MP3 Cassette

Mobiblu DAH-220 MP3 player: This is a pretty neat, if somewhat useless, hack: it's a 256MB MP3 player in a cassette-tape form factor. But it has a couple of cute features I didn't expect:

"The spindles are connected to a mouse-style encoder that can tell which way they're turning, and how fast. This lets you skip tracks, while it's in a tape deck, by doing a brief fast-forward or rewind."

"The cassette adapter heads work both ways, so you can also record like a regular tape. Put 'em in record mode, then just pop 'em in your tape deck."


"and furthermore..."

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XScreenSaver 4.20

XScreenSaver 4.20 out now! Fun stuff:

  • glslideshow should be a lot faster now (that's partly what all those OpenGL test programs I was having you run were about.)
  • carousel is a new slideshow program that draws 7 images at once that is chock full of the awesome.
  • starwars uses real fonts instead of that crappy line-segment font it had been using; it looks a zillion times better now.
  • bsod -only nvidia (watch it change)
  • sonar shows ping times.
  • substrate -circle-percent 100
  • boing -scanlines
  • boing -smooth lighting
  • boxfit (click in the window to restart early)
  • fiberlamp (move the window around)

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(69%) "> Help wanted:

    I'm really happy with how carousel turned out, but there's some weird alpha-blending glitch that I can't figure out. Click and drag with the mouse until the text label of one of the images is on top of another image, so that you can see the text on a non-black background. Sometimes it looks right, but sometimes there are black boxes around the characters. Now here's the weird part: the same piece of text will have boxes when over one image, but not when over another! You can drag it left and right and see the boxes appear and disappear depending on what's underneath it.

    So, somehow alpha-blending isn't working right, but I can't figure out why. It's very confusing that it's intermittent like this: I'd expect it to always work or always not!

    Maybe I'm creating the texture wrong? I'm using INTENSITY / LUMINANCE / BYTE and handing it 8bpp data (where the values are either 0 or 255.) I'm trying to say, "create a texture whose R, G, B, and A are all the same value." texfont.c line 81.


    Thanks everybody, I fixed carousel by drawing the images, then making a second pass to draw the text. (It'll be in the next release.)

    When dealing with alpha in OpenGL, you have to render your scene back to front, from the point of view of the observer. I knew this at some point, but I forgot.

    You don't have to jump through that hoop with normal polygons, because GL has a depth buffer. That means that for every pixel on the screen, it stores not only its color, but also its depth (distance from the observer.) So when you tell it to draw a "far" pixel, and there's a "near" pixel on the screen already, it doesn't overwrite it, and life is easy.

    But, apparently alpha blending was an afterthought or something, so GL doesn't store the transparency of the pixels it writes, only the color. That is, when combining two pixels, it knows the transparency level of the pixel being written, but not of the pixel that's already there. So you can draw "50% tranparent" on top of "100% opaque", but not the other way around (which, in a sane world, would give you the same result, assuming the transparent pixel was closer to the observer.)

    Not storing alpha in the color buffer seems pretty goofy to me, since they are almost certainly using 32bpp instead of packed 24bpp anyway, meaning there's an unused byte just sitting there...

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Soylent Green Dry Mix

Mental Health Portland:

"Someone was cleaning out an old insane asylum and found the cremated remains of over 5,000 people tucked away in a closet. Here are some former patients of the hospital who are trying to tidy up this huge PR mess."

Damned Dirty Ape!

Gorilla Foundation rocked by breast display lawsuit

Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the "talking" ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian by displaying their breasts.

One example: "On at least two incidents in mid-to-late June 2004, Patterson intensely pressured Keller to expose herself to Koko while they were working outside where other employees could potentially view Keller's naked body. ... On one such occasion, Patterson said, 'Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.' "

The suit, in any case, says that Patterson would interpret hand movements by Koko as a demand to see exposed human nipples. She warned Alperin and Keller that their employment with the foundation would suffer, the suit says, if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish."

During at least three visits, the suit says, "Patterson communicated to Alperin that exposing one's breasts to Koko is a normal component to developing a personal bond with the gorilla."

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The Extropian Condition

Exhibit A:
Carol Channing
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A Day In The Life of Miss McDonald

miss_mcdonald is somewhat upsetting:

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Abe Froman is the new Odin Quincannon

A sausage factory owner was sentenced to death Tuesday for killing three meat inspectors nearly five years ago. Stuart Alexander, 43, the self-proclaimed "sausage king," was convicted in October of three counts of first-degree murder for the 2000 shooting deaths of two federal inspectors and one state inspector at his factory in San Leandro.

See also Robert Pickton.

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Today Nat announced this new calendar server project called Hula, and I've got a funny story about that.

Nat was in town, and he stopped by to say hi and chat, and he said, "So we've got this big pile of code we're going to release, and we're going to build an open source groupware system! It's going to be awesome!"

And I said, "Jesus Mother of Fuck, what are you thinking! Do not strap the 'Groupware' albatross around your neck! That's what killed Netscape, are you insane?" He looked at me like I'd just kicked his puppy.

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accidental wisdom

I just noticed that something I posted on Slashdork a while ago was summarized as:

70%  Overrated
30%  Funny
Total Score:  0

I guess that's me in a nutshell, isn't it?

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