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since 1997"
Lyle Zapato

Spammers Messing With My Site

Lyle Zapato | 2011-05-17.8650 LMT

Somehow, someone is appending spam to Google Blog Search results from my site. To see what I mean, do a blog search for "blogurl:http://zapatopi.net/".

[2011-08-16: Found the problem, maybe, but not a complete solution. See update to update below.]

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

A Quantum Of Polydactylism

Lyle Zapato | 2008-11-14.8608 LMT | Polydactylism | Entertainment | Mysterious Doodads

The manifested Jungian archetype of polydactylism pokes its many fingers further into the doughy belly of popular culture.

Gemma Arterton's hands

Gemma Arterton, the new "Bond Girl" in the latest 007 film, A Quantum of Solace, was born with 12 fingers. Unfortunately, her two extra digits were removed shortly after birth by the Medical Establishment -- dogmatic proponents of physiological uniformity who would rather butcher healthy mutants than have to spend valuable golf-time learning the names of new body parts. But try as they might, Establishment doctors are on the losing side our evolutionary destiny:

"My dad had them [extra fingers], and my granddad," Arterton told Esquire magazine. "I feel like we're one step ahead -- a sign of things to come. ... We could do more stuff if we had extra fingers -- faster texting, faster emailing, better guitar-playing."

Also of note in the entertainment world, the new FOX series Fringe features a six-fingered hand-print both on its marketing posters and on bumpers before the commercials:

Fringe hand

Besides documenting the mysterious Observers and the menace of giant floating place-names, Fringe follows investigators searching for the truth about "the Pattern" -- an emergence of strange scientific phenomena and experiments that may signal a tipping point in Humanity's patience with J.J. Abrams. But could the show actually be on to something? Could there be a "the Pattern" in real life? And if so, is it not logical to surmise that "the Pattern" is the Handlebrot set -- a single, yet infinitely complicated, unifying pattern of our existence that has been for eons guiding our development into the polydactyl super-beings that Gemma Arterton foresees?

dactyl fractal

Undoubtedly, yes.

On a less momentous note, a while back I moved my Dactyl Fractal Zoom toy from the wallpaper subdirectory (where I haphazardly put it after I originally created it) to a proper subdirectory of its own. This broke the link from Stumble Upon, a popular random-link site which was the source for most of the traffic to the toy. Well, now some Stumble Upon user has found the new location and re-stumbled it, which has resulted in the Dactyl Fractal Zoom getting around 40,000 hits just today. Egads! Anyway, I added a few links to the containing page, so hopefully all those people won't just stumble past the rest of my site. My apologies to those who preferred the starker, link-free version.

Lyle Zapato

ERROR: Disk Failure!

Lyle Zapato | 2007-08-13.0000 LMT

Our server suffered a disk failure, which knocked us offline since Wednesday. Some things may be missing or not working properly while I reupload the site from back-up and test everything.

UPDATE: I've finished uploading everything. If you see anything amiss, please email me.

Lyle Zapato

The Beast... It Censors

Lyle Zapato | 2007-07-29.2150 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy

It has been brought to my attention that the "Brussels Beast" -- the supercomputer network through which the Belgian Citizen Pods are linked, providing "Belgians" the shared cybernetic illusion of "Belgium" -- has started censoring my page exposing the TRUTH about Belgium (that it doesn't exist).

An operative working deep undercover in the bowels of Euro-Disneyland has sent me the following screenshot showing what some "Belgians" are seeing when they follow links to my page from fellow "Belgians":

Non-"Belgians" should not be affected, as long as they avoid being kidnapped and hooked up to a Citizen Pod. However, if you or someone you know is stuck behind the Brussels Beast firewall inside the Belgian Simulation and are unable to access my page, be patient. I am working with hackers from the European Grendel community on subversive technical means to circumvent this censorship, allowing all victims of the Conspiracy to read my page unrestricted.

Lyle Zapato

Alumiversary

Lyle Zapato | 2007-01-05.8905 LMT | Announcement | Aluminum

How in the world did I not know this (worse yet, why did I have to learn it from Katie Couric):

The traditional symbolic gift for a ten year anniversary is...

ALUMINUM!

So, forget what I said about 2007 being The Anniversary. From here on it shall be known as The Alumiversary! (or The Alumiversiary for our British friends.)

Of course, True Paranoids celebrate every day as if it were an alumiversary. Shine on, you crazy corundums.

Lyle Zapato

A Decade Of ZPi

Lyle Zapato | 2007-01-05.2610 LMT | Announcement

2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the ZPi website. That's right, we've been serving the paranoid for a decade!

This site first appeared on the World Wide Web sometime in the year 1997. I've unfortunately forgotten the exact date, although it was actually later in the year. For the sake of convenience (and to dilute the overwhelming momentousness of the occasion by spreading it out over 12 months) we'll just call all of 2007 The Anniversary.

A brief history of the site, particularly points not recorded elsewhere, is in order:

ZPi itself originated in 1995 with the release of MindGuard for the Amiga. During that time I wasn't yet on the Internet, choosing instead to spread paranoia via various Cascadian BBSs -- then the most paranoid form of communication next to CB radio.

