Archive for kenners

Great Transitions (Part 1)

The blog’s been dark for too long… mainly because I haven’t known how to break this story. I guess I’ll just do it normally:

My life is changing again.

For the last few years I’ve worked at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California, and lived in Lancaster, 45 minutes away. It was my first real job out of college, and ever since I had picked aerospace as a possible career opportunity, I was elated to be serving my country by furthering scientific research in any way I could. It turns out, I am pretty good at it. Read more

The Internet can become very confusing very quickly

I recently had a very rapid and diffuse exchange of ideas and information, causing confusion among strangers (strangers to me, anyway). Below is an attempt at clarity (with no guarantees).

I follow a bunch of game devs on Twitter partially because I like video games, partially because I want to program for video games, mostly because game devs are awesome people. Through Dave Jaffe‘s tweets, I found Adam Orth and Derek Daniels. I also follow sci-fi writers, including for the purposes of this blog William Gibson. He’s retweeted @GammaCounter many times, so I also started following him directly (much to my amusement).

Since this post is all about clarity, I’ve translated Twitter into IRC.

#Twitter/derek_omni> Obligatory double rainbow photo
#Twitter/derek_omni> http://twitpic.com/3iiy1v
#Twitter/kenners> derek_omni: dude your photo has a ghost car in it.
#Twitter/kenners> So awesome
#Twitter/derek_omni> haha, I didn’t notice until you posted that!
#Twitter/derek_omni> LOL
#Twitter/derek_omni> so awesome
(((days later)))
#Twitter/GammaCounter> Just realized:
#Twitter/GammaCounter> RIP, the accidental “double exposures” of film cameras, with their occasional hilarity…
#Twitter/GammaCounter> another casualty of progress…
#Twitter/kenners> GammaCounter: still exists on cellphone cameras – adam_orth had a ghost car photo last week!
#Twitter/GammaCounter> adam_orth kenners: That’s amazing, I wonder how it works…
#Twitter/GammaCounter> latent image persistence?
#Twitter/kenners> found!
#Twitter/kenners> “derek_omni> Obligatory double rainbow photo
derek_omni> http://twitpic.com/3iiy1v
#Twitter/kenners> my guess: image compression happens in parallel with CCD data transfers, saving memory but possibly splintering the frame?
#Twitter/kenners> adam_orth: huge apologies, I’ve mistaken you for derek_omni
#Twitter/kenners> I blame my cold
!GammaCounter!*@* OPERWALL – Corrected on digital double exposure! Paranormal minivan & majik rainbows: http://twitpic.com/3iiy1v thanks to kenners, derek_omni
#Twitter/GammaCounter> Thanks… btw, ever see that crazy “Cubism” artifact, on video transmissions when it gets all bodged up?
#Twitter/kenners> GammaCounter: no but googling cubist artifacts have led to wiki pages on “glitch art” and “circuit bending” …
#Twitter/kenners> sleeping on it
(((hours later)))
#Twitter/adam_orth> kenners derek_omni GammaCounter: I’m so confused…
#Twitter/GammaCounter> adam_orth: Sorry.. it’s about how even digital cameras can make “double exposures” sort of…

Better, right?

Here’s the Twitter equivalent:

http://twitter.com/#!/derek_omni/status/17729190367334400
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/17730523560411137
http://twitter.com/#!/derek_omni/status/17734439027089408
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/19967078010191872
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/19968278352891904
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/19969293672251392
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/19972201088290816
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/19972913134309376
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/19975265266434048
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/19975344551362560
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/19975823708655616
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/19976213103648768
http://twitter.com/#!/kenners/status/19978514929287168
http://twitter.com/#!/adam_orth/status/20002512698347520
http://twitter.com/#!/GammaCounter/status/20003511588618240

Chrismas Eve Sleuthing: Searching for Sherlock

I did all of my Christmas shopping in 6 hours. All the while, I tried to find a DVD copy of the new Sherlock series, which aired on BBC this year. I was really happy that a release made it to the states by Christmastime. Since my parents went to England almost exclusively to see 221B Baker Street (or to visit distant family on their farm in Iron Acton, whatever), they were hooked the minute I mentioned it. I wasn’t surprised to see it on a Christmas list email, so I figured I’d pick up a copy while winding through other stores.

BUT OH GOD DID I FAIL.

I went to Barnes & Noble first; the system said they had one, but the staff and I couldn’t locate it. I then checked B&N online, all of the Austin stores had sold out. I also checked out Borders online. Completely sold out.

I took a chair at B&N and did some smartphone searching: Target.com had it, but online only. BestBuy.com had it, ship to store. Walmart.com had it, ship to store. FYE.com, online only. Many swings, many misses. I was breaking all the rules of baseball (or shopping?).

Tried to limited-scope crowdsource the problem (via chats on gtalk). jpnance suggested Fry’s – a quick online search said “item available” so off I went. Searched with the staff until they closed, no luck. One even suggested that someone probably had it in their basket right now; off to a happy home (I hope).

nbacarisse suggested a local shop called Waterloo Records. I got a hold of them on the phone, but no good news.

lukezim suggested another local shop called Encore movies and music. I got a hold of them on the phone too, but no good news. They hadn’t even gotten their first shipment in, but at least it was on order.

By then stores had started to close (being Christmas Eve and all), so I ended up ordering it online and springing for two-day shipping. At the very least, I will be able to hand Sherlock: Season One to its recipient sometime in December.

