I have deleted my LiveJournal, finally. No actual information should be lost: I told it not to delete my comments on other people's journals, or my community entries. (I should probably go back and delete the "redbird's test" account as well.)

I've been meaning to do this for months; finally doing it was prompted, oddly, by the news that Myspace has "lost" all data from before 2016. And that led me to thinking, briefly, about the solidity or otherwise of websites, and reminded me that I didn't want my entries over there, (Also, I don't trust the current owners of LJ enough to trust them as backup for this online version of my life.)

ETA: Now I am feeling accomplished, because I checked that off my to-do list, and saw two other things I have done that were still on there. That file is labeled "call this a to-do list" but it's not really serving as one, apparently,
I'm playing with page designs/layouts again, partly because I wasn't happy with what I had, and partly because I'm having trouble focusing on more verbal things, and seem to have overextended myself a bit yesterday and the day before, so want something not too physical.

(I've changed it several times in the last few hours, not counting small tweaks to color palettes.)
I accidentally overwrote the layout I'd been using here with something I didn't like (I clicked "apply" instead of "preview" when looking at options), so I'm now trying to find something else I like. What I have now is at "not too bad"--it doesn't hurt my eyes and I can read it (a lot of styles have too little contrast for me).

The previous layout had bright purple background and the main text was black on white; I did want to change it, but maybe not this much.

(Currently it's "mint chocolate chip," on a base of "ciel," not the prettiest I've found but easier to read than "raindrop" on the same base.)

--Progress: the base I was using before seems to be "Compartmentalize"; trying "green clovers"

"Winter mornings," for the "drifting" base layout. Comes in blue, am going to fiddle with that a little. [and that takes me through the L's on base layouts, and I am going to go do something else and spare my hands]

12/6/18: "Neutral good" with some tweaks, as recommended by [personal profile] gingicat for mobile friendliness.

If I can find something with the advantages of this, that doesn't insist on putting a lot of things in all-caps, I'll probably switch.
I've now had a second round of lots and lots of anonymous comment spam in a week, so only registered users can comment (at least for now). Apologies to all honest anons who aren't interfering with communications to sell crap to strangers in random languages I can't read.
redbird: clenched fist on an LGBT flag background (angry queer)
( Jun. 28th, 2018 03:21 pm)
This image of a clenched fist on a rainbow flag background speaks for itself, I think. You may be seeing a lot of it. Assume anything with this icon is political.

The image is a lapel pin/button I picked this up at Boston Pride a couple of weeks ago. It's the version of the rainbow flag with brown and black stripes, to be more inclusive of people of color.

ETA: Obviously, I have no claim on this image; if anyone else wants to use this icon, help yourselves.
So I was randomly reading old blog posts, and came across a discussion of ways to stop google from pointing to things like someone else's arrest record when someone googles your name. And one of those was "personal web page."

So, I have poked at my very old personal web page. I added a little about what I'm doing in 2018 (activism and availability for freelance work, though my schedule is full right now), but most of the changes are "yes, this is very cobwebby, and I don't live in Inwood anymore." (The most recent post to my weblog had been from 2007, and most of it was several years older than that.)

To do a proper job, I probably need to either learn some modern HTML, or use some kind of template, maybe WordPress. This morning, I was using bits of vi, and to the extent possible putting new content under existing headers. I don't even remember what all the code there is for, but I decided I could safely remove the lines labeled "a bit of code to make Technorati happy."
I got a call this afternoon from someone who may be sending me freelance work (editing and/or proofreading). They are looking for one or more people to do anything in the range from 20 hours/month to full-time. Their approach seems congenial: thorough editing and proofing, including checking the art, and enough time to do it in, and she assured me that they cut checks weekly.

The woman said she'd found my name in the EFA directory, and apologized for calling without warning, but said there was no email address on my resume there. That seemed odd, and I was going to check my directory entry when we were done talking, but when I gave her my email address so she could send me relevant information, she said something like "oh, I thought that was a website or something." Oddly, [personal profile] rysmiel and I were discussing old email providers (prompted by their having written to a friend who is still using a hotmail address). I mentioned some site (I don't remember which) whose software rejected both my non-gmail addresses as invalid, but we didn't expect a human being to look at a panix address and think "that's not an email address."

