Tuesday, September 29, 2009

what the hell Renault

Flavio Briatore is BANNED. Pat Symonds suspended for 5 years. All because of the events that took place during last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

Why the action now? After Renault got rid of Nelson Piquet Jr., whose crash in the Singapore GP brought out the safety car, ultimately handing the race victory to Fernando Alonso; Piquet blew the whistle. Apparently he'd been told to crash in order to bring out the safety car, so that Alonso, who was in the pits at the time, could come out in the race lead. Piquet was actually in on it but was granted immunity by the FIA since he provided the evidence. Alonso apparently didn't know anything about it.

This shit has to stop. Can we please have one Formula 1 season where there's no controversy and just get back to the damn racing? If Formula 1 is supposed to be the "pinnacle of motorsports" then why are there always issues with teams cheating, spying, or otherwise breaking the rules to gain an unfair advantage? The "no holds barred, sabotage the other guys to win" type stuff is more befitting of a video game or a plot device in a movie than a sport that's supposed to be honest.

F1 needs a number of changes, but perhaps first and foremost is the issue of the stewards who hand out penalties for infractions during the race. Whether it's speeding in the pit lane, crossing the white line on exit, passing under a yellow, or whatever. The main issue here is that there's no consistency. If you've been following the sport then you may well have recognized the two sets of rules in place: Those as they apply to Ferrari, and those as they apply to everyone else. It's not always that way, but the reason for this type of inconsistency is clear: There's no standard stewards panel, it's different for each race.

When you have different people looking at replays and shit you're going to have inconsistent decisions. What this results in is people being penalized heavily for what was essentially just a racing incident. Two people crash? The one who initiated it gets penalized. The usual first corner pileup? People occasionally get penalized. The ending of 2008's Belgian GP with Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen battling it out and going all over the place? Lewis rightfully won that race. Driver released unsafely into the path of another car in the pit lane? Mark Webber got a drive-through in Germany (and spectacularly went on to win the race anyway), but Felipe Massa just got a monetary fine to be paid after the 2008 Valencia race. Shut off the fucking litigation and just let the guys race, dammit.

Other things I'd like to see:
  • Remove the "you must use both tire compounds during the race unless it rains" rule. At every race one of the tires is clearly better for the conditions than the other and people spend the majority of the race on the better tire. What's the point of requiring both?
  • More god damned passing. I'm tired of seeing people improving their position solely through pit strategy. The 2010 regulations will change this somewhat, since no refueling means pit stops will only be for tires and will be much quicker, but it'd be nice to finally fix the issue once and for all. Make aerodynamic regulations changes so that the cars can run closer together.
  • No refueling eliminates my next gripe entirely, which was the current qualifying system. Now people can run really light in qualifying and we can see who's actually fastest, and then they fuel up for the race. Hopefully this will spur a bit of competition and we won't be seeing the same two or three people winning for the entire season. While watching someone who's awesome totally dominate is great, it gets boring quickly (aka Michael Schumacher).
  • Relax the engine restrictions a bit. Right now each driver is limited to eight engines for the entire season and they take a grid position penalty on their qualification for using a ninth. While reliability has improved, Red Bull suffered a bad batch of valves that gave Sebastian Vettel two engine failures in Valencia. He's on his eighth engine, there's three races left, and he's a championship contender. Come the fuck on.
  • Make teams make their cars look visibly different from each other. It's annoying looking at a car and saying "Is that Button? No wait it's Barrichello." The only differences are hard to spot: the tip of the nose, the camera mount over the driver's head, and possibly the only easily discernable difference, the helmet. Often it's just the helmet. If you look really closely you might be able to see the car number somewhere. Teams typically make the car number as small as possible since they don't get paid to put it on there. I'm not saying it should be as large as NASCAR, but it should be visible from a distance and contrast properly with the car's paint job.
  • My final gripe has been dealt with by the 2010 regulations already: KERS. Get rid of it. An extra 80 horsepower that only four drivers have? That's bullshit. You shouldn't be able to gain a position, keep a position when you're clearly holding everyone behind you up *cough*Kovalainen*cough*, or win a race just because you have a magic button and the other guys don't.
  • Electronic sensors in the tracks that can sense when a car drives over them, and a computerized powerups system. Since facebook removes strikethrough, keep in mind that this is struck through in the actual blog post.
This year's Singapore GP was pretty good, except for the total lack of passing outside of the first two laps. Honestly at this point I want to see Button win the championship. Hamilton is perhaps his greatest ally right now, since McLaren is back in the thick of things taking points away from Button's rivals while at the same time being out of championship contention.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

FPS controls

I'll start off by saying that I'm very much used to using a mouse (well, a trackball) and keyboard to play FPSes. But after the CAINE showing we were playing some Halo 3 and I had to adjust to gamepad controls, and holy fuck they're horrendous.

"Oh shit someone's shooting me!" is something that happens frequently. What do you do on each occasion?

Mouse/Keyboard: Flick the mouse to one side to face your newfound opponent and click to return fire. Maybe push S and either A or D to backpedal and strafe, consider jumping.
Gamepad: Move right analog, wait 10 seconds while you slowly rotate, die.

How the hell do people cope with gamepads?


Then it goes to "oh shit too far to the left oh shit now it's too far to the right oh shit now it's too far to the left oh shit now I'm dead"

If you're going to cripple capabilities by forcing gamepad controls on us, at least have the courtesy to give a 180 degree turn button and a "lock onto opponent" button so that facing your opponent and aiming become possible with any shred of accuracy and speed.


So if having button actions in the game designed to make it playable with a control method it wasn't designed for breaks it, then you shouldn't release the game in that format. Plain and simple. First Person Shooters were not meant to be played with gamepads. Reaction time reigns supreme, and the only way to have a decent one is with a mouse and keyboard.

"gamepads are just as good if you get used to them"

Is there any way to actually prove this? Is there an FPS where you can pit gamepad fools against real players using mouse and keyboard? Show me that, and I'll show you an FPS where everyone plays with mouse and keyboard because otherwise you automatically lose.

Seriously. Lose the gamepads.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

updated firefox setup

This post has been sitting here as a draft for a while as I procrastinated getting the links for everything. My Firefox setup has changed around a lot since the previous post, so here goes.

Firefox version: 3.5.3

Theme: Classic Compact - smaller is better. I devote a maximum amount of screen space to the pages I'm viewing.

4chan - Adds shit to 4chan to make it easier to browse and reply to threads. I was about to uninstall this but then 4scrape died.

All-in-One Sidebar - Shows the download manager, extensions, themes, etc. in the sidebar. Very highly configurable.

Adblock Plus - Don't leave home without it. Ads take up bandwidth and resources for no gain to the user, and often play sound or do other things to try to distract you from what you're actually on the site for. Fight back with this.

BlockSite (Firefox 3.5 compatible version here) - Handy for blocking sites you don't want to see. I block mIRC's nag-you-to-register pages (all of them), Facebook beacons, and extension update callhome/changelog pages for All-in-One Sidebar and DownloadHelper.

BugMeNot - Bypass compulsory registration. Just right click in a login field on some site that tries to force you to register a free account to view their shit (nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, and imdb.com just to name a few) and select "Log in with BugMeNot" and it'll try to log you in with an account from their community-maintained database. Contribute dummy accounts whenever you can, ya hear?

Classic Compact Options - Allows configuring the Classic Compact theme, so you can change the look of it or just how compact it gets. Has an option to collapse the main menu into a single dropdown.

DisableMenu - Hides the menubar and statusbar, so the page you're trying to look at can have that much more space. Shows them if you mouse close enough to the top or bottom of the window.

DOM Inspector - Handy for web developers. You can see the entire structure of the page, get all the CSS style rules that affect an element, see what the computed styles are for that element, and much more. Works quite well if you're developing something that uses Javascript to modify the DOM, then you can see what gets generated and where it is in the document.

DownloadHelper - Allows downloading videos from sites like YouTube.

Fast Dial - Visual bookmarking. SRWare Iron/Google Chrome and Opera have similar features built-in.

FireFTP - I should probably remove this, I don't use it anymore. Someone needs to make an extension that combines scp and ssh to do this in a secure (encrypted) manner, because sending your login and password across the internet in plaintext sucks balls.

GMail Notifier - Lets me know when my gmail account has new mail.

GreaseMonkey - Lets me install small scripts that modify various web pages. It's pretty easy to develop for. Opera has a similar, more cumbersome feature built in.

