Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Next up...

The Elder Wyrm seems to be there to force you to level up the team. Classic.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Slogging through an 18-hour binge...

Yesterday morning, I was smarting over Game Over at the hands of Azelas Vossler on Friday night; by evening, I was beating a retreat from the Henne Mines. Felt like progress, but this game isn't even half over.

I'm married, but batching it this weekend. Who needs real life?


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Life in the slow lane

Still levelling up, and we have to take out Judge Ghis?! On the other hand, found out what chocobos are good for, if you've got enough teleport stones.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Deathly Shallows (the hoaxes, that is)

There were a few Blibbering Humdingers flitting amongst the bit torrents last week, I'd say, having finally seen the book J. K. Rowling wrote... ^^;


Sunday, July 22, 2007


I'm sure everything has a reason, but.....


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deathly Hallows Day

Actually, I'm playing Final Fantasy XII (see photo of Fran, left). Unlike the last two Potter volumes, my kid has made up a party of some friends (and their mom) and is off at the midnight bash at Barnes & Noble. Strange turn of events, getting... uhhh... old... :)

Stuck in the Barheim Passage right now. Finally tumbled to rotating through party members on the action menu, so Fran (say) can use her magicks.
[Update: The Mimic Queen is a lot easier than getting through the Passage to the Mimic Queen. Just set all your party's gambits to cast Blizzard on the leader's target, then stand as far away as possible back in the tunnel you arrived through.

After that... The Thextera lurking along the cliffs on the west side of Dalmasca Estersands is a gaudy nuisance, ain't it? Hedge Knights should have no problem, though.]


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wellington's Rule

Habit is better than hope.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Clipper redux

Speaking of moribund computer programming skillsets, Clipper, the old dBase III compiler, still has fans and its own website, astonishingly enough. I was a huge fan of dBase II on CP/M and the old MS-DOS systems, and made a fair living as a Clipper programmer about 15 or 16 years ago.

The combination of Perl 5 and SQLite 3.4.0 is every bit as good as Nantucket System's Clipper ever was. It's really fun to scale down a small project to human size, once in a while, instead of reaching automatically for MySQL or PostgreSQL or maybe even Oracle. Why lift a cannon when all the situation calls for is a spitwad?

Not that SQLite is a featherweight. It's already tipping over the edge to feature creep. And version 3.4.0 has got a few arcane corners of its own, like TRIGGERs and some DEFAULT options that can be specified but don't seem to have any effect.

The use of Perl 5 is predicated on simple preference — it's my favorite free programming language of all time, not only 99.44% bug free, but it has an awk-like pattern match, substitution and translation syntax so efficient it can elicit forgiveness for a learning curve as long, flat and vertical as the Great Wall of China.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Speaking of logging the web....

  • BackStreet Browser 3.1 is a fast, snazzy Windows front end for Curl that downloads an entire website onto your own hard drive and keeps it updated daily. Default settings verge perilously close to wisdom, and it plays nice with Vista.

  • perldoc online, also convenient.

  • How doth the lowly Porringer porringe,
    if nothing English rhymes with orange?

  • Although nothing rhymes with silver,
    You may mention, Sergeant, argent.

  • Control Panel → System → Advanced system settings → System Properties → Advanced → Environment Variables... → PATH → Edit

  • Control-Shift-Right Click to open a cmd.exe window in the current working directory


"Nymphadora Tonks?"

Maybe I should read the books...


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Zorknotes redux

Ok, there's a reason; check this out:
# convert all code numbers to hot links
$result =~ s/(\-*\d+\.\d+\b)/\<a href\=\"zorknotes.pl\?\1\" title=\"\1\"\>\1\<\/a\>/g;
Ain't that too cool? I do like Perl!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An utter poem

Many and many a little poem
Careens around inside my dome.
I can only summon hence
A verse for nine and fifty cents.

"Do not feed the Kraken, dear,
Or let him knit and purl too near,
Or else this deep and whirly dude
Will pull you in and snarl your snood."


Monday, July 09, 2007

Let's face it...

When you die, you want to be buried with your cell phone, right?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Toad in a hole

MySQL doesn't run under Vista (it wants port 3307, which is not available), at least not for amateurs. I do blame Vista, by the way -- MySQL has NO problems that I'm aware of running under Linux or Mac OS X. Whether or not a home user can run version 5 is another question. Version 4 was getting marginal, but still ok, thanks to support from phpMyAdmin.

Meanwhile, PostgreSQL has gotten so uptown with esoteric arcana like schemas and roles that home users just scratch their heads in disbelief — at having to buy another $65 book to run an open source FREE database! Unless you're the Indonesian Post Office, you may be better off avoiding PostgreSQL.

That leaves SQLite 3.4.0, which I'm looking into. It occupies an obvious niche like a toad in a hole.

At first blush, SQLite 3.4.0 is kind of fun. The data types are much reduced, compared to PostgreSQL (you can pretty much replace anything with text, and it does rational stuff with it.) It's not a client/server, but an old-fashioned drop-in library of functions, accessible directly from C (think Bloodshed's Dev-C++). It has a CLI named sqlite3, which is similar to psql but much smaller of course. This works well, although output is not automatically formatted.

UPDATE: "SQLite Database Browser is a light GUI editor for SQLite databases, built on top of QT. The main goal of the project is to allow non-technical users to create, modify and edit SQLite databases using a set of wizards and a spreadsheet-like interface."

The browser (or SQLite?) seems to do rational things with legacy fields that have been resized, re-typed, and re-edited under MySQL and PostgreSQL, both ANSI and UTF-8, then ported to SQLite 3.4.0, I might add. Not sure what's going on, but so far I've been able to repair (manually) whatever it shows me. The wonder is, it does show me, rather than hiding stuff behind the scenes. And they're both public domain. And fast...!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tips from Ramon

These are some pointers on handicap Go I picked up from Ramon Mercado, our resident 9 kyu, at the Cyclone Go Club last Sunday in Ames. Ramon is better than a shelf of Go books, for a beginner.

The point being, that when you play at Dragon Go Server, eventually you have to play with a handicap, even though taking white in a handicap game with black at 3 or 4 stones seems like the most unnatural thing in the world. Go is go, even when high kyus pair off in unnatural matches.
  1. Handicap go does not require brilliance from black.
  2. Leave no weaknesses, play solid, play conservatively, at least in the opening.
  3. White's job is to separate black into many groups.
  4. Horse face is better than monkey face when trying to make influence.
  5. Monkey face is better than horse face when trying to make life.
  6. "Weakness" means fewer options than your opponent has.
    Ramon clarifies: A weak group is a group with two options, weaknesses are cutting points, lack of eye shape, etc. "Don't leave weaknesses" means not to let your groups become weak, and not to play shape with weaknesses in them.

    [Heh. I don't promise to understand what Ramon says. Be advised.]
  7. Make the pincer closer.
  8. Win with one group, ideally, or maybe two. Three or four at most, never with six. Six groups always lose.
  9. Maybe seven moku is safe, but only if you play right.
  10. Don't let white get away with nuthin'!
  11. Plus one from Brett: Play the net against your own position, to keep white from doing it. Part of "your strong move is my strong move," I suppose, but I'd never seen it done.
nigiri, nom. A guessing game to decide who plays first in a game of even go, similar to a coin toss but there's no coins and no tossing or flipping or anything.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Free advertising for Sicko

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