We've been talking today in #FGIJ about my post a couple days ago on web-spam. We've basically been trying to come up with some good ideas for fighting it. Tabke has also commented about it on his site.
After all of our conversations, you know what I've come away with? I've realized the following two things:
I Am Legend is a film that apparently comes out this week. It's based on the classic science fiction novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. It's actually the fourth film to be based on this novel, but is the first one to actually share the same name as the novel. It is also the first movie that seems to follow the novel in terms of settings, concepts, and characters.
It's also going to be a piece of crap.
So apparently my pastebin has been targeted by spammers. I certainly know that my site (and all of my other sites) have been targeted in the past. I even had to do some extensive clean-ups here at sh.com to clear out spam.
But what alternative for a pastebin is there other than, you know, pastebin? I've looked, and none seem to give me the ease and simplicity of pastebin while giving me ample anti-spam utilities. And no, just adding a captcha to pastebin doesn't solve the problem. Hell, captchas here at sh.com don't solve the problem. OCRs are too sophisticated and captchas too imperfect.
I have some ideas for stuff that could replace captchas... one of these days I'll probably write them up... maybe make a Drupal plugin that uses them, or my own pastebin. Someday... when I have more free time.
In the meantime, I'll just bitch and moan about how the internet is fucked up by all these asshole spammers.
I know I've had a lot of posts about this stuff lately, but it's been heavy on my mind since the discussion I mentioned here. It just astounds me, and confounds me, that people really are stupid enough to a) think that there is some innate conflict between science and religion, b) dismiss accepted scientific theories backed with strong scientific evidence (such as evolution, carbon dating, etc.) without studying them in the slightest, and c) fervently argue that science is out to destroy religion and it must be wrong without first getting their facts straight.
At any rate, I read this article today, and I was pleased to see that I'm not the last sane religious person on this planet.
I love Indiana. We have such rational and sane people here.
In case you haven't heard, a group of Carmel mothers are trying to get Victoria Secret to change the underpants on the store mannequins. They complained that the dummies were too racy. Isn't Indiana, and Carmel in particular, great? We have women like Lori Baxter there to protect us and our children from plastic dolls dressed in lingerie. Because there's nothing more evil in this world than suggestively posed plastic faux women wearing lingerie inside a lingerie store. Heaven forbid a store displays what they are known to sell, and have sold for 30 years.
So, to recap, and to get this straight, a Christian Fundamentalist mother, one Lori Baxter, goes to a Victoria Secret, a store that even the most clueless person would know is a store for women's lingerie, finds lingerie that offends her... and then complains to the Simon organization [company that owns the mall], Mayor Brainard and Victoria's Secret [corporate] to get said lingerie replaced with something that offends her less.
Boggles the mind, no?
I mean, I'm sure if I went into the Life Way Christian Store, or the Creation Museum, I'd find a hellova lot to be offended by. In fact, I'm sure I'd be a lot more offended than Lori Baxter was in Victoria's Secret. But the thing is, I wouldn't be surprised by it. I wouldn't be going into these places and then be shocked that they had idiotic things promoting Intelligent Design while at the same time attempting to thrash real science. What kind of a moron goes to a Victoria Secret and doesn't realize there's going to be scantily clad mannequins?!
I have had a lengthy association with the "Work From Home" (or WFH) concept. As early as 2000, when I was at Intel, I wanted to WFH full time. At that time, I was working on a project that Intel couldn't have sold, but which was a tool that could make their internal testing much easier. This tool was something that my managers and I thought would be a perfect Free-Software/Open-Source project, and it seemed to be an ideal candidate for me working remotely. The concept of hosting a FLOSS project was rather alien to Intel higher-ups at the time, and it was decided to let the project die rather than FLOSS it and let competitors use it.
After Intel, I managed to make every aspect of my job at the U of A Physics Dept. able to be done remotely (Linux boxen were easy, of course, but the Win32 ones had a combination of Cygwin w/ SSH and VNC). This meant that I could WFH there, even though I very rarely did.
