The state of Augmented Reality

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 09:27 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Five years ago I had a disagreement with a friend over whether this article was being overly pessimistic about augmented reality and whether we'd have "hard" AR soon.

Five years later, and this is the state of the art:


Which is, I totally admit, a very neat tech demo. But it's not "there" yet. The FOV is too small, and you can see the real world through it. Although, to be fair, most of the time the real world isn't _that_ distracting, you're definitely not going to be able to "see Victorian gas lamps in place of normal lights" or "have a real Coke can that you want to turn into an AR Pepsi can by drawing a Pepsi logo over the Coke logo".

Ah well, I'll make a note to come back in five years time and see where we are then!

Book 45 - Helen Ellis "American Housewife"

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 06:06 pm
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
[personal profile] jazzy_dave
Helen Ellis "American Housewife" (Scribner)




This collection of 12 short stories is chock-full of quirky, creepy, clever women. I can't imagine someone not seeing themselves in at least one of these characters. I read several stories multiple times and plan on reading a few of my favourites again.I think the shortest stories are my favourites -- they pack a big punch in just a couple of pages (especially "Southern Lady Code", "What I Do All Day", and "Take It From Cats").

Some of these stories verge on the absurd and surreal, even through all the exaggerated scenarios, there is also an undeniable truth: I have experienced grocery aisle rage,- and “Hmmm” is most certainly Southern Lady Code for: I don’t agree with you but am polite enough not to rub your nose in your ignorance.


If you like wacky ,funny,and strange stories and if you are interested in the inner lives of women, I highly recommend this book.


jazzy_dave: (Default)
[personal profile] jazzy_dave
Simon Winchester "A Map That Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science" (Penguin)





Here is a book that whilst its subject is science it covers a far wider ground than i had anticipated before reading it.
It's one of those classic 18th century tales where there's science, religion, class, prejudice money and, out of the mess and shambles comes something that is really mind blowing. William Smith produced the first geological survey of the UK. All by himself. And a small version is reproduced on the inside front cover and it's a real thing of beauty.

It's set during that great upheaval in science, when Britain finally moved from being a medieval belief led society to one that valued science, facts, precision, deduction and started wanting to ask questions of the natural world. this is one example. It was driven by his being involved in the coal mining industry, then in the routing and digging of a canal through Somerset. What he'd seen by the vertical descent into the ground of the mines was reinforced by what he'd seen in the cut made across miles of Somerset - the rocks beneath our feet are different, but predictably different in different places.

It's got it's fair share of trials and tribulations, and the class system comes in for a fair old (and entirely justified) bashing, but Smith doesn't always seem to be the most astute of individuals. Even so, it's nice to see that he did finally get the recognition he deserved in his lifetime - even if he seems to have been largely forgotten since. Simon Winchester does write a good story, as well as managing to get some facts to stick in your brain at the same time. I thought this was a good read.

Interesting Links for 22-07-2017

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

As I said to Andrew Ducker, it's slow and awful, but until Photobucket disables the ability to use this trick, if you have a copy of Firefox to travel to the image(s) in question, it works even if you're not logged into Photobucket, but does not work on images with the word "album" in the URL, only on images with the word "gallery" in their web addresses.

Which I learned only after my profile meme got ransomed sometime this week, which I caught on to just minutes before posting this. Photobucket images on my blog might be gone now, too, but I don't have time to check.

For Photobucket URLs with the word "gallery" in them, only...

  1. Right-click the ransom badge in your post (for expediency's sake, I'm linking to Andrew's images for testing, so you can try the steps out yourself, as I had no ransom badges of my own when I began this)
  2. Right-click the ransom badge on the Photobucket page you're brought to
  3. The original image has now become visible
  4. Right-click the image and click "Save as" to download
  5. Once you follow the above steps, hit your browser's back button. The original picture (not the ransom badge) will show up on its Photobucket page and the post it was added to.

These steps have only worked for me so far in Firefox latest (version 54.0.1) so they might not work in other or older browsers. They do work in both Firefox's regular and private browsing modes. Using Opera with adblock results in a shocking Photobucket directive to install an anti-Adblock script called BlockAdblock, aka FuckAdblock, and links you to a site that I won't share because Web of Trust gives it such a low rating. "Photobucket teams with FuckAdblock" needs to be my next post title, as that's kind of news in itself.

