Weblog | Archives for February 2002
Past posts.
Three of my favorite bands,

Three of my favorite bands, The Dismemberment Plan, Cex, and Death Cab for Cutie are coming to St. Louis. Better yet, I'm invited to the "exclusive" party following a show later in March. I have to get a photo of some famous people, with me hidden away in some corner, for proof.

I went to an Ani DiFranco show this weekend, with a favorite friend who drove down from Chicago. I wasn't expecting such a great band behind her, or energy, or any of that. The only part I didn't really like was a pause in the middle for a political poem with all sorts of clichés ("Take away our PlayStations and we are a third world country.") and just plain corny parts ("We hold these truths to be self-evident/That George W. Bush is not the president!"). Although I'm probably on the same side of the issues, it's still troubling to see poor logic and rhetoric.

The opener, Noe Venable, was fantastic. She did three songs followed by a spoken word piece involving Halloween and Walgreens. Worth checking out.

I got utterly out-indied today,

I got utterly out-indied today, while purchasing a copy of Skyscraper magazine at a Borders location. The guy at the register started with, "Oh, I just got the split EP of..." and then my brain, anticipating that it would have no record of the bands to soon be mentioned, frameshifted everything else he said while I groaned and nodded, "Cooool." Indie-phobia? Jealosy?

I'm just a awful listener, is all.

I have a song stuck

I have a song stuck in my head, and probably will for next six hours of my labsitting shift tonight. The tragedy: it's a song from a fictional band in a movie, written to epitomize bad 80's hair-metal. It's "Mr. MX-7" by the Blender Children, from Tapeheads.

Battleground God is an online

Battleground God is an online quiz that tests the logical consistency of your responses to philosophical questions. I typically avoid online quizzes, but they've done a great job of making the test flexible. (Not to mention that I aced it.)

While this quiz probably relies on a table of possible contradictions, it wouldn't be too difficult to do the same thing with boolean logic tests.

Using such a method, it'd be possible to build chatterbots that could argue an issue with a human, pointing out their logical inconsistancies while the bot never makes errors of its own or gets flustered with its target. Then, we could pit the bots against each other, and let Metafilter go back to being about the web...

Proce55ing is Java-based environment that

Proce55ing is Java-based environment that will make graphics and interaction programming easier. It's set to be released in late March, and I can't wait to try it out.

Welcome to the new domain

Welcome to the new domain - this is a continuation of the skyline weblog once hosted elsewhere.

TightVNC is a more efficient

TightVNC is a more efficient version of VNC — both free programs for using your desktop remotely. The machine you want to access runs a small server, and the viewer application sends your input and displays whatever is on your screen. The software runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac; the protocol is standardized, so you can mix platforms. Most notably, more than one viewer can use the desktop at once, so collaborative computing is possible.

LiveGraphics3d is a handy Java

LiveGraphics3d is a handy Java applet for displaying Mathematica's Graphics3D objects on the web. I don't use Mathematica, but fortunately the syntax for these objects is text-based and very simple. When I get some time, I'm going to read up on XML so that I can have my programs output an XML file of 3D primitives, and then just parse that into specific formats for renderers and viewers like these.

I finished a new wallpaper.

I finished a new wallpaper.

I wrote an Octree implementation,

I wrote an Octree implementation, set up a DLA simulation to try it out, and I'm blown away by the improvement. The algorithm is now O(log base8 n) instead of O(n^2); meaning that the program doesn't slow much at all as the structure grows larger.

With this much speed, I can add new constrants on when particles are added to the structure. For example, I might specify that the particle must be at a certain angle between two others to stop, and the result would be a ring or a simple helix. By setting up a list of such rules, I hope to generate some interesting hive architecture, as described in Swarm Intellegence.

I'm all geeked out.

I spent most of this

I spent most of this weekend writing a Skip List implementation for school, and the rest doing an Abstract Algebra take-home. The only enjoyable thing I did, other than making a certain coffee shop my office, was buying a new bag at the local army surplus place. It's a black Israeli Paratrooper Bag, to replace my aging German Medic bag.

As I finished up the skiplist at one o'clock this morning, I masochistically chose an old data structures textbook to read before sleeping ... and just happened to come across the Octree structure, the solution I was looking for to solve my DLA performance woes.