This is a test post!


... if you're seeing this, the LogJam LJ client is functioning and I haven't managed to make it stop.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
Lately the navigation function of Google Maps has taken to showing a little report at the end, information like travel time, distance covered, average speed. I find this very neat and interesting, but dislike how how much it seems oriented toward covering itself and maintaining a positive presentation.

If I arrive earlier than its forecast it will say "arrived X minutes earlier than predicted" or similar. But for days like today, it will just say "1 hr 25 min driving"[1] without that extra "arrived 28 minutes later than predicted" that I feel it could really benefit from.

Worse, if I  took the app up on a faster route suggestion during travelling (as happened one morning driving to work), but still arrive later than the initial forecast, it will say "saved X minutes due to using [this tool]". Now, I don't doubt in that specific case that time was saved over not taking the suggested detour. But it still feels dishonest for a navigation app to be reporting only on the time saved due to following its directions and not giving a more complete report. Even on factors outside its control, although I'd expect it to report if its advice turned out to be incorrect.

Something like "Delayed M minutes by congestion, but cut that down to N minutes later than forecast thanks to our advice" would be much more welcome than this silence, which seems to expect me not to notice happenings like, say, a motor accident causing a half hour delay on travel time. It leaves me feeling like Google thinks it's pulling a fast one on me, or regards itself as a naughty child who won't be punished if it just doesn't mention the broken vase. Maybe I'm uncharacteristic, but what I want out of tools and features like this is information, understanding, and clarity.

[1] Quotes are approximate, from memory.

aesmael: (tricicat)

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

The preview of Wave I had requested access to did not arrive until late November, and I did not begin using it until early December as I was busy writing previously. I have made a point of using it often since then and so far I am liking it a lot.

Wave seems very useful for the purposes I have been wanting to put it to, working on collaborative fiction projects or for small editorial review of public writings like this one. So far this has been encouraging and I have been experimenting with new ways of organising my ideas, as well as being for me quite productive. So, pending the participation of other people, Wave is already succeeding at everything I wanted out of it, except that I have not yet been able to try it for role-playing gaming.

I do have some complaints or frustrations so far though. Right now I am using Chrome because the main wave I was editing was too jittery in Firefox for me to even get the cursor to where I wanted it or, when I finally managed that, to see what I was doing - with every character typed the view would jump to the bottom or the top of the wave or sometimes to actually show where I was working, though this was rare and seldom persistent.

Whenever I experience issues like that where a Google product has problems on Firefox but not on Chrome I tend to suspect Google of discreetly encouraging use of their browser over others especially if it used to work fine. But Wave at least is still in experimental stages and for others I have not ruled out some odd interaction with extensions in Firefox, something I should really test more thoroughly, so that could well be only a product of my regular cynicism toward business.

I would also like to be able to have more than one wave open at a time, since although I tend to give primary focus to one thing I am working on I tend to be inspired to make smaller tweaks to other projects at the same time. This is something I value about tabbed editors like Notepad++, although as a complaint it may have more to do with my connection speed being currently very slowed, making quick switches between documents online a hassle, although I do think I would rather not close something I am actively working on just to add a couple of lines to something else.

Otherwise I am quite happy with Wave so far. I think it does everything I was wanting out of it.

Since it is being promoted as an alternative communication tool to email, one that will be available to non-Google entities to provide in the future also, I am finding myself preferring to refer to it as Wave rather than Google Wave for now. They have already anyway assured themselves market dominance through this period of exclusivity I think.

I suspect Google is not going to be creating a desktop client since they would rather people use their browser, although someone else might make one, and I expect once out of preview there will be a Wave app added to Google apps.

aesmael: (haircut)
Only recently we got a television which can display closed captions. I don't normally need those to be able to understand what is on television but I often find them a great aid at times when my auditory processing is disrupted. Even otherwise they usually help me understand what is being said better.

Consequently now that I am able to access the state of closed captioning I am very disappointed in it. When I can understand what is being said the words on the screen are sometimes jumbled, overlapping, at the wrong times (such as showing after the preceding sentence(s)) or just wrong. Which is not the same as edits for ease of reading or clarity, and live captioned programs are not what I am talking about. Two of the newest television channels often seem not to have captions at all, which is especially infuriating, although I think my sisters appreciate it since they don't like when I have the captions on.

Maybe it is just this particular television acting up, or maybe I am seeing things wrong but if not, it is disappointing the state of captioning is not what it could be.

