The U.S. Mail delivers intrigue

On the Postal Service website just now is an advertizement for their “Informed Delivery” tool, that emails you scanned images of mail pieces that are going to end up at your address.

From: USPS / To: Jane / Informed Delivery Daily Digest 7:52 a.m. / COMING TO YOUR MAILBOX SOON / MAIL / picture of letter with return address “John Doe / 123 Any Street / Anytown USA 55555”, canceled stamp, and address “Jane Smith 123 Any Street / Anytown USA 5555”.

Aside from the maybe incorrect address formatting (The USPS seems to want you to use abbreviations for road names, so 123 Any ST) and notable lack of a state or territory for Anytown, why is John Doe sending a letter to Jane Smith at the same address?

Continue reading The U.S. Mail delivers intrigue

Slow, modern Heptameron, story ten X

Another childhood memory with no speech at all.

From when I was about 5 until after I moved out around 20 years later, I lived with my parents where they lived, in a rural area on the edges of a sub urban area. In the sub urban area was a little shopping plaza at an intersection with 3 others. These were not “malls” I don’t think, although 1 might have qualified. A different one had that so-distinct 1970s? look to the sign out front, which I wish I could know the name of that style.

The one I am thinking of tried to be old timey in a very vague way. It had a brick front and an actual arcade (I think) with brick columns and roof lines and in the middle a clock on a higher than the rest roof.

When I first saw this was early, probably close to 5 or 6 years old, so about when I was learning to read a clock (something I do remember). This one you could see two sides of when you were in a car in the parking lot. From then until I last saw it, whenever later / ago, these two perpendicular faces’ hands never moved and were so different it was unavoidable to notice.

I think the two facing either “side” of the stores were the same, and I don’t remember that I ever, after I had learned to drive and could go there myself, walked around the back to see if it even had a rear face.

3-eyed electric meter

A quick one: this simplified graphic of an electric power meter, as seen on common residential and light commercial services, looks like it has 3 eyes and is unimpressed:

NYSEG meter is unimpressed with your power profile.

Unicode calls this a “neutral face” but to me it’s unimpressed with what it sees, or what it is registering.

Microsoft’s animated explanation of “Windows Hello”

Microsoft has a history of hiding “easter eggs” in the Windows directory, including the teddy bear and “SULFNBK” whose icon appears to have been made in in Paint.

Cruizing through a current (20H1 / 2004) installation of Windows 10, I turned up the following GIF:

Explanation of image in first paragraph after it.
Filename is @windows-hello-V4.1.gif

Here is my explanation of what is going on for blind persons, and to highly how really weird it is to everyone:

  1. The words “Windows Hello!” appear. The main character appears, a filled in black circle with one arc slightly above the top third of the circle.
  2. Circle turns into a horizontal line for a second, and then back to a circle. It is an eye that just blinked at us.
  3. A light blue smiley face (two eyes and smile) appears in the upper left. At the same time, a ninja/cartoon bomb appears at the right and moves towards the eye.
  4. The eye watches other ninja-bombs follow. It looks up at the blue smiley. While this is going on, biometric lines have been appearing around the smiley.
  5. The eye moves to the blue smiley while the ninja-bombs (five total) line up to fill in a password field, taking the place of the round dots usually seen when typing one in: ●●●●●
  6. The eye arrives on top of the blue smiley and they both disappear in a blue flash.
  7. The eye reappears in the same blue color as the old smiley. It moves towards the ninja-bomb-password and changes back to black when there.
  8. Using its eyebrow like a Pac-man mouth, the eye eats the ninja-bomb-password one ● at a time.
  9. When done, it flips its eyebrow around twice and changes from a single (cyclops) eye into a two eyes, thus becoming a (different from the first!) smiley. It winks with its left eye and fades out.

Other than the product name (Windows Hello), there is no text to localize, which is easy, but there is more going on here than the obvious “Windows Hello uses facial biometrics to replace passwords” that may need explanatory text anyway.

I don’t use this feature of Windows, so I can’t say where this is used in the setup or day-to-day use of it. It has a mesmerizing story to it, so it can loop forever without being too bad.

FEMA subversiveness

In the United States, emergency management/civil protection (what used to be called civil defense) is coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA (read as “FEE-mah”). The justly respected Florida COVID Action site recently linked to a page of FEMA’s on how to prepare for hurricanes (which Florida is the constant target of) with COVID-19 in mind. Looking closer…

Continue reading FEMA subversiveness

It is a palindrome day

In the ISO calendar display, yyyymmdd, today is 20200202. I remember in 2002 my father showed me something similar on graph paper. I don’t have it anymore and that is a little sad, but I nearly missed the significance of today and would have had to wait about 2 years for the next one.

Readers of the “Moscow Puzzles” may remember 1961 and the odometer on the family car. I need to finish that book.