Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Case of the Missing Change Case: gedit vs OOo

One function that's missing from but which Microshaft Worm had is the Change Case function. I would sometimes use this to type in lower-case and later convert to Sentence case or Title Case. Although it doesn't seem to be available in OpenOffice -AFAIK, it shows up in gedit! I'm not sure if it's worth switching out of OO.o to do a tweak in gedit, but it's there. 

Note the Edit menu doesn't have this as an option as default, but open Preferences.

Select Plug-ins and then check Change Case. 

Check "Sort" too. Gotta have that.  

There's Change Case. Sentence Case is not available, but the judicious use of Title Case could function as a substitute. 

There's "Sort" -- also in the Edit menu.  

Check it out. I wonder if there aren't any similar plug-ins for OO.o. 

Free GIMP tutorial PDFs

You can have 18 free GIMP tutorial PDFs from Michael J. Hammel at Linux Format magazine

Saturday, January 30, 2010

iPOTUS's SOTU, iSteve, Zinn, & 2010-01-27

The dear leader of our people gathered his flock together and laid down the law of and on his tablet. Meanwhile, in DC, another major operating systems developer, also the son of a runaway foreign grad student, spoke to an assembly of code writers. In Santa Monica, Howard Zinn passed away of a heart attack. He will not rest in peace, but has probably already returned, possibly right in the West L.A. area. He wouldn't waste time being dead.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

AirAmerica NYT Obit.

Speaking of AirAmerica, the NYT reports:

January 22, 2010
Air America, the Talk Radio Network, Will Go Off the Air

Air America, the long-suffering progressive talk radio network, abruptly shut down on Thursday, bowing to what it called a “very difficult economic environment.”

The chairman of Air America Media, Charlie Kireker, said in a statement that the company would file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy “to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.”

In a troubled time for advertising-driven media businesses, “our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week but ultimately fell short of success,” Mr. Kireker said.

The closing did not come as a surprise. Air America, which began six years ago and has 100 affiliated stations, cycled through a number of owners and never found its financial footing. It first filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006 but managed to stay on the air.

“The fact of the matter was, it was always a very challenging business proposition, and it never had the right management,” said Sam Seder, who hosted programs on Air America until last year.

Although it lacked a substantial audience, the network catapulted a number of progressive media personalities into stardom, most notably Rachel Maddow, who now anchors a prime-time program on the cable news channel MSNBC.

Al Franken, now a Democratic senator from Minnesota, hosted an Air America show from 2004 to 2007, before running for office.

Several other prominent talk radio personalities who worked at Air America, including Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann, remain on the radio, but without the network affiliation. “It would be a shame if the world sees the failure of Air America as representing the failure of progressive talk radio,” said Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, a talk radio publication.

Mr. Kireker noted in his statement that advertising revenue in the radio industry had fallen for several years now. “Signs of improvement have consisted of hoping things will be less bad,” he said, adding that “our company cannot escape the laws of economics.”

Air America started to play rerun programming rather suddenly Thursday evening. The company said it would sign off completely next Monday night.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Marc is back, apparently podcasting out of his garage in LA? I hope he's given up any abusive relationships with AirAmerica. Just listening to my first episode of it now. I needed some good news.
Via Brilliant at Breakfast.

Monday, January 18, 2010

3D in the 1800s

There's a collection of stereoscopic images within the USGS Photographic Library, dating from the 1870's to the 1950's.
An example:

Posthumanist Mac Tonnies (さよなら)

More Human Than Human


I was visiting PostHuman Blues earlier in January and suddenly noticed that I was re-reading posts, although I hadn't been to Mac's blog for a long time. Then I noticed the dates were all October. Huh? I must be visiting older posts, I thought, and went to the top. What the heck--posts in October at the top... and so like many others, I considered various possibilities before eventually realizing the fact of Mac's death.

My condolences to all who knew him.

