tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Short version:

I've been laid off again, and I'd like help taking a month or so catching up with technology and programming, most likely with the goal of starting a new career, but also for my own fulfillment.

OK—deep breath—let me elaborate.

At the beginning of February, everyone in my department was called into a room at the same time despite being in offices across the country, and we were informed that our department was being outsourced. This has happened before. The last time it happened, I ended up working temp assignments pretty much immediately, and I worked continuously (though at temp-job salary) for about a year, when I got a permanent position. It was a good permanent position with a good salary, but everything's come around again, and my last day of work is on Friday.

I've been putting off planning what I'm going to do next, because up until last week, I'd been busy planning a wedding (mine, yeah, happened last week, sorry I didn't mention it here). But now, satisfactorily wedded, I'm turning my attention to the empty days ahead, and what I need right now is a lot of help.

See, I know that if I wanted to, I could go back to the placement agencies and go through the same cycle again, but because I do a pretty niche administrative job, outsourcing seems eternally inevitable. And it's not a job I particularly enjoy; the thing it had most to recommend itself was stability, and it's clearly lost that. I'm looking toward something new.

I'm skirting around this paragraph, because it feels like I'm giving into cliche. I want to get into programming!!!1! That's the hot new thing, right? I was at this pool party and a man leaned over and whispered into my ear, "Programming," and now I'm going to do something on the World Wide Web!

But it's more than that. I started programming when I was six, but I stopped in college when I shifted focus to arts and performance to help ease my growing depression. And as time went on, I fell more and more out of sync with things. The world became plug-and-play, and I got complacent. Through it all, I missed programming, but felt like I never had the time to bring my programming expertise literally out of the twentieth century. I know how to code, I just don't really know anything to code in any more.

The last time I was laid off, a friend encouraged me to shift to web development, and I was just about to start looking at Rails, but the temp work came in fast, and I let it all slide. I don't want that to happen again, so I'm telling the placement agency that I'm taking a month for myself to learn new skills. I've got a cushion from the severance package, so I don't need to worry about income immediately, certainly not for a month. So I'm looking at April, at least, as a catch-up month.

And now, I get around to the help. I am friends with lots of very smart people in all areas of technology and programming (psst, that's you), and I'm hoping that I can both get lots of help, but also spread that amongst a bunch of you, so I don't feel like I'm leaning too hard on anyone. Some things I'd like to hear your thoughts about right now:
  • What sort of programming should I be looking at doing? As I said above, I have a good friend who's pushing me strongly into doing webdev, which seems promising. But I know I have firends (who don't see me every week for gaming) in other fields who might want to stump for their own specialties. Any thoughts?
  • What references/manuals do you recommend? I'd like to get any books I should look for sooner rather than later.
  • What sort of technology am I going to need? I've got a cheap, basic prebuilt desktop computer that I bought at Staples five years ago. It has been intimated that I might need a laptop or something stronger.
But knowing myself, I think these next two are the most important:
  • What sorts of challenges can I set up for myself to drive learning?
  • Can I bug you for help and encouragement?
I know that I learn best when I can apply techniques to a specific problem, and it's hard for me to invent those out of thin air. And I'm always a little anxious about making direct contact with folks, so knowing that it's okay will help a lot.

I don't really know what's going to come of all of this. It's possible that at the end of all of this, I'm going to go back to doing the same kind of job, or shift to an administrative IT position, but I just want to feel like I'm caught up with everything.

Thanks for everything.
tablesaw: A stick-figure person walking in a carefree manner. The caption reads, 'Haters gonna make some good points' (Haters)
I'm not even done with this article and I already want to blog about it. Well, mostly I just want to blog. Well, mostly I want to put something on my DW. (And a little bit I want to play Spelunky.)

