boo!

October 31, 2004 under Life, TV

Happy Hallowe’en!

On this day, Scream is only showing the original Halloween. Last night, they at least showed kewl classics back-to back-to-back; Poltergeist, The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I went to the clinic on Fairway Rd. yesterday. I’ve has this dull ache/heavy feeling in my head, face and neck for the past three weeks so I thought I should see a doctor. Apparently it’s a sinus problem. I had a head x-ray and the doctor “saw something” in my right maxillary sinus cavity. He’d have to speak to the radiologist to be sure so in the meantime I’m taking Sudafed Sinus.

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sexy lady turns 28 and i want to kill the undead

October 29, 2004 under Computers, Life, Software

Happy Birthday to Dena! My wife is 28 years old today. Try as she might, she’ll always be thirty days older than me 🙂 She’ll be in Crystal Falls for the next ten days, so the cats and I have the place to ourselves. In the meantime, I think I’ll catch up on some reading, work and try to make some headway in Painkiller. I was making good progress but then Doom3 came along and well…you know. So I think it would be wise of me to finish it off before Half-Life 2 hits the shelves.

Speaking of Painkiller, would you like to see what Barry does at work all day? Take a look at this 🙂

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i'm no scorcese

October 28, 2004 under Computers, Software

Back in the summer, Dena’s boss filmed our wedding with his analog/digital camcorder. When he used Roxio VideoWave to transfer the video to his computer from the analog tape via a Firewire connection, it grabbed 61 minutes worth of video as one file. Our wedding comprised of about 17 minutes of that, with the remaining being comprised of his family events and Civil War re-enacting footage. He gave me a 2GB MPEG-2 file in 720×380. Dena is leaving for Crystal Falls tomorrow for ten days and wanted to bring a copy of the video from our wedding to her family. How was I to get 2GB worth of MPEG-2 data onto a CD (some folks don’t have DVD drives)? The trial version of Adobe Premiere Pro came to the rescue. I couldn’t find a good open-source app for this. Ulead and Pinnacle force you to create an account before you download any of their trials. Abobe makes you do the same, but I already had an account with them. In the end, Premiere worked mint. After a few failed attempts using DivX and Quicktime video compression that yielded a file still too large for a 700MB CD, I settled on good ol’ ubiquitous Indeo (I didn’t want people to need to hunt down and install codecs), cranked the FPS and resolution down a bit and edited out the video that had nothing to do with our wedding. 368MB was the final result. Then I created an autorun.inf, wrote a quickie C++ EXE to do the launching from the autorun and burned it…with room to spare for plenty of JPGs from the wedding 😀

In other news, Pat finally has a site and it features a Serendipity blog. The idea of moving my site to a better host that offers more, like MonsterHosting, keeps moving closer and closer to the forefront of my mind. And we still don’t have hot water, but the superintendant did come to see it for herself and now she’s a believer.

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c# is growing on me

October 25, 2004 under Computers, Programming

The hot water still isn’t fixed. I’m not in the mood for another “a world apart” joke today 😉 In the meantime, here’s a wicked feature from C# that I like.

It’s the ‘checked’ keyword and it can be used either within your code or as a switch for the command line compiler. It makes sure that a statement is a valid, sort of like C++’s ASSERT but a little bit stricter in terms of built in data types. For example, the largest possible value of a signed integer is 2147483647. So if you tried to store the sum of 2 billion multiplied by two, you could never get 4 billion as the result because signed integers on x86 hardware with 32-bit environments can’t hold a number larger than 2147483647. Instead, you’d end up with a weird value that is the difference of our intended 4 billion value and the maximium 32-bit value (that’s 4294967296). That sucks. But C#‘s ‘checked’ keyword will throw an exception if you try to do something crazy like that. Observe:

<br />class CheckedTest<br />{<br />    static void Main()<br />    {<br />       int a = 2000000000;<br /><br />       a *= 2;<br /><br />       // freaky-deaky value will be printed<br />       System.Console.WriteLine(a);<br />    }<br />}<br />

If we use the checked keyword (or the compiler switch), an overflow exception would be thrown:

<br />checked<br />{<br />   int a = 2000000000;<br />   a *= 2;<br />}<br />

That’ll make sure that we didn’t assign ‘a’ some value that’s too large, both when we declare it and when it’s multplied it by two. You can even use it on a single line:


int x;
x = checked(2000000000 * 2);

Nice 😉

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python and c# are way kewler than transglobe

October 22, 2004 under Computers, Life, Programming

TransGlobe maintenance apparently were in our apartment yesterday. They left a card. Either way, the situtation is still the same; a brief amount of hot water and then polar bear piss cold. I guess our idea of hot water is “a world apart” from TransGlobe‘s idea. I don’t think I’ll tire of that joke anytime soon folks. Sorry 🙂

Maybe I can bide my time with more Python. Nah, I’ll save that for another day. I’ve been plugging away with C#, too, so I could post some kewl and interesting things that I’ve found with it. Maybe next time.

