Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yeah, but is he gay?

We've got a new neighbor.
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He cannot measure up to Albert but he looks cool (detail).

Every time you dance, God kills a dictator

It's 0:55 AM and I'm leaving for a long disco (house) night. While I'll be dancing, Saddam Hussein will probably be executed. This makes me think about meaning of life. Or not.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You are not beautiful unique snowflake

Several days ago, I finished subtitle translation of Fight Club for Czech TV. Of course, I wanted to base this translation on the subtitles I translated for Czech theatrical release 7 years ago. Originally, I just wanted to adjust my old subitles a little bit because I always assumed Fight Club translation was one of my "masterpieces".

I was rather surprised at how many mistakes I found in my old translation!

Not "godawful mistakes that completely prevent you from understanding the movie" like there are in the video dubbing of Fight Club, but serious oversights nevertheless. For example, I originally thought that "ground zero" refers to the time of explosion or that "I was hugging the walls" means that the hero actually embraced the walls. In Fight Club, there are isolated sentences that don't make much sense themselves and you have to put them in the context of what characters think and believe. Only then you can try to translate them. And, by the way, I still think Fight Club is very good movie, but for slightly different reasons than 7 years ago...

This reminded me of the horrors I experienced when I recently read my first movie reviews in the Cinema magazine (from 1993!). At that time I thought "How fucking cool I am, I write for Cinema, beat that!" Now I see that the editor maybe saw some glimmer of promise in my writing and published even the shitty stuff I wrote at that time (I had no prior experience with writing reviews, much less any education in this field).

Remember. No matter how good you think you are, you can be better (at least if you are younger than 60 or 70, probably). The fact that 60% or 99% of other people are worse than you doesn't change a thing about it.

BTW, this post's title is a quote from Fight Club.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hello There, Hello Kitty

Today, I discovered that the single most important post-Communist shop has finally opened in our country, in the Letnany mall.

Hello Kitty Shop

Their selection is rather good. It closes on December 31 and should reappear somewhere near the center of Prague in January or February.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Actual Christmas

I spent the actual Christmas Day walking around Prague, taking photographs of this bleak, sad day.

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Bonus: I never knew my grandfather was such a sexy mofo. As was my father, of course.

Merry Christmas

("Žádní falešní sobi!")

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Pre-Christmas

As bizarre as it may sound, I celebrated Christmas with Karolina and her family one day in advance - the same as last year. As bizarre as it may sound, I actually got more presents that when Karolina was my girlfriend. As bizarre as it may sound, Karolina enjoyed this T-shirt she got from me (oops, I mean "from Mr. Jesus"):

Cute but Psycho detail

Now, what shall I do today and tomorrow? I guess it's finally time to play that new Zelda.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Fun with Wet Foam

(Or, "The Intricacies of Single Life, Part 2")

Since Karolina left, there was a fresh unexpected complication with the dogs: They started urinating at home, in places where they never should have urinated, including the bed! Of course, Karolina is sure it's because other girls now (occassionally!) sleep in that bed and the dogs are marking their territory.

That means I have to be extra careful about where in the flat the dogs can go and I have to often put covers / sheets / pillows in the washing machine, often several times a week. I tried several methods how to make the dogs stop this, with no success at all. In the end, the "best solution" seems to be to leave a small pillow on the floor in the hall, specifically to be urinated upon.

But back to the funny stuff.

I also had to clean the bed mattress (foam in fabric cover) which is too big to fit into the washing machine. That meant putting the mattress in the bathtub and washing it there, manually. During this process, I banged my head on the soap holder four times and had to make sure the blood from my head doesn't drip on the mattress.

Afterward, when I drained the bathtub, it was necessary to take the wet (and thus very heavy) mattress out to the terrace to let it dry there. Of course, the mattress was dripping water at alarming rate. I planned to pick it up and run with it as fast as possible to the terrace. However, I underestimated the mattress. When I started running from bathroom to the hall, I slipped on the floor tiles (made wet just a fraction of second before thanks to the dripping water) and fell on the ground very painfully, the mattress falling on me and making the whole hall really wet.

Wait, that's not all.

After I left the mattress on the terrace for two days, it seemed dry and I put it back into the bed. "Seemed" is the key word here because I greatly underestimated the capacity of the foam mattress to retain water.

When I awoke the next day, my back hurt like hell (in addition to other parts of my body hurting from banging my head and falling in the hall) and it seemed the dogs urinated right in the middle of the bed. Wrong. It was water that got squished from the mattress on which I slept the whole night.

Additionally to the back-ache, I got nasty cold the same day. I couldn't swallow anything for the next three days and I had interesting hallucinations. And my bedroom smelled like decaying wet rags.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Patriot Act

I took my dogs to the old military monument on the Vitkov hill. During their journey to the gigantic tomb and Jan Zizka equestrian statue (the biggest in the world!), they watched the beautiful 100-spired city of Prague below them and gradually discovered their true patriotic selves.

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They are the original Czech Dogs. Prazsky Krysarik and Giant Chihuahua. And they are proud of their nation, protecting it from any aggressors, terrestrial or extra-terrestrial!

(Click here for dramatic slideshow.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wii Would Like to Connect24

As a proud owner of Nintendo Wii, I was dismayed that 2 days after the official Europen launch, I was still unable to use ANY online features except firmware update. The Wii connected to the server but then told me that "WiiConnect24 and Wii Shop are currently not operational". The solution was to change my country from Czech Republic to United Kingdom!

They probably cannot start the online service for the Czech Republic until they can offer you an agreement in Czech language you can click through...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Weather is Crazy

This was shot today, on December 7! Poor thing...
Winter butterfly

Friday, November 24, 2006

What is Love?

Today, after we (me and Tomáš Baldýnský) stole the "Kristalova Lupa" awards (two of them, had to return one), I talked with Ivo Lukacovič (founder of biggest Czech search engine) about women and relationships. Why can't I have normal relationship with my soul mate(s) like these two nice people, for example?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wii "sensor bar" doesn't sense anything!

I remember when I was very small and I got my first TV game which included the light gun. And I thought: How can the TV detect when I hit the white square on the screen and pass this information back to the console? What kind of magic is this? Of course, the "magic" was that the whole "shooting" actually happened backwards. The TV "shot" its light and my gun just detected it.

It's somehow similar with Nintendo Wii and its innovative controllers, as the guy in the following video explains (rather erratically). The "sensor bar" is actually not "sensing" anything at all, it just contains two sets of infra LEDs and the sensors (infra cameras) are inside the Wiimotes! That's why they are so expensive. This means you can theoretically place flower pot or your cat in front of the sensor bar and - as long as the ends of the bar aren't obscured - the Wiimotes will work perfectly!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Watch this!

I was just thinking about buying a new wristwatch because I am not happy about Orient watch I bought last time. I bought really simple and rather elegant analog mechanical watch with no fancy functions. However, I found out I have a real problem with its precision. It drifts by about 1 minute each week. I guess this is normal with mechanical watches (this was not an expensive piece of jewelry).

However, that's why I decided to go for something really fancy this time. First I thought about radio-controlled watch, then about GPS watch. I wanted some "bizarre digital technology", not necessarily expensive, but not looking like $20 shit.

But then I discovered TokyoFlash.com which sells dozens of ABSOLUTELY BIZARRE, unique and totally unpractical digital watches. Reading the correct time on some of them requires rather complex math operations.

If you order stuff for more than $85, the shipping is free worldwide. And if you discover the special code, you can have $16 discount (I did).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Celebrity Look-Alikes

I really don't know what to say about this. Just look at it. You can get your own at www.myheritage.com, although you have to register and give them your e-mail address which they will probably use to spam you...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Kites Aren't What They Used To Be

When I went with my friends to "fly a kite" yesterday, I had no idea it would be a monster with 3m (10 ft) span (the SMALLEST of these).

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I guess these are primarily for riding on skateboards or surfboards but they are nicely controllable and great fun even on foot. You can appreciate the drag force in this video. Even with yesterday's erratic wind gusts.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Aural Torture

Another blast from the past! A nice person sent me an MP3 of an old song I programmed for Commodore Amiga in 1991 (and I thought it was lost forever). Note that this music is "oldskool" even by 1991 standards (it uses synthesis, not samples) and might be unbearable for most people.

My even older songs (for ZX Spectrum) can be downloaded here, their recent remixes are here (except for "hubbard_bytefest.mp3" which is, of course, originally by Rob Hubbard, not by me).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Protect your Hive

Today, let's talk about boardgame called "Hive" which has been available for several years as a "deluxe wooden edition" and just recently released (even in the Czech Republic) as the cheaper bakelite edition with nice carrying pouch (pictured).

Hive

(The above is a valid in-game configuration of playing pieces, but probably not very strategically sound. I just wanted to squeeze them all to that small space.)

I'm not going to explain Hive rules to you. They are available at the official site (where you can also play against computer opponent [who sucks]). The object of the game is to protect your queen bee from being surrounded while at the same time trying to surround opponent's queen bee. Various insects have various rules of movement (yes, I know spider is not an insect, smartass) and the playing pieces themselves form the playing board (the "hive"), which must never be broken up (although it constantly changes shape.

Interesting feature (rare nowadays) of this game is that "Hive" has absolutely no randomness. Both players have the same pieces, there is no dice or random drawing of playing pieces, it depends solely on your strategic skills. It's just like Chess (probably slightly less complex rules than Chess).

One game lasts about 20 minutes and the only drawback is that "Hive" can only be played by exactly two players.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sweet Dreams!

First, a short explanation:

I don't believe in "supernatural". I don't believe in God, reincarnation, chakras, psychic energy, all that bullshit. However, I believe in vast powers of human brain, which are, amazingly, mostly untamed (huh, huh). I definitely believe in placebo effect and I have no problems accepting the fact that sincere belief in God can actually improve someone's physical health, for example (and this in no way proves existence of God). In the same way, it's perfectly plausible for someone to sincerely believe that he saw God or Four Horsemen or Flying Spaghetti Monster. But that does not mean they exist.

I have personal experience with hypnosis, self-hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming or Lucid Dreaming (by the way, this stuff also works and you don't really have to pay for it if you know something about the stuff mentioned before, which you can read about for free). I know this stuff works. By the way (I know you want to know it), this stuff is also real (and all the people on the stage are really enjoying it) but you must remember that subjects in stage hypnosis are chosen from the whole audience and you cannot expect an average person to be as suggestive as these people.



However, all of these things have nothing to do whatsoever with anything supernatural. It's all just a question of how your brain works, how it can be manipulated and how the subjects themselves want to be manipulated (yes, many people WANT to be manipulated, subconsciously or consciously, and it makes them feel good). Of course everyone's brain is different and the process of consciously altering your (or anybody else's) mental state is too subjective to even be described in words (just remember when you tried to describe your dream to someone and the words just weren't enough). That's why there are no simple "scripts" or "textbooks" to guide you when using this stuff (however, I must stress, it cannot possibly be dangerous when you experiment with it, unless the subject [you] is already seriously messed up [i.e. has epilepsy, was raped by his parent etc.]).

The point of all this is that I found this nice introduction to Lucid Dreaming which lists some cool methods that beginners can use. Yes, I know it just "sounds stupid" to write down / record your dreams. But you've got nothing to lose and much to gain. The feeling of being in your own "virtual reality", where you can experience anything you wish without any side effects or hangover, is really great and makes me wonder why people use illegal drugs when they could have this for free. Just try it until you have your first Lucid Dreaming experience. And remember, with practice, it gets better and easier!

Monday, October 09, 2006

I am not angry

For my birthday, I went to sushi restaurant with Karolina (who - as you no doubt remember - is my ex-girlfriend for the past 2 months) and I got a very special present from her. Larger-than-life game of Ludo (or Parcheesi or Pachisi or whatever):



It's strange, but she failed to see the significance of giving your fresh ex the game whose Czech name "Clovece nezlob se" means "Man, don't be angry". What's even stranger, she supposedly bought it for me in May - long before we split up! Talk about subconsciousness doing your dirty work for you. If I saw this in a comedy, I'd say it's too far-fetched to even be funny!

By the way, the sushi was great and it seems we like each other more and more every day we don't see each other. :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ein Reich, Ein Folk, Ein Laibach

I "sort of enjoyed" Laibach in my younger days, mainly because their "funny" remakes of classic songs and "funny" hehehe-almost-nazi-but-you-can't-sue-us band image:



I even went to one of their Prague concerts during which the singer forgot the lyrics to "The Final Countdown" and saved the day by randomly reciting "Together... Forever... Together...".

It always seemed to me that their albums contained two or three "catchy tunes" plus large amount of hastily produced filler. For example, the last track of "Kapital" consists mainly of random samples from Alan Silvestri's "Back to the Future 2" soundtrack (uncredited, of course)!

However, I am very much intrigued by their latest album, Volk. This time, the underlying theme is "remakes of national anthems". However the original anthems are almost unrecognizable (and their lyrics are mostly in English). What struck me is originality, mixing vastly different musical styles, excellent attention to detail and production values. The instrumentation is very inventive, often reminiscent of Depeche Mode but mostly very original and not comparable to anything I know. Except, of course, that hellish voice, comparable to everything else from Laibach. :)

I actually wish the tracks were longer. Many of them start as solemn lyrical pieces, the beat starts later and it's over sooner than I wish.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Legends of the Fall

Autumn is here, everything is dying and Albert and Chucky have diarrhea. I took this opportunity to go for a walk along the Rokytka stream on the eastern edge of Prague and I used the saddest experimental Gimp filters imaginable to express my feelings. Click below to see all photos, significantly post-processed photos are tagged as "processed".