(I do tend to use subtitles where available in DVDs and games where available, and my impression of those is of being more accurate and comprehensible)
aesmael: (probably quantum)
It should have read: "Astronomers Find Coldest, Driest, Calmest Place On Earth, Decide To Put Telescope There".

This site is an exciting prospect; am looking forward to what may be revealed, especially as we still cannot place telescopes in space as large as those we can build on Earth. Unless a project like the Terrestrial Planet Finder is approved. Still, despite being explicitly a very calm location I keep catching myself worrying how it will survive fierce Antarctic winds.

Almost forgot - a bit disappointing the site's latitude will keep any scopes there from seeing much of anything in the northern celestial sphere. There are plenty of worthy targets in the south, more than a lifetime's worth, but I do like comprehensive coverage.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
Recently have noticed an increasing tendency for people in blog discussions to address each other as @name followed by a space, the format used by Twitter for replies. In the past I would mainly see people address each other like so:

Name:

or sometimes

Name:

Interesting development, this. I suspect Twitter did not pioneer that style of reference but I would be very surprised if it were not responsible for popularising it, assuming what I am noticing is a genuine shift.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
Yes, I wrote more last night and that is a wonderful, terrific thing. Two bursts, later than I would like, as is becoming unfortunate habit.

First, a bit more than four hundred words beginning at 20:00, which was not bad in itself. Then after midnight I broke for a bit to update some programs. It turns out Firefox autoupdate had not informed me of any increments between 3.0.0 and 3.0.3, which seems to be because I do not use the admin account in Vista - when the admin Firefox started automatically after I did the update manually, it unlike the one normally use had the 'check for updates' option not greyed out. Plus on closing the program it asked if I want to save my tabs for next time, something I have also been frustrated about not working for me in Vista. I intend to find out if these have been reported as bugs and, if not, to learn how to file them and make them be reported.

Among the other upgrades I changed OpenOffice.org from 2.4.2 to 3.0.0. Not being informed of that update was also annoying, especially as the 'check for updates' option was actually available and told me there were none after I had discovered elsewhere about 3.0.0 being available. And there was a recent security update after 2.4.2 so even if we are not being informed automatically of version 3, no excuse.

Now I am beginning to wonder if there is something installed on this system which is blocking information about updates (Firefox extensions do fine though, as do several other programs). There better not be; as much as I can I instruct programs to notify me of what they are and are not doing.

And after all this, another burst of writing right before sleep. From about 06:09 to 06:41, another six hundred or so words.

Epic Fantasy
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,262 + 1,036
(10.1% more)
aesmael: (tricicat)
Google Reader Shared Items
  1. Thank You Thursdays: Your (Notice I Didn't Say Female) Brain [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Comments to the post made me warier of this video. Did she have that brain cut in half to illustrate her point? Am pretty sure most brains I have seen are in a single piece unless cut. Much of her described experience of having a stroke is not unfamiliar to me, if to a greater degree. Not, I stress, identical, but apparently similar to something which can be accessible to me. If I were to release certain brakes, if I could remember how. I have a lot of hostility to the frame in which she presents her thesis, despite finding much recognition or even agreement in the details.

    I dislike the way people jumped on ropty's comment ("Non-gendered? Dividing the world into two parts, one is linear, unemotional, calculating and the other about feeling, emotions, timeless oneness. Gee, that sounds rather gendered to me.") because this is a thing which is done, this is a way in which brain functioning is presented and those traits are very gendered in this society. Also that my readings of other writings on neurobiology suggest this is a highly oversimplified perspective on human brain hemisphere functioning, though as this was a talk for a lay audience that may have been deliberate. And it still seems to me her described experiences are very 'on point' even if I am not so fond of her presentation of them.

    I wonder if making such experience accessible at will would have the effect on the world Dr Taylor describes.]
  2. Video: Blaser tournament unwisely fits Japanese robots with lasers -- PEW PEW [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. If we intercut this with some footage of people we could make a movie of it.]
  3. New Hubble Images Reveal Plethora of Interacting Galaxies [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Pretty!]
  4. Young feminists just want to "go wild and pole dance" [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer.]
  5. How To Sing Like A Planet [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Wherever there be medium and motion, music. The article makes me angry, with it's talk of 'merely' as if scientific explanation of such magnificent happenings cannot be also magnificent, wondrous or beautiful themselves. I lost a lot of esteem for the writer's prior musings when I read that part.]
  6. Atheism is a condom for your mind [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. The part I disagree with is the phrasing suggestive that removing religious belief is a part and precursor to mental hygiene and health -- I would place taking care of the mind first, and if that leads to the removal of religion then so be it. Someone eventually said so too.]
  7. Equality Through Intimidation? The Houston HRC Dinner Protest [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer.]
  8. Comical Surroundings [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. This is interesting but I think I would not like my furniture to be displaying always the same images and words. After so many repetitions reading, wearying.]
  9. Modular, shape-shifting robots get right back up to creep you out [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Shiny! Still a ways to go before they are as capable as the version seen in Terminator 2 though.]
  10. Australia to Remove Antigay Discrimination From 100 Laws [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. An improvement, but not enough.]
  11. Maintaining Moore's law with new memristor circuits [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Fascinating (a thing said when {in this case} interested but uneducated in a subject).]


Scienceblogs
  1. Vaccination doesn't cause autism volume what-are-we-up-to-now? [And yet we see how well the continued lack of evidence substantiating a connection is received. *sigh*]
aesmael: (haircut)
Bored with that titling system. Let's leave it blank for now.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars
  1. Thoughts on Day One of the DNC [Maybe I should amalgamate all the Scienceblogs postings under a single heading. I find something vaguely distasteful about this and the last post from here. Maybe it is an air of self-congratulation.]
  2. Effete Hollywood Elitists for McCain


Google Reader Shared Items
  1. The Future of Books [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Was expecting "E-books: Yea or abomination?" Instead, Pretty.]
  2. Laser pointers banned in New South Wales after rash of attacks on pilots [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. But I want one.]
  3. Super Mario Girls [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Cute, yes. Not everything needs to be done with sex appeal in mind though. And since when are "fluffy clouds with faces and bubbly turtles and blocky landscapes" unmanly? But I like the picture.]
  4. Cat 5 wedding rings help nerds couple [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. I, uh, don't know what these actually do.]
  5. Moe Angel with Headphones [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Cute cute cute! *save*]
  6. Bioware devs debate whether Wii is part of gaming [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. It seems an odd question to me, since the Wii seems clearly a device for playing games, but the post is just a quick summary linking to an interview. No, wait. That was a preface too. Interview here. There are lots of words there at the beginning but I am not entirely sure these people are saying anything... a bit like reading some Post-Modern discourse. It seems like an interesting question though: what counts as gaming? I want to say "playing a game". This talk of narrative... that seems like something else to me. Something called 'narrative'. Describing the experience of playing a Wii as "toy-like", or making a distinction with sports such as tennis, this seems to me like an attempt to mark gaming as a particular kind of experience, a particular approach to an activity. I think what is being gotten at is a degree of seriousness and immersion. I think it probably does constitute a bundle of approaches, any subset of which can apply at a given time, and what the Bioware folks are talking about constitutes one of these subsets. Although reading to the end of the page I think I misunderstood them a bit. I am being vague because I am tired. Possibly follow up later with input from others?]
  7. Celebrate Mario Kart Wii with alternate karts, Wii wheel substitutions [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Funny.]
  8. Working NES squeezed into ... an NES cartridge [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Wow, neat! This title messes with my ideas of how it should be pronounced.]
  9. SIU responds to anti-feminist email [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Oh, wow! It feels so rare to see such a desirable response, it can get disheartening.]
  10. The Fag Bug is back! [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. That's a pretty creative and great response to vandalism. Interesting seeing the change in tone of people's responses between the first post, in which Erin Davies starts her mission, and the second post, in which it is revealed she is getting a book and film deal out of this.]


Gmail Web Clip clickings
  1. David Wain Moves From Wainy Days to Role Models [Who is this guy? Why do I care what he does? I fear curiosity clicking from gmail has gotten the better of me...]
  2. Time to "Free the Airwaves" [Google would like people to be activist on their behalf.]
  3. Top Fun Date Ideas [These are not romantic? My idea of a going-somewhere date is to do something we will enjoy, so these seem more like standard date ideas than special fun ones. Admittedly I have been on very few dates in my life, but this makes it seem like something which is supposed to be very restrained in ways which are not interesting to me. At least now I know what an Interpretive Center is.*]


Respectful Insolence
  1. "To kill and cure cancer, you must first understand it" [Orac is as ever verbose.]


Signout
  1. The luxury of time [I've not encountered this blog before. This is... fascinating. Not much to say because processing.]


