Monday, May 30, 2011

Techshare: Gyazo Instant Screencaps

A niche application, perhaps- but a useful one, for sure. ] is where you'll find something that I use all the time- a nearly instant fire-and-forget screencapture application that uses a minimalist interface to quickly upload easily selectable portions of your screen.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


American viewers will know exactly what I'm talking about:

In a litigious society, there is a colossal number of frivolous lawsuits. [ Link 1 ] [ Link 2 ] [ Link 3 ] ] is something you should read.

Actually, all of these are things you should read. ]

It's important to at least be up-to-date - the law applies to you whether you know it or not.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stuff I like: The Lonely Island ]

Turtlenecks and chains, bro.

A hilarious comedic rap group, aimed at the same crowd that likes Mickey Avalon (who I also like). ]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Drawing: Another art style.

I'm still powerleveling my art skill.
For cool stuff, check out

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Newsworthy: 26th of May, 2011 ]
So much for "transparency". There's [ this ], too. If health insurance becomes so costly, it's going to disappear. Not all at once, necessarily- but it'll happen, and then the so-called travesty of not being insured will become the status quo. ]
Too bad. As someone who travels via plane often enough to be up-to-date on the security policy of the TSA (relevant: XKCD) and how it seems like a farce- if they truly wanted to be secure, they wouldn't allow anyone or anything on the plane. It defeats the point of travel by flight, though.

As for HB 1937, I'm thinking that they might need to make the verbiage either more specific or more general- “A criminal act for security personnel to touch a person’s private areas without probable cause as a condition of travel or as a condition of entry into a public place,” is close enough at the moment, but the DOJ/TSA/Fed throwdown is a dangerous show of a government that is not unified in principles. ]
Ruh-roh. Oil's still expensive, but I think it's just lighting the fire beneath the frying pan- at some point we'll need to find a way to synthesize crude (better yet, useful processed hydrocarbons) OR a way to utilize something like fission to power our vehicles. If we can develop the tech to create small stars and use those to power things, I'd think that we'd be less green but more environmentally-friendly.

It'd also get us off of this whole corn-as-gas thing. ]
Please excuse the Vanity Fair. I figure it's worth noting, though-

"Reminiscent of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington is being sued by two political consultants, Peter Daou and James Boyce, who claim a critical role in creating her top-ranked Web site, the Huffington Post."

Seems like our litigious society takes the cake (and eats the whole thing) as far as being obsessed with money is concerned, anyway.

On a slightly related note, [!/BREAKINGNEWS ].

That's all for now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Low-content: Recommended reading and Zeus

Also conveniently located in the sidebar - a link to a list of things I think that people should read (or skim, anyway).

If that doesn't interest you (and if Zbot does), perhaps check out this informative article.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Low-content: Watches! ]

Yanko Design is pretty much awesome. I'll probably drop another link here or there- but I find these designs to be fascinating~

I kinda want [ this ] watch, even though I don't really wear timepieces.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Break in sequence: Settlers of Catan

Not a video game, actually. There is an online version, but it's cooler in-person.

Gameplay is (with the starter kit) easily understood and relatively straightforward- roll dice, collect resources, build things. Some trading may be involved.

Strategy can get incredibly complex, too- because the playing field changes with every game and the players are (usually) human, there's no specific move order that will always lead to victory- only certain archetypes and paradigms that guide play.

The games starts by determining play order- highest roll goes first, and then it follows clockwise.

The first two turns are special, and the order is something like what follows:

Player 1, Settlement 1a + road 1a
Player 2, Settlement 2a + road 2a
Player 3, Settlement 3a + road 2a
(Player 4, Settlement 4a + road 4a
Player 4, Settlement 4b + road 4b)
Player 3, Settlement 3b + road 3b
Player 2, Settlement 2b + road 2b
Player 1, Settlement 1b + road 1b

Player 4's moves are in parentheses because the game can be played with a group of three.

The idea with that order is to compensate the availability of advantageous placement on the board, which has a really large impact on how the game will progress, as rolls influence what tiles generate resources. The rules are straightforward enough: roll for resources, trade (or don't) with the other players, and amass enough property to score 10 victory points.

It's been one of the best board-game purchases that I've ever made.

Learn more at [ ].

Sunday, May 22, 2011

indie art meets time-mechanic puzzler

Check out Braid.

