Internet


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

Ohhh NetHack… One of the most important and influential (it inspired Diablo, and countless spin offs) PC games of all time. It is basically Dungeons & Dragons for the PC. Yet despite being so influential, it is itself a variant of Hack, which is a variant of Rogue. But it was the variant that kicked ass enough to stick around for over 20 years.

How I love you, NetHack. How I hate you, NetHack. The only PC game from the 1980s that I still occasionally play today, over 22 years later. The only game I ever played where every letter of the alphabet did something different — for both capital and lowercase. And then some.

blacklights are cool .. so is nethack 106-0629_IMG
Carolyn
plays Nethack in 2002 (VGA tile style).

The only game I ever opened the EXE file up with with a hex editor and manually paged through the entire binary, reading all the strings of game events, and realizing that I would never, ever experience everything the game had to offer. It was just too much.

You may change your appearance — from ASCII, to extended 8-bit ASCII, to VGA tiles, to isometric 3-D to proper 3-D renderings — but you are still the same Nethack. The same damned, frustratingly impossible-for-me-to-win Nethack.


ASCII Nethack.

Now, beyond the fact that NetHack is an incredibly complex that fills one with a sense of wonder, one has to also consider that this game came to its existence in the great information blackout known as “BEFORE THE INTERNET”.

Well, there was an internet back then, but the common man did not use it, or even have access to it. I began playing in 1987 or 1988, when the 600K binary file – smaller than a 1 megapixel camera image – took up 6% of the family’s 20-meg harddrive. There was NO INFORMATION back then. You heard things from TV (and they didn’t talk about computer games), word of mouth (nobody cared about computers back then), or BBSes. And BBSes were, of course, a wild west for information seekers. The internet is tame by comparison. You’d fight to get a tiny bit of information, then you’d hold onto it as tight as you can.

So Nethack was quite mysterious. There were no forums. There was no way to reach the internet. And calling local BBSes, one at a time, dealing with busy signals, leaving messages for the next caller — didn’t exactly yield a lot of info.

So it was this mysterious game. I never knew that you COULD win until the internet came along. I never really ran into other people who knew about it, or played. Not unless I talked to someone who was as similarly ahead of the tech curve as I was, and those people were few, far between, and had a wide array of interests. Even today, according to WikiPedia, “fans of NetHack consider an ascension without having read spoilers very prestigious; the achievement is so difficult that some question whether it has been or can be accomplished.”


Extended 8-bit ASCII Nethack.

When I finally got on the internet, I was the only human being I personally knew to use it until I went to Virginia Tech to study Computer Science. (And no, I wont say how. There weren’t ISPs back then, and I used a modem. People back then used programs to call WarDialers to call every phone number sequentially. I WarDialed for an hour a night some months.)

I looked hard for the “net” in nethack. I poured over newsgroups, but there still wasn’t much talk about the NET in it. I knew what networking was, and wanted to play a networked D&D game with someone. Obviously NetHack had to be multi-player — it has the word NET in it, for chrissakes!


VGA tile Nethack.

I eventually found out there were telnet servers that hosted NetHack. You could telnet to an address (this was way before the web was invented) and play Nethack there. I must have telnet’ed to every NetHack server on the planet. I was positive I would find another person in one of them. It had NET in the fucking name!


Early GL “barely 3-D” 3-D implementation. More like VGA tiles, but with fancier tiles.

Even once the web came around, I would, every few years, google around to see if anyone had perhaps developed a port that would let multiple people play at once. I’d think the game much more winnable if Carolyn could be at my side, instead of my cat. But still… IT NEVER EXISTS! NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WANT IT TO EXIST, IT NEVER WOULD!!!! GODDAMNIT I WANT TO PLAY!!!


3-D isometric Nethack (Vulture’s Eye). 3-D, but stuck at the same angle, causing things to be blocked from view, even though they wouldn’t be blocked from view in the original version.

Oh, if only I could go back, and tell young Clint, “This is Future Clint! Don’t look for the ‘net’ in NetHack! It’s a waste of your time!” Or if only I could go back and encourage some of the hardcore developers in the 1980s and 1990s to actually make a multi-player version of this!

Alas, I doubt this will ever happen. But at least Nethack continues to be played, even today. There’s Android and iPhone versions, but the Android has got to be better. Since every letter capital and lower does something different, it simply would be faster to play it with a real phone.

Anyway, that’s my sad childhood computer game fantasy story :) It was a FAIL.



“Proper” (rotatable, can see everything properly) 3-D Noegnut Nethack.

You can also read people’s Nethack experiences in the Nethack newsgroup, rec.games.roguelike.nethack — especially the official faq. Even today, people will post about seeing things they’ve never seen in the game. That’s just how awesome Nethack is!

Download NetHack at the official page.

For more pictures, check out the Nethack tag and Nethack photopool on Flickr, or do a Google Images search for Nethack.



Very large Nethack – “I said wallet sized, not wall-sized!”


Very small NethackiPhone.


Very small Nethack – Better phone implementation.

20101002 - too many NethacksToo many Nethacks!


Nethack humor.


Harder-to-read Nethack humor (click for larger image).


Nethack humor more people can understand than usual.


More humor.

For more pictures, check out the Nethack tag and Nethack photopool on Flickr, or do a Google Images search for Nethack.
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I think it’s a mistake… But… It’s pretty dumb that it’s that much harder to RSS-subscribe to a flickr tag nowadays. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Subscribing to a tag is one of the best ways to use flickr. If you want to see new photos of celebrities, TV shows, or *anything* you like, without having to check all your interests every day, it’s really the only way to do it. Plus, as they all show up in the same part of your screen [your rss reader], pre-loaded, you can go through images in half a second each — less time that it would typically take to find a photo and click it.

