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Messages - IainB [ switch to compact view ]

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I just saw this now. Looks like a silly spam attempt to promote the iPad GoodReader app. (PDF reader).

Living Room / Re: Apologies, confessions and a bit of a rant
« on: February 10, 2019, 10:54 PM »
@oblivion: Interesting case you describe here.
I discussed this with a friend of mine who is an employment lawyer. He has seen the sort of thing you describe happen to others before, in 3 different countries. He has a really lateral thinking type of approach, and has many major wins for his clients under his belt. This is the gist of what he says (I was taking notes!):

The cause: Essentially, if someone - typically a manager - decides to directly or indirectly perpetrate an "attack" on a person/target - threatening their employment prospects - in this way, it will typically be because, for example:
  • (a) The perpetrator has been directed to do so (e.g., because management are upset that the target has not toed the line on something that scares them and it may risk exposing their incompetence/law-breaking/mistake, but they don't have a valid reason to fire you).
  • (b) The perpetrator feels a personal malicious intent towards you and personally wishes to get rid of you (and sometimes your work associates as well), for some perceived crime or grievance reason - it doesn't necessarily have to make a lot of sense, either.
  • (c) You may be perceived as simply being in the way of the perpetrator's career progress, and therefore a threat to be disposed of.
  • (d) The perpetrator is a social psychopath and you happen to be his/her unlucky target (not so common, but it does happen and is apparently a relatively well-documented syndrome in corporations).

The perpetrator might not be a "bad" person, per se, but could be deficient in some regard of personality/character and is compensating by attacking you, especially if they (say) feel that your presence or good actions risk showing them in a correspondingly bad light, by comparison (this is apparently not uncommon).
The perpetrator may try to use every trick in the book to cast you in a bad light, including, but not limited to some pretty typical ones:
(i) Engineering the performance review: Ensuring that you get a bad performance review or bad 360° feedback reports (e.g., getting your co-workers to "independently" report their concerns about you, etc., yet it is all fabricated). The co-workers who are dumb/gullible enough to make such reports may have no feelings pf animosity towards you, may not realise that what they are reporting will be used against you - as a hatchet job - but are obligingly making a report because they have been asked or instructed to do so. People in this category go along with it because they may be just dumb, or fearful for their own safety/job protection, or lack the spine to object to it and daren't object as that would be raising their heads above the parapet.
(ii) Entrapment: Trying to entrap you in a manufactured situation which could show you in a bad light (try to ensure there are independent witnesses to your dealings) - e.g., journalists do this all the time as a matter of course (think fake news).
(iii) Falsification: Falsifying reports about you and what you may have said, losing the context (try to avoid having one-on-one meetings with such people).
(iv) Mis-direction: e.g., (say) to draw people's attention away from something they'd rather was kept covered up/concealed (another journo trick and one well-practiced by politicians).

Why does the persecution treatment persist?
  • You're authorised as the target: Maybe you did something wrong to deserve it in the first place, but regardless as to how it actually started, the only reason you are continuing to get the slow torture treatment meted out to you as you described is probably that the perpetrator (behind the torture) is being supported (for whatever reason) by the boss, and thus by the HR dept.
  • Without that support, it couldn't happen and would have been killed stone dead.
  • The HR dept aren't there to help YOU - they are most decidedly NOT your friends and are categorically NOT interested in fair play as they are there with the express objective of ensuring that the company personnel are managed rigidly as per contract and to protect from and minimise legal risk/cost to the company under any/all circumstances of employment (think Google's no-option-but-to-fire software engineer James Damore, whose carefully-constructed "open" essay gave the perception that it could effectively implicitly offer a de facto criticism of Google's hiring processes as being sexist, which criticism Google, of course, could never have tolerated or admitted to, as Delmore would probably have been only too well aware).

What can you do about it?
Probably not a lot as far as you seem to be heading at present. However, instead of repeatedly defending yourself by repeatedly throwing your efforts at a brick wall, treat the whole thing as an opportunity.
You can't really want to work there any more after the way you have been treated. From what you describe, they must want to get rid of you pretty bad. That will have a dollar value - it will probably already have been costing them a lot to get thus far. Somebody's budget will be copping those costs, and it will be an unproductive indirect cost to be charged against profits. You can't run a business like that. Companies can't afford to support dysfunctional and costly petty political fun-and-games, so there is probably something serious at the root of it. Follow the money. Under what circumstances would these behaviours make sense? Where is the profit in these behaviours? Who is protecting whom, and why?

