Technology


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Immortal (Ad Vitam) (2004)

Claire: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Evan: 2.7/5 stars, 5.5/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

I GOT A NEW TV! And this was the first thing watched on it– A weird animation/live-action mix sci-fi flick taking place in 2095 and dealing with gods, aliens, possession, being raped by a person possessed by a god….. All based on a trilogy of French comic books.

Carolyn: This didn’t live up to our expectations. It was nice to see as the first 3-D movie on our new TV, but it was hard to follow the story. It had a lot going on: Egyptian gods, aliens, genetically altered humans and mutants, escaped prisoners who are being tracked down… It was a lot to keep track of, especially while visually enjoying the 3-D. There was potential, but it didn’t quite get there.

Claire: I didn’t like the movie that much. Visually, it was very awesome, but I still didn’t really like it — Which made it a good choice for my first non-anaglyph 3-D home movie viewing. When you get a new tech setup, you don’t want to dive right in and watch/do your favorite/most-important thing first, because you still want to do system tuning. I’m very glad that the first 3-D movie I watched was NOT one that I enjoyed, because it turns out my TV wasn’t 100% setup correctly (had to turn sharpness down) anyway. I’d much rather have a setup error affect a 2-star movie than a 5-star movie :)

But yea. It was confusing. I wasn’t really sure what the fuck was going on a lot of the time. I didn’t really understand how the side-plots really fit together with the main plot. It was great eye candy, and I sort of digested it that way. The eyes of some of the CGI characters were so 3-dimensionally sunken into their head that it was creepy as fuck! Definitely interesting, and I’m glad I finally watched it, but yeah… Missed potential is the name of the game here.

Evan: I’d agree that it had potential, but their effects needed a lot more polish before I would really consider it any good. If they had made the whole movie animation [instead of a mix of animation and live-action], it might have gotten a better score.

Directed by Enki Bilal. Written by Enki Bilal (comic books “La Foire Aux Immortels” and “La Femme Pie`ge”), Serge Lehman.

Starring Linda Hardy as Jill Bioskop.
Thomas Kretschmann (Hostel 3, 2 eps of 24) as Alcide Nikopol.
Charlotte Rampling (12 eps of Dexter) as Dr. Elma Turner.
Yann Collette as Froebe.
Fre’de’ric Pierrot as John.
Thomas M. Pollard as Horus.
Joe Sheridan as Allgood.
Corinne Jaber as Lily Liang.
Olivier Achard as Checker.
Jerry Di Giacomo as Jack Turner.
Paul Bandey as Dayaks (voice).
Coralie Seyrig as Bastet (voice).
Goran Vejvoda as Anubis (voice).
Barbara Scaff (Heavy Rain) as Jill (voice).
Dominic Gould as John (voice).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314063/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Antiviral (2012)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

This is a sci-fi thriller movie about society’s celebrity obsession. What if people were so obsessed with celebrities that we paid money to have their diseases? What if we could have Lindsay Lohan’s alleged herpes, or have the same flu that Lady Gaga had? Human obsession *absolutely* goes this far. With sufficient technology, and a society that would allow a situation like this to develop — the story in this movie is actually pretty goddamn plausible.

And that’s a commentary in and of itself.

This is the very first full-length film written & directed by David Cronenberg‘s son Brandon Cronenberg. So my first thought was: “Expect weird creepy meatiness.”  And yeah. There was definitely some of that.

Courtney Love’s “Celebrity Skin” album will now and forever remind me of this movie. And don’t get me started on the celebrity-endorsed food products, or the “celebrity meat”.

This movie isn’t very exciting. It’s not an action. It’s very cerebral, a “thinking man’s movie”, if you want to use a tired old phrase. The watching-buzz I got from this was not like that of a comedy, action, or drama. It was is more based on thinking of social and moral situations that the technology in this movie created, as well as thinking about how the sentiment required to make this movie possible in real life exists today. It’s a definite commentary with an interesting plot.

And the ending… wow…

Carolyn adds: (SPOILER ALERT): I feel like there should have been more repercussions regarding his job… I mean, the police were investigating the other guy who was doing similar things. The main guy was just able to be sick all of the time, and barely show up for work, and the boss is like, “OK, that other guy is arrested, so you’re the one who is going to get the blood from the celebrity.” Then the blood never gets to the company, the guy barely shows up for work and when he does, he looks like hell, and can barely function. His coworker mentioned that strings were pulled to keep the main guy from being fired, and that was it… it didn’t make any sense. that was only one aspect of the movie, but it bothered me… They never even showed the boss or made any mention of him after the main guy injected the blood and got really sick. Anyway, it was an interesting premise… I agree with you that it could have been executed better.

Starring Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee in X-Men: First Class, boy on bike in No Country For Old Men, fraternity guy in The Social Network, 2 eps of Breaking Bad) as Syd March.
Sarah Gadon (Beth rom Total Drama Island) as Hannah Geist.
Douglas Smith (he is going to be in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, but we haven’t seen anything else) as Edward Porris.
Joe Pingue (Repo Men, The Boondock Saints, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Arvid.
Nicholas Campbell (Hank in Naked Lunch, Goon) as Dorian.
Wendy Crewson (8 eps of 24) as Mira Tesser.
Malcolm McDowell (Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Vater Orlaag in Metalocalypse, 9 eps of Heroes.. and the killer of Kirk!) as Dr. Abendroth.
George Tchortov (Goon) as Portland.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2099556/combined

Does anyone else find it interesting the way bookmarking, as a technology, rose, then fell, then rose, then fell, then rose again?
 
Rise #1: 1995-2002
At first it was great, everybody with their Netscape Navigator or Mosaic or Lynx was so enamored by the fact that you could actually save links. People would save links… then make webpages that are just them sharing what they think are good bookmarks. Google was born during the period.
 
Fall #1: 1999-2008
At some point, we all had to get a new computer, and lost all our bookmarks. Anyone consistent enough to actually understand that something saved should be SAVED FOR LIFE and not simply go away because a piece of hardware breaks — basically stopped using bookmarks at this point. They aren’t forever. They are a way to flush your efforts down the toilet. People just started googling things.
 
Rise #2: 2006-2013
Neither of the previous ways of doing things are good. You should be able to bookmark things FOR LIFE but also not lose them when your computer dies. 3rd party external bookmarking services like Del.Iciou.Us and Diigo started popping up. There were other sites like StumbleUpon and such. The point being – people could manage their bookmarks in a way that transcends their individual computer.
 
Fall #2: 2013
Del.iciou.us shuts down. Power users who have been using the one logical solution for persistent bookmarks scream so hard at yahoo that yahoo’s corporate decision is reversed. But the damage is done. A logical person stops using a service that has announced its closure, and logical people stopped using delicoius.
 
Rise #3: 2010-2017
Oh look! Google Chrome & Firefox now let you sync your browser to the internet. Not sure when they added this as I was busy using delicious. So when you install a brand new browser, you get all your plugins and bookmarks back. Who needs delicious anymore? WHo needs a 3rd party? The browsers finally work, in the mid 2010s, the way they always should have in the late 1990s. Transparently and persistently. Why the fuck did it take them so long?

UPDATE: I wrote this up much more nicely at StackOverflow:

 

http://superuser.com/questions/1029610/how-do-view-flickr-com-using-the-old-style-consistently-automatically/1029614#1029614

 

My wife & I have gmail filters set up to forward each others’ facebook emails to each other. It brings a level of postmodern closeness and togetherness and awareness, and indeed keeps us from tripping each other up and having to have redundant exchanges of information. But then Facebook changed, and clicking each others’ links logged each other out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged into facebook. Probably at least 100 in 2015 alone, if not more. IT. GETS. OLD. Then one day Carolyn played with the URL and discovered you could remove the last 2 parts of it, and it would bring you to the correct place (assuming you both had access). Then I realized I already had a plugin (chrome plugin id pajiegeliagebegjdhebejdlknciafen) called Redirector that lets you run a regular expression modification on any URLs you visit.  Why the hell was I not using this?   So just do this:

From To
(.*)(facebook.com)(.*)(&mid=.*) $1$2$3

And the problem is solved. Don’t bitch to me about the 4th set of parenthesis being unnecessary. It looks way better.

BONUS FEATURE: How to make the new flickr look like the old flickr:

From To
(https://www.flickr.com/photos/[a-zA-Z0-9]+/*)$
$1?details=1

This is a sequel to a post I made 7.5 years ago, the last time I built a computer (“Hades”) from scratch. The only parts that failed from my last build are all built by companies that are now out of business (Abit, OCZ), so that’s good. (I don’t count harddrives, those must eventually fail.) My new computer will be named Thailog, and will be composed of:

REVISED CASE ORDER:
NZXT Phantom 820 Series Full Tower Chassis
$199.99 @ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146097
A light on the back! Color-configurable internal lights!

ORIGINAL CASE ORDER (cancelled due to lack of stock): 
Thermaltake Chaser A71 Full Tower Chassis
$129.99 @ http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1019135-REG/thermaltake_vp400m1w2n_chaser_a71_full_tower.html, but their “2-4 week shipping” actually meant “in 27 days we will start shipping” in my case, so I canceled my order and bought it again for $ @ .

POWER SUPPLY:

Enermax ERV1000EWT-G 1000W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92, v2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply New 4th Gen CPU Certified Haswell Ready
$140.98 (after $45 rebate) @ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194101&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

thailog-psu.jpg

MOTHERBOARD:
ASRock X99 WS EATX (Extended-length ATX) LGA2011-3 Motherboard
$280.48 (after $40 rebate) @ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157536

thailog-mobo.jpg

CPU:
Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.3GHz LGA2011-v3 140W Desktop Processor BX80648I75820K
$381.54 @ http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-5820KBX&c=CJ

thailog-cpu.jpg

CPU COOLER:
Arctic Freezer I30 CPU Cooler for Intel LGA2011/1155/1156/1150
$34.98 @ http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-I30&c=FR&pid=c7cf495fc557aaf929647e403f25fad93878e4ffcfa04ae6768e1191e26a634b&gclid=CjwKEAiAveWnBRCzjqf4zpuUkGYSJABcoZbHsKP_4jaK9fqAOu6rdnCcQ81sunkPkhdwyYktyfVdORoC3Enw_wcB

thailog-fan.jpg

RAM: 24G:
1) Crucial 16GB Kit Ballistix Sport (4x4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 2400mHz (PC4-19200) CL16 (16-16-16) 1.2V non-ECC unbuffered Memory Kit (Model BLS4K4G4D240FSA)
$174.17 @ http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=9162554&CatId=11628
2) Crucial 8GB Kit Ballistix Sport (2x4GB)
$71.99 @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MTSWEQE/ref=pe_385040_128020140_TE_3p_dp_1
ORIGINAL RAM (PURCHASE #1) THAT WOULDN’T WORK:

G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB (2x8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM 2400mHz (PC4-19200) Memory Kit (Model F4-2400C15D-16GRR) DID NOT WORK AND WAS RETURNED
NO: $200.98 @ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231826

SECONDARY RAM (PURCHASE #3) THAT WOULDN’T WORK ($10.30 to return):
Crucial 16GB Kit Ballistix Sport (2x8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 2400mHz (PC4-19200) CL16 (16-16-16) 1.2V non-ECC unbuffered Memory Kit (Model BLS2K8G4D240FSA)
$149.

TERTIARY RAM (PURCHASE #5) THAT WOULDN’T WORK: Crucial Ballistix Sport (1x4GB). Computer could run 1 of these, 2 of these, 3 of these, 4 of these, and 6 of these, but NOT 5 or 7 of these, goddamnit. And my CPU cooler blocks one of the 8 slots.

VIDEO CARD:
HIS iPower IceQ X² Boost H270QM2G2M Radeon R9 270 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$151.98 @ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161449&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

thailog-gpu.jpg

SSD HARDDRIVE:
Crucial M500 240GB M.2 SATA3 Internal Solid State Drive (MLC) (CT240M500SSD4)
$123.99 @ http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=240GM5SSD4&c=CJ

thailog-ssd.jpg
SUMMARY:
$1,514.92 ($1559.92 initially with $45 back in rebates).
CPU, CPU cooler & SSD from SuperBiiz.
Case, Power Supply, Motherboard, RAM, & Videocard from NewEgg (2 items only cheaper due to rebates).

TEXT-ONLY, BRIEF DESCRIPTION:

CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.3GHz (BX80648I75820K) with Arctic Freezer I30 cooler
MOBO: ASRock X99 WS EATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard ( Intel X99 chipset)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 (2x8GB) DDR4 2400 (F4-2400C15D-16GRR)
VID:  HIS iPower IceQ X² Boost H270QM2G2M Radeon R9 270 (2GB 256-Bit GDDR5)
SSD: Crucial M500 240GB M.2 SATA3 Internal Solid State Drive CT240M500SSD4)
PSU: Enermax ERV1000EWT-G 1000W

If you’ve moved to a digital lifestyle, and are an archivist, then you are probably downloading tons of data these days. Everything from music to movies to comics to games to images to software to emulator roms to books to articles.

Sorting stuff manually is stupid. Sort things (take a folder full of crap, and sort it intelligently into subfolders) with a script. Assimilate (move subfolders to correct repositories) with a script.

I’m not going to share my scripts. But here is a great pattern for sorting files into subfolders. I’ll use an example that deals with My Little Pony related files:

set TARGETDIR=MLP
unset /q MASK
gosub addMask "My Little Pony*.*"
gosub addMask "MLP*.*"
gosub addMask "Equestria*.*"
gosub addMask "*Rainbow Dash*"
if "%MASK%" ne "" if not isdir %TARGETDIR% md %TARGETDIR%
if "%MASK%" ne "" mv  %MASK% %TARGETDIR%

This pattern can be copied over for anything. Simply change TARGETDIR to whatever folder you want. And use the addMask function to add wildcards that match those kinds of files.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:addMask [newMask]
	:Don't bother doing anything if no files match:
	if not exist %newMask% goto :addMaskReturn
	:Otherwise, add mask for those files to our mask list:
	if "%MASK%" eq "" goto :Empty_YES
	                  goto :Empty_NO
		:Empty_YES
		    set MASK=%newMask%
		    goto :Empty_DONE
		:Empty_NO
		    set MASK=%MASK%;%newMask%
		:Empty_DONE
:addMaskReturn
return
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Note that all my scripts are meant to be run on JPSoft‘s TakeCommand command-line interpreter (descended from 4NT in the 2000s, which was descended from 4DOS in the late 1990s, which was descended from NDOS, the command.com replacement included in Norton Utilities in the late 1980’s). This would probably work with CMD.EXE or PowerShell, but I haven’t tested those.

Use this pattern to make a giant sortthese.bat that sorts everything everywhere. If you want to get fancy, centralize all the scripts into one script that examines the current path and branches based off of that. (It’s easier to keep backups if everything is in one place.)

Here’s an example of branching based off the location where you invoke a script:

::::: Determine assimilate role:
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD250G:\READY-TO-DELETE"                goto :assimilate_dvd-burned_media
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD250G:\ABOUT-TO-BE-BURNED\DATA\BURNED" goto :assimilate_dvd-burned_data
if "%_CWD"=="%HD2000G5:\ABOUT-TO-BE-BURNED\DATA\BURNED" goto :assimilate_bluray-burned_data
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD256G:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"=="%HD1500G2:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"== "%HD2000G:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"== "%HD1000G:\downloadclient\completed"       goto :assimilate_fresh_downloads

^ That code may be confusing-looking because I never hard-code drive letters. All my harddrives have environment variables which evaluate to the correct letter depending on which computer you are on. Also, %_CWD is TakeCommand’s variable that is the current folder you are in. That does NOT work in CMD.EXE. CMD.EXE uses something else, so this would need some modification (more…)

So the other day, I needed to drag a window from my secondary monitor to my primary monitor (tv)…

But the secondary was off, so I wouldn’t be able to put my mouse on the window (beucase I couldn’t see it)…

And I didn’t want to get up to turn it on….

So I used VNC to VNC to myself, and did it that way. This means I had a window on my desktop that was my entire computer. So there were 2 copies of everything. And if I moved my mouse pointer inside the VNC window, it would attempt to move my mouse pointer to the same place it was pointing to on the window within.

Sure, it was hard for awhile, fighting the fact that my mouse was trying to be in two places at once.

But in the end, I won.

I got that window dragged. w00t.

Daniel H adds: “I am both appalled and filled with admiration.” (more…)

2001 - computer - Fire - in it's heyday doing IRC

IRC downloading, 2001

Remember IRC? It was the first thing I did when I got on the internet in 1992 at Virginia Tech — and the first time I’d done it legally. Funny stuff you could do with the mIRC IRC client. You could have a custom quit message. For example, you could type:

/quit gotta go to work

and then it would say to everyone else in the channel:

ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (gotta go to work).

