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Entries from May 2017
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New applications of paint (31 May at 17:43)
Ha! This month I remembered to post on time. Nothing that interesting to share yet, but I continue to make progress on my game project (getting over some of the annoying and frustrating hurdles like making the somewhat unique physics work well), and had a couple new weird applications of computers ideas that I played around with and that might become something but who knows. I'm also the kind of person now who spends a long weekend organizing his basement. For example, there was this gross old rusty metal cabinet down there,
The cabinet was fixed by closing it
The cabinet was fixed by closing it


just covered in this disease-like rust, and I spent rather a long time sanding it down and repainting it in a tastefully selected tri-tone and then painting it again when the rust disease just poked grossly through the paint right away, like four times. And then I realized that the shelves are not actually good for storing the kind of hoard of miscellaneous electronics bits and other weird parts that I might use for something someday, so I started making some unreasonably nice wood boxes to put in the shelves, and that's what I was up to yesterday evening. And this is in like a spider-webby moist corner of my basement. Meanwhile I have like a pile of clothes in a bag on the floor of my bedroom that I still haven't put away since moving in. Difficult-to-justify prioritization, evidence of eccentricity, and such.

I played a couple of video games recently, and one that I really liked was called Environmental Station Alpha. It is mostly a straightforward Metroid-style game (with even some blatant inspiration/homages), but for me it had a nice difficulty curve and just the right balance of abusable bugs, as well as some great music and weird secrets. (The depth of different endings and things you can do if you really get into the game is quite impressive.) That was one of my favorites in recent memory, and if anybody has recommendations in that vein I'd be delighted to hear 'em. I didn't write a review of this one yet, but I do write a fair number of reviews on Steam (here's my reviews page).

Tonight I am going to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals! :) Let's go Pittsburgh!
(3 comments — 3 days ago)   [ comment ]
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. :)
(2 comments — almost 4 weeks ago)   [ comment ]
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 — almost 2 months 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 3 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 — 4 months ago)   [ comment ]
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