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Animal Kingdom

After today's expedition, I was rather pleasantly surprised about the current state of Prague Zoo. The disastrous 2002 flood was, in the end, beneficial, because the whole lower part was re-developed and made into something resembling safari rather than traditional zoo.

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It's also nice to note that there are now enough clean toilets, nice souvenir shops, passable food and refreshment and the whole place is dog-friendly (although dogs are prohibited in some indoor areas). One of the few foreign zoos I ever visited was in London and Prague zoo is currently much better than its London counterpart. Here are some photos - they are really just some random shots, in no way exhaustive.

Prague Zoo can be reached by pleasant walk through Stromovka park or by bus from "Nadrazi Holesovice" Metro station.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Les Saigon Miserables

I'm afraid someone is slightly confused about his musicals (click for large).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Commodore 64 Orchestra

After hearing this, I am seriously considering going to Amsterdam! What? It's in one week? OK, then probably not... :(

OK, I get it...

When Karolina got back from Trebon (where she was with the dogs), she brought me this "gift pack" (click for large photo):



I guess this is a subtle hint it's really over between us.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Let's Roll!

Because the dogs went on a vacation with fellow dogs for a few days, I can now do things that require no dogs around (because they could've been hurt):

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Erlang is Fun

While looking for some Erlang tutorials, I found the following video:



This is NOT supposed to be funny. It was made in 1990 and the people featured are the actual people who developed the language. That's probably the reason why it resembles Monty Python sketch. At the same time, it's rather informative and - dare I say - poignant.

P.S: If you are looking for little less funny introduction to Erlang, read this.

The Ceremony is Over

Have you thought about what happens with all the rose petals after the wonderful expensive wedding?

The ceremony is over

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chucky is not a Kid Anymore!

Two days after his 3rd (21st) birthday, Chucky tries to be a man (dog) and fails miserably (for now). Click below for photos:

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Chucky's 3rd Birthday

Today was Chucky's third birthday. That means he's 21 in dog years and if he lived in the US, he could now legally drink alcohol. Several people wished him well through the net and he even got a postcard!

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I made a special cake for the boys and sung "Happy Birthday to you" to Chucky (in a very low voice). See here for the photos. The videos (in chronological order, three ingestion phases) are here, here and here. Someone will probably be very sick tomorrow...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This is Love!

My love, please don't switch this off!

Sadly, this is not my photo or photo taken in my flat. This is from someone called _KOFILA_ on nyx.cz. Oh, the stories this photo tells! The text on the post-it note says "MY LOVE, PLEASE DON'T SWITCH THIS OFF".

Note the sad implication he's probably playing "Zelda: Four Swords" alone (because he uses the GC controller, not the GBA)! Or is he waiting for his loved one to join him? Or... was it her who was playing when he wasn't home? Most excellent...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Last Laurel & Hardy movie

After translating five really bad Laurel & Hardy movies form 1940s, I watched their last movie ever, Utopia (from 1951). I had rather uneasy feeling watching these frail old men being beaten over their heads. Especially Laurel (61 years old, very sick) looks more like a zombie than living human. Also, this film features young Danny Trejo!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's a dog's life

By an unfortunate coincidence, both Albert and Chucky hurt their legs (independently of each other) and both now have to wear special plastic collars to prevent licking their wounded paws. Not to mention that they need Iodine and vitamins daily. Poor things. Click on Albert to see the whole photoset...

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"We Ask You Really Very Serious to Keep Cool Forward of the Club Mecca"

This is how you recognize that you are in world-class international nightclub (click for large version):

Mecca

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Face of Death

I had a misfortune of seeing really bad Laurel & Hardy movie from the 1940s, called "The Big Noise". What intrigued me was the small kid which appeared in the movie as "standard cute kid" but I had such a weird feeling when I saw his face - as if it said "I kill small animals and someday I'll kill you all". Just for the fun of it, I looked at IMDB what became of him - and bingo!

Robert Blake

It was Bobby Blake who later became "Robert Blake", became semi-famous in TV series "Baretta" in the 70s and became really famous a few years ago when he planned the murder of his wife together with his bodyguard!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The intricacies of single life

OK, let's not beat about the bush any longer. Let me show you the photo of our "family" a few weeks ago:

Leaving...

And today:

p_2006-08-11_10-31-12.jpg

Yes, the second picture is "boys only"! You win the grand prize.

The fact is, Karolina is no longer living with us. It doesn't mean anything bad happened to her. It doesn't mean she won't live here in the future and it doesn't mean we hate each other now. But she is not living here currently and won't in the foreseeable future. I'd rather not go into the details of this, thank you very much. It looks like some sort of epidemic outbreak because many couples I've known for very long time are breaking up right now.

What this means is that I now have to put up with various things I could safely ignore before. Like, for example, feeding the boys in the morning and watering flowers. I have detailed lists and Google Calendar alerts to organize everything but there are still occassions when I discover new interesting things:
  • After one week of watering flowers, I found out one of them is plastic.
  • I found a body of small turtle with head chewed off. Did we have a living turtle in the fish tank? Was it just for a decoration? How dangerous is it for a small animal to eat turtle's head? What if the head was full of formaldehyde?
  • I was recently told that all those flower watering rules actually don't work under the current weather conditions and I have to use other rules, which are unfortunately too hard to explain logically.
  • The dog, however cute, does not like his teeth being cleaned with toothbrush (even the special dog one).
  • The dog can go up to 12 hours without peeing! Nice dog.
  • Chucky simply does not like his breakfast unless I hand-feed him. Otherwise, he just sits around like idiot and waits until Albert eats his food.
  • Kryspin became really evil cat, waiting for three of us to go to sleep and then always pouncing on us fiercely and unexpectedly. This leads to stress (mostly with Chucky).
  • Karolina snored. Now, Albert is snoring very loudly. Cannot sleep again.
  • It's highly impractical to organize grill parties on our huge balcony for just one person and three animals.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My need for a special Linux feedreader alerts

Let me tell you about what I need:

I am subscribed to many different newsfeeds using my reader.google.com account. That means I get approximately one fresh newsitem each 1 or 2 minutes! That's the reason why I need to have some Linux feed reader / notifier which could display sort of popup windows or ticker areas with the latest headlines from my Google Reader feed.

I tried something called "Liferea" but it didn't even accept the feed from Google Reader as a valid feed (maybe because it's Atom, not RSS?).

