Miscellany

It’s been sparse the past month or two.  Sorry about that; not much free time.  And to tell the truth, I seem to write more stuff when I need to vent, and things are going pretty well lately.

—-

I finished Fallout 3.  What a blast.  I rarely finish games — I think that Bioshock was the last one I ran all the way through — but Fallout 3 was a ton of fun once I “got it” maybe three hours of game play in.

The install-to-hard-disk option on the 360 is fantastic, by the way.  I installed Oblivion, and installing it makes the experience a lot more pleasant.  I might sink quite a few hours into Oblivion, assuming I can make it past closing the first portal without going nuts.  (Bethesda fixed the “make a zillion potions” bug, which is keeping me honest).

—-

It turns out that I’ve been programming in C for longer than my new office mate has been alive.

One of the pleasures of being an old fart: I got to watch his expression when I introduced him to Duff’s Device.

—-

Niven and Pournelle return to first their vision of Hell, Inferno, 30 years later with the sequel Escape From Hell.  I enjoyed it, but think that the last half was too much like the “chatty fluff” that Niven started writing after Ringworld Engineers — enemies are too logical and willing to listen to reason (“Oh, ultimate heat-death of the universe?  Sure, I’ll set aside my weapons.”), and the plot gets into the weeds (“I know we have to escape from the Big Dumb Object, but first we have to figure out some side-mysteries involving ice cream and clergy…”).

More than I expected, and worth reading.  But I miss stuff like The Mote in God’s Eye — there’s a class of book that I wish I could read for the first time again.

 

Scrum in Middle Earth

“Gandalf?”

“I finished up the Balrog thing yesterday. Got resurrected this morning, and some laundry done; that new bleach is really great on eagle shit, by the way. This afternoon I’m helping out on the Minas Tirith suicide hotline. On the whole ring/Mordor work item, I’m blocked by Sauron.”

“Noted. Okay, Frodo?”

Did someone say…?”

“FRODO!”

Sorry, reception really sucks out here. Gollum says that he knows a short cut through the mountains. He also tossed all of our bug spray last night, no idea why. So we should be over the top and into Mordor by this evening. Not really blocked on anything, unless you count lack of food, no decent sleep in a month, and a life insurance policy that doesn’t cover volcanic eruptions.

“Thanks. Gimli?”

“Killed a buncha Orcs yesterday. Plan to kill a lot more today. And if I make it through the day without killin’ a certain fookin’ elf, I’ll count it a success.”

“Blocked by anything?”

“A bunch of fookin’ orcs. Could use a new sharpening stone. And a pointy valium suppository for this bloody elf here.”

“Right. Legolas?”

“What he said. Squared.”

“‘Kay. Treebeard?”

“Treebeard?”

“HAROOM. Hoom. Interesting . . . yes. Yesterday, yesterday . . . I was reminded by the sunlight on the trees that had grown –”

“Look, I know you guys are new to the whole Scrum thing, but that’s no excuse to take all day. This is supposed to be a quick get-together, with high velocity and no chit-chat and get right back to work.”

“HOOM. Well now. Let’s not rush things. The sunlight on the grown trees –”

[groans all around, exeunt]

Iconography

Once upon a time I was working on a project at Apple code-name “Pogo” — a few of us had fond memories of Walt Kelly’s old cartoon character, we made up words to fit the acronym, did a T-shirt, and a project was born [actually I don’t think there was a T-shirt].

Anyway, I went into work one Saturday intending to write some code, and found myself in a funk.  So I spent a few hours in an icon editor and made this.  I replaced the icon of our group’s file server and left for the weekend.

A year or two later I saw the icon being used by other groups (one guy had it on his desktop during a presentation).  Funny.

It’s also astonishing how fiddly a 32×32 black-and-white icon is to get “right.”  I think I had a dozen variations on the hair and nose until it looked decent.  Some of the real artists I’ve worked with might have tossed this off in a hurry.  Might be stupid, but 15 years later I’m still kind of proud of it.

Pogo remains one of my favorite comic strips.

 

                      ########    ######                        
                    ####      ##  ##    ##                      
                  ##    ##      ####      ##  ##                
                ####                      ####  ##              
              ##                            ##  ##              
            ##                                  ##              
              ####                                ##            
          ####                            ####  ######          
        ####                            ##          ##          
        ##                                            ##        
          ####                              ##  ####  ##        
        ##                                ##  ##    ####        
        ##                              ##            ##        
      ##                  ####          ##        ##########    
        ####            ##    ##        ##    ##########    ##  
        ##            ##  ####          ##    ####  ##        ##
        ##            ##      ##              ####            ##
        ##            ##                                ##    ##
        ##              ##                            ##  ##  ##
          ##                                        ##  ##  ####
          ##                                              ####  
            ####                            ##          ####    
                ##                        ####      ######      
                ####                    ##  ####  ####          
                    ####                        ####            
                        ####                  ####              
                          ####                ##                
                            ######            ##                
                            ##########    ######                
                          ####    ##############                
                        ####    ######    ####  ##              
                        ############################            

 

//
//  pogo icon, rescued from some postscript i wrote a long time ago
//
using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Collections; namespace XXX
{
    public class YYY
    {
        static byte[] pogo = new byte[]{
            0x00,0x1E,0x70,0x00,0x00,0x31,0x48,0x00,0x00,0x48,0xC5,0x00,0x00,0xC0,0x06,0x80,
            0x01,0x00,0x02,0x80,0x02,0x00,0x00,0x80,0x01,0x80,0x00,0x40,0x06,0x00,0x06,0xE0,
            0x0C,0x00,0x08,0x20,0x08,0x00,0x00,0x10,0x06,0x00,0x02,0xD0,0x08,0x00,0x05,0x30,
            0x08,0x00,0x08,0x10,0x10,0x06,0x08,0x7C,0x0C,0x09,0x09,0xF2,0x08,0x16,0x09,0xA1,
            0x08,0x11,0x01,0x81,0x08,0x10,0x00,0x09,0x08,0x08,0x00,0x15,0x04,0x00,0x00,0x2B,
            0x04,0x00,0x00,0x06,0x03,0x00,0x02,0x0C,0x00,0x80,0x06,0x38,0x00,0xC0,0x0B,0x60,
            0x00,0x30,0x00,0xC0,0x00,0x0C,0x01,0x80,0x00,0x06,0x01,0x00,0x00,0x03,0x81,0x00,
            0x00,0x03,0xE7,0x00,0x00,0x06,0x7F,0x00,0x00,0x0C,0xE6,0x80,0x00,0x0F,0xFF,0xC0
        };
        public static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            for ( int i = 0; i < pogo.Length; i += 4 )             {                 for ( int j = 0; j < 4; ++j )                 {                     for ( int b = 7; b >= 0; --b )
                    {
                        if ( (pogo[i + j] & (1 << b)) != 0 )                             Console.Write("##");                         else                             Console.Write("  ");                     }                 }                 Console.WriteLine();             }         }     } }