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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Archive for the ‘computers’ Category

Droid Review Addendum

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The inimitable @andrewa121 pointed out that the iPhone has greater extended-latin input abilities than I had ascribed to it; he suggested touch-and-hold to get options for accented characters (which is exactly what one does in Android 2.0). I would like to state for the record that I had tried this unsuccessfully on an iPhone 3GS prior to writing the last post.

Motorola Droid Review (finally!)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Well, I’ve had this phone for a bit now, and thought it time to give my thoughts on it. They are basically positive—if you’re a nerdy guy, this is a good smartphone for you.

The pros are good pros for me, and the cons are cons that don’t bother me, but might be bad for other people. I like the speed, UI, option for on-screen (for general use) or slide-out (for intensive, or SSH, use) keyboard. I like the selection of apps (by which I mean that there’s a good, free, SSH app, and then other, very Google-oriented apps, and a Pandora app).

I like the battery life, I like the resolution, I like the camera. I like running six different apps at a time, and I still like the battery life.

I think that the shape of it is very male, it’s a little thicker than I’d like (for fitting in my erstwhile cell-phone pockets), and many of the apps seem buggier than I’ve seen on the iPhone—but they’ve yet to be destructive bugs. Mostly, the Twitter app I use complains that it needs to force-quit a lot, and then doesn’t, because, actually, it doesn’t need to.

This point is a slight win for the Droid over the iPhone: it can input extended latin characters quite easily, and — and … particularly, but it doesn’t have the fonts to display weirder Unicode, like ♆.

It can’t (yet) play arbitrary Flash embeds, so I can’t watch ZP on it. But it can catch YouTube links and redirect them to the YouTube app.

In the end: nerdy guy, yes. Anyone else, probably not. Price is completely equivalent to the iPhone, in terms of data plan as well.

New phone

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Well, I feel like I’m officially in the future, now that I have a smartphone.  I got the Droid, a bit of nice Motorola hardware running Google’s nice open-source OS Android, and carried by the icktastic Verizon.  So it goes.


Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I spent much of today rewiring the house (with my dad’s assistance, or, more accurately, I was assisting him).  Lots of drilling, crawling in the basement, getting dusty, trying not to inhale fiberglass insulation.  I found it quite fun, but it’s not a usual thing for me, which I suppose makes a difference.  But there was something exciting and satisfying to that kind of work—a nice combination of manual work, and basic network set up of a sort familiar to me.  Satisfying work is satisfying.

Minor complaints

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

I have many ways to switch between active work areas: ctrl-a, n when using screen; ctrl-arrow when using Spaces; cmd-tab when using normal OS X application switching; ctrl-tab when using my Windows VM.  These can get confusing, and I spend a certain amount of time swapping between applications and desktops and virtual terminals fruitlessly.

I am kind of sick of sitting and typing for so much of the day.

WordPress and its plugins, though updated, do not think that they are.

iPython as your default shell

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

At the request of Ultranurd, allow me to explain my new shell set up.

I’m sick of bash.  The syntax is absurd, and absurd syntax makes me sad. So I’ve just recently set up iPython as my shell. What follows are the relevant config files and some explanation. (more…)

Jabber Bot

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

So, I’ve written a python-based MUC-aware Jabber bot framework, using XMPPpy.  If anyone would be interested in using or improving this, please let me know.  I want it to be of use to people, like a Jabbery version of your IRC-bot framework of choice.  It is currently instantiated only as Tyche, my dicerolling bot for tabletop RPGs online (who also provides some snark when people are predictable in the gaming rooms).  But the more uses it finds, the moar betterer it gets, right?

Serializing Architecture

Friday, January 30th, 2009

As usual, BLDGBLOG blows my mind.  Skim over all the word-clouds—those are old-hat by now—and take a look at the last two paragraphs of the post.  The idea of making room clouds is great, but what it sparks in my mind is even more interesting, to me: the idea of serializing architecture.  If you could find a good encoding for architecture, you could use all sorts of existing techniques to play with large amounts of architectural data. I am thinking, particularly, of using genetic algorithms to grow building designs that are highly fit for various purposes; that would require a good fitness algorithm, too, but seriously, the field of computational architecture is untapped!

So how would one serialize a building?  I suspect that the work of Karl Sims is not irrelevant; serializing a building is a lot like serializing a creature.  The only difference for use in a genetic algorithm is the fitness function, which for a creature is based on reproductive ability before total energy loss, but for a building… well, that’s the question, isn’t it?  Clearly it would have a number of factors: safety, efficiency for purpose, pleasantness.

What would you think was important to a building’s fitness?