December 05, 2018
My reward for a good day’s work: diving into Tetris effect while setting getting my old Mac mini up and running to serve as a kind of Photos library server.
A while ago, I dragged my Photos and Itunes libraries across the network to my Synology, and the little use I have made of them since then has basically been slow and unreliable. After getting some sense talked into me by Joacim last night, I decided it was time to move them to a real Mac again. So off I went, connecting cables, installing umpteen updates and realizing I can not update that old box to Mojave. Which does not really matter except I ran Mojave Photos with that library on the Synology, and so now had a big bundle of Could Not Be Opened sitting on the drive.
Fortunately, I have not done much of anything of photo management, tagging, starring or the like. I had no metadata to lose. So I right-clicked the Photos library bundle, chose to show package contents (bundles are just folders with a flag set), crossed my fingers and dragged the folder "Masters" to Photos.
It went surprisingly well, and surprisingly fast. Photos chewed a while, but happily opened the import section, offered to import everything and even managed to detect lots of things as ignorable duplicates of what it alrady had (I clearly left the library intact on the Mini after I moved a copy to the Synology, something I had no recollection of). I think I have not lost a single photo in the process, and, as a bonus, I did some shuffling around of hardware and may have found a better corner to stuff the Synology and that Mac in, as well as the beginnings of a nicer routing of network cables.
(Yes, I like network cables for some things. Yes, I am old. But the difference is often noticeable.)
I guess I might as well put the Itunes library back too. Then again, I never really use it anymore.
(I treated myself to a solid round of Astro bot as well. This is what Nintendo would make if they had a VR system. So good, so much fun.)
November 26, 2018
Even more so than Polybius, Tetris effect in VR is the perfect confluence of ideas and people.
In one way, it might feel odd that Tetsuya Mizuguchi's crowning achievement so far is in essence a game with mechanics long defined by others.
This is a purely theoretical argument.
In reality, the match is made in heaven and the whole is so perfect everything feels obvious. How else would Tetris work? How else would it play? And why in the world would anyone choose to play this on a flat screen instead of in glorius, soothing, synesthetic VR? And why would anyone but Tetsuya Mizuguchi do it?
You begin playing a level with calm visuals, small sounds accompanying your every move and drop.
Clear a few lines, and beats will start appearing. Visuals grow richer, more particles swarm, form shapes, and swirl in the periphery. The visuals are rich but never distract. (In fact, I look forward to trying the mode where all you have to do is watch so I can enjoy more of them.)
Clear more lines, beats and rythms will form into melodies, singing might start, and eventually you will reach a pulsing visual and aural chorus as the end of the level approaches.
Levels sometimes feel too short.
Wish for the future: Tetris on tour. Let various creators make their versions of Tetris. Could be fun. Not eveything will be this. Nothing will be. But they can be good.
I have enjoyed Tetris since playing it for the very first time on a Commodore 64. I read the review in Datrormagazin, learned how the pieces fit together. So much experience picked up over the years. Will it feel the same to people first learning the mechanics now? (I assume there are such people even though it feels strange to me.) Will it be as magical when you have to think about the controls? When you have not seem the same pieces on infinite platforms, without even considering how the game could be enchanced on a new platform with new visuals and music?
I think a great game is still a great game, but I feel the long-term relationship is an added luxury for people like me.
I do not dream in Tetris pieces, but I want to play more. A lot more. Most of the time.
October 17, 2018
A little poking
I finally got around to it. After much reading, listening to others and thinking about setups I finally did some actual programming of my Pok3r keyboard. After listening to others using US keyboard layouts for programming, after realizing repeatedly my Pok3r with Swedish keyboard layout is hopeless for coding, after looking down once again and seeing all those useful coding characters printed right there on the keys, I did the right thing: brought up system preferences and activated the US kebyoard layout.
(That sounds immediate, but it really was another day or two of thinking and reading on and off.)
Then, I put the Pok3r manual on the left side of the screen, my own notes on the right and, very slowly and laboriously, activated the second layer of the keyboard and gave myself a useful way of typing those pesky Swedish characters. Now the Fn key plus a, s, or d give me å, ä, or ö respectively. Fn plus q, w, or e give me Å, Ä, and Ö. This because as far as I read I could not combine shift with Fn plus a key as a programmable unit. This could well be me misreading or misprogramming though, I did a couple of mistakes mainly centered around mixing up what the key labeled "win" actually did. Another smaller cause of mistakes was that the programming procedure had been somewhat refined since the manual I found was written. Thankfully the indicator lights showed the modes indicated by the manual so I was able to find out where I was after a couple of tries.
