From The Erbo Files
Wednesday, September 26, 2012


  • Def Leppard, engaged in a dispute with their former label Universal Music Group over digital royalties from their classic hits, have gone back into the studio to re-record those hits and make those tracks available for download. They've released two so far: "Rock of Ages" (from Photograph) and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (from Hysteria). I downloaded them; they have more of a "classic rock" sound than the originals, and the production quality is very good, even if Joe Elliot can't quite do the screams anymore. Overall, the best new recordings of 80's music since Journey brought in Arnel Pineda as their lead singer. Recommended.

  • Hey, I take computer security seriously--I went through a bunch of security training recently at IQNavigator--but this is ridiculous.  (And a satire, obviously. Via JWZ.)

  • Recently, I kept the Weather Channel Desktop app from installing the Ask Toolbar on Sabrina's laptop. Toolbars, in general, are pretty synonymous with "viruses" these days, as this Cracked article will tell you. The Ask Toolbar, in particular, does some pretty underhanded things. In brief: avoid. (The latter article comes via Jeff.)

  • If you want to have a look at some deep magic, code-wise, Fabien Sanglard is your guy. He has code reviews up for the code behind Doom 3 and Quake III Arena, among many other things. (All of which is now open source. WIN.) He also has an article on there about doing 3D graphics in Java using LWJGL...the same library Minecraft uses.

  • The More You Know: Sometimes you may actually have a legitimate reason to send a takedown notice or a DMCA notice to a Web site. Ken at Popehat offers his advice for doing so while minimizing the risk that your request will go viral and bring the Streisand Effect into play. Basically: don't be a dickhead.

  • Amazon, which previously fought against paying state sales taxes, seems to have reversed their stance. But why? This Slate article alleges that what they really want to do is set up same-day delivery warehouses everywhere. If they can make it work, this will bury most retailers. (Don't worry, Sabrina, I'm sure Walmart will survive...)

  • Some of these might make good new additions to ESR's Jargon File. (HT: Several IQNavigator developers.)

  • What. The. Fuck. Portland school sees racism in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The school principal asks us to think, "What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?" Seriously, what the fucking fuck? Last I heard, anybody could eat a sandwich if they want one. I swear, some of these libiots could find "racism" in a dial tone. (And I'm sure they'll think I'm racist, too, for pointing this out, because shut up, you racist racisty racist!)

  • This one's making the rounds: An official Playboy Club Bunny Manual, circa 1968. We could have used this with our club hostesses in Second Life...although, even though Playboy Bunny costumes are available, to my knowledge, no one has done a proper animation of the Bunny Dip.

  • Some people will do anything to get attention for their startup...even show up at a major trade show crossdressed in a wedding dress. Cofounder Duncan Seay is pitching the new wedding app from his company Evergram (which, despite the name, is not a mashup of Evernote and Instagram), which may in fact be a good idea. But I really don't think he should have gone strapless here, and that train's a bit long for a trade show floor. :-D

  • One of the engineers from the Raspberry Pi Foundation writes on Wired.com about the tradeoffs that went into making the $35 credit-card-sized computer, which forced them to "sellout a little to sell a lot." So far, the marketplace seems to have validated their decisions. I have one, and will be engaged in some experimentation with it.

  • Chris and Melody Byrne have been adopted by a stray kitten...not long after Chris got a massive dose of radioactive iodine to combat thyroid cancer. The cat seems to like Chris; I hope she doesn't absorb too much of his radioactivity, as radioactive cats have 18 half-lives. (Rimshot!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012


  • Watch as astronaut Don Pettit demonstrates some of the physics in Angry Birds Space by launching a Red Bird down through one of the modules in the ISS using a makeshift slingshot. In microgravity, the bird travels in a straight line, unlike the parabolic trajectory it would follow on Earth. (Pettit is awesome. He was up there with Cousin Kenny on station at the time of the Columbia disaster, which meant he had to fly back home in a Soyuz. Now he's back up there, with his own unique, quirky style, doing science and still alive.)

  • What the fuck, University of Florida? Seriously: what the fucking fuck? Cut the CS department, in an age where engineers and developers are more in demand than they've been in a long time? You guys need yourheads examined. (Via Karl Denninger, who is...harsher on UF.) (Update: They're not gonna do it after all. GOOD!)

  • Hey, Jeff! Think it would convince you to get on Twitter if you could do so using a straight key?  (ViaTechCrunch.)

  • The ultimate geek watch...it's also an Android 2.2 smartphone. I actually owned the "spiritual ancestor" of this watch, a Fossil Abacus WristPDA, which ran PalmOS 4.0 with 8 Mb of onboard storage (which is a decent amount, for Palm PDAs) and looked smart, as Fossil products often do. The main problem was that the battery life sucked balls; the thing had to be plugged in nightly to recharge, and needed a special USB charger with its own power plug. I would watch out for that issue if buying one of the Z1s. (Via Malcolm Uhl on Facebook.)

  • Seems those Occupy [foo] wankers aren't above seeking bailouts of their own when it suits them. Excuse me while I point and laugh.  (Via RadioMattM at the Conservative Kitchen Table.)

