September 2nd, 2011

#2907: There's the PDA from my SF stories.

Or, rather, it's great-grandfather: the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Via, and as Pixy notes, "it's also a phone."
It has 8MP and 2MP cameras, WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, barometer, compass, and a proximity sensor. It can record 1080P video at 30fps. Oh, and there's an FM radio. And a phone.
To be a PDA from my SF universe, it also needs a radiation dosimeter, videoconferencing, and digital satellite communications (as the communication system in that universe is satellite-based rather than cell tower based).

"Why a dosimeter?" You ask? Because space travel has the potential to expose you to radiation, more than you'd get on a planet's surface. Ships are shielded so it's normally not a problem, but if you do get a hard dose of something the docs are able to check your PDA and see how much you got and what kind, so they can treat appropriately.

It's also got to pack more computing power into the thing. A handful of Intel Pentium i7 processors would probably be a good start, and a few terabytes of local storage. And better battery technology, as well as a passive photovoltaic panel.

I'm not asking for much...but this is a good start.

* * *

BTW? The screen is a bit shy of 300 pixels per inch. Okay, a typical CRT isn't even 100 PPI, and you have to look very hard to find a printer that prints at 300 DPI these days, but damn does that enable some very fine detail.

* * *

Am I going to buy one? WTF, I'm not made out of money! (And even if I were--"Here, I'll just cut off my little finger and buy this--" Shit, hell no.)

But it's cool.

#2908: Okay, I'm legal

...and it is too fucking hot outside to put on jeans and a jacket and a helmet and go riding, so I'm going to wait a few more hours before I try out my brand spankin' new "M" classification.

Wait until the temperature is in the eighties rather than the nineties.

WTF, I waited three weeks.

* * *

What did the President know, and when did he know it? The Obama White House is presiding over quite the scandal with the BATF's "Fast and Furious" program of FAIL.

...recall that during the Nixon Presidency, the entire Watergate thing didn't blow up into a national story until after he was reelected. Obama might find himself escaping impeachment only by being so f-ing incompetent that he fails of reelection.

* * *

The Zero-in-Chief! I can't believe how many nicknames I've got for Obama. It's awesome.

Liberals paved the way for me, though, I must admit--by giving George W. Bush so many nicknames (like "Chimpy McBushitler" and such). They broke the ice; I cannot lie.

* * *

Zero job growth in August. Okay? Even with all the government fudging and estimating--even with that--they can't report anything better than zero.

Is that going to be the motto for the Obama reelection campaign? "Hey, you might not be better off than you were four years ago, but you're not worse! Zero is okay!"

*sigh*

Dow-Jones disagrees. By 9:32 this morning it had dropped over 200 points--another one of those "cliffs" in the curve--and it closed 224 points down.

So we're up perhaps 35 points over last week. And down 600 over a month ago.

* * *

I was thinking about Lucas adding Darth Vader screaming NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! to the climactic scene of Return of the Jedi today, while readying myself for my trip to the DMV.

Okay, first off, his usual excuse for adding shit is, "This is true to my original vision of what the film should be!" It doesn't work this time, because it's not a special effect to have James Earl Jones say "NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" into a microphone in post-production, you know? The guy's already dubbing all the dialogue for Darth Vader; it's an incremental cost at most to have him utter one more drawn-out syllable. If Lucas' "original vision" had contained that line, it would have been in the damn movie in the first place.

So you know that the little switch in Lucas' brain that controls "parallel construction" got tripped on when he realized, "Oh, I can have him do the same stupid crappy cliche that he did at the end of Episode III!"

...the scene in Ep VI is the climactic scene for the entire freakin' saga, and it was perfect--perfect!--as released all the various times it's been released in the past. Darth Vader says nothing as he watches the Emperor torture his only son, say, "Now...you will die," and watches impassively as his son pleads for help from his father.

There's this pause as Darth Vader just watches...and then all he does is look at the Emperor, and despite the mask you can see the gears turning...and he grabs the Emperor and hurls him to his death without saying a word. It's a powerful scene and needs absolutely nothing added.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to convey that kind of thing when the actor's face is completely obscured? The man is quivering on the precipice of abandoning his entire life of the past twenty years (more or less) and you can see it.

WTF, why stop at "NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"? Why not have Vader do a dramatic monologue, Elizabethan style?
Ah, Emperor, why dost thou torture mine only son?
Tho he be our enemy, must I choose
Between the dark side of the Force, and the light?
Yea, he is foolish, and young;
He is steadfast in his resistance to thine petitions--
Yet he is mine only son, and I must needs
Perforce!
Save his life at the expense of thine!
You know, something like that. I mean, hell, if you're going to fuck it up, why not go big? James Earl Jones could pull it off, and Lucas has the money--and can't seem to stop fucking with the movie--so why not?

* * *

Shit. Why doesn't Lucas screw around with THX-1138 and add all kinds of horseshit to that film? Why doesn't he revamp American Graffiti? Why doesn't he screw up something that isn't a film legend with literal tens of millions of fans?

So I look up his IMDB profile and look under "Director" and what do I see?

THX-1138 is his first real movie. American Graffiti is his second, and Star Wars (later retitled "SW Ep IV A New Hope BLAH BLAH BLAH") is his third.

After that? All SW, all the time, with miscellanious short documentaries for variety.

90% of his work is as "executive producer". And all the films he was "executive producer" for were not exactly huge successes, with the exception of the "Indiana Jones" movies...and he can't take credit for that because they were directed by Spielberg, who is probably the only director in Hollywood who has the horsepower to tell Lucas to go fuck himself when he tries to ruin the movie.

