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Entries from April 2017
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Category: Backdraft (30 Apr at 22:24)
Again I have failed at posting on time. This one was backdated from May 1 with no excuse! At least it's not so common that I've written a way to do this without manually editing timestamps in the database...

I took a short break after last month's too-much-work SIGBOVIK project, and then eventually decided to get back into working on a game project that I started a few years ago but abandoned for no good reason. I'm definitely deep back into it, though I struggled all weekend writing and re-writing some of the core physics stuff, and it's been frustratingly slow. The whole point of doing a game project is to do something where I know how to do it and can spend most of the effort making content instead of beating my head against the wall! But I guess pretty much all programming projects that interest me these days have some head-beating. Hopefully I will figure that part out before I lose momentum, and will have something to share soon. :)
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Entries from March 2017
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SIGBOVIK 2017: ABC (31 Mar at 12:34)
Hello my bloggies! I back-dated this post because even though I was all set up to post about my SIGBOVIK accomplishments, which this time conveniently occurred in the month of March, I then celebrated SIGBOVIK so thoroughly as to go to bed without actually posting here.

This year's invention is a strange artifact; if you want to experience it with fewest spoilers and have some time, then check out the paper version. I also put together a youtube video, since I like doing that:

SIGBOVIK 2017: Compiling C to printable x86, to make an executable research paper, by tom7
Click for nerd-talkin'


Despite the possibly misleading thumbnail, the video is mostly live-action, as I it after a popular YouTube series called Numberphile. The project doesn't lend itself too well to video, so my feelings won't be hurt if you don't sit through this one. :) I did my best to make the ideas and puzzles fun for people that don't have deep knowledge of this stuff but are interested.

SIGBOVIK was also live-streamed, so for the first time we have a mediocre recording of all the talks if you want to tune in after the fact too. My talk's at 1:22:00, and it's more bite-sized than the above.

Also, I must say: The conference this year was excellent, perhaps the best ever. The conference hall was packed; the overall quality of work was very high; the proceedings is thick with really interesting stuff (interspersed with the requisite juvenilia), and the talks were well-prepared and didn't drag on, thanks partly to the new timer system. It's pretty crazy how this conference has a life of its own now; almost nobody from the original group is organizing or even writing papers for it. We may even be getting to the point where we have to be selective about what we print..???
Categories:  hacks  sigbovik (13 comments — 3 weeks ago)   [ comment ]
Entries from February 2017
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SIGBOVIK cometh (28 Feb at 20:53)
Oh goodness, months since anything to share. I really am working on this SIGBOVIK project for the impending deadline (and if you have anything you'd like to contribute, now is the time to get serious), even taking some vacation days later this week to finish. It's in that awkward state where I've put months of work into it, but I'm running out of time and might not get everything I dreamed of done, but I'm far enough along that I really ought to finish it for this conference. But this is what deadlines are so good at.
(10 comments — almost 2 months ago)   [ comment ]
Entries from January 2017
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Feeling the Berne (31 Jan at 21:21)
Hello, three remaining readers of my dwindling weblog. It's not late at night but it feels that way, because I just returned from a work trip / vacation combo in Switzerland. We went to Zurich, Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch, and Berne. I almost fell asleep before jerking awake with alarm that I had not posted this month, but I think I'm too tired to write anything interesting about the trip, and my ongoing secret project is still secret, so I guess this is just another apology post. Probably needs a category tag, or perhaps everything else should have a not-apology tag so that these can be avoided.

Updated with this Vacation Photo to make the post less boring:
Alps and scalps
Alps and scalps
It's of course impossible to capture the majesty in photographs, and this one is not even good, but it was towards the top of my hike/run up the mountain called Schwarzhorn. The peak behind me is Wetterhorn. Most mountains are named after horns or eggs. For example there is Kleine Scheidegg. Since Scheide is "stealth", I think this means "little stealth mountain."
(9 comments — 3 months ago)   [ comment ]
Entries from December 2016
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A little spot of bloggy (31 Dec 2016 at 21:01)
Hey team! Another quiet month. The only interesting thing that happened to me is that as the temperature reached 9°F two weeks ago, I woke up to find that my house's boiler had failed. I have hot water heat, so this meant that my house was completely without heat or showers. While allegedly a superior method of heating the house, hot water radiators have a serious design issue now extra familiar to me, which is that if they fail, then the natural next step is for the cold water radiator pipes running through your floorboards to become ice radiator pipes, and when the hot water is reinstated at the emergency price of $10,400, the pipes are invigorated with the pressure of hot water and slipping ice plugs, and explode, creating copious ceiling waters. (This is despite me taking precautionary system-draining steps as the house's temperature dropped—there are just some pipes that are nearly external due to poor insulation.) So if you have a house that was built less than 100 years ago or have forced air or some other heat, please take this moment to ha-ha me. Oh and then ha-ha again that due to what was apparently a configuration error, the new boiler entered a lockout mode while I was on vacation in Connecticut, so I helplessly watched the temperature fall on my Nest app all of Christmas Eve day, imagining that all the while new ceiling floods were filling the house with liquid water. Ugh! Big ups to Reed, who thankfully was still in town, and drove over to turn the thing off and verify the floor water level at 0.

I did get to make a project out of it, since I'm going to try to insulate one of the especially prone pipes (as I can see that this is not the first burst!) using some overly complicated or labor-intensive approach, i.e., Tom style.

Oh I also made a 3D printed present for my nephew, trying to take literally his Christmas request, but now it's too late for me to upload that thing cuz I gotta to go this NYE party.

The hacking project I mentioned in last month's resignation is turning out to be harder than I thought, but in a good way. I think it's interesting enough to become a video, so stay tuned. Happy 2017!
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