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If you play World of Warcraft, check out the Real ID coverage and make sure that you're not publishing your real name inadvertently. There are reports of add-ons revealing your real name to anyone using the same add-on, as well as the obvious issues with public "Friends of Friends" lists and selling your WoW data to Facebook. As was the case with Google Buzz, Real ID is turned on by default. You can only turn it off by turning on Parental Controls. (You don't need to turn on any other controls, just turn on Parental Controls and make sure that Real ID is disabled.)

Basically, Blizzard/Activision and Facebook have done a deal to integrate social networking into the game - the privacy policy that you signed up for explicitly says that they can sell your info to other people if they give you an opportunity to opt out. And you read the latest version of the EULA from top to bottom, didn't you? After all, you can't click "Accept" until you scroll down...
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There was a thread about where to look for clothes in Melbourne (if you're a girl with curves) on my friends list a while back. I've been searching and searching and can't find it. Anyone remember the one I mean?
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Abusive ex-husband given information by Google Buzz, journalist sources revealed, pseudonyms wiped out.

*winces*

It looks like the Google Buzz privacy issues weren't just theoretical after all. I'm a lucky girl - I blocked my abuser's emails from Gmail a long time ago. The only email access that she has is through a different account that I use for untrusted communications. But imagine if I hadn't. She uses Gmail too.

On the plus side, the firestorm has forced Google to make changes to Buzz. They've kindly changed the "auto-follow" feature this to "auto-suggest". And disconnected the automatic links to things that you were reading on Google Reader and sharing with your friends on Picasa. And they claim that anyone who hasn't ever created a profile with Google hasn't shared any information. So far, I think I'm probably in the clear.

I'm still a little angry with Google, but mostly I'm kinda sad. You're meant to be smart people in there. Did you not pay any attention to the Facebook privacy sagas?
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Retweet from [livejournal.com profile] ironed_orchid:

Google Buzz is a social networking function on Gmail which assumes that you want to give information about who you talk to on email with everyone else who you talk to on email. I am not thinking very hard about what would happen if you, say, ran a business where confidentiality was actually important on Gmail. Counselling, perhaps. Or a legally related business. Or any number of possibilities. Or, you know, had a screwed up family.

And the most pernicious part of the business is that they kept up the deception. When they put up that flash screen saying "Do you want to use Buzz?" and you said "No", they switched it on ANYWAY. They just kept telling other people what you were doing, without even telling you that it was happening.

If you want to actually turn off Buzz, you can do it by following these instructions.
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The site is currently down, of course, but if you think that you're ever going to take public transport in Melbourne, register now for your free myki. They're normally $10 and the advantage is that you don't have to pay the extra cost for short-term tickets. The offer is supposed to expire at the end of this month.

Of course, this means that you have to register your details instead of having an anonymous myki, so the government can track you wherever you go. But I'm willing to sacrifice my privacy so that I can get balance protection (i.e. if I lose the card). Besides, my commute isn't all that interesting.
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Some bastard has walked off with my birthday lemon tree.

Yay!

Dec. 17th, 2009 01:23 pm
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I have a zucchini seedling and two bean seedlings, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] 17catherines.
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Just in case any of you were wondering. The WoW addiction is well and truly embedded though. We're going to have to buy a new computer so that the two of us can quest together...

WoW

Nov. 25th, 2009 04:18 pm
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I have succumbed to the free sample handed out by the dealer...

Fortunately, my husband is making sure that I sleep and eat regularly.

Shiny sale!

Nov. 7th, 2009 09:17 am
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[livejournal.com profile] elisem is having a sale of shiny things. She makes beautiful shiny things, much to the sorrow of my bank account. And they're on SALE!

Go and be tempted here.
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Better Half and I went to the movies a couple of weekends ago and we saw Coraline in 3D. It was lovely, just as good as the book despite the changes. And definitely a movie worth seeing in 3D on the big screen. (Aliens vs Monsters, by contrast, was fun, but would have been just as entertaining in 2D.) I loved the mirroring of the Real World and the Other World. I loved the symbolism of the key. (I did think that the Wybie's entrance into the final fight wasn't as good as Coraline's strategy in the book.)

What struck me most personally, though, was the truth of the parents' characters, on both sides of the door. I may have mentioned previously that my mother has borderline personality disorder (BPD). If you've seen the movie, then you have a very good (if shocking) idea of what living with someone with BPD is like. There's your Mother, who loves you but is kinda self-obsessed, and then there's the Other Mother, who can't survive unless she can hold onto you forever. When the Other Mother feels nice, she'll give you anything you could possibly want. When she's upset, you should be scared. And don't ever think of growing up and leaving her.

There's a story in the news about a mother with BPD who killed her son because she didn't want to lose custody. Sadly, for people who have relatives with BPD, the things that she said and did are all too familiar. There are millions of people suffering from BPD. The unusual thing about this one is that she's actually been diagnosed.

It's Mental Health Week in Victoria. When you mention mental illness, most people think of depression and other mood disorders. But it's important to remember that there are less well-known illnesses out there. If you or someone in your family has symptoms that don't exactly fit the obvious options, trust yourself. Make sure that the medical professionals have a chance to interview all the affected people, not just the primary sufferer. Make sure that everyone is interviewed individually rather than as a group at some point. Keep looking for the right answer.

