CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?

Wednesday, March 22

Geek

Counting Down

To the big two. Any minute now, the 2,000,000th trackback will bounce off the munu spam filter.

That's since November.

Spammers suck. But they suck less with Snark™.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:24 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Rant

Guys

Just because you're a little behind in doing the laundry is no excuse for wearing your girlfriend's clothes. A violet singlet with a plunging neckline might look great on her, but trust me, it doesn't suit you.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:14 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Anime

Outsmarted By A Little Blue Frog

Since I have nothing better to do, I thought I'd bring back my Anime video clips. So I fixed up Blog Torrent, set up a seed, and clicked the link on my notebook to check that everything was working.

And I got a download speed of two megabytes per second.

Azureus worked out that the seed was accessible on my wireless network, and went straight there rather than going out onto the internet.

Fortunately, I also have wireless internet, and that confirmed that the seed really was working.

So go for it!

By the way, if you have your own collection of clips that you would be willing to donate to be torrentified, drop me a comment. I'm kind of addicted to these things.

Of what's there now, my favourites:

The opening of Nanaka 6/17.
The closing of Popotan.
The opening and closing of Shinobuden.
The opening of Pretty Cure. The closing isn't bad either.
The opening of Tsukuyomi Moon Phase.
The opening and closing of Kamichu, the best anime of 2005.
And of course, the opening of Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar (aka Sugar, A Little Snow Fairy) which is a work of kawaii genius.

Oh yes, and the opening of Mama Is A 4th Grader. Steven Den Beste is wont to say that we are not nearly afraid enough of the Japanese (in reference to some particularly bizarre bit of their popular culture), but I think there's little to worry about with a culture that can produce something like this.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:16 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, March 21

Geek

Done

I've finished the Neverwinter Nights campaigns. Mephistofleas is reduced to an unpleasant stain on the cobblestones of Waterdeep, Aribubble is reredeemed, and the Underdark has been made safe for Mind Flayers once more.

So I'll be around here a bit more. I'm also back to working on Minx, though I didn't ever stop work entirely. I've quietly replaced the database, the editor, the template engine, and the web framework - which basically means nothing of the original is left except for my accelerated options parser. I'm taking some time off next month with the aim of getting a demo version up and running, so watch this space for news on that.

Of course, the Xbox 360 lands in Australia this Thursday, so my plans may yet be derailed. At least I won't be moving house any time soon...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:18 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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World

Reflections On The Tiny Lizard That Scurried Out Of My Way As I Was Heading To The Shops Yesterday Afternoon

Or, On Being The Wrong Size

So here's me, 175cm tall and eighty kilograms, and here's my fellow vertebrate, all of two inches long and weighing maybe a gram.

Which led me to musing. With all the problems of the world becoming overcrowded and resources running out, wouldn't things be better if we were smaller? What really counts is our brains, right?

So, we replace our brains with self-assembling nanotech (or possibly quantum) systems that are a thousand times more computationally efficient. That means that for the same level of intelligence, we only need one thousandth the amount of brain - and one thousandth the body mass to support it. Which means a thousand times less impact on the environment.

Since we'd be ten times smaller (lengthwise), we'd each want one hundredth the living area we currently do. That means that with current crowding levels we could increase our world population to 660 billion while consuming just one tenth our current resources.

This has obvious advantages: With 12 billion Japanese, the amount of anime produced would be huge. Blockbuster movies like The Lord of the Rings would be a dime a dozen, thanks to the massive new audience available.

There's other, less obvious rewards. Ever fallen and hurt yourself? No more! It will be impossible to hurt yourself just by tripping over something - your centre of mass is only three inches off the ground. And while your bones and tendons are now a hundred times weaker, they only need to support one thousandth the weight, so they are proportionally ten times stronger.

And the downside? Well, JBS Haldane wrote about this nearly eighty years ago. One is temperature regulation; we are warm-blooded and need to eat to maintain our temperature. As much smaller creatures, we would lose body heat much more rapidly, because the ratio of surface area to volume has increased. But that's a fairly straightforward problem for an advanced civilisation; we already have reverse-cycle air conditioning. (And clothes, for that matter.)

The eye is somewhat less tractable, but not impossible. With a hundred times less retinal area, we have a hundred times fewer pixels; in linear terms our visual resolution would be ten times worse. But by extending our vision down to UVc, we can regain a factor of four right away. We'd need to adjust our colour processing and radiation-harden the retina, but that's no big deal. Fixing the existing imperfections in the eye - more to do with the lens than the retina - would apparently buy us another factor of two or three in acuity, which would bring us back to roughly current standards. And if that's not quite enough, we can always go the BESM* route, like anime girls and tarsiers.

The more I think about it, the better it sounds. I think government funding for a research program - involving large amounts of anime, tarsiers, and high-powered computers - is definitely called for.

(Read the Haldane article all the way to the end, by the way. I first read this when I was sixteen, and had long forgotten the origin of my ideas on the information-processing problems inherent in communism. This is it.)

* Big eyes, small mouth.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:47 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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World

They Don't Make Vacuum Cleaners Like They Used To

Advice to LeeAnn: Don't get the Cho-vac T20. I had one, and it was nothing but trouble.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:36 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, March 15

Geek

Pixy 6, Dragons 0

The previous post notwithstanding, an 18th-level pixie* Sorceror/Monk/Paladin is kind of fun to play, particularly when you can't rely on any other members of your party when you're facing down a blue dragon. You're a bleedin' 16th level half-orc Barbarian, and first sign of scales you run away screaming like a girl.

Pfft.

Anyway, I beat the stuffing out of it, unarmed and unarmoured.** Then I thought of something:

In the various encounters with dragons in the Neverwinter Nights official adventures, one common point is that as soon as you attack the dragon, the door locks behind you so that you can't retreat beyond the dragon's reach and attack it from a safe distance, which is exactly what any adventurer with an ounce of sense would do. Because otherwise one person with a quiver full of arrows of piercing, a +2 bow, and a ring of fire resistance could take out an ancient red dragon, no trouble.

Makes sense from a point of game balance. Only... If the dragons can't get out, how did they get in?

* Thanks to the NWN Player Resource Consortium for adding pixie support to Neverwinter Nights. Works great - except that I'm permanently polymorphed into a halfling because otherwise the pixie twinkles drive me crazy.

** There's this lovely little scene at the start of Hordes of the Underdark where a drow thief steals all your gear. They do this to make sure you don't bring in superpowered items from other adventures. Of course, I was carrying roughly 800 pounds of equipment in 20 magic bags and 5 bags of holding, so this was just a little irritating.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:25 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Thought For The Day

1st Edition kicks 3.5 Edition's butt.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:05 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, March 06

Rant

It's The World Wide Web, You Maggots

I've been playing with the trial version of Paint Shop Pro X, and it does almost everything I want, so I decided to buy it. Online price is only US$89, and they throw in a free copy of Animation Shop 3. I don't know if I even want Animation Shop, but hey, it's free.

So I log in and start placing my order, and add a couple of extras (two resource kits for the price of one, $29.95), and then I get to the name-and-address part, and it won't let me choose Australia for my country.

Because it's the US and Canada online store. Only.

Hmm. I try corel.com.au. Wow, they must have spent minutes setting up that site. But at least they have an online store. Shame that it doesn't actually work.

So I take a quick look at a couple of online computer stores here in Oz. They want AU$249 - just over twice the US price at current exchange rates. (And that's discounted - RRP is AU$299.)

Really smooth distribution channel you've got there, guys.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:43 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, March 04

Geek

Two Questions

Why is my notebook not charging?

And where is that squeaking sound coming from?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:50 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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