Japanese-English Dictionary for Rikaichan - See Rikaichan. I dunno why this has to be a separate extension, but whatever. No link because you get prompted to download it after Rikaichan installs.

NoScript - Blocks scripts, Java, Flash, Microsoft's Silverlight thing that I haven't seen anywhere, and various scripting attacks. It was under fire a while back for fucking with AdBlock Plus (its author deliberately messed with AdBlock Plus so that it wouldn't block ads on his website, and NoScript includes exceptions for the author's four websites and his advertisers by default). The fucking with AdBlock Plus is long past and it's easy to remove the author's sites from the whitelist. AdBlock Plus could actually stand to work like this. Rather than you having to specify what ads you want to block, it should block all images by default and let you say "load images from this domain". Whitelists are way more secure than blacklists.

Not4chan Extension - originally developed for use on not4chan (dot net), it works on pretty much any of the *chans and allows mass-downloading of the images in a thread, with options to rename them to their original filenames. It says "Not Tested" for Firefox 3.x, but it works fine.

Restart Firefox - I just installed this to add the toolbar button to All-in-One Sidebar's toolbar. A few of my extensions have settings that won't take effect until Firefox is restarted, so this makes it quick and painless to do so. I've found myself using it a fair amount since I installed it. Turn on that confirmation in the options to avoid accidentally restarting when you meant to hit the button beside it or something.

Rikaichan - A popup Japanese translator. Turn it on and mouse over the Japanese in question and it tells you what it means. You'll still need to use some brainpower to figure out the context and thus what's actually being said, but eventually you'll figure out they're talking about your mom.

Screengrab - Makes taking a screenshot of an entire web page really simple. If you've ever seen a web page screenshot that was several thousand pixels tall, chances are the person who made that screenshot used something like this, because patching it together from multiple presses of PrintScrn takes for-fucking-ever (and makes you look like a n00b).

Smart Stop/Reload - Merges the stop and reload buttons into one. You only ever need to do one or the other at any given time anyway.

Stop! Hammertime! - MC Hammer contributes vocals when you stop a page from loading. You can trigger it anytime with the keyboard shortcut for stop, Esc. I tend to forget I have this installed until I go to stop a page load. The same author has also written Stop! In the name of love! if that's more your thing.

Stylish - A sister extension to Greasemonkey, this one lets you load custom CSS for websites, or even for Firefox itself. Just like with Greasemonkey, Opera has this built in but it's much more cumbersome to deal with.

Tab Mix Plus - Provides many more options for tabbed browsing than the browser does by default. Firefox 3.5 has a new tab button in the tab bar by default, but this will give you one for earlier versions, and allow you to move it to the left side. Has many other features that are really nice.

All this stuff plays fairly well together. NoScript can get in the way of some GreaseMonkey scripts, including the one I wrote to work around an issue that isn't fixed yet in DisableMenu, but it's forgivable.

What all this doesn't tell you is my toolbar setup and the configuration of each individual extension. Since that would take for-fucking-ever to type, I'll just mention briefly the thing that matters: everything goes for maximum screen space. Drag things around and close toolbars and change things so they're smaller and you'll get the picture.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

computer stuff

So I've been thinking about my ideal network setup and I think I've arrived at it. It would use three or four computers for fairly dedicated tasks each, which is exactly what I want.

File Server

This one would be where I store all of my actual files. With the ease of setting up network mounts (network drives on windows), dealing with files on it will be just like moving files around locally, except the OS goes "hey this path is on the network" and moves things across the network transparently.

This computer would run a torrent client (probably rtorrent) with a web ui that enables RSS downloading, as well as a configured torrent dropbox where I can put torrent files and it'll automatically start them up, and a separate configured directory that it moves finished files to so I can get at them when they're done. It would ideally seed to my usual ratio of 6.0 and then automatically remove the torrent from the client. I could live with manually removing them, but having the dropbox/finished directories would be essential. Both of these directories would be network shares.

Also stored in a directory structure shared on the network would be, well, everything else. General documents, images (including wallpapers), videos (including anime), music, everything.

To store all this data and keep it safe the machine would need several large hard drives (and what ho, terabyte drives are prevalent now) and configured to run one or another RAID so if a drive fails I'm not fucked.

