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LiveJournal for Christopher "radix" Armstrong.

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Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Time:8:28 pm.
I guess I still have this blog. I've been posting to my own blog for a looong time, but I never mentioned it here. This one is old and crappy! Read my new one!

Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2002

Time:3:32 pm.
I think I'm growing out of my blog. I've been writing in my paper journal a lot more, and I haven't really had the urge to post in my LJ. Whenever I do have the urge to put something up, I usually would rather have it be more polished and posted (semi-)permanently to my web site.

Maybe some day when I actually have fans and interesting things to write, I'll start posting in a blog again. But for now, this is me signing off. Later. :-)
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, May 3rd, 2002

Subject:And another! And another!
Time:2:14 am.
Mood: artistic.
This is Steve with hair. His hair is brown. Enjoy.

Oh, btw, you have to click on the "post comment" link to see this, if you're not seeing it already. I don't know why it's not being displayed next to the post in my main journal page. *rummages around, looking for a clue*
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:*pant* *weeze*
Time:1:51 am.
Mood: energetic.
Wow. I haven't felt this energetic about music in a *long* time. I just spent half an hour listening to System of a Down, and was air-drumming violently the entire time. I want to set up my drums and start playing again.

What's odd about it is that I really never liked SoaD. I'm not a metal-head at all, but now I think these guys are *good*. You can actually *hear* the lead singer; he's not drowned out by the noise. Also, there aren't many "hardcore" metal bands that have *decent melody* in their songs, let alone beautiful harmonies. I *love* the frantic pace-switches:

o/` raaaraa raa <500bpm> o/` laa laa laa <120bpm> o/`

It's great. *pant*
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2002

Subject:my name is simon and I like drawring
Time:11:07 pm.
Mood: crazy.
I'm learning how to draw with the mouse. Can you tell? gt3 asked #Python if anyone wanted to do a comic with him, and somehow, he agreed to let me draw it even though I can't. Draw, that is. This guy I'm using as my logo now is named Steve. He has trouble holding a job. I'll post a link to our first comic once we get it up.

Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2002

Subject:the never-ending battle with motivation.
Time:2:54 am.
Mood: cheerful.
I've been marginally productive today. I haven't actually generated anything real, but I have been "in" my code. I'm still working on my new Blog with Donovan, but it doesn't have user-comments yet, and I don't think I want to switch to it until it does (I know how much my loving fans want to reply to my posts). I've been working on what it will look like, and I've got a nice minimalist look going. I want to make it fit my website, though, so I'm going to have to redesign that too. :-)

[2 hours later...]

Well, it turns out I will actually generate some code (or rather, refactor some code). I've gotten around to fixing up one of the nagging issues with Twisted Reality, namely that no two objects can have the same name. Yay for productivity! Come on, guys. Cheer me on.

I fear that this will achieve sentience and rule us all. Ok, so it's not really AI, but damn, it's cool.

Welcome dreid.

Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Saturday, April 27th, 2002

Subject:Boo Productivity :-(
Time:9:36 pm.
Mood: crappy.
Well, there it goes. My productive cycle is done, as scheduled. I'm going to try some exercises to spark one up again, like writing fun little snippets of code (such as this one), or as my friend glyph likes to do, just type whatever words come to my mind into an emacs buffer. This was something english teachers would recommend often, but I never got the hang of it. I'll try again. Unfortunately, today I just didn't feel like doing anything productive. :-(

To keep myself entertained the last few days, I played and finished Kirby Super Deluxe. That is one *cracktaculous* game, and it was fun as hell, but it was really short.

Couple weeks old, but: An In-Depth Anaylsis of the Cultural Ramifications Evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

Subject:Internet as Massively Multiplayer Game.
Time:9:37 pm.
Mood: contemplative.
I want to turn the internet into one big massively multiplayer game, only it won't be a game, it'll just be a cool interface to everything on the 'net.

After I revolutionize the internet, we'll have streaming music that your avatar can *dance* to.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, April 22nd, 2002

Subject:Yay productivity!
Time:5:12 am.
Mood: creative.
So! I've been on one of my productive cycles. I don't think I've ever mentioned it; I seem to have very coarse-grained cycles of productivity -- usually up to a month long. I'll be completely useless code-wise one month, doing nothing but playing games and whatnot, and the next 2 or 3 weeks I'll do nothing but code. Boy, does it feel great to be on the upswing. I hope I can keep it up. I also just thought of something: you can probably analyze my cycles of productivity by checking how often I make CVS commits to Twisted. I'll have to bust out Gnumeric and make some charts of CVS commit data, one of these days.

So let's see, what have I done. It's all pretty much been Twisted stuff. I've made several releases (I am the release manager), and I've done lots of bug fixes and small feature improvements. I've also been working on a top-secret project involving Goo, namely a parser. I'll reveal more information as we get farther along.

I'm really excited about how Twisted Web is coming along. There have recently been a couple of really cool changes that allow you to deploy web applications a *lot* easier. Mainly this is accomplished by just throwing your application in a directory where a twisted server is serving from. Before this, you basically had to write scripts that created a _new_ web server listening on a port. I can't get over how much better this is.

I never knew this guy was a big blog freak. He's the guy that wrote twisted.news, the NNTP server. Oh, and this looks *really* cool, but I don't think I'm healthy enough to try it, plus I've got a day job, so I wouldn't be able to take a nap at 10am and 2pm. :\

Speaking of k5, I'm beginning to enjoy it. I never really checked it out till recently, and it seems a *LOT* more enjoyable than /.. *groan*

Also, Donovan Preston is working on a Blog for Twisted. I was planning on switching to it tonight, but we ran into some bugs :-) hopefully you'll ('you' being the 2 people who I force to read my post) be seeing a post saying I've switched.

Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Saturday, March 23rd, 2002

Subject:God's army plays Crack-Attack.
Time:4:04 pm.
Mood: confused.
ok, that was a *weird* dream. for some reason, i was being chased by police (i
don't remember a lot of the beginning). We were on a speedboat, and I was with
a couple friends, I think... I think I took over the speedboat forcefully, but
the cops were after us in a chopper. they were right over had when I realized
it was hopeless, so I jumped off. The boat apparently had a couple of huge
propellers, so I shot one of them with a handgun and the boat blew apart,
killing everyone on it (including my friends?).

So, I got picked up by the cops in another speedboat. I somehow managed to take
this one over too, because I remember the cops being gone. I don't know what
got into me, but I decided to kill myself -- I drove the boat onto land
(somehow) and drove it straight into a wall going really fast, and telling
people to get out of my way. The wall was the one right next to Shop'n'Save. I
remember passing.. One of my old classmates. I forget her name. the real short,
real skinny girl with short black curly hair. Anyway, I had been guessing that
when I died, I'd still be in the world I was in, at least for some time. I was
right. An instant before the boat hit the wall, the speedboat froze, and I
hopped out. Everyone around me was in awe, and I remember going over to the
classmate and hugging her, trying to comfort her. It seemed that she died after
a few minutes, just laid down and died, but I knew that it was really *me* who
was fading away. very surreal..

So, here I was, still on earth, not dead. Perhaps this is how it would always
be like? Perhaps I had complete control over my afterlife? I tried it out. I
pretended to be some god, huge, high in a throne. I remember looking down at my
hands, and seeing huge hands, and having a bellowing voice. But I got scared --
what if there really was a god and a heaven, and if I attempted to gain power
over my afterlife, I'd be doomed to hell? freaky. So I walked around a bit
more, and I think I was in some sort of asian restaurant.. I think I was
actually talking to some guy, and then I started walking through some walls
randomly, jumping around.. Sometimes I'd walk into a room and hear this evil,
powerful, deep word spoken to me, but I don't remember what the word was. So, I
met this guy, and I think I was with my two friends from the speedboat again
(remember? we were all dead now). He asked me if I had heard the word, and I
said Yes, probably 6 or 7 times. He was obviously not pleased with that, and
said it would be very hard indeed to get into heaven.

So I guess the only chance was for me to join god's army in battle. This part
was REALLY weird, almost ridiculous. So, we were marching in, me next to my two
friends. I think were were all dressed in what looked like Roman-Empire-time
battle clothes. We all lined up on some sort of bridge, I think, and I remember
being next to a beautiful girl. For some reason she got swapped out with
another girl who I thought was beautiful too, but I knew the new one, I think
she was a friend from my life. So, here's that *ridiculous* part I was talking
about. All of a sudden, everything got dark, and -- get this -- Crack-Attack
screens popped up in front of every one of us (crack-attack is a clone of the
old "Tetris-Attack" game for SNES). It was cooperative play for every 2 people
in line, I think (although I don't remember how the mechanics of coop
worked). I was with one of the male friends who was with me earlier, but our
screen was really, really, dark. I went into some settings screen to adjust the
brightness, but after that I still don't think we played very well. After the
game, we were all talking about how well we had done. That's when my dad called
up to me to see if I was awake. I don't know if I made it into heaven or
not. :\
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002

Subject:"Application Directories" on a *nix
Time:2:57 pm.
Mood: tired.
OK, most people who aren't unix elitists have realized by now that application-per-directory is much better than a whole slew of seperate hierarchies like /etc, /usr/bin, /usr/share, etc. I've recently looked at The ROX Desktop Environment, which claims to have such app directories, but it doesn't take it near as far as it _ought_ to go. The cool part, though, is that the Rox package for debian installs a menu-method which automatically generates these App directories when you install new debian packages. Unfortunately, the app-dirs it generates are quite minimal. All they have is a script that executes the program, a symlink to the /usr/share/doc/, and an icon file.

