[2001-11-06]

The Extraordinary Boring Diary of The Infinite Amount of Monkeys also known to guise as the person always know as Eddy L O Jansson

 

Entry for 2001-11-06

Expunged. Purged. Rejected. Deleted. Removed. Denied. Canceled. Laid off. Yes, I'm once again available on the market. I won't touch the subject further here, though there might be a rant coming later, seeing how this is my second time now. Second time this year.

Regular readers will know that ThinkGeek sent me the wrong t-shirt in the last episode. No problem, I'm happy to report that after being informed of the mixup, they simply shipped me the correct t-shirt. Great work guys and gals, I appreciate it.

I've put in an order for an Athlon 1.4GHz. I would have liked one of the new palominos, but unfortunately Abit screwed me on that. So, I'll have to settle for the fastest part my motherboard will support. Unless of course I'll get screwed on that too by a compatible faster part coming out. My only fear is that the new cooling solution won't let me sleep at night, but I guess I must risk it in order to keep up the all important technology-race. Remind me again, why am I doing this?

I've been brushing up on my C++/STL lately. I've been programming perl for about a year now, and let me tell you; doing some nice clean C++ - it's like coming home.

Entry for 2001-10-15

Did some reverse-engineering consulting last week, clocking $100/h. Very nice. Sure, I only charged one hour but that's a neat little income all the same.

Had my parents and my sister over last weekend for some shopping. We went to IKEA where I purchased a new chair. It's pretty amazing that you can get two hi-tech computer processors for the price of one of these chairs, isn't it?

Declined an offer to join a role-playing group. In part because I don't feel like hanging around work till eleven/twelve in the night, even if it's to play and even if it's only every other week, but also in part because I'm afraid I'm not a very good player to begin with. I think I'll just stick with the CRPGS for now. Lot's of interesting problems to ponder there.

Decided to order some stuff from ThinkGeek to expand on my geek-wardrobe (not that I'm a geek or anything). Unfortunately they managed to ship me a "Don't blame me, it's a software problem" t-shirt instead of the dito hardware I ordered. I'm a programmer -- I can't be seen wearing a t-shirt like that!

Pre-ordered Commandos 2 this month and guess what? It was late? Of course it was late, but on the good side of things I got it for half off! Not bad at all. The reason for that is that the store I pre-ordered it from has a draw, where the lucky winners get a 50% rebate on the price. Now, if only games could cost half as much to begin with, then maybe we could all buy a lot more games.

So is it any good? You bet. Well worth 250SEK. You know it's good when you begin thinking about the game when you're not playing, laying out strategies, planning your way. It is hard, but not so hard as to become frustrating (well, not yet anyway).

Work's been.. well... work is work. Some fun was had on a project where I brought in a friend on mine to do some consulting. I'm hoping he'll be able to buy a decent computer for the money so that maybe we can get some on-line gaming action going (see? there's no such thing as altruism :-)

I've been playing the song Deep Enough by Live on repeat a lot lately. I dig it, hard.

Don't forget; that which does not kill you, simply postpones the inevitable.

Entry for 2001-08-30

Yesterday I went to my on-line bank to pay a bill. Since they are web-nazis they only allow recent versions of IE and NS to log in. However, I were to find out that the latest IE - version 6 - would not do. Instead of getting to log in, I was presented with a dull notice informing me that I'd need another version of IE or NS to log on.

"Ej godkänd browser
Den browser du använder stödjs inte av FöreningsSparbanken.
För att kunna använda FöreningsSparbanken via Internet måste du använda en annan version av Netscapes eller Microsofts webbläsare."

Holy crap, that suck. I mean, IE6's been in beta forever, and has been released for days now. Oh, they give pretence of doing deep certifications for the browsers, but I'm pretty sure it amounts to nothing more than trying to log in and click around, after which the report will have to be rubber-stamped by some ignorant suit, which of course will never "risk it" with something as non-standard as Opera or Konqueror, or...

