solarbird: (Lecturing)
This is a presentation at GDC 2017 about virtual worlds and augmented reality and it is entirely worth your 55 minutes whether you are in game design or arguably even more if you are not.
solarbird: (ART-gonzo)
shit's gettin' strange down spammer central

i mean, this is some Apple Cabin Foods action right here

solarbird: (gun good job)
Yahoo! will be combined with AOL? Wow, it's Sears and K-Mart all over again, two more drunks clinging to each other desperately hoping to manage a straight line.

Tho' I guess in this case Verizon is in there too, lashing them together.

Fuck, this means Verizon will now own Tumblr. ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

"US internet firm Yahoo is being acquired by American telecoms giant Verizon Communications for nearly $5bn (£3.8bn) in cash.

Yahoo will be combined with AOL, another faded internet star, which Verizon bought last year."
solarbird: (Default)
So Anna and I were walking to the bus and I referred to a “flotilla of douchecanoes” and we started wondering about collectives for douchecanoe because it’s really only a flotilla when on patrol, right?

So we came up with a couple like “a vexation of douchecanoes” and “a wankerage of douchecanoes” and also along the way “an enragement of meninists.”

But I really think more Tumblr words need collectives and also can anybody top vexation for douchecanoes because I think that’s pretty good.
solarbird: (music)

SUPERB P0WNERSHIP is the phrase of the day. Zoe Quinn has been dealing with a misogynist campaign against her for months, and, whelp, guess who has been infiltrating 4chan’s chat rooms and logging the shit out of all of the entire campaign’s ops room? Oh yeah. That would be Zoe.


Oh, her angry ex-boyfriend? He’s in the logs too, helping coordinate harassment. Hey, look, a revenge campaign for breaking up with him! SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS, DOUCHEBAGS! There’s even video. This is epic destruction.

If you have no idea what this is about, it’s about misogyny in gaming, and an ongoing campaign to force women out of gaming, focusing on several specific people, one of whom is Zoe Quinn. You can get a bit of a summary here, if you like.

eta: Judging from the h8r reblogs on Tumblr and the anonymous asks I’ve got, it looks like the attempt at “defence” here is, “It’s all out of context!” Hey, pro tip: only cite context when it actually helps your case. Unlike here. Where it doesn’t.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (korra-grar)
...I am genuinely conflicted by this:

Facebook Is Marking Fake Stories As “Satirical” As Too Many People Think The Onion Is Real
I am both "are you fucking kidding me?!" and trying to deal with the definite possibility that... honestly... given the number of times I've had to tell people either "IT'S THE ONION" or "THE ONION IS NOT THE ONLY SATIRE SITE ON THE INTERNET, THIS IS SATIRE" ... it's maybe a good idea.

I do not have enough headdesks or facepalms in my world to resolve this conundrum.
solarbird: (fascist sons o bitches)

We’re in the comment period for the new FCC regulations which destroy Internet network neutrality. This may seem like an esoteric issue to you, but it’s not. It’s a core infrastructure question: whether you have to pay more to actually get your network traffic delivered. If you’re completely unfamiliar, here’s John Oliver talking about it in a funny but accurate way.

Gizmodo has step-by-step instructions on how to use the FCC’s comment form. I’ve filed my comment/complate; go file yours, even if it’s really short. There’s enough money on both sides of this that we have that little window of opportunity where public commentary can just maybe matter.

Is that cynical? No, it’s realistic. Take advantage of these opportunities when they appear. And go file that comment.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (pindar-most-unpleasant)

I have triumphed over the Open Sources and have made the nvidia GT520 driver work. I am now running a new kernel along the way, but hey. I also discovered bugs in Xorg -configure, as well as the nvidia configuration tool, and it only took 11 hours.

I can also now build the latest 3.2 Linux core, but that’s just kind of a side effect.

And this is for the official nvidia driver. Don’t believe me? Here are the instructions on how to install it, from nvidia themselves.


They do tell you that you have to have a full development environment and sources and headers for your kernel. They don’t tell you their driver doesn’t work with the realtime kernel and will fail without error. (Or panic your machine – one of those, depending.)

So will the open-source drivers, by the way. That’s fun.

