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  Linux on the desktop?
Posted by: robkelk - 01-22-2020, 09:32 PM - Forum: General Chatter - Replies (2)

So... Ads in WordPad.

This is the last straw as far as my father is concerned (never mind that they've been putting ads in Windows for a few years now) - he just asked me what he'd need to run Linux on a desktop or laptop. He's willing to buy a new or gently-used machine to experiment with it.

When it comes to Linux, I can advise him on setting it up on a mainframe... but he isn't about to buy one of those to play with. What is the current state of the rat for end-user Linux - especially for the "don't make me compile apps; I just want to download, install, and use it" demographic? Is there still a performance difference between distros? Does anything not ship with a GUI nowadays? What hardware specs do you need for a decent and usable install?

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  Just because you can compile something for a platform doesn't mean you should
Posted by: robkelk - 01-22-2020, 09:23 PM - Forum: General Chatter - Replies (9)

Unretouched screenshot:
[Image: dotnet311.png]

And here's the story that goes with it

10 out of 10 for code portability, but minus several thousand for practicality...

So, is .NET really that bad?

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  Hey, Offsides...
Posted by: Bob Schroeck - 01-22-2020, 04:05 PM - Forum: Other People's Fanfiction - No Replies

Did you notice that Long Live The Queen got not just a favorable review but the top of the list on Recommended “Politics in Harry Potter” fics, a blog post made a couple years ago by a fellow named Stephan Sokolow?  I'll admit his name rings a bell, and his blog is about evenly split between tech topics and fanfic/otaku stuff, but I can't quite put my finger on where I seem to recognize him from.

Everyone else, if you haven't been raiding this blog for fic recommendations, you might want to start.  His opinions on most of the stories I recognize tend to match my own (and the general opinion of the forums as well), so I'm going to be trying a few of the stories I don't recognize on the assumption his tastes and mine are close enough that I'll probably like them.

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  Snippet collection:
Posted by: Star Ranger4 - 01-22-2020, 02:03 AM - Forum: Other People's Fanfiction - Replies (5)

a place to put short bits I am trying to get out from between my ears so I can get back to what I think of as the main project of the moment?

Mabye even things I think might elicit comments where my present work does not?

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Star [IC][Story][Arc 1] Time Away
Posted by: robkelk - 01-19-2020, 10:12 PM - Forum: There's Nothing Better - No Replies

No, this wasn't on my posted list of stories that I was working on. This is that other story that I mentioned. For now, let's set the scene and introduce some of the characters.

Blossom Apartments, Ottawa, ON, Canada
December 27, 2016
10:14 AM

"We need to talk."

"What about, Ami?"

"Us. And Rob."

Mii looked up from her tablet. "You don't look happy. Let's go somewhere else to talk, though."

"Ruiko's out spending her holiday money; she won't overhear us. Funny how we get it a week early here."

"The sales are more than a week early, too. But you're changing the subject. And I want to stretch my legs."

Ami thought for a moment. "I suppose we could go somewhere. Where do you want to go?"

Mii grinned. "Some place where nobody knows us except as fictional characters. And I want to see more of this world."

10:23 AM

Rob hung up the phone. "They'll be ready for you in Windsor by the time you fly in."

"Thanks, Rob," Mii replied.

"We'll be back before New Year's Eve," Ami added. "But who said we were flying?" She transformed to Sailor Mercury, took hold of Mii's hands, and shouted "SAILOR TELEPORT!"

Rob blinked, then spoke to the empty room. "I was expecting you to take a plane, but that works. I guess they won't be ready when you get there."

Club Lofts, Windsor, ON, Canada
December 27, 2016
10:24 AM

The Good Neighbor System failed to go off, since it hadn't been installed yet. The only warning that the building's residents had to their visitors' arrival was a brief light show in the parking lot just outside their front door.

Ami quickly transformed back to her civilian identity, as Mii asked "Are you sure we're in the right place?"

"I'm sure. Why do you ask?"

