Thou patch a bug, and violates too much a bug, and dump it to develop the rest.

— ovdluhe.c

Meat don't fail me now!


Komi Can’t Stream

…unless you subscribe to Netflix.

Also, two-week delay after it airs in Japan? What is this, the stone age?

I can haz Boar’s Head

Turns out there’s an independent grocery store south of town that has the full line of Boar’s Head meats, Star Market. They close a lot earlier than Safeway and Nob Hill, but my work-from-home hours are sufficiently flexible that that’s a lot better than driving to Del Rey Oaks.

Dear Amazon,

My “everyday essentials” recommendations include both 30TB and 60TB Ultrium data cartridges, 8TB NVMe SSDs, and cables with connectors I don’t even recognize. Are you sure you haven’t confused me with a high-end 4K/8K video producer? I mean, seriously, the most advanced technology I’ve bought from you in the past three months was a new Yubikey.

Cosplay by Azami

The young lady responsible for the Gawr Gura naughty cosplay photos has Patreon and Twitter accounts.

Quality is job 10...


…right behind Security.

Kicked Out Of A Restaurant To Another Komi

In a bit over two weeks, the new season of anime begins. I expect to watch Restaurant To Another World 2 and Komi Can’t Communicate, and idly attempt to watch Overpowered Pharmacist And His Busty Girlfriend.

(the Queen of Chupacabra is unrelated)

Or maybe all these “Aria” series that Funi picked up…

Starting September 21st.

(Misty’s a big fan, obviously…)

Meanwhile, in Slimeville

Everyone effortlessly wins their part of the battle, leaving plenty of time for random exposition and the most-telegraphed plot twists of the season. Next episode: finally effortlessly killing Clayman. Unless they try to drag it out again.

(Little Miss Fan-service is definitely related, and happy to stop pretending)

I voted, in person

Sadly, almost no one else is doing so, so they have no way to find out if someone already voted in their name before they mailed in their ballot. Assuming they even lived at the address the ballot was mailed to, were planning to vote, made sure it actually arrived, and dropped it off at a secure location.

If the recall seems to be succeeding, expect them to suddenly “find” a few overlooked boxes of mail-in ballots a few days from now.

Interesting note: I received three completely different sets of text-message spam (some more than once) telling me I should vote “yes” on the recall. Two of them asked me to vote for specific candidates to replace him, but the other just wanted him gone. Nobody texted asking me to save the little shit. Nevertheless, the media is predicting he’ll survive.

Update all the iThings!

MacOS? PDF files executing arbitrary code. iPhones, iPads, iWatches, and MacOS? GIFs in iMessage executing arbitrary code.

Bonus: because Apple recently locked my iCloud account again and I hadn’t bothered to fix it yet, it was unable to try to change my account settings after the updates. It sounded a bit butthurt about that. 😁

Not all good, though; post-upgrade, it failed to notice that it was plugged in, and when I left it running overnight to do a post-upgrade backup, it got halfway through and then hibernated. And the way Time Machine works, it takes a lot longer to run a backup after one fails (especially on a network volume where it’s stored as a file system image that needs to be fsck’d).

(this seems to be a Thunderbolt power-negotiation issue between the MacBook Air and my Anker dock; I think during boot, the firmware security refuses to trust the dock, preventing it from successfully negotiating power delivery, so you have to either power-cycle the dock or unplug it from the Mac briefly)

TIL…

…that you can use Stasis on those korok acorn-archery puzzles in BotW.

Also that you can do the diving puzzles by jumping off an ice block.

And, yes, switching my muscle memory back from Fenyx’s controls was painful, but I wanted to try the ice-block trick after seeing it mentioned somewhere; those puzzles can be tricky to do “as intended”. BotW rewards creative problem-solving, and rarely drops you into bottomless pits.

Should have done BRIAN BLESSED!

The voice acting for Typhon in Fenyx really sounds like the actor was instructed to mimic Andre The Giant in the castle assault scene from The Princess Bride.

