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Further to my last entry, mondhasen kindly pointed out the BUNNY sign's origin: Bunny Bread, as seen in this old TV spot. ^_^

Well, that gets weird.. one of the new campers in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a rooster named Goose, one of whose requests to visit your campground is a roast turkey. ^_^;

Rather cool: Robin Williams is now remembered in Golden Gate Park, with Sharon Meadow - home to the carousel in the eastern end - now named after him. Appropriately, as it's also "the location for Comedy Day, a recurring festival that Williams often attended and supported behind the scenes as an anonymous benefactor".

Not bad! I was nosing around the iTunes Store, and noticed they've got a few TV shows' complete runs at quite palatable prices, including all of: Futurama ($30), B5 ($50), and Weeds ($48). If only buying B5 might encourage Warner to green-light an HD version.. ! True, that wouldn't be a minor effort, with basically all the effects needing to be not only re-rendered, but completely redone, with most/all the original files lost (and even if they weren't, I'd be surprised if they were still useful to any current VFX pipeline). But, crucially, all the live action was recorded on film.

Mum and I finally got back to the pub we enjoy. ^_^ It's a neigborhood pub in the best sense - it's filled with locals, and not in any exclusionary manner - it's a genuinely welcoming place for anyone. We wound up sharing some king prawns as a starter, of an uncommonly huge variety. =:9 Maybe Honduran? They were bordering on langoustine size. =:D For the main, I eventually opted for the steak & ale pie, whilst she was yearning for the fish & chips, which turned out to be a hefty cod fillet with house chips - she managed more of her chips than me. ^_^

For the main Crimbo meal, I found myself presented with something of a challenge - Mum's oven gave up the ghost recently, so I only had a microwave at my disposal. ^_^; Thankfully, I happened upon a pork shoulder in the supermarket that was pre-cooked, intended for shredding into pulled pork. Yay! And thus it was, along with some good pork chipolatas, cabbage, Brussels, peas, carrots, and battered potato slices (which, with a good bit of microwaving, actually turned somewhat crisp!). Hardly haute cuisine, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. ^_^

I hope your Yule or local equivalent has been going well. ^_^
w00t! As a surprise, Capcom's kindly sprung the release of Ace Attorney Investigations - this time, starring Miles Edgeworth - upon the iOS gaming community. =:D Having finished off the recently released Spirit of Justice a little while back, I'd resigned myself to another long wait for anything else new (to iOS, that is). It's a free download, including the first episode, with the rest of the cases available for $4 each, or a $12 complete set.

And it came as quite a surprise to discover that, at long last, the BBC has made what looks like (at 665 mins over 6 discs) the complete run of The Adventure Game available on DVD. =:D It probably won't be familiar to many of you, and I ought to remedy that. ^_^ The Wikipedia page does a reasonable job of explaining it in text, but really, the best way to grok it is to watch an episode - I imagine you'll understand the appeal. ^_^ (And I do believe the Red Salamander may've been my first fursuit crush =:)

Yay! I just received notification from AmiAmi that my Revoltech figurine of Judy Hopps is ready to be dispatched. ^_^ That'll hopefully now be here next week sometime.

She-Ra returns! And courtesy of the creator of one of the niftiest comics around, Lumberjanes. =:D The new series will be coming via Netflix. And, MST3K has been renewed for another Netflix season. ^_^

Did you know there's a Ned Flanders-themed metal band, "Okilly Dokilly"?

AirPort PSA: there are new firmware versions out now. ^_^ Launch AirPort Utility, and it'll take care of updating it/them.

Music video of the day clearly has to be Blondie & Joan Jett "Doom or Destiny". =:D “We wanted to comment on the bizarre state of media and news in the current political ‘idiocracy’ we are watching play out in real time,” Debbie Harry, Blondie’s frontwoman, said in a press release. She described the video to i-D as “the most openly political video Blondie has ever done.”

I might have to give these folks a try for wasabi - as in, real wasabi, not the usual horseradish. The catch is that the real stuff doesn't lend itself readily to being pre-prepared - you need to grate it at the table, and the essential taste's apparently dropping off after maybe fifteen minutes. Intriguingly, not only do they sell the stems (technically, not actually roots, but rhizomes), but the plants as well, with a view to growing them at home. AIUI, they're a bit fussy to grow, but not unduly so. Though they note it's best to leave them for two years to mature fully. =:/

A distributed computing effort with a difference: Bail Bloc is a cryptocurrency project funding people's bail.

Yay! Contrary to my expectations, iTunes Extras were added to Tuesday's (US) release of My Little Pony: The Movie. It's the final bit that piqued my interest: "Take a deeper dive with exclusive and in-depth featurettes that showcase the voices and creators of the film. Also, watch a fun music video and watch scenes that didn't make it to the final cut." A commentary track would've been very welcome, but nonetheless, I'll definitely be wanting to see if the missing scenes would've added to the released cut. (I'd especially recommend the deleted scenes from Mystery Men) It doesn't seem to show a 4K release, but it'll be a little while before I could even watch that anyway. =:) Agh, by "scenes", Lionsgate actually means "scene".. ah, not to worry. It's easy enough to see why they dropped it - it's mostly just a minute's exposition about who the four princesses are, capped very nicely by a certain major character.

Yay2! More beer and cider! I've not had anything fermenting in a while now, and finally got that going again, with two more kits: a Scotch Export Ale, and a cider. The ale I've bumped up in strength a bit, and added a little more flavor by boiling 250g of raisins in about 1l of water for some 30 mins, and using some soft brown sugar and medium malt. So, maybe something like a barleywine at the end? We shall see. =:9 The cider was a different kit to the one I've used previously, so the flavor profile might be somewhat different. That I left mostly untouched, aside from more sugar, and a little soft brown when I discovered the OG was rather lighter than I'd anticipated. So, those should be ready to bottle somewhere around Christmas - which probably won't stop me from trying some fresh. =:)

Via CHIRP Radio, a couple seasonal selections: Nick Lowe "Christmas At The Airport", and Devil in a Woodpile "The Pagans Had It Right". ^_^

It won't be valid until Dec 2018, but here's the very new Tube map including the forthcoming Elizabeth line. ^_^

Speaking of London, I may just have to visit God's Own Junkyard someday. It's.. basically a mecca for neon signage. As their site notes, "Chris has made, installed and collected signs that have appeared behind some of the greatest stars. Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jack Nicholson in Batman are just a few that have appeared alongside the collection." (Fascinatingly, I noticed they have a BUNNY sign (820mm x 1270mm, sign number 271) in the roster of neon signs available for rental)
The moment when, on Thursday, Australia's House of Representatives recorded the final vote on the passage of marriage equality. ^_^ (None of the opponents' amendments passed!)

And then there's this story of a wild rabbit saved from the SoCal fires, as shown in this clip. ^_^;

Here's an outstanding cybernetic TF story: Sync, by Kotep. It's unusual in conveying how such a transformation might actually be perceived, first person, rather than merely describing the appearance, as if being viewed.

You might recall me posting a few excerpts from fxscreamer's forthcoming comic; that's finally about to launch! Updates will be arriving weekly, and yes, the creator has built up a substantial buffer of future strips. ^_^

Here's the pilot for Twelve Forever, which Netflix has just picked up for 2019 as a full series. (Bonus trivia: the villain is voiced by Matt Berry, known to me as Douglas Reynholm of The IT Crowd =:)

Interestingly, the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is actually quite young, originating in a campaign for Montgomery Ward in 1939.

My mention of CHIRP Radio last time around lead me to wonder: what stations do you enjoy that have some local relevance? That is, they're not purely virtual, but try to promote artists and gigs in their locality, and suchlike.

The fourth (bearing in mind the first part was subsequently split into two) part of Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise (iOS, Android) has now been released as a free update to the app. ^_^ The release notes say they're aiming for Q2 2018 for the fifth.

I think tonight will feature Valerian, which I picked up on its recent iTunes release, but haven't quite managed to find time for yet. The opening minutes suggest it'll be living up to my hopes, though. ^_^

Why yes, I am trying for a slightly improved frequency of journal updates than of late. ^_^; (Paradoxically, I suspect that having less spare time in the near future will actually help matters significantly)
Here's what Second Life is - and that's rather more than you might have contemplated. ^_^

YAY! Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is now available globally, for iOS and Android. ^_^

Coming to it from AC:WW, there's quite a bit more complexity involved in the payment methods - then, it was purely a matter of Bells, and Tom Nook more or less held a monopoly on trade in the village, with almost everything bought and sold through him and his nephews. Now, whilst Bells are still the currency, there are also Leaf Tickets, which can be used to encourage the camper animals to offer up more requests, allowing you to level up your friendship. ^_^ So far, I'm pleased with the IAP situation - they do exist, and up to a high level, but they do seem to be entirely optional, as the many bonuses for fulfilling requests and leveling up are fairly generous, though I'm still very early in. It does look as if it should be possible to fully enjoy everything without paying anything, though I'm sure Nintendo wouldn't object if you tossed them a tip. Beyond that, it really is a (mostly) full Animal Crossing, not a nerfed "mobile" accessory. I'm delighted with it. ^_^ About the only grumble I have is that it only works in portrait orientation (and "upright", with the home button on the bottom edge), so I can't just leave the case propped up and cable plugged in. I'll live. =:) If anyone wants to share friend codes, I'll gladly reciprocate. ^_^

Aha! And it appears Nintendo has more in store, with new visitors and clothing, and special events.

Welcome 13. ^_^ This is our first look at the new Doctor's actual appearance. I'm so very looking forward to this special, as none before; I so hope that we genuinely get to see her in action next month, not merely a teaser for what's to come in 2018.

San Francisco represent. =:D SF beats out NYC in 3* Michelin ratings for the first time, with seven versus their six establishments. ^_^ (The newcomer to the culinary elite being Coi)

I was delighted to hear of a very good friend migrating from engineering to management. ^_^ Not normally something I'd celebrate, I admit, but I can see them being very well positioned, having intimate knowledge of the platform, and a highly personable nature, without being at all one for deceit - I think this could be a very good step for them. ^_^ Not, admittedly, one I feel I'll replicate in any hurry - but, who knows? For now, I'm much happier wrangling code than people. If it came to the latter, maybe I'd try shifting into politics - but that'd be quite some way down the line. =:D

Here's a competition you might be interested in: win your choice of Jane Goodall Collection adventure, including all travel, for yourself and a companion. It's open to residents of Canada (but not Quebec), the US, UK, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, and closes on Dec 5 2017. (The T&Cs seem to have a couple minor errors, including stipulating booking by July 2017 =:) The choices are indeed fabulous - not all are available as prizes, but that's again in the T&Cs - thirteen of the twenty are available, including the likes of "Mozambique, Kruger, and Swazi Discoverer", "Galapagos Island Hopping with Quito", and "Highlights of Madagascar". Note that you should see a window with the first quiz (in the Buzzfeed sense) question beneath "Take the quiz below" - it seems they're managed to construct it such that ad blockers may trap it.

It appears that Chris Morris (Brass Eye, The Day Today, Four Lions) has been very quietly at work on a new film, apparently an action-comedy. =:D

The National Cartoonists Society is holding a benefit for a number of disaster funds (Mexico City, Houston, Puerto Rico, et al) - head over here to see what's available in the auction. There's a lot of original art to be found, including the likes of SpongeBob Squarepants, Bizarro, and Dick Tracy - and currently, the bidding remains low.

So, apparently, Unikitty (of "The LEGO Movie" fame) has her own Cartoon Network show. Out of curiosity, I checked out a sneak peek, and at 99¢, went for the first episode. It's nothing revolutionary, but it is good fun, with a theme performed by Babymetal, and one Tara Strong in the titular role - it's clear they've genuinely set out to create something that's energetic and genuinely entertaining. I suspect it'll be joining my animated roster, now up to Steven Universe, MLP:FiM, Danger & Eggs, OK K.O., Gravity Falls (so I'm a latecomer =:), and this.

Another radio station to try: CHIRP 107, based in Chicago. It's quite an eclectic station, not shy of glitchy electronica, old school jazz, or thrash metal, and with DJs who seem to care about their work. And bonus points for them playing two requests I sent in. =:) (Studio Killers' "Jenny", and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour cover of "Safety Dance". Everyone knows the original, but I'm really quite taken by this funky take on it) I've only begun listening, so I haven't heard many of their DJs yet, but so far, I'm particularly fond of Nicole Oppenheim's sets; she's got the 9am-noon Central (3pm-6pm UK) slot on Fridays. And then there's also Meghan McDonough, Bri the Barefoot DJ, moimoi, and Yang, all well worth listening to. ^_^

Shada has finally been completed!

Well, the lens is boxed up and ready to go off to Nikon, with a surprisingly free postage label I (or rather, the roomie) printed out as part of obtaining a case number, thanks to some very kind help from one of my step-sisters. ^_^ It'll still be a costly repair, but more bearable now. 'Course, that said, we're now entering what tends to be the buns' quietest time of year, with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, plus often rather glum weather - but even quite routine leporine lives are worth observing in all their adorability. ^_^

So, Doncaster had a naming contest for their two new salt spreaders. Wisely, they began by explictly requesting no "Gritty McGritface" or suchlike. The contenders were indeed superb. =:D

A while back, I mentioned a forthcoming Chilean CG short that sounded interesting, Here's the Plan. And I now see it's on YouTube in its entirety - courtesy of the writer/director, no less! ^_^ The official synopsis: "A married cat-dog couple of cupcake bakers dream of opening their own bakery. One day their oven breaks and they have to postpone their dream in order to earn money and replace it. Somewhere down the line, they drift apart from their dream and from themselves."

I finally grew sufficiently tired of my Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphones' cable being intermittently flaky (once working, it's often fine, but it can take some twiddling around the connectors to get there) to order a replacement. Which is only slightly cheaper than a complete pair of Bluetooth over-ear 'phones. =:D So I went for those too, in a rather cute rose gold. I doubt the audio quality will compare, but as long as they're at least okay, they'd be fine for use on the move, or in the bath. And lo, the replacement cable is now in place - and it works almost perfectly, though I suspect the speakers' sockets themselves may be minutely out of spec - but a touch cures that, versus exerted twiddling. ^_^ Nonetheless, it's rather magical to be able to just take them out of the bag, or off the floor, put them on, and simply be able to listen, in rather good quality. ^_^ (I wound up with these after looking over plenty of reviews, suggesting they're as good as you can get in the low mid-end (£140 or so) without heading into the high-end league for a few times more. Only downside with this new cable is it's even damned longer, at 3m. ^_^; And the wireless headphones - wow, they actually work! Sure, the quality isn't up to the Sennheisers, but they're perfectly comfortable to listen to in a quiet setting, so they'll be fine on the bus, train, or plane. I'm tickled that when you turn them on, and they automagically pair again, the headphones say so. =:) Sure, sample playback's nothing big technically, but that all that's stuffed into a bargain basement pair of headphones amuses me. ^_^ I admit, though, watching the MLP season finale, I've gone back to the Sennheisers, as these don't quite hold on as snugly around the ears, so I kept hearing my breathing as I was watching - not distractingly as such, but not imperceptibly, either. Longer term, I'm thinking the newest Beats Studio might be a good option, but I'd first want to ensure the audio quality's up to par. If they check out in that critical aspect, maybe I could retire the Sennheisers.

If you enjoy Doctor Who, check out the first episode of Velocity, an eleven minute fan production that's rather well produced. There are a few points where one or two of the performances falter, but the leads are superb, and the overall production quality is as good as you'd expect these days. Bonus point: there's some running in corridors! =:D (And I really like the minimalism of the TARDIS interior. They could've gone full CG there as well, but to me, it feels like a welcome nod to the past, taken further than even then) I don't know what kind of release/production schedule they have in mind, but I'll be awaiting more. ^_^

The definitive answer for "how should toilet paper be hung", courtesy of the original patent filing.

This is the Bay Area in 1971, showing off some contemporary scenes of people and life in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Tutanota looks like an interesting option for secure email - basic accounts are free (1GB storage, private use only), whilst premium is 24€/year, which adds support for custom domains.

Want to hear about an unlikely match? How about Michael Bay producing a live action Dora the Explorer adventure?

Another comic to consider: Solstoria. It's set ambiguously in time, a little like The Company of Wolves, with an early industrial era tone in the distant background. It's character-driven, with the protagonist essentially searching for her brother, becoming a knight in the process - until she makes an encounter in the darkened woods, which turns out to be a good deal more perilous than she could have anticipated. But, there are allies.. ^_^

I must've missed this story at the time: a cave's been discovered in France with undeniably homonid structures made of stalactites, and they date back some 176,000 years.

Rather a good interview with Michelle Pfeiffer. Of course, for me, the take-away quote had to be: "Would you have done a Catwoman movie? Are you kidding me? In a heartbeat. I loved that part. I felt like I was just getting comfortable and getting used to the claws and the mask, just figuring out how to move in all of that. There was a little bit of talk about that, then that kind of faded away."

Further to my earlier notes on free video editing software, I noticed a project I'm surprised I've missed until now, VLMC, from the VLC developers. As such, it's FOSS (GPLv2), and will be available for macOS, Linux, and Windows; for now, it's "under development", and apparently not yet ready for beta testing.

Here's the voice cast for Jon Favreau's forthcoming CG remake of The Lion King. ^_^ (Beyoncé as Nala ought to be good; and John Oliver as Zazu! And yes, James Earl Jones as Mufasa)

Another music video to try: Fake Blood - "I Think I Like It". Take an annoyingly catchy track, and add home shopping satire, with graphics galore to quickly notice..

Anyone interested in the delights of plush companions might like this Flickr gallery from someone who evidently understands lighting - surprisingly captivating portraiture!

A surprisingly fascinating article on Soviet era military maps for locations around the world notes the extraordinary level of detail in places, and the irony of civilian Soviet maps being deliberately distorted with a special projection. Some of these maps can be found over here.

A fun little piece on shooting films at the Natural History Museum included this gem, regarding last year's The Mummy: "The shoot was a bit of a whirlwind, with lots of last minute requests. My favourite was “could we drive a motorbike down the middle of the Minerals Gallery?” to which we said ‘yes’ and I’m so glad we did it, as the scene in the film looked great. The location team were amazing; they streamlined the whole process and made it a lot of fun."

Another reanimation project! Here you can watch the original version of the Woody Woodpecker "The Bird Who Came to Dinner" short, and a new one, produced by seventy Brazilian animators, all in entirely different styles. =:D

There's a new Reddit client out for iOS, Apollo, which folk seem quite pleased with. I'll be giving it a spin, and seeing how it compares to just the website within Safari, given my iOS usage of Reddit's mostly on the iPad. It's free, with a few niceties available if you pay something, which can be 99¢ upwards.

English needs a word, I feel, for the anticipation of a delivery, and the syndrome of repeatedly checking a courier's website for any update. NOT THAT I HAVE EVER DONE THIS.

Ever wondered about the origins of London street names? Sadly, it doesn't explain how the city wound up with a Trump Street, appropriately fed by Russia Row. ^_^

The search for MH370 will resume, courtesy of a private company operating on behalf of the Malaysian government, on a "no find, no fee" basis. As expensive as such undertakings are, given the remoteness of the search area, that's not something you'd expect without a sensible prospect of eventual success, though that could well take many more months yet.

Egad! If you remember Lugaru, Wolfire Games has, at long last, come out with its successor: Overgrowth. It's a combat-based adventure available now for macOS, Linux, and Windows, via Steam key.

Here's Reddit's most downvoted comment. I'm impressed, in a way - I had no idea such a downvote was even possible. And it belongs to one of the industry's *cough* most beloved names, too. =:)

Yes, I weakened, and bought Valerian unseen off iTunes. Now to see if it's what I'm expecting: another Fifth Element, which some will haughtily sniff at, whilst I enjoy the hell out of it. =:D (See also "My Little Pony: The Movie", "Cloud Atlas", and "Highlander")

Huh! I was just listening to a track on RAAR FM (one of the net.radio stations I cycle between), and wondered who the artist was - and discovered it was Baxter Dury, who is indeed the son of Ian Dury. His voice does have quite some similarity, too.

