It begins

Feb. 24th, 2009 07:42 pm
longwing: (Infohazard)
In a fever dream of dusty apothecaries and brass gun parts covered in black and brackish oils, I devised a project who's scope is still just a little bit past my reach. Nearly a year ago, this concept took root in my head. It's grown from those earlier roots.

It will likely be months, perhaps another near year, before the public face of this project is more than a cryptic teaser page, but this is the moment when I became certain it could actually reach completion.

It started as a joke, then an homage, then gifts to my siblings. All the while, a single coal-fueled and steampowered question overrode every pause and doubt:

In the end, is all this no more than the product of mine own, Darkened Heart?
longwing: (Modding)
Damn you MIT. Damn you!

In my sciencefictional dreams, the world looks like this. Sodding MIT. I don't need another project right now, but you've FINALLY shown me a prototype for wearable computing that could conceivably be adapted for day to day use.

Obviously, it's still just a prototype, and wearable computing ~never~ gets very far past prototype, but it's easily the BEST prototype I've ever seen. Its well integrated and well designed. This is where the future is headed, and I'm looking forward to seeing it happen.
longwing: (Default)
I'm debating website names. Sorry, no slick polls, those are for paid users only.

Names I have thus far:

Sunken Library
(sunkenlibrary.com)

Final Codex
(finalcodex.com)

I'll take votes for either, or suggestions for something entirely new. This will be the fiction site where I'm posting my most recent project (at first) and additional projects later. I don't want to lock it into a single project, so it needs to be generic enough to support a wide variety of (my) interests.

Thoughts?
longwing: (Default)
You should see this.

Also, someone ramped a Nerf Vulcan up to 500 rounds per minute. Then they repainted it and added an aliens-style ammo counter. Brilliant.

Solstice!

Dec. 7th, 2008 07:52 pm
longwing: (Human)
Well it's that time of year again, when the skies grow dark, and we're called to fuel the fires of industry through unbridled consumerism, lest the sun of commerce fail to rise upon a new day.

What? Too strained a metaphor?

As is tradition, I'm posting my wishlist here. This is for the benefit of my family, who all receive this journal in one form or another. Last year, I asked for books, and it was an unbridled success. This year I'm asking for books, because why screw with a good thing?

Most of the interesting stuff I've found can be found on amazon, so I'm just going to link a wish list from them.

A few things are strictly indy though, so I'm linking them separately:

Dresden Codak Art Prints - They haven't released a HOB collection yet (HOB is Dresden Codac's opus, and a brilliant bit of wierd SF), but they do have some of his funny/surreal stuff available.

Rice Boy - This is a fairly weird and surreal tale of one little person, and their involvement in greater events. Rice Boy can't really be described, save to call it beautiful speculative fiction.

Map of the Firefly Universe - Brought to us by one of Serenity's graphics designers, this rather fantastic poster maps out the Serenity Universe. It's not nearly as official as they try to make it sound, but it's still pretty.

Firefly Travel Posters - These lovely bits of SF art are stylized posters from the Firefly Universe.

WIERD old maps/blueprints/diagrams - Metro maps from the 1500s, blueprints that defy euclidean geometry, maps of countries that don't exist. I've a bug in my brain about this, but no actual links to site. If you've seen a map of an impossible place, diagram of something that never existed, or a blueprint from three realities to the left of here, send it my way.
longwing: (Default)
Stealing a little news from BoingBoing, it seems that Kevin Werbach is a WoW player, and it turns out that his identity in wow wasn't hard to find.

He plays a Level 70 Tauren Shaman: Supernovan.

No, that's not the funny part. The funny part is the personality analysis, provided by the one who uncovered the information. Personality analysis... of a WoW toon... I'm not sure what's funnier, that there is an analysis, or that it's just about spot-on for Level 70 Tauren Shaman.
longwing: (Human)
I'm spring cleaning. Yes, I know it's not spring. Look, haven't you ever put anything off? Anyway. Staying on point. I'm spring cleaning, and that means I'm getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Most of it is junk, but there's one thing I'm tossing that I'll definitely miss.

I'm getting rid of my projector.

