upgrade for my genome
Monday, January 5 2004
Eleanor the dog has been gimpy for about a week, so today finally we thought we'd take her to the vet, the local expensive guy in Hurley. Sally wanted to come along to, so she was there for the whole experience, watching Eleanor get poked and prodded. The vet extracted some goop from the swelling on Eleanor's heel and determined it consisted of joint fluids. Still, he was concerned that perhaps the problem might not be a sprain but instead be a symptom of Lyme disease, so he ran a test on her which came up negative. As expected, the visit set us back over $100. The Lyme disease test alone had cost $45. In the end, the vet's advice was identical to what I expected it to be: hot compresses, anti-inflammatory drugs, and keeping Eleanor from running around too much. The vet went to pet Sally after he was done with Eleanor and Sally shrunk away from him. She never does that to anyone, but I guess in her little doggy brain she feared that she was the second course.
This afternoon I had yet another great anti-spam idea in my head. Instead of giving my real email address when I sign up for some download, and instead of going to one of my Yahoo email thingamawidgets, what if I ran a pop mail server on my machine and gave out my address as, say, firstname.lastname@example.org? I'd be able to collect whatever passwords I needed from the response software, and from then I'd abandon the address the next time my dynamic IP address changed. It seemed like a great idea, but then when I went to implement it I ran into an unsurmountable difficulty. It seems that most SMTP servers look to see if a POP server is really at a registered, permanent address before they attempt to send mail to it. In this regard, my internet address failed repeatedly. It simply isn't possible to set up a POP mail server on a dialup IP address. [Later I learned from a reader that it is possible, but IP addresses in email addresses need to be enclosed in the same kind of square brackets that enclose this retrospective parenthetical.]
While I was dealing with this discovery, Mozilla's mail client demanded that I re-enter my email password. I did so, using the password of the local POP server (which was different from my Spies password). From then on, Mozilla complained about my email password being wrong without providing a dialogue allowing me to change it. I looked through all the various menus repeatedly and launched several Google searches for things like "reset saved password" Mozilla. There was no information on this subject at all. I started screaming, a luxury afforded by my being alone in the house at the time. Still no answers. Oh my God, I thought I was going to break something. Then I figured out that the solution was in Tools>Password Manager>Manage Stored Passwords. Hidden amongst all those web passwords was a single entry for a Mailto: password. That was what I was looking for. (For the record, Tools>Password Manager>Log Out doesn't seem to do anything at all.) I deleted the entry, and then the next time I tried to check my email, Mozilla presented me with a form in which to type my password. It's amazing how unintuitive this system is. Mozilla should rip off Microsoft and give me a place to type a new password every time a password fails.
The lesson I draw from this experience is that Open Source software sucks. You don't write good code if you can't sell it, so why should we expect free software to be any good? That's like expecting to find gourmet food at a soup kitchen. Or a homeless man worthy of the American Presidency. While Microsoft is busy taking over the world with their quality proprietary code, I wish they would write an upgrade for my genome - this Open Source DNA in my chromosomes is driving me nuts. Just think how much they could charge people to migrate away from an operating system built entirely by chance!
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