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more thoughts on Cultural Loss: Cultural Entropy

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you might have read Mikes last entry about the preservation of culture here. and he does raise interesting points and whilst I agree with him, that cultural artifacts need to be preserved, I kind of disagree that culture is defined by artifacts

In my view culture is an all-encompassing set of tools we use to consume culture and interact with other members of our cultural group. Having a great play or book is fine, but if you don’t understand the language spoken or even the concepts of reading and writing then it becomes meaningless squiggles on a page.

how about this for an example of loss of cultural knowledge


Read more..

Snail Tales: Part 1

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I have been working for a long time on a short piece of animation. It’s been made longer by my insistence on using purely Open source software to make the animation with.

I decided to use Synfig Studio and set about creating characters over a year ago.

Of course real life got in the way of this. There was a house move, and of course there’s been my work on Elite Dangerous and Zoo Tycoon as well as the work I continue to do for Hoo on Who. but here are some early tests and work in progress shots for the short.

In the original story board the opening shot was much shorter and it was static but I have decided to make it a longer shot to better establish the kingdom in this early test, there are no peasants, I will add a couple of peasants to the fields and village.

the scarecrow I added on a whim. I had watched the Wizard of Oz a couple of days previous and  trying to think what i could put in the environment to help set the scene, I thought it would be fun to animate a scarcrow. I built and rigged a scarecrow and animated him making a little wave and turning his head to look to camera.

A lot of his animation is masked by the tree currently. I might put the tree on the first  hill so it is well out of the way .

 

In this shot, the Cat detective is being telephoned by the Queen to come find her stolen money. I wanted to give some contrast to the cat detective’s office, so I designed it to look more Noir-ish and forced the perspective. I always though it could be funny to have the cat play with a ball of wool while taking the call, the idea to put the framed picture of a ball of wool happened as I was designing the background. Originally there was going to be a newtons cradle in the foreground, but the scene was busy enough and I didn’t want to pull focus from the cat.

 

In this shot, the cat detective is looking through his magnifying glass. I used two copies of the cat detective, and used the shape of the magnifying glass to mask out the larger cat

 

 

this shot is tricky and is in the process of being re animated.  The cat detective is climbing up a spirtal staircase, following the dragon prints. The Background was a 3d model I rigged and animated in 3DS Max- still frames were rendered out and the cat detective was then animated to look like he is climbing the stairs. I changed the camera angle to better show the dragon prints. so the cat Detective needs reanimating.

 

Using open source software has not been easy.  There are certain thing I like to do when animating that Synfig forces to you abandon. In order to combat this, Mike and I wrote Synfig Stage, This software will allow us to compile new scenes with copies of the existing characters in the production. expect a video of it in action soon.

Synfig also has a very steep learning curve, but as with all things, the first time you try anything it will always be hard. Subsequent attempts are quicker and some of the newer chacters have taken less time to rig and in some cases these rigs are more complex than others.  I hope to have a few more shots done soon. in which case ther might be other posts about this (which is why its optimistically called part 1).

 

when is rare – rare?

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I am sure like most people I am a fan of Family Guy, It’s generally on BBC3 on an evening, and one of only a few reasons to keep the channel.

 

I also have an Android Phone, so when ‘Family guy- the quest for stuff ‘ came out I donwloaded it and have playing on an off for about 6 months.

 

Right now there is a comic-con tie in event. part of the event involves you collecting film canisters to free Ron Pearlman. You can collect them by building a screening theatre. \But lets have alook at the theatre:

family guy question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tweeted the developers TinyCO .

 

if we hear back we will follow up on this

SousChef: Recipe creator for windows

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I like cooking, so, when the muse takes me, I will often attempt new recipes.  I use an android App Called Bites to store recipes. The main advantage of this is that there is a companion app called Trolly which can read in the ingredient lists as a shopping list.

So far so good. However I have a whole bunch of free recipe cards that you can collect from outside supermarkets. and instead of them sitting on my bookshelves, taking up space or worse still, being thrown away without trying it, what would be great, would be if there was a way to get these recipes into Bites.

This is where SousChef comes in. SousChefis a windows application that will create recipe files in a format that Bites can understand. The way I tend to use it is to make the recipe file on my desktop and then mail it to myself. It will appear in the inbox on my phone which I can then open it into Bites.

This is a V1.0 release. I will be making alterations to the code ,  but right now it works

The main Ui for SousChef

The main UI for SousChef

zesty prawns in BITES

zesty prawns in BITES

 

more information about Bites can be found here

more information about Trolly can be found here

download

 

George RR Martin Loves DOS

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27407502:

comic

Flora Proactiv fail

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Tried signing up this morning for the proactiv news letter – got the following error

screencapture-www-flora-com-proactiv-vitality-email-sign-up

 

The actual error is :

Server Error in ‘/’ Application.


A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 116.213.15.22:80

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 116.213.15.22:80

Source Error:

 

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.


Stack Trace:

 

[SocketException (0x274c): A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond 116.213.15.22:80]
   System.Net.Sockets.Socket.DoConnect(EndPoint endPointSnapshot, SocketAddress socketAddress) +525
   System.Net.Sockets.Socket.InternalConnect(EndPoint remoteEP) +51
   System.Net.ServicePoint.ConnectSocketInternal(Boolean connectFailure, Socket s4, Socket s6, Socket& socket, IPAddress& address, ConnectSocketState state, IAsyncResult asyncResult, Int32 timeout, Exception& exception) +606

[WebException: Unable to connect to the remote server]
   System.Net.HttpWebRequest.GetRequestStream(TransportContext& context) +938
   System.Net.HttpWebRequest.GetRequestStream() +23
   Traction.Fusion.HttpPostService.ProcessRequest(RequestContext context, Boolean closeConnection) +797
   Traction.Fusion.HttpPostService.ProcessRequest(RequestContext context) +63
   Traction.Fusion.Customers.AddCustomerService.AddCustomerInternal(IMatchKey matchKey, UpdateAttributeCollection attributes) +649
   Traction.Fusion.Customers.AddCustomerService.AddCustomer(IMatchKey matchKey, UpdateAttributeCollection attributes) +80
   Unilever.Flora.VitalityAcquisitionEmailPromotion.AddCustomerFormProcessor.ExecuteAddCustomer(IAddCustomer form) in C:\Projects\MUK\FloraVitalityAcquisition\Templates2010\Unilever.Brand.Template\AddCustomerFormProcessor.cs:38
   FloraVitalityForm2010.Acquisition.SaveToTractionAddCustomer() +168
   FloraVitalityForm2010.Acquisition.ProcessForm() +164
   FloraVitalityForm2010.Acquisition.Submit_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e) +51
   System.Web.UI.WebControls.Button.RaisePostBackEvent(String eventArgument) +159
   System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +3482

 


Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:4.0.30319; ASP.NET Version:4.0.30319.1016

 

 

sharing isn’t caring!

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You know what really grinds my gears? When people repost stories without checking them

You know what really grinds my gears? When people repost stories without checking them

I am not a massive Facebook user, I barely post, and mostly I tend to have the news feed on

The news feed is interesting, it’s a way to see what all my friends are up to.

But there’s one thing that really grinds my gears and that’s when people I know share warnings and news stories that are hoaxes or not true.

In the past few days, friends on Facebook have shared and commented on :

For each of these I commented on each share with an article that proves it to be false.

Granted there are times when you share a link and you later realize it to be a hoax, However in Facebook, hoaxes and false news spreads so quickly, because you allow it to happen by blindly clicking share

Let’s think for a second what it means to click the share button.

By clicking the share button you are endorsing the item and passing it on to your friends.  Maybe you don’t think of it that way, but maybe you should.

So, before you click share just take a second. and try these  steps instead:

Google a bit of the text or a description.

There’s a name in the post? (like with the Dell Schanze story) Google the name. The premise of the story is that it is known that Dell Schanze is buying dogs for fighting so there should be a news story right? The picture is a police mugshot. so its implied that Dell Schanze has been arrested before.  so there should be a news story right? so hit up Google and find out more. It could be old news. It could be in another country that has no relevance to you or your friends

Check the police website

Surely a press release will be a more effective way of issuing a warning to the general population, after all it will reach local news outlets , local radio, local TV news, and if it’s very important, it will probably make the national news. If there is a press release, then it should be available from the police forces website. If it has already been published, then it will be on the news. However the 0809 are code story was shared by Greater Manchester Police North on their Facebook Page according to Hoax-Slayer (what’s the betting if that was the case, it just because some just clicked share?). Currently the Greater Manchester Police North Facebook page does have a post regarding the 08090 number scam informing that it is nothing to do with them and that it is fake.

Check news sites

So Lorde’s Grammy awards acceptance speech was censored? nothing mentioned on the BBC news site,  The Huffington Post said her performance without auto tune was pretty bad but nothing about it being censored. If the  TV feed  had been altered (which is what the ‘story’ says happened), all the guests and reporters that were in attendance  could have said something.  In fact a quick Google  after checking the news sites bought proof that it was a fake.

