Hiding an Email Service in Cat Pictures

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Hiding Files in Images?

I’ve known about Stenganography for some time. And no, it’s not spelled wrong. That’s not Stenography, but Steganography. Two different things. I’ve been thinking recently about all the news items that are talking about privacy erosion and governments around the world passing or about to pass laws to break into your private messages of any kind. And then the above video popped up in my Youtube suggestions. From 2 Feb 2019 no less. Quite Recent. I’ll provide a link at the end of this post, but it’s not the main point of the video. I’m going to take that primitive program’s idea and show how it can be extended, a lot. I’m saying primitive and if you don’t believe that, watch the video. Sigh.

Steganography is:

Steganography (/ˌstɛɡəˈnɒɡrəfi/ (About this soundlisten) STEG-ə-NOG-rə-fee) is the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video. The word steganography combines the Greek words steganos (στεγανός), meaning “covered, concealed, or protected”, and graphein (γράφειν) meaning “writing”.

I’m not mentioning anything the NSA does not know, but apparently the lawmakers around the world have not called in an expert who has mentioned the science of Steganography to them in their hearings for their new lawmaking regarding Privacy.

Let’s look at what’s happening to Privacy / Encryption around the world.

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GW2 Is Not Fun and FFXIV Is Fun

GW2 is great fun, but I don’t like playing it.
FFXIV can be boring at times, but I love playing it.

Here’s a large group of folks in the Crystal Desert doing bounties and me crossing the 9000 mark in Achievement Points. Yeah for me. Great Fun. I love it. And I hate it.

Sound strange? Let me explain.

Early in my MMO experiences I played a lot of GW1 and was looking forward to GW2 when it came out. As an early player, I suffered through the early teething pains and grew to love it. I quickly made many alts of all professions and races and played through to the end of the core game, and cleared the map on most of my characters. Loved it.
But then came Living World Season 1. I played some of this. Most noteably I climbed the Tower of Nightmares in Kessex Hills. But alas I was doing other things and missed the war that Scarlet made on Lion’s Arch. But I did come back and see the devestation over the next couple of years until it was rebuilt.

The core game areas are all solo-able by a level 80 character with “Exotic Gear” which can easily be crafted by you and your alts for all the classes. Exotic gear is only 5% less powerful than the much more difficult to craft Legendary or Ascended gear. There are tons of attractive armor skins that can be earned through dungeon tokens or purchased with Karma or Gold. All my alts have attractive cultural or dungeon skins over crafted exotic armor.

I love rocking and rolling with large groups of folks, sometimes 50 or more, doing open world events. BUT

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DesignSpark – Easy to Use CAD

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DesignSpark Mechanical is an Easy to Use CAD tool. I’ve done a few hours research over the past few days to figure out a quick to use FREE CAD tool that can be used to draw wood working projects and dimension them to produce drawings for building home projects.

As you may know from my site, I’m a long time user of 3D Art software including 3DSMax and Carrara. But these are expensive. Even Carrara costs more than $250.

I’ve looked at FreeCAD, Blender and a host of others. But the idea is to find something free that’s as easy to get going as possible and allows you to produce drawings with dimensions. There is no doubt that FreeCAD, and Blender can do this, but FreeCAD is quirky – at least for me – and Blender has a very high initial learning curve and no dimension tool built in. There may be plug-ins for that, but that is more learning curve.

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Dustopper Is Much Better

Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator

A while back I bought and hooked up a Dust Deputy to the shop vac that I have been using to clean my pellet stove. The Dust Deputy is an after market DIY cyclone separator. And for what you get it’s pretty pricey.

The kit I got comes with two 5 gallon buckets and a hose along with the separator. But it required some ABS pipe, glue and some work to get it hooked up to the shop vac that I’d been using. Turns out that hose diameters are no where near standard on these vacuums of course. But I’ve got it going and have not had to clean the vacuum filter in over a year. I have emptied the 5 gallon bucket once in that time. But Wait There’s More. A Better Solution has arrived.

Home Depot Dustopper

The Dustopper from Home Depot is a much better solution. And Cheaper.

The left picture shows the Home Depot picture for this use of this device. Clearly a mess since you are dragging two separate canisters around your shop or other area as you clean it. That’s gotta be a pain. On the right we see a fellow who has designed a simple modification for a Ridgid vacuum to hold the Dustopper together with the vacuum. Takes less floor space and moves as one unit.

