mat's recent activity

  1. Comment on Edward Snowden NFT sells for more than $5.4 million in ~finance

    mat
    Link Parent
    I mean.. none of those things are a reason to use a blockchain. Someone telling you an ETH wallet belongs to Snowdon doesn't mean it does any more than someone telling you a paypal address or bank...

    I mean.. none of those things are a reason to use a blockchain. Someone telling you an ETH wallet belongs to Snowdon doesn't mean it does any more than someone telling you a paypal address or bank account does. Someone telling you Snowdon is selling a token doesn't mean they are either.

    Additionally to that, NFT's "Smart" contracts aren't even worth the paper they're not printed on. A friend of mine is a contract lawyer and finds it hilarious how many people are throwing so much money into such poorly transacted deals. If I was spending $5.4m on something I'd want some seriously waterbloodytight paperwork - on actual paper, signed and witnessed and properly arranged via expensive lawyers - guaranteeing authenticity, provenance, ownership and so on - not an url, however immutable the url might be.. (because the target of the url is 100% fungible even if the address isn't!)

    The only thing dumber than NFTs are the people buying them.

    6 votes
  2. Comment on What's your proposing/marriage story? in ~talk

    mat
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    We were driving along route 1 in Iceland, on our way back to Reykjavik and I pulled the car over to look at the view (it was a good view, the sun was setting because it was mid-afternoon in...

    We were driving along route 1 in Iceland, on our way back to Reykjavik and I pulled the car over to look at the view (it was a good view, the sun was setting because it was mid-afternoon in January). I gave my girlfriend a ring box and she took out the ring I'd made and put it on her little finger (I often give her jewellery, this wasn't unusual) at which point I said "no, it goes on the other finger" and pointed to her ring finger.

    And that was that. I never actually proposed, technically. We'd been together 14 years at that point, living together for 13.5 of those years, and around six months earlier she'd said how sad she was that I didn't want to get married. I've never been interested and I'm still not particularly bothered about it. But she likes it, and since we had a kid it does make a number of legal things considerably easier. So that's two perfectly good reasons for me.

    11 votes
  3. Comment on What game(s) have you tried to repeatedly get into but ultimately could not? in ~games

    mat
    Link Parent
    Yeah, me too. I came into the Witcher 3 right off the back of Dark Souls 2 and just couldn't get into it at all. I hated all the standing around while people talked to me about the plot. The...

    Yeah, me too. I came into the Witcher 3 right off the back of Dark Souls 2 and just couldn't get into it at all. I hated all the standing around while people talked to me about the plot. The combat was awful (by any standards but especially compared to Souls), the story both boring and predictable and the characters felt flat and uninteresting.

    The only reason I stuck with it as long as I did was Gwent.

    3 votes
  4. A Goodbye

    I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be. --...

    I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be.

    --

    Goodbye then. I think we both knew this day was coming but it was always going to come too fast, too soon - I would always want one more day, one more stroll in the woods together, one more evening snuggle by the fire.

    But in the darkness of loss a whirling, glittering constellation of memories shines brightly. The first moment I saw you in that badly lit, chilly ferry terminal, you were all wobbly and woozy from the boat trip. You never did get over that travel sickness, despite everything we tried. All the first times, all the adventures, all the unspoken moments of connection between us.

    I remember running around the garden together as summer storms drenched the thirsty ground, yelping and laughing and soaked to the skin by hot rain. Eating raspberries fresh off the cane for breakfast as the dew sparkled on our toes. Lying quietly by the fire as the party slowly died away. The awful long, hot, car journeys to far-away places where your eyes would light up with joy at the sight of a new beach, a new hill to climb, new people to meet or a new place to explore.

    The time we clambered over the rocks and you terrified me with your boldness, seemingly unafraid to fall. The time after we were first apart for days, overflowing with happiness and relief to be together again. The time we went camping and you were not sure about it but discovered the wonder of waking up with the dawn and being outside all day. The time you first saw the snow, the sheer amazement in your eyes as we stepped outside to a blanket of white just waiting to be played in.

