated it in several years (it says it only supports through 10.8, which was released two years ago), but at least you do not block newer versions like Linksys does. I downloaded the installer, and my computer informs me that I must close all applications and log out to complete the installation.

This begs the question, why? What is this application doing that requires me to completely log out to install it? The only other software that requires this is OS updates, which is understandable as they change the core of the system. TI Connect, though, only connects to a calculator via USB. As a programmer myself, I do not understand why this requires a log out. If it required a full reboot to change something in the kernel, I would understand. However, logging out and back in only restarts the window server and all running applications. No other applications should be affected by your software, nor should the window server. I find this decision by your developers to be rather odd. I would appreciate any insight.

Thank you for creating nice calculators, but your desktop software, at least on a Mac, is somewhat lacking.

Josh Oldenburg

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