Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:02 am
wombat_socho: SSuiseiseki (conventions)
Anime Studio Pro 8

How long has software like this been loose on the market?


Jul. 29th, 2011 07:32 pm
wombat_socho: the mark (media)
Apparently LJ has stayed up long enough for all of my old posts & their commets to get imported here. Booya.
wombat_socho: Wombat (unhappy)
I have grown weary of fighting with LJ and its seemingly unending stream of DDoS attacks, especially since the new management doesn't seem to be inclined to compensate for the lost/erratic access. Thanks to [ profile] onsenmark, I'm now set up at Dreamwidth.

I know some of you have already migrated; would you be kind enough to leave your addresses in the comments so I can friend you on Dreamwidth as well? Or not, an it please ye.

I've set my DW posts to cross-post here for the convenience of those folks reading this via RSS, Google Reader, or some other automagical tomfoolery.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Would you like to know more? )

Upgraded to Firefox 5.0, which does seem somewhat faster than 4.0, but has a distressing tendency to lock up while viewing Plonsky on FB. In addition, Foxytunes no longer works in version 5.0, but that's a minor annoyance.
wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
Electrical brain stimulation v. Alzheimer's. First a cure for depression, and now makes you wonder what else might be accomplished by a gentle prodding of other neurons, as opposed to electroshock. (Via [ profile] haikujaguar's LJ )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
It occurred to me today that most of the people Facebook is recommending I friend fall into one of two categories: people in Minnesota I'm unlikely to see even if I go back to Convergence one of these days, and former high school classmates I haven't seen in thirty-plus years. Okay, there's also a pile of voice actors recommended to me because I know people at Detour who know them, either on staff or in the industry.

But I don't really know any of these people, you know? Not in the sense that they're really friends; most of them are people I met once or twice, might have worked with at one convention or another, but I haven't heard from them since I left the Great American Desert and moved down here. So I don't feel any great urge to reconnect with them, because that would imply that there was some sort of connection before Facebook, and there really wasn't. If there was, I would have gone ahead and clicked the box by now. Or they would have clicked on their box and asked me if I wanted to friend them back. Either way, I don't have any illusions about really being part of these peoples' lives.

Since I'm not interested in accumulating a pile of "friends" I don't really know and don't have that much to do with (even online), I try to be careful and not "friend" people I don't actually know in real life. Most people are pretty cool with that, and those that aren't, well, too bad. I'm basically treating Facebook the same way I do LJ: it's there for my convenience, not that of random strangers, and part of that is not adding people I don't know, with very, very few exceptions. I know there's people out there who just hoover up all kinds of acquaintances, friends of friends, and people they met once at a party or maybe it was a bar but they were kinda wasted at the time so...anyway. I don't understand those people, and have no great urge to be one of them.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
For what it's worth, being in charge of the weekday news roundup at The Other McCain is forcing me to keep abreast of the news (foreign, domestic and technical) to a deeper and wider extent than I had been these last few years when I was just reading Instapundit and a handful of other -mainly political- blogs. Between Google News, WeSmirch and Memeorandum, I wind up learning a lot about a number of topics I normally wouldn't have known much about*, and one of those topics is the disappearing line between tablet PCs and e-book readers. Barnes & Noble finally did what I'd been hoping they'd do when the news first came out that the Color Nook had been hacked to unleash its potential as an Android tablet: they're selling the color Nook pre-hacked, so that now you can buy a tablet PC running the Android PC for just $249. Yes, it only has a 7" screen, but on the other hand, you're not on the hook with AT&T or Verizon for a couple years' worth of their data plan. I think this is going to put pressure on a couple of folks. Amazon needs to bring out a color Kindle tablet, and HP needs to get off their asses and get the TouchPad on the market. Amazon's problem is that the Kindle is being undercut by the Nook tablet, which is comparable in price, can run the Kindle Android app, and can do other things besides merely serve as a portable library. HP's problem is that while WebOS is arguably superior to both iOS and Honeycomb, it is late, late, late; worse yet, it doesn't have the enormous store of applications that iOS and Android tablets do. Yes, it painlessly transfers data from the Pre3 and Veer phones to the TouchPad (and probably will soon do the same for the Pixi and older Pre phones); yes, there are probably some other nice things that it'll inherit from the last WebOS phones from Palm...but it's taking forever to get the damn thing to market. I'll probably buy one anyway, but I can't help wondering if the whole business of converting the entire HP netbook/laptop/tablet line to run on WebOS isn't too little too late.

I'm also skeptical about the notion that tablets are going to wipe out netbooks. Most of the tablets so far rely on the cloud computing concept, and as we have seen lately, that concept still isn't quite ready for prime time from a corporate point of view. There's still going to be a market for smaller laptops that can function without the cloud, to say nothing of larger laptops with more flexibility and storage, just as there is still a market for specialized data collection "bricks" such as the FedEx and UPS guys use.

NB: I don't pretend to be a computer expert, just a user that's been around for a while and has been forced to immerse himself in tech news five times a week.

*And, in the case of the news WeSmirch delivers, I would just as soon not have known in the first place.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
One of the nice things about the advances in technology that helped usher in the new wave of anime fandom was the advent of cheaper, more capable desktops and editing software. That enabled things like this anime music video to be made without an ungodly expensive Silicon Graphics workstation. And that, as they say, is a Good Thing.

Reposted from [ profile] roselinedcoffin.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
[ profile] digex had this book sitting on his office bookshelf when I went up to see him last week, and as I am perpetually curious about the history of things (and the Internet in particular, since I've been peripherally involved in it since the days when it was still ARPANET) I borrowed it.

It was well worth the time. John Naughton writes from an English perspective, so he has some insights into the early history of computers that one probably wouldn't see from an American writer, and his writing style reminds me a lot of Neal Stephenson, which is another plus. Unlike Stephenson, he doesn't feel the need to take extended side trips into higher mathematics, but he nonetheless covers all the odd geniuses responsible for the ideas behind the internet (Vannevar Bush's Memex makes an appearance, and rightly so) as well as the engineers, grad students, and (yes) visonary bureaucrats who brought the Internet from a Defense Department dream of unstoppable tactical communications to a wide-open bazaar that brings us everything from scholarly essays to cat macros to cheap goods to rare treasures to pr0n. In other hands, this could have been a dull and thudding tale, but Naughton does an awesome job of spinning an enthralling story reaching from his father's frustrated ham radio dreams to the billion-volt limitless future where all the world's information and treasures are literally at our fingertips. Highly recommended; A Brief History of the Future is not available in a Kindle edition, but used copies of the hardback and paperback are available for literally pennies.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Naomi Klein can't tell the difference between unconstitutional government action and entirely legal action by a corporation. What a complete retard. And she presumes to lecture conservatives on...well, pretty much anything?

(Via Computerworld, an excellent article about how the Egyptian protesters are managing to find ways around the government shutdown of the Internet and mobile phone networks.)

Being the pessimist I am, I can't help seeing a rerun of 1979's revolution in Iran here, with Mubarak playing the role of Shah - except the Shah was more realistic about his chances once the Army turned on him. It's not entirely clear whether the Egyptian Army has done that yet, and I hope it's not the case, because then this really will be a repeat of the Iranian Revolution. Those of us who are old enough remember how well that went under Carter 1.0. I don't expect the sequel under Carter 2.0 to be handled any better; the military isn't the hollowed-out shell it was in the 1970s, but most of it is tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan at the moment.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
The Internet Changes Nothing:
Of course the things we do on the Internet are different from those we did (and do) in front of the TV. But it’s important to remember that they are only different; they are not new. Think for a moment about what you do on the Internet. Not what you could do, but what you actually do. You email people you know. In an effort to broaden your horizons, you could send email to strangers in, say, China, but you don’t. You read the news. You could read newspapers from distant lands so as to broaden your horizons, but you usually don’t. You watch videos. There are a lot of high-minded educational videos available, but you probably prefer the ones featuring, say, snoring cats. You buy things. Every store in the world has a website, so you could buy all manner of exotic goods. As a rule, however, you buy the things you have always bought from the people who have always sold them. You play games. There are many kinds of games on the Internet, but those we seem to like best all fall into two categories: the ones where we can kill things and the ones where we can cast spells. You look things up. The Web is like a bottomless well of information. You can find the answer to almost any question if you’re willing to look. But you generally don’t like to look, so you get your answers from Wikipedia. Last, you do things you know you shouldn’t. The Internet is great for indulging bad habits. It offers endless opportunities to steal electronic goods, look at dirty pictures, and lose your money playing poker. Moreover, it’s anonymous. On the Web, you can get what you want and be pretty sure you won’t get caught getting it. That’s terrifically useful.

Pretty interesting essay on how the Internet hasn't really changed anything. RTWT.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Spent what seemed like most of the day driving back and forth to classes at the Columbia Pike office, ending with the Bank Agency training, which I got confused with my CSP training and was therefore late to. :( At least I know where the Leesburg Pike office in Falls Church is now; right across the parking lot from Trader Joe's. Might have to stop in there and see if they have some of the stuff Harris-Teeter doesn't; for example, FAGE's full-fat yogurt, which is so incredibly awesome that it cannot be explained - it can only be experienced.

Winamp was acting weirdly, pretending that music in its library wasn't actually there, so I flushed the library, ripped a few CDs from the long-lost collection, and reloaded it. So far so good, except now I'm having second thoughts about all the Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eye Blind. Welp.

Started reading David Drake's Northworld Trilogy, which is sho' nuff some strange and weird stuff.

Tomorrow, another Skills To Win class in the afternoon and CSP training at night, plus a meeting with my new office leader to start the day. Thought I was going to be able to sleep in but realized that's not going to work. So I better get to bed.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
After downloading Charles' Stross Wireless by mistake, the second and third books I picked up for the Kindle were John Ringo & Tom Kratman's The Tuloriad and S.M. Stirling's The High King of Montival

Cut to spare the f-list )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
While floundering around in the Baen Books website, I was dumbstruck to find Robert Heinlein's political manual Take Back Your Government available as an e-book for just $5. Considering that getting an actual dead-tree copy of this book will run you at least $50, this is a hell of a deal. Of course I bought it - haven't read it in years, and I'm curious to see how much of it is as dated as some people think.

Also, Heinlein's official bio (Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve) is available in a Kindle edition.


Anyway, I need to hit the rack. Merry Christmas to all my Latin Rite, Protestant and secular friends!
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS - Technoviking)
[ profile] cipherpunk's horrible experience with Verizon is another reason I'm never having anything to do with Verizon if I can possibly help it - to the point where if the only phone option for a house/condo I'm looking at in a few years is Verizon, then I'm not going to move there. Screw that company, seriously. Sprint 4 lyfe.
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS - Technoviking)
The antisocial movie « BuzzMachine:
The Social Network is the anti-geek movie. It is the story that those who resist the change society is undergoing want to see. It says the internet is not a revolution but only the creation of a few odd, machine-men, the boys we didn’t like in college. The Social Network is the revenge on the revenge of the nerds.

I know my risk here. I’m putting myself again in the position of defending the internet, just as David Kirkpatrick is making himself Facebook’s apologist. Maybe we’re both hypnotized by the Zuckerberg charisma Sorkin cannot see. Maybe we’ve been hanging out with business people so long we cannot see the Greek tragedy in it. Maybe. Though if all you want is a tale of hard-nosed business leading to human drama among geeks, you could film the story of Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, or—coming soon to a theater near you—Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The really telling line, for my money:
For The Social Network, geeks and entrepreneurs are as mysterious and frightening as witches. Its writer, Aaron Sorkin, admits as much in New York Magazine. “He says unapologetically that he knows almost nothing about the 2010 iteration of Facebook, adding that his interest in computer-aided communication goes only as far as emailing his friends.” Sorkin himself says, “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling.” Making shit up.

That's actually a pretty good summary of Sorkin's career. Making shit up about people he doesn't know from Adam's off ox. Sucking up to the ones he knows and likes. And people wondered why I didn't want to waste my time watching The West Wing? YGBSM.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
No, seriously. Dung gets used for fuel and fertilizer in a lot of places that we like to call the Third World, but there are more effective ways to use it than just drying it out and throwing it in the fire. It's pretty amazing how much processing all that dung into gas can change the lives of people for the better. RTWT.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
...who deals with this kind of thing every day.

A wizard's words finally set free -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY:
The unlikely resurrection story began when archivist Chris Hunter grew curious about 13 undocumented film canisters tucked away on a bottom shelf among 5 million items in the basement archives of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium.

Hunter had no idea what they contained, aside from a few vague jottings that indicated they involved radio programs from the 1920s.

There was an even bigger obstacle to solving the mystery. He had no machine that could play them.

He might as well have been looking at ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The canisters were not going to give up easily their mute secrets.

RTWT, and think for a minute about all the history locked up in analog media that we have no way to play back any more.

wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Current View:
That's my recommendation. We don't need a conference. We need an X program. DC/X showed the way. Next step is to build a larger one. I'd go for the full 600,000 GLOW SSX, but we can settle for something smaller (that can never make orbit, or even scare it much, but can teach us a lot about engines and control). DC/X used hydrogen. One of the things we learned from DC/X is you really don't want hydrogen rockets; they are an operational nightmare. Max Hunter always thought we'd end up using propane. (There are those who like methane, but rocket fuel grade methane is hard to obtain and has operations difficulties. Propane is easy to come by and we know a lot about handling it.) The conclusion is obvious, at least to me: build the best propane LOX ship using at least 8 engines that we can build with present technology. Make it somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000 pounds GLOW. Build it, take it to Edwards, and fly it. Build three tail numbers. Fly the first one closer and closer to the envelope and learn all we can. If it prangs -- sometimes X ships do -- you've got the second tail number to fly until the tests are over. With luck the third one is a hangar queen that eventually goes to the Smithsonian.

We don't need a conference, we need to fly some rocket ships.

He ought to know. RTWT.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
...and because this is even more amusing now that I actually have a Vista box.
(Schlock Mercenary blog)


wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)

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