Wetmachine Blog: General Exception

Content Developers and the Cloudy Future

My wife, a graphic designer/publications gal (not her actual title), was worried by Adobe’s recent announcement that their entire creative suite will now be cloud-based.  After reading the actual Adobe press release/happy marketdroidspeak, it looks like things are a bit less dire than she feared. Designers will still be able to download and install the “Creative Suite CC.” locally, rather than depending on always having reliable net access just to use the basic tools of their trade. Adobe, of course, couches all of this in happy cloud-talk… you’ll seamlessly collaborate, shooting files off to people hither and yon, and you’ll get to show off your work (key for the many designer freelancers out there). You’ll be free! You’ll be happy!

These features seem nice and all, but not something that really sounds like it has to be tied to Adobe’s Cloud. Using Dropbox, social media, and other third-party services probably can come close, or even surpass what Adobe has cooked up. So, it’s nicely integrated, yes… but not something that is world-shattering.

What’s not mentioned in the hype is how this may dramatically shift access and ownership of a designer’s own set of tools.

The implications of this below.

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Also posted in Software | Leave a comment

A Farewell to the Higgins

Mixed into all of the “OMG! SNOW!” coverage on the local TV news as I got ready for work last Friday was a small and very sad item: The Higgins Armory Museum will close at the end of the year. The Higgins is in Worcester MA, a few miles from where I went to college. I didn’t go to the museum until my sophomore or junior year, which is pretty shocking since my friends and I were all D&D geeks. How could we have not known about a steel art-deco castle-like building that was crammed full of swords and armor such a short distance away? Finally we could see exactly what a glaive looked like.

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Moving into a new home

We’ve moved Wetmachine to a new server. There may be some glitches along the way, including emails to John. Hopefully, as the internets catch up on the DNS change, and any minor wrinkles get worked out, we’ll have a much more stable platform.

Also posted in Wetmachine site news | Leave a comment

And Now for Your Dancing Pleasure: Flying Robots Play the James Bond Theme Song

Looks like the Robopocalypse will have a live soundtrack!

Courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.

Also posted in Hardware | 1 Comment

Waiting for the Godot Interrupt Vector

You know, after the robots do rise up and kill us all, then what? I mean, treading on our bleached skulls will get old after a while…  I like to think they’ll eventually turn to each other and try to strike up conversations. What I didn’t imagine is that they’d sound like some third rate Beckett existentialist knockoff…

(via BoingBoing)

Also posted in Software | 2 Comments

Nag, Nag, Nag

One of the software trends I’ve hated the most of the past decade or so is nagging. From the standpoint of the user, popping up a message to suggest or demand the user do something is the last resort. In my mind, it’s a flagrant violation of the law of least astonishment… basically, don’t do things that surprise the user.  Popping stuff on screen is at odds with that… it distracts the user from what he or she is doing… which is, basically, the entire point of having a computer. Getting whatever the user wants to do done.

I usually associate nagging with commercial software. I remember the first time I started Window XP: wihin a minute of first logging in, I got popups reminding me to register Windows… along with taking a tour of windows, and eliminating unused icons from my desktop (WTF… will you give me a second to go see what is actually on the friggin desktop before suggesting I blow it away?). Recently, I had to go in and decrapify my father-in-law’s Dell that had come installed with tons of foistware that was nagging him about buying it, installing updates, and the like.

I usually expect open source software to not make these sorts of stupid decisions. However, today I ran into the worst case of nagging I have seen in quite a while thanks to Firefox. I left Ubuntu udate a bunch of software this morning, including Firefox.. and here’s what showed up at the top of the browser window:

How stupid is it to have an informational message with a close button on it, which closes the message for the grand total of a few seconds? If it’s so important to constantly nag me to restart the browser, then don’t put the button there!

Also notice that the message pushes the entire page down… so if it decides to pop up just as I click a link, the stupid message will push a different link under my pointer. That’s what I call freakin’ astonishing!

Also posted in Software | 2 Comments

Two-Fisted Tales of Spam Fighting

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been flooded with spam comments—up to 100 per day.  While 100% of it is caught by WordPress’s more-or-less standard Akismet anti-spam plugin, it still ends up in a spam queue that I have to go through and clean on a daily basis.

Most blog maintainers probably just clear their spam queue and move on. Not me, though. Spammers annoy the hell out of me the same way many home owners get pissed at someone tossing beer bottles or candy wrappers into their yard. Yeah, it takes a few seconds to clean up, but the fact that you have to do so because of someone else’s assholery really gets under your skin. If I had an easy avenue to do so, I’d file complaints about these tools to the hosting services hosting the sites they are flogging. The ones I do bother tracking down are, unlike your average penis-pill and “russian girls waiting scam date you” site, seem to actually be hosted in the US or some other place that might be responsive to spam complaints. If someone is looking for a coding project for a WordPress plugin, make one that will let you send off a report of comment spam to the site’s ISP.

Anyhow, I set out to make it as hard as possible for spammers to dump their trash in our back yard. And apparently, for the moment, I seem to have won. It’s still early, but our spam queue has been clean for the last two days. Hopefully there’s no collateral damage (err… more so that there was already, see after the jump). If you see anything weird on the site, post a comment or send a message via the comment form (especially if I managed to break commenting).

How I managed my (Pyhrric?) victory after the jump.

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Also posted in Wetmachine site news | 1 Comment

Did someone just find a Kali chip?

BoingBoing has the story of some guy (allegedly) finds some sort of weird chip or screen with an antenna in his vintage GameBoy. Hmm… did Monty Meekman have deals with Nintendo?

Maybe we should expand the shop and add Wetmachine-branded tinfoil hats.


Also posted in I Fear These Things | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Hi Folks. Well, the site’s a mess, due to a recent WordPress update breaking a plugin. At the moment, all of the sub-sites will show you all of the Wetmachine posts, not just ones from a single author. I’m working on a permanent fix that will mean we won’t be relying on a plugin for something so basic in the sit, but that will require a lot of work behind the scenes, and there will likely be a lot of problems to fix with that approach. Please stay tuned…

Also posted in Wetmachine site news | Tagged | Leave a comment
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