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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Qzukk Re:Garden Bot (133 comments)

You could name the first ones Huey, Dewey and Louie.

2 days ago
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Qzukk Re:MUCH easier. (239 comments)

but can accurately detect where they are.

From what range, 2 inches? Maybe if you lined up A-J across the road edge-to-edge it would have a hard time getting around them, but I'd like to believe that the sensors would be able to observe an obstruction from far enough ahead that it would be able to stop safely in this event. So instead you have A-J moving about. The laws of physics mean that nothing can simply teleport in front of us, nor can anything attain infinite acceleration, so we can detect the vehicle, child and/or dog that is moving towards our current path well before it cuts us off.

D) would probably be the worst hazard of the lot, since being light-weight it would be able to accelerate and change direction much faster than most of the other obstacles. Worst case, having come to a complete stop to wait for it to cross the road, the vehicle is blocking the breeze that was pushing it in the first place, leaving us at a standstill.

2 days ago
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Qzukk Re:MUCH easier. (239 comments)

For example, hitting an elderly person in order to avoid hitting a small child.

Or maybe it will just note the existence of an object moving at x m/s to the right towards the current lane while the obstacle is y meters away while establishing a list of the smoothest paths out of the infinitely many paths that would prevent the vehicle from striking any of the obstacles.

Definitely easier than trying to determine whether the first obstacle is a baby carriage and the second obstacle is granny. Believe it or not, that light pole did NOT just "jump out in front of you" no matter how drunk you insist you aren't. Neither did granny and/or the baby.

2 days ago
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Qzukk Re:MUCH easier. (239 comments)

You are speculating on a system that would be able to correctly identify ALL THE OBJECTS IN THE AREA and that is never going to happen.

It doesn't have to identify all the objects in the area, it simply has to not hit them.

3 days ago
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Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

Qzukk Re:Saw the video, not buying the premise. (304 comments)

Do you honestly think that a business is going to sink billions of dollars in capital outlays to make a gigantic automated factory which produces crap that no one can buy?

How many billions of dollars were sunk into building houses nobody could afford the mortgages on?

about a week ago
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Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

Qzukk Re:Arthur C. Clarke called it a long time ago (304 comments)

What people don't seem to realize is that the robots that replace workers will be cheap

Why?

To replace workers, they don't have to be cheap, they simply have to be cheapER than the worker they replaced. Just because I make $x/yr doesn't mean I can afford a robot that costs ($x-$50).

about a week ago
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Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

Qzukk Re:We need to push full time hours down with force (304 comments)

But do you real want bob to be working 0 hours and have jack working 60-80 all the time?

If he's Bob, of course!
If he's Jack, of course not!

If he's hiring Jack, of course he wants to hire Jack to work 80 hours a week in an overtime exempt position so they don't have to pay two people to do the work one person can do.

about a week ago
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DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

Qzukk Re:You can't travel anonymously... (127 comments)

We're not throwing you in jail without a trial, we're merely restricting your "privilege" to travel more than 6 feet in any direction.

about two weeks ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

Qzukk Re:Politically Correct Science (538 comments)

So you don't know if they're read it, yet you categorically state that someone is wrong in assuming they haven't read it since it's not stated that they have?

I didn't read your post, I just randomly clicked around on the screen and mashed on my keyboard with my fists and yet not only did I manage to quote your post, I formed a perfectly valid reductio ad absurdam by demonstrating how absurd it is to state that I haven't read your post while quoting it and replying to it's content.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Qzukk Re:I've found these tools useful (132 comments)

I have no idea if it supports data: URIs but I've used HTMLDOC to turn html tables into PDF (since every PDF library I've ever used is absolutely shit at tables compared to HTML). It supports inline styles and <style type="text/css"> tags. It's not quite dead, but this year's update was the first since 2006.

about two weeks ago
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Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

Qzukk Re:This explains why republicans push coal (502 comments)

I am sorely disappointed that clicking that link did not take me to a diatribe about how we are all educated stupid.

about two weeks ago
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NFL Players To Use Tablet Computers During Games

Qzukk Re:American football (107 comments)

Just like honey, I assume.

about two weeks ago
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Qzukk Re:FUD much? (409 comments)

News for trolls, pageviews that matter.

about three weeks ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Qzukk Re:That means new privacy laws right? (266 comments)