Buy/Don’t Buy

I’ve had a semi-annual bonus burning a hole in my pocket for two weeks now, and… nothing I really want to spend it on. That is, I want a Sony A7S III and one or three premium lenses, but it’s out of stock everywhere due to the chip shortages, and it’s not like I’m going anywhere interesting to take pictures of. Ditto for a new Windows laptop (to kiss Apple goodbye, and not on the mouth), for both reasons. And I want a new car, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere, period. And, yes, chip shortages hitting that market hard, too.

And I want a new range and hood, and a new oven/microwave/convection combo, but everything I’ve liked is out of stock until at least November, for a variety of reasons.

I’ve even thought about upgrading my nearly-20-year-old elliptical crosstrainer, but the Precor model that looks most interesting isn’t coming out until the end of September. Unless there are, say, ongoing chip shortages or something.

At least I can thank James Hoffmann’s youtube channel for convincing me that the one thing I don’t want to do is buy a real espresso machine and matching grinder. Even if I had the spare counter space, it’s just too fussy of a hobby for me, and a lot of what the modern “third wave” enthusiasts seek out are “coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee”.

Count on Twitter to promote utter drivel

Erotic Hololive Cosplay

Gawr Gura Edition (NSFW! Disable Javascript!). Just to, y’know, cleanse the palate after that last one.

I think the model is really cute, and I’d like to see her without the cosplay. In both the “as herself” and “just take it off” meanings of those words. 😁

Fight fiercely, Fenyx...


How A Realist Hero Handwaves Major Battles, episode #whatever

“We outsmarted them and won. On to the next one!”

(there is still basically no fan-art for this show, so you can have your cake and bunny-girl too)

The hardest boss in Fenyx

Bottomless pits.

A typical vault (puzzle dungeon) experience involves figuring out how to get a few different styles of movable boxes and balls onto the right switches without running into lasers or fireballs, steering an arrow through a torch and then around a few corners, and in between, making precise jumps from platform to platform. You can almost always get replacement objects if you muff a throw or carry, and you’ve got unlimited arrows, but almost all platforms are over bottomless pits, with zero tolerance for imprecise button combos.

This honestly looks like someone watched a demo of Breath of the Wild, took a few notes, and handed them off to a team to implement, with a short deadline. There is very little variety in puzzle themes, and checkpoints are spaced so that you will have to repeat multiple sequences of actions to get back to where you just failed. My latest ragequit was after successfully dodging multiple lasers and swinging fireballs while riding a moving platform, only to discover that my platform was about to vanish into a wall, and I needed to determine without any clues which way to jump off and glide around in a precise path before inevitably falling into a bottomless pit.

You could not see this from the start point of the moving platform. You have to fail it at least once, and then repeat the entire sequence of dodges in the hope that there’s a checkpoint where you land. You can’t manually save in the middle or leave and come back, except for a few specific plot-related vaults.

Outdoor puzzles can be just as annoying, though only a few of them punish you with bottomless pits. Last night I spent twenty minutes unlocking a button that gated access to a sliding-tile puzzle, which requires steering two arrows around corners and then sprinting through a building while going around and jumping over lasers, and the time alloted has zero tolerance for errors. Miss one of the shots? Clip a corner while turning around the laser walls? Accidentally double-jump while sprinting? Do It Again, Stupid.

All this because there are only about 4 kinds of outdoor puzzle, and the 2x2 sliding-tile variety are trivial to solve unless you lard them up with some other restriction.

Oh, and when I said I was pretty sure I could shoot myself in the back with steerable arrows? It’s much sillier than that: you can shoot yourself in the face. I use them for scouting now. Whenever I find a puzzle that’s solved by lighting a brazier with an arrow, I stand next to it (unless the puzzle requires standing on a specific button), send the arrow off to find a source of fire, then steer it back to me.