Note that the "notifier" part is more important than "feed reader" part. If there is good Linux notifier program available (which fully supports UTF8), I can easily create my own script which checks my feed regularly and tells the notifier what to display. However, I didn't find the right standalone popup/ticker notifier software yet. Any help?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God Loves You

I shot this on the Old Town Square, where group of energetic young Christians used pre-recorded music to tell you that (their) God loves you, much to the irritation of people who tried to listen to the live band just behind them.



It also seems that, according to their message, God dances like shit and carries dangerous wooden sticks.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Life is Life

You are probably familiar with Conway's Game of Life, one of the first computer simulations / games / screensavers ever. I am not sure if that's still true today but when I began programming, Life was something EVERYONE played with during their first stages of computer literacy.



It's nice to see that Life enthusiasts are still thriving and coming up with new algorithms that allow them to generate thousands of generations of thousands of Life cells on infinite playfield with lightning speed. This is something very different from running Life on 20x20 grid and it allows you to discover all kinds of beautiful stuff you never knew existed in Life. Download Golly multiplatform Life simulator to try it out.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

As I wrote before, I don't like the current trend of trying to make videogame characters looking more and more "lifelike" (i.e. more and more like plastic mannequins). That's why I found this screenshot from Team Fortress 2 very refreshing. Not that I ever played Team Fortress, but I find this approach far more aesthetically pleasing than striving for realism. And it's easier to design and animate, too...

Friday, July 14, 2006

FFTempl = K.I.S.S.

In keeping up with the "Keep it simple, stupid" school of thought, and to learn programming in Lua, I created this super simple system for generating dynamic webpages on my server.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Albert the Hunter

As I documented before, Kryspin already killed two innocent animals. Now it's Albert's turn...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Free sound effects for your computer

I installed XChat IRC client and it dawned to me that I need some sound effects to hear notifications when someone types a messages etc... I wanted some unique sounds (distinguishable from the effects already used by Ubuntu desktop, GAIM etc). That's why I created short sound effects of various style and length myself. You can get them here and do whatever you want with them.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

David Hasselhoff: Still Being God

As long as there is Hasselhoff, there is hope for the human race. Please, jump in his car!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Helping Superman to return

Oops, not updated for several days... I got a new computer and made a new home router/server from the old one. I must say Linux still has problems with WiFi suport and it was a real chore. Now, everything is running and I can get back to work: Translating Superman Returns.

I created my own subtitling application (screenshot here) in Ruby, to help me with subtitles. I just write them as standard text and this application is formatting the subtitles (according to rather complex rules). It also allows me to pause and rewind the video without leaving the text editor. It's very crude but it was rather simple to create, just connecting various free components together.

However, it seems, my language of choice is currently Lua. Not only for C embedding (of which I had just scratched the surface) but also as general scripting language. I like its philosphy of providing just bare basics and letting you extend it for a specific project VERY QUICKLY and easily (e.g. creating custom object-oriented framework in about 60 seconds) - it somehow reminds me of Forth. It's lightning fast and it can easily interface with any Linux command / script. If I knew it sooner, I'd probably use Lua instead of Ruby and WXLua instead of Ruby-Gnome2. I already used Lua to write a library to check/update my Google Calendar (without any network library, just calling "curl") and the Czech film release schedule.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"...but why don´t you put things like this on your Stumbleupon account?"

My reaction to the comment below this article:

First of all, when you visit fuxoft.stumbleupon.com, by default, you only see the links I commented on, not all the links I rated "Thumbs up"! To see those, select "Pages I like" from the drop-down menu on that page or use this RSS feed.

Secondly, take a look at "My starred items" box at the right of this page (under "previous posts"). This is a feed from my Google Reader that has more items in it than my StumblUpon page (of course, this is also available as RSS).

However, neither StumbleUpon nor Google Reader quite satisfy my needs in their current implementation so there might be some changes in the near future...

Functional languages for everyone

If you ever tried programming in functional languages, you'll probably agree that there is a "barrier" that prevents "standard programmer" from understanding why the hell should he use such a convoluted syntax and what REAL benefits functional programming has.

There are two excellent (and fun) articles about this which I discovered, called "The Nature of Lisp" and "Functional Programming for the Rest of Us". In contrast to majority of functional programming materials, these are not academic and anyone with slight programming experience can understand them. Read them even if you are perfectly content with your little Java...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Metal Gear Albert

One of the users on Flickr alerted me to funny coincidence I didn't notice before. Because of a light reflection, one of the older photographs of Albert and Chucky looks like they are re-enacting the crucial scene from Metal Gear Solid game series. Albert is sneaking but his cover has just been blown by Chucky who discovered him! Look here and read the first comment under the photograph. Kryspin is also there, probably doing his "Revolver Ocelot" impression or whatever...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

nVidia and MPlayer Don't Like Electric Sheep?

I am at loss once again. I have the latest Ubuntu Dapper Drake and I'm using its nVidia (binary) drivers with hardware acceleration ("nvidia", not "nv"). I have xscreensaver installed (not gnome-screensaver) and electricsheep screensaver (both of them from standard Ubuntu repositories).

Unfortunately, when electricsheep starts, it runs (e.g. it downloads new sheep generations) but does not produce any graphical output at all! The screen is black. The preview window in xscreensaver-demo is black. When I run electricsheep manually in a window, the windows decorations appear (the border and the toolbar) but the window itself is "see-through" (not black), the content is simply not there.

Another interesting observation: When I have mplayer running (it doesn't matter if it's paused and on which workspace it runs, but it must use hardware acceleration), electricsheep works like a charm - standalone or in the preview window! Also, when I reboot the computer (or just the xorg server), electricsheep WORKS but it stops working as soon as I close the MPlayer for the first time.

All other screensavers (3D or not) work without problems. When I change the video driver to non-accelerated one ("nv"), electricsheep also works without problems.

Any ideas? Some nvidia driver flags I could tweak? Or Mplayer? It doesn't seem to matter what Mplayer video driver I use...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Soccer Salami

I don't really care about international sporting events but some Czech butchers evidently do.
p_2006-06-10_12-48-17.jpg

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ubuntu Linux USB Bluetooth Adapter Problems

Let's hope this post will be found by anyone having problems with USB Bluetooth dongle under Linux. I bought "Sweex LE000010" model which seems to identify itself as "Broadcom 2035" (lsusb id 0a5c:200a). I knew it probably won't be easy to work with it under Linux but I had more significant problem - I was not able to communicate with the device at all (allthough it was detected).

After several hours, when I was getting really desperate I found the solution: The dongle has to be plugged directly into the computer, not into the USB hub!!!!!! I have no idea why but it's true. When I plugged it directly into the PC, it immediately started working without me having to configure anything (btw: The defauld PID for synchronization with the PC is "1234").