"There's no snow on the ground. We didn't cross the border to the United States, did we?"

"Why, no," replied a young woman behind them. "You're still in Canada. You must be Ms. Konori and Ms. Mizuno. I'm Mahoro Ando. Welcome to Windsor."

Mahoro was wearing a white apron over a blue short-sleeved maid's dress - not as all-covering as an English or German maid's uniform, but far more modest than a French one - with a red ribbon with a brooch holding it in place as a tie. A maid's cap and a pair of sensible shoes over low socks completed the image of the quintessential professional maid... save for the yellow ribbon in her hair. Mahoro herself was taller than Ami but shorter than Mii, with black hair cut short except for twin bangs falling past her neck and short twin tails at the sides of her head. As Mahoro looked at her visitors, she noticed Mii's chest, causing her to frown in jealousy for a brief moment before she smiled again. But it was a very brief moment; she thought Mii didn't notice her lapse in professionalism.

A voice drifted over from one of the houses next door. "Hey, are you folks doing something weird again?"

Mahoro turned to the fence on the far side of the alleyway between the buildings. "I'm sorry! Mr. Ryuga was experimenting with the building's new lights, and I think he might have overloaded them!" she answered, more loudly than she had spoken with Mii and Ami.

"You better be careful with those big lights. They're expensive to replace."

"We'll keep that in mind! Thank you!" Turning back to the visitors, she continued in a more normal voice, "Let's go inside so you can make yourselves comfortable."

As they walked into the building's foyer, they were met by a tall, blond, handsome, very fit man. "Blaming me for the light show, Mahoro?"

"I'm sorry, Ryuga-san, but I couldn't tell them the truth."

He scowled, then nodded once. "I suppose not. But you owe me a favor." He turned to the visitors. "You're our guests? From what our landlord just told me, I wasn't expecting you for a few hours."

"I'm sorry," Ami replied. "Our landlord forgot that I can teleport. Ami Mizuno; I'm pleased to meet you."

"What? You're Sailor Mercury? Oh, wow!" A cute petite blonde girl who looked to be about Ami's age raced over from the far end of the foyer. "I'm Chizuko Oe; pleased to meet you!"

"Chi-chan, give our guests time to catch their breath. They just got here." Mahoro turned back to Ami. "I'm sorry about that."

"It's all right."

Mii decided she may as well make a chance to introduce herself. "I'm Mii Konori. Pleased to meet you."

"Hello," Chizuko replied politely.

"Chi-chan, where are the others?" Mahoro asked.

"Rin, Miyuki, and Mr. Norgarth are helping Minawa get a guest room ready. The boys are up on the roof. I don't know where anyone else is. I was going to go get some coffee - does anybody else want some?"

"No, thank you," Mii replied.

"Perhaps later, when I can enjoy it," Ami said.

Mahoro simply shook her head. Ryuga pulled a five-dollar bill out of his pocket and handed it to Chizuko. "If you're going to Taloola, bring me back one of those coconut-curry hot chocolates."

"Sure! See you later!" And she headed out the door, humming the Sailor Moon theme slightly off-key and slightly syncopated, with a smile on her face.

Ryuga watched her leave. "She'll be gone for at least a quarter hour." Without turning, he continued, "We understand you're looking for a place to talk."

"Ryuga! Be polite." Mahoro turned from Ryuga to face Ami and Mii. "I apologize for my housemate's lack of manners."

"You and your strange Earth customs," muttered Ryuga as he turned to face the women. "Sorry," he added, not sounding sorry at all. "How much privacy are you looking for?"

"Just enough to keep anybody from overhearing our conversations."

Mahoro smiled. "Then we chose well when we gave you a room with nobody in residence on either side. From the comment that Ms. Oe made, I gather that you're from a world where Sailor Moon exists as a person."

"Ami's the only Sailor Senshi here," Mii answered. "I'm from a place called Academy City."

