Yuki witch hat

(no subject)

TVTropes is wonderful. The site is a wiki, built around the exploration and explanation of all those time-worn plot devices and character types that keep cropping up in TV, movies, comics, and everywhere else in entertainment and life.

A wonderful bit, from the It Just Bugs Me section:
[Q.] How can the Doo family line talk? None of the other animals in the show can speak or do the kind of anthropomorphic stuff that Scooby, Scrappy, and the rest of the Doo clan can do. Did some kind of experiment happen with them during the puppy farm they were born at? Are they spawn of some kind of Noble Demon hellhound? What?
[A.] They're descended from Rex the Wonder Dog, who is, in turn descended from the dog in Wuthering Heights, who was present at the Wold Newton Meteor strike, thereby imbuing the lineage with extraordinary qualities. See here for further details. (See what happens when you ask silly questions? You get answers.)
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Haruhi fingerspin

The Ur-Alien-Abduction

Jim MacDonald has written a long piece over at Making Light, reconstructing the driving route of Betty and Barney Hill on the night that they are said to have been the first (and most completely) documented case of alien abduction. It's a great piece of writing, and he comes to an interesting conclusion.

The post is quite long, written over a period of time, and a Movable Type bug truncated the final version, so the end of the post is in a comment.

Alien Abduction
Alien Abduction (conclusion)
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code monkey

A followup five years in the making

On October 18, 2002, I posted that I wanted some things:
[L]ike the TouchStream ST, which is a mutant cross between a keyboard and a touchpad, except it can register multiple finger touches, and tell your fingers apart, so in addition to being a mouse it can do all sorts of nifty gestures. (Heck, that list isn't even all of 'em.) I'd really really like to try it out, because it looks like it'd be insanely useful and cool.
I managed to pick one up a few weeks ago.

I got it for free -- the computing center had one they surplussed out to the rest of the campus computing people -- though of course it's only 'mine' in the same sense that the laptop is mine or the Treo is mine; it all belongs to the office. It's an ST/LP -- the difference between the two models being the unattached angled metal stand/wristrest. Learning the gestures has taken some time, but they can speed up things immensely, and I'm practically touch-typing on the thing now.

Drawbacks? The company has gone out of business (its R&D guys/owners are now working for Apple in UI development and are presumably responsible for the multitouch stuff in the iPhone). And the software to configure the device won't run on an Intel mac (though all the actual setup driving the device is in firmware, so you can configure on a Windows box or a G* mac and use it with an Intel mac fine).

I'm really liking it. If you were to try to buy one, it'd run $700-$1000 on ebay (current auctions and buy it now prices), so if it weren't for the Computing Center's yard sale and serendipity I'd never have gotten the chance.

(As for the rest of the post, I don't really watch TV anymore, so a DVR is a little pointless, and I'd now rather have the GP32's successor, the GP2X. Though there are other priorities...)
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Seen on Campus (a continuing series)

A large black Labrador walked past me as I left the office, calmly leading a girl wearing dark glasses along the sidewalk. It was a very well-trained guide dog --

-- though you could tell from its eyes that it desperately wished not to be, as they followed with a hint of desperation the squirrel relaxedly jogging along ahead of it.
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    amused amused
Taper Pirandello

More second life

The widget is up to 5753 downloads now, and Apple's site has it at number 11 on their most-downloaded-of-the-unspecified-time-period list, no doubt due to the featuredment.

Here's another picture of me, with an avatar I bought recently:

The avatar is called Common Raven; it looks and moves astonishingly lifelike. When walking, it hops along; standing, it'll preen occasionally and do that cocking its head to look at things bit. And flying --

Flying in Second Life is always fun, mind; you're _flying_, for heaven's sake. But flying as a bird, when the bird is flapping its wings accurately and swooping and diving and hovering, and drifting to the ground with gentle wingbeats, that's a _joy_.

And then it's even cooler, because I am wearing a fez.
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Taper Pirandello

Second Life mapping and popularity

I've been playing recently with the Second Life Mapping API—the tool that Linden Lab provides that lets you put Second Life's in-world map on webpages—and had some success in making a basic map utility with it.

And since I'm a Apple Developer Connection member, I got a preview version of Dashcode, the in-house Dashboard Widget development tool that they'll be shipping with Leopard, OS X 10.5. I made a quick widget that reads an RSS feed; that takes about a dozen clicks and 30 seconds, so I cast about for something a little more complicated to play with. Aha! Mashup time!

The result is the Second Life Map Widget. It's pretty nice; you can browse through the map, jump to sims you want to look up, and teleport to the location you've got showing. Once I got it working well enough to release, I put up the webpage there and submitted it to the SL forums and some download sites, including Apple's Dashboard Widget site.

If you're viewing that link soon after I've posted this, you'll notice that the Second Life Map Widget is there on the front page as the Featured Widget. It first showed up there last night; it was in the "Staff Favorites" list below that a few hours after I posted it on the 10th. [Edit: For posterity, here's a screenshot.]


By my logs, there've been 2581 direct downloads of the zip file from my site as of 2007-04-12 10:48:00.

I'm glad (though I'm sure not much will come of it) that I put an invitation to donate and a paypal link on the page before I posted to the directory sites. (There's also my SL name -- Taper Pirandello -- and someone has donated L$100 there, the equivalent of 3.8 US cents. Woo hoo!) [Edit 2: whoops, more like 38 cents. Calculator dropped a decimal.
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Kyon headshake

(no subject)

According to this article from WaiWai, Osaka has a fortune-telling establishment, Hokago Club, staffed by high-school girls with, er, inventive methods of clairvoyance:
BINTA URANAI (Slap Soothsaying), where a schoolgirl will either slap or punch a customer's face as hard as she can and then read the results. "We'll take absolutely no responsibility for any injuries incurred," the schoolgirl seer who metes out the reading tells Shukan Post.
RUUZU SOKKUSU URANAI (Loose Socks Divinity), is arguably the most schoolgirl-like divining method of all those used at Hokago Club, and involves a schoolgirl spiritualist removing her loose, baggy socks and, according to Shukan Post, wrapping them around the customer's neck and pulling tightly until she can discern what the future holds in store for him.
I thought Japan couldn't surprise me anymore.