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Topics - Xepher

General Chat / StupidFilter
November 14, 2007, 07:16:54 PM

I thought this was a great idea. And check out the first answer there, where they mention CRM114... that's what we just started using for spam filtering here! :-P
Announcements / Welcome to Arclight!
November 11, 2007, 12:49:48 PM
If you're reading this, you're on the new server,  code-named "Arclight" which is a Core2 Duo system with 2GB of ram and nearly a full terabyte of hard drive space. It's also being hosted on a 100mbit link (the old server was 5mbit) so things should be faster all around. All user accounts should be migrated and working by now, but this was a complex process, so if you're having issues with something, don't hesitate to bring it to my attention. You can post in the forum (aka reply here), email me, or contact me on AIM (my SN is "Xepher42" there.) Welcome to Arclight!
General Chat / Today's new word is...
November 06, 2007, 03:39:22 AM
... Dyslexify!

QuoteThe irony about living in "The Hill Country" is that it's easy to dyslexify to "The Hell Country."
     --Xepher, 5 minutes ago, on the internet (p.42)
Art / Scanners and Color Management
October 23, 2007, 12:12:33 AM
So, I browse a lot of art sites on a regular basis. Not being an artist myself, I rarely have much in the way of useful commentary. However, I've recently noticed that a lot of people's art posts are accompanied by complaints like "My scanner ate the colors!" or "The greens really don't show up after the scan."

Computer imaging IS something I have a fair amount of experience with. Especially lately, I've been playing with my new digital camera and working a lot with color profiling and the like. As such, I think I could probably pull together a good primer on such a thing. Before I go and take the time to make a fancy article on it, I figured I'd ask around and see if anyone would actually find that useful, or if there's already some good/obvious ones out there that I should just point people at instead. Either way, my point is that there's no excuse for letting a scanner eat the colors of your artwork. :-)

The example below is as simple as enabling the color profile for my camera when processing things.

Default sRGB output:

Nikon (Camera) ICC profile output:

EDIT: Changed "at the colors" to "ate the colors" so it makes more sense. :-)
Announcements / Xepher's Trip
August 15, 2007, 03:58:09 AM
I'm going to Colorado for a week, starting tomorrow. That puts me back the 22nd of August. I might have internet access while there, but probably not. As such, if something goes wrong of anyone needs help, well... Try emailing me, if I DO get online at all, I'll check email at least, but I can't promise anything. Sorry for the (almost) no-notice, but I haven't even been at home for the past two days, and it pretty much slipped my mind. I mentioned it briefly in the new server thread I think.

Anyway, see ya'll when I get back!
Hosting Q&A / Newsbox Redesign
July 29, 2007, 12:17:07 PM
I'm going to revamp the newsbox system. It's going be becomes a single, image-based device. There won't be all the various text and such, but just a "" header and then an image. That image will rotate... mostly it will show banners/ads for other sites here. Those will be images supplied by people for their own site. Basically, the typical banner/link exchange thing, but for When people mouse over the ad, they'll get a little menu popup that'll let them see more and visit the site. Mixed in with those will be occasional ads for itself, both of the "host your site here" and the "donate to support us" types.

Starting with the server move, the donation model is changing back to entirely voluntary, and the newsbox likewise becomes optional. Everyone can take donations or not take donations as they see fit. I hope that if you get a fair amount, that you consider passing some on to me, but there's no longer that 25% required as in the current model. Likewise, the newsbox will become totally voluntary. It's going to mostly server as a link exchange anyway, since no one ever paid attention to the actual "news" in it. The "support" ads/banners that I'll mix in with it will go to direct donations. This will be clearly labeled as such, so if you happen to take donations yourself on your site, your users won't be confused about where/what is what.

There's a poll on this post (above) that's asking what layout you would prefer for the new newsbox. It will not be configurable in ANY way, as it will be nearly all image. I think that makes for better eye-catching, as text-only blurbs don't really do much to advertise comics or artwork. Anyway, vote and let me know.
General Chat / Tabletop Style RPG, Anyone?
July 09, 2007, 04:43:31 AM
So I'm bored, and I'm bored of most video games. The current RPG games are so limiting in what you can do that they don't appeal to me, yet the single player games are pretty dull, as you're not interacting with other people. What I'm here to find out is if anyone has some interesting in trying to do an online (chat-based) RPG games. This is NOT a video game. I mean, we would meet in the chatroom here (or maybe use voice chat or something) and play a table-top style RPG, such as D&D, GURPS, Changling or something.

