Brainwashing is a Cinch!

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2018 music wrap-up has been cancelled

For the last 16 years, I've posted a year-end wrap-up of my favorite 30-ish albums of the year. Sometimes I even write reviews. I'm not doing that this time, because looking over the list... 2018 pretty much sucked.

I mean, the [REDACTED] album was pretty great, but I feel like in any other year, it would have been halfway down the list. And the new albums from [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] are fine if you're already into those bands, but they aren't really breaking new ground.

So, fuck it.

In lieu of that, here are some bands I saw live last year who put on good shows, in chronological order. This is also a smaller number of shows than usual. And except for, I think, two of them, I couldn't convince a single other person to go with me.

Super Unison
David J


The Regrettes
Killing Joke
The Joy Formidable

Laurie Anderson
Skating Polly
Potty Mouth
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I don't remember this scene in the new Suspiria

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Dali Clock

Dear Lazyweb, subclass Apple employees:

If you have any pull with whoever manages the anonymous $1/day third-world call center hellhole contractors who wield the banstick on iOS App Store submissions, can you fix this, please:

1) They rejected it, and 2) I wrote back (with some words that I didn't save, and which their web site will not show to me again) saying A) this program is already in the App Store, for years, B) it is historically significant, C) because it was one of the first programs on the 128k Mac which you might have heard of because it was made by your company, and then:

2.44 Binary Rejected
From Apple
4. 2 Design: Minimum Functionality


Thank you for your resubmission. However, upon further review, we found that your app is out of compliance with the following guideline(s):

Guideline 4.2 - Design - Minimum Functionality


So let me get this straight.

Right now, anyone can download the 2015 version of Dali Clock from the iOS App Store.

And if they do so, it does not rotate properly if they change the orientation of their (iOS 12) phone.

I have fixed that bug and uploaded a new version.

And your policy is, "No, we would prefer that people download the version that does not rotate properly."

That is the official Apple policy on this? Are you fucking kidding me?

Well played, Sir. Well played.

I hate you, Milkman Apple. Perhaps I can interest you in an Android version.

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XScreenSaver 5.42

XScreenSaver 5.41 5.42 is out now, including iOS and Android.

  • New hack, Handsy. I modeled and animated it by "hand", heyyo. I tried considered using the Leap Motion Controller API to snapshot real hands, but that device is crap at detecting poses with any precision.

  • I rewrote Unknown Pleasures: it's a true waterfall graph now. I eagerly await someone figuring out some interesting real data to feed into it.

  • BSOD Solaris is far more accurate. DVD added.

  • Dali Clock works again, both the screen saver and the Mac app. Also rotation works again in the iOS app. (It is a longstanding Apple tradition that you have to rewrite the mobile rotation code from scratch every 18 months.)

    (Oh, wait, apparently while Apple accepted my submission of Dali Clock to the Mac App Store, they rejected the bug-fix update to the iOS App Store, because the anonymous $1/day contractor in some third-world call center hellhole has decided that it has "minimal functionality". Awesome. Appeal in progress.)

  • Fonts are better on X11. I fixed them in 5.39 but then broke them again in 5.40, oops.

  • Saver settings work again on macOS 10.14.

  • Plugged many memory leaks on Android and iOS. On the mobile platforms, freeing memory at exit matters, since the savers all run in the same address space. It's not an issue on the desktops, because the process goes away at exit.

  • If you're on Linux, and the xscreensaver daemon is setuid, then we can implore the kernel's out-of-memory killer to pretty please not unlock the screen. It might work, maybe.

  • MacOS has an upgraded Sparkle (the "Check for Updates" library). Let me know if the auto-update works.

    Update: It did not work in 5.41. I have released 5.42 to hopefully fix this...

  • The DMG is now "notarized" and "stapled" by Apple, which I think means that on 10.14 you should be able to open it without getting the "unknown developer" dialog. (It is a longstanding Apple tradition that you must re-learn how to do codesigning every 18 months.) Again, let me know if it works.

  • The Android version is back in the Google Play store. I had stopped updating that because somehow I lost the signing key. To get it back in the store I had to change the Application ID (from org.jwz.xscreensaver to This means that to upgrade to the new one, you will probably have to manually delete the old one first, just this one time.
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Are super-yachts the best places to keep your art collection?