Now for the second part of problem: Does anyone know how to configure Nokia 6681 to connect to the internet through my Bluetooth/enabled PC? (Not connecting my PC to the Internet through the Nokia - the other way around!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Xara LX now usable for real work!

Xara LX has now reached the 0.5 milestone and is usable for real work! You can now save and export files, the program contains the help files and it rarely crashes. Of course, there is still a lot of work remaining but I can already see many opportunities to put this software to use.

For those who missed my previous post: Xara LX is a Linux (and MacOS) port of supposedly "revolutionary" vector (and bitmap!) graphics package. I say "supposedly" because I didn't use recent versions of similar professional packages so I cannot really compare them. However, the decision to open-source this program means that Inkscape has more than met its match, I'm afraid. It seems almost too good to be true that this package is now available for free to all Linux users while Windows users still have to pay for it (if I understand the situation correctly).

I recommend downloading the latest daily build from their homepage (this is also an excellent opportunity to get accustomed to Autopackage) and trying it out. It contains several impressive demo images and it took me only a few minutes to create this masterpiece:



And it was FUN!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lordi r0xx0rz!

Proof that Europeans are cool: The winners of this year's Eurovision song contest. They are supercool. And I don't need to hear single note of their music to know that!

And while we are at the subject of cool music...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Mark of the Beast

I just got back from the screening of the new OMEN movie (to be released under honest Czech title "The Satan is Coming" / "Satan prichazi") and this is what I saw on the first Internet page I openeded:

Monday, May 15, 2006

Searching for John Hiscock

Mirror.co.uk published the first review of The Da Vinci Code movie, supposedly by "John Hiscock".

I say "supposedly" because the film has been kept under wraps by the filmmakers, the first screenings are gonna happen today, and - most important of all - he writes about things that are not in the movie! I saw The Da Vinci Code movie several weeks ago (not in a "journalist" position so I cannot review it yet) and it seems to me that Hiscock's review simply recycles what is known about the movie from the trailers and press kits and adds some made-up bits!

Digging by Tomas Baldynsky revealed that John Hiscock didn't write many reviews and most of them are curiously vague. Our theory is that "John Hiscock" ("his cock"!) is fake name used for fake reviews. Of course, it's hard to prove someone does not exist but we are working on it!

Friday, May 12, 2006

What the hell is "Google Co-op"?

Google Co-op was just launched and, based from what I've read on other sites, most people really have no idea what the hell is it about. The Google itself is at fault because, frankly, their page about "Co-op" is rather confusing. Please read this very well written article with examples. Also look here.

Also, GTalk WWW interface is now supposed to have sound (embedded Flash should produce a beep when someone messages you). I don't hear anything. Is this a problem with Linux Firefox (maybe it requires Flash 8?) or is it simply not yet implemented?

UPDATE: Mystery solved! At least, the mystery of Flash beeping in GTalk. The trick is that it works (even under Linux) but the beep is only produced when the browser window with GMail/GTalk is not the topmost window! This is definitely a feature, not a bug.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I don't want "more realistic graphic", I want more realistic movement

What PS3 and XBox 360 are striving for is more realistic graphics. Look, for example, at this comparison of PS2 and PS3 graphics engines from Sony's E3 keynote (confusingly titled "Gameplay Innovation" although it has nothing to do with gameplay whatsoever, only with graphics). Notice that they are saying, among other things, "PS2 only allowed you to move the analog controller in 8 basic directions" which is bizarre and simply not true. Well, EA, if you really mean this, you are basically saying "Look, our PS3 games will be better than our PS2 games because our PS2 programming sucked". But now back to the point...

The presented animations are definitely more realistic than on PS2. No, strike that, that's not true. They are not realistic at all. They are "less unrealistic". If you look at the gameplay demo at the end, it only takes you two seconds to see that these characters are definitely not real people. You don't have to know anything about gaming hardware, programming or animation to plainly see that this is a computer animation, less realistic than your average current Hollywood CGI sequence and not resembling real human movement.

For me (remember, this is all subjective), this is countrerproductive. "Foot planting", "responsiveness" and other things they show are steps in the right direction but they still have VERY LONG WAY to go before the result resembles real world environment. I'd much rather see simple stick figures with hyperrealistic movement than million polygons moving in stiff and unrealistic way. But looking at what Sony and Microsoft are doing, I am probably in minority.

UPDATE: This article (and accompanying video) seems to be the step in the right direction. Of course, I am not sure how much of it is plain old hype.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Google Calendar import weirdness

I understand that Google Calendar (gCal) is still in Beta but I am not sure if its various quirks are design decisions or errors. I am talking about my list of film releases I provide in an ICAL format here. If you add the previous link to your gCal, it will appear as "Filmove premiery" in your calendar.

I have two problems:

First of all: The description of this calendar (which you can see on the "manage calendars" page) is the old description (it still says "generated from 12-2006.xls", it should be "14-2006.xls"). It stays the same since the days I first crteated this feed and does not update according to the ICAL file. (Note that all the events update correctly, only the calendar description lags behind!)

Second (and more problematic): Since the last week, all non-Ascii characters (Czech letters) in the calendar's events appear as question marks! This is really weird because the file is in Unicode and all the characters appeared correctly until the last week!

I asked in gCal Google Group but I really have no idea how to solve these problems...

UPDATE: Corrected the link.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I don't understand art but I know what I like

During one of my late-nights walk, I discovered this (bronze?) statue near frequented main road and bus station (click for larger versions):

Naughty sculpture

If you inspect it really closely, you find out that the womam is resting her head on the man's leg but it surely does not look that way.

However, to see the most interesting part of the scultpure, you have to lower your head. Click here if you are at least 15 years old. (Hint: It's sort of follow-up to my previous paragraph about Ross Hedvicek).

Here it is if you want to see it for yourself.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Do androids dream of screensavers? (Plus Hedvicek)

Sorry for not updating lately, I've been busy doing some interesting things. To have at least some update, I'll direct your attention to Electric Sheep, which is the most amazing screensaver EVER and is available for Linux and Windows (and other platforms, I think).

It makes your computer a part of large network which collaboratively creates amazing animated mutating sequences which are then played back by the screensaver. It requires your computer to be online while the screensaver is active but it's worth it. (P.S: If it says "Your animations will be ready in a few minutes" and nothing happens for several hours, just be patient - the central server is probably overloaded.)

On a different note: For all of you who are asking me who the hell is Ross Hedvicek: The short version would probably be that he's a cunt but that's not very informative thing to write so I'll have to get back to this topic later, in more detail. It's rather complicated to provide all the info if you don't speak Czech and cannot read many megabytes of text written by him and about him on the Czech Internet. And I am not sure if explaining all the Hedvicek's mysteries is worth my time. I'll just say that, as far as I know, he's a real living person and not someone's idea of a joke.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Linux Xara Xtreme: Almost there!

