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Showing posts from April, 2005

ch-ch-ch-changes...

I got really tired of the narrow main column, and the graphics that would sometimes only half-load/display in the old template, so I yanked it out and stuffed things in a new template that doesn't have such stuff. Expect construction-dust wonkiness as I get the sidebar back in shape, as well as Comments re-activated, etc.

spring: t-a

Ah, Spring; when a young man’s thoughts turn to Total Annihilation! Yes! Yes! Cavedog's seminal 1997 hit, arguably the best real-time strategy game ever (ever ever), is one of the best-balanced, nuanced, layered strategy videogames. The original had a fixed-view camera that looked directly down onto a pre-rendered landscape, over which excessive numbers of actual 3D vehicles could be moved. The pre-rendered visuals matched a lower-resolution collision-mesh for determining action, reaction, display angle of vehicle, and so forth. The remake is in complete 3D and has a user-controlled camera. It is in beta. I can count on one hand the number of games that turn me into a fanboy; T-A is likely the middle finger. (slashdot)

concrete jungle

Charles Stross is offering his spy-parody cum lovecraftian mythos novella, The Concrete Jungle for free. Really free, in fact, as it’s under a Creative Commons license. I’ve been reading and enjoying it very much.

Update: Done. Finished it. It’s great, but the ending kind of wraps up quickly and drops the reader on their ass -- much like the characters have to deal with in the book, actually.

of note on the drm front

Bill Gates: “There’s always a tricky issue when you get into stolen material or pornography...if you get notified that it's stolen materials or pornography or things like that...The laws for online publishing the same as for print-based publishing.”

Translated: Bill Gates has a talking points team that wants him to equate potential copyright violators with pornographers so he's sure to mention it twice. The term “potentional copyright violators” while correct, isn’t as forceful as “stolen material” so he repeats that as often as possible too. His last statement makes clear that to him online publishing = print publishing. In other words, intellectual property = physical property and should be treated as such in the eyes of the law, a concept so fraught with problems I won't even go into the ridiculousness of it all.

I'm pretty sure I’ve figured out what Bill’s problem is and it’s pretty simple: Gates is convinced that Microsoft’s version of DRM is the One True Path for M…

trek, alas, the end you met...

free music

Boingboing points out that Amazon is offering a screaming buttload of free-for-the-download, non-DRM'd MP3s as promotions for the physical CDs. There is a wide range of stuff, from Aimee Mann to Bad Religion to Moby to Tom Waits to Brian Eno. Check it out. Fill up your hard disks. Man, this is going to destroy the rest of the day for me. How can you go wrong with free music from Natacha Atlas?

from the mother of a fallen soldier

Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs....gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far. We’ve watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values....and for the spread of democracy. Yet we all know that they are now putting in place, all across this country, a system of voting that provides no way to validate the accuracy of the counting of the votes. Our loved ones have been buried in early graves even as these arrogant thugs parade themselves before the entire world, insisting that democracy is worth dying for, killing for, and destroying entire cities for, all the while they are busy here at home overseeing the emplacement of an electronic voting system that invites fraud at every turn, an electronic vote-counting system that provides no way to validate the votes cast, and that, by i…

guts

I’m one of those angry white guys that thinks Fight Club is a fucking fantastic movie. Only, while being tremendously pale, I’m actually not particularly angry, and I don’t worship at the altar of author Chuck Palahniuk like a lot of fightclubfans. There is talk about an exceptionally grotesque short story, Guts, that Chuck reads at bookstore appearances, and that people have been known to pass out or vomit during the reading. It is suspected that these are marks — people planted by Palahniuk to add drama to the reading.

Today I read it on my Palm while riding the train to work. Well, most of it. For comparison, when reading Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, I found his ability to evoke empathy for a psychopath disconcerting. When I later read the otherwise mediocre Hannibal, the scene at the end with the “serve yourself” dinner party made my head spin; it was literally dizzying. Trying to read Guts on the train on the way in today, so help me, I nearly passed out. The world turns various sh…

keen list of insights

Number 8
DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY.
Everyone always talks about confidence and believing in what you do. I remember once going to a class in Kundalini yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a more practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins.
10 Things I've Learned

akihaburogu

Even if you can’t read Japanese, there is always intriguing stuff at the informal Akihabara Blog: アキハブログ. Actually, sometimes understanding the language doesn’t provide a clue to the weirdness found there.

