The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Welcome back!

Hello! Long time, no entries.

This isn't the longest time I've been absent here at the ol' blog (the longest stretch has been 4½ months back in late 2012), but things around Chez Boca have been interesting for the past three and a half months. The biggest thing is a medical issue that Bunny has been going through. It's not life threatening, but it is life changing for the both of us, and the doctors are still trying to figure out what happened in late April that caused the issue. I've also been forced to deal with the medical-industrial complex and the bureaucracy surrounding it (Bunny used to deal with the medical-industrial complex, having been a former Fed herself and can stomach the bureaucracy) and while I have plenty to say about it, I'll refrain least I work myself up.

Another issue has been that my primary development system (a Linux system) has been offline for the past few months. July 3rd we had a small power outtage. It normally wouldn't be a big deal as the UPS kept the system up until I could shut it down cleanly, but when power was restored, the computer just refused to turn on. And given the situation with Bunn—

A week later and I can resume writing this entry. As I was writing, the situation with Bunny was such that I didn't feel up to mucking with the computer. It was just last week that I felt up to getting a replacement power supply. I ordered it from Amazon and it arrived the next day, not in a box, but wrapped in foam and packing tape stuffed inside an opaque plastic bag. I was not surprised in the least that the fan inside the power supply was broken. Not bad enough that a bit of cyanoacrylate glue (aka “Super Glue”) wouldn't fix it, but still, the fact that I had to do that wasn't a good sign (“Why don't you just return it?” asked Bunny? “Because I'm desperate enough to get my system up and running.”)

It was enough to get the system up and running, and as I was typing out this entry the new power supply went “POP” and that was the end of that.


I opted to return it for a replacement. It arrived yesterday, wrapped in foam and packing tape stuffed inside an opaque plastic bag, but this time the fan was fine, and it's now been running for over 24 hours without incident.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

How common is it for people to not know their own email address?

I'm still receiving all sorts of email from other Sean Conners to my address, and I'm seriously wondering how? Do these people not know their email address? Currently:

I was able to call and stop the emails about the condo, doctor's appointment and medication, but for some reason, the administrators of the school in Tenneesee can't remove my email address unless they get permission from the parent of the actual child, and they won't tell me the name of the parent who thinks I need their child's school notices.


To make matters worse, in one case, the doctor's appointment case, the name of the patient wasn't even “Sean Conner!”


How? Just … how?

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Dear Walmart … seriously? That's what you keep under lock and key?

You keep alcohol wipes under lock and key?

Are they that valuable?

You do realize that we repealed the 18th Amendment, right?


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Stirring and shaking may be boring, but the future this brings will effect you in the future

This all works fine for the purposes of the telephone system. I mean, at least for a long time, it did. But have you noticed what's up with email lately? It seems that, given an open communications system, people will inevitably develop something called a "cryptocurrency" and badly want to make sure that you get in on something called an "ICO." The general term for this phenomenon is "spam," and the fact that it is only one letter away from "scam" is meaningful as the line between mere unsolicited advertising and outright crime is often razor thin.

In the email system, this problem has been elegantly solved by a system of ad-hoc, inconsistent, often-wrong heuristic classifiers glued to a trainwreck of different cryptographic attestation and policy metadata schemes that still haven't solved the problem. It is, perhaps, no surprise that the phone system is taking a generally similar approach.

2023-08-07 STIRred AND SHAKEN

The whole STIR/SHAKEN thing first crossed my path a few years ago at The Enterprise. At the time, I wasn't sure what the difficulty was in stopping spam/robo calls and that the Oligarchic Cell Phone Companies were complicit with said calls because it made them money. The actual story, covered in the above article, is much more complicated and nuanced than my own cynical take on it (worth reading, even if it's a bit long). By the time I left The Enterprise, we were starting to support it with our offering (which was “Caller Name ID”—that is, given a phone number, map that back to a name), along with a process that was attempting to classify the originating side of the call as legit or not if the call wasn't attested (that was being done at another department within The Enterprise). If you use a certain Oligarchic Cell Phone Company, and see the name “Potential SPAM” as the caller name, you were using code I worked on.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

How long until I receive some really damaging information about another Sean Conner out there?

Yet another email for Sean Conner. This time, I own a 2015 Acura RDX with XXXXX­X miles (XXXXX­XX kilometers for those Imperially challenged) on the odometer and Tennessee license plate XXXXX­XX, having just received service from Budget Brakes in XXXXX­XXXX, Tennessee. That's only 875 miles (1,410 km) from Chez Boca (and for reference, the closest Budget Brakes to me is in Pensacola, Florida, 630 miles (1010 km) away).

I'm … just speechless … that this keeps happening! Don't people know their own email address? Do companies just assume customers have Why does this keep happening?

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You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

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You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

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