(why am I still playing? Because as soon as I stop, I’ll completely forget the control mappings, and since the main game has no replay value, I might as well get my money’s worth now)

Next time I’ll gripe about the ham-fisted character models and animation (literally; even the goddess Aphrodite has giant man-hands). And maybe about the extremely repetitive arrow-to-the-knee NPC comments at random intervals, especially from the Dread Pirate Typhon.

Fenyx needs better fizzycs...


The Last American President

Trump showed up today. Biden’s pre-recorded announcement could not be reached for comment.

No iBrator for you!

(classical reference)

Apple warns that iPhones should not be attached to motorcycles, because the vibration will damage the camera’s image-stabilization and autofocus. Well, that rules out my idea of having Thanko and Tenga collaborate on a new USB-powered phone accessory.

(Jahy-sama is unrelated, unless she’s managed to make enough money to afford some toys; no idea, I never made it through the second episode, even after three tries)

No Blackfriday after Friday!

I’ve switched the Hugo config that generates this site to use the new Goldmark Markdown processor, with its comically-bad “typographer” extension disabled. It took a while to diff 4,000+ blog entries after running my script to hardcode the smart quotes in the source files (source control is your only friend), and while I think I managed to catch all the small breakages it introduced, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some from the MovableType days that look a little funny and need cleanup.

I will not be offended if someone says, “hey, this old page looks like crap now”. I did a lot of hand-formatting workarounds in the old days. 😁

Neighborhood Noise Pollution

The summer continues to be cool and damp, and there aren’t any fires near me, so I’d love to have all the windows open. Except that every afternoon, someone at a nearby house is running a continuous mix of loud music, old enough for me to know the songs, and just loud enough that I can recognize them by the distorted reflections off of every house in between.

During my last meeting of the day Friday, it was what sounded like an extended remix of Rapper’s Delight. Either that, or they just put it on repeat.

…and then came The Eye of the Tiger, so muffled and distorted it took a full minute to recognize…

The Neverending Tutorial

The Switch version of Immortals Fenyx Rising is 60% off for a few days, so I picked it up. It eventually becomes a more-or-less open-world adventure, with terrible voice acting and a mandatory online account so they can push microtransactions. Mostly cosmetic stuff, it looks like, but still a bit intrusive.

There’s a free demo, which is basically a side quest where you get to play with all the powers you’ll eventually unlock. The tutorial in the full game, though, lasts several hours, leaving you wondering just when they’re going to let you off the rails. Even when they do, you often get ambushed by cutscenes to remind you which rail you should be on.

Gameplay is fine, although the controls are awkward and oddly mapped. My least-favorite is the way double-jumping tends to turn into a triple jump, which will send you into the pits of Tartarus (literally; Hell is a platformer). It feels very much like a surface-level clone of the Breath of the Wild gameplay, with bad voice acting, single-solution do-it-again-stupid puzzles, and arcade action replacing depth, immersion, versatility, and replayability.

For instance, I’m currently picking off monsters from extreme distance with arrows that can be steered around corners and obstacles, with the only range limits being my character’s stamina and the game’s draw distance. I haven’t tried shooting myself in the back of the head yet, but I’m pretty sure I could:

🎶 🎶 🎶
Watch out here comes my arrow,
it flies superfast,
and kills everyone.
Watch out here comes my arrow,
Legolas sucks,
and Yondu is the one.
🎶 🎶 🎶

(hey, she’s got an arrow, that’s related!)

File under baffling the fact that they automatically populate your world map with other people’s screenshots, complete with a like button. I’d be a lot happier if they’d made the map more useful as a map; quest navigation is cluttered and confusing. And had a button to say “always play this single-player game offline, dammit”.

Also, in an inverse of the usual console-to-PC porting fail, the menus are navigated with a cursor that does not snap to the buttons, which is incredibly clumsy on a console controller. And while sometimes you need to just press on a menu option, other times you need to press and hooooooold.

I would have been unhappy if I’d paid anything close to full price for it.