Since it's a server, it would run without a graphics card or sound card. All it really needs is a network card and a bunch of hard drives. I'll probably still get it a motherboard with onboard graphics, just so I can set it up (kind of important, at least until I get ssh installed).

To get this one set up right (specifically, the torrentbox portion) I'd need to do some research and see exactly how much hacking I have to do to get it all strung together and working properly. It would also be running a web server for general web development purposes, so any web ui for the torrents would have to be able to co-operate (and by this I mean it would have to run on a port other than 80). I kind of wanted to write my own system for wallpapers.

Gaming Computer

This one will be a fairly powerful computer and hold nothing but games and their various utilities. It doesn't need a ton of storage space, but at the same time, games these days are huge, so it needs to be able to hold everything I have and still have room for new stuff. This means it will probably be the only computer other than the file server that will have multiple hard drives. I'll have my usual setup of a separate partition for the OS and then everything else is files, that way I can reformat that partition and reinstall the OS and not lose everything.

General Use Computer

This one is just for web browsing (which includes Flash), email, IMs, IRC, etc. It'll be the one I use the most, and needs a fair amount of power for Flash but doesn't need to be anywhere near bleeding edge. It'll also more than likely run ArchLinux, just because even though Ubuntu is easy, it's a little too easy, since it does its very best to hide the inner workings of the operating system from you. I guess I've levelled up in Linuxmancy.

This one doesn't need a terribly large hard drive since the files I download on it would go straight to the appropriate directory on the file server. I'll probably just save downloads directly to the file server anyway.

Media Computer

The only one I'm still on the fence about. It would need a capture card and some fairly decent specs. It would sit there connected to a monitor and a TV. I would use it to watch stuff (DVDs, anime, etc.) on the TV. I'd probably go the extra mile and install Flash so YouTube and flash games on the TV become a reality. It would also need a remote of some sort (either a dedicated device that I overpay for or a setup with a wiimote). A wireless keyboard and mouse are a definite must for this thing. If they're bluetooth then the wiimote idea would work brilliantly.

This is completely ignoring any and all video game consoles. I haven't yet figured those into the equation, but thankfully I don't really need to think about them much since both hardware and software are already completely obvious. The media computer needs a capture card just so I can capture gameplay videos. To do so without imposing lag means I need splitters out the ass.

The TV is also a point of contention. I want something high definition, but at the same time I don't want to have to worry about lag in video games. The plasma TV we have has lag that's so bad I haven't yet been able to calibrate it properly in Guitar Hero, and I've tried very many times. Furthermore, now that I think about it, do the current gen consoles have a global lag calibration setting that gets applied to all games? If not, why the fuck not? It's not like lag just magically isn't present if you're not playing a rhythm game.

Friday, September 18, 2009

karaoke fun

♪♪ Life's a very sweet and bitter beauty song ♪♪

So yeah, CAINE had its second annual karaoke night. I took the song I took last year, Green Jellÿ's The Bear Song, which is basically The Bear Went Over The Mountain with guitars and some added lyrics.

I also took The Lonely Island's I'm On A Boat. That's the one I ended up singing. I really should have pre-mixed a rum and coke, because my throat hurt basically until I got home and started drinking. But then again, I would have needed a 20 oz coke for that to go well and bleh. I'm drunk now so who the fuck really gives a shit. My throat felt better as soon as the rum hit it.

It was possibly more awesome than last year but was marred by one thing: YouTube sucking dick. Seriously. We had to preload every video. When did YouTube get to be so fucking slow? It can't even send the video in realtime anymore.

Moral of the story: people need to run Firefox with DownloadHelper installed, and just gank everything they want to sing. If all the files are local we can just fire up a media player and roll with it.

So now I'm listening to music. Right now it's Escape off of the only Metallica album I own (and first album I ever bought), Ride The Lightning. Earlier as you may have figured (or may not, depends on how much of a weeaboo you are) I was listening to Sweet Bitter Beauty Song off of the K-On! Don't say "lazy" single.

Fuck my hands are all tingly

♪♪ Life's for my own to live my own way ♪♪

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conclusion of wallpaper update

48 wallpapers. 48 MOTHERFUCKING WALLPAPERS. At least it's done.

There were a few edits this time around but I don't really feel like going into them all. The same "flat white background = high res transparent png rendered on white by me in about three seconds" logic from yesterday applies. Also important is that I've stopped caring about filename entirely. If you'd like to know why, well, you can read all about it here.

