Merry Greedfest!

Merry Greedfest everyone. Don’t forget to gorge on mass quantities of fattening food and covet all the absurd posessions your neighbor received and you didn’t. I hope you enjoy your 60K of debt.

Now to the rest of the people out there. Merry Christmas and I hope the time you get to spend with your loved ones is a joyous moment filled with glee. I’m not a foul grinch, I just want to burn the mall down.

Windows, I’d like a divorce… the kids? You can have them on the weekends.

This morning I woke up at about 9AM with a massive hangover. Groan, complain, shut up Dylan you’re just a pussy. I stumble over to my PC per usual to my daily routine and notice my computer had rebooted in the middle of the night and there is these strange visual artifacts strung across my screen.

Damn it!

I go to do something and load my audio application, and I am greeted with a stutter of sound, the video driver resets itself, and then frozen. Yey! I get to spend my wonderful Thursday hungover and repairing my Windows Vista install… yep, I was just ASKING FOR IT.

No, screw this. I’m sick and tired of this. 95 was just ugly, 98 was just broken, 2000 was just handicapped compared to XP, XP hated me and gave me strange IRQ request errors, Vista has been fine for the most part… until now.

I’ve always dual booted some flavour of Linux for several years now. My favourite flavour the past 2 years has been Ubuntu Linux, big surprise, she seems to be the Unix slut of the century! And if you know me, I just love me some sluts. I’ve never made a 100% transition to Linux due to some user-unfriendliness and the lack of support for some of my software even through emulation.

But it has never failed me. It just always worked. Well… older versions didn’t “just work”, but these fresher and newer distros today have been fixing that. That and I have a few years of experience playing with it now that I think I can fully handle the transition.

So instead of wasting my day on repairing my Windows Vista install (i know, i know, I shouldn’t of even got Vista, but if you saw what XP did to me you’d get it. And to you Mac fags, SHUT UP), I’m going to just make the full transition to Ubuntu. I will be setting a VMware guest install of Vista as a test bed so I can debug stuff I write for Windows, it isn’t the best way to debug, but it should cover most bases. Anyways it isn’t like I’m writing stuff that is really all that intensive on Windows… coding video games and Flash isn’t that special that a VMware guest can’t work.

Downside is I probably have to now teach myself OpenGL, I mean if I’m going to stay here in Linux now (I’m writing this on my dual boot Ubuntu install, must not be hardware if she’s running great) I better consider it. DirectX doesn’t work over here. But I’ll probably stick to learning DirectX and run through VMware because well… DirectX is viable, OpenGL is just fun.

Wish me luck…

You know where the dictionary is!

Several times when I was a kid I would be reading a new book, possibly for school, or because my mother gave me another book from the shelf to entertain me on cold winter days. If I wasn’t outside I should be reading. I’m not saying I had one of those anti-television moms who was tyrannical about my TV viewing schedules. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, but my mother was very sensitive to the idea of convincing to something else. Instead of telling me I wasn’t allowed to watch TV she supplied me with tons of things to do that were really fun and didn’t take place in front of the TV set.

You know, erector sets, legos, chemistry set, puzzles, board games, and books for in doors. The only thing she was demanding about was being out doors. It was just a normal rule, boys are to be in the sun when the sun is shining. Boys can drink from the hose. Boys can pee in a bush standing. So stay the FUCK outdoors, this is me time!

I’m deviating, so back to the point.

When I was a kid I spent a lot of my time reading books. I like geography, rocks/geology, dinosaurs and math, and these books were full of big words that I had no idea what they meant.

“Maaa, what’s a fractal? What’s does poly mean? MAAAAA I can’t read this word… ig… ignep… igneee…”

“You know where the dictionary is!” would be her response. 7 times out of 10 it was probably because she didn’t know the meaning herself, and she has admitted this. I was reading math and geology books, my mother was into Hemingway and Shakespeare, not little boy stuff. Just as big and complex of words, but never any of the words I was reading. So I was forced to look the damn word up myself.

I wanted to know how to spell something it was a 10 minute discussion about sounding the word out, breaking the syllables apart, and comparing them to known syllables in my lexicon. Over time I was trained to recognize the meaning of a word due to its similarity to another word.

