2013 January❮❮prevnext❯❯

playlist december 2012

December was only an ok month for me for finding new music. The stuff that resonated most was on the sad side, for kind of obvious reasons; but it felt like kismet or maybe some kind of synchronicity.

The four-star songs are marked in red; leading exclamation points indicate videos that are compelling (other than as a holder for the song)

Melancholy/Wistful Fun Covers Pop Southern -- again I'm bad at identifying/naming genres... all but the last one are from the Django soundtrack... (here's a website about the Django Unchained Soundtrack, Tarantino talking about my favorite "Unchained" starts at 48:00) Hiphop Electronic
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Going to Facebook has become the equivalent of opening the fridge & staring inside, even though you're not hungry.

The night Kim Kardashian got pregnant is the night she told Kanye, 'Imma let you finish.'

Ha, the format of trying to predict this year's Xth anniversary of Y headlines, stock art, and lead-in sentence feels right on.

January 2, 2013

spending all day in bed with someone, holding them, feeling palpable energy between the two of you, the sort of drugged frenzy that builds up between two people as they enjoy each other; that is better than france.
tropigalia's LJ

'Their, their.' - how to comfort an idiot.

January 3, 2013

One night the following winter, the old Dodge van broke down on the freeway near my house, and as I waited for a tow and the bitter cold edged in, I started playing that game I play when I'm feeling lonely, the one where I review all of my prior relationships, marveling that so many sweet, smart, pretty girls have come into my life and that I've found a way to fuck things up with every one of them. This game usually ends with me calling two or three of my exes and leaving miserable voice mails on their cell phones or their machines at home. Inevitably, one of their new beaus calls back to say, "Hey, man, I heard your message. Emilie's down in Chile for two weeks, but you sounded really down ... I just wanted to make sure you were doing all right."
Davy Rothbart, "What Are You Wearing" from "My Heart is an Idiot"

January 4, 2013

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
Winnie The Poo (in Winnie The Pooh's Homerun Derby)

(New York: Because We Want You to Know Where You Are and How to Get Where You're Going / Boston: Because Fuck You)
Best definition of burnout ever: 'your mind refusing to permit you to work, because it has seen what happens when it lets you work'

the retirement of major betty israel

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Today is my Mom's retirement ceremony, marking (if not quite concluding) 42-odd years of service in The Salvation Army.

For the ceremony, my mom assembled a bunch of photos, picked some music, and Amber used that beastly iMovie program to assemble a terrific slideshow:

(You might need Chrome or Safari to see; Firefox is angry about the video format, and IE is terrible. Sorry for any inconvenience but Chrome is easy to get)

I was asked to come up with the "Word from the Family" speech for the thing. Here's what I came up with, it has a lot of family anecdotes and describes life for an "OK" (Officer's Kid) in The Salvation Army. Some of the jokes are a little forced or corny but over all it was well-received.
I noticed the program lists this as "A Word from the Family" and lists me as "Kirk Logan Israel" and at first that gave me pause, because- growing up, when my mom busted out all three names, "KIRK LOGAN ISRAEL"- I knew someone was in hot water, and that that someone was me. But back to the names thing in a second.

As many of you know first hand, Officership is a family affair. Like you saw on the slide show, I came on the scene when my folks were stationed in Philadelphia, the city of brother love. I'm sure I enjoyed many of their famous cheese steaks before being whisked away to Cleveland at the tender age of 3 months.

Cleveland! The Land of Cleves. My folks were stationed at the Booth Memorial Hospital there. My mom tells me it was convenient being a new parent working at a maternity hospital! She got to borrow a bassinet and I became a fixture in the gift shop where my mom was doing some supervising, so Baby Kirk was a kind of a coming attraction feature for the pregnant folk there.