Then, at Progeny, we actually migrated to a mixture of WFH and working at the office for the last year of Progeny's existence. This worked better for some than others... but I'll get to that in a moment.
Finally, I landed at the Linux Foundation where I got to WFH full time. I have to say that I love WFH full time, and I tend to be a lot more efficient at my work when I'm WFH than when I have to drive into an office daily. However, there is one real problem with WFH. This problem is one of perception and attitude, and it's something that can be overcome. But in order to really be efficient at WFH you need to acknowledge this problem and rectify it.
For reasons that escape me, I standardized on Gmail for my work-related email. The only reason I can think of is the clever way that they thread messages (how, when a new message for a thread arrives, it elevates the entire thread on my queue... I find this really makes following threads much easier than the traditional ways in which threads are handled, although many of my friends disagree). Anyway, it doesn't matter, when I started my job at the Linux Foundation I standardized my work email on Gmail.
Well, I was actually pretty happy with Gmail for a long time. At least, until the new version came out around a month ago. Now, using Gmail is like masturbating with a porcupine-quill glove... except without the fun.
Having just finished Mass Effect, BioWare's epic new action-RPG for the Xbox 360, I felt I really had to get on my site and rave about it. This is one spectacular RPG, easily one of the greatest RPGs ever and definitely tied with Oblivion for best RPG on the 360. If you own a 360 and have even a passing interest in RPGs, you should get this title without delay.
For those who don't know, Mass Effect is a galaxy-sprawling action-RPG from the creators of the legendary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series for the original Xbox. In it you will find a rather sizable universe, replete with entire worlds to explore and aliens to meet. You'll have a mountain of content in the form of side-quests, exploration and resource location (such as finding mineable metals on planets or identifying gas giants with harvestable fuels). And you'll see gorgeous graphics rendering intricate and beautiful alien worlds.
The bottom line is this game is great. However, it's not perfect, and does have some problems. Read on for all the great things this game has to offer as well as some of the nitpicky problems it does have.
My wife is having surgery this week. It's a moderately routine surgery, everyone assures me that it will go well, but it is not without some risk.
For this surgery, several relatives have come into town to show support. I'll be open and honest in saying I can't really see the point of them coming. One set of relatives are only coming for the day of the surgery, arriving after she's gone under the knife and departing before she returns from her medicated recovery, meaning she wont even see them. Another set came a couple of days before while my wife has been on an all liquid diet (to prepare for the surgery) and leaving the day my wife gets out of the hospital, meaning they wont be around to help during the few weeks of recovery thereafter. I guess the "support" they are giving is the kind where you don't actually do anything, but whatever. I appreciate it. Sure I do.
Anyway, one set of relatives are staunch Christian Conservatives, or more accurately, Christian Fundamentalists. They view the Theory of Evolution as an attack on their beliefs and refuse to even try to understand what the theory actually says, instead they spout the same tired and misinformed rhetoric that persons like them have spouted for decades. They make horribly off color jokes about Terrorists threatening to burn Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama while Christian Fundamentalists go door to door to collect gasoline donations (the sorts of jokes that somehow wind up offending on multiple levels including being sexist, racist, and morally reprehensible). They also sit there watching Fox News every waking moment of the day without giving a second thought to the hate and lie laden faux news filling their closed minds.
Well, I usually try my best to keep my mouth shut around these relatives, mostly because they are quite old and it doesn't do any good to debate with them anyway (save your strength for the school boards that are trying to insert Intelligent Design into Biology classes). Yet, somehow, something is invariably said that is so grating on my intellect that I have to speak up.
Last night, it was a discussion about how America is a "Christian Nation", founded by Christians, for Christians, and nowhere does it say our founding fathers felt that church and state should be separate. Well, naturally, that made my blood boil, and I had to say something.
