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I can take a while to get around to films, as demonstrated the other night, when I finally enjoyed Stripes. =:) I've barely seen Harold Ramis in anything but Ghostbusters, so that was quite - well, maybe not surprise, but clearly showed just how profound a comic talent he was. So, yes, worth seeing. And on Saturday, Tomorrowland! Ye gods and little fishes, that was good. If you're looking for something sci-fi, and aren't so interested in Alien Invasion of the Week, of an aspirational nature rather than reactionary, here's a yarn you'll really go for. I'll definitely be buying it once it's available. So much fun!

Many thanks to everyone who voted on the photograph poll, and offered their thoughts. ^_^ I was quite torn between the possibilities, and the outcome leaned distinctly in favor of Backburner - which is, thus, what I submitted as my entry. ^_^ (Of course, I couldn't just leave it alone, but set about reprocessing it, removing the slight chromatic aberration visible along the upper wing edges with DxO Optics Pro 8, and applying a couple of the filters I'd previous deployed globally as brushes instead, for a more properly localised presence) I can't imagine I stand a chance, given the number of seasoned aviation photographers the company rents to and were present at RIAT, or indeed, any other airshow this year, but I can at least try. ^_^

Here's a rather positively spirited music video, of a distinctly furry nature: Jason Chen: I Got You. Not a bad track, either.

Or, for something more sultry, how about Lana del Rey: Music to Watch Boys To? Quite beautifully shot. "Del Rey told the LA Times of the meaning behind the song, “The title lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl’s eyes, her face.” Del Rey’s comments especially make sense after watching the video for the track which provides objectifying glances of muscled, sweaty, tattoo-ed men in shadowy silhouettes and profiles that channel Hedi Slimane’s photography." Speaking of which, Queen of Hearts "Neon" is artfully directed. Although, much, much sillier is Galantis "Peanut Butter Jelly". Needless to say, I've been enjoying that on the bus a few times lately. ^_^ (Though I suspect my most-played probably remains OhPonyBoy "Only Pony", for a fun video, and a track I just can't get enough of)

Here's a video clip as a GIF which I feel is worth watching. (rav_bunneh will likely find it resonates) It's 10MB, so it might take a noticeable amount of time to load, depending on your connection. It features a former Uruguayan president, and some of his thoughts on democracy and necessity.

The Patreon hack data is now online, weighing in at some 15GB. "Hunt said the release appears to include the entire database taken in the hack, including a fair number of private messages sent and received by users. 'Obviously all the campaigns, supporters and pledges are there too,' he wrote in one tweet. 'You can determine how much those using Patreon are making.' In a separate tweet, he wrote: 'The dollar figure for the Patreon campaigns isn't the issue, it's supporters identities, messages, etc. Everything private now public.'"

A good little interview from NPR with Tim Cook, head cheese of Apple, in which he makes his stance on privacy very clear.

Dr Serkan Toto, on Nintendo/DeNA's first joint mobile game: "Expect the unexpected, and soon."

Don't suppose anyone's interested in a 4th generation Airport Extreme (A1354) for some reasonable offer? It offers simultaneous operation on 2.4 & 5GHz, in 802.11a/b/g/n. I'll also want to dispose of two old PowerBooks, and I'd much sooner have them go to homes where they'll be revived or at least used for spares, than simply tossing them. One's a Wallstreet PBG3 266MHz, with a faulty PMU board (cheap to replace). It's been out of action since 2006 or so - last I knew, it was otherwise fine, though the backlight had started to turn a bit yellow. The other's a rev.A 400MHz TiBook, which is only really useful as a headless server (or SD video playback device), as the display's non-functional. All a bit silly, really - I should be able to toss them easily, given they've both been out of use for years, but there's such sentimental value in them, for me. Bunny (the Wallstreet) I bought back in 1999, when I was living in Fremont, whilst Ocelot came to me in Sydney in 2001.

There'll also be some books and magazines, for anyone willing to send postage and optional beer money. ^_^ So far, that includes a few issues of Nikon Owner (beautifully produced magazine from Grays of Westminster, offering some good interviews and shoot reports, and Nikon kit reviews), Loncon 3's guide book (a couple hundred pages), A Waste of Time by Rick Worley (whom some of you may recall from the long-running Omaha the Cat Dancer), and Anything That Loves (which I have digitally).

Nifty! An inflatable Toothless quad suit. Not exactly good for cosplay, given the very limited mobility (and probably zero vision), but probably great fun. ^_^

It's very geeky stuff, but still, I find their teardowns fascinating, revealing the many levels of detail that go into modern manufacturing: Fictiv looks at a Dyson Ball vacuum. (Oooh, I see they're based in the Bay - and they seem willing to invite interested geeks to wander along on Friday afternoons for their teardowns!)

Finally! The BBC's offering an HTML5 iPlayer as a beta. As I noted the other week, it's puzzled me for a while that this isn't automatic, given they generate MPEG-4 files for serving to mobile devices, yet still try to insist on Flash on the desktop, unless you identify as a mobile device.

The Apple Music free trial ended for me on Sep 30, given I'd signed up on its debut; I wound up cancelling, given current finances, and the fact I wasn't really taking advantage of access to the store's repository of music. Beats 1 continues to be available, though, and that I'm pleased with - some of the shows tend to be more "urban" (hip hop, et al) than appeals to me, but others, like Zane Lowe's, offer a broad range of styles. Elton John's retrospective show can be quite good fun, too, and he's an understandably comfortable host.

The rise and fall of DARE, the 80s/90s Daryl Gates' anti-drug program that rose to eventually pull hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, whilst having absolutely no evidence that it actually had any effect on drug use.

A Georgia Tech team's developed a novel method of harvesting electrical energy from light: nanoscale rectifying antennae. Naturally, there's a long path ahead before commercial viability, but it certainly looks like an avenue worth pursuing.

Shows how much TV I watch - I had no idea Graham Norton has joined the bearded. Rather a good look on him!

High praise indeed for Osborne, when China's state-run Global Times congratulated him on focusing on business rather than human rights.

The Painter of Jalouzi is a five minute mini-documentary that looks at "one citizen from Jalouzi, one of the largest slums in Haiti, who is determined to bring color to the impoverished area by helping paint the entire town, literally". (Filmed on iPhone 6s Plus in 4K - be sure to view in 4K if you can!) Why did they make it? "There is so much negativity in the media, so we want to show a different side of the country. It’s beautiful, and there’s so much creativity and resilience. We want to show the world Haitian heroes."

Just a little bit of fun, courtesy of the Peanuts Movie folks - Peanutize Me. ^_^ Sadly, you have to be human, so I'm out. But there do seem to be quite a lot of options available otherwise.

Well, that's a novel route into business! "In the early '90s, I would go to the Lower Haight to visit Diluvian, a used bookstore at 518 Haight St. [The space is now Nara.] They had excellent first edition hardcover books, and played classical music in the background. I would go next door to Café International to have a coffee and read. I noticed a lot of foot traffic in the café, but knew the space could be used better. The place looked run-down and neglected. I knew we could build a community here. In 1991, I took over management of Café International for a year. I offered to work with no pay, on the condition I could take over Café International as sole business owner if it worked. The owner agreed!" The article's actually an interview with Zahra Saleh, who now runs said establishment - and quite a tale it is! "Born in Asmara, Eritrea, Saleh moved to Italy after high school to pursue a university degree. She lived there for ten years, earning a master's in economics from the University of Bologna, before coming to the U.S. to teach in Minneapolis." And then, San Francisco. ^_^

Competition of the week: a week in Zanzibar (UK entrants only), flying business class. To be precise:
The winner & a friend will get:

* Return business-class flights to Zanzibar with Qatar Airways
* Return flights from Zanzibar to Pemba Island and internal transfers from Pemba Airport to Fundu Lagoon resort
* A 7-night all-inclusive stay in a Superior Suite with private plunge pool, sundeck and views across the bay
* Free watersports including mangrove canoe safaris, snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking

Or, on a more whimsical note, how about a chocolate cheese board? Yep, it's all chocolate, lovingly crafted to resemble anything but. =:D They also make a variety of other designs, including daily vegetables. Anyway, they're running a little competition to win one of their chocolate cheese boards, as well as a real cheese board from Godminster.

Hm! Jane Hamsher's long-running political site FireDogLake apparently recently morphed into Shadowproof, headed up by two of FDL's (former?) staff, following her need to step aside for a prolonged medical recovery.

From the "color me very skeptical" department: Jonathan Betuel's apparently wanting to reboot The Last Starfighter, as a VR-augmented TV series. "The TV series would not continue the original plot of The Last Starfighter, which centered on a video game fanatic who is thrust into outer space in the middle of an intergalactic war. The TV show will be a serialized story about alien law enforcement, and 'instilling a moral code.'"

Coo! Looks like the WebKit's efforts on improving JavaScript performance, and the CPU design team on Apple's processors, are paying off: running Sunspider 0.9.1 on Hazel gave a result of 140ms. The iPhone 6S Plus apparently weighs in at around 220ms. =:D As for the rest of its internals, Anandtech has taken a look, with some surprises beneath the surface, such as a custom flash controller, based on their MacBook work. And on the camera front, here's a comparison of all iPhone models, from the original iPhone, to the 6S; click on a slice to see the full image. It's quite fascinating to see how the quality's evolved so far in just eight years. (Is it mean to be amused by the hand-wringing of many insecure guys over the new rose gold option, fretting whether liking it makes them any less manly? =:)

And how about the making of pasta shells? ^_^

Here's a tiny puzzler. =:) The lens rental company I used to obtain the (rather wonderful, and of course, painfully expensive) 200-400mm f/4 for RIAT is now running a little competition for the best aviation photograph taken in 2015, using one of their rentals. (Which, sadly, eliminates the ultrawides, as that 10-20mm is my own)

Now, I do have other possibilities, but, of these three, which would you choose? I've left it deliberately as a checkbox form rather than radio button, if you want to opt for two, not just one. If you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate reading specific constructive criticism on them - absolutely not compulsory, as I know I'm fairly useless at highlighting why a given image catches me, so maybe others aren't any more comfortable trying. (The checkboxes are by the lower left of the photos) However, ultimately, I can only submit one entry. So, if you're in a critical mood, I'd appreciate hearing why one of them would be better than another.

Poll #2022965 A competition entry

Which of these really grab you?


And to compensate, here's one of the tracks from JMJ's forthcoming album, in this instance, coming from his collaboration with Little Boots - "If.. !" I'm definitely looking forward to the release, although the mention on iTunes of a "deluxe" edition gives me pause for thought, as I'm no fan of these "exclusive" releases labels are so fond of, keeping a few different tracks back for different channel sponsors. Still, maybe this'll just be a "basic" and "deluxe" release, wherever it's purchased.

Or if you'd prefer something a touch more surreal, how about a 1980s infomercial, Santo Gold. It's a.. slightly confused piece, as this review manages to get across quite well. Be sure not to be in a sober state of mind first.
Of possible interest to some friends: The Omega's Bodyguard.

Sparks fly when a protective alpha meets an omega in danger, but there's a catch: this omega is still human, and doesn't know what he could become with a bite from the right wolf.

Being an alpha werewolf made Rusty Jamison one of the best while he served in the Marines, a top team leader in the elite Force Recon. But now his instincts have made military life unbearable--he couldn't protect his team without revealing what he was. He's out of the Corps and taking his first job as a bodyguard, using those instincts while protecting his secret. But his client is the last thing Rusty expected: a latent omega, a human with werewolf blood just waiting for a bite to awaken his potential.

