the twisted gardens of the mind

general annoyances

things that are pissing me off, part ii

  • stupid mobile apps. i was sitting behind someone on bart yesterday who had his laptop open, running eclipse, and was very intent on some code. since i’m nosy, and this is relevant to my interests, i scanned the code over his shoulder. his app was stupid and it actually made me sad to see time and effort wasted on something so lame. it made me want to write an app that would count the number of armpit hairs that you have and then share the results with your friends and family on social media. you could compare your hairs per square inch to your colleagues, see if longer vs. shorter hairs run in your high school social circles. actually the worst part of this fantasy app is that it would still be less stupid than the app he was making.
  • useless projects (especially being involved in them — yes.. see? sometimes i’m disheartened by some of the projects i have to work on too).
  • virtualbox, for having completely broken usb pass-thru. no, i’m not even trying to pass-thru my wifi interface, i already know that shit is fucked.. i’m talking about the microsd card that windows will absolutely chew the fuck up when i can use dd instead with half the annoyance.
  • half-assed implementations of .net+jQuery.
  • appcelerator, i will hit you with a brick.
  • windows for attempting to upgrade me from 7 to 10. no, just no. fuck off, no.
  • windows, again, for completely ignoring my opt-out of the customer experience improvement program (ceip). after opting the fuck out, a recent microsoft update took a shit all over my system running performance data collection (and uploading to microsoft!) — supposedly, it’s anonymous, but since i’d already OPTED THE FUCK OUT it shouldn’t have been running anyway.
  • windows, again, because the only reason i even noticed all these broken processes running anyway is because that shit was running anyway and ALL THE TIME. at rest, with everything closed and my anti-virus paused, my hard disk was hitting 100kb/s of I/O. what the serious fuck? i shut down every single ceip related task and things are mostly back to normal.
  • marketingese and the need to monetize every-fucking-thing.

i was doing some research on predictive analysis algorithms when i came across… (emphasis and commentary mine)

our very expensive product “empowers professionals and enterprises to capture and share health knowledge”.

empower (verb): make (someone) strong and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

our “health analytics market[place] liberates this knowledge and makes it readily accessible so that every health professional [with a large enough budget] can take advantage of it”.

liberate (verb): set (someone) free from a situation, especially imprisonment or slavery, in which their liberty is severely restricted. release (someone) from a state or situation that limits freedom of thought or behavior.

  1. those fragments are from the same fucking paragraph.
  2. i feel weird that people are feeling empowered to imprison my “health knowledge”.
  3. i feel confused that the same fucking people who have “captured my health knowledge” are trying to “liberate” it again. is this an expendables movie? will jason statham show up and rescue my liberated health knowledge?
  4. the fact that all of this data could be actually used to save people’s lives, instead of being bottled up and sold, pisses me off. fuck these people.
epilogue

i feel a little bad about shitting on the guy working on his stupid iphone app above. i really do hope it was a learning project. but seriously, i’ve had it up to here with people attempting to monetize everything — no matter how important or stupidly trivial — and then adding insult to injury by having marketing pouring a case of obsession for men onto their shit sandwich and then everyone dances around applauding their epic new sucking emptiness.


things that are pissing me off, part i

  • calling a mouse ambidextrous and saying it’s good for lefties is bullshit. ambidextrous mice are for ambidextrous people or people who want carpal tunnel.
  • people who put their left-handed logitech mx610 on ebay or amazon for 300$. 300 fucking dollars. i will hit you with a brick.
  • hp desktops. to be fair, the more of it i replace, the more tightly focused my rage is with this machine. it’s probably my own fault for leaving the motherboard to last. but still… hp desktops.
  • my new ambidextrous razer mouse. i mean, i love everything about how it feels, but totally hate where the all of the buttons are placed.
  • why is tilt-click no longer a thing? it’s my 2nd, maybe 3rd most used feature of my whole fucking computer.   :(
  • i very carefully took apart my old mx610 last night and very carefully lost the one tiny piece that makes the scroll wheel click instead of free-spin. i have no idea what the part even looks like; it was lost in the decade-grown hay bale of cat fur that i was pulling out of the mouse wheel’s axle assembly… and then it was just lost.
  • trying to run the android emulator over vnc. is it vnc-server’s problem? is it kvm’s problem? it’s a headless box for fucks sake.
  • every time i type vnc, chrome underlines it like its spelled wrong. it’s not.
  • google music – at one time, my favorite of all the google services, i now try my hardest to not update anything to the latest version. i don’t care about your stupid radio stations[*] curated by stupid people. i have my very own radio station and it’s called “the 30gb of music i uploaded to google music and several dozen albums i’ve bought directly from the play store”.
  • google music, again. because i masochistically looked at the “top charts” and it showed me something by skrillex and justin bieber. fuck you google music “curators”. i can’t believe that you actually exist, somewhere there is an algorithm “self-driving music curator”. seriously? i will not run out of bricks.

[*] side note: avoid the ads and other radio cruft by keeping your play music app (for android) at v5.9.something (basically anything under v6). for the web interface (chrome) i have been able to use adblock to selectively edit out all the radio station & subscription buttons. no guarantee that this will stand the test of time, but.. here’s my filters:

play.google.com##A[class="nav-item-container tooltip sub"]
play.google.com##A[data-type="wtc"]
play.google.com##A[data-type="wnr"]
play.google.com##A[data-type="wbs"]
play.google.com##DIV[class="ups ^"]
play.google.com##DIV[class="situations-container ^new-art"]
play.google.com##DIV[class="banner ws-search-banner ^material-banner material-shadow-z1"]

just add that to your filters. note the carats (“^”) in the last 3 lines! replace those with an extra space (so there’s a double at those locations. i’m not sure why it makes a difference, but for at least 1 of them it does.

caveat: i’ve noticed that if the tab is open-on-start, chrome will often load the page from cache and will not apply the filters, but a simple refresh will take care of that.


the dis-convergence of media

i now have an ello account. it’s a new ad-free non-facebook social network.

i feel like this should be a good thing, but even as i hovered, annoyed and tense, over the shoulder of the remarkable persnicketywicket while she navigated the site to find and send me a coveted beta-invite, i felt a cold, hollow, darkness settle into my stomach.

  • i also have 2 diaspora accounts. it’s an ad-free non-facebook social network. beyond the 1 month mark, i may have logged into one of them, once.
  • i have 4 twitter accounts. 1 i wrote as someone else, to see what it was like to interact with highly political people in an arena i have absolutely no other knowledge about. i learned that living in a highly charged echo chamber is super-easy, but putting off (otherwise interesting-seeming) people who decide they want to hang out with you IRL is more difficult.
  • i also have a google+ account. it’s a surveillance-friendly social network by google – the company behind such amazing things as “google search”, “google mail”, “google chrome”, “android”, and the “google doodle”. i wanted to like it. i tried to like it. but in the end, i left with my faith in the whole google entity/apparatus badly shaken. still, about once a week, i receive a little “bell” notification icon above my gmail that someone else i’ve never heard of has added me to their circles. hooray.
  • i also have 4 wordpress accounts, totalling almost 10 blogs, of which i write in 1. about twice a year. (this one)
  • i also have a flickr account. flickr is yahoo’s last (fading) shred of dignity. i like to take pictures of my cats, and feel the need to inflict them upon the rest of the internet, my friends on facebook, and my family members.
  • i also have an imgur account. imgur is like flickr’s tattooed, younger cousin who is sometimes cool but still too often just a fucking douche. but what can i say? i still like pictures of cats.
  • i also have a soundcloud account. about once a year i make some vaguely resembling music and post it. i almost completely ignore the social aspect of this system.
  • i also have a last.fm account. i like to listen to music, i like to have very generalized statistics about what i’ve been listening to, i like for other people to know that i listen to cool music, and i like that some guy in the czech republic thinks that my listening habits are generally in line with his own.
  • i also have a linkedin account. ugh, shut the fuck up – either be a monster-wannabe or get off the toilet. work+social mixes about as well as cocaine+C4 — not very well, and with a tendency for someone to fuck up and explode by accident.
  • i also have a goodreads account. goodreads is like twitter and barnes&noble’s semi-illegitimate fuck-baby. i log in about once every 3 to 4 books that i’ve read, but mostly because another facebook friend found my account and added me. i’m not sure why i bother.
  • i also have 2 livejournal accounts. livejournal is a pre-facebook, pre-twitter, pre-myspace social network. i have something like 8 years worth of rants, “poetry”, song lyrics, dreams, passionate arguments, discourse, and non-sequiturs in one of the accounts, and several years of club dj sets in the other. i log in once a year and wonder how i can download the entirety of the data in a fashion that i can still peruse (about twice a year), but that i won’t have to spend a couple hours writing some sort of parser or version-insensitive database to contain (and then maintain) the entries. trufax: livejournal is going to be the subject of the next jurassic park movie.
  • i also still have a myspace account. i just checked. i don’t even know how that’s possible. 1000 years from now, myspace will still exist, no one will use it, and my account will still be there, showing the same pre-instragram, photoshopped selfie that i took 15 years ago. artificial intelligences of that era will consider myspace to be the cockroach of application code.
  • i also have 5 facebook accounts and an additional 4 or 5 pages (that i spend a grand total of about no minutes per year actually moderating). facebook is an ad-filled facebook-filled social network, worth a zillion dollars, that everyone hates but uses anyway. it’s sort of like hating air, but… fuck you, you’re gonna breathe it anyway. 3 of the accounts are actually for my cats (1 of whom is deceased, so please stop sending him “happy birthday” posts every year, kthx).

and now i also have an ello account. it’s a new ad-free non-facebook social network.

fuck me, i was going to make some possibly witty commentary about putting half an egg in 15 baskets, but i’m just sort of depressed by this. i wonder what’s happening at work right now…


what’s an unsub?

dear interwebz: today your net gain is ZERO.

minus one

with all the absurd video clips of ‘every time [person] on [show] says [catch phrase]’, WHY IS THERE NO ‘every time person on criminal minds says “what’s an unsub?”‘? seriously, what? get the fuck on that – i’m sure i’m not the only person to needwant this.

plus one

in my search for the aforementioned clip, i did find this:

Their Unit Chief, Aaron Hotchner, was telling them all that lack of interdepartmental cooperation was a good way to let the UNSUB, as they called him, slip through the cracks.

“UNSUB…” Parkman snorted, casting a glance over at his partner, Mike, who was reading through a folder the BAU Media Liaison, Jennifer Jareau, had given out. “What the hell is that?”

“The UNSUB,” said a tall black man, that Parkman was pretty sure did swimsuit modeling when he was off the clock. “Is the Unknown Subject.”

“Isn’t that pretentious?” Sylar popped in, leaning on the edge of the next desk. He held up a pair of fingers behind the FBI agent’s head like rabbit ears. “Would you look at this guy? Janice would be all over him.”

yes, you are reading that correctly – criminal minds/heroes cross-over fanfic. it was no rule 34, but it was still amusingly annoying (/annoyingly amusing?) enough that i felt no more need to search any further for anything today.

oh and here’s the link – click at your own peril.

*note

the “plus one”/”minus one” is not meant to signify any type of greatness, it was merely a measure of how much i felt the internet lived up to expectation today. had the story been rule 34, it would have scored much higher.


game testing, you need it

(or “how to fix the myriad of unnecessary bugs in alice: madness returns” (pc version))

i spent over 30 mins last night trying to engage the fucking umbrella while getting my ass handed to me by an obnoxious sludge monster until i finally realized there was something wrong.

when i plunk down 50$ for a game, i expect to wrangle with some driver issues, or a “this service should be stopped to improve framerate”, or whatever – so the problems with alice are fairly unacceptable. seriously, did anyone do a clean install before ship? because every issue i’ve had so far dealt ENTIRELY with borked keybinding config files (those are the text files that map the keys of your mouse & keyboard to actions like move forward, attack, etc…). with all the things that could go wrong – this is the fuckup? really? ea should be ashamed of themselves.

so, the following is a collection of fixes that got me back up and running. your path will most likely be different from mine (so change [R:\Steam\steamapps\common\] to your path). there also seems to be a different naming convention between pc download/boxed vs. installed from steam versions in that steam’s files are “DefaultInput.ini”, but i’ve seen references to “AliceInput.ini” – these are the same files, just switch “Alice” for “Default” if needed. and of course, keep a backup copy of any file you change.

fixes:

  1. umbrella glitch (changing the key that engages the umbrella deflect unbinds the action)
  2. cannon glitch (can’t fire cannons or depth charges on the ship minigame)
  3. hysteria (can’t change hysteria key in UI)
  4. ?? i’ve seen references to glitches that are in parts of the game i haven’t reached, but were fixed by some of the below items, so YMMV, but i’ll update this list if i come across any more.
  5. [submitted by spee] framerate glitch using nvidia twinview.
  6. BONUS: enable special edition dresses & weapons

here it is:

[edit] for x64-based windows, please check lepht‘s comment below…

  1. open the file R:\Steam\steamapps\common\alice madness returns\AliceGame\Config\DefaultInput.ini
  2. find the line: Key_Block = TriggerBlock
  3. change it to: Key_Block = TriggerBlock true | OnRelease TriggerBlock false
  4. everywhere you see a “|” character in the file, make sure that it has spaces on either side, like: ” | “
  5. the umbrella is glitched, so if you want to change what key does the umbrella deflect, find this line: +Bindings=(Name=”E”,Command=”TriggerBlock true | OnRelease TriggerBlock false”)
  6. change “E” to whatever key you want to use. i use “/” because i’m left handed, so my right hand is on the keyboard.
  7. likewise, on the line: +Bindings=(Name=”Enter”,Command=”TriggerHysteria”) change “Enter” to something else if you want to – there’s no option to change this in the UI, so here’s your chance.
  8. save & close this file.
  9. open the file R:\Steam\steamapps\common\alice madness returns\AliceGame\Config\DefaultControlLayout.ini
  10. find the line: KeyBindArray2=(Name=”E”,Command=”Use | push | PickUpActor | QuitFPS | SwitchWeaponGroup”)
  11. comment it out like: //KeyBindArray2=(Name=”E”,Command=”Use | push | PickUpActor | QuitFPS | SwitchWeaponGroup”)
  12. everywhere you see a “|” character in the file, make sure that it has spaces on either side, like: ” | “
  13. save & close this file.
  14. BONUS: dresses (i don’t know if this works for non-steam installed versions): unlock the special edition dresses and weapons by opening this file: R:\Steam\steamapps\common\alice madness returns\AliceGame\Config\DefaultEngine.ini
  15. find the section: [AliceGame.AliceGameEngine] at the very end of the file.
  16. change: GIsSpecialPCEdition=FALSE to GIsSpecialPCEdition=TRUE
  17. save & close this file.
  18. IMPORTANT: run the game, go into the configuration and reset the controls to DEFAULT. change your other keys as you see fit, just leave umbrella alone. this will also reset your mouse settings, so make sure you reset those as well.
  19. to use the special edition stuff, go to equip from the main menu – use the arrow keys to change equipped options – trying to change them with the mouse WILL NOT WORK.
  20. if you are using nvidia twinview and experiencing intermittent pauses in your framerate, try disabling your second monitor in windows (thanks spee!). considering that it seems to affect both the newer geforce 460 and my (quite a bit) older 8800, i’m going to assume that anyone with an nvidia card using multiple monitors is going to feel this one.

hopefully this will save you some time & energy – again, i will update this if i come across anything else, but this seems to have fixed everything so far. besides the specific umbrella glitch, the “|” change seemed to be the most important fix. weird, i know.

note: almost all of these i culled on a one-by-one basis from various forums and i take no credit for their discovery. they were, however, all the fuck over the place, so i thought i’d pull them into a single location (for my own benefit as much as yours).

all that said, other than this COMPLETELY FUCKING ANNOYING and TRAGIC flaw, the game is gorgeous and i’m totally loving the hell out of it. enjoy.

