Category Archives: computers

BitCoin and Laser Eyes

Hi, nice to see you. I’ve been there and over there and over over there, but very rarely here.

I’m going to try and write more HERE. So, BitCoin. I don’t know an awful lot about it.

I’m going to try and just throw my very meager brain/knowledge at a wall based on what I think I know right now. I’m not going to link anything, I’m not going to do any amount of research now that I have started this post. This is the beauty of blogs that I have missed.

Okay, what is BitCoin? I think it’s the concept of a decentralized currency, something that is theoretically universally accepted and usable by anyone, anywhere. There’s a ledger for each transaction (called a blockchain) which you can trace the journey of this new kinda money.

My understanding is that it’s really energy-intensive maintaining the blockchain, lots of CPUs necessary due to cryptography being used to, I dunno, make sure it’s not tampered with, not faked, etc. Somehow, devoting gobs of energy to help calculate/verify transactions on the blockchain ends up maybe(?) minting new Bitcoin pieces? I DO NOT KNOW FOR SURE.

Uh, there’s a concept of a “sats”, or a “Satoshi” which is the smallest unit of a Bitcoin (BTC). It’s like a billionth or a gazillionth of a BTC or some other shit. Satoshi is named after “Satoshi Nakamoto” who wrote a white paper in 2008 that proposed the concept of BitCoin. At this point, I think the consensus is that this was a pseudonym, and no one knows who he or she really is. They went silent around 2010 and haven’t been heard from since and BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAHBLAHBLAH.

Only purported visual identification of Satoshi Nakamoto

/end terrible, misinformed explanation of Bitcoin

One thing I have noted is that lots of BTC enthusiasts have LASER EYES. The following pictures in the image below were pulled from Twitter profiles, all of them acting in some capacity as evangelists/ambassadors for BTC.

Look, Laser Eyes Tony Soprano at A3! Salvador Dali at G1! Look, there’s a Gandalf at C5!

The guy at A1 is named Michael Saylor and is apparently very rich and very important and balls deep in BTC. If you look at his Twitter feed, it’s mostly him making posting stylized BitCoin “brand” images of trains, vaults, fireworks, toilets (haven’t seen a BitCoin toilet pic yet, but fingers crossed), etc. Note that he has laser eyes AND lightning eyes.

Possible Alien/Ancient/Futuristic Toilet?

I thought as a project I would start asking the ppl with the profiles “why the laser eyes?” and see what they said.

My wife asked if me if I was being snarky, and I said, well, 45% snarky, but 55% curious. Anyways, I only asked a few of these guys and only one person answered me, saying “yeah, this one guy added the lasers to my pic, this other guy added the flames, and this other other guy added the bear” (see if you can figure out which pic it was in the collage!). It was an answer, but a very literal one.

What I want to know, is “what does having laser eyes represent to you”? I feel like it’s a form of braggadocio, but I think it’s a bit simplistic to just chalk it up to that. I feel like there is some “visionary” vibe going on as well. Like, these people think they are seeing beyond, I dunno, our financial system as it has been for years, at least since the abolition of the gold standard, and are aware of THE NEW WAY. Do they think of themselves as simply smarter than everyone else? Do they think of themselves as saviors to the rest of us? I don’t know.

It seems like BTC is quite a bit of commotion over something that really doesn’t seem like it’s going to make humanity happier or healthier.

Oh, during a recent vacation break from work, I puttered about on this newer protocol called “nostr”. It’s an attempt (I think) of having a decentralized social media, an alternative to everyone feeding at the same corporate trough at places like Twitter and Facebook.

In the nostr space, people are rushing to write clients etc., and many people are (or were) excited when I was poking around there. Right now it seems to have a kind of high bar for less technical people. I actually offered one of the nostr developers my help, but I have a Mac from ten years ago and I can’t develop anything on my stupid computer.

Anyways, as I was on nostr the thing that people were SUPER excited about was including the use of lightning wallets via nostr. Oh, I forgot to say, BitCoin has all this digital wallet crap. As far as I know, lightning wallets are just a flavor of a BitCoin wallet. As people excitedly posted “invoices” of a long alphanumeric string for what amounted to be a few cents, then another person replied “PAID!”, they were proving that they could pay and get paid via nostr, but for me, it just kinda bummed me out. It seemed like that the whole payment thing was the most important aspect of nostr to all these people, and I couldn’t really understand why it would make me or anyone happy. It wasn’t my tribe.