I've been thinking about blogging vs. Twitter for a little bit. I've been aware that there are lots of aspects of Twitter that make me quieter on it. Obviously, there's the length restrictions, which I react to pretty strongly. I find it hard to make statements that comprise more than one tweet. But there's also the speed of tweet/retweet/response (Tumblr has a similar cycle), which I just have a hard time keeping up with. But there's an also an issue of time and speed. I also know that it will add to my blog's accruing history (which I see is going to become important in the part of the article I am still getting to).

As I said, I'm still working my way through Vance's article, but the portion about form and content as regards Twitter polarized me on that matter, highlighting the exploitative structure of its form. One of those things is the way that Twitter is obsessively focused on the "now".
Consider all the reasons why our intrepid capitalists of yesteryear replaced the (almost) timeless Holy Bible with a newspaper whose time is always the present; consider the political redefinition of 'content' to mean consumable rather than everlasting. A Tweet™ spends no more than a day or two in public view before vanishing into a database somewhere. Once our Tweet™ has been consumed and forgotten we make another and another, never Tweeting™ the same thing twice without dedicating 5 characters to an apologetic "ICYMI" (in case you missed it). The 'form' of Twitter, like that of the newspaper, demands a constant stream of new things to bury all the old ones.
On Twitter (and Tumblr), I do feel that pressure of having to put forward quantity a quantity of "content" that's more than I can really sustain in order to have a "presence." And as a result, existing on those sites makes me feel like a ghost, passive. Writing on a blog—my blog—give me a sense of place, and also lets me slow things down to my own speed.

There's also the fact that Dreamwidth remains a noncommercial open-source system, which I can depend on to stay relatively true to its mission statement (though there are, of course, ways that the structure still affects how I write). It just feels like a more comfortable place to be right now, even if I don't think anybody's going to be around to read it. (He says, knowing that once he posts this, links to it will be posted on Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, etc.)
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
I've joined Twitter as [ profile] sawofthetable.

I don't know how much I'll use it or check on it. But being unable to use either Google+ or Facebook under my pseudonym has left me frozen out of things. I was looking at friend's Google Plus page and discovered that last month, he had gotten into an involved discussion about a role-playing game inspired by the problems that I had when playing it. Of course, I hadn't known about it, and couldn't comment on it if I wanted, because I remain banned under Google Plus's naming policy, despite claims to have loosened the restrictions.

Of the Big Three social-networking sites, having one I can use as Tablesaw may turn out to be useful for connecting with the folks who are wrapped up in Realnamia.
tablesaw: Katsuhiko Jinnai, from El Hazard (Jinnai)
Any time you see someone talking about Sherlock fandom of any variety, replace Sherlock with Matlock.

If the discussion in question in involves genderswap Sherlock, you may, at your discretion, decide that it means Murder, She Wrote.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
Hey, Alyssa Bereznak, to paraphrase Ellen Ripstein, "What are you the best in the world at?"
tablesaw: Benito Juarez holds up a neon sign that says "GET OUTTA MY COUNTRY ARCHDICK" (Archdick)
So, yeah, I axed my profile on Saturday. I hadn't intended to. I was going to see if I could get an NPL photo ID to submit, to see if that helped. And I was, actually, considering changing my name to something more culturally restrictive, though I wanted some actual guidance before I did so. (Tab LeSaw seemed the most likely.) But then I saw this:

An image of Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The text reads: 'LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. Google+ is an *identity service*, not a social network. The internet would be better if we knew you were a *real person* rather than a *dog* or a *fake person*. Some people are just *evil* and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.'

The source is this post from NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin. Over the weekend and today, there have been follow-ups on this revelation, like this one at Forbes, or Gawker's wonderfully named "Watch Google Describe How It Could Exploit Your Name.

I really couldn't take it any more.

See, I and others have been pushing Google, asking why I couldn't be let into their social-networking site with my name. Apparently that was never going to happen because there was never a social-networking site to begin with. Just an identity-verification service with lots of flashy bait.