In the meantime, take a look at Panda3D. It’s an open source 3D engine that looks like it’s a project from Carnegie Mellon, but according the latest issue of the IEEE‘s Computer magazine, it was originally a Disney project. Extending it can be accomplished via C++ or Python. Here I go again 🙂

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python is faster than transglobe maintenance

October 21, 2004 under Computers, Life, Programming

Eight days have passed since we’ve had hot water. I signed a work order last Wednesday but TransGlobe says they received it this past Monday. Those two dates are “a world apart” (I love making fun of that slogan of their’s). TransGlobe says that a maintenance person probably won’t be able to take a look at our water heater until the end of this week or beginning of next week. I definitely think it’s time Dena and I starting looking for a house. Renting and sharing walls with others has become tiresome after nine years (5 years in university and 4 years in this apartment).

On a lighter note, here’s another chronicle of my love affair with Python. I’m a crazy looping fool. Most of the work I do during the day involves writing parsers. Be it parsing text or CNC code, I’m a parsing fool with parsing on my mind and I eat sleep and dream loops. I have a love/hate relationship with FOR loops; functional but they’re ever so constrictive. “Do this this many times and then stop. Good boy”. In every C-like language, FOR loops look like this:

String[] arrTPB = {"Ricky", "Bubbles", "Julian", "Corey", "Trevor"};
for (int i = 0; i < arrTPB.length; i++)
{
    System.out.print(arrTPB[i] + "\n");
}

That was Java, but it would look similar in C, C++, C#, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, etc. Ok, I'll tighten it up a smidge since there's only one line of instruction in this FOR loop:

String[] arrTPB = {"Ricky", "Bubbles", "Julian", "Corey", "Trevor"};
for (int i = 0; i < arrTPB.length; i++)
    System.out.print(arrTPB[i] + "\n");

How about Visual Basic? That’s not C-like:

Dim i As Integer
Dim arrTPB() As String
 
' Chris' cheesy work-around to quickly init VB6 string arrays
arrTPB() = Split("Ricky~Bubbles~Julian~Corey~Trevor", "~")
 
For i = 0 To UBound(arrTPB)
    MsgBox (arrTPB(i))
Next

Still nasty. Now be in awe at the utter smoothness of Python:

arrTPB = ['Ricky', 'Bubbles', 'Julian', 'Corey', 'Trevor']
print "\n".join(arrTPB)

The join() function concatenates elements together with a delimiter (I used a newline character in this case). I didn’t even need a FOR loop to display all of the elements. How kewl is that? 🙂 If I wanted to, I could use a FOR loop in Python:

arrTPB = ['Ricky', 'Bubbles', 'Julian', 'Corey', 'Trevor']
for strBoy in arrTPB:
    print strBoy

But I didn’t have to 🙂 I’m still undecided about how classes in Python are used, but I’ll save that for another time…perhaps after a hot shower 😉

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transglobe stinks and so do i

October 18, 2004 under Life

Hot Water Heater Status:

Taking a shower is still a game of hokey-pokey. Going on one week…

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i need to get extended

October 13, 2004 under Computers, Internet, Programming, Software

I think the idea of XUL is a neat one. I’m not sold on using JavaScript as the driving language, though. I may want to look into using XUL with C++ with UI stuff; XPCOM, if you will. Yes, I have some ideas for Firefox extensions. What else would I be talking about? 😉

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cold showers for all the wrong reasons

October 12, 2004 under Life

More on our fabulous life…

Dena had a 3-minute mostly luke warm shower this morning. Mine was 90 seconds of cold water. We’ve already had a hot water heater replaced once, and it took four days to do so. The six rent increases in four years haven’t yielded better heaters. So let us tip our champagne glasses and swill some caviar to the chaps at TransGlobe. Huzzah, they truly are a world apart.

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run, turkey, run

October 11, 2004 under Golf, Life, Sports

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, Dena and I cleaned her Cambridge office. No Oktoberfest-ing or turkey for us. Just scrubbing toilets, vacuuming floors and dusting desks. We did manage to get a round of golf in on Friday night, just the two of us at Doon…aww, isn’t that sweet 😉 I played pretty good (although my shameful putting robbed me of a few birdies and pars) and Dena is improving with her irons. Ah, the fabulous life of a software developer and a legal assistant. Can a new reality TV series, starring us, be in the works? 😉

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