Posts categorized “Computers”

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Computer-Generated Magic Cards

There has been a lot of internet chatter recently about recurrent neural networks. Just do a google search of that term if you don’t know what that is; I ain’t here to educamate you on it.

What I am here to do is talk about one of my favorite recent uses for a recurrent neural network: generating Magic: The Gathering cards!

MTG Salvation forum members led by user Talcos have been using these networks to generate new, novel, insane, and hilarious MTG cards. And for your convenience there’s also a twitter account that posts a card once a day.

I laughed SO HARD when I was reading through them. Here are just a few of my favorites:

(They was kicked.)

This. This spell.

Cat Clerics!

Here, look at this card. You can’t have it!


If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful…

Congratulations: a sorcery

Angelic Sludge

Not ready yet

Go take a look through the entire twitter feed and also the forum thread to see the magic of artificial intelligence hard at work. And also to laugh your ass off.

Categories: Computers, Future Living.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Outlining Your Text, or Fun With CSS Text Shadows!

So one thing I’ve always wanted to be able to do with CSS is to make my text have outlines. There is actually a property for doing just that: text-outline. Guess which browsers support it? That’s right: None o’ dem.

But it’s still entirely possible to get an outline effect with the almost-entirely-supported property text-shadow. Like this:

Outline & Shadow!

Note to people who are reading this via RSS: you should really click over to my website so you can see what the heck I’m talking about. Also, guess which browser does NOT support the text-shadow property? Even though it’s about seven years old or so? If you guessed a product made by Microsoft, well, then congratulations are not in order because the answer was pretty effing obvious. So if you’re looking at this website in IE… well, knock it off. Go download Chrome or something. What are you thinking? Jeez.

Anyhoo, this trick has been around since at least 2005, so it is probably old hat to most of you. But I likes it! It’s pretty easy, and involves making a 1-pixel, un-blurred shadow 1 pixel away from the text in every direction. Most people only use 4 shadows to do this (the 4 diagonal directions), but I find I get better coverage if I make shadows in all 8 directions, especially with serif or complicated fonts. You can also add an extra one to make the outlined text have an actual shadow. It’s easy! Here’s the code to re-create the text you see here.

h1 {
text-shadow:1px 1px 0 #fff,
-1px -1px 0 #fff,
1px -1px 0 #fff,
-1px 1px 0 #fff,
0px 1px 0 #fff,
1px 0px 0 #fff,
0px -1px 0 #fff,
-1px 0px 0 #fff,
4px 4px 3px #000;
font-family:Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif;

You can also do some cool bezel effects with colored text and outline shadows, like this:

Beveled & Embossed!

text-shadow: -1px -1px 0px #000,
1px 1px 0px #FFF,
2px 2px 0px #FFF,
-2px -2px 0px #000;
font-family:Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif;

You can also do some cool glowing effects with a shadow that isn’t offset, but is incredibly blurred. Like this!


text-shadow:0px 0px 10px #fff;
font-family:Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif;

Anyway, I just think it’s fun-fun-silly-willy. It’s also legit helpful if you end up having text that’s just too close in color & value to the background, or if you need to put text over a complicated background that has a bunch of different colors and values all up in it.

Hopefully soon the major browser will start to support the text-outline property and we won’t have to jump through all these hoops to fake it (if you think this overly complicated, just do a Google search of how to make text shadows in Internet Explorer to see all the workarounds you have to do with that browser). Until then, SHADOW ON!

Categories: Computers.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Emergency Transplant

Sorry I haven’t gotten my “Of the Month” updated yet for August. On the evening of the 1st had to perform an emergency surgery on my computers.

See, Big ‘Puter was off when I went into the office, which I thought was odd because I didn’t remember turning it off. So I pushed the power button and it turned on… for about three seconds. Then it powered down.


I just could not get it to stay on. So I had to open ‘er up and unplug the hard drive. I still have my tower from way back in the year 2000. I’ve been using it as kind of an external hard drive. So I opened that one up and stuck Big ‘Puter’s hard drive in there and turned it on.

It worked! Fortunately that means that none of the hard drive data was lost. Unfortunately that means that I have no idea why Big ‘Puter won’t stay on.

So since I have Photoshop on Big ‘Puter’s hard drive and it’s now in a computer with something like 64 Megs of RAM (you read that right), it makes it very difficult for me to do graphical stuff on this website, like resize and optimize my “Of the Month” images.

