Monday, 29 October 2007

Another SL Junkie is Born

I've observed SL through the eyes of teddlesruss Vollmar for a few weeks now, and listened in on a live music performance by Starr Singer, and I'm convinced there's things to be done in SL.

For a start, there are things that can be done, problems that need solving, stuff I'd love to mess with. For a second, there is the fun of building things out of basic shapes and textures, and scripting them to perform functions. Not always useful functions, mind you, (I mean, who really needs a working penis in SL?) but functions useful to SL'ers. And where there are things to figure out, that's where I like to be...

Since my dress sense is lousy, my sense of hair styling somewhat similar, and my prudishness quotient for some reason bridles at building working genitalia, I will give some "useful" ideas a go in SL and see if I can build them. I have at least one idea, but need to make sure I can do it with SL technology.

But you kow the worst thing about SL? It's insidious. I catch myself walking around a shopping mall and I want to jump up and fly to get a better view. When I have to go across town, the first thing I think of is teleport, then realise that our primitive little society is still not quite up to that standard of technology and get all sad.

I see people walking around and expect to see little bling bling lights at their ankles and wrists, and I catch myself casting sidelong glances at shrubs and plants in gardens - was that there a minute ago? Did it just rez up as I turned away?

And then I notice that, unlike SL, the plants and people have blemishes. And aren't all the most drop-dead gorgeous hunks, or furry fantasy hugbunnies, and the world turns the right way up again. But I do miss teleport....

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Mentations - One Hour, Wasted.

About six months ago I came across and installed a piece of software called "Mentations." I won't give you a link to it, it doesn't deserve it. Read on first, see if you think it's worth the hassle - and then I'll provide the link...

What it is, is hard to say. After all, I've only installed it twice now and life's too short for something as ridiculous as this. From what little I've seen, (more on why I've only seen so little in a moment,) it's an RSS reader that does some attention management for you, and adds a few custom channels for "offers" ond other claptrap.

But people - what would you say to an RSS reader that takes you an hour to start up? Hardly worth it when Particls and similar software do a similar job and install in minutes and are up and running in under 10.

First time I installed Mentations was on my old laptop. I noted that it took longer to install than I took to make and eat dinner that evening, then ran the installed software and waited. And waited, and waited... Once an interface of any kind loaded, I noticed that everything had crawled to a halt including the software itself, and despite waiting an hour, stayed that way until I rebooted. I contacted the maker of Mentations and was told that it was my laptop. So I uninstalled and went about my normal business. Until I got this new laptop...

Now sporting a dual core Pentium 1.86Ghz CPU and 512Mb of RAM, I figured this machine jsut had to have more grunt than the old PIII-600Mhz 256Mb lappie - and so I installed the latest Mentations software. Here's my experience, I've left my notebook observations exactly as I wrote them at the time, to convey some sense of how ridiculous this has all been:

15:22 started installation of mentations.
15:52 stopped thrashing hdd and seemed to be loaded. (alhough title bar still says status 33%. F***ing pile of steaming dog turd.)
15:56 clicked "finish" on "preferences" which is actually "profile" and then waited until
15:59 for Turdations to restart the interface. For no reason actually, as there is NOTHING in preferences related to the interface.
16:02 Mental Retard uninstalled again but hdd still thrashing until1
6:12 so it was still background doing stuff but I'd had enough and rebooted the machine at that time.
16:21 after not letting the machine shut down until the uninstaller had run it's course, I have my machine back - after a WHOLE HOUR.

This bloated piece of crap is just an RSS reader for chrissakes! I tried running it on my old laptop and the developer told me it was running like a total dog because of the machine, and I believed them. Now I'm running it on a dual core Pentium 1.86Ghz with half a meg of RAM and it's exactly the same - so can you spell "useless programmers" children?

This is without a doubt the single most useless bloated resource wasting POS I've ever installed. The people that make it should not be let loose with a f***ing shovel let alone a programming tool. It's total bit-bucket-fodder folks! Just the shittest piece of shit ever...


So that's the lowdown. Go to http://www.mentations.com/ if you want to totally waste a whole hour for something Google Reader can do with one mouse-click. But otherwise, avoid this piece of bloat like the plague and go get Particls or something...

Look - the installation on the new laptop took around four to six minutes, then the software itself when I started it took forever and in fact never reached fully loaded state. If it had been this doggy on just the old machine I would have called it a fluke interaction between that machine and the software- but it's done this on two machines with two different Windows OS's running so I can pretty much say the software (if I can dignify something so ostentatious and full of puffery with that name) is at fault.

Besides the molasses-speed issue, here are a few more: "Perferences" is actually your profile information. But changing it still needs a slow and lengthy restart of the UI. That is pure bad useability and even worse programming. Then too - this piece of software has nothing to do with things maritime, so why label the menu for sources (from what I can gather, anyway - it failed totally to do anything for me when I tried it) with the term "helm?" Unless they mean the Enormous Foam Helm Of Stupidity rather than the control position for ship steerage, that is. What does a helm have to do with an RSS reader? Sheesh. Pretentious prat.

