Yesterday I received the books I've ordered but a short week before. Except for some problems finding my way to the post-office everything went as smooth as always, though amazon didn't include enough of those handy sticky labels to go around, and the two they included had been scribbled on.
Here's the books: Candide, Creating Unforgettable Characters, Cryptonomicon, Design Patterns, Dilbert: Anti-business, Anti-idiot, Dilbert: Don't Step in the Leadership, Dilbert: Random Acts of Management, The Demon-haunted World, The Gods Trilogy: Pyramids / Small Gods / Hogfather, The Mind of the Bible Believer and Where Wizards Stay Up Late.
First of all, I've gotten myself, with a little help of a friend, a good paying job as a programmer. To do this, I had to relocate, which I did. Of course, everything couldn't be all happy joy, I had to get myself sick with tonsillitis and an ear infection. My first day was hell, where I sat at my new desk with extreme fever, almost unable to stay awake. Then I had to take a couple of days off to recuperate enough to be able to go back at all. Not the start one would wish oneself on a new job. I'm currently doing penicillin, but I'll probably have to go see a doctor again because I believe I've got a plug of wax in my left ear and it's real irritating, not being able to hear 100% and all that. In fact, it's incredibly irritating!
Let's see... I bought BG2, but haven't found the time to play it very much yet. Something to look forward to, I guess.
With my newfound "wealth" I found myself surfing Amazon. I know, I know, one should boycott them. Unfortunately I don't know of a better place to buy my books from, so they'll have to do for now. Anyway, I'm probably gonna spend thousands of SEK there in a month or so as my list of books to buy is extremely long. I'll make sure to make a note of which books I bought when I get them. Unfortunately I didn't bring the scanner with me as I moved, so I'm not quite sure how my review-page is gonna work out. Hmm... could scan them at work probably.
I'm sitting here waiting for part one in the BBC series about dinosaurs, where they've used CG to recreate ancient earth as we know it. Could be pretty cool. I'm sure creationists everywhere is holding their hands over their ears, chanting "isn't so!" :-)
Well, I know I had a million things to write down here, but now I can't think of a single thing to add. How typical, eh?
Howdy folks! We'll I'm sure surprised to be writing here again, but I thought, what the hell, might aswell. You see, I've been in a good mood this month. Not that I have any real reason, but in part it's because I know I've learned a whole lot of new stuff these past weeks. First of all I've done away with the NT4 server and installed Slackware on it. Why I did not do this earlier I will never know, for now I have a true server installation, no more crap having to run win32 apache or a local version of MySQL (how are you supposed to do maintenance on a NT4 box?!). Setting it all up was surprisingly easy actually, and the new installation will do everything the old NT-installation did and more... and better... and faster. I've always thought named would be hell to set up, but it wasn't so hard. Sure, my local network isn't very big, but anyway. Even got the token-ring net running after some fiddling with the source of the ibm-tr driver which wouldn't load because it couldn't autodetect the ring-speed. I've even installed validator.w3.org on the server, so I can simply and quickly validate my HTML right away. I'm gonna become the worst gawd-damned HTML-purist you've ever heard about :-)
Played a session of Planescape: Torment a days ago. I haven't completed it yet but I'm very, very close. One more session and I'll have done it and can finally uninstall it.
On that topic, I must make a little rant on the soon to be released Baldur's Gate II. You see, once in a time the developers said that they'd hold back on information so that we (the players) would be surprised and get.. well, more out of the game. Now, their definition of 'hold back' must differ quite a lot from mine, because not a day goes by without someone releasing new screenshots or information on the classes, items and monsters. Just recently they went from "dragons may be in" to "dragons are in" showing off screenshots and all. Maybe it went the other way around, and they had to admit to adding in the dragons because someone released the screenshots, I don't know. But be that as it may, I still think they talk way to much. I hate hype-building, it's completely unnecessary. The facts will do nicely, thank you. What I want to read about are improvements to the engine, information about the development process and such -- all of which can be discussed without revealing anything specific about items, plots, etc.
Another related rant that I feel that I must let go of is the apparent fixation by some on a games graphics. I go and check out vooodoo-extreme almost daily, and if you read their excerpts and quotes you will notice that they almost always focus on the graphics. So boooring. Also, did I notice that their page is completely bloated and that it doesn't validate? Guess I should be glad it renders at all. <sigh>
I've decided to take on a more professional attitute to my fidonetting. Not sure how long that will last, but I will try to be more precise and more correct in my discussions on technical matters, and I must accept that winning isn't everything -- it's how much knowledge is passed between the participants that really matters. I might be without a belief in gods, but my view the collection and sharing of knowledge is what matters just grows stronger, especially since I have no intention of ever procreating. Sure, I might change on that too, but I find it unlikely.