And with such a massive Trojan-horse/bait-and-switch campaign, I think it's time to directly interrogate that whole evilness thing. Because tying the social-network inextricably to the identification platform is pretty much essentially why people call Facebook evil. It's certainly the reason I didn't use Facebook until recently, and prefer not to use it at all. But, from my perspective, Google's generally been upfront about what it was doing when it rolled out a service.

When I deleted my profile, I also deleted "associate social content." I think it's pretty clear that for Google, "social" and "legally identified" are synonymous. So, you know, keep that in mind as you reconsider whether you want to use the social legally identified network Google Plus. Or whether you want to use the social legally identified RSS service Google Reader. Or whether you want to comment on a picture using the social legally identified aspects of Picasa. Remember it when Google reminds you that it wants to make it easier for you to be social legally identified on the internet.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Hello, Google Profiles Team Member, and others!

There's not a whole lot I can do to talk to you as you go through this appeal, so I'm making this public post as the first informational link on my appeal, to help you get some context about what's going on here.

See, I was suspended on August 3rd. I appealed and was summarily rejected, but you asked me to send an e-mail for further review. The ticket number for that appeal was apparently #845437331. I sent an e-mail on August 4th. A public copy is here: Over the weekend, I waited to see if you'd respond or simply let it fall into the black hole of non-responses. But something different happened. My account went from having failed its appeal to having never had an appeal. At least, that's what it looked like from my profile page. I'm not sure; it's possible that my profile was reinstated and then re-rejected before anyone could see it. But I'm a little concerned that my last appeal, and the carefully considered words I sent you have been wiped clean from the last time.

But before we dicsuss theory, let's get to the links, shall we?

Dreamwidth is essentially my current base of operations on the Internet, where I am Tablesaw. This is a social network, where I am connected to hundreds of people who know me as Tablesaw. As you can see, I have archives for this name going back to 2002. Of course, many of those earlier entries are actually transferred from the previous iteration of this blog.

It was at Livejournal that I started the blog in 2002, and started to be known as Tablesaw to a wider web audience. Again, as a social network, LiveJournal introduced me to many people whom I now associate with offline as Tablesaw.

Before that, I joined the National Puzzlers' League, an organization with over a century of experience using chosen names in "real life," as Tablesaw. Now, I know what you're thinking, Google Person. That website looks terrible and doesn't itself, vouch for my identity much. I'll admit, I don't use the website much either. But then, you've kind of placed yourself in a bind, asking me to prove things that happen in "real life" with links on the internet. You see, most of the NPL events happen off of the internet (where all of my friends call me Tablesaw), so the web presence is naturally still a bit sketchy. Of course, it's there where I met the woman who would become my fiancée as Tablesaw.

And before the NPL, I was on IFmud as Tablesaw. Again, an online space that translated into "real life" friends who call me Tablesaw. There was, for example, the time when a dozen or so of us got together and rented a house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, something that we managed without ever having to use anything but the handles from the MUD.

I don't know if you can see my own posts on G+ while I'm suspended, because I know the technology is still new. The second link is a backup. This link tells the story of the history of being recoginzed as Tablesaw by a small company that you might have heard of called "Google." See, it's hard to document my seven years of using Tablesaw Tablesawsen on my Gmail account as a link, so the best I can do is to tell you about it and assume that you can look up the information on your own. As they say in the legal profession, the documents responsive to your request are already in your custody and control. I can't tell you how to look into the history of my e-mail account, or my web history account (which I've also used since it was brought online).

Though I can show you the place where I've been using a Google social service under the name Tablesaw for four years. (Though, of course, I can't leave comments on most of my friends' pages like I could last month, because they're on Google Plus, and I'm suspended.)

And a further assortment of links to places where I'm known by Tablesaw on line, and where I interact with people who call me Tablesaw offline. Some of those represent places I don't visit much anymore. In fact, one person I encircled was someone from one of those fora with whom I hadn't really had contact in years, and I was so glad that using the name Tablesaw on Google Plus allowed us to find each other. Of course, that connection's gone now.