One of the biggest problems I have with Nintendo is how formulaic most of their first party games can be. Take a look at the Zelda series, it's a fine series with many memorable and excellent titles. However, most Zelda games can be reduced to the same basic formula: Green clad boy works to save the Kingdom of Hyrule and the Princess Zelda from some evil (usually some variation of Ganandorf). Over the course of the game, Link will hit all of the following: a Lava area (usually accompanied by the Goron), a Water area (usually accompanied by the Zora), a Forest area, an area where he will need to use "heavy boots" to avoid being blown or knocked away, and every dungeon will have keys that unlock doors in them. He will also obtain the following weapons and items: One boomerang, one bow, one bomb bag, and tons of crystals. In the end, most Zelda games can become boring simply because once you've played one, you've played them all.
The Mario games also can become formulaic. Sometimes this is a good thing (like "New Super Mario Brothers" for the DS, which perfected the formula so well you can easily look past the lack of new concepts in it), other times it can be a bad thing. However, generally speaking, I'm someone who loves to see new things tried in tired series (like Windwaker in the Zelda series, or Metroid Prime in the Metroid series). Which is part of the reason I love Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii so much.
This last weekend was apparently my birthday, so my wife took me to the Irvington Halloween Street Festival thing. It was pretty fun, nothing spectacular, but it was okay. It was mainly fun to people watch... and dog-watch as a lot of people had their dogs dressed up in Halloween costumes.
We also went to some Handicraft fair in this old theater. This didn't really sound very appealing to me at first, I kind of thought Jessica was just offering me the Halloween festival to get me to take her to some crappy craft fair :-)
However, once we got there, I kind of dug it. The theater was old and in moderate disrepair, the insides were dark and muted. It honestly fit in with the whole Halloween theme, even though I doubt that was the intent.
The acoustics in the theater were terrible as well, and there was this band up on stage playing music way too loud for such a place. It made it hard to talk to the vendors, and at first I was kind of annoyed by the sound. But soon, I realized that I was getting into the music and that the band was actually really talented.
The band's name is Amo Joy, and they have a MySpace page here. They play this really interesting eclectic music. The lead singer, Adam Gross, has kind of a Mathew Sweet look, and sounds like an upbeat cross between a Monkee and Thom Yorke. They use interesting sounds like kazoos, toy pianos, and bells. With all of this, they are very fun to just watch. Couple this with the fact that it was Halloween and they wore costumes (Alison Pitt, member of the band who usually has some of the most interesting instruments, wore a Tinkle Bell or fairy outfit) and it was a very entertaining show.
Anyway, I bought a CD from them... which unfortunately didn't work (my suspicion is the CD label was put on off-kilter and this throws the balance of the CD off when you try to play it). So I emailed the band and they showed me where you can download their album. It can be found here, and I'd highly recommend checking them out, especially if you like more eclectic and independent music like I do.
If you want a good sample of their work try out "The Sane Design" or maybe "Ready Hezzie?" (which is kind of off-the-wall and just crazy fun). In fact, "Ready Hezzie?" reminds me a lot of Twink (probably the toy piano thing).
Anyway, check them out, they are pretty cool.
Well, it's that time again. Hallowe'en, or All Hallows Eve. Traditionally, my favorite holiday... Partially because it is so near my birthday and partially because I'm a ghoul. For kids (and adults) everywhere it's a time to dress up as something you're not (or, maybe, you secretly are) and run around like a fool demanding candy and threatening retribution in the event that said candy is either non-existent or less than expected.
So, in the spirit of the season, I'm here to give you some advice on this entire enterprise.
In summary (for those of you averse to reading), my advice is quite simple: The best candy comes in red packaging.
Yep, that's it. If you believe me (or are some lazy bastard who doesn't like to read) then you're done. Close the browser (or your tab) and go get your loot. However, if you need more convincing, read on...
I realize it's not yet the end of the year, but I don't think it's too early to state that 2007 will likely be remembered as the Year of the Shooter. This year there will have been released some of the greatest (if not, the greatest) first person shooters of all time.
This past year we've simply had some incredible FPSes. Let's take a look at them (in no particular order)....
So a good friend of mine is a Star Wars fan (*cough* Nerd *cough*), which is more than evident from his image gallery. We all hang out in the FGIJ IRC channel which usually means we post funny and silly Star Wars crap in there. Well, today, someone posted this: