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I got to thinking about this subject the other day as I was agonizing over the purchase of a replacement mouse on one of my systems.  My wife claims she “gets it,” but I suspect she secretly gets a chuckle about the sheer amount of time I can spend agonizing over the purchase of something as simple as a new mouse or keyboard.


The part of her that “gets it” is in tune with the fact that I spend an enormous amount of time at the computer – and hey, it pays the bills so it qualifies as a justifiable work expense.  At the same time, even I’ll admit that spending my spare time for weeks on end reading online reviews, dry testing display models in stores, even borrowing friends keyboards/mice for short periods of heavy practical use, might fall into the category of “a little extreme.” Read the rest of this entry »

That “Rock Star From Mars” kind of feeling.

Posted by grelmar on March 5th, 2011


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Why does Charlie Sheen get all the credit?  Haven’t we all had that “Bitchin’ Rock Star from Mars” kind of feeling?  Sure, I’ll give him full credit for coining the phrase.  But all of us have done something, pulled off some kind of stunt, that gave us that (temporary) feeling of total awesome.


Maybe it was that time you miraculously  pulled your car out of an inevitable death spiral on an ice covered road.  Or that time, in college, when you stayed out all night drinking, showed up barely conscious for class the next day, and somehow managed to pull off an A on a pop quiz.  If you’ve ever built something – spent weeks on end custom crafting a jewellery box for your wife, months on end restoring a classic car, or maybe even just putting up the best damn picket fence on the block.  Then you’ve had that feeling.  Even if just for a moment, you felt invincible, magnificent, like a total Rock Star from Mars. Read the rest of this entry »

February 2011 Fractal Gallery

Posted by grelmar on March 1st, 2011

Here’s a collection of all the fractals I posted in February, 2011.  All images are 1920 x 1200 when viewed full size.  To view an image, simply click on it when in thumbnail view.  Or right click and “View Image” when in slide-show view.  The gallery also happens to play nice with Cooliris/Piclens, if you happen to have it installed.

There are some known issues with Internet Exploder.  I don’t care.  Get one of several real browsers, and use that instead.


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I nicknamed this fractal “wheat-field” –  and if you look at the full size image, it isn’t hard to tell why.  Wheat-fields, aside from reminding me of long, boring drives across the prairies, remind me of my early teens.  I spent a decent chunk of my summers in those years visiting one uncle or another out in the countryside, and I can’t say I have any bad memories of that.  As I got older, I found those long boring drives were a lot easier to take than some of the people I made the drive with, because the prairies hold a lot of good memories for me.

The funny thing about memories, is that they tend to magnify or diminish with time.  Depending on your personality and outlook, the good memories magnify, and the bad ones diminish – or the other way around.  Most days, I find that the older the memory, the more likely it is to be a good one. Read the rest of this entry »

Better “done” than perfect – Why software is broken.

Posted by grelmar on February 24th, 2011

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I colour shifted this fractal a bit.  It reminds me of a slightly distorted Yin without the accompanying Yang.  (Or is it Yang without the Yin?)

I was flipping through my feeds, and came across an interesting bit of a rant against Facebook and they’re poor security implementation on a security research blog.  I found it funny, in a technical geek philosomifizing kind of way.  I’m guessing that most of you who click on that link might not get the joke. (Hint – The joke is about a security researcher who actually uses Facebook, then complains about the security – talk about shooting fish in a barrel).  Sure, I use Facebook, but I use it with the assumption that the whole platform is fundamentally insecure.  That’s sort of a given. Read the rest of this entry »

Ahh, the bliss of extreme fatigue.

Posted by grelmar on February 22nd, 2011

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This is kind of an ugly fractal – something I rendered out from XaoS, ran through some colour shifting, de-selected the centre, and then distorted the heck out of the surrounding field. Can’t even remember what fractal it was based on, other than I seem to remember zooming in near endlessly on a tiny dot. I actually made this almost a week ago, but I’m posting it today because it has a slightly psychedelic look. It also reminds me how bloodshot my eyes must look, if I were to bother to look in a mirror.

I’m extremely tired right now.  Between one thing and another (and for once, work is only partially to blame), I’ve gotten two hours sleep in the past day and a half.  Soon, the caffeine is bound to wear off, and I have no doubt I will collapse into blissful oblivion for at least ten to twelve hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Why are tech pundits so predictably wrong?

Posted by grelmar on February 21st, 2011
Diamon in the Breeze

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I took a couple of days off from posting, so let’s get back into the swing of things with some vague thought waving.

I spend far too much time reading tech-centric news and forums.  And one of the things that strikes me, is how often the tech pundits, professional journalists, and industry insiders so completely miss the mark in so many ways.  Let’s take a look at a couple of recent examples of how almost everyone got it wrong, in ways that directly affect both the industry, and the consumer. Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee snobbery.

Posted by grelmar on February 18th, 2011
Face Mask

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Another XaoS rendered fractal.  Reminds me of a Mardi Gras face mask.

A colleague from the U.S. was up for some meetings this week, and brought me a mighty fine pound of coffee from a boutique roaster in San Francisco.  It’s kinda an inside joke about the fact that I work really weird hours, and I’m pretty much never seen without a mug of coffee in hand.  Also, I have been known to go off about the lousy state of coffee culture in North America from time to time.

You see, your average coffee snob is actually an FP who thinks that the muddy, burnt, pig-slop they serve at Starbucks is actually good coffee.  Let me explain to you why that just isn’t the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Modern Art for the Masses.

Posted by grelmar on February 17th, 2011
Modern Art

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I really, really, like this fractal.  It has a beautiful colour palette, and the texture resembles brush strokes.

Normally, it would be really easy to get me going on a rant about the pointlessness of modern art.  Randomly slapping a paint brush against a canvas, throwing paint at a wall sized canvas, etc., to me, just isn’t art.  The only art involved is in convincing someone to pay a lot of money for it.

But, maybe, sometimes, modern art is more than random paint splashes and hucksterism.  Don’t get me wrong, slapping a red stripe down a blue painted canvas shouldn’t be worth $1.8 million, especially if the bill is being footed by taxpayers.  On the other hand, sometimes modern art can be thought provoking, or at least pleasant to look at.

New Fractal Software… And a plug for the GIMP editor.

Posted by grelmar on February 16th, 2011
The Trident

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So, I started messing around with some new (to me) fractal software, XaoS, on my Linux box, and this is the first one I’ve rendered out and captured.

Like a lot of things in Linux land, the UI for this software leaves a lot to be desired, and there’s a bit more of a learning curve for it than there is with equivalent software on proprietary platforms.  In fact, if you read through their project pages, they indicate that the version they’ve released for Mac has a much better UI.

But hey, to use that, I’d have to buy a Mac, which should happen sometime around the heat death of the universe. Read the rest of this entry »

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