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[sticky post] Hello!

Oct. 29th, 2009 | 03:00 pm

Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends!
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside!

— Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part II)

Hi there!

If you're reading this, you're probably just looking at my journal, perhaps even thinking about adding me as an LJ-friend; or alternatively, perhaps I just added you as an LJ-friend, and you're curious about me now. In either case, I'd like to use this opportunity to say a few things.

Trevor: You're skating the edge.
Æon: I
am the edge.

— Æon Flux

First of all, I tend to write freely about topics everything that matters to me; more distanced, "professional" entries may directly be followed by more personal ones (and vice versa), and I will, generally, openly write about all sorts of things, including philosophy, sexuality, politics and more. Some of my entries will be friends-only, others will be publicly viewable, too, and unlike other people, I don't use <lj-cut /> tags or specific "topic filters" (i.e., custom friends groups dedicated to specific topics) to shield people from things they may not want to see.

Well, as long as it's text, that is; I will cut images that aren't safe for work etc. (at least if I remember, which I might not always do!), since I wouldn't want for people to get in trouble if their boss happens to be shoulder-surfing at work. Text, though, is a different issue, and if you'll get into trouble for reading about certain topics at work, you probably shouldn't be checking your friends page at work to begin with.

He said, "I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest."

— Mike Oldfield, Amarok (liner notes)

Second of all, concerning friending me: feel free to. There is no need to ask if it's OK to do so; everyone's welcome to, as well as to post comments etc. (as long as they're genuine: spammers etc. will not be tolerated, but that goes without saying, anyway). I may add you back if your journal looks interesting or if I know you, too, but this isn't automatic. If you do want me to add you back, engaging me and talking to me is probably the best way to go about it.

Please don't ask about being added back if I didn't do so on my own, either, unless I already know you well and you want to be able to read my non-public entries.

If I already friended you but you don't know who I am and haven't been in contact with me before, that most likely means I became aware of your journal somehow, took a look, and decided I wanted to keep up with what you're writing — "I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter", as it were. I don't expect you to friend me back or otherwise take an interest in me, but if you do — all the better.

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

— from "Furry", by Croc O'Dile of TigerMUCK with help from Tony DeMatio, June 1995

Regarding commenting, BTW, I'm always happy to receive comments. However, things like "lol" are not proper punctuation, and correct spelling and grammar would be nice as well. And of course, I expect people to not be insulting or rude, but that, again, should go without saying.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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Stylish 3.0 breaks Firefox

Nov. 11th, 2017 | 09:00 pm

If you're using Firefox, and you've noticed that it's suddenly become slower, and started to peg one CPU core at 100% load...

...check if a) you have the Stylish add-on installed, and b) it's recently (auto-)updated to version 3.0.1. If so, go back to version 2.1.1 (available from the Old Versions page) and disable automatic updates for this add-on for the time being, and the issue should be fixed, for now.

(Of course all this is indirectly due to Mozilla's asinine decision to throw the entire existing extension framework out the window with little notice, much less a transition period or anything like that.)

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Capitalization, shmapitalization

Oct. 1st, 2017 | 10:26 pm

Via Twitter — why capitalization matters in German:

Die Spinnen
Die spinnen

Der gefangene Floh
Der Gefangene floh

Er verweigerte Speise und Trank
Er verweigerte Speise und trank

Der Junge sieht dir ungeheuer ähnlich
Der Junge sieht dir Ungeheuer ähnlich

Wäre er doch nur Dichter!
Wäre er doch nur dichter!

Vor dem Fenster sah sie den geliebten Rasen
Vor dem Fenster sah sie den Geliebten rasen

Er hat in Berlin liebe Genossen
Er hat in Berlin Liebe genossen

Beschädigte Liegen in meiner Filiale
Beschädigte liegen in meiner Filiale

Die nackte Sucht zu quälen
Die Nackte sucht zu quälen

Can you figure them all out, translate each pair and explain the difference? (Native speakers: no spoilers!)

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A limerick

Sep. 30th, 2017 | 01:38 pm

A limerick, courtesy of yours truly:

There once was a bloke named Gorringe
Who hailed from a village near Blorenge.
He tried to find rhymes
At various times
And said "I can even rhyme 'orange'!"

Image: sorcerushorserus


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Ahkari's Tale

Sep. 11th, 2017 | 01:10 am

Been a while since I wrote any fan fiction, but here's a short piece I wrote down tonight, and also posted on AO3.

For best effect, read this story out loud and imagine it being spoken by Ahkari, in her voice.

Ahkari's Tale

Teen and up audiencesCollapse )

The idea for this story originally came to me when I spoke to Kharjo about how he ended up as a caravan guard, and he referred to Ahkari as "he": "Ahkari freed me from a prison in Cyrodiil, and now I must repay my debt to him." Ever since it's been my headcanon that Ahkari is secretly male, and only passing himself off as a woman for unstated personal reasons.

This story puts a darker a twist on that, while at the same time exploring just how Ahkari ended up where and who and what she is today.

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Aug. 18th, 2017 | 03:22 pm

To everyone who is currently at Eurofurence — have fun!

(Myself, I'm sad to have to say that this is the first time in many years that I'm not able to attend.)

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Stick a fork in it, it's done

Aug. 17th, 2017 | 01:07 pm

I've defended Firefox for the longest time, and I still think it's a decent browser overall, but Mozilla – the organization behind it – has been going batshit bonkers for a long time.

One thing that they've long waged a war on is browser add-ons (and, to a lesser extent, browser plug-ins); it's hard to imagine someone being more underhandedly hostile to these than Mozilla, short of not creating an extension framework in the first place (but that would only be hostile, not underhanded). Hanlon's Razor of course applies — but just barely.

In fact Mozilla has been waging a war of attrition against useful features in the browser in general; the usual reply to feature requests from users seems to be "create an extension for it", even when every single new "major" Firefox release (and there's a LOT of them) breaks extension compatibility.

What WILL stick a fork in the whole thing is the current plans to basically abandon extensions entirely now in late 2017, by removing the old extension framework (that everyone's using) and requiring extensions to be rewritten to use a new one (that basically noone's using). Mozilla has been hatching these plans since 2015, apparently, and is hell-bent on sticking to them.

Firefox in its default state is only semi-useful as a browser. I use a fair number of extensions — a couple have fallen by the wayside over time due to the aforementioned attrition, due to authors' inability and (understandable, frankly) unwillingness to keep on chasing ever-elusive APIs that change for nothing but the sake of change. Right now, almost 2 years after the announcement of the plans to abandon the old extension API, and with about 3 months left until it will be gone for good, there are 2 extensions (among the ones I use) that have been updated to use the new API, and 49 that have not.

2, vs. 49.

I don't foresee everyone suddenly scrambling to update extensions that haven't seen (or needed!) feature development in years, just to satisfy Mozilla's whims. Granted, stranger things have happened, but I'm not holding my breath, and if and when Firefox inevitably comes crashing down in flames this winter, I'll have to think long and hard about whether I can keep on using it.

And the only question THAT will depend on, really, is whether there'll be an alternative.

Is there? I'm not sure, frankly. All the cool kids long since moved on to Chrome, of course (and may well have moved on to something different again by now), but I don't want to use Google products ALL around. Opera is a decent effort, and I've been using it as an alternate browser since the days when you actually had to BUY it (unthinkable today, buying a browser, isn't it?), but it's just as inadequate as Firefox in its default state, and it never attracted much in the way of extension development. And what else is there, even?

I had high hopes for Firefox back in the day – I remember chipping in to pay for the two-page Firefox 1.0 in the New York Times, and being quite happy and proud that Netscape was being resurrected as what I hoped would turn out to be a lean, mean, user-oriented browser –, but it's all just gone downhill from there, and for many years Mozilla has veered between failed attempts to clone what they perceived as "closed" product (e.g. Android), inevitably wasting a lot of developer resources that way, and alternately pontificating about political and social causes that have absolutely zilch to do with its supposed mission of bringing a secure, open, user-oriented browser to the masses, one that's not beholden to the interests of large corporations with their own ulterior goals.

Firefox could have been so much, but these days it's a shadow of its former self. The blame for that squarely rests on Mozilla, and the moment I find a better alternative I'll have no qualms about abandoning it.

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Opening EPS files in GIMP

Jul. 14th, 2017 | 12:19 pm

A quick GIMP tip: if you're using GIMP 2.8 and trying to import an EPS file, you may get a message saying "Could not interpret Postscript file" (this happened to me with a plot generated in R):

GIMP uses Ghostscript under the hood to import Postscript files; this error is caused by the bundled Ghostscript version being outdated.

To fix this:

  1. Close GIMP, if you haven't already;
  2. Rename libgs-8.dll to libgs-8.dll.OLD or so in your GIMP program directory, e.g. C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\bin\;
  3. Download and install a fresh copy of Ghostscript;
  4. Find the gsdll64.dll file in your Ghostscript program directory, e.g. C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.21\bin\;
  5. Copy that file to your GIMP program directory (same as above) and rename it to libgs-8.dll.

Importing EPS files should now work. (I also hope that when there's a new major release of GIMP, this will be fixed properly and the above won't be necessary anymore.)

NOTE: these steps are for Windows, obviously. If you're on Unix/Linux, GIMP (probably) isn't bundling its own copy of Ghostscript, so as long as you're keeping your system up to date you should be good already. And if you're on OS X... good luck. We're all counting on you.

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Sautjándi júní

Jun. 17th, 2017 | 11:12 am

Til hamingju Íslands!

Stórglæsilegan þjóðhátíðardag, kæru Íslendingar og íslandsvinir í öllum löndum!

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Jun. 15th, 2017 | 12:38 pm

On the subject of English pronounciation (which you should definitely study, dearest creature in creation), here's a very amusing poem by France's Charles Battell Loomies, simply titled "O-U-G-H" (one imagines that the title is really pronounced as an annoyed "U-R-G-H!"):

I’m taught p-l-o-u-g-h
S’all be pronouncé “plow.”

“Zat’s easy w’en you know,” I say,
“Mon Anglais, I’ll get through!”
My teacher say zat in zat case,
O-u-g-h is “oo.”

And zen I laugh and say to him,
“Zees Anglais make me cough.”
He say “Not ‘coo’ but in zat word,
O-u-g-h is ‘off.’”

“Oh, Sacre bleu! Such varied sounds
Of words make me hiccough!”
He say, “Again mon frien’ ees wrong;
O-u-g-h is ‘up’

In hiccough.” Zen I cry, “No more,
You make my t’roat feel rough.”
“Non, non!” he cry, “You are not right;
O-u-g-h is ‘uff.’”

I say, “I try to spik your words,
I cannot spik zem though.”
“In time you’ll learn, but now you’re wrong!
O-u-g-h is ‘owe.’”

“I’ll try no more, I s’all go mad,
I’ll drown me in ze lough!”
“But ere you drown yourself,” said he,
“O-u-g-h is ‘ock.’”

He taught no more, I held him fast
And killed him wiz a rough.

As Trenité quipped: "My advice is to give up!"

(And let's not forget about the rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman who strode through the streets of Scarborough and, after falling into a slough, coughed and hiccoughed.)

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