The world is depressing right now, with all the crap happening in politics and economics such as people thinking fetuses in food is an important (or even relevant) issue, the entire mess with SOPA and PIPA, and CEOs making hundreds of millions of dollars when they leave their companies. Hell, even Leo Apotheker, who was *fired* from his position as HP CEO, made more in his severance package than I will make in my lifetime. And I’m one of the lucky ones who has an excellent job with a great salary.


In the list of things bringing glimmers of light to the world, there’s Dia Frampton’s new album (that was $3.99 earlier on Amazon today when I bought it, but apparently has gone up in price). In particular, the duet I Will is just really happy and uplifting and pleasant to listen to.
(Didn’t realize until after I bought the album that she was on the reality show The Voice. Her album was interesting primarily because it was #1 on Amazon’s albums list when I was browsing this morning.)

In other music things, there is also SafetySuit’s new album that I purchased a week or so ago. Never Stop is probably my favorite track from the album, probably because it’s a good representation of my personal life. :)

In yet more music things, there is this rather old album by (now defunct?) band Over It. Gunslinger is probably my favorite track, but the entire album is pleasant to have running in the background while you work.

Also noteworthy is The Glitch Mob, which Ben pointed me to. We Can Make The World Stop is amazing and I listened to it on loop for a day straight, and their other works are great too.

(I suppose it’s unfortunate that, by purchasing these albums, I’m supporting the backward and antiquated policies of the SOPA-supporting music industry, but hopefully at least some of it goes to the awesome artists creating the music.)

In pleasant non-music things, there’s good food. This last week included tasty dinner (and wine) at the Union Grill and nice lunch at Orient Kitchen with Ben. (It also included halfprice at Mad Mex, which was a place I was boycotting due to their exceeding rudeness a few years back, but it has not really improved, so it is not a pleasant thing.)
I think I’ve decided that really nice food is not something I need in my life. Good quality, plentiful quantity food is what makes me the happiest… not paying $30 for some super-rare or super-fancy dish. Cooking also makes me happy. I really should do that more often.

There’s also my job, which has stopped being (too) frustrating in the past few weeks. I’m starting to get back into the groove of things, and I’m not unhappy most of the time I’m working anymore. Which is awesome.

So yeah. I suppose the world as a whole is full of stupid and horrible, but my life as it stands is pretty nice at the moment.

SOPA, Toast!, Facebook, and thoughts

I’ve written in this blog more this month than the last two combined (if you include this post). And it’s only the 18th. Weird.

Anyway, you’ve probably been hearing about the various site blackouts today in protest of SOPA/PIPA. Given that I work for a tech company, you probably already know my stance on the issue.
It just occurred to me this morning that this conflict seems to be a lot like the kinds of conflicts you see in tech companies.
You have the management types (politicians, MPAA, RIAA, etc) with the money and the power, who want something to happen without really having an understanding of what they’re asking for. You have the tech people (Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist) who have a good understanding of why the request is flawed.
When a direct conflict between the two groups happens in a company, it’s not a good idea for management to blindly push ahead, insisting that they are right over all the protests of the people who really know what’s going on. Do so, and you come out with a crappy product. Do so too much and the company goes bankrupt, or all of your employees quit, and you’re pretty much screwed.
The same thing is happening here. I find it absolutely insane that Congress is attempting to draft legislation that involves so much technical detail, but refuses to listen to the people who really understand that technology. (Or, you know, dismisses them as “profiting from the illegal activities.”)

In other news, I had a birthday, and it was nice. We went to Toast!, and I got the tasting menu with wine pairing, and it was tasty. Probably not nice enough to justify the price tag, but still really nice.
I suppose I’m one of those people who can’t fully appreciate gourmet food and drink. Wine tastes like wine. Food tastes like food. A $30 dinner may taste nicer than a $10 meal at Orient Kitchen (one of my favorite restaurants here), but it doesn’t really feel like it’s 3x as good. So I don’t know.
Service was also not up to what I would expect from such a place. They forgot the wine pairing with my first course (but made up for it at dessert with an aged tawny port), forgot to switch my butter knife for a meat knife (so I pretty much had to fork my salmon apart; they seemed to get everyone else though), ran out of bread (which I suppose is excusable), and just generally weren’t as attentive as you would expect for a restaurant that was mostly empty. Part of it may be the late reservation (7:30). Part of it may be that I was expecting more from hearing people talk about the place (and how they gauge your reaction to each course when selecting the next). I don’t know.
I guess this means I should not attempt to make a trip to The French Laundry. I wouldn’t be able to properly appreciate the food there. (Although I’m sure a $270+ meal would at least not have issues in the service aspect.)

In other other news, I miss Facebook. This is not because I miss Facebook itself, but rather because I miss being able to contact people. It seems that, these days, AIM usage has fallen off and email is generally neglected. When I want to contact certain people now, I pretty much have to send a text message (and that doesn’t even always work). It’s kind of a depressing thought that Facebook has become such a central means of communication, especially over something like email. I don’t know.
I still don’t have plans to get a new Facebook account anytime soon. I’d rather be unable to contact people than deal with their crap again.

In other other other news, I ascended again in KoL to try out bumcheekcity’s ascension script. Apparently, not only does the script not eat or drink for you, it also neglects to find food or drink for you to manually consume. Which meant I was almost stuck with a super-crappy day 1 at level 3 with no food or drink. Luckily I was able to rest in my campground, use the MP to summon Alice’s Army cards and a snack voucher, and use the snack voucher for adventures to spend at the tavern. I’m wondering what other people do for the script. Or do they rely on having spleen familiars to get the adventures necessary? It’s my own damn fault for not ascending manually, yes, but meh.