I also found a Cowboy Bebop wallpaper. One. There's more, but they're all low res.

Also, what's this? Gurren-Lagann wallpapers that have more than just Yoko or don't have her at all? OH NOES!

It's done! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Continuation of wallpaper update

Here's 16 more wallpapers. In case you're wondering why the sampling is so random, it's because I'm going in the order I saved them originally.

Also here we have our very first two Sekirei wallpapers. Apparently I'm one of very few that actually watched it, as there aren't really very many decent wallpapers to speak of. I managed to find Tsukiumi and Ku-chan, but no Matsu, sadly...

Also, the two Winry ones on white backgrounds were just quick edits because the image was actually a high resolution transparent PNG. I didn't really want to make some weird trippy background with filters or whatever, so I just made a layer under it and filled it with white. It works. Though I want to stab whoever it was that rendered the black background Winry one. IQDB didn't find a transparent bg one to work with, so I'm stuck with it for the moment.

One more update, tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First of several wallpaper updates

Since I'm still finding ones I like, my unsorted directory is growing quickly. Waiting for it to stop is taking too long, so, partial updates of 16 wallpapers until it's empty.

I don't really know why, but now the awesome Full Metal Panic! wallpapers are just flowing on in. There's two in this update, and I believe at least one more still to come.

Just so you don't forget (or maybe you never saw me mention it in the first place), hover your mouse over each for a tooltip with resolution/aspect ratio and the occasional comment.

Enjoy. I'll probably do another 16 tomorrow, so this is just the beginning.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I love greasemonkey

So if anyone who's reading this reads Sankaku regularly, then you know that their NSFW galleries tend to have a joke image at the end of them. As these NSFW galleries are typically of females in various states of undress, it means the final image is typically a guy.

I took a look at their source and said "hey, writing a Greasemonkey script to toggle the last image would be pretty easy!"

So I told Greasemonkey to make a new user script and set off...

Success, of course.

It hides the image by default, and puts the toggle at the bottom, just above the NSFW content toggle. I couldn't find a good way to have it save the preference. Since all toggling would happen after Greasemonkey removes its stuff from memory, I'd have to use cookies. Since I didn't feel like remembering how cookies work in Javascript, I just didn't write in a preference. It kind of works anyway because we want to be on the safe side all the time and not show that last image until the user explicitly says otherwise.

I'm rather tired at the moment, but after I get some sleep I might upload the script somewhere. I've done a lot of development in the past couple days, having hammered out a private messaging system for CAINE's forums in about 12 hours Friday night/Saturday morning, counting breaks for food. Custom forum software both for the win and for the loss, I guess. I'll probably spend the next few days avoiding writing any sort of code whatsoever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just because I can...

I created the main five characters from K-On! in Guitar Hero: World Tour. Complete with their instruments. I would post pictures but... I'm too lazy. (or am I crazy?)

When I say "created", I mean approximated. Since there's nothing remotely similar to their school uniform available as clothing, I just winged it. But that's ok too, since they dress up on stage, and that's the only place you'll see them in-game anyway other than the character select screen. All I really had to do was make the hair look similar enough and select the right eye color. The hair was annoying to do since there isn't really anything similar to most of their hairstyles to choose from. The eyes don't really matter since while you're playing you can't really see them (and because you're looking at the notes lol). I would have chosen the Anime eyes but you can't change their color, you're stuck with blue.

I was able to get the instruments looking almost exactly like the ones in the anime. Since you can't make a keyboard, Mugi doesn't have one, but I assigned the other characters' instruments to her Guitar, Bass, and Drums. I guess you could use her as a vocalist.

Being able to assign each character an instrument to use when chosen for a specific part is pretty neat. I made full use of this. Everyone has everyone else's instruments for their other instrument slots. So if Mio's on guitar, she's playing Yui's guitar. If Azusa's on drums, she's got Ritsu's drum kit. You get the idea. I saved all the instruments so it's really easy to swap them in and out. I also made Sawako's guitar, just so all the instruments you see in the anime are usable (minus the keyboards, of course). It's not assigned to anyone but that's easily changeable.

