Arcseconds Release: What’s Your Astrological Sign? / Money

New release: Arcseconds – What’s Your Astrological Sign / Money; now available on my Bandcamp page.

More Arcseconds stuff coming this year. It’s happening.

Tiger’s Milk

This is a recipe for a breakfast milkshake I loved when I was a kid
(and probably still love though I haven’t made it lately). Maybe it
will tell you something about my childhood, though I’ll leave it to
your interpretation as to what.

Tiger’s Milk

Makes 2 portions.

  • 3/4 cup plain yogourt
  • 1 egg (raw)
  • 1–2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3–4 tbsp. brewer’s yeast or nutritional (hippie) yeast

Process in blender or shake in a jar. Drink.

Let’s talk about that Nikon social media meltdown

Hokay, so, Nikon posted this message on their Facebook wall social media thing and, well, even talking about it is giving it more play than it deserves and this is basically just gossip at this point but… well… seriously, they wrote this:

I mean, what? What?!

Reaction was swift, and justice was served in the only way that thousands of wronged Internet users can provide: a torrential flood of outraged and sarcastic comments.

For those who don’t know the correct way to think about photographic equipment comes by way of an Ansel Adams quote:

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.

The ever respectable Ken Rockwell expanded and expounded on this idea, too.

So it’s mystifying what must have happened inside Nikon for them to post that. I’m still waiting to learn that today was Japanese April Fools’ day and it was all a joke gone wrong.

This is a good a time as any to say that I haven’t used my Nikon in months. A few months ago I picked up a Casio point and shoot, and I’ve had a lot more fun with it, and taken a lot of rewarding photos.

It’s a lot more limited than the Nikon because you can’t really control the lens or shutter without digging into a pile of menus, but 90% of the time it auto-adjusts itself to produce exactly what I would have settled on with an all-manual camera. This frees me to think about the layout and content of a photo, which is a lot more interesting.

Thing is, there is no such thing as a professional camera brand any more. There are very fancy cameras, yes, that require a significant amount of training and skill to use at their fullest. And I know people who I consider professional photographers not only because they make money, but because they can do things with a fancy camera that are way beyond my technical skill. But, both Canon and Nikon are firmly planted in the “pro-sumer” market.

That’s a horrible term, by the way, “pro-sumer”. I actually think amateur is a better product class. To my mind amateur means, “contains the features you need to have fun and take the photos you want.” Pro-sumer means “we put a lot of fancy shit in your camera to distract you from actually taking photos. Please buy more accessories.”

It occurs to me I have talked about this already. But it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: tools are fun, and good tools are worth using, but it’s what you make that matters. It’s sad when a company can’t even pretend that that’s the case.

buildawall: a script for Minecraft

I created buildawall — a utility for Minecraft server admins to put a wall around their world.

Minecraft is a terribly addictive (but worthwhile) game where you try to survive in a harsh, unforgiving wilderness made of Lego-like cubes. And once you learn how to survive, then you build the Eiffel tower, or a cool cave fortress, or stuff like that.

Each Minecraft world is driven by a seed — a single number that powers the world-creation algorithm. The world is almost infinitely large. (Much larger than the Earth, in scale). However, the game only creates the parts of the world that you visit. The creation of new world “chunks” always happens just outside your view so you never notice it.

When a new Minecraft update is released, sometimes the world generator is changed. This makes the world seed create a new and different world than it did with the previous version. The player notices this when they enter new terrain and discover jarring discontinuities. Mountains cleaved in half, that sort of thing.

In order to stop this, I created a program that takes the Minecraft world you’ve visited so far and builds a wall around it. The wall creates a psychological and in-game barrier that delineates “old world” from “new world.”

It also poses a challenge to players as the wall is cored with impenetrable material. Players have to build a staircase to get over the wall, or they can tunnel deep below the earth to get under it. The players’ reward for getting around the wall is a new and exciting world.

If you run a multiplayer Minecraft server and are faced with a world-altering version update (such as right now as the game goes from 1.7.3 to 1.8) I would recommend you try buildawall to mark the end of the world and the beginning of the new one.