In other other other other news, I was looking at Photoshop Lightroom as a potential upgrade from Photoshop Elements organizer (currently using version 5). Unfortunately, while Lightroom does have the ability to import Photoshop Elements libraries, it only does so for versions 6 through 9. So my options, if I ever want to upgrade, are to either buy a new version of Photoshop Elements as an intermediate step (to use to upgrade the album file), and then import the upgraded album file into Lightroom (that is, of course, assuming that all of the upgrades work as promised, or I’d have wasted $80 on something pointless)… or to reconstruct my tag library from scratch.
Neither of which is a good option.
Considering doing a small upgrade now to Elements 6, since that’s supported by Lightroom, and Amazon does still sell it (via third parties), and reviews say it doesn’t suck nearly as much as the newer incarnations of Elements, and the process of upgrading the album should work better than an upgrade from 5 to 10. But still, the entire thing has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do people really not use software for years anymore? Do companies really expect you to be on the new version as soon as it’s out? Elements 5 is just over 5 years old. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of time to use a piece of software you paid for.
I suppose it’s also hypocritical of me to use Elements organizer when I decided not to get a Kindle because of the lock-in effect on Kindle books.
I do have all of my tags written to the photo metadata, so I could potentially switch to anything if I absolutely had to without losing them completely, but I would lose all of the organization I currently have of the tags (like categorization of people tags, separation of people tags from location tags, etc). That’s nontrivial when you have several thousand tags.

I guess this has been a list of things that have been making me sad lately. #firstworldproblems, eh?

Edit: From Ian:

I see SOPA in a very different light from you, I think. I don’t see Congress and media execs having any misunderstandings. They’re old, don’t have a use for the Internet themselves, and accumulating short term earnings for retirement. Fuck the rest of the world.

Yeeeeeah. :\

Photoshop Album Hackery

In the last episode of “Alan Does Sketchy Things,” we updated post formats in a WordPress 3.2 installation.
Today, we bring you “Mass moving photos in a Photoshop Elements 5.0 organizer album.”

So Photoshop Elements organizer does have a built-in “Reconnect Missing Files” tool. However, this tool is super slow and clunky, and can only update one folder of photos at a time. In my case, I wanted to move well over 100 folders of photos, which amounted to over 100,000 individual files. Doing this through the reconnect files tool would have been way too slow. (It is also prone to causing the program to freeze, which then requires a lengthy database recovery process on next startup. Not fun.)

Fortunately for us, the photo album file (Catalog.psa) is nothing more than a Microsoft Access database. Even though the extension isn’t right, Access can still open the file without any problems.

So do that, and we see a few tables. There’s only one relevant to us: ImageTable. Open this up and you’ll see a list of every image in the catalog. There are two columns in this table that store the path to the file: fImageOriginalFilePath and fMediaFullPath.

Fixing them is as easy as doing a find-replace (which you can access via Ctrl-F). We’ll do each of the two columns separately.
Enter the old file path (for example, G:\0_Galleries2\), replace with the new file path (for example, G:\0_Galleries\), look in the fImageOriginalFilePath column only, and set match to “Any Part of Field”. Replace, and you should be set. Repeat for the fMediaFullPath column.

In my case, I had way too many rows in the table (277072 rows). This causes occasional “You can’t replace the current value of the field with the replacement text.” errors. Fortunately, retrying seems to work fine. It took me about 25 search and replace operations per column to fix up all of the relevant rows.

Once you’re done, save and open the album back up in Photoshop Organizer. I asked it to reconnect all missing files just to make sure things looked good, and then opened a few of the moved files to make sure it was properly detecting them.


People Wars

I started work on People Wars’ Booooth expansion today. I redid the templates slightly to give more room to the photo. I think it looks much nicer this way.

Investigations has also had a few new additions. I went through and screencapped the first episode of Torchwood today, so Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, and the first episode case have been added to the game. I should actually playtest the thing at some point. Anyone interested in helping?

Yay card games. Maybe I’ll get unlazy at some point and continue work on RPG Get!, which has pretty much been on hiatus since last January.

In other life things, Ben moved away last week for Seattle and his new job at Sage. It’s kind of sad since I’ve known him since my Sophomore year of college, and so few old people are left in Pittsburgh. He had a going-away party where we drank his random booze and ate his random meat.

I’ve been taking more photos recently (as shown by my photo stats). Perhaps I should take fewer photos. Although more photos means that I’m actually doing things, which I guess is good. Photoshop album tells me I have taken 276,797 photos since September 2000. Yay photos.

I’m glad the semester is starting up again… for me, it means Tartan on weekends and awesome Tartan people around for games.

Happy New Year

So it’s 2012. That’s not allowed. How does such a year even exist? :(

life (both stats and life proper) have been updated. People didn’t change much in the last 3 months, so the stats update isn’t terribly interesting.

Life has been full of new music lately. My purchases over the past month have included Mylo Xyloto, Break the Spell, Own the Night, Redemption, Clear as Day, Don’t Waste the Pretty, and Kelly Clarkson’s iTunes Session.
I probably should branch away from American Idol contestants (especially since I haven’t watched the show since season 2, and don’t really follow it). There’s a lot of other great music out there.

Did some more work with the Investigations card game. I revamped the rules a bit (so it’s less like Memory now, with a grid of cards laid out), and hopefully it’ll be shorter to play now. A preliminary (and currently incomplete) website for the game is up at If you have some time, read over the rules and let me know if they make sense. :)

This break has been way too short. More time to vegetate needed. :(