Sam Hurley has fended off plenty of unwanted advances in his twenty-four years. As a baby-faced computer genius, he's used to being sought after for more than just his brains--but now someone is stalking him, and Sam is going to need help getting him to take no for an answer. His new bodyguard seems like he'll be able to do the job, but once Sam meets him he wants Rusty for a lot more than protection.

Rusty and Sam can barely keep their hands off each other from the moment they meet, driven by their werewolf instincts. Rusty knows that whoever's stalking Sam must be another alpha, hunting this rare unprotected omega. Sam might just be Rusty's chance to start a pack of his own; all he has to do is give up his secrets, hunt down a rogue alpha, and make sure Sam still wants to be his at the end of the day...

The Omega's Bodyguard is a m/m werewolf romance featuring a powerful, protective alpha, a sweet, smart omega, and a steamy happy ending that is only the beginning of this new pack's adventures...

I'm mentioning it separately, as apparently the Kindle edition (Amazon UK, Amazon US) is apparently free for the weekend. ^_^
Horses are meant to have circular irises, ne? I was a little surprised to encounter one that may, apparently, have been a very well disguised goat.

Many people know of Coit Tower, but perhaps fewer know the story of the inspirational Lillie Hitchcock Coit:

She came to this city in 1851 from West Point, where her father had been an army doctor. Seven years later, when only 15 years old, she began her famous career with Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 5.

One afternoon that pioneer fire company had a short staff on the ropes as it raced to a fire on Telegraph Hill. Because of the shortage of man power, the engine was falling behind. Oh, humiliating and better was the repartee passed by Manhattan No. 2 and Howard No. 3 as the total eclipse seemed to be but a matter of seconds. Then, suddenly there came a diversion. It was the story of Jeanne d’Arc at Orleans, The Maid of Sargossa and Molly Pitcher of Revolutionary fame all over again.

Pretty and impulsive Lillie Hitchcock, on her way home from school, saw the plight of the Knickerbocker and tossing her books to the ground, ran to a vacant place on the rope. There she exerted her feeble strength and began to pull, at the same time turning her flushed face to the bystanders and crying: “Come on, you men! Everybody pull and we’ll beat ‘em!”

This spirit continued throughout her life. "As Miss Hitchcock became older, she gave up the habit of following the engine, but the tie that bound her to the company was as strong as ever. If any member of a company fell ill, it was Lillie Hitchcock who gladdened the sickroom. And should death call him, she sent a floral tribute as final expression of her regard." No shrinking violet she! She was "smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach."

A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate has been awarded one of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes at Harvard University. "Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds." In other fascinating research, it appears that if you have appendicitis, you're almost certain to experience discomfort while traveling over a speed bump. (ie if you don't, you're very unlikely to have it; but the presence of such pain can have other causes) Though perhaps my favorite is the study into chicken locomotion, which established that by applying a dinosaur-like weighted tail, its gait becomes dinosaur-like.

Yay, new furry comic! Tangent Valley is coming out as individual pages on the artist's DA page, starting over here, with the protagonist finding himself slurped into a pocket universe, where everyone's slightly altered from before their arrival. Updates are, unfortunately, quite sporadic.

In a welcome move, Lidl's announced they're adopting the Living Wage Foundation's wage recommendations. Should be fun hearing the protests from Tesco and Asda as to why they can't possibly match that, when the most price-conscious of them all is doing so. =:D That'll see their current wages rise from £7.30 to £8.20, and from £8.03 to £9.35 inside London. The Foundation's own minimum recommendations are £7.85 and £9.15, so Lidl's moves reflect a modest bump on top of that. The article also note Sainsbury pay £7.36 (including breaks, which Lidl don't cover; they claim that leaves them comparable), Tesco £7.39 (breaks not covered), Asda £7, and Aldi £8.15. I wonder where Waitrose and Morrison slot into that league..

Any recommendations for US cellco plans? I'm looking at two devices: an iPhone 5s (AT&T model - "GSM/North America" on this page), and an iPad Air. For the phone, I'm after a minimal plan - my current 250 mins/unlimited SMS/250MB is pretty much perfect - I don't use much data on it (but 100MB proved to be a bit confining), but it's sometimes handy to quickly check a bus departure time or browse the Ars Technica forum if I'm just popping into town and have left the iPad behind. (RingPlus' plans look reasonable - "Delight" seems like the best fit for me) For the iPad, I'd want at least 1GB, preferably 2GB. Ah.. nope, what they don't make clear is they only deal with CDMA devices. =:P Aha! Some searching reveals AT&T does still offer GoPhone plans - $25 for 2GB for a month would be fine for the iPad, though for the phone, it'd still be a bit of a smelly choice between $2/day for unlimited voice/text for that day, plus data, or plans at $40-60/mo, for unlimited voice/text, and 1.5GB or unlimited data.

I have seen perhaps the ugliest timepiece to have been created: Star Wars by Devon, yours for only $28,500, in an edition of 500. Truly, aesthetics only a Sith Lord could love.

The iPad has a new comics reader: Electricomics, conceived by folk including Leah and Alan Moore, and Garth Ennis. You can read more on its homepage, and the various linked reviews. It's not intended as merely a reader, however, but also a tool for creating your own comics, and sharing them with other users. Their intent is to release it as open source, once it's adequately mature. An Android version is on the cards.

*sigh* Well, now I pretty much have to work out how to repair t-shirts.. I managed to place a nice little 2" rip in another pony shirt the other day. And yep, that's out of print too. Another favorite, too - Vinyl against a panchromatic spectrogram. ^_^; Thankfully, the damage isn't on the design at all, so it may be recoverable.

Wednesday saw a rare public appearance. =:) It was the wonderful huskyteer 's birthday, which she chose to mark with a visit/tour/tasting at the Sipsmith distillery, responsible for some very good gin indeed, along with some other noteworthy examples of the craft, including an absolutely gorgeous sloe gin, and damson vodka. Their tale is quite the miniature saga, as it turned out the last license to distill in London hadn't been issued during anybody's lifetime, some two centuries ago, so the authorities weren't initially quite sure what to do. A crunch factor came when it emerged they'd have to distill some six times more than they were intending, due to one of the old laws on the matter, intended to end the "gin craze" that at one point saw one in four habitable dwellings in London distilling gin, or something claiming to be distantly related to it. A change in the law a few years ago opened up their way, and here you see what produces their wares: Prudence on the left, delivering the initial alcoholic wash, then passed through the tower and into Constance, for the final phase, with Patience on the far side contributing the botanicals.

Prudence, Constance, and Patience: Sipsmith's heart

A glimpse inside Patience, into some of the botanicals that'll be contributing to some fortunate folks' gin

Patience, safely sealed up whilst the maceration continues entirely unhurried
I should like to encourage you to read jakebe 's essay on When I Talk About Bigotry. It'll occupy a few minutes of your time, but, those moments will be well spent.

We finally saw a flick I'd been vaguely hankering after for a while: Hector and the Search for Happiness. I'm very pleased to discover it is indeed as much fun as it promised. ^_^ It's not perfect, but I'll happily recommend it. (I do rather wish they'd actually named the locations, but then, I also feel that with Baraka et al)

Saw half of San Andreas, which was as silly as it sounded, followed by a Thai production, Chocolate, which was markedly better than we'd expected, with some surprisingly adventurous camerawork, and a storyline straddling the best martial arts flicks' choreography and humor, with panache Tarantino could learn from. Not exactly my usual fare, I have to say, but they pulled it off very well. (Tonight? No idea. ^_^ The Wind Rises might be a good option.. I'd say Predestination, but he's already seen it. I'd also be up for seeing Jupiter Ascending again - maybe even as a double bill with The Fifth Element. Or triple, with The Black Hole =:)

Bah. Looks like Inside Out's completely vanished from the screens, so I'll have to wait until November or so, for its home debut, along with Tomorrowland, which I somehow managed to miss, despite particularly wanting to see it. (Think it was one of those irksome times where each Bargain Tuesday was occupied by other pressing matters)

A peek into the path toward the practicality of fusion reactors producing more power than they consume, this time looking at superconducting tapes providing the magnetic containment field, making for much smaller, cheaper reactor designs.

I hadn't realised quite how far of an outsider Jeremy Corbyn had originally been (200 to 1!), nor quite how far that had reversed, going by Oddschecker's summary, placing him currently at 1/8 or so, versus Yvette Cooper at around 7/1, Andy Burnham at 10/1, and Liz Kendall at some 200/1. Of course, what the results of the voting actually declare remains to be seen - I shan't disguise my enthusiasm for the prospect of a genuine political opposition in Labour again, following their Blair-led drift into being the friendly face of Conservatism, introducing zero hours contracts and workfare, amongst other delights, not to mention Blair's wholehearted support for Bush's misbegotten adventures in the Middle East, the CIA's abominable, formalised torture, and complicity in universal surveillance.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Corbyn won, with 59.5%, Andy Burnham 19%, Yvette Cooper 17%, and Liz Kendall 4.5%, on a 76.3% turnout (422,664 votes) of an electorate of 554,272. It's encouraging that the margin is quite so substantial - hopefully, supporters of the other candidates will be able to accept the result, and work forward. It's also pleasing to see Natalie Bennett offer a positive welcome message on behalf of the Green Party, being similarly opposed to the ongoing "austerity" and sell-off of public assets.

An article with quite a few interesting points made, by someone with a lengthy background in the field of transportation planning: The Future of New York City Transportation: Goodbye Cars, Hello Rails.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, alarmed by the rise in popularity of ad blockers, is looking around for options to counter the trend. Amongst the more insane is the notion of suing the developers of such ad blockers. =:D (Meanwhile, I'm delighted to be using Safari Adblock on the iPad - sites like Not Always Right are actually enjoyable again! Small note: enabling all the supplied blocklists does result in being unable to log into a Sainsbury's groceries account. Whitelisting the site lets everything work as expected. The developer's written up a good account of how Safari's Content Blockers approach differs from the usual method, with practical outcomes in speed and memory usage)

If anyone's interested in seeing The Martian free, ShowFilmFirst are sponsoring a few 3D screenings at 6.15pm on Monday, Sep 28, in 19 Odeons around the UK. (General release is on Sep 30 in the UK, Oct 2 in the US)

Here's a superb teardown of the BB-8 droid, from a design and manufacturing perspective, affording insight into why certain things were done a particular way.

Speaking of droids, here's a robot TF story I'll very happily recommend: Repossessed, by demurePet. It's up there with The Offer and Invasion of the Bunny Bots in examining from a more personal, psychological perspective what such a transformation might actually be like.

Compo of the week: win Spanish holidays worth £8,000. Rather nicely, the top prize is effectively £8k credit, to be used with one of six tour operators, with options including "Paradores: offering a tour of Spain staying at various different Parador hotels across the country" and "Great Rail Journeys: offering the chance to take a winding journey through stunning Spanish scenery across the whole country". =:D Entries should convey "Your Spain", in the form of a photo, movie, or even a short story - and there's time to ponder, as it doesn't wrap up until Dec 31 2015.

Or (UK only), win a Nikon D750 plus kitchen sink bundle worth some £8,000.

