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Solarbird

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introduction to the business meeting
[28 Jul 2015|10:37am]

For all those who are considering going to the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting (as I suggested might be necessary regarding the Hugo awards), Kevin Standlee has produced this ten minute video on business meeting procedures. It is dry, as such things tend to be, but please do give it your time. This is how the meeting is run, full stop, and you need to know.

There is far more sitting than I am comfortable with doing. Such is life. I didn’t know about that, so really, if you’re going to the meeting, watch the video.

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a history of recording through 1950
[28 Jul 2015|09:30am]

Courtesy the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, enjoy a lovely history of recording through 1950. Lots of sample recordings you can listen to, including essentially-hifi recordings made live on 78s towards the end of that technology cycle. (Did you know a 78rpm live-recording shellac disc could record 14khz tones? Neither did I. That’s about where FM radio tops out, for comparison purposes. SURPRISE)

There are a couple of illustrative mp3s showing the difference between purely-mechanical recording and “electronic” recording – the move from acoustic horns to microphones, basically. Still no tape or ability to edit; throughout this entire era it’s still horns-or-live-mics-to-etched-master-disc. But the appearance of electric microphones in 1924 changed everything, and to be able to hear it on from-the-era recordings is just amazing.

(And if you’re seeing this on Livejournal or Dreamwidth, the Korra icon I’m using with this post is basically one of the kinds of microphones they’d’ve been using in the early electric recordings, preserved here. Cool. huh?)

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yakkity max
[28 Jul 2015|08:30am]

This is genius. No, really, this is genius. Hit play.

Courtesy Kathryn T. on Facebook. :D

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okay that windows thing from earlier? NOTHING. Not compared to this.
[27 Jul 2015|11:34am]

Almost every Android phone can be p0wned by sending it a text. Many of them can be p0wned completely silently, and in most cases, you don’t have to interact with it – as soon as you look at the text, your phone is theirs.

This goes back to Android 2.2, inclusive. It’s a whole set of disastrous security holes, all in one platform. That whole Windows thing I posted about earlier is nothing compared to this. Nothing. This is an unmitigated disaster.

I mean, I’m looking at this from a security environment and just… how do you even fix this? Aside from the fact – fact – that Android phone manufacturers are absolutely infamous for never rolling out OS updates, much less security updates, the sheer number of pending p0wned devices – around one billion – kind of boggles the mind.

The only good thing about it is that battery lives and screen breakage will retire most of these devices sometime over the next three years. That’s how long this will echo around, because we can reasonably well assume the patch rate will be negligible.

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something you’ll never see again – fantastic four 1994
[27 Jul 2015|09:59am]

VICE has an article up about the long-missing Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four film from 1992, including the actual film. It’s ripped from a bootleg VHS copy which may be the only one left, as the negative – reportedly – was burned. Get to it before a DMCA notice is served.

I have to tell you, particularly for a film so legendarily bad, it’s not really that bad. At least, not the first 20 minutes or so I’ve watched. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a good movie – seriously, it’s not – but I’ve seen way worse, and I’ve seen way worse in theatres. Also, the effects are fairly terrible, but it was produced for about a nickel, so what do you expect with that budget in 1994?

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oh for the love of
[27 Jul 2015|08:30am]

So, yeah, Windows 10, looking pretty decent, has some issues, but Cortana looks pretty fun and I’ll want to try that, and there’s games testing about to happen that will be relevant, but whatever.

And then I see this.

What the hell, Microsoft? What the hell. Even if – okay, I’m sure this is true – corporate machines can or will have this turned off by default by administrators, this is still a mind-bogglingly bad decision. Even laying aside the whole ‘people don’t want to automatically share their home network passwords to EVERYONE THEY’VE EVER MET EVER’ thing, people use personal machines at work.

I’d add commentary about people using phones at work too, but then I remembered it’s Windows Phone, so nevermind. But the laptop thing? Oh yeah.

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well, that’s my fault then
[25 Jul 2015|03:20pm]

On the Hugo Awards voting page, I thought you had to save your Hugo ballot categories individually. After a while, I noticed you didn’t, that any save was save all, but since we have greylisting going on our mail server, I ended up getting the, um, 7? confirmation mails all at once. (Once per save!)

Here’s DS Moen’s slightly-out-of-date Puppy-free voting guide – don’t forget that The Three-Body Problem was elevated to the ballot after a Puppy nominee withdrew. Read the notes included with the Hugo Voter Packet, they are useful.

