Archive for April 2004

testing 2

moblog
oh ho, moblog photo posting at home! word!

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catholic services in SecondLife

“Thought you might find this newsworthy,” someone named Etain Peregrine tells me yesterday, by Instant Message. “There’s an ‘authentic Catholic mass’ happening right now, Sunday morning, on Second Life.”

It’s about 11:30AM, and though I don’t often go in-world on the weekend– or, to be frank, go to church– I log in, and Etain teleports me into Indigo. Where there is, as it turns out, something very much like an authentic Catholic mass already in progress. A man named OmegaX Zapata is at the altar, and he’s dressed in priestly garments, and he’s reciting the liturgy:

“When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples and said: ‘Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant…’”

Someone hands me a liturgical book, when I enter, and it’s what Indigo’s parishioners are using, to read along with the Mass.

Lord… remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them all the departed into the light of your presence…

This actually isn’t the first church in Second Life to offer services– of course, the many weddings held in-world are usually performed in churches– nor is it first to be used with a genuine intent to worship. A few weeks ago, for example, a church was evidently built by a Second Life resident who happened to be a retired Episcopalian priest. (His grandson, another resident, helped set up his account.) The church was removed, after another resident gave the church a negative rating, with a statement to the effect that she didn’t care to see the promotion of religion, in Second Life. (Unlike previous churches, this one apparently involved a fair amount of proselytizing; for instance, one resident told me, the retired priest was handing out T-shirts that read, “Jesus had a Second Life, too.”) In any case, the negative rating unleashed a flurry of controversy, in the Second Life forum, on the bounds of theology, free expression, and community. Did it constitute religion bashing? Should religious symbols and buildings enjoy some kind of social exemption from negative ratings, or should they be fair play for such criticism, just like political objects? The rhetoric raged back and forth, and somewhere in there, for whatever reason, the church was removed, and for whatever reason, the retired-clergy resident has not responded to an interview request.

Meanwhile, Rafin Grimm, the angel-winged owner of Indigo’s church, is leading the faithful in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. “… thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” and beat for beat, nearly all of it matches the Catholic Masses I attended every Sunday, as a boy, at St. John Vianney in Kailua.

“The peace of the Lord be with you always,” says Father Zapata. (And the title of his avatar designates him as “Father”.) “And also with you,” the churchgoers reply, and I already know the priest’s next words, before they arrive on my screen. “Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”

A dozen or so residents turn in their pews and give words of greeting to each other.

“Peace be with you, everybody,” says Rafin, smiling. Hank Ramos offers peace to Zate Kojima, who offers peace to everyone, and to someone named wench Phaeton.

“Like all churches,” my friend Fizik Baskerville whispers to me, “people are asleep in the back rows.” And so they are.

“Peace be with the two away-from-keyboard bodies in the back!” Zate adds, laughing.

[New World Notes]

trippy shit, man. Virtual church. I saw this on the events board for sunday as I was praying to the LSL API documentation gods and thought huh, authentic catholic mass. Welp, I’ve got my political sign, they’ve got their religious services. This is truly an open system. Much respect to Linden labs for letting the system largely self-organize.

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LSL – learning tons

I’ve been spending some time learning all I can about Linden Scripting Language, or LSL – the programming language for Second Life. Hey, if you play, drop me a line, I’m catnip foo in-game. Anyway, I’m trying to learn how to program in a language other than PHP and javascript/actionscript. I’m advancing towards making a turtle-like logo sort of programming thing. You give it some basic commands, and it makes some geometric pattern out of primitives. It’s pretty exciting, because I’m starting to make some good progress. There are all kinds of weird ways to make objects talk to each other, and pass commands and data to objects from objects. It’s pretty crazy. Like how weird actionscript is the first time to walk into it. “frame based events?” only with another whole dimension tacked on. Torque, omega, Z, bouyancy… lots and lots of new concepts, especially since I’m realtively new to programming… 3 years of php has taught me so many things, so it’s a good exercise to branch out and learn how to abstract the concepts beyond a specific syntax.

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Wow! I get a lot of hits to this page now! Hmm, where are people coming from? Hmm, oh. Lotta bots. Maybe I should try looking at the number of hits to this page without the bots.

SELECT * FROM `my_counter_table` WHERE 1 AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%bot%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%borg%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%slurp%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%scout%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%creep%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%crawler%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%spider%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%jeeves%’ AND `HTTP_USER_AGENT` not like ‘%teoma%’

Ah, hmm. Almost 40% of my traffic has been in the form of a bot of some sort.