Damn. How can I be perhaps the last fan of Mac Tonnies to notice that he was dead? Well, I don't consider myself a Fortean, ufologist, or part of the blogosphere. I am unable to spare much time to read any blogs recently, although I guess I have read Talking Points Memo. Mostly I try to follow Google News and Yahoo news, plus some Linux news. I prioritize blogging for myself more than reading other people's blogs, or else I will never blog anything. I have 5 part-time jobs. I need to hunt for another job. There are multiple kids to look after. A language to learn. Other priorities I never get to, like sending Xmas or New Year's cards. Reading PostHumanBlues is so enjoyable and leads me to links that consume so much time and mind-space that I consider it a bit self-indulgent and not helpful in the task of caring for and putting food on my family. Excuses, excuses. I ask the forbearance and indulgence of those who find this state of isogashisa unimaginable/inexcusable.

Internet silence was the strongest evidence of his death. If I don't blog for a month, it means I'm busy. If Mac doesn't blog for a day, he must be dead.

We have access to his mind, not because his consciousness was uploaded by curious extra/crypto/terrestrial archivists, but because he documented his life "religiously" (his word) as a blogger and tweeter. Altho he labeled his posts "Tears in Rain," they were not. "Tears in rain" (a BladeRunner reference) denotes the meaninglessness of all of one's experiences and memories dissolving into the nothingness of death. Mac's posts were not tears in rain, but rather more like pearls, or perhaps grains of pollen, carrying their genetic information to the bottom of the lake or to the amber gem where the deposits can be studied by future archeologists or random web surfers. He was wise --and brave-- in that way to put his thoughts out there and not just sit in a room thinking to himself.

Mac called himself "an organic web filter" in response to a comment I made hinting that altho his link dump style posts were great, more of his original writing would be appreciated if he could spare the time from potentially profitable writing projects. We'll take what we can get, I concluded.

I think Posthuman Blues was the first site (and one of very few) to have a link to me. I'm not sure how he found me or why he linked to me. It could have been the shared "blues" element in the name, shared movie interests, (Blade Runner, other artificial intelligence themed movies), shared musical interests (The Smiths, Talking Heads, The Cure, Hooverphonic), the "metacognitive" label, the shared midwestern background, Discordianism, or some statistically improbable expression that Mac noticed. He noticed a LOT. Mac has, or had a discerning third eye and a high metacognitive index. I discovered his blog because it was linked to mine. I was surprised and pleased that he linked to me.

One time, in response to a question posted by Mac about a Blogger template (TicTac Blueberry), I set up a test blog and looked into the css to see if I could find the controls for the header (or banner) image placement. I don't know much about html/css, but it was the first or second place I looked. He was very grateful when I tipped him a solution to his problem, and he mentioned wanting to give me a copy of his book in return, altho he deleted the offer comment (after it had already come in my e-mail). It was a gracious thought that I didn't expect. I had just wanted to help him over that css bump as a tip (as in tip-jar) to thank him for all his great blogging.

I'm thinking one kind of dedication would be to create a mactonniesian feed. My concept is that everyone Mac linked to (at least in the sidebar) would be in a feed, so you could see the most recent post by each of these bloggers, in time order. I'm talking about the widget or gadget or gidget that Blogger has to put the feeds together and order them chronologically as a sidebar element. It would be the closest thing yet to automating the mactonniesian process, although still a weak imitation. The people Mac linked to circa 2009 will each change, grow, and develop in ways that parallel what Mac would have (probably) undergone. This feed of feeds could go into anyone's sidebar, but it might load so much information that maybe it deserves to be a blog in its own rite?