Wanting to out-do everyone else, I thought it would be funny to say something offensive to a lot of people. Especially since they can’t kick you from the channel — because you just quit! But I wanted my solution to be technically impressive too, so I scripted up random twisted sentences, by creating some text files that would be pieced together, almost like a Mad-Lib. That way, I could leave, and it would automatically come up with hilarious/crazy/sick/twisted things.

Here are some actual examples:

  1. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to pimps (who will make whores out of them), while they slowly bled to death).ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (got a blow job from your fat mom while on the floor of congress).
  2. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to cannabalistic African tribes, where they will slowly starve to death)
  3. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (got a rim job from your fat mom in front of the Queen Of England).
  4. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (smoked medical marijuana with The Taliban in front of 221 innocent children).
  5. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to child pornographers, while they pleaded for their lives).
  6. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (dropped acid with Ronald Reagan while in the White House).
  7. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to black market organ harvesters, while onlookers laughed).
  8. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (had an intense bondage session with your aunt while watching cartoons).
  9. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (got a hand job from Mohammad Atta on national television).
  10. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to black market organ harvesters, where their spirit will be broken).
  11. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (spooged all over your raunchy mom in front of 566 innocent children).
  12. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (sold children to medical laboratories for twisted genetic experiments, where their spirit will be broken).
  13. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (snorted crystal meth with George Bush while going on a homocidal killing spree).
  14. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (spanked Mohammad Atta in front of Mohammad Atta’s mother).
  15. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (smoked P.C.P. with George W. Bush in front of 317 starving Afghan refugees).
  16. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (took psychedelic mushrooms with Jesus Christ in front of 567 innocent children).
  17. ClintJCL (192.168.0.1) quit the channel (spanked your sister in front of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

The possibilities, while not endless, were pretty damn vast.

How did I do this?

I did this by piecing together sentence fragments from text files I created. Sentences followed one of these formats:

  1. sold children $read(thingstosellchidreninto.lst) $+ , $read(sadsentenceendings.lst)
  2. $read(drugtaking.lst) with $read(funnydrugcelebrities.lst) $read(funnysentenceendings.lst)
  3. $read(sexualthingstodowithpeople.lst) $read(funnypeopletohavesexwith.lst_ $read(funnysentenceendings.lst_)
  4. It was also set up so that about 5% of the time, it would make political statements, quote Sabbat lyrics, or Praise “Bob” …. but I’m not including those in this blogpost. This blogpost is about funny things I’ve said dynamically and programatically; not static things I’ve said. :)

I will include the actual contents of the files at the bottom of the post. But here is the list of the files themselves:

  • drugs.lst: a list of drugs (pot, acid, cocaine).
  • drugtaking.lst: a list of drugtaking phrases (injected heroin, dropped acid, smoked pot).
  • Ha! Ha! Overdosing on drugs and trying to kill yourself is funny!!

  • FunnyDrugCelebrities.lst: a list of people/entities that are amusing to think about doing drugs. (The Pope, Barbara Bush, Janet Reno, God).
  • Haha.. Celebrities are funny to do drugs with. Aren't Sid & Nancy funny? Ha ha.

  • FunnyPeopleToHaveSexWith.lst: it’s what the filename sounds like. (Your mom, your sister, your dead grandmother’s corpse, etc).

    Funny to have sex with

  • FunnySentenceEndings.lst: Tacked on to the ends of sentences to make them funnier. (while in the whitehouse, on national television, in front of 22 cops, in front of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

    everything's funnier in front of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

  • SadSentenceEndings.lst: This could have been in the same file as FunnySentenceEndings, but I randomly decided whether it would be funny or sad. Sad ones included “while they begged for death’s sweet release”, “while they slowly bled to death”, “where they will spend the rest of their lives in misery”, and such.

    sentence endings so sad...they're funny

  • SexualThingsToDoWithPeople.lst: A list of sex acts (had anal sex with, had an intense bondage session with, etc)

    No... Really... Weird sex acts ARE FUNNY!!!

  • …And the most twisted filename of all: ThingsToSellChildrenInto.lst (sweatshops, sexual slavery, etc – check out the full file below)

    Postcard - 2 boys smoking

    Sell them into smoking advertising! HA HA!

  • HatedPeople.lst: Only used from within FunnyPeopleToHaveSexWith.lst (because it’s funny to have sex with hated people) and FunnySentenceEndings (because it’s funny to do things in front of the mom’s of hated people). Osama Bin Laden was in this list. I really could have made this a nice, long list if I’d really tried.

And now, past the jump, the contents of the files themselves… But first, a Sloth!

_Sloth_

This is actually related to the discussion. Back in the IRC days, my name was _Vengeance_. Needing to win wars against other people's scripts, I ended up running several other clients, including _Wrath_, _Sloth_, and _Avarice_. Well, someone sent this sloth.jpg file to me randomly once! Paranoid people will never experience the joys that can be had by automatically accepting unattended file transfers from strangers!

(more…)

Had a dream that re-visited a real-life problem I’d been trying to crack for a couple decades: Converting my Apple2 software/disks to PC format.

This was always impossible in real-life because PC drives were not capable of reading Apple2-format disks. But around 2004 or so, someone finally figured it out: You need a DOS box with *two* 5.25″ floppy drives (and a harddrive). The software splits the various signals between the two floppy drives, tricking the PC drive into using [incomplete?] signals to actually be able to read an Apple2 disc.

Again, this is all a real-life issue. I’d been grabbing dead computers from parents’ and such, but none tended to have 5.25″ drives anymore–everyone switched to 3.5″ drives in the early 1990s, and it’s 20 frickin’ years later.

So anyway, in the dream, I was trying to crack this problem again. I was home at my parents’ house… It felt like a college summer-vacation or something, and perhaps it was. Perhaps the dream-within-the-dream was in the mid-1990s. I’m unsure of the barrier between the two, other than that I knew it was a dream within a dream. Our Apple2 had a modem, and I decided to call some BBSes like I used to on college summer breaks in real-life.

