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Watching Perseverance land on Mars in realtime. Laterz, y’all.

Remember, Dead Pool tomorrow!

February 18, 2021 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 8

I need to get better at this

It’s been a long time since I felt like I knew what I was doing on the Internet, but I think it’s time I started paying better attention to trackers. As the saying goes, if the product is free, you are the product.

The above results are from EFF’s privacy tracker tracker using the Brave browser. Once again, a plug for Brave. Though I regularly use a couple of other browsers and they didn’t do so well.

Also Device Info is kind of interesting. You probably already knew how much a web page can learn about your machine – and it’s pretty benign, for the most part. But, really, how many fonts you have and what they are? Your battery charge, whether it’s plugged in and how long until it’s fully charged? That’s just stoopit.

Have fun.

Oh, it’s getting down to 19° tonight (that’s -7° Euro). That’s the coldest I’ve ever known it to get here, and well into ‘burst pipe’ territory. I’ve got to go cover up my chicken house as best I can (the wooden door is frozen open). Not looking forward to this!

February 10, 2021 — 7:54 pm
Comments: 5

Officially horrified

The Boston Dynamics robots, dancing. Including terrifying snake wolf thing.

Does anybody know much about how they’re powered? They must absolutely gobble the juice. Usually when you see them, they’re corded. I would imagine that’s the main technological hurdle keeping them from being any damn use in the real world.

As the owner of an electric bike, I can say with confidence we don’t have this one worked out yet. Unless they have some top sekret tech.

December 29, 2020 — 9:21 pm
Comments: 11

Oh, what fun…

Have you run across the website This Person Does Not Exist? Try it. Then come back.

He explains how it works in one article and three videos: 1, 2, 3, 4.

I read the article. It was a bit technical for me to understand fully, but basically it has a module that generates faces and another that critiques them. It starts out comparing real photos to the generated ones at four pixels by four pixels. When the program gets good at that, it goes up to eight by eight. And so on to 1024 by 1024, which is the size you’ll see on screen.

I found it because someone told me they used it to create a profile pic for social media and didn’t want to use a real picture.

p.s. it sucks at cats, obviously.

December 16, 2019 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 4

Balm to my soul

I have discovered the most soothing genre of YouTube videos ever. Forget your nature sounds and your guided meditations, let me turn you on to rusty machinery restoration.

Well, actually, the genre doesn’t have a name. There’s no specific person or channel doing them (though the Russians seem fond of them). It’s just, once I watched one, YT kept recommending new ones to me.

They all start with a rusty tool or piece of machinery. Then silently, without a word, a gloved pair of hands disassembles the machine bolt by screw. Quiet little scraping and clanking tool noises, that’s all.

In comes a bewildering variety of chemical, electrical and mechanical de-rusting procedures. De-greasing, painting, re-greasing, replacing bits. Then it all goes back together again, screw by bolt and the whateveritis is fired up.

Honestly, the before and after is indescribably satisfying. I recommend watching with the fast playback turned on.

Deep breath, here we go. Old Soviet chainsaw (pictured above). Hand drill. Electric grinder. Circular saw. Roto tiller. Hand crank grinder.

Once you start watching these, you’re bound to be offered more.

I just wanted to find a way to de-rust something from the storeroom. I wasn’t looking for porn, honest!

July 30, 2019 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 11



Neat article about deep fakes. You know, where they take an image and make a pretty convincing animated version of it. They’ve got it so they can work off a single still image. Watch them Facebook profile pics, everyone!

Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to Twitter to see the animated version of Mona Lisa.

Which brings us to Mona Weasel here. It’s a thing I did for a website I used to do, years before this blog. A thousand years ago in internet terms. I stopped updating it and then one day the URL got poached by Japanese schoolgirl porn, or something.

I got me an internet footprint goes back to the Eighties. I’ve been saying stupid stuff in public for three decades.

My P’shop skills have improved somewhat, anyhow.



May 23, 2019 — 8:48 pm
Comments: 10

How have I not seen this before?

This thing crossed my path yesterday. It’s called a Vein Viewer.

It’s a hand-held wand that you pass over the surface of the skin. It emits near-infrared light that is absorbed by the blood but bounces off the skin, showing the shape and position of veins – the closer to the surface, the better the image. Then the hand-held dingus makes a display out of that in real time and projects it onto the person with a laser.

I would really, really like to have one of those to play with for an afternoon. Its use is mostly just for precise needle sticks, particularly with difficult patients (like babbies). But it is very cool to watch in action.

So how come the top video on that page is eight years old?

February 11, 2019 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 1


This thing has been turning up in my FaceBook feed for days. It’s a sponsored post (meaning, they paid for an ad) for these tiny cameras.

Can you appreciate the size of them? I mean tiny. About an inch cubed. And according to the page, they run for 100 hours wirelessly and record to SD card. According to the website at the link, they’re $25.

I know there have been seriously tiny spy cameras for a while, but these things are so little and cheap and simple, and something about them being advertised on grandma’s social media platform of choice is just creepy.

February 6, 2019 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 6



Ahem. My computer is on the way. I don’t have an ETA yet. It’s not actually in the tracking system for another couple of hours.

And it’s 3-5 day shipping, so we’re looking at next week.

I’m’onna come out of my skin.

December 5, 2018 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 13

too. much. choice.

Yup. My computer’s bricked. Now comes the painful process of replacing it.

Where once there were dozens of make-to-order sites in the UK, now I only know one: Novatech. I’ve always liked their stuff, though. All highly customizable. But I’m so far from the days when I thought I understood the innards of a computer, I am bewildered by the choices.

For a Photoshop machine, do I start with a gaming machine or a graphics workstation? I bought an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card two years ago; is that still decent?

I’ve always believed in buying the best machine I could possibly afford, but I don’t even know where to concentrate any more.

If any of you tame computer geeks have insight, I’d be mighty grateful to hear it. I’m too boomer for this shit.

November 19, 2018 — 7:53 pm
Comments: 12