My lawyer friend suggested that you go and talk to a decent employment lawyer about it and discuss the idea of constructive dismissal. The company have already goofed and apologised for that goof (from what you write) and that latter point (the apology) is another goof, but it is also a potentially golden egg - admission of mistake.
If you did go to a lawyer, he/she would probably suggest writing a letter (from the lawyer), offering your resignation on payment of (say) 2 years' severance pay in lieu of notice and due to length-of-service + pension severance entitlements, holiday leave, + lotsa moolah (damages) for the unpleasant machinations they have already put you through (and apologised for!), etc. There will be a negotiation, and you might come out with something less (if you wanted to accept it), but you set the upper limit in that initial letter.

Interesting negotiations: If you have a decent and relatively new company vehicle with (say) a $30,000 market value, then offer to buy it for a few hundred dollars, which would correspondingly reduce the potentially taxable payments in lieu.
They will be much more likely to be open to discussing a without prejudice offer as an alternative to being sued publicly in an employment court. It's cheaper and private. No-one likes bad advertising regarding their atrocious HR practices.
To protect yourself after exit, it is vital to make it conditional to the severance agreement that the company agrees to expunge your personnel files and records and performance reports and any copies thereof within two weeks and will not make, keep or provide such records nor make any verbal or written job references or comment to anybody, regarding your employment with the company. (This has teeth. You can penalise them with seriously hefty fines if they breach that.) You will become an unremembered ghost and they won't smear your reputation.

DC Website Help and Extras / Re: Is DC attacked again?
« on: February 08, 2019, 09:08 PM »
I'm confuzzled. If it's not a "public service", then is there some point to DDOS, other than maybe deliberate nuisance or to (say) push business at organisations such as Cloudflare?
I'm trying to figure out under what conditions it would make sense to do this. I must be missing something.

Living Room / Re: save videos from websites - new service
« on: February 06, 2019, 07:06 PM »
^^ @panzer + @4wd:Thanks.   :Thmbsup:    Those all seem worth a look-see.

Living Room / Re: Movies you've seen lately
« on: February 06, 2019, 04:00 PM »
A Few Good Men

The Shining

Blue Ruin
If you keep doing detailed reviews like this, people may start to think you've got too much time on your hands...   :o

Living Room / Re: save videos from websites - new service
« on: February 06, 2019, 07:22 AM »
@panzer: Huh! No surprises there, I guess...

I've been watching a lot of movies lately, but I had to share the news about this doco that I saw on a friend's system yesterday: Hoaxed (2019) (click on the link to see the list of people interviewed).
I have never seen a film quite like this before, nor one as well-constructed and powerfully done as this movie. The only movie I can think of that comes close is the superb documentary The Corporation (2003) (download it here), which was a hit in the film festivals in 2003 and was (for me) a real eye-opener.
I rate them both as 5 out of 5 stars, where 5 is "excellent and I would like to watch it again to see what I missed the 1st time around." They both break all kinds of thought/preconception barriers.

As for Hoaxed, some people have suggested that it may even reprogram your brain and cause you to weep (though it's very rational and neither makes nor suggests any emotional appeals to the viewer) - especially after watching the final 11 minutes or so, which includes the philosopher Stefan Molyneux's enactment of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. (One of my 17 y/o daughter's philosophy class favourites.) The first parts of the movie build towards this rather climactic finish - a sort of gestalt dénouement or epiphany.

The movie is a prime example of good investigative journalism - a documentary. It is balanced and fair, and illustrates and perfectly encapsulates and then reframes what I was trying to articulate with the satirical cartoon (which I built all by myself!) The Evolution of the Three Wise Monkeys.

Hoaxed makes it fairly plain:
  • There is no left or right - there is only freedom and tyranny, truth and lies.
  • The media have been caught out many times producing fake news, but have never owned up to it.
  • Their methods include attacking anyone uttering speech contrary to their determined political agenda and narrative control.
  • It has been said that "fake news is the enemy of the people", and it would seem to be true.
  • Journalists and fake news media have apparently betrayed the American people by breaking the journalistic trust and letting political agendas distort the facts.
  • Although a lot of it might threaten existing paradigms (and thus a bit of a hard pill to swallow for some), knowing the truth in the end will liberate your mind.
(The same/similar points could be made about The Corporation, but in a different context, of course.)
Hoaxed is both entertaining and highly Informative, but we might never have known that except by WOM (Word-of-Mouth), because mainstream news will (ironically) probably label this movie as "propaganda", and try to bury it.
Watch this movie!
(And if you haven't already watched The Corporation (2003), then watch that too!)

Living Room / Re: save videos from websites - new service
« on: February 04, 2019, 07:39 AM »
Does anyone know where this potentially very handy service might have gone?
I was looking for it today but it seems to have been "disappeared" (well, I couldn't find it, anyway).

A DuckGo search on "save videos from websites" throws up lots of hits though, but I don't know whether the list includes this particular one.

Thanks in advance for any info..

Eh?    :tellme:

Good Before & After mugshots:


LaunchBar Commander / Re: Creating Icons on Desktop
« on: February 02, 2019, 01:56 PM »
As nobody has answered this, ...
Good on yer, mate! :Thmbsup:
I must admit that, in the first place, I couldn't make sense of the Q in the OP, so therefore decided not to try to assist.   :-[

LaunchBar Commander / Re: Well thats weird
« on: February 02, 2019, 01:46 PM »
For what it's worth: I use DCUpdater to automatically keep things up-to-date, and that usually seems to do the trick. It's handy to have, efficient and effective in use, but it has some "idiosyncrasies" that mean it's not always so easy to set up right (well, I sometimes manage to mess it up, anyway).

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: clipboard help and spell issue
« on: February 02, 2019, 11:42 AM »
Not sure whether this helps, but I watched and listened to the YT video, and this is what seems to be happening:
  • During the video, the user's mouse cursor is periodically moved back and forth over the Excerpt field of an item ID, presumably emphasising the different data content.
  • Select ID 13189 - No sound.
  • Select ID 13155 - "Woop" (Capture) sound, then "Clunk-Clunk" (I think that's the "duplicate not captured" sound).
  • Selector under mouse jumps to ID 13170 . (Not sure why.)
  • Select ID 13190 - No sound.
  • Select ID 13156 - No sound
  • Select ID 13156 again - "Woop sound", then "Clunk-Clunk"
  • Selector under mouse jumps to ID 13174. (Not sure why.)
  • Select ID 13157 - No sound.
  • Select ID 13157 again - "Woop sound", then "Clunk"

If this problem has only recently occurred for this user, then, other things being equal (no system changes), I wondered whether the user's mouse might have a problem - e.g., (say) have a worn/flaky left-button micro switch and is sometimes "bouncing" (doing a double-click), or something - I've seen that sort of thing happen before and the errors can seem to be episodic.

Also, I recall that in an earlier version of CHS, the scrolled table would seem to jump around a bit under the selector, but that behaviour went away after some updates. Might be worth checking whether the user has the latest version.

I can resonate with this rather droll spoof from the UK The Sun:
Every Day

Android Apps / Re: android app keyboard
« on: January 19, 2019, 04:43 PM »
I cant yet figure out how to easily change (already chosen) language keyboards in it. This is very intuitive and clear in Gboard (long press on spacebar).

Interesting, didn't know that - my GBoard has a world symbol [ Invalid Attachment ] next the space bar: tap it and it cycles through whatever keyboards you have; long press and it shows a selection list.

Of course, that means I can inadvertently tap it instead of the space bar and find myself typing in Cyrillic  ;D
That's what is meant by "poor ergonomic design" - i.e., conducive to enablement of common/predictable human error.
My users had similar problems when selecting another language keyboard using the Google keyboard (and other common keyboards). Problem went away with SwiftKey. They really seem to have thought of everything, but I suspect that that itself is probably attributable to the fact the product has been out there for some years now and has had a consistently focused development/testing/improvement program which is now in the optimisation phase. I can see why Microsoft might have wanted to buy them up.
I think the ergonomic design of SwiftKey is damn near perfect - and that's not so much just the keyboard design and functionality, but includes some incredibly smart integration with other functionality - e.g., including things such as fonts and styles (bold, italic, etc.), clipboard management, hotkey definitions for a collection of repeatable strings).
That's why I was blown away by the app.
It's a pleasure to know that there are specialised product designers/developers out there in the SwiftKey team who can produce such a result.

Android Apps / Re: android app keyboard
« on: January 18, 2019, 05:27 PM »
I cant yet figure out how to easily change (already chosen) language keyboards in it.
Try swiping the space bar sideways...

Android Apps / Re: android app keyboard
« on: January 18, 2019, 04:09 PM »
^I just typed an in depth comparison of Swiftkey and Gboard and it got deleted by this ddos protection system :-/   
Yes, I know, that can be so annoying.   :mad:
Workaround: Save everything repeatedly with CHS, so that you don't have to re-create the disappeared text.

Interesting: China becomes first country to Germinate a Seed on the Moon
Apparently it's a beansprout, and is the first step in an ambitious and well-thought-out longer-term strategic plan for yet another "first" and moon-breaking record - the opening of the first Lunar Chinese take-away, reportedly to be named the Golden Mao Moon.
Initial reports say that, due to the moon's low gravity, all the items on the menu are to be designated "diet lite", though I personally consider that might be stretching the trade descriptions a bit much, even though Chinese food isn't generally considered to be fattening.
“That's one small step for a beansprout, one giant leap for mankind” - Chinese astronaut and lead chef/food advisor to the successful Chinese lunar mission.

