A set of videos, of particular interest to programmers, compliments of Metafilter. Delightful, recommended.

These are lectures/demos of brilliant stupid programmer tricks:

1) A DOS executable that only uses printable bytes. (SLYT, 25:40 (yes, long, but so worth it, and accessible to non-programmers), audio and visual both required)

2) On the Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SLYT, 5:33, audio and visual both required)

This is a work of art with accompanying making-of:

3) A Mind is Born (article with embedded SLYT, 2:21, primarily audio plus cool but inessential visuals) - a 2+ minute music video that is, in its entirety, a 256 byte program for the Commodore 64. This is now my answer to "can a computer program, in itself, be a serious work of art?" I understand about one word in five of the article; someone on MF said of it, I read most of the how it was done link, and I've been a programmer for 20 years, and I still say the answer is "black magic".

Oh, and a bonus blast from the past – I just got done fixing my broken video links post migration from LJ – 4) Life in Life (SLYT, 1:31, primarily visual, with cool but inessential audio). h/t [personal profile] nancylebov. I originally posted here; I had tagged it "sci", but I dunno, what do we call programming with cellular automata?

My second venture into the fanzine world was The Tides of Time. I can't find my copy of issue 1, fortunately [personal profile] sir_guinglain has has archived them all. It surprises me that of all the fanzines that have come, and mostly gone, since the 1980s The Tides of Time is one of the few that still produces issues, albeit on an irregular basis.

I've not been involved with it since issue 7, but [personal profile] sir_guinglain is the currently editor and, I believe, possibly looking for contributions...
To count poetic feet requires but
A little time. Not much; and yet within
The mire of... despair sounds foetid, and
depression's worse. Let's say the mire of
the forty-fifth. (It's not his fault I'm stuck,
Not acting, but, if honest with myself,
I'm glad to blame him for all sins. Sore throat?
Tortilla burnt? My wrist is sore? It's Trump's
America. Perforce, my staring, blank,
At laptop screens is D.T.'s fault, as well.)

Relief is mine that [personal profile] petra's taken up
The pen -- the keyboard? were it me I'd say
The microphone! -- to celebrate the week
Of blank verse blogs
. She's posted thrice, huzzah!
While I have scarcely managed once. Yay, P!
Tame Layman had sufficiently fond memories of The Talons of Weng Chiang that the Teenager was summoned to watch it with us. She indulged us, but I don't think she was really sold on it. She quite liked Leela and could take or leave the rest.

She prefers The Avengers, I think, which is possibly fair enough.

More under the cut )

Tame Layman and I had a lot of fun watching Talons and felt we were reminded what a great companion Leela was, but the Teenager's relative indifference makes me think that this is not a classic with real staying power. It is a bit too long for the material to sustain, it relies a little too much on tropes from stories that are no longer in vogue, and Leela (out of context) is not as refreshing and different as she appears to older eyes.
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
([personal profile] purplecat Apr. 19th, 2017 08:34 pm)
"Oh dear, this looks cheap," Tame Layman said as the opening shot swept along the corridors of Terra Alpha.

I acknowledge the truth of this under the cut )

"That was really rather good," Tame Layman said at the end, showing that a good script and fine performances can lift Doctor Who well above what you might expect its budget to allow.
kareila: (runaways)
([personal profile] kareila Apr. 18th, 2017 07:52 am)
It's been a stressful few days. Heather's father-in-law passed away late last week after a brief hospitalization, and the funeral was yesterday afternoon. And the day before that was Easter, with all the musical and family obligations that entails. Everything went well, though. I got to meet H's wonderful mother-in-law for the first time, and on Easter I got to see my favorite uncle for the first time in probably a year. (I was supposed to see him at Thanksgiving, but he was bedridden with stomach flu.)

We watched Harvey at my mom's house on Sunday afternoon, which is a classic black and white film starring Jimmy Stewart as an affable guy whose best friend happens to be a six foot tall invisible rabbit. So that was interesting. And Mom and I had planned to go this morning to a matinee of Going in Style, the new crime caper comedy with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. I'll probably still go, although right now I feel like I'd rather just curl up with an overdue library book.

The kids seemed to have a good holiday. In addition to the usual candy, Will got Math Fluxx and Connor got Exploding Kittens. We got another Lego Dimensions character, too, although I haven't found the time to play recently. Still pouring most of my available hours into Dreamwidth stuff.
Voice-hearers and clinicians: the World Hearing Voices Congress is being held in the US for the first time, Aug 16-18, 2017, in Boston, at BU.

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
([personal profile] purplecat Apr. 17th, 2017 11:00 am)

The first batch of Star Wars crochet figures.

B. somehow managed to mistake C3PO for Chewbacca. He claims it was incorrect choice of yarn colour on my part (TBH, it isn't really golden enough, but choosing yarn colours on the internet is non-trivial and it was called "gold").
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
([personal profile] purplecat Apr. 15th, 2017 10:41 am)

Survival has always felt like a thoughtful story that the show, at the time, didn't have the resources to do justice to.

I'll be interested to see in a few (10?) weeks' time how, nearly 30 years later, Rona Munro's next script fares.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
([personal profile] zorkian Apr. 15th, 2017 12:04 am)

Oliver was on spring break this week so he had no school, so his mom dropped him off Thursday night and I took a day of PTO today for some Father & Son time. We planned breakfast (pancakes, of course -- at Peter's Cafe down in Millbrae). [personal profile] afuna joined us for that then she hopped on the BART and headed off to work while the kid and I went south to San Carlos Airport.

We had a mission -- my airplane, N171MA, needed a bulb replaced. I also wanted to do some administrivia that I'd not done when we got back from our trip to Baltimore. The aviation data (charts, obstacles, and navigation data) needed updating and I wanted to pull down the latest flight and engine data logs to do some analysis. Also, I wanted to wash the plane and make it nice and shiny!

We took care of a few of the things and then we hopped aboard and started up. I requested permission from Ground Control to taxi across the runway to the wash rack on the other side and we got stuck about 10 minutes waiting for a clear time to cross. (They can't have airplanes crossing active runways and the weather was beautiful: there were a lot of airplanes coming and going.)

Eventually we made it across the runway and I vaguely knew where we were going but had never actually been to the wash rack before. I ended up going down the wrong aisle into a dead end. One of the things about airplanes is that virtually none of them can go backwards. They only go forwards. If you end up going down an aisle that doesn't have an exit like I did today, you have to shut everything down and disembark, fetch the hand tug, and then reorient the bird yourself. It's slightly annoying, particularly when you get turned around (unf! heavy!) and then have to ask Ground Control for permission to taxi because you "missed". Whoops.

We finally got around to the wash rack which was more complicated than I expected and I ended up parking in front of what I thought was the rightmost of two washing spots. I realized halfway through that you were intended to park in the middle of the two hose reels -- the one on the left was attached to a 55 gallon drum of soap and the one on the right was for rinsing. I didn't feel like repositioning by hand for a second time in one day so I just used the plain water and did the best we could.

When we were done Oliver asked if we were going to take off now. I had not planned on flying anywhere and was only there to do incidentals related to aircraft maintenance, but it wasn't like I had better plans... I asked him if he wanted lunch and if he wanted to fly somewhere to get lunch and he seemed keen on the idea. It's important to note that this would be his third flight ever and his previous two were short flights and we didn't go anywhere really -- plus [personal profile] afuna was on those flights to help if anything went south. This would be a real flight: ~30 minutes to Petaluma, lunch, ~30 minutes home -- and no backup.

He was keen on the idea and I got excited so we got ready to go and then departed. Blasting off into the brilliant blue sky -- I love my airplane. It's an amazing machine and flying is the most wonderful feeling and there I was, my son next to me with his red headset on. I had the stupidest grin on my face. As soon as we launched, Oliver piped up on the intercom: "Dad. Don't turn us upside down." I assured him I would definitely not turn us upside down.

We were cleared through the SFO Bravo airspace and it got a little bumpy. Unfortunately because of the large amount of air traffic in the area (particularly going north from San Carlos!), I was pretty constrained in where I could fly and I couldn't really alleviate the turbulence but it turned out that he didn't seem to mind -- it was a little bumpy but at least once he said it was fun. (I had quietly grabbed the sick sack and prepared it just in case...)

At some point near SFO we were cruising along and out of nowhere Oliver said, "Dad, I'll help!" and leaned forward, grabbed the control stick, and pulled back. This immediately caused the airplane to pitch up and startled the poor kid. I basically always fly with my hand on the stick so I gently brought us back to level but I think he cured himself of wanting to grab the stick!

We made it up to Petaluma and landed without incident and took a selfie. He wanted to hop up on the wing, so that's why he's standing up here:

We went to the Two Niner Diner (a lovely place!) and he wanted grilled cheese, french fries, ketchup, and a strawberry milkshake. They make 'em right, too: brought him the shake and a tin with some extra. His little mind exploded "I get two milkshakes?!?!" and he was in nirvana. The staff was super taken by him and by the end of the meal he gave the proprietor a sudden hug and she got a little startled and said "That made my day -- you have no idea, you really made my day."

The flight home was pretty uneventful. Oliver fell asleep halfway back and I debated flying circles just to make the moment last longer but ended up just heading back and landing. I made what is probably my smoothest, shortest landing yet in the plane and managed to taxi off at the Foxtrot exit from 30. (I know that won't mean much to anybody but it feels good.)

When we got home later, Oliver gave me a hug and said, "I love you Dad. This is the best day ever."

I'll be over here in a puddle of warm fuzzy feelings and goo.

jadelennox: Ghost from the book Epic: black girl in shades, gun, awesome. (chlit: ghost)
([personal profile] jadelennox Apr. 14th, 2017 10:48 pm)
Spoilers, but I'm keeping most of them vague.

The Ugly )

The Meh )

And the Awesome )

Brian and Mia being gone does hurt the chemistry; it's such a damn shame. Rest peacefully, Paul Walker.
I'm about to leave for Fate of the Furious, which only gives me a few minutes to kvell about everything I love about this franchise. I am still regularly the recipient of blank stares from friends who say, "You like the Fast and the Furious movies? Those are the ones with the cars, right? You?"

Here's what those movies have:
  • Chosen family,
  • Who really look out for, like, and are there for each other,
  • Nobody with special powers ordained by the gods or the mutant spiders, or born ludicrously rich or talented
  • But just ordinary people who spend a lot of time perfecting their skills at the things they love,
  • Which happens to be driving and fixing fast cars,
  • And taking down evil drug lords.

They also have a racially diverse cast that literally has a token white guy, and the more recent ones usually pass the Bechdel test -- with multiple women of color -- in the first five minutes.

They have minimal CGI (they tossed some cars and some camerapeople with parachutes off an airplane) and it shows.

I don't particularly care about cars, but I don't inherently care about superheroes or spies either. The cars are a MacGuffin for me.

...it doesn't hurt the movies are filled with beautiful people being beautiful.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
([personal profile] purplecat Apr. 13th, 2017 06:35 pm)
This is the last travel picspam for a while I promise. I was there to deliver a lecture on Verifying Autonomous Ethical Systems to Matryoshka's Machine Ethics class.

Pictures under the cut )
siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Apr. 12th, 2017 09:43 pm)
SfALFM continues! [personal profile] tn3270 and I have now toured five assisted living facilities on the North Shore.

I am v. tired. Pleased, though; I think we got a lot accomplished.

The five we've seen seem to have slotted into:

1) The Luxurious One – has a movie theater and a pub, and, being attached to an independent living facility, has higher-brow cultural events and activities; also super convenient for residents to go shopping, being ~across the street from a shopping plaza.

2) The Affordable One With Big Rooms (But Kosher and Minimal Services) – also notable for being the one place that had anything like a ready answer for "how do you handle conflict between residents?" Also super convenient from highway. Seemed to try to facilitate friendships.

3) The Service One (But The Rooms Are Tiny And Only One Elevator) – had higher than usual staffing levels, and waits on the residents hands-and-feet. The people we met with were super nice, but we're freaked out about there only being one elevator. Also, the smallest facility, which has both pros and cons. As expensive as the Luxurious One.

4) The Community One (With the Staff Evasive About Prices) – has resident democracy and highly involved residents (resident-run welcome wagon, etc). The only place a resident initiated conversation, and she turned out to be v. enthusiastic about it. May be a bit cultish. Explicitly willing to support residents in occasional recreational cooking. V. SJ, particularly ESFJ.

5) The Sucky One (But Has A Low Income Program) - the one with the scarily awful sales person. Reasonably large rooms. Also, costs as much as the Luxurious One.
After Washington, I spent a day in Pennsylvania with [livejournal.com profile] firin and family. We had planned to go to Philadelphia but miscellaneous events intervened so we went to a local Botanic garden instead.

Flowers under the Cut )
kareila: Taking refuge from falling debris under a computer desk. (computercrash)
([personal profile] kareila Apr. 11th, 2017 10:46 am)
Mostly camped out at home working on Dreamwidth code and support, and will probably continue to be for the foreseeable future. A few exceptions:

- Went with the usual suspects to see the new Ghost in the Shell movie. I liked it for what it was, although I would have liked it better if they had made different decisions. And now I need to dig out my DVDs of the first season of Stand Alone Complex.

- Saw Explosions in the Sky perform here on Sunday night. Again with having to stand for hours, but at least we found a rail to lean on that mitigated the worst of it.

- Took the boys for their Easter haircuts. Luckily I planned ahead and got their new clothes last month. Still need to think about basket treats, though.

And two weeks from today is Connor's school field trip to Montgomery to see the state capitol and the governor's mansion. Said governor resigned yesterday under a cloud of scandal, so that will make things SUPER interesting.
purplecat: (academia)
([personal profile] purplecat Apr. 11th, 2017 02:30 pm)
At the start of March I spent 2 Days in Washington at a slightly odd workshop on Incorporating Ethics into Artificial Intelligence. I knew, from following [livejournal.com profile] gregmce on Strava, that there was a nice looking run around the National Mall and so most of the photos below are from that - often early in the morning because Jet-Lag.

Picspam Under the Cut )