All in all I made:
A random microphone and mic stand that I saved just so I could synchronize it across them

Yui's guitar (Gibson Les Paul) - I couldn't have both the white pinstripe and the dark red fade out (both are under "detail" and you can only use one of the options there), but I got the right texture and pick guard in there. The knobs are random but they're the only one I could select that had four. I went with the pinstripe even though the dark red fade out would be more noticeable because it's impossible to get a dark red with the stupid color wheel they give you to select colors with.

Azu-nyan's guitar
(Fender Starcaster) - Approximated on her pickguard and bridge. You can't specify a red that's dark enough, sadly. The body looks fine but the headstock, despite being the same red, looks a lot brighter. The bridge isn't right, but either the correct one isn't in the game or I don't have it unlocked. I chose one that fit with the guitar. Her pickups aren't completely correct either, but they work with the guitar.

Sawa-chan's guitar
(Epiphone Flying V, not Gibson)- I couldn't get the pickups or bridge colored like hers. The pickguard is also a little off. Other than that, it's her guitar.

Mio's bass
(Fender '62 Jazz Bass, lefty) - At first I couldn't get anywhere near it (I made Mio first, a long time ago). Then today after making Azu-nyan's guitar I went back through the bass bodies and found one that looked a lot more like hers and recreated it. Now it has the right pickguard, even with the silver area around the knobs and brown textured area. I also have the black/red/orange tricolor deal going on. This one looks the best of them all in my opinion. The only flaw is that I couldn't make the left-handed version.

Ritsu's drums
(Yamaha) - Really just going into the drum editor and making them yellow. Harder than it seems because there isn't really a "solid color" setting (wtf were they thinking), but there's one with a design that's really hard to see when you set the color to yellow, so it looks solid.

Yui - She's dressed in a denim vest over a white shirt, slightly torn denim jeans, and black OMG NOT REALLY Converse All-Stars. Seriously, they look just like Converse All-Stars but without the logo.

- Dressed in the purple frilly stuff. Had a hard time finding good shoes for her that didn't cover up parts of her pants, but when I found the Cat Bells shoes and discovered that they matched (and had cat bells) it was complete. There are no real twin-pigtail hairstyles but there is one that has two braids coming out the back. It was either that or Midori's hairstyle colored black. Neither looks correct at all, to be honest.

- The hair I used actually has two different color sections, but I just made both of them black. Other than that, she's dressed in a french maid outfit.

- Dressed as a nurse. Hair approximated somewhat, but it's not like there's a wide variety of regular normal hairstyles to choose from. If you want something crazy, chances are you'll find it, but if you want a normal one, there's about two or three to work with.

- I chose her hair solely on its name, which was something about being spunky. This one had two color sections as well, but set both to brown and nobody can tell. She's wearing a denim vest over a bikini top, denim pants, and flip flops. It's basically like she just came from the beach.

I didn't have enough character space left to make Sawako, but the game doesn't have the right glasses anyway. It's pathetic that you're limited to 8 custom characters on PS2. Fuck the premade ones that can't be customized nearly as much. I could delete "Narutard", which is the full ninja outfit colored orange/blue and bright yellow hair, that could become Goku with a hair change, but... yeah. If you haven't been counting, there's two characters remaining; they would be Chris (which is... me) and Yomi.

Now I just need to get off my ass and finish that custom of Don't say "lazy". It's still just the drum intro and the bass part.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

anime update

I don't know what I've already said about things and I'm too lazy to go back through previous posts to find out. There may be repetition of previous statements contained herein, and some things I said previously might be said again.

So, the remaining episodes of Haruhi (The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya) reminded me that I'd already read the novel containing it, so I know how everything happens. It's still very nice to have animated, and to my recollection they're sticking fairly close to the novel. If you remember The Adventures of Asahina Mikuru Episode 00 and Live Alive, well, The Sigh slots in chronologically just before those two episodes. If they stick to the original announcement of the rerun containing 28 episodes, then the next one will be the last new episode.

After blazing through the exposition and several important arcs, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood has slowed down to a sane pace and taken a completely different direction from the first season. Shit's going down right now. Scar and homunculi abound. I still think Winry is hotter in this season.

Now I definitely know who the main antagonist is in Basquash, but his motive is unclear. Another of my suspicions was indeed correct, showing that I've learned way too much about story structure and how to spoil oneself without trying. I'm being vague because pretty much everything happening now is related to one or another spoiler.