One thing that was very surprising to me was Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, was present on nostr, and not only that, he regularly interacted with lots of people on nostr (he answered a question or two of mine, for example) when I was there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he continued to be very active and present, but I just kind of ducked out with all the lightning wallet stuff. He seemed to feel really positive about the whole thing.

I really don’t have an opinion about Jack Dorsey. I have not “done the research”. I know many people are probably annoyed by him, other people praise him, whatever. He seems to feel like BTC is something special and wonderful. He seems to have his heart in the right place, but what do I know?

But look at his profile picture! It’s his EAR! And no lasers are coming out of it! I find that somewhat encouraging and comforting, but I don’t know if I should.

Jack Dorsey’s Profile Pic on Twitter and Nostr

I don’t know about a decentralized social media, but things were are lot more special when we wrote blog posts and didn’t use some billionaire’s website to express our thoughts and feelings.

I liked it more when we were all points of light, and think it is something we can be again, whether we pay each other invoices or not.


Instagram V-v-v-v-v-v-video

I took a few Instagram videos on the way home from work.  My connection was kind of spotty, so they eventually all failed to upload.  It was kind of annoying, because, unlike photos, you can’t select videos from your library.  You have to go straight from camera to upload, and if the upload cheeses, you’re hosed.

This is the same way Vine works (or doesn’t work, rather).  Boooooo!

Oh, the other day ShesAllWrite did a nice comparison of Instagram and Vine.  I do like the look and feel of the Instagram video, and think 15 seconds is a much nicer time to work with than Vine’s 6 seconds. Since I have been able to make videos on Instagram, I haven’t gone back to Vine once.

Anyways, I uploaded all my failed-to-upload videos to YouTube. I think they’re nice.

Enjoy (or don’t!).


The Rather Bizarre Crisis of Vine Celebrity

I follow 2 out of the 3 people on Vine that I discuss in this post.  The third person is fine, too!  I just don’t follow him.  Sorry!

I don’t claim to have insight into their personalities, beliefs, dispositions, emotions, or anything. But I think something odd has happened.  Very odd.

First, a little background.

Vine is a Twitter-owned app where people can post 6 second videos from their phones.

Instagram is a phone app which was bought by Facebook in April, 2012, and until yesterday, was strictly used for making/manipulating/sharing photos.  Now, Instagram hosts videos as well.  You can record up to 15 seconds of video, as well as apply one of a series of preset filters.

Vine has around 13 million users, while Instagram has around 130 million users.

There are lots of people who have made Vine videos (myself included), but some people have risen to the top and gotten a certain degree of popularity/celebrity from their posts.  Actors James Urbaniak (Henry Fool, Venture Bros.), Will Sasso (Mad TV), and Adam Goldberg (The Hebrew Hammer, Dazed & Confused) are three such people.

What I find interesting is how the announcement of Instagram’s foray into short videos might have an effect on them.  I’m not going to predict the future and say Instagram will supplant Vine, but I think it’s certainly going to draw some people away from the platform.  Two of my Twitter friends joined Instagram today, with one admitting that it was due to the introduction of Instagram video (Hi, Rob!).

James, Adam, and Will have accounts on Vine and Instagram.  However, their Vine accounts are screamingly more popular than their Instagram accounts.



James Urbaniak on Vine - 22,225 Followers
James Urbaniak on Vine – 22,225 Followers

James Urbaniak on Instagram - 403 Followers
James Urbaniak on Instagram – 403 Followers



Will Sasso on Vine - 848,800 Followers
Will Sasso on Vine – 854,800 Followers


Will Sasso on Instagram - 31,000 Followers
Will Sasso on Instagram – 31,000 Followers



Adam Goldberg on Vine - 123,100 Followers
Adam Goldberg on Vine – 123,100 Followers


Adam Goldberg on Instagram - 2,352 Followers
Adam Goldberg on Instagram – 2,352 Followers


Okay, let’s break this down.


Urbaniak Vine (22,225) / Urbaniak Instagram (403) = 55.15, which means Urbaniak is 55 times more popular on Vine than he is on Instagram.

Sasso Vine (854,800) / Sasso Instagram (31,000) = 27.57

Goldberg Vine (123,100) / Goldberg Instagram (2,352) = 52.34


Again, I have no idea in hell what is going through their minds at this point. Did these guys have any clue that they would have found some degree of notoriety on Vine in the first place? Do they see a cool thing vaporizing with the possible dwindling popularity of Vine?  Do they feel threatened?  I HAVE NO IDEA.  But it’s an interesting, weird thing to think about.

All three of them *have* addressed the advent of video on Instagram.  Here’s their take on it.


On Vine, James Urbaniak flips the bird to Instagram.  As of this post’s writing he has yet to post a video to Instagram (his last post there was from last week, and he has only posted 15 photos in total).

NOTE: Vine videos are muted by default.  If you want to hear a video, hover over it, then click the speaker with the red X to unmute.


Will Sasso seems to find the extra time a little too liberating.  He takes a classic Sasso Vine trope (“Lemons!”) and stretches it out to the full Instagram running time.


He made a Vine of the first few seconds of the above video, too.


Yesterday on Vine, Adam Goldberg spoofed the  release of Instagram.

The next day, on Instagram, he denies he is in the pocket of “Big Vine”.


He plays around with the format in Instagram, and (jokingly) finds he has too much time on his hands.



Fans Of Tearing Things Down

I have seen lots and lots of humor  on the Internet that is at the expense of other people.  Some of it really bothers me.

Most of the sites I am commenting on are relatively popular (otherwise, I probably wouldn’t know about them).


Reasons My Son Is Crying

One thing I can’t stand is people used for fodder of jokes that are helpless and defenseless.  Your kid is not in control of his or her image, or how he or she is portrayed.  By uploading a crying picture and captioning it with something allegedly humorous, you’re basically laughing at your kid, and encouraging others to laugh at your kid.  I suppose one could do it in a non-exploitative way, but the pictures I see up on this Tumblr are getting yuks at the expense people that have no power.  It isn’t funny to me.

I suppose there is also a biological component in me that reacts to this website.  I don’t like to see kids cry.  I want them to be happy and not in pain.  And this is nothing but picture after picture of crying.  Hey, how about you put your fucking camera down and comfort your kid?

I mean, from what I can tell, this website started out as one parent documenting the meltdowns of their toddler.  Yeah, the kid cries a lot, it would appear.  So, this parent takes pictures routinely while their kid is crying.  Is that the go-to reaction a parent should have?

Also, what happens when this kid gets older?  At some point this kid is going to have and WANT to have control of how he is perceived to the people of the world. At the time this child becomes self-aware as a being, there are going to be potentially hundreds of pictures of him crying on the Internet.  Did he deserve that?  Does anyone?


Awkward Family Photos

This site has been around for a while.  I don’t like it either. My main problems of this website is it provides pictures of people as “the Other”.  Look, there’s Heavy Metal Family.  Look, these people are dressed in the same floral print. It’s basically a way of laughing at other people for being different.  How is that funny?

I know that some of the pics are self-submitted. But, for some reason, even that’s not good enough.  I would need a signed affidavit by all parties in the picture before I said, okay, no one is being exploited.



This website is ancient by Internet standards, but it’s the first site I saw that really bothered me.  The whole principle of the site bothers me — essentially a snapshot of something or someone is captioned with “FAIL”.  It’s something an obnoxious pre-teen would say.  Some of the pictures show people being hurt.  Yeah, that’s funny.  TOTAL FAIL, dude about to suffer grievous bodily harm.   This site appears to be have been bought by a corporation, and its original intent has been diluted, and it  has basically become a mishmash of tepid humor.  I suppose you could do an image search of “FAIL” and see the original images that upset me in the first place.


Every Tweet Ever (Twitter acct)

This is not a website, but rather a Twitter account.  It bummed me out seeing it.  Basically, the guy who runs it does a very competent job of distilling many things that people on Twitter do, and by parroting or paraphrasing them, mocks them.  Unlike the sites above, I actually contacted the guy who ran it and basically told him his humor bummed me out.

Why did I do it?  What right did I have?  I guess I didn’t have any.  He blocked me for doing that, but later on we talked and he unblocked me.  When I contacted him, I basically came across as attacking him.  And I guess I did.  I’m sorry I did that. I apologized to him.  There’s no way one can know a stranger on the Internet, but he seemed like a decent guy.

Why did his account bother me?

To me, it seemed to take a huge part of what humanity is represented on Twitter, and ridiculed it.  The thing is, Twitter is this odd thing, where many people drop effluvia from their head that normally they wouldn’t.  “I’m hungry.”  “I’m lonely.”  “I’m bored.”  Yeah, people feel that shit.  ALL THE TIME.  To mock this kind of shit is to mock humanity.  I AM PROBABLY THE ONLY PERSON WHO FEELS THIS WAY.


I don’t wish the guy who created this account ill will, nor do I wish the owners of any the above sites ill will, but I think about this quote a lot, by a very funny person.


“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Webcams As Cameras, Webcams As Mirrors

So, do the majority of webcams display an image of you as if you are having your picture taken, or do they show you as if you are looking in the mirror?

