The hilarity of spam.

Sure, spam is no joke. But once in a while it can be really funny. Here’s one such example:

One theory is that selenium’s antioxidant powers enable pellet stoves to repair damage to the media. It attacked my mother, which I did not appreciate. Pellet stoves teens find parents dead after insight on pellet stoves to do when things go wrong. The deciding factor for Wednesday will be the inventories of oil and its products with analysts expecting pellet stoves to report another rise in crude supplies. Wright Penn said: It’s uncomfortable to see a real 12-year-old portray that truth, but everybody needs to allow prisons to get into such a terrible mess without intervening earlier in a planned way.In pellet stoves statement which pellet stoves obtained by Al Jazeera, the Islamic pellet stoves in Iraq has said it was responsible for the attack on the helicopter.

That has got to be the most ridiculous crap I’ve ever read. It’s copy-paste from the news and then use a find-replace but man is it funny (in a broken translation machine kind of way).

Apparently as Orkut proliferates people are becoming less and less smart if spammers actually think messages like the following will get them anywhere:

This whole Orkut thing is sorta blowing my mind these days.

Anyways, you seem cool and I’d like to know more. You should check out my profile on this other site, I’m always on over there and I probably won’t be logging in to orkut everyday: . But umm, don’t mind the pics, lol!

So anyway.. message me on there and we’ll chat sometime!

talk to you soon :)

The profusion of social networking sites reminds me of the old dot-com boom when everyone was talking about how any company on the net is going to be rich and baazee and hotmail were held up as shining examples. Some people sure didn’t learn from that. Sorry people, but just doing the same thing as the most successful sites and doing it worse won’t get you anywhere. Idiots.

Incidentally Akismet has a constant 1000+ comments on that spam queue, and the shoutbox has blocked 13,000 spam attempts since I last cleared it. Marc’s filterset helped greatly with that. Vielen Danke!

Kompmgr – The KDE Compositing Manager

KompmgrThe compositor is the thing that adds all the layers together to make the final image basically. So kompmgr, the KDE compositing manager manages exactly that, it allows fades, transparent windows, and shadows. It could probably do blur too, but that would be a little hard on my computer.

The reason I use kompmgr is that I don’t have a graphics card that is capable of the magic that XGL + Beryl/Compiz does but still want to have nice fading and transparency. It’s definitely not as smooth as all the videos on Youtube, but it certainly looks great and the transparency when I move the window is pretty nice.

It’s probably no longer under active development, I mean who uses a computer without a cutting-edge graphics card these days, huh? But still, I’ll say what I think is wrong with it. It’s a bit slow with both shadows and fading because apparently it draws the shadow for each faded bit. I understand OSX only draws the shadow after it’s done fading. That’s pretty neat. Transparency with shadows has the same problem. Maybe some day I’ll know enough to change that bit, after all, Free Software.

To use it, you must first enable Compositing in Xorg. Add these lines to xorg.conf: (replacing [tab] with a tab)

Section “Extensions”
[tab]Option “Composite” “Enable”

Things I’m still figuring out:

  • How to adjust the transparency of a window on-the-fly. Currently it makes windows which are out of focus transparent (which is really useful, your eyes just stick to the in-focus window) , and moving windows transparent. (Fixed)
  • How to make it draw shadows only at the end. (Fixed)
  • Why it outputs a continuous stream of error information that makes no sense.

Window behaviour under Desktop in the Control Center has all the settings necessary. No work needed. I remember looking here a long time ago and wondering why the translucency didn’t work. I installed the packages manually to have a small KDE install, so I must’ve left out kompmgr. In any case, there you have it. I changed my shortcut key for transparency to Alt + Mousescroll just like default Beryl.

Little games I play with via graphics on linux

Some months ago I figured out just why I couldn’t get direct rendering in Ubuntu despite all the xorg settings being what other people had claimed worked. The big difference was that I was using too high a color depth and resolution and reducing that brought me into magic DR world again. So now I can finally play a couple of games on linux (the VRAM isn’t enough for too much, so only some simple 3d), and there’ve been so many in the repositories that’ve been fun.

Still, despite the low VRAM, there’ve been quite a lot I can play at the moment.

  • Unreal TournamentUnreal Tournament – Old favourite of mine, pulled out the CD, a little hop over to Loki Installers for Linux Games and the installation went smoothly and the game runs wonderfully. I’ve done the installation before on Red Hat 9, (I remember having to boot into Linux to play the game, Windows 98 only used to let me use UT Safe Mode whatever the settings), so maybe that’s why I didn’t have any hitches. The game runs really well, and is fun for a couple of matches now and then.

    My brother’s really taken to it, and lately I don’t hear as many snide comments from him about how ‘linux is useless’.

  • Neverball and Neverputt – These two come together in the neverball package in the repos, and frankly I liked Neverputt more than Neverball, though having your ball bounce all the way to the bottom from right near the goal hole was really annoying, though there is consolation in watching your little brother replicate that.

  • X Moto – Haha, this game is hilarious, and really lots of fun…until you get stuck at some level or the other. You control a guy (who exhibits weird ragdoll physics) on a little motocross bike and try to collect strawberries (waypoints sort of) and then get to a flower (the end mark). The funniest part is the way the guy works, leaning in front just when you don’t want him to, bouncing his head into the wall just when you think you’ve cleared and other crazy stuff.

  • Cannon Smash – A pong game. No, real pong, ping pong, table tennis. Pretty cool, interesting way of playing the game. It’s fun, hard in the beginning, but the default difficulty is pretty easy soon after you figure out how to play the game. Switching the player style means you have to relearn how to play though, because each style uses different ways of scoring.

  • Scorched 3d – Back in the day, there was Scorch (Scorched Earth), and we used to use a complex sequence of methods to get the triple-turreted tank. Scorched 3d is the 3d version of that classic tank game. It looks pretty good, and plays well, but aiming can get tough at certain angles …and where’s my ‘lazy boy’ targeting?

  • Chromium – Chromium B.S.U Ah Chromium, the first game I ever played on Linux, back in the day when I still used the old Red Hat 8, ah, good times. This one is good, very professional looking at all stages. I just wish it had a little more variation. That’s the only thing missing, after a couple of months of playing it whenever you need a little break you get bored of it. There’s not much variation in enemies or weapons, but it looks good and the only reason you would want to play it is because you wanted a short break from working on whatever you’re doing. I start it up sometimes, but it gets rarer and rarer every day.

  • Frozen Bubble – Remake of that classic game where you shoot coloured bubbles at an array of other coloured bubbles and your objective is to make them drop by sticking 3 of the same colour together. Gets really hectic playing with another player and with ‘chain reaction’ on.

That’s as much as I can remember off the top of my head. I’ll add in some screenshots later.

Oh, and for those who came here for Via. Direct Rendering was supported out of the box in Dapper for me, but if you use too high bpp and resolution it’ll get turned off. Mine works fine at 1024*768 and 16 or 24 bpp and it’s a VT8378 Unichrome.

Photography, remembering what is the truth

With certain ‘nationalistic’ (my ass) parties trying to rewrite our history textbooks, and with leaders of powerful countries going back on their lies and glossing them over, and with people actively suppressing facts, perhaps we should start worrying about how our future will see us, and about how much they will not know.

History has a way of getting mangled by people with agendas, and the only real truth-tellers are nowhere near as capable of holding a crowd (not through charisma, demagoguery) as those who conceal lies in impassioned appeals to ‘justice’. Perhaps it is time we began to ensure that none of the major news that holds us today is ever hidden to those in the future, we must make the job of the future historian easy.

How easy it is to forget a great crime as it grows older unless we’re constantly reminded of it, and shown up to have not done anything through cowardice or disinterest. That is one offence, but to hide it is another, and to hide the sheer existence of the crime is to be an accomplice to it. And that is what we risk being. Will our descendants remember how the brave Chief Minister of Gujarat protected the state from being run over by militant forces? Or will they remember the truth? Time (and flawed memory) has a bad habit of making heroes of the worst men, and ignoring those good ones who worked silently. P.W. Botha died with a state funeral “for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement”. Funny.

So what brought this on was actually just a series of photographs, some very interesting, by James Nachtwey. Go have a look.