All posts by scwtte

i really hope somebody got fired for that blunder

Are those meat-eatingMeatasauruses?

Its deplorable to create a childs toy that is grossly inaccurate to the point of skewing a childs view of something as fundamental as diet. Im sure youve heard of this from all the major news outlets by nowGamestop is offering a bonus LEGO set for pre-ordering the game LEGO Jurassic World. This set depicts a trap set for the elusive Gallimimus, a creature whose name (chicken mimic) reflects its close resemblance to a modern ostrich. And a creature depicted in the LEGO set with a short neck, an elongated head and snout, and, of course, rows of razor-like teeth, presumably for shredding the drumstick found as bait in the trap.

In reality, Gallimimus (like the ostrich) had a small head atop a long, slender neck, with a beak, with no teethand ate plants.

I agree with your indignation at this atrociously fallacious playset. But before you write your senator, Ill propose a simple fix: dont call it a Gallimimus. Call it a Compsognathus, or even an infant dromaeosaur you know, something that eats meat. Problem solved.

Or just give a big screw you to any dinosaur fan over the age of four and change the name to Stegosaurus. Whatever.

xperia z3 compact

I like sticking it to The Man. In this instance, The Man is all the cell phone manufacturers that decided the populace only wanted phones with 5.5 screens. So when I saw a need to upgrade from my Galaxy S4 to a phone that would not turn off or reboot without warning, I chose the only sensible device: Sonys Xperia Z3 Compact.

from sony

The Z3 Compact is not just small, but powerful. While Google was releasing a Nexus phone with a stinking 6 screen that requires two hands, one foot, and a backpack to properly transport and use, Sony did the world a favor and made a compact phone with some actual guts. Yes, Samsung and HTC have smaller phones in their lineups, but theyre under-powered or have pathetic cameras or other grave drawbacks. The Xperia Z3 Compact actually has everything the big boys have, in a device the size of a phone.

Power? Check: a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor with 2 GB RAM and Adreno 330 graphics. Camera? Check: a 20.7 MP Sony shooter with HDR and 4K video modes. Battery life? Check: this thing packs a 2600 mAh battery that can make it over two days of use without recharging. Lets just throw in expandable memory via microSD, water- and dustproofing, magnetic charging, dual front-facing speakers, and a more-than-acceptable 720P 4.6 display.

Lets talk about that last point a bit. Not only are companies driving up the girth of phones unnecessarily, but thanks to the iPhones Retina display theyre competing against a false perception for the award of most useless pixel density. As the resolutions push into the stratosphere, weve long surpassed the point where even the most visually acute can distinguish a difference and instead traded off performance and battery life for theoretical one-upmanship. I applaud Sony for realizing that a 7201280 resolution looks beautiful on a 4.6 screen.

Its not all rosy, though. The Z3 Compact lacks a removable battery, and it has a glass back, which is reportedly scratch-prone. The Z3 Compact must be bought unlocked from Sony as it is not tied to any carriers in the U.S., and there is a lack of really nice case options for it at the moment (the Cruzerlite Bugdroid case is probably the best, but its not high-class). However, its camera, battery life, and expandable storage make it better than the Motorola X, and its compact size and less-invasive (or gimmicky) software put it atop the Galaxy S5.

(I guess the iPhone 6 is a smaller smartphone tooif youre counting that.)

and you wonder where your taxes go


Congress recently passed a $1,010,000,000,000 spending bill, which, among a few other things, sets aside $1,000,000 for ranchers to replace livestock killed by wolf attack.  Now Im not a fancy big-city lawyer, but I have to side with the sheep and cattle life insurance companies on this one; why should a farmer get to have his cake and eat it too? All these carpetbagging ranchers with their flights of fancy setting up shop in wolf-infested regions with nothing to lose? Maybe the sheep gets sheared and the ranchers kick back, wealthy from the wool, or maybe the sheeps carcass is found mutilated and eviscerated by lupine raiders and the rancher gets some cool cash. Either way, its good times for the cowboys.

And I have a feeling wolf attacks are going to spike toward the end of the year when theres about $925,000 left unclaimed in the fund.

On second thought, its policies like this that push me even harder to start my emu farm. I want me some of those sweet, sweet wolf monies.

flying high

I never fully grasped why people would use Twitter to solicit retweets or recognition of any kind from a celebrity or group. But Im pretty proud of this:

The official Broken Lizard group Twitter account has shared the screenshot of the album art from Coconut Petes Spanish Fly Fisherman album that I made eight years ago. In the Club Dread film, they never show the whole album cover in one frame, so I had amateurly assembled and roughly straightened it for posting. Its a fine work of art, I must say.