Mahoro and Ryuga exchanged a quick puzzled glance, then turned their attention back to Mii. "I'm not familiar with that place, Ms. Konori."

"Donaldson-san ... Mr. Donaldson tells me that the stories are rather popular in Japan. I believe he called them A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun; Railgun - Mikoto Misaka - is a friend of mine."

"That's something I'll have to familiarize myself with later," commented Ryuga. "Right now, let me show you around the place. Mahoro probably wants to get lunch preparations started." She left to do so, and Ryuga showed Ami and Mii around the ground floor, then lead the way up the stairs and went through the doorway to the second floor. "This is the floor where you'll be staying. Let's see ... 201, 202, ... here it is: apartment 203." He knocked, then opened the door. "Our guests have arrived."

A man's voice, slightly panicky, came from inside the apartment. "They're here already?"

"Yes," Ryuga answered, "they're both here."

"There's only two of them? Oh, good. I was half-expecting all of the Sailor Senshi to show up." The owner of the voice walked out of one of the bedrooms. "Hi." He looked at Mii, then looked at Ami. "You must be Sailor Mercury."

Ami blushed. Mii frowned for a very brief moment, then smiled. "I suppose she must be, since everyone keeps calling her that. Her name is Ami Mizuno. I'm Mii Konori."

"Oh. Sorry about that. Hello, Ms. Konori and Ms. Mizuno. You can call me Norgarth; everybody else does." They shook hands. "Your room should be ready before lunch."

A blonde girl wearing an apron over a green maid's dress and carrying some sheets stepped out of one of the rooms near the far end of the apartment. "The beds are ready, Mr. Norgarth," she announced through the pile of fabric in her arms, walking toward the group.

"Thank you," he replied. "And it's just Norgarth, not Mr. Norgarth, Minawa. Why do you still have sheets? Do you have to make up another bed?"

"No. I took too many sheets out of the linen closet. I'm sorry." Her last sentence was almost a whisper. "I'll go put them ba-aAAK!" she finished as she tripped on the pattern in the carpet and went flying.

Ryuga caught Minawa before she could hit the floor. The sheets weren't as lucky - and neither was Ami. Minawa looked around, went pale, and said "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!"

Looking like a Halloween ghost, Ami said, "There's no harm done. It's all right."

Mii noticed that Minawa looked much less anxious after hearing Ami's reply. "Here, I'll help you help Ami get free of those sheets."

As everyone was helping Ami get free of those sheets, the door behind them opened again. "We brought the - what happened?"

"I'm sorry," Minawa answered with a bow. "I tripped."

Ami and Mii turned (Mii more easily that Ami) to see that two girls their age had walked in. One - the more tomboyish of the two - was carrying towels and a bottle of shampoo, while the other - the more ladylike and taller of the two - was carrying a vase of well-arranged flowers. The latter spoke, saying "As long as nobody was hurt, there's no harm done," (which made Minawa smile slightly). Casually putting the vase down at the exact center of the dining table, she continued, "I see that our guests have already arrived. My name is Rin Todoriki; I'm happy to meet you."

"And I'm Miyuki Sakura. Pleased to meet you."

The visitors from Ottawa introduced themselves. Miyuki reacted the same way that Chizuko had earlier, but with less blatant enthusiasm and hero-worship. While Rin controlled her own reactions, Mii noticed that she did recognize Ami's name.

"I hope that you find this room to be comfortable while you're here," Rin said once introductions were completed. "If there's anything that we can do you make you feel more at home, please don't hesitate to ask."

"And if you want some bath salts or oils, come straight to me," Miyuki added.

"Excuse me..." Everyone turned to Minawa. "Do you want my help with unpacking your bags?"

Mii looked at Ami. Ami looked at Mii. "I knew we forgot something." They both turned to Minawa. Mii smiled in that Japanese way of turning a bad situation into a joke. "We forgot to pack."

"I would be happy to lend you some clothing, Ms. Konori," Rin replied.

Mii took a closer look at her, and realized that the comment she was about to make about Rin's tops probably not fitting her wasn't accurate. She didn't wonder why Ms. Todoriki was hiding her figure; she had firsthand experience with the unwanted attention those measurements usually brought. "Thank you, but I couldn't put you to such trouble."

"It's no trouble at all."

"And I do have some holiday money."

Rin smiled. "Of course I know of a good place to go shopping for clothes after lunch."

Meanwhile, Ami and Minawa had been whispering to each other, mainly because Minawa was embarassed about discussing her sizes in front of Ryuga and Norgarth. Their quiet conversation finished with Ami saying "I appreciate that, Minawa-san. I would be happy to borrow your coat while I go shopping today."

Minawa smiled, then wondered why she wasn't nervous any more around Ami - Ms. Mizuno, she corrected herself. Maybe it was because she hadn't shown anything but happiness while they were together. The only other person Minawa knew who was like that was Mahoro.

to be continued...

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Posted by: robkelk - 01-19-2020, 04:15 PM - Forum: General DW Chatter - Replies (26)

I was pretty sure that DW already qualified for the "Doorstopper" page on All The Tropes. I was all set to list the story, until I saw that fan works are divided by length... so I had to go count words.

Good thing Notepad++ tells me how many lines or characters are in a file. So... copy the text (not the titles, credits, formatting, or page dress) from the chapter pages on Bob's website, strip out the leading and trailing blanks and the blank lines, then replace each space with a newline. That isn't be exact (each dash get its own line, for example), but it's close enough to "one line = one word" for private sector work.*

Add up the number of lines, plug the numbers into a readable paragraph, and here's what I just added to ATT:

Quote:''Drunkard's Walk II'' is complete at just over 320k words, and ''Drunkard's Walk V'' is complete at just over 171k words. As of December 2019, ''Drunkard's Walk S'', ''Drunkard's Walk VIII'', and ''Drunkard's Walk XIII'' were still in progress: ''S'' at about 42.5k words in 2 chapters, ''VIII'' at 116.8k words in 4 chapters, and ''XIII'' at 23k words in one chapter. The other nine arcs do not have any published chapters as of December 2019, but there are five "Steplets" with 7.3k words between them. And none of these numbers include the various concordances. So... one story in many arcs, over have of which are completely unpublished, with over 680k words so far in what has seen the light of day.

And that doesn't include anything that Bob wrote and posted only on the forums... or is only in the devfile and hasn't been sent to the prereaders.

Bob, the story needs another 70,000 words to get into the next section, and another 250,000 words after that to qualify as a Really Big Work. But you still have eight arcs with nothing published...

*: Government work would need to be more precise.

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  Election 2020. Ireland edition.
Posted by: Dartz - 01-18-2020, 08:04 AM - Forum: Politics and Other Fun - No Replies

So it's election time at last and the government that was never meant to last the year has rumbled on for nearly three.
But it's time to put pencil to paper once more.

The way things stand at the moment.
The Labour Party suffers from being the junior coalition partner too many times and making pledges it has to compromise away.
Soc-Dems are - vibrant among people I know. Never had the chance to fuckup in power.
Greens - may lack a sense of reality. (I'll argue against carbon taxes for one specific reason)
Sinn Fein are just that bit too sinister.
People Before Profit - not enough sanity. Too much screaming.
Fianna Fail - The Party of Landowners and Businessmen.
Fine Gael - The Party of Businessmen and Landowners.

Currently the state of the nation is as follows:
Insurance costs are spiralling out of control forcing many important local businesses such as creches, play centres, activity centres, community centres and the like to close their doors. It's taking the colour and happiness out of life and just adding more and more to the sense of being utterly leeched. Or, for that matter, the majority of the people who can't afford a home near suitable public transport and instead get fleeced for the privelege of owning a car.
Speeking of leeches, rents are through the roof because of an unwillingness to actively tackle shit like AirBnB, or to build social housing.
The Childrens hospital is massively overbudget thanks to the tender process being utterly fucking munged. Awarding a tender based solely on price gets you the contractor with a reputation of bidding 'below cost' and shafting you with every hole in the spec they can find. For billions.
The public health service is turning into an utter omnifuck - they can't even do a managed decline properly.
The government refuses to pay doctors, nurses and other critical public servants a worthy wage, while top-loading departments with useless suits in offices.
The government utterly refuses to pay the military, to the point where both morale, and actual effectiveness is utterly collapsing. This has already caused deaths.
They gloat about a 1 billion surplus for a rainy day - rather than investing it on one-time critical expenditures that might bring value in the future. Okay, I get the idea of rainy day fund given how heavy things are leverages with corporation tax receipts but at the same time it's not good saving money that *must* be spent on fixing critical failures. Those things just end up costing more in the long run.
They recognise the government is overeliant on one source of tax - and are still talking about cutting taxes anyway to make it even more reliant.
On the positives, employment is high and the statistics on paper look good - but that hides a lot of simmering discontent. People have work, but it's costing far more to go to work and wages aren't keeping up with the cost of living.

It's a government that knows the cost of fucking everything, but the value of nothing. Even people.


On the other hand, the current Dail as a whole should at least be commended for not turning itself into an utter laughing stock like the neighbours did. A minority government managed to ride through Brexit with the support of the opposition because - inspite of the above - Brexit represented a far bigger danger to the State so they knuckled in and made it work, and got what is possibly the best outcome for the State given the circumstances.

Speaking of the date.

An amusing consequence is that the Register of Electors updates on the 15th of February every year. The Election is scheduled for the 8th.

So people who've registered to vote in the last year may not be fully on it - not without re-applying to the draft register. A process which requires photo -ID and a visit to a cop-shop. to get a form signed. And which has to be posted and received by the 22nd of this month.

A cheeky way of excluding everyone who'se turned 18 in the last year?

If this happened in the States there'd be howls of disenfranchisement. It was widely reported on the news but cop-shops aren't that common outside of urban areas anymore.


And of course, the first day of campaigning the City Council decides to use an excavator to clear out a homeless man's tent. Without waking him up in the process.
Suffice to say he's suffered 'Life-changing injuries'. News-speak for anything from Feeding Tube to Fuck-Ugly scars. the homeless crisis has dogged the government for the last three years and continues to worsen - not to mention the Taoiseach's attempt to spin the blame to the city mayor and politicise the issue going down like a 737

He's misfired every single day of the campaign so far.


But step foreward Paddy Holohan - former MMA fighter and suspended Sinn Fein party member who's been saying naughty things on a podcast

About the Taoiseach not being a family many

And about underage girls.

He's gone into the party disciplinary process.They'll boot him for sure - even if I gurarantee he's only saying what the majority of their voters think, the rest of 'em are smart enough not to say it.


Just over three weeks to go and god knows what the fuck'll happen. A hung dail is a possibility - unfortunately not meaning what you might think it does - or some form of coalition between one of the bigger parties and a small party that thinks, this time it'll be different and they won't get fucked over like all the other small parties in coalition. A minority with a confidence and supply agreement is also possible but -  it's gotten really hard to call what'll happen.

On paper the economy is doing well and the numbers are good - but the actual results for people aren't materialising. The tide is rising but the boats are sinking. And the government seems more and more out of touch with reality with every passing day.

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  sweet mhary mother of Jaysus...
Posted by: Star Ranger4 - 01-16-2020, 07:33 AM - Forum: General Chatter - Replies (10)

yeah, I know no one here is guilty of this, except on the receiving end...

ANYWHO...  (and yeah, Bob, feel free to delete this when you see it?)

spent the last 3? 4? days chatting with someone.  then, in the last 2-3 hours the whole context, and the way they typed changed.  And this person both a) did not understand that I was AWARE of this,and b) would call them on this apparent substitution?  


and people wonder why I no longer trust the Interwebs

(wanders off in frustration.  Maybe I can write?)