In CAINE's showings we're watching Cowboy Bebop, Nodame Cantabile, and Kuroshitsuji. Only after the first showing did I notice that I hadn't added Cowboy Bebop or its movie to my list on MAL. I fixed that and then flooded it out of my sig image for the lulz. We're watching it dubbed because apparently we couldn't get the showing room dvd player to turn the subs on and it was a choice between the dub and watching it raw. But the dub isn't all that bad, so... yeah. I still get a weird feeling watching anime with english audio, even when I do it voluntarily. My eyes keep scanning the bottom of the screen for subtitles.

I get this weird deja vu feeling about Nodame Cantabile, like I've seen it before or something. Regardless, it's hilarious, and while I never played in an orchestra (band FTW) I can still draw on old musical knowledge to understand stuff.

Kuroshitsuji is fairly over the top. At a glance you just see the "rich child who inherited his parents' company" character and the accompanying "loyal butler" and assorted comic relief maid and other mansion staff. But the butler is actually a demon and the rich kid has a contract with him. Inevitably something happens to the kid and the butler has to cap a few bitches. I might have paraphrased that a bit.

Since my rate of finding stuff on /w/ that I like isn't slowing down at all and my unsorted directory is currently massive, look for a wallpaper update very soon. There's some editing to be done of course, but it shouldn't take too long. I may actually split this into multiple small updates because I just looked and I have 34 wallpapers sitting there to sort through and edit as needed. If only Picasa made it easier to do these updates.

Seriously, this is how a wallpaper update progresses:
  1. Open up picasaweb
  2. Navigate to one of the albums I have new wallpapers for (or create a new one and adjust the date so it appears in the proper spot, I do this to force them to be sorted alphabetically by album title)
  3. Upload wallpapers 5 at a time
  4. Once I'm done uploading the new stuff for that album:
    1. look through to see what exact tags I've been using since it doesn't have any form of a smart tagging system that would autocomplete tags for you
    2. Tag each image as appropriate
    3. Go through and copypasta the link code (sans table) to the post editor on blogger
    4. Add target="_blank" to the link and the appropriate title attribute with resolution, aspect ratio, and short note if needed to the image tag
    5. Remember to put a space between them so they'll autowrap on blogger
    6. Sort the album by filename (lol arbitrary)
  5. Repeat from step 2 for the rest of the albums
  6. Write bullshit about the update and hit publish post
  7. Go force Facebook to import the post and then laugh at the single column of images because Facebook thinks it knows all and as such doesn't respect the imported post's formatting completely
  8. Wonder why the hell I still have Facebook import my posts
  9. Log out of Facebook so it can't track my movements across the internet (disabling beacons on Facebook's side doesn't mean that they don't receive the data, and I don't trust them to discard it)
Maybe I can solve portions of that with Greasemonkey. I don't know if I can hack in an autocomplete feature (and it would mean learning AJAX, eww), but I could certainly mess with the link it generates to make the copying/pasting process go faster.

Or I could just stop trying to use Picasa for something it's not meant for.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pop-Tarts shirts? Really?

So Pop-Tarts has a promotion where you can get a Pop-Tarts T-shirt in one of three designs. The interesting part is that you can make your own custom design. I wanted to see just what this entailed, so I went to their site and played around with the shirt designer thing they have.

I was hoping I could make a shirt that said "Toaster Strudels Suck" or "I ate a lot of Pop-Tarts and all I got was this lousy T-shirt", but they have a fairly restricted editor for you to work with.

You have one of 5 Pop-Tarts logos to choose from. It insists that one of them must be on the shirt. It backs this up by getting rid of the remove button when you have your chosen logo selected.

There are a few different flavors of Pop-Tarts available to put on the shirt, some random graphics, and some background stuff. I played around with it a bit and made some random innuendo designs that I didn't save because you have to have an account and their shit is broken. I get a lovely ASP.NET error page in an iframe upon clicking the "Log In / Register" link.

