tom moody

Archive for the ‘computers-R-stupid’ Category

egregious e-book errors: Routledge

From David Walley, Teenage Nervous Breakdown, 2d edition, Published in 2006 by Routledge, © 2006 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
The e-book retails for $24.69.

rocfe

(page 78 of the e-book)

For a few seconds you could be forgiven for thinking there was a form of art-rock you missed called "rocfe." The word was supposed to be "rock."
It appears again later in the book: "Along with the new paradigms for sexual behavior came an inordinate amount of discussion about sexism in rocfe music among the females who’d formerly been the objects of lust and/or veneration, love or repulsion, but really (as always) approach and avoidance among the men." (e-book, page 373)

Walley's book is practically unreadable for a different reason: intermittently throughout the book the letter "k" is scanned as "b" -- this error occurs dozens of times. Thus you have "boob" for "book," "the bids" for "the kids" -- it's nerve-wracking to beep encountering these mistakes. Yes, "keep" appears as "beep" eight times in the text. Possibly these are mistakes that an algorithm doesn't catch because they aren't misspellings, just the wrong words. Thank you, Routledge.

- tom moody

July 15th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

egregious e-book errors: Pickle Partners Publishing

Have been spending quite a bit of time reading e-books lately, and the quality is pretty horrendous overall.

Main errors:
Typographical errors
Layout/formatting glitches
Lack of font uniformity
Poor handling of illustrations and "special characters" such as math symbols.

Main reasons for errors:
Widespread use of OCR (supposed "smart" character recognition within a scanned text) without subsequent human proofreaders
Conversion mistakes (changing one electronic format to another)
Lack of uniformity in fonts and word-processing applications
Change of corporate culture from giving-a-shit to laying-off-and-praying

I'm trying mostly to read .epub books and avoid Amazon/Kindle but occasionally I still have to resort to Kindle/mobi/azw and the situation is no better. Surprisingly, I've found public domain works from Feedbooks.com to be of better quality than many offerings from "respectable" mainstream publishers, although there are no guarantees.
This will be a series of blog posts (I hope) that document egregious e-book errors.
Let's start with a doozy, from Richard Ellman's Yeats, The Man and the Masks, 1948, e-book (c) 2016 by Pickle Partners Publishing. Ellmann is discussing an early draft of the poem that became "To his Heart, bidding that it have no Fear" (1896):

ellmann1
ellmann2

Astonishing, indeed. The word is supposed to be "part" -- only a demon would introduce such an error into such a lovely poem.
Also, note the weirdly italicized third line -- the text is supposed to be in italics from that line to the end. Pickle Partners, get thee hence to the typesetters.

- tom moody

July 15th, 2017 at 1:26 pm

spudoogle video loop

screenshot of spudoogle twitter video thumbnail -- with one small correction

giflikevideoloop

Have been enjoying Spudoogle's twitter account recently but still have a problem with the way the SVS (Silicon Valley scum) appropriated GIFs to their commercial platforms. It's like in the movie Barton Fink where the cigar-smoking producer tells the East Coast populist playwright he wants "movies with that 'Barton Fink' feeling," then later says "get out of my office, I can get 100 writers who can give me that 'Barton Fink' feeling."
One imagines an SVS getting a neck massage and saying, "we need something like those GIF things the kids are exchanging." And then the tech slaves come up with a typical, locked-in proprietary video format with the word "GIF" superimposed. 100 guys can give them that animated GIF feeling.

It's not spudoogle's fault, he accepts conditions the way they are and rolls with the shoddy resizing, rounded edges, and fake labeling. That's twitter's price for providing an audience for your GIFs.

