Flickr download counter-countermeasures applied

galdown works on Flickr again. They recently changed their web site to obfuscate their URLs and Javascript even more, making it harder to find the URL of the large-sized "_o" image.

Oh, what's this? Is dc4728449ac9905195f4bd612e1c215a the unnamed account in the Bahamas where the money was to be stashed, I mean, the "secret" API key embedded within Flickr's minimized Javascript? I think so!

"Wait", you're thinking, "People still use Flickr?" Yeah, I was surprised too.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Linty linty

I have spent the last few days down in the PHP Mines. Those fumes are really toxic. I'm pretty sure I've contracted pleurisy from inhaling Cheetos dust.

So DNA Lounge has an online store, which is an enormous, and ancient, and shitty, pile of PHP code. I have often characterized it as "it's a pile of shit, but it's our pile of shit."

Well, now that I'm opening a new nightclub, I need to make that code be able to function when installed on a domain whose name is not "". As you can expect, this has been a process of discovering all kinds of hardcoded assumptions lurking in the bowels. It's like moving to a new house after you've been dug in for a decade: look at all this crap stuffed in the back of the closet that you didn't remember was there!

So there has been a lot of global search and replace, and a lot of variables being added and moved around, and that means destabilization, and that's bad, mmkay?

So I wrote a Perl program to do static analysis of PHP. And it parses PHP using regular expressions because fuck you that's why.

For your entertainment -- because I sincerely doubt that anyone who is not me will ever use this without lulz in their heart -- I give you

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GIF Keyboard

This app is going to make me intolerable:

It's an iOS keyboard that lets you communicate solely in animGIFs.

You have to agree to let it completely sodomize your input stack to install it, though, so I eagerly await the report about how it's phoning home every character you've ever typed.

"Uzani_his_army.gif! Shaka, when the lulz fell!"

Play him off, keyboard made of cats.


The Unicode Blog: Unicode 9.0 Candidate Emoji:

The Unicode Consortium has accepted 38 emoji characters as candidates for Unicode 9.0, scheduled for release in mid-2016. [...] These emoji have been accepted as candidates for Unicode 9.0 for a variety of reasons. They may be needed for compatibility with emoji characters in existing systems. For example, the FACE WITH COWBOY HAT was accepted for compatibility with the emoji used in Yahoo Messenger.


That all seems just so quaint now, doesn't it?

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"It's how people meat."

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Fury Road

I was skeptical about Fury Road, despite all the glowing reviews. This is because I am surrounded by people who cannot be trusted on this issue: people who are so invested in their 25-years-old fashion choices that had the movie contained at minimum one mohawk and one motorcycle, they'd be telling me it was the greatest thing ever.

But, holy crap, it really is great!

In stark (see what I did there?) contrast to Age of Ultron, where after the movie I kept remembering bits and pieces of it and getting angrier about it, with this one I kept remembering bits and pieces and thinking, "Wow, that was insane."

Every time Toecutter Immortan Joe glowered into the camera, I was imagining the director turning to the editor and saying, fuck yeah! This was not a movie composed of compromises.

Everything about Matt Colville's review is right on, and it contains some entertaining production details:

There is so much CG work in this movie, it's hard to fathom. Miller succeeds at what I would have considered an impossible task. He made a movie FOR people who worship practical effects... and he did it all with CGI. And the audience is going INSANE for the results. They believe. He told them "It's all real," he lied to them, and they believed it.

He knew he could lie to them, because he knew what his audience wants. They want to know; when that truck goes flying up in the air, it's real. When that truck smashed into that rock, it's real.

Well, that part is. They really built all those trucks, and they really launched them into the air and they really smashed them into each other. But that's only about 30%-40% of the film. The launching and smashing. The rest is driving. And almost none of that is real.

The vehicles you see in the movie are almost never moving. They're sitting still, propped up on what are essentially airbags. The airbags allow the crew to bounce the trucks around, they are so severely agitated, they can literally throw people off the truck with the force. But the truck is always sitting in one place.

You never notice it because they matted moving backgrounds in and they used CGI to make the wheels move. They used CGI to make the wheels move. 60% of the movie, those wheels weren't moving on the set, that's CGI. [...]

There are scenes where Charlize Theron is talking, and those are her lips moving, but they're her lips from a different shot, a pickup months later, from a different angle and a different distance, matted together seamlessly using CGI.

There are angles, crazy angles you wonder "How did they get the camera there?" They didn't. They filmed it at one angle and used the CGI to pan the camera around into a location it couldn't be in. [...]

They shot all day. They could shoot in any order. They never worried about the light. Well, the DP worried about the light constantly, but Miller kept telling him "Doesn't matter, doesn't matter. We'll fix it in post." And they did. Shots filmed in the early morning desert, the sky white, the ground choked with fog, match the shots from the heat-blasted midday desert. You can't tell.

When the DP worried they were racking up a huge computer graphics bill (which they were) Miller responded sagely "If they want a finished movie, they'll pay for it." He knew the worse it looked in-camera, the more certain it was Warner Bros. would pay for the CG.

He knew exactly how to push the limits of what could be done on-set, and what the computers could do after. And the result is a movie that feels like you're watching movies for the first time. No movie looks like Fury Road. No movie moves like it, is cut like it.

Oh, and his smackdown of Interstellar is good, too:

The movie sort of assumes everyone in the movie saw Contact and so when ALIENS contact Earth with a plan (sort of) to save humanity if only they'll jump through this wormhole they planted, our hero just fucking goes along with it.

He goes along with it because he was created by the script. He was engineered, by the writers, to be someone who just happened to live 10 minutes away from an ultra-secret project that just happened to need an ace pilot of which he is literally the only one left, which is lucky, because he also happened to be the best there ever was. Chris Nolan, fuck you.

Hang on, let me calm down a little. That's not the most insulting part of the film.

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Stop Drinking Bottled Water

The reason you should boycott bottled water is because it enables a bullshit, backwards vision for society.

Boycotting bottled water means you support the idea that public access to clean, safe water is not only a basic human right, but that it's a goddamn technological triumph worth protecting. It means you believe that ensuring public access to this resource is the only way to guarantee it will be around in a few more years.

Clean, safe drinking water that flows freely out of our faucets is a feat of engineering that humans have been been perfecting for two millennia. It is a cornerstone of civilization. It is what our cities are built upon. And over the years the scientists and hydrologists and technicians who help get water to our houses have also become our environmental stewards, our infrastructural watchdogs, our urban visionaries. Drinking the water these people supply to our homes is the best possible way to protect future access to water worldwide.

Companies that package water in a single-use bottle are not concerned with the future. They are not invested in the long-term effects of climate change on an endangered watershed, nor are they working to prepare a megacity for an inevitable natural disaster. What they are interested in is their bottom line: Marketing a "healthy" product to compensate for the fact that people are buying less of their other products that are known to case obesity and diabetes -- and selling it for at prices that are 240 to 10,000 times higher than what you pay for tap water.

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Taxi medallion markets collapse across America

There are no winners here:

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates the city's taxi industry, had sold newly-created medallions for wheel-chair accessible taxis for $80,000 each. The bargain price came after the authority put the medallions on the market last fall, with an initial asking price of $475,000, but received no bids. [...]

Uber's labor practices are deplorable, and the company uses rhetoric about "disrupting inefficient markets" as cover for some really evil behavior. But the reason the rhetoric rings so true is that municipal taxi licensing is a disaster, and it's one that was deliberately made and continued for decades thanks to the great wealth the dysfunction brought to a tiny minority, who made so much that they were able to set some of their gains aside to lobby to make things stay the same.

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Idiot Sandwich

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Time-lapse Mining from Internet Photos

"First, we cluster 86 million photos into landmarks and popular viewpoints. Then, we sort the photos by date and warp each photo onto a common viewpoint. Finally, we stabilize the appearance of the sequence to compensate for lighting effects and minimize flicker."


"Synthesizing a photorealistic time-lapse is also very challenging," explains Martin, "as the input photos look very different from each other ... Photo timestamps might be wrong and many photos contain occluders, like people posing in front of monuments, that our time-lapse successfully ignores."

It's a complicated business, but also fully automated: Just feed the algorithm, and in a few hours it'll spit a video right back for you. Their efforts yielded nearly 11,000 time-lapses, most of which seem to be cover temporal stretches of five and 10 years. Among the highlights are the erosion of the Briksdalsbreen Glacier in Norway, the rise of New York City's Goldman Sachs Tower, and a Swiss Guard at the Vatican who remains still enough over six years that he becomes every bit as much a part of the time-lapse as the iron door frame around him.

In a random sample of 500 time-lapses, the researchers found nearly half to be "good and interesting," which is to say they have no visible artifacts, are photorealistic, and actually show something changing over time; Martin points out that indoor scenes will often simply look like still photographs, since the changes even over a span of years can be too minute to notice.

The team hopes to be able to automatically filter out the boring results. In the meantime, some of those "failures" are captivating in their own right. The position of the famous Wall Street Bull has actually moved slightly over the years, creating a blur effect and a quick reexamination of your assumptions about statues and mobility.

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FBI and Homeland Security Respond to Shocking Goatse Bomb in Atlanta

Never has any TV news reporter looked more CONCERNED.

The billboard is one of the thousands of YESCO digital billboards installed across the country. Naturally, it comes with an internet connection. The setup is exactly as insecure as you'd imagine.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are now both involved in chasing down the party responsible for briefly putting the graphic butt meme on a billboard.

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