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-- current --

L337 lexicon
...speak l337?
(image courtesy megatokyo)
L33t/l33+: elite
b33r: beer
h4x0r: hacker
j00: you
L4m3: lame
L33t: elite
ph33r: fear
sux0rz: sucks
sw33t: sweet
w00t: woo hoo!
download a l33+ 5p34k generator here

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  xFriday, July 16, 2004

con man

Musashi and I will be at Cincinnati's Ikasucon this Saturday, July 17. I'll have my laptop, and if facilities are available, we'll post from the 'con itself. Otherwise, we'll have a scene report on our return.

Any readers in the Cincy area attending Ikasucon should look us up! You can send me a text message of up to 160 characters via my cell phone. Here's the number:

cell phone number


new blogger features

As Jaquandor mentioned the other day, Blogger has made some unheralded changes in the interface. Well, relatively unheralded; I just got an email announcing them.
We launched a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) post editor yesterday so now when you compose a post you can do all sorts of super fancy word processing type stuff. Okay, maybe text formatting is not really that exciting for all the HTMLsters out there, but it's useful and it makes posting with a little style way easier. There are even keyboard shortcuts for "save," "draft," and other Blogger-specific actions like that.

The New Post Editor Does:
  • fonts

  • text sizes

  • bold

  • italic

  • text colors

  • easy hyperlink

  • align left, center, right

  • justify text

  • ordered lists

  • unordered lists

  • blockquote

  • undo

  • and more

Its going to be really hard not to publish grotesque posts with multiple fonts, bold typeface, colors, and all kinds of hideously over-the-top formatting for a few weeks but I have confidence that eventually, you will settle in. I'll tell you a secret. When I started blogging I never even linked to stuff. Why? Because I didn't know how to make a link! Now you can just click the button that looks like a little world with a chain on top (clever!) and you're all set. If you'd rather do your own HTML or want to peek at it (perhaps to figure it out), that's cool to, you can toggle between "Edit HTML" and "Compose."

Personally I'm sticking with the HTML editor for the time being, but I'll have to check out the new features as time permits.


friday link roundup

[coming soon...]

  xThursday, July 15, 2004

monkey-fu post of the day

Great headline: Monkeys master 'mind control'...the screenplay practically writes itself!

Seriously, it's a cool development:
Machines that can be controlled by the mind have moved a step closer to reality. Researchers have trained monkeys to 'think' a cursor around a computer screen to reveal their preferences and goals.

It is hoped the technology will lead to devices that can display the thoughts of paralysed people who are unable to communicate through speech or sign. It could also aid the development of artificial limbs and robots that are operated by the brain alone.

In the past couple of years, researchers have already developed chips that recognise brain signals for movement and convert them into action. Monkeys fitted with the devices have been trained to move cursors around monitors. Such devices translate signals from the brain's motor cortex, the region that directs physical movement.

But now Richard Andersen from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and colleagues have decoded signals from a different region, the parietal cortex, which helps us plan our actions. Their study is published in Science1.

"It's the difference between thinking 'I want to move my hand to the right' and 'I want to reach for the water'," says Andersen. Devices that tap into the parietal cortex could, in theory, be used to reveal people's intentions and desires.

Actually, that's pretty spooky, come to think of it. Right now, though, such a device would reveal that my intention and desire is to go play GTA Vice City.

(via FARK, once again)


heroes of the day

Here's some bizarre but cool news...a bar fight somewhere in Britain was broken up by the two-fisted duo of '80s soul singer Lionel Ritchie and rocker Lenny Kravitz! c00L!
Swanky nightclub Chinawhite was on the verge of descending into a frenzy of flying fists on Monday night.

But, before World War Three could break out, in swooped a couple of unlikely heroes to save the day.

So, which mild-mannered celebrities saved a naughty record exec from a savage beating?

None other than Lionel "The Rocket" Richie and laid-back lothario Lenny "The Loins" Kravitz.

...Our spy at the West End venue said: "Trouble started when a man approached this record exec and accused him of making a move on his girlfriend. He was furious. He reckoned the exec had been getting hot and heavy with his other half.

(via FARK)


sci-fi post of the day

MSN Entertainment critic Adam Berliant shares his picks for the Top 10 Dumb Moments in Sci-Fi Cinema.
Imperial walkers attack the rebels
"The Empire Strikes Back"

Why it's so dumb: So, the same company that brings you the dark side of the force and the death star decides that tall, slow, off balance elephant thingies with laser beam-shooting tusks are the best way to ferret out the rebels from their underground fortress? Darth Vader may have been a patsy, but we all know he wasn't that stupid. If ever a huge planet destroying technology was the appropriate choice, this was it.
Why we don't care: Seeing the walkers come into focus in the rebel binoculars was the moment when "Star Wars" fans realized that "The Empire Strikes Back" might indeed be cooler than the original. That scene alone could be the reason we paid to see four more.

(via FARK)

  xWednesday, July 14, 2004

new at dam

My review of the shoujo manga Cheeky Angel's first volume was posted yesterday over at Destroy All Monsters. Enjoy!


a different take

Writing in TAPPED, Nick Confessore looks at this Reuters article on the search for a new CIA chief. It reports:
It may be the most difficult and important job search of Bush's tenure, and people close to the process say Vice President Dick Cheney is playing a key role.

Confessore responds:
Go ahead, pick your metaphor. It's a good thing to know that the gent who played a central role in damaging the intelligence-gathering process will be "playing a key role" in fixing it.

I had a much different reaction. Upon reading those words, I thought, "Cheney's going to announce that he's the best man for the job."

  xTuesday, July 13, 2004

retro icon post of the day

retro icons

Just discovered: Pixelgirl Presents, a nifty collection of grafix for Macs and Windows machines, including this nifty colelction of retro-themed icons. There are also anime icons, cool wallpaper designs, and more.


new wave links of the day

beautiful mutants

One of the pleasures of watching Nickelodeon's Rugrats cartoon with The Girls is that the theme music was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer for the great '80s New Wave band Devo. (Mothersbaugh also composed the music for the old PC game based on William Gibson's Neuromancer.) His latest project is an incredible exhibition of digitally distorted vintage photoggraphs called Beautiful Mutants.

And avant-garde musician Laurie Anderson has also been staying busy. Not only has she been at work composing music for the Japanese gardens at the upcoming 2005 World Expo in Japan and preparing for a US tour in the fall, but she's also finishing up a year-long stint as NASA's first-ever artist in residence, according to Newsweek.

(via BoingBoing, twice)


t-shirt origami

t-shirt folding

Here's an amazing short video on how to fold a T-shirt -- or even a tank top! -- perfectly. I hope to practice up on the technique. My folded T-shirts are usually quite a mess, and I concentrate more on making sure the decal faces out so I don't have to sort through a pile of seemingly identical shirts to find the one I want.

(via Pharyngula via Tea Leaves; cross-posted at Destroy All Monsters)

  xMonday, July 12, 2004

new at dam

My review of the 1986 Jet Li flick Born To Defense -- Li's sole directing credit to date -- is now posted over at Destroy All Monsters.


new laptop

gateway laptop

The latest addition to the Planet Swank Technology Collection is a used Gateway laptop sporting a 333-MHz Pentium II processor and a six gigabyte hard drive.

I plan to use it as a portable writing platform, and also to use its video output capability to play some of my downloaded anime fansubs on our TV, as opposed to the computer.

It came equipped with Windows 98. Right now I'm trying to update to Windows 98 Second Edition in order to install a wireless networking card. Alas, I've encountered what seems to be a common problem: The Win98SE Setup program detects the existing version incorrectly and refuses to continue. I expect to have the problem corrected shortly -- ph34r my L33t b0x0rz skillz!

Update: Windows 98 SE proved stubborn in my attempts to correct the problem, so what the heck -- I just installed Windows 2K. After a full bakcup of the laptop hard drive, of course -- and adventure in itself, as I had to connect it to my main PC via direct parallel cable connection.


jeff smith r.i.p.

From Jaquandor I learn that Jeff Smith, aka The Frugal Gourmet, has died. Like Jaquandor, I own several of Smith's cookbooks and was an occasional viewer of his television show. I've always appreciated the chef's enthusiasm for sharing fine cuisine with friends. Planet Swank extends its condolences to the Frugal Gourmet's family, friends and fans.


they get letters

I just fired off an angry e-mail to a member of the so-called "liberal media."

For shame!

Bad enough that your recent story on the presidential candidates' tax proposals

contained only one anecdote. But for that one anecdote to be from the president of the New York Young Republican Club

makes your story a piece of pure propaganda, not news. It defies the imagination to suppose that the comments of a partisan Republican are a reasonable example of what Bush's tax cuts mean to the viewer. The fact that you filed to identify Mr. Cariello's obviously partisan affiliation casts severe doubt on your news judgement, and diminishes your credibility.

For shame.

(via Daily Kos)

Update 14 July 2004: Kos reports that CBS has amended the story. It's long since rolled off the front page, though, so big deal.

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