May 27, 2011

Nigerian Scam Spam goes Meta

I thought that this piece of spam, which has a Meta-spam sort of feel to it, was relatively interesting...

Subject: Please Read!!!
Date: Fri, 27 May 2011 12:42:37 +0800
From: Tom Smith
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


My name is Tom Smith, I am a 48 year old US citizen, I reside here in
New York. My residential address is as follows 10. West 246th Street New
York, NY 10471. I am one of those that took part in the Compensation to
Nigeria many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over
$50,000 trying to get my payment all to no avail.

So I decided to travel to Washington D.C with all of my compensation
documents, and I was directed by the FBI Director to contact Special
Agent kelvin williams, who is a Special Agent of the FBI that leads the
Compensation Department, working with the Nigerian Government. I
contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is
contacting us through email are frauds.

He directed me to the Claims Department for my capitalized payment.
Right now I am the happiest man on earth because I have received my
compensation funds of $1 Million US Dollars.

Special Agent kelvin williams, showed me the full information of some
others that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your name as one
of the beneficiaries, and your email address, This is why I decided to
email you to stop dealing with those people as they are not in
possession of your funds, and they are only making money off you. I will
advise you to contact Special Agent kelvin williams.

You have to contact him directly on this information below.
(FBI Claims Department)
Name: Special Agent kelvin williams

You really have to stop dealing with these people that are contacting
you and telling you that your funds are with them, it is not in anyway
with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you
up until you have nothing.

The only money I paid after I met Special Agent kelvin williams was just
$390 for the paper works, take note of that. Once again stop contacting
those people, I will advise you to contact Special Agent kelvin williams
so that he can help you to deliver your fund instead of dealing with
those liars that will be turning you around asking for different kind of
money to complete your transaction.

N.B you are strongly advised to contact him with your direct telephone
number for further confirmation and directives.

Tom Smith
10. West 246th Street
New York, NY 10471

Posted by Jvstin at 7:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2010

Brief Thoughts on Dragon Age

Now that I have finished Dragon Age: Origins, I have some thoughts...

It's an extraordinarily well done CRPG, which brought me back to the good old days of Ultima, Wizard's Crown, the Eternal Dagger and others.

I played as a mage, which I named, fittingly, Lorius.

I was impressed throughout with the quality of gameplay, and the well defined "shades of gray" morality in the world. Choices were rarely, if ever, black and white, and I faced a number of tough decisions in the game. To reveal them here, though, would be to spoil the storyline.

I was particularly taken in by the epilogue, which tells the aftermath of the final battle, for Ferelden, and other realms, and especially characters. Characters major and seemingly minor show up in the epilogue, and their fates are revealed.

I have started another game, this time as a Human Noble Rogue, to try new choices and tactics.

Posted by Jvstin at 8:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2010

When is it Photography and When is it Photoshop?

Last week in the NY Times, David Pogue posed the question that, for purposes of a contest, where does the line get drawn between a photograph and "photoshopping".

A subject I've mused about before...

I've been recently reading Michael Frye's book: Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Masters.

I've been dying to try out some of the ideas here, but I discovered aspects to Adams' process which has made me re-evaluate what exactly allows a photograph to be still considered a photograph rather than digital art. Certainly his ability to expose and overexpose to highlight things in his pictures is well known. (And that was a motivation for
me reading the book).

But did you know he did extensive dodging and burning during the development process? (The photoshop techniques come from photography, not the other way around). Even more interesting is the fact that Adams did photographic retouching that is common and easier in photoshop.

It turns out that local teenagers had painted white rocks to spell out "LP" in the mountains in this photograph. Adams used a technique on his negative to blot out those letters from the final image.

Is Ansel Adams' work art (and NOT) photography, then?

Me, I think that photography ends and digital art begins when you start adding elements not present in the original scene. For example, if I took a picture of President Obama, and digitally added my mother to the scene, that would be photoshopping. A little dodging and burning, or even combining a couple of images to get high dynamic contrast (which I haven't managed it--no good copy of photoshop) isn't *quite* photoshopping, in my book.

Posted by Jvstin at 5:20 AM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2010

I Pad and the subtitle of this blog

This blog proudly says that I am "living in the science fiction present".

with the arrival of the I Pad, computers are moving toward the vision of tablet computers in Star Trek the Next Generation...


Science Fiction Present.

Posted by Jvstin at 5:55 AM | Comments (1)

July 1, 2009

Hint to Microsoft regarding their IE marketing campaign

Featuring projective vomiting in an ad for IE 8 is not a winning strategy!

Oh, and alas, how far has poor Superman (ie, Dean Cain) has fallen in taking this gig.