I did however find a way to move the Pop-Tarts logo off of the shirt. Normally if you try to do this it goes "lol r u srs" and pops it back on the shirt, but you can abuse the ability to scale the logo to move it off. What you do is:
  1. Put the logo in the upper left corner. Overshoot a bit, it'll pop it back to the correct location for you.
  2. Hold the Scale + button until the logo stops increasing in size. This will take a while.
  3. Drag the logo a small distance. It will pop back so that the lower right corner of the logo is in the lower right corner of your editing space.
  4. Now hold the - Scale button until the logo stops decreasing in size. This will take a while.
Me: 1 - Corporate logo bullshit: 0

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deluge: an interesting experience thus far

So all my torrents reached share ratios where I felt comfortable stopping them, and I closed Azureus and started Deluge installing.

It churned away for a little bit and popped up something about installing GTK 2.12. Can't it see that I already have it installed? I couldn't install GTK from there because Pidgin was still running and using it. It was the exact same version anyway, so I didn't really need to install, and had I tried it would have failed since it would be trying to overwrite files that were in use. So I pressed on without it and the install finished.

After deleting the icon from my desktop that it never bothered to ask me if I wanted, I went to start it up. I really wanted the web ui, but I figured for kicks I'd start the GUI first. No dice, a command prompt window comes up and disappears immediately and nothing happens. Not even a rogue deluge.exe in task manager.

But that doesn't really matter, since all I really wanted was the web ui. So I start that up and visited the url it told me in Firefox. The url by default is ht­tp://localhost:8112/, but you can change the port, and I promptly changed it to 8147. It pops up asking for a password. I go "lol wut", then notice that there's an FAQ link at the top of the page, so I click that and find that the default password is "deluge". So I'm in. Next it asks about its daemon, and I'd noticed a shortcut in its start menu entry for that, so I clicked that shortcut and sure enough deluged.exe popped up in task manager just below deluge.exe. A neat feature of Deluge is the daemon. It handles all the torrent traffic, regardless of the frontend you're using to view the relevant data and tell the daemon to do stuff.

The extra special neat thing is that you could run the daemon and web ui on another computer and just access it remotely, or install the frontend and configure it to act as a thin client. So if you wanted to have all your torrents running on a dedicated box with a lot of hard drive space, maybe running RAID, etc., it's really easy to do with Deluge. It even has a setting for a directory to monitor for torrent files to automatically start up, so you could just have a torrent dropbox network share and add torrents by dropping the file in it. And of course you can configure it to move finished files to a specific directory when it's done, so once again you could have another network share for that on your file server.

I just might do this once I get my shit sorted out and build a file server. I've needed to modularize my computer usage for some time now so I don't have to worry about free hard drive space on the computer I use for general web access and multimedia. Though honestly all the multimedia would probably reside on the fileserver too, and I'd just access it over the network. net use drive: \\remote-server\share-name FTW.

Anyway, enough about Deluge itself. On to the RSS feed plugin for its web ui, called feeder.

Deluge plugins are .egg files, which is once again neat because you just download a single file, plop it in the plugins directory, and restart Deluge to install them. Then in the web ui you go to Plugins, check the one you want to use, and hit Save. Therein lies the problem, however. Feeder doesn't create its configuration tab when you activate it. I don't even think it's loaded. I added the two plugins it came with, Labels and Blocklist, and both of them created config pages and .conf files, but I have neither a config page nor a .conf file for feeder.

A quick trip through feeder's thread on Deluge's forums found me a possible solution: for whatever reason feeder has an external dependency that it doesn't have the common courtesy to tell the user about, so it just silently fails to load, being the exact opposite of helpful. This external dependency is a Python script called feedparser. Deluge is written in Python anyway, so it makes sense. Someone posted saying "I had to do this to get it to work on Windows" so I went and tried to follow their instructions, but the directory they say to put feedparser in doesn't exist on my install.

I really don't want to have to be stuck with Azureus any longer, but as long as I can't get a proper RSS feed scanner working in Deluge, I don't really have a choice. I'd write my own but that would require learning both Python and Deluge's API, and hours upon hours of debugging just to reinvent the wheel and have fewer features than those supposedly offered by feeder. The thread is full of people who have gotten it to work and/or had it Just Work™. I've posted my issue and hopefully soon I can join the ranks of those who have it working.

Deluge verdict: a nice torrent client. A little rough around the edges but overall very usable with neat features for those who need them.

feeder verdict: it'd be less of a steaming pile of crap if I could get it to load.

Overall verdict: for now, back to Azureus :(