    The time, all those years later, we first brought the baby home and you were so gentle, as if his tiny body might break at your slightest touch. Don’t think I didn’t notice you quietly taking guard over him, for all your gruff standoffishness, I know you loved him and wanted to protect him as much as I did.

    And the worst time of all, the blackest star looming large in my mind’s sky. The nurse taking you away as your life drained from you, tired and afraid and so far away from me. I’ll always regret I couldn’t be there with you at the very end, but such regrets are dwarfed by the enormity of the joys of all that came before.

    The small things stand out more than the big. The little rituals of the day that I get partway through before remembering you’re not there any more. The patterns are broken - getting ready to go to bed, getting up the next day, preparing food or finding our cosy places in the evening. All those familiar shapes to life are gone, shattered like ice, the shards of how we lived together destined to quietly melt away, as unstoppable as the tide.

    You touched so many people’s lives, brought so much joy and love to the world, but to no-one more than me. Those days when my back hurt so much I could barely bring myself to do anything, you gave me the strength to at least go for a walk, and that always helped. Those dark nights when I felt alone and afraid, you’d always notice and come over with some love to make me feel better. It might be too much to say you saved my life but it might not.

    I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I could have been for the last year, we’ve all struggled, we’ve all been tired and I know now you probably needed me more than you could tell me. Neither of us knew the cancer was taking you from the inside, not until it was far too late. If I could have the last few months again I’d be by your side every day, I’d be more patient with your struggles because they were so much more than I understood.

    Goodbye, old friend. The pain is over now, and the life before it was beautiful. I love you.

    30 votes
  5. Comment on Mass Effect Legendary Edition - Visual improvements in ~games

    mat
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    I'm really surprised by how often I prefer the original image in this. Sure, the improved textures and better effects and lighting and so on is nice, but in quite a lot of the examples they've...

    I'm really surprised by how often I prefer the original image in this. Sure, the improved textures and better effects and lighting and so on is nice, but in quite a lot of the examples they've horribly over-cranked the gamma and everything just looks washed out. I don't know what engine they're using now but the Mass Effect games have never been very good at faces and that hasn't really changed in the new version either. It's not quite Andromeda bad but it's still not great.

    I hope it looks better in game. Because I do like the series and will probably pick this up at some point. I am slightly disappointed that they left the co-op multiplayer out, but I can understand why it wasn't a priority.

    7 votes
  6. Comment on Our brain typically overlooks this brilliant problem-solving strategy in ~science

    mat
    Link Parent
    Due to the drastic lack of moving parts (sealed bearings on each wheel and that's pretty much it, you can strip and rebuild a Strider bike in a handful of minutes) and the fact that kids age out...

    Due to the drastic lack of moving parts (sealed bearings on each wheel and that's pretty much it, you can strip and rebuild a Strider bike in a handful of minutes) and the fact that kids age out of them fairly quick, used balance bikes are cheap and totally worth it. Although even new they're not particularly expensive.

    My kid has had one since age 2, if we'd managed to find a standard bike in his size and presented him with it at that age (even with stabilisers) he would have had no idea what to do with it, but the balance bike makes perfect sense to him. He loves it and you can almost see his balance and co-ordination stats ticking up as he uses it. I'm pretty anti buying-stuff-for-kids but a balance bike is absolutely a good investment.

    Oh, and they work like magic. Kids who have had balance bikes tend to get on normal bikes - without stabilisers - age 4-5 or so and just... ride off.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on What creative projects have you been working on? in ~creative

    mat
    Link Parent
    eeep, very late to this but thanks for checking in, the answer is "well but slowly" I've been taking lots of pictures because my Dad, who normally helps with stuff like this, can't be here, so...

    eeep, very late to this but thanks for checking in, the answer is "well but slowly"

    I've been taking lots of pictures because my Dad, who normally helps with stuff like this, can't be here, so I'll probably do a big post on the whole project once it's reached some kind of end-like point - just because it's so ludicrous if nothing else.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announces in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    And the same would have happened if they'd done less. It was always going to be a lose-lose situation for them. I didn't really care as much as my comment suggested, I just wanted to use the...

    And the same would have happened if they'd done less. It was always going to be a lose-lose situation for them. I didn't really care as much as my comment suggested, I just wanted to use the phrase "royally pissing me off", it's not like it's hard to put something else on these days. Some of the obit stuff was interesting, Philip was a pretty decent guy it turns out. I had no idea.

    I spent a bit of time going through other BBC radio stations after posting my comment and they were mostly wall-to-wall obit/chat, but radio one and one xtra (pop, 'urban' music, demographic target 18-30) weren't playing speech, they were playing weird kinda downbeat electro-acoustic music. The kind of music you'd expect to hear if you were on hold at a funeral director's. Seemingly the whole day long.

    This is all part of a plan, it was interesting listening to the music stations escalate slowly up from the 'very sad' to the 'sad', then the 'moderately sad' playlists, then eventually back to relatively normal programming. It's fascinating that they have planned what music to play based on how bad the national news is deemed to be. Apparently if you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (In The Nursery Mix) on daytime Radio 1 then something very serious has happened.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on What does analog have that digital doesn't? in ~talk

    mat
    Link Parent
    To be fair, even in the 60s most studio tape was far higher quality than vinyl. Things get mixed down to vinyl quality and pretty much always have done. A CD from the original master tapes, mixed...

    To be fair, even in the 60s most studio tape was far higher quality than vinyl. Things get mixed down to vinyl quality and pretty much always have done. A CD from the original master tapes, mixed well, contains more information than the vinyl mix, let alone the actual record, which has less again. The "mixed well" bit is important there because so much stuff is not, and that's a human factor which is independent of storage media. Whether a track was recorded or mastered on digital or analogue equipment doesn't really make any difference because the significant losses are all in the final medium. Vinyl masters are often done better because the engineer doing them is an audio nerd (and you really want an audio nerd on your mixing desk) doing it for love rather than just kicking out yet another CD. Also the labels generally give zero fucks about the vinyl mix so they won't send it back saying "it's too quiet" (this is one reason vinyl avoided the loudness war, which another comment in this thread alludes to). It's not the format which sounds better, it's the obscurity of the format which lets better mixes be released.

    Just as an aside, one of the issues extreme audiophiles have is that their equipment is often better than studio gear so the weakest link in their system is the studio at which the recording was done. There was, back when I was into this stuff, only a handful of CDs which were recorded/mastered on super high quality gear and by skilled sound engineers, which actually benefit from playback on audiophile equipment. Morcheeba's Big Calm is one of them, and that will sound better on CD (or flac or mp3[1]) than on vinyl on a good enough system. I have heard both mediums on very high end systems and CD is very clearly better.

    Audiophilia is almost entirely bullshit, btw. It's like wine and steak and all those other things people love to fetishise. Good wine is worth buying but good wine is relatively cheap and there's no real benefit from spending crazy money. Same for hifi gear. I used to sell tens of thousands of pounds worth of the most ludicrously overpriced crap which did essentially nothing whatsoever to middle-aged men (always middle aged men) who thought it made their hifis sound fractionally better. The only way most of this stuff works is via placebo, blind ABX tests prove this time and time again. My father use to work in high end signal processing (he designed power amps used on radio telescopes) and he's baffled by it all. His speaker cables are the same as those used to connect ultra-sensitive radio receivers to their amps and cost less per metre than mid-range audiophile speaker cable which is carrying a signal several orders of magnitude more powerful.

    [1] 256kbps+ mp3 is indistinguishable from wav to human ears and frankly to most oscilloscopes too.

    11 votes
  10. Comment on What does analog have that digital doesn't? in ~talk

    mat
    Link Parent
    Which is one reason I sold all my Nikon camera gear and bought Fuji. Sure, you can't put all the controls of a modern digital camera into physical form but having the most used ones as dials,...

