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Topics - Triple Zero

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Apple Talk / I have made a robot that screams.
« on: July 25, 2013, 06:54:20 pm »

Inspired by the above cartoon, I have made a robot that screams:

(16:32:15) *** Wilhelmbot [] entered the room.
(16:32:16) Wilhelmbot: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
(16:40:53) triplezero: Wilhelmbot: how do you feel?
(16:53:57) Cain: Wilhelmbot: can you tell me what the first letter of the alphabet is?
(16:53:58) Wilhelmbot: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
(16:54:35) triplezero: Wilhelmbot, what did you tell the dentist?
(16:54:37) Wilhelmbot: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaa
(17:04:00) Cain: I'm a gender anarchist because fuck the cistem
(17:04:12) Cain: what do you say to that, Wilhelmbot?
(17:04:13) Wilhelmbot: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
(17:07:44) Cain: Wilhelmbot, say hello to Fred
(17:07:50) Wilhelmbot: I didn't EEEEP understand that.
(17:08:01) fred:
(17:08:04) Cain: yes you fucking well did you useless piece of shit bot
(17:08:08) fred: lol
(17:08:12) Wilhelmbot: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa
(17:17:42) triplezero: how do you like screaming all the time, Wilhelmbot?
(18:36:35) triplezero: Wilhelm, it appears that F-U-C-K-U-P
(#discord's channel bot) ignores users with "bot" in their names. Don't you think that is racist? And how do you feel about that?
(18:36:56) triplezero: doesn't it make you RAGE like a FUCKING MANIAC, Wilhelm?
(18:43:26) triplezero: I'm going to need that code you wrote to make a bot post on Tumblr, Burns. Because Wilhelm wants to rant about Social Justice and PRIVILEGE and the blatant RACISM of F-U-C-K-U-P ignoring its fellow bots just for proudly wearing "bot" in their name!
(19:32:19) idem: Wilhelm, how do you feel about being backed up on multiple machines so you will never die?
(19:32:20) Wilhelm: AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Yes, that's pretty much all it does. I thought some of you might get a kick out of the concept of a robot that's built to do nothing but SCREAM. I certainly do :lulz:


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Really, let's just ... do stuff, because it CONNECTS and is SOCIAL! And it worked for Twitter right?

Well one thing is clever that while Twitter had to build its own infrastructure, these guys are just limiting an existing one to 500 characters. Much less work.


Maybe I know why. It's because we can, everybody that knows a bit of code can create crazy bullshit like that. But it's the Internet, so it broadcasts everything to everyone, and the end result is that you will inevitably have to face stuff made by people that tend to use their ability to build email-Twitter mutants, just to "see what'll happen".

And that's not good, but also not bad, it's just bullshit, and that's beautiful.

Techmology and Scientism / C0D3_THR34D;
« on: June 29, 2012, 03:31:56 pm »

and I'll start off with this:

  • I've recently discovered a passion for programming, mainly scripting in HTA, VBS, batch and python.

Oh good! You're going to explain me about HTA and VBS soon!

The kids at the Young Researchers Centre just discovered the wonders of batch files. Especially that you can put things like "start JimmyIsAwesome.txt" and it pops up a notepad screen that says ... you guessed it.

I don't know why I couldn't get them interested in Python. Well, I'm fairly sure it is because I didn't have a drop dead simple example that would give immediate results. They're not averse to figuring out complex stuff, but apparently you gotta show them there is SOME treasure at the end of the road first. AKA I  build it first :)

Anyway so I thought maybe VBS is a nice idea because one of them also figured out you can make stuff pop up by writing the right commands in a textfile and renaming it to ".vbs"

Which is pretty awesome because it means it's a real programming language that is available by default on every windows system.

But then I found out that any type of UI in VBScript is limited to popup message boxes and popup input prompt message boxes. Is that right? And that for anything more complex you need to use a HTA ?

Fortunately HTA seems to have the advantage that you can also use JScript, which is kinda like Javascript. And I know that better.

Another problem is that it seems that to do anything *useful* you need to make ActiveX COM objects or whatever and that seems super complicated.



Apple Talk / ATTN Swordfighting PPL
« on: June 10, 2012, 12:54:41 am »
"Hello I'm Neal Stephenson. I've been writing Science and Historical Fiction for 3 decades. Well screw that. I want to do a videogame. A videogame about something really cool and fun that I enjoy: Swordfighting ..."

Click the video!

(I'm not saying you should donate or even have an idea whether the end result will be awesome, but you DO want to check that video :) )

« on: May 11, 2012, 09:35:23 pm »

Techmology and Scientism / The old web is still there!
« on: May 02, 2012, 09:33:59 am »
Somebody created a search engine that roughly strips off the 1 million most popular sites of the web, and lets you search everything else.

You wouldn't think it'd work, but the comments on HackerNews are almost unanimously positive. Fresh and interesting recipe pages, discovering great but slightly obscure weblogs on specialty topics, "it felt like using Google 10 years ago".

Try it out.

Techmology and Scientism / Scientific Dogma
« on: April 26, 2012, 11:46:35 pm »
A piece is missing from an unclassified circular being that is also the narrator, who goes on a merry adventure looking for its missing piece.

Last Friday I happened into a university colloquium with Rupert Sheldrake (uhuh yeah, I couldn't not go, you understand) and a local Philosophy of Science prof. He asked the question whether the sun might be conscious. Though during the question-round he did admit that it was probably a bad career move as a research topic for a starting PHD. (The general topic was "dogmas in Science", it was very interesting) (He also told us that his new book "The Science Delusion", was not his intended title, but insisted upon by his publisher)

As some of you undoubtedly must have noticed, is no more.

from the site maintainer:

In short what happened?

 I am not able to comment and put my side of the story at this time (not that I don't want to), you could read this excellent piece in meantime, most of the other articles in the media contain unhealthy amounts of speculation, and are not based on facts and reality.

Is coming back?

 No! The site, its database and everything else related to the old was deleted. It's gone, dead, RIP.

What is this site about? how to help?

 The old site never strongly solicited help from the users,
 but this time you can help me with my HUGE legal expenses by simply purchasing books and ebooks from Amazon via this site (helping authors too!).
 If you have any other ideas or questions on how to help then contact me.
 And if you are an author I would be very happy to hear from you...

So that article is seems quite an interesting read.

On a barely related subject. Some time ago I discussed the possibility of having a custom personal search engine produced from your collection of ebooks. You know, those gigabytes of PDFs that you are never going to manage to read even if you'd be stranded on a desert island for 5 years.

Well I've been collecting some PDF extraction tools left and right but I've not really coded anything yet.

However, today I went on a little search for alternative PDF readers:

- Acrobat is a piece of bloatware that has had WAY too many rather severe exploits (almost all due to the fact they want to make PDFs like websites with DRM, scripting, net access, code execution, 3D OpenGL bullshit, instead of just, you know, a Portable Document Format).
- The (afaik) most well-known alternative, FoxIt Reader, is a commercial piece of software. I prefer Open Source/Free software. But more importantly, FoxIt is not very lean when it comes to bloat either. Not as huge as Acrobat but it does have quite a few of these scripting and "interactive" features that nobody ever asked for in a PDF.

Fortunately there are also a few good alternatives:

- "Sumatra PDF is a free PDF, eBook (MOBI), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows. Sumatra PDF is small, portable and starts up very fast. Simplicity of the user interface has a high priority". A few years back I tried Sumatra and I was a bit put off by the shitty user interface. I forgot what exactly, but there were a few rough edges in the way you went from one page to the next. But today I installed it again and they've had a LOT of development activity since what I guess must have been 2009, like 10 new releases or so. Anyway, to sum it up: Sumatra is now pleasant to use and it's exactly what you'd expect of a PDF reader, nothing more, nothing less. Can really recommend!

- Evince is a PDF reader from the Gnome project (a popular Linux desktop environment/GUI, default desktop interface for Ubuntu in all but the latest version). When I got back on Windows from a few years of using Linux (with Gnome), I often wondered why Windows couldn't have a simple PDF+PostScript reader that just works. Well, it turns out you actually can! It's cross platform and you can just download and install it for free. The great thing about Evince is that it also supports PostScript (PS) files. If you read a lot of papers from the exact sciences, you're bound to come across PS documents every once in a while. Good PS readers for Windows are far and few between (even though PS is a subset of PDF so I don't quite get why not every PDF reader also supports PS), and the nice thing is that Evince works pretty well, no bullshit not too many options, and is completely free and open source. Evince is about 31MB to download so not as tiny as Sumatra (4MB), but still not bad, given it comes with PostScript support. I personally like the UI of Sumatra slightly better, so I'm keeping both.

One other, quite different thing I came across is a tool called Qiqqa. I thought it was just another PDF reader, but it's more like a manager kind of thing that keeps track of all your PDFs (and probably a few other formats as well), kind of in a similar sense that many desktop MP3 player programs want to create a "library" of your music files.

Usually this sort of bullshit results in a very immediate trip to /dev/null uninstall world. But Qiqqa promised me a full-text search of my PDFs! Currently it's still scanning my collection (which isn't even everything, just 4GB, the rest is on my external HD) and been doing so for the past two hours. So expect to let it run for a night or so. Fortunately it seems to have a feature that allows you to pause the scanning, although I haven't seen the need yet for doing so because it's not slowing down my machine really. My estimate says it needs about 1h20m before it's finished.

It's also got a lot of features to deal with creating proper citations and references and BibTeX codes, annotations and things like that. In case you're writing a PHD thesis--especially in an exact science when you're using LaTeX anyhow--that could be useful. Kai once mentioned he uses a tool called Zotero to manage those kinds of things. Apparently Qiqqa is able to import documents from Zotero (and a couple of other similar tools). I have no idea about how useful these features are btw.

Apart from that Qiqqa is a commercial "freemium" application. And apparently they really want you to register an account for online syncing and other bull. I haven't done this yet. But if you do, you get one day of "premium" access for every person you get to click on your special "affiliate" code link.

Also Qiqqa is quite bloated (well, the UI feels kinda slow), so if the PDF full-text search isn't excellent I'm dumping it.

Aneristic Illusions / Liberating America's secret, for-pay laws
« on: April 10, 2012, 07:41:47 pm »


Liberating America's secret, for-pay laws

[Editor's note: This morning, I found a an enormous, 30Lb box waiting for me at my post-office box. Affixed to it was a sticker warning me that by accepting this box into my possession, I was making myself liable for nearly $11 million in damages. The box was full of paper, and printed on the paper were US laws -- laws that no one is allowed to publish or distribute without permission. Carl Malamud, Boing Boing's favorite rogue archivist, is the guy who sent me this glorious box of weird (here are the unboxing pics for your pleasure). I was expecting it, because he asked me in advance if I minded being one of the 25 entities who'd receive this law-bomb on deposit. I was only too glad to accept -- on the condition that Carl write us a guest editorial explaining what this was all about. He was true to his word. -Cory]

Did you know that vital parts of the US law are secret, and you're only allowed to read them if you pay a standards body thousands of dollars for the right to find out what the law of the land is?

 Public.Resource.Org spent $7,414.26 buying privately-produced technical public safety standards that have been incorporated into U.S. federal law. These public safety standards govern and protect a wide range of activity, from how bicycle helmets are constructed to how to test for lead in water to the safety characteristics of hearing aids and protective footwear. We have started copying those 73 standards despite the fact they are festooned with copyright warnings, shrinkwrap agreements, and other dire warnings. The reason we are making those copies is because citizens have the right to read and speak the laws that we are required to obey and which are critical to the public safety.

(read more)

Apple Talk / Advertiser discovers the power of WOMP
« on: April 05, 2012, 07:37:56 pm »

(quoted from PlentyOfFish--Throw Everything You Know About Ads Out The Window)

I personally found this hilarious, tested these 2 ads for the sake of curiosity 15k impressions each:

- Nice picture of actual in-game content
 - Green call to action button w/ “free”, “free online racing”
 - Trust symbol (EA = reputable, Need For Speed = huge reputable franchise)


- Some shit ad I made in 5 mins in Microsoft Paint.

Results? 0.049% CTR1 vs. 0.137% CTR in favor of the shit ad in Microsoft Paint. I also tested speed lines vs. no speed lines behind the car and speed lines won LOL.

1 CTR = Click-Through-Ratio, the ratio of people that click the ad divided by the total amount of people that visit the site.

With 15k visitors, that means about 7 people clicked on the EA ad, while 21 people clicked on the WOMP ad.


Literate Chaotic / The Weekend Asymptote
« on: April 03, 2012, 11:01:41 pm »
Hi there! Yeah I've been gone for quite a few weeks. At first I was busy with a lot of other things so I didn't have time to check the boards anymore. Then I decided to write a short story, which is what I'll post in this thread. And then it took a bit longer than expected because as things go, when the busy subsided (actually it didn't), stuff tends to pour into your unfilled timeslots rather quickly, and that stuff happened not to be checking PD, sorry :)

Anyway, I decided I'd finish the story first before I'd start posting again. Here it is!

It was one of those long, slow and late Friday afternoons. The kind that makes your mind drift to undefined places and you wonder whether to wait for one last client, or to close shop and declare weekend.

In my line of work that usually means somebody is going to knock on my door in three ... two ...

  "Excuse me, are you still open? My name is Will Jung Gibbsen and I am in urgent need of an audience with your Ouija board."
  "The Ouija board? An audience??" why was I so surprised? I get the weirdest requests all the time, "The Ouija board is more of a party game, and you're just one person. Wouldn't you rather like to consult the Tarot, I-Ching or get a psychic reading?"
  "I already know all about those and have gotten way too familiar with them. The Ouija board is the only one I still believe in. I know it works better with more than one person, so you'll have to assist me. I'll pay..."
  "Okay then..."
  "It's about my future ex-wife, she has recently ceased."
  "You mean deceased."
  "Maybe. We haven't met yet. Her name is Chanel."
Whatever. Wishing this bloody weekend would just get on with it and start already, I led him through the doorway into my consulting practice room, lit a few incense sticks and set up the Ouija board. Apparently Will was not too unfamiliar with the board and he knew what to do. We both placed our index fingers on the planchette.

  "I would like to request an audience with the spirit of Chanel... Chanel, are you here?"
The planchette moved. 
  "Great! Will, what would you l--"
The planchette moved, again.

  "How's it feel?"
  IT D 0 ESN'T
  "Bother you?"
  "Chanel, would you please stop pointing the planchette at symbols that aren't even on the board? ... or in this very room?!"


And that's when things got a little bit stranger.

The seat was no longer underneath Will. Except it was still in exactly the same ... location as it was before. Instead, Will appeared to be floating and filled with white static. I could see it flickering behind his eyes, and glowing beneath his skin.

Typical. I looked around. Of course, the room had acquired a few more angles, all perpendicular but folded into eachother.

I decided to quickly take a few steps back, while "a few" was still a finite countable number and "stepping back" a well-defined operation of my state vector.

Managing to get to the doorway, I knew I was safe. The doorway was carved, plastered and inked with as many religious symbols as I had been able to find over the years. Which added to the atmosphere of my workplace of course, but it was also a safety precaution. Because I hadn't stopped there, I had made the symbols with religious zeal, and fervor, faith, conviction, ineffability, madness, dogma, I had cursed them, blessed them, sanctified them, crusaded for them, declared jihad on them, prayed to them and applied to the IRS for tax exemption. This doorway was practically made of religion. And it's impossible to get mathematics past religion, you can't get it through. In theory sure, but everyone knows what's going to happen in practice: Nothing ever really changes.

I could see him repeatedly opening and closing his mouth. Or rather, I saw him try, but it kept happening in the wrong sequential ordering and he just couldn't seem to get the genus of his face right. What came out was a crackling noise and something that looked like fractured heat shimmers. Poor guy, he must be vibrating his vocal chords in a non-spatial direction.

I recognized the symptoms.

This guy above the board had the colour of terror visions, tuned to a dead Chanel.

I kinda figured Kai would post about this sooner or later :) But since it's still on the frontpage of HN and he hasn't yet, I assume he hasn't heard of it, so here's for her (and your) enjoyment:

Techmology and Scientism / MAD SCIENCE: Hacking Yoghurt DNA
« on: March 02, 2012, 01:24:44 am »
How to hack the yoghurt bacterium to make it a nice orange-pink colour and produce Prozac as a nice supplement to your morning breakfast:

"A DNA synthesizer, it's sort of like a desktop printer, but instead of CMYK it prints ATCG. And you get the DNA back in an envelope, dried.

Last year I did a project in which I created a bacterium which, if you feed it to pigeons, it makes the pigeons, um, produce, er, defecate, it makes the pigeons shit soap."

Eet smakelijk!

Techmology and Scientism / All .COM domains now subject to US Law
« on: February 29, 2012, 04:39:19 pm »

Yesterday Forbes broke the news  that Canadian Calvin Ayre and partners who operate the Bodog online gambling empire have been indicted in the U.S., and in a blog post Calvin Ayre confirmed that their domain had been seized by homeland security. As reported in Forbes (hat tip to The Domains for the cite),

According to the six-page indictment filed by Rosenstein, Ayre worked with Philip, Ferguson and Maloney to supervise an illegal gambling business from June 2005 to January 2012 in violation of Maryland law. The indictment focuses on the movement of funds from accounts outside the U.S., in Switzerland, England, Malta, and Canada, and the hiring of media resellers and advertisers to promote Internet gambling.

“Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the Internet without regulation.”

That is a truly scary quote but we'll emphasize that: "The indictment focuses on the movement of funds outside the U.S." and that you can't just "flout US law" by not being in the US. What also needs to be understood is that the domain was registered to via a non-US Registrar, namely Vancouver's domainclip.
So Here's Where It Get's Scary…

We all know that with some US-based Registrars (*cough* Godaddy *cough*), all it takes is a badge out of a box of crackerjacks and you have the authority to fax in a takedown request which has a good shot at being honoured. We also know that some non-US registrars, it takes a lot more "due process-iness" to get a domain taken down.

But now, none of that matters, because in this case the State of Maryland simply issued a warrant to .com operator Verisign, (who is headquartered in California) who then duly updated the rootzone for .com with two new NS records for which now redirect the domain to the takedown page.

This is exactly the scenario we were worried about when Verisign originally tabled their very troubling takedown proposal. Said proposal was quickly retracted, but here we have the same situation playing out anyway. Granted, this was an actual court order, to Verisign – not a "request" from a governmental or "quasi-governmental" agency as originally proposed.

But at the end of the day what has happened is that US law (in fact, Maryland state law) as been imposed on a .com domain operating outside the USA, which is the subtext we were very worried about when we commented on SOPA. Even though SOPA is currently in limbo, the reality that US law can now be asserted over all domains registered under .com, .net, org, .biz and maybe .info (Afilias is headquartered in Ireland by operates out of the US).

This is no longer a doom-and-gloom theory by some guy in a tin foil hat. It just happened.

read more

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