What didn't happen this last month? Well, for one I haven't coded anything on my two C++ projects (both of which are top-secret ;-), which is kind of a drag, but I just couldn't force myself to it when there were so many other things to do and learn about.
One of my friends lost his drivers-licence, and for a looong time. He won't tell me what he did, but I guess it must be something bad. I just hope it didn't involve any alcohol, because that'd be a bummer. Anyway, he bought a scooter/whatever instead and seems quite happy with it. I find it kind of amusing because I have another friend (<gasps are heard from the audience>) who owns a moped and has used it for getting to work for a long time, and this other friend has always knocked him for it, mocking it's speed and such. How ones opinon on things change when one lose ones own license, eh? :-)
I'm pretty sure I've forgotten a lot of the things I originally wanted to rant about. Darn, if I don't write it down I just forget it, same old story. Guess it will have to wait till the next time. I promise not to be too long this time, maybe a new rant-o-session(TM) next month.
Oh, one more thing. I would like to thank the local sysadmin for giving me space on his server and for being responsive to my questions. Thank you Jonas!
Again, not updated. Gee, so much has happened, and at the same time, nothing has changed. Maybe if I updated a little more often, this section would be meaningful? Bleeech.
Not updated. :-)
"The wheel of time turns, and ages come and [...]". It's been a year since I started this section of my site. A whole year. Picture that. Anyway, on the reading front I've been laying some of the fact-based books aside to slowly digest the eighth book in the Wheel of Time series. I can also report that I've gotten my records, got the last one two days ago. So, now the only thing I'm waiting for is my burner. Yes, it is true, I haven't gotten it yet! I've contacted the main distributor and according to them the drive is not in distribution as of yet, but will be in two weeks. Incredible. In the meantime I will have to burn ten or so CDs on the old 1x burner. Happy happy joy.
On a slightly more personal note I've got a cold at the moment. My nose is running (where does all this stuff come from, anyway?) but at least I'm able to be up and about.
What more to say.. A friend were nice enough to lend out his AGP-based Fire GL 1000 Pro video card and I've also borrowed a monitor from him. First off, the monitor makes all the difference. It's like someone removed a blur filter from my eyes. The videocard is not such a large improvement, but it's faster than the Virge/DX I own. I could post a long rant on hardware here, but I'll give you the short version instead. I had to move some cards around in the box to get the new videocard running, which meant I had to fit the Voodoo 2 into a slot in line with the processor, which was sort of a problem since the Voodoo 2 is longer than the distance to the processor. To get it into the slot I had to shift the CPU-fan and heatsink a centimeter to the side, and then push the card in place, bending it a little. It's now resting against the side of the heatsink on the CPU, but everything seems stable anyway. All of this means I now run my desktop at 1024x768x32 85MHz instead of 800x600x16. There is one slight problem though, and that is that the monitor switch itself off when I go between text- and graphics-mode. Very irritating. Something with the refresh rates I'm sure, but what to do about it I have no idea.
When I talk to you next I hope to have some good news on that burner, and I really hope PHP 4.0beta-3 is out soon, I need that session-support in the Win32 version already.
To come home on Friday afternoon and find that neither the CDRW, my records, nor the book I've ordered had come was sort of irritating. Sheesh, get your fucking fingers out of your assholes and ship! Note: These are things I ordered last month! Fscking unbelieveable. I think the worst thing is that the records has been marked "in stock" on my order for the last four days, but still they don't send them. What's up with that?
I can now report that the new place opening up just next-next door will be a "restaurant & inn". Tres cool, hope they have cheap pizza.
My newest addictions: Adding to this site to make it a good and appreciated resource, and "Rekorderlig Krusbärscider 4.5%" (7 311100 056907).
In the last month I've added a whole slew of content to this site, ranging from my contacts to the two new sections of articles and projects. Check it out if you haven't already.
New this month is that I have begun learning PHP and XML. Both are pretty cool and I envision that they will grow much much larger than they are (that is in usage, not size). If only Opera were XML/XSL capable... Haven't begun on XSL just yet, but I will. Anyone know where one might find a free (as in beer) XML/XSL renderer?