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plichemé

Plichemé – n. A pile of cliche memes. I made this word up, but.. I think there’s a better one as referenced here at Milk and Cookies – “animutation”…

wait, let me save you some time, here’s a definitive work… I’m so late to the party.

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split

Live and learn, huh? I’ve spent hours splitting files by hand for major promotions we’ve run in the past… just taking a large set of data and breaking it into 15000 line smaller files used to take forever. I found a program that does that on mac os x, but I lost it… now I come to find there’s been one there the whole time from the terminal:

split -l15000 pp_out_7864.txt

Omg. Perfect 15k line sub-files. Dang. I want those days back now.

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MRI scan for Autistic youths

cnn.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — Only Michael Berman’s small thumbs move inside the giant MRI machine, pushing buttons in a video game-like test as the scanner measures how the youngster’s brain processes light and motion.

At 6, he’s one of the youngest children to undergo such advanced scanning as part of a new effort to discover what goes wrong inside brains affected by autism.

It’s work that might lead to much earlier diagnosis of the mysterious neurological disorder. It usually goes undetected until age 3 or later, when much of the damage to the developing brain is thought already to have been done.

“The feeling is if you intervene early, it’ll be more effective,” explains Dr. Thomas Zeffiro of Georgetown University Medical Center, who is researching technology that he hopes will go a step further and one day scan preschoolers’ or even infants’ brains.

“It’s very controversial if there is a critical period” for thwarting autism, he cautions. “If there is, there could be a dramatic change in the way we approach kids with developmental disorders.”

Doctors do prenatal diagnostics up the wazoo. It seems logical that you’d want to include the most thorough diagnostic tools after the baby is born, doesn’t it? Where do we sign up to be included in that scientific data contribution when we’re ready for kids? As always, it’s better to start collecting data now, and analyze it later if you can’t make sense of the small data sample now.

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why bother?

Why bother spending so much time whistle blowing on other people’s campaign finance contributions? I recognize how creepy it is. I wish we didn’t have to spend so much time doing the right thing. I wish we lived in a world where we could trust every politician to uphold the laws they make. I wish we could have faith in the election process.. that’s it’s fair and perfect.

But, it’s not.

We’ve seen the corrupt politicians in the highest office, we’ve seen politicians taking advantage of their title for personal gain, and we’ve seen the election process fail miserably. Democracy lives and dies by the people who work towards making it fair. When people stop caring, democracy is doomed.

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campaign finance violations in saratoga, ca

Ok, good to know, La Fondue is owned by a republican. There’s something wrong with charging a big ticket for melted cheese and chocolate. Ok, maybe that’s not illegal, but… no one is allowed to contribute more than two thousand dollars to any political candidate for any given election year. Check out what Fundrace.com shows:

TRACEY CUTLER
SMALL BUSINESS OWNER
LA FONDUE
George W. Bush $2,000 privacy
SARATOGA, CA 95070 3.09 miles
Tracey J. Cutler
Small Business Owner
La Fondue
George W. Bush $270 privacy
Saratoga, CA 95070 3.09 miles

Hey, way to break the law there! Whereas, you could have done it right, not broken any laws, and been an inspiration to the youth like this guy:

Steve Wozniak
CEO
Wheels of Zeus
Howard Dean $2,000 privacy
Los Gatos, CA 95032 3.20 miles
Steve Wozniak
CEO
Wheels of Zeus
John Kerry $2,000 privacy
Los Gatos, CA 95032 3.20 miles

See, that’s totally legal… because they’re different candidates. So… now what? Your campaign finance law breaking activities are available for concerned citizens like myself to see. The obvious answer is that “oh, they returned the excess contribution”… Right. Well, it puts you in a bad light. We won’t be coming to your business. Keep track of your contributions next time, and play by the rules.

oh.. in case you’re wondering, I researched this myself, here’s what the law says:

the PDF, page 68
§ 441a. Limitations, contributions, and expenditures (a) Dollar limits on contributions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (i) and section 315A (2 U.S.C. § 441a-1), no person shall make contributions— 1 (A) to any candidate and his authorized political com­ mittees with respect to any election for Federal office which, in the aggregate, exceed $2,000;

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No More Years press coverage in Second Life

Download this graphic for free!

Let the record show that March 10, 2004 at 5:55pm (PST) was the first time I observed a reference to the 2004 United States presidential election, with this provocative sign advocating against Bush’s re-election in Teal. More will surely arrive, as we near November, and New World Notes plans to cover this online campaign right up until the ballots start coming in. (And maybe even into inauguration day, if any celebrations/mourning ceremonies happen to go on in here.)

Of course, NWN seeks to be at all times a non-partisan publication, so I’ll be on the lookout for all variations of campaigning, regardless of political stripe– pro-Bush/anti-Kerry, pro-Kerry/anti-Bush, even pro-Nader/anti-Nader, their in-world advocacy will be reported on here.

[New World Notes]

Wow. Thank you for the coverage!

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phpix improvements

PHPix is by far the best mass-drag-and-drop no maintenance gallery software that doesn’t cost a dime and doesn’t require you keep a database of information about your thousands of images. I’ve been adding little things here are there to it for the past 3 years.. since the big migration to version 3, I hadn’t had a chance to roll in my flexible license code, the description saver, or any way to rotate images. Today, I’m pleased to announce all three of these improvements to the code are complete. The one thing about sourceforge is that while yes, it’s a great resource, it’s drastically overkill for a small project like phpix. Therefore, if you’d like to see the improvements I’ve made, and you’d like to roll them into your own version of phpix 3.0, I’d be more than happy to help the one or two of you who will actually want this. :) Seriously, I’ve helped every one of the 6 people who have asked me for my code improvements over the years. I’m sorry I’m not better at sourceforge, and I’m sorry I can’t get onto the developer team for any of the distributions of phpix. I’d love to be a project contributor since i’ve completed the following code improvements:

description saver: an admin page with a textarea box to automatically save a text description of a photo with the right filename in the right folder location.

Image rotate: ridiculously easy once I actually sat down to tackle it. Too bad it’s taken 3 years to figure out one terminal call. oh well, it works now. :)

flexible license application: works similar to a image description to let you save a custom copyright or creative commons text file in a folder to apply that license notice to all images in that folder.

quicktime and MIME utilization: SWF, MOV, AVI, MPG, MP3, PDF, and any… any kind of file that quicktime understands can now benefit from the simplicity of phpix. You drag a folder of .MPG or .AVIs from your digital camera (like my canon s45) and they’re instantly viewable on the web… no muss, no fuss.

So… if you want these features for your PHPix version 3 or higher installation, drop me a comment here or email me if you can find me.

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$14 steady-cam

$14 steadycamBrian sez: “For less than 5% of the price of a real Steadicam (the ones made for small video cameras go for about $900), you can apparently build your own “Steady-Cam” for $14 with parts from a hardware store. The sample video makes it look pretty good. Great gift for the amateur videographer in your life who refuses to use a tripod, the bastard. (Oh, and stabilized images compress much better for the Web, too.)” Link
[Boing Boing Blog]

Hey, Jus… maybe this would come in handy at some point for you…

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subservient chick … but why?

yeah yeah yeah… burger king – subservient chicken – highly viral… but WHY??? WTF?? deeje provides the answer:

“have it your way”

Right.

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Guinness is a lite beer … Mmm, beer

Courier Press

Drink to your health

By Kevin Hunt, The Hartford Courant
April 9, 2004

A man walks into a bar and orders a 12-ounce bottle of Corona Extra. Another man walks in and orders a 12-ounce Guinness draft.

The two men turn to each other, raise their glasses and say, “Here’s to your health.”

Question: Whose dietary and health interests are better served by the 12-ounce beer?

If the guidelines are less alcohol, fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates and, to top it off, protection against heart attacks, blindness and maybe even impotence, then it’s the Guinness drinker, hands-down.

No joke.

Guinness, in fact, is lower in alcohol, calories and carbohydrates than Samuel Adams, Budweiser, Heineken and almost every other major-brand beer not classified as light or low-carb. It has fewer calories and carbohydrates than low-fat milk and orange juice, too. Could this be the same Irish stout that looks like a still-life root-beer float and tastes about as filling as a quarter-pounder with cheese?

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why the iChat sounds are a bad idea

I just had a conversation with a coworker about turning his ichat sounds off. He’s all the way at the end of the hallway, and I think it’s because of the way the ceiling is constructed, the Fwee! Fwoo! sounds that iChat makes travel pretty far, pretty loud. Anyway, he changed it to “tink!” which I can not hear, and joked that now he’ll just play his techno loud. I think I’ve posted this idea before, but.. it makes more sense now. Background noises are disruptive to a train of thought only when they’re unpredictable. Regular rhythms are fine because they’re predictable, so I don’t have to figure out what that noise is after a while but, an irregular noise forces the brain to process it, taking cycles away from another task. Interesting.

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