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Mylenium’s Error Code Database

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Myleniums Gesundheitskram

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Inter arma, enim silent leges

“Under war, the law falls silent.”

That’s one of the more intricate politically themed episodes on Star Trek – Deep Space Nine (and incidentally happens to play in huge parts on the Voyager; talk about cross-references in different series). A good part of it has Adm. William Ross in it in a somewhat shady mode and dubious standing, but I guess that’s what makes it so interesting. Everyone is sort of a bad guy – so very unlike the usual Trek do-gooders. Actor Barry Jenner has now passed away at the age of 75. I wonder if Section 31 had anything to do with it? ;-) I don’t know any of his other work, though I’m pretty sure it would be once more a case of “ah, that guy”, if I would see him pop up in some old TV series. It also so happens that I just finished watching season three of Deep Space Nine yesterday and was about to start season four today. Talk about coincidences…

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Graceful Gravatar Gravitas

Following hot on the heels of yesterday’s remarks about After Effects getting an emergency patch update for the umpteenth time, here’s another one. Lately WordPress has been annoying me more and more. On several occasions I’ve reported glitches or non-working stuff like domain mapping. Yesterday it occurred to me that the Gravatar widget finally had whacked out completely after  I had added my Facebook account to my “verified services”. Mind you, it never looked great to begin with, but it did the job. So what has happened here?

Gravatar was once meant to be a universal authentication service throughout the web and when WordPress got a hold of it, they implemented these features into their CMS. Now, we all know what happened – Facebook came along and nobody ever even cared anymore about alternate services for universal log-ins. Therefore a good idea became a failed business plan and everything related to it has been lingering in limbo ever since. That wouldn’t be half so bad, but guess what? Yes, those features they added back then still ive on everywhere and then it becomes a problem.

Unlike Adobe, where it’s mostly sheer incompetence, this is what I call ignorant neglect on part of Automattic, the company behind all this. This issue has been known for years, obviously, when I went looking around. They just don’t seem to know what to do with it nor can they find it in their hearts to let go of it. The bad part in the whole affair is, naturally, that they are cutting into their own flesh. How do they expect people to sign up for commercial plans, when they can’t guarantee that things look pretty? I can live with formatting errors on my dashboard, but I want the facade to look posh.

So I sat down this morning and implemented my own workaround with some better icons and using the custom text widget, which sadly seems to quickly become the only reliable solution to get your customizations look and work as you want. It could be so easy, could it not? I really wish they would place more emphasis on those details rather than adding buttons to buy their services on every dashboard page…

Gravatar Workaround

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Fixer Upper

*sssshhhh*, don’t tell anyone, but there are times when I do watch those more or less awful shows on some of the Discovery Network‘s channels out of sheer boredom. Fixer Upper is one of them, where some interior designers and architects try to turn some of those terribly distasteful American country homes into something that might actually be enjoyable living in. The whole thing is done on limited time and on a limited budget and sometimes they run out of both. As things would have it, that is sort of mirroring the state in which After Effects seems to linger now for several years and just like when you build a house poorly and have to call in crafts people to fix the damage, you have to patch up your software. That has now happened once again for the epic fail that was the 2015.3 version of said program, so if you’re tired of audio issues on export, bad rasterization of vector content and a number of other things it might be a good idea to fire up your Creative Cloud app and let it check for new stuff in the hopes that the update may adequately fix the aforementioned problems. Not that it matters much – it’s IBC soon and no doubt we will be fed crumbs of the then “real 2016” versions and as much as we may start salivating at some of the potentially cool features shown, we will just as much dread the unreliable upgrades as we do every time. It’s really getting to a point where in order to sleep peacefully one might consider leaving all this behind just so the CC app cannot screw with your system…

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Speed! – Finally!

For years one of my biggest frustrations has been my crappy 1.5 Mbit DSL Internet connection and living in a rural area, the alternatives have always been limited and expensive. Luckily last year we got some shiny optic fibre connection all throughout our small town by a regional network provider and aside from reviving my TV consumption with some more free channels allowing me to catch up on some really weird films at times, of course it was/ is supposed to make our lives here better with fast Internet. Unfortunately they didn’t finish building the new network in time, so I couldn’t cancel my old contract in time and it auto-extended for one more year (providers here in Germany hang on to their customers like leeches with contracts signed in blood and just won’t let you go). Now that year is almost over, so today I went and finally got myself a cable modem and a much better connection. 80 Mbit may not sound like much to some of you that stream Netflix in 4k and could exhaust even 400 Mbit, but for me it’s a giant leap. Downloading over 1.1 GB of app updates took minutes instead of over two hours and I was still watching something in HD on YouTube without hiccups. That would have been impossible before. For the moment at least I’m a happy camper…

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Mister Gaaaariiiibaaaaldiiii!

