20090122

LittleBigPlanet is fun!

[caption id="attachment_118" align="alignleft" width="170" caption="LittleBigPlanet"]LittleBigPlanet[/caption]

It is kinda late in the day for a review of LittleBigPlanet since the game was released in October. But I've only had it for about a month and I have yet to finish the story mode - yes, I suck.

The story mode is fun to play, although I don't really know why I'm jumping around all over the place but it is fun nonetheless. And then there is the user created content. Some of the objects that you collect during play can be used to create your own LittleBigPlanet levels. You can then publish your levels online where other LBP players can download, play, comment and rate them. It's sort of like Youtube but only with LittleBigPlanet levels. Aside from me being hopelessly bad at timing my jumps, these user created content is the main reason for me not finishing the story mode yet.

Where the game really shines though is the multiplayer. The way they implemented is was pretty painless: just pick up another controller and press "Start" and another Sackboy magically appears. You can cooperate with each other to reach areas (and goodies) that are otherwise unreachable, or you can just have fun by slapping each other silly and pulling your mates down. It's all good.

20090118

Band From TV

I just saw Band From TV on Jay Leno on Youtube (thanks @greggrunberg!) and they seemed like they were having so much fun performing that I felt like I just had to buy their CD from Amazon. It is going to take a while (about a month because I chose normal mail and not the priority courier shipping because it is crazy expensive. As it is, it cost me about 9 USD just for the shipping) to arrive here so I can't really comment about how good they actually are (as opposed to a 4 minute live performance on TV) at the moment. But I have reasonable expectations simply because Hugh Laurie is in it. Even if they completely suck, at least they donate all proceeds to charity so it's not a total loss *shrug*

20090112

Credulity and its costs

Why do people turn to magic? I can somehow understand grasping at straws in desperation, but some people seem to turn to hocus-pocus first instead of consulting trained physicians. Hell, it would be better to not seek treatment at all rather than turning to magic. The Star on Sunday had a news article titled "Bomoh rapists at large". While I agree that these horrible men are taking advantage of women who are physically and possibly mentally ill, and should be punished, something needs to be said about a 21st century society that enables these unscrupulous men to rape credulous women in front of their families. Consider an example in the article:
... the parents of a 15-year-old student watched as a bomoh molested the girl during a ritual at their house.

In case it wasn't sufficiently clear,  the girl was molested under her parents' watchful eyes. Well, at least I'm assuming they were watchful since 15-year old girls are usually not left alone without supervision with strange men no matter their qualifications. And was the girl cured? Probably not. Now not only is she still sick, she's also traumatized. A two-for-one deal. I guess we should be grateful that she isn't dead yet.

I feel as if belief in superstitious nonsense is so entrenched in our national psyche that it seems nearly impossible to root out – I still remember talking in hushed voices about ghosts with friends at school. What we need is education. And I don't mean the "go-to-school" kind of education. People need to learn to think rationally and critically about everything. Nothing is too sacred to be questioned and questioned brutally. Ideas that are not supported by reality must be discarded.

If these women had rationally considered their situation, it would be obvious that consulting experts who practice actual medicine would be better than men who claim they receive help and advice from their invisible friends. I will admit it can be hard to think properly when you're sick, but that's where family and friends come in. It's when the whole bunch of them are credulous nuts that cases like these happen.

20090110

What is OpenID?

When she read my post about redirecting without breaking OpenID, Dora asked me to explain to her what it was about. This is my attempt to answer that question.

What it is: OpenID allows you to have an account with an OpenID provider and use that account to register and log in on other websites. The idea is as more and more websites support OpenID you only have to remember the log in information for one website: your provider, as opposed to having to juggle around multiple usernames and passwords in your head like you do normally. For even more explanation (and video!) go to OpenID Explained.

Why I did what I did: I signed up with an OpenID provider: myOpenID, but instead of using the URL that they provided me directly, I chose to delegate my own domain name to it so that I can use http://qedx.com as my OpenID. If I had chosen to use my myOpenID URL, sites I signed up with would have my identity to my profile page at myOpenID (which is empty, by the way) which would have defeated my purpose for having a domain name. You set up this delegation by putting a few lines of HTML into the file at the URL you want to use as your identity, in my case the index.php file at http://qedx.com.

When I decided to redirect qedx.com to my blog, the way it is set up is so that no HTML is rendered at all. Additionally if the destination of the redirect is a valid OpenID identity that URL is submitted to the website that I am trying to sign up or sign in at instead of the OpenID that I actually wish to use, which I do not want hence, "breaking OpenID". So I had to make it so that the delegation bits of HTML were displayed when http://qedx.com is accessed for identification purposes.

And that's what that post was all about.

20090108

Mia dua leciono

Dankon por la komentoj pri mia antaĆ­a blogero. Is that right? That and the title was slowly pieced together via dictionary. Feel free to correct me if I made a mistake. I also just noticed that there's no "q" and "x" in the Esperanto alphabet. Yes, I noticed this during the "email address spelling out" part of the lesson. I only just finished lesson 6 this time.

20090107

Redirecting without breaking OpenID

UPDATE: Thanks to Will Norris for his help. I updated the code and it works now, even with Blogger.


UPDATE: Found out the hard way that this hack only works for some sites. It doesn't work for sites like Blogger, which sucks since I do read blogs there. I can't seem to isolate an OpenID request :(. So, I cheated. qedx.com is now in a frame *shudder*


Additionally, I also find myself unable to make WordPress's OpenID plugin to provide for qedx.com/blog as the blog owner. It works just fine for the author URL. Well, it does say that the plugin doesn't support WP 2.7.





I figured I would redirect http://qedx.com to this blog since it pretty much is the only active application I have the moment. The problem is I have been using http://qedx.com/ as my OpenID and just doing a regular redirect broke that. I googled it up and found this post by Will Norris. His is based on WordPress though, so I had to adjust it a bit since my origin point (qedx.com) is just an empty page.

<?php
function redirect_openid() {
if (stripos($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT'], 'application/xrds+xml') !== FALSE) return;
if (stripos($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'], 'openid') !== FALSE) return;
if (empty($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'])) return;

header("HTTP/1.1 301 Permanent Redirect");
header("Location: http://qedx.com/blog/");
exit();
};

redirect_openid();
?>
<html>
<head>
<link rel="openid.server"
href="http://www.myopenid.com/server" />
<link rel="openid.delegate"
href="http://haris.sazali.myopenid.com/" />
<link rel="openid2.local_id"
href="http://haris.sazali.myopenid.com" />
<link rel="openid2.provider"
href="http://www.myopenid.com/server" />
<meta http-equiv="X-XRDS-Location"
content="http://www.myopenid.com/xrds?username=haris.sazali.myopenid.com" />
</head>
<body>&nbsp;</body>
</html>

I made it so that when http://qedx.com is accessed a function redirect_openid is called. It then checks that the request is for OpenID or not. *It then checks for an empty user-agent which would also cause the function to end.* If it is then the function just ends and renders the pretty basic HTML for OpenID delegation. If it's not then it renders a HTTP 301 redirect and exits php. Pretty basic really and I am not sure if any of this is needed (I will probably need to do some more reading on this), but it works.

20090106

Mi estas komencanto de Esperanto

I wanted to learn a new language because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Me being me, the language that I picked was, *drum roll* Esperanto. Naturally the first thing I do is look for online resources. Actually I found this website: lernu! last year, but I never managed to come back to it and actually do the lessons there. So I figured, "Lets do it now!" and all of a sudden I have a full plate.



So anyways, I did lessons 1 through 5 of the basic course over the night and I think I'll also use the blog as a one stop spot to post new words and phrases that I encounter. As time passes I'm hoping that posts in this category would consist of more and more actual content in Esperanto.


20090105

A new year. A new re-beginning?

After much deliberation, I've come to the decision to restart my blog. There are several reasons I did this:

  1. It's a new year! And everybody knows it's good to begin things on a new year.

  2. A new WordPress has been released. It has more bells and whistles in the dashboard. And I want to upgrade without having to think about backward compatibility

  3. The blog has pretty much stagnated. I've pretty much ignored the blog for several months and even when I didn't ignore it; well... the contents were basically shit. I wouldn't miss it at all and I doubt anyone else even cared.


So, I deleted everything and installed the new WordPress 2.7 and voila! here we are. Things are going to be different from now on, hopefully. I want:

  1. To post at least once every 2 weeks.

  2. My posts to be about something, and not just mindless brain farts. I have Twitter for those.

  3. To write better. "Better" means better researched, better prose, better vocabulary, better length. Must write better.



I think that is all. Have a happy new year!