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Preview: Beware the Kumquad

Beware the Kumquad

I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.

Updated: 2014-10-07T03:46:58.977+02:00


I've been gone. So long.


I haven't used this place in ages. Most of this is because I'm a lazy fuck who can't be bothered to invest the time, part of it is because most of my time nowadays is spent drinking myself to death, but the most important psychological block is that I have a tumblr, which in my mind replaced this place.

Those of you with brains obviously realize that tumblr and a propr blogr (anyone else think this "r"-suffix thing really needs to die?) are different things there for different purposes, so I think I'll revive this (or replace it with something else, I just need an actual blog to tell the none of you who are reading to belch forth all the bile the world is provoking in me), so check back. I've got a lot of things that piss me off that I wish to talk about in an overly verbose fashion.

Special Preview: The iPad is stupid and if you buy one you're either stupid or iBrainwashed.

New place


I've got a new home on the web! Since I never get off my ass to actually post here, I thought I'd go over to a venue that emphasizes shorter posts, thus allowing me to keep my nerd status up by putting my verbal diarrhoea somewhere without actually putting any effort into it. Life is sweet. Except for the part where it sucks.

I'm going away from here.


I'll be leaving for Argentina on Saturday. The awesomeness of the trip will be reflected (however dimly) in the pictures I will bring back on the memory chips of my Pentax picture box, equipped as it is with a brand new lightbending attachment made of pure unicorn bones.
Also, Warren Ellis' webcomic will launch soon:

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My ideal phone may be tantalizingly close


The phone I use right now is my favourite phone I ever used. It's a Benq S68, and it's awesome because it's just a phone. My philosophy with tech is that I'd rather have something that does one thing well than something that tries to do a whole lot of thing and fails at one or more of them. For example, I always thought including an incredibly crappy camera in phones was stupid: The camera sucks, and the phone is bigger and more expensive as a result.
Of course I'd love to have a phone that can do more than the average phone, but I've never seen one that is still a good phone as a result, but now we're getting tantalizingly close:
Wil Wheaton mentioned in his SG column how much he liked his new Helio Ocean, and I have to admit, that thing is already well on the way to being something I'd want to use. But, here's what my absolute ideal phone would be:
It would obviously still have to perform very well at its primary function, but I don't think we need to talk about this. The other features just shouldn't sap so much battery life from it that I need to recharge it every night, because that shit is tedious, yo.
It should be reasonably compact. Most "smartphones" I've seen are big enough that I'd have to buy a murse to lug it around (they don't even fit in my Urban Tool holster.
It needs reasonable internet access with email integration (gmail would be great, pop3 would be fine) since I'm fucking tired of not being able to look up stuff on the go.
It needs a qwertz keyboard. This didn't used to be a major issue, because I never used SMS anyway, but I've been fiddling with twitter and other tumbleblogs recently, and I just hate hate hate having to write entries with ten measly buttons. I feel the Ocean has an awesome solution to this; that dual-slider thing is dead sexy.
IM integration. I never even considered this until I saw the Ocean does it, but IM integration would fucking rock. I'd just love having my contacts at my fingertips all the time. Only problem with the Ocean? It doesn't do fucking Jabber. Seriously, how can you miss Jabber? They do Windows Live IM - or whatever the fuck it's called - AIM and something else, I think. Not only is Jabber open and well-documented, so it can't be that hard to implement, it's also used by Google Talk, so they could have added another recognized brandname to their list. Well, hopefully they'll add that.
But the seriously mostest sexiest thing about the ocean is GPS with Google Maps integration. It's so brilliant I peed a little. Want. So. Much. I'm not buying another phone without this.
So basically, if Helio built the ocean without a camera (they can leave it in, but meh), Jabber capabilties and, you know made it available where I live, I'd be so all over that. Of course, I'd also have to get myself a cellphone plan with unlimited data transfer, because right now that stuff is fucking extortion in Germany.

Iraq is an utter clusterfuck.


Maj. Gen. William Caldwell:
Our success in Iraq depends on our ability to treat the civilian population with humanity and dignity, even as we remain ready to immediately defend ourselves or Iraqi civilians when a threat is detected.

And as this article from The Nation shows, that ability doesn't exist. Neat, huh?

On Faith. Nobody could have said this better.


