log (2008/07/18 to 2008/07/24)

Haha! Something keeps putting up a plaintive little popup, all modernly-rounded brushed-metal look, in the center of the laptop screen here, saying "Please check your internet connection. Your PC appears to be offline". And there's an "Ok" button, but no "yeah, I know, go away" button.

Isn't that cute?

Whatever it is, it clearly thinks that being offline (because, say, you're sitting in the waiting area at your son's music school where he's having his weekly half-hour bass guitar lesson, and both of the visible wireless networks are, for a wonder, encrypted) is something abnormal that you really ought to know about, and something that no other program on the computer is going to tell you about, so a popup is quite quite necessary.

I do wish people making products would think a little harder about them.

(In fact I suspect that the culprit here is the EA Games Download Manager, which has no business being active on the machine at all, seeing as how I used it only once, to download the Spore Creature Creator the other week, and did not ask it to hang around monitoring my internet connection for the rest of eternity. Grumble grumble idiots.)

Online free very good SF story o' the day: Down on the Farm, by Charles Stross. I didn't really understand why moving the magic chess pieces did things to the Evil Robots, but hey, it's a Laundry story, and I love Laundry stories.

From Bruce Schneier, a Wired piece (with video!) which just cries out to be called "my new fighting umbrella is unstoppable" (see mnftiu).

I've been pretending to cross-country ski and bicycle, and lifting heavy things up and down, at the Club two or three times a week still, and I've decided that I'm lacking these "endorphin" things that happy runners and suchlike have. Endogenous morphine analogs are supposed to give you this "runner's high" when you run or lift weights or otherwise do physical stuff enough to start the body really stressing. But my body just (a) sweats profusely, and (b) screams "owch that hurts stop that, what are you doing you idiot?" at me in no uncertain terms.

Or maybe it's just that my endorphin generators are hooked up to my "lying down with a good book or a virtual world" receptors, rather than my "body-stressing exercise" receptors.

Internet Censorship: Subtle, Non-Governmental, and Totally Legal contains our Quote O' the Day:

If ISPS and other network operators voluntarily decide that they don't want any violence, profanity, or pro-choice content streaming over their networks, for example, this would have a marked influence on the nature of free speech on the Internet.

Can't argue with that!

See the secret Dale Innis weblog for the latest in Second Life news, although for some reason I'm going to mention here instead of there the kinda cute Scratch tool, which provides a GUI that more or less writes SL scrpts for you when you drag little boxes and puzzle pieces around on the screen.

I was just claiming as a fact today at work that, despite many many many efforts to disprove it, it remains a fact that you can't do significant programming by dragging little boxes and arrows around on a screen (although people who live in PowerPoint, where all you ever do is drag around little boxes and arrows, continue to be easily convinced to fund One More Attempt to do programming that way too).

But I was thinking of programs fancy and functional enough that someone might be willing to pay alot for them; Scratch may be well-suited for the low (but voluminous) end of the SL script market, which is currently served by people who don't actually know the language finding some script that does something vaguely like what they want, and fiddling with it until they either get it right, or give up and call me or someone like me who will do the rest of the needed fixup just because it's fun to do little favors for friends.

From very cool SL resident Argent Bury writing on Plurk, we find Project Indigo (working title): Design of a vertical seaside metropolis. Very lovely and mind-bending. Good SF stories should be set there.


A federal appeals court on Monday threw out a $550,000 indecency fine against CBS Corp. for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction."

And, heh heh, maybe not quite so sane, but pretty amusing: RNC To Sue CafePress For Helping People Promote Republican Candidates.

Let's see. I've just created a Troll Warrior on yet another World of Warcraft server, with the intent of being able to hang around with Soph and the hordes (hahaha) of other smart people who apparently run around there now and then to relax and stuff. He's already level three! (The first five or so levels of WoW being utterly trivial and quick, so as to rope newcomers thoroughly in.)

And now I'm back from the little boy's lesson, and he and the little daughter and the little daughter's boyfriend are all sitting around in the livingroom playing their guitars, and it's really impossible to describe how utterly cool that is...