tcepsa: (PyrateSmirk)
I've figured out at least one reason why my postings here have become severely curtailed: I have too much other stuff going on. I have so much other stuff going on that even when I have a few free minutes to work on some of the more optional free stuff, I can't decide what to spend those precious free moments on, and so I end up reading Hacker News or playing a videogame that I've already beaten half a dozen times. Those things are fun and all, but they're generally not what I'd consider the top of my priorities list.

And maybe it's just that sometimes when those moments show up it turns out that I've just plain run out of gumption, and I can mostly live with that. It happens. I just wish it was easier to tell when I was already out of gumption versus having my gumption sapped by having to choose just one thing to work on (and, by extension, pay the opportunity cost of not working on ALL THE OTHER THINGS).

Okay, now that I've established that, I'm going to go do SOMETHING on my mental to-do list.

Have a great weekend ^_^
tcepsa: (Cake)
I feel like I should have more to write here, but as I do not have time to write a concise entry, you get a short one instead. Here is a list of things that are awesome for me currently:

  • Work (though it is starting to go in unexpected directions)

  • Family (though there are sometimes bumps)

  • Clojure and Emacs (seriously. So awesome)


I think I can safely say it is going to be an interesting year. Maybe I will even start posting here regularly again! (Wouldn't bet on it though ;-) )
tcepsa: (Inconceivable!)
I'm enjoying watching the development of the games for the Humble Mojam Bundle--it's very cool to see the details of these talented folks at work!

http://humblebundle.com/

Check it out if you have some time (and note that there are three different streams as of the time of my writing this: one for Mojang, and one each for two of the Wolfire folks)
tcepsa: (Default)
Well, 2011, you were a pretty good year for me. Some rough spots, but also some great spots. Still working on sorting some of that out. Already in over my head for projects for the new year, but I like the look of them. They're almost entirely things that I either want to do or desire the immediate consequences of having done them. Maybe this could be characterized as moving into the realm of "intermediate" with a number of my skills. Maybe it's a further mental shift away from my perfectionism. Not taking any more classes also will definitely help also. Okay, time to get started!
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
In my past, the week leading up to Thanksgiving has always been one of anticipation. For almost all of my life, this has been due in no small part to the fact that my birthday tends to fall on or shortly after that fourth Thursday of November. However, it had been heightened by the tradition of Black Friday. Ever since I discovered that, if one were staunch of heart and geeky of spirit, incredible loot could be gotten at a pittance by rising early enough* I have been seeking out these bargains and prowling the aisles of Staples and Office Max at entirely unreasonable hours of the morning.

This year, I'll be there again, but while in the past I have often been keeping my eyes open for anything that I could use (a USB memory stick that's less than $1 per GB? Heck yes! A stack of DVDs for $5? Never know when you might need one!) this year I have only one item on my list: massive hard drives so that I can set up a RAID array because our old drives are getting old and we have no backups. Previous years I'd have a list of 5-10 things I'd be actively trying to score, and I'd map out my route between stores in a delicate balancing act between which ones had the things I wanted most and which had the most things I wanted. A new monitor. A video card. I think I even got my Nintendo Wii on Black Friday five years ago.** But this year? There's pretty much nothing. Part of that is because I just got a new laptop, and it's harder to replace internal components on that, but mostly it's because there's just nothing out there that's all that much better than what I already have for what I want to do. I'm not going out for some shiny new awesome toy this year***; I'm going out in order to do an arguably critical piece of maintenance**** that I should have done years ago.

Which brings me to my (slightly inaccurate) title... )
tcepsa: (Cake)
Okay, I've managed to work out all of the major show-stoppers that I wrote about here and am moving on. That serial port not connecting problem? I had to give myself adequate permissions (or run PuTTY as root, hrm...) Not being able to compile? Apparently the latest version of avr-gcc doesn't support the straight-up Atmega328 anymore (or maybe that was never a real chip, or maybe it's fully compatible with the Atmega328p object file that one must now compile against). Fixed by telling it the compiler, "Heh, well, I know I said that I was using a 328, but what I meant was a 328p." (Yeah, super embarrassing. That compiler must think I'm a complete baka by now, considering the wacky stuff I keep asking it to do...)

Not able to use the native Arduino programming environment? Don't care! I have Emacs!
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
N to go. Fixed the GTK PLAF problem by inadvertently opening the arduino script in Emacs (I hadn't realized it was just a shell script). Saw that it was explicitly specifying the GTK PLAF, and took that part out.

