2001 Sep 10 (Mon), 15:45 Blarg!
Let me start by saying there are certain computer chic terms that fringe computer geeks come up with that eventually find their way into legitimate geekdom that I positively despise! A classic example was the term "24/7" implying something that's up "24 hours, 7 days a week". That term bugged... and still bugs the hell out of me. Well, there's this new one for what I'm doing right now called "Blogging" (from "Web Logging"). It's another irritating term that fringe computer geeks (geek wannabes) have now come up with that everyone is starting to use. Well... all I can say to this is "BLARG!".... which is what I want to do when I hear these new terms...

Anyway... been doing some misc work on Tux Typing (not in CVS yet). Basically, I'm lifting Bill K.'s awesome credits routines from TuxMath for inclusion in Tux Typing (we've needed them for a while now). Plus I'm working on adding in the much needed difficulty slider.

Other than this, and catching up on my e-mail from last week (I was very busy last week, see previous entries).... I redid my desktop... Primarily because I was sick of the lime-green. I've also been busy working on a second Linux install on my machine for playing hardware accelerated games on. See, I am one of the unfortunate ones with a 3Dfx Voodoo 2, which means I get much better 3D performance under XFree86 3.3.6. However, my normal graphic card (non-3D accel.) runs better under XFree86 4.x. So, to remedy the problem, I am moving all my 3D games over to this new installation (which actually has a few other performance tweaks). I will probably have this second install done within a couple of days.

One of the benefits of this second install is that if I can ever afford to do it, I can retire this older desktop of mine and turn it into a home arcade machine thanks to great projects such as GLMame and FXMame!

Anyhoo.... finished re-reading Orwell's 1984 last night. If you've not read it.... erm... why the hell not?

Oh, and I don't know if this is unfounded paranoia or not.... but it really is frightenning.

2001 Sep 14 (Fri), 09:22 Container for my Grief

I have not been doing very well at all in light of the recent horrors in New York and Washington. Tuesday (2001-09-11) morning my wife and I were getting ready for the day (she was getting ready for school, just finished her shower, and I was about to start mine) when a friend of ours called and told us to watch the news. We turned it on (probably 7:20-ish) and saw the twin World Trade Center towers burning. We also watched in horror as, a few minutes later, the first tower collapsed. My wife and I cried considerably.

I had to drive her to work, and while on the way, we heard that the second tower had collapsed as well.

That night I gave blood. Actually, we and a few friends of ours had already signed up to give blood at the scheduled drive Tuesday night several weeks ago. It was just unfortunate that the day happened to coincide with such a horrible thing. We wound up having to wait 4 hours to donate blood. We hadn't eaten dinner, and I about passed out while giving blood -I apparently turned quite blue, it was so bad that my wife (who is squeamish with blood anyway) opt'ed out of giving blood herself (though she did interpret for several of our deaf friends giving blood, so her assistance was great regardless).

Anyway, last night as I was trying to sleep (not been doing much of that lately) I realized that the imagery used in Tux of Math Command (our latest Tux4Kids endevour) is now quite a bit disturbing. We have been discussing what we should do on the dev mailing list. My wife suggested we give ourselves time and make the decision later as what we should do. She thinks that given some temporal distance from these horrible events, we may realize that the graphics in TuxMath are still quite innocent. I don't know if I'll ever feel like that again... but we'll wait and see.

2001 Sep 17 (Mon), 12:23 Very minor update

Did not touch the computer this last weekend (as I'm sure a lot of others did as well), and have been busy today with various things (too many and too mundane to even mention) so I haven't worked on any of my projects lately.

There is a report of some odd bug for Tux Typing on DebianPPC. Apparently, Jesse will be working on this bug (DebianPPC is his main system). Personally, I have a few things in the pipeline for Tux Typing... but, again, nothing really to report right now.

TuxMath's dev list had some more discussion about what we should do for the explosions (the city animations that are now unnerving due to the WTC attack). Jake had a good idea about making the comets slime-balls.... Personally, I really like this one, and may come up with a test animation if I can find time.

Looks like we got our grant from LinuxFund. Thx to all those who voted. I just hope that the recent events dont raise technology prices too much, since we were hoping to do a lot of good with hardware purchased using this grant. :-(

Downloaded XLogical on friday. This is an awesome game! I recommend it highly! A very impressive open-source effort by the author.... Kudos to Tom Warkentin for the game!

2001 Sep 19 (Wed), 16:44 Business as usual

You know, I am amazed that in light of the recent catastrophic end of many many human lives... there are so many out there still trying to destroy my life. The most recent onslaught is from some Mr. Winters from some lawfirm of Daniels and Norelli (or whatever)... which apparently is located in NY (no less). Basically this is just the next nail in the coffin that my wife and I were thrust in last year when our car was pushed over a cliff by a semi-truck. I am amazed that in spite of the fact that we were not to blame, that the other driver was sited 100% of the blame, that somehow the situation this caused has brought Cass and I to near bankruptcy.... Between our inept lawyers who got our case reduced to whiplash, to our insurance company which would not pay for our car repairs or medical bills (which caused us to get in horrendous debt), to the fact that I have been essentially unemployed for nearly nine-months now.... I don't know what will happen... But I am shocked that these companies have now returned to "business as usual" and are resuming their destruction of my life.

But I digress.....

Woo-ha.... I've been busy. I have been sending out resumes right and left, trying to see if I can help out with a pretty cool software project (it's proprietary... but I am so desperate right now I dont mind as much), and researching the best ways to utilize the funding Tux4Kids will be rec'ing from LinuxFund.org... Which means I have been spending a lot of time at the Duke of URL's reviews section (I sure wish they would bring out another Linux Buyer's Guide ;-) I know one thing we will do is get the site setup and hosting paid... and I know we need some more development/testing hardware, but I wish we could have enough to also pay the filing fee for our 501c3 status (which I doubt very much we will this time... we will likely have to solicit funds for this elsewhere at some later date).

Anyway, I came up with a QND test solution for our TuxMath city animation problems. People interested can find information here.

2001 Sep 19 (Wed), 16:46 B.A.U. II

Oh, and one more minor thing.... From what we've found out, apparently our lawyers were supposed to handle any financial problems this accident caused in our lives. So the peril we face right now could have been avoided if the lawyers weren't such idiots.....

2001 Sep 21 (Fri), 09:46 Estranged Beagle

Alright, yesterday was infinitely more productive! So productive in fact that I forgot to write a diary entry even tho I wanted to ;-)

Joseph Toscano just finished a bunch of original music for Tux Typing. You can read the announcement here and check out the music here. I have been hurredly adding the music to the game, and have also been trying to solve this bug. I will update CVS today.

I've also been playing quite a bit of SKobo (or Kobo Deluxe, or whatever it will ultimately be called ;-) I even wrote a patch (which may or may not be folded back in, Idunno... haven't heard if anyone likes it) that allows you to play with a joystick. You can get the patch here. This was the classic example of an itch needing scratching. I detest controlling games like this with the keyboard... so, since the game is quite fun, I absolutely had to have joystick control ;-)

I upgraded to XFree86 4.1 from the Debian package a few days ago. I have noticed a performance gain, as well as some better support for things I have.... But now my X server crashes at least once a day (or has since the upgrade). I heavily use TrueType fonts, so I am wondering if it may be related to this bug.

2001 Sep 21 (Fri), 14:55 Feeling Idaho

Yeargh... I have had a rather hellish day. I know I probably ought not to write another diary entry today, but I've had such a bad day I'd rather write it now and then not touch the computer over the weekend again...

Why such a hard day? Well, I've been futzing with Tux Typing for hours now trying to resolve a new problem. When I added in the OGG music files, I found that all of a sudden the in-game music stops looping! I've been hacking away for hours, and have now decided I need to write a fresh SDL/SDL_mixer app just to test if this is something wrong with SDL or Tux Typing. Plus, the other bug I mentionned before has proven hard to track down (then again, I haven't spent as much time on that).

I started my own Linux page as well. Why does the world need another Linux fan page? Well... why does it not need another? ;-) This page is actually geared more toward those friends of mine who are newbies or otherwise unexperienced with Linux. I'm making it so I can direct them to it instead of re-explaining the same things over and over again....

