thedeadparrot: (oracle)
(posted by on Jun. 16th, 2017 09:27 pm)
I have a bike now. I've been resisting for a while, because biking is scary and I felt like I needed a leg up into being willing to do it. I do have a ton of friends who do bike, though, and they all seem to be really into it, so I let one of them talk me into going on a bike ride with her and really enjoyed it. And that led to the slippery slope of actually buying a bike and then riding it to work. And then riding it back home in the pouring rain. It does cut down my commute to about 1/3 to 1/4 of how long it used to take, so it's definitely going to be useful going forward, especially if I need to get someplace that's obnoxious to get to otherwise. I don't think I'm going to give up on walking everywhere, though. I like the slowed down pace and not having to worry about locking up my bike.

One of the awesome things about getting the bike is that I got it, plus accessories, from a local non-profit called Bikes Not Bombs, and the money I gave them will also hopefully support the cool work that they do both locally and abroad.

Other thing I have been fascinated by lately is Mastodon. It kind of is a roll-your-own Twitter clone, but it also is built to be less awful than Twitter? 500 word character limits, cut-tags (called content warnings) for hiding content if necessary, per-toot(tweet) privacy settings. Open source, free of advertising, strong moderation rules. And a way of viewing the local community through the 'local timeline', where you can see the stream of the entire site in one place.

You might be wondering how this idea scales, because a local timeline on Twitter would be a shitshow, and you're right. It would be. But the idea of Mastodon is to be decentralized, which is kinda difficult to grasp these days when all of our social media is so very centralized. What does that mean in this case? It means that there are a bunch of different webistes that run the Mastodon code, but all of these websites can integrate and talk to one another. The easiest comparable example is e-mail. You may be on and I may be on, but we can still send e-mail to one another without issue. The way the local timeline is supposed to work is that you get to see the chatter that's happening in your particular instance, and hopefully you've built a cool little community there. But you can also follow people on other Mastodon servers and see their content and interact with them.

Anyway, I started investigating the idea of setting up a fannish Mastodon site ("instance" in the local parlance), where we can gather and talk about fannish things and have fandom-oriented content policies and code of conducts, but still be connected to the larger Mastodon universe if people want to be. It seems like I'm a bit late to the party, as someone else has started a similar project, but I've been invited to help out as well, so that could be fun. Hooray.

There's also a great set of newbie documentation that's been compiled if you're interested in exploring it further.

I'm not going to lie. It's kind of funky. The UI is generally pretty good, but it can be kind of weird at times. The Tweetdeck-but-not can feel kind of limiting. There's tons of Twitter features that haven't been implemented, whether by lack of time or by design. There's still some weirdness with the distributed nature that makes the integration less than seamless. But I still find it interesting and fun, and I'm a sucker for new things.

If you want to find me (at least for now), I'm My instance is closed down for new signups right now, but if you're interested, I can also dig up other reputable instances if need-be.
thedeadparrot: (oracle)
(posted by on Jul. 23rd, 2014 09:19 pm)
So there's a movie about Alan Turing coming out featuring Burgerking Chowderpants, and here is a trailer for it.

I have some thoughts on this, insofar as it looks like the most boring prestige piece that could be made about Turing's life. I have a deep resentment over the fact that it looks like it's been made for the express purpose of winning lots of Oscars. I hate the crying and the screaming. I hate the overwrought music. I hate the focus on WWII. I hate the fact that they'll most likely turn him into some sort of tragic queer character who will barely kiss or hold hands with a dude in the movie.

It always surprises me to hear people say that Alan Turing is some sort of figure that's been lost to history. I know that this is from a very particular (computer scientist) perspective, but he's got his name over pretty much all of computer science. Oh, Turing machines? That's him. Oh, Turing completeness? That's him, too. Oh, the Turing test? Him again. We haven't forgotten him. I don't think we ever really will.

His contributions to computer science are huge, and they're important, and it's not the sort of thing that plays nicely on the big screen. Looking at this movie, all I can see is the ways in which they can overstate and fail to capture what really makes his work so impressive. His contributions are pretty much pure math, not engineering. I'm not sure how much they'll acknowledge this.

