Welcome to CrazedSanity Dot Com!
Home of the Dynamic Content System (cs-content)!
Server Time: 05-19-2013 16:22:20 CDT
Alright, TTORP (a.k.a. "cs-battletrack") has had enough changes that an update is in order. In working out some bugs, I've noticed some features that I'd forgotten about, and probably never told anybody else about.
UPGRADES (THE HIGHLIGHTS):
KNOWN ISSUES (not necessarily complete):
Would you like to help?
You don't need to be a programmer to help me. All you need is to have a little bit of time, have a computer (you can obviously check that one off the list), and be able to type and formulate coherent thoughts. Here's some of the things you can do:
I've updated the TTORP (Table Top Online Role Playing) system on CrazedSanity.com. It's still buggy, but it should be at least a little more user-friendly... but apparently only a little.
For the most up-to-date information on the project, take a look at the project on GitHub (there's an issue tracker that is also helpful).
I've sorta fixed adding new records... sort of. There are now "Add" buttons for weapons, armor, gear, and feats/special abilities. Updates to the fields work as poorly as they did before--in other words, changing the field will leave it red and non-modifiable until the page is reloaded, even though the changes were actually saved.
Also, there's a bit of a glitch after adding records. If you attempt to modify a record after having added one, the page basically seems to not care... reloading the page fixes that (see previous bug).
It's a work in progress. Help would be very much appreciated, even just with testing changes and narrowing bugs ("I can't update the weapons after adding one... but it sort of works when I try after reloading the page").
Writing code is a difficult thing, sure. Or at least it can be. Reading some stuff on the 'web today gave me a little different perspective on things, especially where it comes to some of the things I'm working on.
The website was for Synergy, an application that allows sharing keyboard and mouse across different computers. The part that really caught my attention:
That's pretty much exactly how I feel about most of the applications I'm working on. Since I'm the only developer, it gets a bit frustrating that I don't have someone else to talk to about that cool thing I just implemented. Ugh.
(NOTE: This is an email I sent out at the end of last year, and I thought it was blog-worthy)
I'm just sending you this email to try to explain why I am the way I am, why I've said (or not said) stuff, and maybe some insight into my intentions. If you don't read it or never respond to it, I guess I just don't care. It is what it is. I'm even going to put little section titles so it's a little easier to read.
The title might be a little weird, but the purpose is to have a list of things that I absolutely can't live without. Generally this list would only come into play after I've reinstalled the OS on my laptop (happens at least once every few years, depending on how many problems I have with it).
This might help you (or others) to see new applications and such that you may not have otherwise thought about. Or maybe it will give you more insight into me. Or maybe... maybe it's just a list for me. Who knows.
NOTE: these things are primarily for Linux. I abandoned Windows over a decade ago, and haven't looked back, except for when it's required for work. I've never had a chance to work with a Mac, so I honestly don't care about them. Anyway, don't be surprised if these don't work on something other than Linux.
ON TO THE LIST, JEEVES! (todo: add relevant links)
... to feel like I'm really contributing to something noble, instead of just helping some other business to make more money.
... to know that the emails I spend hours composing are actually being read, not disregarded because it's too long.
... to feel challenged, not frustrated.
... to feel excited, not desperate.
... to feel appreciated, not used.
... to feel a sense of accomplishment when I come home at night.
... to know that my emails get read, not ignored because they're too long.
... to be able to get angry at something and be heard, not asked if I've taken my pills.
... to know that my working 40+ hours a week is appreciated, not just required.
... to not feel guilty about telling people that my wife is a homemaker.
... to feel accepted by my peers, not disregarded.
The other day, one of my co-workers walked up to me and had me login to a server. I pulled up the screen that asked for my username and password, where I promptly typed the username... and then stopped.
"What's wrong? Don't you remember your password?"
My simple reply: "I don't know my password."
So, if you're at like most people, you manage passwords in a few ways: your browser, and by using one (or maybe two) passwords. Not me.
I'm one of those people that has a lot of accounts on a lot of different systems. More accounts than most, easily close to or surpassing a hundred just for myself, and many of them must be changed on a fairly regular basis.
To cope with this, I use a password safe. It creates random passwords for me that I don't have to (necessarily) remember, and as a bonus helps me to keep track of where all my accounts are. Check out KeePass if you're interested (the article has a link to the application).
Ever struggled with the blame game? You know, when the boss comes in, freaking out about why something isn't done, or why it's taking so long?