I answered the call because I generally answer unknown-number calls unless T-Mobile identifies them as "Scam Likely" or the claimed originating number shares my cell phone's area code and exchange. One advantage of having made two interstate moves while keeping the same phone number is that the scammers aren't faking calls from 617 or 787; those numbers are usually calls I actually want, like my doctor's office or the person delivering a pizza.

I had physical therapy again today; the therapist asked if I thought the PT was helping my knee, and I told her I don't know. We did most of the things we'd done last week, plus a couple of new exercises; one of the new exercises is now part of my at-home routine, and she told me to come back in two weeks, because by then we'll have a better idea of whether the exercises are working/helping significantly.
I've been running Spam Assassin on my Panix account for years. Sometime in the last week or two, the software has started rejecting as spam a lot of things it had been letting through, and that I want to receive.

For the moment, I'm dealing with this by increasing the number of "hits required" to count something as spam, and whitelisting a couple of dozen senders and domains. Some of those are in fact mailing lists, but lists I want to be on, ranging from ACLU People Power to the MBTA alert system.

I have also put "root@panix.com" into my whitelist; it feels vaguely like I shouldn't need to do that, but I assume Spam Assassin isn't customized per ISP. (I have a cron job that sends me nightly emails, and those are marked as being from root, rather than from myself.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2018 05:48 pm)
It looks like most of my photo posts here have been loading the images from LiveJournal; I am going to need to re-upload things, and may need to log onto the LJ account in order to be sure of what some of them are. In the meantime, I have taken almost all the hosted-here photos and made them publicly visible instead of access-only.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 2nd, 2018 12:15 pm)
I got this via [personal profile] miss_s_b, who asked about three of my userpics. As written, it's 'Reply to this post with "Oh, sod it, go on then" and I will pick three of your icons for you to talk about in your own journal; please then keep the meme going by making this offer on your post.' That's not really my dialect, so ask in whatever terms feel right to you.

She gave me these:

"When speeded up, the sound trees make is vroom" is a quote from Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman." I haven't used this in a while, maybe because I'm not that fond of palms, but I was thinking sort of general enthusiasm.

Cardinals, on the other hand, are close to my heart (hence the username). This photo is an example of mosaicism: half the bird's body is genetically female (ZW) and half is genetically male (ZZ). I use this occasionally for stuff about gender, and just as an example of the world being full of wondrous things. I found the photo on a blog post someone pointed to.

This is a closeup photo of a ripe apricot, taken by me. I wanted something to use specifically for food posts; in retrospect an apple might have been better.
Here are the first lines of my first post for each month of 2017:

This started with adding up things for my own reference.

I've been meaning to replace my Mac for a while, because I need something faster/with more capacity for handling current software.

I was looking at the ice cream selection at the supermarket and noticed chocolate cherry Garcia (labeled as a "limited batch," which I suspect means "if it's popular enough we'll keep making it").

A few months ago, the person who runs elliott.org (a travel/consumer advocacy website) used a web poll to ask for opinions on whether Uber etc. counted as mass transit. I gave mine, and a week later was asked to approve a quote.

[personal profile] cattitude and I went to the garden store this morning, and came back with a garden fork, to break up the soil so we can get the weeds out, two pots of basil (one each of two different varieties), and another six-pack of lettuce.

I went to a protest rally/march today on the Boston Common.

[I want to get something down before I forget, since this journal is partly for my own time-binding.]

[personal profile] cattitude and I picked up the keys to our new place this morning, and spent a couple of hours taking pictures (mostly to document the current state of the apartment), measuring, and sketching, so we can figure out what goes where, and how much has to go into storage.

We spent a chunk of yesterday moving everything out of the kitchen so the landlord/management company could spray for insects.

