Metafilter needs help. Let’s help Metafilter.

14 June 2018

In a post on MetaTalk, cortex lays it out for us. The site is currently running at about an $8,000/mo. The vast majority of their operating costs go to pay for kind, thoughtful, moderators and the folks who keep the servers running. If you can afford to support Metafilter, do it. The internet needs independent spaces like Metafilter.

Retrobatch, a new batch image processor from Flying Meat

29 May 2018

Looks like a heck of a swiss-army-knife of a tool. It’s node-based, supports CoreML image classification and sorting, and yep… it supports AppleScript. FM’s suggestions for new use cases contain fun, weird, stuff like “Read an image from the clipboard, apply a drop shadow, and write it right back to the clipboard to paste into another app.”

Retrobatch is available as a 14 day free trial, and licenses start at $29.99. Props to Flying Meat for being one of those third-party Mac development houses that just keeps going.

Bridgesketball, a mixed reality basketball game you can play anywhere

28 May 2018

I’ve been working off and on for the last several months on a new project for the Bridge headset, which I’m calling Bridgesketball. It’s a mixed reality basketball game. You can put up a backboard practically anywhere and shoot hoops.

So I’ve promoted Bridgesketball to Project status here on Extra Future Dot Com. The last thing I did this for was la petite url (a custom URL shortener which got broken by some WordPress update or other and no longer works, sorry sorry) so… good luck, Bridgesketball. You’ll find a preview video on the Bridgesketball page as well as a slightly more thorough description, and I’ll add more stuff later. Promise.

The Best Third-Party Carrying Case for the Bridge Mixed Reality Headset

23 April 2018

Bridge logo spray-painted on the new hard case. Naturally, I had to customize it a bit.

TL;DR: This is the best case for Bridge


If you work on mixed reality games & experiences for the Bridge headset like I do you might sometimes (ironically, for a super-portable headset like Bridge) have a bit of trouble with getting your headset from point A to point B. The box that Bridge comes in is a great way to store the device when it’s not being used but it’s a little clunky for everyday carry.

Criteria

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying out several different commodity hard cases, using the loose criteria of:

  • Does it securely fit the headset?
  • Does it have room for the charging cables, controller, or other small accessories?
  • Would it stand up to my daily San Francisco commute?
  • Can it be had for under $50?

The Winner

After trying several cases that failed in one way or another (it’s especially hard to find something with the right height), the “Khanka Hard Case Travel Bag for Sony PlayStation 4 VR (PSVR) Headset and Accessories” is the best so far.

It safely and securely fits the Bridge headset, controller, cables, and even the lens spacers in the included bag. I re-purposed the lens bag the case came with as a shroud for the Structure Sensor and Wide Vision Lens while in transit, and there’s even just enough room for an external battery if you’re into that. You’ll have to bring your own padding. I used the thick foam that came in my Bridge box, but any foam or egg crate should work just fine.

CSS Sans

12 April 2018

A font constructed entirely by CSS. It is, essentially, a programmatic realtime typeface. I love how it degrades for older versions of IE:

It’s not what I’d consider practical for production use. Still, CSS Sans is a hell of a demonstration of how far CSS has come since Microsoft shipped Internet Explorer 3 in 1996, which was first browser to implement some of the CSS1 spec (CSS v1 was not yet a W3C recommendation).

Why Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook

11 April 2018

Zeynep Tufekci with some strong medicine, for Wired:

In 2003, one year before Facebook was founded, a website called Facemash began nonconsensually scraping pictures of students at Harvard from the school’s intranet and asking users to rate their hotness. Obviously, it caused an outcry. The website’s developer quickly proffered an apology. “I hope you understand, this is not how I meant for things to go, and I apologize for any harm done as a result of my neglect to consider how quickly the site would spread and its consequences thereafter,” wrote a young Mark Zuckerberg. “I definitely see how my intentions could be seen in the wrong light.”

I’ve been seeing the meme version of this passed around these past few days, and it’s sort of incredible how many people think it’s a joke. Nope. Facebook was started by a horny Zuckerberg and his gross dorm friends to rate the “hotness” of their female classmates.