I have seen people use webcam pics on their websites, as their avatar, etc. Often times when there’s writing in the picture, it’s horizontally flipped. This ANNOYS me.

Despite my annoyance, I’m genuinely unqualified to make a judgment regarding what looks “right” and “wrong”. What’s more natural? To see one’s self as a camera does, or as in a mirror?

Let’s throw out the obvious flipped nature of mirrored text. What is more natural to you? If you spend a fair amount of time talking to others via your webcam, wouldn’t the webcam-as-camera be more natural to them? Do they care either way?

Is a mirrored webcam a tool of the ego? Am I crazy?

This beat-up old Dell laptop I am using has a checkbox by which you can choose to flip the webcam image horizontally. I think it defaults to *not* flipping the image, but I’m not entirely sure. That’s what it was when I first went into its settings.

I have no doubt that most webcams give you control over the mirror/camera nature of the picture.

From what I have seen, Mac laptops display a mirror image by default. Are Mac users more narcissitic? OF COURSE. THEY ARE MAC USERS.

Splotchy learns something in the midst of making this post

I was looking at myself in the webcam and moving around a bit. The webcam was set as a camera, not a mirror. When I went left, my image went right. I went right, my image went left. It was disconcerting! Okay, I can see why people might want to have the webcam be a mirror image. When they are obsessively looking into their own eyes, preening, making kissy-faces, it can be helpful to see the image move the same direction.

Now what you’ve been waiting for, but didn’t know it – a terrible camera filter

I have played around with the preset webcam filters on a Mac laptop. It has some nice effects (stretchy stuff, sepia, comic book, etc.).

When I was playing around with the webcam for this post, I noticed this Dell laptop *also* has some “nice” effects. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least give you one sample. It’s called “ArtyFarty” under the “Fashionista” category. YES, REALLY.

Note, the playing card isn’t part of the filter — that’s me. The sneer is all me. But the beret, luxurious hair and sexy glasses? Filter. ALL filter.

Happy birthday, Internet!

41,132 Rickrolls And Counting

You know about Rickrolling, right? (e.g. Here, this is my theory on quantum physics)


On the Twitter I use a URL-shortening service called It takes long URLs and scrunches them. There are other websites like Tinyurl and the even slightly shorter, but I like using for some reason. (and the other URL-shortening websites, I presume) use some sort of algorithm to reduce URLs to their small form. It really has nothing to do with *who* is requesting the shortened URL — the smaller URL will be the same.

One thing neat about is it will show you how many clicks have gone through one of their shortened URLs.

Out of curiousity, I picked the most-viewed video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (over 18M views thus far) and’ed it.

I personally want to thank and the other URL-shortening services for making Rickrolling possible.

A Change To How Blogger Parses Comments

You may or may not know this, but you can do limited HTML markup in comments on blogs that run on the Blogger software (* websites).

I will occasionally use tags (you can use lower-case or upper-case i’s, it doesn’t matter) to italicize text in a comment. I like to do this to another person’s text that I am responding to, so it’s clear the text wasn’t written by me.

What I type:
Hey, how’s it going, Splotchy?

Fine, thanks for asking!

The text above gets displayed in the comment as:
Hey, how’s it going, Splotchy?

Fine, thanks for asking!

Well, I noticed when I tried to italicize some text in a comment earlier this week that things are a little different. When I previewed the comment it looked fine, but when I actually published the thing there were no line breaks.

Instead, the comment appeared like this:
Hey, how’s it going, Splotchy?Fine, thanks for asking!

Icky, eh?

Previously, Blogger was converting my line breaks into HTML line breaks, which are represented by the
tag. Now, it appears that they have modified their software. If Blogger now sees an HTML tag included in a comment, it no longer converts line breaks to the
tags recognized by browsers.

A little sidenote for those who want to know. A line break in an HTML source file does not equal a line break in a browser. Blogger does the heavy lifting of converting the line breaks that you make in your blog posts to HTML line breaks (
— case doesn’t matter here — it could just as well be

So, you have the option of giving up your use of italics in comments, or you can be a little amateur HTML coder and add a
to force a line break yourself.

Here’s an example how to do it:
What I type:
Hey, how’s it going, Splotchy?

Fine, thanks for asking!

Which will display in a comment as:
Hey, how’s it going, Splotchy?

Fine, thanks for asking!

Anyways, I’m a geek. Happy commenting! Feel free to give this a try on this post, you nice people, you.

Try it with and without the
tags if’n you don’t believe me.