Posted by Jvstin at 6:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2008

Wordle of Sen. Obama's Speech

I made a Wordle of Sen. Obama's speech last night in Denver!:

title="Wordle: Obama Speech in Denver"> src=""
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd">

(Click on it to get a larger version).

I intend to do one for Sen. McCain's acceptance speech next week, too.

Posted by Jvstin at 6:23 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2008

I am PrinceJvstin even more than Jvstin...?

Googling "Jvstin" (my nom de plume on the Internet since there WAS an internet, brings up all sorts of characters besides me.

However, "PrinceJvstin" reliably and always brings up things relating to yours truly.

So Why Jvstin? And why PrinceJvstin?

I've answered this question before, but it amuses me to answer it again, especially for those in the studio audience not aware of the answers.

I was unfortunately not given a middle name. My older brother got one via the sacramental process in the Catholic church. By the time I was born, my Mother and Father had a lot less interest in having me go through the rigamarole. Why this is, perhaps my older brother can tell me.

Anyway, I've always wanted a middle name. I even created one in junior high. It was an ill chosen name that got me teased for the poor choice. (it was Douglas, okay, leading to taunts of "Dougie Fresh").

So, Douglas would never be my middle name. When I was older, I came up with the idea that, unofficially (because to change it legally would be a pain), that my middle name would be Justin. Why *Justin*? Romanophilia, of course.

My first RPG character of any stripe was named "Justin of Aragorn".

Anyway, when webpages and the internet took off, I wanted something other than my raw name to call myself out here. Justin itself was too common (I did actually have it on AOL as a s/n, but lost it). Furthering its romanization, I changed a u to a roman v, and Jvstin was born.

Over the years, though, other people have had the name idea of changing the u to a, when I joined LJ, I decided to tack on the prince. Arref may think I am a prince amongst men, but the reason why I picked prince was a tip of the hat to my favorite literary universe: The Chronicles of amber.

And thus, PrinceJvstin.

Posted by Jvstin at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2008

ShyFoundry Fonts

ShyFoundry (formerly ShyFonts Type Foundry) :: Original free and pay fonts for Windows and Macintosh.

Once upon a time, a font designer named Derek Vogelpohl came up with a number of free fonts, released by himself and in conjunction with a type foundry called Apostrophic Labs.

I am pleased to discover that Derek has decided to return to font-making, with a new home for fonts old and new.

I look forward to the new fonts that Derek and his team have in store!

Posted by Jvstin at 2:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2007

Recipe on Google Base

Google Base

I couldn't resist...I posted one of my recipes on the beta of Google Base. (which includes Google Recipes)

Posted by Jvstin at 7:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2007

Auto Paintings

So I got picked to preview and try out Corel Painter Essentials 4.

It's Corel's answer, so it seems, to programs like Adobe Photoshop Elements. One of the two major things to do with the program are "auto paintings", which allow you to take digital images, and alter them to digital works of art.

Here is an example of a "before" and "after" with a picture of one of the Waterfalls in Gooseberry Falls State Park up on the North Shore.

Base Image 1
Originally uploaded by Jvstin

Auto Painting 1
Originally uploaded by Jvstin

Posted by Jvstin at 8:08 PM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2007


Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal

Via Brad De Long.

Now this might be useful as a way of keeping some notes that I could access from home and work. I often send reminder emails to myself in gmail, this might be an alternate method of doing that/

Posted by Jvstin at 4:42 AM | Comments (1)

August 22, 2007

Google Earth as a Planetarium

Introducing Sky in Google Earth: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

I remember the days when I shelled out $50 for a good planetarium program. (Redshift).

Now, there are not only freeware planetarium sims out there, but now, this:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Google today announced the launch of Sky, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth.

With Sky, users can now float through the skies via Google Earth. This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique playground for visualizing and learning about space.

To access Sky, users need only click "Switch to Sky" from the "view" drop-down menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth steering, including dragging, zooming, search, "My Places," and layer selection.

Posted by Jvstin at 7:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2007

Flash Gordon the Series

Well, I downloaded and watched my first torrent.

Unfortunately, it was the premiere of the new Flash Gordon Series on Sci-Fi.

John on SFsignal has a good review, even if he calls the 1980 movie "atrocious".

Scifi Ranter Girl is somewhat kinder.

I have a few thoughts of mine own.

Now, I've seen a number of versions of FG. I may not be an authority. Still...

Emperor Ming: Ming is supposed to be Merciless. A hands-on guy who relishes his role as ruler of the universe and bada**. This Ming is...a mid level bureaucrat or middle manager. Emperor Ming of PowePoint.

His Palace: Long dark corridors, small dark rooms and its implied if not stated outright that its a Water Treatment Plant. A Water Treatment Plant?!?! When I meet Ming, I want it to be in a throne room, a grand place that shows his power and authority. Worse, his second in command, "Segway guy" is more interesting. This is a fatal flaw.

Mongo: Mostly, what we see are dark corridors and rooms in the Water Treatment Plant. This is supposed to be Flash Gordon, not Flash Gordon and the Planet of Dark Corridors. The rest of the planet, what we see of it, looks like generic Southern Canada as much as Star Trek episodes look like generic Southern California.

And what Ming's motivation for visiting Earth is now painfully clear--get the Imex so that he can get a reliable source of water, if not from Earth itself. I feel like I've walked into a remake of "V".

Getting to Mongo: Okay, I can understand not using spaceships and using Sliders/Stargate warps. However, if travel between Mongo and Earth is too frequent, its going to destroy the suspension of disbelief and quickly. People will notice no matter how much of a small town this is. Send our heroes to Mongo and keep them there for a few episodes trying to figure a way out.

I blame the character as written equally with the lackluster performance. This Flash is a live-at-home marathon runner with a garage sideline. I think this was a case of poor character design. Flash is supposed to be an extraordinary athlete who becomes a hero. This Flash doesn't give me a hero vibe. He just seems to want to find his father. I don't think the series needs or is served by that subplot.

A creepy stalker Zarkov who makes unreliable technology. Umm, no. Worse, this Zarkov is supposed to have been an assistant to Flash's Dad 15 years ago, but he looks about Flash's age. Was he helping in between going to Junior High?!

Okay, so she's a reporter. Fine. (Although she acts awfully stupid for one) She's engaged to be married and is an old girlfriend. That puts a speedbump on the usual romantic arc, but ok. I didn't buy the chemistry between her and Flash.

Wasted opportunity. They had a clever idea with her introduction and botched it. With things as they stand at the end of the first episode, she will never be able to seduce Flash and that ruins a critical FG element. Even with Dale at his side, Aura should be a temptation. Aura blew that chance straight out.

Wasted opportunity, take two. Okay, so she's a BAAD bounty hunter, with enough rank to pull rank on Aura. Fine, Good. What this suggests is something more than using some gadget to temporarily immobilize Our Hero. I wanted to see her get rough and tumble with Flash, maybe even win before Zarkov or Dale brings some firepower. You don't set up a character to be a dangerous mercenary and not show it. (cue Han Solo)

With poor acting, the episode comes off badly, even given the idiot plot. Given these elements, I would have done things very differently. I would have kept Aura's identity secret (from everyone save the viewer) for an episode or two. Let her show how devious she really can be. Have Ming kill someone, and I don't mean by endless displays of Powerpoint.

I will watch an episode or two more to see if they can get past this rough beginning, but right now, its looking like a flop to me. It's not campy enough to be camp, not dramatic enough to be a BSG style SF show. It's just...enh.

Posted by Jvstin at 7:37 AM | Comments (2)

April 19, 2007

Moderator Certificate

Moderator Certificate
Originally uploaded by pnh.
The Haydens have empowered me!
Posted by Jvstin at 4:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2006

Firefox "cheat sheet"

Mozilla Firefox Cheat Sheet

A "cheat sheet" of keyboard shortcuts and other helpful tricks for Mozilla Firefox.

Every time I try to browse the internet at work, it drives home to me how much better and easier Firefox is than Internet Explorer.

Posted by Jvstin at 6:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2006

Neat Google Tools

I can see why Microsoft fears and loathes Google so much.

It's because that they have been quietly building a suite of browser applications that, while not perfect, could definitely keep Bill Gates' minions up at night. (I am sure that Gates sleeps soundly).

Liz turned me onto Google Calendar.

Many of you have probably already seen Google Earth, or use Google Maps.

Today, I discovered a notes program called Google Notebook. Its not ready for prime time and thus is on their "labs page".

Such unfettered creativity is definitely a threat to Microsoft's hegemony.

Posted by Jvstin at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2005

Flickr Photo Web Address

I'll update this on the sidebar when I get a chance, but I have a link now to all my online photos:

Posted by Jvstin at 10:45 AM

July 12, 2005

Google Earth?

Google Earth - Home

Via SfSignal...

In line with their photo organization program, and desktop, now Google apparently has a "explore the Earth" software called Google Earth. While the heavy duty versions cost $, the basic version is, apparently free.

My PC doesn't have the horsepower to run it. Maybe my next one...or maybe one of my readers will try it and give me news on how well it actually works.

Posted by Jvstin at 6:24 PM

December 10, 2004

Thunderbird 1.0

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 Release Notes

It seems that, on the heels of releasing the 1.0 version of Firefox, the folks at Mozilla have gotten their email client Thunderbird to 1.0 as well.

There is really not much that Internet Explorer can do that Firefox can't at this point, and I find the blocking of pop up ads and the lack of adware/spyware a boon for Firefox. I do more than 90 percent of my web browsing with Firefox now.

Thunderbird is far more resistant to spam than Outlook Express. I no longer use the latter.

Posted by Jvstin at 1:33 PM

November 10, 2004

APE 3.0?

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Not long after I purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 (at a reasonable price at Chez Target), I now discover Adobe has come out with a third iteration of the program.

I just can't keep up, can I? The new additions and changes seem more along the lines of organizing photos rather than many new features for working with them (although there are clearly some of those as well).

I suppose at some point, I will have to decide--APE 3.0 or Photoshop in full.

Posted by Jvstin at 2:09 PM

October 15, 2004

New Google Tool

MSNBC - Google launches desktop search tool

Its in beta, but Google, on the heels of its creation of Picasa , now has a desktop search tool for files on your own PC.

I'm going to download and install this today, and try it out. I have tons of text files this might be an easier way to navigate and look through, especially SB text files.

Posted by Jvstin at 5:11 AM

August 12, 2004

Seen on several blogs and livejournals, Ginger's for instance, I have started to play with, a social bookmarking system.

Will it replace the standard use of bookmarks? No, but it has its interesting quirks and seems worthwhile to play with and explore.

You can, for instance, visit my own bookmarks. . And I will be adding that to the main page of the blog, too.

Posted by Jvstin at 5:54 PM

June 20, 2004

Google Mail

With very much thanks to Bryant over at Population One, I, too, am now a beta tester for Google Mail.
Those of you who are observant and know me well can deduce without my saying just what my new Gmail email address is.

Posted by Jvstin at 12:06 PM

November 6, 2003


Yes, one of those. I have a bad suspicion...

Posted by Jvstin at 9:12 AM

September 7, 2003

Warlords IV demo

The computer game that I've been anticipating for a while, and mentioned in this space earlier now has a demo.
It's a thick and meaty 142 MB, and, unfortunately, the server is rather slow. It took several hours (even on a DSL) yesterday to download it.

The look is definitely a change from the previous Warlords series, much more along the lines of Heroes of Might and Magic than Warlords. I'm still experimenting with it, so a full and fair and balanced report will be forthcoming.

Posted by Jvstin at 11:04 AM

August 31, 2003

A little bit on fonts

Arref listed some of his favorite fonts recently and I've decided to reciprocate a bit...

In a bit of a difference, I've made up a graphic (and the thumbnail you see in this entry) of a few of my favorites. I trend much more toward freeware fonts than Arref does. And this is just a small selection of my favorites. I might, if there is interest or if I get in the mood, do this regularly.

If you are interested in any of these, email me and I will direct you to where I picked it up, myself (or in a few cases, email it to you if the foundry has disappeared)


Posted by Jvstin at 5:24 PM

August 21, 2003

A hard candy's journey into night

Remember the original 5-flavor Life Savers? Around since the 30's, Kraft foods has decided to retire three of the five flavors. Gone from the roll are Orange, Lemon and Lime (Pineapple and Cherry are staying put). Replacing them are the "breathtaking" flavors of Watermelon, Raspberry and Blackberry.

Personally, I think this is as stupid as "New Coke" was, even if I prefer things like Spree to Life Savers. And even if hard candies are losing market share to mints and sours, which are in these days.

Read all about it.

I discovered this from one of the new AOL Journals.. (And found that via Calpundit) One of the most annoying things, right off, as a visitor to one of these things is that you have to sign in with an AOL screen name to leave comments.
Once again, AOL seems to be trying to put a moat around itself and its users.

Posted by Jvstin at 2:33 PM

August 9, 2003


Well, today, I decided to try an RSS Aggregator. I found that I had to download some neglected patches and updates for Windoze 2000, but that is the price I pay for using Microserf. :grin:

Anyway, the one I am trying is called Sharpreader. I'll keep you all posted on how well it works. (Or, alternatively, for the Windows crowd, if there is another one that you use, and like, do let me know.)

Posted by Jvstin at 12:29 PM

August 2, 2003

Mozilla Firebird

I've decided to try, for the first time in a long time, a new web browser.

IE hasn't been updated in a long while, and although I prefer it to Netscape, I've been nervous about the idea of monopolization when it comes to these sorts of things. After all, imagine if everyone *had* to use IE, no matter what. Don't you think Bill Gates would "as browser enhancement" do things like make it difficult to use Google rather than Microsoft's own search engines, and other nasty little tricks? Sure, competent computer users will find workarounds...but the average, generic person is going to be locked into Microsoft's way of doing things.

I don't consider this healthy. To speak from a biological standpoint, monoculture is bad.

Anyway, I've downloaded and am now trying out Mozilla Firebird (its a leaner version of Mozilla--browser only, no news or email). I will let you all know, of course, how it performs.

Posted by Jvstin at 9:45 AM