Apple stuff! =:) Apple TV - that's actually quite interesting to me, although not relevant right now, as the BD player downstairs manages most files fine, and exceptions aren't too much hassle, either via Chromecast or transcoding. But something with the flexibility of a full-blown media box is appealing, let alone with that readily extensible search functionality, working along the same lines as iOS and OS X, where search results can derive from applications - searching for where some particular show can be bought or streamed will be as easy as the vendor agreeing to make that possible, which is only to the mutual benefit of the viewer and provider. The previous versions of the box were of fairly limited use to me, but this'll be vastly more flexible, given tvOS is essentially a lightly tweaked iOS, making for far greater flexibility - indeed, Plex is confirmed as on its way. It'll be an easy matter for existing iOS apps to be made compatible, so existing purchases will become available.

Some of the videos in the event were quite geekily fascinating, too - it's a very small matter, yet also worthy of the attention paid in its development, with the iPhone's "taptic engine" able to deliver its full vibrational energy within one cycle, versus a conventional buzzer's 8-10, permitting briefer, more precise feedback. I love such attention to detail.

The iPad Pro - I'll have to wait until that display makes its way to the "main" iPad. ^_^; It's a really nice device, but it's a bit too large for buses, trains, and planes. Probably great fun as a MIDI keyboard, though, and I'm going to be keenly awaiting reports from artists as to how well it really performs as a drawing medium. If it's even a respectable fraction as good as a Cintiq, I'll be keeping a close eye on it. I'd love to see the speaker setup (modulo physical space availability) migrate to the iPad Air - I've long been puzzled why that wasn't done a while back. I'll still use headphones for any serious listening, such as music or a film, but it would be fun to enjoy a game with something of a sound stage without having to use them. I keep wishing Apple hadn't been so ham-fisted with Aperture, and had rather offered up a roadmap for migrating from Aperture to Photos in the course of the next few OS releases. Still, the iPad Pro suggests Photos could become a viable option for that segment, once it supports matters like RAW fine tuning, and brushes, given they were talking of it being capable of juggling multiple 4K videos simultaneously - D7100 or D810 RAWs ought to be a breeze.

The iPhone 6s - well, unsurprisingly, no new 4" model, just more for people with huge hands. *sigh* TBH, I'd prefer a 3.5", so the entire display's easily navigable with just my thumb, as with the 3G - even the 5s at 4" feels a touch cumbersome. The addition of force touch is rather neat, and a pleasant evolution in UX. And I love the look of the new rose gold finish. I wonder if the new Taptic Engine will provide a more forceful alert buzz as well? I can easily miss the one on the 5s if I'm out and about, though anybody wanting to reach me knows to use email anyway.

The watch demo was rather cool. Interesting to see Hermès participating in some straps (the double wrap design looks very cute), alongside some of their signature watch faces. Given their high end status, I probably shouldn't look at the pricing, when it becomes available[1]. =:) watchOS 2's obviously much more capable, though I don't currently have a need for a watch. That may change, depending on where I wind up in the future.

[1] Apparently, the Double Tour edition will run $1250, with the other Hermès offerings at $1100 and $1500.

Chip du jour: Manomasa's "Manchego & Green Olive" tortilla chips. Positively nommy! It's a lovely combination, with that characteristic rich, creamy cheesiness, married to a gentle olive flavor.
BMW has announced they're going electric within the coming decade. =:D This isn't to say all electric - there will be hybrid designs, especially early on. Still, a very welcome announcement, and surely but the first of many other makers.

BBC 2's announced an adaptation of China Miéville's "The City And The City", which could be well worth waiting for. "The four-part serial follows Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad, resident of the crumbling city of Besźel. The mutilated body of a foreign student is found dumped on some wasteland and Borlú is assigned to the case. Borlu is unfazed until he uncovers evidence that the dead girl had been involved in the political turmoil between Besźel and its prosperous twin city of Ul Qoma, which occupies the same physical space. Citizens of each city are forbidden from seeing each other, and the frontier between the cities is policed by 'Breach' which punishes all transgressions."

Here's a good interview with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz on the nature of society and inequality.

I never cease to be heartened by the extent to which furrydom has spread - true, when there was basically a con for people to focus on attending, it did make for quite a sense of occasion. But what's not to love about cons and meets being so much more easily reached now? Here's a cool example: Caracas furmeet, from FursVenezuela. ^_^

It appears Apple's made a slightly odd purchase: FaceShift, a Swiss company working on markerless real-time facial tracking.

Ol' JMJ's got a new album coming out in October 2015 - and it'll be all about collaborations with people who've influenced him, or inspire him now, including Laurie Anderson, Little Boots, Pete Townshend, Moby, Air, and John Carpenter (yes, "They Live", "Escape from New York", et al. I had never been aware he's also quite a prolific composer/musician! But there it is, all his performance credits on IMDb). And indeed, the trailer promises something pretty damned special. =:D

It appears Bill Murray is sneaking into the new Ghostbusters after all. ^_^ The Onion's A.V. Club offers why, in his own words. Really looking forward to this, though it's not coming until June 2016.

One of the films in tonight's viewing was one I'd hoped to see a while back, and indeed, had the pleasure of being in the tiny audience for Simon Pegg's brief stint at the Regents Street Apple Store to promote the flick - Hector and the Search for Happiness. I'd even been vaguely warned off the film by a friend! But no, this was just what I could have hoped for, and more - not perfect, certainly, but a really, thoroughly fun exploration into just what the hell actually makes people genuinely happy. It does provide Simon Pegg with a rich role (in every sense, given the flying Hector accumulates), showing him off to vastly better effect than Mission: Impossible's light comic relief. I'll happily recommend it - it's not perfect, by any means, but if you enjoyed the possibilities Amélie embodies, you'll probably get along with this too. ^_^ (We also watched ParaNorman - not the first time. Such a superb production.. the climax was heartbreakingly wonderful)

If you've got $5m kicking around, how about your own private island? Red Rock Island is up for sale, with the asking price down from $22m originally. It's located between San Rafael and Richmond.

How to restore pony hair, here demonstrated by Pinkie Pie. Once flyaway and frizzy, but following some boiling water and appropriate care, remarkably as good as new!

The fairly extensive renovation of the old cinema in the Mission is reaching its conclusion, with the new Alamo Drafthouse set to open sometime around November. ^_^ "The theater’s 1930s mirrors were recently unearthed, vintage light fixtures now hang from the ceilings, and crews have begun to painstakingly repaint and restore its intricate ceilings and décor. Mike Keegan, the theater’s creative manager, said architectural historians have even been consulted for the project, and the goal is to match the former movie palace’s paint “as much as we can.” The improvements aren’t just indoors. The New Mission’s 70-foot-tall sign and marquee have already been restored. The letters will soon glow green with illuminated yellow accents on a red background."

"While a lot of the renovations will pay homage to the theater’s past, plenty have been planned with the modern moviegoer in mind. Along a wall that still has holes from the old projection booth, crews will build a bar called Bear vs. Bull, open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., movie ticket not required. A menu of bar snacks is also being crafted, Keegan said. Once a massive 2,000-seat theater, the reborn New Mission will now have five smaller screens. The biggest theater will hold 320, another will have 90 seats, and there will be three micro-theaters, capacity 34, 34 and 42. Patrons will watch preshows, instead of advertisements, film shorts produced by an Alamo Drafthouse team that relate to the movies being screened. Before the movies start, servers will walk around to answer questions about the food and drink menu, and patrons will be able to place orders from their seats. Staff will also check to ensure people aren’t on their cell phones. One infraction will get you a warning, a second gets you kicked out without a refund." (Is phone usage in cinemas really that significant a problem? I've seen the occasional checking for messages, but thankfully, not actually speaking on it)

Behold the harrowing tale of someone who swallowed the number 7. ^_^;

Woohoo! I just received word from the producers that Landfill Harmonic is now ready to view! I backed the production a couple years ago, and there's been quite the saga in its production, not least some devastating flooding in Paraguay last year. You can view the teaser trailer, or visit the site to find out more about the film. "Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group of kids that live next to one of South America’s largest landfills. This unlikely orchestra plays music from instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. With the guidance of their music director, they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold out concerts. However, when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra provides a source of hope for the town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit." It'll be available to buy later this year.

So, Hulu's going to offer a almost no ads plan - not quite ad-free, sadly, as there are (currently) seven "exception shows". Still, even those will only have 15s before and 30s after, none within the shows. At $12/mo, versus the regular $8 offering, I'd be strongly inclined to go for it, if I watched much TV. I'd be leery of the exceptions growing in number, though, or the ad duration or frequency increasing - as I understand it, the amount of advertising on Hulu has only grown with time.

Very cute. The Death Star architect speaks out, and raises some perfectly valid points justifying his design. =:)

Or maybe a rapid-fire diatribe on the societal compunction that women must be hairless? Women of the World Poetry Slam Finals 2015 - Desiree Dallagiacomo "Shave Me". It's sort of what you might wind up with if Robin Williams (1980s version) were melded with Billy Connolly, and were female. ^_^

For a little bit of reading, how about Waiting for Doctor Who? It's an everyday yarn, between two people, waiting with great patience for an arrival that never seems to come along.

Egad, the last week or two's seen a veritable pile of iOS games I'd like to buy, but which will have to wait.. The Deer God, Lara Croft GO (a turn-based puzzle adventure!), Gathering Sky, I am Bread, a two-pack of Amazon Studios adventures ('Til Morning's Light, and Lost Within) at half price, Transistor also half price.. well, okay, I did permit myself Gathering Sky, which is - only vaguely a game, more of a participatory experience, accompanied by beautiful chamber music composed and performed for the title.

hastka might be interested in this quite neat look at ELF (extremely low frequency) communications, a very esoteric medium indeed. In particular, it focuses on the Russian Zevs transmitter near Murmansk, home of the Russian Northern Fleet. It operates around 82Hz - no, there's no 'k' or other multiplier missing. It only yields a few bits per minute, and it takes some fifteen minutes to (hopefully) reliably transmit the few characters involved with enough redundancy to be certain it was correctly received, as such instructions might include nuclear warfare. Range? Effectively worldwide, as the planet itself becomes the antenna.

It's looking like this year's El Niño will be especially pronounced, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. "Models and expert opinion suggest that surface water temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to exceed 2C above average, potentially placing this El Nino event among the four strongest events since 1950." Of course, that's not the only effect at play. "But researchers cautioned that the scale of impacts, especially in the northern hemisphere, is very hard to read because there is also an Arctic warming effect seen in the Atlantic jet stream."

Rather cool aircraft livery, with a tiger head-on. =:D

I see Welcome to Night Vale comes to the Castro Theatre on Oct 29.. does anyone know what the live shows are actually like?

Next Wednesday's Apple launch seems likely to propel AppleTV into being something more than a streaming box, finally. Curiously, rumors seem to paint the more interesting side as being the degree of Siri integration. Which isn't an unfair point, given how profoundly most remote controls suck, however adequate the players may be at handling the underlying mechanics of playback of H.264 and friends. Still, we'll see. Frankly, I remain a touch surprised Apple hasn't gone the Beats route with video as well, and set up some degree of TV/film production in house - it's certainly worked out well for Netflix, who don't have to rely quite as much on the studios' whims regarding the timing and geographical availability of programming, let alone pricing. If you consider a top-tier film as coming in at, say, $400m - what's that versus the absurd mountains of money in Apple's vaults? Ten such productions would scarcely be a blip on the balance sheet as an expense, let alone if they turned out to be at least modestly successful. (And there was no shortage of detractors at the time, mocking Sony's decision to buy Columbia..)

And having typed that, Variety now reports that Apple is indeed looking in that direction. =:D A touch disappointing to see they'd bother with trying for Top Gear, though - they deserve to be left squarely in the past.

