Monday, June 27, 2011

Something something something, HIATUS.

Sorry about the tremendous cessation of content flow for the past few days. I've been busy in Deutschland, so I'll try to make up for that with a few longer posts.

For the record, posts will be put up on an as-I-can-write-them basis, but will always go up at 12:00 AM Texas Standard time.

In that vein, here are some things I thought you might like:

Picasa (and Picnik) - [ ] is an extensively-featured picture management and modification suite, all of which is available online and for free. There is a limited amount of usable space if you're not willing to pay for more, but it's well worth the exchange, especially if (like me) you need an alternative to photoshop/paintshop that is available virtually anywhere.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Low-content: Absolutely Pointless ]

An occasionally-updated list of sites that are pointless, have a minimal number of advertisements, and are (usually) interesting.

More to come later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Personal: Perfectionism?

Less of a sharing-content post and more of a ask-the-audience post.

While on the train today, I was conversing with a friend and I was asked a rather strange question:

"Why are you so perfect?"

I asked for clarification, because I don't think I'm perfect at all.

I make mistakes. I'm not particularly skilled at anything. I haven't done anything memorable- I'm not in any history books, and I'm likely not going to be.

I want to change that. I'm a catalyst for change in other people- I help other folks improve, I think.

Apparently I'm a condescending jerk on occasion, because I try to always improve myself and criticize others when they suggest doing something that I find to be unwise or a potential issue.

I'm not really sure how to change, though. I've been thinking about things like a vow of silence or only making positive statements or never criticizing anything, but they're all strawmen or likely to get shot down.

TL;DR: How can I change how other folks perceive me so that I appear to be less of a perfectionist and more of a personable, normal individual?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Techshare: Stack Overflow & Github ]

Essentially, reddit meets forum meets wiki meets blog in the form of a programming Q&A site. Kinda like, but useful. No registration required, even. ]

Project management. Elegant, efficient, and free.

Notably used for minecraft modifications, and especially useful if you want to collaborate over long distances.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stuff I like: Adam Bozon's Homepage ]

I originally stumbled on this page while looking for new openings to use in my chess games (I've been thoroughly defeated multiple times by the same few individuals).

Of note are the inclusion of a multitude of scrabble aids as well as things like opening statistics for chess.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stuff I like: Lichess ].

I'm not really that good at chess- this, I'll admit.

I've been working on my game, though (after years of not playing), and this site is like the chatroulette of chess. If you can't find someone else to play with, you can try to play the machine, but it's almost guaranteed that you'll lose (so far as I can tell, anyway).

Easy mode: play against the machine at level 1, and use another tab to play against the machine as the opposite side. Pit the machine against itself, and you'll (at some point) win.

Hard mode: play against the machine at level one without any help. Expect to lose even if you're experienced with standard tactics.

Nightmare mode: play against the machine at level 8, expect to lose really quickly.

The whole concept of chess960 is really cool, but I'm even worse at that then I am at normal chess. The concept of the game being less about knowing openings and responses and more about improvising and thinking ahead is definitely a good thing, though.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Low-content: Lulz Security ] is the graphical representation of the most common passwords as revealed by lulzsec. ] is a list of the content they've publicized.

The folks over on "the lulz boat" seem to know exactly what they're doing. Furthermore, the fact that they're exposing weak electronic security (in the same fashion that wikileaks demonstrates weak personal security) is something that I think we need more of.

They're not doing it for the money (so far as I can tell)- they're doing it "for the lulz", and they're making a point of how laughably weak most "security" is.

At any rate, some actual content will be on the way in the next few days.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Low-content: Tyrant again. ]

I've been grinding away at War Metal: Tyrant (posts 1 and 2)

I've managed to finally get somewhere.

Currently, I'm finessing my way through side quests and the arena while I earn better cards.

The decks I'm running are available after the break.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Idea: Superchill cafe-thing

Visited an establishment today with the crew in Deutschland, and it gave me an idea:

Concrete floors, walls- smooth and utilitarian. Easy to clean, neutrally furnishable.
Combines the qualities of a bar and cafe with a relaxed atmosphere (indie rock and jazz, I think?)
Has elevated seating (multiple levels?) and a high ceiling.

Important: Cushions. Cushions, everywhere.

Windows that are supertall (or superwide?) and/or some sort of natural ventilation and lighting.

Small library of classics and strange books- scouring half-price books?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stuff I like: Simple English (and thoughts on lawmaking)

If only my textbooks could be this succinct and straightforward. ] covers a lot of subjects (but not as many as normal wikipedia) in simple english.

For instance:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is [...] used to shoot very small particles into each other at high speed. [source]
is much simpler than

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature. [source]

 To be frank, I think if our laws were required to meet the following requirements, we would have a much more easily understood and comprehensive legislative system:

- Written in english, conforming to Wikipedia's Simple English guidelines
- 12 point font, PT Serif,
- Double-spaced, 1-inch margins around the entire page
- Not allowed to reference any other laws (except to repeal them in their entirety).
- Conflicts between laws are not permitted- if a law conflicts with an older law, it must be rewritten (or the conflicting text excised) until it is a standalone document.

It might also help to number/label them such that their name gives you a relatively good idea of when they were passed as well as what they reference and if they've been appealed or not, a la:

51 - HLTH.R
2070 - SEC

would translate in plaintext to: 51st law passed, Health-related, Repealed.
and 2070th law passed, Security-related, (not repealed implied).

No preceding zeroes or anything like that. The numbering of laws is unrelated to the tags that follow them- there is no 51 - HLTH and 51 - SEC; only 51 - HLTH and 52 - SEC.

If more distinct categories must be made, the form is as follows: -
[<.>subcategory][...<.>subcategory (as necessary)[<.>R (if repealed)].

Thusly, searches can be made via number, category, and subcategory (or subcategories), and it is immediately clear if a law is still applicable or not. Furthermore, the restrictions on size and content will guarantee (so far as I can tell) that laws will remain straightforward and understandable by all parties.

If you have spotted a loophole that I've left for someone to exploit, please let me know.

Also, of interest but not worthy of its own post: [ ].

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Techshare: Screensharing.

Technological dinosaur that I am (not in size but in age), I used to use [ RealVNC ] for my remote desktop sorts of things.

Since the discovery of [ Teamviewer ], which is 100% free and full of awesome, it's all I use for logging in to my desktop from Germany (and elsewhere).

For tech support, there is little that beats this neat service called [ ]- it's essentially no-hassle, zero-configuration remote desktop software. Easy enough for my less-than-technically-able friends to install, and even easier for me to log in.

What technology do you have to share?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Delicious foodstuffs.

Things that I have been craving (and recently eaten):

[ Gyros ], [ Doner kebab ], [ Spaetzle ].

So delicious.

As it turns out, I really like the taste and texture of crisply roasted lamb.

Delicious pastries post to come tomorrow.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stuff I like: ] is an excellent alternative to coming up with a secure password and memorizing something complex- instead, you can use something simple in tandem with a chart and create extraordinarily secure passwords. More on the numbers [ here ].

Granted, a case can be made that a password chart is essentially a substitution cipher- but the idea behind the chart makes for passwords that are pretty unlikely to be bruteforced without prior knowledge of the password chart used.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blisters are no fun.

I speak from experience.

I elaborate on the why over at my germany-blog, but I have a terrible blister on my left foot's biggest toe. It is no fun.

That being said, prepare for a "gross" subject. ] ]

I'm thinking that rotating shoes and dealing with uncomfortable things early is probably the best idea.

Still: ewwwwwwwww.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On the ground!

As you're reading this I am likely waking up in Germany.

I made it here safely (taking a flight from Newark to Berlin) and was pleasantly surprised by the local accomodations.

I'll have a miniblog going over at

I'll post something short over there each day, and will only be posting every other day until further notice.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Your Lungs:

I'd say that your lungs are pretty important, but the reason they're called vital organs is because they're all important (and life-related). If you didn't read the links in the previous post, you should.

This post is about lungs, issues that can arise within your lungs, and frivolous lawsuits.

Generally speaking, you should take care of your lungs. If you're not clear on what I mean, I'm telling you to breathe the cleanest air you can, avoid pollutants, and stay as far away from airborne asbestos as possible.

More after the break (for the more interested readers).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A personal note (and some content):

I do my best to keep posts coming on a daily basis (posted at 12:00 AM United States Central Time) and I am currently unaware of whether or not I will be able to maintain such a schedule for the coming months.

I will be overseas (in Germany, for the most part), and have no guarantee of consistent wireless access.

In that vein, I will attempt to create a cache of posts and have them continue posting themselves until I can guarantee that I'll be able to add content from overseas.

Some things you might want to read up on - the next post will assume you've seen these:

(an extra-long list!)

[ Lung @ Wikipedia ]
[ Lung Cancer @ Wikipedia ] - Warning: Graphic. Discretion advised.
[ Asbestos @ Wikipedia ]
Asbestos @ ]
[ The most terrifying 45-letter word ever ]
[ Silicosis @ Wikipedia ]

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things I like: Pitchfork.

Admitting to a tiny bit of hipsterdom: ] is basically where you go to get spoon-fed all of the music you should listen to.

If you like being ironic, anyway.

On an unrelated note, [ here ] is a picture of a tool designed specifically for demolition. For the sum of 60ish dollars, I'm thinking it would be a worthwhile purchase.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stuff I like: more Minecraft!

3-dimensional cellular automata ]
Like gray goo, but for minecraft. ]
Showcase of cool buildings.

Buildcraft ]
Mod that adds a few machines, automation assistance, and the possibility for an entirely automated mining and sorting operation.

[ Industrialcraft ]
Adding machines and new ore types to Minecraft.
Improvements to smelting/building process, as well as more complex uses for redstone (as an efficient replacement for coal)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Infographics: Radiation

Picture-heavy, so I'll include a pagebreak. Just click the [ COMMENTS? ] button, and you'll get to see the pretty pictures.

Contents: Information Is Beautiful & XKCD renders of radiation dosage and symptoms.

Pretty representations of not-so-pretty physics.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Techshare: Free phone calls!

[ ]

Plug-and-play PBX technology ? Yes- and it's free.
( PBX is a contraction of Private Branch Exchange [ wikilink ] )

The idea behind using IP-PBX (internet protocol private branch exchange) is that there are already internet-to-trunk gateways that permit calls from a computer to a real-world phone (SkypeOut is an example of this), and while a major telephone company might charge to service your phone from home, if you have a high-speed internet connection, you can bypass the need for a carrier.

There's an Android app called [ sipdroid ] that allows for (essentially) free calls over wifi/3G connections.

Something worth looking into if you're interested in getting a free phone number and making calls via wifi.

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