The Exigent Duality
Some better than others - 12:54 CDT, 5/26/17 (Sniper)
Stupid programmers write all of their code in one class.

Smart programmers write incomprehensible code with a bazillion abstractions.

Brilliant programmers accomplish the same thing but simply and elegantly.

When supporting code that I didn't write, my order of author style preference: brilliant, then stupid, and then by some distance, "smart".
It's happening! - 21:25 CDT, 5/25/17 (Sniper)
The primary reason why I bought a Switch! I couldn't be more excited.
Sound familiar? - 19:52 CDT, 5/23/17 (Sniper)
Susan's house is broken into, and her jewelry stolen. She calls the police, and they tell her to take a hike. The next day, Susan stands outside of the town hall, peacefully holding a sign asking the police to enforce the robbery laws that are already on the books.

Rebecca, with her pink mohawk and black mask, runs up to Susan and sprays her in the face with mace while screaming, "Take that you violent Fascist! Stop trying to suppress the freedom to rob you blind!"
Globalism - 10:28 CDT, 5/23/17 (Sniper)
Nothing like the sound of diversity-- our strength!

I wonder if the people in England are allowed to use the words "terrorist", or "Islam", in relation to this attack? Or is it just going to be, "a bipedal life form did stuff that caused stuff"? Or maybe even that's not politically correct enough-- I mean, some people walk on all fours!

But whatever, this is just something that people will have to get used to, it's part of living in a global society, after all!
Low flyer - 21:16 CDT, 5/22/17 (Sniper)
Been playing "A-10 Tank Killer", v1.5, in DOSBox today. I'm falling in love with late 90s / early 90s flight sims all over again.
On my way - 11:54 CDT, 5/21/17 (Sniper)
Family has been out of the house for the weekend, spent thirteen hours yesterday, plus another four today, working on the mower program.

I made absolutely phenomenal progress, getting the simulation working in both manual and AI-driven modes, implemented the motor controller libraries, wrote a preliminary version of the actual, real-world AI, and even stubbed out the image processing.

If anyone wants to clone the code and play around with it, it's all here. On a Raspbian installation, simply run "python jobe.py simulation" to see the simulator in AI-driven mode, or "python jobe.py manual_simulation" to drive the mower yourself via the arrow keys!
Unbridled fun - 09:35 CDT, 5/20/17 (Sniper)
I can't get over how cool the Raspberry Pi is.

I hooked it up to my Vizio P50-C1, to my router via Ethernet, set up my desktop environment the way I like it, then got VNC and SSH going, so I can connect to it remotely from my PC. After all of that usage, I've found that this thing is quite literally a full-blown computer, that is the size of a credit card!

Presently, I'm getting my Python virtual environment all set, then I'm going to try remote debugging via IDEA.

This particular one-- and its attached camera module, which I have installed-- is eventually going on the mower. But I'm awfully tempted to buy a second one, just for general use.

What really excites me is that it has composite out, and that it can do 640x480 at 60 Hz. This thing could be the ultimate emulation box, even able to be connected to my Toshiba CRT-- hell, it may be even fast enough to be a portable 3DO! I wonder if they even have tiny screens and keyboards for it, then it could be a pseudo-handheld computer too?
Double standard - 17:28 CDT, 5/18/17 (Sniper)
Here is the thing I don't understand-- well, actually I do, but I'll state the question rhetorically anyway:

If the actions of distant ancestors of one group mean that their progenitors should be robbed-- or worse-- in perpetuity, to pay for "affirmative action" and gunpoint-driven "welfare" programs for the descendants of the victims, then why is that logic not applied in all cases?

Just in South Africa, I've learned that two and a half million blacks killed each other. In addition, Muslims were selling black slaves, en masse, into the Middle East. I've also learned that the white Boers were betrayed and savagely attacked by the black Zulus. Then, the white British attacked the white Afrikaners, throwing their women and children into the kinds of concentration camps that later inspired the Nazis in Germany.

I don't see any political movements to throw Zulus off their land in order to set up a "State of Afrikaners"-- although, the whites sort of subsequently did that themselves, and it was condemned! I never hear the British referred to in the same light as Germany's Nazis. I've never once heard a horror story involving the brutal Muslim slave traders. In fact, I only even heard about any of this by listening to a heterodox podcast, followed by some corroborative Wikipedia digging. Why was I not taught any of this in elementary school?