An indie game that is worth every penny, it strikes me as somewhere between Mario and Prince of Persia- not quite combat oriented, actually- but time-manipulation and platforming play a huge role in-game.

The art style makes the entire game feel like something of an interactive painting- the story is a bit disjointed, in my opinion- but the culmination of in-game walls-of-text and the final level's "deeper meaning" are something of a mind-blowing conjunction.

It's super-artsy and (if youtube comment threads are anything to go by) radically interpretable. There is no one specific meaning, really.

It probably takes a certain appreciation of the combination of story, art, and puzzles to find the game as likable as some critics- but the forgiving nature of the game (in case of error, rewind!) and the polished design should present a solid base upon which to build an enthralling experience.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Equal parts horror and survival thriller.

[ This ] is Yahtzee Croshaw's review. In synopsis: You wake up in a castle and are slowly going absolutely insane because of the almost-eldritch-horror quality of the castle's inhabitants. Light and darkness play significant roles, and the immersive quality of the audiovisual synergy was enthralling.

I will admit that this game was absolutely terrifying- but not when I started. It seemed as if this was your standard Silent Hill sort of survival horror. In Silent Hill, though, you have the opportunity to fight back- in Amnesia, you have no such luck. Your only option is to run away as fast as you can and hope the monster doesn't find you.

To be completely frank, it's not exactly my cup of tea- I'm not much of a horror guy.

To quote Yahtzee: "Amnesia's not a perfect game, but it's almost unmatched as a constipation aid."

Friday, May 20, 2011


This is a much longer wall-of-text than I would assume y'all are accustomed to, so here's a quick summary:

If you have a PSP and liked Patapon and/or Patapon 2, go and purchase Patapon 3.

The game seemed pretty shallow when I first started playing. Boring, almost- you only get a total of four characters, one of whom is an "Uberhero"- they represent your multiplayer avatar and have special abilities that the rest of your traveling troops do not- typically a powerful attack or buff.

The three members that are not Uberheroes are the three basic warriors from the previous Patapon games- Yarida, the spear-wielding damage-dealer, Taterazy, the shield-and-sword tank, and Yumiyacha, the rapid-fire archer.

There's a whole wiki covering the three games, actually- and it goes into a significantly larger amount of detail than I have space for here.

After some preliminary grinding - which I did because I kept having trouble with the first dungeon (even though I have an excellent sense of rhythm) - I managed to defeat the first basic-level boss, Madfang Ragewolf. I then discovered the concept of the class treewhich permits

After trudging through the first dungeon, I discovered that the game does an excellent job of making difficulty scale with the projected progression of the player. The inclusion of regularly-spaced "training grounds" makes the powerleveling of newly-unlocked classes of warriors a much more painless experience.

Personally, I enjoy the one-hit-wonder of the Cannasault class- an axe-wielding charioteer who cuts foes down and macerates their remains with spiked wheels. From what I've read, another powerful class is the Greatsword-wielding Grenburr, but I haven't found him to be quite the damage-dealer that I'm looking for.

I'm not even past the fourth dungeon (of a predicted 7), and I haven't taken a shot at multiplayer yet- the game contains (for a meager twenty dollars) a rather ridiculous amount of content- character classes, magically-enhanced weapons and armor, and a story that manages to be simultaneously unobtrusive and humorous (if you share the same affinity for stereotypical baddies stooge-like minions with the developers, anyway).

More game-related posts to come for the next few days.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Low-content: Corporate Espionage Infographic

Food for thought, I guess. Note: Social engineering is a useful, marketable skill.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laser hair removal? It's more likely than you think.

I've been hearing about the whole laser-hair-removal concept for the past few years- first, on the radio, where advertising for "Ideal Image - Laser Hair Removal" had almost saturated the entire morning radio adspace.

The ads were relatively unobtrusive, actually- no obnoxious jingles, no super-speedy-disclaimer at the end, and memorable, to boot. That's good advertising, in my opinion.

Then I discovered that a few of my ladyfriends (and a guy friend, too) had determined that they were going to try the process out- and the results were absolutely astounding.

I maintain a beard regularly (shaped, too) - and the amount of effort to shave and discomfort that comes with a tiny bit of stubble on a regular basis. When I saw the results of what I had assumed was another açaí diet, I discovered that the waxed-skin-smooth feeling is completely attainable without regular self-injury.