Finally, one more post from Google Plus, where one of the people I meet with weekly tells someone mocking my name, in no uncertain terms, that Tablesaw's the name they know me by.

Ok, links done, let's talk about your policy.

See, as I mentioned in that letter I sent to you guys last week, despite suspending me a bunch of times and linking me to your progressively updated Names Policy, nobody's actually told me what it is that's wrong with my name.

I understand that you don't want my legal or government-recognized name. That's good, because I don't really want to give it to you. (Though it does raise the question of why you'd asked for a But you do want "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", and I've already given it to you—you've had it for over seven years.

Let's back up. Because, to be honest, there's a problem with your "Common Name" request, which is that I don't have just one common name. I've really got two. One of them I listed as my main profile name (in fact, as I said, I listed it as my main profile name seven years ago), the other I've listed as a nickname under privacy lock. I'm assuming that you can see that, with Google Profile powers, but I'm not going to mention it in this post, because it is, still, an open letter.

You're not really clear on what the difference is between a "common name" and a "nickname" really is. As far as I can tell, my two common names are also nicknames (since neither is, obviously, the name that my local government rigorously identifies me as). Now, I can see how helpful it is to have that other name in my nickname field, locked down under security so that only people whom I choose can see it, but beyond that, I don't see what your problem is with which common name I've placed where.

There's lots of reasons I don't want my other common name up in the big fancy spot on my profile. One reason is that the other nickname is rather close to the name by which the government rigorously identifies me. As you should be aware by now, what with the My Name Is Me campaign and other e-mails I know you're getting, is that making a name like that public opens one up to a lot of different forms of danger. And a lot of that ties into the circumstances I have two common names in the first place. Many people I know are aware of both names, and which they use at any given time is their business (and can switch in the same conversation sometimes). But the people who know me as Tablesaw (which includes a lot of people like my family (Hi, mom!)) have something in common: they are the people with whom I am more willing to share information about my life. And the people who know me only by my other common name are people whom I want to know as little about me as possible.

In other words, the social network that revolves around me as Tablesaw is far more valuable than the one that revolves around me as my other common name. More valuable to me, personally and emotionally, and more valuable to you because I'll be active in sharing with them.

And of course, there's the simple fact that I was here with this name long before Google Plus. When I went to initiate this appeal, the dialogue box that now appears eager to usher in a new name, wiping away years of history informs me that the name I change to is going to be changed in all Google products. Really? When just a month ago, it was perfectly fine for me to use all (and boy, do I mean all) Google products as Tablesaw, now you tell me that name's no good?

Well, maybe you do.

But you know—I know there's a lot of entitlement issues going around with Google Plus—but I do feel, after all this time, that I do deserve to be told why my name's not good enough for you anymore, if for no other reason than so that I can decide if I can change it for you.

Ok. I think that's it.

I hope you read all this, because I guarantee you, someone's going to.

And you know what? Depending on when you read this in relation to when other people read this, you can probably keep going down this page to see a bunch of my friends, friends in "real life"—and I guess I didn't even get to the part where somehow, "offline" is "real life," as though everything that happens on the Internet is somehow fictional (because, really, if online isn't "real life," then what does that make a web-based company like Google?)—tell you how they call me Tablesaw offline too.

I don't know if it even matters anymore.

After seven years, I'm starting to figure out what the cost will be of moving me e-mail address, simply because you think my name's not good enough for you and you won't tell me why.

Okay, it's late and I'm getting maudlin about this.

Best of luck with all this, Google Profiles Team Member. If you've read this far down, you deserve it.

And hell, you know what, I'm going to turn off IP logging, on the off chance that you want to leave a message. Anons get screened, and I won't reveal if you ask me not to.

Bed now. For reals.