It has made an amazing difference to my life to finally understand why my mother reacts the way that she does. Because I understand the real problem, I can predict how she will behave and learn how to cope. Because I understand the real problem, I can avoid perpetuating this disorder into future generations.
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James Nicoll: Speaking of assisted exits,
> I think we're all agreed that while Canadian-style socialistic death
> panels are bad, it's perfectly OK for private insurance companies to pull
> the plug on sick people, even ones who might survive with medical
> assistance, as long as the companies have a proper - which is to say
> profit motivated - reason for doing to.
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1. When piping macaroon/meringue mixture onto a baking tray, it is important that the tip of your piping bag is big enough. Otherwise, it will clog up with bits of sugar and ground nuts and squeezing the bag will just put pressure on other parts of the bag. Possibly parts with holes.

2. If you're going to make a layered cake with chocolate custard and double cream, you want a nice empty freezer handy to get it to set.

3. Failed cake is still good as long as you have a spoon and bowls.
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We're pulling out the sacred bamboo plants in front of our window (to be replaced by tulips and hyacinths and a small army of blue and purple pansies). I hate chucking out perfectly healthy plants though, so I popped them on Freecyle.

Fifteen minutes later, they have a home. *beams happily*

Oh bother!

May. 15th, 2009 05:38 pm
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It appears that I should avoid situations that involve rapid blood loss.

I went down to try and donate blood again - last time I made it all the way through and then fainted. This time, I was fine and then suddenly picked up the same dizzy/ill feeling at around 350 mL. Gah. Apparently I have one more attempt before they'll gently suggest that I stop trying. This would also put paid to the idea of registering on the bone marrow registry.
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We dropped off my tax papers to my accountant last night. It's done! From my brief analysis, I may even get the Spend-Our-Way-Out-Of-Trouble payment. Eventually.

It was a lovely weekend, full of visitors and baking and cleaning.* Two of Eric's friends came over for afternoon tea on Saturday, complete with toddlers. I'm pleased to be able to announce that everyone survived, despite the lack of childproofing. It appears that a ratio of three adults to each child is pretty good. I have no idea how SAHMs with multiple kids do this. Both children were much taken with The Bird, chattering and pointing repeatedly towards him. They didn't want to let him out of their sight. We did keep them sufficiently far away to avoid nipped fingers though. The chocolate dacquoise** was a perceptible hit.

I also feel particularly virtuous because I think I've managed to explain cashflow to my SIL.*** This means that (a) she can go on a fabulous trip to Queensland, (b) that she won't run out of money doing so, and (c) she's learnt about planning expenditure and saving towards a goal. All good things.

I'd like to bring to your attention that C J Cherryh has a new blog on her website, complete with all-new formatting and reader comments. Go have a look (and sign up). Ms Cherryh also has mucho kudos from me for working on a way to sell her out-of-print works as e-books directly to her fans.+ I understand that the books will be on sale shortly, starting with a director's cut version of Faery in Shadow. She is NOT planning to inflict DRM-pain on us either. Also, if you're a Cyteen fan and haven't read Regenesis yet, get thee to a bookstore. Speaking of Cherryh books, I picked up an early Alliance-Union novel on Ebay: Rimrunners and another one, Hellburner, on BookMooch. I'm finding the early works fascinating, because they have so much raw story in them. As you'd expect, the latest series (Foreigner) is MUCH more polished.

My Pampas Pastry Cookbook has arrived, courtesy of another awesome BookMoocher. I am now planning all sorts of lovely portable pastry items for lunchboxes,++ to complement the lovely spice cake recipe that [livejournal.com profile] b_twin_1 gave me. I also got another Andre Norton Solar Queen book - Postmarked the Stars and a copy of The Hobbit. I know, I should have HAD a copy already. But I didn't. This month's BookMooch packages are all wrapped and ready to go too.+++

ETA: Oooh, the first flush/leaf eater thing for our rainwater tank arrived this morning. The concrete slab went in last week and is looking... well, like concrete. Now we just need to wait for the tank to arrive...

-----------------------------------------------------------------

* I know, I'm weird. I do actually like cleaning. What I don't like is not having enough time to do it, and when other people who live in the house don't appreciate it or pitch in.^

^ I appear to have caught the footnote bug from Robin McKinley (http://www.robinmckinleysblog.com). Then again, I did study law, so I was probably peculiarly vulnerable.

** Basically, hazelnut macaroon layers interspersed with chocolate cream and raspberries and double cream. I recommend doubling the quantities of hazelnut and chocolate in the recipe. I'm still not sure why I never end up with corresponding amounts of macaroon and cream though. I ran out of cream while using only half the macaroon. Maybe I'm meant to layer it thinner.

*** Her father's comment was "What? You UNDERSTAND how MONEY works? Those two words should never be used in the same sentence in this family." I think therein lies a whole world of explanation for lots of things about my in-laws. But I won't go into them, because I'm sure you all have better things to do.

+ Okay, so I adored her for her work in the Alliance-Union universe anyway, as well as her ongoing maintenance of a marine aquarium (and now a koi pond). But I'm even more impressed now.

++ The availability of lunchbox foods has suddenly become deeply important for my SIL. See above reference to saving towards a goal.

+++ Am I weird for loving our pretty new return address labels? It's so easy: peel-and-stick!

Interesting

May. 7th, 2009 02:38 pm
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I wonder if this theory about the human ability/tendency to mimic might explain the spread of borderline personality disorder in families. The genetic theory makes perfect sense for children who inherit it from their parents, but this would account for some oddities, like transmission between in-laws. The other example that jumps to mind is, for some reason, mass hysteria.

Woohoo!

May. 4th, 2009 09:35 am
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My broker rocks. They're sending me out a copy of the contract note.

Now, I just have to track down the amount of the dividend and the issue prices in 1998 and 1999. *gulp*

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