Lets give thanks for life, liberty, and Coconut Petes paella this Thanksgiving. And if youre bored, check out the full Coconut Pete post here.

cyclone, revisited

It seems so self-serving to check back in after months of absence, in the midst of rapacious Ebola and global tumult and I can only assume a catastrophic exacerbation of global warming, only to delineate the changes Ive made to my computer, but what is this site for if not self-servitude?

Cyclone was humming along with no major issues, but with its processor and meager RAM becoming long in the tooth, an upgrade was in order. In order to upgrade the processor, I had to upgrade the motherboard, and if I was going to upgrade the motherboard, I might as well upgrade the case. So now Cyclone bears little resemblance to the machine it once was, having had most of its core components (including its namesake graphics card) replaced. Ive incorporated the original RAM, 2 TB hard drive, disk drives, and power supply, for what its worth.

cyclone_revisited Continue reading cyclone, revisited

android self-destruct

i spent a long time thinking of a fitting image, then just grabbed a kitten instead

Were reaching smartphone critical mass. Last year, smartphones outsold dumphones, or feature phones, for the first time. Todays smartphones are fast and capable of doing everything anyone could want from them for the next few years. And the phones should be able to survive that long, barring extreme abuse.

But that poses a problem for smartphone manufacturers their devices are too good. If users see no compelling reason to upgrade, only the tech-savvy will do so and maybe even they wont, which brings me to my personal situation.

Years ago, I was forced to prematurely upgrade from the original Motorola DROID when the touchscreens digitizer died, through no fault of my own. My DROID 3 became unstable and sluggish over time, so I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S4. I have had few nits to pick with the S4 (aside, perhaps, from its overall dimensions), but now its randomly restarting itself, which is pretty infuriating.

This seems to be a relatively common occurrence, based on an anecdotal Google search. Now, Im not necessarily positing that Samsung is deliberately debilitating their devices a year after purchase in order to induce an upgrade, butwell, it does work out for them, right?

Were at a point where, for the last couple of years, smartphone innovation has been lacking. Until the real next big thing is here (and I dont just mean a phone with an even more gargantuan screen size), all manufacturers can do is hope users drop their phones on railroad tracks. Or the manufacturers could just flip their magic switches, forcing phones to restart for no apparent reason mid-use, killing productivity and inciting rage and triggering aneurysms and

Man, this really grinds my gears.

P.S. Ive tried to troubleshoot the restart issue to no avail. Its too random. I thought Id fixed it by reformatting the SD card and moving most of the apps from the card to internal storage, but it still occurs. :(

checking back in

Oh wow, they made my movie! Well, almost.

Seven long years ago, I wrote about how fascinating it would be if a fictional film were recorded with a twenty (actual) year gap from beginning to end. Apparently, I wasnt the first one to come up with this idea (of course, because there is no way to be original anymore). The film Boyhood was made over a twelve-year span, which is still pretty impressiveeven if the protagonist didnt lose an arm. Now thats dedication to ones craft.

Mitch Hedbergs joke about FedEx drivers dealing drugs was funny at the time, but the U.S. government isnt laughing anymore. Theyre going after FedEx for their part in distributing drugs from illegal online pharmacies, which is about as silly as Mitchs original joke. To recall a line from my youth, Dont hate the playa hate the game.

mlb 14 rears its head

mlb 14 jimmy rollins dive

The developers of MLB 14 The Show for the PS4 are going about its advertisement the wrong way. Instead of promoting its photo-realistic lighting, grass, facial hair, and crowds, they should be talking up its alternate-reality mode, which is apparently enabled by default. In this mode, we witness all kinds of fascinating twists on reasonable expectations for this dimension.

Continue reading mlb 14 rears its head

beldens book

belden's guide

The Laymans Library

There was a time when it was not easy for the farmer to know the nature of science, or to stay abreast of modern or even more ancient history. His library consisted of the Bible, Magners Farm and Stock Book and Complete Instructor, and perhaps just one other volume one which could convey succinctly and with clarity all knowledge heretofore worth knowing. With the Bible, mans spiritual purpose and the foundation for his life would be elucidated. With Magners, he would be ready to tend the soil and care for livestock and practice law on the side. But what would be the final book, the one which completed the human condition? It must explain our understanding of the natural world, and of great figures in human history, and works of high esteem in artistic, poetic, and philosophic circles.

It is Beldens Guide to Natural Science, History, Biography, and General Literature. Continue reading beldens book