Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I worry sometimes

Things like this, and more obviously the increasingly terrible "grammar" (I use the term very loosely) used in instant messageing make me worry for the future. Now, I know and openly admit that I can't spell at all, nor am I very good at grammar, so this affects me more than others. I'm like a bad spelling and grammar sponge. Think of our kids, and the next generation, growing up surrounded by all sorts of errors and misuse. Oh the terror.

In other news, that A List Apart site is a really good read. I stumble across it looking for css and javascript (blech) solutions everyonce in a while, and always stumble away feeling more knowledgeable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nasa.. UFOs... Doinks... Oh my. O.o

So I'm googling along, minding my own business, and I run across this in a search for NASA space images on -

... 0.o ?

Here's where it comes from - it's basically about how you can't trust things like image processing in the wrong hands (or possibly even the right ones..?). Brain not doing so hot without the sleep, so further commentary is sluggish in the forthcoming...

So, having basically not slept at ALL last night, I I'm thinking to myself, "Self, does this not strike you as ... more than just a tad odd?" (Yes, sadly, an actual quote from my stream of conciousness. Le Sigh.) My brain is not fitting pieces together so good just now. I'm not sure I can put more coherent thought into it than that at the moment, as fish-mouth-eyed (?? o_0 ??) as I feel right now, and plus I have actual, honest, cross-my-heart work that I need to Google for space photos for (oh, the irony).

But... Well, here goes nuthin'...
I'm having odd thoughts about the persistence of the UFO mythology / whatever - I think mostly about the possibility of some deeply rooted Jungian archetype type racial memory ... So maybe the reason people around the world see UFOs is because of media exposure and already having heard stories, or maybe it's because they're really "out there" and swinging by now and then to give us The Meaning Of Life or perhaps as crazy college-kid-aliens swinging by and playing pranks on us on weekends, or maybe we have some kind of UFO idea embedded in our psychological makeup to begin with. That would certainly make us look for the things regardless of whether they're there or not.

..Which of course, if our species is wired to believe in not only dragons and heroes, but also UFOs, would have all sorts of possible explanations by itself, and certainly doesn't exclude the first two possibilities.

The whole ideal of a racial memory does beg the question of external interference anyways.
My favorite example would definitely be the Vorta from ST:DS9 . (Unbelieveably insanely awesome show... dang do I miss it...) They were genetically engineered to believe that the species that altered their DNA were Gods.

Overall, odd and creepy thoughts to be having while this low on the sleep-o-meter.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hawkgirl & Mystique - Halloweenies

First of all, I can't resist but point out the following delightful incongruity.

This photo is of Linden from this Halloween, who *wrote the post preceding this one*:

If you have the slightest familiarity with the Marvel universe, you probably recognize Mystique. (also here's a more succinct & faster loading article on Mystique)

Here's us together, I'm Hawkgirl from DC's Justice League (the Bruce Timm animated cartoon network version). I really, really just adore her, and the Green Lantern - they're both just so non-corny and overall kick-ass characters. We prove our geek street cred, yes we do! ^_^

I just moved, and I was about 1/3 unpacked at the time of this photo. That's why the messy background. :)

The wings I did in about a day, it was pretty nuts. I really still can't believe I pulled that one off. The mace I did in a flurry of late-night insanity, and I sorta accidentally made a real weapon out of paper, hot glue, and a styrofoam ball... how *do* I manage these things?? I didn't think you
could make a dangerous *mace* out of craft store supplies... but I guess if anyone would do it *by accident* it would be me...

Here's some more of our pictures, with bonus costume switching ; )

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Computers make the world go.

I've been mulling over a project in the back of my head, and thinking about computer/human interfaces in general recently:

The thing that we (and I'll presumptuously speak for all mankind for a moment) want is computers that do more automatically for us. The whole point of a tool is to make things easier. Sometimes I wonder if tasks are actually quicker, now that we have computers. They are, but not as much as people would like to think. There's all the buying, learning, upgrading, and dealing with quirks, bugs, and crashes. I would love to spend less time on that, and more time reading The Fountainhead.

The problem with computers doing things automatically is that we never want quite exactly the same thing. Even if computers do learn to automate a series of repetitive tasks, the second we want something slightly different, we run into the problem of how to tell the computer to do something different. As an example, when you pop a blank cd into a mac or pc, it realizes that the cd is blank and pops up a little dialog asking you what you want to do with the cd. There's also a little box you can check if you want it to always do the same thing. If 99% of the time you want to burn a music CD, you can tell it to always do that, but it's not simple, if not impossible, to tell it to stop doing that when you want to burn a data CD. Thankfully, that doesn't lock you into anything, you can always close the music burning software and open something else; but it's a good example.

So, the problem is finding an intuitive way to represent automating tasks, one that isn't in your face like so many Microsoft Office tools are. We are all gradually picking up this terrible JustClickYes syndrome. I think I might have something with the R.A.T. idea, where the burden of teaching the computer what you want is hidden behind an artificial life interface. The limitation of that is that I wouldn't want any sort of rudimentary (or advanced, for that matter) AI actually making changes to any of my files. Maybe there could be some sort of visual, but simple, task/activity monitor that keeps track of any sort of automated changes the computer made, and allows you to roll back in case you didn't want something to happen.

... kind of like version control systems. Ooh. Wouldn't that be something. Like a more complex and better looking Photoshop History, but with logic similar to Subversion. Then, the computer can run around and do whatever the hell it wants, and you won't mind, since you can always easily and quickly undo anything it gets wrong, but meanwhile, it will save you time. Time is of the essence and all that.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Gotcha: Google Map quirk

Since I've been doing nothing but playing with google maps recently, I discovered an interesting little quirk. You can zoom all the way out (or almost all the way out) so that you can see the entire world, but repeated to the right and left, which allows you to scroll and look at the pacific ocean. If you have a set of markers displayed on the map, it will only display on one world tile at a time. So, consider some markers located in Australia, and some markers located in Alaska. If you attempt to scroll so you can see both, you will only see the markers in Alaska, or the markers in Australia. At least in my case. Interesting little quirk though.