Uncertain Principles
  1. It's 4am [Labs are not supposed to be flooded. Unless you work in underseaology.]


My assignment is as done as it is getting, so I sleep now. Test in five hours.

*This whole response reads like something which I would respond to in someone else with scorn, as if they are trying to show off how special and above ordinary concerns they are. Ah well.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
Again, not so much read. Didn't I used to read more? Most of it after the point I decided I was too tired to do anything productive but not yet willing to sleep. Eventually I worked out why: it is because I am doing other things with my time, often social things. If I spend a few hours on Skype with [livejournal.com profile] soltice and [livejournal.com profile] pazi_ashfeather, of course I am not going to doing quite so much reading in the day.

Cosmic Variance
  1. Dark Matter and Fifth Forces [Unfortunately I know this stuff less well than I ever did, but still a moment of "Oh wow, that is really interesting" in reading.]
Google Reader Shared Items
  1. Biodiesel Mythbuster 2.0: Twenty-Two Biodiesel Myths  Dispelled [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Long, interesting. Not something I am really qualified to evaluate. Looks decent though.]
  2. Electric Skateboard (Double Comic) [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. skipped because I am not reading xkcd yet.]
  3. Gibson intros SG Robot Guitar, new edition of Les Paul version [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. My first thought was that this must be a guitar designed by William Gibson. I still do not know.]
  4. What is the big deal about stuff white people like? [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. When I started reading this I thought I would have some quick, possibly snarky thing to say in response, but it turned out to be a serious criticism of the blog, one that made a lot of sense to me. Oh, one thing to add. I am inclined to agree with the comments to this post that 'Stuff White People Like' is fairly conservative in outlook in cliche in line, but the way it is framed still does some good by jarring white people to take another look at their assumptions and culture. At least, it did for me the first time I encountered it.]
  5. Video: Little Big Man - today is a good day to die [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. A robot driving a robot. Sort of. But it tempts me to have thoughts about things so it must be art.]
  6. Australian government wants power to snoop work e-mail, IMs [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Oh, those insidious terrorists.]
  7. Toon: A Few Reasons Why (We Need a Transgender Rights Bill) [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Interesting. Not ever seen this site before. The rest of her work on the site seems pretty neat too.]
  8. Libraries in crisis? [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Refers to here. Not so great news for someone hoping to work there next year. I am not convinced the writer of the article knows what ey is talking about though.]
  9. Toon: The Joys of Tax Time! [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. If this keeps up, I may subscribe myself. Or this is good too.]
  10. Burning Car [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. First thought: bored. On further examination, fascinated by the moments which might be so captured and their preservation marking dramatically the stilled moments of time marking the shifting sources of these images.]
  11. Yuri's Planet [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Thought I had starred this for possible desktop use. Apparently not. Fixed now.]
ScienceDaily
  1. [livejournal.com profile] soltice[livejournal.com profile] pazi_ashfeatherLeishmaniasis Parasites Evade Death By Exploiting Immune Response To Sand Fly Bites [Sometimes I wonder what immune systems do when they are not being subverted. Sometimes.]
aesmael: (tricicat)
I am very pleased with the Keramik theme for KDE. Should have changed it sooner.

Although I removed the communities filter from my Morning Coffee reading list I still find myself not having the time to do things that need doing. It seems like most of my time currently is being taken up with talking to people and reading personal journals. The people I talk to are wonderful and I would happily converse with them until one or both of us dropped from exhaustion; unfortunately I am not good at multitasking. ~4 conversations and reading is about as much as I can handle without neglecting someone and with even one person it becomes much more difficult to do anything else.

Right now I want to make a terrible analogy and say it is like I am a quantum entity. If someone observes me by having a conversation with me I am collapsed into a particular form. Each person observes something different but none of them are what I am when no one is around (I wonder what I am when I am not around?), which is not necessarily bad. Possibly I sometimes need focusing and definitely people help with many things.

I think it is not the fault of other people that I have difficulty doing anything else when they are available. I think it is possible for me to have both conversation and productive activity and I think I need to learn how. It is also possible that attempting to understand people and formulate responses to them takes up so much of my brainpower there is not capacity for anything else of significance. Or it could be as simple as nothing else being sufficiently compelling recently. I should perhaps withdraw and take time to contemplate this.

Memo to self: resume efforts at efficient communication and composition.

Things I intended to get back to:
  1. The article I read at Encarta whilst undertaking my examination concerned the subject of men in professions dominated by women and do they face glass ceilings? I never did go back to it for further study. I'm not sure what they gained by specifically interviewing men who were successful in those careers. I do think I remember a teacher in one of my classes saying something which made me think there were more men in upper-level positions in the library industry (relative to their proportion within the industry as a whole)
  2. Probably in relation to this post, I meant to return to the matter of the donut and say that, since I could well decide in the future that it is not moral to eat meat I should refrain from purchasing any for myself. Unfortunately I have since broken this resolution on one occasion, but I have not abandoned it. Though it does make me look at shop food with longing (fortunately I am more tempted by baked foods)
  3. The other things can wait, probably meriting a full post

I maintain that I wish to be a writer. Insofar as I write stories I suppose I could claim that title, except I would not feel right about it unless someone had paid me to publish a thing I had written. Once I reach that point, then I can find some other reason to not feel comfortable claiming that title [insert canned laughter here]. This paragraph is aiming at the point that, if I become a successful writer there is a good chance of people subscribing to this journal who are fans and not friends. There are some things I want to be open with and others I wish to keep private and I am not yet settled on what things fall into which category. Recently I have been erring on the side of keeping too many things locked down and would like to change that. A shift in policy had crept up on me until nearly nothing was left public.

My mouse problems seem confined to Vista. It does not work unless I adjust the plug and was not responding immediately before I switched to Kubuntu. It is working fine now without adjustment.
aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)
    Been spending a lot of time lately reading this thread at Making Light, which began by talking about an overzealous attempt to remove copyrighted material from a website and turned to copyright itself.
    On the topic of free electronic copies and what effect they have on sales a number of people spoke up enumerating their experiences with downloaded e-texts, legal and not and how those have affected their purchasing habits. Most claimed their sampling of electronic text convinced them the paper version was worth purchasing, often along with other works by the author.
    I cannot recall if it specifically came up in this conversation but I recall many times people expressing the sentiment that e-books (will I settle on a term? no! well, maybe) drive the sale of dead tree books because the latter has qualities superior to and unreplicable by the former.
    In my opinion the reason paper volumes are preferred over electronic texts is because of 1) the current low quality of the technology and the commensurately poor reading experience and 2) the fact that the currently purchasing public has grown up with paper books. They have a resonance and history with us which is simply not shared by an e-book. Not once have I ever enjoyed the scent of one, for example.
    As technology improves and subsequent generations become less nostalgic about books-as-we-know-them I suspect people will be more likely to choose an electronic text over a paper one.
    There is also, which I have seen mentioned only once and not in that particular conversation, the effect on people's ability to sustain concentration of having so much material to read, so easily switched between. I would not dare to venture an informed opinion on this subject (Oh, but when do I ever?) but I will not that it has always been easy to put a book down and do something other than reading, for as much or as little time as one has available. It has not, however, been so easy to jump between such a vast amount of written material unless one has a truly spectacular library.
aesmael: (friendly)
    More information on the LED lighting project courtesy Corpus Callosum. Apparently they are indeed taking advantage of the lights' increased directionality to reduce light pollution. Yay for astronomy!
aesmael: (friendly)
    Several cities, in including Toronto, apparently are planning to replace civic lighting with LEDs. Apart from the environmental and financial benefits, this will hopefully also be an opportunity to reduce light pollution. Victory all round.

    Courtesy, Corpus Callosum.


(Isn't this neat? After posting here for so long I find I already have tags for nearly everything)
aesmael: (haircut)
For question 5. As a child, your voice was recorded for the phonograph discs that  were attached to the Voyager spacecraft, which feature the sounds of Earth, just in case the spacecraft ever wandered by an extraterrestrial civilization. Do you think they ever will? Also, if the Voyager craft were being made today, would we include an iPod  instead?

I want to say that no, I don't think we would. We might send a dvd but actually a phonograph is probably still a good idea to send. The beauty of the phonograph is that it is a fairly simple device and any ETI finding it would only need to work out that you put a needle in the groove and spin the disc to get the information out. Of course it would be very quiet without amplification and I don't know how we could convey the correct speed to spin it at, but the basics are relatively easy. The way we store information on a dvd would be as obvious as a phonograph is and I expect today we would send a dvd also, but getting the information out of it requires more processing than playing the phonograph.

Sorry, I get these urges sometimes. Also, I'm sitting on the floor because there is a cat in my chair.

The interview itself is interesting and I need to check out some of Sagan's books. Both Sagans, actually.

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