2009 Oct 01 peach

Guy Blade Guy Blade---02:58:00

On Hexes
Mono, the .NET environment in which XPost is written, has a large number of handy libraries that have been written for it over the past few years. Many of these libraries provide invaluable services such as GTK compatibility. Others are more like novelties. One such novelty is the Curses binding set. They allow you to program console things using the .NET framework. Obviously, this has little true use, however, since XPost was already written in Mono/.NET, it provides a decent way to get a command-line client for blog posting.

Unfortunately, the MonoCurses environment has a lot lacking. Firstly, there is basically no documentation. Figuring out how it works essentially requires you to read the source code to see what it is doing with each of the widgets that have been provided. Luckily, the sum total of code for the entire UI framework is on the order of a few klocs, and most classes are more like 50-100 lines. The second issue is that there are some outright lies in the inline documentation. For instance, the inline documentation states that the Move(y,x) function, when called by a container, is relative to the upper left corner of the container. This is a complete lie. Move always works in absolute coordinates. Thirdly, the provided framework lacked a multi-line editing widget. Obviously, such a thing was required in order to make a blogging tool work, so I got to roll my own. This task wasn't so much difficult as it was complex. There were many things that had to be done very precisely else the whole experiences would be terrible. My multi-line editing widget is larger (in lines of code) than any provided widget by about 100%. Fourthly, there are many things which require precise incantations to prevent crashes. The example here is removing a widget from a container. It would seem the simple way would be to simply remove it from its parent using the Remove method. However, doing so results in the program crashing when you attempt to move to the next widget via tab. Instead, you must mark the widget to be removed as unfocusable, tell the parent to set the focus on the next available widget, then remove the widget. This is excessively tedious for something that should be a one-liner. Finally, the renderers for certain widgets seem to do bizarre things without explaination. The ListView widget (which I use for listing the blogs to be included during posting) apparently renders about 6 lines worth of garbage after it finishes listing the items in the list view. I can find no cause for this. I have disabled my custom renderer for it, but find that whenever the ListView renderer is called, this behavior manifests. I find it quite annoying.

Regardless, I have a minimally functional XPost client right now that runs in the happy safety of a console. The next step is to add support for the various configuration options (such as adding blogs).

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2009 Sep 30 peach

Guy Blade Guy Blade---20:42:00

XPost Curses Test Post
This is only a test.

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2009 Sep 29 namine

Guy Blade Guy Blade---08:12:00

Homecoming Report
So, last Thursday, I left for Indianapolis for homecoming. I arrived in Indy at about 5pm local and met my father. He and I went out for dinner to a nearby Outback and talked about this and that. Mainly, we talked about my future job plans and education. I'm not really sure why my father insists on meeting with me every homecoming, but it is not terribly inconvienent, so I don't mind.

I then headed directly for the Theta Xi house in Terre Haute. It was pretty quiet there, being Thursday, but a few people were already there: Luke, Curtis. We ended up wandering to Steak 'n Shake. Thursday was, frankly, pretty uneventful.

Friday was a bit interesting. Chansky had shown up by then and we ended up going to Crazy Buffet for lunch based on a "shake to pick a restaurant" iPhone app of Curtis'. This led us to eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet that had sushi and chicken nuggets bother offered. The more interesting part was the used game store that was adjacent to the buffet. The three of us (K-990, K-991, me) ended up browsing and finding various things. I picked up a Genesis and P.N.03. Curtis picked up about a half dozen random games as well. We also decided that the house needed better video games in the inactive room. As such, we purchased a Gamecube, 4 controllers, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a memory card. These were appropriately labeled with our roll numbers and then set up in the inactive room. Both the 3 of us as well as many others ended up spending a great deal of time playing it over the weekend. Since the total cost was $60 spread amongst the three of us, I would consider it a very good intestment. It certainly provided at least $20 worth of entertainment for me.

Later Friday, we had the alumni dinner. It was good times. I got to see Dante and Krall who I hadn't seen lately as well as yelling at the actives for not using my previous year's donation as I had ordered. Hopefully, they've chosen to follow my instructions now.

Saturday was a bit more laid back. In the afternoon, I ended up going to see the movie Inglorious Bastards with Trevor and Thom. It was, in fact, quite amazing, and I would recommend it to everyone. Afterward, several of us played a game of Dominion (I ended up playing 4 or 5 games during the weekend and only had to teach it to two people. This was pretty handy) before heading to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. The burger joint was acceptable, but we had to hurry because the alumni meeting was supposed to start at 8pm. Upon arriving back at the house, we quickly found out that the alumni officers are slaps and weren't even there to start at 8. We ended up starting later, but Phil had already left to do his radio show and Thom and I ended up leaving half an hour into the meeting in order to get to our own show. Great job, guys.

That leads, of course, to the 004 show. Our yearly homecoming show went very well. It started with Phil, Thom and myself along with periodic commentary by Katie (the person whose show time slot we were stealing) and two random people from 004. Eventually, we got both Greg and Imani also on the air via telephone which was fun. I have no idea where Andrew was (we'd tried to contact him via text message to no avail). Incidentally, the show is currently available on the website. The "final" version is currently encoding and will probably be available before I finish writing up this post. Apparently, whoever is currently the WMHD sysadmin has screwed up the levels on the ogg stream output because it needed a big gain boost (+9db) in order to be undestandable...

After the show, Thom, Phil, and I went to Steak 'n Shake where we were massively disappointed by their being out of shakes. It is one of the two items in their name; they should never be out of it.

I ended up doing not much at the house after that and crashed on the couch in the inactive room for a few hours. I then woke up at about 3am local and ended up talking with Tookie until like 7 in the morning about this and that. Then, there were a few more hours of sleep before waking up and going to First Wok. After food, there was yet more sleeping for me. Upon waking again, there was gaming and more food. The day ended with Flanders, Meiser, Chansky and myself going to see District 9. It was also a quite good movie though of very different kind.

By the end of that movie, it was already midnight Sunday with me needing to leave for the airport at 5am. I got some lousy sleep in the inactive room before driving back to IND and flying home.

All in all, it was a very good homecoming. I had previously been concerned about whether or not I'd come back next year since, from my perspective, there will be almost no one left at the Theta Xi house who were there when I was there. Nevertheless, it seems like there will continue to be many of my friends returning at least for the forseeable future. As such, I intend to return next year.

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2009 Sep 17 rinoa

Guy Blade Guy Blade---06:48:00

What is the worth of a human
Late last week, I finished Too Human. I feel...conflicted about the game. In terms of gameplay, it had serious issues: there is no way to manipulate the camera, the attack system is just this side of worthless, the enemies are autoleveled such that they take forever to kill, some status ailments are guaranteed kills, the only penalty for death is an annoyingly long cutscene plus some item damage, items take damage, etc. On the other hand, I find the world and its aesthetic fascinating. The basic theory is that in some post-apocalypic future, a group of people have been biologically enhanced so as to become Norse-themed gods. As such, your soldiers think of you as a god, valkyrie--in this case in futuristic armor with wings like one might see in a mech anime--take dead soldiers from the battlefield, and all of the Aesir talk with overly theatric language (that somehow works quite well in the world). Perhaps the most welldone part is the idea of the fairy realm: rather than having a literal land of fae, they have cyberspace which has evolved to be similar with sentient AIs and its own completely seperate visual design from the metallic cold real world.

I suppose ultimately, I cannot recommend the game--it just isn't very fun. Nevertheless, I hope for a (much better) sequel so that the universe can be explored further. If not, I might have to run an RPG game set it in at some point...

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2009 Sep 13 peach

Guy Blade Guy Blade---12:15:00

I can feel it dying
I'm watching C-SPAN. This is something that I do rather often. Currently, they are replaying footage from the "Taxpayer March on Washington" which was a conservative gathering in DC earlier today which generally was protesting Obama's policies vis-a-vis health care, bailouts and other topical issues. Though I disagree with much of what is being said, it remains interesting due to the "seeing the other side" aspect. Said feeling came to a halt like a car hitting a brick wall when the introduced Hi-Caliber as "the only right-wing hip hop artist in America". Listening to a lousy white rapper touting the benefits of right-wing ideology was too much. I could feel the part of me that doesn't actively hate all of humanity slowly dying. I decided to watch something else.

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2009 Sep 09 peach

Guy Blade Guy Blade---08:47:00

Late planning
I just booked my flight back to Indy for homecoming. I'm going to end up taking like 3 days off for the whole thing because the only reasonable flights into Indy leave LAX at like 6-9am. Similarly, the only reasonable flights out of IND are at like 7am, so I'll be flying back on Monday. Regardless, I expect to arrange a 004 show even if it'll just be Tom and I and maybe Phil fielding it. Since I finally broke down and got a Skype account, I'll probably be using it in order to pipe in any "remote" people who might be involved. Either that, or we can just patch in real telephones.

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