It looks like it’s time to re-evaluate my whole home computer setup. Any advice?

Categories: Computers, Life.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

How to Have Your Copyright Date Code Automatically Update

In the past week its seems like I’ve run across a shockingly large number of current, recently-updated websites that have outdated copyright dates. Some as old as 2004.

Come on, people! It’s 2012! You should either (A) remember to update your website’s copyright every year or (B) stick in a code that automatically makes your copyright current forever. It’s incredibly easy! Here, I’ll do it for you. Just stick this piece of code where your [©YEAR] is currently in your template:

<script type="text/javascript">
    var dayte = new Date();
    var copydate = dayte.getFullYear();
    document.writeln("&copy; "+copydate);

Et voila! Your website’s copyright notice will now always be the current year, no matter what. You’re welcome.

Or, of course, you can do what I do and not copyright your website at all; This is Chris dot com is all Creative Commons licensed, which I think is much simpler and much more fun & friendly.

Categories: Computers.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Beginning of Summer Round-up

Here are some interesting things I’ve found around teh intarwebs in the past few weeks that never made it into my blog here… until now (I’m pretty sure most of ’em made it onto Facebook or Twitter, though).


octopusIf you ever, ever want to know what an octopus is doing right this very second, Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center has installed a camera in the tank of their resident 40-pound Pacific octopus, Deriq.

It is for some reason very enjoyable and relaxing to watch Deriq meander around in his tank.


Artist Alex Varanese has imagined what it would look like if someone from today went back in time and re-created today’s modern electronics—cell phone, laptop, hand-held video game system, mp3 player—using the design aesthetics of 1977.

The results are absolutely fan-frikkin’-tastic.


I was born in 1977, so I completely remember this style of design. Y’all have no idea how much I miss high technology that had a faux-woodgrain finish. Glorious.


Etsy crafter and all-around awexome human being Taisha McGee made the one piece of merchandise that no Twilight fan should be without.


The product description speaks for itself:

Bella’s most useful accessory. Case is 5.5″ by 2″ and holds two average sized tampons. Edward’s face is sparkly. Tampons not included.


River Tam and the Fireflies

Holy eff but that is so freakin’ adorable. This is an actual album sleeve that artist Joebot made for a gallery show (happens on July 9th).

But the really cool thing is that you can purchase a print of this picture at his Etsy shop as a gift to send to me! Joebot has some other really cool prints as well, like ones of the Nintendo princesses (and Samus).


An absolutely adorable short film with seamless special effects animation. Very well done.


This is a fascinating collection of still frames and clips of people reading newspapers in dozens of films and television shows. The exact same newspaper each time. Going back decades. It looks like this:


It’s actually kind of astonishing how wide-spread this newspaper really is.


Here are a couple of videos of aquatic awesomeness:


This extravagantly cute melon bowl is from my link-of-the month, Host-It Notes.


There are all sorts of other darling little foodstuffs at Host-It Notes, like sheep cupcakes, mushroom radishes, and frosting bees!


That’s about it for now.

Categories: Art & Artists, Arts & Crafts, Computers, Cooking, Links, Movies, Pictures, Round-up, TV, Videos.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Android Wallpaper

I wasn’t particularly happy with the default wallpapers that came with my Android T-Mobile G1, nor was I happy with any of the ones that I found online, so I decided to make my own!

I really like the little Android logo robot, so I was sure to include him (click for a full-sized version):

And here it is “in action” as the kids like to say these-a-days:


It’s kinda blurry, but as you can see I don’t put any icons in the 2nd row, so the little android guy shows through. That’s why he’s not dead-center in the image. I use this empty 2nd row as the place where I swipe my finger when I’m switching between Android’s three screens.

(I really like Android.)

Categories: Computers, Pictures, Robots.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bloop-Bleepian Rhapsody

It is very fun to watch very old computer equipment struggle to play Bohemian Rhapsody:

  • Atari 800XL was used for the lead piano/organ sound
  • Texas Instruments TI-99/4a as lead guitar
  • 8 Inch Floppy Disk as Bass
  • 3.5 inch Harddrive as the gong
  • HP ScanJet 3C was used for all vocals

Categories: Computers, Music, Videos.