This matters. This is important. Why did you say six months?
Why did you say five minutes?
Monday, March 27
They sure build them big and bouncy on Planet Valhalla, don't they?
(Okay, in Raine's case, small and bouncy.)
Males have a lot of trouble not looking at
breasts. What is worse, males cannot look at breasts and think at
the same time. In fact, scientists now believe that the primary
biological function of breasts is to make males stupid. This was
proved in a famous 1978 laboratory experiment wherein a team of
leading male psychological researchers at Yale deliberately looked
at photographs of breasts every day for two years, at the end of
which they concluded that they had failed to take any notes. "We forgot," they said. "We'll have to do it again."
â€” Dave Barry
Sunday, March 26
There's one meaning of Engineer's Disease which concerns specialists in one field assuming that they can speak with authority in another, but that's not what I'm talking about today.
What I'm talking about is the inability to turn your brain off. An engineer is someone who comes out of The Matrix and says "That part about humans being used as batteries was really stupid. Humans are net consumers of energy. Now, if they'd said that human brains were being used as computation and memory units by the robots..."
(As an aside, there's a tendency to diagnose engineers, or rather engineers-to-be, as having high-function autism, or Asperger's Syndrome, or PDD-NOS, or whatever this weeks fashionable term is. To which I say, piss off you over-socialised wankers!)
Uh, where was I. Oh yeah. So, an engineer who happens to like, just to pick an example at random, silly little anime shows, will tend to over-analyse them, assuming (or hoping) that said silly little show will fully address the implications of the situations in which it has placed its characters.
Now, when you're dealing with something like The Matrix, or more contemporarily V for Vendetta, you know that this sort of analysis is almost certainly a waste of time. You're dealing with late 20th / early 21st century Hollywood, the place where dreams go to die.
But the Japanese are different. The less seriously they take themselves, the more likely they are to tackle complex ideas and deal with them well. (Maybe not so different as all that; one of the biggest problems Hollywood has these days is that it takes itself far too seriously.) We saw that with Popotan; a sillier, littler series you would be hard pressed to find, and yet the last few episodes are amazing.
And so we come to UFO Princess Valkyrie. The show has a gun that turns women into cat-girls, for crying out loud. And yet...
Saturday, March 25
We have a new contender in the heavyweight trackback spam championship: In just a few short hours, go2url.be has rocketed to second place. Do they have the stamina to make it to the top of the charts? Keep watching!
(That ranking doesn't mean they've sent us 32880 trackbacks [or whatever the number is when you see it]; it's subject to geometric decay, and they've been at it for hours, so it means they've sent us considerably more than 32880 trackbacks. Dickheads.)
(And what is it with Belgium and evil rat-bastard trackback spammers?)
Steven Den Beste has discovered the cat-girl gun from UFO Princess Valkyrie.
For four decades, from their invention until about 1997, the capacity (or more properly, the density) of hard disk drives doubled roughly every 18 months. In 1997, improvements in manufacturing techniques, drive head technology, and digital signal processing shifted this growth curve to doubling every year, until, in early 2002, I was able to buy a 200GB 3.5 inch drive.
Then the entire storage industry ran head first into a wall.*
For perspective, if that growth rate had continued until now, you would be able to buy a 3.2 terabyte disk right now. It would cost $500, but you could buy it. The largest disks actually on the market today are only 500 gigabytes.
At roughly the same time that the rotating rust makers hit the wall, though, flash memory was taking off. Since 2001, flash memory densities have doubled every year, with a 16 gigabit chip from Samsung due to hit the market later this year. 16 billion transistors on one chip.
If they continue at this pace, the capacity curves (though not the price curves) will intersect next year. Samsung has already announced a 32GB solid-state 1.8 inch drive; the largest 1.8 inch disk currently available is 60GB, not quite twice as large. And despite the promises of perpendicular recording, disk drive capacities have been growing at a glacial pace - relative to the expectations of the computer industry, anyway.
What this means is that within a few years, there will be no more scrik scrik scrik scrik, no more whirrrrrr-PAKLUNK, no more The disk in drive C: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?
And not a minute too soon, I say. Not a minute too soon.