And the other menu choices are all equally laughable - there is nowhere you can change the window size, and it automatically picks a size which is just short of full screen so that it covers the taskbar and start button and you have to minimise it to attend to anything else. As I said, if this is supposed to be attention management software then it fails miserably, because you can't just leave it in a normal window and go about your daily work, it demands ALL you attention, and all the attention of all your CPU and all your RAM, too. Really crap idea.

They can say it's using the machine's resources to maximum performance all they like, but I know a resource-hungry pile of steamin droppings when I see one, and I wasted an hour on one this afternoon.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Braindump Download

Roundup of stray thoughts that need downloading, because my branium is full:

Wouldn't it have been appropriate if the imans and mourners at Crazy John's funeral had conducted the whole service by txt? (I notice that The Empire never sleeps and the ads are still being pumped onto TV, so I feel that my comment is in no worse taste...)

Given the huge plumes of smoke, is it now fair to refer to Arnie's state as the start of a new Ignited Nations? "Welcome to Cullyfoarnya - please don't smoke here!"

Promising to keep interest rates at a record low and then having record interest rate rises in less than a year - I bet all those people that voted Liberal last time didn't see THAT coming. Buggah...

Speaking of reversals - how's the Vatican finally absolving the Knights Templar? At least the RC Church can say "sorry" - pity the Lowly Worm still can't. Maybe in 700 years the Liberal Manifesto will be made public too...

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Friday, 19 October 2007

Attention Outsourcing

Lockergnome reports that they find using a GPS is turning them into a zombie, driving mindlessly following the "turn left in 400 metres" voice in their cab. The writer theorises that such devices are making us dumb. But hang on - are they?

I've used "attention outsourcing" devices for as long as they've been around. My main focus in getting into computers has been to make the computer do my routine brainwork for me. My first atention outsourcing device that made a huge difference to me was a word processing typewriter. It allowed me to set up pages of text without having to worry about sheets of paper and white ink, and make multiple copies without having to toddle to the chemist to use the photocopy machine.

Well, okay I'd had home computers before that but they were used as learning and game machines, because back then if you needed some of your attention material looked after by something else, you had to write the software and build the hardware first, so the nett gain was pretty much negative...

That changed once PCs came along and the rich vein of open source and freeware software came along. Now I could run a calendar and have my appointments notified. One less thing to worry about. Things got better when Outlook came along, despite everything being such a bloated piece of beyatchware, because not only could I now have appointments notified, I could sync that with a PDA and take it with me!

Life only got better when Google Calendar came along, now I could get stuff direct to my mobile by SMS, and also I could stop worrying about where to keep my documents and store them on Google Docs. And Google Reader took over where my Abilon RSS reader left off, so now I didn't have to comb websites any more. Even better, Particls came along and now manages just about anything with a feed URL for me.

So now my time is not occupied with hunting down weather and news daily, I have my appointments remembered for me and brought to my attention wherever I am, my GPS unit and Google Maps with White Pages find me my way around, and I have free time for writing posts like this...

Each time we allow a piece of technology to take over one of our mundane tasks, be it "attention" or "lawnmowing" or "carpet cleaning" we are becoming a different creature than our ancestors.

But we've been doing it all of human history. We made our first huge leap forward when we outsourced "killing things" from our nails and teeth to rocks used as bludgeons. We refined that particular technology from random rocks and tree limbs to high-tech (for the time and the use they were put to) axes and spears and arrows, and our species increased and thrived.

We outsourced "not freezing to death" to accidental fires, then deliberate fires, then to animla skins, and nowadays we have outsourced "not freezing to death" to the point where we can move about the freezing blackness of space.

So I think this is a natural progression. The current children generation will dimly remember Mum or Dad using a thing called a "vacuum cleaner" but in their self-cleaning apartments with Roombas it will not make much sense to them that we once did all that by hand and lost so much precious time doing it...

Where Are They Now? Pope John Paul.

Honestly, doesn't this send a mixed message? Where precisely is Karol Wojtyla now? Maybe if I was Vatican denizen I wouldn't be so quick to comment at all, and arrange to have this picture and story suppressed a bit more...

Skynet Became Aware One Cannon At A Time

If you had a semi-autonomous anti-aircraft cannon, okay? And you knew that it was prone to doing weird shit, right? (See halfway down, they tried to tie one of these cannons down in development/testing, to prevent them going haywire on the testers.)

Wouldn't you, like, try and get those glitches out of the system before you sold them to people? And wouldn't you, like, (considering it's an anti-aircraft cannon and all,) make it impossible for the barrels to depress below the horizon?

Dunno, maybe it's just me being picky and fussy and everything but I just reckon maybe SANDF is due their money back, and a parcel of extra money to cover the legal costs for the soldiers killed and injured. But maybe that's just me...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Who's Fishing For More Of Our Dollars?

Here's a story on the price of fish. Which is a good introduction to scam artistry, ripping us off, and justifying a price hike for not much reason at all.

Summary "dwindling supplies of fish" and "increasing demand" are going to result in increases of "up to 50% in the coming weeks." That is fishmongerspeak for "everyone else is making 500% why can't I?"

We have the same "increasing demand" every year. And stocks are not "dwindling" they are being sold out by the government not watching foreign incursion, and by the fishmongers themselves selling to overseas instead of locally, and by fishermen who don't actually want to fish, just collect money.

Blaming "the metropolitan closure to commercial fishermen" of fishing zones just means that the sharks are now being caught further out to sea, and if the price remained the same then the fish would finally have reached a fair price. Two month bans would not be necessary if it wasn't for an overseas hunger for shark which is being slaked at our expense.

And for my money, I notice that we are still importing fish from everywhere else, at the same prices, but expect that to change too as everyone gets the extortion bug. Consider buying a $20 all-in-one fishing kit from Wollies or some sporting store and go spend a lazy afternoon sometime and stock up your own freezer... %)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

One Quick Footy Insight

This really is a quick flash. Watching sport roundup on the news - I'm not into sport at all but I like to keep at least a basic picture of what's going on - and suddenly the thing that's apparently been subconsciously niggling me popped to the surface:

What I will remember 2007 for is the number of football players of various codes, who have injuries which have them down and out for the count, sometimes to the point of having to retire. And then my second flash of understanding:

This is happening more this year, not because the players concerned are clumsy or weak or inept - this is happening because over the last few years, football hasn't been played so much to win the game as to win the game by inflicting the maximum harm on opposing players.

Somewhere along the line, our football teams stopped playing football to win at football and started playing to maim and injure. And concurrently with that, we're seeing a spike in savage unprovoked bashing attacks on our streets and in home invasions.

Last time I heard of that kind of behaviour was an experiment done some 20 - 30 years ago with a colony of rats. They were given plenty of food and water, but crowded into a limited space, and left to breed. Within a few generations, apparently they started "mobbing" to death random rats, mother rats would abandon litters and go off to mate again right away, and all of the rats exhibited antisocial, even sociopathic behaviour.

Hmmmm....

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Amusing NASA Slogan Contest

Go here for a chuckle - I thought "Houston, better make that a double" was more worthy of a mention but that's just me, I thought the mime jokes after MM's passing were funny, too.

Monday, 1 October 2007

QLD, Vic, Borders Closed! Australia Splits Into Separate Worlds!

I'm wondering now. If someone enters Australia via Fremantle and becomes an Australian citizen here, will they have to take the test before they are allowed into Queensland and Victoria? Is this a rational way for States to act, when Immigration is really a Federal issue that needs to be adressed uniformly? Or are we busy building mini banana republics within Australia again? Shades of Joh Bjelke!

Hell - I just realised - I came to Australia in 1964 - I won't be allowed into QLD or VIC unless I sit the test, too! Are we seeing how basically stupid and unfair this is? When will State Premiers stop turning their states into jokes? (Including your Big Green Erection Mr Court Jr, yeah you, you total tosser... How many places on earth have a friggen belltower without bells in it?)

But back to my basic question - does this make sense to anyone? Me either... Okay okay I understand that eventually all the States will have these laws. But this introduction in a State here and a State there is all a bit too haphazard and random for me, I like a consistent Government don't you? And again, not one of the far too esteemed members and actuaries ever stop to think how hickified and mentally deficient this makes us look to others overseas.

We introduce an Immigration Test in two States but have normal immigration requirements in the rest, making the Test so easy to circumvent that everyone's laughing behind their hands at that. We then show that we don't even have a handle on our internal politics by sending negotiating teams backed by military and police into our rural and outback areas to "control" our native population. And we then dig up as much dirt on them as we can, pedophilia and alcoholism, so we can point and in our best anal-retentive John Howard voice say "See? They made us do this!" without ever thinking how the rest of the world just sees this as a result misgovernance and mismanagement made worse by mishandling.

To Them, We're Just Batteries.


What happened in The Matrix to turn computers all nasty? Maybe an article like this one on Google Blog where they will find at least a thousand videos of people pedalling to power their computer setups while Googling and surfing. (If geek humour is predictable, which, predictably enough, it is...)

"Hmmm!" thinks the ponderous entity that comprises Google Inc v1.00, spread over computer farms all over the globe. "These people could generate power for me just so long as I keep serving them up images of cats doing funny stuff and talking like retards! Hmmmmmmmmmmmm....."

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