You’ve been visiting a fish mortuary your whole life without knowing it

More than anything we are maintaining a mortuary here at the fish counter keeping all our skinned dead friends looking glam for the customer. We retrieve their corpses from the back, and then begin coaxing some semblance of “fresh” or “life” out of them.

The Secret Life of Groceries

Manycam is Arguably Malware

I’m planting this post as googlebait to protect people who may install a piece of software called Manycam. Manycam is software to combine multiple feeds into a video stream. Maybe this post will be interesting to ordinary blog readers, maybe not. I didn’t find a good centralized location to share warnings like this, so I’m hoping search engines will help out.

I tried it out in hopes of using my Android phone as an IP camera embedded in a recorded presentation at the same time as a slide deck, then recording them together. It was way too buggy to use – for example the IP camera feature couldn’t see my IP camera or load the presentation file – so I uninstalled it.

I wasn’t able to get a refund without complaining to Paypal. Their customer service promised but failed, and the site tried for days, again and again, to charge my credit card.

On uninstalling the software on OS X by dragging it to the trash I found that it remained attached to video conferencing tools like Zoom, posting up an ad in my video feed.

After complaining to support they provided instructions to drag it to the trash, which has no benefit, or to install it all over again and *then* drag it to the trash, and incidentally enclosed a shell script to do the uninstall. It had a small bug in it but was not outright malicious, so I fixed the bug. Here are the steps to remove it using Terminal:

find_exec="sudo rm -rf"
sudo find /tmp -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /System/Library/Extensions -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/Extensions -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/CoreMediaIO/Plug-Ins -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/LaunchDaemons -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Applications -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/QuickTime -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/Graphics -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;
sudo find /Library/Compositions -iname "*manycam*" -depth -print -exec $find_exec "{}" ;

The Billionaire

Thinking about yesterday’s NYT article on Trump’s taxes, it appears that not only is Trump not a billionaire, he’s hardly even a businessman. He has two enterprises – his image as a businessman, and cheating on taxes.

He doesn’t own the assets that make him appear wealthy, his businesses do. He doesn’t buy his haircuts or dinners, he invests in businesses that take a loss on them.

He’s hardly even a millionaire, given that his assets mainly exist to pay his personal expenses, his profits almost zero out, and his personal debt of $300 million far outweighs his profit.

On the whole the Trump Organization is a grift, a fake, an illusion, a con. It only appears to be a legit business because of the scale of the lie.


Update: Forbes makes the case that his assets are still at least $1B > his debt:

In fact, Trump is a multibillionaire, worth $2.5 billion, by our count. His portfolio, which includes commercial buildings, golf properties and branding businesses, is worth an estimated $3.66 billion before debt. The president has a fair amount of leverage—adding up to a roughly $1.13 billion—but not enough to drag his net worth below a billion dollars.

Chess Clock Meetings

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Union_Square_chess_with_spectators.jpg#/media/File:Union_Square_chess_with_spectators.jpg

What if meetings were like fast chess, where each player has a strict limit on total time? When you talk you start your chess clock. If you go over your budget you must be silent for the rest of the meeting.

You could also apply this to days as whole. You get 2.5 hours for all meetings together, and when the limit is reached you must say no.

Shortages

Shortages are a distinctive feature of the United States in the time of COVID and in the Trump years as a whole.

They are a new thing. In my lifetime the US has always been a place of plenty. In Trump’s strongman capitalism the economy comes second to his hold on power.

Shortages were a feature of the Soviet Union. I witnessed the strange dysfunction of the market visiting East German in the 1980s. It was like nothing I had ever seen until now.

The causes of shortages included:

  • Trump’s trade war with China. Tariffs. Retaliation.
  • COVID-related manufacturing, farming and distribution shutdowns
  • Closing of the schools, related to COVID. Move to remote learning.

Here are some shortages that come to mind.

  • Chromebooks (trade war, remote learning)
  • toilet paper (COVID)
  • meat (COVID)
  • eggs (COVID)
  • bikes (caused by trade war)

Be vewy vewy quiet

Though some Internet users are unaware of this fact, a large number of personal websites still exist in the Internet jungle. They can be found in the well-lighted regions, but Gopherspace and the darknets are more productive hunting grounds. Since search engines in the well-lighted areas of the Internet jungle are nearly blind to all but the most well-known personal websites, other hunting methods are more productive in those areas. Some of those methods are: looking for webrings, searching for personal website congregation points, and combing the blogrolls of previously-discovered personal websites.

Hunting the Nearly-Invisible Personal Website

This bit is interesting:

An interesting fact is that, thanks in part to the the near total absence of corporate predators and government species in the darknets, these areas are growing in number and size. More users are coming to the darknets in particular to breath in the wonderful aroma of a beautiful flower called “free speech”. Not many free speech flowers continue to bloom in the well-lighted areas of the Internet jungle. Almost all have now been trampled by corporate and government animals.

I like that idea, but I also know that a Tor blog would have less traffic than this one on ye olde WWW, if that’s even possible.

Woke up to my dream

Last night I dreamed about the wave of Republican cruelty under Trump. Yes, it was a political dream. In it I was painfully aware of the scope and depth of wrongs happening right now. I could feel them.

I woke up to a story about the first of three planned state killings being carried out.

In 2019, Barr moved to reinstate the federal death penalty after a nearly two decade lapse.

Daniel Lewis Lee, a convicted killer, was executed Tuesday morning in the first federal execution in 17 years after the Supreme Court issued an overnight ruling that it could proceed.Lee was pronounced dead by the coroner at 8:07 a.m. ET in Terre Haute, Indiana. His last words were “I didn’t do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but I’m not a murderer. You’re killing an innocent man,” according to a pool report.The Supreme Court cleared the way for the resumption of the federal death penalty in an unsigned order released after 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Daniel Lewis Lee executed after Supreme Court clears the way for first federal execution in 17 years