One of the best thing said, ever:
Yeah. I'm calling your "faith" bullshit. This man needs medical help if he can't get through his life without something invisible to believe in. Y'know, I wouldn't mind all this half so much if there was some historical truth in it. This whole concept of "faith"— of believing in something that isn't fucking there— was invented by a man to cover up the cracks in the "christianity" he cobbled together with the Romans. This whole god thing comes from the days when our brains weren't as connected up as they are now, and we all hallucinated daily!

It was, of course, written by Warren Ellis and said by Spider Jerusalem.

Flickr, thank you for protecting my feeble brain from teh boobies.


So, apparently Flickr feels the need to protect me from the evil that is the boobies in this shot from the Suicidegirls stream. It says this is some Safesearch protection, although I have that bullshit explicitly turned off. I hear it's about Yahoo being afraid of German courts or something.
Fuck Flickr.
Fuck German courts.
I need two things now: An alternative to Flickr that doesn't feel the need to protect my feeble me, and a tool to get my pictures from Flickr before I delete my account.

EDIT: Zooomr is looking pretty good right now.

The stupid, it hurts.


Wow. AACS head honcho Micheal Ayers is either incredibly stupid, in denial or lying through his teeth. But I guess at least two of those are a requirement to work in the DRM field. No bonus points for Mr. Doctorow for "liking" Ayers. The man is reprehensible. And what makes me fucking want to puke is that he actually may have the law on his side. And even if he doesn't, the giant consumer-fucking machine that he is a little cog of can certainly afford good enough lawyers that it doesn't really matter.

On What I Believe


I believe in the self-sufficiency of the Human Meat Machine. I believe that we, the Extraordinary Flesh Machine Corps, make our own way in this wholly wondrous universe, and that all the wonders we wreak are our own, as are our atrocities. I believe that the Amazing Flesh Computer every one of us is equipped with is a mighty tool, a tool mighty enough to decide and to deduct, to discern what is Right from what is Wrong. I am proud when I or my brethren in Meatship use this tool to correctly discern this difference and act accordingly, as this is a decision made under our own Computational Power, and I am sad when this tool fails somewhere in this process and mistakes are made; I therefore believe that our existence is cheapened by the supposition that a set of moral commandments, handed down from on high, coupled to the promise of eternal doom and despair should we stray, is necessary to keep us moral.
Atheism is not an absence of belief. It is not the anti-belief, at least not for me. I do not believe in nothing. I believe in Meat Machines, self reliance, emergent systems, science, and evidence. My belief is strong, and it gives me comfort, pride, and peace of mind. And sometimes it gives me grief, when I have to struggle with the stupidity that has still not been eradicated, but I never have to struggle to reconcile my system of belief with what is happening, because all of this is contained therein.

Tinkering, tinkering


So, while switching to the new-fangled customizable layout I thought I'd change the look of this place completely. So far, I like the new look, and I definitely like working with the new layout in the background. As with nearly all things Google does, the interface is straightforward and good. It doesn't afford me the kind of control manual editing would, but as you can tell from my post frequency, I don't really want to put that much time into this (and the little time I do put into it better be spent posting), so I'm really grateful for this.

Lord, send brains. Oh Lord, we need them so.


I can't fucking believe that a site like is incapable of fucking telling "its" and "it's" apart. It boggles my fucking mind.
Dear Lord, this fucking place is going down the shithole. I think I need to work harder on getting off this fucking dirtball before everything goes fucking sideways. I'll be at the cornershop buying more, stronger, deadlier smokes and booze.

Google won't believe me that I'm hep to the jive


Google is my tool of choice. I use it. If I need to find information, Google will do it for me. But the way it handles language preferences really bothers me. For starters, when I want to access I get redirected to ("Silly user! You presume to know where you want to go!"), which is also set to "search for German results only" by default. Now, my English is for all intents and purposes as good as my German, so in order to get the best search results possible I, of course, set it to "all the web" instead of just German language results. It's then that I find out that, while now English (and Russian and similar, too) results are now displayed, Google still feels it has to account for my Germanity by somehow ranking results in German higher than those in other languages (Gee, thanks. I was really worried I'd get results in some unintelligeble goobledigook when I hit the "all the web"-button); Looking in my personal Google preferences, I find that I have the "search for any language" button enabled. It infuriates me slightly that the site doesn't seem to honor that, and skews the results in favor of German sites, which is usually not the result I am looking for. So I choose English as my language of choice, which is of course not the best thing either: Now my results are skewed towards the English language (which gives me better results due to the prevalence of English on the web, but still), and it also removes the "Search for German results only" option from the search page, which is really bothersome for when I do want to find something in German.
I find this way of Google to pretend it's giving me results in "any" language while it's actually only considering anything that isn't German as second-tier results bothersome and more than a little condescending: I didn't choose "any" language to feel cosmopolitan while still secretly wishing I never get to see anything in a scary language I didn't grow up with. I actually want to see the top websites that contain the terms "rainbow brite tentacle xxx triple penetration". Even if it's just to go "huh" when the top three results are in French and Hungarian. Because I want software to do what I want it to, not what it thinks i actually want it to.


That is how they get information. For true!


is the most fucking awesome post about the most recent "security measures" due to the latest "terrorist plot":
Intelligence about the Hair-Gel Bombers was extracted through torture in Pakistan, as in "Please stop electrocuting my testicles! What? Only if I reveal a -- OWWWWWW -- terrorist plot -- AAAAAAHH? All right -- SCREEEECH! -- the terrorists will be blowing up a plane with, with, oh man, I don't know, hair gel! Yes! Hair gel!"

Boing Boing is my most favourite place on the web and I'm totally gay for Cory Doctorow's brain.


Finally, a good option for anonymity on the intar wub


The Swedish Pirat Partiet announced the launch of a commercial high capacity darknet.
Up to now, I had been using tor for my IP obfuscation needs, but, let's face it: I'd like to hide my IP not only with surfing, but with all my connections, including the more bandwidth intensive ones (the tor guys kind of frown on using bittorrent over their net. Also, it doesn't work very well). So, naturally, the announcement that I could get a swedish IP including 128bit encryption to the internet tubes in Swedania had me very excited.
There are two reasons why I haven't signed up yet:
  • The website of the project looks a little shady since it has little information. Also, the information there is smells slightly of snake-oil: They say that their equipment has "no speed limit" and make it sound as though the only slowdown to expect comes from the fact that all connections are routed through Sweden. While I'm sure their equipment is impressive, should five million people sign up tomorrow I really doubt all those people would experience no slowdown.

  • The only available method of payment is credit card. Credit cards are not my friends. In fact, they are one more gigantic hole in my pockets; my pockets already have enough huge holes. Add a credit card and the bank would have to refill the red ink in their printers every time I get an account statement. I've already sent them an email asking them to add more payment options. More, I say!

If that service works half as well as they advertise, 5 bucks a month is really a steal for security from RIAA and fellow goons. Only thing I'm a little worried about are my gaming pings. Anyway I'll update you when I get to try this out.


I just love that new software smell


The best decision I made in the last two-or-so weeks was installing MoinMoin Desktop Edition, which is a small wiki engine. The package is just about 3MB and after unpacking runs a very small webserver that gives you access to your very own personal wiki on localhost.
The awesomeness of having a desktop wiki cannot be overstated: the mess of text files that used to be my braindump is now a tidy, searchable MoinMoin-style wiki. Linking and categorizing is really nice too.
I've been managing an installation of Mediawiki at work, getting ready to maybe use it as a corporate wiki. After playing around with MoinMoin, though, I'm rather sure that I will be scrapping that and putting a MoinMoin in its place.
  • MoinMoin markup seems a lot easier to me. Especially linking is more fun. You are encouraged to name pages in MoinMoin in CamelCase, and words like that are automatically converted into links. At first this is slightly strange, but after you get used to it, it's actually really sweet. If that ain't your thing you can link pages with "normal" markup, too, of course. Also, tables are easier to make.

  • MoinMoin has a wysiwyg editor built in, ajax style. One of the problems I would have had with introducing MediaWiki at work would have been the markup: my coworkers are not very technical, and it would have been hard to get them to swallow something as abstract as a markup language. The builtin wysiwyg thing in MoinMoin crosses that bridge for me.

  • It's Python! While that doesn't actually mean anything to most people, I'm a fool for anything written in Python.

  • Apparently, MoinMoin has full support for nicely grainy access control; I hadn't been able to get that kind of thing working under mediawiki, although maybe I didn't look hard enough (I looked reasonably hard).


