I’ve been getting a lot of false positives from Comodo these days

I'm so irresponsible; I had actually forgotten I was using Comodo DNS until now. I only did it because the entry to nyaa.eu propagated to Comodo DNS almost a whole day before Verizon the last time it was down.

It makes me feel a little bit better about this site being in various blacklists, including Avast’s, that the main website of the host itself is blocked by Comodo. It shows that lots of innocent people get in these lists, even businesses. It’s not just their DNS though; I’ve been having weird false alarms going off with lots of well-known, safe programs lately. It must have been a recent update, since I’ve been using Comodo firewall for a few years and I’ve had very few problems. Granted, I had to hire Professor Frink to help me open ports in the dozen different panes you have to repeat the same basic rule in, but once I got it working correctly, it more or less stayed that way. You really do need to be crazy aggressive in reading documentation to properly open ports in this firewall though. Even once you figure it out, you may not know that you still have to make a few more global rules or move some other rules around so that your new rule has higher priority than other rules that might nullify it. It’s not intuitive at all. Just clicking “Treat as trusted application” doesn’t cut it, unfortunately. But once you figure out the practical aspects of using the firewall, it seems fine. It does its job and even has a useful feature where you can view the IP addresses to which each program you’re running are connecting. You can expand and collapse lists of IP addresses for different programs. TCPView had this feature but it crashes if there are too many entries, which is almost always the case if you’re running a P2P program. It’s a useful feature when you know a program is phoning home and you want to block the IP address it’s connecting to.

Anyway, it’s the “Defense+” and “Sandbox Security” features that have been giving some funny false positives lately. For example, since an update or two ago it’s been prompting me to run Silkroad and VLC in the sandbox whenever I try to launch them. It makes sense that it would recognise SRO as something potentially dangerous since Gameguard is basically a rootkit, but VLC is surprising. There was another one too that I now forgot. I think it was NeroAACEnc but it might have been something else audio-related. In any case, it’s mildly frustrating. It’s not frustrating enough to make me want to switch back to ZoneAlarm, which gave me many BSODs for some reason, but it’s still a minor annoyance. Like brushing one’s teeth.

I should really be ashamed at what I waste my time watching and why

I took this screenshot because I thought it would be useful for the next time I needed a good picture for one of those "I came" images but then I felt guilty using this show for that so I'm going to trail off now...

I’m such a hypocrite. I pretend like I’m some connoisseur of TV but I just watch whichever show has cute character designs, a catchy gimmick, or voice actors with whom I’m enamoured. Chihayafuru is appealing for most of the same reasons that watching Pokemon is and episode 09 really made clear to me why. The viewer is the protagonist, Chihaya, and looks forward to every episode/day in which opportunity is provided for her to overcome one of life’s obstacles, recruit a member for her club, increase her experience points, or get a kansetsu kiss from Miyano Mamoru. Episode 09 was the quintessential training camp episode in which the clubmembers go to the house of one of its members to practise. The protagonist’s variegated array of teammates, from the nerdy Tsukue-kun to the normal girl Kanade to the allstar bishounen Taichi, are all the viewer’s friends and it’s my relationship with them, not some fictional protagonist’s, that are slowly improving and bestowing significance upon my tender developmental years. It’s my aching otomegokoro, not hers. This isn’t healthy but it’s why we watch TV. It’s just more apparent in josei and kids shows than elsewhere that this is our motivation for watching. I nearly let myself watch Nana as a result of a similar need for vicarious emotional discharge but mustered up sufficient shame to avoid that pitfall just in the nick of time.

Neither the director nor the writer draw your attention to it quite as blatantly when it comes to gaining experience points in the real world. I did laundry today but I don’t feel like my competence level as a human has increased all that much for it, nor do I feel the sense of satiety or completeness that gets underscored at the resolution phase of each story in shows like Pokemon and Chihayafuru. Problems arise, tension builds across an episode or several but, eventually — and most importantly before the viewer falls into despair from beginning to perceive the show as a “downer” and risk dismissing it on those grounds — the problem gets resolved and we all feel that we’ve overcome one of the hurdles of childhood and we’re one step closer to fulfillment, maturity, and satisfaction. In TV World everything happens for a useful reason; each time we resolve a problem we get noticeably better at life. Our skillset gets filled out, our minds expanded, or our hearts opened to something new. It’s an enjoyable experience because TV concentrates this development into a few short minutes at the end of an episode instead of allowing it to take the more diffuse, less noticeable form it manifests itself in in daily life, a form nowhere near dense enough to function as the emotional payload of a TV episode.

But just like caffeine, prolonged use means I’m needing this in ever larger doses. Real life wasn’t cutting it from the beginning, but now even TV isn’t saccharine enough for me. Chihayafuru and Tamayura Hitotose are but I don’t know what I’m going to do next season. I’ve been watching a lot of Sekai Meisaku Gekijou lately because they exclusively adapt stories that fulfill the above formula. It’s not enough though and on a practical level, I can’t buy from Yahoo! Auctions and not all of the seasons are available on Share. Ghibli is good for honeyed fairy tales, but I’ve used those films up.

Industry, do you hear me? Forget robots, explosions, and sport shows; spin more syrupy accounts of growing pains that I may watch from under a snuggly warm blanket with my wet sleeves and carton of melancholy flavoured ice cream.

Hehe, SOPA and PIPA would probably obligate us to block access to online libraries like this one

I'm starting to suspect that Lamar Smith introduced this bill as part of his sinister scheme to force libraries to close so he'll be able keep that copy of Tropic of Cancer he borrowed from the public library in 1971.

The Author’s Guild as well as a bunch of other associations of authors including some Canadian, Australian, and Swedish groups, are suing the damned library over IP infringement.

I recently read The Ark Sakura by one of my all time favourite authors, Kobo Abe. When I added it to my LibraryThing book collection I noticed that it lists among the various editions of the book “Ebooks: 1 pay”. So I clicked the link and a window with a link to HathiTrust, an organization I had never heard of before, opened up.

Nonetheless, I could tell immediately that this was something I would like. I did a quick Google search and found out that it’s an organization that has been undertaking a massive digitization process of vast quantities of both public domain and currently copyrighted content in cooperation with Google Books and their army of scanner monkeys.

The coalition of whiners claim that HathiTrust has engaged in, “…systemic, concerted, widespread and unauthorized reproduction and distribution of millions of copyrighted books and other works” All of this, they allege, “…without the permission of their authors or other copyright holders”

Yeah, according to the complaint, they have (let me suppress the drooling) 435 TB of content and 73% of their content is copyrighted.

These folks also want to stop the “Orphan Works Project” by which orphaned copyrighted works would have been made available to college kids.

HathiTrust, in its defence, said what they were doing was fair use. I have to agree with the IP holders in their basic assertion of “that dog won’t hunt”. On the other hand, suing a library is really about as close as you can get in real life to the quintessential superman villain level of nefariousness.

Of course, you could say that what these libraries are doing is no different from what people do at thepiratebay and you’d be right. The difference between what HathiTrust are doing and what brick and mortar (I hate this neologism so much) libraries do is that somebody at some point on the supply chain did purchase each and every one of those books. I don’t know how physical libraries get their books, but I suspect most of them are either bought or donated. If they’re donated, then the donator probably purchased them or received permission to donate them at some point. Those books are paid for. If there’s only one copy of the Atlas Shrugged coffee table book in the whole establishment and somebody has already borrowed it when I visit the library, I’ll be forced to seek my casual brunchtime Tea Party propaganda elsewhere.

With a digital library, Google can scan the book from one physical copy (or several so they can scan more than one page at a time…I’d love to see the setup they use at Google Books) and then HathiTrust can make that available to countless students. Even if the library is not available outside the university network, that’s still many tens of thousands of people who will have free access to the content and there wouldn’t be any problem if 50,000 of them all wanted to borrow This is Herman Cain! at once because they could easily do so.

Indeed, they wouldn’t even have to “return” the books. According to the DMCA, libraries can make digital copies of copyrighted works in their collection without permission as long as the files are not used outside the library. This sounds, to me at least, like the law is basically saying that digital copies are fine as long as they’re burdened with uncrackable DRM or some phone-home mechanism that would prevent a library patron from “borrowing” the digital book and then printing it, making a copy, backing it up, sharing it by P2P, converting it to another format, etc… As long as the copyrighted digital content the library makes available is locked down enough so that it’s not possible to distribute or alter, it sounds like everything is fine and dandy.

I know that JSTOR violates this provision of the DMCA blatantly, but that’s another story, although I do approve of it in purely ethical terms.

In any case, I just thought that this was a pretty amazing thing that’s going on. I’m always surprised by all of the digital content that my university gives us access to just by virtue of being students. They’ve never met me before; for all they know I could be archiving all the stuff they allow me to access (DRM free, I might add) and redistributing it.

