Windows Growl For Skype

I modified a program that makes skype events show up in growl, you can download it here

Download Growl for Skype

There are other apps for growl available Here

My modification only made it work on x64 and gave it a icon.

Stealth Option in Emerald Removed -.-

Some emerald devs have decided that the option to not have the emerald tag should be removed, as the other alternative (how snowglobe 1.3 does it) allows your textures to be easily stolen.

However, instead of letting the other alternative be the default 2.0 behavior, they have decided that this was “lying” and for whatever reason, I am outnumber, a bit ridiculed, and it has been removed from emerald (till maybe 2.0 version, I don’t know).

what viewer you are on is not public information unless you choose to make it.  (name), you know quite well that it doesn’t have to be technically available to anyone other than LL.  I feel this is a privacy choice that should be up to the users to decide.  Not some developers who think they can foresee all possible reasons for such a feature.  I will go along with w/e the majority of the devs feel, but this is a core issue to me as it goes along with what i have in my head is a persons right to privacy where at all possible.  A stealth option in emerald is a feature that causes no harm to anyone else, it has been a valuable feature to people in the past, and I think it should always remain an alternative.

I am.. unreasonably upset over this.

Hard Drive Failure Update

So if you remember this post about my hard drive needing to be recovered, its still not over.

For starters, the brand new 2TB hard drive laura bought me brand new had bad sectors in it as well…  what are the odds of that?  That’s a total of three hard drives toasted in a matter of days with nothing stupid happening.

I took it back, and got a working one.  Laura’s computer got a new hard drive, so I go that back.

Recovery failed though.. because my cat hit the plug and disconnected the hard drive.. and this programs save states don’t work correctly (took about a days worth of trying to see that they suddenly had bad file start offsets)

Over the past week I kept running into the same problems, something would always happen and stop the hard drive from being able to stay connected long enough to be backed up.

So the solution… while laura is away, set up her computer in a safe spot of the house, vnc into it, and control the backup process from there.

Seems to be working good so far, I need about 20 more hours

Real Ink Verifyable Signatures

So I saw someone sign a credit card slip today with a smile face and a star, they mentioned that this was a light security feature to make it real easy to tell if someone was trying to forge their signature (without seeing theirs first at least).

I thought that was a pretty neat idea, and to be honest, any excuse to legally draw smiley faces is cool in my book, but it got me thinking…

We live in a day and age where we have some REALLY good hashing functions and cryptology avilable to everyone… and signatures would be a nice place to make use of them.

Suppose you had a small application on your phone, it could generate a number between 1-100 based on a key, and what day it is, such that it would be completely impossible for anyone else to be able to know what it was or do the same, without having your key.

You could essentially have a signature that no one else could reproduce, just by writing down the correct number after your signature.

(and then my mind started thinking about how that should be a genetic implant in your hand to have a key generator , or maybe in your pen, phone, etc etc)

There is a serious limitation to it though, you could never prove that you DIDN’T sign anything, as people would just say you left it out that one time on purpose.  You could only prove that you DID sign something.

Anyhow.. i still think it would be pretty cool, and sense I’m a bit of a geek i think it would be totally worth the effort of always having the gadget on you..

And if you think.. instead of a number 1-100, if it had a database of 1000 awesome symbols.. you could just draw one of them instead.  Maybe Egyptian glyphs… hmmm

yes.. in my head i do foresee myself being extremely important, and there being a life and death situation pivoting on the argument “Greg didn’t sign this! he never would have!  You forged it just to try and save your puny rebelion!”  “Stop the execution!  I have undeniable proof!”

Automatic Hidden Media

Second Life is a unique environment (compared to basic web browsing) for two reasons I want to mention.

1. IP addresses are NOT public information to the sim owner.

2. Sim owners can make users go to a web site without them knowing where they are being led

Normally on the web, your IP address is basically public information, it is critically required by any site you connect to, because without it, it doesn’t know where to send the data.  However sense SL is set up such that LL internal servers handle all of the routing, IP addresses are not necessarily to be known by sim administrators.

This lead’s to a few consequences.

1.  It makes it very difficult for the sim administrator to be able to identify individuals, which can lead to issues in security and control.  (Griefers using multiple alts that can not be linked together)

2. It provides users and visitors the perception that their alternate accounts are private information that they can control.