It makes me sad that we're going to get A Beautiful Mind II: Now With More Code. Look at this Great Man Nerd who does Nerd Things! Look at how he defeats the Nazis! Look at him invent the computer! Look at him die so tragically! Now will you give us all the awards? Please?

Sigh. Let me know when the Ada Lovelace or Grace Hopper get their own movies, though.
thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Apr. 12th, 2011 07:18 am)
So I was reading Zadie Smith's review of The Social Network, because at this point [personal profile] ninhursag and [personal profile] merisunshine36 have convinced me that I need to see it, despite my initial resistance.

Anyway, it's worth reading as a meditation on a changing internet society from someone who does not quite understand it but is willing to try, and even though I don't agree with her about everything, I liked the thoughtfulness she brings to the subject. She's fully aware of her own uncertainty and lack of full understanding. (Also, for you Eduardo fans, she has some things to say about Andrew Garfield's face that made me think of you. :p)

But what really struck me is this section:

If it’s not for money and it’s not for girls—what is it for? With Zuckerberg we have a real American mystery. Maybe it’s not mysterious and he’s just playing the long game, holding out: not a billion dollars but a hundred billion dollars. Or is it possible he just loves programming? No doubt the filmmakers considered this option, but you can see their dilemma: how to convey the pleasure of programming—if such a pleasure exists—in a way that is both cinematic and comprehensible? Movies are notoriously bad at showing the pleasures and rigors of art-making, even when the medium is familiar.

Programming is a whole new kind of problem. Fincher makes a brave stab at showing the intensity of programming in action (“He’s wired in,” people say to other people to stop them disturbing a third person who sits before a laptop wearing noise-reducing earphones) and there’s a “vodka-shots-and-programming” party in Zuckerberg’s dorm room that gives us some clue of the pleasures. But even if we spent half the film looking at those busy screens (and we do get glimpses), most of us would be none the wiser. Watching this movie, even though you know Sorkin wants your disapproval, you can’t help feel a little swell of pride in this 2.0 generation. They’ve spent a decade being berated for not making the right sorts of paintings or novels or music or politics. Turns out the brightest 2.0 kids have been doing something else extraordinary. They’ve been making a world.

I'm at the point in my life where I'm really bad at teaching programming, because all of the assumptions, all of the thought patterns you need for programming have become second nature to me. It's hard for me to rewind to a point where I can understand what it's like for people who have never seen code before and who have no idea how to

So then, how do you explain programming to someone else? How do you write about it? How can you represent it? Programming at its heart is an act of creation, but the process of programming isn't very interesting. You can't fill people's minds with the joys of using a well-written library or the thrill of getting your code to compile for the first time. Literal programming is almost impossible to make exciting to non-programmers. The same vocabulary and background just isn't there. Most of the time I see programming show up (usually in the context of scifi), it's deeply metaphorical. There are virtual realities where you can craft entire buildings or artificial intelligences that are slowly manipulated into being.

I write about programming metaphorically, myself. It's such a huge part of my life and my the way I look at the world that I keep trying to describe what it feels like, and I'm just bad at it. My best attempt is probably Interpreted Languages, since technopathy is just an extremely advanced version of programming, is all. In order to be good at programming, you have to understand how computers think. You have to listen to them when they're telling you things aren't going right, and you have to be patient with them when everything is going wrong. I don't think computers are alive by any means, but I think that when you learn programming, you are learning a new way to talk, a new way to think. The vocabulary of a language defines how people can think in it, what ideas can be expressed, and computer programming languages make that so very literal.

I tried writing some stuff about programming languages into a fic once. This is only bit of it that's worth reading:
The theoretician in Rodney loves Haskell, loves the pure mathematical beauty of the language, but the engineer in him can't stand anything but the right-up-against-the-hardware power of C. The Ancients only use one language for their systems, simple and clean and powerful, and Rodney spends a lot of time staring at the unearthly code of their systems, tracing the control flow with the tips of his fingers.

