starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-09-18 12:24 am

"Just use LibreOffice" shouldn't be a kneejerk reaction

Okay, something I need to get off my chest. As a result, I'm making a cut so you don't have to deal with text flood.


Read more... )
starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-09-06 02:13 pm

SID (C64) music is so nice here's some music to help lighten your day.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-28 08:12 am

Selling fanart is NOT always illegal

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one. I'm not dispensing legal advice, nor am I actually touching on how the law works. I'm a creator who's stating an opinion, as per my First Amendment rights.)

Thanks to FA user ReezyTheGarchomp posting a journal about it, I became aware of a video from Rambutan Illustrations titled "Is Fanart ILLEGAL?". Clickbait title aside, the video itself is well written and worded, proper disclaimers were provided about the artist not being a lawyer, and research was done on the subject.

However, it's very clear that it wasn't a lot of research, likely consisting of Google searches on the subject. I say this because, in their cited sources, there are no links to actual laws provided, nor are there any cited case laws in which these laws are put into practice. The only sources she cites are Nintendo's very simple page on copyright, a post from Toby Fox about how he wishes his IP and copyrights to be used, a post from Redbubble about the previous post from Toby Fox, and a video from a laywer's talk at COMIC CON.

However, this comes from someone who doesn't want people selling fan works of their intellectual property (thus a conflict of interest to begin with), and really wasn't given the due diligence that the subject deserves.

I'm not ripping on Rambutan Illustrations for posting this. She did a lot of hard work in making this thing. But IP, copyright, and trademark law is very complex. Far more so than a simple 10 or 30 minute video could even hope to cover.

Concepts like "generic characters vs specific characters", "generic species vs individual character", "Is it copyright or is it a trademark?", and even something as simple as "What are the creator's wishes?" are all factors that have to be taken into account. Works involving original characters aren't held to the same laws as canonical characters, as a species isn't always afforded the same protections under IP and trademark law.

If you want an example of this, I suggest reading "The Protection of Fictional Characters" by Ivan Hoffman, B.A. J.D..

For another quick example: a generic Pokemon trainer is an idea, while Ash Ketchum/Satoshi is a developed character. The latter will have far more protections under law than the former will, especially in the sale of merchandise. Likewise, a generic Lucario character is a generic idea, but once its given a name, gender, backstory, etc..., then it becomes a developed character, at which point lawful protections change, and may even grant the creator of this original character rights that the species creator would not be able to override.

That all said, this is a subject that is more complex than even I myself can tackle, much less Rambutan. We've both looked into the subject, but it goes much farther than one would know from a quick web search.

Leave these subjects to the lawers. Don't take the word of someone outside of the law world as canoncial proof that something is or isn't illegal. That goes for myself as well. Always consult a lawyer when in doubt!!!!

That is all.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-28 05:49 am

What happened to Mozilla?

Before I get into my mini-rant, a bit of backstory.

I'm a huge Mozilla supporter. I enjoyed using Mozilla Suite 1.0, and SeaMonkey when it became that. I enjoyed using Thunderbird. I enjoyed using Firefox OS. I enjoyed using Firefox... Note that I'm saying enjoyed in the past tense.

Thunderbird is effectively dead in the water outside of maintenance releases. SeaMonkey is having problems keeping up because of a lack of dev power and infrastructure. Firefox OS was killed off completely with a massive middle finger to the community (more on that in a moment). And Firefox itself? Well, I'll get to that later.

So... Here's my question: What in this blue marble's name happened to Mozilla?

Sometime prior to the ousting of Brendan Eich, it seemed like Mozilla Community were starting to get shafted quite heavily by lower management within Mozilla Corporation/Mozilla Foundation. SeaMonkey was downgraded to being a community-run project (and benefited greatly at first), and Thunderbird followed relatively soon behind it. Meanwhile, Firefox OS looked like it might've started to gain some ground, especially in Japan and India.

Then, the concentrated attack on Brendan Eich came from so-called LGBTQ allies (they certainly weren't my allies) within Mozilla Community, and within a few days of taking on the CEO role, he was out of the company entirely.

Since Chris Beard took control of the company, the place has slowly become more and more corporate on the public-facing side. It's like we're talking to old Microsoft, not a company that values community and the open web. And this can easily be seen in their "Take back the open web" campaigns, where everything is worded in such a sterile and uncaring manner. Even the Mozilla IRL podcast sounds bland and corporate, and I've heard Veronica Belmont when she's at her utmost best thanks to the old CNet Buzz Out Loud podcast.