Honestly, figuring that “this will always fail silently forever except when crashing your machine despite what the build instructions say” part out was the biggest hurdle. There’s a patch you can apply for the 3.4 downstream realtime kernel, but that’s even more out of phase with the rest of Ubuntu 12.04LTS than my previous custom realtime kernel was, so, yeah, no.

RANDR still fails so the GUI for monitor preferences still crashes if you try to run it, but I don’t use that anyway and I think that’s because I’m running Xinema mode – it was true for my previous card setup to. Both monitors started individually run RANDR and the GUI just fine.


(The Windows install was more a matter of “here’s the driver” “yup that’s a driver” and “no I want this monitor on the right” “okay” and done. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET ME TO SING THE PRAISES OF WINDOWS?! I mean goddamn.)

But it’s all working. Anyone playing Elder Scrolls online?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (korra-excited)

Remember Mine to Love, that album I co-engineered last year at Supervillain Studios, and ended up playing on too? Leannan Sidhe’s second album? It’s finally out! It came out today! I didn’t know! SURPRISE!

I’ll post more about it tomorrow, but my favourite song on the album (which I’m not even on) is King of Elfland’s Daughter, which isn’t streamable because of copyright reasons. Just go buy it, it is worth your 99¢, trust me here.

Here’s a player for the entire album other than that track:

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (banzai institute)

EFFS-EmblemOver the last couple of days, Anna and I have been rebooting the online presence of the Emerald Forest Filk Society. They’re a Cascadian filk music (geek-folk) society that’s been around quite a while; we co-run a small co-op ISP as a hobby, and have the resources for this sort of thing. So when they came saying “HELP!”, we of course said yes.

We’re pretty pleased with ourselves, to be honest, particularly over the timeframe. They had a fairly simple static web page before, and a mailing list (with extensive archives). In a little over a day, we’ve ported the domain and the mailing list, and have repaired the archives and uploaded through 2007 already. The rest are a matter of another hour of work, tops; they’ve already been repaired.

Better, we’ve also built a completely new site for them, one that’s easier to maintain, because it’s WordPress. Two people have already volunteered to write things for it, so it actually gets updated with news and events. We’ve built presences on Twitter and Facebook that are automatically updated as the website’s multiple miniblogs are updated, and replies on those services go back to the website, so it’s tied together like it should be.

There are still details to manage, but all the heavy lifting is finished.

Web tools make this so easy now. In 2005, that would’ve been a month of work, possibly for a crew. Now two people can pull it off working part-time in a day.

The future is cool.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (banzai institute)
Here, something archaic. This is a Star Trek computer game from the 1970s, original author unknown. I ported it from Univac EXEC9 BASIC to TRS-80 Level II BASIC... some time ago. And I'm putting it on here just so it's on the net somewhere. It's pretty clean and really could be run on any console basic with minimal modifications, if you wanted to know what computer games were like in the age of teletypes. Seriously, I ran this on an ASR-33; the delay code down at line 57000 is to keep the pacing right on that blindingly-fast glass terminal of the TRS-80. XD The timing of that loop is about 0.8 seconds, if you wanted to implement it correctly.

eta: Well, crap, Dreamwidth's parser gets <pre> wrong. Um... hell.

STREK.BAS as a text file. Go go search engines, find it.
solarbird: from display at PAX 2011 (ook)

So, yeah, J-List sent this thing:

C’mon, J-list, if you’re gonna anticipate my surprise medical emergencies, at least put the patch on the right eye!

Surgery went well; for a couple of days I felt like I was filming an extraordinarily monotonous documentary on my own feet (Live from Shoetopia?) because I had to keep my head parallel to the floor and eyes down, but now I can look forward even if I still have a bunch of restrictions. (No looking up, no lying on my back or on my left side, no lifting even somewhat heavy objects, no sleeping without the eye guard (above) no strenuous activity, no driving, no altitude changes of substance – I could go to Portland, say, but not to the dry side – weird eye drops 8x daily, it goes on a bit…)

A lot of these get lifted in a week; a bunch, not for a few weeks.

On the plus side, my right eye is now a microscope! No, seriously, it actually is. There’s an air bubble in it – put there by the surgeon to force the torn part of the retina back into place – and the refraction factor between it and eye fluid is like sixty, which is to say, it acts as a lens! Yes, for the moment, I actually did get a super-power out of this. Sadly, it’s one not worth it, but still: moral victory! Or possibly amoral victory, what with the supervillain thing.

