4am is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Evan Simpson
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jamesh: If the foundation is seriously considering a preferential voting system, forget about STV and IRV and join Debian (among others) in using this Condorcet method of voting.

I am not going to let these entries deteriorate to once-a-year!

I've had quite a fun time taking over hosting and maintenance for WEBoggle, a MMOCG (medium-sized multiplayer online cube-based game). The original author, Logan Ingalls, did an excellent job of designing the DHTML client and Perl server, but had to abandon it due to hosting issues. I adopted it, and rewrote the backend in Python (with SCGI) for performance and maintainability. Now I'm struggling to deal with all the travails (mis-cacheing, browser incompatibilities, etc) to which an online game is prone. If the game's players have half as much fun with it as I have coding it, then I had twice as much fun as they did!

I had read about geocaching, but never really investigated it. During a family visit in Boulder, CO a few weeks ago, my dad introduced us all to it, and took us out to find several caches in the area. Fun! The kids now want to continue geocaching here in Waco, and according to the website there are hundreds in our area.

I still can't remember my advogato password, but I finally fetched my cookie from an old backup and changed it to expire some time next millenium.

Random observations from the last half-year, in no particular order:

  • My first annual colonoscopy was clean -- yay me!
  • Plone conference was a lot of fun, though my ZPT talk was excessively rambly and probably unhelpful. Meeting with ChrisMcDonough and the Plone folks was a blast, and my wife and I spent way too much money on good New Orleans food and souvenirs.
  • Zope 2.7 rocks, and I continue to fix bugs and add small features regularly.
  • I'm finally getting around to a major refactor/rewrite of my ZPT code, properly incorporating sub-path prefixes.
  • My sister is now into DDR. I gave her the old Playstation and PS1 DDR disc that have been collecting dust ever since I found StepMania.
  • Dirvish has finally got me doing regular, useful backups of all of my important data and configurations.
  • I almost had to use my backups when my Rackspace-hosted server started stuttering heavily on a bad sector. With a lot of help from their "fanatical support" technicians, I was able to get everything transferred to a new drive and working in less than a day.
  • I violated the "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" rule by buying several pieces of jewelry from an ebay store at prices an order of magnitude below what I could find elsewhere. They arrived, and appear to be as-advertised, so I'm not sure what to think.

Once again, it's time for the ICFP Programming Contest. This year it looked like I'd have a totally free weekend. Mom took the youngest on an Elder Hostel trip for a week, the eldest is in Ohio with other Grandma looking at a college, and the middle kids arranged to sleep over. My wife decided to go to the casinos at Bossier City with her brother.

ChrisMcDonough, hathawsh, and I set up a CVS repository and TeamSpeak server. The problem was to optimize a series of commands to a simulated race car on ten different tracks. Friday night and Saturday we spent writing the peculiar fixed-point math library needed by the problem, and creating a simulator in PyGame. We managed to get a lightning entry in by manually driving the car around several of the tracks. Our plan was to hand-pick a set of waypoints on each track, interpolate them using cubic splines to make a smooth path, then get the car to more-or-less follow the path.

Right after the lightning submission, Grandma and Grandson returned, and Sunday was a lost cause between chemo tiredness and family obligations. In the end, we had a rather nice path editor, with draggable waypoints, etc., but no working path-follower. Our final submission was a complete set of manually driven traces :-P.

Google Puzzle Championship
They finally released the full rankings. I made 67th place out of 757 U.S. entries. W00t!

Page Templates
TAL continues to advance, mostly outside of Zope. PETAL development has been very active, and there's now a whole non-Zope web server based on SimpleTAL.

I hope that StepMania gets ported to Linux in the not-too-distant future. PyDDR is nice, and I'd love to contribute to it sometime, but SM's look and compatibility with the zillions of songs out there can't be beat.

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