Update from Azeroth

I’d like to say I planned this perfectly, except that the original concept was deeply flawed.

It seemed simple enough: Play endgame World of Warcraft with a group of friends. Get a character to level 80, and then I could participate in all of the things they did on a weekly basis, like I did with Team Fortress 2. I’d never played endgame content before, and for some reason the concept was strongly compelling.

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I might be a bad person, but at least I have chocolate.

At this precise moment, I am installing the dreaded World of Warcraft massively-multiplayer online game.

For about two years, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of playing a videogame called Team Fortress 2, purely online, with a bunch of misfits and crazies, boys and girls ranging from 15 to 40, from all over North America (and even some overseas!) . We are called the Bar Room Heroes, but conversation in The Bar Room can be filled with such “hateful” debauchery that we often call ourselves The Butt-Raping Homos. Now Grandma, chill the F out. This is an organization based entirely on the Internet, where insults are hurled by the truckload. We call each other fags and retards, insult a wide variety of mothers (your mom’s WIDE, see what I mean?), and say things like ‘butthurt’ and ‘dickbutt’ and ‘butts’ ad nauseum. The point is, it’s not serious. At least, not coming from me.

The biggest draws to this community, aside from butt-related epithets, are the voice chat features, and the community drinking game. Voice chat comes standard with TF2, but we enable both teams to talk to each other, while alive or waiting to respawn. This is not configured by default, since it allows people to comment on the game while dead (and thus able to look at the goings-on of other players), and significantly hinders team-based PRIVATE communications. The community drinking game is for the alcoholic in you (in all of us, really), so that if you are killed while playing the drinking game, you must drink your beer. There are variants, but it’s a safe way to spend a Friday or Saturday night with 50 people. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!

So, returning to the point: When these fine gentlementlemen and ladyfaces decided to start playing this OTHER online game, with RAIDS, I felt like it could be a good time. Having played WoW for a summer already back in college, I hardly scratched the surface of the game. Now, with a pretty ambitious goal staring me in the face, it seems like I might try again for another few months. Why not; I’m an adult, right? Right?

Right.

In preparation, I’ve read a few wiki pages on building a proper mage character, and I’ve downloaded a few Addon packs to help me catch up. After all, the folks have a few years on me. I might post from time to time regarding my adventures, or when I have to wait for patches to download.

If I stop posting for too long, though, I am hoping that someone has enough presence of mind to confirm that I’m still alive.

Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop

Holy crap this is fantastic.

Pasta Sauce Recipe gone horribly wrong

[UPDATED with photos and a priceless finishing move]

This is a pasta sauce recipe lifted from southernfood.about.com. Using this recipe to the letter was a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE THING, and I’m tempted to put up a scathing review on the page itself, just so the author feels some sort of PUNISHMENT for what she’s done to my life this night.

Anyway, this is how I made sauce:
Read more

This happens all the time.

The worst thing about being a nice guy is that any time I try to help someone do something on the Internet, two things inevitably happen.

More often than I can count, the person who I’m trying to help figures out how to solve their own problem. This is great, except why the hell ask for help in the first place? Solve your own problems next time, before you ask for help.

Now, I understand people like to say “Man I need help with this” and then immediately decide they don’t want to let themselves down by giving up. I’ve been in that situation many times. The way I’ve found to deal with any confusion that might arise, is to say something along the lines of “Ah I can figure this crap out myself.” This will at least let the people who might have been trying to help know that you’re still committed to solving the problem yourself. It leaves you receptive to commentary. But, they also know not to try too hard, since their efforts may go to waste if you figure it out yourself. The point is, TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE STILL TRYING TO SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM, SO THEY DON’T FEEL LIKE THEY WASTED TIME AND EFFORT ON YOUR DUMB ASS.

Smart and stubborn as I am, if I get hung up on a problem, it must be pretty damn big. So, I usually take a step back, figure out how to ask the right questions, then ask them. Then I stop thinking about it, and I wait for people to respond. None of this operating-in-parallel bullshit. I asked for help, now I have to let help be offered. This would be a perfect time for a snack.

The only other time I try to help people on the Internet, the folks who need help have no ability to actually receive this help. My analogy for this is kind of like teaching a person with no arms how to play baseball. Even if I use the right terms (“swing the bat”), it’s still impossible to actually accomplish that, since the person has no arms. Note that this has only happened with two people: my grandmother, who used typewriters and had no muscle memory for “double-clicking”; and my father, who says “there must be some way to do X” and then expects me to impart enough of my years of computer knowledge in order to somehow let him do X. Instant messaging is quite the neato technology, but it’s not a brain link.

Because I need to learn this eventually.

I’m sure Patrick will understand.

Anyway, for those of you wondering, the embed only worked when I clicked the HTML tab to paste the embed code pulled from YouTube… After I flipped back to the Visual tab, the embed code was totally garbled by the WordPress editor, and the result is a failed embed. Tears for all.

Looks ok now though, dunnit?

Currently on my whiteboard

I wrote something on my whiteboard a few nights ago, but I don’t really know what it means. Maybe when I’m older.

Here it is, for posterity (and so I can erase it and fill it with other things):

Fear of exposure/ownership/commitment
Leads to
Lack of Friendships due to
[ Never connecting with p\eople who share your passions ]

Wise beyond my years, huh.