I also went through a number of organizational names, including "Lyle Zapato Product Development International", "Zapato Development And Haberdashery", and "Deborah".

MindGuard was but one of a number of products I was working on at the time. For your historical amusement, here's a combined list (from lists originally posted on a BBS, recently dug up off of an old 3½" floppy) of some products in development from late 1995 to early 1996, none of which, for various reasons, saw the light of day:

* SOFTWARE

  - MrGene: [An interface program for the Kortech P350 & P700 Personal DNA Sequencers] Still in development stages. I'm sorry for how long it is taking to bring this product to release, but you have to understand, every time I test the damn thing I need to put on a hazmat suit as the bugs in it keep causing unknown strains of botulism and e-coli. I think this is being caused by an integer to pointer conversion error but I can't track it down. Until I get this problem fixed, it would be unethical (and most likely litigable,) for me to release MrGene.

* RELIGIOUS/DEVOTIONAL

  - Whirling Dervish Whirl-O-Meter: Allows you to keep track of how many times you whirl around as well as average whirl speed. Stylish and comfortable device fits around your waist and uses proven inferred technology found in many household electronics. Deluxe model will come with a Whirl Calculator that can be used to find your optimal whirling speed for trance initiation.

* LITERATURE

  - Tapes in Book: With the popularity of books on tape, I've decided to explore the possibilities of related markets, namely the converting of tapes to books. The first tape that will be converted into convenient book form will be "Sounds of the Rainforest", a lovely tape that features high-quality true-stereo recordings of an Amazonian rainforest. The book form will feature accurate descriptions of every bird call, monkey howl, and rain drop and will be written by a real paid writer. I am also considering a book on tape version of the tape in book version of "Sounds of the Rainforest" that will feature James Earl Jones reading the descriptions of the rainforest sounds. This may be joined later by a video of James Earl Jones reading the descriptions of rainforest sounds in an actual rainforest. I may then tie the whole thing together by releasing a Video in Book version of the video that will feature accurate descriptions of James Earl Jones reading the tape in book version of the "Sounds of the Rainforest" in a rainforest, and will come with a CD-ROM that shows the making of all the books, tapes, and videos aforementioned and also includes a MPEG video of the making of the CD-ROM itself, the Video in Book description of which will be in the last chapter of the book.

* FOOD PRODUCTS

  - Cap'n Chuck's Briny Breakfast Bits: "The first presalted kid's breakfast cereal. Mouth puckering puffed wheat in four colorful maritime shapes: Scary Shark, Abyssal Anchor, Silly Sea Anemone, & Gastropodious Geoduck. Vitamin C enriched for extra scurvy protection." Kelloggs and General Mills haven't returned any of my calls.

Realizing my product line was lacking focus, I changed my organizational name one last time to "Zapato Productions intradimensional" ("ZPi" for short) and narrowed the focus to within the dimension of paranoia. Note that I was using a lower-case "i" -- next to an upper-case "P", no less! -- a full four years (and change) before Apple made it fashionable with trendy hipster wannabes. I feel like Xerox PARC!

When I eventually attacked the Internet, the first beachhead I established was an official homepage for MindGuard, offering a basic pitch and free download -- a rudimentary, one-page site with a tacky design that quickly went offline as I planned a more extensive ZPi Internet presence.

Ye Olde Logoe
One of the original ZPi logos. Beware its psioptic blinking.

That presence arrived in late 1997 and was hosted on Tripod (chosen because it was at the time less obnoxious than Geocities). My Tripod member name, and consequently part of the URL, was "zoam", which I had been using as an email name for a while, for reasons that escape me. (For you ZPi completists, visit zoam.tripod.com and see a page from 2000 redirecting people to the then-new site.)

The very first version of the site has been lost, but I know it included MindGuard, information about the AFDB (which was originally contained within the MindGuard documentation), and the Truth about Belgium. By 1998, the site included a large percentage of what it does today (which you can either take as my being forward thinking or lazy since then), as can be seen in this cached version from December 2, 1998 (the oldest version the Internet Archive has).

In May of 2000, ZPi moved from the advert-laden, PHPless servers of Tripod to space generously donated by Alan Clegg. This move necessitated a proper domain name: zapatopi.net, chosen mainly because "zpi" was already taken for all TLDs.

Forced by this lack of available three-letter URLs to expand the first word of the abbreviation (the alternatives -- "zproductionsi", "zpintradimensional", "zapato­productions­intradimensional", etc. -- deemed too long and/or ugly), serendipity struck and a new logo/mascot/unifying-motif was backformed: "Zapato" + "Octopi" = "Zapatopi", an octopus wearing shoes.

Brushed metal?
One of the first Zapatopi logos used in the site masthead.

This tied in nicely with my work protecting the endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, plus it put me in the vanguard of the current popularity of cephalopodan themes at a time when everything hip was penguins (Hollywood, with its turning radius of a diplodocus, can only play catch-up).

Of course, this URL did have some downsides: people kept mispronouncing it "zap-uh-toe-pee" or thinking my name was "Mr. Zapatopi", but I was willing to live with these minor annoyances.

Over the years there have been many changes and developments: the addition of a blog in 2004; the publishing of the AFDB book in 2002; the off-handed introduction of the Dactyl Fractal, which now consumes most of the site's bandwidth in an ever-spiraling bid for total memetic hegemony. But, through it all, the paranoia remained constant. Maybe a little too constant. Suspiciously constant...

I would like to thank all the people who contributed to -- or conspired on -- this site: Alan; "Commando" from the BBS days; the many people who've sent in things that I have posted, freeing me from having to create original content myself; guestbook signers; everyone who bought the AFDB book (all seven of you); people who've emailed me but whom I haven't gotten around to responding to yet, only it's been so long now that it'd be too awkward to write back, so their emails just sit in my inbox, judging me; and anyone else I forgot.

Having been around for a decade, the site, especially those parts in which my interest has waned, has accumulated some cruft: archaic web design, outdated references, dead links. There were also things that I planned on doing or adding but never finished. Over the coming year I'll try to revisit all areas of the site and either update or, in some cases, rewrite them. Hopefully this renovation will enable the site live for another 10 years -- or at least until the world as we know it ends on December 21, 2012 with the return of the periodical Quetzalcoatlus armada.

Until then, trust no one (except ZPi).

Lyle Zapato

Black Helicopter Searches

Lyle Zapato | 2006-03-03.4600 LMT | Black Helicopters | Crass Commercialism

I'm being bombarded ("Bom, Bar... DEAD!") by people desperately searching for the TRUTH about Black Helicopters. So far today I've gotten over 10,000 hits with the exact same referral from a search on Comcast.net, on which my Black Helicopter exposé is the first site listed.

What's going on? Have swarms of Microscopic Black Helicopters started spewing out of Comcast cable modems and the Comcast subscribers are all using their default Comcast.net homepage to search for answers? By "Comcastic", do they really mean "Comcastaclysmic"?

UPDATE: I've found the reason for the hits. Apparently the Comcast homepage (which only subscribers can see) has some sort of search article on "Paranoid Pursuits". So Comcasters are not in imminent danger of being swarmed and consumed by Black Helicopters -- at least for now. Still, it might be wise to cancel your service and remove the suspicious Comcast boxes from your home. True paranoids limit themselves to the relative safety of broadcast TV and dialup.

Also, since that page is getting attention, I've put up on Cafepress a new anti-BH propaganda poster I've been working on:

poster

This is part of a series of paranoid propaganda -- or paraganda -- posters that I have vaguely planned (there was another one as an Easter egg in a previous post.) The paraganda concept is still inchoate, and I've gotten sidetracked into a rabbit hole of font creation, so this isn't the official post on the subject. Stay tuned...

Lyle Zapato

Blog Topics Now Work

Lyle Zapato | 2005-05-04.4500 LMT

The blog now has topic links that actually work. No more hitting "older... older... older" to find the posts you want.

Lyle Zapato

RSS Update

Lyle Zapato | 2004-12-08.3300 LMT | Pneumatics

Many, many pneumatic tubes
Now you too can get blog in a tube delivered fresh to your pneumatic port array.

This blog now has two RSS 2.0 feeds:

Normal Feed
<description> has only the first 40 words from the post, stripped of all HTML and images. Saves on bandwidth.
Verbose Feed
<description> has the complete post as seen on the site, including links and images. For the lazy.

Choose the feed that best suits your purpose.

Furthermore, being the cutting edge innovator of Internetting technology that I am, I have also added a pneumatic tube feed using my newly invented ZPi Tublog™ technology. If you have p-tube connectivity, available through the Cascadian Postal Authority or your local pneumatic tube provider, you can now get freshly printed hard copies of my blog posts delivered right to your home. Who needs Push when you can Suck! No longer must you suffer the inconvenience and potential electromagnetic dangers of using a computer to read my random musings. To use, simply make sure there's an autoprinter/encapsulator attached to your tube network and point your pneumatic aggrivator to: PTube

Lyle Zapato

Blog RSS Feed

Lyle Zapato | 2004-12-04.2100 LMT

This blog now has an RSS feed, as per the suggestion of someone on the guestbook. It's still experimental, but works well enough to get the last 10 posts without having to go to the trouble of coming to the site.

I'm trying it out with the actual post in the <description> element instead of a summary, since these posts can't be summarized automatically. So if you use an aggregator you can read the whole post in it. (Depending on your software, the images may be broken as I have been using relative paths for them instead of URLs.) Of course, this makes the XML file somewhat large (~30 Kio currently). If this arrangement if too unwieldy, let me know.

Also, RSS 2.0 insists on an email for the <author> element in order to be valid. Since I haven't implemented per author emails yet, all posts will have my address on them, but with the actual author name listed in parenthesis. Don't worry, I will forward all your philately-related queries to the Philatelist.

Feedback on improvements is welcome.