brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
I work in a store with a background radio, which means I have a fairly good grasp of what Currently Popular Songs *sound* like but very little idea of who made them, what they're called, and in some cases the lyrics.

And I keep being, just, utterly shocked to learn that a song was by Ed Sheeran. I thought I knew what Ed Sheeran's voice sounded like! I thought I was better at voice recognition than this!

It would be one thing if he had just, like, adopted an American accent. But not only do "Shape of You" and "Perfect" not sound like they're the same person as "Bloodstream", they don't sound like they're the same person *as each other*!

(IIRC, I didn't *guess* "Castle on the Hill", but it was a lot less surprising than these two.)


Admittedly, I do remember having a very similar experience the first time I heard a Phil Collins' Greatest Hits CD when I was ten or so: "wait, all of these songs on the radio were the same person?" And having to infer whether the radio was playing Billy Joel or Elton John by whether my parents played that particular song on tape a lot (they are both big Billy Joel fans, but have much weaker feelings about Elton John).

But I felt like my voice recognition got suddenly much better when I was thirteen, and now I'm not so sure.

(Or maybe it *did* get better but has now gotten worse again for some reason? Shame I can't just go ask my fourteen-year-old self to listen to a 2019 pop mix and figure out which songs are by the same people. No matter how accurate my *model* of fourteen-year-old me is, a model would still be running on the current substrate, which possibly sucks at this.)

Part 5

Feb. 20th, 2019 05:38 pm
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Word on the Runescape technical-support subforum is that the version of the Linux client I eventually ended up with works on and off, usually on the scale of a few weeks. The client maintainers say that the problem seems to be on the server's end and there's nothing they can do about it.

Sure enough, yesterday it started working. Presumably at some point it will go back to [immediately crashing on startup] for a while, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.


On one operating system or another, I've been having fun playing again. I think I might do a quest tonight.

Part 4

Feb. 18th, 2019 12:30 pm
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
After four hours of troubleshooting with no functional client to show for it, I ran out of ideas for solutions to try next, went "fuck it", and booted up Windows.

Sorting out which operating system to hang out on when is a work in progress. Am on Linux right now, and will stay here at least until schooltime is over (currently on lunch break).
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Not wanting to risk going through all the effort of coaxing Ubuntu and Runescape into cooperation only to find my hardware insufficient, I tried Runescape on my Windows partition first.

Turns out, the minimum available graphics settings for Runescape are very minimal indeed. There should be no question (at least hardware-wise) of whether I can play-the-game-at-all, only how pretty it will look while I do it.


There's still the software issues to deal with, of course. I mean, I guess I could play on Windows? But I know from experience that rebooting twice (there and back) every time I want to play a game is annoying, and camping out on the Windows partition for the entire duration of being-in-the-mood-for-that-game is even more annoying. My Windows partition is *not* set up for long-term habitation, and I don't even really want it to be.


(Writing these posts out, especially the first, *does* seem to be helping me sort out my thoughts on the matter.)


Feb. 16th, 2019 11:54 am
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Me: ...actually, hang on. We didn't choose this computer with Runescape-playing ability in mind: while we *did* choose it to be somewhat better than the one we were playing on before, their requirements may have outpaced us. We'd better check first that this computer is even capable of Runescape: if not, the whole thing is moot.

*a few minutes later*

Me: ...oh dear, apparently they haven't properly updated their Linux client in years and it has outdated-dependency issues. I *might* be able to sort through it given time, but this is clearly not going to be a quick test I can perform before school.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Me: Huh, I'm having Runescape cravings. I haven't had those in *ages*, and haven't played in even longer.

(Me: How long was it, anyway? *checks document labelled "Runescape Notes"* Wow, this to-do list is dated mid-October 2016. Yeah, I guess that timing *does* check out, come to think of it.)

Me': Maybe we should play? We did leave ourself some spare premium-membership credits†, in case we ever wanted to come back.

Me: I don't know. I mean, we have enough trouble with feeling overwhelmed by our to-do list as it is, and Runescape is so large and complicated that one's Runescape-related to-do list can easily be overwhelming all by itself. That was why we stopped, after all: they'd added so much content that it was just too much, we couldn't deal with it all anymore.

Me': We could just focus on one aspect of the game at a time and ignore everything else?

