December 2006

Eiken for more?


What does the artist who created the Eiken manga do for an encore? Zokusei, with the thoroughly-anonymous 〇〇くん guiding the “reader” through first-person fanservice-y encounters with every bishoujo cliché in the book. He still loves supsersizing, but unlike Eiken (the anime, at least; I avoided the manga…), the things attached to the girls’ chests are probably breasts, and some of their figures are not alien to this species. Being manga, you’re also spared the sloshing-mudsack animation that helped make the anime completely unwatchable. Their eyes tend toward the psychotic, but other than that, most of the art’s actually not bad.

Okay, I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d noticed the small print at the bottom that said “from the creator of Eiken”. I thought one of the girls on the cover looked cute, it was only $5, and it promised 「美少女20人大集結!!」.

Each chapter is devoted to showing off a different girl, with just enough story to accurately classify her (tsundere, ojou, meganekko, iincho, Yankee, American, etc). All of them have names, ages, blood types, heights, weights, and measurements. For educational purposes, I’ve calculated the average statistics of the girls, excluding the 5 teachers and the little sister: 16 years old, 5’3”, 101 pounds, 34E-22-33. Note that the mean cup size is skewed by three mutants: 2 I’s and a J; the rest average an overstuffed C. The five teachers average 39H, a sure sign that this comic is set on a low-G planet.

Oh, and it has furigana, so I can officially consider it study material.

Open Egos


Just lean back and inhale the fumes:

"What does Firefox have to do with social justice? How will the one laptop per child project discourage genocide? How soon will Microsoft collapse? Watch Eben Moglen's inspiring keynote from the 2006 Plone Conference.

'If we know that what we are trying to accomplish is the spread of justice and social equality through the universalization of access to knowledge; If we know that what we are trying to do is build an economy of sharing which will rival the economies of ownership at every point where they directly compete; If we know that we are doing this as an alternative to coercive redistribution, that we have a third way in our hands for dealing with long and deep problems of human injustice; If we are conscious of what we have and know what we are trying to accomplish, when this is the moment for the first time in lifetimes, we can get it done.'"

Kanji cross-referencing


Jim Breen’s KANJIDIC includes cross-references for various printed kanji dictionaries, and KANJIDIC2 adds more. I’ve imported KANJIDIC into a SQLite database for use by my Perl scripts, and it’s quite handy (and much faster than repeatedly slurping in the original file and parsing it…).

However, it’s missing two cross-reference indexes that would be quite useful for me: JLPT level and White Rabbit Kanji Flashcards card number.

Most of the online JLPT references predate the 2002 test specifications, so the only reliable source I’ve found is The JLPT Study Page. The creator of that site is working from the latest edition of the test content specs, so apart from the occasional typo in the vocabulary, it’s solid data. It just wasn’t in a form directly useful to me, so I screen-scraped it and generated a simple text file, UTF-8 encoded.

The White Rabbit folks have an online lookup tool so you can generate your own cross-reference lists, but by the time I’d found it, I’d already read the forum article that explains their numbering scheme: Unicode sort order within JLPT level. A few seconds at the shell, and I had another simple text file (extended to include the planned Level 1 card set).

Dea Apple,


I caefully tested out the funky keyboad on the MacBook befoe buying one, but after seveal months, I’m eady to send mine in fo sevice. It seems thee’s a poblem with the “ key not eliably egisteing keypesses. This is not a ecent poblem, but one that’s been botheing me since the day I unpacked it.

At fist, I thought I was just having touble adjusting to the key action, but it’s just the “ key. All of the othes work fine evey time, but the ” only woks about 60% of the time.

Unless I press really had, and then it’s still only about 90%. The annoying thing is that I eplaced the stock AM and had dive with bette stuff, and now I have to swap the oiginals back in, o AppleCae won’t touch it. Fotunately, that’s easy to do.

その儀式は彼らの宗教の一部である


Otaku make passes at
girls who wear glasses.

Dear Microsoft,


Please make the Xbox 360 Music Player more modal, with deeper menu trees and more confusing navigation. I understand that this may be difficult, but after using your current release, I’m sure you can manage it. Your goals should be to use as little of the screen as possible to display information about my music, and to double the number of keystrokes and screen transitions required to construct a playlist.

[Update: please also make it even easier to accidentally wipe out a new playlist while editing it.]

Mahoro finally gets her wish…


I got an Xbox 360 at a nice discount (Microsoft Company Store holiday deal), but I’ve only picked up one additional game so far: Dead or Alive Extreme 2. The English dub is painful, so I switched it to Japanese (I had to get through the first virtual day to reach a point where I could disable the supplied music, which is pretty awful, but you can get rid of the dubbing once you finish enjoying the title movie a few times).

From previous games, I expected to hear some familiar voice actresses, but new character Kokoro sounded very familiar. I heard Mahoro in that voice, and I was not mistaken.

Sadly, the creators of the DoA franchise do not value Mahoro-like figures, so all of the girls are rather generously endowed. Said creators are proud of the fact that each breast is animated independently, but I think they should have spent a few minutes with an honestly-gifted nude model to learn precisely how large breasts should be animated. Tip for the day: when she turns rapidly at the waist, they should indeed move, but not so much, not for so long, and not up-and-down. Virtual implants might tend to stay more centered on the chest than Ma Nature’s Own, but if they’re loose enough to move that far up, they’re going to sway back and forth as well. [back and forth, back and forth, …]

But enough about breasts. What image have they attached to Mahoro’s voice?

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Now that’s a spicy meatball!


Not the most significant, but certainly one of the most amusing major-media corrections for 2006, courtesy of The New York Times:

"Because of an editing error, a recipe last Wednesday for meatballs with an article about foods to serve during the Super Bowl misstated the amount of chipotle chilies in adobo to be used. It is one or two canned chilies, not one or two cans. Click here for the correct recipe."

I think my friends would be willing to try it as written…

Useless UI tricks


This has no value whatsoever, but triple-clicking the title bar of a Finder window minimizes it to the Dock and then immediately boomerangs it back onscreen. The third click is processed after the minimizing animation finishes.

Speaking of useless UI tricks, it was briefly amusing when Apple arranged for the Shift key to toggle animations like this into slow motion, but after a few years it’s just annoying to lose control of an application for five seconds because you had a finger on the keyboard while minimizing a window.

Bugzilla by candlelight


I’m cursed. I basically have until the end of this week to finish up my last round of Bugzilla work for Digeo before we kiss each other goodbye. I could do it during Christmas week, but the only person there whose opinion I still give a damn about wouldn’t be around to verify that it’s what she wanted.

Naturally, I’ve lost power three times so far this evening, and the night is still young.

[update: and again, for another 20 minutes]

The Guardian of my World


A while back, I mentioned that I was tinkering with jQuery for updating my pop-up furigana. This dovetails nicely with my attempts to improve my Japanese reading skills, which currently involve working my way through Breaking into Japanese Literature and ボクのセカイをまもるヒト.

The first one is a parallel text with all vocabulary translated on the same page. I wish he’d formatted it a bit differently, and my teacher isn’t pleased with some of the translation, but it’s a useful learning tool, and there’s a free companion audiobook on the web site.

The second is the first in a new light novel series from Nagaru Tanigawa, also responsible for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it includes furigana for almost all of the kanji. My goal is to read it, not translate, but I have to look up an awful lot of vocabulary, and there’s not enough room on the page to annotate.

So I’m typing it in, and using a Perl script to add my shiny new pop-up furigana.

(and, yes, I’m deliberately over-annotating; I don’t actually need many of those annotations, but someone else might, and it’s not that much work)

[Update: I should mention that I’m using Jim Breen’s translation server to speed up the glossing process. The parser gets lost occasionally, but it’s still very helpful, often finding idiomatic phrases that cover several words.]

Oh, here’s the cover, courtesy of Amazon:

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Ah, a bit of sanity…


It should really be called World Domination 050, because it’s providing remedial education that the student should have had before coming to college, but it’s a start:

Linux on the desktop has been a year or two away for over a decade now, and there are reasons it's not there yet. To attract nontechnical end-users, a Linux desktop must work out of the box, ideally preinstalled by the hardware vendor.

...

When somebody with a degree in finance or architecture or can grab a Linux laptop and watch episodes of The Daily Show off of Comedy Central's website without a bearded Linux geek walking them through an elaborate hand-configuration process first, maybe we'll have a prayer.

...

You can't win the desktop if you don't even try. Right now, few in the Linux world are seriously trying. And time is running out.

...

Unfortunately "good" isn't the same as "ready to happen". The geeks of the world would like a moonbase too, and it's been 30 years without progress on that front. Inevitability doesn't guarantee that something will happen within our lifetimes. The 64-bit transition is an opportunity to put Linux on the desktop, but right now it's still not ready. If the decision happened today, Linux would remain on the sidelines.

[Update: as usual, those wacky kids on Slashdot just don’t get it.]

So, he’s saying “Go Bush!”?


I think the Iranian president’s got JC’s number here. He’d totally go jihadi on the UN leadership and rulers of most Middle-East states, as well as their loyal followers:

If Jesus Christ (peace be upon Him) was present today, he would order an encounter against those who would propagate corruption, obscenity and perversion, and try to nullify and exterminate the merits and the rights of women and diminish their position – a position that virgin Mary (peace be upon Her) – is their role model and sample.

Oh, wait; perhaps he’s using different definitions of “corruption”, “obscenity”, “perversion”, and “rights of women”. My mistake.

The Idolm@ster


Just search for it on Google and Youtube. It’s terrifying, in a “do I really need a Japanese Xbox 360 right now” kind of way. If you find yourself downloading the 720p version of the trailer from that German torrent site, all hope is lost.

[Update: this site seems to have the best set of screenshots showing the gameplay. I like the dialogue in this one:

The Idolmaster

]

[Update: holy crap, that qj.net page is a giant cesspit of Javascript, weighing in at nearly 240K of code, and maybe 2K of actual HTML content. I was initially curious how much overhead the trendy-annoying JS image display code was adding (72K if it’s the only thing prototype.js is used for, 21K otherwise, plus the overhead of actually calling it, which makes the HTML basically unreadable), but now I’m wondering just how painful this site is for anyone with low bandwidth and an older browser.]

Comment spam? Here?


It’s been a while since someone was stupid enough to go to the trouble of coming up with a script for spamming my comments. Stupid not just because I’m small-fry who can’t significantly affect his client’s page-rank, but also because my comment pages are not indexed by any search engine.

So, a quick delete from comments where author is like “%phenter%” or author is like “%roulet%” combined with a quick pfctl -t badlife -T add 58.142.103.165 68.184.254.247 68.184.254.247 213.115.205.82 202.78.170.3 209.212.20.250, and the problem goes away again.

If I get another attack in the next week, I’ll change the comment URL and add the current one to the insta-ban trap in robots.txt. That’s the most I’ve ever had to do to maintain several months of trouble-free open commenting.

[Update: sigh, add “%viag%” and “%ltram%” to the expression list, and 62.3.244.166 to the banned IP list. Time for a new disguise, I suppose; I’d hate to go off to Vegas and let some moron think he’s accomplished something clever.]

Why can’t more journalists be like this?


An in-depth, carefully researched exposé of a company fraudulently marketing a product at outrageous prices.

I suspect the answer is that the reporter actually knew something about the subject, and thus smelled the bullshit.

Fun with set-top boxes


This morning I found myself with the urge to search for two of the best stories about the early days of WebTV. Everyone involved has long since moved on to greener pastures, so I was sure at least one person would have spilled the beans.

No. Google searches for both “webtv reindeer games” and “webtv launch day fuck” return nothing relevant. Perhaps it’s time for Rory to update his blog with a tale of The Good Old Days.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”