balooga's recent activity

  1. Comment on The Good Place S04E12 - "Patty" in ~tv

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Or at the very least, a Jeremy Bearimy of places.

    Or at the very least, a Jeremy Bearimy of places.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on The Good Place S04E12 - "Patty" in ~tv

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I want to know where they scarpered off to. Did they join Shawn and Vicky in the Bad Place demon pantheon?

    I want to know where they scarpered off to. Did they join Shawn and Vicky in the Bad Place demon pantheon?

    1 vote
  3. Comment on How IoT betrays us: Today, Sonos speakers. Tomorrow, Alexa and electric cars? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Whenever I think about this subject I can't help but recall the Ministry of Plenty in Orwell's 1984. It's not a perfect comparison (capitalist planned obsolescence vs. perpetual socialist war...

    Whenever I think about this subject I can't help but recall the Ministry of Plenty in Orwell's 1984. It's not a perfect comparison (capitalist planned obsolescence vs. perpetual socialist war rationing) but the artificial scarcity everyone's been conditioned to accept is the same.

    We should have access to the best technology ever developed. Our products should run cleaner, last longer, and cost less than any prior generations. They have improved in some ways but in others they are markedly worse than comparable items from 50 years ago. When I think about the widening gulf between what we could have, and what we do, I get upset because there's no technical reason for that gulf to exist. It's entirely artificial.

    Like the people of Orwell's Oceania, we generally accept this unquestioningly. Of course your microwave only lasts 5 years, but it has Alexa! There are no high-quality alternatives on the market. You'll buy something crappy and disposable, because that's all there is available today. Don't think about it too hard, just smile and be grateful for the prosperity and convenience modernity has brought you.

    I don't want to push the analogy too hard; I'd rather have shoddy appliances than actual rationed food and other necessities like in the book. Life is still pretty good, all things considered. I'm just annoyed when it's not even possible to buy a quality product in a given category. I still want that dumb TV but it simply doesn't exist. The lack of options doesn't feel like prosperity to me.

    7 votes
  4. Comment on On Vice in ~talk

    balooga
    Link
    Personally, I haven't done any of the things you listed but I think they should all be legal. If you're not directly victimizing an unwilling person, it shouldn't be a crime. I'm kind of a boring...

    Personally, I haven't done any of the things you listed but I think they should all be legal. If you're not directly victimizing an unwilling person, it shouldn't be a crime.

    I'm kind of a boring person but I think I have a rather unconventional stance about this, compared to other boring people like me.

    14 votes
  5. Comment on Google Stadia announces plans to add over 120 games this year, including over 10 exclusives in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I was lucky to get into the closed beta back when it was called "Project Stream." It wasn't perfect but it was surprisingly playable. The only game on offer at that time was Assassin's Creed:...

    I was lucky to get into the closed beta back when it was called "Project Stream." It wasn't perfect but it was surprisingly playable. The only game on offer at that time was Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, which isn't a particularly twitchy title, but the latency was acceptable for me.

    I'm a console gamer, which means buying at least one new device every generation to stay current. My only PC is a 5-year-old 13" MacBook Pro. (I do have Boot Camp and Parallels set up so I can do some limited Windows gaming on it, but the onboard graphics are weak.) I was able to play Assassin's Creed: Odyssey on that machine. I don't think that can be overstated. It wasn't glitchy or slow or weird in any way. Occasionally it would stutter a bit, then self-correct. Presumably it will only get better, not worse.

    You can play on a Chromebook. On a Chromecast. On a phone. On a tablet. In theory you'd never need to buy another device. Google can upgrade the hardware on their side and your thin clients should continue to work indefinitely. I think that's a huge selling point. I could stop buying consoles every couple years (though I'd still be paying a subscription to Google, which might add up to more in the long term; I haven't done the math).

    I see a lot of pooh-poohing about the streaming concept online from people who haven't tried it. Honestly from what I've seen that part works pretty well. I haven't used the Stadia product or played games that demand faster response times, so I can't comment on that. But I don't think the raw technology is where people should be finding fault here. The bigger issues for me are, should I be diverting my current gaming budget away from established players and into Google's coffers, in light of the bigger picture of their business model and the objectionable things they do? And am I comfortable switching from an ownership model of gaming where I can possess and play my catalog decades into the future, to a Netflix-style setup where licenses are constantly changing hands and games can be pulled out from under me with little warning?

    I think for the moment, my answer to both of those questions is no.

    9 votes
  6. Comment on The Good Place S04E11 - "Mondays, Am I Right?" in ~tv

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I think something's up with Michael. This episode made a big deal about him not wanting to give up control, but he flipped a 180° and handed the reins to Vicky unexpectedly fast. I suspect now...

    I think something's up with Michael. This episode made a big deal about him not wanting to give up control, but he flipped a 180° and handed the reins to Vicky unexpectedly fast. I suspect now that the end is in sight, he doesn't want it to come. Maybe the balloon is a ruse, maybe he's stealing the friends away so they can't go to the Good Place without him. Presumably, being a demon, he can't spend his eternity there... which means he'll be separated from the people he's closest to. Maybe he'll try to appeal to the judge to let him (and others of his kind) in with the humans, since he's proven the demons are also capable of growth and change.

    No matter what happens, I'm hoping we get to see more of Trevor and/or Neil before this ride is over.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on Are there any remakes as good as the original movie? in ~movies

    balooga
    Link
    I recently watched the original animated 101 Dalmatians and the live action remake close together and for all its faults, I do think the remake is the better movie. In a lot of ways it’s faithful...

    I recently watched the original animated 101 Dalmatians and the live action remake close together and for all its faults, I do think the remake is the better movie. In a lot of ways it’s faithful to the original, but it’s really amplified by some over the top performances from a great cast.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on What authors do you recommend on the basis of writing style? in ~books

    balooga
    Link
    My favorite authorial writing style is Douglas Adams'. Based on the authors you listed, you may already have some familiarity with him. His prose is snappy, economical, witty, and wry. Also...

    My favorite authorial writing style is Douglas Adams'. Based on the authors you listed, you may already have some familiarity with him. His prose is snappy, economical, witty, and wry. Also extremely British. Here's a section from his most popular novel to give you some idea of what to expect:

    Excerpt from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 9

    A computer chatted to itself in alarm as it noticed an airlock open and close itself for no apparent reason.

    This was because Reason was in fact out to lunch.

    A hole had just appeared in the Galaxy. It was exactly a nothingth of a second long, a nothingth of
    an inch wide, and quite a lot of million light years from end to end.

    As it closed up lots of paper hats and party balloons fell out of it and drifted off through the universe. A team of seven three-foot-high market analysts fell out of it and died, partly of asphyxication, partly of surprise.

    Two hundred and thirty-nine thousand lightly fried eggs fell out of it too, materializing in a large woobly heap on the famine-struck land of Poghril in the Pansel system.

    The whole Poghril tribe had died out from famine except for one last man who died of cholesterol
    poisoning some weeks later.

    The nothingth of a second for which the hole existed reverberated backwards and forwards through time in a most improbable fashion. Somewhere in the deeply remote past it seriously traumatized a small random group of atoms drifting through the empty sterility of space and made them cling together in the most extraordinarily unlikely patterns. These patterns quickly learnt to copy themselves (this was part of what was so extraordinary of the patterns) and went on to cause massive trouble on every planet they drifted on to. That was how life began in the Universe.

    Five wild Event Maelstroms swirled in vicious storms of unreason and spewed up a pavement.

    On the pavement lay Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent gulping like half-spent fish.

    .....

    They both sat on the pavement and watched with a certain unease as huge children bounced heavily along the sand and wild horses thundered through the sky taking fresh supplies of reinforced railings to the Uncertain Areas.

    "You know," said Arthur with a slight cough, "if this is Southend, there's something very odd about it..."

    "You mean the way the sea stays steady and the buildings keep washing up and down?" said Ford.

    "Yes I thought that was odd too. In fact," he continued as with a huge bang Southend split itself into six equal segments which danced and span giddily round each other in lewd and licentious formation, "there is something altogether very strange going on."

    Wild yowling noises of pipes and strings seared through the wind, hot doughnuts popped out of the road for ten pence each, horrid fish stormed out of the sky and Arthur and Ford decided to make a run for it.

    They plunged through heavy walls of sound, mountains of archaic thought, valleys of mood music, bad shoe sessions and footling bats and suddenly heard a girl's voice.

    It sounded quite a sensible voice, but it just said, "Two to the power of one hundred thousand to one against and falling," and that was all.

    Ford skidded down a beam of light and span round trying to find a source for the voice but could see nothing he could seriously believe in.

    "What was that voice?" shouted Arthur.

    "I don't know," yelled Ford, "I don't know. It sounded like a measurement of probability."

    "Probability? What do you mean?"

    "Probability. You know, like two to one, three to one, five to four against. It said two to the power of one hundred thousand to one against. That's pretty improbable you know."

    A million-gallon vat of custard upended itself over them without warning.

    "But what does it mean?" cried Arthur.

    "What, the custard?"

    "No, the measurement of probability!"

    "I don't know. I don't know at all. I think we're on some kind of spaceship."

    "I can only assume," said Arthur, "that this is not the first-class compartment."

    Bulges appeared in the fabric of space-time. Great ugly bulges.

    "Haaaauuurrgghhh ..." said Arthur as he felt his body softening and bending in unusual directions.

    "Southend seems to be melting away ... the stars are swirling ... a dustbowl ... my legs are drifting off into the sunset ... my left arm's come off too." A frightening thought struck him: "Hell," he said, "how am I going to operate my digital watch now?" He wound his eyes desperately around in Ford's direction.

    "Ford," he said, "you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."

    Again came the voice.

    "Two to the power of seventy-five thousand to one against and falling."

    Ford waddled around his pond in a furious circle.

    "Hey, who are you," he quacked. "Where are you? What's going on and is there any way of stopping it?"

    "Please relax," said the voice pleasantly, like a stewardess in an airliner with only one wing and two engines, one of which is on fire, "you are perfectly safe."

    "But that's not the point!" raged Ford. "The point is that I am now a perfectly save penguin, and my colleague here is rapidly running out of limbs!"

    "It's alright, I've got them back now," said Arthur.

    "Two to the power of fifty thousand to one against and falling," said the voice.

    "Admittedly," said Arthur, "they're longer than I usually like them, but ..."

    "Isn't there anything," squawked Ford in avian fury, "you feel you ought to be telling us?"

    The voice cleared its throat. A giant petit four lolloped off into the distance.

    "Welcome," the voice said, "to the Starship Heart of Gold."

    The voice continued.

    "Please do not be alarmed," it said, "by anything you see or hear around you. You are bound to feel some initial ill effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand to one against - possibly much higher. We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you. Two to the power of twenty thousand to one against and falling."

    The voice cut out.

    Ford and Arthur were in a small luminous pink cubicle.

    Ford was wildly excited.

    "Arthur!" he said, "this is fantastic! We've been picked up by a ship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive! This is incredible! I heard rumors about it before! They were all officially denied, but they must have done it! They've built the Improbability Drive! Arthur, this is ... Arthur? What's happening?"

    Arthur had jammed himself against the door to the cubicle, trying to hold it closed, but it was ill fitting.

    Tiny furry little hands were squeezing themselves through the cracks, their fingers were inkstained; tiny voices chattered insanely.

    Arthur looked up.

    "Ford!" he said, "there's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out."

  9. Comment on SpaceX tests black satellite to reduce ‘megaconstellation’ threat to astronomy in ~space

    balooga
    Link
    Astronomy concerns aside, I haven't heard any discussion of the issues a minefield of invisible satellites would present for spacecraft navigation. I don't know anything about how object avoidance...

    Astronomy concerns aside, I haven't heard any discussion of the issues a minefield of invisible satellites would present for spacecraft navigation.

    I don't know anything about how object avoidance is handled today. Is anyone familiar with how the space shuttle maneuvers around hazards, and if reducing their visibility will have any effect on that? I'm guessing there's some combination of global satellite tracking database and onboard radar, but I really have no clue.

    4 votes
  10. Comment on What are your unpopular game opinions? in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Is that not actually a popular opinion? The staggeringly huge audiences of Let's Players, Twitch streamers and esports celebrities is proof. I was actually thinking of posting the opposite as my...

    Is that not actually a popular opinion? The staggeringly huge audiences of Let's Players, Twitch streamers and esports celebrities is proof.

    I was actually thinking of posting the opposite as my unpopular opinion. There's this enormous movement of watching personalities play games with commentary. Some of the gamers in question are raking in huge sponsorships; it's serious money these days. I feel like an old fuddy-duddy because I don't get it at all. Every game stream I've watched was, in my opinion, either boring or unbelievably stupid. I don't want to watch people play games, I want to play them myself.

    This probably has something to do with the kinds of games I enjoy. I'm all about the single-player adventure. I love stuff like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Skyrim, and The Outer Worlds... immersive offline narrative campaigns are my jam. As far as I can tell, the most popular streamers are playing frenetic, competitive stuff. It goes without saying that esports are in the same category. So these aren't games that I'm even interested in playing, that explains why I don't want to watch them. Though streams of games I like are available too, and I don't want to watch them either.

    I also don't watch any YouTubers regularly, which are an adjacent phenomenon. I do listen to the Philip DeFranco Show podcast, which is just audio from the video show; it's a good news roundup but he often talks about YouTube drama and different personalities from that world. I feel like I've landed on an alien planet whenever he starts a story about Jeffree Star's makeup or Jake Paul fighting people or some Tannacon nonsense. I couldn't possibly be less interested.

    On the other hand, I'm not judging you or anybody. My SO is actually a big fan of YouTubers, streamers, and watching me play games. We just have different personality types and interests, nobody has to be right or wrong about it. And I'm pretty sure in 2020, it's my opinion that is the outlier here.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Mozilla lays off 70 as it waits for new products to generate revenue in ~tech

    balooga
    Link
    Reading that is a punch in the gut. We can't afford to lose Mozilla, they're one of the last remaining defenders of the open web.

    Reading that is a punch in the gut. We can't afford to lose Mozilla, they're one of the last remaining defenders of the open web.

    17 votes
  12. Comment on Stack Exchange, the parent company of Stack Overflow, has been taking aggressive stances against the Stack Exchange community in ~comp

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Agreed on the Reddit familiarity. This reminds me of what happened to Victoria. I didn't even spend much time looking at AMAs but their treatment of her and handling of the ensuing fallout was...

    Agreed on the Reddit familiarity. This reminds me of what happened to Victoria. I didn't even spend much time looking at AMAs but their treatment of her and handling of the ensuing fallout was horrible.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on Concepts in music you’re easily impressed by? in ~music

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Some really stirring folk selections there, thanks for the list. Even as a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, nothing could prepare me for that last link either, haha. You got me thinking of...

    Some really stirring folk selections there, thanks for the list. Even as a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, nothing could prepare me for that last link either, haha.

    You got me thinking of some of my favorite harmonizing from the bluegrass world; Bluegrass Cardinals, Lonesome River Band, The Wailin' Jennys, and Mandolin Orange deserve top mentions here.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on Concepts in music you’re easily impressed by? in ~music

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I'm also a fan of metal and I've never really thought of it in this context before, but can you think of any examples of vocal harmonies in that genre?

    I'm also a fan of metal and I've never really thought of it in this context before, but can you think of any examples of vocal harmonies in that genre?

    1 vote
  15. Comment on What are the best movies mainly set in a single location? in ~movies

    balooga
    Link
    A couple good sci-fi movies that come to mind are Moon and I Am Mother. Both feature isolated characters confined to facilities where AIs of uncertain motives protect and direct them. I'm not sure...

    A couple good sci-fi movies that come to mind are Moon and I Am Mother. Both feature isolated characters confined to facilities where AIs of uncertain motives protect and direct them. I'm not sure if either of these strictly qualify, but they're close. And worth a watch regardless.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on What are the best movies mainly set in a single location? in ~movies

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Great movie, I was just coming here to post this one. It's been a while since I've seen it, I couldn't remember if the whole thing occurs in the sub, or if there are other locations. But the...

    Great movie, I was just coming here to post this one. It's been a while since I've seen it, I couldn't remember if the whole thing occurs in the sub, or if there are other locations. But the claustrophobia of that place dominates the movie either way.

    2 votes
  17. Comment on Concepts in music you’re easily impressed by? in ~music

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I do! Fantastic recommendation!

    I do! Fantastic recommendation!

    3 votes
  18. Comment on Concepts in music you’re easily impressed by? in ~music

    balooga
    Link
    A good multi-part vocal harmony can bring me to my knees. In any genre. Examples: The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice Boyz II Men - Can You Stand The Rain Carlo Gesualdo - Moro, Lasso, al Mio...

    A good multi-part vocal harmony can bring me to my knees. In any genre. Examples:

    1. The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice
    2. Boyz II Men - Can You Stand The Rain
    3. Carlo Gesualdo - Moro, Lasso, al Mio Duolo
    4. Proper Sound - Mr. Sandman
    5. Duwende - I Can't Go For That
    6. Julia Westlin - The Sound of Silence

    I'm not even a particularly huge fan of acappella music, but layered voices are incredibly powerful when done right.

    11 votes
  19. Comment on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away With Me" reharmonized by Adam Neely (ft. Kate Steinberg) in ~music

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I don't know much about music theory but I think I generally came away with the same impressions you had. I listened to this version and the original back-to-back. There's a lot more technical...

    I don't know much about music theory but I think I generally came away with the same impressions you had. I listened to this version and the original back-to-back. There's a lot more technical musicianship on display in this one... to my ear all the players are bringing their A game and individually they outshine any part of Carly Rae's recording. But for me it's too sonically dense. The intensity's dialed to 11 from the very first beat and it never really gets a chance to breathe. I had a hard time focusing on any one part because all the instruments played over each other. An arrangement like this could have really benefited from some nuance and variation.

    The dissonance was weird. There were a couple times I thought they played the wrong note and it never really paid off.

    I used to get really annoyed by musicians like Amy Turk and Lindsey Stirling emoting during performances. My feelings on that have changed over the years. I think we should judge the music independently from the "acting" and not let our impressions of one inform the other. Different people experience music in different ways, and for many that is a genuine expression (not an act). Who am I to say what is or isn't a legitimate way to feel the music as it's being played?

    Anyway, I really dig a lot of things this version did. Kate Steinberg's vocals were warm and fantastic. Jared Yee's sax solo was delightful. On the whole I have to say I still prefer the original, just because it's not overwhelmed by bombast and it exercises deliberate restraint.

    1 vote
  20. Comment on The Clash - Rock The Casbah in ~music

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Ha! I feel silly now, I missed your comment when I posted that.

    Ha! I feel silly now, I missed your comment when I posted that.

    1 vote