balooga's recent activity

  1. Comment on Podcast discussions & recommendations! What are you listening to? in ~talk

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Sorry to bump an older discussion, but earlier today I posted a similar question and then answered it myself with a tool I found online. Might be useful for you as well. Seems like a good resource...

    Sorry to bump an older discussion, but earlier today I posted a similar question and then answered it myself with a tool I found online. Might be useful for you as well. Seems like a good resource to have in mind when browsing these "best podcasts" topics.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on Best way to subscribe to podcast back-catalogs? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link
    Before I posted this my searches were coming up dry, but I think the exercise of writing the question helped me mentally frame the problem. Just came across rewind.website which appears to do what...

    Before I posted this my searches were coming up dry, but I think the exercise of writing the question helped me mentally frame the problem. Just came across rewind.website which appears to do what I'm looking for. Haven't tried it yet but wanted to mention it here for posterity.

    9 votes
  3. Best way to subscribe to podcast back-catalogs?

    Every now and then I come across a limited-run podcast that wrapped up ages ago and I want to add it to my feed. I don't want to manually click through the old episodes one by one, I want to...

    Every now and then I come across a limited-run podcast that wrapped up ages ago and I want to add it to my feed. I don't want to manually click through the old episodes one by one, I want to subscribe to it as if it were being published in realtime. Are there any tools that can help me with this?

    I think what I'm looking for is some sort of app that republishes an existing RSS feed with a date offset based on whatever recent date you subscribe to it. Even better would be something that lets me specify my own custom drip rate so I can binge through large catalogs at my own pace.

    I've been thinking about coding something like this but I don't want to reinvent the wheel if an existing solution is already out there.

    10 votes
  4. Comment on The elevator arises as the latest logjam in getting back to work in ~health.coronavirus

    balooga
    Link
    I've played enough SimTower (and Elevator Saga) to know that elevator optimization is hard enough to figure out under normal circumstances. We're screwed.

    I've played enough SimTower (and Elevator Saga) to know that elevator optimization is hard enough to figure out under normal circumstances. We're screwed.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on DuckTales (2017) in ~tv

    balooga
    Link
    I've been catching up on this a bit myself lately, too. I'm really cheesed that Disney+ screwed up the episode order. They also chopped up the first episode into two, and gave episodes different...

    I've been catching up on this a bit myself lately, too. I'm really cheesed that Disney+ screwed up the episode order. They also chopped up the first episode into two, and gave episodes different names in different markets. It makes watching the series in the creators' intended order rather complicated. Not a huge deal for a show like this, but there are some story arcs and it's just disrespectful to the people who poured their hearts into making it.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on House Democrats propose $2,000 monthly payments to Americans in ~finance

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Of course you're absolutely right, but even borrowing from China would make more sense than massively devaluing the holdings of every person in the country.

    Of course you're absolutely right, but even borrowing from China would make more sense than massively devaluing the holdings of every person in the country.

  7. Comment on House Democrats propose $2,000 monthly payments to Americans in ~finance

    balooga
    Link
    This is some pretty rough cocktail-napkin math, but I'm trying to estimate roughly how much this would cost... First let's see how many people would be getting these checks. In 2016 there were...

    This is some pretty rough cocktail-napkin math, but I'm trying to estimate roughly how much this would cost...

    First let's see how many people would be getting these checks. In 2016 there were 148.6 million workers with incomes under $100k. Our number would be bigger because of population growth, and because the eligibility threshold is $130k, but let's just use that number as a conservative estimate.

    To give each of those people $2000, that's a total of $297.2 billion. A month.

    For comparison, the annual US military budget (for all five branches) is $693 billion. We would hit that amount in less than three months.

    Are we closing bases, withdrawing from armed conflicts, auctioning off humvees and aircraft? I'm not sure how these checks can be paid for in any sustainable way, but that's my recommendation. Beats going into further debt with China or something.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on We’re on the brink of cyberpunk in ~life

    balooga
    Link
    Apart from the nonsensical, revolving-door pantheon of the Trump administration and its misplaced priorities, I'm not sure I agree with this framing. If anything, the past few decades have been...

    As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the world, it collides with governments in the West that have spent decades deliberately shedding power, capability, and responsibility, reducing themselves to little more than vestigial organs that coordinate public-private partnerships of civic responsibility.

    Apart from the nonsensical, revolving-door pantheon of the Trump administration and its misplaced priorities, I'm not sure I agree with this framing. If anything, the past few decades have been marked by significant overreaches in spending, particularly where it comes to surveillance, drug enforcement, immigration control, and military adventurism. You could make the case that powers have been amassed in all the wrong ways, but I think it's inaccurate to say that they have been reduced in general.

  9. Comment on Is macOS truly the holy grail UX for older people? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    I agree with your comment entirely but this part made me a bit sad. I've been using Macs since 1988 and they used to allow for way more interface customizing. We used to have utilities like...

    curbed my habit of endless tinkering/customizing

    I agree with your comment entirely but this part made me a bit sad. I've been using Macs since 1988 and they used to allow for way more interface customizing. We used to have utilities like Kaleidoscope that enabled deep customization of system UI elements. There was a thriving artist community developing robust catalogs of icons, sound sets, and screensavers. Nowadays you can't even change your system font. You get a couple dock placement options and accent colors, and with all of the really interesting mod abilities locked out by SIP, the customization culture has all but dried up. Even if you disable SIP, there's not enough community support to present many options today.

    Honestly custom UIs were a real abomination back in the day, but they were our abomination. I miss the freedom to tinker, for good or for ill. I miss swapping between 30 SoundJam MP skins and tweaking application icons in ResEdit. I can only imagine what things would be like if we could still do this stuff on our Macs now that we have retina displays and GPUs.

    I'm grateful that some avenues for customization still exist. iTerm 2 and powerline-shell have breathed new life into my CLI experience. (Not to mention Homebrew, but that's a different sort of customization). BetterTouchTool is also an ESSENTIAL part of the modern Mac personalization scene. Honorable mention to Firefox, which allows for some fantastic depth of customization too.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on Why I don’t use a static site generator in ~comp

    balooga
    Link
    Why not both? A couple years ago when I was faced with this decision, I installed WordPress locally (fully offline) with this plugin which publishes the whole site to S3 as static files. Seems...

    Why not both? A couple years ago when I was faced with this decision, I installed WordPress locally (fully offline) with this plugin which publishes the whole site to S3 as static files.

    Seems like the perfect solution to me. You get a robust, easy to use CMS on the backend, and a fast, secure site on the frontend.

    5 votes
  11. Comment on Trump order encourages US to mine the moon in ~space

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Right there with you, and though I'm not typically one to defend Trump I do think in the interest of truth we should be straightforward: He (obviously) doesn't think the moon is "a part of Mars."...

    It is unclear whether the president actually thinks the moon is a part of Mars but the two are in fact quite far apart – the moon, which orbits Earth, is around 238,000 miles away from our planet while Mars, which is itself a planet, is an average of 140m miles away from Earth.

    I hate everything about this.

    Right there with you, and though I'm not typically one to defend Trump I do think in the interest of truth we should be straightforward: He (obviously) doesn't think the moon is "a part of Mars." The Trump tweet that led to this statement:

    For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!

    Trump writes at approximately a 4th grade level. His capitalization and punctuation are all over the place. I don't think I've seen a single tweet of his that didn't read like the the raving screed of a lunatic. His communication is so stream-of-consciousness, he frequently jumps through three or four ideas mid-sentence, completely abandoning whatever point he was originally trying to make along the way. But let's be charitable in our interpretation: Clearly he's saying that the moon is "a part" of "the much bigger things we are doing," not of "Mars." Terrible composition... but it was unprofessional for the Guardian to write a whole article around a bad-faith interpretation of it.

    8 votes
  12. Comment on The 9/11 era is over in ~misc

    balooga
    Link Parent
    In addition to what others have said here, a point of clarification: It wan't two planes, it was four. Two for the WTC, one for the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania before it could arrive...

    How could 2 hacked planes scar a nation for a decade and a half?

    In addition to what others have said here, a point of clarification: It wan't two planes, it was four. Two for the WTC, one for the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania before it could arrive at whatever its intended destination was. Also these planes weren't hacked, they were forcibly hijacked by armed terrorists and an awful lot of innocent lives were needlessly ended that day.

    A lot of 9/11's power came from its symbolism. It represented a threat to a prosperous and peaceful way of life that a lot of Americans enjoyed. It's hard to forget the terror of uncertainty we felt as planes were being crashed by suicidal extremists, in a coordinated blow to multiple parts of the country at once. Were there more than four? We didn't know at the time. In all the hysteria there were rumors of planes coming down in every major city. We watched live as one happened, then another, then another... we didn't know when it would stop. We didn't know what the other targets would be, or why any of this was happening. The suddenness of it all on a random Tuesday morning, the audacious barbarism of it, snapped a lot of people out of their complacency. The World Trade Center was a symbol of American might, and then suddenly it was gone.

    14 votes
  13. Comment on What are your favorite CLI tools/applications? in ~comp

    balooga
    Link
    bat is a nice replacement for cat and less that adds syntax highlighting for recognized file formats. I have a couple aliases that let me neatly replace both of those commands with it: alias...

    bat is a nice replacement for cat and less that adds syntax highlighting for recognized file formats. I have a couple aliases that let me neatly replace both of those commands with it:

    alias cat="bat -pp"
    alias less="bat -p"
    

    I also wrote a couple functions to use it to mimic head and tail:

    function head() {
        if [[ ! -p /dev/stdin ]]
        then
            file="${@: -1}"
            length=$(($#-1))
            args=${@:1:$length}
            if test -f "$file"
            then
                filename=$(basename -- "$file")
                extension="${filename##*.}"
                /usr/bin/head $args $file | bat -pp -l $extension
            else
                echo "File does not exist." >&2
            fi
        else
            /usr/bin/head $@
        fi
    }
    function tail() {
        if [[ ! -p /dev/stdin ]]
        then
            file="${@: -1}"
            length=$(($#-1))
            args=${@:1:$length}
            if test -f "$file"
            then
                filename=$(basename -- "$file")
                extension="${filename##*.}"
                bat_paging_arg=""
                tail_force_follow_arg=""
                while getopts ':fF' flag; do
                    case "${flag}" in
                        f|F)
                            bat_paging_arg='--paging=never'
                            tail_force_follow_arg='-F'
                            ;;
                    esac
                done
                /usr/bin/tail $args $tail_force_follow_arg $file | bat -pp $bat_paging_arg -l $extension
            else
                echo "File does not exist." >&2
            fi
        else
            /usr/bin/tail $@
        fi
    }
    

    I haven't done robust testing on those but for my limited uses of head and tail they work. It's nice to have pretty colors in these old-school CLI utils.

    Note: I hard-coded the paths to actual head and tail binaries on my system, which may be different on your machine.

    9 votes
  14. Comment on What are some games in which movement itself is a joy? in ~games

    balooga
    (edited )
    Link
    The Dishonored games have a really satisfying sense of movement. Similar to Mirror's Edge in that you're locked into a 1st person perspective and your hands interact with surfaces in the game...

    The Dishonored games have a really satisfying sense of movement. Similar to Mirror's Edge in that you're locked into a 1st person perspective and your hands interact with surfaces in the game world. Dishonored doesn't feature any elaborate parkour but there's plenty of running, jumping, sliding, swimming, sneaking, and peeking around corners. The real fun starts when you unlock supernatural abilities that let you warp around and pull items/enemies toward yourself. Clever use of the abilities can take you down surprising paths through the environment, traversing under, over, or around the map through places that appeared unreachable. The combat is also pretty visceral and satisfying.

    There's some love in here for good handling in driving games, and I want to throw Crazy Taxi into the list. It's not a realistic sim game but it feels great when you've mastered your car and know the map and where all the routes are. A skilled player can extend the 50 seconds of allotted time into an hour or more. Crazy Taxi 2 is a great sequel as well, the addition of a "jump" mechanic adds a new verticality to the game. You can leap over entire buildings and discover tons of shortcuts.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on What browser do you use? How have you customized it? in ~tech

    balooga
    Link Parent
    This is the first I've heard of Tildes ReExtended. I have Tildes Extended. How are they different?

    This is the first I've heard of Tildes ReExtended. I have Tildes Extended. How are they different?

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Recommend classic games you feel everyone should play at least once in ~games

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Shenmue was staggering in its time. It probably was the most immersive, realistic virtual world ever made when it came out. The number of voiced NPCs, each with their own homes and jobs and...

    Shenmue was staggering in its time. It probably was the most immersive, realistic virtual world ever made when it came out. The number of voiced NPCs, each with their own homes and jobs and schedules; the day/night cycle and weather generated from actual historical data; the ability to go nearly anywhere, open any cupboard, talk to anyone; the uniquely nostalgic setting and storyline; the feeling of progression as a martial artist... so many things made it unlike any video game that came before it. The graphics were great leaps ahead of other games of the era. It took three whole discs just to fit all the content on it.

    Shenmue II upped the ante. The locations were bigger and more exotic, the plot kicked into overdrive. I'll never forget the feeling of exploring Kowloon for the first time. It was a better game than the first, and that's saying something. At the same time, other games were beginning to catch up to Shenmue's ambition. The first Xbox was released and the whole of Shenmue II fit on a single DVD. It didn't get a very wide audience and many people passed it by entirely.

    Shenmue III is out now, and frankly it's almost unplayable. I've spent hours running back and forth around Guilin and I'm mostly uninterested in anything that's happening. The game is clunky and terribly paced. I had hoped to be tearing apart a criminal syndicate from the inside, and instead I'm chopping wood and practicing my horse stance. And (spoilers) I know it doesn't even attempt to resolve the story, so I just feel unmotivated to play. As a huge fan of the original two, I was really let down by the latest installment.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on Recommend classic games you feel everyone should play at least once in ~games

    balooga
    Link
    Everybody should probably play the first Super Mario Bros. game because everything that came after is built on it. It's a good game, but later titles surpassed it. Skip Super Mario Bros. 2...

    Everybody should probably play the first Super Mario Bros. game because everything that came after is built on it. It's a good game, but later titles surpassed it. Skip Super Mario Bros. 2 (there's an interesting story about why it is the way it is, worth the read), but don't miss the third game. That one is legendary and fantastic. If you have the means, play the SNES "remasters" of these in the Mario All-Stars collection, they're the same games but feature some higher fidelity graphics and music.

    The first Sonic the Hedgehog game is very good. Sonic 2 is even better. The two games that came after, (Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles) are where things get really interesting: They're separate games in their own right, but S&K was released in a special cartridge with a slot on top that other Megadrive/Genesis games could be plugged into. If you connect Sonic 2 to it you can play an expanded, reimagined version of that game. But the real tour de force is to plug in Sonic 3, which unlocks a unified version of both games combined. In my opinion this connected form is the intended way to experience both of them. You'll play through a deluxe version of Sonic 3 and then continue straight into S&K seamlessly. Regardless of how you approach them, all four of these first Sonic games are absolute must-plays. They are fast and frenetic, with great level design, boss battles, and legendary music. Whatever your thoughts about the current state of Sonic games (they generally suck) disregard them and play the originals. Then, and only after you finish those, try Sonic Mania. It's the only worthy modern successor.

    I also highly recommend all the Donkey Kong Country games for SNES. Great platformers with a wonderful esthetic and sense of humor. The mine cart levels are particularly great, in my opinion.

    If you're looking for PC game recommendations, dive into some classic LucasArts adventure games. I suggest you give The Secret of Monkey Island a try. It's got a particular breed of obtusely tricky puzzles that may put you off at first. Online walkthroughs (which didn't exist yet when the game released) can help a lot, but don't turn to them unless you've really attempted to do it yourself first, and are truly stuck. Monkey Island is great for its anachronistic pirate comedy and outlandishness. If you manage to make it through the whole game, check out the sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. It's actually a bigger and better game than the first. Both are available in "HD" remasters with great fully-voiced dialogue. The third game, The Curse of Monkey Island, was made by a different team and they took it in a very different direction. It was still good, just different. I wouldn't recommend any of the sequels that came after it though.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Bill Gates does an AMA on Reddit about coronavirus in ~health.coronavirus

    balooga
    Link Parent
    And it's not even a perfect loop!!

    And it's not even a perfect loop!!

    2 votes
  19. Comment on Video game retail chain GameStop classifies itself as "essential retail" to justify its stores staying open despite lockdowns in ~finance

    balooga
    Link Parent
    Maybe they should offer delivery, as many other affected businesses have done.

    Maybe they should offer delivery, as many other affected businesses have done.

    11 votes