    What I actually miss most is physical buttons, switches, dials, and sliding potentiometers.

    Which is one reason I sold all my Nikon camera gear and bought Fuji. Sure, you can't put all the controls of a modern digital camera into physical form but having the most used ones as dials, knobs and switches is such a joy. Honestly, joy. My first cameras were entirely manual and to go back to something approximating that, a setup which I can change EV/shutter/etc without looking, by touch alone, was wonderful. I can still remember how excited I was to take photos with an X100, an excitement I never really felt with a Nikon DSLR. Admittedly most of the controls in question aren't technically analogue and they never really were anyway, but it's the principle of the thing.

    12 votes
  11. Comment on Amazon workers vote down Alabama union campaign in ~finance

    mat
    Link Parent
    But there's no single company to compete directly with Amazon as a whole. There are online bookshops, online auction houses, online general stores, compute, hosting and digital storage providers,...

    But there's no single company to compete directly with Amazon as a whole. There are online bookshops, online auction houses, online general stores, compute, hosting and digital storage providers, logistics and warehousing companies, storefront provisioning and delivery firms and many more - but they're all small companies compared to Amazon.

    It's not like how Ford could go up against GM, or AMD against Intel or similar. There's no single competitor who does what Amazon does, that might have the clout to make a difference to Amazon's operations. If lots of companies got together maybe, but that seems unlikely and possibly illegal in some countries.

    8 votes
  12. Comment on Amazon workers vote down Alabama union campaign in ~finance

    mat
    Link Parent
    Is there a competitor to Amazon? That sounds like a facetious question but I genuinely can't think of one. Although I am not very familiar with the America retail landscape.

    Is there a competitor to Amazon?

    That sounds like a facetious question but I genuinely can't think of one. Although I am not very familiar with the America retail landscape.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announces in ~news

    mat
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    BBC radio is playing the exact same rolling obituary-news-commentry over all it's stations and it is ahem royally pissing me off. OK, sure, Philip was an important public figure. His death is a...

    BBC radio is playing the exact same rolling obituary-news-commentry over all it's stations and it is ahem royally pissing me off. OK, sure, Philip was an important public figure. His death is a significant event. Lots of people are upset. All those things are true. But I can listen to Radio 4 if I want to hear about that stuff, but instead I don't get a choice and instead of 6 Music being a music station, it's been news and chat all afternoon.

    Even worse, they keep playing clips of Boris and his voice always makes me feel angry and slightly nauseous. I should probably turn the radio off.

    Anyway I do feel bad for Liz, they'd been together almost 75 years. I can't imagine what losing a partner of that kind of time feels like.

    24 votes
  14. Comment on Peace in Northern Ireland is fragile in ~news

    mat
    Link Parent
    I think it's very bold of you to assume our government has anything approaching a "plan" on this issue. Boris is an absolute shambles and thinks he can bullshit his way out of this. He cannot. In...

    I think it's very bold of you to assume our government has anything approaching a "plan" on this issue. Boris is an absolute shambles and thinks he can bullshit his way out of this. He cannot.

    In a wider sense this was never really on their radar of concern as the Tories don't give a single fuck about Northern Ireland. The DUP, despite being there on the ground and of Northern Irish heritage, are only marginally less terrible.

    Boris's lack of clue and lack of giving a damn will quite likely end up fucking the GFA and then the shit will really hit the fan. A friend of mine grew up in Derry in the 80s/90s and she's terrified. Her parents are moving out of the city (and ultimately NI itself) because they can see a very clear and obvious path back to both police checkpoints and violence.

    I'm still a bit cross with Sinn Fein who could have stopped all this by showing up in Westminster to tip several key brexit votes in the right direction. I know why they don't take their seats in general but special circumstances and all that. Mind you, who knows what their agenda is.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on Notes from "Don't Shoot the Dog" in ~books

    mat
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    This article is a great summary but I have been saying for years that everyone should read Don't Shoot The Dog. Everyone who deals with any sort of living creatures in any sort of a way. Including...