Now it's kvetching about not being able to find the preferred system font. I swear, these computers, they are never happy!
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
New ThinkPad e420. Ubuntu got me through GiveCamp last weekend, but then I tried to upgrade to the official drivers and the display stopped working, and also it was having issues compiling my favorite window manager (stumpwm). So I've switched over to ArchLinux, which is a lot more hard to set up than I thought it would be, but maybe that's because I never tried to use it with a dual-monitor system for Arduino programming before.

I have managed to get StumpWM (and X.org) up and running with the proper driver. Having a heck of a time getting the Arduino stuff to work, though/

  • Can't run the super-simple programming environment because it can't find the Java GTK PLAF (translation: it can't find the collection of resources that tell it how stuff should look. Hopefully I can find it later or tell it to use a different one)

  • Can't compile the code because it can't find one of the libraries, even though I've installed avr-gcc and avr-libc and avr-binutils and avrdude. Not sure what's up there.

  • Can't actually talk to the chip because of something wonky with the FTDI cable. It says it's on /dev/ttyUSB0, but when I try to connect PuTTY tells me it can't open the serial port. (This has worked on previous systems; no clue why it's failing today).

Three strikes and I still refuse to yield. However, it looks like I'll be continuing to boot off of the external hard-drive that I set up to use with my wife's laptop for the purposes of doing my homework assignment for this Monday...

(Linux may only be free if your time is worthless, but it's still cheaper than all of the leisure activities that you have to pay for!)
tcepsa: (Cake)
My class this semester is Real Time System Development. Our first project is to install a real-time OS on a Lego Mindstorms brick (one of the new ones, the NXT) and then build a robot* and write a program to make the robot follow a line.

The operating system is nxtOSEK, which is apparently an operating system often used on the computers in peoples' cars and has been ported to run on the NXT. There were a few minutes of serious anxiety as I realized that I had no idea how the operating system actually worked and that it was apparently much more complicated than I expected it to be**. So I downloaded the specification and started going through it. Then, in a fit of boredom and desperation I start looking at the example code that came with the Lego version; rather than forcing myself to read through the entire specification and fully grasp how the OS works, I figured maybe I could scrape out enough information from the examples to cobble together something Good Enough. I started looking through the C code first and kind of sort of got an idea of how it works and it wasn't terribly scary except there are some weird things that don't work the way I expected when I started tweaking at the source code.

Now normally I am more comfortable with C than with C++, but I figured I'd have a look at the C++ examples as well just in case... and found something that Made Sense. At this point, I am far enough along in the assignment that I am reasonably confident that I can figure out the additional daunting stuff over the course of tomorrow. It'll be a little tricky to get all of the sensors to play nicely with the main goal of following the line, but I'm not nearly as freaked out about it as I was 5 hours ago!

*Surprisingly, this may be the first actual robot that I have ever built!

**Project is due Monday. Seems a bit tight to be trying to learn the nuances of a whole new operating system by then...
tcepsa: (Default)
Due the week after this coming Monday (i.e. ~10 days from now) a line-following Lego robot and an Arduino that will blink an LED in the Morse-code equivalent of whatever strings are sent to it.

It's gonna be a busy weekend!
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
I'm working on getting my Linux computer talking to a Lego Mindstorms NXT brick for my Real-Time Systems Development class, but I'm having a little bit of trouble getting over the final hurdle of actually being able to upload compiled code to it. In one of the howtos that I've sought out, I came across the following gem:

You MAY or MAY NOT have to reboot at this time, I cannot tell


See the full howto here
tcepsa: (Default)
Woo, C-i. Got it in one.

(Apparently there is also an Emacs package for editing LJ entries, but for now I'll settle for just being able to edit a text field).
tcepsa: (Default)
but it'll be more funny this way if I am actually repeating myself...

I think I'll be posting more stuff here than on Social Media 2.0 (yeah, I consider LJ part of Social Media 1.0 and frankly, the only thing that I think Social Media 2.0 has added that is actually useful is the "like" button and its equivalents so that I can let someone know that I saw and appreciated their post without having to take up all the space associated with a comment just to say, "Hey, nice post.") in the nearish future. It doesn't make me use my real name, and I'm reasonably certain that the only way someone will see something I don't want them to see is if I actively mess up when I'm picking which groups to share something with.

I keep hoping that Diaspora will get to a usable point (actually, it might be there now; I think I saw something on the blog about downloading and installing it) but in the meantime, I'm less and less interested in Facebook and Google Plus (and I've been practically absent from Twitter for probably at least a year by now).

Next step should probably be seeing whether there's an Emacs plugin that I can use for browsing and posting. That'd be awesome.
tcepsa: (Cake)
Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.*

Oh right, I do tend to go on... )

*I'm totally doing it right now!!!
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
So it turns out that the Internet does not, in fact, know everything yet (and it uncertain on a couple of other points).

First off, it doesn't know about Jefferson Country in Northern California, which may or may not be a secessionist movement to get Northern California to be its own state. After [livejournal.com profile] gipsieee managed to remember that she always confuses "Eureka" (Coastal NorCal) and "Yreka" (Central NorCal), I managed to find a single article from a cycling organization in southern Oregon that referenced an attempt by the northernmost counties of California and the southernmost counties of Oregon to form their own state in the 1930s. Aside from that, nothing.

Secondly, it was very uncertain of the origins of the phrase "West by God Virginia".

If you happen to know about either of these, [livejournal.com profile] gipsieee and I would be very curious to learn more ^_^
tcepsa: (Cake)
... FOR SCIENCE!!! XD

Today I have discovered that one can, with the careful application of microwave energy, make popcorn in a jar!

In discussing with [livejournal.com profile] gipsieee the hazards of commercially available microwave popcorn, the thought popped into my mind that, "Hey, it's just popcorn in some butter/oil/salt concoction that you microwave for about two minutes. I can do that!"

And I was right! The initial batch came out a little burned because I left it in an extra minute in a vain attempt to get better pop percentage. However, the second batch is delicious and has a reasonably (for microwave popcorn) satisfactory popped/unpopped ratio. Here's how it works )
tcepsa: (I'll fix it!)
I will do Science to it! BD
tcepsa: (I'll fix it!)
In 2009, the highlight of the year was definitely the part where I got married to [livejournal.com profile] gipsieee. There were some other good things, like getting the porch reparged and maintaining straight A's in my Master's program, and there were some things that I'd like to have done better or more consistently, like house maintenance and mowing the lawn and playing videogames (though 2009 was actually a decent year for me and gaming; I am apparently coming out of the "I don't get to play videogames until EVERYTHING ELSE is done" zone, which will probably paradoxically end up with me getting more stuff done).

That having been said, here are some things that I'd like to make sure get done in 2010. Some of them are specific one-offs, and some of them are more habit/lifestyle changes.

1) Use gloves when cleaning up after making food. With that added layer of invincibility (and not having to adjust the faucet if I get it too hot or clean my hands off if I get them all gunky and need to go do something else briefly), cleaning seems much less daunting. This may just be a temporary NRE thing, but hopefully it will persist if I do.

2) Improve my flexibility and posture. Sounds like a sales-pitch for a yoga class, but this has been an ongoing desire of mine for years. The trapeze class last fall made me realize that I can actually build up my strength to levels that make me a lot happier in not-a-huge-amount of time. I am hoping to learn and practice some stretching techniques that will have a similar effect on my flexibility and posture.

3) Re-floor the basement. Now that we have the tiles up, time to put something better down! This is primarily a daunting project because it's big, it's permanent, and I've never worked with floor epoxy before. Mental note: do some kind of practice run first.

4) Increase my R-factor! In Autumn 2008 I learned that the upstairs of my house isn't really insulated for crap. In 2009 I got a better handle on what I'd need to do to prepare for someone to come in and fix a lot of the current problems. In 2010, I want to actually address the things that I need to take care of and then make the rest of it happen.

5) Legal paperwork. Get Gipsieee on everything that we want to own together, and get our wills finished.

6) Budget. Get everything relevant into Quicken and figure out what we really have to work with for building our lives together, how realistic our current dreams are, and what we need to adjust.

7) Get good at Clojure. There's a philosophy that suggests that software developers try to learn a new language each year. I got my feet wet with Clojure in 2009 and I am really excited about it, so it's going to be the language that I try to learn for 2010.

8) Make significant progress on Mandarin. We've had the CD for over a year and gotten two upgrades, but I haven't made it past Chapter 3. I want to get at least to 15, if not finished, by the end of the year.

9) Continue cooking. It's awesome, and I want to get better at it. I also want to get better at organizing myself for it, so that when it comes time to actually do it I don't feel overwhelmed and cranky about having to.

10) Maintain grades. They're great, and I want to keep them that way ^_^

11) Videogames! Focus on ones that I like, don't waste times with ones that I don't like.

12) Fiddle. Coming along nicely, but my practice schedule--such as it was--got disrupted by the holidays. I want to be practicing at least 15 minutes 4x/week by the end of the year. 5x/week would be awesome. 6x would be fantastic, but at this point seems unlikely. Maybe that'll be a 2011 goal.
tcepsa: (Cake)
900x1440 and 1280x1024
tcepsa: (Computation Suspended)
Because this is unacceptable and I am PISSED: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/12/11/dr-peter-watts-canad.html

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