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  Here's a couple I found recently
Posted by: Norgarth - 01-15-2020, 10:30 PM - Forum: Anime Music Videos - Replies (1)

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Tongue Another one of those crazy dreams/video game design
Posted by: classicdrogn - 01-15-2020, 02:40 AM - Forum: General Chatter - No Replies

So for this outing I was a stuffed toy or toon hedgehog in a 3d open-map pseudo-platformer/action RPG - not the blue one, a vaguely realistic light brown, mostly quadrupedal except when having hands would be useful for buttons and levers or trapeze swings etc., and shaped vaguely like a VW Beetle if one was a rubbery toon character that ran instead of rolled. This character had a name, but I can't remember what except that it did specifically include the word "hedgehog."

Accompanying me was a sidekick/"friend"/inverted escort-NPC Cabbie, a hot rod taxicab like in an old (WB?) cartoon I vaguely remember (most of which was spent as a chopped and dropped hot rod rebelling against his taxicab father) or the (Disney) Cars franchise, similarly small and brown and vaguely shaped like a larger, four door VW Beetle but very fast, and who is prone to getting board and running around the whole map at high speed, drawing aggro and setting off traps. This serves as the mechanism for the game's variable difficulty, as if he's far away this is useful but the closer he stays the more trouble it causes, and and the faster you go or the closer you get to the finish point the closer he tends to stick by, along with however many enemies he's gotten chasing him and not caught in traps.

This seemed like a very cool idea as a simultaneous observer even as it was annoying as a participant, and I was resentfully following a trail of footprints and face billboards left by Bonkers D Bobcat (also Disney) through a set of jumping puzzles to avoid all that on the ground for a fast time and bonus items, but had my typical amount of success with that much hated game mechanic and wandered off to consult with a couple of other world-hopping transmigration SIs in the forms of Shattered Glass Ravage (Transformers) and one of the few junior- and high-school classmates I wouldn't mind seeing again, while I T-1000 shifted into a fantasy-anime-elf-ish form, except we then got sidetracked into a discussion of insulting "trutharians" (in the form of a cult following various revelations, rather than the scientific methods of most RL examples of people claiming that title I searched up) and controlling what your next reincarnation would be and when it would awaken to past lives, which woke me up with its induced sense of falseness and pretense.

Because even in my dreams I can not have nice things, apparently. Mekton Zeta+-system Shapeshifter has been my latest "if I was getting an issekai protagonist blessing, I'd ask for..." concept, boiling down to "Bio-Energy poewered Oid with Morphable Mekton, then abusing Material Absorption, Dimensional Storage, and Expanding Plasma to get around the CP and mass limits" if you're familiar enough with the system to have that mean something. Space Magic nanotech shapeshifter only limited by how much I've consumed and stored for resources, basically, if not. Awesome enough to put up with an issekai fantasy mission from god over, certainly, and even be courteous enough to respect said god's preferences for how much tech to (not) introduce to their anachronistic fantasy planet until the mission is done and I could set myself up an FTL or Dimensional Teleport system to leave and go explore space/alternate universes/etc.

The bit with the variably helpful AI sidekick as difficulty control was the interesting part though, and what I wanted to talk about. Awake it still seems like a very cool idea and a way to avert the classic platformer "memorize each twitch on the controller for a perfect run" syndrome unless you're specifically following the bonus path, corralling enemies and keeping them occupied or outright eliminating them (Cabbie always zips past or through traps unharmed, unlike them and the player) more the longer and more often they give the player trouble, but awake the problem of actually getting that bahavior to work even with copious game-designer cheating by making the enemies go along with it seems like it would be challenging at best.

Still, it does sound like a nifty idea, and one I've never seen done... but I'm not much of a video gamer, especially not an action gamer as I didn't have the reflexes even before I started getting a severe case of numb-thumbs if I hold a controller for more than a few minutes. Has anyone else seen something similar, or have any thoughts on setting it up?

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