As for other ways to access Photobucket images, Fix Photobucket and the photobucket embed fix app are both dead. You can spam me in the comment section with any apps, tools or websites that actually still work, but I'm quite picky and will try to check a tool before I publish any comment on it. Comments initially will stay screened.

Downloading Photobucket Albums

I've had no problem downloading Photobucket libraries, but there are reports that a few people have been unable to. If you don't block ads that could be one reason why; the page basically never finishes loading and will load one ad after another (up to a dozen) which locks your browser up and slows everything down while you're trying to access images, download libraries, or even copy and share file links.

Some people claim Photobucket's mobile site is much faster. There's also a Photobucket app that's said to load up even quicker than Photobucket does on the Web.

As for moving Photobucket albums to a new image host, you might want to skip moving them to imgur. Imgur's ToS prohibits creating libraries that have already been linked to from other websites and will resize images on direct link, making them basically useless.

You might not want to bother with TinyPic, either, because it's already owned by Photobucket.

So I can tell you what others have suggested and what I'm doing: others mainly suggest getting your own domain name and a hosting plan to host images yourself. From what I gather, self-hosted image libraries (not some roll-your-own solution like adding them to posts, or buying a Wordpress-hosted plan) involve buying or at least adding a separate tool or utility to the backend of your website.

Other ideas include using a free Blogger account, then creating individual posts (Blogger allows up to 10 images per post). Kind of awkward...then there's free Wordpress, which along with Dreamwidth's hosting, is what I use for some of my images. Free Wordpress has 3GB of free storage space, and individual posts are automatically created for each image. These posts aren't displayed publicly nor are they indexed by search engines, and you don't need to know their addresses since you can find all your uploaded images in the Media Library.

Spiritual victim blaming

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 12:52 am
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
[personal profile] fayanora
"What To Do When The Power of Positive Thinking Fails,
And How To Avoid Blaming Yourself When It Does"
By = Tempest Alexandria Arts

If you're at all involved in the New Age or pagan movements, you probably know that there are a lot of books out there about the power of positive thinking. There's no shortage of gurus ready to teach you all about how the universe really loves you and wants you to get what you want, and for a price they will teach you how to think in order to tap into this power. Because, as they quickly inform you, if you're confused about what you want or need, the universe will be too, which tidily explains why you aren't already rich and happy.

The power of positive thinking is real, of course, insofar as it can do amazing things because the human Will can do amazing things, but there are a major problems with this philosophy, and there are limits to what it can do that most of these gurus fail to address. First, the assumption behind why positive thinking works (that the universe loves you) works as a great excuse for why you need to be taught how to think positively (by buying their books or taking their expensive classes), but ultimately sets you up for failure. Secondly, it's a lot more difficult than the gurus try to make it seem, because the money is in providing a seemingly simple yet ultimately difficult and complex solution, so that you keep buying their books for more insight, more help. Third, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of victim blaming (especially victim blaming yourself) when it fails, which can become a vicious cycle. And fourth, the process can be made more difficult if you have conditions like clinical depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder, and is not an easy process even without conditions like that. Hopefully, though, you will have a fair idea how to go about the process in a meaningful and realistic way, and be able to help yourself without expensive books or classes, after reading this article.

The central assumption behind the "power of positive thinking" in most New Age philosophy is that God/the universe/the Goddess loves you, and wants you to be happy, but that it can't do that if your thoughts are confused, or you aren't thinking the right way. The idea is that if you don't know what you want, the universe doesn't know what you want either. On the surface, it sounds reasonable and so innocuous, but there are real problems with it that don't really come to light until you've tried it for a decade or more and failed at it, and even then only if you realize there's a problem and stop to analyze it. Because ultimately, the philosophy as it is usually taught is doomed to failure, since the even deeper assumption is that the power of positive thinking can be learned by everyone, it just takes vigilance, and also because the way it is taught is full of flaws; flaws often left in on purpose or added in to begin with, since it makes selling more books easier.

The problem with that assumption that everyone can learn to wield the power of positive thinking is that it isn't true. Getting positive thinking to work for you as it should is one of those things that you can either figure out how to do or you can't, to various degrees. Take lucid dreaming as an example; some people can learn how to do it, and do it easily, others never figure out how to do it at all, still others only manage to lucid dream by accident, and reading books or taking classes doesn't really help much. Similarly, some people can learn to activate the full potential of positive thinking, others never manage it at all, and still others only ever do it by accident, or somewhere else along that spectrum. Books can help, at least in getting the process started, but they can only do so much, and most books on the subject are deeply flawed.

Furthermore, even if you do manage to change your thinking to be positive all the time, that alone may not be enough. The power of positive thinking is a kind of magick, and magick can only influence the odds of something happening, it is still up to other people to have opportunities available for you, and up to you to take said opportunities. After all, you can think as positively as you like in the middle of the Sahara desert, but that's not going to miraculously make water appear out of nowhere. And even if you find an oasis, you still have to walk towards it and drink from its waters; those waters will not come to you.

Now that's not to say the power of positive thinking isn't real, and can't do wonders. It can in fact work, but my stress here is on the can. It can work for you. But not because the universe loves you and wants you to be happy. That belief defies all the evidence. If the universe truly loved us and wanted us to be happy, we would all be immortal, eternally youthful, and eternally healthy, with either no need to eat, or with plenty of food readily available without the need for hard labor. There would be no more menstruation, and people would only be able to have kids if they really wanted to, and the planet would never get overcrowded.
Continues )

What I'll go through just to save $10 bucks

Friday, July 21st, 2017 07:48 pm
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

I just...*headdesks with laughter*

My phone's cheapest prepaid plan is $45 through GoPhone, aka AT&T PREPAID (allcaps are theirs, not mine). I don't, to say the least, have $45 for anything, much less my stupid phone, but we're getting into storm season, I still fear the trees and I happened to drop my LG flip phone - which I kind of fucking adored in all its 2G glory - in the toilet the other day and the 3G replacement is such a dud I plan to throw it off the next bridge I come across.

Besides my Windows phone and my bridge-bound dud, I have a tiny Android I haven't used in literally years, so I called Net10, who services it, to ask about plans. Their cheapest is $35, saving me $10 bucks, so I took it (data went from 6GB high speed with rollover to 2GB without rollover; other than that the plans are about the same) only to realize I had to migrate my Windows phone data to Android - mostly contacts, photos and emails (I could be upset about losing call logs and texts but I'm really not, so I haven't sought to restore either one of those).

As I write this Google Drive, aka Backup and Sync (the name change is theirs, not mine, sans the allcaps) is syncing 9,655 files between my laptop and their servers. I decided my folder selection was too aggressive when GUID diagrams for Firefox and my Dell printer began rolling in but whatever. To get this far I had to uninstall Google Drive after merely "upgrading" it to Backup and Sync, which failed miserably, not allowing me to sync the proper folders and basically fubaring everything.

While I was unfubaring the laptop installation, I rolled back Drive on Android to factory-installed settings and broke the sync connection from my laptop, which wiped out all the files on Android's Drive. There weren't many because the Gmail address I use for Android was not talking to the one I use on my laptop so I logged out of GMail on my laptop, logged back in using my Android Gmail address, then re-installed Drive (now Backup and Sync) on my laptop. This installation went flawlessly and is syncing away as I write this - and slowing my connection to Dreamwidth to a crawl.

When it's finished, I should be able to upgrade Drive to Backup and Sync on Android and pull in files from my laptop, which should bring over my Windows phone data, because I threw my OneDrive folder in there and it actually let me, which I cannot believe. Getting that done should pull in all the photos on my Windows phone, which are the only data still missing after the work I did last night to pull in everything else...

First I imported my main Outlook account to GMail, but the import was marked "has not started" with a "provide info" link that made me log in again in a small, separate window that barred add-ons like LastPass from running, then told me my credentials were incorrect although after triple-checking them against LastPass I could see everything was correct.

So I googled these problems and import will probably never finish based on others getting the same error messages since literally 2009, so I moved down the list to Send Mail As and Check mail from other accounts. Those tasks went as expected, so now my Outlook mail is forwarding to GMail on Android, so I'll never really need to check my Windows phone again. I also have a setting that shows what's coming in off Outlook - but according to the unlabelled emails I'm getting at the moment, it's at least partly malfunctioning, so I'll need to fiddle with that some more.

Once that was done, my Windows contacts synced with Android and GMail started receiving Outlook mail, so things were getting better, but I don't like stock Android, so I was in need of a more ideal solution when I stumbled across Arrow Launcher, which uses "pages" in place of launch icons or home screen widgets to let you see email as it arrives (you can use app icons or pages, but pages are amazing) so I set up an Outlook page as my second home screen (just swipe right) and now I don't even need an app to scan my email (though I still need an app to read the body text).