Here's a useful resource if you fly much: every airline's seat width and pitch. That page is for long haul economy, but they also cover short-haul and other classes on other pages.

Santa Clara County has finally begun to be within BART's service area. =:D (Back when the system was conceived, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Marin opted out) They're running the first test runs down the new section into Milpitas, and soon, Berryessa as well. The second phase, taking it into downtown San Jose and the station, is still several years away - 2026 or so. But even Milpitas and Berryessa will be a hugely helpful step, connecting with VTA, and opening up an attractive alternative for commuters tired of the twice-daily logjam on 880 around Milpitas.

A rather lovely anecdote regarding David Bowie.

The BBC's Christmas animation for 2017 will be The Highway Rat, voiced by David Tennant, from the writer and artist team behind The Gruffalo.

Following a cryptic mention by one of the Radio Paradise DJs, I thought I'd check out the Count Basie Orchestra's Wikipedia page - and indeed, they're still active, despite being originally founded in 1935. =:D

For a good macOS video player, have a look at IINA. It's sort of a pleasant offspring of VLC and QuickTime Player, with the ease of use and power efficiency of the latter, and the sheer versatility of the former. It's free, with the source available under an LGPL license. At first glance, it's pretty slick - definitely a native app, with macOS-like UI sensibilities, like cmd-I giving a useful summary of the file's characteristics, rather than the full This Is Your Life rundown. (And let's not get into VLC's preferences.. yet, the iOS version of VLC is a superb app, modulo some UI subtleties I'd quibble) There are a couple things I'd modify (and might!), particularly having a "shift to/from full screen" icon in the controller, rather than relying on menus or shortcuts, but that's a relatively minor detail. Return as the "enter full screen mode" is a bit odd, but it's at least fixable, even if a bit more roundabout than I'd've expected, as they're leaning toward unnecessary complexity with the key bindings, supporting multiple configurations, with the default set including their own, MPV, and VLC's. O.o So you first have to duplicate IINA's set, then modify it, or switch to another default set of your choice. (It's not a bad idea, but like VLC's prefs, I'd rather than kind of complexity were only exposed by deliberate choice - most will only want the option to change key bindings, not maintain multiple sets)

If you have any need to send or receive money internationally, I notice TransferWise recently launched their Borderless account. It's like having a variety of bank accounts in different countries - you can work with 28 currencies, and offer bank details (account number, etc) in four: GBP, USD, CAD, and AUD. No recurring or setup fees, and the exchange and withdrawal fees are about as low as is practical. It's not intended to be a replacement for "actual" bank accounts, as there are a few restrictions, particularly (currently) no direct debits, and you're not covered by national financial institution protection schemes, but rather, an addition to make international transactions that much easier. And bear in mind, once you've verified your physical address (a photo or a scan of a bank statement or utility bill, f'rex), they note it'll take up to two days to finish setup.

Here's a piece of leporine art I need to photograph someday: Leap, by Lawrence Argent, whose sculptures embraced that style of whimsy. It's installed in Sacramento International Airport, and "meant to convey the anxiety, frustration, nervousness and 'personal baggage' travelers feel at the airport". =:D

The casting director for The Princess Bride reminisces on how they set about finding the perfect cast. It's quite a delightful read.

AWN has an interesting article on the role of a cinematographer in an animated production, in this case, My Little Pony: The Movie. It's quite an interesting look into how cinematography translates to animation, with similar - arguably, more, creativity involved in an imaginary domain as physically. "Technically, we obviously use very different tools to create the same intent. What is very different in animation is that the process happens over a much longer period of time. Take a single frame of footage in live-action as an example. Think about everything that is captured and preserved in 1/50th of a second on set. How you have framed your subject, the actor’s eyeline, your lighting, your staging, etc. In animation you take that 1/50th of a second and expand that moment into two years or longer. Within that time, dozens of artists need to then work on that shot, and if I have not communicated my intent very clearly, and I am not there to maintain it, then those artists have the ability to change that intent.

For example, an animator can change the eyeline, or they can block out a very broad action requiring you to change your framing from a close up to a medium shot, thus changing the language of the scene. A lighting artist can light an area of the frame you had intended to keep in shadow, or out of focus. The job of a cinematographer in animation is to create intent and then shepherd that intent through all of these different departments to make sure the integrity of the cinematic vision is not compromised, but that it is only built upon as it reaches each new artist in the pipeline."

On that note, here's the My Little Pony Adventures "Show Bible", by Lauren Faust - essentially, it's her 2009 guide to what would become MLP:FiM, covering some of the characters, and types of situations and storylines might be involved.

As for the film itself - it's good. ^_^ Surprisingly, the Grouch Factor™ hasn't detracted as much as I might've feared from the critics' ratings - there are still plenty willing to snivel on it for its name, but more indeed enjoyed what was a top-tier animated feature. (Needless to say, my pre-order's in with iTunes) Even if you're not a pony sort, consider giving it a try, if you're up for some good cinematic animation and great showtunes. ^_^ As for the details - well, I would've preferred a little more time for Fluttershy. Still, I enjoyed her moments regardless, particularly her tiny therapy session toward the end. ^_^ (Of course, I hope the monster she was consoling wound up feeling better about themself) The pacing felt appropriate - the writers did a good job there, I feel. Of course, I'm not, strictly speaking, the intended core audience - but on the other paw, whilst some at Hasbro might still wish MLP:FiM to be 5-12, I can't help but feel there are others who accept a broader outlook, as with Doctor Who, where audiences span children hiding behind sofas to grandparents. I've always maintained: the best children's programming, whatever the medium, not only hits the key audience, but holds its appeal far beyond - and the scope of that challenge is immense. As such, I applaud all those who succeed in such broad ambition. ^_^ And, apparently, per Hasbro's latest investors' call, there may be a second cinematic outing on the cards, per the CEO: "The model for My Little Pony has really worked, and I think the team is beginning to think about what a next movie will look like". =:D

.. which one wag in the EqD comments suggested be titled "My Little Pony 2: Electric Scootaloo".

And yay, the (official =:) home release has been determined: Dec 19 for downloads, Jan 9 for DVD and BD. I'm a bit puzzled they're seemingly holding back on the physical release - seems like a no-brainer as a gift. I'm hoping the iTunes release will include at least some of the extras, though they're a bit light, so it won't make a huge difference. (I'd've loved to have a commentary track or two - that kind of personal insight can be almost as entertaining as the film, for me =:)

TIL of the existence of Silbo Gomero, a form of Spanish that's conveyed purely through whistling, and is used by the inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canaries. Its raison d'etre is that the sounds carry for miles through the valleys of the area, making for a reasonably effective means of communication at distance.

Well, this is rather a welcome development: Netflix will produce Sergio Pablo's "Klaus" - as a traditionally animated feature! I love good CG animation (Presto, Zootopia, Ratatouille, The Book of Life, etc), but I still wish it hadn't almost completely displaced drawn animation on the big screen.

Huh! I never realised: Heathrow now has terminals 2, 3, 4, and 5 - but not 1. T5 was a slightly odd experience - first having to go from the bus/tube on the Heathrow Express shuttle (free within the airport, and insanely priced to/from Paddington), then a separate underground micro-shuttle (normal size trains, but only ferrying people for up to a minute or so) to go from the main terminal building to one of a couple separate departure spots.

Monument Valley 2 is finally on Android. ^_^

Yay! MasterChef: The Professionals has begun its 2017 run, on a thrice weekly basis, thankfully on a schedule simple enough for even a bunny - hour long eps at 8pm on Tue-Thu. (Compare to the main competition, which saw some at an hour, some 30 mins, and jiggling the timeslot from 8-9pm now and then. Not that it makes a lot of difference - I just fetch them off iPlayer, and watch them offline =:)

I haven't watched it yet, but here's Tim Cook's address at Oxford University recently.

If you use NearlyFreeSpeech as a webhost, you'll want to check out their recent pricing changes. They're nothing huge, but it's a significant reworking of the tiers - for me, that'll mean a standing charge of 1¢/day for a "non-production site", but they also note bandwidth will become largely free, so, probably not much change.

Sad to learn of the death of Dudley Simpson, whose career as a composer saw him work on early Doctor Who for several years. He was also responsible for two of my favorite themes, Blake's 7 and the original Tomorrow People.

It'll be interesting to see if the City finally moves ahead with municipal broadband - it's been mulled for years, though, so it's anybody's guess if it'll finally get moving this time around. Nonetheless, here's the 2017 report on the issues and costs. They're envisaging universal access, with a particular eye on low-income residents, given how overwhelmingly useful - and prevalent - the net's become in everyday life, not just for the more wired among us. In total, they'd be looking at around $1.5-1.9b, depending on whether they built out a dark or lit FTTP network, and the usual variability in actual results. A fair chunk of change, but considering the wealth of tech companies (in both senses), and a population of around 900,000, that's around $2k per person. The model envisaged would be that the City would own the network, and offer access to it to existing ISPs, somewhat like the British model, where the infrastructure's almost always owned by BT, but access is mandated, either reselling BT products offered wholesale, or installing their own equipment in the exchanges. (Sadly, cable operators are under no such obligation; but they're a relatively minor sector)

Whilst the entire twenty minute vid's worth enjoying, if you like amusing reviews of awful Disney ripoff games, I think this one probably takes the cake. =:)

Apple's first venture into "serious" TV programming was revealed to be a relaunch of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, starting with ten episodes, with a budget of around $5m each - on a par with higher-end Netflix or HBO productions. (The t.co link seemingly provides a way in through the WSJ's paywall)

Here's an interesting extrasolar body: Oumuamua, which seems peculiarly elongated - it's at least 7-8x as long as it is wide, quite possibly 10x or more, making it rather different to the usual blobby agglomerations we're accustomed to.

Egad! I've actually found a decent-looking cheap cellco in the US! MintSIM - not quite up to the level of GiffGaff, inasmuch as you have to buy in blocks of 3, 6, or 12 months, but beyond that - well, $15/mo for 2GB 4G (and unlimited 3G), unlimited minutes & texts is actually not bad at all. Last time I looked, about the cheapest began around $30-40/mo, beyond a few ridiculously sketchy companies. They're another MVNO, running on T-Mobile's network. And unlike a lot of budget options, eg AT&T GoPhone, they do support international roaming, although they're quiet on the costs, beyond offering three tiers. (It's worth minor note that the current prices favor the 3 month options =:) Internationally, Support says that's 25¢/min in or out, and 5¢ per text. I don't yet know about data. (Represses impulse reminding her it's all data now)

A couple more webcomics to try: Princess Princess (complete, 44 pages), from the same creator as The Tea Dragon Society; here, it's a more playful, often comedic adventure. And, As the Crow Flies, from one of the Steven Universe comic writers, Melanie Gillman; there's also a brief prequel comic, Pockets. It's ongoing, updating a little sporadically, as work permits - often once or twice a week, with the occasional multi-week gap. Or, for something quite different, Phoenix Flair, which begins with odd little beings trying to recruit volunteers to be Amazons - effectively, magical girls - whilst another tries her best to dissuade them from the idea, having already been through it.. and it's not quite as fun as it might seem. And as a reader bonus, you'll probably get quite an Utena vibe at times. ^_^ Regrettably, it's on hiatus, so the 102 or so pages there is it, for now, but it does leave at a reasonable juncture.

They really went to town with the My Little Pony: The Movie soundtrack, especially the opportunity to work with a full orchestra. Here's the villain's number, which especially stands out: Open Up Your Eyes, sung by Emily Blunt. (Pretty cool of Hasbro to upload it officially!)

Well, poop. It seems Serif is/are not working on an Affinity DAM (à l'Aperture or Lightroom) after all. Quite a pity, given the field of competitors is very slim. Still, Aperture continues to do its thing perfectly reliably under High Sierra, so I'll continue enjoying its best-in-class UX. ^_^

If you've been holding back from iTunes 12.7 for its removal of the App Store, Apple also has iTunes 12.6.3, which adds support for the new iPhones and so on, but retains the Store. ^_^

Amazon's developing three new sci-fi series: Snow Crash, Ringworld, and a rather lesser-known one based on a comic, Lazarus.

An interesting server-side gaming rendering option, for Mac users in North America: GeForce NOW, c/o Nvidia. They can help with games you have Steam licences for. Other OSs and locations will come later.

Random track I liked, whilst listening to RAAR FM: Yello - Blue Biscuit, from their 2016 album, Toy. No video for it, unfortunately. It's magnificent they're still at it. =:D But one that does have a rather clever and amusing video is Diane Birch - Valentino.

Ooo.. quite a classical look for me in this depiction by /u/spartancats. =:D

A couple previous iTunes rentals (which, of course, I finally got around to on their final day of the rental period) were In a World.., a vibrant comedy based on the everyday lives of voiceover artists. As such, it had a measure of that verisimilitude of WoSaT. Then, 99 Francs, a fairly savage parody of the advertising industry, as if directed by a more focused Chris Morris.

While nosing through Techmoan's YouTube offerings, I happened upon a few particularly obscure examples of older tech, notably the Tefifon, which was quite an inspired concept which apparently never spread much beyond Germany. I shan't give it away, as the clip begins with a bit of a guessing game - from appearances, it's not quite immediately obvious exactly what it is. It is quite a cool concept, and as he demonstrates, it worked remarkably well.

Speaking of old tech, FaxRocket looks like a good option for sending a fax - no account required, and simple pricing of $1 for the first four pages, and 25¢ per additional page.

Hm! BofA's now offering an interesting option in their banking app now - you can permit it to check your device's location at least once a day, in order to help verify where you're using your card, rather than having to issue travel advisories manually. I might turn that off later on, but, it seems like a sensible option to have, to avoid inadvertant card declines. I wonder if it does a location push when the app launches? That way, you could have its permission for location services confined to "while using the app", if you didn't mind having to do that manually, in exchange for avoiding BofA having access to your location, especially with the rather profitably cavalier nature toward customer data that US companies tend to have.

(More) Pony!
Once Upon a Zeppelin - a rather middling episode, but so it goes. Fun to see Iron Will again, even if he's not much less of an arse now than originally - but, the core boiled down to "why didn't she say something?" and "why didn't they foresee putting such a load on her would be cruel?".
Secrets and Pies - I was getting very nervous early on, fearing this would be another "take a core premise and repeat it multiple times"; and technically, that remained true - but it proved to be a marvellously unhinged episode, taking Pinkie to new heights (or depths?). Again, something of a "if only they'd actually communicated" theme, but underneath a wonderfully overblown comedic layer.
Uncommon Bond - not bad. It tackled a worthy topic, of friends perceiving they've grown apart, which unfortunately led to the episode being perhaps unavoidably weighty in feel.
Shadow Play - oh, yes. =:D A classical group quest, and well done. And lo, we finally see the connections between some of the symbols of late, and now. I particularly enjoyed the quiet way in which the grounds for this were laid, with various artifacts simply being encountered, unmentioned, along the way. The concluding part was a touch heavy-handed with the telegraphing, with Sunset repeatedly trying to caution Twi into reconsidering whether there might not be a better way of handling the situation, but, I'll accept it - the outcome was, regardless, as wholesome as I could have hoped for, opting out of another epic battle in favor of a gentler approach. I approve. ^_^

In the UNIX V4 manual, from 1973, I did enjoy this from the preface: "The number of UNIX installations is now above 20, and many more are expected."

On which note, someone discovered that if they ran "man" without any page specified, normally, everything worked as would be expected. But, at 0030, and only that time, it would say "gimme gimme gimme" instead. The answer? "The maintainer of man is a good friend of mine, and one day six years ago I jokingly said to him that if you invoke man after midnight it should print 'gimme gimme gimme', because of a certain Abba song called 'Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight'"
If you're an American amateur radio licensee, read here for how you may be able to volunteer to aid in Puerto Rico's ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Yay! Finally, we have the trailer for Aardman's next cinematic offering, Early Man. And, a new Peter Rabbit film, and a new Wes Anderson production, Isle of Dogs. Peter Rabbit I'll admit to being nervous about, as it could so easily be a case of them taking elements of Beatrix Potter's stories and characters, and tossing them into a Blender. Still, all good bunny publicity is welcome, and the animation does look absolutely top-notch. IoD, on the other paw, does suggest it'll be a must-see, and very much a Wes Anderson film.

If you're wanting to noodle around with synths, have a look at VCVRack, a FOSS offering available for macOS, Linux, and Windows. "It's currently in a beta form and features 30 modules, including versions of Mutable Instruments, Befaco and Synthesis Technology modules, some of which are directly ported from the original devices. More modules will be added in the coming weeks."

Here's quite a fascinating long-form article on why we used leaded fuel, despite concerns over tetraethyl lead from the outset.

No further details as yet, but Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, The Day Today, I'm Alan Partridge) has been tapped by HBO for a pilot of a space comedy, Avenue 5.

Did you know the European Commission commissioned a report on the effects of piracy of copyrighted material, and then buried the results? "In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect. An exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally."

Music videos of the week: Melanie Martinez - Mad Hatter, with a particularly creative video; don't have the volume turned up too high, though, as the track begins with some heavy bass. =:D And then there's a suite of coolness from Kesha, with Woman, Praying, and Rainbow.

Have you had anything like Miracle Burger or similar recent "very close to meat" options? How was it?

Wow.. =:P Once upon a time, you could simply change your iOS Skype status with a quick tap and selection of whatever state you wanted to show, be it available, offline, invisible, and so on. Now? Nope, the latest version removes that, and "handles" it automatically. But you can change that, with the official instructions being "If you would prefer to hide your presence status completely, you can change this in your profile settings to make yourself invisible. Tap your profile picture > Tap the Settings button > Tap Privacy > then you can toggle Show my presence to others on or off." Easy! O.o

Apropos of nothing, here's the Transbay Tube's route, overlaid onto an aerial photo, showing San Francisco on the right, Oakland on the left. Maybe there'll even be a second tunnel before the century's out? =:)

Hrm. If I want all of Curse of the Were-Rabbit, it looks like I'll be stuck having to buy the HD version on iTunes, as there's no BD release, and the DVD, as the iTunes release has no extras - and they actually do sound well worth watching. Beyond the usual commentary, there are also several deleted scenes, also with commentary, a three minute "How to Build a Bunny" short, and quite a bit more. And with the DVD running £3 on Amazon UK, I may have to go for it. ^_^ (And I did - for a used copy costing a mighty £1.77 including postage =:)

Google Translate is becoming uncannily realistic. =:)

A furry game to consider: The First Tree, in which you play a non-anthro fox. I'll have to forego it for now, as my backlog is a bit silly these days - I still haven't got around to the final chapter of Star Billions, which I eagerly downloaded on March 29 2017. ^_^; It's definitely worth a look, regardless. It's yours for $8, available for macOS and Windows, via Steam.

The Structure Sensor is rather a fun little device - sort of like the iPhone X's Face ID assembly, but as a standalone device, with an open SDK.

Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams debuted on Sunday, Sep 17, at 9pm. In the US, it's apparently being handled by Amazon Video.

Not that there's really much doubt about Apple's ambitions to build up its own TV programming, with a couple more executives recently hired who also worked with the duo hired a couple months back, responsible for producing the likes of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, but now the rumor mill is saying they're in contention with Amazon and Warner Bros for James Bond, in a deal for the digital distribution rights, or potentially, even the future of the franchise, in a deal estimated to be worth between $2-5 billion.