Oh, and I installed msttcorefonts today. Dang, this process is tre' kewl! I am always amazed at the ingenuity of Linux users out there! ;-)

Well... anyway... I think I'll sign off until monday...

2001 Sep 24 (Mon), 12:48 Life is like HAIRY CRAP.... It's crap and it's covered with hair

*Sigh*.... Another week, another crisis.... This week we have slow leak in our water main. It's on our property (so it's our responsability), but it's not covered by our insurance (so it really is *our* responsability!). The big problem is that the slow leak is UNDER OUR HOUSE... In other words, our foundation is being slowly flooded. Bear in mind that I still do not have a job, and that because of our horrible auto-accident last year we are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Anyone want to hire me? PLEASE someone hire me? Highly motivated, highly skilled programmer ready and willing to do just about anything for a job!

Anyway.... this new little bugger has occupied my day today... so I have no new project news to report (grumble, grumble, gripe). Perhaps now that I am stuck here waiting for plumbers to come and estimate how much it'll cost to fix I can spend some time working... so who knows... maybe today will wind up being productive yet...

I know I said I wasn't going to touch my computer over the weekend, but I did. I downloaded and tried out the Linux client for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Not only is the game very fun, but it actually runs very well on my crappy 300Mhz AMD K6 with PCI Voodoo 2! (By comparison, Q3A and UT both run very sluggish unless I do very particular things to my system)

I also found Rogue Trip for the PS1 for $5 over the weekend. Bought it (simply because you can't beat the price, even if the game really blows ;-) , and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun the game is! The game is a blatant Twisted Metal rip-off... but it has this interesting "Crazy Taxi"-esque element to the game that gives it a fresh appeal. (Basically, it's auto-combat like Twisted Metal, but you have "Tourists" who you need to take around the battlefields and show them the sights. These tourists pay you money that you then use to heal yourselve or power-up weapons.) The gameplay is rock-solid, and, except for one minor control issue (the left analog stick is throttle, making it very hard to reach over to the slide button), plays very much like a good Twisted Metal (like TM1 or TM:Black, not TM4 ;-)

2001 Sep 26 (Wed), 09:34 Minor Tempest

I don't have much time, but I wanted to make a small update.

The water main problem would cost me $1,500, but if I can get some of my friends over to help me dig the trench for the new pipe, I have found someone willing to do the work for $600 (which is much more managable). As soon as blue stake marks my gas line, we'll start working.

Have a couple of interviews today, so I wont be working on any of my projects. After the interviews, chances are this water main thing will keep me occupied until monday... so I may or may not get much done till then. One of the job interviews is for a part-time staff position at the U of A. It would pay enough that (hopefully) I wouldn't need another job and can devote more time to my projects. I still need to come up with other possible animation for the city explosions in TuxMath.... :-/

This morning there were some weirdos in a maroon Geo Metro sitting in the alley behind my home. When I looked at them, they sped away. I hope they don't try anything (at least we now have our home security system ;-)

2001 Sep 27 (Thu), 15:15 Guess the Ears aren't the only thing pointy...

Ugh.... Digging trenches is hard work.

Just finished digging the 60 foot trench in my backyard for the new water main. We live in Tucson, and our high today was 100 deg F, plus our soil is this nasty clay junk. At any rate, it was wholy unpleasent.

No news on any projects... and wont work on them today.... Too damned tired....

Uhm... I will be placing graphics online for some other EDU gaming projects that I don't have time right now to work on. The intention being that if another talented developer wanted to take over one of these projects, they can feel free. I just need to go through them and filter out those I am the most passionate about (i.e., those I would probably be a control freak on... I want to not be too overbearing when people agree to help out like that ;-)

Oh, and I saw the new "Enterprise" Star Trek show last night. I honestly don't know what many people's problems are talking about it on /.... What'd they expect? Personally, I liked all of it, primarily because it was such a departure from the recent seri (?plural for series anyone?). I even didn't mind the openning song (I was sick of those ponderous orchestral scores anyway). I also liked the fact I saw more nipple in the 2 hour pilot of this show than I have in the last 30 years of Star Trek shows! Hubba hubba. I never thought I'd see the day I found a Vulcan hot ;-) My favorite quote from the /. article "It appears that Vulcan nipples are as pointy as their ears..."