    This article is a great summary but I have been saying for years that everyone should read Don't Shoot The Dog. Everyone who deals with any sort of living creatures in any sort of a way. Including - especially - humans. The book is a nice short read but it'll give you techniques which will help you for life.

    I do particularly like this quote, especially as I have done both things: "Nobody should be allowed to have a baby until they have first been required to train a chicken" but I would expand it somewhat to "nobody should be allowed to have a baby or be given any kind of management role..."

    It's weird shaping a young child's behaviour. They're both much harder and far easier than chickens. Easier because you can explain stuff to them, harder because they have all these ideas of their own and preferences and emotions and stuff. Higher brain functions and a limbic system, in one sense, just get in the way. Chickens are just a bundle of reactions. Stimulate the right bits at the right time and you can get the result you want, it's largely just a matter of timing. Children would, of course, be a lot less fun and rewarding if they were more like chickens.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Why I’m switching to raised beds for my survival garden in ~enviro

    mat
    Link Parent
    You can combine them. We have hugel-style raised beds in our garden. They're not rounded heaps but they are layered with wood and varying degrees of compost. It takes more time to set up but -...

    You can combine them. We have hugel-style raised beds in our garden. They're not rounded heaps but they are layered with wood and varying degrees of compost. It takes more time to set up but - allowing for the lack of a control bed to compare against - it certainly feels like we do less watering, and the plants definitely do OK.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on The thirteen metre long table built from single planks of 5000 year old oak in ~creative

    mat
    (edited )
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    This is so impressive on so many levels. From a woodworking perspective, just milling, cutting and joining the wood as single 13m long pieces is amazing - bog oak is horrible to work with, it's...

    This is so impressive on so many levels. From a woodworking perspective, just milling, cutting and joining the wood as single 13m long pieces is amazing - bog oak is horrible to work with, it's prone to breaking, it's awfully dusty (the dust is basically coal!) and very, very hard. Also it's so beautiful. I hope I can see it one day.

    Just as a point of interest, I made my wife's engagement ring from Fenland bog oak, because we live in the area. I still have some left but nowhere near enough to make a table for anything other than a doll's house!

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Lil Nas X — Montero (Call Me By Your Name) (2021) in ~music

    mat
    Link Parent
    I can see why the video is upsetting a particularly uptight segment of America. That's good, I guess, although it is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. The video is sort of vaguely interesting...

    I can see why the video is upsetting a particularly uptight segment of America. That's good, I guess, although it is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. The video is sort of vaguely interesting if a little obviously set up to troll - but I wasn't expecting the track to be so... boring. It's not even "musically interesting but not to my taste" (for example, lots of Kanye's output), it just doesn't stand out in any way to me. I think calling it average is very generous. I didn't even make it to the end of the track before closing the tab, and it's only 3 minutes long!

    4 votes
  19. Comment on Review a product/service you first used over a year ago in ~life

    mat
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    Makita CXT 12V drill/driver and impact driver. I was a bit concerned that the little (and they are super little, maybe slightly smaller than a pack of cards) 12V/2Ah batteries wouldn't provide...

    Makita CXT 12V drill/driver and impact driver. I was a bit concerned that the little (and they are super little, maybe slightly smaller than a pack of cards) 12V/2Ah batteries wouldn't provide enough power or runtime but I almost never run out of juice and I've successfully drilled into concrete and high-tensile steel, and driven timber screws unpiloted into old oak beams.

    The huge advantage for me of the CXT/12V system isn't that it's a lot cheaper than the 18V or new 40V stuff (although it is), it's that the hardware is so much smaller and lighter. I have long-term back issues which mean I have to be careful about hefting around heavy stuff, especially for extended periods or up at (or above) shoulder height. So a range of smaller, lighter tools which are still powerful enough for everything I've asked them to do is very welcome.

    I just added a CXT jigsaw to my collection but that's only a few months old and doesn't qualify for this (spoiler: it's awesome).

    3 votes