I think that's some of the best I could do to capture the magic of it, the joy of understanding and learning and creating. It's a little like the joy of writing and reading, but not quite, and it's sort of like the joy of building something with your hands, but not quite. It's like both of those things and like neither of those things, and now I'm just going around in circles so I'm going to stop.

Also, I'm not convinced that Zuckerberg did it all for the love of programming, I gotta say. That dude's an asshole.

Because I might as well:

I'm at faviconthedeadparrot on the AO3. Subscribe to me - fandoms in the immediate queue include Sherlock Holmes (2009), SGA, and Sherlock (BBC)! (You'll need to log in to see the subscribe button.)
thedeadparrot: (marshall is my geek god)
(posted by on Jul. 3rd, 2007 05:42 pm)
Keyboard is here. Need to relearn how to type. Will perhaps do that tomorrow. Start writing again on the computer.

This is ridiculously hard. Like you wouldn't believe. I keep on forgetting to put spaces in, because I'm staring at the keys. I miss being l33t. :(
thedeadparrot: (death and dream)
(posted by on Jan. 12th, 2007 04:18 pm)
So my new desktop is now up and running. Quite beautifully, actually. It makes me very happy. So happy I'm going to insert a smiley here. :) Linux is up and running nicely. Still moving files around, but that shouldn't be too long. I also totally called it "bantha" to go along with my Star Wars creature theme.

Anyway, I'm totally in an "omg Sandman!" phase. Hence the icon. Aw, they're so cute. Just reading through the books again, I'm kind of amazed at just how much of the ending was foreshadowed early on. It's kind of amazing.

I'm feeling vaguely blocked in my writing, like there are these weird snippets of fic that pass through my brain, but when I try writing them down, they don't go anywhere.
thedeadparrot: (mentallyscarred!Wilson)
(posted by on Jan. 5th, 2007 10:15 pm)
Scrubs was awesome last night. And really meta in the best sort of way. "This is not a TV show!" The guy who's orange! The cane! The shoes! I really hope that House makes a reference to Scrubs some point in the future, just so that it breaks the space-time continuum. Seriously.

Speaking of Scrubs, people need to see this video. Even if you've never seen an episode or even know what it's about.

Also, my case came in today as well. Yay! I just need my stupid processor and I'm good to go.
thedeadparrot: (tux the linux penguin)
(posted by on Jan. 4th, 2007 03:32 pm)
I got shiny new computer parts today! Everything except the case and the processor. Those should be coming in fairly soon, so next week, I should be able to put all the pieces together. It's all very exciting. New computer, yay!
thedeadparrot: (tux the linux penguin)
(posted by on Dec. 20th, 2006 01:30 pm)
Am back home right now. It's a little odd, but I'll get used to it.

Need to get the parts together for my computer. Still haven't ordered them. I have a list of stuff, and I'm paranoid that my processor won't work with my motherboard, or my motherboard will hate my memory, and of course, they'll all hate Linux a lot, because that's just the way the world works.
thedeadparrot: (happiness is a warm gun)
(posted by on Apr. 5th, 2006 10:39 am)
I was looking around for one of those lj tag generators, where you can type in the user name, and it'll output the equivalent HTML for the <lj user=""> tag, and I couldn't find one, so I wrote one in PHP really quickly.

If you guys want to use it, you can find it here.
thedeadparrot: (geeky)
(posted by on Aug. 12th, 2005 03:29 am)
Still in love with CDisplay. I love it almost as much as I love Firefox. Considering how much I love Firefox, that is saying something. I only recently discovered that it has a "Japanese mode" apparently designed to read manga. I need to dig a little more to see what it actually does, but overall, it's a brilliant program. Incredibly configurable, yet sleek and easy to use. Dude, you guys just have to check it out.

Speaking of Firefox, I've been digging Scrapbook, which is cool for organizing and saving pages (like fic).

Also, There's a beta version of Google Toolbar for Firefox (an official one, not Googlebar, though I do recommend checking that one out, too). I haven't tried it yet, but it looks nifty. I may have to in the future.


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags