Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

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Is “Ascension” going to be cool or stupid?

July 28, 2014

It has been announced that this fall SyFy channel (God I hate that name) will run a miniseries called “Ascension.” It sounds intriguing, in a weird sort of way. The premise is that in 1963 it was thought that America would soon be involved in a cataclysmic nuclear war – a not unreasonable assumption. Somehow a major leap of technology is made and a generation starship is launched. Not sure how it is determined that there is a habitable planet out there, and how a country that could barely launch a single man into orbit could send 600 people on a centuries-long trip.

Now, I’m a big fan of Project Orion. Except for some pesky Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the fact that JFK was terrified of a spaceship that used nuclear bombs for propulsion, we could have lifted hundreds of tons into orbit by 1970. But that’s another story. And it wouldn’t have been ready for a interstellar trip by 1963.

But I digress. The story is that the folks on the ship are pretty much stuck in the culture of the 1960s, in terms of mores, styles and such. Apparently the big issue is that the generation in power 50 years later is considering turning around and going home. They have received no communications from Earth since they left, so they don’t know if they might find a radioactive cinder or a world out of the Jetsons.

I have to admit, I was intrigued. Then This image showed up on io9 and other web sites:

Ascension ship 2

Yeah, that’s a Saturn V stuck in the middle of that thing. The rest of it looks like it was built out of Legos. I couldn’t image this was the generation ship. It was odd enough that they just stuck the Saturn in there, but how did they get the whole stack into orbit? The F1 engines of the first stage weren’t designed or optimized for a vacuum. Besides, if you have the technology to lift an entire Saturn V into space…well, you generally wouldn’t have to.

I still don’t know what this thing is, but I found this one in a clip on the official Ascension site:

Ascension ship 1

Go watch the clip. This is in a pullback from a view through a porthole, so it looks like it might be the generation ship. Still not enough detail to really see what it’s about, but at least it’s not completely laughable.

So maybe the first ship was something else. I can’t imagine what, but I don’t care how much this is “Mad Men in Space,” if the tech isn’t at least slightly believable, I’m not watching. And I know, there was a bunch of nuttiness in the physics of Battlestar Galactica, and I still watched the hell out of that. So maybe there is a chance this won’t suck…

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The best thing you will see on the internet today

March 6, 2014

I found it on io9.com: velociraptors replaced by cats.

I’m just thinking about other movies where this would be awesome…

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Adobe Creative Cloud is a blessing and a curse…

January 17, 2014

About two years ago I needed to get a copy of Adobe InDesign for layout of my marching band arranging book, which is finally almost done! We looked at the prices for that and for Photoshop, and even though I could still sort of qualify for the education discount, it was pretty pricey. Then we looked at the Adobe Create Cloud service. The price per year was about the same as for buying two apps as standalones, and since it would update them and I had access to the entire Adobe suite, it looked like a pretty good buy. The educational discount ran out and it’s $ 50 a month now, but I’ve found I try (and use) apps that I never would have because I wouldn’t want to spend the money on something I might use occasionally.

The latest one I’ve worked with is Adobe Muse, which is a little WYSIWYG web page development tool. It’s easier than using DreamWeaver, especially if ¬†you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles on your web pages. It uses an interface that looks a lot like InDesign, so I was good there. It’s sort of like a hybrid of those two bigger programs.

Muse isn’t available as a standalone, which is too bad. (Although you can do a monthly charge for it, separately, for $ 15 a month.) I’ve not had to do web page design for a couple of years, and using it is a lot easier than getting myself up to speed on the new version of DreamWeaver just to do a few simple pages.

The other advantage to the Creative Cloud service is that it keeps watching for updates and asks you when you want to update. At first the updater was somewhat buggy, but it seems pretty stable now.

Adobe CC isn’t for everyone, but if you use Photoshop and one more Adobe app, it will probably be competitively priced against the standalones. I’d be interested in hearing if anyone else likes or dislikes the Creative Cloud service.

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iOS7 thoughts

September 22, 2013

I updated both my iPhone 4s and my third-gen iPad to iOS7, and everything worked fine. I think the default typeface is pretty light, making it a bit more difficult for those of us with older eyes, but it is a kind of a refreshing change…although it tends to look more “Windows-8-like” than I expected from Apple. But the apps seem to work fine. I’ve encountered no problems or speed hits.

But, I have one issue not really related to the update: I am going to move up to a new iMac soon from my aging Mac Pro. I’ve done the research on how to back up the iPhone first, and all of that, but the process still seems very tedious and fraught with potential disaster. Does anybody have a good, simple way to do this?

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Starbuck’s twitter controversy over gun safety

June 11, 2013

Katee-Sackoff-Joins-Female-Expendables

Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck on the great reboot of Battlestar Galactica) recently commented on Twitter, advocating gun safety after a four-year-old accidentally killed his father with a gun. Reports said that she lost half her Twitter followers – about 10,000 – due to a debate that ensued about gun safety versus gun control.

Nothing I read made Katee sound nutty. She just realistically stated that gun control, at least the way it is discussed today, isn’t likely to happen in the US. But as we know, a lot of folks are crazy over gun control, for a variety of reasons.

And apparently Katee actually gained followers – about 10,000 – during the tempest in a Twitter teapot. And that she really has over 100,000.

I didn’t have to post this. I had two points – first, that gun control advocates can be pretty rabid. (If gun advocates were as rabid, they would be shooting things up all over the place.) Second, that Katee Sackhoff is pretty damn cool. (Currently she’s starring in Longmire on A&E.)

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…and now we’re back to normal…

April 29, 2013

After my post about the unusually large number of spam and bot hits this blog received recently, the number of hits have dropped off even from the average before the assault started. Sorry, bots, if I said something to annoy you…

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Spam! Spam! Spam!

April 17, 2013

I’ve not been posting for a while because of parent medical issues. However, Monday, April 15, the site got about five times the usual number of hits for any given day. Thanks, spambots! And some spam comments are sneaking through the filter. Where are these people? What makes them want to create spam messages? If they are that good, wouldn’t they want to use their skills for something better?

My gmail account has been receiving a lot of variations on the old Nigerian money scam messages lately. Like, a dozen a day. The spam filter is catching them (thanks, Google) but sheesh! I guess if you can get to a billion email accounts and only a very tiny fraction click on the thing, that still could be tens of thousands of idiots waiting to be sucked in.

Oh, well. First world problems, I know. Anyway, I don’t have much to contribute right now. I’m not watching much news or politics, and nothing else has struck me lately. I’m sure that y’all have been hanging on every word…

Later.