Our quarters were very near the hospital... this came in handy one night in particular -- I had been sleeping between my folks, and somehow I had rolled onto the floor and I banged my head-- I still have a scar over my eyebrow from that night. My dad threw on a jump suit (hey it was the 70s), my mom threw on a zip up nightgown and that's how they ran over to the hospital.

so the doctors did their thing, but on the way home, my mom was concerned... it was kind of a suspicious looking blow, and my parents had no idea how I managed to roll all the way over my mom to get it to happen... what should they say if Child Services came knocking?

My dad thought a moment, and announced there were three possible tactics they could use:
1. Indigation: "HOW DARE you accuse us of doing this to our child??"
2. Explanation: calmly describe the circumstances as they understood them, and hope for the best.
3. Or, he said, we can bring 'em to the basement and show them where we buried the other ones.

This kind of humor is about par for my family's course.

Our next appointment was our most interesting -- not to mention the warmest. St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas had more than its fair share of wildlife, like these little lizards ---- that our cat would hunt.... And catch..... And put in our shoes. Thank you cat!

There were also flying cockroaches. Island kids would make little cages for them and sell them to tourists as quote "mahogany birds". These tourists would then wonder why they couldn't bring their new cockroach pet back through customs... the first night my parents were on the island, in fact, one of those cockroaches flew into my dad's t-shirt. My mom always said that if it had landed in her nightgown, they would have been on the boat back to Puerto Rico that very night.

[I learned to talk there, and had a calypso accent for a number of years... they tell me my first words to my grandfather were a phone call, "Heyee, Pop-pa Samm". They talked really fast there, so if I'm talking fast during this speech, that's my excuse.]

After St. Thomas, it was back to Ohio: Cincinnati this time. Cincinnati had its own wildlife too-- tiny peeper frogs. I would catch these little frogs and carry them around everywhere in old kool-whip containers with holes in the lid. one family story is the time my mom was driving, with me napping in the back. My mom figured I was napping pretty soundly til about 20 minutes later I piped up with "Got 'Em All Back Now, mom!" -- looks like I had been studiously REcapturing my little minions the entire trip.

"Got 'em all back now, mom!" became my family's catchphrase for situations where you don't find out about a problem until its been safely resolved.

Time to move again. My parents were told the Army needed them again as corps officers, this time in the city of Salamanca. Their first reaction: "Where's Salamanca?" That would be a small town in Western New York... the only town built from land leased from an Indian reservation. My parents developed a close relationship with the people of the Seneca tribe, even being adopted into it. They also had good working relationships with several of the other churches in the area, often filling in as guest ministers. The Catholic school, St. Patricks, was just down the street... my mom volunteered at the music program sometimes, and I was one of the few kids who got a "clergy discount" from a catholic school.

I think Salamanca was where I most clearly saw the interesting gender role balance of the Army. I like telling people that the famous song only goes halfway--- I'm not just a sweet talkin' son of a preacher man-- I'm the sweet talkin' son of a preacher woman! My mom remembers how I used this as material when I had to write about gender roles for an essay contest; it was an interesting symmetry! One week, my dad would preach, and my mom would be doing the dishes. The next week, my mom would have the pulpit and it would be my dad's turn at the sink- there was a balance to it. (Plus, this kind of scheduling led my dad to astonish his friends with an ability to count forward and backwards by 7s, so he'd always know what date was what.)

And then 9PM one winter evening, a call. Glens Falls, another Empire State town, needed us and fast- we were there 3 weeks later.

then Finally, it was time to go back to Cleveland. As a form of weird, pre-teen protest at all the moving I started going by my middle name, Logan. This made for some confusion, and even now some Army folk know me as Logan, but others call me Kirk. At the Cleveland Temple corps, then-Captain Shenk said "Aw just call him Butch", and it stuck, so my full church name was Kirk Logan Brother Butch Israel Brother. Maybe you had to be there.

My dad passed away during our time in Cleveland, and the support of the community there was a blessing. Once I finished high school and my mom got her masters in social work, she was tapped to go to New York City. Her quarters where at the Williams Residence. It was still my home, even though I was at college, and she asked for a small room for me... it turned out to be down the hall from her 3 or so rooms, and it had its own little bathroom. Looking back, I realize that at this point, I had my own New York city micro studio apartment that overlooked Broadway... the gas stations of Broadway, but Broadway none the less.