That makes me think of another possible tribute that I think Mac would love: a chat-bot. Try googling chat-bots, AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language), personality forge, or to find out more. Due to Mac's (continuing!) online presence, we have access to Mac's face, various facial expressions, and enough information to create a high-definition avatar. Samples of Mac's voice can also be found in many radio programs and video snippets. These can create a voice-print pattern much like a font for sound. Finally, Mac's text, vocabulary frequencies, grammatical patterns are all available to use to create a complete text database with keywords and tags. His books, essays, reviews, and interviews would be digitized as well. This is rather large. At the very least, he could reply to questions like: "What do you think of...'s book...?" using say, book reviews that he's written. Even just randomly providing some quotes might be interesting. Ideally, the output of a posthuman-Mac-chat-bot would have the same mean sentence length, vocabulary frequency, grammatical patterns, and other statistical properties of Mac's speech while conveying his ideas as well. There are chat-bots for Eliza, Abraham Lincoln, God, and chat-bots are used for corporate web-sites to deliver information given out in FAQs in earlier decades. I think there are experiments to use them for phone-sex type use and customer service. The best can pass the Turing Test, indistinguishable from a human for at least a large proportion of judges. The posthuman-Mac-chat-bot concept requires an exceptionally talented person to put together, but he would be an excellent subject for eternal digital life on the internet.

I don't know what it means, but I had a strong urge to tell Mac "South Korea." Maybe something wonderful was waiting for him there. Perhaps he would have found a job teaching English or Science Fiction as Literature or something like that at university with the freedom to do what he wanted, and have a research budget to travel around the world, or perhaps he would have fallen in love, had a physical exam that diagnosed and treated his health problem, saving his life, or something else. Maybe he had already been there or something about him was reminding me of South Korea for some reason. Maybe it was just because as the most wired country in the world, with the fastest internet, he would have liked it. I didn't know how to frame the "South Korea" message, so I couldn't find a way to send it.

Emptying my mind of all thoughts I meditate on Mac until some words burst forth:
"I was killed because I knew too much."
What? That's not something I expected. That's disturbing. I don't think it came from Mac, but even if it did, it could be his joke(?). Perhaps just the product of my subconscious mind releasing a paranoid thought which is not present in my conscious mind. Or someone else? Eventually I quiet the mind again and wait for another signal.
"You are, too."
That doesn't even make sense. Is it grammatical? I am what, too? I am... killed because I know too much? I don't know anything. I suppose it could be grammatical, from a point of view outside of time. It certainly is possible to know too much, in several different ways. Knowing the time, date, and means of one's own death is not desirable for the psyche, and maybe that is why we cannot develop our faculties in that direction until we lose attachment to the world. I stop the experiment. That's what I heard, for what it's worth. Your results may vary.

Deltas from his death: Seize the day. The night. The orb. If you love it, set it free after seizing it. Put it all out there, online, back out into the One Mind. Suck the marrow from... your vegetarian diet. And from your espresso. Write. Post. I should probably exercise more and not stay up until 4 AM. Life's short. It's later than you think.

I'd expect Mac to return soon, and not waste time. Various people carry components which we could identify as "Mac", or should we say "macian," "tonniesian," or "mactonniesian," but the entire "nexus" (;-) we called Mac Tonnies will be back soon. He may have already been reborn, perhaps in South Korea, as a woman this time, for a change, or perhaps as a man again. He wouldn't wait a full year or more to be reborn, and would choose a Buddhist family over a Christian one, I imagine. This isn't death, but merely a minor setback, a restructuring of the corporeal realm in preparation for future growth. Come to think of it, I think he'll want to speak English again, but if, on the other hand, North America is fated to fall into decrepitude while China explores the solar system, maybe he'll come back in ZhongGuo. Anyway, I reckon we'll be able to read a new, remarkably Mac-like blogger by at least 2026.

Digital death, digital decay, internet immortality, LANgevity
His Blogger page, and Twitter account may live on for years, until/unless Google or Twitter decide to delete inactive accounts some day. His Flickr, if unpaid, may eventually lose all but the last 200 of the 7-800 pictures he uploaded. His older "Cydonia" web site may eventually disappear(?) if no one is paying for the domain and server. I'd like to (re)browse and perhaps save his web site before that happens. Mac had read through many hundreds of books on ufology and other inexplicata, and by reading what he has written could help avoid many dead-ends, disappointing reads, money spent on bad books, and could steer one to the better-written material. There is no one on Earth whose opinion I'd trust more right now than Mac's. He was not a fanatic but a very skeptical, sincere seeker who calmly and analytically accepted the physical reality and the reality of the experiences of many and tried to find explanations. One great thing about Mac was that pretty much any idea you'd ever had about these phenomena, he had also considered, often more deeply. In addition, he had considered hypotheses which had never occurred to most people. That quality will be missed.

The high-pitched noises I hear all too often will also remind me of Mac. He suffered from this, too. The silence is screaming.

Links I went through related to this: (sorry for omissions--it's very incomplete--and sorry for un-hyper links) You could google many of these.


His older website top

things related to his earlier book and pre-blogger website

an excellent sample of Mac's writing and thinking


UFOs as Vanguards of a Post-Biological Intelligence

The Pitch (Kansas City)

Coast to Coast


A tribute with pictures

George Dvorsky


Paratopia (some artwork)

mentioned iN an iNteresting context, iThink
The Alien Hypothesis / UFOs as trickster-like enigmas
Excerpts from the Sept 28, 2009, interview between Mac Tonnies and George Noory

from Cap'n Marrrrk

The other side of truth

Greg Taylor

Loren Coleman

a note from his publisher

Mac on Amazon

After the Martian Apocylypse = $69.99 (used)

Kindle version for $11.99

Kindle for PC a free download

Kindle for PC de-DRM'er

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mac4Lin: AAPLification

I didn't know about Mac4Lin when I changed to Linux, but even if I had, I don't think I would have used it. It could be confusing, although it might ease the transition for some. It was publicized on Lifehacker last summer and before that on MakeTechEasier for Hardy and Intrepid. The option to change the "traffic light window control" is good to know, and could please users who want to have that in the upper left hand corner, but I've already gotten used to the upper right hand corner and now find the Mac way annoying. What was interesting to me was how good a simulation you could produce in Ubuntu, as seen in some Flickr screen shots. I also wonder why you'd want to, but it could be a challenge for someone. Rather than a near-perfect simulation, it might be more fun to make a slightly tweaked-looking anti-Mac clone. That reminds me that it could be a useful alternative for Psystar (if they have any future). It shows, anyway, how easy it is to configure Linux. I'm surprised AAPL hasn't tried to sue, but if they can find someone to sue, it might give Linux more attention and help drive AAPL into the ground. I suppose if they are not concerned about the Hackintosh, they won't care about someone simply displaying an AAPL logo in another OS.

Strike dumb this fool, we beseech thee.

Christofascist Buttcasting Nutwerx' 666 Klub host Rat Pobertson pulls some weird racist BS out of his ass. You'll have to listen carefully through his labored heavy breathing to make out what he's saying. This may be his biggest hate-speech hit since he called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, a little fatwa from Jesusland.

An entry at Wikipedia suggests he may be referring to Dutty Boukman. There are reports that a pig may have been fatally injured in the making of the republic.

Members of the reality-based community are urged to send money to Haiti through more reputable channels.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year! Have a blast!

Having a blast! Wish you were here!
Your tax dollars at work. The Strontium-90 in your teeth and bones are compliments of the house.
Photograph by US Navy, copyright by National Geographic. How does that work?
You have to wonder if the US Navy wasn't setting of H-bombs just to get their photos into National Geographic. "We can't compete on any 'Bridges of Madison County' but, by God, let's see them beat this! Make sure only Navy photographers are there."
That whole 20th-century missile gap competition with the Soviets has to be the biggest scam ever perpetuated in history. From America's nearly invulnerable position it would have been able to resist successfully with no military at all, just bicycles (like the Swiss national defense) and small arms, like Afghanistan. The USSR couldn't even hold down Afghanistan and we're supposed to believe they would have defeated the United States? Using more than a handful of nukes would have risked bringing on a nuclear winter. Some umbrella.
Photo re-appropriated by the people, for the people.
Maybe the photo is the same as the one here? In that case Nat'l Geog. may just slap their Copyright mark on everything even though it's clearly in the public domain.
Should have used that. Damn. Found it too late.
The people of the Marshall Islands continue to suffer from what was done to them--Castle Bravo.