Anyone Remember M.U.L.E.?
Posted in Code
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:06 pm)

I played the heck out of this game called M.U.L.E. back in they heyday of the Commodore 64. There have been a few "tributes" to it, but I haven't found any good substitute for the original version played on a C64 emulator (yuck!).

So in the DIY spirit, I've decided to make my own:
SMA, a M.U.L.E. clone

And come on, you can't beat the name I picked out…

Hopefully this goes a bit faster than my other code projects (I never give up on them, just stop working on them for an unspecified amount of time).

A friend of mine is great at doing graphics, and he digs the game, too. I'll do the back-end work for clients (in Qt for cross-platform playability), and write an Internet server, something nobody's ever gotten around to.

This is in the very early prototype phase with only placeholder graphics and a very rudimentary interface (I just learned how to do this stuff in Qt!). I'll publish more updates as they become available.

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Odd Hours
Middle watch, 7 bells (3:46 am)

I hate being at work at these odd hours…

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Deadly Lawn Games
First dog watch, 4 bells (6:03 pm)

Did you know that Lawn Darts have officially been banned in the US and Canada? Apparently too many people were too stupid to not throw them at each other.

It's always the stupid ones that ruin it for the rest of us.

I was going to make a comment about thwarting Darwinism and how we're polluting our gene pool, but it sounded a little insensitive.

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Fixed the Comment Engine
Posted in Tech
Middle watch, 1 bell (12:48 am)

I fixed my comment engine—didn't even realize it wasn't working! Somebody should have left a comment letting me know…

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Ouch Time
First watch, 8 bells (12:01 am)

We were almost done with the work in the master bathroom, to the point of putting up our chair moulding, when Lorien dropped my construction level on her bare toe and split her big toenail in half. It was bleeding for a while, but seems to have slowed down. We'll get it looked at tomorrow at the immediate care place down the road. So what did we learn tonight? Lorien learned about heavy metal objects with potential energy vs. bare toes. I learned that if you have a problem don't bother calling the hospital because they don't give out advice.

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Rainbows!
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Forenoon watch, 1 bell (8:58 am)

Giant rainbow in Post FallsYesterday we almost had some serious thunderstorms (I could hear some thunder in the distance, anyway), but just before sunset, directly out from my bay window, a giant rainbow appeared. You can just barely see the second, piggyback rainbow to the left of it, too.

Rainbow in Mandarin Chinese is: 彩虹 (cai3 hong2). The first character, cai (the 'c' is pronounced with a ts sound, cai rhymes with the English word 'die'), means color. The second one, hong according to Zhongwen.com suggests a snake-like meaning and is pronounced with a long 'o', like in 'home'. I've only seen hong around the word rainbow, or neon (Mandarin: 霓虹, pronounced ni2 hong2).

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October Trip
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 7 bells (3:41 pm)

Woohoo I'm going to ZendCon in San Francisco this October. It ought to be a very interesting conference, and a fun trip on the side. Can't wait to hit SF's Chinatown…

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Book Experiment
Posted in Books
First watch, 4 bells (10:29 pm)

I just ran across the BookMooch Journal Project and am very tempted to start my own. I think it's a neat idea and am working on a theme for it. Perhaps I'll start Friday.

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Up Too Late
Posted in General
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:12 am)

I had to stay up last night with Lorien so she could finish reading (out loud) the last Harry Potter book. She seemed to have the idea that it would only take a couple of hours, but it took eight. I finally crawled in to bed this morning at 4am, at which time the sky was already getting lighter. I'm running on a little over three hours of sleep today. Not one of my best days…

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Octothorpe
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:12 pm)

I'm reading a technical manual right now (php|architect's Zend PHP 5 Certification Guide), and am getting quite annoyed by the author. Aside from the mistakes he makes regularly (the word errata never occurs in the manual—I checked the PDF version), he also uses some odd words, such as octothorpe:

By convention, the forward slash is used for this purpose—although, for example, another character like the octothorpe is sometimes used when dealing with pathnames or URLs.

(This quote is in reference to the delimiters around a regular expression).

No explanation comes along with this odd word. I had to look it up. Turns out an octothorpe is a #. The author could have tucked that gem in next to the word like this:

another character like the octothorpe (#) is sometimes…

without changing his page count, and it would have made him seem a bit less pretentious.

My advice? If you use an odd word like octothorpe, let people know what you're talking about. Especially when there seems to be a lot of different ideas about the etymology of the word (and even its spelling) in the first place.

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AJAX Uplift
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:36 pm)

Well, I finished working on the trouble parts of my new Invader Zim sound page, all searches and requests are processed via AJAX and returned JSON-encoded. I believe I have the Internet's only AJAX Invader Zim sound page. Probably not much of a claim to fame, but it's all I got…

Not much on graphics (I never have been terribly good at them), but the workings are great. Plus it's way faster than the old page ever was.

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Friends Over
Posted in General
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:09 am)

Last night we had Ellie and Wade Sutton over for a few games of majiang. I'm glad they moved back into the area, they're pretty fun to hang out with. Plus, Wade knows the Stratford family from Beijing and I had some great stories to tell him. I hope we get to do this more often.

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AJAX Search
Posted in Tech
Morning watch, 5 bells (6:46 am)

I've been working on an AJAX version of my Invader Zim site, where all the searches are done using AJAX and JSON. It doesn't work with Internet Explorer for some reason (I'll figure it out sooner or later), but if you use Firefox, go check it out, it's pretty cool.

23 July update: I fixed the Explorer problem and now the main site has been updated to the AJAX version.

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A Long Night
Morning watch, 2 bells (5:04 am)

This past evening, just as I was retiring to bed in the midst of a wild thunderstorm, my alarms went off telling me that the office was on battery backup—a power outage: an IT person's worst nightmare.

The office lost power at 12:05am, and it came back up at exactly 4:20am. I know because I was here the whole time, waiting for power to be restored. My UPS systems kept our servers up long enough for me to be able to drive to the office and shut them down cleanly (what more can you ask, really?). With the reduced load, our network switches and email router stayed up for almost 3 hours on battery power.

Anyhow, I have just completed starting up all the servers and checking to make sure things are running smooth. I predict a nap in the very near future…

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Let’s Get It Over With
Posted in News
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:55 am)
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