But I had come back to the family stomping grounds of Boston for college , and stayed for the hot dogs. Meanwhile, my mom got to London, back to her roots in Boston, and finally down to Virginia. But now she'll be at my my family's placein Ocean Grove New Jersey -- God's Square Mile, they say, and she'll be finally free to be the true (gasp) blue-state Democrat that the family has always been at heart.

Thank you and happy retirement mom!!!

mom retirement family anecdote bonus #1

An anecdote that didn't quite make the cut for the speech I gave on behalf of the family at my mom's retirement ceremony:
Being an Officer family means you have to live pretty frugally. One Christmas my parents got me a "The Farmer Says" toy, where you pull the string and a voice says "The cow says... Moo!". Except the one they got me said things like "The dog says... Quack Quack!" "The turkey says.... Oink Oink!" While this amused my parents to no end, they took it back to the store to replace it with one that wouldn't mark me for life, animal recognition wise, and there wasn't cash on hand for both. When they played it for the clerk, well, it was a case of "The clerk says... 'Am I On Candid Camera'"?

It's weird to realize I still have the same model of dating ("commit", THEN date) that I developed in high school. On the one hand, it seems kind of natural, and conversely weird and unromantic to be juggling lots of dates with a set of people. On the other hand I think romance can and should be cultivated (not just found at first sight), and it should be ok to check things out and explore without too much fear of being morally wrong. How are grownups supposed to handle this?
If you're not always aiming at love for forever, are you doing it wrong?
I've got 99 problems and being a decaying organism aware of it's own mortality in a society run by money that i can't escape is one of them

January 7, 2013

I think I'm giving up on ThisIsMyJam for going through my "All Time Top 50". No "Soul Man"? Really?

January 8, 2013

Go Pro Trombone!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/specials/100greatestphotos/ - some terrific sports photos
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ -- new on my UI devblog, a fun html5 "roaming spotlight" effect..
Try sending people who don't like flowers because they die a dozen turtles with a little note that says 'We will all outlive youuuu.'

January 9, 2013

Tame it though we may try, sex has a recurring tendency to wreak havoc across our lives: it leads us to destroy our relationships, threatens our productivity and compels us to stay up too late in nightclubs taking to people whom we don't like but whose exposed midriffs we nevertheless strongly wish to touch.
Alain de Botton, "How to Think More About Sex"

Recursion is an act of faith.

The making of the Blues Brothers. Such an influence on my high school musician self.

January 10, 2013

Back in the day we used to read shampoo bottles in the bathroom like it was the internet.

How strange, how unexpected and how strange, that the establishing myth or narrative of Jewish and Christian morality deals not with murder, deceit, or theft but with expanded consciousness, with tripping. How strange to learn that our original sin--at least in the minds of those who wrote the Bible--was closer to taking mushrooms than taking a life.

mom retirement family anecdote bonus #2

In Cincinnati, our quarters had a built-in laundry chute to send clothes down to the laundry area in the basement. One evening my dad was taking a bath when my mom was doing the laundry downstairs. Realizing she had forgotten to bring down my jacket to be washed, she yelled up the chute "send down Kirk's jacket!". My dad decidedly failed to leap into action, continuing his bath while yelling back "I don't talk to no walls"-- probably our most durable family catchphrase, and illustrating our family's (or at least my) fondness of parlaying instant reactions into absurdist humor.
I'm semi-seriously adopting a new mantra: "I Like It". I want to program myself to cultivate my knack for seeing the good side of things.
The best way to know life is to love many things.
Van Gogh

some january photos


The bull is the eternal principle of life, truth in action.
Kakuan (via "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones")
It is not the same to talk of bulls as to be in the bullring.
Spanish Proverb.
(Both of these are from Phil Jackson's "Sacred Hoops")
eating is so badass i mean you put something in a cavity where you smash and destroy it with 32 protruding bones and then a meat tentacle pushes it into a pool of acid and after a few hours later you absorb its essence and transform it in energy just wow.

Honk if on windows you make a new .html file by making a New|Text Document in the folder and then you "sure you want to change it"

January 13, 2013

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
Paul Valery

Software project 1) On time 2) On budget 3) With quality. You can not able pick any.

orange in the 60s, mus in the 70s, poon in the 80s, wu in the 90s. - history of tang prefixes

I'm getting used to the darkness now. Living below the city, I eat what crawls by, I talk to who is near. My looks don't matter here.

100 years of Markov chains via http://twitter.com/ProbFact

from here I think. Informative!
What will survive of us is love.

New Blender of Love -- psyched that I automated a bunch of the usual scripts I used to build the beast every month...

annual media roundup

My annual media wrapup. All my numbers for movies and books and games are about the same as the last few years.

I think I ended up giving out too many 4 stars to talk about them sensibly. So, 5 Stars: No movies in the theate, but I found out "i ♥ huckabees", indeed... great existential playfulness. TV-wise, "Pulling" is this terrific show, like a grungy british anti-Sex in the Season. Unfortunately the first 2 or 3 episodes aren't great, but then it hits its stride, and the second season is just brilliance, so worth the Netflix streaming... I'm still not playing many games but I was reminded how much I loved "BattleTanx: Global Assault" on the N64. Bookwise, Egan's "Zendegi" was a maturation of his sc-fi "what would uploading people be like" themes (as seen in "Permuation City".) "The Last Policeman" was also sci-fi; it's what I wish the movie "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" would have been. On the geeky side, "10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10" was a deep study on old computers and even older concepts of randomness and labyrinths, and on the comic-geeky side "MetaMaus" provided deep insight into Spiegelman's art and his relationship with his father, and being so many people's insight into the atrocities of WW2.

Anyway, stuff in Red was 4 stars or more, stuff in gray was disappointing...

Movies at the Cinema (14)
The Hunger Games, The Dictator, The Avengers, Men in Black III, Casablanca, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Resident Evil: Retribution, Looper, Sinister, Rise of the Guardians, Django, Argo,

Movies on Video(43)
The Kids Are All Right, Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Cowboys and Aliens, Another Earth, Borat, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Hangover Part 2, Gone with the Wind, The Help, Be Kind Rewind, My Week with Marilyn, The Descendants, Fantasia, Zoolander, Emmanuelle Through Time: Emmanuelle's Sexy Bite, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, My Dinner with Andre, Knocked Up, The Royal Tenenbaums, Caged Heat, Postcards from the Edge, Paper Heart, The Men Who Stare at Goats, My Neighbor Tortoro, Brick, Thelma & Louise, I HEART HUCKABEES, Tiny Furniture, i heart huckabees, Perfect Sense, 3 Idiots, Art Of 16 Bars, Before Sunrise, Moonrise Kingdom, Primer, Exotica, Goodfellas, Marjoe, Clue, 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Swingers

TV Shows (19)
Pulling Season 1, PULLING SEASON 2, Spaced Season 1, Party Down Season 1, Spaced Season 2, Sherlock Holmes (BBC), Enterprise Season 1, New Girl, The Office: Season 8, Parks and Recreation Season 4, Modern Family Season 3, Girls Season 1, Mad Men Season 5, Portlandia, Archer Season 2, Portlandia, Enterprise Season 2, Archer Season 3, Sherlock Holmes Season 2,