In theory, works are no more at risk on a super-yacht, where temperature, humidity and light are maintained by a full-time crew of up to 50 people, than in a house.

This summer, the mega-yacht Equanimity, belonging to the 36-year-old Malaysian businessman Jho Low, was first seized in Bali. Low, who is now a fugitive, is accused of stealing billions from his country's sovereign wealth fund 1MBD and using the money to buy real-estate and yachts, as well as an art collection that at one point contained a $39m painting by Basquiat as well as works by Van Gogh, Monet, Calder and Rothko. "We don't know if valuable art was on the yacht," Watson says. "But the insurance brokers probably do."

In a similar case, Vijay Mallya, the former chairman of India's largest brewer, who has also been charged with financial misconduct, had his yacht -- the Indian Empress -- seized in Malta. Although the boat was sold in September for €35m, a number of items that were on board, including valuable paintings, were spirited away before they could also be seized, according to Watson.

Such cases raise interesting questions in a world where yachts, often with a complex web of ownerships, transport valuable art from one jurisdiction to another. In 2015, for example, French customs officers seized Picasso's Head of a Young Woman (1906) from Adix, the Spanish billionaire Jaime Botín's yacht. Although it was moored in Corsica, He argued that it was sailing under a British flag and was thus in the UK's jurisdiction, but this held no sway with Spain's judges, who deemed the work a national treasure and Adix subject to Spanish law.

Hoist the Black. Also, apropos of nothing, Rhode Island school district hires collection agency over unpaid lunches. "The district lunch program cannot continue to lose revenue," Votto wrote.

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Belated Cheer

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New Bar in [Town]

Who else is excited for the new cocktail bar?

It's a new venture by [notable local restaurateur], the owner of [famous upscale bar], [spin-off of famous upscale bar], and [spin-off of the spin-off] -- so you know it's going to be good. The bar will feature inventive cocktails with a local twist, including hand-made [ingredient] from [local boutique food business]. There will also be a limited food menu of "small bites", including such delights as [unexpected meat] sliders and Sriracha [something].

The building's previous tenant is gone but not forgotten -- there are plenty of cheeky references to [charming relic business] in the decor and cocktail names. They have a drink called The [the street it's on], and another one named after [famous person in local lore]. They also reportedly serve a [neighborhood name], which is like a Manhattan, but with [unnecessary twist] instead of [what it should be]. Intriguing.

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Dear Internet Archive, stop advocating for Dunning-Krugerrands.

Every now and then the Internet Archive posts some hype imploring people to donate to them in Bitcoin. Now, the Archive is a great organization, and one to whom I regularly donate actual cash money, but this is horrible and I wish they would stop.

The Archive, and their Siamese twin The Long Now Foundation, are putatively about long-term thinking, but there is little in the modern world more short-sighted than the Ponzi scheme of climate disaster that is the world of cryptocurrency.

Internet Archive, please knock that shit off. It's really not a good look on you.

They started accepting donations in these magic beans a while back, perhaps before the true toxicity of cryptocurrencies was widely understood. Back when it just seemed like a neat trick, like running wifi off of a potato battery.

Then someone donated $2M in bitcoin to them, and they've been fucking that potato ever since. Because at $2M, you call it Mister Potato, I guess. But here's the thing: how likely do you think it is that someone would say, "Well I was gonna give you a million bucks, but since you don't take Buttcorn, I guess I won't."

Right. They would convert their Earth-killing kilobux to "legacy" "fiat" currency and donate anyway -- unless the actual goal was to enlist you as a prop in a con being run against someone else entirely. HMMMMMM.

But keep fucking that potato. If you build a good enough tail section out of palm fronds, perhaps the sky gods with return with more cargo!

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[fart noise]

I had re-posted a mildly-amusing historical anecdote here, linking to the original author as always. I had unrolled the Twitter thread into paragraphs to make it be actually possible to read like a real grown-up person, but apparently the author and his fanboys don't know how to click links and had a conniption fit about it. Ok, cool, welcome to oblivion.
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