This is the point that I should have realized this was a dream: Had I had a modem on my Apple2, I would have been able to, in theory, use 2 disk drives, imaging the 1st disk onto the 2nd drive, then uploading the image to a PC of mine, using 2 phone lines (which we had). This is actually something I asked my dad for in real-life many many times, and he always refused, thus me still having dreams about the prospect 20 years later.

So anyway, in dreamland, I get on the Apple2 and call some BBSes and such. At some point, I wake up from the dream-within-a-dream, and am just in the dream, which is in the present (2012), and not in the mid-1990s. In the dream, I have woken up from the dream-within-the-dream, and realize I need to get cracking on making this conversion project finally happen.

So in this outer-layer dream, I realize that I need to research the software required to do that. On the software’s web-page, there are a few sample diskette images… Including one uploaded by my friend Angel, which had something to do with bypassing an interrupt on the Apple2. Despite the fact that I am using http:// to contact a webpage (still on an Apple, for some reason), a sysop breaks into sysop chat with me, just like in the BBS days. We talk about the problem, and I probably talk about the fact that I can only find one 5.25″ floppy drive, and haven’t been able to find another.

I wake up — this time, in real life. (The rest of this post is all in real life.)

I am quite agitated that this problem still has not been solved. I realize I can’t get back to sleep while thinking about this, and leave Carolyn in bed to go tinker with our old 486 DOS box that I have. It has a 5.25″ floppy drive and a 3.5″ floppy drive and a 1G harddrive. It has 8M (megs, not gigs) of RAM: 1/1000th of the ram of computers these days typically have. It has a turbo button. The harddrive has jumpers in THREE different places. I try to boot up, but it fails. We still have one “real” computer with a floppy drive: Carolyn’s 2004ish computer, which is still her primary computer. I download a bootable floppy image from http://bootdisk.com, and “burn” it to the disk. The 3.5″ drive still doesn’t boot. I go to our spare-hardware bookshelf, looking through my stack of 8 or so discarded 3.5″ floppy drives. Since computer fashion was white in the 1990s, and black in the late 2000s, I pick the only black drive, assuming that it’s newer. This one correctly boots up the floppy.

I still can’t access the harddrive. I take it out, and painstakingly write down the number of heads, cylinders, sector size, jumper configurations: Taking up a whole sheet of paper. I mess with a few configurations and can’t get the drive to be recognized. Finally, *while the computer is on*, I plug in the power to the harddrive, because I’ve passed the point of caring anymore. A big blue spark makes me jump, and shuts the power of the computer off: I overloaded the power supply, shutting everything down. This can be doom for a computer, but instead, I try booting up again, and for the first time, it works! IT’S ALIVE!

And it’s even been Clintified: It has a bootup 1-key menu to run cool programs like AcidWarp, Plaswave, and LSDino. I will use this to run a screen during parties!

So now all I need is a 2nd 5.25″ floppy drive. So I was going to a party the day I woke up with this dream… And decided to write on the wall of the party event, “If anyone has a 5.25″ floppy drive that they could give me… It would really make my day.”

And then…. a cool dude named Tom actually brought a drive, and gave it to Paul, who gave it to me!

So I got to go home with the drive I needed THAT DAY… Because of a fucking dream!

This is like the most productive dream I’ve ever had in my life!

''Dreams... They're the hurricanes that wash the soulfilth from the superdome of our nightminds.'' --Xavier:Renegade Angel

“Dreams… They’re the hurricanes that wash the soulfilth from the superdome of our nightminds.”
Xavier:Renegade Angel (more…)

Tripp responds to a Google+ post of mine

I honestly don’t get Instagram. Your phone already has a camera, and can already post pics to Twitter or FB. Does sticking a white border around the photo before sharing it really make that big of a difference?

Yes, yes it does.

It makes the photo worse.

Drawing a border is the job of the HTML or CSS. Someone wanting to a photo or insert it into their own collection will now be cursed with inconsistency in their collection.

In fact, I’ve used ImageMagick to write a script to blindly strip x pixels off the edges of pictures, specifically to normalize photos I add to my collection that have stupid fucking built in borders. That way I don’t have to bug anybody about it (other than this blogpost).

And don’t get me started on fake Polaroids. Anyone taking a picture on a iPhone trying to make it look like a Polaroid is as stupid to me as someone who rips a CD to a lossless format then purposely adds phonograph needle sounds and crackles. Another, weaker metaphor: buying new jeans and ripping holes in them to get “that look”. Or how about buying a bluray, then ripping it to your computer, and using video editing software to add fake VHS effects to it? ALL OF THE ABOVE IS FUCKING STUPID.

Basically, fuck hipsterism*, to some extent.

*(or certain aspects thereof, especially unjustified Apple fandom)

-=-

I even did some googling to try to find out more information, just for the purpose of this post not accidentally being full of shit. And for all I can find, there’s nothing Instagram does that Flickr and other photo sharing sites weren’t doing first — in some cases more than 5 years ago.

So why do I have to hear about it 5 times a day now? It coming to Android doesn’t make it any less useless, or any more useful than a myriad of solutions already out there. If I try to distill this to the crux of the issue, it boils down to cell-phone people pretending they are computer people.

But it’s okay. EVEN BEFORE IT WAS RELEASED TO ANDROID, the word “instagram” caused my eye to instantly dart down the page to the next item. “Instgram” being on something has very much become synonymous with “item Clint does not care about”. There’s a bias and a prejudice now, just based on being fed up with the whole pretentious trend. And yes, I am using the dictionary definition of pretentious, as in “Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.” When Kevin Smith made Clerks black & white, there was a reason. 1990 security camera technology. When you do it? It’s most likely pretentious. (more…)

TACOS: Tacocopter Aims To Deliver Tacos Using Unmanned Drone Helicopters

MOTHER OF GOD

WE HAVE ARRIVED

LINK URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/tacocopter-startup-delivers-tacos-by-unmanned-drone-helicopter_n_1375842.html

TAGS: tacos, helicopters, vehicles, food, tacocopter, tacopter, MOTHEROFGOD, HuffingtonPost, news, articles

When I complain about my iPhone 2G suckiness — and people tell me the new iPhone 3G/4G/whatever fixed whatever particular problem it is at the time (and there are many)…

It just kind of reminds me of when you point out some bullshit in the old testament to a christian, and they say, “Oh, the new testament fixes that!”

That is to say: It doesn’t pass muster with me.

“The 1978 Pinto doesn’t blow up like the 1977 one does!” doesn’t make me think Pinto is an innovative company, it makes me think they’re a company who put a faulty product out. (more…)

It’s actually very, very, very simple. Create a torrent. Add some tiny file that has nothing to do with it. A README.txt or an unrelated JPG, for example. Create and upload your torrent.

Now move that file out of your local seeding location. Everyone who gets the torrent will thus not be able to get that data.

They will be stuck at 99.9%. Erroneously thinking that the torrent is not complete, they may let it run for days, weeks, or even months before realizing that in fact, all the files except for that one are 100% complete. Generally this means you will get far more seeding.

It’s great to subvert subversion ;) (more…)

The “flat” sound that some people describe mp3s as having has nothing to do with them being mp3s. This is a misconception that I’ve seen repeated about as many times as people claiming that vinyl sounds better.

The “flat” mp3 sound (often attributed to ALL digital formats) is typically is due to the fact that when mp3s were first adapted, harddrive space cost a lot more, and they encoded them at low bitrates such as 128kbps, with most encoders cutting out 16kHz-20kHz range altogether. So yeah. That’s pretty bad. Unlike vinyl or cassette or CD, mp3s can be encoded in more than one way. And most of those ways were shitty when the format first came out. Unfortunatley, that’s when most people ripped their music, and music piracy helps keep such shitty encodes circling the globe.

This is why I’ve found myself buying a CD even though I’d already downloaded the mp3s of it. Because I wanted to make PROPER mp3s that actually SOUND GOOD.

The encoder itself matters, too. The same bitrate with different encoders that use different acoustic mathematical models will result in different sound quality. Such models have improved greatly over the years. I recommend LAME.exe. Many power users consider it the best encoder out there.

Let me play you a lossless recording and a LAME.exe, VBR-encoded mp3 over my 5.1 system compared to a WAV or FLAC of the same song. (But only after making sure they both come out at the same apparent volume; people often pick whichever one is the loudest one otherwise.) When you can correctly choose which is which 75% of the time, I might consider you an exception to the normal abilities of the human ear.

I hear a lot of people try to make up a silly claim that mp3s sound flat because they are in fact only discrete points of the audio, with math filling in the rest. And our “brain can tell the difference”.

Sorry, bub. That’s just not true. Your brain may be able to tell the difference between some files on your harddrive, but that is because they are bad files, not because they are digital. Reality is simply a matter of our brain being fed certain signals. There are most certainly upper limits in the resolution and processing power of what we can perceive — even if science may have the wrong limit stated (or not know them at all), and even if human beings exhibit a wide variance in perceptual talent. (There may be 1% that need double the bitrate to be fooled!) Yes, some people definitely hear at a higher resolution than others, just as some people have a greater tonal range. Eventually, however, technology will be advanced enough (and storage space ridiculously cheap enough) that it will be quite possible for everybody to carry a recording of something in such great resolution that no human being on the planet could ever distinguish it from the original analog production of those same sounds.

We’re not there yet, but how many of you have done a controlled study? Did you have someone play you back the 2 files? Did you make sure they both had the same volume? {mp3 encoding often mucks with the volume levels slightly}. Did they record the results? Were they randomized? What percentage of the time were you able to tell? So far, I know few people who have done a test like this. I did in 2000 — and years later decided that the results I had recorded for myself were wrong. I thought 160kbps was good enough. Then I thought 192kbps was good enough. I was wrong. I now encode at the highest bitrate with the highest quality. The point being — I’ve been willing to correct my own personal assumptions several times over the years.

Further complicating things is this:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/03/11/153205/young-people-prefer-sizzle-sounds-of-mp3-format

They did surveys and found that people who grew up on inaccurately-encoded mp3s preferred the sound of that to lossless recordings!
In other words, they preferred something worse!

This explains all those vinyl people right off the bat. They like the “warmer” sound because it is what they are used to. And it’s hard to perform a double-blind test when comparying vinyl to other formats, because vinyl is such a broken format that it’s impossible to NOT tell it’s vinyl. I’ve never not been able to hear the needle, to hear pieces of dust. I’ll carve an exception for people who use laser-based vinyl record players (which do not use needles), but they are still subject to the RIAA equaliation curve which causes vinyl to actually represent the full tonality of sound IN AN INFERIOR WAY. But because they can always hear the hiss and crack, in a survey, vinyl will win. It doesn’t mean shit. It means as much as the college kids in the study above preferring shitty 128kbps mp3s over lossless FLAC. People are dumb and don’t even know what they want. I didn’t know what I want and changed my own mind a few times.

The conclusion of the study for me personally is that when a single human being claims to like one format better than another — it really doesn’t mean much in terms of the format being better. People like worse things if that’s what they are used to. Aggregate controlled surveys are what truly dictates which format is better.