Check Snopes / Hoax-Slayer

There are sites that track and log these hoaxes, I mainly go to Snopes, Hoax-slayer and  thatsnonsense check against those,  you find them in there? then its a hoax

I know there are some terrible hoaxes out there the talking Angela app :

I cant even in words say what I just found out.. I am SHOCKED and want to tell and let my friends and family be made aware so they can make sure their children are safe!!! Angelica stayed home from school today and thank GOD she did. Because she was on her ipod playing a game called talking angela, which is similar to talking tom, anyway as she is sitting next to me this interactive cat says to her hi angelica where is your brother? She says o hes right here next to me the cat says o cool, then the cat says so what do you do for fun? Ang says I dont know, (now im being quiet and listening because I think its weird this angela cat knows she has a brother and is talking to her like a person) then its voice changes and in some weird robotic voice it says angelica when u date what do u do on your dates? She looked at me got red in the face and said nothing, then it said stick out your touunge, ill stick mine out too, it said what are some things u can do with your tounge? I can find many things to do with my tounge it said it said lets intrract w our toungues. I that point I had heard enough I zaid ang shut it off now! I was freaked out called the police departnrnt they came to the house saif they would have the internet investigations unit andpedofile investigations unit look into it, they called me an hour latet and said something is behind that cat!!! They dont know if it is local or over seas. While the police officer was there and ang was talking to him she told the police officer saturday night her cousin and her were on the app w angela and it asked the girls their names what her brothers name was what school they BOTH went to, and it took a picture of angelica!!! This is under serious investigation right now! When I googled talking angela I cant even begin to tell you what creepy stuff came up! Google it for yourselves please!! But some things are the cat asking girls for their phone numbers! And if theyve had their firat kiss!!! Take this app off your phone please! Theres a big chance thid cpuld be a door for pedofiles.the police said they have seen thing *like* this but never actually through a childs app but that they are not putting it past them! The girls told angela the cat on saturday their names and she had a brother and then on monday morning when angelica turned the app back on, It remebered her name and that she had a brother!!! These things ARENT supposed to ask you questions!!! and especially not questions about dating toungues or kissing!! I am disgusted! I dont feel safe at all right now! Knowing that there was some creep talking to my daughter and my neice through a talking app!!! Please if you have this app or any like it the police are saying take it off of your phone!!! Copy and share and send out PLEASE! This word needs to spread! I pray the ocean county investigators can crack this thing open!!!!!
So please if your KIDS use this app please shut it down. Because SOME KIDS told them the name of the school they went to and is now on red alert at the school, and please PASS this on to ALL your friends.

and I am sure there are parents whose response is:

“As a parent, I am taking no chances,  we must share this just in case its true”

No, what you are doing is a knee jerk reactionary thing. You are helping create an atmosphere of panic and hysteria by clicking a button. If you were concerned for your children’s safety, why not verify that the story if actually the case. Also by doing what the message wants,  (Copying and sharing the post) you are in effect saying it was your kids who were affected. distorting the original meaning of the message.

But if we stop for a second we realise how nonsensical the claim actually is:

The post is saying that Apple, a company who charge $99 a year to app developers and take a percentage of profits made from app sales, who enforce strict app programming guidelines , somehow allowed an app  to be added to its store, that could be a backdoor for gangs of organised paedophiles and apple DIDN’T do anything to pull the app / alert the authorities / Release a press release??

Mark twain once said:

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

With social media, Lies are now lapping the truth many times before it has even found its socks and by blindly clicking share or copying and pasting statuses, you are helping fill the world with lies, and to the untrained observer, someone who takes the content of such posts at face value, paints the world in a horrible light.

Don’t believe me? check out some of these hoaxes over on hoax-slayer right now:

 

New podcast on HPR

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I’ve recorded an episode of HPR, and it’s out today!  In this episode I chat about my Ubuntu Ebook Template Project – I’m still battling with giving a voice to my ebooks but hopefully a wise HPR community member might be able to offer some advice.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Why not record your own HPR episode.  It’s super fun and easy to do.  Head over to Hacker Public Radio and see how easy it is to contribute.

 

James Bond 00 fail

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While at the gym tonight, watching TV again, on ITV2 the treadmill was showing The World is Not Enough.  Anyway – I spotted the following security howler thanks to the talk that @__Freakyclown__ gave at oggcamp.

who out these cameras here?

who put these cameras here?

He’s ruined films for me now 😉

 

 

 

Sharing a book via PPA – now possible

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I have been working this evening on the sharing process for ebooks.  Tonight I managed to get a book to upload to launchpad and to make it available.  Currently it is a nonsense collection of pages, examining aspects of page layouts, and a copy of a 1 star rating for a review of a Steven King follow up to The ShiningDr Sleep

There is still work to do on the process – currently there needs to be a link made between the installation location (/usr/share/books) and the current user’s directory – but I have some scripts that should accomplish this that were developed as part of the content packaging for Severed Fifth’s Nightmares by design album.

There were a few dependencies that I had forgotten about, but a couple of retries and the process ran successfully.

Build time for the book took 2 minutes.

test2 ebook - as seen in the ubuntu Software Centre

test2 ebook – as seen in the ubuntu Software Centre

If you want to install the book yourself – add ppa:computa-mike/testbook to your ubuntu system’s software sources.

There’s a guide to adding a PPA to your software sources here.

The raring deb file can be found here.

I have also found a very interesting python library for epub, and I seem to be replicating much of the work that Aleksandar Erkalovi? is doing with this library – so I plan to replace my library with his, adding in any missing features back to the main library (if at all possible).  I think this would be the best approach as it reduces duplicated effort.

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