Firearms v2.0.1 Alpha Released

One of the first communities I ever felt apart of on the Internet was the Firearms community; it was a Half Life 1 mod that I absolutely loved.  I made a huge number of long time, earnest friends and I still enjoy communication with many of them today.

And today the Firearms Source team released the v2.0.1 alpha for the Source engine.

The Win32 v2.0.1 alpha client: http://www.schkerke.com/downloads/fas201alpha_client.zip

The Win32 v2.0.1 alpha server:  http://www.schkerke.com/downloads/fas201alpha_server_win.zip

 

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No more Amazon Associates.

I received the email this morning that due to the new state tax law, to quote:

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective August 27, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Missouri state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Nixon on July 5, 2013, with an effective date of August 28, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after August 27 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Missouri residents.

I can’t say I blame Amazon.  Missouri’s busy playing fuck off with billions of dollars because of Obamacare, and now they’re screwing with local residents ability to make money by directing traffic to Amazon — traffic undoubtedly headed their way in most cases anyway.

So Mr. Nixon, please, fuck off.  You and the legislature’s priorities are completely out of whack, in my not so humble opinion.

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Police Authority Abuse

Why don’t I trust the police?  Let’s consider these two incidents from Texas, where a road side stop for speeding and a stop for littering resulted in women being cavity searched.  See the dash cam video embedded in the article for the proof I know many will scream for.

Texas state troopers caught on camera probing women’s privates aren’t isolated incidents: lawyers

How in the hell does a police officer think this is legal?  I’m sure they will reply that “we should be happy the male didn’t do it,” right?

The officers in these two cases are being punished, thankfully, but the mindset that it reveals is ridiculous.

In a related note, the Supreme Court ruled that it was okay to take DNA from someone who’d been arrested, regardless of their guilt.  So it’s much easier now to get DNA to compare against.  I’m not happy with the ruling, but can’t quite pinpoint why.  It’d be better if the DNA had to be destroyed if the arrested individual was let go without being convicted.

I do agree with the minority opinion that this opens many doors for law enforcement to abuse.

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The Menagerie

We just picked up two new pet rats (sigh!).  They’re cute and adorable, as long as you don’t mind the tails.  So I thought I’d post up a collection of my pets as they currently stand.

My dog, Blue.

Blue_SiteMy cat, Ripley:

P5130164My son’s bird, Birdie:

P5120143My son’s lizard, Spots:

P5130144My daughter’s rat, Faith:

Faith1My daughter’s rat, Alice:

Alice1My daughter’s rat, Charm:

Charm1My daughter’s rat, Chi:

Chi1And the two new additions, Chitter:

Chitter1Chitter2And Chatter:

Chatter2Chatter1

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Cord Cutting Help: TVFool.com

I was pointed to TVFool.com by an ArsTechnica poster (who I don’t remember the name of; sorry).  Input your address and it gives you detailed information about the over the air (OTA) stations which should be available to you, as well as their broadcast positioning relative to your home address.  It even takes into account the height of the antennae, the height of terrain between your home and antennae, and apparently just about everything else you can think of.

It’s an incredibly neat tool, and free to use.

My sample output is below.

TVFool_Sample_Data

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Cord Cutting Help: VidCoder and Handbrake

Handbrake is open-source, GPLed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder.  It’s quite capable and beats the commercial applications in almost every situation I’ve compared it in.

Handbrake

I have used Handbrake for quite a while to slowly encode my collection of DVDs so that they can go into storage and my media server could get ever so larger.  (I’m going to cry when one of those external drives dies.  I really need to invest in backup drives at some point.)

However, earlier today I found VidCoder.  VidCoder uses Handbrake as its encoder so it has all the perks of Handbrake, but it’s much easier to use, with a friendly GUI and manual recognition of other CPU intensive tasks that it should give precedence to.

It could be considered harder to batch encode using VidCoder but I don’t do much of that (which is why it precedes so slowly).  The CLI tools of Handbrake can make that sort of processing easier to setup.  However, my vote goes to VidCoder if for no reason other than most of us don’t know what the hell any of those options mean anyway!  <g>

VidCoder

 

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