Tablesaw out.
tablesaw: One machete is raised, a host more rise to meet it. (From the "Machete" trailer in "Grindhouse".) (Brown Power)
In previous rounds, people banned from Google Plus for having names that were not namey enough for Google got an extended run-around that included being asked for government ID that did not seem appropriate to their request. Well, apparently the improvements that have been made to the process mean that it takes Google much less time to unilaterally declare that your name is not good enough for them:

Thank you for contacting us with regard to our review of the name you are
trying to use in your Google Profile. After review of your appeal, we have
determined that the name you want to use violates our Community Standards.
You can review our name guidelines at

If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future, please
respond to this email so that we can re-review your profile.


The Google Profiles Support Team
Also, the "personal touch" of names like Ricky is gone. My response:
Hello, unnamed form-letter sender.

It is not clear to me how my name violates any of the guidelines
listed by Google in the documents that have been provided to me.

Tablesaw is a name that my friends and family know me by (though not
co-workers, because I need to be certain that my professional life is
not linked to my personal life). It is also, incidentally, the name by
which Google has known me since 2004 (see ).

The name used, "Tablesaw Tablesawsen," contains two names that can be
entered into separate fields. Though I usually go by only "Tablesaw,"
I added a second name in 2004 to help ease Google's code when entering
the Gmail Beta.

It contains no "unusual" characters in that it contains only
characters in the Latin alphabet.

My profile and name represent one person, and I cannot see any reason
why it would appear otherwise.

I am not using the name of another individual and would certainly be
interested in meeting someone with the same name.

Since starting the Gmail Beta in 2004, I have *never* changed my name
on my Gmail Account, which carried over to my Google Account, which
carried over to my Google Profile. It has been the outgoing
information on my e-mail headers to friends, family, and businesses
with whom I am a customer for the past seven years. For various
reasons reasons, including personal and financial security, I am not
interested in publicly linking the name by which my coworkers know me
and can find me to the Google Account that I have been using under
this name.

I am willing to modify my online name to something that will both
allow my friends and family to identify me online and meet with your
guidelines. But because I cannot see anything about my name, as it
stands, that does so, I am unwilling to go through an extended
trial-and-error game in which I submit other names that meet your
guidelines that are still banned.

Please note that responding to this letter, which took me no small
amount of time to draft, with another form letter will result in round

Best wishes,

(It's the saw of the table!)
tablesaw: One machete is raised, a host more rise to meet it. (From the "Machete" trailer in "Grindhouse".) (Brown Power)
Here's a timeline of this morning with Google. Please note that although the times look precise, they are estimates; it's just that some events are packed close together, so I had to guesstimate some things with odd specificity.
  • 9:30 a.m. I have trouble posting to a friend's post on Google Plus. I send feedback for the issue, thinking it to be a bug.
  • 9:40 a.m. After reloading the page, and trying to add a comment in my stream and on the psot page, I only vaguely recall, from following this issue very closely, that this is the first symptom of profile suspension. I check my profile page, and my account has been suspended.
  • 10:02 a.m. I take a screencap and upload it to my Picasa.
  • 10:04 a.m. I post a screencap of my suspension to my Dreamwidth.
  • 10:05 a.m. I submit my profile for appeal.
  • 10:10 a.m. [personal profile] yomikoma posts my suspension on Google Plus. I receive a Google Plus notification of having it shared with me. I'm not sure how exactly this happened, since it shouldn't be strictly possible to "mention" a suspended user in a post. Regardless, feel free to share his post if you have it, or repost this on your own. ETA: Actually, if you want to share something on Google, share my earlier post, since it has my statement about my name, as well as my "Banned from Google" filk, which is now even more apropos.
So, some notes.

Earlier speculation suggested that Picasa would go down with a suspended Google Profile, now that the two were linked. If this was the case earlier in the field test, it does not appear to be true now, as my Picasa seems to be entirely intact and accessible. (There's some weirdness with photos that were shared on Google Plus first, but that's to be expected, and I'm going to look at that a bit more.)

(I know that Google Reader has been reported to go down, but I don't use it, so I can't verify. Same with Google Buzz.)