So, what'd I do to get in? Easy, I temporarily reconfigured Opera to identify itself as IE5 and lo and behold, it worked perfectly. From now on I have no reason at all to use IE.

Of course, that isn't the only thing to have sucked this week. I went and bought an extra stick of 256Mb RAM. Against my better judgement I picked up some Apacer RAM from a local store, since noone stocks my preferred choice of Siemens. Well, long story short and all that, the crap didn't work. And after all the work I put into opening the box and fiddling the RAM into the slot. Seeeesh.

Anything good happen this last month? Let me think. I got some money back from le' government, money I've invested partly in an el-cheapo Lite-On CD-burner. Of course, it haven't arrived yet, so I don't see much good there either unfortunately.

Wonder when game developers will pick up my old idea of using a "real" RDBMS instead of the hodge-podge of homegrew resource-file formats out there? Apparently I'm the only one seeing the benefits gained from getting relations for free? Oh, well. I'm expanding greatly on that topic in my never-to-be-finished article on the future of computer role-playing games, but since I'll never finish it I decided to put that up here so that maybe I'll get a chance to gloat when it does happen :-)

Entry for 2001-07-26

In fifth or sixth grade our elderly teacher David, gray templed and wise from years and years of teaching, asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Myself, I wanted to be a computer engineer. Well, I'm not, but that "guess" was not far off. I get paid to write code, which was what I presumed computer engineers did. Anyway, that isn't really the point of this little tirade, this is:

A fellow classmate of mine by the name of Erik, answered that he wanted to be a "consumer" when he grew up.

We laughed, turning in unison to face his desk. "Don't you know the meaning of the word?". "And you're so smart, eh?"

Erik was always bright, I could tell even back then. We all could. Now I'm thinking that maybe that particular time, he was just years and years ahead of the rest of us, or at least... me. I wouldn't presume to speak for the others. I never did forget about that time, it's been there for years, back in my mind. Teasing me. "You laughed!", it taunts me. "Fool".

Not now I'm not, laughing. Now I understand. "I want to be a consumer when I grow up". Indeed.

Another story with an aftertaste so bitter, oh so bitter.

On a lighter note, I'm taking three weeks of vacation starting next monday. I really, really need that. I had planned for only two weeks, but that was folly. I need this time off, I need to not have to think about the mundane life of wage-slaving. I'm gonna drop it all come Friday. So maybe I haven't turned in my worksheet. So sue me. I'll be back in three weeks, then you can yell at me all you want. Hell, I'm hoping my mood will be such that you can fucking fire me and I'll just smile and have my mind conjure up pictures of a bird set free, taking to the sky with not a care in the world. Well, that'd be nice, no?

Entry for 2001-06-16

A quick update while events are still fresh in my mind. I just stepped out of the tub after a good long and much needed soaking. I just came home from a two-day event, sponsored by my workplace. It took part at a place called "Adventure Island", a smallish island some 10-20m off-shore which has been equipped with all kinds of alternative-sports kind of stuff. Everything from bow & arrow, blowdart and axe-throwing, over log hurling to rock-climbing, giant rope-ladder climbing and asorted other things. Not as physical as I had feared, and some fun was had (and some hard liquor too). Unfortunately many of the events were geared around climbing and heights, things incompatible with this entity.

I remember the evening before. I went to the stereo to pick up my In Flames mixed-cd to have some good muzax with me. On the way there I decided to set the alarm clock first, and well, after doing just that I forgot why I had approached the stereo in the first place, and so it was that I happened to find myself in the wilderness with my discman and headphones, but no CD. That sucked, especially since the music that was played wasn't much to my taste.

Much was captured on digital camera and DV, I'll check and see if anything suitible for my gallery came out of it.

Got a bottle of Jack Daniels's for my birthday.

Entry for 2001-06-13

Readers and fellow nerds, I'm about to erect very first own domain; klopper.net. I'm currently working on setting up my old box as a server on which I will run all the internet services one need... and then some. Stay tuned. I'll offer my friends nice POP3 accounts and maybe even webmail. I've waited for klopper.net to get released for more than two years now as some south- african dude snatched it before my very eyes years back, but fortunately he didn't seem to do anything with it, and using highly advanced scripts (smirk) I was able to grab it mere hours after its release. Yeah!