Furry pic of the week is, I think, розовый цвет, by Luzleimoon. ^_^

There may have been a large scale Instagram breach, exposing users' contact information. However, rather more problematic is Equifax having been breached: "A massive cyber security incident at Equifax — one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States — may have exposed private information belonging to 143 million people — nearly half of the U.S. population. The breach, which was discovered July 29, includes sensitive information such as social security numbers, birthdays, addresses and in some instances, driver's license numbers. The agency said 209,000 credit card numbers were exposed in the breach, which includes customers in Canada and the United Kingdom."

A rather delightful webcomic - or, really, more of a brief graphic novel, as it's already complete, and leaving me wishing there were quite a bit more. ^_^; The Tea Dragon Society. If you're in need of something to help sooth your nerves, this is just the ticket.

I was quite surprised by the results from that domain ownership poll last time! I'd been thinking along the lines of some folk having a personal domain, a few more having something perhaps professionally- or hobby-related, and perhaps some outliers.. ^_^ My first was purely for fun, back when all the good domains started to get bought up - I wanted to secure something that was furrily meaningful to me. Then came the photography domain, which wound up segueing into a personal domain, largely through the original's sale last year, now joined by another, which I basically bought with image hosting in mind. Though it's actually quite a fun name.. ^_^

Who else enjoys "Danger & Eggs"? It's a recent Amazon animated series, sadly only available streamed from them. It's nothing like Steven Universe, but still, if you're feeling the strain from Cartoon Network continuing to disregard their viewers, this may well appeal. ^_^

A writing prompt I spotted over on Autostraddle: what was the first major news story you remember being aware of? I think in my case it might be the death of Peter Sellers, whom I knew as Inspector Clouseau. We were making a long-ish trip, and so, with the radio on all the way, he was the headline story every hour.

I was looking without much intent at the tech manual for my previous MBP, and noticed that it's apparently possible for bad connections to several internal devices to cause the SMC indigestion, which potentially might account for its failure to start up. Of course, getting to the point of disconnecting everything will be a fair bit of effort, given the tiny size and fragility of some of the connectors, plus simply the amount of disassembly required to access the top side of the main board, but it's an appealing prospect, even if admittedly fairly remote. The reason I'm wondering if that might be the problem is that its downfall did come more or less straight after it took a fall - conceivably, something might have become sufficiently dislodged in the process. Of course, it might be something more difficult to address, like some chip's connections coming ever so slightly dislodged, but it'd be handy to have Dandelion back in action if possible, especially given its 17" screen, and the fact that its specs are still perfectly viable for an everyday workhorse, even if the GPU's a bit out of date now. (Hell, even Hazel's is =:) The thing that has me a little more interested now is noticing one detail: that when the SMC is successfully reset, the LED on the MagSafe connector should go from orange to green for a few seconds, providing visual confirmation - and it did! So, it might be that the SMC isn't dead after all, but something's perhaps not providing the go-ahead for it to send power to the rest of the system, such as a thermal sensor.

NASA's released three retro Voyager posters, celebrating its fortieth anniversary - and they're positively spiffy. Be sure to download the PDF version, if you're wanting something of viewable size - the TIFFs are very large, with the first weighing in at 379MB (8100x11700), versus 21MB for the PDF.

Randomly, I thought of CED players, and wondered what YouTube had to offer. And of course, TechMoan is there. ^_^ It's half an hour long in all, but you can easily get by with just the opening and closing five minutes, which introduces what the format was all about, and in closing, why it failed so spectacularly, bringing RCA down in the process. (For anyone unfamiliar with CED, it was a VHS contemporary, with cheaper players, but was indeed a play-only medium. It's not to be confused with LaserDisc - the discs are similarly sized, but that's it: LD was more like a video CD in nature, but with the video signal still purely analogue, whereas CED was born out of LP technology, with a diamond stylus sitting on the surface of the disc, and the signal encoded as varying capacitance)

And back to 2017, with Sony's new RX0 action cam, with a larger sensor than you'll normally find in such devices - and interestingly, the ability to capture at HD at up to 1000fps. =:D

Yay, back on High Sierra! Of course, that wasn't quite as straightforward as it could've been, as my partition map had been left a bit wonky, with one 24GB partition that had been left with an oddball GUID and therefore unrecognised as usable by anything. So, I thought I'd reboot off an SD Card with a bootable HS installer, and just reformat. But, nope! Disk Utility claimed the device was busy, and couldn't be mounted. Searching around suggested that it is indeed possible, if a disk's sufficiently inconsistent, to be effectively unformattable. The workaround? Still booted off the installer, just a minute or so of cat /dev/random > /dev/disk0. =:D Not exactly something I've ever done before, but.. it worked! Once the partition map had been trashed, reformatting went ahead normally. I think I'd like to spend some time looking deeper into GPT maps, perhaps starting with the gpt source, to see how difficult this situation would be to handle a touch more gracefully. So, then followed a restore from the Time Machine backup, and finally, updating to High Sierra 17A358a. So far, so good - it's more of an incremental update than one with stacks of new features, though there's a fair bit under the hood, notably the adoption of the new APFS filesystem, which has been brewing for quite a few years - being such a fundamental component of an OS, it's understandably not something to rush out. And importantly, Aperture continues to function normally. ^_^ And gratifyingly, Fusion 8.5.8 also seems fine, including its handling of USB devices. So far, I'd say the current HS beta is robust enough for everyday use - which makes sense, given we're only a week or so from its release: Apple's finally announced it'll debut on Sep 25.

Well, that was an interesting little side adventure.. who knew precise cauterisation isn't actually painful? Well, for the most part. ^_^; Nothing major - just a few skin tags, including one that'd been resident on my nose for about nine years. and one by one brow. I suppose it's along the lines of a scalpel that seals as it goes, just using an advanced electrolysis needle. It's not an especially rapid process, as the aesthetician has to basically literally go around the tag, weakening its bond, gradually searing it off. Egad, it was odd to see these little bits on a paper towel, and finally, not on me. =:D They'll be a while healing, but FSM, that was so worthwhile. The nose I'm especially happy about - even now, you can barely tell anything had been there. It's now just a nose. ^_^ The treated areas - four, in all - are a little sore, but, considering what's just happened, I'm quite surprised it's such a mild aftermath. Hey ho! I just need to keep treating those spots with aloe vera or similar for a few weeks, and let whatever scabbing happens take its course - but that'll be trivial compared to what it'll have replaced, and temporarily, too.

Everyone knows about San Francisco's 1906 earthquake, but I hadn't literally seen it quite as horrifyingly clearly as in this photo from an airship 1500' up, with block after block just, quite simply, flattened.

That said, here's a comparison of the same SF location - Buchanan & Washington - 125 years apart. ^_^

Has anyone tried experimenting with savory watermelon? I'm quite tempted to give this balsamic watermelon recipe a try. I'm not really one for watermelon, finding it rather bland by itself - I'm much more one for honeydew's glorious sweetness, perfect for simply slicing open and enjoying right there and then, especially on a warm day. But, as the basis for something savory? That could work.

Quick bit of SU fun, for iPhone peeps: a Padparadscha lock screen. ^_^ The original, by /u/PerfectMayo, intended for recent iPhones, and my tweaking, which slightly alters the positioning for use on a 5s.

An impromptu film night on Wednesday turned out to be 1963's Charade, starring - well, just about everyone. =:) Audrey Hepburn being her usual effortlessly stylish self, Walter Matthau as a CIA agent, and a host of others, including Cary Grant and James Coburn, with cinematography from a star in the field, Charles Lang, also responsible for.. well, his IMDb entry says it all. =:D

Apparently, some macOS programmers (ie of the OS, not for it) are trolls. =:) There's a long-standing bug in Disk Utility, wherein once you've rebuilt a RAID set, it doesn't show the status as simply "Online", as it will normally show, but instead, resets the progress to 0.0%. ^_^; It won't update to "Online" correctly until the app's relaunched, leaving you briefly wondering what went wrong, and with the expectation of having to wait another twelve hours or so for a 3TB RAID1 pair to rebuild again. (At some point, I'll probably go with something unRAID, or maybe a commercial NAS, from the likes of Synology or QNAP. I've now got three photography RAID pairs, plus a few plain drives for general file storage - it'd be nice to have it all protected, as well as accessible within one file tree, rather than, inevitably, sorted by date)

Via hastka, a nice little leporine-themed ad for an investment company. ^_^

Hm! I may have to give this a shot sometime: how to run OpenSTEP in VMWare. It's an old thread, from 2007, but with any luck, the instructions will still hold true. Getting the various additional drivers, though, might be a challenge. Or, maybe this guide will prove simpler.

So, the shirts arrived. =:D The weight feels acceptable, but I suppose there's no test like time, to see how well both the fabric and the printing last. Loving Egypt Urnash's designs, in any event. ^_^

A couple weeks on with the Asus VX24A monitor, and I remain very pleased with it. It's not 4K, but I knew that to begin with. The only minor gotcha I'd note is that, rather surprisingly, it doesn't have VESA mounting holes, so if you want to use anything other than the supplied stand, you need to go with third party brackets that fit in that stand's hole, acting as a VESA mount adaptor. Oh, and the logo on the bottom bezel is a touch prominent - I'd rather they did without, or at least left it black on black; I'll probably retouch it with marker, for a reasonably matching matte finish. For the price, it's a solid purchase.

And then there are the new Apple goodies, of course. =:) For me, perhaps the most interesting thing was the new Watch - when it comes time, I'll probably get one of those rather than a new iPhone. That said, the iPhone X's Face ID system definitely is very nifty work, combining proximity detection to tell when someone might be near, then projecting a grid of 30K infrared dots, and working out not just that it's a person, but that they're looking at the phone. That's all processed by the A11's neural network engine in the secure enclave, so no data leaves the phone. And they've taken care to ensure it can't be spoofed by something as "simple" as a highly realistic mask, with the promo vid showing some of the uncanny masks they'd had made as part of that process. (There's a good interview with Craig Federighi here, going over various practical details) The 4K Apple TV's nice, but what impressed me more was that where available, existing HD iTunes Store purchases will be upgraded to 4K for free, with new 4K offerings at the same price as HD. (Of course, what the quality will be.. some releases are just upscaled HD, as it seems commonplace for cinematic post-production to take place at 2K. And then there's Disney being the sole holdout against Apple's "4K at no extra cost" plan) Oh, and let's not forget the rather lovely facial mapping and musculature sensing demonstrated by the animated emoji, with a bunny option. ^_^ However, the Watch apparently offers more restricted support for different international bands - there are different models for North America, China, and the rest of the world. I'll have to look into what the upshot of that actually is, but it doesn't bode well for roaming across those boundaries. Still, first version, and all that - it's cool enough such tech even works. ^_^ Oh, in the ad for iPhone X, the soundtrack is Sofi Tukker's "Best Friend". No video available, unfortunately - when they do make videos, they do tend to have some fun with them. =:)

Also, be aware that iTunes 12.7 removes app management and the App Store - now, iOS apps can only be acquired on an iOS device. There've been a few other alterations too, including rolling Internet Radio into Music, and removing the Ringtones tab. It's not a big matter for me, but I'm not sure if that means that if I want an app on both my iPhone and iPad Air that I'll now have to download it twice - once on each device - or if iTunes will still sync the new app from its "origin" and despatch it to any other devices (per preferences). I'll be holding off updating iTunes for now, until I'm clearer on the changes. Ah! There may be a solution with Apple Configurator 2, which is intended for bulk device management. Files can apparently still be managed (eg video files in VLC) through a new File Sharing tab. Ringtones can still be added with drag & drop, though there doesn't appear to be a means to remove them; not a problem for me, thankfully, as I almost always have my phone on silent. =:) Thankfully, Thursday's GM candidate (build 17A362a) doesn't bundle iTunes 12.7, so I don't have to contend with that change just yet; it sounds like Configurator might actually be a better option, particularly with multiple iTunes Store accounts, but I'll punt that for now. First, time to try watching the recent Almodovar rentals before they turn into pumpkins!

And lo - I managed it. ^_^; And I'm so very pleased I did. Such a disparate bundle, too: the farce of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the profound drama of The Skin I Live In, the bittersweet melodrama of Volver, and the poignant and harrowing Talk to Her. I may expand on them in my next entry, but there's a lot to contemplate between them. I rather wish I'd picked up the "Iconic" bundle on iTunes when it was at $25 - on the other paw, I don't really tend to rewatch many films these days, without interested company. Next up: In a World..", 99 francs, Red Without Blue, and Neruda.

A little sketch of me by Rav Bunneh. =:D

On Wednesday night, we came to musing how we had these unwatched films, and proceeded to whittle them down to progressively shorter lists, winding up with The Saddest Music in the World and Mauvais Sang. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that I'd bought my copy of the former back in the Bay, and the player regurgitated the R1 DVD. =:P So, we went with the latter, something of a heist flick that's actually much more about young love, beginning with the protagonist breaking up with his love, wishing to spare her the pain associating with him will inevitably bring.

Valerian I sadly missed out on - I could've caught it in 2D, but it seemed like a production that did benefit from 3D, and without that, TBH, I didn't have much inclination to accept the inconvenience of having to turn up at a specific time and pay not hugely less than a purchase for a one-time viewing, not to mention the rather inferior selection of cider and beer available versus a home viewing. =:) I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy it, in much the same way as I dug The Fifth Element, though it remains to be seen if it topples Jupiter Ascending from my favorites. Anyway, Amazon US is currently claiming a release on Nov 21, so I'll see it before too much longer. (But wow, the prices! Streaming $15, DVD $30, BD $40, 4K $43! And I thought iTunes top-tier HD pricing around $20 was high. Presumably those prices'll get knocked down sharply when the release actually comes around)

Aha! Here's a list of 4K films available in iTunes US at the moment. It's unclear, however, what their availability is - and one very disappointing tidbit I noticed was that, presumably per studio insistence, 4K offerings will only be streamed, and not downloadable. Not an issue for many, but still, that'll cut out a lot of people with lesser connectivity, not to mention caching for times when streaming won't be practical, or wanting to save on bandwidth for an item you or the leverets love rewatching. Officially, they're recommending 25Mbps for 4K streaming, which is at the upper end of ADSL2+, or reasonably comfortably within VDSL (ie FTTC, VDSL providing the "final mile" over existing copper).

BTW, thinking a bit more on the "what's your comfort food?" question last time, I really ought to've made note of the miracle that is the Cornish pasty. ^_^ Especially the ones from a particular bakers, who make the best you've ever tasted, and for whom there's a line way out the door every lunchtime - they're really well filled, with proper steak, potato, onion, and swede, and they're cheap, hot, and fresh. What more could you ask for? ^_^ At least they've become somewhat easier to find in the UK in recent years, even if they remain virtually unheard of in the Bay. So, who wants to fund the first pasty bakery in San Francisco? =:D Okay, maybe I'd offer scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam as well. I'm not really one for high tea, but scones are such an awfully civilised mid-meal delight, just as perfect croissants are. =:9

Ah! I see the artist behind Mascot Hell now offers a Patreon to help support the title. ^_^ And at the $3 level, you get high-res and textless versions of each page.

Who on Earth dreams about waking up, and then does so? =:P (I think it was the disconnect that hit me - there was a gap between what I last remembered, and then just "waking up". Plus, 7.01pm struck me as a fairly late start, when I "looked" at my watch =:)

Here's a fun oddity of a furry music video: Die Toten Hosen - Zehn Kleine Jägermeister.

Wow. I hadn't expected "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You" to strike me as forcefully as it did, but.. what an episode! Perhaps not a surprising revelation within, but still, handled to well, and such a wonderful ending.. =:D

Ooo.. The Witness just hit the App Store. =:D And at $10! Aaah, dammit.. this is going to be an expensive week: it's been joined by Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice. As they say, instabuy. ^_^ Oh dear.. and now The Journey Down: Chapter 3 as well, completing the trilogy. (Curiously, syncing TJD3 to the iPad failed with an "incompatible with this version of iOS" error. Downloading it on the device from the Purchased tab of the App store worked fine. The devs are looking into the issue)

And on TV, a peek at Big Hero 6's TV incarnation, which.. mm, I'll check out, but I'm not sure I'm sold on it yet. Still, I certainly enjoyed the film enough to buy it, and I would like to see what else happens to them - it's really all down to the quality of the writing. (Speaking of which, another production from Disney XD seems to have quite the following: what was Gravity Falls like?)

Well, poop. An old friend just let me know that Sushi Musashi, a local sushi joint we used to frequent just closed down. *sigh* I'd revisit them whenever I was back in the area, most recently a few times in September 2016. Amazingly, the chef even recognised me, after a gap of maybe five years since the last time, and I duly reclaimed my sake bento which had been sat in their shelf all that time. ^_^ I'll miss it, but - ah, we did enjoy ourselves on those final visits, with a veritable boatload of nigiri in one of them. =:) So.. here's one of the final selections we enjoyed last September. =:9

And a sort of furry comic: Dragon's Burn. They exhibit a simple artistic style, belying a solid grasp of what makes an expression, with few lines. It's rather good fun. ^_^ Updates are infrequent - maybe monthly or so - but that's what RSS is for.

Friday saw Celebrity MasterChef 2017 draw to a close - and what a finale! Such astonishing menus from all three finalists, and of interestingly different styles, with one offering a thoroughly modern menu, another much more traditional, and the third somewhere in between. No disasters, thankfully, and really, any of them could have won the title without any grumbling from anyone - the standard was easily up to good restaurant quality, sometimes high end. I'm pleased with the result, but hell, I'd be absolutely delighted to be invited to the dinner table of any of them. =:) As ever, it's such a wonderfully positive competition, with contestants always supportive of each other, such as one noteworthy moment where one contestant with something of a fish phobia was tasked with creating perfect fish & chips, including the filleting - another contestant helped them out with that, leading to a top-notch plate. That was indeed quite special, and simply heartwarming, to watch. ^_^

More cider is on the way! That's looking like it should be ready to bottle around Wednesday. This time, I used mostly apple juice (primarily freshly squeezed, some from concentrate), plus some freshly squeezed pineapple juice, as I thought the extra tang might help compensate for the relative lack of acidity in eating/drinking apples. And it's certainly shaping up very nicely, retaining a good deal of its original tanginess, with the added tannin helping bolster it as a full-bodied cider. And it's all so easy! Just pour in whatever amount of sugar you want into your brewing bin, dissolve it in boiling water, add the juice(s), and finally, sprinkle on the yeast, and leave for a week or so. Much better cider than I can normally buy, and for maybe a fifth of the price. ^_^
This is going to be fun. =:D The creators of Ernest & Celestine have a new animated feature coming out, The Big Bad Fox. If you're inclined toward the golden age of Warner Bros, or indeed, Pixar's superlative short, "Presto" (and I am in no way biased =:), this will be one to see. ^_^ It's apparently been picked up for US distribution by GKids, and with a background like that, it's likely to see decent availability worldwide.

What's your "comfort food"? Maybe something you enjoy making for yourself, or simply ordering. For me, if anything, it's probably the fabulously healthy combination of crisps/chips and good beer and cider. Or maybe chicken nuggets, chips/fries, a couple sauces (usually oyster sauce, and something tomatoey), and definitely mayonnaise for the chips. =:9

Egad! I've long felt there's a lamentable lack of sci-fi from British television producers (and, I suppose, there still is), which makes news of Channel 4's Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams all the more surprising: "an anthology series of ten, epic standalone episodes, each set in a different and unique world. Each episode is inspired by one of Philip K. Dick’s renowned short stories and has been adapted by an exciting list of leading British and American writers and directors. The series also features an all-star cast who head up this thrilling, audacious and emotional journey into the far reaches of imagination."

A rather nifty Judy Hopps figure is now available for pre-order! AmiAmi's listing it for 4990¥, which comes to about £35/$45. It's scheduled to be released in December 2017.