ETA: Also, basic functions like Gmail and Google Talk and all that are intact. I knew that they would be, based on previous reports of suspended accounts, but I realize that not everyone will have been keeping up with that.

On the other hand, in the wake of bad publicity on this issue, Google has said that they will be making changes to the way they suspend profiles:
We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process - specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them.

These include:

- Giving these users a warning and a chance to correct their name in advance of any suspension. (Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately.)
- At time of this notice, a clear indication of how the user can edit their name to conform to our community standards (​en&answer=1228271)
- Better expectation setting as to next steps and timeframes for users that are engaged in this process.
Please note that this post was made last week; given Google's timescale of betas and other testing, "currently making" could simply be Google weasel words for "it might happen someday probably." One week after this statement, my profile was suspended without warning, or even notification.

Moreover, I am not in violation of the policy as set out by Google in that:
  • I use a first and last name in a single language (though, seriously, there are some really, really fucked up, and frankly racist assumptions behind that "single language" clause).
  • My name contains no unusual characters (it never occurred to me to use a period to represent the generally mononymic "Tablesaw" as "Tablesaw .", which got users like Sai and Skud in trouble).
  • My profile and name represent one person (especially so, since "Tablesaw Tablesawsen" is unique while the name that my coworkers call me is not).
  • And I do not use the name of another individual (though, as above, if I used the namey name my coworkers call me, I would be doing so; I don't even need to run any type of search to verify this because I WAS NAMED AFTER MY FATHER)
So I'll keep y'all updated on what happens, but if you want a preview, you can check out these posts by [personal profile] skud (suspended twelve days and counting).
tablesaw: Supervillain Frita Kahlo says, 'Dolor!' (Que Dolor!)
This has not been the greatest week, for various reasons. Some of those reasons are private and complicated. Some of them are not. Among the public and uncomplicated reasons, I went to work today without my cell phone. Or my keys. And I have no idea where the building manager is or when (or if) he'll be back. So I'm at Kinko's now. The "let's just spend some time in Hollywood" time has run into "uh, can I get in touch with someone to let me sleep somewhere?"

Among the private and complicated ones, well . . .

With various emotional ups and downs, it's pretty clear that I'm experiencing some general depression. And now that those emotional things are kind of settling, it's just out there in the open. Nothing major, but still annoying to deal with. Especially when all this stupid stuff happens.

So, just, generally, if you have a moment, I could kind of use people saying things to boost up my self-worth. I'm in the frame of mind where I don't immediately discount them, and they've been absurdly beneficial to me the last few days. They don't even need to be creative, just hearing good things from other people is kind of what I need at the moment.

That, and for my manager to finally be there when I walk back across the street.

ETA: I finally got in touch with my manager. Or rather, my manager's son, since the manager is apparently on vacation. So he graciously drove over and let me into the house. Time to numb my brain with TV.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Made some posts today on Google+, in that they are contained in an about the service.

If you haven't been keeping track of Google Plus's rampant suspension of profiles that don't conform to mainstream Western standards, there are some good comprehensive links to check out. Google+ user Sai, whose account has been suspended multiple times because of his (legally documented) single name, posted a massive, collaboratively written account of the whole situation, including suggested policy changes.

In sharing it, I added:
"You're one of the very first people to use Gmail. Your input will help determine how it evolves, so we encourage you to send your feedback, suggestions and questions to us. But mostly, we hope you'll enjoy experimenting with Google's approach to email."

That's what Google e-mailed to me on June 11, 2004. The name on my account then was "Tablesaw Tablesawsen." It remained the name on my Gmail Account when my Gmail Account became a Google Account, and it was the name on my Google Account when my Google Account added a Google Profile. And when that Google Profile became a part of Google Plus (yes I activated it slightly in advance), Tablesaw Tablesawsen it remained.

Every e-mail since then--whether to friends, family, or businesses--has started with a "To" field of "Tablesaw Tablesawsen" and ended with the even more memorable .sig of "Tablesaw (It's the saw of the table!)." It's been the name on my Google Documents and my Picasa pictures.