I'm considering hacking on Rox's menu-method to be a bit more robust. Not only to contain an executable and a link to documentation, but also to the shared-data directory (/usr/share/) and the system configuration file for the application. Also, with manual maintenance per-package, there could be symlinks to user configuration files. This'd be a much more complete emulation of Application directories on debian.

I'm also thinking about writing some scripts to deal with these application directories nicely, for example, an 'edit-config' script that automatically used CVS to do versioning of your config-files. that would kick ass. =)

If only I had the motivation to do this ;)
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, March 7th, 2002

Time:2:24 am.
Mood: tired.
I'm annoyed with myself. This is a common pattern for me: 1) Decide to fix a bug/implement a feature in some code. 2) notice that there is some other stuff that could use improving. 3) attempt to improve it. 4) notice that some package that this code I'm improving could use improving. 5) get overwhelmed once I have refactorings of 3 large packages on my ToDo list.

I have to be more strict about my goals when I sit down for a hacking session. I *finally* fixed a bug in Twisted InstanceMessenger that has been nagging at me for several days. This may not seem like so much, but it was probably about a total of 7 lines of code or so. The problem was, I was trying to add features/refactor other code that was closely related, instead of fixing the bug.

So, this is a reminder to myself. When I sit down wanting to do some hacking, I should write down what it is that I plan on doing. Writing stuff down seems to help in a lot of cases. It's a good thing to do on a regular basis. Anyway, this is one observation of many that I've made in the past and will make in the future -- I'll probably be posting a lot more of such observations for my own benefit. Writing them down so I can remember them myself.

Of course, most of the things I know I should be doing are clearly defined in Extreme Programming. But oh well. I'm not going to learn until I get bitten, I guess.

Bleh. Sorry about the rambling. I just got back from finally seeing Lord of the Rings at the theater. Maybe tomorrow I'll post something about it.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2002

Subject:Wiki. TinyTim.
Time:2:37 pm.
Mood: contemplative.
I've been an advocate of Wikis for a while now. They're an incredible tool, for documentation, for community discussion, even for writing books. Only today did I realize how similar TinyTIM is.

The general idea of wiki is that anyone can edit any page. This works (Obviously. Just look at how many successful wikis are out there! (yes, they're there. Follow some links.)). If someone tries to be a dork, and defaces a page, it's very easy to revert to an old copy, by anyone. And, of course, administrators can block IPs of people who are problems (but this rarely happens, in practice).

TinyTIM has a very similar idea. Any user can create their own rooms and objects, and can program them to do anything they want! TIM is a very relaxed environment, just like most Wikis. Apparently this idea works.

There are a few big differences in TinyTIM, though. For one, not anyone can edit *existing* "content"; that is, rooms and objects owned by other people. While TinyTIM is a bit more "closed" than what I would consider ideal, I think it's good that it's not entirely as "open" as Wiki. There are a lot of people who take part in online text games who are just a bit too lame to be able to allow them to delete and change any object they can get a hold of.

But, I think the perfect solution for such virtual worlds is peer-to-peer distribution on a contractual basis. Heh heh. That will be a long post. I'll save it for next time. :-)
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, March 3rd, 2002

Subject:The Childe Cycle
Time:5:38 am.
Mood: pleased.
I just got finished with Three To Dorsai! , a compilation of 3 books (I can't find it for sale online anywhere, and it's too bad, because there is some extra dialogue not found in the 3 books alone). It's part of a large series that I'm reading called The Childe Cycle, by Gordon Dickson (who unfortunately died before finishing the Cycle. aaagh. :-( ). Man oh man. I've really been exposed to some damned good entertainment lately, if you include Deus Ex with this. Dickson is *brilliant*.

The three books in this compilation are Necromancer, Tactics of Mistake, and Dorsai!. They're all excellent, especially if you like Military Sci-Fi (the first doesn't have any military stuff, but the second and third are very military-oriented, especially the second).

The other books in The Childe Cycle that I've read are The Final Encyclopedia (vol 1.; vol 2.), and Chantry Guild. All of these are excellent. (I wouldn't recommend starting with Final Encyclopedia. Any of the others are good starting-points, though. Here's a decent little page with some recommended orders for reading, along with some other bits of info and ranting).

Anyway, the Childe Cycle deals a lot with the "evolution" of the human race, in psychological, social, and mental aspects. Basically, in the future, the human race started expanding into other solar systems and planets. The interesting part abot this, though, is that people with similar interests started sticking together -- ultimately, forming 3 groups among the race: The Dorsai, a military planet whose main economic product was the mercenaries that were hired on on a contract basis, the Exotics, a group who were intent on studying the human race, and trying to encourage evolution of all kinds through ontological studies, etc, and the Friendlies, who were religious fanatics, basically. A common theme in the books is that a main character who is "linked" some way with the other characters of Dickson's books, and who is somehow a slightly "evolved" -- mentally, spiritually, etc -- form of human.

I'll stop here, now that I've noticed I'm not doing justice to this series with my mini-review -- please, go read some web sites about the books. And tell me what you think of it, if any of you read one of his books! =)
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:Deus Ex
Time:1:56 am.
I just finished Deus Ex today. I've decided to give it the coveted honor of Chris Armstrong's Favorite Game -- to this day, this position has been held by DooM 2. So, obviously, I think it's a really good game. Freaking *incredible*. Absolutely *exquisite*. I've never seen a game with a story this compelling. I hope Deus Ex 2 blows it away, but I won't mind if it doesn't, because Deus Ex was incredible enough that I doubt anything will be replacing it in a long time.

If you're interested in conspiracies, the illuminati, etc, then this game will definitely be incredible for you, too. It's also a damned good FPS, but certainly not a shoot'em'up -- there are certainly lots of things for you to kill, but it's very stealth-oriented -- much funner than things like DooM and Quake, IMO.

This is hands down the best RPG/FPS there is. And, it's become my favorite game of all time. If you haven't played it yet, you're missing out.
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, February 28th, 2002

Subject:Mixing Virtual Worlds and Chat.
Time:11:53 pm.
Mood: contemplative.
For the past few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about mixing Virtual Worlds and Chat.

Virtual Worlds are the the future, I think. I want to integrate Chat with them. I've recently been thinking that instead of developing twisted.words, we should make twisted.reality the "chat server", and have a client that tailors to people who just want to chat, as well as being a generic VW client. Well, that would probably be too much work, so I'm thinking of making a small bit of integration code that allows one to unify a Room in a Reality server with a Group on a Words server. I'm also thinking that, in the virtual world simulation, these special "chat rooms" could broadcast messages to anyone who wishes to "tune in" to them with a special radio transceiver, or somesuch.

Well, that's Yet Another project to add to the list of things To Do. :) Right now I'm working on implementing PB Exceptions, and then versioned PB objects, and then refactoring the Words PB protocol. ugh. lotta stuff. Anyone wanna pay me to do it? ;-)
Comments: Read 3 orAdd Your Own.

Time:3:17 pm.
Mood: artistic.
Well, I'm going to attempt to try out MUSH code on TinyTIM today. The little bit of code I looked at seemed hideous, and I couldn't help but think "It's such a pity that this isn't Python". But one of my programmer friends said it wasn't too terribly bad. I think I'll implement some interesting interactive toys.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2002

Time:12:19 am.
Mood: accomplished.
So, I uploaded a really, really crappy picture of me as my new livejournal picture. But what's the web for, if not ignorant, useless rantings, accompanied by terrible pictures of the ranter? YAY!
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, February 25th, 2002

Time:6:37 pm.
Mood: awake.
Wow. TinyTIM is the coolest virtual world I've ever taken part in. The only others I've been in are lame-o MUDs, such as Carrion Fields and the like, which is just a bunch of role-playing and hack'n'slash. Don't get me wrong, I think role-playing is cool, but I'm more interested in taking part in a completely anarchistic virtual world where you just do whatever's fun.

In TinyTIM, anyone can build their own areas and objects. It seems as though that would lead to a chaotic world indeed, but TinyTIM's continued existence is proof against that. It's great. Come check it out by telnetting to yay.tim.org port 5440.

Design Mode Sucks.

My mom uses HomeSite at work. She uses Design Mode for some textual changes. For some reason, HomeSite's Design Mode deletes "codebase" attributes of *all* <APPLET> tags. WTF is up with that? how *arbitrary* is that?? I played around for an hour or so trying to prevent this behavior, but no amount of hacking CodeSweeper options would allow me to. Aaaargh.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, February 24th, 2002

Time:1:48 pm.
Mood: frustrated.
Welp, I released a new version (0.15.1) of Twisted last night, and there's about a million and a half little bugs that I missed before the release. sigh. 0.15.2, here we come.
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LiveJournal for Christopher "radix" Armstrong.

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