Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Alligators and ear worms

Thanks to my choice in feeds, and Google’s sans of seeding radio, I’ve had this song stuck in my head.

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans
We fired our guns and the British kep a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
We looked down a river
And we see'd the British come
And there must have been a hundred of'em
Beatin' on the drums
They stepped so high
And they made their bugles ring
We stood by our cotton bales
And didn't say a thing
We fired our guns and the British kep a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets
'Till we looked 'em in the eyes
We held our fire
'Till we see'd their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns
And really gave 'em - well we
Fired our guns and the British kep a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where the rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast
That the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind
We fired our guns and the British kep a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where the rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast
That the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
Sound off, three-four
Sound off, three-four
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Johnny Horton
Battle of New Orleans lyrics © Emi Catalog Partnership

And some random chuckles involving alligators and cannon balls....

Monday, March 30, 2020

Signs of too much software:

Of reasons why I think there’s too much software installed += 1.

When I start debating between creating groupings by the suite (Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc) versus by the function (Documents, Communication, etc). So far, I’m still leaning towards the latter which is loosely how my iPad’s screens are organized.
RetroCrush: Free Anime Streaming Service to Showcase Classic Series and Movies

Interesting prospect. Especially with how hard older series can be to come by, between streaming services that usually cater to the past decade.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

I was like “You look so comfortable!” as I walked past, and Corky’s head shot up as if to say he’s doing nothing wrong, lol.

Earlier it had been occupied by a pair of cozy goonie birds.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Rules of Make-Ahead-and-Freeze Meals

Rather handy, and comprehensive right up. If you ever wanted to freeze yumnums for later: start with the above link.
The main reason that I’ll take a picture of dinner is to capture the dogs reaction.

And sometimes I get a few good snapshots.

To this I will also add that spinach, mushrooms, and Alfredo works better than anticipated.
Not sure if I should describe them as still comfy, or more comfy, lol.

Pretty sure that Willow, Misty, and even Corky are smarter than all of us. Or at least they're smartly more comfortable than all of us, lol.

Somehow in revisiting Resident Evil 2 (2019), I can't help but think Claire's route is better. Also that I missed the A-rank score by about 20 minutes.

Of the choice between Leon and Claire: you get largely the same story but many differences. Early portions mirror each other such as the gas station and the fire escape. Some are branching points like penetrating the watch room or the chief's office. Things also take different paths towards the end with Leon getting embedded in the Umbrella mystery, and Claire in the quest to shave Sherry.

But somehow, I think the scene at the end of the sewer segment captures it best:

Leon's time is mostly spent being a rookie man of mystery focused on Racoon City. And perhaps nearly getting eaten because he's more interested in flirting with the pretty girls than fleeing zombies. At best it can lead to Umbrella being exposed but it's all rather fleeting. But it's more exploratory than passionate.

Claire's a mission about Sherry. While there's much less intrigue without Ada, I feel the focus on the Birkin family makes a far more personal connection. We all know that Racoon City is doomed, 'cuz that's just how these things go. Plus let's be honest: the original game ended with a get to da choppa / nuclear kabluuy kind of end to the Spencer mansion. There's no way you're saving Racoon City, and no point in trying. But Sherry—that's a difference you can make in how the disaster plays out.

There's also how the two characters are introduced. Leon is driving into the city because things have gone dark, and he's supposed to be starting work at the police station. Claire shows up headed there in search of her brother, one of the original game's S.T.A.R.s team protagonists. You could say these kind of metrics largely keep rolling through how their stories diverge.

 So in the end, I reckon the question of which character's story should you take, is the question: are you curious or do you care? Personally I feel that Claire's route makes for a better game, and Leon's for a better novelization.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Odds are, if I was a decade younger, I’d sit on my arse and catch up on the video games before bed. But since the systematic approach to replacing my blood stream with pure filtered coffee doesn’t really scale, I think it’s time for z’s.

It’s quite possible that my rate of yawning is exceeding the glare rate of dogs accustomed to how early I doze off.
Fruits Basket Season 2 Joins Crunchyroll's Spring 2020 Anime Lineup.

Yay, season two hits this April! Two series I’ve been waiting to see return to the crunchy waves are Fruits Basket, and a certain reincarnated slime. Sounds like good things are coming.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Passing thought: we've increasingly lived in a world of long file names since the 1990s, yet out of convenience: we still tend to create three character file extensions whenever we pull new ones out of thin air.

One almost has to wonder if three is especially magical, or if humanity is that lazy. I would like to think it's just enough bytes to convey the majority of information, and still appease every lazy git alive. Because no one likes file names, or file extensions the length of a sentence 😣.
How to Customize the Look of Your Cursor in iPadOS 13.4.

This was something I had hoped would be possible after messing with the new mouse support. The default cursor is rather too damned tiny for my tastes, which I assume is an artifact of designers with 20/10 eyesight or a Mac thing. But it’s waaay smaller than I’d expect, coming from Linux and NT machines.

A little bit of tweaking later, and it’s quite nice 🙂.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Misty: “I wanted another snack, but all I got was this human chair”

now that she’s laid down: I’m not going to think about whether or not the follow up looks I’m getting could be called pouting, or not. The above photos are close enough, lol

Monday, March 23, 2020

Things that defy explanation: reading about rationing various countries experienced in WWII, and finding yourself in tears for a moment.

The diary of Tanya Savicheva, a girl of 11, her notes about starvation and deaths of her sister, then grandmother, then brother, then uncle, then another uncle, then mother. The last three notes say "Savichevs died", "Everyone died" and "Only Tanya is left." She died of progressive dystrophy shortly after the siege.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

On one hand, I should probably be glad that the dogs like me.

On the other, given I sometimes need to move a comfortable dog in the name of taking a leak, I’m probably going to hell, or where ever those guilty of disturbing a dog’s comfort wind up.

After disturbing the comfort of dog, and a change of venue as I get ready for bed, this is indicative of the stares I’m getting.
"You gave me half a treat. Where's the rest, human?"

Which reminds me her stash of bribes, I mean pretzel sticks, needs to be refilled.
This is how Willow looks when her expression is: "I was comfortable before being glomped on by a human who should have brought treats".

Or at least, that's how I imagine she would define my sitting on the bed, and paying attention to them after her nap, but not bringing treats until after (>_>).
Not sure what percentage of furry lovable critters could be defined as having a good home, but I would still suggest a cat or dog as a better reincarnation option than coming back around as a human, lol.

Willow has adapted a status of contently comfortable, and napping is awesome.

The comfortable ones. Remind me again, why I had to have opposable thumbs instead of paws?

It’s probably a good thing that the dogs like sitting with me. But some members of the tribe are less inclined to rest if they don’t have their first choice of spot, lol.

 Corky took the opportunity for a nappy spot, and often takes my pillow while I’m getting ready for bed.

When Misty jumped into bed, she was perturbed at not being able to take her preferred spot.

Eventually, the great Corkaboo relented under Granny’s gaze, lol.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A CORONAVIRUS AMA 31 questions and answers about COVID-19 My thoughts on what to do now and other topics. By Bill Gates| March 19, 2020 13 minute read

As usual: Bill Gates, and Reddit, generates something worth reading.
One of the better aspects of having gone grocery shopping a weeek or two before people lost their minds to covid19: being well stocked on pasta, and related yummies.

Misty, and the rest of the peanut gallery of course wish there was more sharing involved. Or something like that.

Needless to say, they will thrilled when meat and gravy treats followed dinner, lol.
Think I’m proclaiming it a new rule around here: no skipping the coffee unless you want to take an afternoon nap.

This shall be recorded next to “The more coffee: the better”.
Taking a quick stab at the Resident Evil 3 Demo, I’m kind of thrilled to see that it remains the kind of awesome that the remake of Resident Evil 2 was in terms of game play, mechanics, and general design flow.

Combined with the release of Doom Eternal, of course, I am rather tempted. And know the virtues of hiding my wallet....lol

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Comfortable dogs being comfortable.

Amusing time telling fruits

Top bar: 09:06
Clock over the Notification Center: 09:06
Widget on the home screen: 09:00

Sometimes I find it amusing how my iPad tells time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Xbox’s plugs and ports, a visual history.

Nice little view, IMHO.

I pretty much ignored the original Xbox. At the time, I had a Play Station 2 and a PC. By the time the Xbox 360 came out: I had already converted to PC games. So the first iteration of Xbox One was the first time that I actually used one.
Gabe Newell Opens Up About Valve's Past, Present, and (Unexpected) Future – IGN First

Watcher later list += 1.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Microsoft unveils full Xbox Series X specs with 1TB expansion cards.

So in short they’ve addressed my two real wishes on the hardware front, and jacked up the horse power for tomorrow’s video games.

One of the things I dislike about the original Xbox Ome controller is that it uses MicroUSB, and I’ve largely migrated to USB-C over a slow process of attrition. My controller is one of the few things I still use that calls for a Micro-B connection.

Something I’ve coped with is the storage situation. 500 GB of doesn’t totally suck 2.5” SATA drive is able to deliver load times that aren’t overly comical, but is quite a bit too small when major games are often 30~60 GB each. A decent 1 TB drive on the USB-A ports has made a world of difference.

Beyond that I’ve been pretty happy with how the original hardware platform worked out.
The other night, getting to ready for bed, I was treated by a comfortable Corkaboo.

Corky usually prefers lounging on the bed, or on the floor near my computer. Somehow, that makes me wonder how much idle heat my PC reflects off the wall, lol.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Step one: phone hijacks SMS sending to Android Messages, and disables function in Hangouts.
Step two: tablet can only sync my sent messages. Not getting incoming at all.
Step three: re-enable SMS / set default on my phone.
Step four: archive threads because now they’re two on my phone , and the other only gets a copy of mine.
Step five: send a new message from tablet.

Step six: remember that over the past decade, Google has gone from being one of my favorite tech companies to quite possibly the one that pisses me off the absolute most often. I really miss the days when their betas were more reliable than what the rest of us called release quality. Sigh.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Thumbing through my Hulu backlog, I’m surprised to come across Absolute Duo—and find it a rather excellent series.

It’s a nice mixture of ecchi humor, brutal seriousness, and cute jokes. So pretty much it’s exactly the kind of action anime that I would enjoy, lol.
There are times when I wonder if Willow’s natural state is comfortable.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that an alignment chart for Willow would be something like: “Comfy - Hungry”, lol.

Plans for my day off

My mission plan:

  1. Sit on couch.
  2. Slurp coffee.
  3. Be glared at by dogs.

Assorted dog pictures follow.

Corky trying to eat my hand.

Willow wondering why Pocky is only for humans.

Misty having a pre coffee nap.

Earlier: Misty in the blankets, and Willow keeping watch.
Minecraft with ray tracing: Everything you need to know

This reminds me: I haven’t really played Minecraft is quite a few years. Part of me thinks that should be rectified. Part of me remembers how absorbed I was on first playing it....lol.
Apple News Spotlight; Special Coverage: Coronavirus

I’ll give the fruit company this much, nice job putting together such a spotlight in their news aggregator.
Exploring around the Xbox (beta) app for a long while, I found it curious how scroll performance eventually tanked. By the time it became barf worthy, I noticed that one of the processes in its group was marked as around 2 GB. It also persists across coding and opening the GUI.

Exiting the system tray reduced it to about 2~3 something MB for the process group in taskmgr. Playing around, it looks like shifting between the list of games in category view and opening them for the detailed store view causes memory to go up, and be largely hung onto after returning to the list.

Ahh, the joys of memory leaks: and the reminder that even Microsoft ships more than a few bugs. For the Xbox used for Game Pass, at least is flagged as beta quality. Even if it looks like a resource sucking monster compared to something like Valve’s Steam client.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Users tell us what keeps the XPS 15 from being the perfect laptop — Engadget.

I find it interesting that the leading complaints here can be summarized as what happens when you buy a 15” laptop, lol.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cursors on the iPad - MacStories

This transform ability has been a large part of why tablets became my primary computing platform. Android since Honeycomb, and iOS since iPadOS increasingly so, handle the whole mouse / monitor / keyboard thing pretty well.

Whether I’ve wanted a device docked that can be my work terminal, or to lean back on the couch, tablets have served me well. Aptly these are both environments where I’ll probably yell at you if you take away my keyboard, or force me to use a conventional laptop, lol.

Much of my advanced computer use revolves around an X-Terminal, so it’s been pretty easy to delegate other tasks like email and notes taking. Where as at home, I’m more likely to be focused on reading and messaging. Tasks that tend to benefit from either a keyboard centric use case with a big assed screen, or from a portable touch screen device.
I don’t really remember the 2010 Census, but I do find it a touch amusing that in 2020: we basically get a web link, and a UUID.

Somehow that seems like great progress, but still amounts to several sheets of paper in the mail just to serve notification.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Over the course of my life, I’ve mostly determined that a few things are relatively true about e-mail:

  1. Email is either the best or worst invention, probably both if you grew up with paper.
  2. All mail user agents pretty much suck.
  3. All standard protocols for dealing with mail are ancient.
Point one is something that I’ve concluded since the ‘90s. Point two is mostly internal bias. Point three should probably be considered fact at this point.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

An experiment in laz^H^H^Hstubbornness with clocks

Sometime after getting a smart phone in 2010, I eventually changed from having my 90 decibel alarm clock to having one of my always on devices handle the job. Today that equates to my tablet and a triple alarm system: one to make sure the other two wake me up, one to wake me up, and one to make sure I don't go back to sleep. As a consequence for a very long time now: I've been down to just having to change my stove top clock, and the clock on my car head unit.

At the last time change I decided to skip updating the clock on top of the stove, and let it keep until today's time change. Because I'm frakkin' tired of setting clocks twice a year, even if I'm down to so few clocks.

The real question is whether or not my brain will quickly adjust to reading stove time as actual observed time, or continue to automatically subtract an hour. Yeah, fun.
My Decade with the iPad: Upping the Ante

For me it was the Asus Eee PAD Transformer, the original model TF101. My Linux powered netbook had fairly limited battery life compared to the bottomless battery life of a docked TF101, and the desktop struggled under loads that Android breezed through on even less powerful hardware. On the flip side even the lowly netbook could compile code far faster, but couldn’t handle the rising UI load of modern web pages and desktop applications.

Or as I like to remember those days, if all I did was type notes into a vtty, my netbook would often be dead during one flight, and was mostly dead weight on longer trips. That experience traveling lead me to consider a rooted Android just for the battery life. The TF101 was kind of special in that it had a good battery life, and that it had a slightly smaller one in its clamshell keyboard.

The tablet with the keyboard dock had enough juice to take three planes, and fall asleep watching Netflix before needing to charge. After that travel experience, I went on to using Android pretty extensively as laptop and desktop replacements until last year.

Beefy endurance compared to Intel brought me into the platform for getting stuff done. Having an excellent lean back on the couch experience kept me using it.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Having finished The Outer Worlds, I'm reminded of the last time I enjoyed an RPG that much. It was probably Dragon Age: Origins. Which are very different genres: Outer Worlds is a science fiction shooter set in a caricature world; Origins was a sword and spell tactical game set in a fantasy world.

There's two really specific ways the games connect in my mind, aside from the level of fun.

One of the things I rather enjoyed is the open ended way of conversing. In both OW and DA, you can pretty much respond to given situation how you want. Will your interactions be kind hearted, greedy, or antagonistic? It's up to you. While some games insert hilarious options, The Outer Worlds, like Dragon Age: Origins: is very consistent in this execution of choice. Down to the point that it may as well be a running gag being able to introduce yourself as the former captain of The Unreliable instead of yourself. Plus there's the case of choices that actually make a difference, and party interaction.

Another is the Not Another Sandbox Thing. I really enjoyed the Elder Scroll games, for an example. But the 2000s will probably be best remembered as the era of sandbox games, and when shooters traded the dozen guns in your back pocket for MMO-like skill attributes. But I don't really like "Open world" sandboxes as a game design. I find that they often cause a lose of focus, and in many games not made by Really Big Makers Of Games, it often feels more like a copout rather than a benefit. In fact even when it's made by big fish it still feels that way quite often. By contrast, Outer Worlds and Dragon Age: Origins are more like a series of small contained environments. You get the open-world aspects of being able to choose where you go, and how you go questing. But you're not dumped in a sandbox and left to wander around. I find this lends a greater focus to problem solving, and questing.

Pretty tersely: The Outer Worlds is probably the best modern RPG game that I've played in quite a while.
Moronic: thinking about snacks, and forgetting that I bought a box of Pocky on sale.

Scathingly brilliant: remembering I also have a thing of salted edamame in the freezer...
Corky managed this on his lonesome, lol

This is my version of a large breakfast, given that I rarely eat much for breakfast.

Of course I get plenty of stares from the peanut gallery.

Actually, 85% of the reason I buy the sausage is to share it with the minions.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

An update to my previous post, but dropping priority to "Normal" mode.

General system responsiveness is normal. Handbrake's average frames per second county thingy now goes to ~8.1 on average with extremes being more like 7.7~9.3, but it pretty well hovers at 8.1.

By contrast, applications like writing this post in a browser are now normal performance. It's even possible to watch previous encode without glitches and artifacts in the decode. But things like writing this post cause more dips in Handbrake's frame rate.

Overall, it seems fair to say "High" -> "Above Normal" priority loses 5% if you want a nice round number instead of a range for the average. "High" -> "Normal" priority loses 15% by the same method.

Where "High" = cripples the desktop session, "Above Normal" = makes the desktop session feel a few hardware generations behind, and "Normal" = makes it just another process.

I guess that solves that, lol.
A while back, I remember tuning the default priority in HandBrake's preferences, back when I made the leap over to HEVC. Mainly because the encode times are so long on my old Core i5-3570K, and because I tend to leave such jobs running overnight.

Well, for curiosity sake I've decided to see how monkeying with this changes things a bit.

In my experience, nicing processes on my unix systems is rarely worth the bother. That is to say, a nice system like Linux this side of multi-core processors tends to remain pretty responsive, and most people I encounter screwing with niceness tend to be pissing down the wrong problems to start with. But NT is not unix, nor Linux, so who knows.

Looks like the default priority I had configured was "High". Task Manager also shows a "Real Time" but that isn't in the GUI.

Net result is Handbrake proceeds at a pace of roughly 8.9 ~ 9.5 frames per second. Which works out to being closer to 9 than 10. Set to high priority also means that while the encode is running my desktop session is virtually useless, as things like updating UI state takes a back seat to next Tuesday.

After the first item in my queue finished, and the next began: I lowered the priority to "Above Normal". Impact on encode is roughly 8.9 ~ 8.3 frames per second on the average county thingy. So that's a performance loss of about 3 ~ 6 percent, but my desktop session is actually usable. UI updates like the process table in task manager now update in something closer to real time than melting an Titanic sized iceberg with a zippo lighter, and general productivity is passable. Typing this post is about on par with running a web browser on an older computer. Small price to pay.

That roughly equates to the encode takes less than five minutes less, if I render my desktop useless until the task finishes. Provided current pace keeps. When the entire encode takes a bit more than an hour per episode, it's kinda a meh perspective. Also a little nicer seeing my processor bouncing between ~70% and 99% in task manager instead of 97 ~ 99 %, lol.

I'm kind of reminded of XP, and my opinion that it could be very stable if you didn't do nasty things (or need shit drivers) to it, but being user responsive when under heavy loads it was not. As beautifully as the NT desktop has evolved since then, I still don't think melting a Windows box is as smart an idea as melting a Linux box, if you've really got to melt your system's load.

When the third file starts encoding, I'll probably try dropping the priority to normal and see what happens.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

First impression of Edge 80, based on Chromium:

"Holy fuck that's fast"
"Is this powered by nitromethane or something?"

The main reason that I had converted my games machine back to Chrome was thanks to Edge being flaky release to release about my tab change / load habits, which could vary from smoother to an effect like watching the GUI thread block for background tab loads or something. Moving it back to Chrome was mostly to get performance that was consistent.

In the time that I used Edge on that machine, I was otherwise very happy with it as a browser. In fact if they had been more consistent, I probably would not have bothered to change things around.

With the move to a Chromium base, I doubt that there's much reason to care anymore. The only reason that I'm actually left to care about is the bookmark and history syncs with my Debian machine, and I don't really do that much with bookmarks anymore. Most interesting history bits can probably be solved by Google's activity page, since doing anything in Chrome's history usually rolls as "Gah, crap, I'll just type a search term", lol.

New Fruits Basket Anime's Season 2 Unveils April 6 Debut, Creator's Message, New Visual

More anime to look forward too 😊.

While I never managed to get much into the original anime adaption, I found the new one’s first season to be excellent.
Halo's developers explain what can go wrong with unlocked framerates in old game ports

It’s also worth remembering that these kind of weird ass behaviors and bugs can occur on games  natively developed for PCs. Older games often have to cope with hardware that is faster than anyone imagined, and totally different from what the game was developed on.

A prime problem that comes to mind is the flying APC bug in MW3. On my older Pentium D machine, APCs would often fly up into the air and usually come back down. On my Core i5 machine: they never would come back down, or even be within targeting range most of the time. Which makes it hard to complete some of the early missions, lol. Today you require limiting the CPU speed and emulating a graphics card in software just to render it playable on modern hardware.

In fact, the game was old enough that when my eyes lit up at finding a copy of Mech Warrior 3: the next problem to solve was convincing the clerk to sell it to me because there was no returns welcomed, lol. I seem to recall Pentium 3s and Pentium IIs being high end processors around the time the game was released.

The Untold Story of the Man That Made Mainstream Encryption Possible

A rather nice but long read.