Now clearly, once you leave second life servers (by opening a web browser, media url, radio station, etc), the interesting phenomenon caused by LL taking care of the IP addresses is gone, and they are once again public information to the administrator.

Most people do not realize this, and possibly some education would fix any issues that are arising; but I see more to it than this. (specially when looking for a solution).  In secondlife, LL has provided sim owners the ability to run scripts that can direct it’s users to open up an external server, and for the best user experience (and by default) this is automatic.  The other mode is full manual (where the play/stop button at the bottom toggle the auto/none), an the last mode is totally off.

This really does not leave much security or control to the user, as when they have it turned on, it is automatic.

Perhaps as a power user (or paranoid) feature, I am planning on adding a third mode which will make the viewer prompt before each media change completes, and will let the user choose to let it complete or not.

For example, if you have media on and someone turns the tv in front of you to go to http://www.youtube.com, you will receive a dialog similar to “Media change requested to http://www.youtube.com, do you wish to continue?”  and options of “Yes”,”No”,”Always yes for this domain”,”Always No for this domain”,”Always yes for this parcel”,”Always no for this parcel”.

This would then allow the user to stop a media request to http://www.thisIsAIlligalBombMakingSite.com.

This is all great and shiny.. unfortunately there is a big complication, the brilliant people at LL decided it was a good idea to NOT ALLOW PEOPLE TO SEE WHERE THEY ARE GOING.  This is a check box setting that sim admins can set, which prevents the data from being viewable to the client interface (though of-course the backend must still have it to be able to load that page).

Emerald Devs were very strong against any bending of that rule, even to the extent that simply showing the domain that is about to be loaded would be a horrible sin.

The other issue is that there are some scripts that rely on a type of security that expects a very fast response time from the client (that would be lost if the user takes to long clicking apply), so basically, it might break some content.

Personally, I feel that (not just technologically) that people have a right to control every aspect of what they want, so far as that it doesn’t mess with other people.  If they want to block something and break that content, they should be allowed to.  If they want to choose which sites they visit and which ones they don’t, they should be allowed to.  And also, with undesirable thing’s on the internet, I think it is extremely important for people to be able to see where the data they are about to download comes from.

The final version of this in emerald will probably be just a third option, with the buttons mentioned, that will have to hide the URL if the land floater hides it as well, probably with a big warning box about how it might break content.

Ill be happy with that then nothing at least. Rant over. (P.S. Laura hasn’t been around for a week, exams and cramming now too, and ive just been on a really frustrated emotional streak that tends to drive me to my core.  Security issues and stuff have been pumping my blood sockets, I’ve already (stupidly and very rudely) reverted someones code that I didn’t agree with/ understand fully, broken down in tears over another issue that doesn’t even matter, as well as commit a patch to allow users to control what user agent information is sent to web sites (this was reverted as well, as aparently that is also a evil thing to do)) So I figured I’d rant it out here so I don’t do anything stupid.

Onyx Bots

Who are they, what do they do, why are there here! are they evil? are they good? will they take my info! HALP

I don’t know!  I’m not involved with the Onyx stuff.

Look, if you don’t like them, I made a Free GPL script that will let you get rid of them.

https://xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=2289184

The script

Hard Drive Failure…

On a side note.. i just turned 1000 today.

Hard drive has bad sectors… being doing everything i can to fix / recover it..

for a while there it was a lost cause.

Laura’s hard drive fried a day later.

And the new one is already making clicking noises.


notice the elapsed time on that…


at least it found 93%…

now i just have to recover it.. and i cant do that till i get a working drive!

1 Mouth – 2 Notes (at the same time)

So most concert instruments can only play one note at a time, this includes trumpets, saxophones, vocal cords, etc.  (some examples of instruments that can play more than one note at a time are the guitar or piano).

However, with brass instruments.. you produce the sound vibrations by buzzing your lips at the desired frequency… which means your vocal chords are inactive…

So with a little bit of practice you can buzz one note, while you sing another, ( i think that is called double buzzing.. cant remember)

It’s interesting because the length of the tuba (based on what valves you press down) determines what harmonics you can resonate at, and when you are singing along with it, its interesting to feel the resistance as you are in between these pitches.  It causes a neat overlap as well.

If you forgive the fact that i haven’t played tuba in over 4 years… and that the instrument is a POC…  an that my microphone is the built in one on a laptop (not good for low frequencies) … and that my room probably has the worst resonance possible…

New Devs!

Two new developers have decided to spend their time making emerald better for everyone.

Vaalith Jinn, who is working on an amazingly epic feature that will let you use textures on your hard drive as if they were in second life (auto updating when the file changes, etc)

and

Dimentox Travanti, creator of both the Toxic viewer and DCS, who will be helping with the port to 1.3, as well as some original ideas of his own that may lead to branching out windows to the operating system, or allowing a pipe to be able to use alternate lsl editors easier.

In case you were wondering if Emerald bought Linden Lab, or if DCS bought Emerald, none of this is true, dcs is not going to be implemented in emerald, etc etc.

Third Party Viewer Registry and PAR

So if you look back in this blogs history to February 25th,  http://blogs.modularsystems.sl/lgg/2010/02/25/ you  will see that I applied PAR to the registry a day before hand.

I had originally planned to keep all this correspondence about it private, but I have lost my patience with it and figured I would give you guys a little bit of insight on what is going on.

My first request was denied with this response. (on march 9th)

Thank you for your application to the viewer registry. We are unable to
proceed with the application for the following reasons:

1)    The feature list is not complete or is deliberately
obfuscating the inclusion of potentially malicious features.
2)    Grid Proxy is not part of the application, but Grid Proxy is
required to run the plug-ins.

If you wish to apply to have Grid Proxy listed in the registry, please
update this application with the necessary information or file a new one.

Which was absolute bull shit, and very insulting.  For the first point, the thought that I was obfuscating the inclusion of malicious features is absolutely absurd, it doesn’t even have a exporter!  So I figured that he meant that my “feature list” was not complete.  This point is absurd as well, as you can see Kirsten’s viewer (and many others) do not have a complete feature list.

So to play along and resolve this, I re-applied with a complete exhaustive list of every feature in there, as well as being much more clear and addressing the second point, how it is based on the code in grid proxy which is included in the program.

I figured they really didn’t bother to look and read anything more than the name.  And since it said “plugins” they just assumed it meant something useless that doesn’t even run without getting grid proxy or something.

So then I get to wait an entire month for this email response on April 12th

Thank you for your update to the viewer registry. As mentioned in our original communication, we are unable to proceed with the application for the PAR Plug-Ins, as the directory is intended for software which logs in to our servers, which the plug-ins on their own, do not.

If you wish to apply to have listed in the registry a software client that logs into our servers, please update this application with the necessary information.

Best Regards,
The Second Life Viewer Registry Team

Which seems to once again show an ignorant understand of what I submitted, regardless of the new information which I felt was inescapably clear. (Yes, PAR DOES log into second life)

So I was forced to consider that maybe they are not considering grid proxy applications as “viewers” and thus do not belong on the registry.  I responded back the same day explaining how it does truly log in, and that ignoring proxy programs will really leave a big loop hole in the registry, not to mention how it makes all my work look malicious if it isn’t listed.

Frustrated with the response time, I talked with Joe in one of the emerald meetings about this (I was so..wound up about this that I even let my voice crack for the recording), and he assured me that they have fixed the problem, and assigned a new team which meets and discusses things daily.

Today I gave up on waiting for a response, and went to talk with Joe again at his second brown bag concerning the policy.  His response was logical and made sense,  he clearly stated that proxy applications do belong on the registry, because they do log in, and that he does wish to encourage their development.

If only the other lindens I was corresponding with heard the word…

TL;DR;  I am completely disgusted with how my application has been handled thus far.

Social Oddities.

First odditie: My last post..  Arabella’s comment.  It was not unique, and it was echoed by about 3 different people to me as well in private.  I am just completely confused… when did we get to the point that someone being nice made them a person to be warry of?  I’ve had people saying I need to keep a eye on him because he might be a rapist and.. just all of the most horrible accusations you can think of.

This got me thinking of what sort of phenomenon is going on here.  Historically, and personally, I do not feel that this suspicion should be natural.  (keep in mind though, that I am naturally suspicious of everything).  My first assumption was that perhaps this was brought forth by some subconscious racism, but after further consideration of the character and backgrounds of the people who have advised me off this, I am convinced this is not the case.  The only other reasoning that I can think of, is the “too good to be true” phenomenon. Where people have conditioned to expect that there is always a catch to something.  Kind of makes me wonder if this is part of the reason people are so suspicious of me?  Maybe if i stop doing stuff for free I can gain peoples trust :P.

Second Odditie..  this one was probably my fault.  I was at work, a girl walks in from outside, head red and sweaty, shes completely exhausted, and asks if I have a cup or something I can get her some ice or water in.  I apologized that i didn’t and told her that she might be able to buy something next door, they have cokes cheap.  She left, and I kinda felt bad telling her to spend money, I really hate feeling like I was advertising, specially when she was in need.  A few minutes later she came in and had a cup and asked if I could fill it up with some water for her, so I ran over and did that, but I also wanted to give her a couple bucks so she could buy a drink next door.  I kept reaching in my pocket for a few ones but all I could grab was a five, and since I was in a rush to get her the water, and because I was having a very generous day from other peoples tips, i decided that was fine and made her take that too.  And that’s where it got really awkward, because she asked if i meant for her to have it..and i had to say yes, go buy yourself something.. and then she asked if it was from me.. and I had to confirm that too.. and the whole time i really wish she would have just said thanks so much and ran off, I didn’t want to have to direct the recognition at me so much.  And then to make things even worse she told me i was really sweet and thanks, at which point i couldn’t take it any more and I told her to leave (in a half joking voice so I wasn’t rude), and luckily, was saved by a phone call I had to answer.

Oh, i just got done helping Laura plant 17 trees. Exhausted.

Nicest Neighbor Ever.

So we really have the nicest neighbor ever.  He has been offering to let us use his tools, giving us some really good advice about the neighborhood, helping out Laura change oil, just, really anything he can.

I looked out from my bedroom this morning and he was outside smiling on his riding lawn mower mowing the grass that I have been procrastinating. (Apparently he asked Laura if he could earlier)

Aside from that, he also kicks ass because he has a gold grill, and drives a ice cream truck filled with sub woofers.

Bad People

This is going to be pretty general, and applies to allot of the negativity you see hanging around emerald.

The main thing that I wanted to clear up is that everyone on the emerald team is a separate person, with separate pasts.

We do different things aside from emerald.

Skills does the CDS stuff.
Fractured, Phox, and Skills do the ONYX Stuff.
I do the PAR stuff.

etc etc.

We come together to work on emerald, what other people do outside of emerald is frankly not my responsibility.  We are not each others mother.  Everyone in emerald dev is there because they contribute productive time, and that is what matters.

So if you like to make blanket assumptions like “I think [Person X] is bad, therefore emerald is bad!”;  you really should consider that everyone is in emerald dev who is not “bad”  has the responsibility to ensure that emerald is not “bad” either.

If anyone in dev went crazy and tried to add something to emerald that was harmful, there would be a serious whiplash, it would be exposed immediately by the other devs.

Defence

To make things clear.  If i defend someone, it does not necessarily mean that:

I agree with anything they have ever said.

I am OK with anything they have ever done.

It only means that I disagree with whatever I am defending them from.

Paths

.

I was brainstorming for a while on the way home from class, concerning the paths that humans naturally decide to take to get from point a to point b. I have consciously considered this way back sense middle school, and have tried to make my walking path as efficacy as possible, basically, a straight line.
However after careful analysis I have unfortunately found that as much as a try, the moment I take my mind off of this plan.. my feet start to wander, and ( I assume ) revert back to a natural style of path finding. I move in a slight curve one way or the other.. depending on… lots of parameters perhaps.
Humans, when you get down to it, are more than intelligent enough to be frustratingly random and unpredictable, but the beauty of randomness is that with a bit of statistics, you can actually predict general trends.
I think that when it comes to choosing a path to travel, the standard deviation is much less, because it is considered a simple natural thing to do, almost like… we were born knowing how to choose a path. And when you consider the more basic human trends.. we tend to act more and more similar.. the less we think about something. If you consider that this lower mental state, is one that can be found in most animals, then this tends to agree with my theory as well, as careful study of their paths shows that they all act extremely similar, and most are very predictable.
So here are some basic ideas… I believe that finding out the path that humans will take can be done mathematically and programmatically. We all know that humans don’t naturally make sharp turns, our bodies are not build to move like this, when you come to a hallway, you don’t just stop and make a 90 degree turn, even though it would be more efficient, you instead naturally keep your momentum and move in a arc. However, I do not want to focus on the paths that people take… when there is already a path laid down before them, people tend to follow what others have done before, and this removes the effect that I am interested in.
So consider and instance where humans break away from what is paved down before them, and see how they act. I believe based on the direction they have started facing, and the direction of the location they want to go, they choose a arc based on their velocity and a natural constant to face that direction. Though.. this is not precise. From a long distance away from your target, you only turn enough to get within a certain constant range that makes you feel like you are sufficiently heading towards your target, and this gets more and more refined as you get closer to your target. This effect is based upon our vision and perception.
Furthermore.. variations in the slope of the surface you are traveling across also naturally (subconsciously) affect your path. Humans tend to follow the easier path in a downward slope as much as they can take advantage of it, similar to how race car tracks are tilted at the curves to allow sharper turns.
Now of-course, if you are considering a path that is obstructed, there is also some math that goes into how you naturally avoid running into a tree, without even thinking about it. I believe allot of this is based upon your natural vision horizon, how much you hold your head up and look ahead, and what you believe to be way points in your path.
This is a field that I believe more effort and study should be devoted to understanding. We are in a age where technology and industry are dramatically shaping our lives. Most every path you take is laid down before you, paved sidewalks, straight hallways, roads, etc. For people new to cities, this.. natural effect takes a toll on how comfortable they are, and even more so the longer they remain, they need a way “out”. This natural path being constrained is why i believe people prefer a wide open country to a city. Based on whatever more hard research provides, the level of comfort of humans can be improved by placing objects that feel like way points, or obstructions, or changes in elevation, to help bring together the paths humans feel natural, to the ones they need to take. This also has military advantages as well. If an enemy is moving from one point to another, sure you can take their velocity into consideration and bomb along that trajectory, but if you had a precise way to know the exact curve they would take, you could improve accuracy , reducing the area of effect needed, and thus the cost of weapons used. In guerrilla warfare this would be especially handy, where strategically placing obstructions would naturally allow you to precisely choose the arcs troops take.
More precise math behind natural effects would also greatly improve cinema, making fly overs feel more natural and less dizzy or uncomfortable, or any camera path for that matter. Not to mention the improvements and the feel of reality when programming artificial intelligence.

So yeah… that was my brain this morning.. takes a hell of allot longer to squeeze it out onto a keyboard than I hoped it would.

Surprise Flowers!

So.. we have this old ragly looking tree right outside our kitchen window..

A few days ago.. amazing flowers started shooting out of it!

I love it..

(bonus points if anyone knows what this thing is)
Edit: after a bit of research.. it turns out that this raggedy thing, is actually a sakura tree o.o (cherry blossom)
Just.. clearly one that has forgotten its glory days in the Japanese palace.

Encryption in SL is LEGAL

Way back in the day that the Third Party Viewer Policy was being discussed, it was mentioned (perhaps by an unofficial source) that encryption within second life might be an issue.  The grounds for this being that a side effect of having secure communications, is that it can become too secure, and remove any administrative oversight from Linden Lab.  (A worst case scenario being that LL wouldn’t be able to stop or detect two individuals age playing withing their IMs)

I do regret that privacy can help illegal activity, but I also see that the lack of it can help them much more… (there is a reason any web site having to do with money or personal information uses http-s , and encrypted line to prevent primitive sniffing)

The good news is, that LL has decided that encryption is legal, and does not violate the Terms of Service , or the Third Party Viewer Policy!  Once arguments concerning it were brought to light, it was quickly dropped from the discussion, and it was made sure that no restrictions on its use were included i the TPVP.

Bits

Man, i really hate it when people have their prim penis’s out in public.  I mean i know its a mature sim and all, but there is probably only one person who wants to see that, and only one person they want to see that! lol.

Tooltip Previews

Working on this.  hovering your mouse over a texture in your inventory pops out a little preview.

Par v 61

I updated my old par plugin pack for people who want to use 2.0, but still want to be able to double click tp.

http://code.google.com/p/par/

I also submitted it to the 3rd party viewer registry a day ago, I had to change my real life contact information once I realized that my address was going to be public to everyone.  (Now its a p.o. box)

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