As for the iPad Pro - mm, probably not for me. The current 9.7" is Just Right for fitting into tiny seatback tables on trains, holding comfortably on a bus, without feeling like you're watching a tiny screen, or catching up on LJ in a cozy pub, able to navigate the ordinary non-mobile site easily, and type proper replies without being careful about digit positioning. (On the other paw, I'd love to see the return of the 17" MacBook Pro, but as I recall, they were very much a fringe line in terms of sales)

NASA's New Horizons, having sent back remarkable footage of Pluto, may have a new destination yet: Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, some billion miles onward, which it would reach on Jan 1 2019.

That turned out rather well! The supermarket included a trial package of an Indian sauce mix (Punjabi curry), including some spices not yet ground/pulverised - rather than try walloping away at nutmeg, I deployed the never-used coffee grinder (it's rather noisy, and overall, more faff than simply tapping out some pre-ground coffee from a bag. It never gets to sit around more than a few weeks, and the cheap grinders can never seem to manage that fine a grind anyway). Time to use up four lamb steaks that'd been sitting in the freezer since February! All that into the slow cooker, along with a chopped carrot, a couple sliced shiitake, and four quartered Brussels sprouts. A while later, it was tasting good, and quite pleasantly rich in spicing, but didn't quite grab me, so I thought I'd toss the idea of curry authenticity entirely, and added a good teaspoon of minced garlic, half a can of kidney beans, and a can of chickpeas. Finally, shortly before serving, once all the flavors had permeated nicely, I capped them with a dash of oyster sauce, a good bit of hot smoked paprika, a little asafoetida, a tiny dash of chocolate liqueur, and a teaspoon or so of grenadine syrup.

I've got to know - is it just me that certain kinds of smokey bacon crisps give recurring acrid bacon burps to? =:P Frazzles and Discos are fine, but McCoy's "sizzling bacon" will keep reminding me gently for hours after.
Having read Ars' review of the Pono player (answer: not a bad player, but with distinct flaws, and 24-bit audio is pointless for distribution), I was curious to find out what the reality is with regard to good quality lossy encoding, versus plain CD quality. And lo, the same guy had indeed run such a test. (Interestingly, in both tests, respondents were 98% male) Here, the sample sets were FLAC, and an encoding similar to 320kbps MP3 - so as not to reveal lame's usual low-pass filter in a spectrographic examination, they were encoded to 350kbps, with the filter disabled; the methodology is described in detail in the article. The results are interesting. ^_^

I'll likely be trimming the friends list a bit in September, removing dead accounts. If you're around, but haven't updated in a while, wave a paw, and I promise not to badger you too much about updating. =:)

It's not really a track for me, but the video for Le1f's "Koi" is some appealingly odd eye candy. ^_^

Oo, that turned out particularly well! First, two portobellini mushrooms, sliced up, a few halved cherry tomatoes, and some finely diced lean beef, a good sprinkle of fish sauce, plenty of freshly ground pepper, and a tiny spot of hot smoked paprika. A little later on, some sliced asparagus, and a carrot chopped into halved discs, some garlic paste, some oyster sauce, a little basil, a good bit of chipotle paste, and a teeny bit of Dijon mustard. All that, on a bed of pilaf rice. =:9

I think I'll suggest friends as folk you might consider as worth looking into following. ^_^ Probably only one or two at a time, now and then.

I do apologise for linking to BuzzFeed, but, there is all too realistic amusement to be found in their 21 Pictures That Are Way Too Real For Every Introvert. ^_^; 9 and 10, very, very much so. Thankfully, about the only person I use the phone for is my mother, who remains completely off the web, despite my best efforts. =:/

Up at the University of Manchester, one project's looking at a particularly large array of processors, toward furthering our understanding of how brains actually work - the SpiNNaker machine. From a tech perspective, it's rather cool stuff. Each card holds 48 processors, each being 18-core (864 per card), and they can stuff 21 cards into a (tall) 19" rack case, for 18,144 cores per case, with five cases per rack. They currently have one rack fully populated, with another nine to come. Despite the high number of cores, consumption remains relatively modest - as noted on the architecture page, the entire system will consume around 90kW for about one million cores. That's 90W for 1,000 cores, or 90mW each, including seven terabytes of RAM. =:D And for additional geek bonus points, the video stars Professor Steve Furber, one of the principal designers of the BBC Micro and later, the processor they developed for Acorn's Archimedes next generation computer, the Acorn RISC Machine, aka ARM. =:)

It's a ridiculously long shot, but has anyone read Lore of Leporine? "This fantastically sublime heroic fantasy novel follows one especially sly and candid rabbit hero after he awakens from a fourteen-month coma. It is then he realizes that the world has changed forever. As Perduxi Warren, a contentious group of rebel rabbits led by Queen Scela, holds him captive without cause or provocation, he learns that humans have been wiped out and intellectually mutated rabbits rule the earth. It is further unveiled to him that he is the key to an insidious plot that threatens to wipeout his own species."

A fun competition (UK residents only): Dream It, Do It, offered by Expedia and Marriott, with the winner receiving flights up to $2500 and accommodation up to $1000 for themselves and a guest, to your choice of seventy destinations around the world. ^_^ I'd recommend scrolling down the list completely first, so you get to see all available, before making your selections. It's possible to remove choices made, though, so it's not critical.

kfops might find this woodworking project handy, when the newcomer's grown a little. ^_^ (It starts about 1/3 down the page, with the design profile in pencil. It's shown here, completed)

And here's a bun from the other day, carefully grooming themselves, whilst also keeping an eye on me. I am delighted to be considered unthreatening. ^_^

Are leporines unique amongst mammals in having fully furred (and consequently 20% cuter) feet? I'm having difficulty coming up with other non-hooved mammalians that don't have pawpads.

I'm sort of randomly curious - how many times, if you're a furry, have you changed species, after you'd initially worked out what you were? Do you know why that happened? I'm more after complete switches, than tweaks or additions, like bringing in influences from another species, but I'd enjoy hearing about those changes too.

Poll #2020577 Species switching!

How many times have you switched species?

Never! Still the same.
Three times (must.. resist..)
More often

"On 3 September - four days after the next full moon - many of the world's leading experts in lycanthropy will gather at the University of Hertfordshire for the UK's only werewolf conference." "People have been fascinated by human-to-wolf transformations down the years, especially in film," says conference convener Dr Sam George. "Many remember Lon Chaney in Wolf Man or the cult classic An American Werewolf in London, which brought werewolves to contemporary audiences. But how many people actually know the different ways that you can become a werewolf according to folklore or that there were actually werewolf trials in France and Germany where people were hanged and found guilty of lycanthropy? At the conference we want to draw attention to these little-known facts and discuss the werewolf in all its many manifestations and cultural meanings."

"Fun" with telecomms: "Remember that vulnerability in the SS7 inter-carrier network that lets hackers and spies track your cellphone virtually anywhere in the world? It's worse than you might have thought. Researchers speaking to Australia's 60 Minutes have demonstrated that it's possible for anyone to intercept phone calls and text messages through that same network. So long as the attackers have access to an SS7 portal, they can forward your conversations to an online recording device and reroute the call to its intended destination. This helps anyone bent on surveillance, of course, but it also means that a well-equipped criminal could grab your verification messages (such as the kind used in two-factor authentication) and use them before you've even seen them." "The UK company Cobham sells a system that allows someone to send a "blind" call to a phone--one that doesn't ring, and isn't detectable. The blind call forces the phone to transmit on a certain frequency, allowing the sender to track that phone to within one meter. The company boasts government customers in Algeria, Brunei, Ghana, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States. Defentek, a company mysteriously registered in Panama, sells a system that can "locate and track any phone number in the world...undetected and unknown by the network, carrier, or the target." It's not an idle boast; telecommunications researcher Tobias Engel demonstrated the same thing at a hacker conference in 2008. Criminals do the same today."

A cartoon on materialism, to the words of someone who owned only books, and a few clothes.

Some results from an early iOS 9 ad blocker, Crystal: "New York Times, Business Insider, Macworld, Wired, The Verge, PC Gamer, iMore, Kotatku, Huffington Post, Vice. On average, pages loaded 74% faster with Crystal and used 53% less bandwidth. Just by having Crystal installed, I saved a total of 70 seconds and 35MB of data on these 10 pages."

There'll be a Doctor Who miniatures game! And going by the quality of their Judge Dredd range of miniatures (and that's only the Justice Department!), there would definitely seem to be great potential. As with traditional gaming miniatures, they're supplied unpainted, so yours might not wind up looking quite the same. =:) And as they note, "The licence covers not just the latest series of Doctor Who but encompasses all of the Doctors, their companions and their foes. So, expect to see Sea Devils as much as Weeping Angels, Leela as much as Martha Jones, and a long, brightly coloured scarf as much as a fez (fezzes are cool, by the way...)"

Today I learned that the game of "Mumblety-peg" referenced in Shaenon Garrity's Perils of the Lady Gamer is indeed real. ^_^;

I've been reading through a thread on the iCar, and one side-discussion piqued my interest: that in a scenario with autonomous vehicles, the entire insurance situation could be quite different. As is, the risk is only quantifiable as a large pool, broken down into a few slices; with autonomous vehicles, your rate would be solely dependent on the vehicle model (other than mechanical failures), as you'd be out of the equation - any errors in judgement would be the result of the manufacturer's firmware.

Fun fact: within the White House press, the name badges read along the lines of "NBC News", "ABC News".. except for one outfit's, which read simply "Fox". ^_^
A very good friend has a (big =:) pup with heartworm, and could very much use some help in covering the treatment cost.

huskyteer recently pointed me toward a new pizza joint, Four Hundred Rabbits, near Crystal Palace. Of course, I was wondering about the name, and gratifyingly, they offer this explanation: "We love fermentation. The Aztecs also revered the process and worshipped both a goddess of alcohol and a god that discovered fermentation. According to Aztec folklore these two got it together one night and created many offspring known as the 400 rabbit gods or Centzon Totochtin. These rabbit gods lived the good life, constantly going to parties and getting into mischief, alcohol was involved more often than not. At Four Hundred Rabbits we celebrate fermentation and two of the best things it has given us, pizza and beer. We think eating and drinking with friends and family should always be fun, and about good times. much like the 400 rabbit gods did." With a reverence for both local craft beer and authentic Italian style pizzas, but with sourdough, I must see what they're actually like. =:D

Wherein katrus explains the Girl Guides. ^_^

If you noticed your LJ's style change from your own to one of the stock themes, when viewed on a mobile device, there is an opt-out: go to Settings: Display, and tick the "Mobile view" box, "Use my journal's style when viewed on a mobile device". It's apparently intended to play more nicely on small displays, but on the iPad, I'm entirely cozy with my theme. Which I think has been unchanged since I set up home here in 2003. ^_^ They've also added the option, when deleting a comment, to delete all comments from them in that posting, or all they've ever posted in that journal/community.

Did you know Fremont (the Michigan edition) hosts a National Baby Food Festival every year?

Here's a detailed examination of the genesis of the Virtual Boy, from its conception by Allen Becker in Massachusetts, in 1985, through its development as Private Eye, and into their pivotal meeting with senior Nintendo folk, including Gunpei Yokoi, head of one of their R&D departments, and responsible for Game Boy and the Game and Watch series. It's an engaging account, letting you see just how and why things happened as they did.

davesmusictank noted a superb resource, collecting 135 philosophy classics from a variety of sources. As such, each is available in various formats - some are web only, some are PDF or MOBI, some are iOS apps. And they're all free. ^_^ Titles range from Marcus Aurelius "Meditations" and St Augustine's "Confessions", through to Karl Marx's "Das Kapital", Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", and Bertrand Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy".