I grew up on vinyl, but I know CD is an improvement on it, because I personally think the people who say they prefer the “warmer” sound of vinyl are as full of shit as the students in the slashdot article linked above. The same thing applies to those who think that digital music is automatically “flat”. No. It depends on far more than whether it is digital/mp3 or not.

[P.S. If you haven’t done a blind, controlled study with volume-normalized encodes at the highest possible bitrate — please do not leave a comment about your opinion. I’m only interested in the opinion of people who understand proper testing methodology, and have gone through a proper test.] (more…)

Another old computer story. During the 2 Virginia Tech years that I lived in Pritchard Hall, I ran a BBS on the data lines they provided to the dorm. (If you don’t know what a BBS is, click the word BBS for an explanation. This was how people socialized online before the internet came about.)

B&B - SubGeniuses - Bob Bob Bob

Sample BBS advertisement for a SubGenius BBS. Good luck finding a Flying Spaghetti Monster BBS ad. Haha.

My BBS‘s name was On Earth As It Is In Hell, named after a live Samhain bootleg 7-inch vinyl I bought at Smash Records, itself named after lyrics from The Misfits song Earth A.D.

On Earth As It Is In Hell - logon ANSI

On Earth As It Is In Hell login screen. No graphics here, this is all text with ANSI color codes.

It was the most popular message board in Virginia Tech during the 1st of the 2 years I ran it, though during the 2nd year, the internet began to really take off, and lowered my usage. I can’t imagine what the World Wide Web would have done to my BBS; that didn’t come about until I stopped running it.

On Earth As It Is In Hell - ASCII zip comment made from ANSI login screen

On Earth As It Is In Hell login screen, ZIP-file comment version

ANYWAY, the software was WWIV, which I had paid $50 to license and modify the C source code to. I’d spent my whole summer after graduationg high school modifying the BBS code, so that it would be ready for deployment when I got to college.

19930805 - Fish Tank BBS - Dave Nelson was the sysop

My friend Dave N's BBS's ad. He ran WWIV, and together we used obscure modem protocols that nobody else used to become the first gateway for outside messages to reach the Virginia Tech BBS scene. We had nationally syndicated message boards, with his BBS being my BBS's contact point. I was the only BBS in Virginia Tech to achieve this. We had WWIV "email addresses", where we could be contacted internationally -- long before we had real email addresses (which was 1992).

(side-note: It really didn’t help that my parents pulled the pointless bullshit of disallowing me from taking my own computer to college, citing that I “wouldn’t have enough time” to use it, which was very typical bullshit, and completely false. Of course they insisted on buying the $3,000 DEC Alpha station that I said was unnecessary…and that computer was more of a timewaster than anything. Four hours to figure out how to compile Nethack, when you could download it and run it on a PC without compilation? Funk dat!)

blacklights are cool .. so is nethack .. 106-0630_IMG

Nethack being properly played on Carolyn's PC -- no compiler-fu knowledge necessary! Unix is great, but I've got other things to do, like USING my computer instead of tinkering with it.

I was always a mischief maker online — and still am to this day.

I got my first death threats within a year of getting online, in 1988. I got assaulted several times, including while sleeping at my best friend’s house, and while waiting in line for a Testament concert in 1990. At least once, I couldn’t return to my own dorm room. But as the saying goes — “Though they paint the wall to stop my pen, the shithouse strikes again!”

20050723 - Clint cut himself shaving - 100-0005 - Clint bleeding, funny face

Fortunately, I was never assaulted THIS badly. But I do suck at shaving...

I had certainly pulled my share other mean tricks before, as depicted in this ANSI art about me, created by Where The Wild Things Are sysop Jerry Hinn:

This guy named Batman was so lame. My handle was Satan. I used my high access to change his colors to black on black, then created a message board he didn't have access to, and posted the logfiles of him flailing around the BBS, unable to access anything, typing in the darkness of black-on-black text. lulz!

FINALLY, I GET TO WHAT THE SUBJECT IS TALKING ABOUT

I’d pulled my share of mean tricks, and this was another. It was a code modification called DELAYED USER DELETION.

Rather than deleting a user, you simply set his access level to -1, or some other technical fudge. The modified code then checked the user’s access level when they logged on. If it was -1, it would display a message to them, and then delete their account. In this way, I had the technical assurance of getting THE LAST LAUGH.

20091231 - New Year's Eve Chili Cook-Off - Clint - lurking - (by Parthena) - 4236959431_56ce3968f6_b - 2 - original version

Beware--I always get the last laugh.

But that’s not enough. I had to add insult to injury. I used an ANSI art of a big middle finger as my closing message.

Mark + Mask + middle fingers 104-0456_IMG

...and the horse you rode in on!

I also tacked on 4,096 Control-G’s to the end.

Remember Control-G? It’s the beep character.

Back in the DOS days, beeps were loaded into some sort of buffer, and could not be stopped. You had to wait it out. And you could barely type or use your computer or get any responsiveness whatsoever when this happened.

1998ish - Clint's room - screens & clutter - 1

My equipment shall defeat yours!

By flooding their computer with literally thousands of beeps, I wasn’t just deleting them. I was filling their room with loud noises that would bother whoever else was around, AND I was forcing them to have to physically reach for their power switch and turn their computer off. It was my final FUCK YOU to anyone I deleted. Hopefully I woke up their roommates, and they had to get up out of their chair to turn their computer off. HA HA.

best...reboot...ever - A-Bit modified BIOS replaces EPA logo with pot leaf - 112-1288_IMG

Have fun rebooting, assholes!....... I bet you guys don't even know how to modify a BIOS logo...... pfft......

Years later, I ran into people at a party who had been deleted from my BBS. But they refused to tell me who they were. Hahaha.

I wonder if they got hit by the Control-G-bomb??

