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Topics - Xepher

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General Chat / Music Genome Project
« on: November 29, 2005, 09:34:11 pm »
Okay, this is really pretty cool. It's a custom radio station thing, where you give it a starting band or song you like, then just give thumbs up/down to other songs. It figures out your tastes and plays stuff it thinks you'll like. I'm actually kind of impressed. I put in "Flogging Molly" and in 2 songs it was playing They Might Be Giants. I put in "Descendants" and I'm 6 songs into that now, and like everything it's played. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a lot of the more obscure stuff I listen to. Not much in the way of Irish Folk music.

General Chat / Frack That's Cool!
« on: November 22, 2005, 05:40:15 pm »

I know it was just on slashdot, so some of you may have seen it already, but... dang that is some awesome tech there. For those too lazy to read the article, just know that each of those pictures/movies is one single shot, taken with a handheld camera. All the refocusing is done after the fact by computer, and is possible because the camera is capturing a complete 4 dimensional light-field, rather than just the 2d slice of it a normal camera does.

Just imagine the implications. Cameras won't have any moving parts, as there will be no need to focus anymore. Security videos will just have to point in a general direction, as any individual bit (like a face or a license plate) will be refocusable later. It actually makes it possible to do the "image enhancement" thing you see in movies, and read a license plate out of a blurry photo. Additionally (though they don't show it in practice in this paper) the technology allows you to make 3D images out of the same single snapshot.

General Chat / Comics
« on: November 10, 2005, 05:33:32 pm »
So I end up with a lot of, what we shall call comic-reading time at work. As such, I quickly run out of comics to read. So I figure I'd start a thread here, asking for some more recomendations. I think it's probably safe to skip the really popular ones, so no need for everyone to point out penny arcade, megatokyo, ctrl+alt+del, or VGcats. Also, I think it'd be more entertaining if everyone posts a link to a specific strip they found funny, rather than just the comic in general.

Here's a new one I found recently.

General Chat / Death to Blogs!
« on: November 03, 2005, 08:21:14 pm »
Many of you already know how much I despite the term "blog" and the way I tend to rant when it gets used in my company. I just found this article though, which pretty much says everything I wanted to, but uses words and crudeness I never would. Thus, it's much funnier.

Announcements / MySQL and PhpBB
« on: October 27, 2005, 07:49:23 pm »
MySQL service on is offically "deprecated" as of this post. I will continue to run the service for a while yet, but will not be upgrading to the newer releases of the MySQL package. There are several reasons for this. First, it's a royal pain to manage and maintain. Secondly, there's now a very viable (and much more portable) option in the form of SQLite. Third, the overhead and resources for the mysql server could be better spent elsewhere. There's a reason most serious MySQL installations are on dedicated machines, seperate from the webserver.

What this means though, is that web applications that rely on MySQL (such as phpBB) will need to be either replaced or upgraded to something that supports another method of storage. I personally have to rewrite a lot of the backend software for itself to move away from MySQL, so this a headache for me as well.

I think this is a good time to mention that phpBB is also going to be "deprecated." Basically, there have been so many problems (many of them security related) with phpBB that I want everyone to stop using it. I'm not going to out-and-out ban it like many hosting providers are doing, but I will ask that no NEW installs of phpBB be made, and that users do their best to phase out existing installations as soon as possible. I'm not saying you have to have it figured out by next week or anything, but now is the time to start looking for alternatives. I'd personally suggest which is what runs these forums, and so far, hasn't had any gaping security holes. Also, it supports SQLite and is a double-bonus in that respect. The easiest way to do this is to do what I did here. Make a punBB (or other forum package) install using SQLite, and let it coexist with your old forum for a while as users move over.

Any questions and comments on this policy should be posted here. Requests for technical help with installing/upgrading software should be placed under the technical support forum.

General Chat / It's not a Holodeck...
« on: October 14, 2005, 04:06:51 pm »

General Chat / Star Wreck
« on: October 02, 2005, 07:34:02 am »
Bizzare, but one of the better looking fan-films I've ever seen. Full length movie, free to download.

Favorite quote:
"It's a passable day to die."
--Lieutenant Dwarf

General Chat / A Quake! A Quake!
« on: October 01, 2005, 08:17:38 pm »
"Oh really yeah no fake? We kind of had that feeling when the ground began to shake!"

But animaniacs songs aside...

