How Did I Miss This?

Apparently there was a Lego Space comicbook back in 1986. The title looks pretty English-y (“Jim Spaceborn”), but the comic itself looks to be Danish. I wonder if this was published in the US? I’m guessing ‘no’, because I have trouble believing I could’ve missed anything Lego at that age—though, pre-internet, I’m sure I missed a lot of a lot of things. Anyway, the reason I’m bothering to write about it, however, has to do with the content. Specifically, I love the way that the ships and characters and so on in it are reasonably-accurate brick-built objects, using pieces that existed in the day. Even more amazingly, the folks at The Lego Group apparently actually built the large spaceship, because there’s a photo of it on the first page of the comic. And somebody else has just built a copy. It’s a fairly impressive ship, over a meter long, and uses building techniques that you didn’t really see back in ’86—at least not from TLG. Check out a sample of the comic, as well as the modern copy of the ship.

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If you treat it as non-fiction, does that make it so?

Rob Heinsoo relates an entertaining anecdote about classifying D&D books, and, I gotta say, it rings true. There are two sorts of books that I never know where they’ll be in the book store, and often have to resort to asking someone: RPG books, and Le Guin’s non-fiction. The former i’ve seen in “games,” “comics,” “fantasy,” “scifi/fantasy,” and occasionally in their own section. And, I suppose, given the fact that they are instruction manuals more than they are narratives, saying “they’re not fiction, so they must be non-fiction” isn’t the most ridiculous decision I’ve seen. Even sorta makes sense–if predicated on a sorta narrow definition of “fiction”. But, I gotta admit, “self help” definitely takes the cake for absurd classification.

As for Le Guin’s non-fiction works, particularly her books of essays, I’ve found them in Women’s Studies, Lit Crit, Memoirs, and filed with her [adult] fiction in Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Fantasy/Science Fiction. (I’ve also found her young-adult and children’s stories filed with her adult SF/fantasy works, but that seems rather less strange, given the fact that they all seem to have a fantastical element, at the least.)

Malicious, or Incompetent?

OK, it’s not like I had a very high opinion of Fox News before last week. But, still, I expected heavily-slanted reporting, emphasizing things that supported a more-conservative POV, and glossing over or ignoring things that undermined the same. Maybe some heavy spinning. But outright, bald-faced, self-serving [er, conservative-serving, at least]—and transparent—lies? Continue reading

Pentaton!

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This isn’t exactly news, but I didn’t have a blog when it was news. So, here I go:

The last time I sat down to build Mechaton mechs, I decided that I needed some sort of challenge—something to fire up my creative juices. For reasons that I have since forgotten, I decided to figure out how many different ways I could make pentagonally-symmetrical mechs. Pentagonal- or five-fold symmetry (they’re two different things in my mind, at least) are hard to do with Legos. Legos really like their rectilinear structure. Continue reading

Spotlight Sucks

OK, I know that spotlight does all sorts of nifty, powerful things. However, it shouldn’t do them at the expense of the simple things that a find utility should be able to accomplish. I can’t remember the last time I could think of some text inside of a document to search for that was in any way unique—or even unusual—and on the rare occasions when I can, I can’t think of the exact text, only the rough sort of text (“it was something about haikus”). And without a verbatim quote, a text search agent of this sort is pretty useless. Now, that’s all very fine and dandy—the fact that I don’t search that way doesn’t mean that it’s bad that it provides those capabilities. For all I know, there are tons of people who really need to search inside of files on a daily basis. And, if i were using this in a work environment, I can think of several instances where it would be supremely helpful: finding everything relating to a client by searching for the client’s name or trademark, frex. But I don’t work with a lot of proper nouns, and they’re often in the filename when i do.

So, on to my complaint: Spotlight is near-useless for locating files. Oh, it’s great for locating file contents, but if what you know, prior to performing the search, is stuff about the file, rather than about its contents, it’s not much help. Continue reading

Vista Doesn’t Like My Keyboard

At work, we’re in the process of switching over to a computerized dispatch system. So I have to get used to MSWindows Vista. Mostly, it’s just an OS—it doesn’t work the way I’d expect, but mostly just in little ways. And Firefox doesn’t seem to know about the Flash plugin that IE8 is obviously using just fine, so i can’t watch Hulu with Firefox. If i want to watch some TV[1], I have to use IE8, which sometimes makes it through an entire episode of a TV show without locking up. But only sometimes. And, in fairness, I might have this problem on a Mac, too, if i didn’t have admin access. Though I know there’s an Internet Plug-Ins folder in my user folder, so i should be able to put something there, just fine, without admin access. Maybe there’s an equivalent in Vista that I just don’t know about?

But here’s what is driving me absolutely batty: MSWindows Vista apparently switches between available keyboard settings willy-nilly. Or, at least, I can’t quite find a pattern. Continue reading