Ouch. It hurts to type that, but there you have it. I'm replacing my custom built kludge with a much smaller half-custom-built kludge. It saddens me to say it, but my current projector simply takes up too much space. Over the past few years, I've steadily worked to live smaller, take up less room, own less stuff. I'm only marginally successful at this endeavor, but the journey is half the point. I love my old projector, but it's too big and too bulky to live here anymore. I'm never quite satisfied with it, and I've reached the point where I need to say "enough".

Now here's the reason I'm telling you this: I'd cry if I had to toss a single splinter of my little monstrosity in the trash. So, anyone want a projector?

I'd love to see some money back for all the work I've put into this thing, but honestly, I'll be happy to see it get a good home. If I give it to you, I'd ask that you check with me before selling it again, or giving it to someone else. Who knows, one day I may have enough room and time to work on this thing some more, just not right now. I'll even toss in a television converter, so that it can be used for computers, tvs, consoles, etc. I can't ship it anywhere, it's too large and too fragile, so you'll need to drive to wheaton to get it.

Act now before I get all weak willed and packratty.
longwing: (Default)
This email has been circulating around my office, and I thought folks should know about this new 419 scam. While the letter may look legit, please keep in mind that cooperating with 419 scammers is dangerous. They'll promise just about anything to get access to your savings.

---

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson
longwing: (Default)
They... they actually released it? I was so certain this thing would be vapor ware.

Wow. I'm glad(?) I was wrong.

longwing: (Grin)
I just payed off my student loans.

All of them.

Thank you, that is all.
longwing: (Default)
  • Tiny 8.9" widescreen displays.
  • 1.6gz Atom processors.
  • Gig of ram? No problem.
  • Solid state disk? Standard. Would you like that in 12 or 20 gigs?
  • Most of them sell with Linux onboard by default.
  • If they don't have Compiz by default, you can install it.
  • With a 6 cell battery, they'll run upwards of 5 hours on a single charge.
They're the same size as my venerable Fujitsu Lifebook P1120.
Most of them weigh less than the P1120.

... and the most expensive ones weigh in at $600

Some months ago, I took a serious look at buying a Fujitsu p1620, the replacement for the 1120. At the time, 1620 cost upwards of $2500 (now down to a 'mere' $2000). I couldn't afford it; and now I'm glad I couldn't afford it. Asus and Dell are making my laptop; the one I wanted in the first place. Cheap, light, functional, and small. This is what laptops are supposed to be.

Granted, it's not all sunshine and roses. There's a compromise between portability and usability, reviewers agree that the 8.9" footprint is the right place to stop. I want my laptop to be even smaller and lighter, because I'm a mobile computing geek, but the prices shoot through the roof all over again. The U810, the OQO, the ux390, these are devices for people wealthier than me.

Still $3-600 for a laptop that does absolutely everything I need, and can still fit in my laptop holster? Sign me up. Besides, they're called Netbooks. Seriously, that's the new name for this size class.

It's a good time to be a geek.
longwing: (Infohazard)
This...

It rather defies description. This is a music video of Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?". It's good music, but that's not really why it grabbed my attention. In my jaded internet heavy mind, it doesn't even bother me that we see a singing, dancing, still beating, bloody heart.

The thing that gets me about this video... The thing that really gets me: It explains, with flawless honesty, how men feel when they are dumped. I remember what this guy is saying. I suspect that most guys remember it. It's like it's in my head.
longwing: (Default)
It seems that Alex CF (of the UK CF's) is putting one of his valued antiquarian artifacts up for auction. The auction house in question, eBay and Associates Incorporated is a reputable, if pedestrian, venue for the remarkable Master CF's work. Unfortunately, I will be unable to participate in the auction, the price has already climbed to nearly 300 pounds, and will doubtless climb higher. My own investments in several separate ventures will prevent me from offering any serious bidding, most likely, a university or museum will retrieve the piece.
longwing: (Dragon)
Please note, dear readers, that this article touches on a fairly graphic and salacious part of our proud nation's history. The hunting of monsters is not for the feint of heart, those with consumption, or those vulnerable to the influence of the Vapours.

The incredible story of Professor Jonathan Lake, has been brought to light by a Michigan inventor who goes by the moniker of [profile] absinthetic  . Professor Lake's remarkable work regard's continuing explorations of the Wonderlands. (Further photographic documentation available!)