Imagine the above headline being shouted out by G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas) in his unique voice and intonation and you may understand why I still consider Babylon 5 perhaps the greatest space sci-fi series ever created – great writing, great acting, unique dynamics, decent effects for the time (let’s put aside the cheesiness factor of very 90’s looking sets in a chronically underbudgeted series for a moment). Sadly, Mr. Garibaldi a.k.a. actor Jerry Doyle has now passed away at the age of 60 of a so far unknown cause. While some of his storylines always seemed a bit inconsistent (for fun, try to keep track of the many different explanations of what he did as a soldier on Mars, the time-shifting recounts of his alcoholic relapses or the meandering in his relation with Lise [Hampton-Edgars]), he brought a much-needed fun element to episodes that were so grim and dreary they were almost drowning in darkness. Of course his almost “old married couple” relation with G’Kar and all the general bickering and exchange of witty quips with others were a huge part that made him so endearing plus with his sarcasm and a somewhat cynical view on things he often set the picture straight for the others. Awww… Unfortunately he never really got a chance to show off his talent in another series with a permanent role and perhaps gave up his acting a bit too soon in favor of pursuing his political ambitions as a senator. Come to think of it, based on both he would probably have nicely fitted into House of Cards

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1-2-3 (Re)Activate!

In a stroke of madness I have just reactivated my Facebook account! *yee-haw* My first excursion there a few years ago turned into a nightmare, but, while I’m already as confused as I was last time, I’m willing to give this another whirl. Hopefully my half-Asperger-ish brain will not lock up again over the flood of incoming news. If you feel you should be on one of my lists there, feel free to hit me up and then we’ll see.

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Adult Cinema

It’s SIGGRAPH time again and pretty much like every year, Maxon is getting the “new release” carousel spinning with their announcement of Cinema 4D R 18. Being 18 years so happens to be the age where you are considered an adult in legal terms in many countries around the globe, so this seems fitting. Like in previous years this is a rather wildly mixed bag of new tricks, so it’s once more a very “Your mileage may vary.” release again. It will be mostly useless and not bring anything new to the table for quite a few people, but on the other hand has some nice ideas that can make you pine for it if only the kind of work you do just fits.

The object tracker is certainly useful, but when it comes inside a program that still has serious deficiencies with a million other things it’s probably not going to save your behind on a really complex project. What good does object tracking do you, if you can’t put those results to use to extract UV textures based on the projection for instance, if you get my meaning? This may be possible in the future, of course, but I’m really beginning to question Maxon‘s strategy here. It’s like they’re getting lost in fancies when you can’t even pin a texture to a piece of crooked driftwood, to stick with the boat video example.

Several other new features like the parent constraint, Quarternion rotations and updated file exchange also fall into that category. While by themselves useful, they are not elevating the program or its workflows to a new level. It’s stuff that has existed in other programs for a while and it feels too much like trying to play the catch-up game again and a lot of legacy baggage is still getting in the way while other crucial features are completely missing. Similar things could be said about the modeling tools. It’s always like they manage to finish exactly one feature per release cycle, but as a whole, the workflow never really changes that much. The new knife tools feel sooooo Modo to me…

As predicted in one of my recent posts, the viewport got some enhancements, but again it’s nothing you haven’t seen elsewhere already and it remains to be seen how well it really works on specific projects. Cinema‘s lacking performance in that department has always been a peeve of mine and this promise has fallen flat on its face too many times.

The rendering department seems to have gotten some attention to detail with some shaders, but all the same, I’m having another Modo dèja-vu looking at the variation shader, the inverse occlusion or even the displacement and normal baking. Don’t even get me started on the thin film shader. Can’t remember exactly, but Lightwave had it in version 6 or so.

The one thing that really made me think “Awesome!” was the Voronoi shatter object. It’s interesting how they basically “de-Voronoi’d” it and by ways of allowing textures and reference objects turned it into a universal slice & dice tool that can give you all sorts of shapes. That’s more than Modo has managed in three cycles of having a shatter tool, so a tip of the hat to that. Unfortunately it’s also somehow apparent that it was developed by someone completely outside the usual loop, which is another big issue that still plagues Cinema 4D – too many different paradigms and approaches to different problems instead of a consistent, holistic workflow.

In summary this is one more time not the breakthrough everyone was probably hoping for. I wouldn’t mind using it if I still had my MSA, but come to think of it, many of the new features would lay bare unused in my world. I also feel that by aping features from other programs Maxon are squandering potential to be innovative in their own way and wasting development resources on features that in my view are often more “nice to have” than really essential. It’s a race neither side can win and it would make more sense to me to have a consistent user experience rather than having to decide whether to use the same feature in program A or program B on any given job.

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