Make no mistake though; I say all of this not to discourage libraries and universities from doing this. I just want to emphasize that there really are bad apples out there. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t let the reality that some people will abuse the system deter us from having libraries and other nice things in the first place (teehee: I just got a mental image wherein Internet access was declared an inalienable right and hobos gleefully fire up the computers to watch pornography in the public libraries). What these universities do may be illegal, but I think it’s ethical nonetheless. I view it as an extension of the concept of a public library. Public libraries have been exempt from some aspects of copyright law for a long time. Before widespread use of computers, libraries were still allowed to make up to three copies of copyrighted works within the library without permission from the copyright holder as long as the copy was being made to replace an old or unusable copy that would then be discarded (or maybe it had to be destroyed…I don’t remember). The point is that only a fringe minority of people think that libraries should be condemned as IP infringers. Rather few people believe that we should outlaw public libraries. In that vein, I view scanning, OCRing, and making available for free download copyrighted works via the Internet or university intranetworks as a logical extension of the concept of a public library. Again, it seems obvious that it’s illegal, but I do not think this means it’s unethical. Just like how I applaud scofflaw Aaron Swartz, I support what HathiTrust is doing here. It’s courageous and just.

I think I encountered a cpanel bug

My host moved the mysql server a week or so ago so I expected to have some downtime. I feel stupid that it took me so long to realise that they had finished the move due to what I believe is a cpanel bug. They finished the move a long time ago but I couldn’t log in because of this bug (and intermittent ddos didn’t help either). Even though my login credentials hadn’t changed, I still kept getting an error message at the phpmyadmin login screen as well as this error from WordPress, which I had never seen before:

We were able to connect to the database server (which means your username and password is okay) but not able to select the “databasename” database

It turns out that all I had to do was change my password by clicking “Change Password” in cpanel and then everything worked. It also still worked when I tried changing it to something else and then changing it back immediately. But if I hadn’t read about this bug on a forum somewhere I never would have known. I would have just sat here twiddling my thumbs assuming that the problem was due to residual issues from the move. I’m very happy now though, in any case.

Before realizing that this was such a trivial thing to fix, I tried visiting some of the other sites hosted on this server (in a virtual machine, of course) to see if they were having problems too and, sure enough, most of them just throw out “Error establishing a database connection”.

I’m happy that exams are over (but I quit anime again)

I'm a winner.

I quit anime again. Initially this was because I figured I’d be playing Skyrim right now but I’ve been embraced by one of my periodic waves of morality and decided that I will buy it instead. In keeping with that decision, however, I’ll now be waiting a year or so until the price decreases.

If I’m not watching anime or playing Skyrim though I have no real reason to keep writing anything. I never have anything interesting to say anyhow. I’m to media consumers as Takeru Kobayashi is to diners. I’m the least discerning viewer out there.

Calling someone a Type B anime viewer can have a pejorative connotation. I once maintained the delusion that I could claim to be a Type A viewer because I count series and films like Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, NHK ni Youkoso! and Satoshi Kon movies among my all-time favourites. But I can no longer delude myself about being a Type A viewer when I’ve also seen Okusama wa Joshikousei. I’m not a connoisseur, I’m a garbage disposal.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Hoarders on television. This is a reality TV show in which camera crews and TV therapists exploit people who suffer from chronic disorganization and clutter in their homes. Some of these people are really hopeless nutcases who pose a danger to themselves and their neighbours, but others are just normal people who have too much junk in their homes. Part of the definition of a “hoarder” that the show employs is that, regardless of the type of item that the patient accumulates, it must be relatively worthless. Occasionally they profile people who do collect valuable items. They’re not hoarders; they’re collectors. I see an analogy between the behaviours of these people and my own omnivorous appetite for pandering, derivative, clichéd shows that rely on preexisting, done to death tropes rather than taking a leap and telling an interesting story.

If it weren’t for FTTH and my lack of ethics, I’d be the ideal consumer. I can easily imagine myself buying any Blu-ray with an attractive cover design, any video game with voice actors I like, and anything associated with a studio that produced a single franchise that I may have once enjoyed, regardless of how abhorrent their subsequent work may have been. I have no taste whatsoever. The only reason I can associate somewhat competently with people when they talk about anime masterpieces is because I watch everything. The principle of averages means that it’s inevitable that I eventually watch some gems with the kind of methodology I employ.

Having said that, I’ve stalled on one of the only two shows I’m keeping up with this season: Idolmaster. To my credit, I’m still watching the type A show, Mawaru Penguin Drum. The opening of this most recent episode reminded me of that famous painting which, proving to myself that I’m not a complete buffoon, I knew was by Seurat, though I had to look up the name,

This show is great, but I sometimes find that, rather than strain my head to try and construct some understanding of the overall plot, I just say to myself, “Fuck it. I’ll give the show the benefit of the doubt that it’s profound”. The more abstract an episode is and the harder the narrative thread is to discern, the more likely I am to be impressed yet the less likely I am to understand why.

Figuring out exactly what I am supposed to be most impressed by is too much effort so I sometimes skip the drawn-out post-viewing contemplation session and jump ahead to the part where I just give the show credit for saying something incisive, deconstructing some taken-for-granted assumption about the social world, or challenging my preconceived notions about some social construct, even without knowing which cornerstone of my worldview has just been shattered. It could be all of them for all it matters. Something is certainly being chipped away at. It just remains to be seen exactly what.

As for my vengeance driven experiment, I’ll go ahead and try to resume that next week. I couldn’t very well count how many people were using electronic devices while taking exams. Incidentally, I don’t know whether I should do a facepalm or be impressed at the security-by-obscurity tactic to prevent forgeries used by the City University of New York on their official department stamps:

One more thing: child broiler? What is that? a German fairy tale?

Why does Fileserve do this?

A superscript? Me not engineer...

I’ve seen ß and Ñ too but at least in these cases, if you used a German or Spanish keyboard layout you could actually type them easily, whereas I don’t think most commonly used keyboard layouts have an easy way to type superscripts. Or perhaps I only think that’s the case because I so rarely need to use them…

I’m bored this season so I’m going to try to watch all of Sailor Moon

I will fail, but it’s worth a try. I never watched it when I was a little kid because my room looked like this and I was already mistaken for a girl frequently enough.

I will now marathon through my reasons for being underwhelmed this season:

There’s barely anything I think I can bear to watch this season. Perhaps there are some good shows, but I have profoundly deep-seated genre biases: I don’t like mecha or battle shows. Horizon is a school battle trainwreck that interests me even less than Karutamon. Gundam is mecha, Majikoi is a school battle erotic trainwreck, Mirai Nikki looks like it’ll be a boring battle to the death scenario I’ve seen countless times before, Phi Brain is shounen puzzle bullshit, Tamayura is pleasant and heart-warming but slow as watching paint dry, Persona is based on a game too erudite and long for me to appreciate or even play, Busou Shinki is based on a series of action figures, Maken-ki is basically the poor man’s version of Ladies versus Butlers! and I haven’t yet seen Un-Go.


I’ll watch Ika-musume because it’s wholesome and the protagonist is adorable. I’ll watch Haganai because it will inevitably be the most popular, if not best, of the season and if I don’t watch it, I’ll feel out of the loop later on. I’ve heard Kimi to Boku referred to as K-ON! with boys. K-ON! is too good to be compared to Kimi to Boku; a more apt analogy would be to say that it’s like A Channel with boys. I found A Channel about as mediocre as anything could possibly be. There was nothing overwhelmingly wrong with it, but it didn’t do anything to stand out from other similar shows of the same genre that I’ve seen. That’s what Kimi to Boku feels like. My feelings for it may change if it gets significantly angstier or if a shota enters the cast. As for C^3, I’ve only watched the first episode so far but the sudden girlfriend appearance premise never gets old and I like clumsy girls from other dimensions/planets/planes of existence who aren’t familiar with the ways of us earthlings, just like Ika-musume. I’ll try watching Mashiroiro Symphony but I may drop it if it’s disappointing like Yosuga no Sora. I’ll watch Working`!! because I’ve grown to like it.

I just watched the first episode of Guilty Crown without, as usual, knowing what it was about beforehand. I am disappointed by the prevalence of explosions and robots. Those are demerits according to my genre biases. On the other hand, there are skintight powersuits, neat character designs, and Sephiroth, all of which mean I will at least try a few more episodes before giving up.

Though I say that few of these shows pique my interest, if I have the time, I’ll inevitably end up watching some of them. Nonetheless, [email protected] and Penguindrum will be getting the lion’s share of my attention this season, just as they did last season.

Well that sure made me feel like an idiot

After my host finished moving me to a new server on Monday, I couldn’t figure out why WordPress wouldn’t connect to the database. Even though my host restored the site completely, including the database, I decided that, since I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, I would try restoring from my own backup instead. I knew my backups were good because I tested them locally. After some frustration it turned out that the thing I was doing wrong was that I had to write my cpanel username and an underscore before the mysql username. In other words, I had to write something like “cpaneluser_mysqluser” in wp-config.php whereas before I had always been just writing “mysqluser” and it worked. I suppose that’s good to know so I’m writing it down here in case I ever forget at some point in the future. As long as I’m making notes to myself though, I should also note that I must write “” instead of “localhost”. That’s another thing I always forget.