Unlike any Windows app ever, it doesn't crash (well, it crashed immediately after installing - um, it not only crashed, it removed all my custom settings, but after a phone restart and a redo of all the settings, it seems to work just fine).

To get around Android's ugly stock app I'm using Android Messages; I tried Allo but it's too resource-intensive, so I had to remove it after only a few minutes. That I can't update from Jellybean to the current version is irritating because I want the Ibotta app, which so far is the only app that isn't compatible, but I haven't really "done" apps in my rush to get Windows data onto Android, so I guess I'll see what else fails to play well with it eventually.

Interesting Links for 21-07-2017

Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

LGBT book

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:09 pm
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
[personal profile] fayanora
I don't want to spoil anything, but for anyone looking for books with LGBT characters, one of the two primary protagonists of "Down Among The Sticks And Bones" by Seanan McGuire is a lesbian by chapter 9.

On a somewhat related note, the first four or five chapters of that book are an absolutely amazing and frankly horrifying depiction of how to royally mess up children. Without being malicious, the parents of Jacqueline and Jillian are worse than the Dursleys from Harry Potter!

(no subject)

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:46 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
apologies for TMI but I keep injuring myself in ways that leave scabs like Lake Baikal and within a few days the edges are all ready to be done but the center is still very strongly attached.
Maybe I need body armor.

Review: Kingdomino

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 01:46 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
When I saw that it had won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres I took a look at Kingdomino. On discovering that it was only £15, and that games could be played in about 15 minutes I decided to pick up a copy.

So far I've played games with both [personal profile] swampers and [personal profile] danieldwilliam and both of them picked it up quickly and enjoyed playing it.

It's based (surprisingly enough) on the idea behind dominoes - or, at least, the part of dominoes where you have tiles with two ends and need to match them against each other. In this case the different ends are different terrains (grass, mountain, etc), and you score by forming areas of the same terrain*. Each turn you have to make a judgement between going for the tiles that score the highest, versus going for lower-scoring tiles which allow you make the first move the next turn.

I enjoyed it, and I'm definitely taking it on holiday. If you're looking for a filler game then it'll do a great job of that.



*It's a bit more complex than that, but not a lot.

Interesting Links for 20-07-2017

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Do people reach me more via Facebook or Twitter?

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 10:47 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I posted yesterday about the media using "X defends against accusations" as a way of making you think that there are widespread attacks on them.

47 people clicked through to that post from Facebook. 5 from Twitter.

The 5 from Twitter all did so within an hour of the post going up.

The 47 from Facebook did so over the course of the following 12 hours (19 of them within an hour, but then an ongoing curve downwards).

Which indicates to me that Facebook does a pretty good job of knowing when something is interesting to my friends, and keeping it "active" for a while, whereas Twitter sweeps it away near-instantly, and unless it really grabs people it's gone.

And looking at my overall referrer stats, Facebook gets between three and six times the number of clicks that Twitter does.

(Just had a look at my actual LJ statistics too - yesterday I had 145 readers, of which 100-ish were reading via their friends-page and 45 were going direct to my posts/journal. Sadly I don't get the same info from DW, but Google Analytics tells me that 78 people visited that post on DW.)

Interesting Links for 19-07-2017

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've seen this twice in the last week - a newspaper talking about the BBC "defending" the new Doctor Who choice against "angry fans". And then this morning the Game of Thrones director "defends" the Ed Sheeran cameo.

And both times I'm left wondering how many people were actually attacking. Was half of the population of Who-dom out attacking this choice? Or was it actually about 1% of them being noisy enough on Twitter that the newspapers could manufacture a story out of it?

Similarly, I suspect that the vast majority of people don't really care if Ed Sheeran pops up for 10 seconds in the show, does a perfectly average acting job for his two lines, and is never seen again. But that's not a story. And the way to make it a story is to not mention how many people are upset at something trivial, and leave things vague enough that it _could_ be the case that half the population of the country are waving pitchforks outside the studios, rather than seven people having a rant on Twitter.

Interesting Links for 18-07-2017

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Interesting Links for 17-07-2017

Monday, July 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Photobucket has turned all of the photos on my wedding post into "Please update your account to share these photos" images, unless I pay them hundreds of dollars.

I have literally no idea how idea how to feel about this.

(Other than grim amusement)

Aaah, the modern world...