I mean, come on: Willow? Tucker? The latter was an okay movie but the only reason I found it interesting was because of the cars. Howard the Duck? Do I have to go into that? Shit. Labyrinth was interesting and a bit fun, but it was a commercial flop.

...which is why Lucas now confines himself to fucking up SW and making more SW crap: he can't make money any other way.

* * *

I have to call BS on the latest chapter of Umi no Misaki.

Okay, in the last chapter, Nagi and Karin are in bed together and things are getting hot and they're about to get going, you know...only he goes the wrong way, so to speak.

...then freaks out at his mistake and wilts.

NO FUCKING WAY.

Okay, this guy is almost 18 years old and he's in bed with a hot and willing girl and is right on the verge of going all the way--there's no way in hell anything would make him lose his erection. Ninjas could come in through the walls and shoot him with poison darts, and he wouldn't die until after he'd--

That's how motivated an adolescent guy would be in that situation. Okay? It doesn't matter what his personality is like; if she's giving him the green light and he's ready to go, he's going to go even if the fucking planet explodes underneath them. A little mistake about the aim? He'll correct it and go.

...but of course if he actually does it, then the artist has a problem: he's chosen one of the girls (or, at least, one of them now has a serious leg up on the other two) and the love triangle is severely damaged if not wrecked entirely. You can't do that kind of thing when most of the dramatic tension in your series depends on the guy not being able to choose.

But there are better and more realistic ways to solve that problem. Having the guy go limp right before he gets it in is not it.

* * *

...BTW, the whole impotence angle is surprisingly common in manga like this. B Gata H Kei used it to keep Yamada and Kosuda from getting it on--but BGHK is a comedy series, after all, where Umi no Misaki is not...and the circumstances are different.

In BGHK, for example, Yamada has not told Kosuda that she has any special affection for him (let alone saying that she loves him) and Kosuda is unsure about a lot of things. Not so with UnM--all three girls have made it plain that they want him! So the psychological angle just doesn't work.

(I mean, come on: there's that scene where he's trying to bathe and Soyogi comes into the bathroom, stark naked: "...I thought we might be out of shampoo, so I brought you some...." That's a WIN for the glasses girl, BTW.)

(I mean, she'd pass the pencil test. ';' I'm just sayin'.)

* * *

So on the way home from the DMV, as planned, I stopped at the parts store to pick up my brake hoses and to grab some license plate hardware. I pulled into the parking lot and parked next to a red Camaro.

...the car had the word "Ferrari", in the usual font, and the Ferrari badge on the fender by the door.

I looked at myself in the rearview mirror, and then just sighed in resignation.

The car wasn't even a V8 car. It was a V6 with an aftermarket exhaust, and I think it was an auto transmission to boot.

*rolleyes*

#2909: Well, that's a first!

So after an afternoon nap, I went outside, put the plate on the bike, and rode it all over town.

...I was heading for the gas station when I realized something was wrong, and then I counter-realized that something was right: I wasn't worried about being pulled over because I was 100% legal for the first time.

Problem: the bike now leans out at higher RPM, meaning that I didn't need to touch the carb yesterday. So tomorrow or Sunday I'll put it back where it was.

The thing is fine at lower RPM and only leans out as engine speed climbs, which means that the idle circuit is too rich and the rest of it is fine. I'm also going to have a very, very close look at the choke and make sure it's working correctly, because if the plunger isn't returning to the bottom of its bore that would make things too rich.

I thought it was too rich only because the bike starts so damn easily and runs without the choke on even when its cold. From stone cold I need to use the choke only for the initial start; and after that it runs fine.

...so the idle circuit is too rich and the rest of it must have been okay before I got my dick-skinners all over it again. Fix the idle circuit mix, and put the main needle back in the middle, and I expect that the bike will actually have enough power to get moving from a standing start without me slipping the shit out of the clutch. And it won't misfire above 2,000 RPM because it's starved for fuel. WTF.

Anyway, I got the "M" today, and I had my first ride. As planned, I rode to the corner gas station and filled the tank; it cost me $4 to add one gallon to the tank and I feel like a real motorcyclist now. Heh.

#2910: A bunch of little parts

Thanks to the link Og found 'way back in June for the place that sold me the rotor removal tool, I have been able to find a lot of the little parts I need for the Suzuki.

The exhaust stud, for example. From this place, it's $3 rather than $27. I also got the exhaust gasket, a new plug and gasket for the open cleanout bung on the muffler, a replacement return spring for the rear brakes (one is missing), and a new oil seal to replace the leaky-ass one on the shift lever.

Total: $32 with shipping. They have a minimum order of $20, but these are all parts I need for the bike, so WTF.

One of the really convenient (and dangerous) things about that site is that they have the exploded diagrams of all the parts of the bike, on-line, with parts cross-referenced and clickable. All you have to do is find the part you need in the drawing, and click on the associated number. It takes you to a description page; and if you want the part, click "add to shopping cart".

But if you want your motorcycle to be right, not just operable, this is the kind of resource you really need.

This page has everything I wanted to know about the turn signals on the bike.

There are a couple other "options" pages; it turns out the bike has the capability to have a center stand. There's a way to mount both a tach (mechanical) and a speedo at the same time. There are other neat things buried in the drawings, too.

So I've spent $13+$17+$24+$32 on parts this week for the motorcycle--about $90--in addition to the $92 I spent for Fiero parts.

...this has been an expensive week, vehicle-wise.

I need to get a job soon.