I watch with anticipation how Open Source version of this vector drawing program comes along and starts resembling something useful. Note that Xara Xtreme is not being developed for Linux from scratch - it's being ported from originally closed source commercial project. That means the features keep appearing very quickly.

While testing today's build, I noticed that "Save" now works. That means I can start trying out various more complicated tutorials. It looks very, very promising. Give it a try: Just download and unzip the short archive anywhere and run the only binary you find in it.

Of course, don't forget that it's currently beta, maybe even less than that. Many features are not yet implemented/ported but it's surprisingly stable.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Big in Japan

Please visit tvjapan.blogspot.com to see random bits of stuff that gets shown on Japan TV. Note that you could basically sit in the hotel all the time and be never bored of extraordinary things you see there. Banzai.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bunny Mandala

Mandala is supposedly "any plan, chart, or geometric pattern which represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically". Usually circular. Of course, on Easter, Mandala can also be made out of bunnies!

Blue-Red-White Easter

During the Easter, it's Czech custom to boil and paint eggs. Are they supposed to be Jesus' eggs? I have no idea.

Thus, we painted Albert in national colors (with harmless hair dye).

p_2006-04-17_10-44-22.jpg

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Real Linux Review

Here is an interesting review of Linux. You see, this is not a review of any specific Linux desktop or applications. This is a review of what Linux kernel can do in comparison with Windows kernel. I needed this.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dirt Cheap Music Studio

One of the reasons I was bought the new laptop was my longing for miniature music studio, indepent of my main computer. It is now done and here are some pointer how to create dirt-cheap (but legal) digital music studio. It's definitely not a professional or even semi-professional setup, but for a guy who liked to "compose music" using assembler instructions, this is pure heaven.

Dirt Cheap Music Studio

First of all, the saddest news: I am afraid that Linux is still not ready for creating music. Please note that I wrote creating music, not mixing music. If you want to record and mix audio generated by your instruments or other audio sources (and apply some effects to it), you can probably be content with Ardour or other Linux software. I wrote "probably" because I want to use my computer to generate music, i.e. I need sequencer, synths, MIDI input, automation...

Ther are Linux projects that aim to do this, specifically LMMS. However, they still have very long way to go before they will be as good in comparison to FL Studio and Cubase as Gimp is in comparison to Photoshop.

That means you need Windows and you have to buy some audio software (remember, we are talking about legal audio setup). (Of course there are also Mac audio applications but that's uncharted territory for me, sorry.) FL Studio costs between $100 and $300 (which includes lifetime upgrades), depending on which plugins you want to use. I tried many different audio applications and I still prefer FL Studio. This is probably because I was first a programmer and then a musician and I think the automation and parametric stuff that FL Studio offers for creating and manipulating sound is unmatched. - If you understand what you are doing, which is not easy for everyone. You absolutely have to read the documentation and look at how some demos are done.

(There is also free Buzz music system, which is usable for some minimalistic Kraftwerk/MODtracker stuff but cannot be compared to FL Studio.)

Note that FL Studio also includes lots of effects, harddisk recording, sample editor, tracker, piano roll, lots of ways to create drum loops and nice multichannel mixer. You don't need to buy any other software! It's all quite daunting but you can download the free demo version which contains all existing plugins so that you can decide which of them you want to buy. (The demo is fully functional and includes several tutorial and demo songs but doesn't allow you to save your work.)

Fl Studio uses only 100% software synthesis which brings us to rather important point: If you only want to create stereo sound (and not 5.1, for example) It doesn't matter what soundcard you have at all, as long as it is capable of outputting 16-bit stereo samples at at least 44.1 kHz, which is true for 99% of all audio cards manufactured in the last 10 years. What matters is the processor speed and (to a smaller extent) RAM size. If you have twice as fast processor, you can play twice as much voices or use twice as much effects. RAM is good if you use long samples. I cannot give you exact numbers for your needs but I can get very wild (meaning dozens of voices and effects in realtime) with 1,7 GHz Pentium and 512 MB of RAM (but of course different instruments and different effects eat up different amount of your processor cycles).

Then you need some headphones to plug into audio output jack of your PC and you can start composing. This is enough for me. If this is not enough for you, you have to invest in speakers, which might in turn mean that you have to buy better soundcard with gold-plated connectors, which might in turn mean that you have to get yourself a better room with better acoustic, etc... etc... Unless I'm going pro, I'll stick with the headphones, thank you very much.

You can theoretically control FL Studio using only computer keyboard and mouse. Although this is hardcore and oldskool, believe me that you'll enjoy composing much more if you have some sort of MIDI controller. If you want to create electronic music and "mix and tweak" rather than "compose", you can buy very cheap MIDI controller (I prefer this one but there are many different). Note that it doesn't have to output any sound and that it should have native USB connector (so that you can connect it directly to PC and don't have to buy separate MIDI->USB converter). If you want to compose melodies and try out your ideas on something that resembles the real piano, you can use large MIDI keyboard, maybe in conjunction with the smaller MIDI controller. The smaller one can be used for tweaking various parameters using the knobs and for transport control (starting/stopping/rewinding). Note that all of this is handled by FL Studio! Your keyboards only need to output MIDI data when you push the keys and turn the knobs.

If you want to create crazy electronic sounds, you can use the default free FL studio synths, buy some more or you can use many freely available VST plugins which are supported by FL Studio.

If you want to create something that resembles real live instruments, the most efficient solution is to buy "SoundFont Player" plugin. You can then find surprisingly good orchestral and vocal SoundFont files on the Internet for free. Alternatively, you can create your own.

The last important factor is sound latency. Under the default circumstances, there is a slight delay before the sound starts after you press the key on the keyboard. It's only a fraction of second but it's uncomfortable when you record live performance. The simplest solution is called Asio4Free (although there are other similar drivers, tailored for specific soundcards). After a little bit of experimenting with this free driver and FL Studio output setting, I lowered the latency to under 1/100 of second which cannot be noticed by human ears.

If you want to create MP3 to give to your friends, you are done and you don't need anything else (except, maybe, talent, but that's not strictly necessary). If you want to use this setup for something more professional (CD mastering, film soundtrack), it can also be done. When you finish your composition, export the audio parts, one by one, to separate WAV files and give them to the guy who will handle the sound mix. Warning! You must not tell him that you did all of this using FL Studio and that you don't have any speakers at home!!! Just tell him that you are not good at 5.1 mixing and you trust his excellent skills...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tom Cruise's Secret Gay Lover

First of all, a little background: "VyVoleni" is Czech reality TV show in the similar vein as "The Big Brother". It is broadcast on TV Prima. One of the contestants on the show is Petr Krejczy (a.k.a. "Pity"). I don't watch the show very often so I am not quite sure about his sexual orientation but it's no secret he is not exactly straight.



