Gilgamech Technologies

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

8/31/2021 - One Marvelous Scene.

Yeah, OMS was a thing back in like 2018 or whatever. Here's mine:

X-Men: The Last Stand. The Bridge Scene. Magneto has just used his powers to move the Golden Gate bridge, full of cars, to Alcatraz to free the mutants imprisoned there. It's almost a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment: a passenger in a car on the bridge looks at Magneto, and locks her door.

The genius of this scene is in the layers of communication. Magneto has just demonstrated that he can perform supernatural feats of magnetism by moving the epic structure. He could rip the door off - could rip the car apart - with a few simple thoughts. On the level of raw physical power, Magneto reigns supreme here and the passenger is relatively helpess.

But on another level, locking the door is signalling, communication. Taking the only available action, she's communcating that - as equals operating within a society, she doesn't want to interact. Intent was communicated completely by action on both sides - a conversation took place. And on the level of operating as equals in society - this thing that splits Magneto so deeply, where he both badly desires society's acceptance and thrives on its hatred - her statement rings like a bell.

And in the last moment, Magneto chortles smugly. He doesn't uninstall her because she's no threat to him on the physical level, and at heart Magneto isn't an uninstaller, but a desperate micropower leader. He wants to have her social acceptance as an equal, but he discriminatorily believes it's impossible for mutants and non-mutants to share equality - and this last bit really shows the parallels to Malcom X, whom Magneto was modeled after.

8/29/2021 - Cascading Style $#!%.

Was fiddling with the CSS behind the pages, trying to disassemble and unify the site design. One of the hurdles was in the History page - the left column of days would only pick up the default background. Testing led to the oddity that only a few class names were getting their background colors. Not entirely sure why, but thinking back to naming - these are Cascading Style Sheets. Sheet is a fancy name for a file or document. Style is what these configure - HTML styles. And then there's the Cascading part: they're made so you can declare site-wide settings, and then override them in a section-level file, override this with a page-level file, override this with styles inside <style> tags, then override those finally with the style="" HTML tag.

What that means for a CSS user is that styles cascade FIFO, as in they get applied in order. Other Table TD and Table TH settings, lower in the CSS file, were overriding these. Moving these near the bottom of the CSS file made them apply last and show up correctly.

Bonus: Doctype

This defines the HTML version, which can be useful if the browser or robot you're working with cares about different versions. These days, more than half of online interactions are between two scripts or software programs, and not naturally-born humans. So it's impotant to make sure your site is as readable to these machines as it is to us humans.

8/28/2021 - Curated quotes.

Added a curated list of quotes from notable people through history. Like my History page, these have been "generalized". Some of the quotes are by problematic historical figures - but the ideas can still be useful. And working on a small essay about problematic figures & how to handle them, look for that soon.

8/27/2021 - (Unholy) Roman emperors, popes, sultans, more Meiji, and Chinese emperors.

Chinese emperors consist of 1300 lines of raw data, so those might put another 1000 lines of structure into this file. Look for that sometime this weekend.

8/25/2021 - Creating open graph and meta link previews.

OpenGraph link previews are pretty easy to make. 3 kinds of tag are used:

You have 5 OpenGraph and 3 Meta fields to populate:

FieldMeta PropertyMeta NameOther HTML tags
Titleog:titletitle, h1, h2, etc.
Descriptionog:descriptiondescriptionfirst p(aragraph), etc
Imageog:imagelink rel="image_src",
first img
URLog:urllink rel="canonical"

Fill these out and the social media network's robots should hopefully figure this out. Be sure to test before going live, as various networks handle these slightly differently - but remember that the robots will cache this and only update like every 4 hours or more, varying per social network.

And the result looks pretty good:

(Forgot to post this earlier.)

8/23/2021 - Fixing the viewport so images don't make mobile super wide.

Came across the CSS-only way to do this easily, through Viewport Units. This lets you declare widths and heights in terms of the other's min or max dimensions. This opens a whole new world of possibilities for auto-resizing, and helps explain why some sites are so slick.

8/22/2021 - Getting the gears spinning.

Started with link previews - these should have an image, which this site is deficient on. The Big G gear from before is just begging to be on a photo, but it needs friends. And what do gears do together?

Starting with 10fps (for simplicity), how many of the 360 degrees does a gear need to rotate per frame? 36. That's why this looks a little clunky, and future work will look better.

From there, it's a few easy steps to complete animating your GIF.

(Also added another 30kb of History page updates.)

8/21/2021 - Updating page colors - looking at a teal trim.

This document assumes the reader knows about HTML color codes and can find a webpage that does binary-hex conversions.

Start with CSS to update all links. Then gets some math from here:

| R1 - R2 | + | G1 - G2 | + | B1 - B2 |
If the color difference is greater than 500, then the hue contrast is sufficient. If the color difference is 500 or less, it means the hues are too similar. Let us compute the hue difference for dark brown text over a light blue background:
| 60-180 | + | 30-200 | + | 20-255 | = 120 + 170 + 235 = 525

To make that math more complicated, let's use I for brIghtness

Next, let's look at the minimum brightness grey text would have to be over a grey background:

In general, text has to be about A6 brighter or darker than its background. Since these have a limit of 255, this gives an average of just 89 units in background color to work with.

- from #000 to #898989 (59,59,59) for a dark background (with #A6A6A6 - #FFF text)

- or #A6A6A6 (166,166,166) to #FFF for a light background (with #000 to #898989 text)

The background was #C8C8C8 (200,200,200) and these bubbles are #e5e5e5 (229,229,229). The bubbles were a recent addition to help #000 (0,0,0) text to show up better.

Colors have a ceiling:

Most colors are composite colors built from the contrasts between #F00, #0F0, and #00F. This is all the room you have to work with to create those contrasts, meaning some contrasts won't fit in here unless we raise the roof. For instance, DuckDuckGo suggests #008080 (0,128,128) for teal - 128 is way higher than the 63 that we can work with here.

200 - 0 = 200229 - 0 = 229
200 - 128 = 78 229 - 128 = 101
200 - 128 = 78229 - 128 = 101
Total 366 (insufficient)Total 431 (almost there)

What if we try to scale? 431 is the nice 69 away from the minimum for contrast, so what if we took 35 - 128 = 93? Giving color #005D5D (0,93,93) which is 186 away from #000. It's possible, but not very pretty.

Instead of raising the roof, what about lowering the sea floor?

The Big G in an earlier entry is #3F47CC (63,71,204) - I think this came from the Ruroni Kenshin anime. Summarizing this gives #44c (68,68,204), by rounding up 3F (63) to 44 (68). Trying this out for links, but feels like it has...unsure, too much red maybe.

Playing with teal #008080 (0,128,128), summarized this to #088 (00,136,136), and this was too dark - needed more blue so turned this up to #08c (00,136,204). Tried this color on the Big G gear in Gimp - but this looks "flat" in a weird way. Maybe it's because the red is set to 00?

In a Goldilocks twist, maximizing #44c (68,68,204) with #08c (00,136,204) gives #48c (68,136,204), which is a very nice solid blue.

Now, what's the contrast of #000 text on #48c (68,136,204)? 68+136+204=408, which is 92 away from 500. We can push each color 31 brighter, moving to (99,167,235) = #63A7EB. This is the nice blue you see in the background.

But this is too light for links on the #e5e5e5 (229,229,229) bubbles - their ceiling is about #3F3F3F (63, 63, 63), restricting us to dark colors - unless we want to flip the color scheme, or offer a dark option, both of which might be good ideas for future updates.

Teal is too light to work well for links, and the "RK Purple" might be nice for spring pastels. Sticking with the cool theme of the site, let's scale the nice blue (multiplying each by 63/255), and we get (24,41,58) = #18293A Now the problem is there's too little contrast from the #000 text.

Went back to the #48c (68,136,204) from earlier, and darkened it, trying to get it to contrast more with the bubble more, getting #269 (68,136,204).

For fun, what if we flip to the other side?

#962 (153,102,34)? Nice, but maybe it could "pop" more? How about #b62 (187,102,34)? The more red helps. 187+102+34 = only 323 away from the #000 text, and (229-187) + (229-102) + (229-34) = 364 away from the #e5e5e5 (229,229,229) bubbles. It nearly splits the difference. Its opposite, #26b (34,102,187), doesn't "pop" nearly as well - maybe that is due to personal perference.

Here's an HTML color calculator I made ages ago.

If you're on PC, with the arrow buttons (or if your mobile device gives you up and down buttons on the input fields), you can scroll the values as though they were a slider. A slider foreach color would be a good update for this.

History bibliography additions:

8/19/2021 - Watermark Down!

Back to Gimp - combined a guide on creating gears with a PDF on importing an image as a brush, for quick watermarking. Plus a small detail for Gimp 2.10 about where brushes are stored on Win10.

Altogether pretty painless, kinda fun (in how similar the process is to physical assembly), and gives another layer of legal and moral protection beyond the copyright notice.

And the finished Big G gear, inspired by the Gizmonic Institute.

8/18/2021 - Roman emperors added to History page.

Rome was a republic (res = thing, publica = public) for the first ~730 years of its existence. Everything changed when Caesar attacked...from within. He ran circles around their political processes, did illegal and improper procedures and faced little penalty. Eventually he was proclaimed emperor. But that's not what got a conspiracy to uninstall him - creating an entire parody branch for their official state religion, and mandating that people believe in this joke as though it were ancient and sacred like the other 2 branches - *that* was the last straw.

17 years later, Caesar's grandnephew and adopted son Augustus got the new throne in a settlement with the Senate. And that dictatorship lasted for about 1400 years, roughly twice as long as the republic - clearly history was not yet close to ending. You can see it all for yourself over on the History page. (Edited 8/19)

8/15/2021 - What even are names?

Digging through updates to the History page, and found an old dumb idea - a matrix of the names Rand (or Randy or Randall), Ryan (or Ryans), Paul, and Logan - and the famous people with these names:

vLastv \ >First>Rand(y) (name)Ryan (name)Paul (name)Logan (name)
(name) Rand(all)Randy RandRyan RandallPaul RandLogan Rand
(name) Ryan(s)Randy RyanRyan RyansPaul RyanLogan Ryan
(name) PaulRand PaulRyan PaulPaul PaulLogan Paul
(name) LoganRandy LoganRyan LoganPaul LoganLogan Logan

8/12/2021 - Ingame item prices.

Converting spreadsheets to HTML tables, of prices for items in various Roblox and other games. Have a look!

8/10/2021 - Woodpeckers create habitat for the bugs they eat.

Woodpeckers generally use their reinforced beaks to hammer holes in tree bark and trunks. Different kinds of woodpecker create different patterns on the tree - some make one big hole, some make a straight line of smaller holes, some make a random pattern. Ostensibly, this is to catch insects which have chewed or drilled their own way inside.

However, when seeing a heavily-woodpeckered tree - one with woodpecker gaps large enough that spiders have built webs and are also catching bugs there - it becomes obvious that the woodpecker is creating great little caves for insects to feel safe inside. Safe, until the woodpecker (or another predator) finds the insect stuck against a rough cellulose wall.


8/8/2021 - Copyright This!

Unlike SSL, registering items for copyright is performed through government agencies, and process & protection vary per nation and locality. In the USA, this is handled through the Copyright Office, a branch of the Library of Congress.

For lazy administrators running a solo blog, there doesn't seem to be much benefit to frequently registering. Getting works into the Library of Congress seems the greatest benefit.

8/4/2021 - Monetizing self-loathing

Calling for someone's death, by virus or SWAT or suicide or any means, is immoral. There is an anti-Idiocratic argument to be made in that human intelligence is randomly distributed across all live human births - and so more brains on the planet means more benevolent intelligence to improve our lives (and yes the cost is more malevolent/self-centered unintelligence to be ignored). Yet too many people - across the political spectrum, and who claim to value human rights above all else - are suddenly performing this very act.

There seems to be a TV News Cycle:

After hearing about several people being killed overnight in a shootout down the block from your office, it's pleasant to hear about that game where you're doing quests in spectacular grasslands. Or maybe hear about seeing spectacular grasslands in person, from an RV or tent.

And we see a very similar Social Media Cycle:

Social Media are seen as the salons of our age, where Important Ideas are exchanged between Thought Leaders. They are not. Instead, Social Media are Validation Casinos, where we pay in posts and get payouts in internet points, and are just as addictively gamified as slot machines. A few lucky individuals have managed to make a lot of money from this, and that's true for any casino - part of the marketing is that "it could be you" raking in jackpots and/or going viral. This amplifies certain opinions, as has been well documented, and definitely influences our thoughts and ideas. It's almost as though social media are training us to have less empathy foreach human, by using the simplistic dichotomy of "good" vs "bad" to amplify the toxic opinions of a vocal minority, and mute healthy counterpoints & opinions as uninteresting or even "bad".

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

8/2/2021 - History page added

This history page will be a work in progress. Feel free to contact me with corrections or additions.

Bibliography (added 8/3):