Time flies when you're IRCing fun

You look at the clock and it's only 11:30p so you figure you can stay on IRC a little longer. Then, one discussion on religion and a chat about Akira Kurosawa films later, it's nearly 2a and you figure you probably shouldn't have stayed on. Oh well, it's not that big a deal; I still have a few more days of sleeping in left.

Color photos before color film

Way back in nineteen-aught-nine (1909)--ah those were the good old days--a Russian man by the name of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii developed a technique for taking color photographs with black and white film. The technique, which you can read more about at Damn Interesting involved taking three different photos using three different color filters; it's a pretty clever technique and was pretty revolutionary for the time. Tzar Nicky (Nicholas II) liked the color photos and when Sergei proposed documenting the Russian Empire in color photos, Nicky hopped right on board with financial support. In 1948, the US LOC bought all of Sergei's negatives from his heirs and in 1998 they used fancy digital imaging techniques to recompose the color images in fantastically high quality. The LOC has put a number of these restored images in an online gallery. Ah, good ol' Mother Russia, she sure did some keen stuff back in the day (he he, Sputnik).

Let's talk extensions

As I expect is rather clear, I use Mozilla Firefox as my primary web browser. Now, Firefox, has a pretty solid system for adding extensions and there are rather a few that I use and like, so I thought that I'd let you folks in on my personal preferences in Firefox Extensions. I've organized them in the seemingly nonsensical way that my Firefox's extension manager has, so you'll have to wade through the minor ones as well as the really keen ones.

  • BetterSearch - gives me thumbnails in search pages, kind of nice though not particularly useful
  • mozcc - puts creative commons license information in my statusbar, not important but kind of nice to know sometimes
  • Popup ALT Attribute - gives me a little popup bubble of the ALT text when I mouse over an image; really nice to have sometimes
  • IE Tab - allows internet explorer to be embedded in a tab; this is unbelievably keen sometimes and means I don't ever have to open internet explorer
  • Live HTTP Headers - allows me to watch and modify headers; lets me pull some interesting chicanery sometimes
  • Fasterfox - uses some hacks to make Firefox load pages faster
  • Dict - select a word and look it up with dict
  • Extended Statusbar - Adds a lot of information about page loading to my statusbar, another keen but not so functional extension
  • Tab Mix Plus - adds multiple tab rows, adds tab reordering, adds middle click to close, adds a bunch of other stuff; this extension enhances tabbed browsing by an order of magnitude and I consider it completely indispensable
  • Firesomething - changes the browser's name in the titlebar; I love this extension and really hope they hurry up and make it compatible with Firefox 1.5 soon
  • Disable Targets For Downloads - prevents empty windows from being opened for downloads, which gets rid of a moderate annoyance
  • Viamatic foXpose - adds a button to your statusbar, which when pressed, gives you a window with thumbnails of all your tabs; really keen
  • Flashblock - replaces flash with a placeholder that you can click to enable individual flash elements; indispensable if, like me, you hate 95% of flash but still want to use it occasionally
  • Open Source in Tab - in case it wasn't apparent yet, I like tabbed browsing, this lets me view page sources without having to deal with a new window
  • ChatZilla - an IRC client built on Firefox; it's a clean and decent client, serves my needs (I've been IRCing a bit of late)
  • FireFTP - an FTP client built on Firefox; gives me more FTP functionality when I need it
  • Download Statusbar - puts the download manager in my statusbar (I use the mini configuration)

And an era comes to an end

Turns out, I'm employable and, not only that, I've become employed. This now marks the end of my sitting around all day on my computer editing Uncyclopedia, watching YTMNDs and generally reading the intzorweb. Oh well, the times were good while they lasted and now I'll get to have money again. Anyway, I've been hired by Innov-X Systems; they make portable XRF devices for various applications. My official title is "R&D Scientist", which I think is a pretty keen title. My job is going to be a mix of materials science stuff and computer work, so it should be fun and interesting. So yeah, no longer unemployed.

X3 Announcement Teaser Analysis

Gautham sent out a link to the X3 Announcement Teaser with the suggestion that someone might pick the thing apart, so I've taken it upon myself to do so. Without further ado, here's my analysis of the X3 Announcement Teaser:

  • They mention trying to cure mutants, which combined with the presence of Angel, is a portent of the X-Men storylines that involve Apocalypse.
  • They have a large person wearing a helmet, completely bound up, who appears later in the trailer and, absolutely, is Juggernaut. I disagree with their interpretation and think he should be a good 1-2 feet taller and about twice as broad.
  • Phoenix is definitely in the movie.
  • Beast is in the movie too.
  • I'm pretty sure I saw the Scarlet Witch, which means the possibility of some great bizarroness and that I probably also saw Quicksilver.
  • It looks like Colossus may be taking a more dominant role this time around.
  • The scenes with young children may imply that they're going to try to draw in some of the younger generations of mutants, probably for spin-off purposes later. Storm is hugging one of these children near the end, this may be The Spike. I've read that they're already planning a Wolverine spin-off, so we may be looking at a great big franchise here.

That's the extent of my speculative powers as regards seeing things and picking apart the context. Looks like it'll be fun and I hope I'm right about the spin-off franchise bit.

Blizzard: not the best crack dealer

So, I've been playing World of Warcraft (WoW) using a free 10-day trial that I got from Fileplanet and it's pretty darned good if ask me; in fact, it pretty well is the electronic crack that people make it out to be. Blizzard, however, is not the best crack dealer out there and made the mistake of making the trial a bit of a WoW-lite, which falls a little shy of the addictive power it could stand to harness. The trial version is crippled in a number of ways, some worse than others: (there may be more, this is just what I've noticed)

  • You can't use the public chat channels - not a big issue, you can always respond to people with personal messages
  • You're capped at 5 gold - not a big issue for me, I was usually spending fast enough to stay below 1 gold most of the time
  • You can't trade with other players - this annoyed me a little at first but then when I got my brother playing on a trial account and wanted to get him up to speed with me, I got really annoyed; since cooperation is one of the key selling points of the game, this is a real buzz-kill
  • There's a level cap of 20 - this is the real killer; I'm only just barely into the game; I can't get a mount and I can't reasonably do any PvP stuff. If they had made the level cap 40, I'd get a taste of all of those things and then probably be aching to be able to play for 20 more levels and max my character but instead they've just pissed me off a whole bunch.

So Blizzard, take note, if you overly cripple a trial version, it'll turn people off, not attract them. At this point, I'm pretty much on the edge as far as WoW is concerned, the level cap was a real buzz-kill. Hmm, we could probably reverse the metaphor and draw conclusions about how to best sell crack: give out free samples that are just below your best crack in quality, then when they come to buy crack the first time, sell them your best stuff at a lower price than normal and every time thereafter sell them lower grade stuff at an inflated price.

And while we're on the topic of highly addictive drugs and video games, hey technology people, where the heck are BTL-chips already? (Shadowrun reference)

From the land of ASCII

And out of nowhere, 3D ASCII art:

         ,---------,               ,---------
       ,/|       ,/|            ,-'|      ,-|
     ,/  |     ,/  |         ,-'   |   ,-'  |
     ----+----'    |         ------+--'     |
    |    |    |    |        |      |  |     |
    |    |    |    |        |      |  |     |
    |    |    |    |        |      |  |     |
    |    *----+----|        |      *--+-----|
    |  ,/     |  ,/         |   ,-'   |   ,-'
    |,/       |,/           |,-'      |,-'
     ---------'              ---------'

Yeah, I know it's not that great, but I was staring at a whole bunch of text a bit ago and I started wondering if you could do half decent 3D with ASCII art. Consider it an unpolished proof-of-concept. Oh and if it's turning up as a pile of gobbledy-gook, you need to change your browsers monospace font to be an actual monospace font.