And now, I'll answer my own question: historical events that fit the Marxist or Cultural Marxist agendas-- so, blacks being killed by whites, or non-Christian persecution-- should be paid utmost attention to, and repeated ad nauseum to young school children. While blacks killing each other, tales of Muslim slave traders, or Christians being murdered, need to be swept under the rug.
Cringe - 18:32 CDT, 5/17/17 (Sniper)
The last "Virtual On" title came out fourteen years ago. Given that, plus my insatiable appetite for novelty, of course I have "Arms" pre-ordered.

And yet, the game's style-- especially that god damned theme song-- makes me viscerally angry. I think it's quite possibly the most obnoxious looking and sounding game that I've ever seen or heard, and that's saying something. Add to it that infomercial hand-guy trailer narrator and the super lame attempts at humor... gah.

I can't quite put my finger on why this game triggers that kind of reaction in me-- but it does. I like the gameplay concept, but I wish the game was dark, moody, and atmospheric, instead of... whatever the hell it actually is.
I can't wait! - 15:45 CDT, 5/16/17 (Sniper)
Here is a good example of what I wrote about in this prior post:

"Go ahead, squeeze it, unfortunately you won't break it. All you'll do is continuously and inadvertently run programs, which will leave you reaching for the nearest sledge hammer so you can break it!

It sure does have a nice case, like the thousands of other identical looking phones out there! It also has a giant screen and camera-- very original! It's water resistant, so even tossing it in the lake in frustration won't be enough to kill it!

Another great feature is that it can record your finger print and all of your behavior, which aren't terrifyingly or absolutely terrible ideas at all! Look for this worse-than-ever, old-is-the-new-new iPhone clone in May!"
I get it - 12:51 CDT, 5/15/17 (Sniper)
You can count me amongst the minority of college "educated", white, working-class adults in America who feel like a "stranger in their [my] own country." My values don't really align at all with the direction in which America is moving.

But then again, I've felt like a stranger no matter where I've gone or been-- so my usefulness as a data point is probably limited. I likely would have fit in best in the late 19-the century, industrial boom period.
About that time - 21:33 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
When I was 14, I had an inguinal hernia on my left side repaired via surgery. At the time, the doctor told me I had about a 90% chance of developing the same thing on the other side, at some point in my life.

Well, fast forward to this morning while showering, when I noticed a small bulge forming in the exact mirrored position-- both vertically and horizontally-- to where the incision was from the previous surgery.

It could also be lymphoma, but I don't have even a single other symptom, other than slow peeing, which I already know is caused by a slightly enlarged prostate-- common at my age.

Given my history, I suspect I'm imminently due for another trip to the surgeon's table for a second hernia patch-up.
And I say this as a Vikings fan - 19:33 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
I love all of the snowflakes melting down on NeoGAG because Tom Brady is on the cover of this year's Madden release. Here's hoping for another Super Bowl win, Pats!
In tandem - 17:11 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
Related to this post of mine, from earlier today: parallels in the music world. From the article (bold emphasis is mine):


"Look at today's top music artists. Names like One Direction, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and Iggy Azalea come to mind. But if one were to look back only 35 years, it would be a completely different story. Iconic names like The Police, Queen, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, and Pink Floyd shone in this era..."

"According to a study conducted by Joan Serra, a postdoctoral scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona, two aspects of song, the timbre and the pitch, have all changed drastically in modern music. The timbre and the tone quality of songs has decreased, producing music that all manages to sound the same."

"Artists have now lost a desire for complex and imaginative sounds. They seem incapable of taking risks with their music, pushing new boundaries to create a sound that no artist has ever dared to make before."

"Which builds up to another drastic difference of today -- the quality of the singer's voice."

The presence of Auto-Tune has added new dimensions to who can pursue a career in music, and how much talent has to participate in the equation."


There are many parallels to game development. First, the list of artists-- described as "iconic"-- compares favorably to the equally iconic list of games I listed in this post, from less than thirty years ago.

Second, whether you're talking triple-A games or indie titles, there is not much novelty, if any. I'm sure you could chart the losses in an Artificial Intelligence lab in the same way.

Third, the proliferation of cheap game engines and development hardware has meant that practically anyone can make a game, whether they have any actual talent or not.
Uh, no - 16:52 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
What a nonsense article: it's going to be all of the introverts who are making the robots.
Progress - 15:33 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
I took a couple of review quotes from the Wikipedia "critical response" section for the 2015 film "Vacation", and adapted them so that they could be accurate descriptors of 99% of contemporary video games:


"The new [insert game here] is both better than I'd feared and not as character-filled as I'd hoped. It's intermittently fun and instantly forgettable."

"Borrowing a basic aesthetic and gameplay from the game that inspired it but forgetting the charm, originality, and heart, [insert game here] is yet another nostalgia-driven retread that misses the mark."