- tom moody

July 11th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

oculus bereft, or, one gimmick too far

Possibly the most annoying feedback I've received to a written essay was from VRfan (not his or her real screenname) on the late Dump.fm.
I posted a link to The Stubborn Dream of Everyday Virtuality, a thinkpiece on why we weren't living in The Matrix yet. VRfan apparently didn't read the essay but took the time to post a GIF of a screenshot of someone typing the word "Oculus" into a browser and getting "No Result," within the text of the essay. As if to say, "How could the writing possibly be any good if it doesn't mention Oculus Rift? I rest my case." I pointed out that it was posted in 2011, before Oculus was a thing, and VRfan replied, "Oh."
The date's right on there. If the piece were written today it might include a reference to Oculus as yet another example of the persistence of the virtual reality ideal in the face of public apathy, along with Second Life.
At any rate, VRfan thinks Oculus is important, and so do the curators of the Whitney Biennial (who showed some recent goggles art), despite articles such as Another Price Slash Suggests Oculus Is Dead in the Water, from MIT Technology Review. Read it and weep CGI tears.
(That's not to suggest any wisdom on the part of the marketplace. Likely if Rift is failing it's because people don't want to be torn away from their phones.)

- tom moody

July 11th, 2017 at 9:59 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

weaponized sharing

sharing

from rene abythe: "this fragment from a Daily Mail infographic describing North Korea's nuclear capabilities caught my eye when their social icon widget overlaid the image"

- tom moody

July 8th, 2017 at 5:46 am

recursive alto

shirriff_recursive_alto2_450w

Ken Shirriff has been restoring a vintage Xerox Alto computer (the PC Steve Jobs "borrowed" his ideas from). Using the BCPL programming language, a precursor to C, he made this image of an Alto on an Alto on an Alto [etc]

Before Wikipedia such an image would have been called infinitely recursive and everyone would have known what you meant ("infinite" within the limits of screen resolution, of course). Now the Wikipedians are encouraging us to use the term Droste Effect, after an obscure cocoa package design. Thanks, I'll pass, but Redditnerds are all over it with an online festival of recursive computer screen images they're calling Droste Week. Here's a typical example (most of these aren't very infinite):

recursive_atari600w

Earlier posts on Shirriff and the Alto restoration.

- tom moody

June 27th, 2017 at 5:16 am

Ardour's Paul Davis speaks at Linux audio event

Paul Davis, a Linux luminary who developed the JACK streaming protocol and currently works on the Ardour DAW (digital audio workstation), speaks at a conference here (video embed -- start at 2:22:32).

Worth a watch, even if it's pessimistic overall about Linux audio. On the one hand he offers a necessary reality check to open source boosterism, but on the other, he needs to insulate himself from ordinary bonehead users on forums, they are clearly wearing him down. (He's even testier on the forums.)

He makes a good point about certain types of software only being viable in the commercial realm, as opposed to the open source model. His example is Elastique Audio, a proprietary timestretching algorithm. He admits that neither Linux nor anyone else offers anything as good. It excels, he argues, because the creators spent ten years "polishing and polishing" the code. You need a promise of return, and not just the love of your peers, to do something that numbing.

At one point he muses on the types of audio users who might be drawn to Linux environment. An impetus he missed is people fleeing Apple and Windows for political and aesthetic reasons. Getting away from computer companies that trick you, spy on you, and bleed you for additional services is a strong motivator.

- tom moody

May 20th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

my am*zon reviews in html

A minor ingrate on the former dump.fm ridiculed the sidebar link here, "my amazon reviews, '98-'03" -- it was supposed to be a joke, oh well. These reviews were written in the innocent days before Jeff Bezos emerged as a totalitarian Sauron turning the American workplace into a high-tech surveillance hell.
The reviews were an experiment in attempting "pro" culturecrit in an unpaid environment and ceased when one of them had wording altered by a staffer.
Rather than continuing to link to the black evil that is am*zon, I've saved the reviews as an HTML file.

- tom moody

May 13th, 2017 at 9:50 am

Patreon and the perpetual hemorrhage model of e-commerce

Left commentator David Sirota is launching a new webcast ("Podcast" is an Apple-centric term that people still use, long after "pods" became "phones" -- appcast, maybe? no, please).
Unfortunately he's using Patreon to pay for it. That's a new-ish e-commerce platform that several indie content providers, such as James Howard Kunstler and Radio War Nerd, have embraced.
The Patreon model isn't based on subscription -- they call it "fundraising." That is, fundraising in perpetuity.
You can't make a one-time payment for x months of listening, in the manner of say, a magazine subscription. You "pledge" one of several tiers of support and Patreon bleeds this chosen increment out of your credit card or Paypal account each month. You don't have a credit card? Someone call law enforcement.
This puts the onus on you to cancel. If you die or become disabled the charges accrue to infinity. Also you can't buy single webcasts.
Would love to "support" certain authors but not if they're going to use Patreon's "shady porn website" model of commerce (repackaged as a "hip startup" model of commerce). It's rent-seeking, it's Silicon Valley, it's bad.

- tom moody

May 11th, 2017 at 7:51 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

Discogs ownership and future

Discogs censorship thread

Sombunya I believe that after Discogs was purchased by "Zink Media" the policy discussed here, as well as other things, came into play.

musiclraider When I read your post it intrigued me. But upon investigation it seems that Zink Media is a private company owned by Kevin Lewandowski, who started Discogs. Are you sure Discogs was bought? Even so, being bought by the person who started it is hardly likely to result in a great change in policies.

Sombunya When I started here 13 years ago it seemed like it was just all teo and nik. I also naively assumed that teo may have sold this place when it grew large and profitable (which is what I would have done) but I may very well be wrong. It also seemed much looser and more liberal back then than it is now.

musiclraider Yep, I've been a member since 2005 and agree it has changed dramatically.
Inevitable really, but I am still amazed that they continue to allow the sale of bootlegs, great stuff.
I wonder if/when 'Zink' will sell out to a big multinational, as the site must be worth millions if not billions now.
If it does, you will see much more dramatic changes happen very fast.

Sombunya I can hardly wait (sarcasm intended)

Discogs Careers page

Joseph Hartnett CUNY librarian Discogs.com research paper

Discogs is an electronic dance music database that gradually expanded into a music collecting database, where old vinyl and CDs are bought and sold.
After spending some time in the "member" sections, where the sausage-making of release submission and editing takes place, one might start wondering about the economics of the site. Anyone with a login can submit and edit releases. "Staff" has very little interaction with users and mostly allows a small group of hall proctor/Wikipedian/nerd types to run the show. In the forums they complain about "rogue" (i.e., ordinary) users. These nerds are all unpaid, and work out of zeal for vinyl details such as the color of the label and what pressing plant was used in 1974. Yet, their decisions about a release can instantly impact the value of a disc, as reflected in the buy and sell statistics of the Discogs marketplace area.
Let's say you own a Pink Floyd LP from the '60s. The marketplace shows 40 sales of the record have occurred, with low/median/high prices ranging from $15 to $150. One day, a hall monitor notices that your copy was pressed at a different plant and moves your release to a "new submission" that has zero market value. Tough for you, if you're thinking about selling it, until actual sales start to occur for this "new" submission.
At the moment, Discogs makes its money from charging fees to sellers of records, and advertising. It is not a non-profit, but it's also not a user-data harvester for one of the big Silicon Valley monopolies. There is an uncomfortable connection to Google, in that releases have links to "videos" (that is, songs with a still photo) with a search feature that's hard-coded to search only YouTube.
From its careers page (linked to above) Discogs resembles the standard VC-funded startup, gradually building its brand and expanding to other countries, such as Japan. It seems likely it will eventually sell to Amazon (a la IMDb) or Google (a la YouTube), in which case the owner will be paid handsomely and those hall monitors will be thanked for their years of valuable service. (Schadenfreude if they messed with your submissions.)

- tom moody

April 30th, 2017 at 8:10 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid