September 23rd, 2004

grin & duck -- friends, grin & duck

Technopagan bright idea

y'know how sometimes websites will save little pieces of information in users' internet temporary files to remember their login information and the like?

Well. Take a random number generator, map it to the divination system of your choice, and have your website save a random divination to the file as well, in a human-readable format, in the case that your users look at their temporary files in any degree of depth.

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    "You will always possess a charm and sense of humor that attracts others."
teddyborg, geeky

Day: laziness, DeLUG, laundry.

Wednesdays are my true Days Off. Today I lounged about templeravenmoon in pajamas. I read e-mail, read LJ, and read Tanya Huff's No Quarter. I chatted with people. I entertained myself.

At seven was the DeVry Linux Users Group meeting. There was going to be a demonstration on using the Common Unix Printing System, but when the local David went to set up the ancient printer and his laptop, he found that he was short a USB cable to connect the one to the other. Ooops.

Things were therefore somewhat slow starting up. There was commentary on local Linux-related events. My big bro ralmathon showed up. Finally, the guy who was randomly up to something all the time came back with a USB cable. The printing system demonstration was underway -- though there were three false starts at actually doing it. Halfway through, while people were peering at configuration files in some confusion, the printer spat out a blank page on general principle. Trying to configure CUPS on DeLUG David's OS X required a login and password that evidently didn't want to log; trying it on someone else's PHLAK disk didn't work, since access to localhost was denied; another Linux-onna-disk thing finally made it work. There were many jokes, some of them slightly off-color.

The gender distribution in the room was a little skewed, since there were fewer than ten other Linux users present besides me.

The Dell laptop of the fellow whose PHLAK disk it had been made disturbing noises with the CD drive, or so DeLUG David reported. (Yes, godai, another one -- I don't think I shall collect this one as thoroughly as I've collected some, however.) Evidently this is a common fault with Dell laptop CD drives; pushing them more tightly into the bay will stop the alarming vibration. (The lock on my CD drive bay is missing; the bottom of my laptop was manhandled, and the lock scraped off. Now, if I really wanted to (and trust me, I do not) I could pull the CD drive out while it was in vigorous motion.)

Once an appropriate OS was found, the demonstration worked beautifully, except that the printer was out of ink, and only thought it was printing. Jokes were made at its expense. It did not mind.

Someone mentioned a beautiful hack where someone had gotten into a printer's nitty-gritty and had replaced the printer test page with something almost, but not entirely, unlike what had been there before. Someone eventually noticed that the HP printer was spitting out Epson test pages...

The meeting let out about a half hour early. ralmathon could not come over and hang out, as he works early tomorrow. Bah. I went home and procrastinated before starting in on my laundry. Consequently, my laundry has approximately fifteen minutes remaining before I should retrieve it.
wild rose

Helpless vs. in need of aid

I must admit that I might at some point in time use the "in need of aid" tactic to get the attention of a potential mate. The scenario is as old as courtship -- Strong Male (well, usually...) comes on the scene. Attractive Female is present. Attractive Female suddenly needs assistance with something. Strong Male bounds into action, and aids the Attractive Female, who is properly delighted.

There's a difference, though, between "acting helpless" and "being in need of aid".

I find it incredibly offensive when anyone acts helpless -- pretending as if, without immediate help, they would be utterly lost and confused and possibly in very real trouble, as if they could not take adequate care of themselves without the help of someone else. It's perfectly fine to genuinely be helpless every now and then -- it happens to everyone. But I view the deliberate feigning of utter incompetence at something the person is actually half-decent at, especially when it's mission-critical, as an insult to the intelligence of the target, an insult to the collective competence of the gender so misrepresented, and a "crying wolf" effect.

If I need some help shoveling my car out of a phreaking ditch, I need some help shoveling my car out of the goddamn ditch, and not some testosterone-crazed twits shoveling me out and then proceeding to mack on me like there's no tomorrow because they have assumed it was a blatant ploy for attention.

As far as the in-need-of-aid flirtation strategy goes, I like to pick something that I know the target to be interested in and good at, yet not mission-critical, so they have a real choice at whether or not to come to my aid, rather than a situation where the only decent thing to do is to give aid. Since I go for geekboys, and I want the kind of geekboy who is attracted to geeky girls, I want to appear in need of minor aid in such a way that I display my true competence as well.

Perhaps I have a buggy program, and I haven't tracked down all the errors yet. I am capable of doing a lot of that myself (and everyone needs a little help on the stubborn ones), but it's always nice to get a second opinion. I could solicit the second opinion from the passing cute guy. Maybe my layout is a little funky, and I really want to know which way it looks better, this way, or that way. Or maybe it's something physical. I'm changing a tire, and my arm strength might be a little sub-par to get the air-wrench-tightened nuts off on the first try. I could give the lever a good kick, or I could tell the person who's just pulled over to see if I need some help that yeah, I could use another bit of muscle over here; it's already jacked up and ready to go...

This may exaggerate my need of aid a little, but it's legit, and it's a strategy that offers a person a choice of whether or not to help. It should be an opportunity for aid, also, that allows them to excel at something they do well. Not only do I get the assistance I need, but they get to show off any prowess they may have. I would not ask Darkside, say, to display his strength by helping me change a stubborn tire. He is tough, but we both know that I am stronger. (The last time there was tire-changing going on with the two of us, I was the one who stepped in and got his nuts off when they proved too stiff for him to handle.)

Another, pressing, reason that I don't like using a situation of helplessness as an opportunity to flirt is that it may set up an atmosphere of expectation or entitlement on the part of those who have just played the part of Knight in Shining Armor. They have done their part in rescuing the lovely swooning maid, and now they want their reward. A more difficult rescue usually demands a larger reward, and for an initial flirtatious move, I do not want help that requires more than a smile and a heartfelt "Thank you!" in return. After all, much of the time, I wouldn't actually know them, especially if the situation is a "getting your attention" or "getting to know you" social maneuver.
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    computer fans
running, bomb tech

Afternoon...

grifyn -- I was indeed idle -- I was out of the house. Errands on Thursday afternoons, and then writing group, hooray!