Yay beer! Just bottled both the Winter Warmer and stout on Saturday, having added a water brew to the WW of ground cinnamon and cloves on Tuesday, lending it a nicely spiced nature. It finished at a FG of 1.010, which was sweeter than I'd intended, but I think that'll work well with it - it doesn't really seem like a beer that wants to be too dry. That'll be about 7.9%. The stout ran to 1.004, putting it around 8.9%. ^_^ And now there's another cider going - same kit as before, made to a similar strength, with some cinnamon infusion added, and a little more tannin than I've used before.

And they have turned out well! Still very young, of course - they do change in nature quite a bit over the course of a fortnight, let alone a month - but the stout's delightfully rich, without being in the least cloying, with those lovely vanilla notes, and the chocolate hinting at its presence. The barleywine, meanwhile, shows off its Winter Warmer character well, with the clove and cinnamon notes pleasantly evident, without being forthright. If there's any problem with them, it's simply the stout's proving a little on the vigorous side in its secondary fermentation - opening a bottle two days after bottling caused a bit of a fountain effect, leaving me having to stop the bottle with one hand, whilst finding and retrieving the cap with the other. ^_^; Notwithstanding, I'm delighted with how they've both turned out! I'd be happy to be served either of them in a good pub - and even moreso when they cost about 50p/500ml or 70¢/pint. =:D

And Wednesday saw me start another cider - this time, from some rather nice apple juice (Copella), which I noticed was marked down to the point of rendering it not much more expensive than a kit. To drink as is, it's a superb blend, so I'm hoping that'll translate to a noteworthy cider. And it's all being delivered to my door with no delivery fee, along with the rest of the groceries. Yay! (I love shopping, but still, when it comes to hefty purchases, there's no beating having it all brought to the doorstep - usually, I'll tend to place an order including a dozen or so 2l bottles of each of sparkling water and diet cola. Even if I drove, that'd be a chore, let alone hefting that much back on multiple bus trips) Although, minor oops - I'm so used to making up kits that I added 2kg of sugar, forgetting about the juice's own sugars.. so it wound up with an OG of 1.080, so it's liable to be north of 9% ABV. Oh well! And wow, it's turning out very nicely! Not even halfway done yet, at a gravity of 1.054 on Saturday, but it's fizzing away merrily. If you're familiar with Copella's apple juice, it's much as you'd expect, with that lovely mild tartness. I'll have to see when that offer ends - I might well get another batch going once this one's done, if it turns out as well as it's hinting. =:9 (Aha! The offer expires on Sep 5. The issue being that as it's just juice, no preservatives, it's unsuited to just being left at room temperature - unless it's fermenting =:)

Here's a fun music video, from a band I'd never heard of before: Calamari Tofu Party - MARS. The video's a sort of homage to classic sci-fi serials, if they were produced with current day production values. For a zero budget indie production, it's all the more impressive. ^_^ And if you're interested, here's a quick making-of video, and its own site, including video logs, and its own (HTML5, not Flash!) game. =:D

Am I correct in thinking there's currently no way to buy Sense8, only streamed from Netflix? At least, it seems to be absent from iTunes and Amazon, which feels like a bit of a clue. Rather frustrating, as I'd happily give them money for a download, even moreso if it came with commentaries - for a production like that, I'd love to hear from the cinematographers just as much as the actors, writers, and directors. At least there are 2160p 10-bit H.265 copies of season 1 out there..

Aahh, I've definitely got plenty to look forward to with Sense8, no question - even just midway through the second episode, I'm struck by how many of the characters I actually care about, in a few instances, resonating with me personally. And the presence of San Francisco definitely doesn't hurt - seeing so many places I'm so familiar with helps bring an additional bond. Perhaps by the time I finish it all, there'll even be more Steven Universe. =:)

I don't know if you'll receive the same mailshot if you sign up for their mailing list now, but a couple days ago, Packt Publishing sent out a mailshot with a 90% off code on all their ebooks. If there's a programming-related subject you're interested in, you might want to take advantage of that. ^_^ The promo lasts until - well, they're being a bit coy, but "48 hours" suggests only the weekend.

The monitor arrived safely, yay! Though the supplied cable seems a bit twitchy, occasionally dropping the signal. =:P Not to worry - I also ordered a longer cable, with use downstairs. (Which, curiously, got delivered in a separate dropoff from the monitor, a couple hours later. Same consignment, same courier) Overall: I'm delighted! The panel appears to be perfect, so I don't have to suppress any eye-twitching on seeing that stuck pixel every time I look at it. =:) The menu UX is nicely thought out, too - there are simply five tiny, unmarked buttons on the lower right edge. Press any of them, and the menu appears, along with icons showing the current function of each of them. The speakers are much as you'd expect, and now muted. The resolution's good, but I can easily see why folk go for 5K and higher on displays like this, and larger, as it offers 2560x1440 in 23.8", whilst Hazel gives 2880x1800 in 15", and the iPad Air 2048x1536 in 9.7"; being able to see pixels again is a bit of a surprise. =:) The quality of the panel is very pleasing. I haven't run any kind of calibration or gamut test on it, but colors are as rich as you'd hope, with good contrast, whilst maintaining actual blacks. The finish is a gentle matte, which nonetheless doesn't take too much away from the vibrancy, and works well for my purposes, as I currently have to have the window behind me as I work, leaving the window only showing quite vaguely. I'll be looking forward to trying it with Aperture sometime. (Who knows? Maybe I'll get some travel photos up someday, like the ovens at what was the Italian-French Bakery in North Beach, dating from before the 'quake)

Though it does have an interesting concept of brightness, with 0 being a comfortable level for me. ^_^; And wow.. does color calibration make a difference! After putting it into sRGB mode and running macOS' calibration on it (System Preferences > Display > Color, and option click on Calibrate to bring up the advanced options), the two displays are actually quite nicely matched. =:D Not perfect, but I'm comfortable with it. ^_^

Where, beside LJ, are good places for discussion and discourse? I'm not looking for anywhere real-time, like Telegram, Discord, Skype, and so forth - forums would be welcome, or indeed, simply discussions by email. (And whilst I've just said "no chats", I do wonder about SL as being an option, given the wonderful immersivity of the environment, and the ability to be present as an av more congruent with your nature)

Has anyone tried RedBubble's shirts? I'm curious to know how their wares are for quality of the shirts, and the durability of the printing process they use. I love the designs offered by WeLoveFine, but the shirts are often quite thin, and prone to acquiring holes spontaneously, as happened to two of the ones I received in January. =:P (Yay, they finally showed up! Quality looks fine, and made in the US, so hopefully not the absolute cheapest they can get away with. Happily, the fit seems accurate to what their sizing chart indicates)

Here's rather a neat little article on Siri's voice, from a technical perspective, going into some detail in the methods used in the synthesis systems used in iOS 9, 10, and 11. If you simply want to hear the changes, there's a little table of sample phrases spoken by the US female Siri in each OS - it's quite remarkable just how much it's changed in but a few years! (It's worth noting, perhaps, that the base human voice used in iOS 11 changed, so she does sound different, in addition to the substantial upgrade behind the scenes)

Out of geeky curiosity, I sort of need to find out why O'Reilly's "Learning FPGAs" has varied so widely in filesize over its release. =:) I bought it last November under their "early release" banner - essentially, still a work in progress - and the first download I saw was 5.4MB, followed in Feb 2017 at 6.5MB. Then, June's update swelled it to 62MB, and the first edition release now weighs in at 28.2MB. ^_^; Perhaps text compression was turned off for the third, and maybe more diagrams and photos in the actual release? In any event, it's a fascinating work, though with the significant caveat that it's based around Mojo, not Verilog.

A friend wants me to point out their online business, which has been running successfully for several years now: PantySalad, with literally thousands of lines of panties to choose from. ^_^

Via aurifer, this WIP furry 2D adventure title looks like it could be rather good fun: Winds of Change. Interestingly, the developer's helping funding its development by way of Patreon. However, there's no information as to what platform(s) it's for, which leaves me with that sinking suspicion it could be Windows-only.

Ooo.. if you're within reach of London, the Prince Charles Cinema is showing Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes, a retrospective on Chris Morris' seminal satirical news show, pieced together by the director of the series, who'll also be holding a Q&A session after the screening. Only two showings, and the 1830's already sold out, leaving the one at 2100. And, I'm informed the same shindig is on in Oxford the following day, at the Ultimate Picture Palace, which looks like a perfectly snug setting for such a Q&A. ^_^

Pony! Triple Threat - the problem with this ep was, unfortunately, its foundation: why did Spike feel so strongly that Ember and Thorax wouldn't get along, to the rather extreme extent of endeavoring to keep them separated and unaware of each other's presence in Ponyville? So, there was a lot of time frittered away on the nervousness of that situation, until the final third, which was actually handled surprisingly well. It wasn't a disaster of an episode, certainly, with enough good comic moments to keep it afloat, but it felt rather a weak use of two particularly enjoyable side-characters, with the viewer inevitably feeling their mounting frustration.

Bah. I finally realised that, having used my domain for LJ image hosting (there's LJ's own, of course, which I suppose I otter use more, but it's nice to have it under one's own control) over 2017, if I set up a commercial site again, and point my domain there, all those images will break. =:P So, I finally picked up another domain - only my third ever, so far: bunnycore.com. I haven't set anything up with it as yet, but I may well get it set up with the same hosting provider, given that works out all but free. Email I'll have to think about. I'm not overly enthused about using Google's services, but if I can add it to my mail hosting there, that'd make the most sense, given I don't really intend to use it, so much as provide a contact point for the domain.

All that said, I may simply try commercialising my photography with a site like etsy, to begin with - that way, I'm not out $25-35/mo just for their service, meaning I'd have to sell several prints before even turning a profit. But are prints even something I should focus on? I'm wondering about more "practical" items, like phone cases (c'mon, "Momentary" would make a brilliant phone case =:) and t-shirts. I also feel it could make an amazing bag, but I'd prefer something a bit more special than just the usual tote bags you see around. And how about a coffee table book? Rather than buying just a framed print or two, you could see a good selection of bunnitude. What might pique your interest?

On that note..

Poll #2071850 A domain of our own

How many domains do you own?

6 or more
The game's afoot! The WSJ is reporting that Apple is allocating $1b to original television programming, supposedly for up to ten shows; a fraction of Netflix's current $3b budget, though even they're outspent by HBO, which budgets an estimated $10m per episode of Game of Thrones. ^_^; I'm pleased to see this, even if it does mean an increase in the fragmentation of TV programming - Apple's clearly got the financial means, and as we see from the likes of GoT and Westworld, TV can get very expensive if you're planning a major production, let alone big-budget cinematic offerings. They'd earlier indicated that's the kind of league they're aiming for - if the executives in charge of making the actual greenlighting decisions have a similarly broad mandate as in the past, there could be some good work ahead. I wonder whenabouts the first offerings will debut? Presumably, given the kind of production timescales involved, at least a year from now, for anything major. I wonder if they'd be up for giving the new Dredd a home.. =:D

BofA may be a somewhat evil financial institution, but, I'll admit, their Museums on Us perk is welcome - on the first weekend of the month, cardholders can get free admission to participating museums. In SF's case, that's the Contemporary Jewish Museum (which held a notable Kubrick exhibition in 2016 that I failed to get to see), de Young, and Legion of Honor. (In the de Young's case, that saves you $15. Only good for the cardholder, though, no guests)

Aah, got to love it.. I reported a pub locally to Apple Maps as being under new ownership, noting what they were currently listed as, and what they were becoming (and have now done so, with something like a month-long refit in the interim). I received notification the error had been corrected. Checking, I discovered they'd somehow regressed it to what the place had been before its previous incarnation, which began in 2008.. O.o;

Here's a comic to try: Mascot Hell, by Eva di Pace, set in the dense slums of a near-future Hong Kong, where all the "Mascots" were pushed away to, once their manufacture was outlawed. It does get quite dark in places, be warned - Blade Runner looks rather happy in comparison, at times, but there's also great fondness admist the dangers. There are only a couple dozen pages to catch up with at the moment, so you'll be able to get up to speed quickly. One caveat: some pages are tagged as "mature", requiring an account - they're easy to set up, thankfully: just email and password, and you're done.

I was looking around for a monitor (basically as a second display whilst programming), noticed one from a preferred vendor that seemed to fit my needs - the Asus VX24AH - and just for fun, thought I'd check the Amazon listing as well, mostly for the reviews. They list it, unsurprisingly more expensively - a 15% markup on the one I'd just seen. Amusingly, it's even sold by the same company. =:D I'd actually prefer something a bit smaller, but it's difficult to find much by way of smaller monitors that don't have horribly low resolution, often only 1440x900 - which is fine for video, but otherwise, on a 20" panel? O.o (Of course, what Hazel can actually drive is another matter - looks like something 4K or so is only at 30Hz, but I'm hoping more modestly - at least HD, if not 1.5x. Indeed, the Asus is 2560x1440, which'd be ferpect) Anyway, we'll see how it works out - there should be one turning up on the morrow. ^_^

Pony! "Fame and Misfortune" - maybe not a standout episode, but in the upper decks. It was perhaps a little slow to get going, but the degree of repetition involved didn't feel cumbersome, as the problem wasn't quite as directly outlined as in S7's early episodes, so when it was (of course) spelled out, it still felt reasonably natural a deduction. The song was one I've saved. And the ending was amusingly inconclusive - which I'm perfectly fine with, as it feels a lot more realistic than suddenly being able to convince everypony that they're missing the woods for the trees. It's certainly good for MLP to offer up lessons, but there's nothing wrong at all in also admitting that some situations are tricky to solve.
Following on from my little sneak peek at Egypt Urnash's contribution to the forthcoming We're Still Here comic anthology, I noticed she's now giving away the PDF edition of Decrypting Rita, a sci-fi work you really might want to check out. If you like what you see, consider throwing money at her. ^_^

Oooh.. Intua's BeatMaker 2 recently saw its successor debut. Enter BeatMaker 3! "BM3 is now probably the closest thing to an Ableton Live style workflow clip/scene launching that you are likely to find on iOS. The interface has some of the Akai MPC workflow that appeals to Beat Makers but this is a fully featured DAW rather than just being a beat making machine." And here's a video review. And all for twenty measly dollarpounds!

Hee! On a random whim, I thought I'd check the credits for The 11th Hour, and lo, I am indeed there. ^_^ I may have to finally get an IMDb account and update The 11th Hour's credits there appropriately..

Yaaay! MasterChef returns next Wednesday! ^_^ It's not the "main" show, with that having concluded earlier in the year, but the celebrity outing - which obviously isn't the same thing, but can still yield plenty of the same fun, and quite a surprising degree of talent, once the initial culling's taken place. Two episodes next week, Wed & Fri, with Friday's winners getting through to the semi-finals.

The trailer for A Wrinkle in Time, from the book by Madeleine L'Engle, looks amazing. The only bit I really didn't like was seeing a release date in Spring 2018. ^_^; And coming just before it, in March 2018, Black Panther. I'm not generally much on Marvel flicks, but this could be pretty good fun. ^_^

In this longform piece on Zoe Quinn, central to the seething wretchedness of Gamergate, I noticed one fun tidbit: her latest project is a FMV title about the camp sci-fi writer Chuck Tingle. =:D

I adore this review of the "food" Soylent. =:D

MLP fen might get a kick out of this shower curtain. =:)

Here's a fascinating, novel method of neutrino detection, first postulated in 1974, and now seemingly verified.

As regards Mueller's impaneling of a grand jury, this thread from Seth Abramson does an excellent job of explaining just what's happened, and the specific significances.

If you're in need of some serious video editing software, there's Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve, available in a free edition, and available for macOS, Linux, and Windows. It doesn't support the full version's collaborative features, for working as part of a team; is limited to UHD and below (but I'll live); and only supports one rendering GPU on Windows and Linux, and two on the current Mac Pro.

Or, Avid's come out with a free version of their professional Media Composer video editing package, Media Composer First, and it's a remarkably good offering! It's somewhat restricted, as you'd expect, but intelligently, in such a way that anyone simply wanting to get to grips with a pro editor can do so meaningfully. Most importantly, you can't export projects above HD resolution, so no 4K final output. It's available for macOS and Windows.

I'm quite interested by recent suggestions the next Apple Watch might come with LTE connectivity - not being a phone sort, I'd love to be able to jettison the iPhone, leaving the mobile heavy lifting to the iPad. Still, we'll see what comes about - power consumption's always an issue, absent any novel battery chemistry. If that does come about, I wonder how much that might improve the Watch's sales? Am I unusual in not being enamored of phones and voice/video comms? (Not that there's anything wrong with being unusual =:)

I finally got to see the first of the new MST3K - and it's every bit as much fun as the original run. A touch different in certain entertaining ways, but I found the riffs coming just as hot as they've ever done, perhaps aided by the wondrous turkey of a debut outing as they'd found: 1962's Danish kaiju flick, Reptilicus, incorporating some quite memorable SFX work. =:)

Here's rather a cool project: 164 animators around the world reanimated the Steven Universe episode "The Answer". ^_^ And, a little Steven Universe fun: an episode title generator. Enter your "episode title", choose the positioning and background scene, and let it put it together for you. ^_^ Aaand, a real life Greg Universe van - nothing official, just dedicated fan work, here by one Cosplay Mutt. =:D

The origins of tacos al pastor makes for a delightfully engaging read; a good example of how food styles traverse the world, adapting to the locality, and sometimes, become embraced as latterday tradition.

Of course, I am duly obliged to make note of this xkcd comic. ^_^

More beer! More beer! The ninth and tenth batches are underway. ^_^ One's a stout, the other a barleywine; I have a fondness for heavier styles of beer, and haven't really made anything dark yet. Both began life as kits: the first "Velvet Stout", with the sugars provided by brewing sugar (dextrose, finely grained) and some dark Muscovado. To help lend it some extra character, I took about 140g of raw cocoa nibs I'd had sitting around, and simmered those away in water for half an hour, yielding a delicious smelling brew I then strained into the wort. And, just before putting the lid on once it was all done, I added about eight capfuls (in twenty liters) of Madagascan vanilla essence. Quite reserved quantities, I think, so they'll probably only be light notes on the basic flavor. We'll see. ^_^

The barleywine began as a Geordie "Winter Warmer" kit, but to send it more where I had in mind, I used demerera for most of the sugar, plus a 500g bag of medium malt powder. Sort of tempted to try making a little spice ball to add to it, perhaps with some nutmeg and cloves.. but, it's been a fairly busy week, so I haven't really had a good opportunity to pick up such, and they're not spices I actually tend to keep around, though I ought to, especially cloves, given how fantastically they work with red cabbage, boiled with vinegar and sugar. Either way, tasting them three days into fermentation suggests they'll both be rather lovely, though maybe not as widely separated in flavor profile as I'd hoped; I may settle for making a water brew of some chocolate powder I've had sitting around for a while (lovely stuff - I simply don't tend to drink hot chocolate often, though this particular variety does go rather delightfully with a healthy splash of Grand Marnier), and adding that, possibly along with a little coffee, but I'm not really wanting to send it in that direction.
So, the new Doctor was revealed as Jodie Whittaker. =:D I'm absolutely delighted to see the Doctor finally come back as female - not the first time we've seen such a regeneration, of course, especially in the case of Missy/The Master. So, this means Bill won't, as I'd sort of vaguely hoped, be assuming the role (in both senses) - we know we'll see her in the special, though. Would she opt for reincarnation already? (Though, with all of time to play with, I suppose that's a fairly meaningless concept =:) I've had great fun with the past series, where Capaldi really found his stride, and I'm now absolutely stoked for Christmas and 2018. =:D (Of course, the Daily Mail crowd wasn't happy, with some reactions including "Nobody wants a TARDIS full of bras", and "Time travel is for men and men only". The former, thankfully, gave rise to the fantastic response of "I started singing "A Tardis Full Of Bras" to the tune of "Yellow Submarine" and now can't do anythinWE ALL LIVE IN A TARDIS FULL OF BRAS" =:D

The BBC's just released a trailer for the Christmas special, and in notes from SDCC, they mention that the special will feature Bill Potts, but with a caveat. =:P

And in that spirit, "Hey Missy!". =:D (Made in 2014, so doesn't include her later development)

I was delighted to see the constantly inspiring Egypt Urnash amidst the roster for what looks like a fantastically diverse range of artists and stories in the all-trans comic anthology "We're Still Here". Happily, they crashed through their original goal within a couple days, with the extra money mostly going toward raising the page rate for all the contributors. (They'd originally aimed for $17k, and as of July 27, had breezed past $45k =:) And as a very special bonus.. here's a teaser from her contribution, "Dracula Party". ^_^

At long last: the trailer for "Search and Destroy", the Strontium Dog fan film from the same folk as Judge Minty. (Nerd note: whilst he's best remembered from the pages of 2000AD, he actually began in Starlord, along with Ro-Busters, which eventually morphed into ABC Warriors, also picking up Nemesis along the way) Eep! I hadn't realised it'd been out for a while - they hadn't linked to it from their site, curiously; nor, indeed, had I noticed them announce that the full twenty minute short is now out. =:D

How about Space Odyssey, a game of galactic exploration and colonisation, grounded in science, helmed by Neil deGrasse Tyson on the scientific side, and Len Wein heading up the writers, with contributors including the likes of Neil Gaiman and George R R Martin? You can back it here, until 11am Pacific/7pm UK today, July 29. =:D
As you set off to explore, the Space Odyssey science team will guide you by providing the science and information to help you complete your strategic missions.

* All-Star Science Advisers - The expertise of Dr. Tyson and his team coalesce and manifest into the gaming world you will experience. Join Dr. Tyson and the StarTalk All Stars: Amy Mainzer, Astronomer; Charles Liu, Astrophysicist; Janna Levin, Theoretical Cosmologist; and Mike Massino, Former NASA astronaut.
* Accurate Gameplay - Immersed in biology, chemistry, geo-science, and engineering you will build and explore planetary systems, using principles such as magnetism and electricity to drive the game mechanics.
* In-Game Futurism - Concepts of Nanotechnology, Optogenetics, Singularity, Magnetic Transportation, Dark Matter, Compressed Time, Hydrogen Power, Solar Sails, Ramjet Fusion and more will be present throughout game-play.

Bear in mind there's no CG involved in WoodSwimmer, a brief 1m40s short - just stop-motion photography of various pieces of wood, being planed away one layer at a time. It's beautiful.

Here's some phenomenal wildlife photography: beneath the ice of Antarctica, thanks to some extraordinary preparation and fortitude by the writer ad photographer of the article, Laurent Ballesta. When you're having to liaise with drysuit makers to identify weak spots of current suits, and spend two years trying to prepare for the conditions involved - and some seven months afterwards regaining full nerve functions afterwards - you know there's some outstanding dedication involved. Which indeed paid off, with views that simply nobody else alive had ever seen before, especially as they descended, including an ice anemone; how it drills its way into the ice, or indeed, survives, is essentially unknown.

There's a new single out from Scissor Sisters and MNDR! SWERLK. It's been released as a fundraiser for the Contigo Fund, helping the LGBTQ community. You can enjoy the YouTube video for free, but they'll happily accept any donation in exchange for a 320kpbs MP3. And for a much less sensible video, how about AronChupa & Little Sis Nora - Llama In My Living Room?

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow recently arrived on iOS and Android - and the trailer is a hoot. =:D The game itself - well, you'll probably want to temper your expectations, as it's essentially derived from the American Dad game engine, so there's liable to be plenty of IAP frustration. That said, IAPs can generally be ignored.

There's some gorgeous photography in Vogue's American Women: Pride special. It's not about fashion or design, simply real people, sometimes in love.

Here's the Plan is a new Chilean short about a cat and dog baker couple who drift apart over time. It does look well worth catching, if you have a good film festival nearby.

A nicely done fan music video: Grum "Cybernetic", set to footage from a rather interesting looking Soviet sci-fi animation.

Quite interesting to see: "What’s the Deal with “Furries?”, courtesy of Psychology Today. ^_^

If you know of Dr Bronner, this might be interesting: they're contributing toward MDMA research for PTSD.

Here's the opening titles for Big Hero 6: The Series, coming soon. ^_^ (So, when will we hear of the continuation of tales from Zootopia.. ?)

Here's a rather nifty bit of SU cosplay, Mystery Girl and Pearl - and they're supposedly an RL couple too. ^_^ And a minor piece of trivia I noticed whilst watching Love Like You in Malay: Nicki Minaj provided the voice for Sugilite, Garnet and Amethyst's fusion when a disused communications complex needed destroying. Speaking of which, I'm in the process of gradually rewatching it all, and noticed Renaldo's closing lines, where he speaks of the diamonds wanting to control us all and drill out the Earth from the inside. Who knew? =:) I'm guessing that was a crafty easter egg planted by Rebecca Sugar. (And has it ever been established just who the temple statuary depicts? Seems like a fusion, possibly even a triple fusion, going by the faces and arms)

Frustratingly, Cartoon Network remains mum on the question just when Steven Universe will resume airing - but, cam footage from SDCC's SU panel has indeed emerged, with the season 5 trailer, and a hilarious Lars of the Stars excerpt, riffing on Captain Harlock and Star Trek. =:D (I should note that this deep into the storyline, it probably won't make much sense if you're not at least somewhat familiar with SU =:) And, though they chose to mostly use the studio version of the track, Cartoon Network came up with a live video to accompany one of my favorite numbers from the show, Estelle's "Stronger Than You". It was shot at this year's SDCC, and features a swathe of the show's many fans. It's an absolute delight. ^_^

And if SU's your bag, you might enjoy trying Space Boy as a strip that might appeal. It's a slice of life tale, with sci-fi overtones, such as pervasive AR and relatively routine deep space travel, but the artwork has a distinctly 1950s/1960s flavor, appealingly flat-colored from a constrained palette, plus highlights. It tells the story of Amy, who spent the first six years of her life on a mining colony, before an accident caused the family to be returned to Earth - in cryosleep. When they arrive, she has a new life, and so many new experiences, but also has to come to terms with her best friends now being thirty years older than her. The crux of the story, however, is Oliver, whose origins are only now (at episode 117!) being hinted at, beyond the opening panels of the strip.

Hm! Latest animation to get the live action treatment? Cowboy Bebop! Whilst a lot of animation feels best left thus, perhaps a live action CB would indeed work well. Of course, a lot will depend on the casting. And there could - but it's still in early stages - be new Animaniacs!

Rather amusing. ^_^ The artist moved from NYC to San Francisco a year ago, and illustrated the differences at the time, and now. A few I'd take issue with, notably the level of San Francisco's pizza - she's evidently not been going to the right places. =:)

If you're in the US, you've doubtless been worried by the extraordinary level of competition in the cellular telephony market, and how low everyone's plan prices are. *cough* No longer! It appears T-Mobile and Sprint may be merging.

/u/snake_gobbler sketched me as a cheerleader! ^_^ And for something rather different, /u/Amkho_ very kindly offered quick musical offerings, inspired by people's descriptions of their characters.. and this is what they came up with. =:D

Latest signs of Apple edging into original TV programming: hiring Sony Pictures Television's co-presidents, who "helped produce shows like AMC's Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Netflix's The Crown, Amazon's Sneaky Pete, and more".

As far as UK politics goes, I was absolutely delighted with the election's outcome. ^_^ I can thus at least thank the Walking Dead^W^WPrime Minister for giving the country a solidly united Labour Party, with the constant attempts to undermine Corbyn's leadership now conclusively laid to rest. Quite how long the DUP alliance will hold remains to be seen, not to mention May's tenuous tenure. Perhaps needless to say, I was up all night, checking various sites and feeds, with BBC One's coverage usually in a background window. Much good beer and cider was enjoyed that night. ^_^

Interesting. A bill to end Daylight Saving Time in California passed the Assembly. It still has a substantial path ahead, however: "The bill now heads to the California Senate. If passed, the bill would repeal California's 67-year-old Daylight Saving Time Act. Then, lawmakers would have to decide whether to keep California on standard time or daylight saving time year-round, with the approval of the federal government. If the plan is approved by the federal government, it would then become a statewide ballot initiative in the next general election."

That was a fun WWDC keynote! Easily one of the juiciest in a while. ^_^ I definitely like the tracker blocker coming to Safari (and already present in Safari Technology Preview). The Wingnut Games AR demo was pretty cool. Surprising jut how much is packed into HomePod - much more than just a speaker and WiFi module tacked together. Loving the iOS 11 additions, especially for iPad. Mercifully, Aperture appears to be surviving the migration to High Sierra; I really don't want to move away from it any sooner than I have to, unless someone comes out with something alng those lines, with similar attention to UX (so, no, not Lightroom) - and lo, word came down that Affinity has an Aperture/Lightroom-like DAM under development. =:D iMac Pro, hoo! Not a concept I'd've thought would be viable, but evidently so. APFS finally consumes HFS+! Amazon relents and debuts on Apple TV. Monument Valley 2! (But, not for me just yet - I've too much of a backlog to justify any additional purchases) I want to see what the new standard keyboard looks like - that's been a crazily long time coming, and could be such a boon. (Yes, there are keyboard extensions, but they've usually not been well thought through) And yes, if anyone wants to send me an iPad Pro 2 with Pencil, I'll be a very happy bunny. =:) Of course, it's (not) entirely coincidental that the first macOS release following pot legalisation in California happens to be High Sierra. ^_^

Here's Rav Bunneh with a lil' sketch, "Porsupah Hates Pics!" - which is, I'll admit, pretty accurate: I'm much more one for being behind the camera. That said.. I'm gradually feeling as if that may be changing. We'll see. ^_^

As with iOS, macOS will also be dropping support for 32-bit applications at some point, with the deprecation siren sounded during WWDC 2017. Here's an explanation of the "why", along with how to easily find out which of your applications might be affected, especially if the developer's uninterested or now gone. I doubt 32-bit support will go away with 2018's release, but quite possibly 2019's.

The new iOS 11 keyboard (iPad only) is definitely a marked improvement, even if it doesn't give immediate access to HTML's angle brackets - but just about every other "useful" non-alpha character is there. It does, as expected, kill 32-bit support - the apps remain visible, but attempting to launch them just brings up a "needs to be updated" dialogue. A pity, as that does mean the end of the road for some older titles; that said, I was very pleased to see Secret Exit push an update for Zen Bound 2, bringing it alive on iOS 11. ^_^ iGammon's dead too, but the developer replied promptly a few weeks back, saying he intended to issue an update over the summer. Scrabble I finally permitted to update, after years of remaining with an old version - I'm not fond of the new look, but there are some niceties, like wildcard tiles' character selection being from a complete A-Z list, rather than back/forward through the alphabet.

The previous High Sierra beta, DP3/PB2, seemed significantly improved over DP1 and DP2, being much more stable (previously, I'd been enjoying a kernel panic every other day or so), and also not firing up debug-related daemons constantly, chowing down on processor. I'd still be cautious about installing it on anything important, but I'd say it's now viable as a daily driver. If you feel like signing up for the wild ride, here's the beta portal. I've had to revert to Sierra for now, through a specific VMware Fusion issue, apparently resulting in Fusion not being made aware of USB device connection events - something I'm sure VMware and/or Apple will address in the coming months, but I needed compatibility now. Hey ho. ^_^

On the iPad front, if you're wanting to conduct serious video editing, it appears LumaFusion may be your answer.

Hmm. Checking the premium pricing for WeatherPro shows it's $1.99 for 3 months, or $8.99 for 12 months. Am I.. missing something? Either way, I signed up for the former, as it's about the best weather app I've found (and I've tried several), on the basis of completeness of information available (I'm after forecast data, satellite imagery, and rainfall radar) primarily, alongside a good UI. The forecasts are about as reliable as they come for this neck of the woods, being in the battling ground for multiple major systems - but between the forecast, radar, and high res visible satellite animated sequences, I can usually tell whether or not it'll be worth going rabbiteering or hiking, and whether a coat will be a good idea.

I finally yielded and accepted the iPad's battery was, if not toast, at least badly singed, with its life down to two hours or so, and picked up a cheap USB external battery, which indeed worked very nicely. Thankfully, I was recently able to take advantage of Apple's battery replacement program, wherein they swap out your device for a new device of the same model, if the battery is bad enough, meaning I now not only have a perfectly fresh, full capacity battery once more, but perfect bezel glass as well - gone is the little shatter mark in one corner. (Thankfully, not extending over any of the display itself) The external will probably remain useful for the iPhone, until I (maybe) have that seen to similarly, and possibly for work as well, as it ought to be able to power the dev board, which normally requires a separate 5V power supply. That said, I might well want a high capacity model for any kind of prolonged work out and about.

And speaking of wonky equipment, it looks like the time has come for the Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S to be attended to, having failed on July 12's outing, and remains in manual focus only mode. *sigh* It's an expensive job, I know, looking at forum messages on the topic - around 2/3-3/4 of the cost of another used copy. But, with it repaired, I'd know I've got a completely new motor in place, and Nikon tends to replace other parts that experience wear at the same time, like the mount contacts. So, there's no rabbiteering in my future for a month or so. *sigh*

I'd really like to share a photo kishenehn took recently, which struck him as one of his absolute favorites, and I'd have to concur - there's just something quite special. ^_^

Pony. ^_^
Hard to Say Anything almost slipped into this season's trope of repeating a situation multiple times, but - the situations were amusingly over-the-top, and, that only formed about the central third, rather than the whole episode. True, the ending wasn't a huge surprise, but it was rather adorable nonetheless. ^_^
Honest Apple started off with a somewhat wonky premise, though with good intent. AJ's recovery of the situation was very nicely handled, rather touchingly. Though I'm certainly with her on the subject of apples - easily my favorite fruit, though I can take or leave "mild" varieties like Golden Delicious - I'm a Granny Smith bunny through and through. =:9 And we need more of "mediaeval nobility" Big Mac.
A Royal Problem - ahh, it's good to see S7 perking up again. ^_^ I know the comics aren't considered canon, but nonetheless, there's surely inspiration drawn from one of them, wherein just that reversal takes place. It's the MLP I've loved! Great comic timing, and nudging forward with character development, with Celestia especially having been utterly unflappable for so long. Easily the best episode so far, by a country mile. (Oddly, it's from the same writing duo as the opening two episodes, which I felt got the season off to a very weak start)
Not Asking for Trouble - a contender for the best episode of S7. ^_^ True, the theme didn't take too long to emerge, but overall, it had very good comic timing and low repetition. An auspicious debut for a writer new to the show!
Discordant Harmony - a good one. ^_^ The lead-up, with Discord's shop encounters, proved nicely amusing, and whilst it was heavily telegraphed where the tidying up would lead, it was still fun to see him so.. normal. The gem of the episode, though, lay in Fluttershy's rescue. ^_^
The Perfect Pear - oh, gods. This was absolutely phenomenally good! Top-notch writing, and some exceptional voicework from the actor playing Grand Pear (and at three age ranges, too!). I was crying toward the end - the relationship they portrayed was just beautiful. This is a contender for the best episode of MLP:FiM.

And speaking of which, here's a rather well done PMV: Sia "Chandelier", here starring Rainbow Dash.

At the risk of appearing dreadfully shallow, here's another depiction of me, and one I'm especially fond of, courtesy of /u/SpicyChaiKitten, who showed me off in such a gorgeous gown; I'm absolutely delighted. ^_^

Doctor Who!
Empress of Mars. Hmm.. I'm overall rather neutral, TBH. There's a lot I enjoyed about it, but, ultimately, it seemed such a superficial episode, as if they had to check off the Ice Warriors from a check list. We get Bill asked for her counsel, only to be completely ignored, and thereby, playing no meaningful part whatsoever. There's the backstory to the apparently needlessly Victorian troops' commander, there only to provide the ending. I did still enjoy it, but.. it did feel rather lightweight, especially from someone like Mark Gatiss. And I'm going to have to file the Empress away as a possible future cosplay project. ^_^ BTW, a fun note: the ending appearance of Alpha Centauri - that's no random name, nor actor. I was reminded that Alpha Centauri previously appeared in Three's "Curse of Peladon" and its sequel, "Monster of Peladon", and still played by Ysanne Churchman. =:D
The Eaters of Light - a good one, not for the sci-fi elements, so much as the character interplay, both between Missie and the Doctor, and Bill and the legionnaire, discussing sexuality. I'm impressed the team found it within themselves to address the topic quite so frankly, and amusingly. ^_^
World Enough and Time - oh, wow. O.o;; Okay, I'll give them a ride on time dilation, though they at least tried to work that in, with some degree of reason. But what does this mean for Bill? Dammit. (I'll refrain from saying more, to avoid spoilers)
The Doctor Falls - impressive. Quite horrible, the way we opened with it seeming as if Bill was somehow back to normal, only for reality to seep in, plunging her back into a living nightmare. And then the interplay between Missy, the Doctor, and the Master.. hell of an episode. If I had to pick nits, it'd be that the Cybermen armada seemed remarkably ineffectual; but, from a narrative perspective, they weren't the crux of the story - that role belonged to the central characters alone this time.

BTW, if anyone's been following Reddit's recent announcement that they intended to remove subreddits' CSS and replace the customisation system with a new tool: that's been rescinded. ^_^ The new system will still be rolled out, but CSS will remain an option in addition to that.

Here's a rather eloquent retrospective on Ratatouille.

Yay! I got to see Colossal the other week - and it's well worth seeing. I shan't say more beyond what's revealed in the trailer, but it does live up to its promise. Once the initial reveal is complete, the direction it takes was somewhat surprising. About the only quibble I had, really, was wondering what the need was for a translation at one point, when simply English would've been widely understood - but that was a relatively minor point. I can easily recommend this. ^_^ Also Raising Arizona, which was so very evidently Coen Brothers - and I have a sort of fondness for Nick Cage. Though I'd still say their best so far remains either The Big Lebowski or O Brother Where Art Thou; probably the latter, simply as TBL tickled me more.

Last Saturday's feature turned out to be Moonrise Kingdom, which I'd wanted to see for a while now, but had never quite managed to. It's very much a Wes Anderson production - very calculated camerawork, keeping the dolly operators busy, and all with as dry a sense of humor as is rarely found in American comedy these days, with such a sense of quiet desperation simmering beneath a superficial idyll, yet, with hope. Recommended.

Yay2! The trailer for the new MLP flick is finally here, and it's actually looking very promising, to the point I'd suggest it to people who aren't necessarily MLP fans, but might enjoy some good animation. The quality is quite noticeably improved with a cinematic budget, but it's the writing that'll (hopefully!) carry it.

Oh, and here's a quickie demo @tomasgarcia threw together with Unity and Apple's ARKit, new to iOS 11. AR definitely has the potential to be lots of fun. ^_^ Me, I'd love to be able to have folks visit me in their SL av form, until such time as I can visit them IRL in my SL form. =:D

I had a brainfart, and instead of typing "cd sl*", for some reason, entered "sl sl*" instead. *nix being what it is, it kindly informed me that I didn't have "sl" installed. What was sl anyway? A quick search revealed the answer. Hm. =:)

As a friend says, "Well, that was easy!" I went looking for instructions on how to get TLS set up on my site, and wound up at Let's Encrypt's guide for Apache on FreeBSD, which did look reasonably approachable, but still a bit of a chore. In another of my provider's FAQs, however, they suggested looking in the forum, and lo, a stickied topic thereon. Turns out they've streamlined the process to be one script invocation, and that's it. =:D So, it's now good for https access. ^_^

And finally, Adobe's announced the end of the Flash Player at the end of 2020, and with it, the deprecation of Flash itself, encouraging creators to migrate elsewhere. "But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web."
Here's a little technological gem: an excerpt from Micro Live, January 1985, wherein they first take a look at the current state of the art in novelty and feature phones, including one capable of storing hundreds of names and numbers, for easy dialling, before introducing a fascinating new radiotelephony technology based on the concept of small area "cells". They conclude with a live demonstration of an international phone call made from the rooftop of Broadcasting House, using a portable cellular phone. ^_^

For those following along with Steven Universe, here's a selection of characters drawn in a realistic style - quite striking! (By /u/Gilgrion) However, having just checked the episode list's broadcast dates, I can see I'm in for quite some frustration - whereas most series have completely or largely consistent air dates, appearing every week or so, Cartoon Network's SU schedule ranges from four episodes on the same day (known as "bombs" in the fandom), up to two months apart. ^_^;;

Another glimpse at fxscreamer's WIP graphic novel:

A fun bit of editing: Zootopia Remix, in the style of Pogo. Or, how about this fursuiting music video, set to Reckless Love's "Night on Fire". =:D Amusingly, it's actually a furry reworking of the band's original video.

Or, for something rather different, this ad from a Kuwaiti telco, being broadcast over Ramadan, condemning the attacks perpetrated in the name of Islam. Notice the credits appearing as it progresses - they give their names, and in which bombing they'd been injured.

This is curious. ^_^ Apparently, some people were taught to spell dilemma as "dilemna", with the "n" being silent. Yet, no source can be found that's ever listed the errant spelling. I'd never even been aware of such an "alternative spelling" until now.

Hm! Has anyone else experienced trouble downloading from YouTube recently? On Tuesday, I tried fetching the new episodes of Steven Universe, only to find 4K Video Downloader just shrugging its shoulders. It managed to parse the URL fine, offering the usual selection of filesizes and resolutions, but couldn't actually download anything. I'm guessing it's just YouTube playing with the internals, so apps like this are left high and dry until they're updated. (Not to worry: I found much better quality copies on DailyMotion =:)

Doctor Who: oh, my. ^_^; I'm absolutely fine with writers taking liberties with technology for the sake of advancing a storyline, but.. WTF? spoilers!Collapse )

I'm glad to see 500px appears to have dropped their "fingerprint" logo, which supplanted their well-established "infinity sign" logo a couple years back.

California's new - niche, for now - crop: coffee! "The avocado growers face major disruptions in their business, including increased competition from Mexican imports, less access to water and rising real estate prices, all of which are forcing them to rethink that crop. But thanks to Mr. Ruskey, they have realized that their sprawling avocado trees provide perfect shade for high-quality coffee bushes. One variety of Mr. Ruskey’s beans, Pacamara, emits an earthy scent like the smell of California dirt and new plants in spring. His Geisha beans have a light and fruity flavor with low acidity. Bourbon finishes with a chocolate taste."

The 300mm f/4 continues to be unstable, sadly. Thursday's rabbiteering was curtailed by yet another AF failure, which no amount of contact cleaning or manual focus adjustment could remedy. Yet, again, by Friday, it was again focusing normally.. quite odd. Could there be a thermal element to the fault? Or even electrical? But then, if the latter, why would it sometimes return to normal during a rabbiteering evening? Anyway, Friday's looking very good for weather, so I'll see what happens then. If it strikes again then, and won't come back within half an hour or so, maybe I'll head back and see if the roomie's D5500 causes it to respond differently. (Unfortunately, that uses a different battery, the EN-EL14a; the D7100 takes the quite differently shaped EN-EL15, which is shared across the upper end DX and various FX models)

And there we go - Friday, it was back to normal, and continued uneventfully through the evening. ^_^ I'll remain wary, given what a blow permanently losing AF on the lens would be, but for now.. !

The home brewing proceeds apace! Bottled the Belgian on Saturday for its secondary fermentation, and the "vodka" looks like it's ready to do something else with - having ordered the wrong kit, a neighbor may well be able to assist with a secondary yeast pitching to bring it to 20% after all. Still, it's wonderfully smooth stuff - plenty of cocktail potential even as is! The Belgian's modeled after Duvel, so, moderately malty, with a brisk hop finish - tasting rather nice at the moment, and per calculation, looks to be in the 9% range at the moment. The cider I'm leaving a little longer, as it still seems okay with finishing off the last sugar - as of Saturday, it's at about 1.012, so still a little sweet, but with a very pleasantly rich apple nature, and the tannin I've added does seem to've brought out a bit more of an edge. It's not a farmhouse cider by any means, but so far, I'm quite happy with it. ^_^ I imagine that'll be ready to bottle around Tuesday or so - I'll just see how far the yeast wants to go, and how it tastes at that point.

Next up: another kit, this time from the Australian brewers Coopers, with their "IPA Brew A". I'm hoping that'll be pretty good as is, but I'm intending to dry hop it with some of the Northern Brewer I picked up the other week - that could put me somewhere within reminiscence distance of the Magnolia's quite wonderful Proving Ground IPA, which whilst being quite heavy on the hops, is done in such a way as to emphasise the aromas, not bitterness, especially the cask conditioned version. As the instructions suggested adding 1.5kg of light malt powder, rather than just sugar, I compromised on picking up one 500g bag of medium malt - I imagine the kit would be lovely by itself, but the additional malt could be quite a fun addition. ^_^ And there we go! Made that up on Monday, with an OG of 1.067 - if it comes to around 1.011 (as the cider appears to have wound up at), that'd make it around 7.5%.

And, well.. yep, we tried the cider and Belgian properly for the first time on Tuesday. ^_^ The cider's turned out surprisingly more authentic than I'd been expecting - it's actually a brew I'd want to seek out, despite being borne of a concentrate. It's somewhat like a Dabinett and Vilberie combined, with a nice mild edge. Meanwhile, I'm occasionally venting the Belgian bottles to ensure they don't pressurise too greatly - and it's good! Somewhat like Duvel x Rochefort. Better beer and cider than I can buy, for a fraction of the price? It's not such a bad deal. ^_^ And there we go! Bottled the cider at 1.008, so, still a bit sweeter than I'd ideally like, but still a very pleasant creation indeed, superior to most supermarket ciders, though I suppose that's not saying very much. =:) At that FG, it's somewhere around 8.2%.

For that matter, does anyone else here brew (or even distill) at home?

And another from last week, with one youngster gingerly making some unknowable enquiry of perhaps a parent.. ^_^

And maybe a couple from Thursday.. thankfully, the lens hasn't been giving trouble for the last few rabbiteering evenings. Whether that's purely coincidental, or related to me trying not to maintain focus for quite such prolonged periods (if I half-press the shutter, the body continues to maintain focus, which also means the AF motor's kept active, even if it's not doing much beyond tiny adjustments at that point), I can't tell, but I'm hugely relieved, though I'll still be happier when I can get the lens taken care of properly.

I'm horribly behind with everyone's journals, but I'll do what I can to catch up. If there's anything I ought to make a point of reading, do point the entry out, please.
If you use any kind of media player, and especially if you ever use subtitle files, now would be a good time to check for any available updates, as one security outfit's identified a variety of flaws in their subtitle handling that could leave the host systems open to being compromised. Known to be affected are VLC, Kodi, Popcorn Time, and strem.io. (Of minor note is that VLC's internal version checking can't be relied upon to be current - I was running 2.2.4, and asking it to check only resulted in it claiming this was up to date, when in fact, is out now. Apparently the update servers need time) VLC and strem.io have made fixes fully available; Popcorn Time's currently has to be manually downloaded, and Kodi's fix is only in the source, not the executables. Links are in the article.

Rather interesting to see the Washington Post launching a Reddit profile. If they maintain it (rather than launch and run), this could be quite a cool means of interaction with one of the better journalism refuges.

So, at long last, I finally got to see Marjan Satrapi's "Persepolis" - and I'm so very pleased I did.

Doctor Who! Oh, it was good to see Moff really get to play again. Although, reflecting, I'm not really sure: would the revelation contained really be enough to destroy everyone with that knowledge? How would you feel?

Pony: started off very well indeed, but then took a bit of a weird direction, resolving in a manner I'm not really completely comfortable with. They did make it clear Dashie was understandably embarrassed by her parents' hyper-enthusiasm, but ended up not really addressing that, so much as her having to apologise (quite appropriately) for snapping at them. True, support is a very good thing to have indeed, but when it reaches that level, it becomes a double problem: the immediate awkwardness, but also when praise is offered too readily, it becomes devalued, causing issues down the line. Still, mostly a very good episode nonetheless, and perhaps the best of season 7.

Buns! Bunbunbuns! The weather's begun to improve, so I was finally able to get out on Monday for some useful rabbiteering, though it did cloud over earlier than I'd been hoping. At their peak, there were some eighteen around, and as far as I could see, all perfectly healthy. Better yet, quite a few juveniles, though they were mostly on the shy side, with a couple exceptions, especially one who wasn't going to let some human interrupt their lounging. ^_^

Worryingly, though, the lens played up again. =:P I tried cleaning the contacts on both the lens and body, but to no avail. There was no communications error signaled between the two, just no AF action, just a very quiet, rapid ticking if I put my ear to the lens while trying to focus. Ultimately, the cure came as last time - whilst trying to acquire focus, adjusting the focus ring manually somehow "freed" the motor again. It permitted enjoying the rest of the evening, but I'm concerned the AF motor may need replacing, which wouldn't be easily done at present - it's quite an expensive repair, at around half the used cost.

One to come from Tuesday's session was this, where the aggressor had been sitting not too far away, and suddenly felt they had to put the other in their place. =:P Thankfully, given it's nigh impossible to sneak up on another rabbit, they reacted in time, leading to a very brief chase, before peace broke out once more.

BTW, if you're within reach of London, Eurostar's currently holding a one day flash sale, ending at midnight tonight, with fares at £19 each way for St Pancras to/from Paris, Brussels, or Lille.
So Portugal won ESC 2017! Well, okay, I didn't vote for him, but it was certainly a beautiful performance, and I'm very happy Portugal will finally - for the first time! - be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018. ^_^ My votes? Croatia (what an astonishing vocal range!) and Belgium, both of whom fared hugely better in the popular vote, versus the initial jury results - curious! I sort of wish I'd placed a bet on Portugal, but so it goes. I'm pleased they introduced that separation of the jury and public votes - it's quite interesting to see just how different the two opinions can be, with Croatia languishing around 18 points following the juries, only to receive something like 110 points from the public.

And the Doctor Who that preceded it: hoo! Yes, that was a good one. Not faultless, but as hugely (if you'll excuse the irony) atmospheric as it was, I'll happily forgive any minor flaws. I'm certainly also delighted to see the return of some political relevance to the show, which has been rather absent for much of its post-2005 run. Kudos! Pony: aaargh. Yet again, stamped out of the "take a potentially amusing situation, then repeat it a few times to be sure we get it" mold. Such a pity, as Rarity and Sweetie Belle have such potential, but that wasted both their time. Still, the resolution was adorable. ^_^ I haven't watched either of the two "leaked" episodes yet, as the audio on both was rather wonky - I'd rather enjoy them properly.

Music video for the day is one of the odder I've seen in a while. ^_^ May not be entirely safe for work. Tame Impala: The Less I Know the Better. And, whilst it lacks a video, the Asteroids Galaxy Tour cover of Safety Dance is a delightfully fresh take on a modern classic. ^_^

Quite a handy (and official) site, though sadly, UK only: TVPlayer - effectively, a web-based Freesat relay, so you can watch any of the usual channels online, via their apps, on consoles, and so on. As such, their ads are unaffected, but it's easy enough to mute that tab as necessary. None are in HD, but for things like Mystery Diners, that hardly matters. =:) It's all free, though they also appear to offer subscriptions, starting with one simply removing ads for £2/mo, to £6/mo or £60/yr for adding some premium channels and a catch-up service.

Rav_Bunneh offered up another sketch of me! ^_^

If you feel you need a UV filter on a lens, be sure it's a good quality one.

I don't know anything more about it at present, but it sounds intriguing: Root, a bank account for software developers, "with full API access". Likewise, I don't know the eligibility requirements, but it's a facet of Standard Bank South Africa. The press release gives some useful examples of what you can do with a Root account.

The home brewing is progressing. ^_^ The cider was at 1.038 on Tuesday, reflecting a possible 4.3% ABV - surprisingly, it actually tasted good! Sweet, of course, being only about half done, but it did show off quite a good, well-rounded apple flavor, not merely some Strongbow clone. Whew! Sadly, I remain frustrated in my attempts to obtain malic acid without being ripped off on the postage (paying twice as much as the tub, when it only weighs a couple ounces? Bleah!) - I made my way on Thursday to a brewing supplies shop, only to find them out of stock. ^_^;; Still, I did pick up some Northern Brewer hops, which ought to be able to provide a very nice dry hopping for some IPA kit, and a "Diabolo" Belgian kit, along the lines of Duvel - as you'd expect of a much heftier brew, rather more costly than most beers and ciders: same price per kit, but only making 9l rather than 23l, which means it'll still be a bit more than a quarter of Duvel's cost. =:D And, there's a "vodka" kit on the way, which will make 21l of 14% vodka/white rum, for even less than a beer kit, given it's just yeast, charcoal, and finings. That'll be destined to be turned into a variety of cocktail necessities, like spiced rum, Southern Comfort (which I learned is actually peach based, as far as the flavor goes!), and gin, plus probably some other fun infusions. Supposedly that ersatz vodka's actually beautifully smooth, in addition to being ridiculously cheap - less than Coke. =:D And all entirely legal, as there's no distillation involved, just fermentation.

And there we go! Got the Diabolo kit made up on Friday evening, with an OG of 1.081 - a little higher than their nominal 1.075, but that shouldn't cause any problems beyond perhaps being slightly stronger than the intended 8%. ^_^ And the cider was down to 1.030, with bubbling still progressing - the taste is, unfortunately, thinning out a bit, but it was still a pleasant concoction. As a precaution, I added a tiny bit of tannin and two teaspoons of citric acid, just to help ensure it has something of a "dry" edge. Trouble with tannin powder is it's so strong! Even the barest invisible dusting on a fingertip is mouth puckering, so even with 23l going, I only added a sliver (about 3mm x 2mm) - in both cases, it's obviously better to under-augment than over, given it's easy enough to just add a bit more if necessary.

Irksomely, I'd actually intended to get a 20% kit for the spirit base, not the 14%. For now, I've made it up per instructions, and sent off a query to the vendor, to gain their opinion as to whether that particular strain will go to 20% if given more sugar. If so, that's easily done. I can also scoop some out into a separate bottle and test it there, rather than risk considerably sweetening the whole bin if it fails to progress; and then there's always the option of obtaining just the yeast I intended (the kit also includes liquid charcoal for purification, and finings to get the yeast to clump together at the bottom, for ease of separation).

Why are all mouthwashes and toothpastes mint flavored? Why not banana or apple? Or, for a sushi fan, otoro? Or rum?
It's looking quite possible that Kris Marshall has been chosen as the next Doctor, as he's apparently been seen on set recently. I'm not really familiar with him, so I can't offer any real opinion. If it turns out to be true, I suppose we'll just have to see how it works out; TBH, I'm less concerned about the actor than the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, whom I'd hoped would never darken the doors of Doctor Who again, following DW and Torchwood episodes on the level of the spectacularly awful Cyberwoman, which was to Cybermen what the standalone Catwoman flick was to all the role's predecessors.

Agh, I really wish I could rid myself of search engines' insistence on them "correcting" my meanings.. I just tried looking for an UNKLE track featuring the keywords "looking rain", and YouTube merrily returned results for another track, "Reign". =:P Thankfully, it was easy enough to remove those with "-reign", but you'd've thought the combination of the two words being perfectly matched would outweigh a homonym.

Doctor Who trivia: Knock Knock was filmed sort of in the same house as Blink. =:D

And, of course - I have to ask: who's going to be watching the annual Eurocheese Extravaganza on Saturday night? ^_^ I admit, I haven't been exploring the entries yet - I prefer coming into the contest mostly unfamiliar with the scene that's been set, other than checking who seems favored by the betting. The UK entry's one of those unfortunately perfectly nice ones that won't offend anyone, nor engage anyone. Oddchecker, in any event, suggests the current favorite is Italy at 6/5, followed by Portugal at 3/1, and Bulgaria at 5/1. (SatW offers up a Eurovision 2017 strip, and if you want an additional diversion whilst watching it, a game =:)

On that note, hastka found the original music video for the track used by the famous SamBakZa "There She Is" animation. =:D (If you've forgotten the love-smitten bunny after the cat of her dreams, the music will remind you immediately - or, click here. If you're actually unfamiliar with the work, I'd have to recommend it =:)

I suppose I ought to cough up my sentiments on recent Who and pony. ^_^ (There may be spoilers ahead)

Doctor Who:
- The Pilot: absolutely loved it, with the major exception of the obligatory Tragic Gay Ending™. I can sort of excuse it, given they wanted to reveal Bill isn't het, and having an assistant fall in love would make for an especially awkward form of LDR, but still - it's such a damnable trope. But, that said, they did establish Bill as one of the most engaging assistants in a long, long time, with some particularly enticing explanations from the Doctor. If the intent was to make a good impression for first timers, they succeeded very well.
- Smile: a sound premise and opening, if marred slightly by the rather ephemeral framing of "emoji" as core to the plot, for no explored reason. I'd say the logic in the motivation wasn't very sound, but as we know, thoughtlessness in programming is nothing new, and probably won't be new then either. The complete reset, though, felt rather an easy way out.
- Thin Ice: the motivation as revealed felt rather disappointing, even if not exactly beyond humanity. And why the grand finale? Still, the setup was all very enjoyable. Maybe there'll be elements from here figuring into a future story?
- Knock Knock: ooh, yes. Almost thoroughly loved this one, though the very ending felt a bit out of place - why would only the most recent be saved, not everyone? So, what could've been a chilling tale was rewound to being more "it was all a dream". =:P Still, plenty to recommend it, and David Suchet was excellent.

- Celestial Advice: I wasn't all that comfortable with this one - it felt quite lazy from a writing perspective, taking a central theme of "what to do with the protege?" and Twi's unpreparedness, and repeating the conceit for much of the episode.
- All Bottled Up: sadly, much as above. A good enough plot point, but not the entire basis for an episode.
- A Flurry of Emotions: *sigh* as before, unfortunately - regard the hilarity of unsupervised baby with uncontrolled magical powers, in multiple similar situations.
- Rock Solid Friendship: pretty solid. ^_^ It gave Pinkie Pie some very good moments, and helped show off a bit more of Maud, beyond the original rather unidimensional basis.
- Fluttershy Leans In: rather clumsily handled, really. Not a bad idea for an episode, but yet again, taking a single theme and repeating it doesn't make it funnier or more enlightening. Still, it did show off Fluttershy gaining in the rather necessary skill of assertiveness, which absolutely doesn't come naturally to a lot of folk, myself included. So, overall, a decent episode, redeemed by its final act.

And just out of random curiosity..

Poll #2067619 What TV do/did you watch?

Which of these TV productions do/did you follow?

Orange is the New Black
Mr Robot
Steven Universe
Doctor Who
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Max Headroom (Crysalis series: music videos)
Max Headroom (Lorimar series: drama)
Animal Kwackers
Babylon 5
Serial Experiments Lain
Paranoia Agent
Haibane Renmei
MasterChef (UK)
As you know, I don't tend to watch very much TV these days - currently, I only make sure I keep up with MasterChef (now in its finals week, and we sadly saw the end of Lindsay's journey in the competition on Monday last week), Doctor Who, and MLP:FiM. But, I do have a substantial pile of TV and film I'd like to catch up with, and I finally got around to all of Steven Universe recently - and I'm delighted I did. ^_^ I think, at its core, it's its emotional richness that appeals, alongside its remarkable use of music, both in incidental work, with some occasional chiptune sensibilities, and even a few (all too infrequent!) musical numbers, such as Stronger Than You, which begins somehow hip-hop before gliding into a more funky style, or the broody, melancholic It's Over, Isn't It? - even the first ending theme, the gently beautiful Love Like You they eked out over the course of a couple seasons, giving subtly different versions each time; someone's kindly edited it all together into a complete piece here. (And it's the show's creator playing the piano and providing vocals!) Its positivity toward love, regardless of gender, is a delightful aspect; it's quite open that Pearl was very much in love with Rose - indeed, It's Over is a poignant tribute to that. If you'd like to give it a try, it's probably all on YouTube, but I found it more convenient to snag it from Yay Steven; the torrents seem to be quite well seeded, thankfully.

On rather a different TV note, the gigantic news has to be that Dredd is coming to TV: Rebellion's announced they're developing a Megacity One TV series. =:D They have writers lined up (what an opportunity!), but casting's yet to be completed. Obviously, I'd love to see Karl Urban return to the role, but he may be too expensive - but who knows? Maybe it's a role he'd take for the fun of it. I wonder how it'll wind up being distributed - Netflix, maybe? Much as I'd love to see the BBC pick it up, they really don't seem positively inclined toward sci-fi, and only slightly more toward fantasy, with Doctor Who being about the only exception that comes immediately to mind.

So, we just saw these folk play: 3 Daft Monkeys. Ye gods, such energy! I'd see them again immediately if that were an option, but they're touring around, departing immediately. As the venue's blurb put it: "With their quirky and original approach to music, and their passion, intensity and sheer joy of life, 3 Daft Monkeys have gained themselves a large and loyal cult following. Their music is hard to pigeon-hole, mixing and crossing many musical genres from Celtic, Klezmer, Gypsy, Balkan, Latin, Ska, Dub Reggae, Indie, Rock and even a hint of Shostakovich."

With finances dwindling, and the roomie taking up the hobby again, I've joined him in home brewing. ^_^ The first is a cider; it's intended to go to 5%, but with the intent of nudging it more toward 7-8%, I bumped the sugar up from 1.5kg to 3kg. The OG's 1.071 - if the yeast offers maybe 70% completion, that ought to land it about where I'm hoping. I've no idea how it'll turn out, but way back when, I managed to obtain entirely decent results from a few beer kits, as well as some wild fruit and flower wines. I may well have to play with the flavor profile a bit, as I tend to enjoy a tart edge in cider - I've got some citric acid ready, and tannin, which might well be joined by malic acid, a key element in cider apples. Anyway, we shall see! It got underway on May 10, so fermentation should be done within a fortnight (and it seems pleasantly frothy on top, yay!), plus at least a week or so to settle, once it's been decanted into 2l bottles. (This is fun!)

If you're a big fan of Okami, how about a life-size bust of Amaterasu?

Sadly, it's only a two minute trailer, for a show pitch that apparently hasn't gone anywhere yet, but it's huge fun regardless: Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit.

On board Japan's new luxury train, running between Tokyo and Hokkaido, with space for 34 passengers between the ten cars. Food is, of course, prepared by Michelin-starred chefs, and delivered by uniformed butlers. With tickets ranging from $2860 to around $10k, it's fully booked until March 2018.

Reaction Engines has begun construction of their test facility, with the first SABRE core testing scheduled for 2020. I seriously want to be there to witness that first test, one way or another. SpaceX is doing very good work, but the tech is essentially purely evolutionary - SABRE has the potential to open up new frontiers of both hypersonic passenger travel and space launches.

Behold: one of the greatest musical and cultural meldings ever attempted, and attained - Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans. I've used images rather than YouTube embeds, as those seem quite demanding on lower powered devices.

And I notice that Midnites for Maniacs is running a rather cool double bill on Saturday, May 27 2017, leading with a 20th anniversary screening of The Fifth Element, in a newly restored 4K DCP presentation, followed by Lola Rennt. And to mark the occasion, they'll be offering a bespoke poster. Wonderfully stylish, although personally, I think I'd have aimed for a more playful feel. I'd still happily snap up a copy if I were in the area, though. ^_^

Tracks 1 & 2:
Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans/With Illicit Help From Your Friends
Track 3:
Luke is in the Desert
Track 4:
Never Better
Track 5:
Imperial Holes
Track 6:
He's Leaving Home
Track 7:
Being From the Spaceport of Mos Eisley
Track 8:
The Force Within You
Track 9:
AA Twenty-Three
Track 10:
Track 11:
Keep Moving Keep Moving
Track 12 & 13:
Reprise/A Day in the Life of Red Five
Dennis Villeneuve can't top this Minnesotan seven minute version of Dune. =:D

Well, following a rather.. sub-par week preceding it, last weekend was pretty much the perfect antidote. ^_^ First, an evening with the roomie, an old Uni friend, and huskyteer at The Bletchley, a pop-up cocktail bar with the theme as you'd expect, which was way too much fun. I'll see if I can get a couple photos prepared for my next entry. ^_^; (And prefaced by some serious pizza) Then, a weekend of simply enjoying some chilled company - and possibly drinks too - over music videos, films, shorts, and some energetic rounds of Pandemic. ^_^ (We began with just four epidemic cards, but later shifted to five. Either we're just getting luckier, or we're becoming a better team.. perhaps it'll be necessary to go with all six in the future =:)

Following /u/Lazy_Coyote's posting of her Starcrash otter (and I see its sequel, Escape from Galaxy 3, is on YouTube!), I was set to wondering: do you have any pet favorite hilariously bad films? EfG3's probably on the top of my list, as it's genuinely funny in its awfulness. Another favorite is, unfortunately, more of an extended WTF, "Armageddon: The Final Challenge". It opens well enough, with a spoof ad for a car security system involving a morphing CGI fox robot, before settling into a low rent version of the original run of Max Headroom, with everything controlled by the world bank(s). When our *cough* hero's credit seems entirely exhausted, it melts into a very low budget Blade Runner, with plenty of "Fear-Permutator Clones" attempting to assassinate him, before pivoting one final time into.. well, I shan't spoil the surprise, but you might want to record your reaction to the ending monologue. =:D If you want to watch it, I'd recommend Corn Pone Reviews take on it, as it includes enough footage to give you a very good feel for what went on, without having to subject yourself to the whole thing. Oh, it's also memorable for its SFX work, including majestic spaceships that move at a grandiose pace through the movie magic of slowing the film down - except, they only shot it at a usual framerate, so it's played back at something like 6fps. And the rocket thrusters are powered by tiny incandescent light bulbs. (The supporting, entirely visible, strings pretty much go without saying)

Little Flocker was a malware protection utility for macOS, until the author was hired by Apple. Thankfully, it's being continued by Fsecure, who've renamed it Xfence, which is now available as a beta (somehow), free for the forseeable future. "Little Flocker observes every time an app tries to open, write, execute, or otherwise modify any file or folder, and lets you set one-time, short-term, or permanent exceptions. It also has rulesets that it offers to add when it recognizes an app. Because Apple has its registered developers sign released apps with cryptographic signatures, the monitoring system isn’t fooled by malicious programs with the same name trying to inherit file privileges. Later updates added monitoring and blocking of audio or video input activation." As such, currently, it's more aimed at a geek/sysadmin audience - their intent is to make it more usable by a less technical userbase.

Here's a finished panel from /u/fxscreamer's forthcoming graphic novel - you might recall I shared some sketches from them in an entry a little while back.

Heads-up if you use get_iplayer: as was announced by the BBC some time ago, the XML feeds used by get_iplayer 2.94 are muerto. The fix is to update to the current version, 2.99, and use the programme's PID rather than the show index. The devs hope to provide an update today, Sunday, Apr 30 2017.

Here's a fun tech demo: face capture and expression mapping. The algorithms take in two actors: one for the original face, body, and so on, whilst another, using an ordinary webcam (and no special markers required), provides the new expressions. So you have your YouTube personality, such as a famous politician, performing all the expressions they've supplied. Now, take that, and add in this vocal tech, Lyrebird.. =:D Lyrebird does appear to be very early on, compared to the above, with the result that the voicework produced does sound distinctly robotic - but as with the expression mapping, just give researchers more time, and it's hardly unreasonable to think you'll be able to wind up with natural-sounding results indistinguishable from the original. And of course, text to speech is hardly standing still - here's WaveNet with some comparative examples; note the fluency of intonation and overall feel.

I finally got to see Moana! ^_^ As you might recall, I picked it up when it debuted on the iTunes Store sometime last century, but hadn't quite got around to it, with an attempt at watching it on the main setup downstairs failing, with the TV seemingly not getting the audio over to the BD player, which also acts as the amp for the 5.1 speaker setup. We tried again on Thursday, and a random music video playing on Hazel gave the same problem. Then the satellite receiver, and.. no audio? That was even stranger, as that normally works fine. Disconnected the TOSLINK cable at both ends, reconnected, reselected everything, and.. it was fine. Over to Hazel, and yay! I wouldn't rate it at the very top - Ratatouille, Zootopia, and Brave sit there - but I'm certainly pleased I bought it, and I'm looking forward to going through all the extras. ^_^ It got off to a much slower start than I'd've expected from Disney, and plotwise, it's rather on the slender side, but the vivacity of the later musical numbers was very appealing, alongside the genuine attempt to bring something of old South Pacific culture to the screen.

It's hardly the first app of its kind, but I was quite intrigued to see a new flight tracker debut from the UK's main air traffic control provider: NATS - Airspace Explorer. It's free, currently iPad only, with an iPhone version on its way. It's available in the UK App Store, but not the US, as clearly, it's impossible for people outside the UK to travel there or otherwise be interested. =:) (Do helicopters use ADS-B? I don't think I've seen any on Plane Finder)

Not that I count myself as much of a herd animal, but hey.. here's my #LJ18 stats. ^_^ I held out against joining for a good while, but eventually signed up (just before the invitation system was dropped, I think), and took to the place very easily.

Huh! Seems I got caught in TripAdvisor's lint trap.. there was a review I wrote in February which only now got approved, two months later. ^_^; I can only presume it was because I originally submitted it in connection with the wrong establishment, which had a very similar name. They do provide a fairly non-intuitive method for moving a review, which I performed, but until now, only I've been able to actually see it. Hey ho. I'm pleased it's finally there, as it was quite a delicious find.

Food rec of the day: Waitrose's chicken jalfrezi. A bit pricy at £3.90 (but easier when marked down to 49p =:), but surprisingly good - I didn't feel any need to augment it, with the sauce being very nicely spiced, and plenty of genuinely tandoori cooked chicken. It wouldn't have been out of place in a good Indian restaurant.

lovelyangel recently had to explain to her boss what a punch card was (the variety once used for mainframe program storage). =:/

The roomie's gotten into home winemaking - to good effect! The first batch has indeed turned out very nicely - a simple white Burgundy, unoaked. He's now got a black cherry and an elderberry fermenting in the auxiliary server room (ie where the Time Capsule and multiple attached drives is located =:), which I thoroughly expect will be joined before long with some cider and beer of my own devising. ^_^ Probably just from kits to begin with, especially with the cider, as I don't currently live in a particularly apple-y locale, but we'll see how it develops. I did engage in a bit of home brewing way back, but not in a while; I recall plum port working out very well, and an attempt at apple and blackberry working out much better than we'd expected, when we found the yeast had apparently died on us, leaving a black ash on the bottom. We bottled it anyway, just in case, and lo - the yeast came back to life, for a secondary fermentation that left it beautifully dry. ^_^

Bah. Ordnance Survey's just announced they're retiring OS MapFinder, in favor of a new app. The key difference? Yep, subscriptions. =:P With the old app, you'd simply buy map tiles at the desired scale, and they're there permanently, updated as the maps themselves are updated; the new one appears to only offer monthly and annual subscriptions. The old app will apparently remain functional, but I'll want to check if new purchases can be made - I'd quite like to pick up another few while that's an option.

Hrmm.. perhaps I was a little over-eager with my positive assessment of the lens - during Saturday's rabbiteering, it again decided to go manual-only, not responding to the usual simple resets. Indeed, I was wandering back, when I noticed some attractively sunset-lit blossom, and decided to try for a few shots - manual focusing with a DSLR isn't ideal, but it can be done, even without observing the focus indicator. Some seven photos in.. it began focusing again. =:D Which is still rather concerning - something isn't quite right, and I don't really yet know if it's the contacts not having been cleaned well, or if the ring SWM is indeed ailing. (Essentially, a ring silent wave motor permits very fast lens focusing, nearly silently, but the principle is a bit difficult to explain - the Wikipedia entry has a good go, though. It's a very different beast to what we'd usually think of as a battery powered motor, being a ring, but works beautifully well in concert with the phase-detection focus universal in DSLRs, making it possible to accurately follow even fast-moving subjects) But then, the next outing went fine. Well, here's hoping. ^_^

So, recently, we've had the Icelandic president come out - very sensibly - against the idea of putting pineapple with ham on a pizza; but now, New Zealand has gone beyond the pale, with their PM offering canned spaghetti on a pizza.

I imagine many or all of these are apocryphal, but they're funny regardless: flight mechanic logs highlights. eg "P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. S: Almost replaced left inside main tire."

Quite a remarkably eloquent ruling from the Fourth Circuit, in the case Gavin Grimm brought against his school board, which forbade him, as a transgender boy, from using the boys' toilets, finishes with a poem by Naomi Shehab Nye, "Famous":

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
I am absolutely delighted to make note of the release of the third and final season of Star Billions, yours for a measly $2.99. ^_^ You may need to update the app first; I noticed the announcement in the update release notes.

But if that's not your bag, how about a newly announced made-for-TV Invader Zim movie? =:D The same treatment is apparently also being extended to Rocko's Modern Life.

Do you live where you do out of choice? Where do you call "home", and why? For my part, no, not presently; it's a perfectly okay locale, but, a long way from where I'd consider home - San Francisco.

Aaaah, so that's where it went! In iOS 9, Safari used to offer a "request desktop site" in the address bar pulldown. In iOS 10, however, it seems they've dual-tasked the reload icon; press and hold, and you'll be given that option, along with "reload without content blockers". Useful, as a few sites will improperly serve the phone version to an iPad, leading to UI delights like buttons the entire width of the display. =:P

Zootopia may have had Shakira, but My Little Pony's big screen debut will have Sia. =:D

Here's a language resource with a difference: Lexicity. They link to resources for grammar, dictionaries, and suchlike, for old tongues, such as Aramaic, Akkadian, Sumerian, Mayan, and Etruscan.

Or for something a little more on the technical side, how about Disney's Practical Guide to Path Tracing?

/u/Fearful_Leader painted me! =:D

Another example of the dangers of traveling while brown, this time a naturalized US citizen daring to visit her family in Turkey, flying to and from LAX.

Well, now, that's not much fun.. I was out rabbiteering on Thursday, which turned out to be a mostly beautifully bright day, despite both the Met Office and MeteoGroup insisting it'd be overcast, later reluctantly updating to just "cloudy". ^_^; Beautiful day, the buns were out - what could happen? The lens could stop focussing, that's what. =:P Suddenly, it became a manual focus lens - not much use with fast-moving subjects. *sigh* So, I'll have to see what I can do to try to fix the issue, else, establish that it really needs repairing; there's the possibility it's just a matter of the contacts being dirty. It's possible it's the body, but the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is functioning normally. I'll be trying to clean the body and lens contacts with a dustless eraser, and checking if it works on the roomie's D5500. Worst case, it'll be an expensive trip to Nikon or an appointed service center - a quick search suggests something around $300 to replace the focus motor. =:P Hopefully it won't come to having to make such a decision. ETA: whew! Spent a couple minutes polishing the contacts with a putty eraser (great things! Can form them easily to a point for accurate pencil erasing, with no rubber dust or shavings), and everything appears to be working normally again. (I tried in the field with just a clean hankie, but to no effect) Yay! And the weekend's looking sunny - maybe the buns will be gracious enough to be out and about again then. And I must remember to pack some raisins for them as well. ^_^

I'm not generally keen on superheroes, with very occasional exceptions like both versions of TV's The Flash, and the recent Supergirl, but Joss Whedon writing and directing a Batgirl film does sound rather good fun. ^_^

The film industry does seem to have some realisation that things need to change, but as one might expect, cinema owners are putting up stiff resistance to the concept of releasing films to home audiences after a 30-day window, or when the number of screens falls below a certain threshold. You know where I stand on this: multiplexes hold no magic for me - if I'm watching a film by myself, I'd far sooner be able to do it from the comfort of the warren. Groups of friends, that's a different matter - and when you've got places you actually can enjoy going to, like the Castro Theatre, that's again very different, but venues with character aren't in the multiplex business model.

I'm relieved to (finally!) read that Pixar isn't planning any further sequels past Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles II. It's undeniable that Toy Story 3 did superbly at the box office, and even Cars and Planes have proven lucrative, primarily through merchandising, but - I've been growing increasingly concerned at that turn, almost reliance, on sequels, at the inevitable expense of original stories. I'd so much prefer to see another original production like Ratatouille, Inside Out, or Wall-E than another continuation of Toy Story or Finding Nemo. (And we'll forget about The Good Dinosaur. Not a bad film, certainly, but.. not exactly amongst their crowning accomplishments, I think we can agree)

It'll be a while before we see any industrial scale deployments, but nonetheless, this OLED development news is quite exciting, with a potential improvement in energy efficiency from the current 25% or so, up to more or less a perfect 100%. (As is, the rest just becomes heat. The patent holders might stand to benefit from that, as will we all. I wonder if the technique described might be useful for bulbs as well, not just displays..)

There was another SPG live performance last Saturday, and you can find the archive over here. ^_^

Anyone who follows Intel processors: we've seen AMD coming back recently with Ryzen and friends, but does the company have anything at all in store for low power usage, like phones, or even laptops? As a casual observer, it seems like they're completely ceding that ground to ARM and Intel respectively.

It seems there's a very welcome added benefit to legal weed: a distinct drop in opioid overdoses. "Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medical purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average."

Here's an interesting security issue - taking over a smart TV. 'The proof-of-concept exploit uses a low-cost transmitter to embed malicious commands into a rogue TV signal. That signal is then broadcast to nearby devices. It worked against two fully updated TV models made by Samsung. By exploiting two known security flaws in the Web browsers running in the background, the attack was able to gain highly privileged root access to the TVs. By revising the attack to target similar browser bugs found in other sets, the technique would likely work on a much wider range of TVs. "Once a hacker has control over the TV of an end user, he can harm the user in a variety of ways," Rafael Scheel, the security consultant who publicly demonstrated the attack, told Ars. "Among many others, the TV could be used to attack further devices in the home network or to spy on the user with the TV's camera and microphone."' This exercise only pertains to DVB, so the US isn't affected - that said, I haven't looked into ATSC to see whether it might have an equivalent attack vector.

Huh! So the iTunes Store does offer multiple language tracks after all! They just tend to be very coy about it. I finally got around to watching my rental of Long Way North (which I'll very happily recommend), and thought I'd just check if there was an original language option - and lo, the French soundtrack and English subtitles were available. Yay! (The English voicework is good, though - this isn't a Tenchi Muyo grade dub. ^_^;) As for the film itself: I'd wondered if the animation style might grate, but no, the painted look works very well, and indeed, provides a refreshing change from the Pixar 3D CG look adopted nigh universally amongst the big studios. Overall, I enjoyed it very much, and will consider purchasing it - and I'm only reluctant to do so as I simply don't rewatch films often at all. (Hell, it was in the final hours of its month long rental period that I even got around to it for the first time =:) It's suitable for all audiences, but it's not especially aimed at younger children - perhaps think of it in terms of similar appeal to Doctor Who. Anyway! Have a look at the trailer, and see if it might be something you'd enjoy. (Regrettably, I see it's returned to being a $4.99 rental; I took advantage at 99¢. Would that that were the norm!)

Following a rather unfortunate trademark tussle with a Birmingham pub, BrewDog has apologised honestly, and in a rather fun twist, made all their recipes available, past and present.