Me: I don't think our brain's set up to make that easy, and certainly the game isn't. We *like* to play a game optimally, and Runescape is so complicated that optimal play for almost any given task has a whole bunch of prerequisites, many of which have prerequisites of their own. And many tasks have real-time restrictions on how much you can do them, which means that *overall* optimal play requires switching between them all.

Me': What about Crawl? We don't play *Crawl* optimally; we don't even try. We *like* to approach Crawl with a certain amount of recklessness, not caring too much about whether a given move was technically the right one.

Me: That's because Crawl has no long-term meta-game unless you count stuff like greaterplayer. Crawl is almost entirely about the journey and very little about the destination: no individual Crawl game really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Me': I mean, *nothing* really matters in the *grand* scheme of things.

Me: That's a cached idea from people who are less egoist than we are. If playing Runescape would make us worse off in the moment *and* not set our future self up for a better life later, it is among the *worst* things that could happen.

Me': Counterpoint: resisting our brain's whims regarding which video game to play has, historically, almost never been a good idea. It makes us feel miserable and incomplete, and it should only be done under dire circumstances like a chatroom we run (and frequently re-read) whose archive is about to be lost. (and as I recall, it was in fact specifically Runescape that we were resisting in order to complete that project, and it *did* in fact make us feel miserable and incomplete; it's just that *that* miserable incompleteness was temporary, while the miserable incompleteness of not having a DS9 Rewatch archive would have been permanent, and so it was the lesser evil)

Me': Lowering our threshold for whether a circumstance is sufficiently dire, making us feel like playtime--and specifically playing *whichever game we feel like playing*, not whichever game we intellectually think we are in the best position to play--was a bonus for when everything else was done rather than a load-bearing psychological nutrient that needs to be given a certain amount of priority, is perhaps the single worst thing the financial nadir in 2017 did to us, and we should try to heal it.

Me: ...okay, you've got me there, that *is* an excellent point.

Me: Our current practice is to take civic holidays off, and there's a civic holiday on Monday. Since our exam is on Tuesday (I hope), we've already agreed to switch the Sunday and Monday workloads, taking tomorrow off and doing school on Monday.

Me: I propose the following: tomorrow, we take a look at the Runescape wikia, which last we checked was excellent. I'm sure they have a guide listing the time-limited tasks currently in existence. We will sort these tasks in priority order--completely ignoring any task whose sole reward is experience in a skill we already have max level in, even if we don't have max experience; we are *not* going to aim for max experience unless we somehow manage to reach a point where we've done everything else--trace back their prerequisites, and underneath the list of tasks themselves add a similarly sorted list of prerequisites. We may, optionally, pick a *single* additional aspect, and add that aspect and its prerequisites beneath that list.

(Me: I know this isn't how we normally go back to a game after a break, but we probably should *not* read through all of the news posts since October 2016: that's likely to be overwhelming.)

Me: We will aim to ruthlessly prioritise, and to not be too hard on ourself if we don't do as much on a given day as we'd wanted to. After all, if we weren't playing, we wouldn't have gotten to do *any* of it.

Me': *nods* [in the tone of one reciting a proverb] Some is better than none.

Me: Indeed. We'll see how it goes, and I reserve the right to leave again if we find we can't handle it. But there *are* a lot of good things about Runescape, and it would be nice to experience them again.


†Context note: Runescape dealt with its gold-farmer problem by legalising gold-farming as long as you traded with the gold-buyers in Runescape store credit rather than dollars. I was high enough level when they did this (and therefore had enough access to high-level money-making techniques) that I haven't had to pay dollars for premium membership since.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
In accordance with tradition, here is a picture of Pluto:

Pluto, its 'heart' prominently displayed.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
So, I was clearing out my Wordpress spamtrap today. *Most* of it was just ads for casinos and stock-trading and call girls (as they put it), the usual crap.

But one of them was a bot that saw the number of duplicate (botched incremental backup) and near-duplicate (reblog chains that I participated in multiple times) posts, *assumed I was an SEO scraper bot*, and offered to sell me software to make me look more person-like.


(I'm going to tag this "proud citizen of The Future", and I honestly do not even know if I am being sarcastic. I'm kind of in awe.)
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
I was supposed to have my midterm this morning, but the exam centre is having a snow day. (*looks out window* ...admittedly, I can see why.)

I...don't actually know what happens in this case, and of course since they're closed it's not like I can call them up and ask. I don't know if I'll be able to do it this same week, or if I'll have to wait until next week.