Then there's Mozilla Blog, which used to feel quite personal, but now looks and feels more like a corporate activism landing page.

And also the "Open Design" thing they recently did. It didn't feel open. It felt like they got someone to make some designs, had some people give a bit of feedback, then disregarded that feedback for focus groups and random polling from people on the street. The whole process often felt like a giant middle finger to the community. (Aside: They're doing the same to Mozilla Developer Network, and it looks like an eyesore, but I doubt they care.)

And lately, there was the debacle with Firefox OS...

Not long after releasing what can be considered a flagship phone for the OS, the LG Fx0, Mozilla pulled the carpet out from under the project, and didn't even give community developers a chance to take over. "Sorry, it's done. Forget we had anything here." That's how it felt the were acting.

Now, during the Open Design project, Mozilla mentioned that they didn't want to just be known as the "Firefox guys"... And yet they keep making themselves exactly that!

Firefox OS is gone. They don't work on Thunderbird or SeaMonkey (or provide them with infrastructure to continue the projects easily). MDN is made for devs, not users. Their web literacy stuff is practically invisible among the open web campaigns. And to make matters worse, they've effectively closed off the two things that could let them fight evenly with Chrome: XULRunner/WebRunner/Prism (an Electron-style app framework), and keeping Gecko separate from Firefox's core.

Gecko is becoming integrated more tightly with the browser, which is part of the reason they've been killing off projects that use modern Gecko. It's also why Goanna and the Pale Moon project exist, keeping XUL and such alive where Firefox isn't.

Oh, and Mozilla have considered bringing parts of Chrome into Firefox, including Chrome's PDF reader (which is inferior to Mozilla's own PDF.js) and Flash replacement. They're already committed to replacing the old plug-in infrastructure with Chrome's Web Extensions API.

To that extent, I've begun to wonder if they're actually just slowly giving up to Chrome, or if perhaps someone is trying to sabotage the project by bringing in a bunch of Google-backed projects to replace Mozilla's own. I'm pretty sure that's happening at Microsoft, and I wouldn't put it past Google to act like IBM used to with their tricks. But that's just speculation and opinion.

Personally, I've started using Pale Moon and FossaMail (the latter of which is discontinued) for web and email. I still want to support Instantbird for IM, and projects like Nightingale and NVu/KompoZer/BlueGriffon that use XULRunner. They're great projects, and deserve a lot more respect. Something which Mozilla doesn't seem to want to give to the overall community these days.

I miss the days before the politically-fueled ousting of Eich, when Mozilla still felt like the community-driven project that it started out as. I don't like the corporate crap that's befallen it. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to call myself a fan of the company, and what it's become.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-28 03:38 am

SJWs shouldn't be applauded

 Something I’ve noticed lately is the idea that being a “Social Justice Warrior” is becoming lauded by people. This idea of “punching Nazis” and attacking anyone who does something that offends people…

I don’t agree with white supremacist assholes. I don’t agree with assholes in general. But it also isn’t right to terrorize people in the name of peaceful protests, where those affected don’t want “help” dealing with their issues with such force.

As someone who is non-binary, trans*, and dragonkin…Well, I fear Trans* allies and LGBTQA allies more than I fear the transphobic people. They stir up trouble, get transphobic people riled up, and trans* people like myself are the ones who get hurt the most. And speaking against the “allies” tends to only get the speaker hurt, because they plow through anyone they view as “standing in the way of justice”.

Social activism is needed in this world. But not to the level so many people tend to take it. Not to the level of violence, destruction, and terror-inducing actions that come out of many such groups.

These people say they’re against “hate”, but in the end, I honestly think many of them have more hate than their targets. I fear the “allies”, not the enemies.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-28 03:36 am

Artists work as well

 A reminder to many people out there who seem to forget this (now in sharable form):

Just because someone isn’t driving to an office, sitting behind a desk, and pretending to be an adult under some useless manager’s thumb, doesn’t mean they’re unemployed. Artists, writers, musicians, independent consultants, programmers, crafters… MANY jobs allow someone to stay at home and work, make just as much money as the person pulling a paycheck from some crummy office job, and isn’t as soul-crushing!

Respect people who do these jobs. It’s much harder than you think, especially when family, accidents, distractions, and the like get involved. They don’t have as much to fall back on as people who sit in meetings all day, but they do a lot of hard and fulfilling work to earn what they make.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-23 02:44 pm

More Discord woes

Just a few minutes ago, I was using Discord when I accidentally clicked on one of the voice channels. It didn't ask me if I wanted to join it, but just tried to authenticate and have me join it regardless. The app crashed in the middle of this process, and wouldn't come back up no matter what I tried.

So, I uninstalled it, removed the remaining folders that the uninstaller left behind (ugh...), and reinstalled it. Turns out the initial crash had left my sound system unstable as well, so rather than risking a BSoD, I rebooted. However, I also decided that I'd only use the browser version, because the Chromium-based desktop version is honestly worse shite than Skype's ever been.

This goes to show that people can have very different experiences with even the most simple software-hardware combinations. While many people have had problems (and scares) from Skype, I've had problems with Discord, and no doubt many have had issues with the likes of IRC, XMPP, AIM, etc... The idea of "it works for me, so it should just work for you" just doesn't work in tech, and it's rather insulting toward people who have legitimate issues.

Also, as an aside: If you're worried about your Skype getting hacked, remember that it's due to the use of OAuth that such hacks exist. Twitter and Google have been bitten by them as well. Guess what Discord has~ So don't expect much more than the exact same issues from them until they remove that pile of garbage from their code.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-08-22 05:10 am

Writing and the Furry Community

As I sit here waiting for my laptop to finish updating--mostly after trying to get Python (bleh) working in Visual Studio and killing my previous install of Windows 7--I wandered over to one of the furry communities I'm part of, and...well... Let's just say I've never been impressed with how this particular community handles itself. I wasn't impressed tonight, either.

That made me want to say something very clearly: The furry fandom has been very accepting of writers in general. While not as widely viewed as art, stories are often well-received by furs of all walks. And new writers are often aided by others, either with proofreading or tips, though not always to the welcoming arms of the author.

Then you have certain communities where the elitism tends to run rampant. SoFurry, at least in my eyes, is one of those communities. Spurred by a small collection of professional and semi-professional writers, I've noticed that that particular site tends to be far from welcoming. Whether it's the degrading star rating system that's easily abused, the lack of eyes on all but the most well-known authors, or the general lack of positive feedback from many of the more well-respected members, the site tends to anchor itself low on my list of acceptable risks in regards to upload locations.

And yet, I don't see that anywhere else. I know SoFurry used to be known as YiffStar, a site that featured stories above all else, but this seems more like something that grew from SoFurry's willingness to bend over backwards for its most prolific writers.

This is saddening, because SoFurry has the best features for writers, and yet, they're mocked or disliked by professional authors on the site: the ability to give downloadable ePub files to visitors (PDF would be better, but ePub is nice), professional formatting through the web interface (many professional writers prefer to typeset their own works), tagging system to make the story show up for the right categories (with some tag clouds being larger than the stories themselves), and threaded comments to interact with the audience. There's quite a bit more, but these features are very helpful for writers just starting out.

Instead, FurAffinity and Weasyl tend to be the best for newcomers. FurAffinity has support for various file formats and a large userbase, while Weasyl has a relatively large userbase of its own, and the ability to display PDFs and Google Docs uploads directly on the submission page. They also support thumbnails for marking stories with custom artwork or, better yet, small tag groups to let people know what to expect.

Above all else, FA and Weasyl tend to have the best communities for newcomers. Yeah, they have their bad seeds, but nowhere near the elitism I see from SoFurry's community.

Just a thought.
starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2017-01-21 05:42 am

Why I don’t like Discord

So, for those who haven’t heard of it, Discord is a gamer-centric “replacement” for Skype and TeamSpeak, with both text and voice chat (though no video calls). A lot of people have started using it almost exclusively.

Personally, I haven’t been all too impressed with it, but as of late, it’s become a pain in my shiny tail. Between crashes that’ve forced me to reboot, to having games lose frames just from having Discord running at the time, to losing enitre multi-paragraph posts because Discord wipes the UI if you disconnect!

Yeah, something lost to a lot of people is that, for the desktop release, Discord is effectively a poorly-coded web app that’s been plopped into a Chromium/Electron instance. If you’re disconnected for any reason, it fully wipes the UI and replaces it with the initial “connecting” loader. That’s not even a beginner’s mistake. Beginners working with desktop apps don’t make those types of anti-user mistakes.