And oh, the insurance went through. I'll just have to shell out for the excess, but that's a good deal better than the alternative. You have no idea what I'm talking about? Good. Close friends know though.
I though I'd have lot's to write, but now it all seems gone. Till next time, See ya'
The small store on the corner shut down earlier this month. Not very surprising though. Picture a small store with a tiny sortiment and not very good pricing, competing with the giant Statoil station open 24/7 on the other side of the street. Anyway, now we're all guessing what's going in there next. Myself I'm hoping it will be a pizza-place. We've got one five to ten minutes away (by foot), but to have one within a couple of hundred meters would be neat.
Since a entry cannot go without mentioning computers, I must bring up the fact that the CD-burner I ordered late last month is nowhere to be seen. I ordered it on a monday, and they said "Since we don't have it in stock, you'll have it the earliest this Friday". Well, that Friday was three weeks ago. Now it's almost a moot point anyway, since I've pretty much spent the cash I've saved up for the drive. The drive I ordered is a Ricoh MP7060S by the way. Not easy to find anyone selling it around here, but I finally found a place willing to buy one in just for me - which in part explains the delay in getting it here - but this is getting redicilous, I could have ordered one from abroad and gotten it sooner! The only thing I'm worried about is the retail vs OEM thing with Ricoh drives. They don't give support for OEM drives (which are marked RW70x0 instead of MP70x0), which means those drives get their firmware patches a little later, and you cannot download them from Ricoh. I have no idea of why they go to the trouble of separating the drives in this way, they are to be mechanically identical, the only thing differing being the firmware versioning and any print on the front of the drive. Seems to me Ricoh is just making things more complicated for themselves. Anyway, while I ordered a MP7060S, I'm pretty sure it'll be a RW7060S that I'll get. If I ever get it.
If you are one of those who browse around my site now and then (I know you exist :-) then you will know that I've begun cleaning up the HTML. What I've done is to implement CSS1 and remove most of the non-valid font- and align tags of HTML 4.0/Strict. My pages are not perfect as far as HTML go, butthey're a lot better now. Basically I like the idea of being able to change the appearence of the whole site by changing a single file. You can download my CSS file and build upon if you like. I use it often when I surf around the web, it makes most any page easy to read.
Another thing is that passagen has started to implement their own little banner to be used on every homepage. I really don't like that. I'm doing my best not to use any stupid java-script and the like, and then they come and totally rape my site, inserting not only a frame, but a frame containing JS. Fortunately I could remove the annoying files they added, but they are regenerated from time to time. If you are linking to the root of my site, change it to link to the index.html itself. This is not a real solution though. If anyone were to offer me a place with FTP-access, no banners and with about 5Mb of room then I would probably move ASAP. Actually, I would like to be able to use my own perl CGI scripts too. The thing is, if I move then they have "won". I would much rather they just gave up and made the banner voluntary. I don't care what you do to new users, but I've been here a long time and I didn't sign up to have my pages raped by your idiotic banners. And to think that I've actually recommended passagen to others? Well, there will be no more of that now, I will do just the opposite. I've tried to voice my opinions with the staff, but the brave staff are hiding behind a robot (note the mild sarcasm). passagen->goodwill=0
On a more personal note, I must say that my second read through the "Dragon Book" is coming along nicely. I'm wondering if not the edition I bought is much improved from the older one I borrowed at the library. I find it very clear and I have little problem understanding the techniques explained. Well, so far anyway, I'm only one sixth into it (never claimed to be a fast reader either).
Speaking of books, I wonder if I must not make another purchase soon. The latest "Robert Jordan" must be out in pocket by now, and I'm also keen to read up on some Joseph Campbell. While I found "The Power of Myth" interesting in some section, I don't give much for the style it was presented in (it was a dialouge). Since I know how much Real True Christians(TM) hate it when one bring up the older myths that their own saviour myth is based on (see also: Mithra, Horus et.al), I know I must read up on it a little better so that I can argue about it with the facts in my corner. It's just amazing how little your normal christian know about the roots of the religion he or she follows.
I've been doing a little SCUMM-hacking the last few days. I don't know if anything will come out of it, but I'm hoping to write up everything that is know and collect this knowledge on one place on the web. If you search around a little you will find that there really isn't any one place you can go to learn about the older LFL games (Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken). There is a piece of code called mm_view.c (by Jens Ch. Restemeier) which decodes the room graphics. There is also a piece of code called lflview.c (by Lance Ewing) which try to explain the lfl-format. However, both the lflview program and the documentation describes the original C64 file format, this is not the same as the one used on the PC. It's not entirely different, but the graphics is not character-based on the PC and so much of the algorithms used to decode important data is unusable. To cut to the chase: I will probably take all this info, see whatever remains relevant for the the PC and write that up in clean English with structure descriptions, algorithm explanations and source code. No promises though.
Maybe I should stop calling this a diary. It's more of a periodical rant-o-collection. Ah well, maybe there's no real difference anyway.
This last month seems mostly worthless. I found some good listening in Afro Celt Sound System and I bought a friends old Voodoo 2 card so that finally I get to run 3dnow! optimized drivers. Got a massive1.dm2 score of ~42 or something like that in 800x600x16. The card also overclocks to 98MHz which gives a nice addition of around three fps. <sigh> I'm bored. I feel hunted. I've been waiting for that call that never came (it's so unnerving that). In a couple of hours I will lay flat on my back in my bed, drinking coke and watching ST:Voy.. Oh, If you remember back in 99-05 I wrote a bunch about books I wanted to buy.. and I finally did. I though I'd start a page with my personal bookreviews if for nothing else, that would be one section that could get regularly updated. This month I also started to convert my bbs-boxen to running linux. I'm taking it slow and easy, I doubt that I will be running linux 24/7 on it any time soon. Currently I'm using it as a masqueraded gateway for surfing the net and let me tell you - after having run various proxies - masquerading/NAT rules. No more configuration problems with stupid unproxy-aware software that require anonymous UDP proxies and stuff like that.
Happy Birthday to me. No, I try not to 'celebrate' taking another step toward the grave, but the people around me doesn't seem to want to listen on that ear. Now I'm sitting here, waiting for the cake to arrive.. ah.. I hear sounds from outside, maybe it's here. Oh happy joy, now they will try to lure me away from my computer. Good thing this only happens once a year. Just to continue the hardware thread of these entries, I've got a new CD-ROM now. A "Plextor UltraPlex 40max" -- Excellent drive.
Well, another month passed. Just to continue the thread about my boxen I'm now running it at 400MHz which is rock stable after a small increase in core voltage to 2.3v. I'd like to try 450MHz too, but that will definately have to wait. Well, computers aside, summer is here now. I went out for a walk earlier today and almost died under the intense glare of our precious Sol. Since I now have some spare change, I've been thinking of investing in some litterature, but there's so many books I want! Apart from Knuths first two volumes, I'm thinking of purchasing Schneiers "Applied Cryptography", which seems to be the reference-work everyone suggests as a first investment in that field. Also "Codebreakers - The inside story of Bletchley Park" sounds interesting, I'll probably get that one too... and oh, I must have Levys "Hackers - Heroes of the Computer Revolution". I've already read it three times, but I want to own this classic. Let's see... ah.. the Dragon book would be nice too ("Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools"), but I don't know.. it's kind of old, and I can borrow it instead... Jim Holmes "Object-Oriented Compiler Construction" sure sounds nice, but it's very expensive (and maybe a little too advanced for me too?); there's a book by Ronald Mak called "Writing Compilers and Interpreters" that may suit me just as good, if not better. Oh, so many books, so little cash. :-(. Fortunately I must move money around to be able to shop from Amazon, or I would surely go berserk and spend all my money in less than half an hour of clicking :-). Oh on that matter.. I ordered the BG: TosC expansion on-line and guess what.. a couple of days later I got a card saying I could pick up BG! Damned incompetentia.. of course I emailed them right away saying something went wrong, but I haven't heard a thing back. <sigh> Guess I will have to send another email.. damned, I hate this kind of fuckups (<- wow, now the evil censorwares will pick me up :-).
Since last I've finally got my BG-hacking page up and running. I've also finally merged my two hotlists (keeping hotlists in sync is a big pain, IMHO) and updated the link-page. What's more.. let's see.. I've was treated as an ignorant little child by my 'amv'-contact. Gee, I really hate it when people belittle me. I've began reading news again too, which is an excellent way to kill time. See.. oh.. I ran my processor at 400MHz, but without increasing the corevoltage it was very unstable. I will wait with the overclocking until I have some contact-paste in place between the processor and the heatsink. Ah.. and I finally wired ICQ to work thru the firewall, had to hardwire some IPs thru, but it's working nicely. My UIN is 1005122, add away. Nothing more to say really.. oh, look at the time, I gotta go wire up the laptop so that I can record todays broadcast of P3-live. See ya'
Ba.. what the.. this is getting quite repetitive. As I said earlier, I will update this infrequently. So, what have happned since last? Well, yesterday I took my VB5 MCP, blazing thru the test and scoring a nifty 915 out of a 1000 points. Who knew it would be so easy, eh? This also means I'm no longer in school, but once again available on the hiring-market. Now, if just some company would notice... :-)
Ah, guess what I just did? I just re-assembled my computer, and I am now running off a FIC-VA503+ motherboard and an AMD-K6-2/350. I have yet to try it out at 400MHz, but I'm confident it'll work. For a measely 2200SEK - which includes a new CPU-fan - I've upgraded from the old P133 to this. The "desktop" is noticably more snappy, and typical Q2 networked performance went from ~14 to ~23 fps (this without a 3dnow! patch, which I couldn't run for some reason. Maybe one must have a Voodoo2? I have a Voodoo Graphics but the 3dfx/opengl modes added by the patch refuse to run). Crusher.dm2 gives me a minimum of 13fps, which is acceptable for me (remember, this is a minimum that will only be hit in extreme cases). Half-Life is now playable, I went for a testdrive of a multiplayer map and it was close to P2-233 performance (my estimate only) compared with P133 on which the same map was uttely unplayable (me thinks HL is broken somewhere, the P133 will happly run Q2, but not HL (can you say "4 fps"?)).
That's about it for now, I have some more pages to update.
Back from the dead! Think last weeks entry was kind of... missing? We'll you are damned right. It is! The reason is that I had to take down my own web-server as the net I was sitting on was proxy'd (with a MS proxy of all the things...). I just felt too damned depressed about the fact to do something about it. But here I am again. I'm not going to be updating this weekly anymore, but I'll try to update on major events in my ever-so-interesting life. So, what would you like to know? One interesting thing for us nerds is that I've finally decided to spend some $$$ on my computer. Yes, you read right. I'm leaving the P133 scene behind and jumping the Super7 bandwaggon with an AMD K6-2 300Mhz. I'll make a big announcement and will host a party as soon as the stuff arrives (just kidding about that party. A little nerd humor on your account).
Back from the dead! Think last weeks entry is sort of short? Well, let me tell you that the fscking flu hit me right in the stomach (if you get my drift), forcing me to spend the better part of last week at home, somewhere between bed and the john. Anyway, that was last week, with that close to over and done with, this one couldn't possibly come to be worse (nothing like a little naivë optimism on a monday morning, eh? Remember the first truth: People are optimistic idiots.). Also, what do you think of the new heading? As you can probably tell, I spent the better part of three seconds thinking it out.
Another week, another monday. Who knew ActiveX Servers could be so much fun? Answer: no one. I'm being sarcastic. Also, what is the correct plural of "monkey" anyway? Monkies? Monkeys? Oh well...
This week I'm conducting an experiment. I'm taking a test covering 4 chapters (VB), having done next to no studying at all. Note that the test consist mostly of questions available in our training material (in rare cases, with some minor changes to them). I went thru that material once at the beginning of the week, and I have done none of the hands-on excercises also available. I'm relying solely on what I have picked up previously, and what is brought up in class (which actually covers most topics in a thorough manner). It will be interesting to note the difference in my score this week as to that of last week.
Update: The deed is done, and so is the test. I blazed thru the 40 questions in my usual manner (not going over the thing twice, etc), and I've got the feeling I did a fair job anyway. Not 39/40 as last week, but good enough to strengthen my personal belief that these tests are kind of useless and that way to much weight is lain upon them.
Update 2: Scored 35/40 and managed to dig myself into an argument which in turn was based on an erraneous assumption on my part. Oh well, maybe argumenting from heart isn't always the best thing to do.
On another personal matter I will reveal my plan for the weekend: I'll work some more at writing the story and the design document for a game project I'm involved with. So far it's mostly a story in my head, and a page or two of my thoughts on the design, so don't expect this on out till Yule (As a cynic though, I'd say it be done before Baldur's Gate :-)
Oh, and I've got some catching up with fidonet to do. I went cold-turkey yesterday, logging 0-hours of fidonetting. One day off is quite enough, thank-you-very-much.
(c)1998,99 Eddy L O Jansson. All rights reserved. All trademarks acknowledged.