What do y'all think of the whole idea? Lasers and skin still sound a bit eerie to me. ] ] ]

More lengthy posts like this one are in the works, probably. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Low-content: More gizmodo links.

[ twitter in classrooms? ]
This sounds like it's encouraging the same mentality that has kids texting across the dinner table while they're out on a date, to me.

[ "Performance" bed sheets. ]
The entire bed is like the cold side of a pillow? SIGN ME UP RIGHT NOW.

[ Font designed with screens in mind. ]
Given the expanding market of portable virtual-book machines, I figure this was the next logical step. I predict we will see (at some point) font-bashing based on the screens they're designed for.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Stuff I like: Bro-based advice. ]

With such wisdom as "never be afraid to risk looking stupid in order to do something awesome," and "clothing is optional; deodorant is not," Brotips is an excellent source for life advice applying to everything a bro might not already know.

On a related note: "Some say to flip a coin to make decisions- not to get an answer, but because when it's in the air, you'll know what you're hoping for."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tasty Android Operating Systems! ]

As a windows-using plebe who is only beginning to find interest in the Android operating system, I was delighted to discover that Google has operating systems that are mostly named after desserts (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Fro(zen)Yo(ghurt), and Gingerbread, for instance).

I've been considering the purchase of a Motorola Xoom, actually- and as far as Android tablets go, it seems to be one of the best options.

What would y'all recommend?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gizmodo on font types:

[ Article! ]

If fonts were dogs, Comic Sans would be the one that nobody can quite identify.

I feel like Comic Sans gets a lot of flack for being a slightly unsightly font- but I haven't seen anyone get seriously ruffled over papyrus, so I'm not sure what to think.

Experimenting with inline link-inserts, too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Don't Worry, I'm Yours.

An excellent mix:

Jason Mraz vs. Bobby McFerrin vs. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
[ ]

Blending the voices and tracks smoothly enough that I have to listen carefully to hear any of the transitions.

This track is more evidence for why disc-jockeying is less of a science and more of an art, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Update: Tyrant.

After much huffing and puffing and google-searching, I have come to a conclusion:

There is no one deck that is typically successful on every mission in the campaign.

Rather, making faction-hate decks (anti-raider and anti-xeno, for instance) is 100% more effective.

Furthermore, purchasing packs is a good idea, and I figure saving up for the "elite" service is worthwhile.

I'm running Xeno hate, Raider hate, Imperial Mono, Bloodthirsty Rush, and Xeno muscle decks at the moment.

I've made it to mission 40ish, and have moved on to farming mission 34 (much more profitable than missions previous to 20).

Also: I've been working more with my f509 tablet, and I'm now starting to put more content up on visceralnadir. What say you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stuff I like: Jamendo.

Rights-free music?

With a large (and continuously growing) library of tracks spanning a multitude of genres, Jamendo is a service that provides "free and legal music downloads" for anyone who takes the time to peruse the sight.

Jamendo is where I discovered Jonay, who has a style that I'd classify as somewhere between Taio Cruz and Usher. I'm no connoisseur of music, though- check out Skydiving.

In a completely different genre, you have the Diablo Swing Orchestra, also on Jamendo.

Two artists (and a service) that are definitely worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deindividuation: It's more likely than you think.

Check out [ ].

The whole youarenotsosmart blog is actually a really good read, to be frank.

Groupthink causes serious issues- on design teams, especially. When ideas are quashed because they don't fit the ideals of the hivemind, it silences creativity and further enforces groupthink ideals.

Deindividuation is serious business- and you should be looking out for yourself and others, stopping it before it happens.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Low-content: Crossing the "uncanny valley". ] is the "demo" of proprietary software that claims to be able to turn normal video into completely photorealistic animation- without the use of mo(tion)cap(ture).

There's the talk of the uncanny valley here, too.

What do y'all think?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Minecraft add-ons!

Insta-house (and bonsai trees):

Check the entire thing out here. In essence, a use for gold in SSP- creating a house-in-a-block that can be deployed on-demand (once constructed, anyway).


Adding an entirely new facet of gameplay, check out this addon. You can push other blocks around! I also use them to create dynamic gates and staircases.

Singleplayer commands:

Adding extra functionality to singleplayer in the form of commandline-style on-the-fly modifications, this is probably less for the purist and more for the creative player. Check it out here.

What mods (if any) do y'all play with?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Even more Team Fortress 2!

