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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Media (page 1 of 28)

Alita: Battle Angel

Last week, at the tail end of my birthday vacation, I took in the Alita: Battle Angel film before it disappeared from theaters entirely. So how was it?

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New phone + Nature park excursion

It began when Kyla’s previous phone (an aging Moto X Pure) started going kaput in a big way. After some research, she went to Best Buy on Friday and picked up a Nokia 6.1 as a replacement. That phone’s just a smidgen more powerful than my Moto G5 Plus, which makes it a huge upgrade for her. Huzzah!

Well. My phone had some issues as well and is nearing the end of active support. Plus, being a Lenovorola, it has some… quirks. So I figured, fine, let’s just get out ahead of the problem and use some of that sweet, sweet tax refund money to upgrade my own device. Saturday, while out on our grocery run, we swung by Best Buy and I nabbed a Nokia 7.1 (in blue, not that it matters because once the protective case goes on nobody’s going to see its natural color again).

How am I liking it so far? Quite a bit, albeit with some getting-used-to involved because it’s a longer, narrower device than my previous two phones. Text is smaller as a consequence. There’s also that weird “notch” display element at the top, and the fingerprint sensor is on the back with almost no physical guide to tell you where to tap your finger. (Once the case I ordered arrives, finding the sensor should cease to be a problem.) The phone is definitely peppier, and with the SD card I took out of the tablet (it wasn’t being used for anything since I haven’t made any time-lapse videos in ages) I’m able to put a whole lot of music on there instead of just a few hours’ worth.

Within 24 hours we went from being a fully Motorola household to a fully Nokia household, and we’re both quite pleased about that.

Today, because it’s absolutely gorgeous outside, we hiked around at one of our favorite places: The Tualatin Hills Nature Park. I played stevedore, carrying around our water bottles and battery packs and the “big” camera in my backpack. The trees lack leaves as of yet so it was up to the moss and ferns and some grasses to provide greenery. We didn’t see many birds but wow, were there ever gartner snakes all over the place! They all slithered under cover as soon as we could see them, which is a shame because I really wanted a picture. I had to settle for using the Go Snapshot feature of Pokémon Go for my “wildlife” photos.

Taillow reading about his distant cousins.

“You shall not pass!”

We also crossed the world’s smallest bridge.

Step on, or step over? You decide.

All in all, a lovely day out. We’ll have to do this again once the trees are somewhat leafier…

Mobile testing

Before I go looking around for an app with which to post content from my phone, I figure I should try using the built-in mobile web interface as a test. Let’s see how it works.

Here we see a dapper older gentleman, karate-chopping a city for its money.

And I’m using the new WordPress “block editor” because what the heck.

I guess this is doable. I’m not sure if I actually like it though. Ideally I should be in front of a proper computer to do any useful, long-form writing. But in a pinch? I guess it’ll do.

I expect to be haunted by Enzo Ferrari’s ghost now.

I’m not sure how to feel about assembling LEGO doodads as a creative outlet. All I’m doing is following instructions. On the other hand, if I take a lot of photos and write a snarky blog post about it… yeah, here we go then.

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The Pi Writ Moody

A couple weeks ago our household network storage device, QBAY, bit the dust. It shuffled off this mortal coil. It ceased to be (functional). Bereft of life, it rests in pieces. It joined the choir invisible. It… well, enough quoting Monty Python, you get the idea. To replace most of its functionality I signed up for Google One so I now have a two terabyte bundle of online storage for most of the miscellaneous data that I stored on the NAS previously.

To replace the rest of its functionality, that of a networked music library device, I decided to take the plunge into building a system centered on a Raspberry Pi kit. The plan is to utilize Pi MusicBox with a side order of Samba to allow sharing and updating the music library over the network. One big upside of this plan is that no individual piece of the puzzle costs more than $40. Considering I just wasted $100 replacing a hard drive only to have the entire storage device go kaput, cost-effective solutions are rather appealing right now.

After consulting with an expert known to the household I put in an order for a bunch of stuff. This week, the stuff arrived!

This evening I set about performing the physical assembly, with plans to load the operating system and see if it boots & runs afterward. One of our excellent Ikea-sourced tray tables served as a workspace with nice safe borders to prevent losing teeny tiny screws in the carpet.

For a few minutes I panicked because I thought I’d bought the wrong case for the specific model of Raspberry Pi board, but, no, I was just mistaken about how it all was going to fit together. Hooray for that! On the downside, the power adapter is absolutely perfect… for an arrangement other than the one I’m assembling. (Basically the Pi will get its power from the X820 SSD add-on board, which takes an entirely different plug. Sigh.)

I guess I have a spare power adapter if I ever get another Raspberry Pi or disassemble this kit later on. Silver linings, something something.

After mis-reading the instructions the first time, I finally got to the point where it vaguely resembled the correct configuration.

I should describe what you’re seeing: On top is the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model, attached to the X820 board from Geekworm whose job is to connect and power the 120 gigabyte Crucial solid-state drive (hidden underneath).

It was right about here during the assembly that, going through the instructions to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I learned about the power supply problem. The correct one is on order and next week I should be able to complete the build.

Soon this thing will be blasting tunes for the benefit of the household. (I hope.)

Impressions From First Episodes: Winter 2019 Anime

I watched a few first episodes from the newly current season of anime, thanks to the modern miracle of legitimate for-pay streaming services. I have some thoughts, or perhaps I should say I have some dire warnings. Let’s get this out there while the memory is fresh and I have the inclination to hold forth on the topic, shall we?

Girly Air Force – Hapless dude who wants to be a pilot gets involved with the cute-girl-looking AI avatars of super-airplanes that fight some kind of enemy super-airplane force and oh boy, it’s Arpeggio of Blue Steel only in the air instead of on the ocean. And cheaper. And terrible. The only thing I really enjoyed about the first episode was the required Childhood Best Friend character, and she couldn’t save this mess. Transplant her into something better and we’ll talk.

Domestic Girlfriend – Is it okay to be done, very much done, with the “incest by marriage” trope going on lately? Because I’m very done. What’s worse, this show seems to be trying to do some interesting and serious drama… except that every few minutes they throw in some kind of brief wacky hi-jinks to unbalance the tone of the thing. No, nothing in here makes me want to stick with it. I kind of dislike everybody except the parents, and the show’s not about them, so.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka – This one’s a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it’s occasionally very violent on a level I don’t really enjoy. On the other, there’s an interesting thread to it about a girl who’s had one save-the-world battle too many against absolutely fiendish enemies, and she’s trying to learn to be less broken. If they could lean on that aspect I might be tempted, but I’m willing to bet that there’s enough of “the old ultraviolence” to keep me turned away. Friend Wonderduck indicated he might be tackling this as a review subject. I hope he does, because I’m very curious to see his take on it and find out how the show pans out.

The Price of Smiles –  Well it’s nice to see Hestia from Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon is getting more work. Seriously, the character design for the princess character here is nearly identical. This seems like a somewhat fluffy sci-fi giant-robot romp at the outset. I’ve no idea where it goes from here, though. I think I’ll stick around for a bit on this one to find out. Expectations are set at a medium-ish level.

That’s all so far. Hopefully this season will give me something to look forward to with actual enthusiasm… eventually.

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