Monday, April 30, 2007

Debugging Vista

Progress? I've found a website that explains how the mouse cursor works: Click here


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Many Fogs versing Vista, revisted

Smart-Games never did refund my $85, but — even better — they sent me the CD version of Many Faces of Go Version 11, which seems to be more or less compatible with Vista Home Premium — except for Microsoft's own WinHlp32.exe kludge, which I can imagine is a pain to install for the uninitiated. The downloadable version of Many Fogs available at the Trading Centre in Jolly Olde Uk may or may not work with Vista — they're cobbling together fixes as this is verbalizationated.

Anyway, Many Fogs is getting pretty long in the tooth, but it has a few features that no one else does exactly the same way. I'd still recommend SmartGo to anyone (it's less expensive, it's newer, it's nice, etc.), but Many Fogs has its place. It would be a pity if this ancient leviathan vanished because of platform obsolescence, like Handtalk (e.g., speaking of resting too long on one's laurels).

Thank you, David Fotland (Smart-Games) and Calvin Hutt (The Trading Centre).

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Our redbud is 10 days late, it usually blooms on "April Is The Cruelest Month" Day, April 15th. And it's rainy damp and cool. But stuff is blooming. That's what counts. Stuff is blooming.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oops, JellyFish DOES cheat :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Om mani padme hum

Vista headaches... Corrupt index, I think. "Missing" information comes back when I force the index to rebuild, anyway.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Many Fogs vs. Vista

I had an "E.T. call home" problem getting my Windows XP copy of Many Faces of Go version 11 to run with Vista, which I managed to get installed on Thursday. The copy protection scheme requires Many Fogs to validate the running program with a site somewhere on the web, but because of a wrinkle in how the downloadable version is set up as a "trial" install (i.e., a "demo"!), I couldn't launch the program.

Until I wrote a note to the author, and that produced a fix. Thank you, David Fotland! Great support!

UPDATE: 10:48 PM - Well, it worked for awhile... :(
UPDATE: Sunday, 7:27 AM - The third-party copy protection site is CopyMinder. I've uninstalled MFoG and will ask for my money back if this isn't resolved. Many Fogs isn't the only paranoid game maker out there, of course. Snowie (the backgammon game) and ... ummm ... well, Microsoft come suddenly to mind.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I like Vista!

Vista is gorgeous! I've got the Home Premium edition, installed courtesy of the HP Vista Express Update (i.e., free Vista) that came with this Compaq Presario V6101US notebook. It turns out that you can install Vista killer cold over your existing Windows XP installation, which effectively castrates the Vogon bloatware that HP pimps to keep their prices low. However, you MUST run the HP Vista Upgrade DVD before and after installing Vista itself —
  1. I.e., before installing, to run a Flash BIOS utility on the notebook and then select how you want Vista to treat your existing stuff, such as ignoring it altogether since I keep a different kind of backup;

  2. Then after installing, to restore all the video drivers and HP technical graces that made you buy a Presario in the first place; however, you can be selective what you choose to install in the way of optional and merely recommended software. If you (in your own private infinite wisdom, like mine) try to skip this step, you get a very plain, worse than vanilla, slow Vista, because it tries to use a generic SGA graphics driver. Ugh.
Once these steps are done, you have a very interesting, brand new notebook. And yes, I've got the sidebar running and my window borders are translucent. This particular notebook comes with the recommended speed, but it's a bit slack on memory. If you're used to (and basically like) Windows XP, then Vista Home Premium (even slacked down a bit) is pretty copacetic.

Lots of people are complaining about Vista, but IMHO, they should be complaining about how messy under the hood Windows XP is, and what problems that can cause transitioning to Microsoft's new look for the next six or seven years. I'd say they've done well, so far.

Next step is reinstalling a lot of alternative software (again!), especially Gimp and Open 2.2.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bush at Virginia Tech

I don't know which is worse. The calculated tremolo in cable news anchorlets' voices as they discuss the events in Hokieville? Or George Bush laying it down thick over private griefs he had (this time) nothing to do with, thank God?

At least when Bill Clinton feels your pain, when he tears up in the eye nearest the camera, he actually does get a measurable twinge and a moment's 24 karat discomfort. Bush is a little too gory to wear the widow's weeds.


Monday, April 16, 2007

gnubg's mysterious graph

If you play GNU Backgammon, you've probably seen this graph and wondered what it meant. Well, the 'net is wide, the 'net is wise, the net is ever at your side, and such, to wit, is the sense thereof:
"This graph shows the total error rates per game for each player. The games are along the bottom and the error rates up the side. Chequer error in green, cube error in blue."
But I don't remember where I found that (possibly here.)

Bwa-hahaha-ha! I finally won a game of Go at IGS!

Hi, Guy!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The problem with postcard format

Dragon Go Server has a postcard format, just leaving out the snail mail part. You post a move on your browser-based game and check back periodically to see if your opponent has moved yet.

On which account I've discerned what may be a rule: If they're losing, they haven't.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Ephemerae Redux: "Danger, Will Robinson!"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wormwood turns the wheel

I was just listening to someone on EWTN bemoaning the lack of basic catechesis among cradle Catholics (the speaker was a convert!), and reflecting quietly to myself how brittle that word "catholic" is.

As all these babies float away with the bathwater and vanish amidst the bullrushes, I, reprobate that I am, call to mind the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

"Bellies full, minds empty." — The Old Man's First Principles of Governance


Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil was Saturday night, a long affair with more than twenty baptisms*, confirmations† and first communions‡ in various combinations — many people joining the church at All Saints last night, including me.

We've probably all loafed all day today, still Easter for me (I've been debugging some home email problems, a kind of loafing, I suppose... ;-)

One of the charms of being Catholic is getting to keep little sacramentals secreted about one's person, like rosaries and Miraculous Medals. Maybe that frosts your cupcake, but I love Catholic rigamarole. It seems like Spring, after my long Presbyterian winter and autistic treks on the fringes of Zen.

*October 25, 1945, First Presbyterian Church, Edgerton, Kansas
†April 7, 2007, All Saints Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
‡April 7, 2007, All Saints Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Friday, April 06, 2007

Ephemeral stoned cyclops spotted again!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A slap in the face for Belgium

Our Chief Decider's highhanded "recess appointment" of Sam Fox, a Missouri fat cat unqualified to be our new U.S. Ambassador to Belgium — one of those, in fact, who bankrolled the Swift Boat smears, lies and slander campaign against John Kerry in 2004 — is not only a pointed riposte at the Democratic majority in Congress, but an unusually clear signal to Belgium (and by extension, Europe at large) that George gives diddly squat for anything beyond his own banal focus... justice, truth, logic, whatever. Brussels should bark this Fox back baro non grata.

‡That's Latin for "Dunce with the one who sent you," Sam.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Grass Shack

Monday, April 02, 2007

Nihon Kiin's New Go Game Machine 9x9

Don't let the little kid's smile fool you — she's a killer!

Seriously, this little igo program (shown running on Windows XP) is the first 9x9 player I've seen that lets you take back one, two, three or all moves, and replay them. Also has a hint button and a position evaluator as neat as SmartGo's or Many Faces'. You can play against three personalities — Hikaru, Yukari and Professor Owa* — and they're all about equally frustrating to lose to.

"Professor Owa" plays about evenly against GNU Go 3.7.10 at level 10, so... maybe somewhere between 9 kyu and 6 kyu?
Hikaru no Go
Umezawa Yukari, the 5 dan pro who vets Hikaru no Go
*Nobody in the show, must be the little guy on their Learn Go pages :)