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EOY 2018 (31 Dec 2018 at 18:13)
2018 is finally over! And good riddance. It was a fine year for me, but globally (as you know), pretty garbage. Let's do better in 2019.

I've been on a bit of a chess kick this year, I think because I started watching chess videos on youtube when on the treadmill or eating lunch (I like agadmator's channel best). Not so much playing—although I can now at least often beat Stockfish level 5—more like puzzles (lichess has a really cool feature where it automatically discovers puzzles in people's games and can give you an endless stream of them) and appreciating wizardly play. But I spent a bunch of free time this month doing some chess programming stuff for fun, and wrote two SIGBOVIK papers for next year on the topic, with a third on the way.

The third one is a (weird/useless as usual) machine learning idea, which I spent the last few days on, and it's reminding me how frustrating this kind of work can be. The problem is that you can have a reasonable idea, implement it correctly, spend a bunch of effort on performance tuning, wait hours or days for it to do its thing, and then it just doesn't work well, and all you've really got to look at are a bunch of numbers. I'm sure it's possible to be better at the iterations that follow, but I find it easy to get stuck in a not-very-fun rut at that point. I felt a lot like that working on followups for my NES "AI" stuff earlier this year (although I do at least have some nice progress there that I hope I can figure out how to make into a video). It can be very satisfying when it works, and of course machine learning can often be made to work, but I get a similar kind of satisfaction out of projects that are more likely to succeed without this last step that seems kind of magical or like luck; stuff like ABC or even just making video games. So, reminder to myself to choose projects that are more fun, especially if they are useless anyway! People will like, pay you big bucks to toil away tweaking machine learning models.

Speaking of video games, I also spent way too much time on Battlefield V this month. That series' multiplayer system really expertly manipulates the reward circuitry of my brain, and although I previously banned myself from multiplayer in this kind of game, I was rather in the mood for a good FPS game due to a persistent post-Thanksgiving cold, and after some long/stressful days at work, but I couldn't find any alternatives. Seems like nobody even really makes single-player shooters any more (perhaps noticing how commercially successful the contentless wastelands of games like PUBG are? Let the customers do the work!). So I unwisely lifted the ban. 100 hours later I've exhausted the fun achievements and all that seems to be left is "kill 999 nazis using the gun that you hate, while crouching at an objective point, only shooting them below the knee, in the same life" stuff to unlock a new color of trigger guard on the gun that you hate, so it's not that motivating. So hopefully I will rid myself of this game soon. (The game is good, especially the graphics, but it's extremely buggy and honestly feels like a step backwards from Battlefield 3 in lots of ways.) There are lots of good artful indie games in my queue that are much more enriching to play, anyway!

OK, that is all. Happy New Year!
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jonas (176.63.14.142) – 12.31.18 18:30:01
Happy New Year! SIGBOVIK reminds me that a new IOCCC contest has started, the submission deadline is on 2019-03-15.
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Adhesion (73.238.153.49) – 01.01.19 16:46:43
"Seems like nobody even really makes single-player shooters any more" - not totally true thankfully! Guessing you already played it but DOOM 2016 was extraordinarily good, and it's getting a sequel. Titanfall 2 from a couple years ago was great too. Also I can't help but plug Earth Defense Force 5 (has multiplayer but it's just coop) which is just stupidly fun.
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Tom 7 (74.109.249.95) – 01.01.19 20:22:01
Given another two cups of coffee and a night to sleep on it, it turns out it was just NaN poisoning and now it's basically working. :)

J: Oh thanks! I have always wanted to enter IOCCC but for a long time it wasn't even running, and I guess I keep forgetting that it
Maybe that's enough time for me to put something together. Will think about it.

A: I did play DOOM 2016, it was good. I think the new Wolfenstein games were both very strong too, as well as Prey... that's basically the kind of thing I'm looking for. Titanfall looks like it might be up my alley; I think I probably missed it because it's not on Steam. Thanks for the rec!
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Anonymous (72.132.83.121) – 01.07.19 11:54:57
You need a life buddy!!
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Brendan (199.223.124.148) – 01.07.19 15:04:39
We all need life buddies, Anonymous.
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A. A. (108.246.96.244) – 01.07.19 18:31:36
Since they don't make them like they used to, why not just play the classics? Surely you haven't played them all. I'm finally getting around to finishing the first half life.
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Anonymous (139.194.10.17) – 01.13.19 11:20:43
damn I expected people arguing over trump in the comment section but I guess it was shooters that were more exciting lmao
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Bill Rowe (50.248.36.174) – 01.17.19 17:17:29
Tom: I read your ABC paper via hackaday - wonderful all the way through. Where does LLVMNOP live?
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Bill Rowe (172.98.67.71) – 01.17.19 18:51:52
Tom: I read your ABC paper via hackaday - wonderful all the way through. Where does LLVMNOP live?
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Tom 7 (74.109.249.95) – 01.17.19 22:39:05
It's not a standalone thing; it's just part of the compiler internals. Definition here:
sourceforge.net/p/tom7misc/svn/HEAD/tree/trunk/abc/asm.sml

the toasm phase generates it, and the tox86 phase consumes it. Glad you enjoyed the paper! :)
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