I got email this morning from the Massachusetts Agricultural Extension, pointing out that this is a good time of year to be getting my soil tested.

I just found out from [personal profile] wild_irises's journal that [personal profile] onyxlynx died about ten days ago.

[personal profile] cattitude and I walked over to the Somerville Winter Farmers' Market this morning.
Apparently someone signed up for the website "Plentyoffish" using my gmail address; I ignored the first email about it, but after three I decided it was worth the trouble of deactivating the account.

That meant asking for a password reset email, using it to change the password, and then deactivating the account.

Since I'm not going to use the account for anything, ever, I didn't want to bother picking a good, or even long password. So, what the hell, try "xyzzy". I really didn't expect it to work, but it did. There are reasons why xyzzy is a bad password, beyond its being brief and containing only lower-case letters; on the other hand, this is a refreshing change from sites that have complicated requirements that you can discover only by trying passwords that don't match them.

Permanently removing the account was straightforward except that it asked for my reason, and had neither a free-text option nor "because someone else signed my email address up without asking." So, I picked "too many jerks," since I've had exactly no non-jerky interactions with anyone there. (I don't actually think the person who signed up with my address is a jerk; my gmail address is my first initial and last name, and it would be easy to type v instead of c, f, or b. If they try again, I'll ask for a password reset email, and change the profile to something like "this username belongs to a jerk who has signed a stranger's email up here twice. Don't date them."

(I'm used to getting random password reset emails from Twitter, where my handle there is my first name.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2017 09:38 am)
Thanks to [personal profile] miss_s_b linking to a post about how to create good alt tags for images, I just went back and looked at images on my old posts. It turns out that I had omitted alt tags altogether on a lot of image posts. I am working my way back in time, adding alt tags where I had none, and fixing the occasional useless "alt tag" supplied by Flickr or LJ that is just the image title or, worse, dimensions. (The Flickr photos have titles like "climbing out" or "shining," and what's wanted for an alt tag is something like "four turtles sitting on a log, and one climbing out of the water onto the log.")

I got back as far as mid-2013 on the "show earlier posts" feature of Dreamwidth, and then started clicking on likely tags, including "photo," "birds," and "park." That was fun, looking at photos I took years ago, and being reminded of things I'd forgotten. Along with fixes to old journal entries, I added two entries from 2005 to my birding life list. (I'd posted to LJ about them, and forgotten to write them down in the book when I got back to New York.)
: This is mostly for my own reference, so I don't have to keep clicking on the "apple" tag to find out if I've tried/posted about an apple variety.
  • A more general and reflective post about apples, written for [personal profile] minoanmiss 
  • Ambrosia: still crisp when bought in March, but almost no flavor
  • Ashmead's kernel: a good heirloom apple: crisp, juicy, nice balance of sweet and tart
  • Cripp's pink: like Gala but not as tasty
  • Dandee Mac: pretty good for an early-season apple
  • Elstar: a good, crisp early apple
  • Esopus Spitzenburg: a very nice heirloom apple, with an unfortunately brief season
  • Garnet Spy aka NY428: We liked this, it's crisp and tasty.
  • Honeycrisp : crisp, sweet, tasty
  • Hudson's Golden Gem: a mild-flavored late season apple with a texture I like
  • "J" Mac: early-season, somewhat astringent, crisp
  • Jonathan: I took one bite and spat it out, because it was sour. Try again some year?
  • Junami: A mild apple I tried in Washington
  • Kendall: crisp but little flavor, not very juicy
  • Keepsake: almost no flavor
  • Kiku: new variety from New Zealand, tasty but not a strong flavor
  • Lodi: crisp, sour early apple
  • NY543
  • NY652: probably my favorite early apple
  • Pacific rose: pretty, juicy, mild flavor
  • Pazzaz: a little tart, had the Delicious nature
  • Pink-a-boo: distinctly pink flesh, but very little flavor or sweetness
  • Pristine: another boring early-season apple.
  • Puritan: bland early-season apple
  • Ribston pippin: tasty, but not as sweet or as juicy as a good Macintosh or Gala
  • Roxbury russet: I liked this: very apple-y.
  • Senshu: OK, nothing special
  • Shamrock: another average apple: mild flavor but what's there is nice
  • Sonya: crunchy, tart, juicy, flavor could be stronger
  • Spartan: crisp but bland
  • Spencer: an average apple
  • Tsugaru: bland and tasted not quite right.
  • Vista Bella: this review seems to be from a particularly good year for this variety
  • Williams pride: A crisp early season apple with some flavor
  • Westfield seek-no-further: pleasant, mild flavor, very crisp
  • Wickson: small, mild but pleasant flavor.
  • Zestar: an early-season apple I happily bought more of while the market had them this year
I've called the governor's office a couple of times this year. The phone tree starts with "if you know your party's extension, please dial it now" and, since I don't, tells me that all staffers are assisting other constituents, please hold. OK, I can do that.