Well, poop. I've finished all the iOS Phoenix Wright games. It began innocently enough, with the release of Apollo Justice - which, for some reason, Capcom released after the title following it in the series, Dual Destinies; so, of course, I had to replay DD to gain a better feel for that one, now in better context. And then I though I'd go through the original trilogy.. hey ho. I imagine they'll bring the newest one to iOS at some point, and maybe even Miles Edgeworth Investigations - and of course, there's the ending chapter of Star Billions now. ^_^

Oh, yay. Looks like one tooth is deciding to gradually shuffle off its mortal coil.. a little fragment came away the other day. =:P Time to get registered with some local dentist and see just how bad things are.

If you enjoy good music videos, have a look over here - BUG Videos periodically collects several that have caught their eye, and produce viewer notes for each. Speaking of which, might you have any to recommend of late? You've seen some indication of what musical styles I like - the ideal then is for a video that perhaps tells a story (Black Light Dinner Party "We Are Golden"), or is simply wonderfully odd (Galantis "Peanut Butter Jelly"), not merely concert footage or miming, unless, perhaps, there's a really good light show or particularly appealing costumery.

And on that note, Badmarsh & Shri "Get Up" is a good example of a nondescript video carrying a rather cool track - sort of South Asian drum'n'bass. Meanwhile, this animated one tells a story - but how do you interpret what finally happens? C2C "Delta". A tidily choreographed video with a catchy track: Keren Ann "My Name is Trouble". A downtempo/folk rock track with a story being told: Mala Vita "Top of the World". Quite an odd animated video: Rone "Bye Bye Macadam". And I'm amazed I'd forgotten to post this one until now, given it's a very well produced stop motion video starring a bunny: The Shins "The Rifle's Spiral". The video's playfully designed, reminiscent of Michel Gondry's work, with a breezily funky vocals-led track with some echoes of Bjork: Jain "Come". (Her bio is quite fascinating, too!)

Food recommendation of the day: Sainsbury's Basics pollock fish fingers. At 65p for ten, way cheaper than any of the big brands, and surprisingly good, with even a slightly higher fish content as well.

It's a fairly niche combination of interests, but still, a wonderful piece: Revolutionary Mare Utena, by mr-tiaa. Perfect! ^_^

And in Canada, The Beaverton announces their candidacy for Conservative leader.
I absolutely have to promote this Easter ad from German supermarket chain Netto, being supremely adorable and leporine-themed. ^_^ It's a real joy, honestly. (And a really good Voight-Kampff test, too =:)

I must ask: did you enjoy chemistry or electronics kits as a leveret? (Or your species' equivalent =:) Any fond memories?

Steam Powered Giraffe will be playing live again on YouTube, entirely gratis, on Saturday, April 1, at 1pm PDT/9pm BST.

And coming on April 14 to Netflix: the new season of MST3K. =:D

I'll be trying this service out presently: 33Mail. They give you unlimited email aliases, which can be independently zapped; so, you might enter a competition or sign up for some newsletter, and if it turns out they begin spamming you or selling your address, you can then just kill that alias, leaving everything else unaffected. You don't even need to set anything up - just use whatever alias you want, and if anything's sent to that address, it'll automagically be set up and forwarded to your real address. The basic service is free, with a small 10MB monthly bandwidth limit; "premium" for $1/mo raises that to 50MB, permits anonymous replies, no ads, and use of your own domain (with the basic level, your email addresses will be somerandomname@yourusername.33mail.com). There's also a "pro" level at $5/mo, giving 500MB/mo and use of five custom domains.

Here: some sketches from /u/fxscreamer's graphic novel, a work in progress.

The Royal Mint has a site dedicated to the new £1 coin, brought into circulation on Mar 28 2017, noting the rationale behind its creation, how it differs from the existing coin, and so on. They note that currently, about 1 in 30 £1 coins is counterfeit. The Mint has a guide on telltale signs - often, fakes are fairly easy to spot, if you're looking to begin with, but who really notices much about pound coins in change, beyond their number? One that gives away a lot is simply that the faces on genuine coins are always aligned; beyond that, it gets down to quality, with the lettering around the edge often being rather ropey.

On which note - did you know that we're still uncertain as to where Earth's gold originated? There's a popular theory that it's the result of supernovae, but, that has certain factors against the current understanding, including the amount and distribution of such heavier elements. It may, in fact, be the work of neutron star collisions - or, indeed, a combination of the two.

It's quite fun, checking up on how far I walk during rabbiteering days - Monday especially, which was prefaced by popping into the city as well. Supposedly, I took about 13,300 steps, coming to a little over five miles. ^_^;

Huh! That was an interestingly different bit of spam.. it included my surname and address. Well, an address from about fifteen years ago, in the lovely county of Other. =:) Still, it's easy to imagine the response rate from that being a good bit higher than the usual "invoice for your attention". Interestingly, it registered not one hit on VirusTotal's scan. It's a .dot file, FWIW. I admit, I'm half tempted to open it in a disposable VM, just out of curiosity. If I did so, though, I'd definitely want to have some form of packet sniffer waiting to witness the hilarity, and maybe inject something along the way. =:) If anyone wants a copy, let me know - I'd love to hear what its payload amounts to. (It's not a field I've ever delved into, but I can easily see the fun in security engineering and pentesting!)
Of some possible geeky interest: microtrenching, a technique for laying fiber cables much more cheaply than the traditional "dig a wide trench through the road and close a lane while doing so" method necessary for drains and suchlike. In the example used, the trenches are more like channels, a relatively svelte 1.25" wide, and 12" deep - so traffic can still pass safely over the open channels prior to them being filled in. Apparently, San Francisco is looking to codify such permits into law, which would greatly simplify companies like Sonic and MonkeyBrains making FTTH widely available in the City.

Being from the BFI, it only covers the UK, but still of distinct amateur historian value: they've introduced their Britain on Film map, which allows you to search for a location, and find what archive material they have for that place, with many of the newsreels and suchlike being free to view.

Rather fun: where Daft Punk samples originated, with the originals followed by their usage.

And if you're up for some radio plays, Strangeness in Space, wherein the first four episodes are now available and free: "What would happen if Sophie [Aldred], the manager of a NASA Space Centre gift shop, and Trev and Simon, two idiots claiming to be a 1980s styled synth pop duo called Pink Custard, were thrown together with a computer robot called LEMON on board a damaged space craft, lost in a distant universe, orbiting Planet Mirth?"

Meet Jeff. He's the son of Darius, who was formerly the largest rabbit in the world. ^_^

The first episode of The Real Comedy Controllers is now available on iPlayer (globally; they only geofence TV), with a total of four parts, arriving on Saturdays. I'll let huskyteer describe it. ^_^ "The show itself consists of anecdotes and discussion from four movers and shakers in the world of TV and radio comedy (pitchers, commissioners, producers, writers), and the instalment we enjoyed covered the '60s and '70s. Paul Jackson, Beryl Vertue, Jimmy Mulville and John Lloyd were all excellent value, but I have a particular soft spot for Lloyd. He's a very funny speaker, does wicked impressions, and got visibly emotional talking about his friendship with Douglas Adams.

The broadcast show will be three hours long and feature complete episodes of select comedies, but we had to be content with clips. My favourite of these was Round the Horne's Julian and Sandy presenting their version of Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, which I will leave you to imagine."

If you're using Safari, and would like a (fairly) simple way to prevent any video from autoplaying, as seems to be the latest delightful web design fetish, try enabling the Debug menu with this at the CLI:

Safari: defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1
Safari Technology Preview: defaults write com.apple.SafariTechnologyPreview IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

- then, in the Media Flags section, enable both "Video needs user action" and "Audio needs user action". If you encounter any odd site incompatibilities, you can always turn those back off, temporarily or permanently. ("User action" counts as any actual user interaction with that element, like clicking on it) Similarly, you can conceal the menu again with the same command line, just replacing the "1" with "0" at the end. BTW, STP release 26 includes a first draft of an interesting WebKit proposal aiming to offer a unified thin layer on top of Vulkan, Metal, and DirectX, in the form of WebGPU. The Khronos Group appears to be thinking along similar lines; with any luck, these early prototypes will bear fruit in one common API. It's rather cool to see such nascent ideas take form. ^_^

The buns, happily, still seem to be doing well; I finally got out to see them again on Thursday, for the first time in about three weeks, thanks largely to the rather dour weather, but also simply being on the busy side this month. The light wasn't the best, but things did clear up toward sunset, and they obliged with a rapid chase or two, including this dramatic moment. ^_^ (As usual, thankfully, nobody came off worse for the incident, though whether the first knew quite why they were being chased is something I'll never know. I do get the impression sometimes there's less strategy being pursued than "it seemed like a good idea at the time" =:)

In celebration of her story, 400 Rabbits, being nominated for the 2016 Ursa Major Awards, huskyteer has made it freely available for all to read over here. ^_^

Want to see what Steam Powered Giraffe is like live? They're streaming an hour long performance live today, Saturday, 1pm PDT/8pm GMT (only a 7h difference at the moment; PDT is now in effect, but BST not until the 26th). They'd like a tip if you can, but it's free and open to everyone. ^_^

Guy comes to remove an artful example of graffiti. Then finds himself in its place. So much to love about this. ^_^

Finally, we get to see an introduction to Sansar, Linden Lab's next-generation platform, aimed at VR usage. It's looking rather good. =:D It seems the SL and Sansar economies will be separate after all, and for a limited period (on the order of 1-3 months or so?) after opening, all SL names will be reserved within Sansar, before they're released for use with new accounts.

What weather apps or sites do you recommend? Ideally, I'm looking for great data visualisation and reasonably accurate forecasts. Paid is okay, though I'm slightly irked that WeatherPro has doubled in price in a couple years, now coming in at $10/year - which is, I accept, still not exactly pricy. I'm after a fairly comprehensive forecast - ideally, showing the kind of cloud coverage (high or low, thin or thick, etc), sunlight, and wind, given my main use is for gauging whether there might be a good rabbiteering day approaching, especially if I'm intending to travel some distance for it, such as the original spot, three hours away. High resolution visible satellite imagery and rainfall radar is very useful, too - I can often guess the afternoon outcome better than the forecast, particularly where it's a set of systems colliding.

So, how geeky is it to notice /r/furry was getting past the 32,000 mark, and that on Tuesday, it was around 32,760? Yes, I made an alt account and snagged the 32,768 spot. ^_^

w00t! I know nobody else cares, but I was delighted just now to see that MasterChef is returning on Wednesday, March 29 2017. ^_^

Huh! Bit of a change of tone.. I just checked out Shane Carruth's IMDb profile (Primer, Upstream Color), and he's apparently been directing some TV: The Girlfriend Experience, for Starz, on the life of a NYC call girl. Has anyone seen anything of it? Thanks to everyone who responded to the poll! I was quite surprised in a few places - I hadn't expected Cats Don't Dance to be so well recognised, and even moreso WoSaT. ^_^ And, whilst I knew it wasn't a hugely well-known release, I was also quite surprised to find myself (so far!) the only one who has seen Upstream Color. Perhaps needless to say, I would recommend it, but - it's an impossible film to describe well, moreso than even Stalker. So, I'm afraid I can't be of much help in providing reasons why you should give it a try; still, if you've seen and enjoyed films like Stalker, Solaris (Tarkovsky's), and The Fountain, you might like this; expect something more like the former - cinematic poetry - than anything linear. Also rather interesting, to me, was how many haven't seen Arrival, or Interstellar - but, I suppose that's probably simply down to one's level of interest in sci-fi.

Here's another Doctor Who trailer, this time from Australia's ABC. Notice one rather old, familiar (kind of) face? And, here's Coco's first trailer, coming from Pixar on Nov 22 2017.

Not that I've (still!) yet seen the show, but I noticed there's Orphan Black: The Game coming on Mar 23. Meanwhile, the renowned Botanicula is temporarily 80% off, at 99¢.

A long time furry, Gene Catlow, has died, at 59.

Elsewhere, I read of the death of Mildred Dresselhaus, "Queen of Carbon", author of 1,700 papers and eight books, and the first woman to become a fully tenured professor at MIT. '"When I came, we only had 4 percent of women at MIT, period, and fewer even in physics," Dresselhaus told NPR in 2007, recalling when she was hired by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in 1960. "And today we're getting close to the 50 percent mark. That's an amazing achievement in one lifetime. "Of course," she added modestly, "I didn't have that much to do with making it all happen." Many would beg to differ.'

I see Jonathan Blow's The Witness is now out on macOS, at $40 - but! It's also, entirely coincidentally, the main billing on Humble Monthly's current offering, so if you were to subscribe for this month and then cancel, it'd be yours for $12.

Snopes recently offered up an interesting tidbit I hadn't been aware of: female mantises don't usually eat the males' heads. "In a research project whose results were published in the journal Animal Behaviour in 1984, entomologists Eckehard Liske and W. Jackson Davis made videotapes of the sex lives of thirty pairs of praying mantises. They discovered that mantises engage in elaborate posturing rituals before mating, but not one of the thirty males had his head eaten during the mating process. They also noted that other scientists had observed the same thing: Although female mantises sometimes ate their mates, the deadly act by no means occurred in every case. The behavior appeared to be influenced by captivity: Female mantises were either jarred into unusually aggressive behavior by the unusual laboratory conditions, or they were simply not fed enough by their keepers."

How's this for pre-fab housing? =:D Huf Haus.

Only a fan creation (for now =:) - meet the pony version of Jack Harkness. =:D

So, I experimented: iPad into the bottom of the fridge for 30 mins, all radios (WiFi, cellular, BT) enabled as usual. Result: a chilly iPad with 100% charge when it emerged from the fridge, and which shortly thereafter displayed the red "BRB I'M GOING TO SLEEP NOW" battery icon, and back to normal a few minutes later. Interesting! I know battery capacities are influenced by temperature, but I hadn't ever expected the disparity to be so extreme, even with a somewhat elderly battery. I suppose this explains what I've been observing - quite normal life when out but indoors, or on buses and trains, but seemingly magical loss when outdoors. Looking at the Battery Life app's "Raw Data" section suggests that the reported capacity is what's swinging up and down - a little after the fridge, it was reporting 100% of 4400mAh, and an hour later, 100% of 6800mAh. So, it seems to be some kind of oddity with whatever microcontroller's responsible for tracking battery capacity and charge (typically, these are embedded within the battery itself).

I do, of course, absolutely love this reply from Ursula K LeGuin, in the Times Literary Supplement's interview with her (h/t supergee):

"What will your field look like twenty-five years from now?"

"My field? What is my field, I wonder. My favourite field is the one below the barn at the old ranch in California. I hope in twenty-five years it looks just the way it does now, all wild oats and chicory and foxtail and voles and jackrabbits and quail." <3

Over on a forum far, far away, the topic veered into Taco Bell, spurring one Japanese correspondant into a new opening line for an old song, "If you love cheap enchiladas, acute stomach pain.." ^_^

Did you know mosquitoes prefer type O blood?
Well, that was a pleasant surprise! A very anonymous-looking package arrived, obviously containing a hardcover book of some kind. Maybe something from a Kickstarter project a while ago? Nope - it was a complementary copy of the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year, volume 7, containing two years' winners and finalists, myself included. ^_^ Of course, I'm biased, but it's a book I'll treasure - not only for the obvious, but the sheer quality of the entries throughout the four categories (Travel Icons, People, Wildlife, and.. wait, I'll remember) really is something to behold, and indeed, encourage - everyone featured is an amateur, with perfectly ordinary DSLR kit, sometimes quite old.

A little while back, I mentioned Long Way North, an interestingly stylish-looking animated feature; I've just noticed iTunes US has it currently available as a 99¢ rental (and $7.99 to buy, including extras. Would be pretty cool if iTunes would credit a rental fee against a purchase, if you chose to keep a copy. Still, at $1 to try it out.. ! Sadly, it's still £4.49 for a UK rental, or £9.99 to buy)

I also recently made note of what looked like quite an interesting monster flick, Colossal - and here's its new poster. ^_^

Poll #2064104 It's movie time! ~flails~ Which have you seen?





Upstream Color




Summer Wars


Cats Don't Dance


The Wizard of Speed and Time


Jupiter Ascending


Yay, my first churrascaria! =:D An old (formerly, maybe again?) LJ friend happened to be in the city for a stopover, and he declared that "unlimited is his favorite kind of meat". ^_^ It's a style I'd long vaguely intended to try, and it didn't disappoint - it's the usual format of waiters coming by every few minutes to carve off some topside/sirloin/lamb/pork loin/etc, which you complement with some salad bar pickings. Sadly, as there tended only to be a couple slices at a time, it didn't really lend itself to photography, and I didn't really feel comfortable getting the waiter to pause for a moment for a shot. =:) I am also resolved to obtaining a Frolic shirt, as he was modeling that day, but sadly, a quick check with Neonbunny revealed they're sold out of that fairly limited run, but they may well make another run sometime.

Well, that promises to be rather good fun.. if you recall the Turing/Bletchley themed pop-up cocktail bar I mentioned, I duly received my invitation to place a booking within four hours of receipt - luckily, I woke up with an hour to spare. ^_^; Some quick emailing around, and we sorted out a suitable adjustment to the booking, so huskyteer, myself, and the roomie will be headed down to what's probably a wartime bunker in Chelsea next month for quite a special evening. ^_^

Good news, every.. ah. Well, yes. So, it seems the BBC Store has indeed been improving its offerings, to the extent that all three (three episode!) series of The World's Most Dangerous Roads are indeed now available in HD, not just SD as originally. (And affordably, too - £12 for all nine hour-long episodes) Yet, despite being a BBC Worldwide project - so, nothing to do with the license fee - they apparently will only sell their downloads to UK residents. WTF? The restrictions seem the same as originally, similar to Apple: five devices can be authorised on an account. Arg. Still, maybe I'll do the same as elsewhere - buy under the conditions imposed, and use under the torrented lack of restrictions. (As for the show itself, I should emphasise it's very much not what it might sound like - they're more along the lines of rather precarious travelogues, with an emphasis on what's around them, and why, not shying away from the often tricky regional politics involved)

The iPad's battery has a minor mystery attached to it. =:D As I've noted, its life isn't what it once was, but still perfectly useful, at around 6-7 hours, and almost always, the battery percentage is useful, though these days, it tends to die soon after the 10% warning, or sometimes before - with one odd exception! If I'm out rabbiteering, the displayed percentage positively plummets, to the extent that I can arrive there, have spent maybe half an hour watching the buns, and find it at 45%! On Thursday, it excelled itself in pessimism, and declared it had 16% remaining. ^_^; But that only happens when rabbiteering. O.o It seems to be some kind of misreporting by the battery, as when I arrived at the pub a little while later, it grumpily insisted it only had 6% left - which was also the case when I left, an hour and a half later, and by the time I arrived back home. Hooking it back up to Hazel changed its mind, declaring "46% Charged". Most curious! I wonder what could be triggering this? Maybe the cooler temperature outside? Or some oddity with the cell tower(s) it sees in that specific location? Maybe I'll pop it into the fridge for a spell, and see if that has any similar effect. Likewise, I'll try putting it into airplane mode before heading out rabbiteering sometime, and see if it still occurs then. (And maybe even enabling and disabling it before setting off, just in case it's some kind of baseband weirdness)

I wonder how accurate iOS' step count/distance tends to be - it's claiming that after Thursday's rabbiteering and supermarket run, I covered about 3.5 miles in just over 9,000 steps. Hoo!

Yay! Someone's uploaded the entire run of the recent Phoenix Wright anime. And subtitled, too! ^_^ But, for now, my TV viewing consists of the original Australian version of My Kitchen Rules. (And not long now until MasterChef returns! The BBC only discloses schedules a fortnight in advance, so we might get a heads-up next week, as it's begun in March for the past four years)