Day of Interruptions
Posted in General
Last dog watch, 2 bells (7:10 pm)

It was hard to get things done today, I was pulled in too many directions. I shouldn't say I didn't get anything done, though, because I solved a problem we've been working on for a while now in automating website deployment.

Now that I'm home, and have a nice meal in me, I'm less grumpy. Not totally without grump, but less.

Working on a problem in my MUD project, and I don't think a namespace will solve it now. I was hopeful, but there are some odd issues I can't find solutions for.-

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Sarah and Frank’s Wedding
Posted in General
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:12 pm)

Yesterday I officiated at Sarah and Frank's wedding. They got married on a boat on Lake Coeur d'Alene. It was my first time officiating at a wedding. No one's ever asked before.

Sarah had these awesome GIR shoes on, but you couldn't really see them under her dress. She also played Twister—in her dress. For some inexplicable reason, she's always wanted to do that. I have a picture of the shoes on my camera at home, I'll try to pull it down tonight if I have time.

Despite my being on a boat, I refrained from any and all pirate references during the wedding. Not a single "aye" or "arrr."

Tomorrow they're off to Norway. How cool is that? Honeymoon in Norway. Eating reindeer.

When I asked Frank if, after he returned, would he be pining for the fjords, his answer was an emphatic yes!

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-28
Posted in Twitter
First watch, 8 bells (12:03 am)
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Amish Friendship Bread
First watch, 5 bells (10:42 pm)

My mom passed an "Amish Friendship Bread" starter to me several days ago. I ended up cooking the "Amish Friendship Bread" yesterday.

I have some observations about the recipe. First off, I have a photocopied page of a computer-generated recipe. I've seen some pretty complicated, hand-crafted models of computer memory made of wood, but I'm pretty sure it didn't support clip art.

Nextly, the recipe absolutely forbids you to mix in a metal bowl. I can only assume this is because metal is the Devil's technology. I'm pretty sure His High Popeness' royal haberdasher himself may have, at one time, brushed up against my KitchenAid mixer though, so I think it's okay. I used it anyway.

The page also states that "only the Amish know how to create a starter." I happen to have an internet somewhere around here that says otherwise. The recipe calls for a box of instant vanilla pudding, so I suppose the Amish grind their own pudding mix from vanilla pudding tree roots or something.

My favorite part has to be the starter though. After ten days of "mashing" and adding milk, sugar, and flour, you get to split the starter off and hand it to your friends, the Amish equivalent of those annoying email chain letters you have to forward to ten people or something bad will happen to you. The funny thing is you add more ingredients to the starter, measure out several cups (each one for a friend), and then you use what's left for the bread. The starters you hand off are reset to day one. So you're making the "Amish Friendship Bread" with day one starter. Had I read the entire recipe through when I got it, I may have just cooked the thing right up, because it needs no time to ferment.

According to Wikipedia, the source of all truth and knowledge in the universe (cf. the article), there's nothing Amish about "Amish Friendship Bread." But the thing about the metal makes it sound kind of official. Official like that Bill Gates Email Tracking Software reward that you never got.

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Woot’s Oreo Cereal Recipe
First watch, 4 bells (10:06 pm)

I laugh, hard, every time I listen to Woot's Oreo Cereal Recipe podcast. It's only three and a half minutes. I guarantee it might make you laugh. If you didn't like it, get off the Internet, we don't want you here.

Every weekday they podcast a new song about the day's sale item. They're nearly always funny.

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Games Games Games
Posted in Hobbies
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:18 am)

Last night Lorien and I stayed up late playing Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot and Munchkin.

I just signed up for the Game Design Concepts course online (it's free!).

Also, just talked to Lorien about attending Penny Arcade Expo 2009 in Seattle this September.

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Service Outage
Posted in General
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:45 pm)

My office has a 10mb fiberoptic connection to the Internet. On most days. Today at 8:15am it went down (and so did this site), and it didn't come up for seven hours.

In the end, it was a squirrel—an evil death-squirrel with nasty, big pointy teeth. Apparently this morning a squirrel chewed through the only above-ground non-redundant fiberoptic cable in the city.

