Monday, November 30, 2009

Long Exposure Times

I've been playing around with long exposure times, enjoy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Modified Alphabets

Normal alphabet
A comrade and I have spent much time recently arguing over which letters in our alphabet are useless. This is to be a presentation of our findings.

(26 letters)

That is the alphabet as it is today, with all characters present.

Refined alphabet level 1
A komrade and I have spent muth time resently arguing over whith letters in our alfabet are useless. This is to be a presentation of our findings.

(23 letters)

We remove C bekause it kan be replased by S and K. For "ch" we use "th." We remove Q bekause it is replased by K and "qu" is replased by "kw." We remove X bekause it is replased by "ks." "Ph" is trunkated to F.

Refined alphabet level 2
A komrate ant I have zpent muth time resently arguing over whith letterz in our alvapet are useless. This is to pe a prezentation ov our vintings.

(17 letters)

Ve remove C Q and X vor the zame reazons az bevore. Ve remove B pekause it zounts like P. Ve remove D pekause it zounts like T. Ve remove F ant W pekause they zount like V. Ve remove J pekause it zounts like G. Ve remove S pekause it zounts like Z. "Ph" iz trunkatet to V. Avter vinal revinement, iv you zay it out lout it zounts like a thik aksent. Not a sukcez, put a vail. Hovever, ve only have zeventeen letters.

PZ: you are vugly

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Saga of Downtown Seattle

Does the public transit system have a complaint line? I don't know, but I hope they read my blog. This is an overly-detailed account of our adventures on Friday.

From Shoreline, WA, we opt to be eco-friendly and take the bus downtown to the Seattle Center. The fancy Metro Trip Planner tells us to walk south and take the 346 at 8:45. OK. About 5 blocks into the ride on the 346, we realize we are going south. The directions tell us to go north, despite the fact that our destination is southwards. So we go north again, passing our starting place for the second time, and finally arrive at the location of our second transfer. It is now 9:15.

We find the location at which the 301, our next bus, is to pick us up. Upon reading the little panel about that route, it is revealed that the last 301 left at 9:01 - fifteen minutes ago. The next bus comes at 4:17 pm. So, we talk to innocent bystanders and they tall us to take the 346 south to the Northgate transfer station, then switch to the 41. We cross the street and wait for a half hour. Finally, an hour behind schedule, we get on the 346 south, and pass our starting point for the third time. It has taken us an hour to get five blocks. Tapping our feet impatiently, my comrades and I step off the bus at Northgate, weave through the mess of "bus ports," and take the 41 downtown. We exit the bus at Westlake by recommendation of one specific friend. The monorail station is across the street. We are twenty blocks from Seattle Center. It is 10:45.

We wander to the sign listing the monorail fares and discover it's expensive. So, I scrutinize the back of my bus pass to find the following uplifting message: "Not valid on Seattle Center monorail." You mean this monorail? Yes, this monorail. My comrades are pissed off. We summon the will to walk all twenty blocks to the Seattle center. It is 11:00.

By some unknown force, we are driven to take pictures of frickin everything, despite being in our own city (yes, we were tourists in our own city). When we see the Center House, we scream like both a little girl and a young piglet and immerse ourselves in the warmth. We take more pictures, them head outside to the huge fountain and run around. We go to the Pacific Science Center, but do not enter, just take pictures. We have a low budget. It is 11:45.

We're hungry. Our initial plan was to go to the International District for lunch, but because we are late and angry at buses, we return to the warm center house (with Christmas decorations!) for lunch. Each comrade had a different lunch. I, a plain folk, opt for Subway. Another has Mexican, and another has Thai that he does not finish. One decides to spend $7 on some fat-greasy-american thing called a burger. After eating, Thai Guy brings us these delicious (albeit unhealthy) items called beignets. As I bite into mine, I learn the "beignet" is actually pronounced "Ben, yay!" Burger Guy devours his at astonishing speeds and ingests the leftover cinnamon and sugar in the tray before you could say "diabetes." After this hearty meal, we leave the Center House to return to the fountain. It is 12:30.

Running like schizophrenic chimpanzees around the fountain, we eventually need to return home. It takes several minutes to find and gather all of my comrades and several more to persuade them to leave. Finally, we find that bus 1 will take us all the way back to Westlake. We wait for an outrageous amount of time and discover that the bus is not only late, but also never. Route 2, apparently, also goes to Westlake, so it is Route 2 that we take. We arrive, exhausted and wet from the fountain, at Westlake station. It is 1:15.

At the Westlake transfer center/light rail station, I decide to get some exercise ant take the stairs. On the way down, I see what looks like someone's spilled mocha. I carefully step around it. Five steps later, its scent hits me. That's not a mocha. The many brown, solid objects floating in it should have been my first clue. Someone shit on the marble staircase. Not just shit. This is full blown diarrhea. I, quite literally, run away from the site of the disaster. At the foot of the staircase, we meet, both laughing and disgusted. For posterity, one comrade is sent to photograph the crime. He is nervous, and does so very quickly. Because of his haste, he actually missed. He just took a picture of plain old marble. We forget about it, partially, and scurry off to catch our bus. We traverse the complicated streets of downtown. We transfer to the 346 north at Northgate. We arrive at our starting point for the fourth time. It is 2:30.