{Readers may recall from earlier publications that the Wonderlands were initially explored by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the famed Novelist who sensationalized his work under the moniker of Lewis Carroll.}

Mr. [profile] absinthetic   has painstakingly reassembled the original exploration kit used by Professor Lake as he tracked outbreaks of Nonsense in England during the 1860s. Upon Professor Lake's death, the original kit was devided. Portions were sent to the London Museum for Study, while other elements (most notably, the biological and horticultural elements) were retained by Miskatonic University, where Professor Lake taught. Mr. Absinthetic acquired the pieces through a series of recent auctions and private sales. Until he announced the completed kit however, the intentions of the buyer had been unknown.

This kit follows on the traditions of other historians, such as the estimable Alex CF, who is considered a veritable giant in the field of Cryptozoological preservation and restoration.

Indeed, recent articles on the Aethernet indicate a general resurgence in interest for these often unusual and scandalous oddities. The works of Professor Ernst Blomberg cannot be undervalued in this regard. Professor Blomberg dedicated his life to the elimination of the Vampire in Europe. Many of his toolkits survived intact, as he had a penchant for replacing them after each expedition. Until these recent efforts by Alex CF, Absinthetic, and doubtless others, Professor Blomberg's work was the only evidence of the brave men and women who hunted the scourges of the night.
longwing: (Default)
"An ancient black cuboid, a coiled maw in its side, within which a space larger than itself, a corridor that leads to oblivion.."

Alex CF is at it again. He's created a new reliquary, this one chronicles the explorations of two cousins as they seek an ancient site of worship in the Sahara. They find what they're looking for, unfortunately for them. At the site, they find monuments of black stone, strange spirals, and unearthly geometry. Abyssal spaces that exist within mundane objects.

The story told by this handful of artifacts is fascinating and (par for Alex) quite grotesque. It's a story of madness, immoral experimentation, and impossible geometry. It had a deeply haunting effect on me, and I couldn't tell why... until I saw the footnote:

Inspired in part by “Solid Geometry” by Ian McEwan, “House of Leaves” by Mark Z Danielewski, and “Uzumaki” by Junji Ito.

House of Leaves. That novel will change the way you look at the world, not necessarily in a good way. House of Leaves was, behind all it's trappings, a story about obsession. It was a story about man's incredible impulse to stare into the void. We're so accustomed to assigning meaning to the world around us, that we'll throw our lives away when met with something incomprehensibly meaningless.

Both the book and the box therefor function as cautionary tales. Not everything has to make sense.

Hope.

Jul. 28th, 2008 03:35 pm
longwing: (Default)
I think it's important that people Watch this video. It's a sober reminder of the kinds of diseases facing young Americans these days. Be careful, it's possible that one of your friends is already infected.
longwing: (Default)
Tomes and Talismans

Reading Rainbow meets Damnation Ally. The last survivors of civilization travel America in a bookmobile. It's every bit as terrible as it sounds.

You're welcome.
longwing: (Infohazard)
Considering Asperger's from a dyslexic's perspective, you'd think I'd be more inclined to defend the legitimacy of Asperger's. I'm not. If anything, it makes me a harsher critic. Are most Aspies legitimate, or victims of a culture of over diagnosis? Is it truly a disability when it doesn't significantly impact one's ability to function? Aspies have a lot of trouble getting dates and interacting in social situations. We have a word for that: Geek.

It's worth pointing out that the number of Asperger's diagnosed individuals rises sharply in the Geek subculture. Proponents of the disease claim that our subculture lends itself well to the acceptance of people with Asperger's. This may well be the case, but if you read the symptom list for Aspergers, it looks an awful lot like a psych profile of the standard brainy geek. A number of the symptom lists read like astronomy charts: "Aspies are bad at math, except for some rare cases that are significantly better at math." Really? So what you're actually saying is that mathematical aptitude has nothing do do with your syndrome, because there's no pattern. Why include mention of math at all? The symptom lists cast a wide net, with a lot of opportunity to get yourself caught.

So on it's face, I'm quickly inclined to disbelieve in Aspergers; but dyslexia stops me from making a snap judgment. I know what it's like to have a disability that no one can see, and that no one really understands.

So I'm left torn. In a culture of massive over diagnosis, is Aspergers merely a parent's attempt explain their child's inability to socialize? In a society of massive stigma against mental disabilities, is such a judgment just motivated by prejudice?

I don't know.

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