Egad. I've come across an example of Trump being a good person, albeit dating to 1988.

I'm not really sure I understand supermarket economics. The brand of hanky I like (compact, low profile packaging) is apparently 2 bits per box, 2.50 for a twin pack, or 3 for a quad pack. (It would be quite enlightening to see what such supermarkets pay for various items)

Via jenndolari , the trailer for BBC 2's forthcoming comedy Boy Meets Girl. Definitely should be worth watching. ^_^ The first episode debuts on Thursday, Sep 3 2015, on BBC 2, at 9.30pm.
I was delighted to find ITV's adapting some of Gerald Durrell's writing, including the timeless, wonderful "My Family and Other Animals", as a six part series, "The Durrells". (One of my biology tutors would set aside part of one period each week to simply read from MFaOA. Perhaps a little of his love of the natural world rubbed off on me?)

I'd forgotten Pixar's The Good Dinosaur's coming out this year - and finally, a few weeks ago, the first trailer was released. TBH, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, at this stage - certainly, the scenery and lighting is eerily good, but the lead character designs feel a bit too toony on top of that. Yet, that wasn't a problem I felt with Big Hero 6. On the other paw, I'd missed seeing the first teaser for Zootopia until now, and that I'll certainly be making a point of seeing as soon as it appears (though, regrettably, that won't be until March 2016). And no, I'm not in the least biased. ^_^ (Though I might take issue with them claiming rabbits don't have good night vision - they're quite fine out in the night, as demonstrated here, on the Uni campus around midnight)

As I don't tend to watch much TV, thereby somewhat hindering my progress with Orange is the New Black, Extant, and MLP:FiM, I've only just seen the opening episode of Mr Robot, about an ethically minded hacker. And.. remarkably, it's actually relatively computer literate! Not entirely, but it did seem to have quite realistic grounding. There were a couple jarring points, though - the female sidekick (not star, as usual) is given a particularly ridiculous line ("What's a rootkit?", says the senior researcher at a computer security company) though at least it wasn't perceived as daft, and in a meeting, is repeatedly sidelined, before being booted out.

I don't know how long its new incarnation's been around, but regardless, there is now a digital Bodleian Library. =:D

Inside the Iran Deal is a look at the current state of Iran, and what life and the economy is like, including its nascent digital economy - under sanctions, local equivalents of the likes of Amazon, Groupon, and YouTube are thriving. It also, of course, examines the state of politics, noting that the revolutionaries are being steadily challenged by reformists, even if the theocracy does indeed still maintain a firm grip.

w00t! The potentially revolutionary SABRE engine received the promise of a new infusion of moolah back in January, to the tune of £50m, courtesy of the UK government; that's just been approved by the European Commission.

LitMotors' vehicle looks rather fun - it's sort of an enclosed, self-balancing electric motorcycle. Whilst they're not yet in production, they're estimating the cost of running at around 0.6¢/mile, and a 200 mile range per charge. Not cheap, though - they're looking at $24k list price.

I'm not entirely clear how searching for a programme on Mullard valve production led me here, but here's a completely inconsequential moment of Jon Pertwee at the Schloss Keller on Fleet Street, in 1969. ^_^

A couple iOS sales of note: Furdemption is down to 99¢ (usually $2.99), and Heroki is $1.99 (usually $7.99).

Here's a fun bug, which almost sounds impossible: the 500 mile email limit. It was discovered that they could send email, but only to host systems up to around 500 miles away - beyond that, it'd always fail. And no, it's not related to route failures. See if you can guess before reading it. =:)

If you'd like to witness a ride through the stranger side of London, you really ought to check out rigelkitty 's trip report, part 1. If you've been before, it'll serve as a superb reminder of just what's so fantastic about the city - and if not, well, hopefully you'll still want to visit. ^_^

And as if to prove J-Pop isn't the only genre that can leave you in a "what did I just watch?" state of mind, please enjoy Wang Rong Rollin - Chick Chick.

Actually, not all that far off is this election campaign video for a Canadian independent. Although I must question his severely anti-dragon stance. (h/t patch_bunny )

Furry artwork pic of the week: two pastel buns, by Pipi-san.

Sounds like a fun flick, coming to the UK on October 16 2015, no US release listed yet: The Lobster. "A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods." And this is meant to be a bad thing? =:) So far, with its release being just on the festival circuit, it's gained 8.2 on IMDb from 648 people, and a Metascore of 83.

An app that may be useful to some folk: Shotcut, a FOSS video editor, for OS X, Linux, and Windows (the latter in both 32 & 64 bit varieties). Rather more arcane, but again, potentially very useful to some: ImagePlay, similarly cross-platform and open source, is "a rapid prototyping tool for building and testing image processing algorithms".

Like pretty much everyone, I suspect, I have way more games around than I actually play. One that I finally got around to trying was the graphic adventure "Silent Age", release in 2013 as a free first part, with the second half released in 2014, as a paid extra. The story begins with the protagonist, a janitor in a covert defense contractor, being suddenly "promoted", when his colleague leaves the company - curiously, an event announced to him by the CEO of the company. Soon after, back in the basement, he finds a man dying of a gunshot wound, who claims to be from the future, imploring him to prevent the end of the world, handing him a pocket time machine. Discovered with the body, he's taken away for questioning, which opens with him being asked what that strange bauble is - whereupon he finds out. There's a good degree of mild humor involved, despite the apocalyptic nature of the storyline, which constantly requires bouncing between the present (1972) and the future (2012), and the storyline is maintained through to the end - maybe not as convoluted as Primer, but engaging regardless. Well worth trying.

I've been going through the Sinfest archive from the beginning, and I'm fascinated by the site's offerings of ads, alternating between an MBA course and a laser hair removal device. Admittedly, the latter's quite interesting, as it's actually a laser device, not IPL - the catches, of course, are that it's only good for about 20 mins per two hour charge cycle (why no swappable battery, or ability to run off a supply?), and only lasts around 9,000 pulses, so the lifetime is distinctly finite. Still, it's interesting to see there is such a device out there. As for the strip, it's been quite fascinating to see its evolution from a small core set of characters, expanding in 2008 to add the devil girls (informally Fuchsia - aka Fyoosh - and Blue), who at one point are zapped by Jesus, but then restored by Big D.. except, Fyoosh isn't quite who she was. That's been built upon quite substantially in the years since, and indeed, even Blue seems to've retained some sense of morality, missing Fuchsia since her departure from the Mansion.

A game some folks might like to know about: HSD Core: Extended. It's currently the subject of a Kickstarter, already at $17k, with a $6k target, ending on Aug 26. (Having heard back from the designer, I can confirm it's an expansion - you do need the original core game as well)

Whether it'll amount to anything remains to be seen, given the often speculative nature of patent filings, let alone aerospace development cycles, but nonetheless, it's interesting to see Airbus proposing a Mach 4 passenger craft. It'd be rather a mashup, though, a long way removed from Skylon: "According to the patent, power would come from three different types of engines: “at least one” conventional jet that could be retracted into the fuselage; one or more ramjets, which use the forward speed of the aircraft to compress the air entering them before it is mixed with fuel and ignited; a rocket motor powered by hydrogen and oxygen. Flights in the new aircraft look set to be a wild ride, with the rocket motor used in combination with conventional jets to power a “near vertical ascendant flight” until its breaks the sound barrier when the engines are retracted in the fuselage and the ramjets take over."

Delivery in the US only, but perhaps some may find this offer for free condoms themed around endangered species to be of some use. "Due to the high volume of requests, we're not able to send condoms to everyone who signs up. So the more you tell us about your ideas for cool events and opportunities to engage people in conversation about human population and endangered species, the easier it is for us to make sure the condoms are sent where they can have the greatest impact."

TIL that Reunion, where the first MH370 wreckage was found, is a full-blown French "department", as as such, is indeed part of the EU, and belongs to the Eurozone. =:D

One of the things I so enjoy about iOS gaming is the diversity of concepts. Take, for example, Prune. You prune trees. *grin* Of course, there's a little more to it than that, but that's the core - you might have a good tree, but you need (or want?) to extend its reach, so you'll prune off some branches idling in the shade.

While maveling at shatterstripes ' Dr Ivana Robotnik, the thought crossed my mind: has there ever been a female Bond villain? Not a crony, but the big cheese.

Via patch_bunny , consider this edifying recipe for Heritage Loaf. ^_^

Yay! I made it along to the Eastbourne Airshow this year, as it was one of the remaining venues to see the magnificent Vulcan fly, before it concludes its days at the end of the 2015 season. It's a free, public event, with quite a good variety of aircraft visiting. Thankfully, the lower back had improved since Tuesday, returning to near normality again, after more than a week of being very grumbly indeed, wrecking plans for the previous weekend. Bah, bipedalism. Humbug! As was, I wound up taking the TC on and off throughout the afternoon, leaning toward off for group displays like the Red Arrows, and on for individual craft like the Vulcan, but sometimes switching midway. No question, the flexibility (if not the weight..) of the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4's range is well suited to airshows.

One of the Breitling Wingwalkers:

Afterward, I thought we might beat the peak crush, but it was not to be - a long, long line had formed at the station, so we took solace in the pub across the road, myself with an American IPA created by some Hong Kong brewers. ^_^ The queue had only grown worse in the interim, so we agreed it'd probably be as well to seek dinner in town, eventually finding The Eagle, with quite a good assortment of pies on offer, which suited my appetite at the time (not having eaten yet that day), and budget. ^_^; Surprisingly, the food was delivered without any hitch, despite the lack of table numbers or any other given clue as to where we were. But then, I suppose there weren't many people eating inside, and the upstairs beer garden takes only a modest scan - still, nicely done. ^_^ It's not somewhere I've been before, but I'd be quite happy to return.

We dined well, and rejoined a much smaller queue, at perhaps just the right time, as it seemed to grow considerably once we'd expressed our interest in it. A quick check of the schedules confirmed my suspicion - it'd be better to take the next service west and change at Lewes for Brighton, than wait for the next through service there. Yay! I got to introduce the roomie to the Evening Star, one of my global favorites. ^_^

Here's another favorite from RIAT 2015 - a rear shot of a Mirage, with that fearsomely powerful jet trailing behind it, invisible, yet so clear, from that inferno within.

That was a weird little dream detail - a 1.0x teleconverter with a Winslow filter, and somehow, the light passed 17 miles inside. Dammit, even my dreams are getting geeky.

Eep. Just about anyone who's spent time in SL will know of The Ivory Tower of Primitives.. it appears Lumiere Noir, its architect, died recently.

Something of a note to myself: bypassing El Capitan's kext signing by tweaking the bootloader, and a list of Parallels' kexts. Eventually, I'll migrate to the current version of Parallels Desktop, but with Windows being only a very occasional thing for me, there's no urgency. All the same, I'd like to update a copy of that 7 Pro VM to Windows 10 - never hurts to remain as current, whether in features or security.

I should thank rigelkitty , who reminded me of an album I'd bought on release, ripped, and enjoyed for a good while, but which got lost somewhere in the chain of migrations from one system to another. It happened while enjoying his recent (recommended!) mix for Fur The More 2015, when I recognised a particular sound, but not where I knew it from. Eventually, the long-term memory came back with the answer: it was a sample from one version of the BBC Newsround theme, sampled by Orbital for "Spare Parts Express" on their "The Middle of Nowhere" album. A quick delve into the net later, and I'm once more enjoying one of their best sets of work. ^_^ (The sounds in question? They're around 4m52s in that version - the electronic springy sound and harp-y arpeggio)

"Gravity's Strangest Puzzles" is a highly readable little article, looking at some of the oddities that have cropped up over the years in our understanding of gravity's effects in astronomy, from a subtle deviation in Uranus' orbit leading to the discovery of Neptune, to a discrepancy in the moon's orbit, to the tune of 3.5mm per year, which remains a mystery.

And the reason for going to Eastbourne? XH558 first flew on May 25 1960, and has apparently flown 10% longer than any other of its kind. Apparently, that's the reason for its withdrawal now: "XH558 flew long enough for fundamental engineering life-expectancy issues to become the main threat to continued operation. After being overcome once to gain an extra two years flight, on 15 May 2015 it was confirmed that 2015 would be XH558's last flying season."

It's not exactly new, but still, I only stumbled upon it the other day: Doctor Who series 9's trailer is out. (Even if I can't still quite bring myself to call it series 9, when there've been plenty more before 2005..) Yep, looking forward to Sep 19 2015. =:D

Here are some reasoned arguments for reinstating Pluto as a planet.

If you need a bit of real world happiness, have a look over here, where Melbourne examines the effects of assigning email addresses to trees, originally so people could report problems - it's become rather more than that. ^_^ (Fluttershy is, QED, Best Pony)

Here's a competition that certain folk might find of interest: fly a Spitfire, a Harvard, and a Tiger Moth. =:D (UK residents only, sadly. Doesn't close for a while yet: Sep 30 2015)

Ever seen a giant chicken church?

I don't see myself leaving the Greens for Labour, but I'm delighted nonetheless - especially in light of Labour voting for the abhorrent welfare bill, insistent that they must move further right to win Tory voters, rather than trying to retain and regain their own - to see that Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bid now sees him with a 17% lead, and espousing policies that are strongly in accord with popular views, such as renationalising the railways (60/20 overall, with even Conservative voters split evenly at 42/42), rent controls on landlords, higher top tax rate, and cutting tuition fees.

Oh, FFS.. it looks like the new series of The Clangers will be appearing in the US - but, yes, with a North American narrator replacing Michael Palin. Still, at least their choice might work out sort of amusingly: William Shatner. ^_^;

If you're within reach of Cardiff, and enjoy Judge Dredd, you might want to wander along to Judgement in Cardiff, an exhibition of work by many of the artists who've been involved with Dredd over the years, including the likes of Ezquerra, McMahon, Smith, Fabry, Bisley, and more, coming both from the artists and private collections.

The Leap is a 30 minute sci-fi short. Or, if you only have two minutes to spare, how about Trash Cat, about a cat with a love of knocking over trash cans? Do continue into the credits. ^_^

It would appear that Bloom County is back. =:D

Quote of the month, courtesy of huskyteer : "On Saturday she even shed her skin in the night without waking me up, and I certainly can't say that about anyone else I've ever shared a room with."

Saturday a fortnight ago saw a return to a local beer and cider festival I'd tried last year, and this year, managed to lure the roomie along to as well. Indeed, it's fairly high on my list of preferred venues. ^_^ It doesn't sport the incomparable lists of the GBBF, but they do a very good job, mostly focusing on breweries and cider makers you can't find so easily. Add in the very mellow atmosphere of one of the two pubs enjoying a quiet game of cricket across the road, and at the other, a broad, open meadow, with little fun games of football, frisbee, and pups enthusiastically nosing around everywhere. ^_^ (And as a silly aside, here's what that view looks like when accidentally processed as a spherical panorama =:)

Following their rejigging of Flickr to do away with Flickr Pro for newcomers, and have it all ad-supported, I was interested to see they've reversed their position: Flickr Pro is coming back, with all the ad-free and stats love of before. The catch is that new subscriptions will come in at $50/year ($6/mo), where it'd been $25/year before, though it'll remain at that level for two years for existing subscribers.

The trailer for Red Game Without a Great Name (yes, that's actually its title) is quite gorgeous. It's a platformer, wherein you control a mechanical bird messenger in a steampunk world. I admit, I'm not sure if I'll get it, simply because of the gigantic backlog of games I already have. ^_^; Even so, that trailer is worth a gander. (The song is apparently in Polish)

Photoshop has a new competitor! Affinity recently finally released - after some five years of development - Affinity Photo, with a genuinely pro-level suite of features, surpassing Photoshop in some regards, with live effects and layers throughout. (I'm also delighted to see PSB support in there after all, per my suggestion =:) No subscription, just a one-time payment of £40. OS X only, as it draws heavily on OS-specific technologies.

Looks like conditions are shaping up for a particularly wet Californian winter.

Bah! I feel dirty for linking to HuffPo, and true, it's a fairly inconsequential posting, but still.. Why Are Women In Razor Ads Always Shaving Hairless Legs? does ring weirdly true. ^_^;

If you're playing Disney Infinity at all, you can unlock Merida and Rocket Raccoon for free, using "webcodes" MERIDAUK and ROCKETUK when logged into your account. The codes may be valid worldwide.

So, I waved goodbye to my TC17E-II teleconverter. It works perfectly well, but I've found the 1.4x suits my needs better - I don't usually need to go quite that far out, and even 420mm can be a little close, when allowing for the gap between, say, the participants in a chase. Consequently, I've barely used it in the past year. Indeed, I'm wanting to evaluate precisely what effect the 1.4x has on sharpness - I may even part with that at some point, as whilst I'd miss the extra reach, the extra stop "regained" reverting to f/4 might be a better trade-off. I'll print out a resolution test chart, and see what the outcome is. Could be quite interesting - the Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S is a particularly sharp lens, but still, with 24MP on the D7100, I'm not sure how much extra room there is for added magnification before you're simply getting larger blurred edges. (Wow, good going! They received the TC the next day, and the agreed sum was transferred almost immediately. Could've only been easier if they'd provided a teleporter rather than having to hoof it to the Post Office)

Similarly, it was a delight to see a friend and former coworker again, picking up a wetsuit I'd offered for sale - July's been such a frustratingly expensive month, but that's helped keep things almost sort of level. ^_^;

Has anyone watched both of RTD's recent Channel 4 productions, Cucumber and Banana? Unsurprisingly, I've had the former around for a while, unwatched, and now the latter as well.

Well, that was a bit of a pain. A while back, when the future seemed rather more assured, I bought a ticket for Friday of the Royal International Air Tattoo, as that was the day when the Vulcan would be flying. But that all changed: it flew over the weekend, and only on static display on Friday. And of course, tickets for Saturday and Sunday were all sold out by that point. A real pity, as that was apparently the very final time it'll be flying.

Similarly, with the lens booked way back in February, it proved to come along at not quite the best time, but so it goes. ^_^; The Monday before the show saw me wander along to pick up the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 I'd reserved for this year's RIAT. I took all three lenses - the 10-20mm f/4-5.6 for close range views, perhaps deliberately taking advantage of that distance distortion ultrawides lend; and the 30mm f/1.4 maybe for cockpit/interior views, or detail shots. They're pretty light, anyway, so no reason not to bring them along. And indeed, the 10-20mm saw plenty of usage, with the A400M rear view a good example of the fun you can have with a really wide angle lens - there's pretty much no aircraft you can't capture in its entirety, with the bonus of some real fun with composition in the process. The 30mm I did use on a couple occasions, in particular for one vendor's rather exquisite wooden model aircraft.

Above is the rental in comparison to my usual workhorse, with the usual TC14E teleconverter attached. (At the front is the hood - in use, you'll reverse it, so it shields the front element by that length, keeping stray sunlight from outside the viewing angle out of the way) As a result, it didn't quite fit as elegantly in the bag, but it'll do. ^_^ (And hey, it's more discreet than the Sigmonster was =:)

And the results?

Two Dassault Mirages from the French Air Force in very tight formation

Two of the Red Arrows displaying typically extraordinary coordination

A Spitfire from the Battle of Britain commemoration coming in to land

The spectacular tail of the Airbus A400M

There's plenty more - indeed, as I noted back on the 17th, I took more photos on that day than any other. ^_^;

So, I finally thought I'd try out the new public betas of iOS 9 and OS X. The former, at first blush, seems fine, but I'll need some time to really get a better feel for stability and compatibility. The latter - well, Aperture is unaffected, and Mail seems to be playing nicely for now. ^_^ A few irksome "features" cropped up, notably iTunes reverting to iCloud backups, rather than local, and Gatekeeper similarly reverting to signed apps only, though they're both easily fixed. And, with HTML5 now seemingly reasonably mature, I'm experimenting with removing Flash. All seems remarkably unaffected, with the exception of BBC video, which can be fixed by identifying as an iPad, eg "Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 6_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/536.26 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Mobile/10A5355d Safari/8536.25".

Other bugs: the App Store can't seem to restart the system if necessary; thankfully, not much of an issue; the second public beta seems to've fixed that. WebKit appears not to handle map tiles correctly, making navigating around Bing Maps very awkward. (Apple Maps works, but has no footpath info. Bing Maps licenses Ordnance Survey's maps, which remain the gold standard of cartography - the new Bing Maps works normally, but currently, lacks Ordnance Survey mapping) Unsurprisingly, Parallels Desktop 8 has lost its networking and USB, but that's been on borrowed time since Yosemite, only made functional by disabling the kernel extension signing, which isn't really a good idea. Still, I'll see if I can inject some zombie juice.

One very welcome point is that El Capitan appears to fix a juddery scrolling issue I'd had with OmniWeb 6 betas since June last year, causing me to remain stuck with an old version of OmniWeb. The current OW6 beta under El Capitan seems to work entirely as expected. Kewl. ^_^ BTW, if you're running the public beta of iOS 9, you can update to the developer betas, which come out more often - just delete the beta profile, restart, and check for an update.

Did you know the British Museum has, on display, a Doctor Who £10 note?

Filmwise, there's not much to report, though I did finally get to see "Home". It's certainly no masterpiece, but I do feel the trailers put me off it rather needlessly. Its trouble is.. it doesn't quite know who its audience is, so its humor sort of bounces all over the place, trying to keep the four year olds amused, before dashing back to the tweens, and occasionally the adults. That said, I did enjoy it, even including the soundtrack, some of which may end up in my Bounce playlist - and the voicework of one of the leads was surprisingly good, given she's better known in other creative fields.
Just a microentry for the moment. ^_^; I'm desperately behind with LJ at the moment, as I've been busy with rabbiteering since Monday, when I collected the lens rental I committed to back in February: a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4. Not exactly the best time for that to come about, but it did coincide, today, with the first day of the 2015 Royal International Air Tattoo.

I'm looking forward to seeing how a couple shots in particular turned out. ^_^ The day started off rather glum, but finished on a thoroughly summery note. Highlights: Osprey, A400M, Red Arrows, Battle of Britain tribute, the French team's Mirages, and the magnificent Vulcan, sadly only on display today (frustratingly, that was the craft I was aiming to see - originally, it had been due to fly on Friday only, but that changed later, once weekend tickets had sold out). I'm no military sort by any means, but the craft are - well, it's a heavily overused word, but, sometimes, "awesome" actually is fitting. ^_^ BTW, if you're an avgeek, RIAT are making live streams available for a modest fee, should you not be able to be there in person.