The definition of telepathy: the transfer of thoughts with out perceptual sensory

I learned to infer the meaning from tele in telephone which to me meant remote or transfer. And pathy from words like sympathy, and antipathy means feeling. From context then I could make the educated guess that the word meant transferring feelings remotely.

Reference Materials
Reference materials are things like textbooks and periodicals. We all know them, when you write a research paper you consult several reference material for facts on the matter you are researching. Back in the olden days before us lucky folk had this great reference material known as ‘teh interwebs’, we had to consult this hulking books of madness like encyclopedias.

Sometimes I wonder how many kids today witness an encyclopedia. I mean it has been only a decade since the internet has entered all our homes and already it seems like we’ve lost interest in a lot of these reference materials. Encyclopedias exist for free in digital form now and don’t take up the 3 shelves on the family book shelf they used to!

Why I bring this up is today we kind of take for granted the tools we’ve been given for finding our way around these massive databases of information. When you go to Wikipedia for information you don’t read the entire contents of Wikipedia, that would take you your entire life! You search it for the topic you require using its search engine.

Encyclopedias and textbooks had much more archaic forms of this as well. You had to consult the glossary, appendix, table of contents, etc if you wanted to locate something in the book. If it was a series of books, like an encyclopedia, it was broken into letters. Or in more robust scenarios we devised sorting tools like the dieing dewey decimal system.

We know these exist, I’m not saying you the reader are an ignorant fool betrothed to damnation due to a lack of ‘culture and tradition’ because you’ve embraced technology. BAH! I’m not saying this at all. Come on, I’ve engaged myself in bleeding edge technology since I was shittin’ yella!

No what I’m trying to make a point of is that these archaic search tools required a lot more work from you the searchee because they weren’t nearly as helpful as GOOGLE. Paper & ink costs money and there is only so much space to fill with words pointing to the pages of a text to go to for a certain topic before it becomes convoluted and just as difficult to search through as it would to just read the fuckin’ text itself.

Instead you had to generalize the topic you were searching for. If I wanted to read about black soldiers who fought in the civil war for the confederate army, I couldn’t just type that into a search box and find all relevant material pertaining to the subject. I first searched the libraries dewey decimal system for books on Civil War material, then I narrowed my search to stories from the confederate army, and further more to black soldiers. Of course a few books directly about this topic are going to pop up, but I’m missing out on a lot of books that have a couple chapters about it as well. So by broadening my search this way and consulting the different indexes of the books I could collect up a large reference pool for myself. It also took an hour to just find the books!

But along the whole path I honed a very important skill. The ability to break apart and compare systems to each other by generalized descriptions. There is a reason us humans like to sort things and cast labels to things, it makes it far easier to locate the stuff we need when we need it!

This skill has evolved though with the onset of ‘teh interwebs’. The process of sorting this material and information has a new middle man, no longer is it the appendix and dewey decimal system which is very tangible, it is now search engines and databases. A less tangible and very complex pool of algorithms and information that most of us don’t fully understand yet. But the principals are still there, these algorithms for sorting the data were devised by the same human intuition of categorizing and utilizes the same basic concepts of breaking apart systems into generalized groups. We just need to utilize these tools to hunt for our information.

I meet people a lot who wonder how it is I find the information I find via google. Or I meet others who say “I google’d it and came up with nothing on the subject”. Come on now, google isn’t a human, it can’t figure out what you are asking, you have to ask it the right question. Very similar to how you had to ask the index the right question. The great part is your choices of different things to ask it is far greater then that of archaic text books. There is limitless amounts of storage space for it and with the right principals it can be stored in a less convoluted manner masked from you the ‘searchee’.

There shouldn’t be this error of an inability to find an answer via google. You just are looking for something way to specific. Which brings me to a more annoying subject that I am upset about!

Do you really want information!?
If you’ve made it this far into this blog entry, you must not have a problem reading. We are already 1300 hundred words into this article and you’re still here! So why is it you are afraid to read through your search results? Google and Yahoo aren’t going to just hand you the specific website and direct you to the correct paragraph with the answer you want. It might if you are searching for a specific item, but that’s not research, that’s just bullshit consumer shopping (2007 hottest google search word was ‘iphone’). Yeah that might spit the answers you are looking for fairly quickly because it’s the freakin’ iphone! There is a reason why trademarks exist, the name is recognizable and unique, thus finding information about ‘iphone’ will always result in iPhones!

But searching for something more arbitrary like ‘vector’ isn’t going to be so helpful. Just because you google’d something more vague and it didn’t give you the exact answer you needed, don’t give up there. Don’t go running to mommy (or forums and newsgroups) to ask a human the answer, you’ve completely given up on the entire purpose of the internet!

Never mind the fact you’ve given up on the entire practice of learning. Consuming processed information is not learning, it’s memorizing processed information. It’s like this, knowing 12 * 12 = 144 because your teacher pounded your times tables into your head in 3rd grade doesn’t mean you learned to multiply. You merely memorized that 12 * 12 is 144. Where is the concept of multiplication in that?

So when you are searching a topic that you don’t know a lot about and you don’t know enough information about the topic to infer relative search words, then read what results you get. Do you know what a geometric cartesian ‘vector’ is? No you probably don’t, and you probably didn’t know that the geometric cartesian part was part of what it is called. But I guarantee anyone who has spent any time in an art program or tinkered around with programming has at least heard someone say what it is. Hasn’t that alone tickled your brain into wondering what on God’s green Earth the freakin’ thing is!?

hypothetical
You are building a small flash animation in which you move vector art around the screen from position to position. You want them to follow some path, but the path is dynamic and changing depending on the user input. You do a search about animations and you see people talking about animations, but nothing specific to the exact animation you want to create. But you notice a repeating themes, people are talking about vectors and cartesian coordinates. Vector, you remember that word when you were in flash, it was used to describe the kind of graphics it displays. A recurring theme!?

Well I bet though if you searched the word ‘vector’ you’d get billions of results and only 1% of them would actually talk about the mathematical ‘vector’. Your results will probably turn up things like:

  • Vector art/graphics
  • Vector type Array
  • Biological creatures that transmit diseases
  • topic about aeronautics and aerospace
  • amongst much more…

By reading this you will probably quickly learn there are tons of different applications of what a vector is, and that this application is very broad spanning across multiple topics. Along the whole line though you will probably notice a repeating theme… it has to do with direction, magnitude, values… sooner or later you probably should get that this stuff is applied to math.

Now you continue your search for mathematical vectors and you probably find the geometric cartesian vector. An ordered set of values that represent magnitude and direction. You’ve now found the guts of the topic. Extending further you probably will then search for arithmetic process of vectors and learn about dot product and the sort.

But you remember back to the initial search you made of ‘vector’ and maybe remember that result where there is a category of creatures called vectors when they are a host to some parasite that is used for transmitting the disease. Such as a mosquito that carries the ‘West Nile Virus’. And how in aeronautics it was used to describe controlling the direction of airplanes. You then can infer that this name was used because the action resembles that of a vector. The virus travels in a direction through the insect to its victim.

The amount of reading you partook maybe took an hour or two. Comparable to the time it would have taken to just search your local library for books, let alone read them. And you’ve left with a very robust understanding of what a ‘vector’ is. Now you return back to these discussions you found about animations that weren’t quite like yours, but now that you understand the technique that is being used you get the principal of the process.

Now you can create your animation with out copying someone else, but by utilizing there techniques. Was it really that hard? I hope not. Did you learn something new? Oh I bet you learned more in that 2 hours of research then in an entire month of Algebra class in high school. Furthermore I guarantee you’re going to remember this information far more easily then any of that pounded memorized shit you learned like your times tables.

In Conclusion
In school they made you do research papers for a reason. It wasn’t to learn about the topic you did the paper on, that’s why they let you pick whatever topic you damn well pleased. It was to teach you how to search for the information. You were given a choice of topic to make sure you were interested enough to actually do the work… kids just aren’t interested enough most of the time.

I personally think schools should endorse the use of the internet as sources for a research paper, because the internet is becoming the largest reference material known to man right now. But the search tools given to us are vastly more complex then what we are used to. I understand an educators discomfort in this because there is so much misinformation on the web, but students need practice so that way they can learn to sort out the garbage from the good.

For instance I had college professors that didn’t allow wikipedia.org as a reference, so people just avoided it. But I still used it, and pointed out to everyone in class that why not just go there for information and locate THEIR references. They are located at the bottom of the page for you, as proof that this information was legite. You want to avoid misinformation, look for the source. Don’t take the writers word because he says so, get his source and make sure it’s reputable and that he actually matched the sources argument. There’s a reason we trust Webster for definitions of words, the publisher is held responsible to produce accurate information. So go through the not so reputable sources to locate the reputable sources held accountable!

We need to practice using it so we can adequately get information out of it.

Instead of using it to search for porn and iphones.

Malest a vegetarian day is almost here!

Tomorrow is the “International Hug a Vegetarian Day” as purported by PETA. The wonderful and oh so marry organization behind the civil rights for animals and retraction of concern for humanity. How much more arrogant and self righteous can one be then to create a holiday for one’s self? How about I make an “International Beat Your Kids Relentlessly Day”…

“Who doesn’t love “Hug a Vegetarian” Day? It’s always a smashing success with tens of thousands of people taking part around the world. Check out some photos here if you don’t believe that vegetarians make better huggers!”

It’s a smashing success? I’ve only heard of it just 10 minutes ago God damn it. And I get your sweet little quip, but how smug are you to say that vegetarians make better huggers. Just like they make better lovers, members of society, and all that other hub bub you shove around in your propaganda about how awesome you are for not eating meat. I’m sorry honey, but you shit smells just as foul as mine does. I just take pride in my farts! This viral epidemic of elitism and self worship through the entity of defenseless creatures is mind boggling to me. Of all the things in the world I hate and dislike, this for some reason is the one at the top of my list that I want to rip from the face of this planet like the plague it is.

Human’s weren’t supposed to eat meat.

Yeah, I’ve heard this debate. And it makes me cringe. A very long time ago when we were still in trees climbing around and being the little monkeys we were. We evolved some very unique processes to survive. We were prey, we ate leaves and fruits, and had many threats in the world. We needed a defense mechanism, all the other mammals were developing heightened sight and senses to see where enemies were for themselves. They decided to be self sufficient. The primemate on the other hand went a very bizarre route, it utilized a small unexploited process of the animal kingdom.

Social Nets

Yep, we decided to instead become extremely social animals. Instead of basic small social nets of a mother and children like most animals. And even more complex then packs like that of wolves. We went a lot further and formed large groups of primemates, we didn’t have to be related or anything. We just grouped up, and most primemates today still use this for protection. This wasn’t to be “happy”, happiness as an emotion and all the other complex emotions we developed were a result of this decission. We were in much larger groups so that way there were more eyes and ears to pay attention for danger. But we had to trust one another, to keep the group strong and large. So it became necessary to recognize each other. Our brains began growing and our eyes began reacting more to different colours and complex images. We needed to be able to recognize one another and be able to store a memory of each individual. No longer are we en masse, we could easily distinguish our brother from our cousin.

This process developed for years and several species related to us ran with it and grew more complex. Hence the massive social networks of nearly all primemate species. They groom and communicate with each other. They hug and sleep next to each other. They grow extremely attatched to one another all for the sake of protection and survival. But one species of all of these, us, the pre human, human. They took it further. This increase in brain size allowed them to learn about tools. We no longer had to evolve growths on our bodies to perform tasks. Becoming a predator was no longer an evolutionary step of growing the teeth and claws needed. We just had to build the tool to make it. And we exploited this massively. We invented fire, and sharp weapons. Overnight we could now become predators. Using our social networks we were able to get into large groups and overnight have the powerful hunting senses of other predators. We put this all together and were able to start taking down other animals for consumption.

We were still relatively dumb, and putting ourselves into these hunting situations put our lives at risk. We needed more protection, so evolution stepped in. Instead of evolving different attack and defense body parts. We put all our evolution power into the one thing that granted us this amazing power to think and create tools. Our brain. We wanted a complex strong brain, and with that we could protect ourselves by building defense items instead of growing them. This takes work though, lots of work. See the brain consumes the most energy in our body, it is so hungry for energy that it even consumes it in our sleep when most of the rest of our body shuts down. There’s other parts that consume large quantities of energy as well. The heart, the lungs, and the digestive track. Well we need our heart, we can’t take energy from that… it’s how we push energy around our body. And we certainly need our lungs, with out that we don’t have the oxygen to burn in processing sugars and proteins. This left one other thing, the digestive track, now this we could probably make much more efficient with the correct adjustments.

Food is hard to eat

It’s hard to eat. The body spends a lot of the energy it gets from food just to digest new food. You want to hear the most surprising part. It’s very hard to digest vegetation. Plants are tough little things, and don’t like to be broken up. Most herbivores have very complex digestive systems to consume plant life and be able to survive off the nutrients in it. The bovine has grown such a complex system that it can actually extract more energy from grass then it takes to digest it. It took multiple stomachs and symbiocis with countless number of bacterium. In all actuality the bovine (or cow) isn’t a herbivore. Instead it’s a farmer. It has several eco systems that it maintains inside its body as stomachs. In these stomachs they grow large amounts of bascterium, which they feed large quantities of grass. The bacterium in turn consume the grass, split, and grow larger populations. The cow then finally pushes all these bacterium through their intestine and absorb the carbs and proteins from the bacteria. In turn they are actually eating the bacteria

We had a complex digestive track to digest plants as well. Nothing as awesome as the grazers of the Earth, but instead it was big and cost a lot of energy. We had this meat though, it was slightly easier to digest because it contained far more energy in smaller quantities. Now read that again, I didn’t say that it isn’t hard to digest, yes the meat does have the downside of rotting in our gut sometimes, but the amount of energy is far greater in meat then in vegetables. We could eat smaller quantities of food and get the same amount of energy as before. Fire to the rescue. By cutting up meat and burning it, the meat was slightly digested before we ate it. This removed some of the nutrients in the meat, but it was still high quantity and it was predigested for us with 0 energy use. We started eating cooked food to make it easier on our digestive track to eat!

Now with our eating problem made efficient, we can now as a species reduce the energy cost of our digestive track and in turn send all this extra energy to the growth of the brain. Our bodies actually evolved to consume meat, we are supposed to!

That just leaves your moral decission to eat meat. And if you don’t want to, don’t. I don’t care. But you assholes who try saying I’m a horrible human being for eating meat can lick my balls. Further more jokes like this holiday tomorrow… they can rot in hell!

Forum etiquette is at a loss

There is no right way to ask a question in a forum, but there is definitely a wrong way. Your teacher lied to you, there are bad questions! And I am here to explain why.

I communicate through several different forums on the internet, and my general purpose is to give tech assistance as it is my favourite topic. Math, programming, videogame console repair, gadgets, etc. I see questions all the time, sometimes I know the answer, others I don’t. Some I don’t even know what the person was even asking.

In one day I’ll say one of the following about 10 times:

  • I don’t know what you are asking.
  • Can you rephrase your question?
  • Can you indulge us with some more information.
  • Holy God, am I supposed to have an interpreter on hand?

If you want your question answered, maybe try and give a little more help in locating that answer. I understand, you may be in the dark completely and don’t even know what information to give. And that is a huge dilemma. But any info is good, supply some source material, a drawing to describe and visual thing you are asking about, or just the blatant straight forward facts you have. Avoid speculation for more then a sentence or two and just stick to your question. And most importantly, your question should most likely by more then 5 words long! And foremost, GOOGLE your question first!

Here are some examples of bad questions:

– I got this error saying something about null reference… what is wrong?

Where is this error occuring? What line of code is it on? What is the corresponding line of code? What language are you in? Lets get the obvious out of the way… What does the error even SAY!?

– My Sega is broken, I can’t play any games and I really want to play Sonic!

I don’t care what game you want to play. How about the console that is broken, Sega has several consoles, all of which have a Sonic title. What happens when you turn it on? Does it even turn on? What have you tried to remedy the situation?

– What is a vector in math?

Have you tried google?

– I have this problem and its causing issues, and I can’t figure it out. The last time this happened I just restarted the my computer and it fixed it, but I don’t like that. Every time this happen I have to wait 25 minutes to get back to doing what I was doing. OH MY GOD, again while writing this it happened! PLEASE HELP ME!

What!? Do I even have to say?

My favourite answer… yes you asked such an idiotic question you get to now look at my ass!

But this isn’t the root of my entry today. Most of us know about proper forum etiquette, and if you the reader don’t, well I’m wondering how you even found my blog. I don’t think you’d be pleasuring yourself here in my blog if you didn’t know this basic stuff.

My real point about this is on forums where they ignore you because you properly asked a question.

Who here has ever gone to a forum and did you best to supply all the relevent information for your question. What occurred, how it occurred, what actions you took to remedy it, a short description of places you’ve searched or search words you used to locate an answer, and everything. Sometimes though this leads to a post about a paragraph or two in length. And oddly your thread gets burried in a heart beat. No matter how often you’ve come to this forum and offered up your time and mind to help anyone coming in with a question, yet no one will even offer a “sorry bro, I’m not sure.”

This is when things get more aggravating for me. I understand that possibly everyone is just as stumped as I am and doesn’t want to look stumped on the world wide web. But some of my questions can’t be all that hard. I don’t know everything, I’m a normal regular guy, so there is probably a lot I don’t know that you do. Actually I’m certain of it because I’ve learned a lot from everyone else on forums… that is why I hang out at them.

I am convinced inside that people just don’t want to read my post. As if 100 words is far to much for them to waster their precious time on. People have gotten into the habit of posting short inconcise questions because it’s the only way they’ll get someone to even read their post. Where has our reading comprehension gone? I can type about 50+ words a minute, not to shabby, but still kind of slow compared to professional typists. Bearing in mind at 50+ wpm I’ll probably have a couple spelling and grammatical errors. On the internet with the influx of “teh”, “roxxor” and other garbage I don’t think “obviousily” is going to be that big of a deal. I think you understand what I spelled!

If I can put together a thought and write it down in text in just 2 minutes, it shouldn’t take you any longer to read it. We’re on a forum, if your reading speed is that slow I’d advise you leave a medium of text far behind!

So my question to everyone is this. What is the right way to ask a question? I know the wrong way, or so I thought I did. But what is the correct format I should approach?

More content… I’m just starting

It’s my first day with this new blog after the complete rehaul of my website. I wanted to get together some content for the start up of what I hope to be a blog I update habitually. I want to get some variety on here for the first week, comedy, tech, music, etc. So I pulled this off the forum I spend most my time at racketboy.com . A thread was created asking for your “transcendent geek moment”. These were a few of my responses that got some good laughs. Maybe you’ll enjoy as well.

them: “Why is there a Linear Algebra book on the back of your toilet?”
me: “I like to read it when I’m, you know.”
them: “What the hell IS Linear Algebra?”

them: “Dude, I called you like 3 times today with no answer, what the hell are you doing?”
me: “Working on a triangulation algorithm.”
them: “uhhh, k.”
me: “I’m working on a Risk AI engine, this will help the computer find its way around the map.”
them: “uhhhh, k.”

them: “Man, you like Sega? Remember the Genesis? I still own one and a Nintendo.”
me: “Really, that’s cool. Wanna go play some games.”
them: “Nah, I don’t feel like going to my house.”
me: “You haven’t looked in that closet have you.”
them: ::opens drapes to closet in living room:: “WHAT THE HELL!? Are these all yours!?”

her: “We don’t spend enough time together.”
me: “Killing Zophar.”
her: “But don’t you miss me.”
me: “End boss, Zophar, leave me be.”
her: “But honey.”
me: “Can’t see, get off my lap.” … attempt to look around her… “ZOPHAR.” push her off my lap.

them: “I thought you hated the PS2 and swore to never buy one.”
me: “I won’t, thing is evil.”
them: “Then what’s this.”
me: “Didn’t buy that.”
them: “Some one give it to you?”
me: “No, built it out of parts left over when I repaired other PS2s.”