Irrsinn.net: taking joy in human unreason

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Fun Linkage

Weekly Linkage: All Over the Place

There’s no particular theme to this week’s surfing, but there are some pretty pictures and good reads here.

  • The problem with waste – Note that the list of not-recommended screenings include things like screening for prostate cancer in men older than 75 or colon cancer in folks above 85. I glanced through the USPSTF's procedure manual, and it looks like they're taking into account a variety of factors (age, gender, race, etc.), but their information is only as good as the studies they're pulling from. How worried should we be about researchers' biases (ageism being the first that comes to mind)?

    "So we’re confronted with a set of screening recommendations with excellent evidence that aren’t paid for, and a list of screening tests that are recommended against that are paid for. That’s how you wind up with a system that (1) costs too much and (2) has sub-optimal quality. You pay for stuff that doesn’t clearly work and don’t pay for stuff that does."

  • The Tiny Life , Archive » E.D.G.E. – This is one of the prettier tiny houses I've seen, and the layout is simple but complete. I'm not sure how I'd finagle office space in there without taking over the living/dining/social area. Keep reading >>

Tumblr Integration in PHP4

Turns out: totally not worth the effort in this case.

I’m working on an NPO site right now whose code concerns me more and more as I get into it. I’m new to the group and don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to the site, but one of my first tasks was to get the owner’s recent Tumblr posts to show on the homepage.

Keep reading >>

Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • How to keep someone with you forever – "You create a sick system." I wanted to cry when I read this.
  • Looking Back — Discord&Rhyme – "To be successful at bootstrapping, you have to cut every feature except those you think are absolutely necessary. Then you cut some that you thought that you absolutely had to have. You compromise your design because you need to get the product to market. You ignore automated testing and documentation because your code is too unstable to be held back by rigorous processes."
  • Launching beta, or “How to decide when and where to cut corners”
  • 200+ Seamless Patterns Perfect for Website Backgrounds – Pretty! They're a bit busy, but I think they could be used tastefully.
  • Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines – Courtesy of Greg. Apple seems to be getting off their high horse with regards to development tools. I'm not sure yet if this means I'll be springing for Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone.
  • These Dance Moves Are Irresistible – ScienceNOW – Courtesy of Michael. "The most important factor to the women was how much the man moved his head, neck, and torso, the researchers will report online tomorrow in Biology Letters." This is a really cool-sounding study. Thinking about the types of dancing I like to watch and see done well–hip-hop, even bellydance–I like fancy foot-work, but tight (pop and lock) torso and head movements do draw my eye more. Flailing arms are just hilarious.
  • Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers – Wonderfully (and miserably) timely for me. The last few weeks for me have been very slothful (as evidenced by the lack of posts here), with correspondence and projects piling up while I squander my time. I've taken to returning to my 3 Most Important Things per day. If I get nothing else done in a day, I will get whatever those three things are done. I know from experience that having the 3 MITs builds momentum so that I'll rarely only ever get those three things done.
  • We’re Not Paid To Write Code – This is a really well-written article on how we're paid to deliver a product, not sling code. This is a hard-won lesson for every comp sci major worth their weight I've ever met in their first 2 years out of college, myself included. I'm still not great at balancing quality vs. out-the-doorness on personal projects, but I've learned a lot more about what's acceptable business-wise.

Search-building: custom or Google

Until earlier this week, I had a lousy site search in place. It was one of Google’s Custom Search Engines, barely configured and only on its own page, due to it’s hefty (and blocking!) JavaScript. I’d long since disabled WordPress’s search since my stories aren’t being run in WordPress, and I didn’t feel like trying to chew on the internal search mechanisms to include the stories.

Last week, I started playing around with a project to create my own (Python) site search, including a crawler and Whoosh-based search. I’d seen the implementation of a Lucene search in Zend go fairly easy-peasy, and liked the idea of a self-hosted search.

Problem is–well, one of the problems is–the crawl time for a site with 1200 posts (most of which are low-priority) is a deal-breaker on a shared hosting provider. It takes far longer than 5 minutes just to collect the links, even with multiple threads. Add the parse time to get indexable content for 1200 pages, and I was stuck contemplating how to crawl and index the site in parts.

This sounds like a great, fun, project. …Except that it’s already been done and I have other things I’d rather be doing. Google did it; their index for my site updates surprisingly quickly and doesn’t make me afraid that Dreamhost will smite me. (I’ve been with Dreamhost for several years now, and while I’ve learned how to properly deploy a site since moving here from… Brinkster, was it?, I don’t relish the idea of learning a new environment for all the stuff I run here.)

So instead of the 4-5 hours I’d spent screwing with the Ikea-esque assembly of a site crawler and search, I spent two this week really making Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) work for me. Yes, there are ads. Yes, it’s not a solution that I own. (Then again, neither is my email, in that sense.)
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Recent Posts

Exploit: Zero Day “Headless Swarm” Landing December 1

So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.

*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…

It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.

Keep reading >>

Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

Keep reading >>

Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

Keep reading >>

July 3rd 2016
Tags: On Life and Love, , No Comments

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.

One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

Keep reading >>

Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.
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Questionable Decisions: Hot Yoga

I made a questionable decision this afternoon.

After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.

Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.

Keep reading >>