Update:WHOA! Sometimes the page is incredibly Not-Safe-for-Work-or-Really-Anywhere, due to a lot of pictures of sketchy anime bondage model kits.

star trek

Does Banned on Vulcan count as “filk”? “The USS Make-Shit-Up” (.mp3) is a rollicking tribute to Trek’s willingness to technobabble their way into a deus ex machina in nearly every episode. Now if Voltaire would only do the opposite, and say why the transporters won’t work...

sad fate

“Our legendary personalities are evergreen ‘brands’ with the benefit of worldwide recognition,” reads a message on the Richman agency’s website.
Guardian UK Article*vomits*

Where is the line drawn between “public figure” and “celebrity”? How can a dead person have an agent, particulary where there are no specific works concerned other than a sense of character? It’s one thing to insist that Duck Soup is a work that should be protected (which any more simply means controlled by whomever has the most buX0rs), but shouldn’t personalities and such pass into the public domain as well? (boingboing: Bill Gates 0wns Einstein, Groucho , Freud, Asimov, Fuller, et al)

so bad, it’s funny

America We Stand As One is the most unintentionally cheesy video I’ve seen in many moons. It also wins the Most Unecessarily Long Domain Name no-prize for the month: www.americawestandasone.com Perhaps most saddening is the appearance of once-proud, redhead goddess, B5 PSI Corps agent and remake NotLD zombie-fighter, Patricia Tallman in a brief, would-be tear-yanking cameo. (deathboy links)

bush-tard pop

Last year I mentioned Bush II, Electric Boogaloo’s unendorsed foray into mashups with Sunday Bloody Sunday. I didn’t know that rx had continued on this mad trip with still more songs until reading this Stay Free! article on bastard pop and how it relates to the use of collage as a form of cultural art. Hell, I didn’t even know that Negativland is still being productive. If I were a typeface, I’d be Sans-Clue. (thanks, the Other Michael)

it begins

As a fan of Frank Miller’s work, I’m pretty excited about the Sin City movie, and am happy to see it hasn’t been grossly misinterpreted by the critics. However I’m even more excited about Batman Begins, which is based in large part on Miller’s interpretation of Batman, primarily from Batman: Year One, but also using bits from Dark Knight Returns. If you’re not on fire for “another” Batman movie, check out anyof thepreviews, and prepare to have your mind changed...

yay!

You are currently using 52 MB (3%) of your 2066 MB.Google quietly added another gig of storage to gmail. You know, just for kicks. I bet the harnessed, collective sighs from Hotmail and Yahoo Mail could push a sailing ship across the English Channel.
I'll not prevaricate: Starbucks is a lifesaver for me in Japan. 12 years ago when I lived here for the first stint, it seemed nigh impossible to find a decent cuppa joe, and espresso was considered something that a machine could deal flawlessly on its own. They are hardly as ubiquitous as their North American presence, but you'd hardly know it if you're hanging around Yokohama Station (as I was, coincidently, earlier today).

In the USA, however, I tend to want something more local, more homey, and less mainstream than Starbucks. I like the mom-and-pop joints, or the couch-and-bookcase joints, and patronize them instead when I can. With the viral encroachment of Starbucks across the world, this is becoming a harder task. If you are interested in pursuing local shops, try the Starbucks Delocator, which lists other shops. (boingboing)

well, the site says, “tell everyone you know”

Justine just pointed me at the skeleton-key for the web: BugMeNot. It generates user/pwd combinations for sites that require registration, so you don't have to register (or go through the minimal mental gymnastics of coming up with fake info every time). Even neater, it has a Firefox extension that enables context-menu access for convenience. After all, isn't this all about ease-of-use?