20070113 - Clint's 33rd Birthday party - 109-0974_Ben - after being forceably subdued

Most assholes I run into at parties do not come from my BBS past.

(more…)

So I’ve run Windows 7 for a few months now. I really like it. But I dislike having to run it. I dislike being forced to endure change. The flux of computers actually makes me like computing, as a hobby, less. I get tired of spending time creating the same solution over and over again. To me, most of these problems have been solved.

[[[ I often have problems with the fact that I’ve solved a certain problem before most people ever realized they had it. For instance, I was tagging my photos in 2000. It was awhile before web sites like flickr popped up (2005ish) and got into tagging more. So while new people got to go straight to tagging in flickr, I had to figure out a way to programmatically import tags from my pre-existing system into the existing one. Another instance: Playlists. I have playlist generation down pat. My music is strictly managed on a per-track basis, with me making adjustments on a daily basis. The problem is solved. But then iTunes comes along. They don’t let you import your music directly. So I can’t just take a playlist, and have a program copy all those songs to an iPod. Nope. I’d have to write an apple-approved app, even though I already have a program that works just fine (on Android phones, non-Apple mp3 players, etc). I’m actually penalized for having solved the problem before it became trendy to do so. This situation is another one: Somebody just starting to edit audio today would choose from a choice of modern programs, and would hopefully choose one that lets you edit one file while saving another. I don’t have that choice. I’m locked in to what I know and am experienced with. To learn something new would waste more time than this blog post…]]]

So anyway… one thing I do is I run CoolEdit to edit audio. I RUN IT TWICE. I actually copy the folder to two instances, and run each EXE separately with cooledit1.bat and cooledit2.bat. Why? That way, I can be editing on 1 while the other is saving the last file I edited. Some people buy 7200RPM drives and brag about how much faster their files save, but I kept all the money and never had to wait for a file to save anyway, because I’m in the other CoolEdit, clipping away that annoying 10 second trailing silence… while the other cooledit is saving. Or perhaps I’m looking through files and realizing they don’t need to be edited at all, while the other cooledit is loading more files. Either way, running two definitely helps. And you couldn’t just run it twice.

Enter Windows 7. But now I have a new motherboard with multiple “soundcards”, one per each jack. These cooledits don’t seem to be able to share audio. Let’s try setting one to SPDIF digital audio. Let’s try setting the other to the speaker analog audio. Maybe I’ll still be able to hear it from the downstairs speakers (which are hooked up to the “2nd soundcard”)? I am NOT fucking editing files listening to speakers on another floor! Maybe I can set one for Microsoft Sound Mapper and the other for SPDIF. Goddamnit. Okay. I think I got both sharing sound finally. But no. They crash a lot. Which 20 files did I have open in them again? Arrrgh! Keeps crashing! WTF! Damnit. Let’s try compatibility modes for the EXE files. Let’s set them for coolpro.exe in both folders. What a pain! Still crashing.

Finally, I realized something: I was assuming I needed 2 folders at all anymore. Sure, that was the case from 2000-2011, but maybe that isn’t the case from 2011-present?

I ran cooledit1 twice. And I got 2 instances of it, even though it’s the same folder and same EXE file. WTH? And they share sound with each other perfectly too!

Apparently Windows 7 has improved the way things run, allowing you to run multiple instances of certain programs that could never do this before? Praise Peter Quistgard! I can finally dump that second CoolEdit folder! Next time I re-install Windows, it will be nice to not have to set up my hotkeys and preferences TWICE. (more…)

Moving files-that-I-wouldn’t-mind-losing to new drive as we speak. New total stats (less 80G from 1999 computer in bedroom that is only turned on a couple days a year):

    Total Usable Space:  12,177,246,543,872  11340.9G   11.08T
    Total  Used  Space:   9,678,221,062,144   9013.5G    8.80T
    Total  Free  Space:   2,499,025,481,728   2327.4G    2.27T
Percentage Free (Full):                        20.52%  (79.48% full)

^ Generated using the “free” command (“free c: d: e: f: g: h: etc”), piped through “frpost.pl”, a perl script that I use to postprocess the free command, giving gigabyte/terabyte conversions, and a multi-drive total at the bottom. Go past the jump for the code to that perl script, it’s quite useful for prettying up the output of the “free” command. (more…)

Someday I’d like to expound on this more…

As part of the loudness wars, they are compressing the dynamics of music more and more.

So we have music that’s at an average level of 90% with a 98% peak vs music that’s at an average level of 50% with a 75% peak. (more…)

Moving files-that-I-wouldn’t-mind-losing to new drive as we speak. New total stats (less 80G from 1999 computer in bedroom that is usually turned off):

    Total Usable Space: 10,655,142,125,568   9923.4G    9.69T
    Total  Used  Space:   7,471,858,606,080  6958.7G    6.80T
    Total  Free  Space:   3,183,283,519,488  2964.7G    2.90T
Percentage Free (Full):                        29.88%  (70.12% full)

^ Generated using the “Free” command (“free c: d: e: f: g: h: etc”, I have a “fr.bat’ that is basically free followed by every valid drive letter), and then passed through to “frpost.pl”, a perl script that I use to postprocess the free command, giving gigabyte/terabyte conversions, and a multi-drive total at the bottom. Go past the jump for the code to that perl script, it’s quite useful for prettying up windows output to get a nice total like this.

(more…)

One needs only to look at the viewpoints of various founding fathers to see what the proper interpretation is:

“The Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
James Madison

“[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.”
Alexander Hamilton

“[A]rms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”
Thomas Paine

“… of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trail by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms…. If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny.”
James Monroe

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people’s liberty teeth keystone… the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable… more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference. When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour.”
George Washington

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Thomas Jefferson

Quotes originally compiled via this slashdot comment, which I liked. (more…)

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