TF2: RED IRL. Photo courtesy of Google Image Search.
I'll admit that after Portal 2 came out, I had already been playing less and less TF2- I'm back to multiclass play- I've lost grip on whatever magic I had with demo/pyro strategies, so I'm learning to use the other classes- I'm pretty good with everyone but the spy (which is, from what I understand, the most difficult class to play well).

If anyone has links to some good playthrough or strategy for any class, I'd totally appreciate a link in the comments.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Stuff I like: War Metal: Tyrant

It's been sucking up my time for awhile, actually- this neat game I found on Kongregate.

It starts out relatively easy, and scales in difficulty as you progress through the missions.

I made it (just barely) to mission 28 or so, and have been farming mission 12 for gold and experience (since I can't play "all the time" and usually just run sessions of 100 Energy (I'm doing my best to avoid paying for premium).

I'm currently level 7, but I run rally imperial and rally raider decks, as well as an experimental xeno deck led by a 13-health raider commander.

The concept behind Tyrant are relatively simple: Play one card per turn, reduce your opponents' to zero before they reduce yours to zero. The mechanics behind the game are much more complex- and the implementation of CCG, competitive online play, and rewards for returning on a daily basis, Tyrant are excellently executed.

If y'all play, what decks do you run?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Of Interest: Switch on the code

In my constant quest to self-improve, I've been trying to learn a few languages- Russian, Italian, and Python, among others. While a school-provided copy of Rosetta Stone covers the first two, the third isn't something that you can learn through something like cultural immersion.

Instead, of interest is [ this ].

Covering a multitude of languages, Switch on the code maintains a large list of tutorials that are of great assistance in learning the ins and outs of mainstream programming languages.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Minecraft Note Blocks: Music, made with logic circuits.

If you've got a copy of Minecraft, you should check this out: [ ]

The world contained in that file encompasses the work of the man who brought you redstone-powered Bohemian Rhapsody.

Altogether, I'm quite amazed at the work that went into this- even if it's an automated music constructor, the fact that the end-result sound is relatively true to the actual music has me quite impressed, to say the least.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Portal 2: Even better than all the hype.

I'll admit that I wasn't so fond of the ARGs that Valve was using to promote the game- but after playing through it, the whole "potato power" bit makes a lot more sense. The promo videos are 100% more relevant after playthrough, too.

Cave Johnson is/was the magnanimous, somewhat  of Aperture Science, which has suffered significant deprecation over the years. You find out more about the story behind the scenes insofar as the way the entire facility works is concerned. You're introduced to some of the darker parts of Aperture's history, and their affinity with such materials as asbestos, fiberglass, and ground moon rocks.

Without revealing too many spoilers, I thought it'd be worth noting:

Portal 2 is absolutely fantastic.

The story is significantly more fleshed-out than its predecessor's was, the mechanics (and some in-game portal behavior) is improved. The puzzles are (mostly) intuitive once you begin "thinking with portals", and the addition of mechanics like the gels, lasers/lasercubes, and excursion funnels are all excellently integrated within the context of the testing facility.

The co-op campaign is likewise excellently executed- from features like the ping timer to the ability to create two  portals with each character, the puzzles become more complex and more rewarding.

Definitely worth the investment, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Techshare: Photoshop Brushes (making of)

I mentioned Stephanie Valentin a while ago- she has some free brushes available [ here ].

For creating depictions similar to her work, they probably work just fine.

I'm not actually sure where I'm taking the whole digital-tablet-art thing yet, but I figure that it'd be worth understanding how to create my own brushes for general use.

That being said, a quick google-search yielded the following: ]

I'll admit it's a mac-based tutorial, but the theory therein is sound.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stuff I like: Serendipity

A new kind of social network. Surveillance has always had a negative connotation- much like panopticon is a chilling thought to those who know what it implies.

What if we could turn that concept inside-out? What if we became jaded enough about the whole "privacy" shtick and became more interested in networking, meeting other people, and interacting?

A lot of what-if, I suppose- but the thought is what counts. ]

The concept throws any semblance of privacy out the window and replaces it with the idea that all information is free to access, and your viewport into the information network is a sleek, disc-shaped almost-phone.

Functionality is somewhere between Blackberry and Facebook. Aesthetic is somewhere between Pocketwatch and XMB. Possibility is somewhere between now and eerily soon.

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