We had an earthquake here last night. A couple minutes before midnight a 4.1 earthquake hit centered just 14 miles north east of here. I was lying in bed, listening to the final chapter of harry potter and the order of the phoenix when I hear a noise that sounded kinda like a jet approaching, then BOOM! it was enough to shake me back and forth in the bed. I jumped up and went and looked out the windows, because at first I thought it might be a sonic boom from a jet... then I realized I'd heard the "jet" before the boom, and that doesn't happen. Anyway, once I realized it was a quake... Awesome! Just thinking about how much energy is release in even a smaller one like this. I mean, enough that a 30 mile area of granite bounced around like that. Rock! :-)

A QUAKE! A QUAKE! from the Yakko's World album
Music and lyrics by Randy Rogel.

Music adapted from The Happy Farmer by Robert Schumann.
Yakko: It's a quiet, peaceful night
       The moon is shining bright
       Giving not a hint of what's in store
       A few hours before morning
       Without a single warning
       Something strange begins to move the floor
       A quake, a quake
       The house begins to shake
       You're bouncing 'cross the floor
       And watching all your dishes break

       You're sleeping; there's a quake
       You're instantly awake
       You're leaping out of bed
       And shouting "Oh for heaven's sake!"
       I ran outside with neighbors
       Their faces full of shocks
       That's because I'm standing there
       In nothing but my socks
W+D  : Oops!
Yakko: A quake, a quake
       This must be a mistake
       Just feel the ground
       Go up and down
       Won't someone hit the brake?
       A quake, a quake
       Oh, what a mess they make
       The bricks, the walls
       The chimney falls
       Destruction in its wake
       I did not have insurance
       I called them from the scene
       And suddenly I'm listening
       To an answering machine

       Say "Too late, too late
       You shouldn't ought to wait
       'Cause now you're stuck
       We wish you luck
       Here comes a six-point-eight!"
       Whose fault, whose fault?
       Blame it on the fault
       'Cause Mister Richter
       Can't predict her
       Kicking our asphalt
       Seismologists all say
       Tectonic plates are in between
       An encroaching crustal mantle
       Yeah, so what the heck's that mean?
       It means a quake, a quake
W+D  : Oh really, yeah, no fake?
       We kind of had that feeling
       When the ground began to shake
Yakko: And so we wait
       Resign ourselves to fate
       Because our lawn
       Is sitting on
       A continental plate
       We shivered through a blizzard
       Went swimming in a flood
       Then we blew off a hurricane
       And now we hear a thud
       Of a quake, a quake
       How much more can we take?
       We thought that we had seen it all
       But this one takes the cake
       The dirt, the rocks
       Those crazy aftershocks
       It's just the planet
       Moving granite
       Several city blocks
*YW+D: Now the town is falling down
*      While the ground
*      Moves around
*      We won't let it get us down
*      Get beneath the door frame
Yakko: A quake, a quake
       It's time to pull up stake
Dot  : The worst is over
Y+W  : We don't buy it
       We're fed up
       We can't deny it
       We just want some peace and quiet
YW+D : So we're moving to Beirut!
* - sung to "London Bridge"

General Chat / Air Force Kills Rudolph
« on: September 30, 2005, 03:53:10 am »
Air force admits to killing Rudolph the Reindeer with F-16s, pays santa nearly $5,000 in compensation. Literally!

Applications / Application Status: OPEN!
« on: September 30, 2005, 03:33:42 am »
This thread and it's title will show the current application status. Do NOT post a new application if it is closed.

Current Status: Open!

And only six months later than planned! :-)

Knowhow Trading Post / Artica: Coders, Artists, Testers Needed
« on: September 29, 2005, 10:40:43 pm »
"Artica" is the (temporary?) name I've picked for the art-site project I mentioned over here. I'd suggest anyone that hasn't should at least skim that thread for the parts where I describe my idea(s) before continuing here. For the lazy though, here's a VERY brief recap.

I want to make a community art site, similar to things like Deviant Art, Yerf, Elfwood, Artvark, etc. I want it to be a community site, run by the members, rather than a profit-oriented corporation. To this end, I've several ideas for how things would work that would set this site apart from the others. Membership (for artists) would be by invitation only. There would be a system of "karmic currency" in place (Whuffie?) that basically indicates how respected someone is in the community. People with more respect would have great administrative ability... that is, they'd have more power to do things such as moderate posts, invite more people, punish and ban troublemakers, petition for new ideas, etc. The system is actually quite complicated, but on the front (user) side of things is very simple. People would see "scores" and have the ability to give people a thumbs up/down.

In addition to the karmic system, there are a few technical features that I've yet to see in other art archives that would be new as well. For example, an option to have multiple revisions of a work. I often see a rough sketch, an ink drawing, and a full color version of the same image, yet they're always posted as new "works" and end up seperate in the archives. Similar things would be done for "set" images... things like a series of ABC pictures and such. Also, themeable home pages so each artist can customize their own areas, yet still keep a consistent feel throughout.

Anyway, the ideas and the full feature set are still in a quite malleable state. Lots of things are subject to change. I do know that this is something I want to do, and I think needs to be done. I, of course, already have the server resources to host and run such a thing, but it is a massive undertaking to actually code and design such a place. I'm going for something quite the opposite from There I started with nothing and slowly built it up to what it is today. I've also (intentionally) kept a less-than-professional air about the place. I never wanted this to be a "major" project. Artica will be different though. I don't want to slap something together and try and get people interested a few at a time. My intention is to, quite frankly, surprise everyone from out of left field. I want to have a fully functional, professional looking, easy-to-use site up and running before accepting the first artist. I want someplace where people will be clammoring to get into, and where they'll work hard to keep it a great place. I want a community everyone can be proud to be part of.

Now, to that end, I realize I can't do it alone. Yes, I could probably code the site and get things going, but as soon as it starts getting "interesting" I don't think I'd be able to keep up by myself. I need help. Primarily I need a few other people that can code well in PHP. (Honestly, I'm not that great at actual coding. I turn everything into an if/then/else statement and I've never even used an "object.") Also, some artists would be needed, both for their connections in various other art communities for promotion, and for design and graphics for the site and engine. It's gonna be an art site, and a nearly graphic-less page like on would be rather stupid. Additionally, we'll probably need a good deal of beta testers to go through and try and break things. These can (and probably should) be ordinary joe and jane user. No special skills required. Just a willingness to click on everything until it breaks. :-)

While I would defintely like people to have skill in their areas, I think it's more important to find people who are motivated and actually interested in such a project. This is gonna be a long-term thing. I'm not in a rush, but I would like to see steady work being done. Until I/we get more into it, it's hard to estimate a timeframe, but 6 months to a year of work is quite possible. This wouldn't be nearly full time on anyone's part, and I don't intend to have weekly deadlines or anything, but I'm just mentioning this possibility up front because I don't want people that get bored in a few weeks and wander off. Ideally I'd like to see a functional site up for testing well this side of 6 months, but the time frame is heavily under flux until we finalize features and see how many people we can get on the team.

I think that about sums up my piece for now. If you're seriously interested in working on this, don't be scared off by my admonitions about long/hard work. Most of you know me, and I'm not a slave driver or anything. Things come up and people can't always stick to commitments. I know this, and it's expected. I just want to make sure of peoples intentions more than anything.

So, who's interested? I'm not looking for commitments yet, just an idea of who might consider it.

General Chat / The "Yet Another Funny Video" Thread
« on: September 27, 2005, 05:39:37 am »
Just for the sake of novelty, let's avoid flash, and stick with actual videos this time.

Bear + Tree + (surprise) x Tranquilizer Gun = Comedy.

Bear + Salmon + (surprise) x Fisherman = Comedy.

Macintosh + Power User = Comedy.

And of course, Germans just = Funny!

Yes, it's german, but the song is Moskau and they're pretending to be russian. I actually have copies of two full albums from these guys. I just couldn't resist after seeing the video. The music is quite catchy.

Now we see how much my traffic stats spike after all these video downloads! :-)

Announcements / Bah! (Overnight Glitch)
« on: September 26, 2005, 03:18:26 pm »
So, I upgraded some software on the server last night for a "minor security fix" Of course, the slightly newer version completely changed the layout of all config files. I complained about this in another thread already, but bottom line is I had to rewrite most of the webserver config from scratch. I think I got it all working, but I could've missed a bit of stuff here and there.

Then I wake up this morning, and all sorts of weird errors are cropping up. Took me 30 minutes to figure out what was even going on. It looked like permission problems or some such. But no, all that was fine. Turns out the root partition was full, as this month's traffic has been quite high, and the log file is well over 2 gigabytes in size.

Before you ask, no, deleting stuff you don't need won't help. The home/user directories are on a seperate partition. What helped, was that I had to go delete a whole lot of junk left from software builds, old logs, and various other cruft. We should be good now, and I apologize for the trouble.

Announcements / Chat!
« on: September 17, 2005, 03:11:55 am »
No, really... check it out!

General Chat / Toys!
« on: September 12, 2005, 06:18:39 pm »
So, it's certainly a long way to christmas or whatever, but I was just looking around online at various "toys" that I wish I could afford, and I'm curious as to what sorts of things the rest of you wish for. Let's ignore the semi-practical like "more ram" or "a more economical car" and stick with the really FUN stuff... but keep it possible. I want a MIG Fighter Jet too, but...

Here's a couple of mine...
21" LCD tablet screen. Pressure, tilt, and rotation sensitive pen table, with 1600x1200 resolution. I'm not even a real artist and I want one of these!

Oh, and a 16.7 megapixel camera would be nice too...

But I could "settle" for the Rebel XT

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