On top of this, there’s no local logging of text conversations, so if they lose your logs, you’re fucked. Better hope you manually copy/pasted what you wrote. Even Skype, a product they keep saying is inferior to their own, offers this courtesy. Skype also doesn’t wipe the UI if you suddenly go offline, and instead allows you to re-send once you’re reconnected.

Oh! And I should also add that it took them more than a year to implement the basic ability to set your presence status in Discord, and they seemed to rather shortly after my mate Calyo complained about it on Twitter. Before then, you were either online, set to idle if you left your system for a bit, or offline if you didn’t have the app launched. Skype, TeamSpeak, IRC, XMPP, AIM, YIM, etc… all allow you to at least set yourself as “AFK/Away” manually, with others allowing for Do Not Disturb, Invisible, and even other status modes.

Then there’s small things, like being put into text channels whether you want to be there or not, and the inability to leave a channel on a server without admins actively removing you from it. They add up pretty damn fast.

With all of the problems I and my mate Sildrae have been having, I really don’t like using Discord. It’s been a nightmare for me, and the instability it causes to all of my machines is far worse than anything Skype’s caused for me.

Of course, I can’t just abandon it. A lot of friends use it, some of them exclusively so. I don’t know what to do at this point, though.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-11-07 09:20 pm

[Thoughtstream] What even IS a blog?


So, I’m sitting here with an empty Word document, and a thought comes to mind: What really is blogging?

Well, a weblog, or blog for short, is an online journal of some sort. Entries are typically found on a public-facing website running a blogging platform of some kind, such as Wordpress, Blogger, or Dreamwidth. Not all entries have to be public-facing, as the blog itself can be placed behind password protection. A vast majority of blogs have some sort of update feed, using RSS or Atom files that are updated with new entries. Many of them also allow for comments from readers.

However, with cloud services like OneDrive, Dropbox, and even Github…do we really need blogging platforms to create a blog?

OneDrive and Google Drive allow folders to be shared publically or privately, with participants informed of new additions. With OneDrive, you can create a DOCX doc online for free with Word Online, or through OneDrive Client and Word 2016/Word Mobile on your local machine. With Google Drive, a Google Docs document can be easily created online. Technically, an RSS feed could be set up with links to new additions as well.

Github also allows for native blogging through Jekyll, and uploads can be done through git pushes.

The storage-based options only have one real issue, and that’s comments. I don’t think public comments are possible with GDrive/OneDrive documents. However, this isn’t an issue for everyone, as comments aren’t a requirement for a blog. Some people prefer Twitter/Facebook replies, or even comments via email.

The only other problem is that storage-based solutions typically aren’t able to get that information into Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo. Again, this isn’t an issue for everyone, as some people prefer not to have their personal blogs indexed. That doesn’t mean the solution isn’t viable.

In all honesty, this has mostly been a pointless thoughtstream, but it’s one that makes me wonder just what it means to be a blogger in this day and age, especially with the options available to everyone.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-11-05 04:39 am

Windows 10 on a Laptop Isn’t Too Bad


Windows 10 on a Laptop Isn’t Too Bad



Category            none


So, I recently had a bit of a problem. My old Samsung Series 5 laptop—which I nicknamed “Failtop” after Samsung decided to void its warrantee when I sent it in—decided to finally had the HDD go belly-up. As a result, I now have a new laptop: one Acer Inspire E 15 series in Obsidian Black. I absolutely love how it looks, even if it feels plastic-y.

Thing is, it runs Windows 10. Anyone who knows me knows that my experience with Win10 has been nothing short of catastrophic, exceeding even my time with Windows ME in terms of OS-side fuck-ups. I’ve made jokes that it’s as stable as a psychopath who lost it years ago and just bought an axe, and that it comes off as just plain shite because of the forced updates. Most of my problem was with my Surface Pro 3, which would require a full OS refresh any time there was a firmware update, just to make it usable for a few weeks at a time.

Well, on this laptop, with Anniversary Update, I can honestly say I’ve had zero problems with Windows 10—aside from forced updates, as that’ll always be a problem to some degree.

Seriously… I’m running this thing with Cortana turned on, and I couldn’t be happier—given my history with the OS. I mean, I’m still sort Windows 10 phones are few and far between, as outside of FirefoxOS, I’ve also always encouraged Windows Phone, mostly as a Lumia 1020 user. Regardless of that, Win10 hasn’t been all that bad.

I like what they’ve done with the Store app, especially with how it examines your system specs and tells you if you can run applications or games that give their spec requirements. It kept me from installing Killer Instinct, as I don’t have the RAM or VRAM for it, and that would have been a waste of time and bandwidth.

Still not a fan of flat design, and even less a fan of the forced flat look of Windows Universal Platform apps, but I’ll live at this point.

We’ll see if this continues. Creator’s Update is coming next year (effectively Service Pack 1.5), so I’ll have to find out if this continues to be a good OS.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-31 10:31 pm

Some thoughts on IM/Chat and the “Paypal Effect”

So, I’m sitting here forcing myself to deal with minor screen tearing from running Discord, and a thought comes to mind. People complain about applications screwing them over, but if those they talk to only use that application, what really gives them the freedom to drop it?

And yes, I’m going there with this, but it brings up a good point. I know people who solely use Telegram + Discord for communications, and refuse to use anything else because it works for them. However, the problem is that it doesn’t work for everyone, especially people who want to keep in contact with them.

Telegram requires a non-VoIP mobile phone number to even sign up for the service, much less use it. Not everyone can afford smartphones, as the ability to purchase such phones is being monitored as if a terrorist is going to pop in any minute and snatch up one to use for a nefarious plot. There’s also the fact that it automatically adds people in your contact list, and if someone else has your phone number, it notifies them the moment you sign up for the service. Oh, and it’s also not trusted by everyone, since they were very wary of having an open audit of their home-built cryptography.

Then there’s Discord, which isn’t too bad…if you have the hardware for it. I myself use a Samsung Series 5 laptop, and while Discord is open, I have minor screen tearing just from moving my mouse. If I start up a game, I lose a full 10-20 FPS so long as Discord is running. Even a game from 1999—Star Trek: Birth of the Federation—begins to chug while it’s running! One of my mates has even had sound issues thanks to Discord being open.

Yet, people will just say they aren’t having the same problems—and probably look at us like we’re doing something wrong. That honestly seems to be the most common response to such issues: it works for me, so it must be your fault.

But here’s where this leads: Why do people so heavily limit themselves to only a few bands of communication? Especially when the choice bands can be struck with outages that leave those who want to talk with them completely unable to.

I completely understand that managing multiple chat applications is annoying. That’s why Trillian, Pidgin, and many other multi-protocol clients were made. However, it also limits interactions rather severely for those who simply can’t move over.

Personally, I’ve been trying to keep myself open on AIM, XMPP, IRC, Skype, Discord, and Telegram (and occasionally Steam when I can remember). I want to drop Discord and Telegram because of just how much trouble they’ve caused me, but 99% of people I talk to are almost exclusively on those two platforms, having moved away from Skype because of issues (which I’ll talk about next post).

What are my options? Well, I can drop those two platforms, but I won’t be talking with many people. Or, I can stay on them and be frustrated to no end. I could also just bide my time and wait until the “next big thing” drops so people move to that, but who knows when that’ll happen.

I dunno. Just some thoughts.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-28 05:46 am

Do I "hate" Microsoft? No. ~IE Edition~ (Part 2)

So, I wanted to separate this from the previous part because it's a bit of a long rant.

TL;DR : I think Internet Explorer 7+ got an unnecessarily bad rap because of IE6, and people don't know how to let go of a grudge.

Long version follows.

So, a lot of people tend to hold Internet Explorer with a lot of contempt. Thanks to how IE6 provided no end of a stranglehold on web standards for a long time, when IE7 was brought out, people refused to see it as anything but IE6. And yet, IE provided features that other browsers didn't at the time.

IE7 had SANDBOXING on Windows Vista, for starters. The real jump came with IE8, which included several features that were well ahead of their time.

  • Accelerators allowed you to do selection-based searches without needing to rely on copy/pasting things to the search bar.
  • Auto-recovery of crashed tabs, which really didn't always work in other browsers.
  • InPrivate Browsing, which was added before Firefox added Private Browsing (Safari got it first, though)
  • WebSlices, which are small chunks of webpages that can be updated like an RSS feed.

While it still failed the Acid2 test with nightmareish results, IE7 made strides towards better standards compliance, and IE 8 passed Acid2 completely. IE9 passes the Acid3 test, and IE11 (the final release) scores a 302 on HTML5Test, which is roughly on par with the browsers of its time.

Of course, web developers love to take the piss out of IE6 as the reason the web went nowhere for a time, but what they hate hearing about is that Chrome is taking IE6's place, effectively hijacking the standards just by being the most-used browser out there. (Doesn't help matters when Google employees essentially write the standards themselves these days, and the whole blackmailing the CSSWG incident.)

Other people enjoy pointing at IE's security flaws, to which I say: okay! Nothing is bug-free, and even Chrome is will eventually have major security flaws that end up exploited—and likely has a fuckton of zero-day exploits that haven't been responsibly disclosed. That's kinda how software is. As they say, if you want real security, keep it offline.

Thing is, Internet Explorer wasn't the best browser. Even as late as IE11, it wasn't the best, but it worked well enough that it served its purpose. Hell, it technically still serves that purpose for the people who use it.

Am I an IE user? Well…Sometimes, yes. IE11 still works, even if it doesn't work everywhere. There are shitty developers who still use useragent sniffing instead of feature checks, after all. However, if I need a secondary browser open, I'll usually go for IE first, since it's installed on Windows 7 by default as part of the OS itself.

So yeah… For further proof that I don't hate Microsoft, I just defended Internet Explorer. You can't go much further down the rabbit hole than that.
starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-28 04:21 am

Do I "hate" Microsoft? No.

So, something that popped up earlier today during a discussion is whether or not I “hate” Microsoft, with how much I rag on Windows 10. In short: No. Absolutely not.

For the long answer: I really like Microsoft in general. I used to hate them when I was in my FOSS phase, but then I started giving them a serious look, and realized they typically have it right in much of their software.

I use Windows 7, Office, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Expression Web, Expression Design, IIS, Microsoft Mathematics, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio Express 2010, and quite a bit more. I actually prefer PowerShell over bash or zsh, and I find managing a Windows 2008 R2 server to be much easier than a Linux server. I prefer Windows Phone 8.1 over Android and iOS. Just in general, I like using Windows a lot more than I do Linux or OS X.

Even more, some of my favorite design aesthetics came from Windows: the Windows Vista Flair look-and-feel, Aero and Glass, the Windows Live design language, Windows Vista's Dreamscape live wallpapers… Actually, of all of them, Vista has had the most beautiful UI, in my opinion. A bit resource-heavy, but still a nice OS.

That said, I do think Microsoft has made some missteps: Windows 10's forced updates, dropping the Windows Live Essentials line, dropping Windows Media Center, Metro/Modern apps in Windows 8/8.1 being fullscreen only, the ass-ugly Ribbon interface on some of the native Windows apps… Hell, I think their biggest misstep has been the focus on UI for small touchscreens on the desktop UI. Windows 7 had a good mix, but didn't quite get the smaller screens right, which 8/8.1 did do properly.

Now, the reason I rag on Windows 10 is because I've yet to have a good experience from it. Just like how a lot of people hated Windows Vista when it first came out because of how buggy it was, I've had the same problem with WinX. Unlike Windows Vista SP1, the Service Packs (Redstone 1 & Anniversary Update) haven't really improved it for me, and in some cases made it worse. The forced updates constantly caused issues where I had to refresh/reinstall the OS after minor patches on the Slow Ring.

It has been an unstable mess for me. That's not good for a productivity machine, especially when it takes 3–4 hours to per attempted reinstall of the OS. I say attempted because, on my old Surface Pro 3, I sometimes had to reinstall it 2–3 times in a row just to get a working machine again. I never had the problem with Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. It was infuriating, which is why I'm sticking to Windows 7, which I know works.

So do I hate Microsoft? No. Not at all. I wouldn't be using Windows 7 and a slew of Microsoft products if I did.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-07 09:38 am

[Personal] Using my journals more

So… After thinking about the problem, I've got a few possibilities as far as getting my ideas out, but the big one for me is the simple one: my three journals.

  • @starseerdrgn (This blog): My general-purpose journal for things like tech and personal life stuff.
  • @latexbutterfly: My mostly in-character NSFW journal involving my story universe, with a lot of life-themed aspects as seen from outside of human culture.
  • @seleros_ibari: My general adult journal involving my story universe, usually filled with ideas, and that's about it.

I could easily use these three journals to replace my Twitter accounts.

The problem is "discussion". I'm allowing comments now, but where does the discoverability come from? I could use my Twitter accounts to push out updates, but at the same time, hardly anyone clicks through on such links anyway. As such, I'm just saying “fuck it” to that problem and not worry about discussion. If it happens, it happens. I can't force people to talk with me.

Of course, I don't need Twitter for news, as I use RSS feeds, so that's not an issue. Likewise with direct messages, since I have email and XMPP for talking with people. (Yes, email is still a thing people use.)

This is an acceptable solution at this point. It'll keep me from diving into the toxic pool of society that Twitter has become as often, so I can keep myself at least a little more positive.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-06 09:53 am

[Personal] More thoughts on Social

I gave the Twitter issue some thought, and while skimming through timelines, I've noticed that even NSFW accounts that I follow are starting to practically spam political tweets through the retweet systems. Accounts that are normally all about art or tech are turning heavily political as well. There's no way to filter it out aside from unfollowing or muting people outright.

Twitter, in and of itself, is a shit platform for someone like me. I've been saying this for a while, but it's becoming much more clear as of late.

Twitter's big feature is the “firehose”, a deluge of every bit of information from the people you follow, that they follow, and potentially that those people follow. There's no way to completely block retweets, as “quote retweets” completely ignore the one option you have for that—which some people actually use to get around the fact that others can turn off normal retweets.

Honestly, the worst of it all is the toxic atmosphere that spawns from many discussions. Even a minor discussion about simple problems can turn somewhat hateful when other people suddenly get involved.

Then there are the mobs that form on Twitter… I've seen far too many people simply chased off of the site for a minor disagreement. It's like playing a typical game of DotA, but far worse.

I'm thankful for people like Christian Heilmann, who at least try to make Twitter a nicer place, but I don't think I really want to be a part of something that causes me so much stress. I just need to figure out what I can do to keep from being drawn back to it.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-03 01:01 pm

[Personal] Another Social Media Rant

So, I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of Twitter and the like, and that hasn't changed in the slightest. I'm still put off by how toxic the site has become—hell, how toxic most of the internet has become. Yet, I keep subjecting myself to it. Why?

Because that's where my friends are. That's where people post content. That's where discussions happen.

I can't go a single day without a news article or blog post heavily referencing a Twitter or Facebook discussion as part of the story. I can't go a single day without someone referencing a Twitter or Facebook link. Social media is where damn near everyone is, and it's extremely difficult to do anything without being part of it now.

And yes, it affects me. You've seen how much I rant here. Much of that is honestly from the negativity that irks me, and affects my own mood.

I've had people tell me to “just stop using it” or “just block all of that out”, and that's the problem. I could block out a craptonne of things, but all that'd do is force me to block out people that I do want to talk with. Social sites don't give the ability to “just see the positive things”.

I follow a few people who post interesting alt-lifestyle things, only to have my timelines flooded with news about mass murders and calls for activism. I follow people I know in real life, only to have a stream of “Here's the latest bad news of the day” tweets and updates fill my screen. In this day and age, it is not possible to follow people without being flooded by negativity!

This is part of why I just want to drop social media. It's worn me down enough that I can understand why people want to commit suicide. If I awoke from a coma one day and saw all of that, I'd just ask the medics to put me back under.

But, as I said, there in lies the rub: That's where my friends are. That's where people post content. That's where discussions happen. If I want to leave social media, I practically give up my ability to socialize at all with most people. It's just something that's accepted by society here in the US, and fuck anyone who feels otherwise.

I don't know what to do, but I should definitely find something to help me with this problem. Gods know I need more positivity in my life right now.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-10-03 10:43 am

[Rant From Hell] Mozilla using inferior Chrome parts in Firefox? REALLY!?

Chromification Continues: Firefox May Use Chrome's PDF and Flash Plugins/p>

*headdesk* REALLY?! Mozilla is looking to replace parts of Firefox with Chrome parts? Hell, they're going to replace the superior community-run PDF.js with the far inferior PDFium?!

I use Mozilla products to get AWAY from Google, not run back to them. Might as well go WebKit.

*looks up open source browsers*

Out of date, out of date, out of date… Has everyone really given up trying to compete with Google, or what? Only Safari and Edge seem to be trying to fight Google anymore, and Safari's the only one making any headway.

I remember when there used to be actual competition on the web. IE and Netscape fought hard using their features to their advantage. These days? It feels like web developers are pushing solely for the monolith known as Google. It's becoming everything that we feared from Microsoft in the 90s, but with the full backing of “tech geeks” everywhere.

Even the damned standards process is being taken over by Google. WHATWG was a result of Google trying to force the W3C standardization process to speed up, the CSSWG was recently bullied by Google to start using their WCIG incubator for that standards process, the HTML5 spec was put under an editor from WHATWG who works for Google…

I know people are going to say that Google is a protector of the internet and open web, but I don't believe that for a single second. The work to further Google's hold on the market, period.

Honestly, this is making me want to go with Apple products even more. At least the core WebKit engine is fairly modern, and is kept modern. I just wish they'd release Win32/Win64 versions of Safari that will work with Windows 7/8.1. I'd support that in a heartbeat.

starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-09-28 02:08 am

[Thoughtstream] HTML-based Word Processor?

(Reminder: Thoughtstreams are posts where I write what's on my mind, whether or not that results in anything resembling a sane flow of information.)

So, I'm sitting at my desk tonight, listening to modtracker music (💖 crystald.s3m 💖), using an older XULRunner application called KompoZer to do some writing. Yes, I'm well aware of BlueGriffon, and that it recently updated, but I still prefer the older KompoZer project simply because I don't need a lot of the bells and whistles provided by BlueGriffon. HTML 4.01 Strict works well enough for simple documents.

Yes, that's right. I'm actually using KompoZer as a word processor, so to speak. The WYSIWYG environment is perfect for simple things like inserting italic and bold text, and more complicated things like CSS are handled quite well by the built-in CSS editor. It literally does everything I would expect of a word processor, and still lets me hand-edit it without breaking the entire file.

That led to a thought while I was trying to work out a few things in my head. There's Firetext for B2GOS/FirefoxOS, but there's not really an HTML-centric Word Processor for the desktop, or other mobile platforms for that matter. Everything centers around Microsoft's Office OpenXML specification (DOCX), or on the OASIS OpenDocument specification (ODT). Even Google has their web-centric files under their own proprietary file formats.

Now that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are capable of doing pretty much anything found in those specs, what's really stopping anyone from making such a project?

Well, giving a shit is probably one of the top reasons no one's done it. Most developers don't care about really care about making something easy for users unless it scratches their own itch (or makes them a lot of money), and most users probably won't move over to such a project anyway due to DOCX and ODT being the absolute de facto standards for word processing files. That's not something that would encourage proper devs to work on something like this.

The thing is, we already have plenty of ways to start. For desktop, there's WebKit as a rendering engine, or possibly PaleMoon's Goanna fork of Gecko (which supports XULRunner), while mobile apps would take advantage of the built-in webview engines on their respective platforms. There's also Electron for the desktop, allowing the app to be made entirely in HTML+CSS+JS. However, native apps might be better in some situations.

It's just a thought, though. I'd love to see a proper web-centric word processor made at some point. Who knows? I might even be the one to make it.
starseerdrgn: Scuba pegacorn (Default)
2016-09-27 01:23 am

Mozilla, FirefoxOS, and Faith

So, I've got to admit, Mozilla's recent stand against B2GOS has started making me wonder if MOFO (Mozilla Foundation) is still any sort of software organization.

Between the constant stream of dropped project, poorly marketed projects and services, and constant forceful nature of their Web Advocacy team, it feels like Mozilla is turning into a web-centric version of the Free Software Foundation, and that's not a good thing. A lot of people despise the FSF for their forceful tactics and zealot mentality, and for good reason. It was several FSF zealots that made me run away screaming from (GNU/)Linux after 12+ years of using the OS, simply because I couldn't take being considered "one of those people" any longer. At least as a Windows or OS X user, not nearly as many people see me as "another free software zealot".

It's also shaking my faith that Mozilla can do anything properly outside of Firefox. They've dropped Mozilla Suite (now SeaMonkey, community maintained), Thunderbird (now community maintained), Sunbird (replaced by Lightning), and now FirefoxOS. The only project they've kept going with is Firefox. Just like Google, I'm having trouble trusting whether their next product will last more than six months, or until their attention span shifts to some other advocacy thing.

Honestly, I'll probably stick with SeaMonkey or PaleMoon & FossaMail at this point. There are plenty of tried-and-true XULRunner apps that can be found, most of them simply needing to be maintained a bit better—or at all. KompoZer (HTML Editor), Nightingale (Media Player), InstantBird (IM Client), Chatzilla (IRC Client)… Hell, there are probably quite a few I don't know about yet. Regardless, there are alternatives. I may go with them at this point.