[edit] just a quick note on enabling the limited edition content – it will add a new item, to play the classic version of alice, to the main menu – unless you actually purchased the “complete edition”, this link will not work. just ignore it.


unavailable music makes me angry

this rant may piss some people off, and while i’m not really sorry about that, i don’t want anyone in particular to take it personally.

let me start off by saying: i buy a lot of music. a lot. i even still have the first 3 cds i ever purchased (probably more than that, but there’s only 3 in particular that i can point to and say “those were the first”):

  1. depeche mode – speak & spell
  2. new order – substance 1987 (2cd)
  3. the cure – staring at the sea

there are a handful of cds that i have 2 of. i have 5 different versions of the everything counts ep by depeche mode. i have incredibly rare cds, stamped or hand-numbered cds, promo cds, limited edition box sets, misprints, and any number of other odd ball (sometimes) collectibles.

since i purchased my droid, i’ve run up a fairly hefty tab on both amazon mp3 and bandcamp (whose model is brilliant, by the way).

i only mention all this because i want you to understand that it’s not my intent to freeload. and with the proliferation of music being released digitally, i do this less and less, but…

what i can’t buy, i steal. and it makes me somewhat angry.

it used to be that i would download tons of music, in the form of ripped mp3s – from this would come my decision on what to lay down money for. when i was broke, or jobless, all i could do was download. but now that i’m gainfully employed again, i find that i spend upward of 100$/month on this addiction hobby addiction.

to come to the point, a particular band i appreciate (and have purchased from in the past) has a limited-edition ep; but it will only be available at a particular location, at a particular time, and will be otherwise unavailable. i find that i’m somewhat insulted by this. i can’t and won’t be at that location at that time, and while i should have thought to mention to someone on tour with this band to grab me a copy, it didn’t occur to me until too late.

so my annoyance is, i would still purchase a copy from bandcamp or other digital retailer, but supposedly it won’t be available. i mean, i can understand the idea of “exclusive songs”, and i could totally understand something like, “it’s exclusive, but it’ll be part of a ‘ep collection’ cd or whatever, but not until next year” – that’s cool. but “you can get this recording here and never again” says to me “my shit is so exclusive no one will ever hear it”. good for you. it’s possible no one will. and congratulations for wasting the time of the remixers and other people who worked in production and whatnot, because now no one will hear their work either. except for, you know, the 100 people who get the exclusive cd.

similarly, a cd that’s out-of-print and only available on ebay for 200$ is probably also going to get downloaded. just sayin’. it’s not like the artist is going to see a percentage of that profit, so if its not something that i value at 200$ (which, off the top of my head, is nothing), then forget it.

on a side note, several years ago, i was contacted by a member of a band, asking me to remove one of his band’s cds from being publicly available (it was shared in my P2P client). as it was still relatively new, i complied, but was vaguely annoyed after thinking about it for a while – i wouldn’t have even known about his band except that i downloaded a single (because it featured a remixer that i like) from the same P2P network, liked most of the songs, and so then shelled out the 20-something$ (US) for the import-only full-length cd.

so really i guess this rant was just about: hey, why don’t you want people to listen to your music when you want people to listen to your music? what kind of fucking logic is that?

i know there a bunch of musicians on my various follow lists, thoughts?

and finally because i feel like pimping some stuff, these recent acquisitions are awesome:


soup? who eats that shit anyways?

a 3rd party has remarked upon my tendency to diverge from the point of a rant, occasionally off into the sunset.

i think this is a valid point. but sometimes i’m just angry. so there. so my question to you is: why you gotta hate? and eat soup? who eats that shit anyways? WHO?

oh wait, i guess i was hating first. and i occasionally eat soup. but you know what? fuck that bitch.

also, you don’t like it, go write your own!