So here’s the format:

FlickR: RSS a tag: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=nicolekidman&lang=en-us&format=rss_200

Just subtitute in a different name other than Nicole Kidman. Don’t use spaces, of course.

Some suggested FlickR RSS subscriptions:

Lily Cole
Nicole Kidman
Penelope Cruz
Salma Hayek
Anna Faris
Annie Wersching (redhead agent in latest seasons of 24)
Elisha Cuthbert
Mena Suvari
Teri Hatcher (hopefully pre-Michael Jackson face)
Jennifer Connelly
Connie Seleca (alas, new pics of her are INFREQUENT)
Elizabeth Kucinich (I’m waiting… patiently.)

If you’re a geek, here’s some more:
command line
Clint’s ASCII & ANSI artwork pool

Some RSS comedy links:
XKCD
FAILblog
Fail Flickr photopool
TENSO photopool (also mine)
Totally Looks Like
WTF pictures
LOLpoliticians
Garfield Minus Garfield

Enjoy loadin’ up your reader with this goodness. Cartoon lovers may want:

Beavis & Butt-head photopool
The Simpsons flickr tag
The Simpsons photo pool
The Simpsons – another photo pool

There have been unexpected consequences for me. The first time I heard of the movie The House Bunny was via flickr, because someone posted an Anna Faris pic (She’s the star). Since I’m not plugged directly into the hype machine, several movies by some of my most lusted-after actresses have come to my attention by me subscribing to their pictures. Or the time my dad told me The Simpsons were coming out with postage stamps. He figured I didn’t know, because I don’t use the mail or buy stamps. But I’d seen their picture on flickr. When the world is your input data set, you get all kinds of interesting output. Yay technology!

So anyway — put THIS into your RSS reader and smoke it! (more…)

One of the things I try to avoid is the business of manually checking sites. I really don’t do it. It’s a phenomenal waste of time. Even if you only check 1 or 2 sites a day, you may find that automating the process [via rss] leaves you with more free time, allowing you to either check more sites, or, you know, reclaim your life back. I spend 0 seconds a day typing my favorite websites into the addressbar and waiting for pages to load.

The Notifications feed (found near the bottom-right of the page HERE, though it may be more prudent to use the new RSS News Feed Reader app on Facebook) always felt useless to me. Why would I want to read in my reader that someone commented on a link of mine? I’d rather get the email, so I know RIGHT AWAY, so I can converse. So I always skipped over the notification feed for having untimely info. However, that feed contains other stuff you might read on your news feed, such as quizzes, surveys, and other banal facebook stuff. The flaw in this feed has always been that it is half “stuff I want to know the second it happens” and half “stuff I don’t care when [or if] I find out”. The trick is to send the first half to email, and the second half to RSS.

To do this, we need to scrub the time-dependent stuff out of the Facebook Notifications feed, using a 3rd party RSS feed filter such as FeedRinse (NOTE: FeedRinse SUCKS! I would advise finding anything random on the internet over using FeedRinse. It’s unreliable and slow, and doesn’t actually save time.). This ruleset is by no means complete, but it’s a damn good start:

FeedRinse is also good for filtering your “friends’ status updates” and “friends’ links” and “friends’ notes” feed: Remove those pesky repetitive things people repeat every week, MafiaWars invites, mentions of football, particular people you want to shut up but don’t want to friend, and such.

Screw reading by the web! It forces you to read everybody’s stuff with no filters, and it forces you to manually check. You also have no way of storing a backlog — Facebook only goes back so far in the web; the reader remembers everything that happens while you are gone. It also allows you to search everything you’ve read, which you can’t do on Facebook. After seeing a movie I like, I search my reader for that movie. A lot of the results are friends talking about it. I now know who saw the movie, and go and leave a comment. Sometimes people are surprised that I’m commenting on something they posted 6 months ago. “How did you find this post?” RSS, that’s how! (more…)

Another tip for couples computing: Share your email notifications.

20070421 - Angel & Ian's housewarming party - (by Angel) - 470743940_c94781aa77_o - diptych - 470743256_17879731d9_o - Carolyn, Clint as Tina Fey with Angel's glasses - 1=sassy, 2=trashed

If you’re a close couple who wants to be aware of each other’s socializing, or find out when the other is in a conversation you might want to join in … The best way to do it is to share email notifications. For example, any email that goes to Carolyn or myself via Facebook, Livejournal, or Netflix – automatically goes to the other.

{This also has the added curse/benefit that if I block someobody, but Carolyn doesn’t, I still see the responses that Carolyn would see. Thus, they don’t see what I write, but I see what they write. The other curse is that any conversation you are both in will result in 2 emails, plus you often get email notification for your own comments.}

Still, the old SubGenius saying goes, “Too much is always better than not enough.” If the two of you want to be aware of each other’s conversations, your choice is to see some things 0 times, or twice. I’ll take twice.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

For purposes of this conversation, my email is clint@gmail.com and Carolyn’s is carolyn@gmail.com.

  1. I change my Facebook/LiveJournal/whatever notification email from clint@gmail.com to clint+carolyn@gmail.com. Everything after the “+” does not affect delivery, but is very useful for filtering (see next step).
  2. I create a gmail filter that says “if mail is to clint+carolyn@gmail.com, then forward to carolyn@gmail.com”.
  3. Carolyn changes her Facebook/LiveJournal/whatever notification email from carolyn@gmail.com to carolyn+clint@gmail.com.
  4. Carolyn creates a gmail filter that says “if mail is to carolyn+clint@gmail.com, then forward to clint@gmail.com”.

Voila! Now you both get each other’s notifications. You have strengthened your ties together, at the expense of cluttering your inbox.

This is also very useful for Netflix notifications. Or Evites. (more…)

This had us laughing sooo hard last night!
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