  • What would you say about a guy that has sent hundreds of thousands of pirated DVDs overseas over the past eight years? What if I told you that that guy was a 92-year-old WWII vet, sending those DVDs to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? He took no money for them, and spent something like $30,000 of his own money to make and ship them. The MAFIAA isn't too pleased, but what are they gonna do to him without looking like complete jerks? (Not that that ever stopped them.) Meanwhile, the soldiers really appreciate what he's been doing. He's stopping now, not because of MAFIAA pressure, but because the troops are being pulled out. The man will surely go down as an unsung hero of these wars.

  • From fellow developer Nick Hill: One of the oddest ways to tell time you'll ever see.

  • Ladies, you may never have thought of carrying your iPhone in the Victoria's Secret Compartment, but, if you do, this product may be for you.

  • Speaking of carrying stuff someplace unusual, how about carrying a copy of the edited sum total of human knowledge in a keychain? That's the purpose behind the eVr1 Codex, which dumps a load of text, including all of the English Wikipedia and a huge literary canon (full list here), onto a 16 Gb MicroSD card, seals that card to withstand many hazards, and sews it into a hand-stitched leather key fob. It's mainly intended for the symbolic value, because the only way to access the information is to destroy the container (though they plan to offer an online archive of the content to buyers). It would be handy, though, if you needed to rebuild civilization from scratch, like Jeff's colonists aboard the Starship Origen did.

  • Finally! A frickin' shark with a frickin' laser beam attached to its head! Dr. Evil would be proud.

  • DJ update (from this post): $DEITY be praised, the man found a new liver. He's recovering now, amid the well wishes of his fellow Rottie denizens. This post has the update including some comments from his missus, Deneen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


  • Obama belts out "Sweet Home Chicago" with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Buddy Guy. I knew Jake and Elwood Blues. I liked Jake and Elwood Blues. I looked up to Jake and Elwood Blues. Barack Hussein Obama, you're no Jake and Elwood Blues.

  • Jamie Zawinski stuck a "Y2K bug" into his popular Dali Clock application...as a prank. Hilarity ensues.

  • Remember those faster-than-light neutrinos CERN supposedly found? Yeah, not so much. It was a timing error caused by a faulty cable. There go all those science-fiction theories...

  • Speaking of things faster than light, Jeff reports that Jimi's Faster Than Light (known to his hoomans and friends as "Dash" ) is now a champion. Way to go, little fluffball! Now here's hoping he doesn't develop a 'tude like his packmate, Ch. Jimi's Admiral Nelson (aka "Aero" )...

  • Must read: Open Letter to Chris Dodd, from ESR. He shoots, he scores! (Bill Quick thinks that, if Dodd and his ilk are smart enough to read this at all, they'll respond by finding a way to co-opt enough technologists to circumvent ESR and those who stand with him. I doubt that's possible, though. Every man may have his price...but if the MAFIAA tries to co-opt me, for one, they'll find my price too high for them to pay...)

  • Another must read: Francis W. Porretto, the Curmudgeon Emeritus, with The Smoking Qur'an. Includes a lengthy fictional scenario in which a President with some balls responds to the deaths of two American soldiers at the hands of an Afghan soldier upset because of the burning of Qur'ans containing communications between extremist fighters. Stephen Graham Sumner should join the list of "ballsiest fictional American Presidents," right up there with James Marshall, as portrayed by Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

  • Somebody here loves that bag of Purina Cat Chow we got her. Maybe a little too much. I'll just let Sabrina tell the story.

  • Some thoughts on indie game development, from David Amador. At one time, I thought I was going to do something like this...I was writing games on my old TI-99/4A in high school. Somehow I don't think Rush Hour on Poway Road would go over very well, even on the Apple App Store or Android Market. Perhaps that's a dream best left by the wayside. (Via JavaLobby)

  • Latest claim from the Glowbull Wormening hysterics: Now it's going to cause humans to shrink, or some malarkey like that. Cue the voice of Peter Gabriel: "This is an announcement from Genetic Control, It is my sad duty to inform you of a four foot restriction on humanoid height..." (From the Genesis song "Get 'Em Out By Friday" )

  • Finnish software company Rovio has been milking its popular Angry Birds franchise for all it's worth; now DailyMobile.se reports that they're working on something else. They lead the article off saying, "At this point Finland is known largely for two things, Nokia and Angry Birds." I take exception to that...what about Nightwish? Or Linus Torvalds? Or kicking Soviet ass in the Winter War? Show some respect, Swedish dudes.

  • Yahoo has decided on a different tack to try and earn money, according to PandoDaily: it's served Facebook with knowledge that they may be infringing on a bunch of their patents. So, not only is Yahoo patent-trolling, they're biting the hand that feeds them; Yahoo News traffic has more than tripled since they rolled out their (annoying, IMHO) Facebook integration. Congratulations, new Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson! Your reputation is about to descend to Darl McBride levels.

  • If a bargain price for an E-reader and a crapton of E-books looks too good to be true, it is probably neither. (Via John Scalzi)

 
 
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