For the photos associated with this trip, see this Picasa album. Sorry, no photos of the diarrhea.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I've Got Competition

This guy seems to be about as opinionated as I, and as stupid. Check the post about water on the moon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gay Marriage Rant

In many of the United States, a bill promoting homosexual "civil unions" has made its way onto local ballots. The idea of this is that if a gay couple wishes to get married, then they can get a civil union which gives them all of the rights married people have without the marriage status. Everyone I have conversed with about this has said that it is a good step towards gay marriage. I HATE STEPS. We should not be taking steps towards gay marriage. We should be allowing it. It upsets me that the bill-writing-people would permit civil unions and all the rights that entails without actually allowing marriage - probably a move to earn the support of Christians and/or those who think being gay is unjust. I think that a bill such as this is a step in the wrong direction - instead of welcoming homosexuals into our culture, we single them out with a special status called "civil union," promising full marital status in the future. Not only could this turn out to be an empty promise, it's one we can fulfill. The bill that should be on millions of Americans' ballots is one permitting marriage. If nobody votes for it because they don't want to equate homo- and heterosexuals, then it proves that we're not ready - at least it was an honest vote. Basic point: Don't change your writing just so that people will vote for the bill. Get an honest opinion and grant full marital status, both in life and on paper. My rating of the gay rights bill is 5/620973 stars. It takes a seriously shitty idea to get a denominator like that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

foobar2000 review

Developers, this is how you kick ass:
Foobar2000 is the best piece of software since the launch of Apple Lisa. In short, it's a music player. In longer-than-short, it's the Firefox of media players. I know, that's what Songbird is supposed to be, but, let's face it, Songbird is the biggest failure since the invention of the steam turbine. Foobar offers the ultimate in customization, sound quality (gapless ftw) and equalizability. The 18 (?) band EQ is pretty kickass, allowing even amazing-er sound quality. Customizable hotkeys, with the ability to set them as global, rounds out the experience.

That said, Foobar is not easy to use. It is, in fact, very difficult to use and even harder to customize. It doesn't do syncing for MTP devices, but the library feature works great. For brevity's sake, I will truncate this review and say that it's a definite thing to try and see if you like it. If you need device syncing, get something else.* Overall rating: 936/987 stars. Could be easier to use for the old folks, but otherwise has solid features, great codec support, and customizability aplenty. Awesome software. Bookmark now.

*Do not get MediaMonkey. MediaMonkey see, MediaMonkey bog down system resources and crash.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One more anniversary

In my excitement over the amazing Berlin wall destruction 20th anniversary, I forgot to mention that today is the continuation of the Sesame Street 40th anniversary. Most everyone has figured this out by now, however, due to the Google doodles that have been running all week. Anyways, Sesame Street has officially been corrupting kids' minds for 40 years and counting. Yay?

Germany: 1989 > 2009

Man, Germany has come a long way. 1989 was the year they finally took down the Berlin wall. Today, the 20th anniversary of that historic event. Not one to blog endlessly about what this memorable happening means, I will provide this link: New York Times, "A Division Through Time"

Check that out. Pretty sweet photography, and a great way to remember that day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crunchbang puts the L back in Linux...

...which is a double pun. Not only does LINUX stand for "LINUX Is Not UniX" ( = recursive on the L) but by "L" I meant "Life." Either way, this is a distro I can live with. Though it does not support the old-school graphics card on my craptop, nothing does, so no worries. Crunchbang uses Openbox + tint2 for an extremely lightweight (xfce status, people) experience that almost works with only 128MB of RAM. It isn't designed by the maniacs behind other distros who think that every goddamn package has to be open-source. This means that the app suite is actually kind of useful, including stuff like Skype, AbiWord (buggy as hell) and some random terminal apps. (Yes, ABW is open-source.) The web browser is Firefox, not crap like Iceweasel.

My review of Crunchbang would be something like 469/472 stars. Highly recommended distro, it's based off of Ubuntu Minimal which gives it that easy-to-install-ness and is fairly user friendly. For those seeking to convert from Windows, Fedora or Ubuntu might be a better choice, however, I would not leave out Crunchbang.

btw, Bill Gates is amazing

It is a common event for everyone to blame the horrors of windows on our good friend Bill. Not true at all, check this shit out:

Though the email dates from 2003, the word on the street is that he sends emails like this all the time. I guess we need to get him back into the CEO chair. (Move over, Steve!) Too bad he's retired from that position.

Even more of the same...

The pentakisdodecahedron is finished! Yes, that's exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I made a high-speed video of the creation.

(To spare viewers the time, I've left out the cutting and folding at the beginning. It takes forever.)

Apparently Blogger has a built-in video hosting thing, so we'll see how this goes. Once again, these cutouts are from - check it out.

More of the same...

In my high-speed description of the last 6 months I failed to mention another thing I've found: RSS feeds. All I really use them for is podcasts; however, anythingbutipod has a feed. That's a good thing.

In the last 2 hours, I have made more polyhedra.

(Yes, I have a life.)

In the front, from left to right, are the truncated hexagonal prism, truncated icosahedron, icosidodecahedron, and decahedron. In the works is a pentakisdodecahedron - so stay tuned. Or don't. I don't really care, because nobody reads my blog anyways.

Waiting, Podcasts, and Polyhedra

Considering how long it has been since I've posted, I wandered over to my "Edit Posts" section to see all my rantings. I haven't posted since February. So here's a little post for the heck of it.

I've recently discovered this strange thing called podcasts. Just because I can, I'll list some of my favorites:

PC World
- it's funny in that weird nerdy kind of way
The Linux Experiment - crazy dedication to trying to use Linux
And others.

Polyhedra - if you are ever bored, ever, then go to this website. This guy has made PDFs that you print, cut out, fold, and tape/glue to make 3-D shapes. Like the truncated icosahedron (soccer ball), dodecahedron, snub cube, and truncated hexagonal antiprism. It's addicting - trust me. I'm through two tape rolls and counting.