Notwithstanding the fact that I'd been using the name Tablesaw since about the time that I started hearing about this "Google" thing that was so much better than AltaVista, these seven years of using this Google Account almost exclusively is what establishes it as a real name (one of a few, but no less real). Google should know that Tablesaw Tablesawsen is a real name since they've been sending mail to, and harvesting information from, this name for over seven years.

+Sai and others have written a detailed summary of this issue within Google Plus, including several links and policy suggestions. Per +Sai's request, this share is also being linked to +Natalie Villalobos, whom I'll be counting on to remember this testimonial, should my profile be friviolously suspended.
The other posts come from [personal profile] skud, a longstanding advocate for the benefits of pseudonymity, whose profile was suspended on Friday. (A second post with further notes was posted today.) In the comments to the first, Aahz said, "For anyone who knows Leslie Fish, just think 'Banned From Google' (sorry, haven't gotten any farther)..."

Well, I couldn't help myself:
When we signed up for Google Plus, the network of our dreams,
We all set out investigating circles, sparks, and streams.
We had high expectations for our pseudonymity,
But found too late it wasn't geared for users such as we.

And we're banned from Google; it's not just.
Banned from Google, you could say that we're nonplussed.
We'd love to give more feedback on a field test we adore,
But Google doesn’t want us any more

The ToS is simple, but the policy opaque
Behind how mods consider some names real and some names fake.
The Name Police keep coming for +aestetix, +Sai, and +Skud.
So please, folks, make some changes before Google’s name is Mud.

Since we're banned from Google, all of us.
Banned from Google, and we're kicking up a fuss.
We used to be evangelizers; now we're pretty sore.
We don't know if we'll Google any more.
tablesaw: Paul, who is a ghost, declares this to be "Booooring!" (Booooring)
My rice cooker stopped working a little while ago, and I'm finally breaking in the new one. It was a bit of an ordeal. First, for some reason, the target closest to me refuses to sell rice cookers. So I had to make a trip to the one in Glendale. But the rice cooker I got was missing the measurement cup (with its strange for-rice-only cup size), so I took it back. The new one I got seemed to have been opened, but I couldn't see what was missing. Turns out, what was missing was the instruction manual. But since I have the internet, I'm not going to begrudge the person who had to pilfer a copy from Target. But regardless, brown rice and steamed broccoli to accompany my fish.

Speaking of having the Internet, I now have a new phone, which is, as they say, "smart." This phone has been made possible by Virgin Mobile's low-cost data plan, the decline of my old phone, and the death of my digital camera. This means that all you folks who love to text can now text to me, since I no longer have to pay for each one. Also, you can send me pictures via text, because I have the ability to look at them. Phone number's the same, ask me if you want it.

As for old things, I'm getting a wisdom tooth pulled again. My advantage this time is that I'm going to know, in advance, that the pain will end, and that I don't need to freak out about every little thing. But you can probably expect me to be sending everyone texts about how much pain I'm in/what good drugs I'm on.

Hey, the food's ready.

The Shinies

Mar. 9th, 2011 10:44 pm
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
As I said earlier, I got a Tumblr a while back, and it's getting pretty active. I know that there are lots of people using Tumblr for various blog things, but it just doesn't work out so well for me like that. It is a great way for me to do something with all the little bits of shiny that come across my path in the course of surfing, things that are too inconsequential for me to be interested in writing about here. Pretty images, videos I like, occasionally some puzzles, it's all going up over there.

I've also started tackling one of those 30-day memes, this one for videogames. Because it's tumblr, I'm making an effort to share some form of media with each entry.

