By Ruben Schade in s/Singapore/Sydney/

Apps first

Here’s a sign of the times. My alma matar UTS emailed me this morning:

A last minute availability has opened up to exhibit in the Student Showcase space, due to launch next Wednesday!

We are looking for the best student work to display so if you have designed an app or put together a model or any other innovative project that you think employers would be interested in seeing, submit your work today!

In case you didn’t catch it, apps now appear first.

I’m not sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, extraordinary innovation is being researched and brought to life via these slabs of glass and lithium in our pockets, and we should be encouraging young people with a penchant for them. But they’re no panacea; I’d hate for ideas to not be considered dynamic paradigm–shifting synergies if they’re based on a water filter or plants over some Swift.

Ditto the Internet of Exploits Things, but that’s for another post.

Posted by Ruben Schade

The origin of DirectX green

Have you ever wondered where the X and green colour for DirectX came from? Former Windows game evangelist Alex St John gave the lowdown for Shack News in 2007:

The original codename for Direct X was “the Manhattan Project,” because strategically it was an effort to displace Japanese game consoles with PCs and ultimately the Xbox. We called it “The Manhattan Project” because that was the codename for the program developing the nuclear bomb. We had a glowing radiation logo for the prototype for Direct X, and of course as soon as that got out and the press covered it, it caused a scandal.

And Steve Jobs said Microsoft has no taste, can you believe it? Then there’s the self-defeating, Morissettian-irony that Cerenkov radiation glows a PlayStation-blue.

In their defence, Microsoft PR came down hard on them for it.

Posted by Ruben Schade

OLEDs suck, for me

Zak Islam reported this for Tom’s Hardware:

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays are awful. Instead, he emphasized that Apple’s Retina display offers a superior experience.

I completely agree. The flat, crisp, bright IPS displays in iPhones are far superior to the OLEDs being used in other phones. Granted the LCD backlight doesn’t render blacks as nicely, but everything else makes up for it.

Unfortunately, that quote was from 2013. In 2017, Apple has announced their new iPhone X with a rounded, notch-included AMOLED display which promises to have richer, brighter, and more accurate colours. As I mentioned on my earlier iPhone post:

These screens are awful for those of us with above average close-distance vision. The screen shimmers when we move our eyes across them, and they’re grainy as all hell.

Since then I wondered if I was being unfair comparing OLED displays I’d tried a few years ago to the latest Apple Retina IPS displays. So I tried a few of the latest other phones in a store, and checked out Clara’s new PlusOne. Same results; within 15 minutes I had sore eyes and started getting a headache.

My hope is Apple has sourced some new revolutionary and magical OLEDs for those of us sensitive to them. Channel News Asia reported a Japanese manufacturer has done just that:

TOKYO: The Japan Display Inc group is seeking to raise US$900 million to mass produce OLED panels using new technology that will slash costs, the Nikkei business daily reported, sending shares in the Apple Inc supplier surging 25 percent.

The Nikkei said the new panels are expected to be as much as 40 percent cheaper than products from South Korean leaders, noting that Samsung Electronics Co uses a higher-cost “evaporation” method in its OLED panels.

Posted by Ruben Schade

Hackensack text clipping

I’ve been on a role with these lyric posts of late. I had this “Untitled clipping.textClipping” on my desktop:


In Hackensa^K^K^K^K^K^K you ought to know by now!

Posted by Ruben Schade

King Willem-Alexander at KLM

Photo of a KLM Fokker 70 by Laurent ERRERA

The Guardian posted this AP story a few months ago about the Dutch King piloting commercial flights:

In a newspaper interview published on Wednesday, King Willem-Alexander said that he recently ended his role as a regular “guest pilot” after 21 years on KLM’s fleet of Fokker 70 planes and before that on Dutch carrier Martinair.

Willem-Alexander said he is rarely recognised by passengers [..] and even when he makes announcements, [he] says that as a co-pilot he doesn’t have to give his name. So while some people recognise his voice, it does not happen often. “Most people don’t listen anyway,” he added.

I love the humility in this. There are pop stars who’d stare in shock and disgust if you didn’t know who they were.

I’m also saddened by the departure of the Fokker 70s. I reckon they’re the most handsome planes in their class. Photo above by Laurent ERRERA.

Posted by Ruben Schade

Rubénerd Show 370: The Canberra episode

Rubénerd Show 370

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

20:44 – Quick report from a business trip to Canberra, with unreality, Australia’s worst Thai food, evil vending machines, cashew bags, flight delays, and other fun. Then back to Sydney for an apology to Jimbo and fascinating, though dusty, construction sites. Recorded 30th August and 25th September 2017.

Recorded in Canberra and Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released September 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.

Posted by Ruben Schade

A Horse with No Name

Speaking of lyrical observations: if you keep referring to your horse as one with no name, isn’t that its defacto name? That feeling in your head is your mind being blown. Don’t worry, I’m used to it.

This makes me want to revive my Ben Sidran lyric series.

Posted by Ruben Schade


I learned a new word today, from Wikipedia:

The Readfield Union Meeting House stands in Readfield’s main village, on the west side of Church Road, a short way north of its junction with Maine State Route 41. It is a single-story brick building, with a gable roof topped by a frame tower. The tower projects slightly from the front facade, and has a single tall round-arch window at the center of first level, with a low pedimented gable separating the brick base from the upper stages.

That’s clearly the wrong article. Let’s try again:

Irredentism (from Italian irredento for “unredeemed”) is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy an area that the movement’s members consider “lost” or “unredeemed”. These territorial claims are justified on the basis of real or imagined national and historic (an area formerly part of that state) or ethnic (an area inhabited by that nation or ethnic group) affiliations.

I thought it sounded like a denture cleaning apparatus. From the etymology section:

A common way to express a claim to adjacent territories on the grounds of historical or ethnic association is by using the adjective “Greater” as a prefix to the country name. This conveys the image of national territory at its maximum conceivable extent with the country “proper” at its core. The use of “Greater” does not always convey an irredentistic meaning.

This was in the context of the Korean reunification article, which is listed in the Irredentism navbox. I still say it sounds dental: Oral-B Irredentism, for that irredentistic smile.

As for that first article? I hit Random Article on Wikipedia for an unrelated reason, and copy pasted the wrong section. As this article on absentmindedness explains:

The anime’s soundtrack is composed by Hikaru Nanase. The opening theme song for the anime is “Straight Jet”, performed by Minami Kuribayashi. The ending theme song is “Super∞Stream”, with the first episode version sung by Yōko Hikasa.

Posted by Ruben Schade

Mrs Robinson

Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes ♫

Wouldn’t that location needlessly–accelerate staleness?

Posted by Ruben Schade

Happy anniversary and tricks from lzop!

lzop by the imitable Markus F.X.J. Oberhumer is an infeasibly-fast file compressor. This post is a thank you for its existence, an anniversary update, and my discovery of default operation that all such tools should be doing.

I haven’t done a pointless introduction paragraph in ages. And the next section is equally pointless.

Mikuru Beam Dynapacks

Before we proceed, as has happened on every compression post for the last decade, we have Asahina Mikuru doing her Mikuru Beam. As I explained before:

For some reason, every time I discuss file archiving and compression, I’ve included images of Asahina Mikuru from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (© Kyoto Animation). Presumably because her moebeam can similarly compress files.

That original rzip post I also included a Dynapac CC232 photo by Lestat, presumably because they compress bitumen, which is a neat metaphor for a tar file. GET IT!? HA HAAAAAAAA! What?

Anyway, we’re in a Retina™ world now, so I’ve sourced the original image and uploaded a higher-resolution version for those of you using recent browsers that support srcset.

That may qualify as the longest digression I’ve ever had on this blog. Not a small feat, because mine are more medium-sized.

lzop’s anniversary

Moving on. lzop had its tenth anniversary last month, announced in typically understated fashion on the project’s homepage:

Happy 20th Anniversary Release! (Aug 2017)

Congrats to Markus for this huge achievement. We should pay omage to this by including in every *nix distribution. The fact it’s on my list of essential packages in Ansible because of its lack of default availabilty is a travesty.

A desirable default operation

And now, the thing I learned yesterday. As if we needed another reason to love lzop it, you don’t need to specify -k to keep the original file after compressing:

$ lzop -v file
==> compressing file into file.lzo
$ ls -1
==> file
==> file.lzo

From the lzop(1) man page:

-k, –keep Do not delete input files. This is the default.

This should the default for all tools like this. File deletions are destructive operations that should always be initiated by the user.

Posted by Ruben Schade