Books (65)
The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness, 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know, Closing Time, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Distrust That Particular Flavor, 200 Brain Filling Curves: A Fractal Bestiary, The Illuminatus! Trilogy , 50 Mathematical Ideas You Reallly Need to Know, The Beginning of Infinity, Dragon's Egg, The Anthologist, Enter, The Most Human Human, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, How to Be Black, Letters from Hawaii, Down from the Top of its Game: The Story of Infocom, Basic Training, Love And Sex With Robots, The Magicians, Jacked, The Mirage, The Visible Man, Confessions of the Game Doctor, How to Do Things with Videogames (Electronic Mediations), Insanely Simple, The Postmortal, I Suck at Girls, Things my Girlfriend and I have argued about , Driving with Plato: The Meaning of Life's Milestones, Free Will, Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule our World, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, The Brain That Changes Itself, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation, Alien Phenomenology,or What It's Like to Be a Thing ..., The Children of the Sky, The Happiness Hypothesis, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, Bird by Bird, B is for Beer, Why is the Penis Shaped Like That, Constellation Game Extras, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, 77 Love Sonnets, Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast , The Kobayashi Maru, Mortality, This Will Make You Smarter, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, ZENDEGI, The Last Lecture, God is Not Great, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality 1-35, The Size of Thoughts, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, The Last Testament: A Memoir, THE LAST POLICEMAN, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears, METAMAUS, Mr g, Motorcyclus and Other Extremely Scary Stories,

Comics (21)
Supergod, Drinking at the Movies, Time and The Batman, Too Much Coffee Man: Cutie Island, The Zen of Steve Jobs, X-Men Days of Future Past, Hulk: Broken Worlds, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge, All Hail Megatron 1, Are You My Mother?, Fun Home, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, The Indelible Alison Bechdel, Too Much Adventure, Smut Peddler, Poorcraft, Black Summer, Brunhilda, School of Hard Knock Knock Jokes, Empowered 7

Video Games (9)
BattleTanx, BATTLETANX: GLOBAL ASSAULT, GTA3, Intec G5405 InterAct Complete Video Game Entertainment System, Grand Theft Auto III, Just Cause 2, Mansions of Madness, GTA: Vice City, Karateka

Day 1 of a Couch to 5K. Need: goofy reflective vest. Want: iPhone holster, app w/o ads, reassurance about my knee.
Guy working the alewife dunkies- at first I thought he might Belushi with less talent, but maybe it's Belushi without the cocaine

SMBC is so smart.
You have to understand, princess-- Prince Charming exists only in fairytales. In real life, there are only frogs.
Kiki de Montparnasse's Grandmama

January 15, 2013

This morning someone at Dunkies had ordered a "glazed donut, heated up". THEY CAN DO THAT?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Museum -- Warhol may well have put a crudely scribbled penis on the boon, making humanity's tradition of graffiti dicks interplanetary
Hard part in devops is make money from wheel after you are reinvent it.

I'm starting to suspect the abyss gazes into me no matter what I'm doing.

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com -- on my dev blog, a cool (albeit chrome only) way to ctrl-v paste images right into the browser -- really solved a problem for us.
from 22word's Scenes from the Inauguration Dress Rehersal:

anybody out there?

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Does anyone in the world use my RSS feed?

I should either ditch it or upgrade it so it has my "of the moment" stuff too.
Went out into the Wintry Mix for a new Couch to 5K Day 1, this time with Galloway's "Easy 5K" app that tweaks the tempo on my own music to give me a good target pace.
Live and learn, die and forget it all.
Anon (via Lila Albin)

Enter a small room. Doors close. When doors open, you're in a different place. Elevators are the next best thing to wormholes

'I check my Privilege.' 'Roll high!' 'Ew...1.' 'You start arguing that being punk rock in school was like being a minority.' #TwitterDnD

January 17, 2013

http://www.quora.com/Life-Advice/How-do-I-get-over-my-bad-habit-of-procrastinating -- this guide about procrastination and the baby reptile part of our brain was great.
Eclipse has become the Windows XP of the modern developers world.
'roses are red...violets are red...tulips are red...bushes are red...trees are red...oh god my gardens on fire'

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ - my UI dev blog about that Verge article on Arcades and the striking but simple CSS effect they use.
The trick to happiness is learn to embrace everything, because you can't stop the everything from embracing you. So: I Like It.