What drives a squirrel to do something crazy like this? My cow-orker John says "female squirrels."

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Caught by Google Street View
Posted in Strangeness
Afternoon watch, 7 bells (3:51 pm)

Go read this short article about robbers caught on Google Street View.

Now think real hard about the second-to-last paragraph:

The company complied, and a robbery squad detective immediately recognised one of the twins.

I'm a bit surprised that only one of the twins was recognized…

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Alastair Reynolds: 10 More Books!
Posted in Books
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:00 pm)

Alastair Reynolds, one of my absolute favorite modern-day science fiction writers, just signed a 10 book contract. Woohoo!

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Keep Being Awesome
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:26 am)

Vegan support group vs. Carnivore support group

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Taco Taco Taco
Posted in General
Forenoon watch, 1 bell (8:55 am)

It's time for Taco Trucks! Make your own! Eat them up!

Warning: Taco trucks made entirely of stuff in your printer. Which is awesome.

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State of the MUD
Posted in MUD Development
First watch, 4 bells (10:10 pm)

I've done just a little work today on my ongoing MUD project. I fixed a small problem this evening that shows up if you enable MySQL but don't have proper permissions configured. In that case, the server just quits—no coredump, no error message, nothing. So I fixed that case.

Overall, I'm quite proud of how well it runs. The socket code is first rate rock solid stable. It should be, I've rewritten it enough times now. After this weekend's work, the binary size just topped 6mb, but that's with all the debugging symbols. If I strip them out, it's only about 650kb. I'm right around 15,000 lines of code. Wow, did I get that right? I can hardly believe it's at 15k. Almost a full third of that (over 4500 lines) is devoted to commands alone.

The only thing I'm not happy with right now is how Windows telnet connects to the server. Windows telnet does something funky with the way it sends data and I haven't quite got it working right. It still connects, but it does weird things. Every other telnet or MUD client (zMUD, cMUD, etc) that I've tested with it work great.

I generate some fantastic documentation via Doxygen (view it here). Currently the server only runs under Linux/UNIX machines (in theory it should run fine on a Mac assuming you have a development environment with the proper libraries, but I don't have one to test it on). As I make more use of cross-platform libraries like Boost this may change, but I'm not porting it to Windows on purpose.

My future development roadmap is in my head, and largely consists of the next feature: maps. I've designed a drop-in directory style zone system so it's easy to add/copy zones. A zone could be the entire world or a single hut. Each zone will support a map with a legend (although they're not required). An ASCII map of the local area, optionally coloured, will be available to each client based on their current location. A key will also be written out explaining the map if a key is available. Much of the foundation has already been laid for this map system. In ten to twenty more hours of development I should have it fully integrated and working.

After the map feature, things get a little fuzzy. I may implement more objects, and probably several more commands. Mobiles and AI are on the list, but still require some careful planning before I start work on them. One thing at a time, I guess.

PS If you want to see how Doxygen generates complex dependency graphs, I would recommend this file.

Ironman Day
Posted in General
First watch, 3 bells (9:39 pm)

It's the annual Coeur d'Alene Ironman thing today. You can't pay me enough to attempt to get downtown on a day like this. Lorien loves it. I hate not being able to park anywhere. And the crowds, *shudder*. Her parents' B&B is only about four blocks from the finish line. I'm sure that they're down there right now cheering people on.

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Happy Father’s Day
Posted in General
First watch, 2 bells (9:17 pm)

Happy Father's Day, dad!

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Sourdough Revisted
Posted in General
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:08 am)

My latest loaf of sourdough bread just came out of the oven. This time I baked it inside a dutch (cast iron) oven, inside the oven. The crust is much better, the bread is cooked throughout perfectly, and on the whole retained more moisture than it usually does. It's fluffy and sour and just perfect. I'm going to be getting a lot of mileage out of this dutch oven. This time I preheated the ovens together to 400 degrees, then when everything was good and hot, turned the oven down to 375 and put the dough in for 30 minutes. I had some splitting of the top this time, but I also forgot to score the top of the loaf with a knife before baking. I don't know if this would have prevented the splits, but it's worth noting.