Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World

29-Oct-2003

Yet more pointless linkage

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 6:38 pm

Simply amazing: a video clip of a guy beatboxing while playing the harmonica.

The Ghost of Inexplicable Blog Comments

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:20 pm

How interesting. I check my e-mail to discover that someone has left a comment on an old blog post from last Christmas, and so I go to see what it is. Seems that somebody by the name of “Kasara Albert” has left this complete non-sequitur as her comment:

i think that you guys suck to the max and i don’t like your story at all i think it is boring and i think that i can tell better stories than anybody in the world and well this one gurl thinks im conceded becuz well it first started out like when i hooked up wit her boyfried but she didn’t know then when me and her were arguing i juss blurrted everything out that me and her boyfriend were goin out for along time then she beat me up……. the end of my fricken wanderful story…and that i said i was better then her and that i said i had better clothes then her and our usta be friends.

I’m still trying to figure out what in the world this has to do with anything at all in the post. It’s clearly not blog comment spam… but what IS it? Who have I been mistaken for this time?

I don’t think I’ll ever come up with a satisfactory answer, but judging from my server access logs, this person found the post in question by searching on Ask Jeeves for “why are ghost’s present.” I don’t think it’s merely a coincidence that the good virtual butler decided to send this user to the same site that hosts the Proofreader’s Hall of Shame… 😀

Anyway, I may eventually delete this complete non-sequitur from that post’s comments, but I’ve decided to leave it up for a while just because it’s so utterly bizarre. Either that, or I’ll mark all over the original comment with proofreader’s marks. I’m not sure which.

26-Oct-2003

Getting with the Program

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:22 am

Grr. Don’t you just hate it when your browser– or worse, your entire computer– comes crashing down as you write an entry for your weblog? I know I do.

Before my computer decided to thwart me with its cold Blue Screen of Death (which resulted, incidentally, from the use of a gadget mentioned later in this post), I was sitting here in this hotel room in Daytona, trying to write about the ACM Programming Competition Southeastern Regionals (or, as one of my friends has somewhat jokingly referred to it, the “Daytona 486”), in which I and numerous others participated earlier today. The results are in, and Mercer University’s Essential Bear team– a.k.a. Team A, a.k.a. the team that I’m on– placed ninth overall, with eight problems solved, the highest number solved by any school in the undergraduate division. That’s right: we placed first in our division!

But wait, it gets better. Mercer Team D placed second in the undergrad division, Team B placed fourth, and Team C placed fifth. All four of Mercer’s programming teams, in other words, were in the top five in our division!

And I’d be content with that, but it gets even better. One of the prizes given to each member of the winning team in our division was this webcam/digital-camera thing (yes, these gadgets are rather hard to describe concisely). Naturally, I’ve been playing around with mine tonight… I’m such an easily amused geek, I know, I know. 😀

Anyway, I’ll be returning to Macon with the rest of the team tomorrow– OK, technically today, though tonight is somewhat of a time warp anyway. It’s been quite a fun trip, though, and I’m extremely proud of how well we performed at the competition.

16-Oct-2003

They’ve Got Game

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:17 pm

Today’s youngsters express their opinions on the electronic games of the late ’70s and early ’80s… quite amusing. And to think I grew up playing some of these. (via MetaFilter)

Now you can pick up anything!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:42 am

I finally have a scan of one of the most common yet most infamous translation horrors, which I picked up while eating a couple nights ago: yes, it’s that one chopstick wrapper. Marvel at all the horribly mangled misspellings and stilted grammar found therein.

The sad thing is that I’ve seen several variations of this package, each one having a different set of typos. It’s insane; really, it is. This version is the one with the highest number of errors in this particular selection of text, and I can confirm that it’s most definitely still in circulation.

It’s too bad that the other side of the package only had Chinese characters on it, and not the classic bit of Engrish mentioning the “glorious Chinese history and cultural” (with widely varying spellings of “glorious” and “cultural”, naturally) that’s usually found on the opposite side…

For those who can’t read the text in the above-linked image, here’s a transcript, with all spacing, punctuation, and typographical errors intact:
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12-Oct-2003

The annoyance of comment spam

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:03 pm

Those of you with weblogs offering comment features, please ban the 209.210.176.* range of IP addresses from posting comments. Seems that some Ukrainian porn spammer is using that IP range to spam his site on various weblogs; this guy has hit my site three times in the past week, and out of frustration, I’ve gone ahead and blocked the entire class-C IP from posting comments. Sorry to any legitimate posters who happen to have an IP address in that range, but judging from a Google search, it belongs to an ISP commonly used by spammers; besides, what else is the maintainer of a PG-rated weblog to do?

I didn’t mind it so much when the spammers were promoting sites that, while unethical, were still “safe for work”; I could delete the spams when I got around to them, and though I may not have agreed with the usurping of my blog’s comment pages for advertising purposes, I would have at least felt safe linking to the sites had they not been so unscrupulous. The latest batch of spam has gotten quite a bit racier, however, and it’s enough to make me wish there were an easily implemented, accessible solution to the problem of blog comment spam.
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11-Oct-2003

In other anime news…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:20 pm

Fans of dance music and Japanese animation will be pleased to know that the Daft Punk–Leiji Matsumoto music video Interstella 5555 will be released as a Region 1 DVD on November 18 of this year.

Edited 11-Nov-2003 to add: Seems that, though there is indeed going to be a R1 release of this film, it won’t be as early as originally thought. Amazon.com lists the release date as December 2, which still isn’t all that far off…

More anime convention goodness

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:43 pm

Still no AWA trip report yet (maybe I’ll find the time to write one up during the long weekend), but I did discover something quite interesting while surfing the web for AWA pictures: I’m actually visible, along with several of my friends, in one of the pictures on the site for the documentary Otaku Unite, which premiered at Anime Weekend Atlanta this year. Here’s the Otaku Unite photo gallery; scroll down and find the picture of the Saturday screening. Though it’s a rather dark photo (after all, this was a video screening room), that’s most definitely us in the second row.

Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll confess that I was the hitherto anonymous audience member who got the projector in working order. ::grin::

09-Oct-2003

An Utter Crock of Shift

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:21 pm

I’ve already mentioned a few times in the past how much I detest the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its abuses, but this takes the cake: Copy-protection developer SunnComm is suing a university student for explaining how to turn off CD auto-play. No joke; read the full article and marvel at the utter ridiculousness of the suit.

If that’s not enough indication that SunnComm’s management is clueless, this article sheds some more light on it:

Though simple, the act of holding down the Shift key in order to enable copying does let computer users know they’re doing something unauthorized, [SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs] said.

Unauthorized? By that logic, skipping the auto-installers on CD-ROMs so that I can install software where I want and with only the components I want is unauthorized. So, for that matter, is disabling autoplay so that I can listen to a music CD (especially the “enhanced” but unprotected type) or watch a DVD in my player of choice…

Personally, I think that if your so-called “copy protection” is that flimsy, and if you understand that to a certain extent, you ought to be spending more time developing a more robust system and less time suing people who explain how to use simple, relatively well-known operating system features.

Really, will the quasi-legal madness brought about by the DMCA ever end?

07-Oct-2003

Edmund W. Bush?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:14 pm

OK, this is absolutely classic: a stupid answer from the German version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. The translation of the question, if you haven’t already figured it out by now: “What is George W. Bush’s first name?”

EDIT 2003-10-29: Turns out that those images were Photoshopped (a possibility which I had thought about before posting the link, at that). But it gets better: a Google search turns up the original screenshots— in which the hopelessly confused contestant believes there was a chess-playing computer named Deep Throat…

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