Feinstein is only against spying when it happens to her. You're on your own.

about three weeks ago
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Black Hat Researchers Actively Trying To Deanonymize Tor Users

Qzukk Re:Oh really ? (82 comments)

Since you're not sharing, I'm guessing you're imagining some sort of multiplexing scheme where the node would take say 100 bytes from 14 different sources and combine them into one packet and send that. It's an intriguing idea that would slow down metadata analysis but it would have a lot of overhead to keep track of, but that "keeping track of" becomes an attack vector again especially with subverted nodes, since node B will need to know that the next 8 packets from node A will have 100 bytes of data that need to be kept together and sent on to node C.

If the network is busy it should actually not be bad for interactive small-packet connections. If the network is idle there could be a timer before the node fills unfilled slots with random data and sends it.

about three weeks ago
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Black Hat Researchers Actively Trying To Deanonymize Tor Users

Qzukk Re:Oh really ? (82 comments)

And sure as hell it is impossible to develop a mixnet that will generate Camouflage traffic

It would have to generate traffic in equal amounts for every flow, which would halve network speed to give an attacker a 50/50 chance of guessing the correct flow. Those fake flows would also have to be carried to something that looks like a reasonable endpoint as well.

PRISM-level metadata collection makes it trivial to see which computer sent the original 682-byte request (recurse as necessary until the 800 byte request starts at the "sender") as well as which computer the multi-megabyte response was sent to (recurse as necessary until the multi megabyte response returns to the requesting computer). Camouflage traffic can't fix this on its own, it's easy to exclude the data that wasn't requested from the analysis.

I think that Tor's best bet while maintaining performance at this point would be to round all packets up to the nearest MTU (lets say 1400 to account for PPPoE, VPNs, and other layers on ethernet), so every request and response becomes a multiple of 1400 bytes, would make most tracking rely on packet timing. The next step would be to introduce packet delays at each hop, but that will slow the already slow network down.

about three weeks ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Qzukk Re:Uncertainty/fear? (550 comments)

It sounds like the ocular pressure test where they hit your eye with a puff of air. It definitely feels like getting poked.

about three weeks ago
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Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities Increase 100%

Qzukk Re:No actual numbers (137 comments)

The article, headline, story and comments are all bullshit.

Assuming the graph is not also bullshit, the correct story is that in the first 6 months of 2014 (1H 2014 on the graph), IE has had more vulnerabilities than all of 2013. IF this keeps up, then by the end of 2014, IE will have had more than a 100% increase in the number of vulnerabilities over last year.

about a month ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

Qzukk Re:"Just let me build a bridge!" (372 comments)

When you want to build a bridge, you don't just throw a bunch of construction workers at it and trust them to make the best judgements, even though you might trust each one of them individually to build a sawhorse or something equally trivial.

You also don't have the president of the company come in and declare that this week we're switching to agile bridge building and fuck six, we're going to seven sigmas so we can be on the bleeding edge and shift our paradigms into high gear to synchronize our release schedule and get out ahead of the pack as we swing around the final stretch into the processification.

about a month ago

Submissions

Qzukk hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Holy shitballs, slashdot. Malicious ads being served up.

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a month ago

Love is over.

I was redirected to http://java-update-us.com/index.html?sid=42&aff_sub=wb-playanma-us&aff_sub2=am1&aff_sub3= which dropped a java_installer.exe into my Downloads folder from some ad playing on http://science.slashdot.org/story/14/07/24/1357256/empathy-for-virtual-characters-studied-with-fmri-brain-imaging around 2:30PM central time 7/24

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Serious proposals to replace obamacare begin

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about 9 months ago

The WSJ has floated an opinion piece offering what it calls a conservative alternative to Obamacare, that I think is the first time I've seen any conservative alternative except "Nuh-Uh!" Google news popped it up with a link to http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-381425/ which seems to be some sort of glorified rss feed with an HTML skin, so I have no idea if the link will be good for anyone else in the future.

It is, in my opinion, a beginning. In the past, I've called obamacare the wrong answer to the wrong question. This article suggests extending the current employer tax writeoff so that everyone, not just the employers, can buy insurance with tax-free money. Then it goes a step further by means-testing a tax credit for the poor so they can buy privately operated insurance with their tax credit instead of getting Medicaid. I think this is a good start to answering the question of how to make it possible for everyone to get at least minimal health insurance (if they want it. This is the conservative version, remember).

It is still the wrong question, though.

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2.8 seconds of hate - bash-completion

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about 10 months ago

In an effort to be fancy and helpful, bash now has context aware tab completion (in the bash-completion package on Debian). Based on where you are and what command you're typing, pressing tab will Do (what the completion script writer thought was) The Right Thing.

Unless what you think is the right thing was was the behavior of older versions of bash where you could do

**/*.c<Tab><Tab>

and (eventually, ** is damn slow) get a list of all of the matching files. It also worked with [...] {...} ? or any of the other bash wildcards. You know, just in case you wanted to see what your command is going to do before you hit enter.

Now I have to ^U, ls ^Y, then ^Y, which takes about 2.8 seconds (including the realization that bash is just going to keep beeping at me if I keep hitting tab). Or disable fancy and helpful completion with complete -r

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Two minutes of WTF

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

So I right clicked in an explorer window in windows 7 and went to "New >" on the menu and the submenu didn't open. I clicked it a few more times and nothing happened. I clicked it a few more times and the entire explorer shell crashed and restarted.

Wish I knew why the hell it sometimes takes 30+ seconds to get to "New Word Document" on my work computer.

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2 minutes of love: how to properly notify users of an update

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

Ran paint.net today and a popup appeared letting me know there was a new version. It had two buttons:

  1. Install when I exit
  2. Install now

This is doing it right.

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2 mins of hate: What can make me switch to a new RCS again

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  1 year,29 days

Three words: Four. Way. Diff.

Show me where my patch (before and after) conflicted with the last patch (via blame) before and after. Bonus points if you can show both complete commit messages. Extra bonus points if you look at the branch, figure out where it went wrong (at what point did my patch last apply cleanly?) and show me all the commits since.

Telling me shit's fucked up doesn't help anyone (that's what I got with cvs).

Telling me what I was trying to do tells me what I was trying to do, not what Bob was doing when he checked in before me, but at least I know what the hell I was doing when I did it months/years ago (this is where I am now with git rebase).

Telling me what the hell I was trying to do and what the hell Bob was trying to do, now that's what I need, because now I know what it's supposed to be doing when I'm done merging the code and can do so with a reasonable degree of confidence that both Bob and I will be happy with the result.

For my company's workflow, this would be the holy grail of revision control. I'd even be tempted to use a graphical tool to do it.

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Today's two minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

git, a love/hate relationship. Right now, hating really really hard.

You can do all sorts of incredible things with it, but there's so much that seems obvious I ought to be able to do, but just can't see how.

Case in point: git rebase. This is an incredibly powerful tool that lets you take changes and apply them to a different branch, one at a time very rapidly (if there are no conflicts). If a conflict arises, the process pauses, tells you where it died, lets you fix it, then you git rebase --continue. EXCEPT you get half of the first line of the commit message (despite being on a 128 column terminal it cuts off at 80) and no hash or any other way (I can find) to look up the complete description of the current commit being fixed (other than aborting the whole thing, going through the complete log to find the commit starting with whatever message then starting again (rerere makes this not painful, just annoying)). Oh, and if you used a branch name, that branch name is MOVED to the new location.

Other case in point: git merge. This is an incredibly powerful tool that throws everything together all at once and lets you deal with the aftermath. Conflicts, conflicts everywhere and no explanation of what the code is supposed to be doing. Fortunately, someone made a git-merge-like-rebase script that creates a temporary branch, rebases it to the target, then deletes the temporary branch leaving you with the original branch where it was (like merge) but applying one commit at a time (like rebase).

Still, I just took 2 hours of work doing something that would have taken 2 days in CVS, thanks to git rebase (rolling out a new version of our code for one of our customers with a heavily customized application. Rebased their custom branch onto our new release branch, fixed all the conflicts where they want customers sorted firstname lastname or blinking red lights or whatever and done). Probably could have done it in 1:30 if I didn't have to go back through the log to figure out how to fix "Change order of fields so that customer rep appears before ". I'm working in more and more tricks to reduce conflicts every upgrade so hopefully I'll have it down to less than an hour soon.

So now I love it again.

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Life post Google-Reader

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

So Google followed through on their threat to kill Reader and I ended up having to track down a new RSS feed reader. Having been bitten by the Cloud, I decided it'd have to be locally installed, after trying a few I've settled on FeedDemon (now discontinued, a shame) as "best so far".

The one thing I really, really miss about Google Reader (which in fact was the reason I started bothering with RSS in the first place) is that it had a bookmark you could set that would open the URL of the next unread item in your queue. Dragged the bookmark to the bar, and one click gets me to read something new and exciting (and middle click to read lots of new and exciting things in tabs). Sure, every time someone published an RSS entry without a URL google gave me a 500 error and marked every single article read, but hey, it was damned convenient when it didn't implode.

FeedDemon gives me a link to click on each article to open in its (embedded IE) browser, but as I go down the list of articles it doesn't automatically remove the read ones nor does it automatically add new unread articles unless I manually refresh the article list (maybe I'm doing it wrong?). It has a "Next Unread" button but it doesn't open the URL, it just shows the RSS item header and then I have to click it to open the URL.

Strongly considering taking some of what I learned in the Coursera python class a while back, this feed parsing library, and learning wxPython (platform independence!) and spinning my own. It won't do much, but it WILL have a button that launches a chosen browser with the chosen URL (thinking of making it a systray icon: left click to open next item, right click for menu, blinks when there are unread articles).

It could even pop up a window to display an article with no URL.

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20 seconds of hate: outlook, *again*

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

Hello, Microsoft. Please explain to me the reasoning why when a meeting is sent to people, they get a blank email with an .ics file attached, which is absolutely fucking useless to everyone not using a calendar app?

Thanks.

BTW, yes, I know about the option to turn ical off, explain to me why the FUCK you are incapable of sending a readable email with an attachment.

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Today's two minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

In every version of it Outlook I've used, it stands out as being terrible at dealing with email in general (aside from the various exploits just from opening malformed emails). It's got rules that cancel themselves because the computer just woke from sleep and isn't connected to the internet (and therefore the rules are "invalid") to having a hojillion different sources of email addresses, none of them configurable or editable (Seriously, why can't I fix a misspelling in an email once it's been saved wherever the hell it gets saved?). Autocompletion of email addresses is a complete clusterfuck. I had to delete a customer from my contact list completely and start over because her email address changed and when I edited her contact, her record refused to come up when I'm sending an email (Doesn't come up when I type, doesn't come up in the contact list when I press the "To" button, but if I write her email by hand and choose "Look Up Outlook Contact" bam there she is complete with name and company information)

If it weren't for Exchange, I'd have ditched this shit long ago. Sadly, it's still the best I've got at dealing with scheduling meetings (at least as long as they're in our own time zone).

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Today's two minutes of hate (yay backups!)

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year ago

So years ago I needed a backup drive for my home computer after the last backup drive up and died on me, so I was possessed by idiocy and decided to get one of those external RAID blocks with two drives in it, RAID-1. Worked fine for years, now it's got a red blinking light on it and doesn't show up to the system anymore.

This is one of those things where foresight would have said "Hey, why are you spending 3x as much on drives when you're going to be stuck with a box with one red light to tell you there is a problem and no way to find out what the problem is". Hindsight says I'm an idiot.

At least it's just a backup.

Maybe next I'll get a LTO drive for a few thousand bucks for shits and giggles. Of course we had one of those at work that ate a tape. Better get two and take redundant backups...

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Today's two minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

God damn where do I get a fucking ftp server that can run a command after an upload without preaching to me about how insecure yadda yadda yadda. I'm not running a goddamned anonymous ftp site (and even if I was, MAYBE I'd like to have a virus scanner run on whatever bullshit goes in and out!)

Currently using ProFTPd because mod_sftp appears to be the only way to get an sftp server with virtual users on Linux without using OpenSSH+PAM voodoo. mod_exec runs programs on every single little command EXCEPT the completion of an upload because fuck you. The documentation suggests logging to a FIFO and writing a program to read lines from the FIFO and acting on each line of the log. Great, only two problems: 1) proftpd shits itself if nothing is listening to the FIFO which means the listening program has to immediately reopen the socket when logrotate restarts proftpd 2) proftpd's xferlog format can't be changed and rather than doing any sane quoting, replaces spaces in filenames with underscores because fuck you.

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30 minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

I just spent 4 hours doing onsite customer training for a customer of ours who is transitioning from an ancient terminal-based software to our software. These customers had therefore bought all new laptops with all new Windows 8 to replace their old terminals. The decision to use laptops had been made because 1) the network infrastructure in place currently ran the terminals which were actually win95 computers plugged into a local network and using telnet to reach the server so wireless was necessary until the old equipment could be removed and 2) the computers running the old system needed to stay there until after the training was complete and they were ready to switch.

I estimate 30 minutes of that time was spent unfucking shit that went wrong when people who had never seen a GUI or used a touchpad in their life had their palms brush the touchpad and trigger random win8 gestures, opening the charms bar, opening bing, opening the start screen, and in at least one case, somehow closing the program window (or was it open somewhere but alt-tab no longer works in windows 8? Damned if I know!)

For the next round of training tomorrow I plan on disabling the gestures. Easy peasy, just a few SynTPEnh\ZoneConfig registry entries to change. And they say Windows 8 isn't ready for the desktop!

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Today's two minutes of hate, redux

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Customer: Your website is broken, I can't log into it

Me: What exactly do you mean?

Customer: I decided to work from home and when I go to your website it gives me this list of things so I clicked on the first one and it gives me an error when I go there

Me: It sounds like you put the address into google and clicked on someone else's site.

Customer: Well, what search engine am I supposed to use?

At this point, I was about to say "well, lady, whichever search engine that links to the actual website when you type www.foo.com into it" but then I realized the answer was "none of them". After all, how would you get people to click on your ads if you took them where they really intended to go?

I explained to her about Ctrl-L and pressing it before typing in a website. I think she got it.

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Silly SQL trick

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Tonight's task is to manually categorize a rather flat tree structure in SQL (currently two levels only) by reading the top level entry and assigning it and its children to a category. On a lark I gave this a shot:

update tree set category=1 where 5 in (id,parent);

and it worked in PostgreSQL.

Why? Because I'm sitting here reading the list of top-level entries in one window while using psql in the other and pressing up to edit the previous query. Before I tried that I had

update tree set category=1 where id=4 or parent=4

so I'd have to retype TWO numbers instead of just one.

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Today's two minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Today's rage divides evenly between:

  1. people who type site addresses into the search box instead of the address bar
  2. gotomeeting.com for not putting "join a meeting" link on their search engine landing pages

That's 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

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Today's two minutes of hate

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Windows Media Player is a flaming pile of shit.

Trying to copy notes from a webinar, and every time I press the pause button in WMP the video keeps playing for another couple of seconds. When you add to this the fact that it takes WMP a couple of seconds before it will start the video again when I'm trying to click on the bar to seek, the tooltip on the bar is "Seek" rather than the time it's going to jump to when I click it, and the fact that there's no x0.5 or x2 or any other speed control but a jerky skiptastic fast forward button, it all adds up to an enormous hassle.

This is turning a task that SHOULD have taken a bit more than 30 minutes (the length of the video) into something I've spent the whole morning on. Good going folks!

After failing to get it to work in MPC or VLC, I managed to get it working in mplayer, but apparently it's only seekable to the nearest 5 minutes or so in there, which probably means that the g2m4 codec put next to no keyframes in the video. But at least mplayer has speed control so I can cover the ground I've already covered quickly, and when I press the space bar it stops immediately.

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UI WTF

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about 2 years ago

UI Elements that only operate when the stars are properly aligned annoy the hell out of me. Especially when they do something I want to do on a regular basis. All those grayed out menu items with no hints as to how to activate them are one thing, at least you know there's something there you can use, but sometimes there's things that make absolutely no sense at all...

If you're using the current Chrome, right click the reload button. OK, now open the developer console (Ctrl+Shift+J). Right click the reload button again. An option to dump cache and reload! Pretty cool, eh?

I don't even know what the fuck inspired me to try right clicking the reload button in the first place...

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Election Campaign Forecast

Qzukk Qzukk writes  |  about 2 years ago

On the Democrat side, I expect to see more "adjustments" in the jobless rate. On November 7th, we'll be back to 9%.

On the Republican side, I expect to see more refineries have mysterious fires, power outages, and pipeline closures. On November 7th, they'll all suddenly be fixed.

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