(Genshin Impact’s Ganyu is unrelated, and cuter than Fenyx)

The State Of The Emergency


A Slime Among The Demon Lords, #2.10

In an effort to drag out the fight against Clayman so that it doesn’t look completely effortless, big thick expositions are vigorously thrust into tight spaces, which is less exciting than it sounds. Hope you kept notes on everything that was going on outside of the big party, because you’ll need to wait at least another week before they get back onscreen.

Send more black ships…

Japan has extended the current state of emergency another two weeks to flatten the curve, except for two prefectures that have been upgraded to a quasi SoE. Chance of letting tourists back in this year? Pretty. Damn. Low.

We have not yet bitten the bullet and started rescheduling for a spring trip, but we should probably get started soon.

Massive hole in Ghostscript


I’m amused to see Ghostscript described as a small library, but deeply annoyed that a critical “run arbitrary code on your machine” vulnerability disclosed sometime last year is still unfixed, despite it having been verified and bug bounties paid out.

The new proof-of-concept exploit is only 20 lines of Python.

Since it’s embedded in all sorts of software, you may not know that you’re affected by this hole, or for how long you’ll be vulnerable. All it takes is for something in your daily workflow to decide to render a downloaded SVG file via GS.

Slow Life, With Powers


I Gave Up Trying To Save The World And Got A Girlfriend Instead

It turns out that the “banished from the hero’s party…” series that’s coming out in October isn’t a harem comedy. The trailer works to suggest it, because that sells, but reading up a bit, there’s no real competition for his affection. Our Hero and First Girl To Move In have a history together that their new relaxed setting allows to flourish. They’re a couple of awkward virgins, but they’re definitely a couple.

Emotionless Little Sister Who Can Kill Dragons With Her Bare Hands does have a serious bro-con, but is not necessarily thirsty for his dick. It’s just that being The Chosen One really fucks you over.

Amusingly, the genki love interest is voiced by the actress perhaps best known for the calm maid-tank Noelle in Genshin Impact, while the emotionless sister-hero’s voice will be delivered by the over-the-top Jahy-sama.

Like a certain immortal witch, Our Hero’s new slow life is aided by the fact that pretty much nobody out in the boonies could fight him anyway. He was literally born at level 31, and spent all his points on useful skills to support his sister.

(there is no (recognizable) fan-art for this series yet, so here’s a pair of cute teenage* witches)

Remember the Perl 7 announcement?

Wonder why you haven’t heard anything since? Toxic CoC Syndrome. In fairness, it does sound like there was at least one giant asshole who should have been kicked out a long time ago, but the long-running Perl 6 fiasco really destroyed whatever community and leadership Perl might have once had.

(hole in the wall is possibly related)

500 years ago, on the planet Zeiss…

I have no idea who the $6,000 Zeiss ZX1 digicam is for. 37-megapixel full-frame sensor, 35mm f/2 fixed lens, 512 GB internal storage only (data can only be transferred via USB-C, Wifi, or Bluetooth), and built-in Adobe Lightroom CC software using the 4-inch touchscreen. Full support for sharing via Adobe’s cloud… if you pay for a monthly subscription. Max ISO 51,200, no image stabilization, reviews on B&H say the UI is terrible, Lightroom drains your battery, and the battery gets very hot very quickly. Also, despite the Zeiss name, everything is made in China, and it doesn’t seem like they even licensed the technology of their usual partner Sony.

For $500 less, you can impress your friends with the well-regarded Leica Q2. If you’re more interested in taking decent pictures than in impressing your friends, you probably don’t want to buy that one either, though.

Side note

Every single digital camera I’ve ever owned still works perfectly, they just became obsolete as sensors and processor speeds improved. My mid-Eighties Minolta lenses, though, are still pulling their weight; they won’t autofocus as quickly as the latest glass, especially with a mount adapter, and they don’t have internal image stabilization, but they still deliver excellent image quality.

(schoolgirl waitresses from another world are unrelated, but photogenic)

But what about digitizing film?

The best-regarded flatbed scanner for film up to 8x10 inches is the Epson Perfection V850 Pro, released in 2014. It even ships with an expired license for the SilverFast software, but the drivers have been updated for the latest 64-bit Windows/Mac releases. There’s just no market for quality scanners any more.

