Replacement Felt for Wacom Mouse

Every so often I post a LiveJournal message more to remind me of something than to communicate to others... although if this helps anyone else, then that's a bonus.

Anyway, I have a USB drawing tablet as my primary pointing device. However, it also came with a mouse, and that's what I use almost exclusively. (It's exceptionally light, it doesn't require batteries, and it's more than accurate enough for my needs.)

Unfortunately, the mouse came with a felt bottom that got scuzzy as the years have gone by. I've tried "shaving" the felt as needed, but it's gotten to the point where it's nothing but a slimy vaguely fuzzy bottom... which tended to leave adhesive residue on the tablet.

A few days ago at my local hobby shop I found felt with an adhesive back. I traced the shape of the mouse, cut it accordingly, removed the old felt pad (using rubbing alcohol to get rid of the residue), and re-felted it. (The original felt had a hole to read the serial and model number, but I just covered it over... it's out of warranty anyway.) So now my mouse is as good as new again.

The felt is called Prestofelt, and it's from a company called Kuninfelt (here's the direct product link). After a 40% off coupon for the hobby shop, it cost me a whopping 75 cents... and one sheet should last me for nine or so applications.

I can't vouch for this, in all circumstances, so, as a tip, you may want to make sure that the mouse can still connect with the tablet if you place it atop the felt before sticking it on. (My mouse still worked even through the old felt and the adhesive protector sheet, so I knew it would probably work when I put it on... and I was right.)

Converting Video for iPad with Multiple Audio Tracks and Subtitles

Sanity . . . slipping . . . must write this down . . . before darkness consumes me . . .

Yes, in case you can't tell, I've just spent the past few hours trying to bash my head against the wall that is video file production for the iPad (and, quite possibly, for the iPhone and others). I'm knee-deep in insanity here, but I've found a process that I believe works . . . mostly. The "mostly" is problematic, since it's not quite "entirely," but I've gotten it to do enough of what I want to be happy.

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these are possibilities that didn't exist even a couple of years ago, and for many users the functionality that does exist is more than enough to satisfy them. For us "power videophiles," the possibility of having iPad video files that contain almost all the functionality of their DVD counterparts is tantalizingly close.

And the only cost was my sanity.

Today's Random Comic Book Thought

Many fans of comic books from the past few years might be asking themselves, "When is the exact moment that Reed Richards revealed himself to be a total jerk?"

I can state with reasonable confidence that would be Fantastic Four #7, from 1962.

In that issue, he rescues the people of an alien planet by using a shrinking gas to transform the entire planet's population into a smaller size, so all five billion people can fit aboard their one spaceship before the planet blows up. The plan was to use an enlarging gas to return them to normal size when they made it to their new planet.

But, to quote Reed Richards, "There was no enlarging gas, Sue! It was just an empty projectile! I only told them about it so they could consent to my plan! But once they reach their new world, it won't matter! They'll all be the same size, and in this vast universe of ours, one's size is only relative, anyway!"

Fundamentally altering every man, woman, and child on an alien world without their consent? Prick maneuver.
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    contemplative contemplative

The Most Disappointing Beatles: Rock Band Possible!

The Beatles: Rock Band video game came out yesterday, and I have no doubt that Beatles fans are enjoying themselves immensely with that game -- at least, those who have next-gen video-game systems and hi-def televisions and lots of money and time and... no, I'm not jealous.

Anyway, I'm sure people can quibble over some of the choices for the songs that made it into the game, but I suspect that that's all they'd be -- quibbles. After all, it seems like it'd be nearly impossible to pick 45 songs from the Beatles catalog that would fail to excite or entertain Beatles fans.

And thus is born the challenge.

Below the cut, I have compiled a list of 45 Beatles songs, arranged in order of the venues in the Rock Band game. The rules:

  1. The goal, in all ways, is to disappoint. Ideally, with each new venue that opens, I want both casual gamers and die-hard fans to -- once again -- sigh in sadness at the funless wasteland that they've just unlocked.
  2. I didn't pick any songs that were actually featured in the game or are available as downloadable content. This means that some choices that might have a good shot at making my list ("Hey, Bulldog," for example) were omitted.
  3. When at all possible, songs were picked from the same era as picked by the game. Because of Rule #2, above, this was difficult in some cases; the entirety of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band is available, for example, which made the Abbey Road Studios '66-67 venue near-impossible to do "correctly." Still, I tried to keep to the spirit of the picks when at all possible.
  4. Songs all came from official Beatles albums. The "canonical" 16 albums were favored, although some selections came from "marginal" official venues (such as the Anthology series).

And so, without further adieu, I present:
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Just Make Sure It's Wet . . .

Wikipedia currently has an article that uses italics to serve as the mildest warning for one of the most unsafe experiments I've ever seen:

[The Leidenfrost effect] has also been used in some dangerous demonstrations, such as dipping a wet finger in molten lead... without injury to the demonstrator.
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    amused amused

The Comic Pamphlet Is Officially Dead

For many, many years, I was an avid comic-book purchaser. But for a number of reasons, I gave it up cold turkey; I stopped buying comics in a weekly format about four or five years ago. (I still buy a number of graphic novels, but even then I've mostly been limiting myself to those that have ultra-snazzy "Absolute"-style oversized hardcovers, since I have so little free time; I figure, if it's good enough to put in an oversized slipcase, it's probably worth my (meager) time and money.)

However, DC Comics, often an innovator, came up with an idea recently that is exciting enough that I actually wanted to buy an actual non-trade-paperback comic book again. The project is Wednesday Comics, and . . . well, here's the pitch, from Newsarama:

[Each issue of Wednesday Comics] is 14 inches wide by 20 inches tall, so it's big. That's the front page – so when you open it, it gets 28 inches wide, so it's an enormous page. So for 12 weeks, that “cover” will be an installment of the Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso Batman story. Page 2 will be Sgt. Rock, and so on. So essentially, it's 12 big-ass pages. Each story takes up one whole page, with no staples. It'll be just like the Sunday funnies you read as a kid.

Okay; so, it's a weekly huge-ass comic series, with big-name creators (Neil Gaiman, Mike Allred, Joe Kubert, Amanda Conner, Kyle Baker, Jimmy Palmiotti, etc.) each tackling DC heroes in a stand-alone serial format with one "story page" per issue per feature. In short, something like this has never been done before.

I'm sold.

Now, the only problem I have is... how do I get it?

See, I don't want to start buying this series off the stand, only to have to miss an issue and get screwed half-way through.

Unfortunately, at least among the two comic shops I checked with for Free Comic Day today, I'm not at all confident the comic industry wants my business.

The first comic shop would only start up a subscription service if I wanted a minimum of 10 books a month. When I called the second comic shop, the person I spoke with indicated that I might be able to stop in and pick up the issues in a file (although he seemed reluctant to start a file with one comic, and indicated that I'd need to stop in every other week or so or else risk the file being closed . . . despite the fact that the comic shop is about 30 minutes away). Alternatively, he indicated I could subscribe, which might involve prepayment, a minimum of $10 a month, etc. When I got to the store, though (about 30 minutes later), the clerk I spoke with didn't know what I was talking about. He gave me a sheet with a bunch of titles listed (one of which was Wednesday Comics), asked me to check the titles I wanted (I checked the singular title), and then he wrote my name and phone number on the sheet. There was no request for payment information, no information about terms or my obligations or anything like that. "You want a new comic series? Scribble what you want on this piece of bark, and I'll hand it to this ostrich. Then come back in two months and hope for the best."

I am, suffice it to say, not filled with confidence.

Comic shops have no idea how to handle a person wanting to come in and purchase one title, as often as it comes out, for as long as the customer wants it. They only know how to handle the weekly omnivores, who come in every seven days and pick up their stack from their files or shelves; or the browsers, who pick up random issues or trade paperbacks as the fancy strikes them.

Each issue of Wednesday Comics is $3.99. This comic is not out yet; orders can still be placed and adjusted, so it is not "out of print." (In other words, I'm not trying to scam the system by trying to get a hot comic that's already sold out in preorders.) I am willing to spend full price. I am willing to prepay, by the month or for the entire series, if a store wanted. (I am not willing to go to a comic store every week for this one issue, since my time is worth more than that, and it just seems wasteful. Besides, at least one of the comic shops I checked didn't want to start a file for me unless I added nine other titles.)

In other words, I am a guaranteed customer, worth $16 a month for three months -- or $48 all at once -- if someone would only take my money and guarantee my product.

Why is the comic industry in trouble? This is one reason. DC has created a new comic book of strong interest to non-comic buyers, and the brick-and-mortar industry has no idea how to deliver the product to those buyers.

In other words, my best bet is probably to concede that the pamphlet (a somewhat derogatory term for single-issue comics) is dead and hope for the "trade paperback."
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    annoyed annoyed

You Sound Fun; Where Are You?!

I'm sick of conventions that don't say where they are on their front page. If I've learned that an event I might enjoy will be at (say) FUBARCon, it shouldn't take me 10 clicks of browsing through the FUBARCon website to learn where this convention actually is (which is almost always the first determining factor of "Can I go?").
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    annoyed annoyed

A Mighty Swashbuckler Am I!

I'm deeply honored to have won first place in the Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies logo remix contest, for my Frank Gorshin: Swashbuckler entry. I'm especially honored because so many of the other entries were really, really good. (Thanks also to the comments in various spots from folks who liked my 7-Eleven and Loch Ness remixes.)

Hopefully I'll be able to offer my thoughts on the game within the next week or two; in the meantime, the limited-edition hardcover is down to 81 copies left for would-be fans who want something a bit more durable for their clashes in the clouds.

(This has been a good contest week for SMarsh, since I learned that I also won a blog contest for one of those expensive Watchmen movie books from Titan I was drooling over . . . I do believe this brings the number of contests I've won in the past 10 years or so up to two.)
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    happy happy -- Jump On Now!

As someone who spent nearly a decade working for and with a weekly subscription-model gaming website (that'd be Pyramid), I was intrigued by someone else giving it a go . . . especially when it's as big a name as Monte Cook.

His latest endeavor is; despite the name, it's not really a dungeon a day, but rather one huge sprawling "megadungeon" (as they're known), with a dungeon room provided each day (or, more correctly, each week day).

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So if you are a fan of sprawling megadungeons, and you want to see one that promises to be composed of nothing but the interesting bits, check out The first-level map is available for free access along with the first six rooms. The opportunity to join as a charter member -- including your biggest savings -- ends tomorrow, April 10.
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    contemplative contemplative

More Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies Logo Remixes

I confess . . . I'm finding these logo remixes fun (and I've learned more about Photoshop in the past week than I have in years). Unfortunately, I'm not thrilled by either of these, but I also find it hard to mentally compete with the Frank Gorshin homage from last week.

Although fairly regional, I don't know how common 7-Elevens are outside my neck of the woods. (I don't think there are any here in Indiana.)

And I realized about midway through this logo that I was expecting my audience to recognize waves.

Anyway, usual disclaimers: The logo belongs to the masterminds behind Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. The other photos and logos belong to whoever I swiped them from. If you're intrigued, go check out the game yourself.
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    amused amused