Older blog entries for dancer (starting at number 87)

Moving house.

Still here. I just haven't had much to say...Certainly, it would be difficult to say it without ranting. Otherwise, life is good, and I'm floating along consulting at the moment.

Consulting is nice. You go and do, and the customer is happy, and you're happy, and the thing is done. In full-time work, you lurch from disaster to disaster, and nobody ever seems to be happy (unless they're planning to bail out).

I'm enjoying myself.

Simultaneity can be handled iteratively. Within limits.
To a point. Sigmoid activation function deadlocks can spread across a layer. Urgh.
Knowledge vs Reasoning. There is a line.
Layers. The mind accumulates crap through the day, then paves generalisations and abstractions over it during REM sleep. This then forms the concrete slab for the next day's accumulated crap and exceptions.
When did you last spend a bit of time thinking about quantum manifolds? I mean, really.
Atomic valencies, high-energy particles, and molecule sieves. Eratosthenes, where is thy ribose, hmmm?
C++ is still short a few string types.
Q: Will I be the first person to bring an FPU to it's knees handling audio-mixing? Perhaps. There's a lot to be said for a floating-point audio pipeline.
Layers. I see a faint glimmer of my transparent colour key creeping in on the edge of some sprites. Hmm. I'm pretty sure that I shouldn't. Considering that it's a fairly ugly puce, I really don't want to in any case.
32x32x32 pixel blits give me double the frame-rate of 64x64x32 pixel blits, despite the fact that I'm doing four times as many of them. Either we're not at home to common-sense, or the amount of data in the blits is considerably more optimal for the underlying metal. I prefer the latter option.
Two robotics muscle solutions have presented themselves. One is organic, the other not. Honestly, what was I thinking? If you can't pull, then push...The trick is where you push, and how, then the result is the same as a pull. I can build it, but if it's electrical, there's issues of power (of course) and muscular crosstalk. On third or fourth thoughts, muscular crosstalk may be an advantage...a feature, rather than a bug. How small can I make it without having to machine parts? I'm guessing about four centimetres long with a maximum diameter of about 8mm would work well if I can manage it. Anchoring? My subconscious suggests tungsten. There's probably a good reason.
For pity's sake, people, remember that virtual methods cost you an extra pointer dereference (and an add). Duh. Do try to learn something about computers. Even if it hurts, okay? You're supposed to be IT professionals...

Still here. Chugging away at code. Not much to tell, really.

Let's get out there and kick some shell, Commander - The Arturo War, Season 2, Episode 4: The Battle for Nova Londinum

Dreaming strangely and long. The above quote from last night's efforts. They're starting to come with titles, credits, soundtracks, and occasionally commercial breaks. Unfortunately, most of my dreams appear to be made in the 70's with cheap special effects (and awful haircuts). It's not freaky yet. If one of these films or series ever appears in the external world, then I shall be duly freaked...but not today.

ARGH! Looks like Deus Ex 2 and Thief 3 just got the 'Microsoft Xbox Kiss Of Death'. Change them to suit a console, and they just won't be the games we want to play. Don't change them to suit a console, and they won't make enough dollars to get a PC port after the 6 or 12 months that the Kiss requires. I am bummed.

Cabled and wired and moved appliances between here and Preston. Results are more than satisfactory. Now, I just have to acquire a particular Akai remote.

Thought about EMP cannons. Delivery of a focused EM pulse to a target is easy (at least over short distances of say, 20 or 30 metres). Detaching a coherent fluid magnetic matrix from the point of generation and handing over to the delivery guide seems trickier. Oh...wait. No, I have it now. Duh. I should have thought of that two days ago. That brings us back to the power requirement again, but that was to be expected. Not a toy to be operated from a car cigarette lighter.

Can discriminator-bridged backpropagation be applied to a self-organising Kohonen network? I mean if I track input and output sets in a sequential short-term memory buffer with an applied discriminator, then apply backpropagation techniques to the Kohonen network, will I have guided organisation between circumstantial inputs and actualised outputs? Has anyone tried it? Do any of you actually lay awake nights thinking about that sort of thing?

P2P developers: MD5 is both order and length dependent. Think about it. C'mon guys...the secret is to bang the rocks together.

Is there any current real-world analogue to myomer (other than kelp or actual muscle tissue)? You know, the whole contractile-response-to-electricity thing.

Entropy is just another statistic.

Some days I don't much have to wonder why it is that most folks don't seem to understand half of what I'm talking about.

"I prefer to think of you as my witless foil..."

The last few weeks have made me a little crazy. Let's leave friends and family out of the equation for the moment. Lessee...Microsoft declares war on Open Source and the GPL; AOL, HP and Compaq declare war on Microsoft (ooo...digitally signed theme files); the DMCA apparently overriding free-speech (so long as the speaker hasn't got a lot of money); and so on...

I spent about an hour chatting with a friend on IRC (don't even ask me how much I loathe IRC) and realised at the end of that time that if echelon-like systems are listening, some poor bastard will have to go through the transcript and figure out which box to file us in. Seems like you can't even talk about current IT industry news without using a lot of terrorist keywords at the moment.

Code. Coding. Coding quietly away. There's a lot of $OPEN_SOURCE stuff to build, and little time to actually do the building. $WORK proceeds quite well, though there's a curious anomaly that I'm chasing down. One of those intriguing things.

Sleepy. Most of the time. Well....we shall see what we shall see, right? The world has me on edge right now because it finally crossed the line between 'stupid' over into 'crazy'. I wonder just how long it will be before my mind simply reinterprets that as 'normal', and we start the cycle again.

4 May 2001 (updated 4 May 2001 at 06:37 UTC) »
Not policy

Well, wandered into the local EB looking for stuff. (Stuff that they have in the warehouse, but not yet in the store, as it turned out). On impulse, I asked the store's Steve if they were planning to get Tribes 2 for Linux in.

No, it's our policy only to stock the Windows version, if there are multiple versions available.

I see, says I, Well, it's my policy never to buy the Windows version if it's available for multiple formats. I'll just grab it in town.

I probed a little about another game that had been conspicuous by never appearing on the store shelves: Terminus. Windows, Mac, and Linux versions in the one box. Oho, they didn't stock it because of their 'no-linux' policy.

Despite their comfortable proximity, and normally helpful staff, I am thinking about taking my software shopping elsewhere....Just as a matter of policy, you understand.

Afterthought - Microsoft vs Open Source

If they're bashing Open Source so hard, why don't they stop using it?

$ strings FTP.EXE | fgrep -i copyright
@(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.

There's other examples if you want to go looking.

I'll be damned if I know what day it is, but whichever one it is, it includes a nice new Duron 750 and an AOpen AK73- 1394 mobo for Jenn. Spiffy.

Just gone through a crunch period. Don't go through crunch- mode at home. If you do, you will discover:

  • Your countenance is best not viewed. Be careful around mirrors, as you may accidentally catch sight of the bruised rings under your eyes. This can give rise to shocked cries of alarm, if you happen to glance in a mirror at 3am.
  • You will work too long. You will either not eat, or eat too much. Probably you will do both, alternately, which just makes things worse.
  • Sunrise hurts the eyes and the knees (* knees only if you've been awake for 22+ hours when the sun comes up. Trust me on this)
  • You hover between getting the work done, and impending verbal strangulation, and light beatings with a cat from your SO who knows that you will suffer without more sleep. But you know it too...and are you sleeping? Of course not.
  • You lose track of what day it is.

The bags under my eyes are recovering. What day is it?

Heading home

Just finished my last working day here. Now I veg in front of cable in the hotel tonight, do the same until about noon, check out then bum around the airport until 5pm or so. Then it's a glorious 25.5 hours till I'm home.

No more net connectivity till I get back. Ah, well.

I've hacked code until my brain's melted and had a lot of fun doing it.

Staying in San Mateo

Many squirrels out-and-about today. Delightful to watch. Also an owl decided to perch outside the window of my hotel suite, and hoot a bit this morning. I've never seen or heard one before. A very pleasant sound.

Feeling adventurous, I left my hotel room on saturday night for two reasons. One, I was tired of flopping in my room watching cable, and decided to go for drinks at a bar in the shopping center on the other side of the I-92. More on that in a moment. Second, there's been a skunk rooting around at one corner of the hotel compound (the corner nearest me), and I wanted to get a better look at it. Armed with a piece of bread, and a careful eye for warning signals, I got close to it, and fed it a bit of bread. Unexpected things: I didn't expect them to be cat-soft, nor to be cat-affectionate either. Friendly little thing. Spent about five minutes talking to it and stroking it, and feeding it the rest of the bread.

Went to the bar. It's some kind of sports bar. There are video screens everywhere, showing assorted sporting things, many tables for food, and a long bar. Not feeling hungry, I just settled for the bar. The barman had a generous pouring arm, the more so because I think he was surprised that anyone ever drank apple schnapps straight. It was a very nice brand. He may have poured rather over-generously, because by the time I finished the bottle, I hadn't spent enough to have bought one off the shelf, I am sure ($15USD).

Normally, I don't drink alone, but the bar staff provided good enough company, and they were showing my favourite sport: People having a good time. I people-watched and chatted, then wandered back to my room. Slept and then watched cable the whole day sunday.

Monday, now, and I'm counting the days to being back home...but I'm feeling a sharper dread of the actual journey. I like being in planes, and airports are interesting and entertaining places....but not when you're stuck in them for 24+ hours.

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