During the recent broadcast, Pity told everyone in the house (and hundreds of thousands of TV viewers) that he had sex with Tom Cruise. To quote him:
"When touring the USA with our travesty show, we ended in small Los Angeles cabaret with almost no audience. After the show ended, I went to the bar where I saw really attractive man. At first, it didn't occur to me he's famous. Only after while did I recognize he is Tom Cruise. We talked for a while and then went to the hotel. I don't have to tell you what happened. In the bed, he is excellent lover and also very romantic. We made beautiful and tender love."
There you have it.

I hope that English-speaking readers of this blog spread the word about this article. I cannot wait for Krejczy, TV Prima and The Czech Republic being sued by The Church of Scientology!

9/11 Conspiracy: Very Loose Change

Here is a documentary about supposed government conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attack, called "Loose Change".

Let me stress that I think this documentary is utter crap and the conclusions presented in it are laughable. However, I watched it because it shows many shots of the 9/11 events (planes hitting the buildings, buildings collapsing) I never saw before. Do you know of some online repository where I can watch for example the archived news footage from 9/11? There must be dozens and dozens of hours of it. I looked for it and didn't find anything substantial.

Invaluable help for translators

When translating movies, you get specialized "Continuity/Spotting Lists" which contain all the dialogue with detailed explanations about meaning of every sentence so that you can translate the movie without problems.

For example, you learn how to spell "Islington":



And you get to know what it means when somebody in the UK gets paid "200 grand":



(Both examples are from "V for Vendetta".)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Me and You and Everyone We Know

I don't care vey much about "arthouse movies" but occassionally, there comes one of them that does not bore me to death.

Case in point: "Me and You and Everyone We Know", opening in the Czech Republic tomorrow. It's funny, it's clever, it keeps you guessing but it has some sort of logic (although severely twisted). And it introduces us to brand new internet emoticon:

))<>((

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Help: Remote control using hotkeys

When I am translating movies, I write the text on my PC (in OpenOffice), while I play the video on my laptop if MPlayer, using SPACE and arrow to pause, advance the video. Both computers have Ubuntu Linux installed on them.

When you translate the movie, you use pausing and skipping few seconds forward/backward very often. I'd like to make my life simpler. I want to control my laptop from my main computer in the following way: When translating the movie, my computer's OpenOffice would work as normal except that the computer would recognize three special keystrokes (for example Ctrl+Right, Ctrl+Left, Ctrl+Space) which would skip and pause the video on the second computer (the laptop) so that I wouldn't have to move my hands between two keyboards.

Controlling the MPlayer on laptop from the main computer is actually very easy. I can just open the SSH connection to laptop, start MPlayer there using "-slave" and then send ASCII commands to control it. Or I can use the MPlayer's remote control capabilities. Anyway, this part is easy. The problem I cannot easily solve is that the simple "control application" on my main computer (which I'd like to write in Ruby) has to somehow "grab" selected keyboard events even when it's not focused (because I am using the control keys while I am writing the translation in OpenOffice). I have do idea how this could be done in the simplest possible way (although I'm sure there are many ways to solve this).

Just to summarize: My problem is not with the video remote control itself. I just need some simple way my Ruby script can monitor the special keypresses without its window having to be active. So far I found out I can monitor "/dev/input/event0" and find the info there but this doesn't look very elegant and requires the script to have root privileges.

We don't need no water

In 2002, Czech Republic experienced rather unpleasant floods. Right now, it's happening again (although it's not so dramatic so far). This was shot yesterday in Prague:



(As with the previous post, this is embedded video and you need Flash player to view it.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Zelda: A Link of Unspeakable Awfulness

I was nevery shy to take out my Gameboy or Nintendo DS in public place and start playing. I am proudly wearing my shirt with Nintendo logo.

However, after seeing the following trailer, for the first time in my life, I am actually ashamed that I have something common with the creators of this monstrosity. I.e. at the very least they like Zelda and I like Zelda. Treasure this trailer forever. Every second hurts.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mom, let's go to the stoning!

International diplomacy 101: If you want to save the life of someone who might be executed for converting to Christianity, it's probably not very good idea for Pope to plead for his life.

Dabbling in Dapper Drake

I bought a new laptop. It's Acer TravelMate 2414 LMi and I have great news: Ubuntu Linux supports it out of the box. WiFi, 3D acceleration, sound mixer, sleep mode, CD burner - everything works without any reconfiguring. Well, some of the special "Acer keys" don't generate scancodes (some do!). This can supposedly be fixed using "acerhk" package but so far I don't care about them.

If you are worried about Linux compatibility, it seems Acer is the way to go (at least its TravelMate 2410 series).

A word of warning about the Windows XP included with the laptop: It automatically runs some sort of "Acer Recovery Driver" which NEEDS disk D: to which it writes some sort of recovery information. If disk D: is not present (because the partition has been re-formatted for Linux), it doesn't print any warning but brutally slows down the whole Windows XP system, making it unusable (system load constantly at 100%)! Originally, there were 3 partition on the disk: One small "Windows reinstall partition" (4GB, hidden), standard C: disk (38GB) and D: disk (38GB) used only for the "recovery" mentioned above by default. I don't care what the "recovery" system does (I hope I will be able to reinstall Windows XP from scratch using only the first hidden partition which can be booted from BIOS) so I simply renamed the c:/Program Files/acer/eRecovery directory to "fuck_eRecovery" and Windows XP now works flawlessly. (Sadly, I need it for using FL Studio.) The cleaner solution would probably be to resize the D: disk to less than 1GB or something like that and add your Linux partition after it.

But back to Linux:

After I succesfully installed Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) and started configuring it, I decided I feel adventurous and tried installing the latest Ubuntu 6.04 (Dapper Drake), soon-to-be "6.06" (the final release was delayed by 2 months).

I first tried it on my ancient UMAX laptop and my ACX 111 based WiFi card (which worked perfectly with Breezy) did not work! I found the solution here (see page 2 of the thread). After simple renaming and re-linking of one file, it works OK. The first definitive improvement I saw was that "Networking profiles" now work, while on Breezy I had to reconfigure all the TCP/IP settings every time I changed the profile (basically, all the "Change Location" button did was it wiped all my settings).

A word of warning, though: Dapper Drake is under heavy development and after installing from the CD (which I downloaded less than a week ago), Package Manager immediately prompted me to download 300 MB of updates! Not very feasible if you are on dial-up.

More to come...

