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June 28, 2008

Chicago ()

by fluffy at 10:20 AM
I'll be in Chicago (well, Wilmette, actually) from July 5 thru the 12th. In case anyone in the area wants to meet up and do something. I definitely need to have some positive activities scheduled for while I'm there.

There are no words ()

by fluffy at 1:43 AM

(Also, note the timestamp at the bottom.)

A new experiment ()

by fluffy at 1:17 AM
Yet another comic series, this one intended to fill in that big gap in the market of "things to read on Saturday." (I am also still working on Unity, and there'll still be occasional journal or random comics.)

June 27, 2008

Oops ()

by fluffy at 4:47 PM
Note to self: check outgoing email account before firing off a quick email to the entire group at work.

June 24, 2008

How do they put the ketchup in the packets? ()

by fluffy at 11:10 AM
The Internet is lacking in explanations.

My assumption is that they do something like take two sheets of the foil, crimp it to form tubes, fill the tubes with the condiment, then crimp crossways to seal it into little packets, and then cut the packets apart, but that doesn't seem like it'd work too well for some condiments (such as Tabasco sauce).

June 19, 2008

A style of movie I'd like to see ()

by fluffy at 10:41 PM
I think it would be very compelling, stylistically, to have a movie in which the movie was blatantly a work of fiction while the characters themselves were still in the fiction. What I mean is having the film and sound crew visible, which would allow for scenes shot in a single take but from multiple angles which still get cut together (and there could even be some rough spots around the edges on purpose, like actors breaking and returning into character and so on). Basically, something like the "making of," except the whole movie, and with some additional tropes allowed by this.

In a sense it would be a movie which is about the making of itself, except the story would not be the making of the film - the "window dressing" would eventually fade into the woodwork even though it'd remain visible throughout the whole film.

Are there any movies like this? I'd expect there to be at least one movie which is basically a stage production committed to film in this way, but I can't think of anything even though the concept is familiar.

I think I might want to write a screenplay.

June 17, 2008

My quick review of Firefox 3 ()

by fluffy at 1:13 PM
After having used it for about 3 minutes:
  • It certainly feels a lot faster and more responsive, especially when loading old table-layout pages like PoE
  • Not sure if I like the Awesomebar yet. Maybe it'll grow on me.
  • Yay, my error animations run silky-smooth now!
  • Boo, the music on them doesn't loop right (maybe it's time to finally turn it into a Flash player instead of a Quicktime embed)
  • The new UI is weird but not incomprehensible. Although I miss the 'open' control on the download manager.

NSD Powerball (, )

by fluffy at 11:43 AM
So, after an Ars Technica thread about dealing with RSI, I decided to order a Powerball, which arrived a few days ago. I played with it a few times but couldn't figure out how to get it going, until I searched Youtube and came across this useful video.

I got the Techno model which only shows your score after a certain threshold (which I haven't reached yet) but even without that, this thing is great. Just a couple minutes of it feels like I've been working out for hours, and I can barely move my arm afterwards from the muscle fatigue. It finally gives me something useful to do during my typing breaks (and it's certainly more fun than lifting dumbbells while watching TV).

Of course one has to be careful when using one in an office environment.

Hopefully this will finally help me get over my long-term wrist problems. I'm sure I'll keep everyone updated.

Graphics cards are miraculous! ()

by fluffy at 10:07 AM
From a terribly-written article (which I tried commenting on directly but their captcha was broken):
As PC applications become increasingly visual, many ordinary tasks will benefit from the graphics horsepower provided by this new GPU. These tasks range from editing photos to encoding/playing high-definition videos, even getting driving directions off the Internet to running a new operating system like Windows Vista.
I'm pretty sure that the graphics card isn't involved at all in getting driving directions from the Internet. While it's conceivable that GPGPU could be used for performing the routing calculations (which, frankly, can be done even on 5-year-old graphics cards just fine - one of the very first GPGPU algorithms I ever saw was for minimal path finding), just because something is displayed visually doesn't mean it has anything to do with the performance provided by the highest-end graphics card on the market.

June 14, 2008

30 ()

by fluffy at 12:12 AM
When I was a teenager I realized that time seemed to be moving faster than it did as a kid. Being into relativity and pop-pseudophysics at the time, I came up with this mental model that the consciousness itself was an object that was in freefall through the fourth dimension, accelerating as it went.

Considering it feels like just yesterday that I was turning 29 and wondering where 28 went, I have to wonder if maybe I was onto something.

June 13, 2008

SACD (, )

by fluffy at 11:26 PM
So, after learning that the older PS3 models function as an SACD player, I decided to buy an SACD. I'm listening to it right now. So far I'm not particularly impressed, as it doesn't actually sound any better than a CD (not that I was expecting it to). I think the only thing I can say in its favor is that having true 5.1 multichannel sound makes it sound better than a stereo CD played in PLII Music mode, but I never play CDs in PLII Music mode to begin with and my stereo soundfield is just fine anyway.

Also, it's worth noting that this music sounds like it's overcompressed and clipping, which is surprising considering it's a Rachmaninov concerto.

June 11, 2008

My email setup ()

by fluffy at 5:26 PM
Okay, lately I've seen a lot of people hating on their crappy email programs' spam filters and saying they were just going to switch to GMail for their email. Personally I think GMail still kind of sucks for a variety of reasons, and I rather like my email setup so I might as well explain to people what I do.

Note that this is probably much more fiddly and geeky than most people want to deal with, and it requires an email host which allows you to use IMAP, procmail, and custom filters (or at least specifically bogofilter).

