Sci Fi


Those keyboards are so sci fi.


I mean, these keyboards are so sci fi


These are less sci fi, I guess.

But props to the… props dept.

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Useful Consumer Review

The disk in my old kitchen computer broke.  Finally!  The machine was the only one in my DSC01351apartment with a fan, so I was kinda hoping something in it would break so that I could get an excuse to buy a new fanless all-in-one machine.

After binging around on the internet a bit, I found the Silentium from Deltatronic.  It’s a standard Intel i3/i7 machine, but fanless.  And all-in-one.  There isn’t even an external power adapter, so it’s neat and tidy.

Linux installed without any problems, although I had to go with Debian Unstable to get a version of the Xorg that works with its built-in Intel graphics.

The wifi works well, too.  This is the only stationary machine I have that doesn’t have wired ethernet, because getting TP over to its corner of the kitchen would be kinda complicated.  It’s in a corner of the kitchen that my laptop doesn’t think there’s any wifi signal in, so that’s kinda impressive.

I’m even able to watch DVDs with mplayer over sshfs over wifi.  Yes.  sshfs over wifi. I used the same parameters I used on my laptop:

sshfs -o Cipher=arcfour -o Compression=no -o cache=yes \
  -o kernel_cache -o large_read music@server:/tv /tv

Arcfour is the least CPU-intensive cipher, and switching off compression helps with both CPU and latency.  And mp4 streams don’t really compress very well.

mplayer -vo xv -cache-min 99 -cache 10000 \
  /tv/dvd/Against\ 2008/track1.mkv

But that’s not really sufficient.  mplayer also has to cache stuff, because the latency over wifi is just a tad too unpredictable.

With all this, watching DVDs while cooking is smooth and pleasant.

But here come the complaints: The screen isn’t as good as it should be.  It’s really bright at the top and bottom margins.  I guess it uses side-mounted LEDs to save money?  It’s an IPS screen, so the viewing angle is OK, but this is just annoying:

DSC01346The effect here is exaggerated by the camera, but it really is quite bright at the bottom there.

It’s less obvious when there’s something on the screen:

DSC01350See the blue shiny things at the left bottom edge?  That’s where it’s supposed to be totally black.

Oh, well.  Perhaps I can just avoid using a solid black background…  or something…

It’s so close to being a great machine, but I can’t really recommend it due to this edgy business.

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eww: Now With Fonts

I’ve now pushed the font-related shr changed to the Emacs trunk. Use the `F’ eww command to toggle whether to using variable-pitch fonts.

Here’s some results:

font4 font3 font2 font1

Kinda looks like Mosaic in 1992, eh?

Now I just need to implement CSS3 3D animation transforms…

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eww not can haz different line pitch

The version of eww with variable-width fonts is basically usable now, but here’s the problem:


Notice the weird line heights in the column to the left where it says “We commit to shine the light on our obsessive stalking of Wikimedia employees”?  That’s because there’s a <h1> in the middle column, and those characters are taller.  And there’s apparently only possible to have one line hight per, er, line.

That’s kinda ugly, especially if you throw really line heights (like images) into the mix.  So I dunno about mixing differently-sized fonts like this…


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Australian Comics

Whenever in a new city where I can read the language, I try to visit interesting comics shops.  This can be rather difficult, since what’s interesting to me isn’t really what comics shops make a living off of.  I’m looking for stuff I can’t get anywhere else, which means small press and local books, and there is no art comics book store finder.

So binging for “good comics stores <city>” will invariably point me to the one that has the best selection of American superhero books, of which my interest is pretty low.  For Sydney that’s King Comics, which turned out to be a perfectly nice comic book store with a shelf of Australian comics that was pretty slim.  To say the least.

But then I went to Canberra.  Score!

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Impact Comics only had two small shelves of Aussie stuff, but they were jam-packed, so I got a nice little stack of stuff.  (There was still books left on the shelves after I left.)

I haven’t read any of it yet, but it looks pretty nice:

DSC01242 DSC01243 DSC01241 DSC01244 DSC01245 DSC01246 DSC01247

Somebody really should set up a “destination comic book store” site to inform us tourists what’s worth seeing.  It’s too bad crowdsourcing is dead, otherwise I’d feel tempted to create one myself…

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