Crunch, an impressive new PNG compression tool for macOS

27 March 2018

Crunch is a macOS tool for lossy PNG image file optimization. It combines selective bit depth, color type, and color palette reduction with zopfli DEFLATE compression algorithm encoding using embedded versions of the pngquant and zopflipng PNG optimization tools.

The example images are impressive. Obviously, you won’t want to use this on your archival or source images. I did a quick test on a few of sites at work, and was able to take some PNGs w/ transparent backgrounds down from 1.5mb to 130kb. That’s a greater than 10x reduction in size. Jimminy.

A Selection of Machine-Generated NES Game Titles

23 March 2018

I’ve begun learning how to do machine learning. It is extremely complicated, but I feel after just a few days of trying I understand it much better. This python wrapper for tensorlm has made generating results much easier for me. I’ve got my little machine trained on the full NES US release list, and it’s giving me back things like this…

  • Super Super Hank
  • Doobley Dragon
  • Chanter
  • Class
  • Cartlevanina I: The Antiration
  • Kiggt’s Burtman
  • Jet
  • Rome Alone
  • Rock Hart’s Cave
  • Rock Master
  • Masher: II Lands
  • Greeado A World II
  • Pet of Tower
  • Baseball Loaded III

They can’t all be winners.

Vice Sports: The Forgotten Story of the First Black Female Wrestlers

23 March 2018

An excellent, necessary, article:

Women’s wrestling was still riding high in the early 1950s and women across the country saw Burke, and no doubt her income, and wanted to follow suit—including a trio of sisters living in Columbus, Ohio. Babs Wingo was the first of the three to start training as a professional wrestler, followed by Ethel Johnson. Johnson reveals in the upcoming documentary Lady Wrestler, directed by Chris Bournea, that the two would take judo and gymnastics classes at the Columbus YMCA on top of their pro wrestling training and strength training.

Women’s wrestling, especially black women’s wrestling, is one of the least-covered topics in the genre. We can fix that. More of this please.

GrayKey: The little box that unlocks iPhones

21 March 2018

Thomas Reed, for MalwareBytes:

Two iPhones can be connected at one time, and are connected for about two minutes. After that, they are disconnected from the device, but are not yet cracked. Some time later, the phones will display a black screen with the passcode, among other information. The exact length of time varies, taking about two hours in the observations of our source. It can take up to three days or longer for six-digit passcodes, according to Grayshift documents, and the time needed for longer passphrases is not mentioned. Even disabled phones can be unlocked, according to Grayshift.

Nothing is safe. Encrypt and delete constantly.

Facebook’s Surveillance Machine

19 March 2018

Zeynep Tufekc, for the New York Times:

Mr. Grewal is right: This wasn’t a breach in the technical sense. It is something even more troubling: an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model, which involves having people go to the site for social interaction, only to be quietly subjected to an enormous level of surveillance. The results of that surveillance are used to fuel a sophisticated and opaque system for narrowly targeting advertisements and other wares to Facebook’s users.

People are finally starting to catch on that Facebook’s value proposition (“Tell us everything about you, all the time, so we can help get dictators elected around the world”) is pretty weak.

Facebook Quietly Hid Webpages Bragging of Ability to Influence Elections

14 March 2018

Sam Biddle for The Intercept:

When Mark Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the founder and CEO dismissed the notion that the site even had such power as “crazy.” It was a disingenuous remark. Facebook’s website had an entire section devoted to touting the “success stories” of political campaigns that used the social network to influence electoral outcomes. That page, however, is now gone, even as the 2018 congressional primaries get underway.

‘ol Zuck just can’t stop lying.

How Defective Guns Became the Only Product That Can’t Be Recalled

28 February 2018

An enraging story from Michael Smith and Polly Mosendz, for Bloomberg:

Taurus sold almost a million handguns that can potentially fire without anyone pulling the trigger. The government won’t fix the problem. The NRA is silent.

Gun manufacturers have long held an unassailable position in American business and politics. They need to be reminded that they aren’t above the law… and we can start by making them follow the same goddamn rules as everyone else.

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful things for a troubled world. I'm a designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator at Occipital.

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