(I do know that my university is not going to mind, at least. When I told them I was having my exam ""on February 12th"", this actually means promising to have the exam on February 12th *or the 10 business days thereafter*, and exactly when within this period I have the exam is between me and the exam centre. As long as I stay within those bounds, they don't even want me to bother telling them if I'm late.)

((Fun fact: as long as the *beginning* of your exam window is before the semester deadline, the exam is officially not late even if you don't actually take the exam until after the deadline. Yes, I *did* once exploit this loophole at the end of a particularly rough semester to effectively get a free three-day exam-only extension. I asked first to clarify that this was in fact allowed.))

I'm not even really worried about the exam itself: I did the practice exam yesterday, and I got 95%, and it felt *easy*. But I *would* still like to get it over with, and failing that I would at least have liked to go to bed tonight *knowing* whether or not I have an exam tomorrow.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Current experiment: Status: failure.

A partial test run suggested that I should --reject "*unread=true*","*view=flat*" to save storage space (which *is* very much a concern, given that I like to keep a full copy of my stuff on my smartphone), but unfortunately it still has to *check* each unread=true, of which there are vast quantities. After four days, wget had consumed 30% of my (8 GB) RAM with no end in sight, and my computer was beginning to reach an annoying level of lag when performing its normal activities.

If I had a suitable computer that I could afford to completely dedicate to the task for a while, I might be able to manage it. Unfortunately, all of the spare computers lying around have even less RAM and might just straight-up run out if they tried to do this.

Well, that site was always a stretch goal anyway: I've heard you can already get a fair bit of it in epub format. Maybe someday after a RAM upgrade I'll try again.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Does anyone else reflexively swallow when a blast of hot air hits them in the face?

(Like, when you open an oven, stuff like that.)
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
Comments on my own posts:

Casual game rec: GeoGuessr

The one about expanding Internet access

Not a comment exactly, but I did add another paragraph to How to Backup Your Dreamwidth after getting a little more experience with the method.

Question of the Day: January 21, 2019 (the one about clones) [two comments]


Comments on other people's posts:

[Tumblr; Wayback] (OP by [ profile] cptsdcarlosdevil) Is porn a thing you *read* or a thing you *watch*?

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] ilzolende) Dreamwidth seems like a perfectly reasonable place to blog about gender and sexuality.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] contrarianarchon) Archiving tips. [two comments]

[cw: illness] [Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] somnulencelogencia) Nudism and sanitation.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] contrarianarchon) Insert that Shalom Sesame song about how hot it is here. (oh, hey, looks like somebody uploaded "Sing Around the Seasons" to Youtube since the last time I wanted to link that episode; the recording's pretty low quality, but a lot better than nothing)

[cw: nsfw text] [Tumblr; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] oligopsony; response is to [ profile] cptsdcarlosdevil) There's a difference between "not into anything on a list of eleven common fetishes" and "vanilla".

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] youarenotthewalrus) Just because Tumblr isn't deserted doesn't mean nothing's changed.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] thedarlingone) I linked this in the last roundup (the one about ask-meme responses), but there's been more conversation since then.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] glacialtimeframe) The best X in Y, whatever that means.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] ilzolende) ""Extreme male brain"". (it occurs to me that the post I linked has a followup post that I did not link; here it is)

[I'm not sure what content warning to put on this, maybe "unsanitary"] [Tumblr; Wayback] (OP is an anonymous submission to [ profile] rationalists-out-of-context) Does sexual arousal interfere with urination?



[Smithsonian Magazine; Wayback] (by Brigit Katz) For a short time, there was a living cotton plant in a tiny greenhouse on the Moon (as part of the Chang'e mission).

Laugh rule:
[Youtube] (by Matt Parker; h/t Mom) A stand-up routine about how unironically great spreadsheets are.

[Youtube] (by Weird Al Yankovic) I was vaguely aware of the existence of the song "I Think I'm a Clone Now", but since we've been talking about clones around here it seemed like an appropriate time to go listen to it.

[Atlantic; Wayback] (by Ed Yong) Apparently that "sonic weapon" American diplomats in Cuba experienced turned out to be crickets. Cuban crickets can sound pretty unnerving if you don't know what to expect.

[Tumblr; Wayback] (by [personal profile] ilzolende) More Dreamwidth-friendly versions of expanding-brain images. (example)

[Vice; Wayback] (by Joseph Cox) North Korea has its own operating system, and it is very North Korean.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
(followup to this (mildly NSFW) post)

I had a bit of Amazon-US credit lying around in my personal account from the time I tried to accept a gifted copy of Too Like the Lightning and it wouldn't come through properly, and since it turned out I wasn't going to need that money for its intended purpose I figured I might as well indulge my curiosity.

The book was fairly good, I think? I definitely recommend getting a broad variety of perspectives, but one has to start somewhere and this looks like a good place to do that. (And it comes with an other-resources section, with plenty of links to places you can start branching out into that broad variety of perspectives! Some of them I hadn't heard of, so those will be interesting to investigate.)

Some scattered livebloggy thoughts:

[cw: nsfw text, arguably some tmi, (mild) amnesia]

Read more... )
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
is the way it gives exactly zero fucks about mixed units. As an MSL (metric as a second language) bilingual, it's so nice to be able to just code-switch at it.

Me: "Hey, if gasoline costs 95.3 cents per litre and my car gets 22 miles per gallon, how much does it cost to drive 42 kilometres?"

WolframAlpha, not batting an eye: "$4.28."

Me: "Thank you!"


Anyone else have any favourite things about WolframAlpha they want to talk about? I haven't used it for all that many different things, so there's probably lots of great bits I haven't discovered or appreciated.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
[community profile] questionoftheday asks: How do you think you would get along with clones of yourself? Would your clones be able to get along with each other?

My answer:

Pedantic answer: I know my parents wanted more kids, but I think one sibling is probably enough for me. The exact answer depends on how much younger the twin is, since "clone" tends to indicate that your twin is significantly younger than you (rather than gestating alongside you).

Colloquial answer: I feel like I would probably get along pretty well with my forks, though if they're, like, Opia levels of accuracy we're going to have to spend some time diverging first in order to get anything done.

I'm not sure why "clones getting along with each other" would have a different answer from "getting along with your clones". Are we not equals?
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
We begin our story in 2012, when a game known as Find the Airport swept Tumblr.

There was (technically, still is) a website called MapCrunch. If you went to MapCrunch, it would display a random spot on Google Street View. You could interact with it in the normal Street View ways: move around, zoom in and out. You could, optionally, have MapCrunch not tell you where the spot was.

In Find the Airport, you set MapCrunch to anonymised-map mode, got your random spot, and attempted to navigate to an airport. (The idea being that you had awoken in an unknown location and had to make your way home.)

While Find the Airport had its good aspects and *was* possible to win (I won once, finding an airport in southern France), the mid-late game was often a long, frustrating slog. While there was always the possibility of finding a neat thing to take a screenshot of and post on your blog (and many did), the fun parts were almost all at the beginning, in which you attempted to figure out from contextual clues where MapCrunch had put you.


Enter the successor† to Find the Airport: GeoGuessr. In GeoGuessr, you're plunked down in an anonymised bit of Google Street View, and the explicit, site-supported goal is to figure out where you are from contextual clues. When you are ready to guess, you can place a pin on a zoomable world map. The site will then give you a point score based on your pin's crow-flight distance from the actual location.

It's still up to you how much assistance you're willing to allow yourself. Personally, I find it most fun to play by a rule of "I can use everything except other Google Maps tabs". Each round is a hunt for clues, often in seemingly-innocuous things, that I can stick into a search engine or look up on Wikipedia. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a certain gratification in finding that you already know everything you need to know to deduce your location, but playing with assistance is part of how you learn those things you need to know.

There are a bunch of modes, competing against other players or on certain restricted maps, but I haven't tried them myself: I just stick to the classic one-player all-maps mode.

It's a fun puzzle, and a nice way to learn some neat bits of geography and explore places you might never have thought to look at otherwise. And if, like me, you enjoy the puzzle aspect of stalking people but refrain for ethical reasons, you might find this fills a similar mental niche. Bits of Google Map, after all, don't mind if you doxx them. :)


This post brought to you by playing a game of GeoGuessr and getting within a few kilometres on all five rounds. Take that, rural Australia!

(it also helps that I'm American enough to recognise an outline of Ohio on a state-highway road sign)


†Although I'm not sure if it was *intended* as a successor, or if it was a convergent-evolution thing.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
I have been variously busy and sick, so here is a longer linkspam to catch up.


Comments on my own posts:

[none this time]


Comments on other people's posts:

[Tumblr; Wayback] (OP by [ profile] buckykingofmemes; response is to [personal profile] sigmaleph) Zeugma; Tumblr silently fails to display certain formatting under even more circumstances than previously believed.

[cw: cannibalism, fantasy racism] [Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] oligopsony) Thought of another thing to say about the ghoul worldbuilding.

[cw: poverty] [Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] theopjones) In which I continue to have feels about Vimes Boot Theory.

[Wordpress; Wayback] (OP by Ozy Brennan; response is to Aapje) Canada can't make up its collective mind about which date format to use.

[Tumblr; Wayback] (OP by [ profile] ms-demeanor; response is to [ profile] rustingbridges) Apparently the business-laptop market became very weird about two years ago, which suggests I have about three to five years before the laptop market I interact with becomes very weird. We'll see. (Maybe the businesspeople on the front lines will take the brunt of it?)

(Also, apparently there are people who *don't* get their personal laptops from the used business-laptop market? There are laptops that are specifically *made* to be personal laptops? Like, I guess I was vaguely aware that this was a thing, but this post--though mostly about business computers--brings it home a little more.)

[cw: discussion of infohazards (but without saying what they are)] [Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] somnulencelogencia) When someone tells you you're better off not knowing something because it will scar you for life, they're usually right. (To help you make an informed decision about whether to read *this* post: OP specifies which story the infohazard they're talking about is found in (no link, but enough to easily google it), while I do not; I have read the story OP refers to, and the infohazard there canonically *cannot* break the fourth wall.)

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] sigmaleph) Podcasts and video-game grinding go great together. Podcasts and sufficiently-simple archiving tasks go fairly well together too.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] thedarlingone) Various responses to the responses to some ask memes I sent; the longest bit is about the relationship between temperature and type of clothing worn (and how this relationship seems to often be a lot weaker in other people than it is in me).

[Tumblr; Wayback] (OP by [ profile] prosopanonymous; response is to [ profile] rustingbridges) The evolutionary origins of prosopagnosia. Addendum here.

[Dreamwidth; Wayback] (OP by [personal profile] thedarlingone) In which I help track down a link to a translation/joke-explainer. (Some pretty good fic recs in here too.)



[Atlantic; Wayback] (by Ed Yong) Fetal nurse sharks swim around within their mother's wombs (yes, there are multiple wombs), and have even been known to poke their heads out.

[Financial Times; Wayback] (by David Smith; h/t Matt Levine) The life of a professional yacht deliverer.

[cw: amnesia] [TextFiles; Wayback] (by Jason Scott) Happy 10th birthday to the Archive Team! (Note: this is the 10-year-old post proposing its creation.)

[Wordpress; Wayback] (by Martin Gregory) Professional trash-picker comes across a collection of photographs from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, showcases them on his blog. Some neat glimpses into the past here.
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
[community profile] questionoftheday asks: What is the worst bullshit you have ever put up with for monetary gain?

My answer: Incredibly tedious romance-novel-marketing gruntwork, which required just enough brainpower that you couldn't listen to something more entertaining while you were doing it.

Honestly, even that would probably have been okay if they'd actually paid consistently. Even the same (very low) amount of *average* pay, just with a lower variance! I know there's all that psychological research on gambling, rats pulling levers forever to try to get a stockpile in case of a run of bad luck later and all that, but personally I feel much more motivated to pull a lever for a guaranteed penny than for a 1/1000 chance of $10, and much more motivated by a 1/1000 chance of $10 than a 1/100000 chance of $1,000.

(Edit: although come to think of it I do grok the stockpiling aspect, so I suppose that's a bad example. But, like, there are clearly people who fixate more on the large value of a possible reward than on its small odds, and I am very not one of them, is what I am trying to say. I have to talk myself into gambles by walking myself through their positive expected value, and it's often not easy to do that.)


A different person might say it's the short-notice changes in schedule at my current job, but for me, when that happens I pretty much never feel resentful at all: my brain just goes "yes, this is why they are paying us such ridiculously large quantities of money, I knew exactly what I was signing up for and I regret nothing".

(To clarify, it pays minimum wage. But I have very low standards for what constitutes a ridiculously large quantity of money, and it *is* true that "must be able to handle short-notice schedule changes" was an explicit condition of the job opening I applied for.)


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