I may buy one to get better scans of my great uncle’s medium-format negatives than my other obsolete scanners can deliver. I doubt I’ll ever need the wet-scanning adapter to pull maximum quality out of MF/LF negatives, but I might buy it while it’s still available, just in case.

(catgirl/schoolgirl in underrim glasses is unrelated, but always acceptable on this site)

Ooh, nice one!

Someone went to the trouble of sending me a scam email pretending to be Amazon Japan, announcing that someone had logged into my account and used my credit card to place an order. They definitely copied a legit Amazon email, sent it to someone who only orders occasionally and might not notice a “real fraud” right away, and... sent it to my cpan.org email address. Also, they used boilerplate intended for Prime customers, and I don’t have Prime in Japan. So close.

Looks like they laundered it through pobox, with the original sender in China. The address mismatch was enough to flag it as spam, but it tripped a number of other flags in my filters as well, so there was never a chance I’d be fooled.

(Kentucky Fried Noelle is only related to the first item)

And another!

The following day’s attempt used Yodobashi Camera’s templates to tell me I needed to update my credit card information. Also to my cpan.org email address. That one seems to get hit with scams a lot, despite its obvious low value.

(Kentucky Fried Noelle again; honestly, I’m not even sure why that’s a meme...)

Smartdown

As mentioned earlier, I’m finally spending some time converting the raw Markdown source for my blog to hardcode the smart-quotes rather than have the conversion done badly by Hugo’s new formatting library. I’m starting with the most recent entries and working my way back 100 at a time, diffing them against the checked-in versions as I go. This has led to a number of improvements in the script.

Once In A Blew Moon


How a Realist Animation Team Fit Three Half-finished Battles Into One Episode’s Budget

Speed lines, panned stills, and speed lines over panned stills. Also lots of long-winded stalling, but that’s actually part of the plot this time.

(there is effectively zero fan-art for this show, despite the eye-candy, so candy girl is unrelated)

Two cours?

Jahy-sama, which I never made it through the second episode of, is headed straight into its second cour. Great for the fan-art, not so much for having something interesting to watch.

At least it’s not a giant spider…

Roland Emmerich’s upcoming disaster of a movie answers the question nobody asked, “what happens when the moon crashes into the Earth?”.

Famed physicist Ming The Merciless already ran this experiment, so there’s no need for independent replication:

“After the lockdowns earthquakes and mask mandates tidal waves, they won’t be quite the human beings you remember. They’ll be more… tractable. Easier for you to rule, in the name of Ming.”

Dear Apple,

Don’t ask me to trust you when you store data on my laptop that I’m not allowed to read (or back up!), even as root.

Are you a better artist than a 5-year-old?

The trendy jackochallenge tag on Pixiv illustrates that the people least qualified to draw human anatomy are the most likely to try.

(Hikari refuses to try to get into that sort of position)

Ye canna change the laws ’o physics!

Samsung has announced a 200 megapixel smartphone camera sensor. If you know what the word “diffraction” means, you know that this provides maybe 6-8 resolved megapixels, with software helpfully creating the additional data they’re promising.

The camera body I’m most likely to buy when I have a reason to (and it’s back in stock...) is the Sony A7S III, which offers “only” 12 megapixels, but they are really, really good ones, large enough to offer good performance at ISO 409,600 with 15 stops of dynamic range.

Small high-resolution sensors are just recording the limitations of your optics. Large high-resolution sensors are precisely recording the noise in the shadows. Large, “low-resolution” sensors make every pixel actually count for something.

…which makes me sad that they’re still not making full-frame medium-format sensors, much less large-format. Someone is selling a full-frame 4x5-inch B&W back, but it’s only 6 (very large) megapixels, and it costs $26,000. They also briefly made a 9x11 12-megapixel B&W camera body for ~$100,000, and claim to be working on a new 26-megapixel model that mounts as a back on 11x14 view cameras for only ~$85,000.