(no subject)

Sunday, July 16th, 2017 10:34 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
So let me tell you...
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Today was my grandmother's 100th birthday party.
N was feeling awful so I did some cleaning around the house, pulled fistfuls of hair out of the tub drain and grape-sized clots out of the sink drain, and then headed down to the middle of nowhere, where my aunt and uncle live in a very expensive house in a gated community, and my grandmother lives in their basement.
She was really together. She's been getting foggy the last couple of years, but she and I got to have a couple long conversations that stayed on topic. She gets a bit aphoristic if I don't lead the conversation, but I think that's because she hangs out with my aunt way too much.
My very conservative but pleasant uncle got into another long intense conversation with my very liberal aunt (from the other side), which seems to happen every time everyone gets together. He's conservative as in his brother made a half million dollars writing Left Behind imitations and his family disowned another brother who announced he was gay but going to spend his life celibate so as to not sin. Apparently celibacy wasn't good enough. My aunt is liberal as in got a degree in Chinese history in 1970 at UC Berkeley. Again: no idea why the two of them talk so much.
I got to see my cousin's ex-wife for the first time since the divorce four years ago, as she brought their kids over to drop them off. She's looking like a tired redhed-going-grey housewife, which is an improvement over last time I saw her, when she had jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high combat boots, as part of her effort to keep the marriage together. (Which must have driven her crazy: literally her entire immediate family works for James Dobson/Focus On The Family.) She took off pretty quickly when my cousin showed up with his new girlfriend, who has jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high bright green leather boots.
anyway. Grammy was okay. We talked. I talked a bunch to my cousin's kids, who are all really cool.
I drove home and went out to the shop to start working on machining a test fixture for a new product for Mad Scientist Hut. I set up the thousand-dollar sprinkler while I was doing that. (You know those old sprinklers like tractors that drive across the lawn, following the hose? I found one in an alley, brought it home, we used it, then we had one of those springs where it's 35C and the grass is all brown and dying so I water it and the next day we get a knee deep snowstorm and while walking the compost out to the pit I managed to step on the free trash sprinkler and break one of the arms off, so I went and bought a metal lathe and fixed the free trash sprinkler, so it's the thousand dollar sprinkler, yo.)
So the sprinkler's running and I stick my head out to make sure it hasn't gotten stuck and there are three kids half-running through the yard, sobbing, which means a dog has gotten away and they are trying to catch it. This is a regular event.
Of course I join in. These kids are really young. Well, everyone less than 18 looks like they should be wearing diapers, pretty much. But I think these kids were really young since they couldn't jump off the retaining wall between my house and Ray's, and it's only a meter and change high.
We all piled through that and headed towards the church, where I saw the dog.
It's a huge german shepard. Huge. I think I could have put two of these kids on it.
I can't outrun a german shepard.
I tried, though.
And I'm a lot more canny than it, because I've caught 30-something dogs over the last few years.
It of course ran straight to the main road where all the traffic is and started running down the side of the road. I crossed the road and started running along behind/beside it, because it was definitely scared of me. That way, it wasn't going to run INTO the road.
I paralleled it until it got distracted by a smell, then got ahead of it and started moving back towards it, so it reversed course. My thought was either I'd chase it back to its kids or up the hill away from the road. We did both at various points. Eventually the three kids, two joggers, and I managed to corral it in someone's yard and one kid got her hands on its collar and we all headed back to the church.
Where we found kid number four lying in the grass making horrible noises.
She claimed she was having an asthma attack.
As a long-term asthma person, I'm pretty sure what she was having was a panic attack.
But not the time to screw around.
So I chucked it back into high gear and ran home, got the car, and drove back, at which point other family members were there, but she couldn't walk and nobody in her family had the oomph to do much about it.
I picked her up and carried her to her mom's car, and they drove off.
Whew.
About ten minutes later, the first three kids showed up again. One of them had lost her cellphone in the shenanigans and they were retracing their steps.
As we were looking around my yard, another kid said "what do you have in that weird little barn?"
I said "a bunch of broken bikes."
She said "huh. Can I have one?"
I had to explain they were all 40 year old bikes, too large for her, with no wheels or seats.

Then I finished the test fixture, went grocery shopping, made dinner (Marcella Hazan's chicken breast sauteed in butter/lemon/parsley) and am just right now finishing it, sitting down while not driving for the first time since about 11AM.