Monthly Archives: February 2008

the FAIL thread

O RLYAs you will recall I get a lot of enjoyment from image macros.

What are they? They are images with a caption. They follow established internet memes. These memes generally originate on sites like [NSFW] 4chan or somethingawful. They are endlessly repeated until funny.

I am going to post an unholy stream of comments on this post with images that I’ve made from the photo archive.

Now ideally *you* should make one as well and add it as a comment. But for the love of Jebus, how?

Roflbot makes it easy.

  1. Go to roflbot and make the image.

  2. You get an option to host it for free on Imageshack. Do this and get the URL, at the bottom where it says Direct link to image
  3. Add a comment on this post with the URL – I can make it a proper link for you.
  4. Profit!

For reference [some NSFW]: lolcats, DO NOT WANT, FAIL, NOM NOM NOM, O RLY?.

vendors and their sausage fingers

One of the fun parts of my job is negotiating with software vendors.

Small companies hit upon an idea and develop a product in their shed. Once it just about compiles and the GUI looks nice, they scrape off the Release Candidate 1 label and embark on the sales mission, traipsing around bigger companies to convince them of the product’s ability to cure cancer and grant immortality.

The vendors arrive in nervy teams throwing business cards like shuriken. A typical party consists of:

  • 1 × Sales Guy. Polished to a blinding sheen. Practices his handshake ten times before breakfast. Promises “not to include lots of slideware”, then immediately follows with twenty-five minutes of fucking Powerpoint. If this guy is answering your questions, you’re not asking the right questions.
  • 1 × Techie Guy Who Wrote Most Of It. Had his ponytail cut off before being allowed to leave the office. After months of coaching is now capable of talking about the product in a vaguely coherent way. Sales Guy will look to Techie Guy with barely-contained panic when a difficult technical question is raised.
  • 1 × Quiet Guy Whose Purpose Is Never Quite Clear. You will shake his doughy hand, notice his carefully combed hair, and be slightly uncomfortable with his creepy presence.
  • 1 × Level 15 dual-class Ranger/Druid.

Based on the demo I saw yesterday we can also make the following observation:

typo chart

mp3-dom or death

no, reallyThis is a tech update for iTunes users, opponents of Digital Rights Management and those who generally like to see The Man getting sexually interfered with.

For iTunes investors like myself who have maxed out their ‘five authenticated computers’ allotment, there is nothing more annoying than emailing someone a great tune only to discover it’s a crappy locked-up .m4p file. It’s possible to open these files up, but awkward and time consuming.

If this applies to you go and check out doubletwist, a desktop app for PC, now in open beta. They promise to be free indefinitely. Fire it up and it goes to work decoding all your protected iTunes files (but leaves the originals intact). You’ll have to leave it overnight – it’s an intensive process.

The other part is that it hooks into your facebook account, so you can easily punt files (music/pics/video) to your shallow, refresh-clicking online acquaintances.

The reason I’m backing this one is because it’s written by a true information hero, DVD Jon – someone who dedicated their abilities to freeing information wherever it’s encoded. This is the guy who made his DVD-cracking algorithm so terse that they printed it on a T-shirt, and consequently could not ban it.

naming for fun and profit

People love naming things. Naming is powerful. You get to make the all-important branding decision. To dictate how your artifact will greet the world and colour people’s first impression.

WTFMy manager at work loves naming things. Specifically, being able to add to the pool of acronyms in the world. Surely a noble cause, given their scarcity in technology.

It’s not a good trend. By sacrificing clarity for brevity, plans and documents quickly degenerate into an incomprehensible gibber of FRCD ND MNGNGLSS CAPS, not unlike a cipher such as L337. Sometimes I think it’s deliberate, to make things sound more complex and impressive than they actually are.

This week we came up with a new utility: the Schema Attribute Tool. As giving it a catchy acronym is of vital importance, imagine my delight when said manager enthusiastically put forward “the SCAT” as an appropriate name.

“A tasty idea!” I chuckled, pointing him to the Wikipedia entry.

Lucky for him I’m not so naive.

I turned back to work my own project, the Java Engine Scalable-USer Primary-Information SyStem For Low Availability PoSitioning.

cold chelsea randomness

brains kittySunday in New York began with bright city sunlight. I made plans for a Central Park expedition, but the afternoon was overtaken by sudden storm winds and snow cold blowing. On 7th Avenue, square signs on thin poles rock back and forth like mentals. Yellow traffic lights nod and swing from their cables like those on Sparkwood and 21.

I took some photos with the latest Exilim incarnation until my fingers got cold. Then flipped up my collar and trudged home for for tea and medals coffee and brownies.

Gaming for zero bucks

I’m doing a pretty good job of eliminating free time, and when it does occur I easily fripper it away feeding my fascination with new and independent games. With that in mind, your reader can do worse than glowering purposefully at tigsource and fun-motion.

Couple of recommendations then. First I was surprised at the crunching medieval RPG physicality of Mount & Blade. Hacking people down from horseback has never been so much fun, despite lacking the delicate attention to horsey detail you remember from Shadow of the Colossus.

The other discovery is the utterly absorbing ASCII bombshell Dwarf Fortress, but that’s another post entirely.

And lastly although Call of Duty isn’t free, the Zero Punctuation review is, and will occupy much less of your life. I owe it to myself to shell out for this one but I don’t need another excuse to be chained to the laptop.

Memes

Since the early days of ALL YOUR BASE I’ve been a total sucker for interweb memes. The more obscure and geeky the better. Witness the chuckles I still derive from image macros. Besides the obvious lolcatting, I present the simple joy of FAIL. Or (NSFW, sorry) DO NOT WANT.

Youtube is a mithril-mine of random and inexplicably funny memes for those with a robust palate. If you find Lynchian repetitition, epileptic visuals and ear-splitting noise an appealing combination you might enjoy the culture of video-mash such as this one. Or you can keep it anime with IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAND.

As the author says, these are “completely without purpose other than to cause emotion in the viewer, commonly that of confusion or amusement. It is also pure internet culture, with its everchanging series of memes and fads.” I find it fascinating.

PS. cheers to P for writing to me and supplying the Romero-kitty.

ash you like it

Rotund plebian Peter Kay once observed that on some days, you see loads of people on crutches. This is true, in the sense that it tells you something about the threshold for novelty in your brain, and how everything below that threshold becomes background noise.

ash crossThe same thing happened to me today, except today I noticed loads of people with birthmarks on their heads. Some of the marks were quite intense, almost black. In fact some of them were shaped like – oh, I see. Walking down Fifth Avenue towards St Patrick’s cathedral, 1 in every 10 pedestrians has the black spot in the middle of their dish – a startling number, given the shopping horde. A fair cross-section of gender and ethnicities.

This visual impression of Ash Wednesday – the mass tattooing, the negativity of guilt and penance – is one of crudeness, of religious cross-pollination and paganism.

At the cathedral itself, lines of bowed citizens wait for the local paedophile to daub the icon of torture on their eagerly pious heids.

Then the rain started to come down. Not as though to wash our sins away; but rather as if the clouds were anxious to wash away the evidence of our failure to move on, to better and less easily corrupted ideas.