I did have to be a little mindful of the battery, I realised - but I seemed to be going through it at about the right proportion, given the flying hours. I hadn't quite realised how well it turned out until the end - 1% charge remaining, 1,879 photographs taken. =:D (I don't have a spare battery - in a very good afternoon's rabbiteering, I might wind up with around 300-400 shots. But here too, so much of the time, you've just got to try for the moment, and once in a while, something special emerges =:)

BTW, I can highly recommend RIAT with a supertelephoto as a great form of exercise. ^_^;

I'm not sure when I'll be able to catch up with LJ, but I know I need to. Possibly Sunday, as the weather everywhere looks like being dull, else Tuesday or Wednesday - I'll be dropping the lens off on Tuesday afternoon.

Otherwise, not a huge amount of news. But I'm doing what I can to change that. =:)
I'm curious to see the results here. ^_^

Poll #2016086 Moving experiences

How often have you moved home?


How many countries has all that covered?


US only: how many states has that covered?

This is, I will admit, part of why I so love coming to this particular place. Even in the heat of a busy beer festival, I'm almost completely left to myself - people don't believe a section of the pub that isn't filled is open to the public. ^_^

I shall not disabuse them of their perception. =:)

That, and the unique offerings. There's little better than an experiment from Brooklyn that yielded an unearthly hue, and an incomparable, wonderful flavor profile, never to be known personally beyond a few dozen people. =:) (Not that I intended it that way - I just happened to strike unlucky with my selections a few times, leading the manager to offer something from his selection instead. Brooklyn know their stuff, unquestionably - but take their amber, and age it over white wine lees..)
shatterstripes has a comic up, on the theme of last Friday's equality ruling - it's as beautifully playful as you'd expect. ^_^ (It wouldn't work well inlined, as it's very tall)

As you may have read, Sir Nicholas Winton died recently, at 106, responsible for saving 669 children from the Nazis on eight trains he arranged out of Prague as World War 2 loomed. "Sir Nicholas brought the children to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends, saving them from almost certain death, and then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century." There's a statue in his memory at Maidenhead station, a quiet memorial to a selfless individual.

Friday saw me going underground, into parts of Charing Cross not meant for mortal eyes. Or at least, only TfL employees. Part of the tour showed off the Jubilee line, which terminated there originally. Now the line heads off slightly differently, that portion of the station (and the line) is kept aside for storing trains awaiting busy periods, training, and experimenting with new station features - and the occasional film shoot. If you see a Tube station on the big screen, or TV, there's a fair chance it was there, as with the platform scene in Skyfall. Another part of the tour took us into a service tunnel that passes underneath Trafalgar Square - and ye gods, that tunnel was so blessedly cool. ^_^ And concluding, a ventilation shaft. =:D And if you look up, you'll see where James Bond clambered out to the surface, also in Skyfall. ^_^

Apple Music - hm! Interesting. I signed up for the three month free trial as soon as iOS 8.4 had finished installing, so there's some time to really see how it holds up under extended usage. So far, I've only given it a kick around the virtual tires - the Dance stream is rather more diverse than I'd expected, as is Electronic, so I'll likely be revisiting them on occasion. Beats 1 I'm really enjoying so far - it's easy to tell the DJs involved really love what they're doing. If your musical tastes are reasonably eclectic, you might quite like it. And no ads at all! So I don't find myself constantly hopping channels to avoid those (of which there is usually a very small number, too). Will I actually subscribe when the trial ends? Difficult to say - Beats 1 is free anyway, so it rests on whether I wind up finding their suggestions useful or not, and end up exploring the catalogue available.

I was hardly his audience, but, I was saddened nonetheless to learn of Doug Winger's death. (h/t schnee )

If you're in need of a seriously fun platformer (and have polished off Leo's Fortune =:), you really should take a look at Picomy/Sega's new iOS release, Heroki. Gorgeous!

Ye gods and little fishes, but Firestone's Wookey Jack DIPA is a thing of beauty! It's a dark IPA, with a quite distinctive hop nature, quite floral, fairly bitter, but still nicely complemented by the malt. And they have Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout on tap, courtesy of FedEx, straight from the brewery - the first time it's been available thusly in the UK, apparently. It's fairly amazing bottled, so I'm going to have to take advantage of this opportunity. ^_^ [ETA: O.o;; It's.. well, I can only really encourage anyone with it available in their locality to try it as soon as they can. It's a supremely well balanced stout, with hefty malt, a noticeable hoppiness, and a resultant flavor that's sort of like the best chocolate ice cream you could dream of. It's not something to approach lightly, however, at a little over 14%, but you'll be so glad you took the chance!]

And I pretty much need to wrap up with a simple shot from yesterday. I was wandering up the footpath on my usual rabbiteering circuit, and noticed what definitely looked like a bun, right on the path. Checking through the viewfinder confirmed definite bunnitude. ^_^ Gratifyingly, they were quite fine with me gradually approaching them, providing I remained sensibly quiet (they appreciate that, as do I =:), and wound up with a framing I'm actually quite happy with, them surrounded by the path's enthusiastic growth, with even a bit of an illuminated backdrop. The star, however, remains my cooperative model. ^_^

It's been a few years now since I ran a camera poll, so.. ^_^

Poll #2015442 Cameras You Have Known and Loved

What kind of camera(s) do you use primarily?

MILC (eg Micro Four-Thirds. Nikon 1)
SLR (film)
Other (please say what!)

What camera(s) do you use at all?


Are you considering a DSLR or MILC in the future?

Very likely
Already an owner

In a demonstration of one of the reasons I'll never have anything to do with Facebook, here's the story of someone whose name was deemed not real enough to use there. But, real enough to work there..

Any net.radio recommendations? I have a few stations in my iTunes sidebar, and they're mostly pretty good (though some do seem to have relatively thin playlists) - but the amount of advertising absolutely grates. I'd like to be able to listen for a while, not have to hop stations every other track. For that matter, how do subscription-based offerings like Spotify fare in that regard? I'll be taking advantage of the Beats 1 trial when the station goes live tomorrow, assuming they don't geolock it down.

Here's a game I stumbled upon on TouchArcade the other day: Furdemption, a puzzler in which you have to guide a royal rabbit out of Hell. ^_^ Now, true, I will confess to a degree of bias, but they are very cutely animated, although I'm playing quite cautiously, as I don't ever want to find out what becomes of them if I fall into the lava. ^_^; You can see the game in action over here.

So, a few mini-reactions to recent-ish MLP eps:

Appleoosa's Most Wanted: thoroughly enjoyed. But then, who couldn't enjoy a theme of finding their true selves?
Make New Friends but Keep Discord: enjoyed, although I wasn't sure I quite bought into Discord's jealousy. I do want to see more of Tree Hugger. ^_^
The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone: much better than I'd expected. I was pleased to see Gilda return, and become rather more rounded in nature. Maybe not the most subtle of writing, but still, I was happy to see Gilda happy. ^_^
Slice of Life: invasion of the comics! =:D Absolutely brilliant. I've long felt we could do with seeing more of the "minor" characters, and this delivered in spades. I only wish they'd had David Tennant voice Doctor Whooves. =:)

Who else is using Safari as a primary browser? I'm wondering if it's normal for switching between tabs, and switching from another application to Safari, or away from it, to take a noticeable amount of time - up to a second or two. Feels like something's amiss, though I'm not sure what it could be - it's a fairly stock installation, with only AdBlock and Disconnect extensions enabled. Hmm. Well, if I turn extensions off completely, then back on.. it's speedy again. O.o
The big news, of course, is Friday's SCOTUS ruling: marriage equality covers the entire US now. "The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples." I know I'm hardly the first person to note this, but WTH. I want these photos and tweets in my LiveJournal, as a record. ^_^ (h/t drhoz )

(Note: the text is a parody account tweet! But WTH =:)

And how did the news reach the world? Well, even now, SCOTUS rulings are only made available on paper, in person - so, the interns have an opportunity to break the news first to their respective broadcasters, in the Running of the Interns.

That news, in combination with how the rest of Friday went for me (noted in a friends-only entry, out of professional necessity), made for a very happy Friday indeed. ^_^

Lesser known marine careers, from Robot Hugs.

Ooh, that works! Take a bottle of Pimm's cider, but add a shot or two of Heston's Earl Grey & Lemon Gin to the glass first, then add the cider. The gin plays beautifully with the Pimm's fruitiness, gently but clearly enhancing its nature.

Some more tidbits about Project Sansar, Linden Lab's next world, were revealed recently, including word that it's currently running around 75fps, with the intent of 90fps, for better use on VR headsets; the terrain will be voxel based; accounts will have a two-tier structure, finally - you'll have one account with the Lab, and then your in-world accounts will all be linked off that.

I rather like this Wondermark take on inheritance. I'd be okay with an exception for housing - everyone needs a place to live, even if the late 20th century saw houses become increasingly merely a financial instrument, with the consequence of absurd inflation. (And heaven forfend we stop just ploughing down nature reserves and old forests to build new houses, when there's such a vast number already there, sitting unoccupied, as a direct consequence of treating housing as such)

If you ever wondered if you're in the wrong profession.. "Cum For Bigfoot was Virginia Wade’s first foray into monster porn, otherwise known as “cryptozoological erotica.” According to her website, Wade (a pseudonym) first “dipped her toes” in the increasingly lucrative industry of self-published smut with titles like Stacy and the Boys and Seducing Jennifer (later retitled, for those lacking imagination, Jennifer’s Anal Seduction). But Cum For Bigfoot outsold all of Wade’s other erotica, earning her up to $30,000 a month through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. So she kept churning out Sasquatch stories, publishing a total of 16 books in the Cum for Bigfoot series."

Have a random time-lapse Bigfoot painting of an adorable nature. ^_^
In a fascinating decision, the SCOTUS may have admitted how it'll be ruling on marriage equality soon - and it could be good news. ^_^ You can read a summary of the case in SCOTUSblog's article on the remaining cases in this term - scroll down or search for "Obergefell v. Hodges". Towleroad has an analysis of the situation. The actual decision may well come on Thursday or Friday, around 10am Eastern, as it would seem the court's term concludes on July 3, with only one other date current scheduled for opinions.

huskyteer brings good news for everybody: there will be a Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds film!

Speaking of which, Saturday's lineup turned out to start with Shaun the Sheep, which I absolutely loved - basically all the cleverness you'd expect of Aardman, with plenty of little background jokes, some barely perceptible, and typically superb animation and comic timing. Much fun. ^_^ Then, Kingsman, which - I admit, didn't mesh with me. Skillful technically, but I could barely connect emotionally at any point. Finally, Robot Jox, which I'd never made much effort to see - I'd assigned it the tag of low budget fighty cheese, more or less, but no, it turned out to be quite a bit more intelligent, perhaps due to the screenwriter, who caught both of us by surprise: Joe Haldeman. Frankly, I'd take this over Pacific Rim any day! The latter had, of course, far superior effects tech, but Guillermo del Toro really didn't do himself justice there, with so vastly better a grasp on humanity in Pan's Labyrinth.

Here's a superb weblog to visit, if you're feeling at all tired of the endless, useless advertising surrounding us, especially on the web: The Ad Contrarian, by someone now retired from the very industry.

Does anyone have a recent (CC 14 or later) version of Photoshop they'd be willing to put to use on one photograph in particular? I'd like to see how well its "camera shake reduction" works on reducing the blur induced, when I overlooked the slightly slow shutter speed. It's not an especially good photograph, but one of personal significance, as it shows Dad on the last time I saw him, seemingly on the mend.