* Not long after that, the CPU industry also ran into a wall, but that's another rant for another day. And besides, the CPU guys are working their butts off to go around, or over, or under the wall, with notable success; I don't doubt that the disk drive engineers are also hard at work, but they have less to show for it.
Incidentally, the 1.2GHz Athlons mentioned in that post ended up at the office as my development machines. One good thing about the lack of improvement in processors is that a five year old machine is still useful.**
** Five year old memory with a cascade of single bit errors is much less useful.
Friday, March 24
I've just been catching up on what was released of this series before it was licensed by Geneon. The DVDs are supposed to start coming out in June, though there have been no official announcements that I know of.
Kamichu is the story of Yurie, a middle-school girl who discovers one day that she is a god (kami-sama). The stories are very simple, focusing on various developments and difficulties in Yurie's adaptation to divinity while still trying to keep her family and school life somewhat normal.
One of the charming things about the series is that this is not a secret. Everyone knows that Yurie is a god, and treats it entirely matter-of-factly. But apart from the story itself, what makes the show special is the character design, artwork, and animation. It's not quite Miyazaki, but if you like his work, you'll love Kamichu.
The opening is already available in my torrent directory; I'll put the ending up as a separate file now. This particular clip was a cow to produce because it is encoded at a different frame rate to the rest of the video file. In fact, the encoders of the various Kamichu! fansubs seem to be rather erratic; I've yet to find a program that will play back all the files correctly. I just spent an hour fussing with VLC so that I could watch episode 6 in the proper (16:9) aspect ratio. BSPlayer crashes. WinAmp won't even open the file. VLC plays it, but screws up the subtitles. WMP gets the subtitles right, but squashes everything. Sigh.
By the way, I'd appreciate it if you'd give the torrents a try and let me know how they go. The current version of the software doesn't give me a lot of feedback, but it looks as though someone has been downloading the fils but very slowly. Either they have a dial-up connection, or something is wrong on my end.
Feel free to play with the comment editor as well. I think it needs a bit more hacking before it's ready for prime time, and your, um, comments, would be useful.
Ack. And because there's a bug in the layout of Broadcast Machine if you have 3n-1 files in a channel (for n>1), I've uploaded the closing credits for Ichigo 100% as well.
Thursday, March 23
The Xbox 360 launced in Australia today, three weeks later than originally planned.
Except that the seem to have forgotten to release any games.
There's not many console games that I've really found worth playing. Final Fantasy X, sure, and X-2 was kind of fun as well. I spent some time playing Sudeki. And then there's Dead or Alive and Rumble Roses. Racing games, sports games, general fighting games without hot babes, I could care less. Shooting games I got enough of with the orginal Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem.
And what are they launching with?
Ghost Recon 3 - a shooter.
Burnout: Revenge - racing.
Condemned - some sort of horror thing, another category in which I have no interest.
Fight Night Round 3 - a boxing game. No babes.
Kameo: Elements of Power - an RPG which actually looks interesting.
Project Gotham Racing - the name speaks for itself. Nice graphics, boring as hell.
Perfect Dark Zero - a shooter. A shooter with a babe, but still a shooter.
Amped - a snowboarding game. Yeesh.
Madden NFL 2006 - ick.
Quake 4 - see above.
Ridge Racer 6 - more racing. Yay.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006 - even more boring than the real thing!
The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion - yes, it's an RPG, but based on the two hours I spent playing Morrowind, it's an RPG that I don't need to play.
Meh. And a number of those seem to be US imports, and not local releases. Either that, or they are just horribly overpriced.
Must haves: 0
Might be okay: 1
Number of consoles sold to Pixy: 0
On the other hand, there's another Sims 2 expansion pack out next month. And I don't even have Open For Business yet...
Today we have the openings of Karin, the Blood-Giving Vampire, Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge (both versions), and by special request, the ending of Happy Lesson TV.
1. (abbr) Artificial intelligence.
2. (Portugese) A bradypus, or three-toed sloth.
3. The country code for Anguilla.
4. (Japanese) Love.
My anime torrents have a new address now: ai.mu.nu/bm
It uses the same helper app for creating torrents, though, and it is evil.
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