Clearly this is what I should have done. And I may yet do this.

I still cannot understand why Ridgid or some other shop vacuum company, Dyson even, has not just made a vacuum with a cyclone separator built into it. Why these nonsense add-ons? Is Dyson holding a patent that keeps others from doing it, but is not doing it themselves? Dyson does not make a vacuum suitable for cleaning shop areas after all this time.

Cheers.
:ww

Why I left Wow and How I’m Back

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In December 2017, Blizzard released details of their Game Wide Level Scaling and I was able to play it in the Public Test Realm [PTR]. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t articulate just why, but it seemed to be a betrayal of the nature of the game for me.

Now I understand better why I felt that way after watching a talk from the recent Game Developer Conference on Youtube. Here is that talk:

Published on Oct 3, 2018

In this classic 2012 GDC talk, Naughty Dog’s Kaitlyn Burnell explore games that break autonomy, competence and relatedness in powerful ways to inspire developers to think outside the box.
This talk covers the importance of game players feeling Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness as they play the game and how the game design in these areas greatly effects the engagement that the players have with the game.

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Tera’s Unnecessary Screw Over

Like I said in the previous post, Tera has figured out a way, in laziness to just mess over almost every player. And it’s even worse and more unnecessary than is first apparent. This Server Merge is a big mess and it’s self inflicted.

Let’s look at what happens to characters. And then we’ll look at the implications for bank storage.

I thought it might be nice to start with some nostalgia from way back in 2014. Remember those server selection and character selection screens? Those were the days. Right? Remember the Island of Dawn? The Old start up area? Sigh.

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Enmass Does It Again – Screws Players

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Enmasse, agent in US and Europe for Tera, among other games, has figured out a new way to Screw their player base. This time it’s a “Server Merge”. Before we get into that, let’s remember the two ways that Enmasse has screwed it’s player base before:

  1. In September of 2016, Enmasse changed the rules for guilds. You had to maintain a certain status of guild accomplishments over time to be allowed to have a Guild Bank. Obviously a Guild Bank is useful to allow players to share loot among different accounts, on the same server.
  2. Some time, before this as I recall, they changed the number of accounts that could log in from the same IP address, in 24 hours, from 10 to 6. This allows you to have only SIX family members playing the game, or only Six friends over at a time for a TERA Lan Party night or whatever, but maybe those are corner cases. So for some reason, they were trying to limit the number of these “Alternative Accounts” as they call them. Correction: Testing indicates a max of 5 Alternate Accounts accessed in 24 hours, not 6.

Ok. So as you’ll read below, maybe this server merge is not a complete Screw Job, but it’s not as nice as it could be and it’s work for all the players that are still playing the game.

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Steam – Pay $5 First Apparently

So, as you know if you watch things here, I’m a big MMO fan, and recently it’s Final Fantasy XIV. I just remembered that I had purchased a BluRay a while ago of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, and wondered if I could play that. Not an MMO, but just a single player RPG. So I looked it up.

I tried to install the demo. Figured I’d check it out. I had three choices to get it:

  • Steam
  • Microsoft Store
  • Origins [whatever that is, but the site looks like a steam wanabee.]

First I tried the Microsoft Store. – FAIL. I tried to sign in with my Microsoft account to do that, but I got dumped to a page that said it failed. No real help there.

Try steam. No problem, at first. Program downloaded and installed. Then hung after a few clicks to set it up.

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Just hung there forever like it was trying to reach some website. Although why would it by saving stuff online? It’s a single player RPG.

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Experiments in 4K

Ever the experimenter, I recently got a Samsung 40″ Class MU6300 4K UHD TV. As you can see from the price, I didn’t choose MSRP.  I was just checking what prices were doing on UHD TVs and came across a deal on a refurbished model at almost 50% off.

The first one arrived broken. But I didn’t despair . After calling Walmart customer service, they agreed to ship me another and emailed a return label for the broken one.

Apparently, the first one had been dropped before it was packed since it was in some serious bubble wrap and there was no mark on the box. Oh well. The pictures above were taken when it was plugged in and the damage was not evident when the TV was not plugged in.

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