Android Apps / Re: android app keyboard - try SwiftKey?
« on: January 18, 2019, 08:55 AM »
Ultimately, which keyboard seems "most suitable" for a user will depend on the user's peculiar  requirements - which, from experience, are usually little understood and rarely defined.
There have been a few references in the DC Forum discussions to the Microsoft product  SwiftKey (MS apparently bought up the company several years ago.)
I only recently started using a smartphone for my own purposes (though I have set up smartphones for other people to use for at least a couple of years), as there is some functionality available that can't so easily be utilised via a laptop, though I do use an Android emulator on the laptop so that I can mirror the Android device's system on the laptop. I plumped for a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S7 with the Google keyboard. Very good. It was a no-brainer.

But it was whilst I was setting up a Japanese and a Thai keyboard for a couple of users that I started to research and experiment in earnest with other keyboard apps than the obvious ones mentioned in this thread (above) and which are otherwise very good.
That's when I stumbled upon SwiftKey. I was initially very skeptical (because it was a Microsoft product, after all!), but, on reading user reviews, I couldn't find a single real criticism - it was mostly all positives. So, rather than get the other users to be guinea-pigs and experiment with this unknown app, I tested it out pretty thoroughly on my own smartphone first.
Because I tend to be rather critical and see all the warts in things, I have rarely been blown away by any application's functionality and potential - sadlement, they are nearly all defective in some regard.
Not so SwiftKey, it seems. After trialling it, I subsequently installed it for the other users, and they too were blown away by it. The hardest part was getting them to actually try it out in the first place ("suck-it-and-see"). The built-in ergonomics and predictive and lots of other functionality in SwiftKey seem to leave most of the other keyboards standing in the dust.
Well worth a try, I'd suggest.

Post New Requests Here / Re: gpa calculator - do numbers matter?
« on: January 18, 2019, 07:52 AM »
@4wd: I was talking to a school head the other day who was saying that it has (apparently) been pointed out by many serious educationalists that PRE (Points Rating Evaluation) has been around in various guises in the schools/education system and in business HR personnel assessment/evaluation processes for donkeys' years, so most people are likely to have been subjected to it at some point in their lives - though they might not necessarily have been aware of it at the time. A classic example might be streaming in schools.

According to a senior retired officer and psychiatrist from the UK military with whom I had some dealings with a few years back, it's (PRE is) only half of the equation and that VA (Vocational Aptitude) testing/assessment/guidance is likely to be potentially of greater significance and use than (say) subject grades. For max productivity and happiness, you apparently have to try to fit people to those roles for which they have the relevant vocational aptitude and an appropriate and relevant minimum functional IQ. Apparently people with an IQ of less than 80 (I think it was) can't be trained - can't retain the learning - for anything. He also told me that the military (especially the Army) are the only organisations who seem to be able to get it right most of the time - and that's largely because they have such tremendous experience of doing it and such a tremendous vested interest in the outcome, because they absolutely have to get it right. I know from hiring training/experience that if a job applicant has had military training, then that's another useful tick in the box of desirable attributes that can positively differentiate a candidate.

The school head reckoned that a lot of problems can tend to occur in society when the touchy-feely brigade start to water down the PRE scheme or educational standards, or start to dumb things down, or break the measurement rules, to avoid potentially sensitive or even "disadvantaged" students (or their parents) getting their precious feelings hurt by them being assigned a low score, or something. Apparently, schools in NZ have moved away from the more traditional and tried-and-tested knowledge-based educational model. She pointed me to an interesting body of research on the subject. She thought this was perhaps one of the potentially adverse consequences to society of everybody having to be regarded as being equal, etc.,regardless, in what is becoming an increasingly prevalent politically correct post-truth environment.
Of course, that esteemed German leader and head of the progressive German National Socialist party might have had something to say about that.    :o

Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff"
« on: January 14, 2019, 02:29 AM »
@Arizona Hot: I dunno. "Heads-up driving" would seem to be a bit passé if not a contradiction in terms, in this day and age of txting-whilst-U-drive.  :tellme:

DC Gamer Club / Re: Latest Steam Giveaway
« on: January 13, 2019, 09:20 AM »
A Story About My Uncle is free to keep if you claim it by the 14th.
Thanks! Looks interesting.   :Thmbsup:

Fallout4 --> Fallout76 - RIP Console mode:
In Fallout 76, what I'll miss most is cheating my damn ass off. ...
...But most of all, more than anything else, I'll miss my console cheats. Goodbye old friends. When I'm 100 hours into Fallout 76 and some little repetitive task has become too bothersome to perform, I'll tap the tilde key in my heart and think of you.

 - Christopher Livingston, October 25, 2018. <>


I can empathise with this.

Is this a joke or (more likely) a minor bug?
Happens when I mouseover the Quick Reply panel in Slimjet:


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