The best kind of memento is one you can't misplace, ever


Remember how I said my Narbonic book was my favourite San Francisco souvenir? Well, a couple of days later I got an even better one:For quite some time, I have been thinking about getting myself tattooed. Then, about half a year ago, I ordered the Ass in your Pants shirt from the Achewood store. As a freebie, there was a Rabbit Ambulance temporary tattoo in there; you can probably guess what happened next. I put it on, and it looked great, so I decided I had to have it permanently, except bigger and more painful. I emailed Chris Onstad about it, who seemed to like the idea and sent me hi-res pictures of the art in question (Thanks, Mr Onstad!), so I started looking at tattoo places. But when I was in San Francisco I felt it was the perfect opportunity, so I looked around on the inter nets a little bit and called around. The shop I chose originally was all booked up, so they referred me over to One Shot, and I have to say I'm awesomely thankful for that. I called there, and I made an appointment with Sky for the last day of my stay, which we pulled forward to one day earlier because of a scheduling conflict (I'm pretty glad, since I realize now that twelve hours on a plane with a fresh tattoo wouldn't have been much fun. Scratch that, it would have sucked.) so on Tuesday I headed over there.I found that One Shot is a wonderful shop and Sky is a very cool dude who put me right at ease (I was more than a little nervous). We talked the whole time he was working on me and I really have to thank him for making it a pleasant experience. The moment the needle touced my skin wasn't nearly as bad as I thought and overall tattoing isn't that bad, pain-wise (although I think I'd have trouble taking it for more than three hours). Afterwards, Sky even invited me along to have a beer with him and Greg at the Little Shamrock which is not only extremely cozy but apparently also the second oldest bar in SF. I had a great time there, and a great time before getting my tattoo so all in all, it was pretty much the best day ever.When I got home after and "tended to my wounds", there was just a little more blood on my bandage than I expected, but as per the instructions I just washed it, put the ointment and a clean t-shirt on, and went to bed. Next morning: the horror! The fact aside that I had a (permanent?) decal of my tattoo on my t-shirt, the bed had gotten quite a bit of ink, too (I sure am glad that I was not only sleeping in a hotel, but in a hotel I was going to check out of that day), and I wasn't really prepared for that; I am however told that this is quite normal, so if you have a fresh tattoo and woke up this morning to dirty linen, you are not an ink-sweating freak, but you should chill out. Anyway, that and a little soreness aside, aftercare seems to be going well and I'll supply some more pictures as soon as healing is conluded and I can coerce someone to take them, since I didn't get it in a location where I can easily take pictures myself. Also, I think I need to take up bodybuilding so my awesome tat doesn't have to sit on such a pasty, flabby un-awesome shoulder. Peace out, blogosphere!tags: tattoo San Francisco travel[...]

APE is awesome


Today's day was all business, so there isn't really much to tell there. But! Yesterday! Oh, yesterday! During yesterday's webcomic trawl I found out that, wonder of wonders, APE was in San Francisco that weekend, and Shaenon K. Garrity was going to be there. There was no way I was going to miss that! The expo was awesome, even though I didn't have that much time to roam around; I'm used to being the only person for miles and miles who reads these things, and being in a large convention space with likeminded people, with people whose work I admire selling their stuff, it blew my mind a little bit. Here are some pictures.
Awesomely, I came for Shaenon Garrity, but the first thing I saw entering the hall was Stephen Notley's table; so now I'm a proud owner of a signed Angry Flower comic. Much love also to Jason Shiga, from whom I bought a Fleep book (I'm so stoked to see this printed!). But the high point was certainly chatting with Ms Garrity, and the Narbonic book with her signature and the little Helen sketch (so adorabwe!) in it is definetely my favorite souvenir of this trip.
Also, I bought Metroid Prime Hunters, and it is several shades of hawesome.


San Francisco is where all the gay people are!


Most of today was made of driving from LA to San Francisco, and there's not a whole lot to see on the way, so I mostly played Advance Wars DS (dude, that game gets hard after the first dozen missions). What I did do though that was pretty awesome is in one of those small grocerie stores by the freeway I completely pigged out on a couple of american snack foods I only ever read about, like Cheetos, beef jerky, Oreos, Hershey bars and root beer. Man, those americans have this unhealthy food thing down pat!
After checking into the hotel we still had time to wander around Fisherman's Wharf for a while, and I tell you, I'm liking SF quite a ways better than LA up to now. I didn't know there were such awesome street performers here!

So this is LA


(image) I've spent two and a half days in LA now, and while it's interesting, I must say I'm somewhat underwhelmed. LA seems to be this sprawling, spread out thing, with lots of small flat houses being most of it; It's absolutely impossible to get anywhere without a car, and only barely possible with one.
The business thing yesterday went well (and also the people we were meeting with took us to an absolutely awesome Mexican restaurant. Speaking of which: Guacamole? Food of the gods), so today we did the whole tourist thing. Mostest awesome to me was Downtown, mostly because it matched my expectation of an American metropolis pretty well; Also we had a great chinese meal at Grand Central Public Market, sitting down at this really basic stall. Somehow, awesome. What really cheesed me off was that I wanted to check out the Marvel Super Hero Exposition at California Sciencentre, but guess what? It closed at five. Yeah.
Tomorrow, we'll be driving over to San Francisco. Me? Looking forward. Peace out, blogosphere!