Some may wonder... why klopper? Well, that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, I really really wanted this domain.

Let's see.. well, there's a lot of stuff going on in my life now, and my website is sorely out of date. I'm working on my On the future of Computer Role-Playing Games article, which I hope will be done before it celebrates its one year anniversary (I kid you not, according to the changes log I began working on it 2000-07-10 :-). I've read many of the books from the next-to-last amazon order, but I haven't reviewed many as of yet. Partly because I don't have a scanner any more (well, I do, but it's some 200+ kilometers away.) so I would have to do my scanning at work. Maybe I'll get around to it one day. Not that I couldn't review without scanning the covers, but I've been meaning to take a more serious approach and actually put this stuff in a database (if that sounded nonsenical, it's because it was).

Since I'm a complete collect-o-holic, recent months have seen lot's of Amazon orders. First:

The Mythical Man-Month, The Age of Reason, The Complete Book of Scriptwriting, Programming Perl 3:rd ed + Perl Reference.

Then...

Object-oriented Software Construction, Emergence, Effective C++, Multiagent Systems, Calculus: The Classic Edition, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide

Though I've read some of these already, my queue is now quite long. But on the other hand; I have a lot of really good stuff to look forward to. :-)

Work you ask? Well, next Fri-Sat we're behing hoarded away to location unknow for a weekend of 'fun and games', or some such. Nothing is known about the location or events, but I'm afraid it might not be all too enjoyable. See, it would have to beat hanging around at home, softing, configuring the new server, reading and listening to music. I will of course bring my discman and a good book (I'm currently doing John Holland's Emergence which is good), but physical activities are sure to abound. Oh well. I don't want to be negative or anything, but from what little is known - that we are to bring surdly clothes and multiple changes - it sure sounds like physical activities are a definite possibility, and everyone knows those cannot be more fun than softing.

Ah yes. Just got a letter about my "war placement" (that is, what duty I'm to be assigned should war or a warlike situation erupt). Apparently Svenska Kraftnät (approx. 'Swedish Powergrid', in charge of the energy distribution backbone over here) wanted me. In good authority-style they write that appeal is not an option. Should war erupt, I'm more likely to travel to the nearest NATO affiliated country than anything else, but don't tell anyone I told you that. Those fuckers took years of my life, and now they think I'll be a good little soldier, asking "how high?". Fuck 'em. I'm sure I'll be called to do some exercises later on. That'll be fun. I'll meet old friends and we'll all be completely incomptent, just like we were back when we did our service. Haha. I can only speak for myself, but I was completely unserious the whole time. Well, almost the whole time. Anyways...

Entry for 2001-05-11

Writing again so soon? Well, two days after my last entry I got assigned a project in my taste, involving some low-level stuff (got to use a hex-editor at work, whooo!) and a chance to apply some of my knowledge of writing interpreters. Now, compared to writing web-based administrative interfaces, well, you can probably guess which task suits my taste the most. My problem now is that I need to do more basic perl-programming so that I don't have to look up stuff all the time. And on that note, seems like I was right about OOP and perl. It's not handled very well. I'm not sure exactly what's in store for Perl 6 in his regard, but I hope they clean this up (and I think they will).

I've also found out that people from work have found their way here, so Il guess I'll have to hold back some in the future. >:-P.

Entry for 2001-05-02

You'll have to excuse this entry, I'm not feeling too good right now, but at the same time I feel like I have to get this entry done.

I spent the last weekend back in Eskilstuna for the reunion. Sadly, only eleven people from the old class (which was 20+) decided to show up. The event itself wasn't carried through with much finesse, much as I had feared. Especially irritating was the fact that the DJ decided to play way too loud, making it impossible to communicate in any meaningful way. I ended up sitting quitely at the table most of the evening, wishing I was somewhere else. As the party broke up from the dining table to hit the dance-floor, I went home. Now, this might sound like the whole evening sucked, but that isn't so. Earlier in the evening I met up with two old friends at my best friends place and we all had a really good time. I hope I can go back "home" during my vacation this summer to do some BBQ with old friends and just hang out and relax. Right now that feel like immensely important as I'm pretty fed up with my current situation.

Many people asked the "So what are you doing nowadays?" question. Only on one occasion did I try to evade the question, but in the end I just gave up and admitted to being a programmer. The questioner reacted like "Why? That's a great job, why didn't you just say so?", like I was somehow embarrassed by my occupation. I tried to explain my view that in the big scheme of things, I find a persons occupation fairly uninteresting. It's just so simplistic.. like "How do you do?".. the syntactic sugar of real-life. My view is that what matters are the dreams and hopes of a person. What he/she is doing for a living is often uninteresting compared to what he/she wants to be doing. It's so easy to just disregard a person because of what he/she does for a living. I'm trying my best not to do that. I don't care about other peoples occupation (for the most part), and I would like people to not care about mine. Care about my dreams, hopes and fears instead, because that is who I am. Does this make any sense at all? Blah.

Yesterday I again got this sudden.. um... inspiration. That's the wrong word, but I don't know what to call it. I began reading J. Michael Straczynski's work The complete work of scriptwriting, and this feeling that I do have something to say surfaced again. <hit self with hammer>. Aaargh.. I don't know what my problem is. I have this story in my head, but I'm torned between "it sucks, you're hopeless" and "go with it, it's worth persuing". It's all about my dreams of writing a computer game. I want to design and write a graphical adventure. It just.. argh.. I never get started. It's like this large hill, and I never even begin to feel the increasing slope. It's just so pathetic. The sad thing is, I know everything I need to know to get going, and I'm convinced that no technical difficulties whatsoever could arise that would stop me from completing the project. I might not be a genious, but I'm fairly smart about these matters and I have set fairly low (technical) standards for myself so.. I.. just.. need.. to.. get.. going! *argh*

My current excuse is my work situation. I'm not feeling too comfortable. I'm having a hard time 'dropping' it when I get home. Basically, I'm not having much fun at work right now, and it casts it's shadow over the whole of me, including my spare time. If I can't have fun and feel confidence at work, then I don't seem to function outside of work either, and it's KILLING ME! I try soo hard not to let it affect my spare time, but it does. Right now it's like I haven't found my place, at all. It's like a downward spiral to boot... ah well.

Now I'm gonna go to bed with my books, and try to gain some more insight into this whole scriptwriting thing.

I might have a story for you yet.

Entry for 2001-03-20

Since my last entry I've re-entered the work force. Thanks to a tip I only had to go unemployed for some two weeks (thank you Johan and Henrik!), in which time I managed to interview for two different companies, both of which offered me a position should I want one. I managed to complicate things there for a moment by telling one of them 'yes' before I'd heard from the second company, which really was a screw-up on my part and one that I didn't handle very well either, but it all turned out alright. I'm glad that's all over and done with, I only had funds to last me another two months or so.

So, I'm writing this mere seconds after having turned down an offer to work as a programmer for a game-dev company. I can't pin-point one exact reason as to why I did this, but I believe I have one word which sums it up, and that word is uncertainty. I still see me working on games, but not in a few years, and maybe never commercially. My interest in game development isn't so much about getting into the "biz" as it is discovering, collecting and piecing together ideas and technologies that I find interesting and believe would work to enhance games. I don't need to work for a game developer to be able to do that. (Echoes in the back of my mind ... justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which you can't go on.)

Apparently some old classmates of mine are organizing a reunion. Let me correct that. The Swedish restaurant business is organizing a reunion for us. I haven't recieved any info about it except from a side-channel (a close friend) which either means only the popular folks are being invited, or the post-office is continuing their abysmal mail-forwarding service.

Entry for 2001-03-01

In Flames - Suburban me. That's my mood now.

I'm out of a job again. The famous dot-com-death forced the company I worked for to let me and three others go (we've got a FIFO-system over here).

There's good and there's bad in this. The bad is, obviously, that I don't have a steady income. The good is that doing web-development has always been a stepping-stone for me. I don't burn for it. It's trivial. It's the safe way. There's really nothing in conventional web-development that I can possibly fail at. Really. So maybe it's time to move on.

Another good thing is that I now have a little more spare time to invest in finishing some of my bitrotting articles and maybe even.. gasp... write some code! Even though my plan was always to do web-dev for a couple of years and use my spare time to develop myself by reading up on other areas of interest - such as software development, languages, artificial societies and writing - I found that even though the workload at work was rather light and the problems trivial, I was always too tired after coming home to get anything worthwhile done for myself.

I saw on slashdot that the topic of online journals came up. First I thought they were speaking of the scientific kind, like JACM, JASS, etc, but no, they meant diaries. Some thought them pointless, ego-inflating, whining and I don't know what... I write this for my own benefit. With it I will be able to compare my life at time ti with my life at tj, and maybe use that to optimize my fitness-function, or something. I probably wouldn't feel comfortable being contacted in regard to anything I write here. If I don't have to discuss it with anyone, it's like some kind of pseudo-anonymity. Like "don't ask, don't tell", only I am. Telling.

To get back to the original topic of the day, I interviewed for a game-dev company today. It went very well - much to my surprise - but I'm not sure I've got the guts to accept a position there should I be offered.

Yeah I know, I'm a coward. Don't think for a second that I don't hate myself for being one. (Ah, nothing like a little self-bashing to get in the right mood)

Entry for 2001-02-11

Found this in a mailbox I seldom use nowadays:

Your entry of "Sat Jan 27 17:00:00 2001" received a ranking of 24
(out of 1374 total entries)

They're talking about my 2.4 Linux Kernel Pool Ranking. The top 15 entries won prizes. Darn that was close. I submitted my guess at 1999-01-28 05:47:22 GMT.

This is the month that I discover Design Patterns. I have seen the light, and it is glorious! Some of it is new. Some of it I recognize as things I've seen and done, solutions that's been reinvented a thousand times by a thousand programmers, and then some. But no more, now we have a common vocabulary.

Entry for 2001-01-10

amazon isn't all bad. Sure, I might not like their stupid one-click patent, but I can't argue with their service. Two days ago, 2001-01-08 around 01:00 I ordered two books from them, marked as "1-2 weeks shipping". Six hours later, just in time for breakfast, I recieved e-mail confirmation that the books had been shipped, and just today I recieved them. That's three days, packed and shipped from England to Sweden. The local bookstores are sort of obsolete, as far as I'm concerned.

I've been looking out for any news on when one might get to see In Flames playing here in Gothenburg, but they seem to be in the US currently. Figures. I really would like to watch them live some time.

Bought myself a 46Gb IBM deskstar. Paid 2200SEK for it (I'm putting that here for future reference. In the year 2010 I'm sure we'll all sit around with dreamy eyes, telling stories from the good ol' days when all we had was mere gigabytes of data.). In all a veryn ice drive, though I'd really like one of them bloody fast 4.6ms SCSI-disks, but for that I need a new SCSI-card, and the one I had set up to buy went up in price over 300SEK like.. over night. I'm waiting for it to come down again.

Once again I tried to make linux my one and only "desktop", but I just can't stand X. I even installed the latest and greatest X and Gnome. Still no antialiasing (couldn't even read the font used on the desktop-icons) and it's a slower than windows -- and I'm supposed to be running an accelerated server ('glint', for the permedia 2 chipset). I haven't quite given up just yet, I really would like to get that 'crisp' and 'snappy' feeling (yes, I'm running linux 2.4), after which I would probably leave windows to gaming.

Gotta tell you one funny anecdote from work before I go; a PHB told me to "Remove all questionmarks from our URLs". I'll just leave it like that, without further comment.

 

(c)1998,99 Eddy L O Jansson. All rights reserved. All trademarks acknowledged.