January 18, 2013

Day 2 of my Galloway 5K program. As an ex-Marching Band Kid, I gotta say having music set a pace is enormously helpful (and I can still adjust my stride to work it less or more). On the other hand, I am compelled to do a little stutter step so that "left foot on one" holds true when the music skips a beat in its transition.

crazy the scorpion ONLINE

For tonight's Klik of the Month Klub I collaborated with Leonard Richardson to make an online version of his surrealist card game Crazy the Scorpion. The idea is taking turns building up a grid of headline bits and trivial concepts, reading and interpreting the horizontal and vertical results as exciting news headlines after every turn. You can read a longer description of the original game at his site crummy.com.

January 20, 2013

Day 3 (end of week 1) of the Galloway Easy 5K program. It was the "long run" but it if stays this easy I should have no problem (PROTIP: it's not likely to stay quite this easy...) Still, I've always enjoyed my body's ability to jump and move around a bit-- the walk/run/walk nature of this (plus the musical pace setting) really is making a world of difference.

by Ted McCagg

coffee n cream

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January 22, 2013

Week 2 Day 1 of "Easy 5K". Feeling a possibly unwarranted brotherhood with other people jogging at this crazy cold and early hour. Most of them are beyond needing run/walk/run but it's nice to notice most all of them are jogging, not fast running like I suppose I generally assumed.
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/01/virginia-republicans-give-blacks-finger-mlk-day -- wow. I wonder why so many African-Americans don't dig the Republicans. Maybe because Republicans can act ABSOLUTELY reprehensibly?
Outside the window, Mark stood in the moonlight, serenading Vicky. Her heart remained closed, unmoved by the sounds of his tuba.

MAKE a Dubstep remix by playing a short bit of the original song before going WEEEEEEAAAAAAAARRRGGHHHAAAASSSHHHH WOBWOBWOB. @theinvisiblegor

January 23, 2013

At Harvard's IACS Computefest attending lectures on Markov Chains-- happy 100th birthday Markov Chains!

January 24, 2013

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How cold was it? My iced coffee (yeah yeah) was literally refreezing on the 5 minute walk from the T stop to my office.
Meanwhile on the Internet...

January 25, 2013

That was a cold run. (Come to think of it I guess the bike ride to Alewife won't be much warmer...)

January 26, 2013

My fifth Global Game Jam.... invented my own continuous deployment! http://heartcher.alienbill.com #ggj13

January 27, 2013

Wow, a "Where's George?" dollar travelling from MN 2010 to FL 2011/12 to MA 2013. Kind of a fun game, that site.



So I spent this weekend at the 2013 Global Game Jam, MIT Game Lab edition. My team of 3 made a head to head retro-style shoot 'em up for multitouch tablet devices such as iPad. You can play the result at http://heartchers.alienbill.com/ (our team page is http://globalgamejam.org/2013/heartchers )
After a 2 day break for game jam, back to morning jogs. Pleased to observe that the "measure your BMI by lightly zapping your feet" scale puts it at 26.9, .6 less than a simple height-and-weight measurement, though I take all of that with a grain of salt.
The essence of man has the form of a question.
Kundera paraphrasing Heideger

January 29, 2013

Man, I hate editors that autocomplete parens and quotes and braces and whatnot. It's not as if those closing characters are hard to type, and if you're trying to enclose some content you just pasted in, it's a pain; in short, it greatly reduces the predictability of the editor, and so is just a heap of UI fail.
via http://part12studios.com/promo/ggj2013/ :

After a long game jam weekend and serious crunch time at work, by 7:30PM I am making dumb and weird coding mistakes. Better hold off until tomorrow for the checkin...

January 30, 2013


better than average bench graffiti at park street

Draw a Dinosaur Day! --

January 31, 2013

Working with a laptop that has a particularly asshole-ish piece of shitware/malware/bundleware callde skip.do. Not content to just adjust a homepage, it even overwrites chrome's new tab screen with its search homepage... and it survives reinstalls of chrome.

coworker orange

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