I asked the surgeon whether I had X-Ray vision now and he said, “Not yet.” Interesting.

Y’know, when you have an eye that’s a microscope, you can really tell the difference between retina and non-retina pixels. Seriously it’s like lego and duplo.

Also, my eye looks really scary and gross! Check it:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (molly-oops)

So, I posted a brilliant bit of cosplay to Tumblr that I found originally over on Facebook (and, as here, I did link back and give source), on Tuesday. It got like six reblogs and a bunch of likes and I forgot about it.

And then on Wednesday morning my Tumblr dash was made entirely of reblog notes, and I looked at the post, and it said 3700 notes… and then jumped to 3800.. and 3900… and now it’s 81,463.

I’ve heard people talk about watching things go viral before, but I’ve never seen it from behind the dashboard? All I could think, really, was “… O.o …”

So, hi, some surprisingly large percentage of Tumblr! And hi, surprisingly large number of people who decided to follow my blog! Nice to meet you! I’m Solarbird, the Lightbringer; my band is Crime and the Forces of Evil; we’re supervillains turned musicians. Occasionally I cosplay, tho’ tbh my last big project was a few years ago; mostly I just fangirl right now. :D I run nwcMUSIC, the annual music festival at the Norwescon science fiction convention, and host The Geekmusic Podcast.

And that’s me. What about you?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (pingsearch)

Do you read in two quick F-shaped scans? That eyescan study says most of you do. It’s an important question if you’re trying to gain notice on the web – which, as a musician, I of course am. I have two lines, maybe one phrase each, to grab people passing by, before they’re done and out.

Fancy formatting doesn’t help; you’ve learned to think that means ads. Honestly, I think that’s positive adaption, even if it leads to amusing results like 86% of test subjects being unable find the US population on the US Census’s web page, despite the fact that it was bright red and the largest text on the page.

Almost everybody threw it away as an ad, because, frankly, it looks like one.

Two months ago, I rebooted this website. I cleaned it up, simplified some pages, improved organisation, added post collections – lots of starch in the collar. Plays are up, hits are up, revisits are up – all those good things.

But I have enough data now to see that there are two audiences here. You? You’re one of them. You pop in, read an article, and you’re done – particularly if reading on an echo. Some of you use the players on the left; some of you read more posts. A small but cool percentage of you browse collected articles. That’s awesome. Go you!

The other audience will never see this post. They’re like dark matter; there, and massive, but invisible.

In two months, hundreds of people have visited the front page of this website. They play music – primary reboot goal attained! – they look at videos, glance at reviews and press pages, and once in a while hit the contact form. They explore more pages per visit than you do.

And they never come over here. Ever. Unless Google is lying to me, not once in two months has even one of these visitors clicked on “Blog of Evil” in the navigation bar. Not even once.

It’s an astounding result, really. I’d like to get them over here, too; get them engaged.

I don’t know how, yet. I’ve made one small change to the front page of the site, tonight – I’ve changed ‘Latest Schemes from the Blog of Evil’ to read ‘This News Just In from Supervillain Central,’ and linked it to the blog front page. Given the special-text-gets-ignored result in the second study above, I’ve also dimmed it from bright yellow to slightly-less-bright and slightly-more-greenish yellow, to blend in a little more. It’ll take a while to collect enough data to know whether it matters, but the theory is sound.

Maybe I need to change it to “news” or something boring like that. Gods, I hope not. (eta: After some feedback on Livejournal, I realised that whether I like it or not, people weren’t hitting the Blog of Evil link. Let’s try “Blog.” Also “Home” instead of “Story.” I mean, one of the bullet points in the article is Clever phrasing drives away clicks, just as effectively as ad-like text.)

Meanwhile, if you’re in this audience, if you’re here off a search, or a trackback, or you’re just new, I’d like to get you engaged in the other direction.

In some ways, you’re a bigger challenge. Most new posts are read on echos – Tumblr, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, via RSS, and so on. But collections and semi-viral articles like Power and Supervillainy have large numbers of readers on the band site itself. Those people – you – you’re difficult to keep. And while I’m thrilled you – whoever you might be, reading this, in the future – you like my writing enough to get down this far… my art is the music.

That’s the goal.

i know what it means
to work hard on machines
it’s a labour of love
so please don’t ask me why

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (molly-kill-everyone-with-sticks)

The new Pussy Riot single (and video) is out. In short: screw you, Putin.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (music)

How goofy is it that the same day John Scalzi updates about Snailquake – as a proposed companion piece to Sharknado – I simultaneously dig up 20 year old goofy fanzine art I did on Bad Ideas in Mecha Design: MechaSnail?


I actually think that MechaSnail would make a fitting opponent for Sharknado. They’d be highly effective as long as the Sharknado isn’t saltwater OH NO THE SAME FATAL FLAW STRIKES AGAIN WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING MECHASNAIL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)
Overnight we doubled our webserver RAM and today quietly (as far as you know XD) set up a server-side cache. Is everything working out there, you guys?

This applies to all our domains - not just the elfmetal site but also things like Anna's author websites and the neighbourhood association - excuse me, associations, Mimi's mural site, and so on.

So now would be a good time to hit the podcast link, btw. Just sayin'. :D

The Geekmusic Podcast: Episode 1
solarbird: (podcast)

A sneak preview for the 15 or so people who might actually see this on Sunday night: I’ve got episode 1 of The Geekmusic Podcast uploaded. YouTube, SoundCloud, direct download from Dropbox. All in one convenient place:

Give it a go? See what happens? Let me know?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (fascist sons o bitches)
[[This is a manual crosspost. The autocrosspost didn't work this morning for some reason. If you see this post twice, that's because it eventually succeeded. Sorry!]]

If you haven't seen this, it's video of Heather Dale of The Heather Dale Band, trying to get YouTube's attention. They tried to sign up to get micropayments off of YouTube's royalty micropayment system, but YouTube has decided that they don't actually own and didn't actually write their music.

Now, this is bullshit, of course, and Heather has provided (and can again provide) all the evidence of ownership needed. But she's not merely been told she didn't write her own material, she's been told she and her band can't even contest this ruling, or even further contact the programme. And all attempts to contact YouTube at any level have been rebuffed.

And this is, frankly, about par for the course for most of the "social media" environment. YouTube routinely makes bad decisions on ownership - not just bad, but laughably bad. I've had three of my own videos - solo live performances filmed myself or by fans - flagged as DMCA violations of other people's work.

So far, I've been able contest successfully through their automated system, which has surprised me. But seeing Heather and Ben's experiences, I'm becoming more convinced that this has a lot more to do with me not trying to monetise my YouTube channel than anything else. If YouTube doesn't have to give me royalties, or even a meagre percentage of some royalty fractional micropayment, they don't have much incentive to deny my counterclaims when someone or something - more likely some software - throws a bullshit DMCA takedown claim at me.

But if I am trying to get money, well, that's an entirely different story, and I think that's where Heather and Ben are running into trouble.

YouTube really doesn't have incentive for this system to work at all. I rather suspect it exists as a guard against infringement lawsuits. "See? We pay out." But if you don't have the money to hire a big enough lawyer to go up against Google when YouTube's lackadaisical system fails, well, screw you.

Because honestly, what's their incentive for having a good process, much less making the right decision? They're a large, public corporation; if there's not a monetary incentive, there is no incentive, and there's not a monetary incentive here.

Simply put, such incentive doesn't exist.

So. It ends up being once again who you know. They're looking for an actual person inside YouTube or Google who can override the autoresponders and let them get the royalties they're due under this programme. Are you that person? If not, do you know that person? Heather and Ben are more sanguine about that person being out there than am I. Hopefully, they're right. Go tell them.
solarbird: (shego-cosplay)

Hi, visitors from The Old New Thing! Nice to meet you! Welcome to rage-driven acoustic elfmetal.

I know you’re here for the triple-rainbow pictures and the aftereffects of the Rainmaker 68000, but if you get a chance to listen to our music or watch any of Dara’s solo-performance video, that’d be awesome too.

We’re currently in studio working on our new album (Din of Thieves), a second project involving a book soundtrack for a fantasy novel series, and a couple of side-projects with other bands. Lots of planning, lots of plotting, lots of mayhem, hopefully lots of sales! Ah, a supervillain musician can dream, can’t she?

Anyway, no rest for the wicked and all that. We’ve moved a bunch of wires around so more of you should be seeing this. Thanks for coming by, and thanks to Raymond for the link. ^_^

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!


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