Since I may go back and change a couple of my voting stacks, I’m not posting my ballot yet. That’ll give me something to talk about on Monday, anyway. Deadline is the 31st.

Remember, you can vote now and still change your vote later, up to the deadline, when there will be a rush. So you may as well get that done. Vote!

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super terrible
[25 Jul 2015|10:53am]

[ mood | angry ]

In addition to being brutally terrible, Pixels is also deeply misogynistic.

I'd seen other commentary to that effect in reviews, but this article gives examples and reasons.

Enjoy some quotes from other reviews. My favourite is, "an overwhelmingly sad experience" – Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.

minor spoiler eta: "So Pixels ends with the only likeable character and the only non-bullshit incarnation of its own premise [Q*Bert] blinking out of existence so that one of two vaguely prominent women characters in the entire cast can serve as a literal trophy. Holy fucking shit." -- MovieBob pulls no punches.

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open carry is only legal for white people
[25 Jul 2015|10:50am]

[ mood | angry ]

Legal open carry is only for white people. White guy video shot in Oregon; black guy video shot in Nevada. If you don’t want to watch the videos (or the originals, linked at the website) - white guy, talked to by single officer, no weapon drawn. Black guy: six car response, screamed at, videographer screamed at until she’s down on the ground too (despite being seven months pregnant), interrogated over 10 minutes by at least seven officers. He’s eventually allowed to leave, but his (legal) weapon is not returned.



(Most of the interrogation, et al, are in the unedited video linked in the description of the above video.)

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an interesting divergence
[24 Jul 2015|11:22am]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

Just poking around at some technicals charts, looking for support levels and things like that. And this is where the divergence in the DOW vs. NASDAQ vs. S&P500 over the last few months is really important, because the DOW has dropped well below technical support and the next meaningful layer is at 17,100 or so.

Meanwhile, the NASDAQ is currently just now hitting a strong level of support set up in May and June. It's an extensive layer of support. But...

The S&P 500 has fallen well below that and is sitting on weak support set back in March, and possible weak support from a couple of years ago.

Now, technicals, intrinsically, are voodoo and bullshit. But - if you're new to me talking about this - so many market traders believe in them that they've historically been important solely because of that. And of the various technicals out there, support layers are the least bullshitty, because they do at least indicate where a lot of buying decisions vs. price were made in the past - they are, pretty much definitionally, areas of extensive sales and purchases of stock, since all transactions have both a buyer and seller.

Which means a lot of people have a recent history of deciding to buy at these levels (on the way down, possibly limiting downward motion if they'd make that same decision again), or sell on these levels (on the way up, limiting upside if, again, same decisions are made).

But seeing the broader markets at odds like this is kind of strange. There have been some areas of outright divergence over the last few weeks, mostly segment-based, and I'm just not sure what to make of that. I've always thought the DJIA was too small a sample for the modern era, but at the same time, I've never had extensive divergence to support my dissatisfaction. I wonder if I might yet see it.

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life with supervillainy: super mutant edition
[24 Jul 2015|08:30am]

Minion Paul: Oh yeah, take that, you super mutant. <BLAM> <Critical Strike> <dies>
Minion Paul: I’m gonna take your mole rat meat.
Solarbird: Doo dah, doo dah
Minion Paul, singing: I’m gonna take your mole rat meat!
Solarbird, joining in: All the doo dah day!

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this one is harder to steal
[22 Jul 2015|10:46am]

Another aquatic lair, courtesy James on Facebook! On the surface, this one’s a fair bit less awful than the previous one, but the name they gave it is kind of horrible and means you’d still want to steal it to own it ethically, just because of that. (Unless you’re a white supremacist, in which case, please buy it and leave a paper trail so I can solve your fucking problem through violence.)

But that’s not the ship’s fault, and hey, it’s a submarine! That’s cool. Mashable talks about it here, with some pictures.

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i glared at her, said learn to read
[21 Jul 2015|04:32pm]

One of the people bidding for some work at the Lair called back and told me they had tried to email me some things, but it wasn’t working. Keep in mind I had hit the “contact by phone” box on their webform, and had most specifically not checked “contact by email.”

