Archive for April, 2004

Right-wing conglomerate stifles patriotic expression

April 30th, 2004 by Reinder

Joey Manley comments on Sinclair Broadcasting's recent decision not to broadcast Nightline's roll call of American war dead today, highlighting the free speech aspect and questioning SBGI's historical awareness:

This is scary, people. A rollcall honoring those who gave their lives in this war is not only appropriate, it's traditional and conventional journalism -- this kind of thing has been done by journalistic outlets in every American war since, at least, World War I. It's even a little jingoistic, frankly. That something like this can be considered verboten is truly a sign of the danger free speech is in, right now, in our country.

ROCR to resume normal schedule

April 30th, 2004 by Reinder

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan will resume its normal schedule starting on Monday, May the third. From then on, the comic will update three times a week again, on Monday's, Wednesdays and Fridays.

(By the way, this is the 100th entry in the blog!)

MP3/Ogg playing software?

April 29th, 2004 by Reinder

I've decided I really don't look like using Kafeine to play my MP3s. The interface is just too clunky and wasteful. To be fair, it's not a sound player but a movie player that can handle MP3 and Ogg files.
As you may remember, I had to switch from the otherwise wonderful XMMS because it just wouldn't cooperate with the sound card on my new system no matter what sound plugin I used. But having used Kafeine for a while, it annoys me that this program doesn't automatically store playlists like XMMS does, it always defaults to my home dir when I try to add files or directories to my playlist instead of remembering the last used directory like XMMS does, takes about 3 times as much space as XMMS does, it takes me back to the wrong window after altering the playlist and give me error messages that I neither understand nor need to know (for instance when adding a directory that also has a playlist in it, it tells me it can't add the playlist file to the playlist, instead of silently ignoring that file like XMMS does).
Any tips for another program that I might use? As you can tell, I'd prefer something like XMMS, a Winamp-skinnable piece of loveliness. But anything that isn't as clunky will do. Unlike my quest for the perfect linux ftp client, I'm willing to do quite extensive configuration to get it right, *if* I can trust the app to be the right one for me, because I will use it a lot if it is. And while I'd prefer a Winamp clone, I'm willing to put up with a console-based program because I won't have to look at it all the time.

What I want in the next update, addendum

April 29th, 2004 by Reinder

Oh...
and Flick.

I thought my computer security awareness was good enough… evidently not

April 28th, 2004 by Reinder

The other day I had an online conversation with a friend, and something she said reminded me of the words to a song I like. I wanted to share these words with her so I googled for the song and found it on several sites. I went over them to see if they matched my memory of it, then sent her the link to one of those pages. She quickly reported that it contained a trojan. That night, she ended up turning her drives inside out to catch it and ensure beyond any reasonable doubt that she was clean. An awful lot of work and hassle on my account.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, I am safe from the vast and overwhelming majority of the crap that people pull on websites by the simple expedient of not using Internet Explorer, Outlook Express or, on computers that I fully own and control, Windows. I also don't open strange attachments or allow myself to be taken in by emails purporting to be from Paypal or eBay. Indeed I've been feeling so safe lately that I haven't really kept up to date with the sort of methods malware writers use to spread their crap. So I had no idea that lyric sites were a vector for these things.
Clearly this will not do. As long as I'm ignorant about these things, I will cause people like my friend to be infected by sending her links that carry malware, and I may turn out to be less safe from other kinds of attack that using Opera for web browsing and linux as my OS of choice doesn't protect me from. I may not have time to get informed, but I have less time to get infected.
What else should I watch out for?

So who should go into the next update?

April 28th, 2004 by Reinder

I still owe the Stripmuseum a maintenance update, removing some of the remaining framing errors from the pages, but I'm already looking at what to do next. Who do I want to include in a few months time?

First of all, I want to have another shot at it with those artists who didn't say no but didn't mail back to give me permission either. That means that I'll hassle Patrick Farley and Scott Kurtz again, as well as the two Dutch collectives Cutie and Nukomix. Out of these two, I might contact some individual artists as well. I love Ray Man's work on the web and in print, and I really dig Floor de Goede's stripblog.

I've already expressed my love for Sparkneedle and Jeepers on this blog, and I'd like to invite them for the next update as well. Sparkneedle because it's a fantasy comic without Tolkien/DnD influences in a format that can really only exist on the Web; Jeepers because, though it can and does exist in print, it's a great example of an eccentric comic that thrives on the Web because it can find its audience there.

I've already invited the Lamelos collective (local boys from Groningen!) and two of them have said yes. They do a lot of work in print but I like the way they present themselves as a group on their website.

I will also look at two other collectives (well, one true collective and a duo) although I still have some reservations about them. I am in the process of rooting through the Probeersel site to look for outstanding work by individuals, and am watching Saiso to see if they put more stuff online. I like the naive energy of their work, which is one property of webcomics and small press comics that is often overlooked.

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Peter Gabriel Binge!

April 28th, 2004 by Reinder

Peter Gabriel's soundtrack work can now be had for cheap at Plato stores in the Netherlands and quite likely elsewhere as well. I'm now listening to The Long Walk Home which I expect to be hard to get into but worthwhile after a few playings, just like Passion was when I got it from the library a few months ago.

More teething problems at the museum

April 26th, 2004 by Reinder

A visit to the Stripmuseum to check on the exhibit this morning highlighted two more teething problems. One is the lack of clear visible signposting of opening hours. The museum is closed on Mondays but it doesn't say so anywhere that I could see it. Not that people hadn't told me, but I dropped by anyway in the hope that I'd be able to get in through the back door for maintenance.
That brings me to the second niggle: although there is a formal system in place for telling who can get in for free to do work, it doesn't work too well yet. I have no badge, pass or security key so I depend on the goodwill of the museum's regular staff and whoever else happens to be in to get in.
So I'll do the check first thing tomorrow morning.

I do have a bit of time to finally thank people, and tie up some loose ends. In the process, many things didn't go as planned and so some people got accidentally snubbed - especially in the final weeks when my mood was dominated by the grim determination to get things finished in time no matter what.

What did go very easily was working with webcartoonists in America, Mexico, Canada and the UK. Apart from the ones who, for whatever reason, didn't answer my mail, getting the permissions was easy and everyone I asked to do some extra work was willing to do so. So here's a thank you to:

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My influence is felt everywhere! Muahaha!

April 23rd, 2004 by Reinder

Girls before wall of magazines

This picture was on the front page of the Dagblad van het Noorden on Thursday. I couldn't find it on their website, so thanks to my parents for scanning it in!
The picture shows two girls looking at a wall of old Stripschrift covers inside the Stripmuseum Groningen on the day of the opening. As it happened, I'd spoken to the girl in the back in the museum's Teaching Room the same day. She is a former student of mine (and yes, I do get a kick out of saying that line); Barbara and I taught her and 14 others for a week as a special project on comics for first-year art college students. I'm terrible at remembering the names of people I teach, but we did recognise each other, and she told me that she had submitted the comic that she made for the project to the museum's talent competition, and had come out as one of the runners-up! A page from it was displayed on the wall in the Teaching Room. Is that cool or what?

In a few years' time, the 9-to-11-year-olds I've been giving introductory cartooning workshops to these past few weeks will be winning cartooning contests (not to mention Stripschapsprijzen, Reubens and Eisners) left and right. I'm sure of it. It will be world domination by proxy!

Name and shame, updated

April 22nd, 2004 by Reinder

It's irritating when you're working or relaxing in a room, and someone else is hovering around you, swatting flies. However, it needs to be done. So for your continued edification, I present to you the Bastard of the week award, which goes to German Rotsberg of various gay porn and fake viagra sites. This piece of vermin has repeatedly comment spammed mine and other blogs. Here, reposted in its entirety, is the info returned by the essential Sam Spade service.

I would just love to wake up in the morning and find that German Rotsberg's little businesses have been closed down. He uses GoDaddy for his domain registration, which has an Anti-spam policy although it doesn't specifically cover blog spam yet.
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