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If you're looking for any fun fandom shirts or leggings, WeLoveFine's currently running a sale on many lines, until the end of Sunday, Pacific time - not many shirts, but quite a few dresses and leggings, often 70% off. ^_^ Be warned: if you're ordering internationally, don't bother trying to pay by card - their "security" is such that it simply won't work, failing with a spurious address mismatch error; they're aware of the problem, and it appears to be intentional. (Similarly, they don't support even separate billing and delivery addresses, which seems quite nonsensical to me) I should also note that the individual pages for each item don't necessarily reflect the sale price until you've added it to the cart.

With any luck, you may notice a change in my LJ entry's image URLs - I'm finally setting up (or trying to =:) my own hosting, both in anticipation of setting up some simple static hosting for my photography, and simply as a convenient LJ image host, given imgur seems to be growing increasingly discontent with its role as an image host. It's a little odd - for a long while, everything simply worked, but as of a few weeks ago, it began apparently insisting on Flash when presenting the list of URLs for a given image (direct link, image page, etc). That was easily worked around by identifying as an iPad, again, until recently, where even reaching the image's page became unreliable. =:/ I'm not quite sure what the strategy at work is, but it doesn't result in me being able to get images served more easily, so, here I am. =:/ It'll also mean being able to use my own image names (likewise, you'll get to see them too), rather than some letter soup issued by the host. The hosting's with NearlyFreeSpeech.net, with a nicely simple plan with no baseline cost for static sites, only a modest fee for traffic, of 25¢/GB. Hopefully that'll work out okay. ^_^; It's safe if it doesn't, though - you simply top up your account with whatever amount you want, and if something causes you to burn through it, it just stops when the funding's empty; there's no risk of being dinged hundreds or thousands through some traffic surge.

Some wonderful superhero TV teamups get illustrated, including a positively inspired TV Batman and The Tick. =:D

This looks like a fun Kickstarter: Minority Monsters ("They didn't know who they were - until they found themselves").

I'm watching Chappie, for the first time, and - agh, I'm feeling so mixed. Overall, I'm very much enjoying it - essentially, it's a combination of tales of how we're inherently influenced by our families, and those we associate with, and how divergent our potential paths in life can be, as well as a commentary on the validity of replacing a human police force with robots, and the hooks that gives such companies into the fabric of society, and much more. There's so much to think about - and that's something I love in a good film - yet, there are also frustrating plot holes that seem born of either laziness (they won't notice, or won't mind) or a curious deference to classic Hollywood style computer UIs. It's hardly as if realistic UIs affect the plot itself, but still, ought the director and writer(s) place such stumbling blocks along the way?

Food recommendation of the day: Waitrose's "Scottish langoustine terrine". It fulfills the promise - it's delicious, with the flavor of that wonderful crustacean throughout, multiplied by the rest of the terrine. Not cheap, at £4 for a modest pot, but then, langoustines aren't cheap. If you might like this kind of thing, you'll like this. ^_^ Value recommendation: Sainsbury's basics cooking bacon. About £1.20 for a 667g pack, and it's considerably less watery than Tesco's equivalent, and tending to be thicker slices, easier to use. Works brilliantly with some mushrooms, onions, and Campbell's mushroom soup as a spaghetti sauce. =:9 (Okay, there's more to it than that, but that gets into personal preference, like the particular herbs to use - I'm a sucker for rosemary in this setting)

Artists! Fancy a little logo commission? McMansion Hell wants one, and they're fine with paying for the work.

What's a good word for "checking a courier's site repeatedly until the package finally arrives"? Mercifully, in my case, a package dispatched last Thursday, with a cautionary "five working days" delivery time turned up on Saturday. ^_^ The coat is wonderful, I love the scarf, and I just wish the leggings were the right size - they'll have to go back, sadly, but returns are free. Oh, that coat, though! Such a lovely feel to the fabric, even inside the pockets. A great fit, too! And little details, too, like stitching the lining down the arms, so even if you're sweaty, it'll still go on easily - versus what it replaced, by Everlast (ha!), where you'd just wind up with the lining dragged to the cuff, maybe with a bonus stitch rip or two. This is a coat to find excuses to go out to wear. ^_^

And the whole "obsessive checking" thing was neatly circumvented in another delivery's case by the package arriving three hours before the email notification of its dispatch. =:D (Very good going, in any event: order placed on Sunday, arrived on Tuesday morning!)

Then, I wondered about some simple court shoes, and found the perfect pair - cheap, and real leather. But, then I noticed the "free shipping over £50" lure, and wondered if there might be another pair worth adding to the order. And found them. Oh, indeed. ^_^ The design called out to me the second I laid eyes on them. Not cheap, but I knew if I didn't pick them up, I'd forever be regretting it. They're from Iro, a French design house, made in Italy, normal price apparently £465, down to £104 - and the very last pair in my size. ^_^ <3

So, this might be one of the stranger music videos you've seen: tUnE-yArDs "Water Fountain". ^_^;

Here's a good interview with the creator of Inhuman Relations, a strip you ought to follow if you enjoy slice-of-life strips with more than a little Walt Kelly influence. (I admit, I was quite surprised to realise he uses a Cintiq these days - the inking looks quite realistically brushed!)

Here's a webcomic to try, if you're in the mood for some slice-of-life sci-fi, with confident linework mostly absent color, and simple shading - it's a delight simply to look at, even aside from the storyline: On a Sunbeam. (Note that the index is per chapter - each chapter loads all its pages as a single, very tall page)

FWIW, if you find yourself wanting to send money internationally, beware the banks' usual offerings - you'll find considerably better rates through outfits like xe.com and TransferWise. The latter in particular tends to offer basically mid-market rates, and charges an explicit fee of about 1%, rather than rolling it into the conversion. Even the speed surprised me somewhat, given the industry - started Sunday, funds available on Monday. If you find yourself wanting to set up a TransferWise account, let me know, and I'll send you my referral link, which makes your first transfer free.

Last Saturday saw the release of the first two episodes of Class, the new Doctor Who spinoff, which is indeed sounding very good. ^_^ "As Doctor Who and genre fans, despite being well past our teenage years, we can see there is plenty to love at the new Coal Hill Academy. It is early days, but Class comes across as fast, funny and at times a touch frightening – we hope that proves to be a winning combination." And indeed, I think the roomie and I will both be continuing with it. Be prepared, though - it is considerably bloodier than Doctor Who, with the trauma of witnessing death an explored topic. It appears last week's debut of two episodes was a special release, as today's seen just one more made available: Nightvisiting.

Pony!

Where the Apple Lies - I was fearing I wouldn't go for this one at all, as I tend not to be big on farce, but they handled that very well. Bonus points for the contrastingly chatty Big Mac. =:)
Top Bolt - thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps the obnoxiousness was a bit overplayed. Interesting to see the rationale for how their almost symbiotic flight relationship began, and where it led. Of course, I'm pleased to see he eventually saw the light, and made the best of what he really could achieve.
To Where and Back Again - amongst my favorites. It was refreshing to see the stars this time being almost anybody but those you'd expect, with a theme of redemption and trust running throughout. And the start of a new species! =:D

A real pity this marks the end of new Pony until maybe next April or so, but, there's plenty to watch again.

A few weeks ago, I encountered a nasty bug with Aperture, wherein it wouldn't show any previews of newly imported RAWs. Fearing this was the result of some new change with Sierra, I filed a bug report, on the off-chance Apple might offer help for a remaining user of an application that's been officially discontinued as of a year or so ago. Remarkably, I received a response, enquiring if the issue was still ongoing. I confirmed, happily, that it appeared to have been a one time problem. I still wish they hadn't killed it off, as - for me - it remains the best photo processing and management application around, with a UI highly preferable to Lightroom's. I'm just surprised, and quite tickled, to find there's some measure of sympathy within the mothership. =:)

On the new MacBook Pros (yum!), I was interested to note that the Touch Bar apparently runs off a tweaked version of watchOS. Makes sense - being fully autonomous would ensure it remains perfectly responsive, and it's hardly like an extra ARM core adds meaningfully to the cost. I do like the depth of support it has, immediately, from apps folk will be using routinely, to Xcode and Instruments - evidently, this isn't a feature they've quickly slapped on. Touch ID makes perfect sense - it's so convenient with iPhone banking apps, and so it'll be on the desktop as well. I was a little disappointed to see no option for going above 16GB of RAM - not something I'd plump for, but I can imagine some folk wanting to. The ability to spec 2TB of flash, itself bumped up even further in speed to about 3GB/s, would be very tempting. (And ye gods, the size of that trackpad!) And it was wonderfully cute to see them line up the original PowerBook against the newcomer, literally side by side - and that's only 25 years apart. =:D What will we be using in another 25 years?

For anyone wanting a very stylist point & click adventure, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, with a beautiful 60s animation aesthetic and professional voicework, is now available on Android, having debuted on iOS. ^_^ The developers have also noted that they're aiming to release the second half of the storyline by the end of the year, free to current owners.
 
 
 
 
 
 
My wife's MacBook Pro died two weeks ago, fortunately both of our laptops were 2011s and we were able to swap the HD from hers to mine and get her back up. As she works basically seven days a week (at the least monitoring email, if not actually checking things out on the telescope) and was working the upcoming weekend when it died Thursday night, we had to do something. Double-fortunately, the only problem was that it needed an SMC reset and her boss decided to buy her a new MacBook Pro.

It was delivered to us early this week (the observatory's IT guy lives the next block over from us) and she absolutely loves the SSD and everything else about it. But I'll tell you one thing that I absolutely do not like about the newly announced Pros, and that is their abandoning MagSafe for USB-C.

I understand their design chic for making everything thinner, but I think they're way premature going to C. And this abandoning of MagSafe is a huge deal for us as it was a very important safety feature for a $2500 laptop. Now that safety feature is gone, and I'm very surprised that Belkin or someone else hasn't made a similar device. I think their rush to C is premature because it is not a widely adopted port standard yet, plus, depending on the controller you can have only one or two ports: so the high-end MBP has two controllers. They should have done side by side ports for three generations to give people a chance to adapt their gear to accommodate.

I would be royally pissed if I bought a brand-new iPhone 7 and a '16 MBP, only to find that I have to spend +$25 for an adapter to plug in my headphones, and another +$25 for a sync cable that works with the phone and laptop. AND the included cable will not work with my car, or any other computer kit in my house.

I think they pulled the trigger far too soon.


That aside, I made pasta carbonara earlier this week and it came out absolutely fantastic. I cooked a half a pound of bacon to crisp and crumbly goodness for it, plus a cup of sweet peas. The best carbonara that I have ever made.

Edited at 2016-10-29 03:13 pm (UTC)
Hoo! A fortuitous fault indeed! ^_^

Mm, the SSDs they're putting together are fairly amazing. Mine's a late 2013, so the throughput I see is a mere 1GB/s. =:D (Which was actually a factor in buying one, as I was working with uncompressed HD video at the time - playing those files back requires considerable throughout)

I will be sad to see the end of MagSafe. That's a definite loss. I wonder if they can figure out a way to make a USB-C connector in a MagSafe manner? I suspect not - the changes to the plug design probably would violate the USB standard, if it could even be done. The upside, I suppose, is folks'll be free again to get power supplies from anywhere - all it'll need is to be USB-C compliant, and capable of supplying enough power. Similarly, Lightning's another example of how a connector can be designed very well, being reversible, low profile, robust, and supplying just the right "click" as it makes proper contact.

USB-C itself, though, is pretty wonderful - carrying that much data, able to be any of the slightly older ports, whether USB 3, HDMI, or DisplayPort, is just cool.

On the headphones, I admit, I'm willing to go wireless. I use them while on the move quite a lot, and the cable is a nuisance. Indeed, even at home, it always manages to get in the way. But, they are good, so I might swallow the cost of a replacement cable - an annoying £40 (!). Not that I'll notice the quality while traveling, but they're also quite good at keeping outside noise away, so it's easy to enjoy a film or music video without needing to crank the volume right up. And at home, the sound stage is beautiful, not to mention rich, warm bass that doesn't overwhelm anything else. That said, I'd love to give AirPods a try.

The wonder of bacon. =:9 I've quite taken, in recent months, to doing something sort of vaguely related, but using Campbell's cream of mushroom soup for the sauce - much lighter than a Carbonara, at least calorifically, as the rich bacon and mushroom flavors keep it from being anywhere near dull. And I've found that chopping in a little bacon, quite finely, into a Bolognese can perk it up very nicely - it's still primarily all about the beef and tomatoes, but it's then got a little extra tang to it.