Category Archives: Geek

Robot Wrangler: Gadgets and Hardware – the parts of a computer you can kick

Crikey! Australia’s R/Place In The World

It’s been a mad few days, but the April Fools’ Joke that keeps on giving, Reddit’s R/Place has faded back into the white void from whence it came.

It’s a massive, profane, beautiful, combative and thought-provoking collaborative art piece based on a simple rule: you have the ability to change the colour of one dot on a field of 2000×2000 every 5 minutes.

And anyone else could do the same. At any time.

What could go wrong?

It started white, and eventually, became white, when the admins restricted the colour palette from 16 colours to 1 after several days of charged to-and fro between redditors to claim real estate in the final jewel in the crown; the Final Canvas.

Alas, unlike five years ago, the true April Fool’s joke is that there’s no ‘final canvas’ to own. There’s only points in time; places where great art rose and fell according to the whims of tiny friend groups and giant political collectives.

There was a point in time where a few loosely coordinated Australian teams claimed parts of the canvas to create animals, flags and portraits. Those works of art took time to plan, co-ordinate and maintain against hostile streamers and other groups. These works are archived below. They may exist elsewhere, but only as snapshots.

R/Place is, again, a white void. But what a void.

A tribute to Warnie, jointly maintained by Australia, India, and other cricket fans from around the world
Bluey was maintained in cooperation with the UK
Australia’s largest and longest surviving piece, nestled between the famous Star Wars poster from A New Hope, and the infamous OSU army (a popular game and gaming community), You can see VB, Vegemite, Aboriginal Flag, Bunnings, Aussie Flag, Harbour Bridge, Poppies, Ned Kelly, Koala, Kangaroo (sometimes smoking), a heart (indicating a partnership with the OSU team) often reworked as a boxing glove, Freddo Frog, Bubble O’Bill and cockatoo. The green and gold borders marked out Aussie territory but grew over time.
The second-longest standing AU/NZ collaboration, featuring magpie, parrots, emu, crab, opera house, crocodile, auckland tower, Eye of Sauron, Mount Doom, kiwi, kererū, Jonah Lomu, beehive and sheep.
And right in the middle of it, an ANZAC-commemorating poppy.
Australia’s finest hour – a callback to a previous artwork with Steve Irwin, the flag, ‘gatorade bong’ and Uluru. The joey was not an aussie production, nor were the girl and fruit pieces, but Australia fostered a tight partnership with streamers to jointly defend each other’s art. This piece was destroyed by a UK YouTube group in the final moments of the event.

UPDATE: Here’s what the canvas looked like before the White Void took over. You might want to zoom in.

UPDATE: here’s an interactive atlas if you want to explore the whole thing,

UPDATE:And finally, a breakdown of my own humble contribution

Courtesy http://kisielo85.cba.pl/place2022/index.php

A Certain Point Of View: It’s Time For The Airing Of Star Wars Grievances

Here, in the lull between #MayTheFourth and #RevengeOfTheSixth, is the one day a year I revisit my list of grievances against the Star Wars universe. In no particular order:

  • Really Big Things, like Death Stars, exploding in flames with a flat, ring-shaped shock wave. (Star Trek, looking at you also)
  • #HanShotFirst, unless you’re in some Disney-fied alternate reality, in which case, sure, self-defense, whatever.
  • #LetTheWookieeWin… a medal for his part in blowing up the Death Star. R2D2, also.
  • R2-D2, and most of the SW robo-proletariat are not “droids’, a shortening of ‘android‘, meaning a “robot with a human appearance”. C-3PO, sure. Battle droids, fine. BB-8? Not a ‘droid.
  • Obi-wan aparrently forgetting his 3-movie relationship with R2-D2: the most loyal, competent and heroic astromech in the galaxy.
    • “But, but; he actually says: I don’t seem to remember ever owning a droid. so he’s right, from a Certain Point Of View”
      Get out.
  • Midichlorians, bah. You too.

More New Scam Calls

They’re baaack. I’ve just received another of those calls from the “Windows Service Center” which I sadly didn’t have the time to entertain, as I’ve done previously. Being dinner time, they got short shrift, but here’s the latest spiel:

Hello, is that Mr. Cook?

Yes, it is.

Who am I speaking to?

It’s Ami, calling from the Windows Service Center – I was calling to ask if you have a Windows computer at your location in (wrong suburb)?

Yes, I do.

And are you the main user of that computer?

Yes, I am.

I see. Mr Cook, we are calling to let you know that our systems here are detecting a large number of error messages that are causing Internet users to complain to us, and they are coming from your address in (wrong suburb).

I see; that’s very strange. Why did you need to ask me if I had a Windows computer here? Wouldn’t the error messages tell you that information?

Oh, yes, Mr Cook, we know, but we needed to make sure we were talking to the right person, and that you know.

That sounds silly – i understand what you are trying to do, and I don’t have time to talk to you now.

Not even five minutes?

No, I think I’ve been already more than generous with my time. Thank you.

As always, the best advice in these situations is to end the call quickly without providing specific information beyond the phone book entry they have already consulted, and call your friendly local computer geek if you need more reassurance.

On the impracticality of a cheeseburger

At 2 minutes to 12, with a lunar eclipse fading in the sky, I finally learned my ‘something new’ for today. I can rest easy.

A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.

via Waldo Jaquith – On the impracticality of a cheeseburger..

BONWAG Turns 17

Another big BONWAG Birthday – it’s reached the age of consent for South Australia and Tasmania, but still has a year to go in Queensland.

To think that all those years ago there was no such thing as a ‘blogs’, ‘social networks’ or ‘web content management systems’ – BONWAG was ahead of its time as a web journal, lovingly crafted out of raw, grain-fed ASCII and free-range command line FTP and terminal sessions. It’s been many years since I needed to CHMOD 777 my CGI (as Geoff Petersen would say: is that code? Why, yes: yes it is.)

In the past year, I’ve probably shoveled more words into Twitter than this blog, but fear not – fairding.com will remain the one stop shop for all flavours of bonwaggery – from MySpace and Geocities to Unthink and Google Plus, and whatever comes next.

(BTW: why is is that even today, no-one ever gets the ‘fairding.com’ joke?)

For a dose of history; visit the first post, or visit the archive of the earliest known version of BONWAG.

Tech Cafe: Two For One Special

Café

Two for the price of one today: today’s caffeine-enriched chat, and one we missed from a few weeks back about Parenting, that a few people have asked for.

Today, we had a more-rambling-than-usual conversation about what it takes to ‘get it out there’; publishing words, pictures and music online. Both Rod and I are bloggers from waaay back, but there are plenty of other new avenues to make yourself heard above the background noise of the internet. Please enjoy:

A few weeks ago, we also discussed ‘Parenting‘ (which we later followed up with ‘Family‘), and how technology has made it bother harder and easier to be a parent.

Special note: next week show is discussing ‘Rules for Technology’; and we’ve already started discussing what some good rules might be: feel free to join in!

Let’s Talk About Tech

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Image via Wikipedia

I enjoyed catching up with Rod in a cafe earlier this week to have a chat about technology and The Facebook. I suspect there were listening devices in this particular cafe, because it appears the entire conversation has been recorded and posted online. I knew I should have checked my privacy settings.

It seems I enjoy the prospect of JD‘s morning coffee more than my privacy, so there’ll be more conversations each Wednesday morning at Sonshine fm – I’m a sucker for a cuppa. You can join by SMS or Phone or Facebook or any of a number of other avenues we’ll be discussing in coming weeks.