So that's where all the blogging that's not about stuff stuff is going, in case you were curious.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
When I got my new computer and started learning of the glories that is Steam, they were in the middle of some massive year-end sales. I bought a bunch of games, then, many on impulse. The impulsiest of impulses was Everyday Genius: SquareLogic

I know, I know. If you're one of the puzzle connoisseurs, you're shaking your head. It's calculodoku (presented in the New York Times as Kenken), which isn't the most thrilling puzzle form (unless it's being done with extreme care, as people like [ profile] motris give it). I wouldn't have given it a second look, except that the sale had reduced it's price from $9.99 to $1.50. And since I was already having fun with Croco-Puzzle, all I had to ask myself was "Do I think I can get a buck fifty's worth of puzzle out of this churned-out schlock.

My answer was, actually, yes. Particularly when I saw, from the screenshots that some of the levels featured twin grids, where the numbers in one grid were the same as the numbers in the other. That's a form of the puzzle that can provide some interesting twists, but that can be hard to do on paper because of the extra bookkeeping involved. So it went onto the list with other, actually good games, like the LucasArts Adventure Pack.

And I played through it, whiling away the time with the mindless puzzles. There were certainly things to like, there's a little box that appears and shows possible combinations that you can choose from, which keeps you from having to redo the math. (On the other hand, it's not always precisely accurate, though it rarely precludes answers that could be valid, except during hidden cages.) Although there were an absurd number of computer generated puzzles, you could skip most of them, by only solving a representative puzzle of each type. And the error checking is a bit harsh (a stray click can kill your streak of error-free puzzles) but makes solving difficult puzzles more relaxing, since the game can automatically dial you back to the place you made your first mistake, if you want.

After unlocking everything, I thought I might try to get the achievement for solving all the puzzles in one "location" (meaning they're generally of the same type). I went to the easiest level (the first "region" is all 1-4 puzzles), and looked for the location with the fewest puzzles. That turned out to be the "hidden cages" location with 200 (yeah, computer generated all right). None were really thrilling, but a nice way to kill time mindlessly while IMing with folks, or watching Hulu or Netflix.

Until this.

Now, I didn't have a great puzzle-solving day today. My Croco-puzzle times were crap because I missed a lot of obvious things. So I could just be missing something terrible obvious here. But it looks, to me like I was able to find a valid solution to this puzzle that is being treated as an error by the game. I'd love to write an angry e-mail to the creators about shoddy product, but . . . I keep thinking I'm missing something. So below the cuts, I've provided screenshots of the puzzle, and my proposed solution.

Shallows 118, original state )

Shallows 118, my solution )

Please, puzzlers, either vindicate me or knock some sense into me. I can't stand the not knowing.

Sexy MF

Feb. 19th, 2011 11:27 am
tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Default)
Helloooooooo, [community profile] metafandom. I was wondering why the Affective Fallacy post was reviving itself.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
What have I been doing on computers instead of updating my DW?
  • A website that provides two logic puzzles every day, with a complex and rewarding rating system. It is entirely in German, but [personal profile] chris has written up an English walkthrough. [ profile] motris has also written about his experiences with the site. I'm currently ranked 349 out of 666, and you can see a graph of my recent progress.
  • Tumblr. I have a Tumblr account now, because it was getting to a point where creating RSS feeds for the ones I liked was getting cumbersome. I'm at It's got some stuff on it, I guess. Nothing too consistent. I might try to fill it up with some stuff.
  • Tagging Old Entries. Hey, remember that time I was assaulted by an actor of a show I was stage-managing? Yeah, that's why I have a violence tag now.
  • Picasa Faces. I've loaded all my old photos onto my new computer. This means that there shouldn't be anything at all important left on the old dying box. It also means that Picasa is taunting me by finding faces in my photos and asking me to identify them.
  • Geocaching. [personal profile] trinker got me out and about, and I've been making progress again. Going to try to not let a week go by without some form of outdoorsing:

    Profile for Tablesaw
tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
There will be one puzzle that is presented as a series of Old Spice Guy Videos. Ideally (but unlikelily), they will be filmed during the Hunt in response to tweets sent to @MysterySpice.

(I'm on a Hunt.)

(That might be a good icon, actually.)


tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Default)
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