The Dancer in the Shadows

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MS Word vs MS Publisher and Printing Envelopes

Quite irritating...

MS Word has all these nice built in templates for envelopes, but can't seem to grasp the paper direction when trying to actually print it.

Thirty seconds in Publisher using a custom paper size and turning the words sideways on the page and I have my sample envelope printed...

And for tomorrow's actual bulk envelope print where it will be reading addresses from a database, I've already decided I'm just going to shell script it in Linux and be done with it.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

The Hunt for a Friend

... I'm not entirely certain how to start this hunt.

A friend of mine that I'd fallen out of touch with due to personal issues in her life as well as mine that overlapped and made contact truly impossible reached out to me on an email address I'd stopped using. Just a simple "hello how are you" message, but it was missed as I'd stopped monitoring the account. When I checked the account again and saw the message, I replied, eager to reopen communication, only to receive a failure message from the hosting server...

The email address was the only contact information I had for her, and it was a pseudonym she created for contact with the group we were part of. I am trying to find if this group even still exist now, but if they don't, i don't know where else to go in looking for her...

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Random Comments, vol V

I know some of you have no other way to contact me than this blog, so
I plan to have a random comments post often enough to keep one on the
current page. Feel free to say absolutely anything you want here...

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

On Struggling Through Darkness

Life happens and darkness comes for us all at some point. While in the darkness, it is sometimes difficult to remember that the darkness will end, even if we can't see the end yet. When you come out of the darkness, learn from it and you will be stronger for having passed through it. We are never the same as we were before any experience, good or bad. Every experience, without exception, changes us in some way. Our experiences and our learning from those experience are the hammer and chisel that carve us into who we are. Being a hammer and chisel, experience is going to hurt sometimes, especially in the darkness.

You will come through the darkness and into the light again.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"You Can't Pick and Choose"

I've debated with a great deal of very religious people who (at least initially) tell me that I am just flat wrong in my support for marriage equality for same sex couples because the Holy Bible clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination and you can't pick and choose the parts of the Bible you like.

I usually respond with a rather flat, "have you actually read the Bible?"

They look at me like I just grew another head and stammer that of course they have read the Bible.

That's when I smirk or giggle.

After I regain some composure, I start asking questions that really make them squirm and start denying things that are in the Bible.

Here is a sampling, and I have chapter and (where appropriate) verse (sometimes it is the entire chapter) for these to back it up.

* In some cases, prostitution is held up as the morally right thing to do.
* I may sell my daughters into slavery, as long as I get a good price for them.
* I may own slaves, both male and female, as long as I purchase them from neighboring nations rather than my own nation.
* Anyone working on Saturday is to be put to death.
* Eating shell fish of any kind is an abomination.
* Any male who trims his hair is to be put to death.
* Planting two different crops in the same field is grounds for death by stoning.
* Wearing clothes made of two different kinds of thread is also grounds for death by stoning. (cotton/polyester blend anyone?)
* Sex with your dead brother's widow until she got pregnant is a requirement if your brother died childless.
* I may have sex with someone else's female slaves as long as I pay the slaves' owner "full compensation"
* If I rape a free virgin, then pay her father 50 shekels of silver, she is now my wife. The only limit to the number times I may do this is the amount of silver I have. (For reference, a shekel was between eight and fifteen grams of silver. With the current (May/2013) price of silver, that is between $280 and $525)

And this sampling is only from the first five books. It was amusing at first watching their expressions as they actually read these for themselves and then try to back peddle their "you can't pick and choose" stance without actually renouncing it... Now I'm just irritated by it.

Has human society in general failed so badly that people can't admit they were wrong about something? These examples are very very clear evidence that no Christian denomination is truly following the "you can't pick and choose" doctrine, even if only through abject ignorance. And yet, even some people I've had this debate with, and showed them the chapter and verse in their own Bible, still tell me that I "can't pick and choose from the Bible," and that I'm wrong for supporting marriage equality for same sex couples "because the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination." The difference now is that they run away fast before I can start the debate again. Most that I've had this debate with simply avoid me thereafter.

The complete failure to be able to cope with the evidence presented to them reminds me a great deal of the Doublethink concept as described in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and seeing it so often in otherwise very intelligent people honestly terrifies me.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Online Drawbacks

Stumbled upon a drawback to my use of online billpay... I tend to not be as attentive to the details on the actual bill... lesson learned (I hope) as I just discovered a $9/mo charge that has been on my internet bill for over a year for a service I have never used and didn't even know existed...

Over $108 wasted because I wasn't paying attention... not the most expensive lesson I've ever learned, but hopefully I actually learned this one so I don't have to repeat it again...

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Monday, May 13, 2013

Additional Testing

Email to post from a computer seems to work fine, it is only email to post from my phone that seems to have the issue with "cleaning" the "extra" line breaks out of my posts.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

"I'm on the latest version"

I work in tech support.

"I'm on the latest version" as an answer, when I ask what version and build a user is on, is one of those answers that really makes me want the ability to strangle people through a phone line.

Stop and think about it. Is the user really likely to check for the most recent available update before answering that question? Ever? Beyond that, the "latest" version is normally an Alpha release that is not available to general users, and even a Beta release that is available is certainly a later release than the most recent stable release; if you are actually on a Beta release, and you are calling me, something is wrong. The company I work for does not do general availability Beta releases. If you are on a Beta release, you are testing a new feature you requested, and you should be contacting the Development team directly. I can't help you with the Beta releases. Except under special circumstances, I'm not allowed to. I'm not part of the Development team.

We do make bug fix builds from the code tree on a frequent basis. I don't know Q/A's process for determining when to cut the branch and make it an official Service Pack, but it happens, and the bug fixes and new features continue on a new branch after the cut off point. In this way, there is always a newer release than the currently downloadable Service Pack. With the extensive Q/A testing done for an official Service Pack over and above the standard testing every new build receives automatically when the compile completes before it will even be considered for release to a customer, there are typically at least five new builds after the Service Pack before the Service Pack is even made generally available. I have personally delivered one of these post Service Pack builds to a customer because it had a new bug fix that the just finalized Service Pack did not have, before the Service Pack was finished with the extensive Q/A testing.

Unless you received the latest build in the last ten minutes, I will guarantee you are not on the latest build, and telling me you are does not help either of us.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Testing Results: Quirky and Inconsistent

I have done preliminary testing of blog posts via SMS, MMS, and email, and am not completely satisfied with any of them.

Email posts appear in drafts as expected; however, they are devoid of all "extra" line breaks that make paragraph differentiation so much easier and I am left with a single huge block of text. So far I have not found a way to disable this unwanted "cleaning" of my posts.

SMS posts publish instantly without a title. The lack of a title I somewhat expected, but am not happy with. The instant posting surprised me as I expected it to be held in drafts after having configured remote delivery posts to be held in drafts. It seems that does not apply to SMS remote delivery...

MMS posts share the unexpected instant posting with SMS, and I don't seem to have any control over where picture files show up (the very start of the post, just below the title), but my extra line breaks are all present. The largest limitation of the MMS posting is size; it is limited to only one kilobyte. This is an MMS limitation outside of the control of the blogging service. Also not likely to be a problem very often. One kilobyte is a lot of text for typing on a phone, and the picture attachments do not seem to count toward the one kilobyte limit.

I will likely do more testing as time goes on, but so far I think my best bet for posting remotely will be to email to myself, and then copy/paste when I am at a computer.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Resurrections and Rebirths

For years, I told myself I don't have time for a blog, I had too much else going on that required my immediate attention...

And the more I told myself this, the more it began to feel hollow and empty; like I was somehow not understanding some aspect of the idea that was critically important to me. Perhaps I was even hiding it from myself.

A few months ago, I took several days away from absolutely everything for a period of deep introspection. I'm not done yet with the aftermath of that introspection, but one of the conclusions I did come to was that I need the outlet that the blog provided me with. This is a place where I can say things completely openly; where I can simply let things out and let them go. A place where I can share things and get feedback without the need for scheduling appointments.

I don't yet have a clue what will find its way to my blog, and I don't really care. I'm not going to filter things, I'm not going to hold back. Whatever it feels like needs to be released here will be released here.

Some of it will be nearly pointless to most; just something I feel like putting up.

For example, today my breakfast is an experiment. Peppermint-strawberry oatmeal. It isn't finished "cooking" yet, but it smells good. I've no idea how it will taste.

I'll also say here that I often seem to have slightly different meanings for some words and phrases than most people seem to have. The "I don't really care" statement above is likely one of them. In this instance, I will say that I do care about my blog. With the self-revelation that I need the outlet, its importance to me has also been clarified. The very specific part I do not care about is filtering what I post. I'm not politically correct, and hope I never become so diluted.

Some of this will be rants I'm sure. I'm now divorced and still living at the same address as my Ex due to financial constraints; I'm sure anyone who's fought with an Ex can understand the need to vent sometimes. The divorce is now over a year old, and most of the time now it is just a little awkward. Still, I do look forward to (eventually) having my own place. So much is still up in the air though regarding the financial aspects. Feeding the kids and gas to get to/from work very strongly trumps any thoughts of my own place while I still have viable shelter where I'm at.

I will also be playing with email-to-post options and considering moving my blog to a different platform that gives me more direct control and more ready archive abilities. I do not like that I currently don't have an easy or reliable option to export my current blog and import it into something else. If I had that already, I might simply leave it here because I knew the option was available. As far as I can tell, I currently don't, and I am really fond of backups and data integrity that I can actually use myself.

And so, after much pain, loss, rearranging, and reflection, I am reborn, and a part of that rebirth is the resurrection of my blog.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows