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Morning Playlist

I don't have store/play links for these, this is all local, the playlist I listen to many mornings, pick a random start point and play forward. This'll wake you up.

Song Album Artist
Where Do I Begin (edit) Dig Your Own Hole Chemical Brothers
Neurosis Drama Bitter:Sweet
Nth Degree Morningwood Morningwood
One Too Many Mornings Exit Planet Dust Chemical Brothers
Let Forever Be Surrender Chemical Brothers
Airships Futureperfect VNV Nation
City Zen Radio 1990/2000 FM Cure For Sanity Pop Will Eat Itself
X Y & Zee [Sensory Amplification Mix] Cure For Sanity Pop Will Eat Itself
Japan Air Endless Fantasy Anamanaguchi
Life Is Sweet Exit Planet Dust Chemical Brothers
Heartbeat City Heartbeat City Cars
Waking Up Drama Bitter:Sweet
(Reach Up for The) Sunrise Astronaut Duran Duran
Let the Day Begin The Best of the Call Michael Been AKA The Call
I Want It All The Platinum Collection Queen
Sharing the World (feat. Hatsune Miku) Sharing the World - Single BIGHEAD
Streamline Automatic VNV Nation
Hit the Hi-Tech Groove Box Frenzy (Remastered) Pop Will Eat Itself
Satellite Ecstatica This Is The Day...This Is The Hour...This Is This! Pop Will Eat Itself
American Science Notorious Duran Duran
Mandelbrot Set Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow Jonathan Coulton
21st Century Digital Boy Stranger Than Fiction Bad Religion
Twenty First Century Boy 21st Century Boys - The Best Of Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Neuromancer Cyberpunk Billy Idol
The Boy In the Bubble The Essential Paul Simon (Bonus Video Version) Paul Simon
I Don't Like Monday's Emerald Rock Boomtown Rats
Tomorrow People Cyberpunk Billy Idol
Only Solutions Tron (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Journey
Too Much Information Ghost in the Machine (Message in a Box) Police
Where Would I Be Without IBM Peace and Love, Inc. Information Society
U.04/01/2003 U.B.L.U.D. Box Frenzy (Remastered) Pop Will Eat Itself
Life In the Fast Lane Eagles Live Eagles
Number One Best Of Chaz Jankel
Demolition Man Ghost in the Machine (Message in a Box) Police
Burn You Up, Burn You Down Big Blue Ball Peter Gabriel, Billy Cobham, The Holmes Brothers, Wendy Melvoin, Arona N'diaye & Jah Wobble
Standing In the Line Midnight Mission Carla Olson and the Textones
Big Time So (Remastered) Peter Gabriel
Not Dead Yet Edge Of The Century Styx
Everything's Cool Dos Dedos Mis Amigos Pop Will Eat Itself
Jesus Built My Hotrod Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed & the Way to Suck Eggs Ministry
Under The Influence Surrender Chemical Brothers
Atom Bomb Wipeout 2097 Fluke
Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex Cansei de Ser Sexy CSS
Control 1000 Fires Traci Lords
Stuck On Repeat Arecibo - EP Little Boots
So Alive Love And Rockets Love and Rockets
Joy Praise The Fallen VNV Nation
More Vision Thing Sisters Of Mercy
Standing (Still) Standing EP VNV Nation
Dream On Surrender Chemical Brothers
Where the I Divides Peace and Love, Inc. Information Society
Erotic Ontology Orbiting Cathedrals Pro-Tech
This Is Ponderous The Best of 2NU 2NU
Solitary Praise The Fallen VNV Nation
Come Sail Away (Edit) Styx: Greatest Hits Styx
Asleep From Day Surrender Chemical Brothers
Surrender Surrender Chemical Brothers
Everybody Wants to Rule the World Songs From the Big Chair Tears for Fears
Flash's Theme The Platinum Collection Queen

Death of Blogging as a Service

Via n-gate, because I no longer read and have actively blocked h4xx04 n00z, but still like to laugh at the monkeys in the cage:

  • TTTThis whines: "Blogs used to exist because there were blogging platforms."

I started to reply to this, but I think this is a troll? 90% sure. But like The Onion, Landover Baptist, or Fox News, it's indistinguishable from real stupid, crazy people.

The rest of his site is equally inane half-jokes, but not at that length. Despite the "/blog/" in the URL, he is not writing a blog, because he has no RSS feed.

Every few weeks another "DEATH OF RSS", "I MISS BLOGGING" shitpost comes across my screen, mostly from victims still on Tw*tter or F***book, who don't realize they can set up WordPress, Hugo, Ghost, or whatever and have their own fully operational Death Star of blogging to wage war on siloed fools from.

Spokes and Hubs

Firefox is extremely annoying using Hubs in fullscreen. Open a tab, type about:config as location, and set:

full-screen-api.warning.timeout: 0
pointer-lock-api.warning.timeout: 0

This time I did the tutorial for Spoke—which you should absolutely sit thru, and try out as you go—and then made a scene based on the Material Test. Well, first I tried to edit the cafe, but it turns out that's a single model with 80K polys, not editable. Pity.

So you can make a scene by adding items from a library, Architecture Kit has most of the building blocks you'd want, mostly in 1x1 to 4x4m segments, and a small palette of industrial textures.

Google Poly and Sketchfab have hundreds/thousands of items to drop in.

Unfortunately, while you can upload your own textures, you can't put them on any object, they're just images. The best I've found for now is to just lay it down like a carpet, 0.01 above a flat surface so there's no z-fighting. Works but obviously stupid. The actual workflow is apparently to clone ArchitectureKit, edit it in Blender (oh fuck), upload.

Not a bad toybox, not as good as Second Life, Garry's Mod, or Unity, but usable, and a lot cheaper (paying SL $1 per 25 images sucked giant balls until later I made it back 1000x by selling things and coding services).

The Spoke controls continue to be awkward, and often contradictory to Hub's, but I got used to them.

There doesn't seem to be any way to select or group multiple objects and apply changes to all of them, except translation, rotation, etc.; texture remapping is kind of a pain. And there's no texture offset field, so if your objects aren't full-sized and don't line up exactly, you can't make them fit. Don't use hex or tile patterns on such objects, I guess, or hide the seams under carpets.

After a bit of work, mostly changing textures but adding some trim, adding a doorknob, fixing misaligned blocks, I got a slightly better version of their demo, hit Cmd-S to save (in Spoke), then Publish to Hub. Which takes >1 minute for a tiny default scene.

mozillahubs-material1

mozillahubs-material2

So starting over from the watery caldera template, and a "forest" model from Poly, I'm building up a dark twilight castle, we'll see how that goes.

Trying out Mozilla Hubs

  • Mozilla Hubs is a VR/3D chat room, sort of like IMVU, Second Life, etc, except semi-private instances. That should be quite interesting. It doesn't need a client, it uses the browser, so I opened it in Firefox, assuming they're favoring their own. Whoo, listen to those computer fans, this thing runs hot, to get me 30-45 FPS (admittedly on a 5K iMac…)

It uses a horrible no-password email-link token login flow. Almost just stopped right there. I have a password manager, I'm fine with entering long passwords; I don't like opening email every time I come to a site.

Picking name and avatar seems persistent, but the avatar choices are either box-headed robots, round-headed robots, or super creepy human busts on floating buttplugs. I did eventually find a Bender avatar, so that's sorted for now.

You start in a tutorial on a terrible little "River Island" with painted-on water. It took me a while to realize you can create and edit objects you place, but the "stuff" in the room is created in a world editor and you can't edit those while you're in the scene. Nothing can really be interacted with, you can't sit, but it doesn't matter because you don't have a moving body to animate. 1990 called and wants its VR back.

Controls are weird. It does WASD, but Q/E rotate you by 45° per tap, left-mouse drag turns you, right-mouse drag sets a destination, which is backwards from every MMO & FPS. Shift sprints, which annoys me since Minecraft has shift=crouch, ctrl=sprint, but whatever. Flight is G or /fly in chat, to go into no-clip flying mode, which can be disabled by the room's owner. Tab or space open a GIANT emote bar, which is frustrating since holding space is also how you edit items. I have to back way up to see the popup menu over the giant emote bar.

Hamburger menu, Change Scene lets you pick from quite a lot of worlds. Some you can bookmark/copy to "My Scenes", some you can't, and I don't know why. The scene list doesn't keep your place, each time you open it, you start at page 0 (actually, all pages say "0"; so you're just paging forever with no idea where you are).

Scenes I've liked so far:

  • morning dew: Nice open café.
  • Atmosphere Lounge: Cool cathedral floating in the void, but can't bookmark it.
  • Viewing Room: Nice little basement room with sofa.
  • Wizard's Library: World of Warcraft-y cute tower with two levels and little nooks.
  • Mad Scientist House: Rick & Morty's house. Not every room is detailed, but the doors are pass-thru.
  • TheNightClub: Dark hallway, dance floor, and stage. Tastefully black and purple. Seems useful.

But many others are weird models with no interiors, and almost no place you can walk. I've seen one scene so far that had sound effects, so it's possible, just nobody else bothered.

I'll probably go back in and try making a scene, and then make it permanent(?) and see how the user interaction is. I'm not expecting much given these terrible avatars, but world-building is fun.

Alternative '80s Sunday Music

Feeling retro, and lazy. At the time we had just elected an insane, senile old man who was out-acted by a chimp; who was going to start World War III with the Soviet Union, and he deliberately ignored AIDS so it'd kill the gays; and his VP was a CIA spook psychopath.

We got thru it, but a lot of people suffered and died, our country was irreparably damaged by their stupid Evangelical "Republican" policies, but at least we had amazing music, movies, fashion, and MTV.

It's worse this time around, and modern music, movies, and fashion suck, and all we have is Youtube. Ugh.

What I'm Reading: Network Effect, by Martha Wells

Finally the novel length treatment I've been asking for. Murderbot, calling itself just "SecUnit" in the company of friendly non-corporate Humans, does a perfectly adequate job protecting them from their poor decision-making, and becomes somewhat… not exactly social, but what passes for it.

“She grimaced. “Right, sorry.” Then she looked away and rubbed her eyes.

And I’d made her cry. Good job, Murderbot.

I knew I’d been an asshole and I owed Amena an apology. I’d attribute it
to the performance reliability drop, and the emotional breakdown which I
am provisionally conceding as ongoing rather than an isolated event that
I am totally over now, and being involuntarily shutdown and restarted,
but I can also be kind of an asshole. (“Kind of” = in the 70 percent–80
percent range.) I didn’t know what to say but I didn’t have time to do a
search for relevant apology examples. (And it’s not like I ever find any
relevant examples that I actually want to use.) I said, “I’m sorry for …
being an asshole.”
—Martha Wells, "Network Effect"

Then a rather familiar transport/gunboat shoots them up, and abducts them to another solar system, with some odd, hostile inhabitants, or "Targets" as Murderbot calls them.

Finally we get a little explanation of the wormhole transit system, much better detail on drone and network systems, and Corporation Rim colony setup. There's even a planetary surface described in… not great detail, but any detail? So that's different. Since reading this book I'm going back to reread the novellas with more background information.

There's as much internal chatter of Murderbot as ever, which is the thing that draws us weirdos to this, but also a lot of feed and voice chatter with others forcing some character development the novellas can't achieve.

It's organized almost along episodic A- B- plot beats, Murderbot kills everyone, there's a social/investigation sequence, backstory piece, repeat (four times? More or less).

The Targets and what's driving them takes a long time to be revealed, and how some of their software attacks are possible isn't clear until very late in the book.

And it's left set up for more stories, which is all Murderbot's after, too.

★★★★★ — inhaled it in a couple sittings.

Also, there was a prequel short story in Wired a couple years ago, which I just learned of:

Solitary Sunday Music

In this picture stands a man
Far away, alone and distant
Like a solitary field
In some nameless foreign land
All around him points of light
Start to dim and cease transmitting
VNV Nation, "Solitary"

What I'm Watching: Train to Busan

A very standard modern zombie outbreak movie, remake of the Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake with a Korean train instead of a mall. It's entertaining, but never really tense or frightening beyond jump scares. Lots of fake blood but very little gore, it's no Tom Savini flick.

The most neglectful financier asshole father and his implausibly nice daughter go on a train ride to let her visit her mother (separated, not yet divorced but you know they should be). Rest of the passengers are wrestler/MMA dude & pregnant wife, gay jock teen (well, he's closeted, but it explains his behavior) & his disappointed wannabe-girlfriend, two old ladies, scruffy hobo survivor, awful corporate executive, train crew, and a few extras who aren't gonna get even cardboard personalities. Names are in short supply, and provide no plot immunity, the train's aggressive about whittling down the cast.

The one slightly different take in this is everyone's moral except the asshole and the older executive is "cooperate, think about other people first". His self-interest and survival instinct would make him the hero in a Hollywood zombie flick, George Clooney in that garbage "we took the title from World War Z but none of the good stuff" flick. Everyone who acts selfishly in this dies horribly, except our asshole who gets to learn a lesson about being a team player and a good father.

But the real moral of the film, as with Snowpiercer, Harry Potter and the Horrible Train (I don't remember which book; all of them really), Throw Momma from the Train, Under Siege 2 (double threat: You might get molested by Steven Seagal, AND killed by terrorists), Murder on the Orient Express, and more, is: Don't get on a train. Drive on the roads, go cross-country on bikes, get a boat, whatever you have to do, never get on a train because it'll always be full of bad guys, you can't get off, and there's only one way forward or back. Even if you lock them in a carriage, they get off when you do. Trains = death.

I'm perplexed at how the asshole's assistant is still alive and making calls like business as usual, only suffering a little moral crisis, when everywhere else is infected. We hear other people dying on phone and TV.

The "safe zone" plays off the Korean DMZ. The country ought to be pretty secure against zombie plague, Seoul and a few other open urban areas might be a total loss, but between Korean and US military (currently 23,468 troops) every smaller city should be able to fortress up pretty quick, and we don't see that in this. Early on, politicians are just calling it "riots", and that has kind of a bad connotation for not-so-distant Korean history where rioters get killed by cops & military.

Let's talk about the fast zombie thing. Romero based Night of the Living Dead on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (adapted badly into movies that totally miss the point four or more times), where the recently-turned "vampires" were slow, stupid, lost their old mind and took some time to get new ones. And so in the first NotLD, they're slow, fried-chicken-eating, implacable, but incapable of even prying up a plank; easy pickings for Texans to kill off. In Dawn of the Dead they started to repeat living behaviors, and sometimes had basic hunting tactics. In Day of the Dead, probably the best of the series, they're becoming smart hunters like Bud and the ones in the cave; simple barriers no longer work, only total isolation will save you. In Land of the Dead, the living have tried to cohabitate with zombies, keeping up a barrier wall around a city, foraging outside, while the increasingly smart zombies try to get in. To take back their world from the monsters called "Humans", finally achieving what Matheson was after in a short novel after 4 movies. Zombies are threatening in these, not because they're fast or powerful, but because they never stop, and while they're not smart yet, they're getting smarter.

Fast zombies throw that out for a cheap jump scare. Turning takes a few seconds instead of the minutes or hours it takes to die and rise for the Living Dead; which means you can't have any drama about someone bit and turning, no hope of a cure or cauterizing a wound or any desperate measure. Just bite, they're dead and join the mob. The best case in this film is about 2 minutes, and that's for a limb bite on a named character; if you have no name, or get it in the neck, you're gonna turn so fast.

Additionally, we see these zombies have very limited senses, they hunch up and stagger around like drunk frat boys, they're not coordinated… until the scene needs them to be, and then they can run, jump, climb over each other. In some scenes they're charging berserkers, strong enough to bust glass doors & windows, in others they're weak and flabby, pathetic things just asking to be let in. So I'm a little frustrated and disappointed by all of the director's choices there. It's still fine, adequate, but that's what keeps it from getting that coveted half-star or more above average from me.

There's an animated prequel, Seoul Station (apparently on 'zon Prime? Will look later), and a sequel movie, Peninsula, supposed to come out this year, but obviously the current zombie^W coronavirus outbreak might interfere with that. There's also a Hollywood remake, which you should burn before watching; if only there was a zombie outbreak killing everyone in Hollywood, the average quality of movies in the world would double.

★★★☆☆

SteamVR Drops Mac Support

Now, that's just their VR headset, which is an extremely low-volume, 1% of the market gadget; VR's kind of awful in practice, but it keeps being "useful next year" for the last 40 years, and someday it'll be right. Steam as it is, >50% of the games I look at have a Mac version; it's not dead yet, but it definitely smells bad.

I blame Apple and their terrible support for gaming, in fact overtly hostile attitude. They like the PR opps at WWDC, and they like taking 30% gross profit of gachapon/IAP ripoff games made by Chinese clone factories, but never do anything after that, never provide game dev support on the platform, or put gamer GPUs in common hardware. They do not hire gamers or game developers, and they fired all the engineers in upper management, so it's just sales weasels left. And then killing 32-bit app support in Catalina just put a knife in any classic gaming.

The Mac used to be fun, a great desktop UNIX workstation which could also run a fair amount of games. Now, nothing works.

Elder Scrolls Online on the Mac is a pain in the ass these days, about half the updates make your camera spin out of control because ZOS doesn't have a Mac developer or any testing, either, they just rely on a cross-compiled build and push it out.

The suggestion to use Windows Boot Camp is just a giant middle finger, but what else are you gonna do?

Well. Given my plan to switch my workstation to FreeBSD when Mojave is EOL, I may accelerate that to this year, and have a partition for Windows just to play games. Which is stupid, but there you go, this is the dumbest, worst decade already just 4 months in, so why wouldn't computing be as bad as everything else?

Certainly anyone who uses Windows to try to do anything productive is… well, more masochistic than I am. It's just unbelievably awful and un-designed. I have a VirtualBox of it that I use for some testing, and it's like a 10-year-old read about CP/M, windowing systems, and bad middle management systems like stack ranking, coded it in BASIC and C, and then billions of dollars of business software and games were run on it. No part of that is a good idea.

Linux is so unbelievably awful; it's a half-assed server or embedded system, but not engineered for safety and reliability like a real UNIX workstation, the desktop is even more amateurish, and "business software" for it is comically bad. I'm not going to do that for a few half-working games.

But here we are. If I want to play games other than Animal Crossing, I suck it up and run a garbage OS as a partition.