Fucked Up by Visa

Have you encountered this "Verified by Visa" bullshit?

Some web sites now have this extra page their foist on you after you have already entered all your credit card info, where before completing the transaction, you have to fill out a second form with your name, email address, CCV, expiry, and a password. "For your protection." And they make it be a hard password, meaning none of my throwaway don't-give-a-shit passwords work.

It says "your card has been enrolled in Verified by Visa -- at no extra charge!" (Emphasis theirs.) Oh thanks ever so fucking much.

The last time I encountered this, I called Visa and asked them to "de-enroll" my card from it, but this time, the monkey on the phone, as well as the monkey's supervisor, said that if the vendor had signed up for it (TicketWeb in this case) that it was not optional.

Is this true? Do I have to switch banks now? Or do they all have a similar program "for my protection"?

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MP3 streaming from OSX, and stuff

So let's say, just for the sake of argument, that I was thinking about switching to a Mac Mini or something for the DNA audio streams. What software would I use?

Right now I'm running Icecast 2.2.0, and I get audio into it by using the Perl "Shout" library. The MP3 bits come from one of two places:

  • When the club isn't open, the audio just comes out of mp3 files on disk. This part's easy.
  • When we're open, the audio comes from the sound card via "arecord -q -f cd | lame ..."

So I could continue just using Icecast 2.2.0 (it's somewhat of a pain in the ass, but I'm familiar with its failings by now), but what's the OSX replacement for that "arecord" command? I've googled up a few recipes that involve installing esound, but there's just no fuckin' way that's the sane answer.

Nicecast ($40) looks nice and simple, but I don't think it does what I need: it doesn't seem to be non-interactive enough. In particular, I need to switch back and forth between "live" and "archive" from cron.

Though, you know, I'm not sure anyone actually cares about that... Right now the live streams (and by extension, the Real stream) re-broadcast audio from the saved archives during the day when we're not open. I guess I could just give up on that and have them be silent during the day, and assume that people who want to listen to the archives will do so explicitly.


Also: does a MacOS version of RealProducer even exist any more? I can't tell what all this "Helix" nonsense is about, but it looks like it all stopped in 2004. (Please note, I'm talking about RealProducer, not RealServer: Producer is the software that reads from the video card, encodes video, and sends a single stream up to RealServer for re-broadcast.)

(And before you ask, switching from Real to Quicktime is not an option, because GrooveFactory, the folks who are generously donating video bandwidth and re-broadcasting to us, only do Real, not QT.)

[ LJ Poll 720645 ]

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I enter the game ["America's Army", the US Army's online shooter recruitment tool] using as my login name, "dead-in-iraq" and proceed to type the names using the game's text messaging system. As is my usual practice when creating such an intervention, I am a neutral visitor as I do not particate in the proscribed mayhem. Rather, I stand in position and type until I am killed. Upon being re-incarnated I continue to type. To date, I have input just over 250 names. I intend to keep doing so until the end of this war.

I can appreciate this prank only by ignoring the fact that his description of it is filtered through the traditional Artist Statement Bullshitizer. It's a fuckin' gag. It's not a bad one. But couching it in terms like "this work" just makes me want to punch him in the junk. Destroy All Artists.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein the webcast is still fucked, but we had a really good band.

Photos are up of The Spores at Pop Roxx on Saturday. Oh man, they were awesome! Do check them out if you have a chance. Their act also included a puppet show. Which, you know, could easily have gone very wrong, but it didn't.

The webcast is still going all "test tone" on us, and I haven't the slightest idea why. It went nuts at just after 1AM yesterday, and just after midnight tonight. At first I thought it might be that LAME (the MP3 encoder) got "upgraded" and broken, but no: turns out it didn't get upgraded at all; we're still running the same binary of it that has been working fine for two years.

I'm pretty much out of ideas at this point, beyond "install a completely different operating system and hope for the best." Though "sell all the computers and just say fuck it" is looking more attractive every day.


Oh That Colbert

Unless your rock-of-hiding is particularly large, it's unlikely you've not heard about Stephen Colbert's cast-iron-testicles performance at the White House Correspondents dinner.

  • Boing Boing has links to various versions of the video and transcripts.
  • gillen points out that most of the press about it was about the almost-entirely-unfunny earlier skit where Bush and a Bush impersonator traded off.

  • But my favorite commentary so far is from kungfumonkeyrss who says:

    Apparently, the President was not amused. As noted --

    As he walked from the podium the president and First Lady gave Colbert quick nods, unsmiling, and left. E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few felt the material was, perhaps, uncomfortably biting.

    Wasn't it last year at the White House Correspondent's dinner where the President did a HI-LARIOUS bit with some fake home movies showing him looking for those darned elusive WMD's? And they weren't there! It was a laff riot! I was laughing all the way to the 2300 odd military funerals!! Giggling as I donated money to help pay for over 10,000 wounded Americans!! Stop me before I piss myself with glee. But Colbert's bit, that was OUT OF LINE, mister!!

    "Uncomfortably biting"? Awwww. Awwwwwwwwwwwww. That's supposed to be YOUR job, "real journalists", making the government -- any government, Republican or Democrat -- feel uncomfortable. Afflict the comfotable and comfort the afflicted. But no, God help a fake journalist actually use satire to point out a bunch of inconvenient truths you don't bother with because either you're too afraid of losing your invites to little prawn&wine parties with the swells, or it might just be too much real work, or, well ... pick your excuse for a non-functioning cowardly domestic media.

    Enjoy the stay at Gitmo, Stephen. I'll raise money for your legal defense fund. Assuming they even let you have a trial. Which, although I joke, is entirely legal under the current rules of this Administration.

    The President was upset? Good. I hope the President was sleepless with rage. At least then he'd know how most of us have been spending every night for the last three years.

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