Via Egg Freckles, an Apple Newton anecdote: "Gaston Bastiens was the General Manager of Newton when I was there. He was not well liked, and he kept making crazy decisions. For instance, he decided it would be good idea to charge Newton developers a percentage of their profits (unheard of at the time, and lunacy for a struggling platform). And: When it was clear that the Newton wasn’t selling all that well, and unwanted Newts were stacking up in warehouses, Gaston had Apple buy parts to make another 80,000 units. I won’t even get started about the sea of T-shirts we were swimming in (there’s a big difference between “Buy $5000 more promotional shirts” and “Buy 5,000 more shirts”).

There were a lot of Newtons sitting in warehouses. Also, many Newton Fax modems. Many, many of them. God only knows how many he ordered. There could well have been more Newton Fax modems than there were Newtons to plug them into. One of our developer support folks (Bob E) found out that it was possible to order a palette of surplus Apple products delivered to your office. Hey, the stuff had no hope of being sold, so if someone had a use for it . . . Bob ordered a big palette of Fax modems, and when he shipped stuff off to developers (hardware, manuals, etc.) he would pour in some Fax modems as packing material."

And so, from the annals of history, MoDeminos, in which four thousand fax modems become dominos. =:D

For anyone into iOS or OS X development, Apple's made quite a few sessions available as downloadable videos, including the "Platforms State of the Union" - effectively the technical keynote, versus the main one.
Philae is awake! Now, it's a matter of gradually re-establishing better contact, whilst maintaining a guarded distance, so as not to expose Rosetta to the comet's dusty expulsions.

And in preparation for the July 14 encounter of New Horizons with Pluto, the Sky Safari devs have released Pluto Safari for free, for iOS and Android.

Wow. So the Wachowski/Straczynski co-production Sense8 finally materialised recently! I've only seen the first episode so far, and I'm loving it. The breadth and scope of the storyline and characters is something you'll rarely find. (And if I spent more time actually watching TV, I know next up would be Wayward Pines, as so eloquently reviewed by jakebe . As is, I'm still only about halfway through the first seasons of Orange is the New Black and Extant, and have four unwatched episodes of MLP in the queue, not counting today's)

Snicker of the week, courtesy of austin_dern , with a touch of rollercoaster irony.

Here's a remarkable little rambling article on the science of water - why is it "wet", what is ice, why does it behave as it does? Very geeky, yet highly readable - the work of someone who thoroughly, deeply understands their field.

Another weather forecasting site of some use: forecast.io. I can't speak of the quality of the forecasts, having only just discovered it, but the data visualisations are good, though not quite up to the standard of MeteoGroup's WeatherProHD for iPad. (I pay quite a bit of attention to the weather forecasts, trying to gauge when the cloud cover will be patchy or light enough for good rabbiteering - of course, their idea of good weather is not usually in line with what can yield good photographs =:)

Quote of the year, from aurifer : 'In 2004, Manitoba finally passed a bill for gay marriage. Chris and Richard and two other couples were the first to receive their marriage licenses. A little over ten years later, one of these older lesbians was telling a younger girl (niece? Friend's daughter?) that she was going off to attend a gay wedding. The girl said, "No one calls them 'gay weddings' anymore. They're just 'weddings'."'

How about a glimpse into a world imagined by rav_bunneh ?

In response to "couple in Canberra threatens to divorce" in protest at marriage equality, SBS announces Same Sex Couple Threaten Not To Give A Shit If Other Couple Divorces. =:D
Admittedly, the title is a bit baity, but - it's actually sort of justified. =:) The Vagus Nerve: A Back Door for Brain Hacking. "Vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, got its start in the 1990s, when Cyberonics, of Houston, developed an implanted stimulator to treat particularly tough cases of epilepsy. That application was just the beginning. Researchers soon found that stimulation had the potential to treat a variety of ailments, including painful neurological conditions such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, inflammatory problems such as Crohn’s disease and asthma, and psychiatric ailments such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder."

The catch? We're still working out how exactly to send the signals required to have the desired effects, with one featured company thinking they've made some significant progress, notably how to deliver exactly the right kind of pulse, and using only an external device the size of a phone, which you'd hold briefly to your neck. "The idea that this single nerve can have such a profound effect on so many different organs and ailments might seem far-fetched. To understand the underlying logic of this treatment, consider the anatomy of the vagus nerve and where it connects to the brain. The nerve terminates in the brain stem at a structure called the nucleus tractus solitarius. “The NTS is a junction in the brain,” explains Milton Morris, who until recently was senior vice president of R&D at Cyberonics. From there, the vagus nerve’s signals travel to other important brain structures with bewildering Latin names, such as the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe nuclei. Most of these structures produce neuro transmitters—the chemicals brain cells use to communicate—that have an inhibitory effect, decreasing a neuron’s excitability. That anatomical perspective clarifies how VNS produces its therapeutic benefits. An epileptic seizure, for example, is the result of waves of excitation sweeping through the brain. Deploying the brain’s natural dampers should—and apparently does—cause these waves to peter out. Many of the ailments now being investigated by vagus nerve researchers likely involve similar overexcitation, or oversensitivity. “Epilepsy might be just one end of a spectrum,” Errico says."

w00t! Another quick freebie sketch! This time, by /u/PrincessAloria. ^_^

Food recommendation of the day: M&S' soft-boiled Scotch eggs. Not only with a nicely soft-boiled yolk, but the meat itself is a touch better seasoned than most around. Easily the best supermarket Scotch egg I've encountered. (Note that you won't find them with the other Scotch eggs in the "Picnic" section, but with the other "Gastropub" items)

With oddly good weather on Thursday, I naturally had to take the opportunity to go rabbiteering. But that tends to pick up more as the afternoon wears on, and I wanted to be outside sooner - and so, walked there instead. It's a very pleasant stroll, going up and down a couple hills along the way, leaving the shirt back soaked, and me both tired and delighted. ^_^ No notable shots from the session, unfortunately - most of the buns were staying "inside", and those out were mostly content with just enjoying a snack or being flopped out. The black bun of late reappeared, though, and again didn't mind me being there at all, although when they crossed the road back toward their home warren, they did choose to cross a bit further away from me. Ah well. I'm pleased they don't consider me too much of a threat. ^_^ (Must remember to bring more water, though - I finished off the 500ml toward the end of the afternoon, but by the time I got back home, I polished off a few pints of water and diet cola over the next couple hours)

rav_bunneh has some ponderings on the progression of human society through from our current position. poliphilo and lupestripe may wish to take a peek, but obviously, you're all welcome. ^_^

Music video of the week: Hozier - "Take Me to Church". Not an easy one to watch by any means, given the theme of homophobia. Excellent track - probably best listened to without the video, perhaps, as that grabs one's attention away from the music.

For better or for worse, Discworld is closed. "Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna has brought down the curtain on her father’s Discworld novels, declaring that she will not write any more herself, nor give anyone else permission to do so."

It was widely reported that Hot Topic had bought ThinkGeek, but in fact, they were gazumped by GameStop, beating the earlier $122m offer with $140m, plus a penalty fee due to Hot Topic.

TIL that whilst the Mexican peso does offer 5, 10, and 20 centavo coins, in practice, they're rarely used. Going even further than the Australian model, prices apparently tend to be in multiples of 10¢, with totals rounded up to multiples of 50¢.

If you've been considering some furry jewellery, how about a torc or bracelet from the Crafty Celts? Plenty of choices, though sadly, not including any leporines. Elegant, and quite affordable. (And as for leporines, they replied to my enquiry! "We get asked occasionally for that, so maybe one day. I can picture it in my head, which is a good indication I can carve it. However, I am currently just trying to hang on for the ride with the swell of popularity we are experiencing because of Vikings! Stay tuned!")

I had to plump for a Kindle copy of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol.I: Genesis, by Dana Hunter. "Every day, worldwide, people hand a book to children that's filled with graphic adult content. It features genocide, incest, murder, rape, animal sacrifice, slavery, and more. And that's just the stuff the heroes get up to in the first few chapters."

In various news: Met Police use fake cellphone base stations, capturing the device identities of anything within tower range - and needless to say, for all the police's blithe refusal to comment, they're by far from the only purchasers of such devices, freely available commercially; the awkward birth of Moon River; and research demonstrates TV transmissions could be used for civil radar purposes.

Seeing that Julia Margaret Cameron will be receiving a major exhibition at the V&A, I noticed a link to this portrait by her. Is that not a gorgeous piece of work? "Cameron is one of the most celebrated women in the history of photography. She began her photographic career when she received her first camera as a gift from her daughter at the age of 48, and quickly and energetically devoted herself to the art of photography. Within two years she had sold and given her photographs to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) and in 1868, the Museum granted her the use of two rooms as a portrait studio, likely making her the Museum's first ‘artist-in-residence'."

So, Apple Music finally got announced. I still don't know if I can be lured into a subscription, but I'll certainly take advantage of the three month trial - Beats One would seem to have some real potential by itself, aside from the on-demand catalogue represented by the iTunes Store. It's at least interesting. Full support for Audio Units in iOS will be welcome too, though even as is, iOS is a veritable playground for music development, with a wide array of full-featured synths and sequencers, linking through Audiobus, and controlled by apps like Liine's renowned Lemur, originally a standalone device, until the developers shut down the hardware and ported it over to iOS (and now Android too).

It was also very welcome to see the original hope for Swift to be made open source come about. I ought to get into Swift, though to be fair, my current emphasis is more on acquiring familiarity with the intricacies and expanse of OpenGL - hours in the day, and all that. There's quite a lot of little news, reading between the headlines, including that ADC's rolled all the dev programs into one, and that a paid level of membership is only now required for App Store distribution - developing for your own devices can be done with the free level. There are refinements on the App Store, too, including "app thinning", so only the resources required by a user's specific device will be downloaded, reducing the space required.

Syfy has apparently announced that they intend to adapt Dan Simmons' Hyperion as a miniseries. Not, I'll admit, a series I've read, but it'll be interesting to see a bit more intelligent sci-fi on TV, even if of more of a fantasy nature.

So, say you're in the mood for touch of melancholy? Here's just the ticket: Lullaby for a Princess, a remarkably professional pony music video - beautiful and soulful in its regret.

Even for a bunny, these are some seriously impressive ears. Add in the fact he's an angora.. ^_^

A little while back, I linked to an appeal to help raise funds to pay for treatment of a pup who'd been found run over. Here's an update, and it's very happy. ^_^

So, someone's given a RyanAir ticket in his Facebook name, not his legal name. With them demanding a hefty fee to change the ticket, he changed his name instead, so his new passport would match. =:D

It would appear that some good can come of that wretched leporine affliction, myxomatosis: University of Florida researchers find it "can deliver a one-two punch, killing some kinds of cancer cells while eliminating a common and dangerous complication of bone marrow transplants."

Wow, that blood drawing went easily! Just wandered along to the local hospital with the papers the GP had given me, waited all of about thirty seconds, and sat down, right arm with palm upwards. A quick constriction above the elbow, and before I knew it, a tiny prick within the elbow. A few seconds later, and he was labelling two small vials. Providing nothing alarming shows up in the liver function test, I should end the year with all my nails completely standard issue again. ^_^ (The anti-fungal medication in question, Terbinafine, works at the nail bed, so it's got to be taken for 4-6 months in all, for a full cycle, hence the need to ensure the medication doesn't cause undue stress. Its Wikipedia entry is, naturally, about as reassuring as you'd expect =:)