UPDATE: Automatic Flash installation in Firefox does not work, must be manually downloaded from Macromedia site. 3D acceleration not working by default, enabled by simply replacing "Driver" by "i810" in xorg.conf. Biggest shock: Quicktime movies from apple.com/trailers play flawlessly in vanilla MPlayer without installing any proprietary codecs! How is that possible?

Friday, March 24, 2006

VTF?

I finally saw "V for Vendetta" and I am now in process of translating it. Allow me to share this nice monologue with you:

"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance, a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

As for the movie itself, I don't share the excitement of others but it's still rather good movie, certainly better than you'd expect from comic book adaptation disowned by the comics' creator. And certainly better than Equilibrium, which I rather liked.

Let them eat the cake

There is a bakery in our house (corner of Paříkova and Pešlova streets). Actually... Is there an English word for bakery that only bakes sweet stuff, not bread? Never mind...

The thing is, they often display some very unique (and tasty) cakes and a few days ago they offered this one:

Linux cake!

Excited, I asked about the cake - why did they make it? Do they have some open-source customers who like sweet stuff? "Well," the nice lady (owner's daughter) told me, "I just told them to make some cute animal cakes for the kids". In other words, she had no idea about the significance of this exact penguin! Was the cook Linux guru? Or did he just search for "cute penguin" on the net?

I think this cake is great present for computer geeks. If you think so too, visit our bakery and tell the owner that you want the penguin cake. THIS EXACT PENGUIN CAKE! Of course, this assumes that you live in Prague, preferably somewhere in the vicinity of our house. Yes, our nine-story house is there, although Seznam.cz online map says there is nothing. They are a little behind.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Criticker

If you are are not sure what movies to watch, try Criticker.com. It's a site where you grade movies on a scale from 0 to 100 and, based on your grades, the system finds other users with same preferences and tries to calculate how would you grade other movies (which you didn't see yet)! I am really surprised how well it worked for me so far. You can compare your favorite movies with mine here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I feel old

By a pure coincidence, I found this videogame review on Plnehry.idnes.cz. The game is called Ladybug and the reviewer gives it "6 out of 10" rating, noting that it's "tired Pac-Man clone", "feels old" and "the graphics look retro but I'm not sure if this is intentional".

If you still don't understand why I suddenly feel old, it means you are probably rather young (as is the author of the review) and didn't put countless quarters (or whatever) into "Ladybug" arcade game, which was released in 1981 (and didn't "feel old" back then).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Suspected terrorist rudely interrupts a story about an owl with request to pray

Regardless of who will win the war on terror (my bets are on China), this transcript (PDF) of Guantanamo Bay interrogation is something even more bizarre than Katamari Damacy.

"0602: SGT A is telling a story about an owl (Rapport Story). The detainee interrupts and states he wants to pray. SGT R advises detainee that SGT A decides when he prays. SGT R also explains that interrupting is rude."

...

"1045: SGT R runs a harsh pride & ego down approach. ENS C (as rehearsed earlier) comes in and asks SGT R what he is doing. ENS C says “Don’t talk to him like that, he’s a human being.” SGT R says “Human beings don’t kill 3000 people” and storms out."

...

"0001: Upon entering booth, lead changed white noise music and hung pictures of swimsuit models around his neck. Detainee was left in booth listening to white noise."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Katamari wallpapers & stuff

Here is a collection of absolutely bizarre and beautiful wallpapers (plus screensaver plus other stuff) for Katamari Damacy game. I think you could appreciate them on your desktop even if you never played the game. To tell you the truth, I have no idea what some of them have in common with Katamari Damacy!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Kryspin: Farewell to balls

Do you remember our sweet little kitty, who was called "Kobliha" back then? Do you remember the shock when we discovered that she is, in fact, "he"? That's when Kryspin was born:



However, since yesterday, the statement above is not true. Kryspin has been castrated. It was rather complex operation because they had to hunt for his second testicle somewhere deep inside his belly. However, he is now doing much better than this photo from yesterday would suggest:

Castrated

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Help with Google Analytics

I am stumped. I added a simple filter to my Google Analytics, which should show me the traffic only for specific subdirectory of my site. This happened several days ago but I still have have no idea where I can see the output of this filter! In "filter manager", I can only "Edit" or "Delete" it. In all the other menus, I didn't find anything like "Show output of your filters".

I must be missing something really basic because all the Analytics documentation only talks about how to set up and manage the filters, not a word about actually viewing their results...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hardware Guru

I own my trusty old PlayStation 2 since 2001. I never ever opened it, installed modchips or did anything brutal to it. However, after five years of service, it started having problems with booting the games (only booting was the problem - once the game started, it worked OK).

The only solution was to open it and try to clean it. And... it worked! Now I can finally write that Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus reviews.

Here you can see the opened beast in my surgically clean work environment:

Cleaning the PS2

Also, we groomed Albert.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hello, Jabber

For several reasons, I decided to make Jabber my Instant Messaging system of choice and I intend to gradually phase out my ICQ. If you have Jabber-enabled client and Jabber/GoogleTalk account (if you have GMail, you automatically have GoogleTalk account!), please try to use my Jabber/GoogleTalk handle "fuxoft@gmail.com" from now on, instead of my current ICQ UIN. (There are several IM clients available that can handle both ICQ and Jabber messaging at the same time.)

This does not mean that from tomorrow you cannot reach me using ICQ. Whenever I'll be online at ICQ, I'll also be online at Jabber/GoogleTalk - however, the reverse is not true. There will be instances when I'll be available exclusively on Jabber/GoogleTalk.

I am trying to use ICQ -> Jabber Transport gateway and I have some problems with it. If you send me an ICQ message and get the exactly same message back as a reply, that means I didn't authorize you yet. In that case, please e-mail me with your ICQ number and I'll authorize you.

UPDATE: Because Google is supposedly working at interoperability of GTalk and AIM (=ICQ), most of this post is practically moot.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I love Katamari



"We Love Katamari" game for PlayStation 2 was released in Europe at last. Actually a sequel to "Katamari Damacy" (which was never released in Europe), this is totally bizarre game about Cosmic Prince (with hammer-shaped head, occassionally with giraffe on it) who is rolling the sticky ball across the Earth, rolling up everything (including living things) in order to make the biggest Katamaris and create new planets from them (which are then rolled together and thrown into the Sun). In one of the levels, you start with 1 meter ball (rolling up eggs, frogs etc.) and have to reach the size of 1 kilometer (rolling up whales, skyscrapers, clouds and small islands)!



Apart from being 110% original it also features psychedelic art direction and soundtrack, plus off-the-wall Japanese humor. The Official Site is weird but the game itself is much weirder.

It also has the most beautiful game manual I've ever seen, in which there are no screenshots bud hand paintings looking like screenshots.

UPDATE: Read the comments for game mechanics explanation.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The deal from the rear

The frankness of this stock spam is quite surprising: