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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'"
 
 
 
 
 
 
You might want to add "Star Vs The Forces Of Evil" to your animated tv shows list.
It's already invisibly there, cunningly disguised. *nods*

(Do you read the webcomic "The Glass Scientists"? The creator works on said production =:)
I do, yes. (Altho I've trimmed down my massive reading list of webcomics recently...)
Eep! Well, maybe I can help there. =:) Try Space Boy, perhaps. ^_^ (Only weekly, more's the pity, so it won't take too long to catch up)
Your updates are simple the best ever! Thanks so much for creating them.

PS: Classic look by spartancats indeed, that's lovely art :)

CYa!
Mako
Hee! Thanks. ^_^ I do hope I can maintain a slightly more regular pace in the future, though. ^_^;

Mmm, they did really rather a lovely job - and purely for fun, too! If I do manage to get off my tail and start drawing again, I really ought to try offering a few free sketches myself.
Here's what Second Life is - and that's rather more than you might have contemplated. ^_^

"The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future" — that seems quite accurate. Other than furries and fetishists (and furry fetishists; there is certainly overlap between the two groups!), not too many people still seem to be using SL. It was planned to be so much, but half of that never happened, and the other half is slowly deteriorating.

That said it's also doggedly clinging to its existence, and I continue to be impressed by that — and I really have to give Linden Labs credit for continuing to work on it. All that they costs money, too, from running and maintaining the grid to developing the server and client codebases to paying employees, and I'm impressed that they're still managing to pay those bills.

That said perhaps SL isn't so much declining as much as "rightsizing". The hype's gone and worn off, but there is a particular "hard core" of users that like it for what it is, and are happy to keep it around in that state. When TFA wrote that "Second Life is no longer the thing you joke about; it’s the thing you haven’t bothered to joke about for years", I thought, yes, that's true — and that's good. The perpetual naysayers have moved on; good riddance. And who says you either have to be #1 or go down and disappear? There's room for smaller, more niche enterprises, products, and platforms.

That said, I'm less than sure whether the Second Life that the author's been visiting and the one I still visit are the same. He writes:

Whenever I tried to describe Second Life, I found it nearly impossible—or at least impossible to make interesting—because description finds its traction in flaws and fissures, and exploring the world of Second Life was more like moving through postcards. Second Life was a world of visual clichés. Nothing was ragged or broken or dilapidated [...]

I do agree about the artificiality and hyperreality, but to say that everything's looking picture-perfect and polished... no, it only takes walking a few steps down the Linden roads to see that that isn't true. Quite a few parcels are abandoned, and half of those that aren't are eye-sores, built without any concern for visual impact and overall (inter-parcel) harmony.

Maybe I'm just not good at finding the right places to go to in Second Life. Then again, pretty much everyone I know in Second Life has this problem. You can stick to what little you know, or you can go exploring, but there's sufficiently few diamonds in the muck that this is not a very fruitful exercise. And how many hours can you afford to spend searching for a new hangout anyway?

In a way this mirrors something that another Linden said:

Peter Gray, Linden Lab’s senior director of global communications, told me about what he called the “white-space problem”—having so much freedom that you can’t be entirely sure what you want to do—and admitted that entering Second Life can be like “getting dropped off in the middle of a foreign country.”

That's very true, and in all my years I don't think I ever really left that behind me. I'm fairly tech-savvy on SL, but at the end of the day it is and will remain a foreign country.
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."

..y'know, I just realized that I never realized Michelle Pfeiffer actually played Catwoman; I only ever associated her with The Fabulous Baker Boys.

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.

Oh, neat. I hope that's going to go somewhere, and that we'll see a release in the next couple of years; the world could use a decent free video editor.

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.

Neat. So that's officially been made available now?

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'"

Heh. I like that!
Yeah, In A World... was a lot of fun. I picked it up a few months ago and really enjoyed it.

Monument Valley 2: seriously cool. I got it as soon as I learned of it. Glad to know that they released it for Android.

San Francisco in '71? I was there in the early '70s, I don't remember quite when. Can't say that I remember too much of it. I was there again in '80, spent a week with a friend who graduated a year earlier than I did. After he graduated he moved to SF then joined the Air Force, he now lives in DC. His mom moved to Hawaii then back to Scottsdale, my wife and I visited her last Sunday. She'd forgotten that I visited them in '80, but considering how long ago it was, I won't hold it against her. ;-)

I also drove around San Francisco a bit in '90 or '91: drove to San Jose for an anime convention from Phoenix, then on up to Portland and then home. Very nice trip.
Beau is laziest villager!

Here he is Zootopianized:



LAAAAAAZZZZZZYYYYY

And yes, lighting is everything when photographing plush! Most of the time, I've found flash returns poor results. Full spectrum lighting is noticeably better, though ironically, I've been disappointed trying to use sunlight to illuminate my photos. Quite impressed by that Flickr photographer's gallery. He must have an advanced studio setup to get those kind of results.
Ha! That's nicely done. ^_^ (Reminds me, I ought to see if I can dig up the Animal Crossing anime feature from a while back - ISTR it was actually rather nicely done, too!)

Do you mean on-camera flash, or any? Flash sometimes gets a bad rap due to the use of cameras' built-in flash, which is usually horrible more due to the inevitably terrible location. (Not to mention the wimpy flashes in some compacts - I recall my TZ5 gave stereotypically awful results, like shining a weak torch on the subject) Not that flash use is anything I'm experienced with yet, as I don't have the space for even a small studio space, whatever the lighting method. *sigh* A pity, as controlling lighting is such a fundamental part of portrait or product photography - the creativity afforded by the positioning of sources, their coverage, and spectra is evident, especially with the state of LEDs now, offering such a huge range of colors, and much wider areas than point source bulbs.

Though, one place I've (very occasionally) found on-board useful is as a filler, where you've got a subject in bright light behind them, so they're left relatively dark. Feels a bit weird, using a flash in full sunlight, but it can make a shot work!

(And yes, Beau's one of my favorites, though I think my top campers have to be Cheri and Cherry, alongside the newcomer, Phoebe)


Edited at 2017-12-07 06:53 pm (UTC)
Interesting on the mintsim thing. I've actually been trying to find a cheap data-only service for some nerd projects. I wonder if they might be a viable option.

Also Amazing Stories remains one of my all-time favorites, at least certain episodes. Like S01E10 - Remote Control Man particularly around 6 minutes in (but the build-up is worth it too).

I love old Unix manuals. I've been reluctant to let go of my collection of VAX/VMS manuals, personally.
Good point! Especially now 2G's beginning to be dropped by cellcos around the world - any new projects really need to target 3G for any longer-term viability. I'm still amazed there are so few US options like that - even T-Mobile seems to disdain the cheap bundles the likes of GiffGaff offer, ranging from £5 for a nominal allowance for light users, all the way up to the dizzying heights of £18 for 9GB and unlimited calls/texts, or £20 to nudge that to include unlimited 384kbps data beyond that 9GB mark. (For data only, they also offer 500MB for £5) And there's no contract involved - just pay that amount, and you get that bundle, good for one month.

Weirdly, they're actually a subsidiary of one of the major carriers - O2, owned by Telefonica - yet offer much lower prices than their parent. O.o Probably in no small part as what you get in the bundle is just that, no miscellaneous perks, and AFAIK, they don't do any advertising.

Oo, I'll give that episode a look! I think I saw one or two Amazing Stories at the time, but I think it was showing on a satellite-only channel, which back then, was relatively exotic. ^_^

Aww! How large was all that? VMS was really rather well crafted. Very stable, and similarly secure. I always liked the way its filing system automatically added versioning to every file - so handy, if you ever needed to undo changes. (The Uni had a pair of Vaxen as its mainframe computing, running VT220 and similar terminals distributed around all the campus departments. Really handy for keeping up with local mail and discussions - you could find a terminal readily, wherever you were: an 8800 and an 8650, plus a few DECstations with sumptuous 24" color monitors. They were my second route onto the net, albeit not entirely officially. ^_^ With external networking still quite an exotic resource, we had to exploit a (possibly deliberate) loophole, wherein we could reach a gateway using set host /x29, and from there, out to the "real" internet. We're fairly sure the sysadmins knew, but turned a blind eye =:)
Yes, my first exposure to "real" networked computing was BITNET which was connected to our university's VAX system. Good times. I actually still do have a VAXstation 3100 but it is so ludicrously slow compared to even running VMS in a tiny virtual machine, it's probably pointless to keep it around as anything but a museum piece. My parents got rid of all the really cool stuff, though... like my VAXstation 1, which apparently is so obscure nobody even has photos of one online any more. Any machine with a "HALT" button is near to my heart.

In a funny way I do sort of miss VT220s, or more to the point VT340s. A friend of mine figured out how to display .GIF images on those. I guess by every objective measure we're better off today, but for sure the "magic" is no longer there.
The AWN and the NCS both in one posting! (and I ordered the mlp soundtrack too....) ^v^