"The technical aspect of the graphics get the heartiest commendations. The rest is video game history warmed over."


Also, as a follow-up to this post: it's interesting how, if you just up the resolution, PSP games look very close to Switch titles. That's some serious diminishing returns, considering that the PSP came out twelve years before Nintendo's latest!

A disease - 09:33 CDT, 5/12/17 (Sniper)
I've written about that "Elon Musk" weasel before, and here he is, at it again. This guy's companies should not even exist. What a waste of finite economic resources!

Speaking of the Left, my brother pointed me to the "blacks only", fully-segregated graduation ceremony that students are doing at Harvard.

It just goes to show that Leftists weren't actually opposed to segregation in the first place-- Cultural Marxism is their god, not equality; desegregation was just a stepping stone towards their ideological ideal of stomping out "oppressive" whites. They'd be perfectly fine with forcing white people to sit in the back of the bus, or separate bathrooms-- so long as the white people got the trashy ones.

What's scary about this ideology is that if you take it to its logical ends, it results in Nazi-style concentration camps, throwing whites into ovens. I'm not speaking hyperbolically either.
Hopelessly stuck - 20:20 CDT, 5/11/17 (Sniper)
Been working on my lawn mower simulator with pygame, and I'm literally too effing stupid to get it working.

I was cruising until I had to start calculating angles and collision detection, at which point I started spinning my wheels. Been in that mode for probably eight hours now. I don't see any possible resolution in sight-- I just flat-out have never been good at math.

I guess I'll just have to develop the code against the real mower, which is going to be a pain in the ass.

Sometimes I curse my genes; I probably traded fifteen IQ points in exchange for eloquence and amiability, which I can't even leverage because I'm such an absurdly strong introvert.
Diversity is our strength - 10:34 CDT, 5/09/17 (Sniper)
This is what happens when you import low-IQ barbarians from third-world cultural shit holes, into Western civilization. It was even a favorable news report: "it's cold on the street, they're trying to get to Milan", and so on.

Which by the way, Milanese people: lock your doors, and don't let your daughters outside unattended.
Fake football news - 08:09 CDT, 5/08/17 (Sniper)
Goal.com is one of those Leftist "fake news" sites that I love to read, simply because it's so hilariously slanted, and even Marxist at times.

The latest source of humor for me is this piece, which starts out sounding like a bona fide news article, but soon sneaks in editorialization-- describing previous rulings such as this as "victories", and that there are "hopes" more rulings like this will happen in the future, along with some silly blurb about letting players merely pick whomever they want as an agent leading to "corruption".

Because a Leftist never saw a chance for State intervention that he didn't like!

Of course, for anyone with half a brain, it's obvious why this is being pushed: do you think the sport's small handful of mega agents have any incentive to limit the profession to just themselves? Which sounds just a bit like corruption to me: sending Frankie to break the kneecaps of anyone who would dare represent a player without the Godfather's permission.


EDIT: I think I found the author's web site. And sure enough: he describes himself as a "sciencey" guy (because there's nothing more science-like than using made-up words), and he does work for physicists, who make one hundred percent of their income through the fleecing of tax payers by the school yard bully. So, this guy has a personal, purely selfish, vested interest in pushing for the growth of the State.
Jobe - 11:16 CDT, 5/06/17 (Sniper)
I've been mowing the ceaseless sea of grass at the bug out house, all the while working through how I would automate it, so that I'd never have to do it again.

During the endless walking and pushing, I figured out how the AI would work, and also that I would use pygame to make a graphical simulator-- then, the mower would generate a map file as it ran, along with diagnostic information, that could then be fed back into the graphical program on a computer, for troubleshooting purposes.

I also identified the numerous sensors that I would need. The problem is that I have zero actual, physical or electric engineering background. I looked online at pre-built robot mowers, but they all use weasly plastic frames and wimply little electric motors-- so they can only cover tiny areas, and are prone to breakage.

Typical leftist crap: form over substance, showing off my "progressive" life style, instead of actually wanting something practical that will get the job done.

I don't give a shit about being "eco friendly": rather, I would want to make something like this-- in other words, built on the foundation of an industrial, combustion motor-powered "real" lawn mower. Except where this guy's is radio powered, mine would use a computer board-- like a Raspberry Pi-- to run my Python driver program.

But, I'd need a partner in crime to handle the engineering work, while I focused on the software, and getting all of the various components integrated.
Mistaken - 16:06 CDT, 5/03/17 (Sniper)
People like this are horribly mistaken: kids aren't this annoying, off-to-the-side, obnoxious, otherwise removed from the context of life distraction-- they are complementary to and integrated with everything else you have going on!

If I were an entrepreneur, like the caller, doing an IPO and essentially living in the office, I wouldn't have to "carve out time" to see my kids-- they'd be right there with me!

In fact, I can't even fathom what a blast they would find that experience, and how much I could teach them about being entrepreneurial, on-the-spot! It would be the kind of shared legacy that would stick with them for the rest of their lives-- and mine! Heck, depending on their ages, I'd have them working with me on the business!

Everybody who is healthy and able to financially support them should want to have children. The people that I know who don't are like this guy: framing the entire notion based on misconceptions and stereotypes.

I've known I've wanted kids since I was one. Back when Ellyn and I were teenagers and "getting busy", both of us were half hoping for an "accident", knowing that things would find a way of working out great. Alas, that didn't happen, and we waited until the budget worked out-- and then, parenting has actually managed to exceed my sky high expectations.
If you don't want your kid to smoke cigarettes, why not try having an actual, trusting relationship with them-- or depending on their age and maturity, minding your own business-- rather than sending Frankie the inspector thug over to break the knee caps of small business owners?

Or to go all consequentalist on you, your kid is just going to have his over-age buddy buy the cigarettes for him anyway! All that was accomplished was higher taxes.
Handhelds, the end times - 04:59 CDT, 5/02/17 (Sniper)
I recently bought a video game system that was the handheld to end all handhelds. It had:
  • A massive, beautiful 16:9 screen
  • Stereo speakers, and a headphone jack
  • Lots of RAM
  • A powerful graphics processor
  • Full TV out support; simply detach to take the system on the go
  • Physical game media with tons of storage
  • Expandable storage via SD cards
  • Analog input, along with face buttons and triggers
  • Competitive online or local wi-fi multiplayer
  • Digital game purchases and downloads, and watchable trailers
  • Great first party support, with interesting third party games too
  • Rechargable lithium-ion battery

Here it is:



The Switch is a cool piece of electronics and I enjoy playing it-- but it's been done before. And the previous occasion, at least based on what we know of the Switch's upcoming library so far, had more interesting games (and looked way more sexy too).
Eureka - 18:36 CDT, 4/30/17 (Sniper)
I'm on year five of basically permanent, utter mental exhaustion, trying to solve my sleeping issues.

First I was told that I had apnea, since I was hideously obese. So, I lost 85 lbs, removing any hint of snoring, and... no effect at all.

Next, I was told that I shouldn't drink caffeine before bed. So, I cut it out of my diet, and... no effect at all.

After that, I assumed I was sleeping poorly because I had such extreme anxiety issues. So, I spent a year in therapy, switched jobs at work, and have consequently almost completely eliminated my anxiousness. Did it improve my sleep? Nope-- not a bit.

My next idea was to exercise better "sleep hygiene"-- reading before bed, having a regular bed time, not watching anything stressful before bed, get a daily cardio workout (but not too close to bed time!)... and? No effect.

Then I went on the "brute force medication" route, with a Trazodone prescription, and an absurd quantity of melatonin tablets, complemented with NyQuil on occasion-- enough to knock out a horse. And? Very little effect; I tend to sleep though the NyQuil nights, but am not very rested the next day-- I can tell that it merely papers over the cracks.

The common thread through all of this was that one or maybe two nights per week, I would sleep like normal-- in fact, half of those times I'd be up late, watching political news and chugging Mountain Dew, then laugh the next day: "Man, I slept so well, even with shitty sleep hygiene!"

After a couple of good nights, I would declare: "Problem solved!" Only to then spend the third night laying awake until 2:00, for no explicable reason, then have a string of several bad days in a row. One time it was so bad that I only slept for four hours over a fifty-plus hour time duration!

My wife often remarked: "It seems like with you, that sleep is a moving target-- you do everything right, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." And finally it hit me: a moving target... hmmmm...

Armed with a new line of inquiry, I found this-- and my entire history of sleep problems suddenly made sense.

When I was 17, I developed the "delayed sleep phase disorder", where my natural sleep time was 3:00am to 10:30am. My senior year of high school was spent sleeping through my classes, and in college, I always set up my first class for 11:00am-- and it was glorious, best period of sleep in my life.

Apparently, for non-blind people with the "non-24" disorder, it almost universally emerges from the "delayed" version-- as in, the "delayed" period morphs into a gradually shifting schedule.

I'd be willing to wager money that, if put into some kind of isolation chamber for a few weeks, with no clocks or indicates to the time of day, I would have the most bizarre-- and restful-- sleeping schedule on Earth. The trouble is, until I retire, I'm essentially just screwed-- which is a major problem in such a mentally-intensive job as mine.

If I can just survive for fifteen more years, I'll be clear-- both houses will be paid off, and the kids will be out on their own. Then I can take a massive pay cut into some low wage job-- which I would enjoy more anyway (I love computers, but hate working with them all day, in an office setting), and where it wouldn't even matter if I was tired.

Hopefully then I'll have a good twenty or maybe even thirty years-- from age 50 to 70, or 80-- to actually enjoy life, before I kick the bucket.
Appeasement - 18:12 CDT, 4/30/17 (Sniper)
I've been playing "Puyo Puyo Tetris" on the Switch, and it's yet another example of a game where the difficulty is tuned for the hardest of the hardest core.

I watched all of the game's built-in tutorials, and have practiced and practiced, to the point where I can regularly get two and even three chains in Puyo Puyo, along with routine "Tetrises" and two combos in the Russian classic.

In games of yore, which were designed for ordinary people who had actual lives outside of video games, that would be enough to beat the AI on their default difficulty level. But in a game from 2017, I can play the AI one-on-one, in thirty consecutive matches-- I even did so earlier today-- and win maybe twice.

There was one stretch in that span where I was on fire in Tetris, building massive, hole-free walls, then dropping line blocks right down-- "Tetris! ... "Tetris!"-- only to then have the AI start practically chaining together "clear Tetrises"! It was astonishing!

I wrote about this phenomenon in my "XCOM 2" review, then again with "Total War: Warhammer". I ran into it yet again with "Super Bomberman R", except in that case I really am "just that good" at Bomberman, so it wasn't a personal issue-- but any casual Bomberman player would have found it too difficult. And now, here I am with "Puyo Puyo Tetris"-- same deal.

What's interesting is that Konami very recently patched AI difficulty levels into "Super Bomberman R", and guess what the old, unchangeable difficulty was in the title as it originally shipped? You guessed it: "Hard". Which just confirms the notion that game designers today are balancing games to appease the totally elite players.

I've been playing video games non-stop since the 1980s, and have plenty of evidence to support that I'm in the upper echelons in general video gaming skill, even amongst other regular players-- but just not in any single game. And it seems like the culture today is that people-- my wife is an example-- basically just focus on one game, or one genre, at the exclusion of everything else. Whereas when I was a kid, everyone played a wide variety of titles-- which is the pattern I still maintain today.
What a derby - 08:30 CDT, 4/30/17 (Sniper)
Had a little bit of everything: Keita, Anderson, and Lulic tearing them to shreds on the counter; Totti dejectedly giving up a silly free kick in his final derby when his team was trying to equalize; the trashy Rudiger karate kicking Djordjevic so the former could go to the parking lot early to sell some more belts and socks; and an over-the-moon Inzaghi, crazily celebrating with his players at the final whistle!

It's funny that the only Roma player I like-- Salah-- was also the only guy in their shirt who kept it cool and classy, working hard until the end. I don't say this-- ever, frankly-- about Roma players, but I would welcome him in a Lazio shirt, in some alternate dimension.

Keita did not act like a guy who is leaving the club. He has been working for the team for the past couple of months, looking to me like he's been playing for the shirt, and not for himself. And his wild celebrations in front of the curva further reinforced my perception. Lotito needs to open the bank for Keita.
Gutted the pig - 17:35 CDT, 4/28/17 (Sniper)
Done.

Nintendo Scratch, redux - 16:35 CDT, 4/28/17 (Sniper)
Got my Switch back from Nintendo's repair subcontractor, with a fresh dock, brand new screen, and containing all of my save data.

The hilarious part is that the new dock is bent inwards as well-- and I've already put a tiny scratch onto the corner of the repaired screen, in the two and a half minutes that I was carefully measuring how much room it had to insert into its new cradle! One insert, one scratch.

I think the lesson here is that I need to completely disassemble the dock, and just remove the front part of it altogether-- it's the most bafflingly designed piece of electronics I've ever used, and I've been using electronics since the early 1980s.

Time to order one of these goofy looking "Y"-shaped screw drivers so I can take this bastard apart, before I can even play this damned system on my TV again (alas, I'm not much of a handheld person).

Or just sell this stupid thing on Craig's List and be done with it; I'd almost rather pour the cash into PC, Saturn, or PC Engine games. I've never been an even remote Nintendo fan...
Father Time - 20:18 CDT, 4/27/17 (Sniper)
You know you're getting old when you're seeing the children of players you remember watching like it was yesterday, getting drafted. Wat.
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