So I had them read the error to me. Which they dutifully did, including reading the email address I gave their form:

do-not-email@nowhere.net

Even that didn’t register until I said it back to them. And this is why I don’t trust companies with real email addresses.

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I see the Seattle People’s Front have struck again
[21 Jul 2015|04:22pm]


Much better, Brian.

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popular science: going to the moon may in fact be cheap.
[21 Jul 2015|08:30am]

Going to the moon could be 90% cheaper than previous estimates based on old systems. That would be really cool.

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the new shtick: bring it all down?
[20 Jul 2015|09:32am]

There’s a rumour floating around that the Puppies have given up on hopes of getting any awards out of this Hugo slate awards capture trick they’ve pulled, and are just NO AWARDing every category en masse. Note that’s different to what I said to do, which was vote for non-Puppy candidates, then NO AWARD.

I mean, seriously, in a single-party election, if you managed to defeat the only party? You must be pretty good. That deserves votes.

I first heard about it from this tweet:

Regardless, here’s Adam Troy-Castro talking about the strategy, and what he thinks it means. (Related: “Why I’m Disliked: A Ten Point List,” by John Scalzi.)

However, it’s definitely not a united bloc on this strategy; the oberpuppyführer has been writing against the FULL NO AWARD suite, specifically in response to proud Puppy slate candidate Michael Z. Williamson’s call to bring the whole thing down. Vox also claims they still have not brought their full weight to bear in this matter; we’ll see about that. (Yes, I will occasionally read Vox Day so you don’t have to.)

I think most of this is just the latest “claim victory no matter what happens” strategy. I also don’t think they have a lot of credibility left outside their own circles, so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t matter, unless Vox still has some 1930s-esque dreams of CONTROLLING THE FUTURE THROUGH SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM! Which he might do, given that’s pretty much when he’s from.

Either way, voting ends soon, and we will all know what happens then. See you in Spokane!

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also this weekend
[20 Jul 2015|09:15am]

Some months ago, I discovered “Class T” amplifiers, and also discovered that they have pretty good reputations and can be had for astonishingly low prices direct from manufacturer. They’re mostly used in automotive audio, but I’ve had some thoughts on converting my passive main speakers to active main speakers, so I acquired one.

I finally built a test harness for one of these boards on Saturday night.


Damn right I know how to party

Result: it’s worth building a better harness, and, most particularly, use a more suitable power supply. I basically grabbed a 15v DC adaptor out of my I ♥ You Power Supplies box of random salvage, and really, that’s a pretty shitty test transformer.

But even with that, it worked, as in, it functioned and sound good enough to give it a proper go. I didn’t get the low end out of it I’d’ve liked to, but, again, radically underpowered supply voltage, and one of the places that shows up is in lack of low end oomph. I’m hoping that’s it, because if it is, I’d be able to upgrade a lot of old kit on the seriously cheap.

And that’s not a bad thing at all.

How was your weekend?

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“lukey” now on youtube
[20 Jul 2015|08:30am]

I’ve got a couple of weekends off that I had planned out for work that fell through, so I finally made another one of those fake turntable videos. So now “Lukey” – from Bone Walker, of course – is on YouTube. Being played on a gramophone, apparently, for which we thank David T. Stone of Seattle! So, if you’re a big YouTube user, now you can play it there:

I could totally see this track being the one I’d put on an actual cylinder were I to do that craziness. It’s period! It could have been done then, and almost certainly was in some form. Ah, someday. Until then, we have this. Enjoy!

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excavation!
[19 Jul 2015|04:56pm]

I can’t tell you – no that’s a lie, I won’t tell you – why all these people are busily installing a concrete facility under this major highway near the Lair. However, I can tell you that they think it’s a new stream culvert.

heh.

But construction is interesting, so have some site photos.





Also, there is an alpaca. How is this relevant? You may never know.

Larger copies of the pictures at Flickr.

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Wesley Clark calls for the return of concentration camps like Manzanar
[18 Jul 2015|10:59am]

[ mood | disgusted ]

Yes, that's exactly what he's doing. Here's the video. He's specifically invoking the World War II internment camps as a positive thing that should be done again. He uses it to talk about Nazis, but the overwhelming number of people in those camps were ANYONE JAPANESE.

He wants camps like, say, Manzanar. You've heard George Takei talk about Manzanar. This fucker is calling for that to happen again.

Wesley Clark is a fucking fascist and so is anyone who seriously entertains this idea.



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