Douglas Adams was quite wrong about this: If the problem is somebody else's, it's not invisible; it's endlessly fascinating. If the problem is our own, that is when we find ourselves somewhere between reluctant to and incabable of recognising it's existence.
This is why computer games are so addictive. They permit us the joy of finding a solution without the burden of having to live with it's conseqences.
I know we're all bored with 419 scam email, but every so often you find one that appears to be the work of a comic genius. Notable in this one I received this morning from Janet Napolitano of "HomeLand securities" are such authentic details as:
- It's official because the lines are double-spaced.
- The sublime malapropism "Fraud Monitory Unit", a department presumably concerned with scrutinising financial transactions and issuing dire warnings about dodgy goings-on.
- The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) was formerly known as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC). Glad that's been cleared up. It could confuse a stupid person.
- "HomeLand securities" has a "mandate from US Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of American which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed “Our Time for Change has come” because “Change can happen”". And you were disappointed with Obama, weren't you? For shame!
- "Once again i am so 100% sure of you receiving your payment at no any other cost as we have taking it upon our duty to monitor everything in other to cub cyber crime that is perpetrated by those impostors." Go Janet Napolitan@!
Return-Path: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Received: from User ([184.108.40.206]) by th-mail-a.tellhow.com.cn with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.4675); Sun, 10 Jun 2012 04:52:24 +0800 Reply-To: <email@example.com> From: "Mrs. Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security"<firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: From HomeLand securities Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2012 16:40:18 -0400 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1251" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000 Bcc: Message-ID: <TH-MAIL-AQtXvXOCcUB000153c6@th-mail-a.tellhow.com.cn> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 09 Jun 2012 20:52:25.0127 (UTC) FILETIME=[C60FEB70:01CD4681] From The Desk Of Mrs. Janet Napolitano Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security Washington D.C. Email: email@example.com Attention Beneficiary, Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling, Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have also noticed that over the past you have been transacting with some imposters and fraudsters and some imposters claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.The Cyber Crime Division of the Homeland Security gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) formerly known as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) of how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these Imposters. As a result of this we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us. We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance of Malaysia that your payment totaling $2,500,000.00 will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM card with a maximum withdrawal limit of $95,000 a day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world for for withdraw or transaction. We have advised that this should be the only way at which you are to receive your payment because it’s more guaranteed, since over $5 billion was lost on fake cheque last year 2010. We have perfected everything in regards to the release of your $2.5 million United States Dollars to be 100% risk free and free from any hitches as it’s our duty to protect citizens of the United States of America. (This is as a result of the mandate from US Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of American which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed “Our Time for Change has come” because “Change can happen”). To redeem your fund you are hereby advised to abide to the insutruction below to enable the shipment of the Premium Visa Credit card and it back up document and the charge fee required to to pay the shipping and security insurance fee which is $200 only nothing more and no hidden fees as everything else has been taken care of by the Federal Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $200 only which is for the shipping and security insurance fee. Fill in below with your personal information. Full Name.............. Full Address.............. Phone Number............... Sex.......... Occupation......... Country............... Age....... Please get back to me with your personal information and also a confirmation email to know if you are sending down the fee which is $200 to me or not,so that i can send down the payment information in which you are to use in making the payment of $200 down to me. Once again i am so 100% sure of you receiving your payment at no any other cost as we have taking it upon our duty to monitor everything in other to cub cyber crime that is perpetrated by those impostors. Thanks. Mrs. Janet Napolitano Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security Address: 245 Murray Ln Sw # 14, Washington D.C. Website: http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/gc_1232568253959.shtm
A few months ago I hit upon a workable ffmpeg one-liner to convert videos to a format my cheap LG video player understands. Of course I never made a note of it anywhere except my bash history, so when I next closed a bash session I'd had running in screen for months, the recipe dropped off the end of my bash history file. To avoid the subsequent hours of hair-tearing in future, here it is, as near as I can work out:
ffmpeg -i input.file -acodec libmp3lame -ab 128k -vcodec mpeg4 -r 25 -s 720x404 -vtag xvid -q:v 4 output.avi
(Corrections undoubtedly to follow.)