Well, worry no more! With S.E.A.N., you've always got somebody to blame!
"Uh... Somebody will do it... Everybody will do it... Anybody can do it... Nobody did it."
Somebody, Everybody, Anybody, Nobody.
Thanks to Prophet for telling me about this one.
Recently, I had a chance to talk to a couple of very cool fellow geeks. We talked for a couple of hours, and during that time, I was asked what makes me who I am. I answered, but felt a bit disingenuous about it. I guess maybe I was a little scared that they might think I'm too much of a geek or something.
Basically, the part that I messed up on was trying to say that I programmed less than I actually do. Sure, I do a lot of gaming, and I might sketch something once in a while, and sometimes I get inspired to write in one of my unfinished novels, but my passion really resides in programming web applications.
So it got me thinking: what do I really want? Well, let me list the basics that really make me happy:
I love telling stories. I'm writing a couple of novels because I love telling stories. It's fun to write, but it's much more fulfilling just to be creatiive and to tell a story that nobody has ever heard (or a story they've heard but love to hear again).
My novels are cool to write, but I get a little too technical when writing. Sometimes I get caught-up in details, sometimes I try to focus on the big picture. And sometimes I get caught-up trying to write like I talk: I've told the whole story many times to many people, and they've all loved it... but it's just really tough to write something the same way I tell it.
Being Geeky (the "ooh, shiney")
I love finding something really cool. A pocket knife with a whistle, and a wicked-hot magnesium bar that can start a fire on anything with 3,000 degree sparks. A watch that hides an 8Gb USB drive. Four miniature tools that contain over 30 different tools in them. Ninja star push pins. The cool things that just make you (or at least me) go, "ooh, shiney!"
Doing Stuff I'm Good At
I like doing stuff that I'm good at. Creating something really cool and unique is an awesome feeling. Or sometimes it's just helping somebody else work on something, or advising someone about something that I've got expertise in. Especially when, in the end, I get that little bit of validation.
Making Something Others Will Use
I think it is a really great feeling to build something that other people use. I've built a lot of applications that others use for a lot of other companies through my day jobs (past and present). That's a great feeling, to know that what I've created is being used and helps somebody.
Putting It All Together
So... what does that all add up to? I had an answer... but I'm not sure anymore. I guess I'm still working on it... what do you think it adds up to?
What are you doing? Check my page at GitHub to see some of the code I'm working on.
(This awesome montage was created by Screenie; pretty nice if you've got Linux).
After having been fairly uncommunicative for over a month, I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. I've started attending my normal Tuesday evening meetings, and I've started giving a crap about Facebook and various other social networking stuff. And some of the things I've been reading and hearing about are a bit... irritating. So to avoid having another rage issue that might lead to further injuries (possibly involving others this time), I've decided to rant about it... get ready.
I don't like calling people. Not my mother, my friends, hell, I don't even like calling my wife. I rarely pick up the phone, and generally do so only if I think it is of importance or might be interesting. I don't like talking on the phone at all. The cell I had in Fargo many years ago maintained history of all my calls for more than a year, and it said my average call time was one minute and a handful of seconds: that included 45-minute calls with my wife (then just my girlfriend).
If I'm on a call for more than 30 seconds, I find myself looking for excuses to get off the phone. If you've ever been on the phone with me, you'll notice that I'm the one trying to end the conversation. If it can't be said in 30 seconds, it probably isn't that important or would be better served in face-to-face.
I didn't like getting asked to fix other people's computers before I my hand was broken, so what makes anyone think I'm going to rush into that now? I type so fast because I'm impatient, so having to type at a ridiculously slow rate only worsens the problem. And no, I'm not going to sit on the phone trying to explain how to get you through installing some software or driver or something, because I'm not given enough details about the problem, and nobody seems to be able to understand that when I say the word "space", that it means to press that long bar on your keyboard.
I don't give a shit if you think I'm not holding up my end of the bargain. I've stated what I can do, and what my time constraints are. Just because you don't understand them doesn't suddenly make them disappear or make me available.
Yeah, just like that Aerosmith song, I'm back in the saddle again. Some of you may have noticed a bit of a hiatus on my part, though you may not know why.
About a month ago, I had... well, a bizarre disagreement with one of my downstairs neighbors. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say: I now know that I have a very violent reaction to stupidity. I believe it was actually due in part to a massive mood swing due to bloodsugar levels that were dropping quickly.
Anyway, after getting into this argument, I had a lot of anger that needed a release... I slammed the front door, cracking the frame and negating the work my father-in-law had done to get our deadbolt to work, and then punching the kitchen doorway. That last punch didn't really help: when I looked at my right hand, I saw the knuckle of my pinky finger tucked not-so-neatly beneath the next knuckle, and a pronounced bulge on the underside of my hand.
The ER doctor pronounced it as a "Boxer's Fracture", and explained how the fifth metatarsal in my right hand was broken.
Now... let's take a look at some information that these doctors gave me. For instance, on metacarpal vs. metatarsal bones: The metacarpal bones are in the hands, metatarsals are in the feet; in effect, the doctor said that I'd broken the little toe on my right foot. The smaller of the two discrepancies, the "Boxer's Fracture" reference, is something where the second or third metacarpal is broken by an experienced fighter, whereas a "Bar Room Fracture" is one where the fourth or fifth metacarpal is broken, by an inexperienced fighter (that's me).
Yeah. Good stuff. I so trust ER doctors now.
Yes, I have a plan.
No, you can't see it.
Due to the laws of physics and for the good of the space-time continuum, I am only allowed to remember small, usually disconnected fragments at any one given time.
My mother-in-law sent me this one. Finally effectively explains the difference between geeks & nerds.
Irony Alert: The House is holding hearings on sweeping Internet censorship legislation this week -- and it's censoring the opposition! The bill is backed by Hollywood, Big Pharma, and the Chamber of Commerce.
All of them are going to get to testify at the hearing, but the bill's opponents -- tech companies, free speech and human rights activists, and hundreds of thousands of Internet users -- won't have a voice.
Please click here to demand that they let us censorship opponents testify too:
As if you need a reminder: This is the most offensive Internet legislation we've seen in years. It will give the government and corporations new powers to block Americans' access to sites that are accused of copyright infringement, force sites like YouTube to go to new lengths to police users' contributions, and put people in prison for streaming certain content online.
This sham of a hearing represents everything that's broken about our political system. Will you click here to demand that opponents of the Blacklist Bill be allowed to testify this week?
You may have read my initial reactions to the backup system, Wuala, back in August ("New Backup System to the Rescue, Wuala!"). This is the follow-up. I promise.
Have you ever been just sitting there, minding your own business, when someone comes along and offers you something that is totally cool? Not food, but something else, that can be used indefinitely? There's some trade-off they're willing to make... imagine somebody offered you an iPad 8 (or whatever the current number is), and says you can use it for as long as you allow them to use your iPad1.
You think to yourself, "wow, that's sweet. I can use this new system as long as I give them something sort of similar in return... something I'm not using anyway." Yeah, that would be friggin' awesome, right?
Suddenly, this person tells you that they don't want your iPad1. They don't give any specific reason, they just don't want it.
The problem is now you're dependent on the iPad8. Sure, you can go back to the old one, and it will probably do just what you want... but that's not the point.
"Oh, no, you can still use my iPad 8 for a year. I realize it was cruddy that I took it away... so here's the deal: I'll let you continue to use it for free for another year, but then you're going to have to pay a monthly price. If you don't want it, I can downgrade you to an iPad1."
"What the hell!?!?" Yeah, exactly. Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what Wuala is doing.
With Wuala, I had:
Now I'm back to the old way of doing things. Create backup, put on backup server. Pray backup server doesn't go down if the main server goes.
Oh, I just remembered I should check Facebook. [Name Here] said they sent me a friend request.
[three minutes pass]
Damn. So many apps, so little time. I gotta start playing all these games or blocking them. This is kinda ridiculous. Oh, I'll just block them. I've got better things to do than pretend to harvest fields and click links to make me feel like a gangster.
[two minutes pass]
Oh, somebody tagged me in a conversation! CLICK!
[about 60 seconds later...]
That's a really cool picture. So thoughtful of a dry cleaner to put up a sign that they'll clean your clothes for free if you're unemploy....
[30 seconds later...]
Such a cute puppy. I doubt it's actually the size of a pop can, though. I wonder if that person was hoping to get money from...
[10 seconds later...]
Mark Zuckerberg has a dog? POOP ON HIS FLOOR!
[2 seconds later...]
... oh yeah, that's a cool page. I should 'like' it...
A bunch of my friends want Beast to poop on the floor.
Hey, when did I get that app installed?
I said something on Twitter?
How do hash tags work?
Hey I know her.
I was wandering around the Internet the other day (i.e. sometime within the last few months) and I happened upon something that mentioned animal lovers. And it got me thinking.
I went home and looked at my animals. All six of the were lounging about like always: Ebby was on my stomach, nonchalantly easing his way ever closer to my keyboard; Lucky was close by Ebby, trying to act so cute while attempting to garner my attention; Lance was cleaning himself on my wife's lap; Garfield (a.k.a. "Little Man") howling for attention after having been left alone for almost two full minutes; Katie was laying on the folded sleeping bag she had stolen from one of our friends; and Goldie was laying on the floor near my chair.
I've always considered myself an animal lover, but it seems I'm nearing the edge of sanity in that regard. Especially considering my animals, their conditions, and how they came to be in my care.
Ebony (a.k.a. "Ebby") is the only one of my pets that I didn't inherit. One day while visiting a friend's farm, my girlfriend (at the time) was all warm and gooshey about getting a kitten from the new batch that our friend's outdoor cat had just littered. I already had a cat ("Tigger," R.I.P.), and I really didn't want to deal with another. I reluctantly went out to look at the kittens, mostly to quell the gooshieness, adamant that we were not going to have another animal.
We went outside and I picked one of them up. I figured I'd be safe by picking up the runt, staying firm on my anti-new-animal position... but this black ball of fur started purring immediately after I gathered him up into my left hand. Each time I tried to renew my position, I was interupted by the realization that this kitten was still purring. We must have been out there for 20 minutes, and this little thing just would not stop staring at me and purring.
I could count on one hand how many times he stopped purring over the next six months, and I wouldn't have even needed fingers. He slept on my neck every night, secretly antagonizing my older cat, Tigger, whenever I wasn't looking.
As the years rolled on, he got the alias "BOK," which was an acronym for "Black Ops Kitty." He somehow managed to hide in plain sight in the middle of the room. He would crawl onto my lap and announce his presence subtly over the next few minutes by carefully placing his head over my arm and purring. What a cat.
Now he's getting up there in age. He was just recently diagnosed as "pre-diabetic," so he's now on a strict diet of a special "dietetic" cat food in a can. Completely blind in his right eye and nearly as much in his left, he now creeps around with a bit less subtlety, occassionally running face-first into a wall when he's excited and isn't quite paying attention. After being forced to move a half-dozen times around the time Bismarck's "great flood," I'm still amazed at how quickly he finds his way around a new place.
Lance (a.k.a. "Stumpy" or "Big Man") is our second oldest cat. He's a beautiful grey and white cat. He has quite possibly the softest fur I've ever felt on a cat.
Originally he was my Aunt Hazel's cat, God rest her soul. When he was just a kitten, he lost his right front paw due to a terrible mishap from declawing. He was found on my Aunt's bed in a pool of his own blood, paw hanging off after he'd gnawed it almost completely off.
He got shuffled around for a while, living at the Farm, my brother's house, then his girlfriend's, then the Farm, then eventually by me and my Wife. I'm always amazed by how powerful he is, and how he can still smack you with his stump like he was a little boxer, and how he can manage to hide so quickly when a stranger comes by.
Lucky came upon us while my wife and I were living out at the Farm. We were moving some massive tree stumps off a trailer when my wife heard this quiet, nearly imperceptible "mew" from the tall grass (it was probably less than a foot tall). She searched about until she finally found this tiny little furball--smaller than Ebby--crawling toward her with purpose.
This tiny kitten, no more than a month old, was very nearly on her death bed. Emaciated so badly that every rib was showing, infested with fleas, she was incredibly lucky to have been found at all. I still don't know how she managed to avoid the truck and trailer, the massive 200+ pound chunks of wood being rolled and dropped off the trailer, or to have been heard over the radio we had blaring at the time. For all those reasons, and despite all those that told me "Lucky" was a terrible name for a female kitten, she received her official name.
We brought her to our vet, who told us she was incredibly lucky to be alive, and that she probably wouldn't last the night. My wife put her foot down, saying something like, "she goddamned will survive!" and proceeded to spend literally every waking moment feeding her formula and anything else that would pack on the pounds.
I am happy to say that, two years later, she is a beautiful all-grey kitten. Everyone that sees her and hears the tale of how she came to be is amazed at how she has become such a healthy feline.
Garfield (a.k.a. "Little Man") came to us just a month after Lucky. We were having supper when my little brother heard the sound of a herd of kittens outside. When my wife and I investigated, we found five or six kittens in a half-circle, moving upon our two dogs like an army. A tiny, hungry army. Something like a week prior we'd seen their mother's corpse on the road: we'd seen her before with a pregnant belly some time ago, and saw that she had lost that belly at the time of her demise.
Over the next few hours we rounded them all up. The first few were pretty easy to catch, as we simply put some food out for them; they really didn't care what we did with them as long as we kept those food dishes with them. A couple of them were more difficult to catch, with the last one, a tiny little orange and white one, giving us the run-around in the bushes and finally ending in the engine compartment of an old car.
We managed to give all but one away to loving homes, even the calico that we had the nasty "rabbit fly larva" sticking out of her side; we found out it was a fly larva (and not a bone or something else just as unsavory) after realizing that it moved when we touched it. Thank goodness my wife's mom knew just what to do from her time at the Humane Society.
After having no luck getting a good home for Little Man, my wife managed to convince me that we should just keep him. We'd had him for so long at that point that we'd both become quite attached.
I am happy to say again, after two years, that he's in perfect condition and is a fountain of non-stop energy.
Goldie and Katie are the two dogs we inherited from my Aunt. When she passed away, we were told that my wife and had the only home (well, homes, I suppose, since we weren't married at the time) that were capable of having them. They were family, and you don't just let family get split up or sent away.
Goldie is a white and gold colored shitzu. She's mostly blind, and has this hilarious "howl" where she tilts her head up, starts a howling noise, goes quiet, and ends with a little "sneeze." Almost like the middle part was muted or something. Absolutely adorable.
Katie is a dirty white shitzu-poodle cross ("shipoo?"). She's got a skin condition that pretty much keeps us from grooming her, and we have to bathe her in a special shampoo and occassionally spray her with some anti-itch stuff.
Both of them have been trained to do a little dance for their treats at night.
No, that wasn't some terrible spelling for the French word "voilà", it is actually the name of an awesome backup program that sounds the same.
"Wuala" is just really cool. Technically it is a monster, but the kind that looks really slick, the kind that you want to have as a pet. You know, watching a movie, something appears or transforms, and someone else screams, "holy shit, I WANT ONE!"
It's really nice to use as well, especially if you add the "filesystem integration" stuff: in Windows, it gives you a new drive letter, "W:" (in Linux this shows as "~/WualaDrive/"), so it's a breeze to use. There are cool features like "sync" and "backup" as well: sync ensures that the folder you select is always up-to-date in Wuala; backup is basically the same, but you can set it to only backup in certain intervals (where sync is always "continuous").
Sharing is pretty simple. Get an account, give your friend the username, add 'em to contacts. Done. You can share out folders with them, and it's pretty straightforward. stuff shared by contacts is viewed by going under "Contacts" and then under that user's name.
Group sharing is also available. It is a level beyond sharing between users, as you can select who is a user, who's a moderator, and who's an administrator. Members can't do much of anything beyond just the files; moderators can invite/approve new users, and Administrators always have full access. Roles can be changed and so can permissions, with the one constant being that, no matter what, an administrator always has full access.
I'm planning on putting up another entry at some point that is more in-depth. I will cover:
Anyway, I'm sure you're sitting at the edge of your seat... so stay tuned!
Geeky things seem to always get a much broader scope than others. I start out wanting to have some simple way of selecting characters to add to a campaign in TTORP, and I spend hours building a bunch of crap that is important, but a lot of it is just crap that might vaguely lend itself to the end goal, but ends up just sitting there... and then, instead of one little project, I end up with a bunch of different, loosely related projects that scream for attention.
But what if God were a geek?
"I just need to see a little better..." -- AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT
"I need a source for the light, instead of just 'everywhere'... ooh, what about a big ball?" --- THE BIG BANG
"Aw, crap. These little guys keep asking questions I don't have answers for... meh. Let them fill in the details." -- BIRTH OF PSYCHOLOGY
"Okay, they're looking too close. Maybe if I make it so that light has a finite speed..." -- THE SPEED OF LIGHT WAS BORN
"Seriously, thunder doesn't always need to follow lightning." -- SH*T YOU CAN"T UNDERSTAND (we call those "features")
"That ball of light is so neat. What happens if I change this one little number..." -- THE FIRST BLACK HOLE (oops)