I want to note that I'm pretty much a total n00b at this. I've played maybe 2 D&D sessions in my life (neither of which I found very fun and why I'd like to do something besides D&D.) But I'm in it for the fun, not for precise rule evaluations or anything. To me, Roleplaying games should be about roleplaying. Battles are part of it, but stats really shouldn't be the focus, it should be about the story, about having fun. As such, I don't want any rule-nazis, but otherwise, everyone/anyone is welcome. I'll probably be the GM, but that's not decided for sure, nor is the time(s) or really any other plans.

Right now, I'd just like to find out who might be interested, then we can figure out details. I plan to distribute basic rules/ideas for whatever system we end up using to everyone, so don't worry if you haven't played it before, or don't know the rules. The main thing is that you WANT to be involved, and want to actually roleplay/storytell with your character. Also that you'll be okay with whatever medium we end up using, be it voice chat, or a text chat system, etc. If we go with text, it'll be important that you're not extremely slow at typing. Likewise, if we go with voice, that you have a microphone to use. Also, that you'll be able to game somewhat regularly. No schedule will be set in stone or anything... it should actually be quite flexble... we just don't want people that play one week and then don't show up for 2 months or something.

Alright, all this is up for debate, additional ideas, etc. Anyone who's interested, lemme know. If you have ideas, questions, thoughts... let's hear those too.
General Chat / Awesome 3D Sound Demo
July 07, 2007, 12:51:27 AM
Trust me, it's worth digging out the headphones to get the full effect. Really cool, especially if you close your eyes. Only thing that spoiled the effect was it didn't SMELL like a barber shop, and I didn't feel the cold metal of the clipper touch my neck when I thought it should.
General Chat / Movies...
July 03, 2007, 06:24:41 AM
...That you probably shouldn't watch while drunk.

I just watched a movie starring Madonna, Snoop Dog, David Bowie, Robert De Niro, Emilio Estevez, Jimmy Fallon, and Jason Batemen. And it was made by Luc Besson, the same guy that made The Fifth Element. How many of you can actually guess what movie that is?

The answer, is "Arthur and the Invisibles" which is actually a rather amusing movie. It has several problems, especially with timing, but overall is quite fun to watch. There's a lot of offbeat humor in it, similar to Red vs. Blue, or movies like Airplane. It's also got that moral-story thing going, like Secondhand Lions... but most of all, it's just completely wack! I mean, I'm drinking and watching this, and there are points where I just have to go "Did that really just happen, or did I make that up?" I mean, it's crazy, but really in a fun way. There's a fight scene that takes place on a turn table, and people are doing sword/fight moves to "Staying Alive." Snoop Dog's character had just served everyone "Genie Juice" which leaves everyone puffing green smoke too... It's that bizarre.

The other movie I've watched that had a similar effect was "Hudson Hawk" staring Bruce Willis. Another one you really have to watch twice, just to make sure you're not seeing things.
Announcements / Account Verification Time!
June 13, 2007, 11:42:06 AM
It's that time folks! In preparation for the server move, it's time to find out what accounts are still active. The following email was just sent to every non-locked account on If you are a phase 2 user and had a forwarding email set up, the email was sent straight there, with an extra bit on the link to save you from having to reverify your email. (As such, use the link in your email, not the one below.) For everyone else, the email went to your account here on, which (according to the rules) you should be checking occasionally, if you're not using forwarding. Of course, I know a lot of people don't, and will thus miss the message. :-P That's why I'm posting it here.

QuoteDear User ($username):
As you may be aware, I am preparing to move to a new physical server. The current server is overloaded, and because of this, many things run slower than they should. Likewise, the storage capacity is nearly maxed out, meaning I can't accept new sites. The new server should be many times faster, and have nearly one terabyte of storage, hopefully giving us years of spare capacity before it needs replacing.