Don't be blue no more, daddy's back


Hello, blogosphere. I know, I've been gone. Baby, it's not your fault. I'm sorry, baby. I'm back, baby. Sort of. See, I've just finished packing for my business trip to the U of S of A (can you believe that?) tomorrow, and tomorrow I'll be leaving, and I'll be taking pictures for your sisterlet Flickr and I'll be taking lots of notes for you, baby. You won't have to feel left out anymore. Peace out, blogosphere. Be good. Be good for daddy.

Rock out with your camera out


(image) When I heard that Petra was going to celebrate her birthday at Swing-a-Ling, I knew it was going to be even more awesome than the usual Monday night at Cord in Munich. So I bought the most sensitive films I could find and brought my cameras along. I already uploaded most of the pictures to Flickr (there are still some Black & Whites on the way I'll have to scan myself), but all in all, I'm a bit disappointed with the results. They are all hella grainy (which actually looks interesting on the B&W shots) and due to my goddamn jittery hands (I have a condition, you see) most of the pictures are hella blurred (especially the ones with people dancing) or the colours are all washed out because of the flash. Next time I'll bring my tripod (which apparently *isn't* overkill) so at least the only blur will be from people moving, and not my hands shaking.
Sadly, none of the pictures I took with my LOMO Action Sampler came out. It seems that camera needs a lot more light, even with 1600 smackers of light sensitivity all hella up in there. Dig?

Little Things


It's the little things that get to you. Like the headaches, or the blood shooting out of your eyes at inopportune times. Yea, I'll just take a raincheck on that dessert, mom, but dinner was delicious.
It's the little things that get to you. Like when you want to quit shooting, snorting, huffing and dropping because you squirted blood all over your mother's delicious creme brulee and also the pain and the daytime hallucinations, but when some chick has her tits in your face and she's offering you a tab with her tongue while her friend whispers something about snorting it off her shaved pussy later, it's really hard, saying "no", you know? By the way, that might have been one of those daytime hallucinations I was telling you about. Somehow make driving my cab a little harder, too.
It's the little things that get to you, like when you're lying on a gorgeus sandy beach like straight out of a postcard and you close your eyes for a moment because if you get any more relaxed you just might dissolve and then you rip them open again because your fare is screaming at you in her stupid fucking language and you oh shit gotta dodge and you nearly plow into the fucker in the other lane and you manage to screech to a halt halfway up the curb and then the dumb foreign bitch staggers out yea sure lady ride's on me and then you need something for the shakes. Just a little something. Just a small one. Ain't no thing. Just. A. Little.
I can quit any time I want to.

When the writer is so good that the funny isn't enough


(image) Questionable Content's writing (art, too, but that's not what this is about) is very brilliant. Jacques is very good at giving us enough story in a strip while keeping the funny in there, that I dread the day when he misses his next update. This is not all good, because this way, he has spoiled us horridly, so much so, in fact, that I felt strangely unsatisfied by today's installment. Look at it, it's fucking hilarious (LOOK AT IT!), but it does nothing to advance the story, and at this point in the story, I wouldn't care if Pintsize made me barf out a lung from laughing; I want to know whether Marten bangs the OCD chick. And if he doesn't, what Faye's reaction will be when she finds out where he spent the night and of course she'll think and Dora's brother and Raven and ZOMG GOBBLE GOBBLE

Stand by, we are experiencing technical difficulties


I am terribly behind on the "Crack from Blackdog" thing I promised I would be doing, and yesterday I bricked my laptop that had the draft for the next installment sitting on it. Curses! Why did I not use Blogger's Draft feature, you ask? Why, because I wanted to be able to work on the entry should I be somewhere without connection. Didn't that work well? To atone for my sins, I give you the Ultimate Awesome (via Websnark)

We are gathered here today...


(image) I am sad today because Richard Pryor is dead. More than once, his programs nearly cost me my life because I was laughing my head off when I should have been paying attention to traffic; he was not just funny, but thought-provoking and instructional. Here's to the funniest motherfucker ever lived. (via