After having me on hold for a couple of minutes, it offers the chance to bypass the queue by leaving a voicemail and having someone call me back.

When I choose that, the next message is "if this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911."

If this is a medical emergency, would you really call the governor's office?

More to the point, if they think people will be calling with medical emergencies, why doesn't that message come up before the caller has been asked to enter an extension and then waited on hold for a couple of minutes?

(So far, they haven't called me back, but IIRC, the first time I said I didn't need a call back, and this time I called at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. By 5:30 the governor had done what my message said I wanted him to do, so while a call back saying something like "Thanks for calling, the governor agrees with you" would be nice, I got what I actually wanted. (I don't care much about the "thanks for contacting me, here's my position on $issue" emails from Sen. Markey, either.))
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( May. 21st, 2017 09:17 pm)
memo to self: when I'm back home, update my Dreamwidth layout, and use something a bit less bright. I threw this together when I got this account and haven't touched it since.
Sometime in the last few months, someone posted a few free-for-the-taking icons made from old Doonesbury cartoons. I saved the one of Mark Slackmeyer going "guilty guilty guilty," meant to upload it, and now can't find it.

redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Apr. 23rd, 2017 12:37 pm)
I am posting this because I want a record of it and this is the easiest place. I made probably a dozen attempts to cancel LJ automatic payments since they changed the ToS to something that exists only in Russian but puts everyone under Russian law. Every time, I got an error message, even when I was able to log in to LJ for other purposes.

I just got an email that an automatic payment had gone through. I suspect I will be taking this to my credit card's dispute department, but I am trying writing to LiveJournal again. The current state of affairs is that I can log in and see a history of payments, but when I try to change automatic payments, the error message is "cannot load cart."

This is the message I just sent using their internal messaging system:

I have been trying to cancel automatic payments for the past two weeks. Every time I try, I get an error message, either that LJ is undergoing "scheduled maintenance" or that for some other reason it cannot load the payment area.

This morning I got email that an automatic payment had been made. I want that payment cancelled--the only reason it went through is that I have been unable to load the payment area, despite being logged in to LiveJournal.

I just tried to go to the payment area to cancel future payments, and again got "cannot load cart."

I am asking you both to reverse today's automatic payment of $14.16 and to cancel future automatic payments.

Thank you.

Vicki Rosenzweig


When I sent this, the acknowledgment included a reminder that support is run mostly by volunteers, which in this case is not encouraging. I've been a support volunteer, and hope they're still directing payments questions to someone who has authority, rather than just saying "sorry, FAQ xyz says they're not reversible."

ETA: good outcome, see followup post.
If you're trying to import a journal from LJ and are wondering what's happening, it may still be in the queue, which is currently very long. For values of "very long" that mean a few days, though [staff profile] denise notes that her estimates of how long may be off by 100%. In the short term, you can leave it running (no need to keep that window open), as long as you don't change your LJ password until the import completes.

That's my version of her tl;dr; see her actual post for details. Also, if you're going to be hanging out at DW even intermittently, I recommend subscribing to [site community profile] dw_maintenance, which is low-traffic and useful.

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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)

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