General posts and rants about technology, usually hardware.
October 31, 2020
As of writing this (at 11PM at night), another Halloween around here has come and gone. Indeed, we’re getting into that part of the year where the Somnolians want nothing more than to vibe. We’re well into holiday season, man! After this one, we’ve only got one more (likely beefy, just on my end, let alone everyone else’s…) recap before the big yearly one and a bit of a rest from us as a group. Gonna be lovely.
Still! Things happened this month, and that? Is what a recap is made of.
October 27, 2020
I’ve become mildly obsessed with how compression algorithms of various stripes work over the past year. They really do make every bit of our modern computing existence work so smoothly, from gzipping packet data to speed up slow connections to storing vast archives of high quality music on flash drives the size of a ChapStick. Some simply rearrange the data in clever ways, and others take advantage of our weak eyes and ears to throw out 90% of what was once there–and we hardly notice.
Of the lot, the humble PNG is so ubiquitous, it might not even warrant mentioning. Every format has some magic up its sleeve, however, and in the case of PNG, the way they’re encoded usually makes it possible to shrink them after the fact to the tune of up to a few megabytes with no loss in quality. If you make sites, you might wanna take notes.
I recently decided to run a battery of tests to determine just how well PNG works, on what, and what optimizes the best. I’ll give you the rundown on how it works (in-depth but no math, no worries), and then I’ll give you some hard data and lovely charts to peek at, and finally, show you how to get smaller, lighter PNGs at home, no tricks, no catches.
September 6, 2020
A couple of years ago, I used an Alcatel Raven LTE as my main phone. It was a very cheap phone ($30 new, albeit locked to my carrier TracFone), ran Android 7 Nougat, and had an impressive 16 gigabytes of storage and 2 gigabytes of RAM; it was no slouch for the price. One day, the hard classroom floor almost got the best of it.
Even after the screen got cracked, it still worked, even touch; the trouble only came from what in the world to do with a cracked $30 Android phone. It was way too cheap for a trade-in, and I don’t think many charities or repair shops would bother with it either. And so, it sat on my shelf for several months gathering dust, because I didn’t know what to do with it. Surely, it wasn’t destined for a landfill?
August 17, 2020
I’ve said before that I don’t read a whole lot of books. Not to say I don’t have a few on my radar, it just takes me a while. Same goes for video games; I have plenty to play, but I’m usually too busy off in my own world to try them out. Given that it looks like the US will open back up some time after the heat death of the universe (read: plenty of time to myself), I’ve been trying to rectify that.
Today’s topic is one that combines both these worlds in a really curious way: meet Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost’s Racing the Beam.
July 29, 2020
Last month’s recap was a bit of a laugh and an admission that we just didn’t have too much desire to interact with the outside world. The world of MSN Messenger and IRC and chunky CRTs and old websites was more appealing to us, and I was on a self-imposed tech timeout after spending much of May fighting with Linux. (It still fucking sucks as a desktop OS and you know it.)
Not that we weren’t active, of course; things were drawn, sites were built, I write once more–all the good stuff you expect from us. I’ll try not to ramble, there’s much to get through.
May 9, 2020
Been thinking a lot about simplicity, entropy, and how we’ve come to rely on computers in the past few decades. Here’s an essay about how technology should augment us in being people and nothing more.
July 15, 2019
Can you believe it’s been two-and-a-half months since the last recap? We don’t rush a lot around here, but we do keep busy. Site overhauls, writing, drawing…and possibly a new member?
July 13, 2019
I’ve long liked early digital cameras. There’s a really specific era of 95-98 or so where digital cameras were, by some measures, atrocious, and by others, absolutely fantastic. Their bad CCDs, chunky design, and inconsistent featureset makes them fascinating and a topic of my obsession for a few months now. I would absolutely take pictures […]
June 27, 2019
Every now and then, I see new Gopher clients and sites popping up. And that’s great—we’re keeping this protocol alive for the next generation. However, I can’t help but think some of the methods of doing so is restrictive, only getting the “Gopher is a list of links” part. Back when NCSA Mosaic came out, […]
May 9, 2019
I’m a big believer in implementing as little as possible to get the task at hand done. I’m as minimalist as it gets. Proprietary, open source—ultimately doesn’t matter to me so long as it gets the job done as simply as it can.
So why in fuck’s name did we give everything away to the web?