As part of the moving process, I am cleaning out dead/unused accounts, as well as collecting definitive information from each user in order to facilitate easier administration. Mostly, I'm looking to collect a valid contact email address, basic information about your site, such as description, title, and type of content. Also, you'll be asked to set a new, secure password. Several users have had their accounts comprised in the past because they used easy-to-guess passwords.

Some of the benefits of the new system will include:
   Easy access to site/user preferences. You'll now be able to easily change your password, setup email forwarding, change your description. Phase 2 users currently enjoy this, but now it will be extended to all users.
   New email system and spam filtering. The spam filtering system will now be trainable. After the first few messages are trained, most email will be automatically classified and dropped straight into Junk or the Inbox. If the filter is unsure of something and needs you to double-check it, it will deliver the message to a folder called 'Unsure' Users will have folders named 'LearnAsSpam' and 'LearnAsHam' in their account. Simply moving a message into either of these folders will train the spam filter, and automatically redeliver the message to the Inbox or Junk folder as appropriate. Additionally, users with their own domain names hosted here will have the option to setup multiple email accounts, and choose specific delivery options for each.
   New newsbox system in the works. This will probably come sometime after the new server is in place, but tentative plans call for each user to be able to set image-based 'ads' that will be rotated in the newsbox on all sites, rather than the text-only 'featured site' currently in use. Additionally, the newsbox code will be changed to javascript, so that it no longer requires the use of php, and can be used/previewed properly on your local computer before upload.
   A lot of behind the scenes changes will go into place as well, making it easier for site administration, and to greatly enhance security and performance.
For more information, and to keep up to date with the status of the transition, please visit the forums.
That said, and if you wish to continue using your site, please visit the following URL and complete the account verification process. If you no longer use your account, or have received this email by mistake, simply ignore this message and you won't be bothered again.

If the above line/link is broken into two lines, you may need to reassemble it and then copy/paste into your browser.

Thank you for your time,

P.S. Feel free to contact me with any questions or feature requests for the new system, or if you have problems with the verification process.

If you didn't get the email, had the wrong address set, etc... Just follow the direct link to and follow the instructions. For those of you that have forgotten your passwords (shame on you!) email me with your username and what you'd like it set to for now.

I'm going to give this about a week or two, and then I'll start locking unverified accounts. That usually gets people's attention. After that, I'll give it another couple weeks (or more) before the actual move, in order to let the stragglers catch up.

Oh, and sorry the whole thing looks so ugly. It's one of the most kludged together pieces of code I've ever written. If you manage to break it (or think you might have), don't hesitate to let me know.
General Chat / The Circle of Life...
May 23, 2007, 07:10:02 AM
...goes both ways.

Luckiest. Calf. EVER! (And a bad day to be a lion.)
Announcements / New Forums!
May 15, 2007, 04:58:26 AM
Gonna use this forum software on the new server I think. After I went through all the trouble converting stuff to test it. I figured it made more since to switch to them now, so there's no need to do another entire conversion in the future. It seems to have properly imported all the data/users/etc. from the last forum, so I don't think there's a downside to things.

If you have trouble with things, let me know.

Some nifty new features include the ability to attach files/images directly to posts, better search functionality, great spam protection, spell checking, and many other things which I'm sure I haven't discovered yet. :-)
General Chat / Amazing Color Changing Card Trick
May 12, 2007, 04:23:59 AM
It's a card trick, so I have to ask you to bear with me. First, go watch the video. And don't read anything below the link until you do.

Highlight to reveal:
Wild, isn't it? I didn't really notice anything, as I was so intent on seeing the card trick. I'm betting a lot of you still missed one too. Did you notice the man in the gorilla suit on the side of the stage for the second half the video? Also, super secrect bonus, the tag is color=#dddddd to make text match the background.
General Chat / ManBearPig
May 11, 2007, 09:36:57 PM what they call it in southpark when they're spoofing Al Gore's warnings about climate change. I know it's rather impolitic to believe in global warming yet not actually worry about it, but well, that's where I sit. There's a bit from a song by The Postal Service that always summed up my thoughts quite nicely.
Quote from: Sleeping InAgain last night I had that strange dream
Where everything was exactly how it seemed
Where concerns about the world getting warmer
The people thought they were just being rewarded
For treating others as they'd like to be treated
For obeying stop signs and curing diseases
For mailing letters with the address of the sender
Now we can swim any day in November

Don't wake me I plan on sleeping
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in
Basically, I remember reading about dinosaurs as a kid, and how a t-rex would die today, because back then the earth was so much warmer, and the atmosphere had a much greater concentration of oxygen, and was denser. For anyone that's ever come from a high altitude down to sea level, you'll recognize that feeling of being "superman" where you just don't run out of breath no matter how hard you exercise. I used to imagine how fun it would be if earth was like that again... with shallow inland seas and jungles covering north america. Didn't seem like a bad idea to me. Sure, new mexico's gonna get even drier, but alaska's gonna get a lot more tolerable. And here in texas, I'll be able to swim any day in november. :-)

Anyway, until today, I'd never come across much of anything serious that agreed with me. That is, that we don't have to debate if global warming is real or not, we should be debating if it really matters or not. This article really lines up with my thoughts.,1518,481684,00.html
Announcements / Speed/Bandwidth Problems
May 10, 2007, 03:34:14 PM
This time, it's actually the fault of Cogent, one of the major internet backbone providers. They provide about 2/3 of the bandwidth for the datacenter where is hosted and it looks like a large chunk of their links went down. Anyway, it means slow speeds and major packet loss while they work to fix it.
General Chat / When I wish I was a scientist
May 04, 2007, 11:42:14 PM
There are times when I really wish I'd stuck with the engineering and science education I started with...

This presentation is one of those times.
General Chat / Rules Concerning Political Topics
April 28, 2007, 09:19:10 PM
There are likely to be many political threads here as the U.S. goes into this "tragically early" presidential election season. Political discussion tends to bring out the worst in people, and as such, isn't usually conducive to community welfare. This being, above all, an internet  community, I don't want to see people get divided or hurt by political debates. With that said however, I think most of the regulars here are fairly sane and rational people, capable of separating political discourse and disagreement from the other aspects of life. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to allow political topics and discussion here, even if it gets heated, so long as the participants remain at least somewhat civil, and do NOT carry grudges or issues over into non-political threads, or other aspects of the community here.

I reserve the right to delete, lock, ban, or otherwise censor any post, topic, or person breaking what I feel to be the rules of rational discourse. I state here, in advance, that I hope it does not become necessary for me to exercise this right, but if it does, know that I do it in the interest and maintaining this community, and will NOT use it to further my own (or anyone else's) beliefs. agendas, or arguments.

Now, that said, let the debates begin!
General Chat / Best Job Ever
April 10, 2007, 03:43:32 AM
Okay, so it still goes to Mythbusters... man I want their job... but a very close second is the Top Gear guys. This is the show I've previously linked, with Rocket Powered Mini Cooper on a Ski Jump (sadly only this low quality video available now) and the 747 vs. Car. As such, I now give you: Relient Robin Space Shuttle!

And on a "normal" day they just drive Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Porsches, or other supercars. I want that job.
But seriously, what's your opinion on the trend we're (sadly) calling "blogs"? I've been against the idea for years now, mostly for two reasons. 1. The word itself sounds like some gastrointestinal disorder, and 2. Because of the stereotypical "blogorehea" you find with myspace and other popular blogs. However, in the past few months, I've been finding more and more sites I like that are essentially blogs. Many of them are over at and posit extremely literate and interesting ideas and topics. They are ushering in what, in a way, I always pictured the internet as being best at... an open forum for the rational discussion of ideas amongst people from all walks of life and geographical locales. As such, I love that sort of thing. I think I still hate the word "blog" though.

What do you think about the format of blogs for websites, as opposed to more traditional, apersonal sites?
General Chat / RE: Your Mother
March 21, 2007, 06:16:53 PM
"Your mother's a [(δU/δL) / (δU/δC) | Sp=0] ≤ w - [(δU/δr) / (δU/δC) | S = 0], Trebek!",,2032704,00.html

Don't you just love science? :-)