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Cockerels: a novel approach

Click the picture for a funny video. I hope. I can’t actually play videos on this machine, so I’m typing in stuff and hoping it works.

I have a feeling this event had something to do with the Year of the Rooster.

Snagged it from LiveLeak via Twitter. I don’t go to Twitter much. It is a crazy place. It makes otherwise not crazy people become crazy.

I have a theory about that. For addictive substances, there’s a relationship between how fast a drug hits you and how addictive it is. The faster the delivery, the deeper the hook.

I think it’s the pace of Twitter that gets people. You tweet something, you get an instant return. Good or bad, it’s fast.

It is the crack cocaine of social media.

Anyway. Week Two of Me Without a Proper Computer draws to a close. If all goes to schedule, one week to go.

Have a good weekend, and don’t let the cockerels peck!


November 30, 2018 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 8

War wounds

Behold, my peck marks! No, seriously, that’s what those four faint dots (and a bit of bruise!) are.

I wasn’t sure myself. I thought I just had a few insect bites go bad or something. I didn’t think that little squirt could really leave a mark, but I saw it with my own eyes.

The faint one at the very top? I watched that happen. It’s not a peck. It’s a pinch. He gets a little bit of skin in his beak and clamps. It’s like a tiny blood blister.

That whole “Christmas Dinner” thing isn’t going to work, though. Dude’s a bantam. Under those feathers, he’s not much more than a pigeon, pinchy beak or not.

November 29, 2018 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 10


In the prior thread, Wolfus asked if “lossy” was a Britishism. It ain’t. And because I’m desperate for stuff to post about at the moment, I shall explain what it is.

“Generation loss” is a thing in graphic arts. It means that every time you make a copy of something — every time it goes down a generation — it loses quality. If you have an illustration, and you photograph it, and then you do a color separation, and then you print it in a magazine…every stage of that process involves a degradation of the original.

Then if you make a photocopy of the magazine article and digitize it to put in your slide presentation…don’t laugh. I often deal with images that are many generations removed from the original.

That’s generation loss; the term “lossy” is used specifically for digital file formats.

The Targa tiff file — which you may never have run across — was a common early digital file format that purported to be lossless. In theory, you could make a tif file of a tif file and every one was as good as the original. Downside: they were huge.

Lots of file formats have used all sorts of clever algorithms to try to squeeze file size without losing quality.

The jpg file came to rule them all because it’s very, very good at the trade off…it can look very good, or it can compress very small, or it can be a compromise, depending on what you ask it to do. That’s what it’s asking when a graphics program gives you a jpg quality slider.

The image at right is a jpg compressed at a quality of about 70% (100% means very little loss, very little compression) and it’s about 36K on the disk. The inset is compressed at around 10% (lots of loss, lots of compression) and is about 7K.

Notice the characteristic big square blocks that are the hallmark of jpg compression. I bet you’ve seen that before! Different lossy formats are ugly in different ways and when I get my Photoshop back, I can show you.

That’s not my big white rooster, by the way. That’s my old lavender hen Violence (may she rest in peace). I’ve had three lavender chickens, and they’ve all hated me.

November 28, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 7

My boy

I got four chickens right now, and two of them are boys. This is the more mature rooster. He’s not having hot chicken sex yet, but he doth cockadoodle and also doo.

Also, he rushes me first thing in the morning and gives me a good peck. Bastard.

Yeah, I’m reduced to snapshots on my phone decolorized with GIMP for now. I kind of like this lopsided snapshot of a chicken dashing out of the frame.

p.s. GIMP does some things better than Photoshop. It compresses jpgs smaller without looking lossy, for example. Interface sucks, though.

November 27, 2018 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 14

Here it comes…!

Over the weekend, I read everything I could find about Photoshop and what it likes to eat (works best with Intel, prefers processor speed to multiple cores…like that) and spec’ed the best machine I thought I could stretch to afford. It was a little hurty, but I believe in buying the best machine you possibly can in the hopes it will serve you longer.

Got to the checkout and…VAT had not been included.

They’re not supposed to do that for non-commercial clients. ‘Round these parts, VAT is 20%. If you think that isn’t a giant lead weight on the economy, I’m here to slap you around the ears with an inflated pig’s bladder.

Yes, I bought it anyway. Had it been anything less important to me, I would have dialed it back. A lot. Like, 20% worth, at least.

Current ETA is Monday the 10th (hey, after all that, I wasn’t going to pay for an expedited build). Oh, I also got a big ol’ monitor to replace the one that died a couple of months ago.

Stand by — you guys are about to get huge, sharp, colorful and super fast!

p.s. Stole the illustration from…somewhere.

November 26, 2018 — 8:11 pm
Comments: 8


Yes, my Thanksgiving was excellent. The only thing missing was, I didn’t have two days off. I had to limp into work this morning, champagne bonce and all.

Did anyone spot my error in yesterday’s post? I forgot to discard the color information in the image. That’s right — yesterday’s post was in color!

Of course, the color was gray and white, but still.

Have a good weekend! I think I’m’onna finally nail down the specs of my new machine over the next two days.

November 23, 2018 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 6

Happy T’day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes indeed, we do celebrate Turkey Day in this British household, though we do it as an evening meal. It’s not much effort to get people on board with a gluttony holiday (though I never noticed until it was pointed out that we have exactly two turkey holidays and they’re a month apart).

It is also the anniversary of my arrival in this country. In fact, it is the TENTH anniversary this year.

I think Thanksgiving fell on the 23rd that year, but I count it from the holiday. I had Charlotte with me. You can’t put an animal on an airplane on a holiday, but the day before Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in the States, and Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in the UK, so we flew overnight and everything worked.

And here we are.

I hope you have your fill of food, family, liquor and whatever ball-centered physical activity your menfolk like to argue about.

We’re having a bottle of champagne and an old movie. And, naturally, turkey and stuffing and dinner rolls and candied yams and roast potatoes and lots and lots of it.

Blessings to you all!

November 22, 2018 — 8:49 pm
Comments: 10

Bad timing

In case you can’t read that first Subject: line through the moiré, it is “12 Items on your Steam Wishlist Are on Sale!” I could not possibly care less. Bad timing, Steam.

And no, I still haven’t done anything about replacing my computer. I’m shopping. Very, very slowly.

Oh, yah – I’m waiting to catch grief for Fur Hat World and comiXology.

p.s. That last one is Book Runes, a daily mailing of free Kindle books that are totally free books for a reason.

November 21, 2018 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 10


Since I am reduced to lameposting on this antedeluvial computer for now, do please have this cellphone snapshot of cat. This is the little stray we picked up (or, rather, trapped in a squirrel trap) this Summer.

He’s about seven months old now. In the house, he is a snuggle-monster. In the garden, he remembers he’s feral. He gets over it at mealtime.

He’s still intact. I’m dragging my feet on having him neutered until he fills out a little more. Testosterone is jet fuel.

Let’s call him Booboo, since we actually named him for the place where we live. It’s shocking how much he resembles our other black and white, both in looks and temperament.

She hates him, naturally.

November 20, 2018 — 8:27 pm
Comments: 8

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