Great job getting Flash Player 9 out the door, after absorbing Macromedia. Pity it doesn’t install correctly on a Mac.
I ran the installer, and it launched Safari when it finished, taking me to your “gee, isn’t Flash cool?” page. Which didn’t load, because I didn’t have Flash. So I ran the installer again. And again. Still no Flash.
So I deleted the old copy from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins, and ran the installer again. It failed, because it didn’t have permission to write to that directory. Yes, it’s true; when you want to create files that require administrative privileges, your installer actually has to request administrative privileges. It can’t just hope that the user is logged in as root, or has foolishly made that directory world-writable.
I’m a bit surprised that FHM’s streaming video feature, Webtv, hasn’t gotten them in trouble with the folks at WebTV. Sure, they stopped calling the product that well before I left, but the trademarks are still out there, scattering little motes of mindshare.
To the best of my knowledge, there are still several hundred thousand people in the US with WebTV-branded boxes attached to their television sets, vigorously navigating through email, ebay, chat, and porn.
I hope I am not the first to point out just how pompous and wrong-headed the following statement is:
In Netpbm, we believe that man pages, and the Nroff/Troff formats, are obsolete; that HTML and web browsers and the world wide web long ago replaced them as the best way to deliver documentation. However, documentation is useless when people don't know where it is. People are very accustomed to typing "man" to get information on a Unix program or library or file type, so in the standard Netpbm installation, we install a conventional man page for every command, library, and file type, but all it says is to use your web browser to look at the real documentation.
Translation: We maintain a suite of tools used by shell programmers, and we think that being able to read documentation offline or from the shell is stupid, so rather than maintain our documentation in a machine-readable format, we just wrote HTML and installed a bunch of “go fuck yourself” manpages.
On the bright side, they wrote their own replacement for the “man” command that uses Lynx to render their oh-so-spiffy documentation (assuming you’ve installed Lynx, of course), but they don’t even mention it in their fuck-you manpages. Oh, and the folks at darwinports didn’t know about this super-special tool, so they didn’t configure it in their netpbm install.
A-baka: “Hey, I know what we’ll do with our spare time! We can reinvent the wheel!”
B-baka: “Good idea, Dick! No one’s ever done that before, and everyone will praise us for its elegance and ideological purity, even though it’s incompatible with every other wheel-using device!”
A-baka: “We’re so cool!”
Update!: it keeps getting better. Many shell tools have some kind of help option that gives a brief usage summary. What do the Enlightened Beings responsible for netpbm put in theirs?
% pnmcut --help pnmcut: Use 'man pnmcut' for help.
I’m getting consistent 190ms pings to my server, despite 10ms pings to the router its connected to. It’s not server load, it’s not the bandwidth throttling rules in my firewall config, and I’m not seeing any errors in netstat or dmesg output. My best guess right now is a duplex mismatch on the switch. I’m waiting to hear back from the network guys.
Update: supporting evidence for my switch theory: Scott’s machine in the same rack, recycledbits.org, has the same problem, and I get 360ms pings from mine to his, without ever touching a router.
On the “damn nuisance” front, however, email to ViaNet tech support comes back with one of those stupid challenge/response verification schemes. This is precisely the wrong approach for your primary tech-support contact method. Maybe if you’d actually answered the phone when I called, I wouldn’t mind so much, but come on, grab a clue, eh?
Update: oh, that’s much better.
[From Steven Den Beste, originally posted in my comments]
So here I am in beautiful downtown Beaverton OR, leeching internet connection off a free public WiFi system in the Beaverton Mall. I’m living in a motel, and I’ve found an apartment, but I can’t move into it until Feb 3, and won’t have internet connection at home for another couple of days after that. So until then I have no web site and no email, and decided that the only way I could offer an update to interested parties was by abusing J’s hospitality – or at least, by abusing his comment system.
After I got up here, I spent a week trembling and shivering and sweating because I had no internet connection at all. So I finally broke down and bought a notebook computer, which has built-in WiFi. First thing I did was spend an hour uninstalling all the sample programs and suchlike which Compaq polluted the hard disk with, and deactivating features in XP Home that I didn’t want. I’m sure I didn’t get them all, but at least now when I boot the computer I only have to kill one popup balloon in the tray instead of six.
When I was shopping for laptops I went into BestBuy here in the Beaverton Mall and discovered that they sold DVDs. Not only that, they actually have a small section of anime DVDs. I saw the first Bottle Fairy DVD there, but not the second one, alas (which I think just came out, and which I’m really looking forward to). I did end up buying about four DBZ DVDs I didn’t already have, and, well, on the shelf there was a copy of Eiken. I swear, it just popped off the shelf and landed in my hands, and… well, I bought it.
I’m so ashamed.
Words cannot describe how bad it is. In the teaser for the first episode our hero ends up groping the tits of one fabulously overendowed young woman (who, oddly enough, doesn’t react strongly to the experience by screaming or hitting him or contrariwise with deep passionate moans) and then ends up with another preposterously overendowed young woman sitting on his face – after which the credits roll. But that was enough for me. I’ll never doubt J’s judgment again when he says something stinks.
BestBuy also had the first three DVDs (eps 1-14) of the Ah! My Goddess TV series, and I was curious, so I got them too. They were an extremely pleasant surprise.
The art is fantastic. It’s a pure digital animation so everything is clear and clean. The original voice cast is back again, so there are no jarring changes there.
In general it feels a lot more like the movie than like the original OVA. But there are noticeable differences. The original OVA was a romantic drama. The movie was action-adventure. But the TV series is a romantic comedy, and it’s played a lot lighter. It covers some of the same basic material as the OVA but only in gross terms; in fine it’s nearly entirely different. For instance, in the OVA Belldandy and Keiichi find the temple empty and abandoned and move in. Keiichi asks if it’s OK and Belldandy says she has permission – presumably from Kami-sama. That whole section of episode 1 takes about three minutes. In the TV series there’s actually a priest there, and he gives them permission to say. Then, for reasons I won’t go into, he decides he needs to go on a pilgramage and leaves them to live in the place alone. The whole story about finding the temple and being left there to live takes a full episode.
They’re taking their time unfolding the story. Megumi doesn’t show up until ep 5, and Urd until ep 7. In ep 11 they introduce a character which is entirely new to me: Mara. She’s a demon. Skuld shows up in ep 13. On the other hand, we get to see Holy Bell in episode 3. (IIRC, none of the three goddesses summon their angels at all in the OVA, though they all do in the movie.)
Of course, the danger of “taking their time” is that it could feel padded, the way the El Hazard TV series feels padded, but so far this doesn’t. It does feel a bit leisurely, but that’s not the same.
By far the biggest and most pleasant surprise was Belldandy herself. She doesn’t show up until the last few seconds of the first episode, and it’s the strong, determined, self-confident Belldandy of the movie, not the quivering, self-pitying sobbing wimp of the OVA. In the 14 episodes I’ve seen so far she only outright sobs once, and it’s actually legitimate – and it doesn’t last long. In general, what with the overall much lighter touch to the story telling, the level of angst is much reduced, to the point where it isn’t a throbbing headache.
Another pleasant surprise is that there’s a lot of magic in the series. Belldandy and Urd (and Mara) all use magic quite a lot, and it’s a rare episode without at least one spell being cast by someone. The magic is fun, though it seems as if they’re all a lot more limited than I would have thought goddesses (or top-bracket demons) would be. Fact is that Sawanaguchi Sae or Kikuchi Yume could leave any of them in the dust as far as spell casting is concerned, and they aren’t even supernatural beings.
Skuld moves around using water, just as expected. Urd can transmit herself through electric lines and pop out of any TV screen. Belldandy turns out to have a thing for mirrors, and that’s how she moves around when she wants to get somewhere fast. Of course, Belldandy and Urd can also fly. Skuld, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to know any magic yet, but her gizmos are living up to expectations.
Megumi is the only character they really didn’t change from the OVA, and she didn’t need to be changed. She’s still strong, self-reliant, worldly. She still loves her brother and fully approves of him shacking up with Belldandy. She’s not omnipresent but she’s in a lot of the episodes and plays a major part in about four of them, and every time she’s on the screen it’s good. Her reaction to Urd and even more so to Skuld are wonderful.
I’m pretty sure that the three DVDs I’ve got so far are the only ones out, so I still don’t know where it’s heading, but I have suspicions. The last story arc in the OVA involved Belldandy being ordered back to heaven because her presence on Earth is causing problems. They’re laying groundwork that suggests that they’re planning on a similar ending to the TV series, but because they have more time they’re not forcing it. I hope they don’t wallow in it the way the OVA did, but I’m not too worried because so far the TV series hasn’t been wallowing in anything. (Another pleasant surprise is no two-part stories being told; they wrap every story up in a single episode, which also helps to keep things from getting too deep.)
The two strange seniors from the car club keep making appearances, and in the first episode they were thoroughly annoying – which was, in fact, a plot point. But later on they end up mostly being used for comic relief and mostly in small doses. Occasionally they get used for purposes of deus ex machina (e.g. when Mara appears). In the movie the segment they appeared in was easily the worst part of the film, which I invariably skip when I watch it. In the TV series they’re actually not annoying after the first episode.
There’s so much that’s different between the OVA and TV series that it makes me wonder how closely either of them follows the manga. In the OVA, the episode where Urd appears involves a trip to the beach. That’s not the case in the TV series; it happens in Tokyo. There’s no love potion that misfires, and no real misunderstanding between Keiichi and Belldandy – or rather, there is one, but it only takes Belldandy about five seconds to figure out what’s going on, and she doesn’t collapse in tears. Instead, she says (paraphrased) “Urd, get your butt out here.”
All in all I really like what I’ve seen so far, and I can’t emphasize enough just how beautiful the animation is.
Going forward, mostly I’m treading water until the apartment becomes available. I’ve also rented a garage and THAT I can use immediately. Not that I’d want to sleep in it, mind, but I can start buying stuff and leaving it there for when the apartment finally becomes available. It’s all paperwork and legalities at this point. The previous tenant moved out a week ago and went to New York, so it was empty when they showed it to me last Friday. Yesterday when I went over there to put money down on the place, the maintenance guy said he was painting it. They’re going to replace the refrigerator in the next couple days. A rational person would expect that I could move in this weekend. But it has to stay vacant until Feb 3 because the previous tenant paid the rent until then, even though he’s been sleeping in New York for a week. Hooray for rules, regulations, lawyers and bureaucrats.
It’s alright. I’ve got a lot of stuff I need to pick up, and it’s nice that I won’t have to rush. The motel I’m staying at isn’t ridiculously expensive and I’m managing reasonably well. And I think I’ve done more walking in the last week than I had in the previous year.
I don’t yet know what I’m going to do about a net connection. The big remaining puzzle is whether either Comcast or the phone company (ADSL) are willing to give me a permanent IP and let me run a server. I should be able to find that out in the next couple of days, though, and with two throws of the dice I think I have a good chance of hitting at least once at a halfway reasonable price.
This is not a political post. It’s just the latest amusing spam to show up in my mailbox. Content: typical 419 scam. Twist: be a good Muslim, receive several million dollars from this dying, devout man, and use all of it to bring the message of Islam back on target, reclaiming it from the terrorists and their allies. Nice touch: it was sent as a base64-encoded text/plain attachment, to evade many spam filters. Gratuitous silliness: his hospital ward prohibits phone conversations “due to the presence of some medical equipment which reacts to telephone waves”, so he has to use email.
I tried to find out what your reason for existing is, but I’m afraid I didn’t make it past the “From the founders” letter. Quoting:
At OSMTM (Open Source Media), we believe that to be true—that freedom, openness and transparency in media is an inevitable result of the technological advances that have given every citizen the chance to breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion that hovers in the ether between us.
Note that HTML has a perfectly good mechanism for encoding a trademark symbol, ™. Using guarantees that cut-and-paste will transform your name into OSMTM.
“A, B, and C are”, not “A, B, and C is”.
“every citizen” has been given this chance? Really?
For that matter, “every citizen” has? Citizen of what, precisely?
“…breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion…”?!? Sounds like you’re trying to attract ads for bongs and hookahs.
“…hovers in the ether between us”?!? Never mind, I see you already have enough bongs of your own. Did someone actually read this nonsense before posting it?
And where faceless, "objective" editorial boards once handed down opinions and endorsements, bloggers sound off, the numbers on their public sitemeters lending them unassailable credibility as voices for the rest of us.
I was going to point and laugh at the absurdity and awkward phrasing of the part I highlighted, but I simply can’t get over the juxtaposition of that line of bullshit with the scare quotes you put around the word “objective” in describing the sort of media companies you say you’re different from. “Editorial boards are just something to sneer at, but hit-counters are The Rock of Gibraltar, baby!”.
OSM’s mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.
I’m sorry, but this sentence simply doesn’t parse right. Is it “expand the influence by ‘finding and promoting weblogs’, ‘providing bloggers with a forum’, and ‘the chance to join a network’”, or is it “expand the influence by ‘finding and promoting weblogs’ and ‘providing bloggers with a forum and the chance to join a network’”?
[Mind you, I’m not at all sure how your network is supposed to give someone leverage (additional, no less) to pursue knowledge, much less ‘wherever they may find it’, but I’ll let that one go for now.]
From academics, professionals and decorated experts, to ordinary citizens sitting around the house opining in their pajamas, our community of bloggers are among the most widely read and influential citizen journalists out there, and our roster will be expanding daily.
Apparently your community of bloggers is missing some key knowledge about the difference between singular and plural nouns. Also, when one is addicted to lengthy sentences, mastery of the serial comma is essential for clarity.
[And who decorates experts, anyway?]
...but the next phase in the democratization of ideas has begun.
Only a phase, is it? Nothing to get excited about, then.
There’s a certain gullibility in most boingboing posts. Often this is combined with eXtreme Technophilia or a hard-left anti-whatever slant, but my favorites are the pure examples.
Today, there’s a link to a story about a 30,000 calorie sandwich. The poster obviously read the linked article and looked at pictures of the sandwich, yet he completely failed to notice the fact that the ingredients list included two and a half quarts of canola oil.
Yes, fully 62% of the claimed calorie count was in the oil used to deep-fry several ingredients. I can forgive some random tailgater for just typing his shopping list into a calorie-counter and blindly accepting the results, but you’d think someone with Cory Doctorow’s alleged technohippitude would easily spot such a glaring error.
Sadly, he and his cohort don’t seem to be much better at spotting obvious flaws in tech-related stories either. I find that most of the actual useful links posted at boingboing come from places like Gizmodo and Engadget, so I tend to look there first for news, and only visit boingboing when I need to laugh. (“at, not with”)