Note that I don't specifically have anything against GMail, it's just that I like to be in control of my hosting setup and spam filtration and so on, and I've noticed that GMail's spam filter is a bit less-than-stellar. (Certainly it's better than pretty much every client-side filter, of course, but I've had much better luck with my setup.)

June 10, 2008

Why the DTV transition is going to fail (, )

by fluffy at 10:44 PM
Okay, so, not only do the DTV changeover people keep on making it sound as if rabbit-ears antennas are the signifier you should look for (PROTIP: rabbit-ears antennas work better for DTV than "HDTV" antennas), but ABC has taken to putting a title crawl on the top of the screen warning about the DTV changeover. On the DTV feed, making it a dire warning that is completely unnecessary to the people seeing it. Way to confuse the issue even further, guys.

What the stations should be doing is running different ads on the DTV and analog feeds — on the analog feeds say, "Hey, you're watching this on an analog set, you need a DTV converter box," and on the digital feeds say "Hey, great, you're watching this digitally. Make sure your friends and family are too." Sort of like the dancing IPv6 turtle.

If they really can't do that for some reason (and I'm pretty sure they can, based on how I've seen early DTV broadcasts fail), they could at least use a more meaningful signifier, like "if your TV channels have a dot or dash in them, like 2.0 or 5-1, you are fine, but if not you are still watching on an analog set."

June 9, 2008

TCO ()

by fluffy at 9:06 PM
  • iPhone 1.0 (8GB, retail), full contract lifetime, minimal contract plan: $400 + 24*$60 = $1840
  • iPhone 3G (8GB), full contract lifetime, minimal contract plan: $200 + 24*$70 = $1880
  • iPhone 1.0 (8GB, eBay), full contract lifetime, minimal contract plan: $600 + 24*$60 = $2040
Not really sure why people are turning to eBay to buy the inferior product to save $10/month. Of course people are kind of dumb and tend to focus on only one aspect.

That said, I hope there's still a pay-as-you-go option (according to AT&T the $200 is still the full retail price, and not a subsidized cost, although that smells like bullcrap to me), but it sounds like there won't be (since all purchases/activation will happen in-store and so they probably won't even let you buy an iPhone if you cause your credit check to fail). Or, perhaps there's a way to opt to only get EDGE for $10/month less.

I'm not that old ()

by fluffy at 3:30 PM
In the mail today: an invitation to join the AARP.

Obligatory snarky WWDC commentary ()

by fluffy at 10:55 AM
AP "Mobile News Network:" Two thoughts. First one, "Neat, moblogging with a purpose." Second one, "BREAKING NEWS: Mr. Cuddles is cleaning himself in a cute way. More as this story develops." Also imagine the porn-spamming opportunities this will bring.

"Band" will be genuinely useful for me. Using a voice recorder to hum song ideas where I go doesn't work too well since my ideas usually have things like harmonies and stuff. Having a touch-sensitive on-screen keyboard will be a killer feature. I definitely want an iPhone now. (Or, you know, could keep using my iPod Touch.)

June 8, 2008

Ugh, sick ()

by fluffy at 6:01 PM
I seem to have come down with something or other. It feels bronchitisy. This is what happens when I get very sleep-deprived due to obsessively working on stuff about 19 hours a day. Although often when I'm burning my candle at both ends I prefer to just get another candle.

June 5, 2008

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June 4, 2008

More Logic 8 love ()

by fluffy at 11:34 AM
Okay, I know I have said this before but Logic 8 (aka Logic Studio) is a very very worthwhile upgrade. Take comping alone justifies the upgrade cost. In Logic 7 and earlier, managing multiple vocal or instrument takes was a huge pain in the ass since you had to create a bunch of virtual channels and manually splice between them and mute/unmute regions and stuff and then set up your crossfades by hand and it got me into a bad habit of just trying to get a single perfect take for everything (which is impossible).

But with comping, you can just rerecord parts that need work, and then your master region gets a little 'expand' widget on it, and when you expand things the individual recordings which make up a comp appear and you can very very easily just select the parts of which takes you want to use in the master comp, and it handles the crossfading for you, and you can also tweak the individual recordings through the sample editor and so on. It is so very very nice and it has completely saved my sanity while working on this album.

(Oh yeah I am working on an album.)

YouTube hates me ()

by fluffy at 10:05 AM

June 3, 2008

Wii are growing fond ()

by fluffy at 9:23 PM
So, after a week and a half of Wii Fit I'm definitely appreciating it. I've learned to ignore the "that's overweight" bit (and lately it's actually been saying "great!" when I step on the scale), and at this point my weight trajectory is finally going downwards, so I'm actually burning fat faster than I'm building muscle.

I've also unlocked everything, and I actually appreciate the unlock mechanism since it actually does give you progressively-harder things as you go (and it doesn't really take that long to do it all). I haven't even tried the second half of the yoga poses because I know I'm not yet physically capable of it. (But on that note I'm actually getting flexible enough that I don't completely mess up Sun Salutation!)

Also, the free jogging mode is quite nice. Normally I wouldn't have the concentration to just keep on jogging in place while watching TV or movies, BUT by having an actual set time and subtle auditory feedback (from the Wiimote speaker) it keeps me going for the whole 20 minutes.

June 2, 2008

So, condo ()

by fluffy at 12:20 AM
I haven't had a lot to talk about on here but I guess I should mention that I just put an offer on a condo in Bernal Heights and the sellers accepted my offer. Woo. Closing is in two months (by the seller's request!), which works out great for me since that means I only have a month and a half of double-housing and plenty of time to prepare my savings accounts for the $53K hit that's about to happen to them, assuming none of the contract contingencies happen (e.g. inspection failure or whatever).