Having å, ä, and ö behind modifiers sounds slowing, and of course it is to an extent. The saving graces are the same as for using caps lock and i, j, k, and l for arrow keys: everything is on or much closer to the home row, and the required modifier key is on the opposite side of the keyboard.
I think I will like this. I am typing this using the setup and of course largely getting away easy because I type in English, but I have fun and enjoy re-learning where all the non-letter keys are.
October 14, 2018
All right, time to get this off my chest.
This is my largest Groot.
A true joy-sparking item, it made me happy as soon as i realized it existed, and even more so when I brought it home and took it out of the box.
There was a little problem. I bought it well over a year ago (look!) and immediately started taking fun photos of it. Sharp-eyed readers might look at the above photo and identify the problem right away.
Yes, seconds after I took that photo, a gust of wind made the rather top-heavy Groot fall over backward and fall off the roof, only stopping once it hit the grassy ground five storeys below.
My chest still clenches up a little as I think about it. I ran downstairs, feeling bottomlessly stupid and was, first of all, relieved to find that nobody or nothing had got hit.
The second relief was that Groot itself had taken the fall surprisingly well.
The arms were rather fractured, and a large-ish chip had been taken out of the back of the head, but I managed to find almost all the pieces and put Groot together again using a handy bottle of super glue.
Still, that feeling in my chest has stayed for a long time. I feel terrible about doing this stupid thing to something I care about, something which makes me happy. I can start distrusting myself, wondering what kind of reckless behavior this might foreshadow in the futuer.
But the whole reason this happened is of couse that it's a plastic toy, stupid! Toys are made to be played with!. Clearly this argument doesn't quite bite since I keep questioning if this whole thing turns me into a bald person.
In any case, time to move on. Publish this, photographic evidence and all, and move on.
I am Groot.
October 02, 2018
Books I have read
Books and other literature I have read, in, somewhat uncertain, reverse chronological order. The list starts from the summer of 2008, and my main purpose with it is to be able to see what I have actually been reading. I do feel that I read many quite good books, but I never seem to be able to recall what I have recently read when asked for recommendations.
- How to make sense of any mess, by Abby Covert
- Creative selection, by Ken Kocienda
- The leprechauns of software engineering, by Laurent Bossavit
- Algorithms to live by, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
- Afrikanen, by J.M.G Le Clézio
- Mooncop, by Tom Gauld
- The levers of power, by Jason Fry
- A new dawn, by John Jackson Miller
- Bottleneck, by John Jackson Miller
- Mercy mission, by Melissa Scott
- Natural born heroes, by Christopher McDougall
- Making sense of color management, by Craig Hockenberry
- Tarkin, by James Luceno
- The year without pants, by Scott Berkun
- Batman - the killing joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bollard
- What if? by Randall Munroe
- Käre ledare - min flykt från Nordkorea, by Jang Jin-Sung
- Äventyrsspel - bland mutanter, drakar och demoner, by Orvar Säfström and Jimmy Wilhelmsson
- Take control of Audio hijack, by Kirk McElhearn
- Pro HTML5 games, by Aditya Ravi Shankar
- So, anyway …, by John Cleese
- The Martian, by Andy Weir
- Extremely loud & incredibly close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
- Svärdet och spiran, by Ken Follett
- What is code, by Paul Ford
- Marina, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
- Gone girl, by Gillian Flynn
- Thinking, fast and slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- Expeditionen - min kärlekshistoria, by Bea Uusma
- Världens vinter, by Ken Follett
- Generation 64, by Jimmy Wilhelmsson and Kenneth Grönwall
- Inferno, by Dan Brown
- Yellow submarine, English interactive edition
- Giganternas fall, by Ken Follett
- Ensam i Berlin, by Hans Fallada
- Stora löparboken, by Hans Wiktorson
- Creativity, inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
- Nionde arméns undergång - kampen om Berlin 1945, by Niclas Sennerteg
- Version control with Git, by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough
- Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
- Ravioli, by Klas Östergren
- I döda språks sällskap, by Ola Wikander
- Berättelser från Engelsfors, by Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg
- En av oss, by Åsne Seierstad
- The great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Living with someone who's living with bipolar disorder, by Chelsea Lowe and Bruce M. Cohen
- Out of time in Wan chai, by Fan Tong
- Mitt liv som porrstjärna, by Puma Swede and Jan Ekholm
- The complete works of H.P. Lovecraft
- How to get filthy rich in rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid
- The new Avengers volume 1: Breakout, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch
- On writing well, 30th anniversary edition, by William Zinsser
- Bipolar II disorder, modelling, measuring and managing, second edition, by Gordon Parker (editor)
- Eat and run, by Scott Jurek and Steve Friedman
- Knockout.js succinctly, by Ryan Hodson
- Clean code, by Robert Martin
- Peopleware, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
- The mythical man-month, by Frederick Brooks
- Code complete (second edition), by Steve McConnell
- Mona Lisa overdrive, by William Gibson (yes, re-read)
- The art of readable code, by Dustin Boswell and Trevor Foucher
- Count Zero, by William Gibson (again, re-read)
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson (re-read, but last time was 15 or so years ago …)
- Churchill, by John Lukacs
- Tito - folkets diktator, by Björn Kumm
- Tweeting the universe, by Marcus Chown and Govert Schilling
- Andra världskrigets historia, by Liddell Hart
- Jag är din flickvän nu, by Nina Hemmingsson
- The bipolar disorder survival guide, by David Miklowitz
- Metro 2033, by Dmitry Glukhovsky
- C++ direkt, by Jan Skansholm
- Test-driven iOS development, by Graham Lee
- Sunset park, by Paul Auster
- Pushing ice, by Alastair Reynolds
- The difference engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
- Born to run, by Christopher McDougall
- Idea man, by Paul Allen
- Med Hitler till slutet, by Heinz Linge
- Insanely simple, by Ken Segall
- Lyckohjulet, by Jonas Hansson
- The art of deception, by Kevin Mitnick
- Neonomicon, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
- Doggy Monday, by Maria Sveland
- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
- The arrival, by Shaun Tan
- Maria & José, by Erlend Loe och Kom Hiorthøy
- Stupid white men, by Michael Moore
- The design of everyday things, by Donald A. Norman
- Being geek, by Michael Lopp
- The elements of style, by William Strunk and E. B. White
- The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer
- Seven languages in seven weeks, by Bruce A. Tate
- A mind in prison, by Bruno Manz
- Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick
- Var är min syster? by Sven Nordqvist
- Svenska skrivregler, by Språkrådet
- Endless nights, by Neil Gaiman
- Ipad programming - a quick-start guide for Iphone developers, by Daniel H Steinberg and Eric T Freeman
- Textmate: power editing for the Mac, by James Edward Gray II
- In cold blood, by Truman Capote
- Harry Potter and the deathly hallows, by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the half-blood prince, by J.K. Rowling
- Nausicaä of the valley of the wind, by Hayao Miyazaki
- The catcher in the rye, by J.D. Salinger
- The Wake, by Neil Gaiman, part ten of the collected Sandman comic.
- Vad jag pratar om när jag pratar om löpning, by Haruki Murakami
- Vitt ark, by Simon Eidorson
- The pomodoro technique, by Francesco Cirillo
- The Harry Potter series part one to five, by J.K. Rowling, as audiobooks.
- Lika barn..., by Simon Eidorson
- The Kindly ones, by Neil Gaiman, part nine of the collected Sandman comic.
- The lost symbol, by Dan Brown
- Den som dödar draken, by Leif G.W. Persson
- Lev livet - det går inte i repris
- Coders at work, by Peter Seibel
- Beautiful code, edited by Andy Oram and Greg Wilson
- Iphone SDK development, by Bill Dudney and Chris Adamson
- I have life, Alison's journey, by Marianne Thamm
- No logo, by Naomi Klein
- GUI bloopers 2.0, by Jeff Johnson
- The angel's game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Snow crash, by Neal Stephenson
- Spook country, by William Gibson
- Bone, by Jeff Smith
- Jpod, by Douglas Coupland
- World's end, by Neil Gaiman, eigth part of the collected Sandman comic.
- RESTful web services, by Leonard Richardson and Sam Ruby
- Test-driven development by example, by Kent Beck
- The knowledge-creating company, byt Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
- Compilers - principles, techniques and tools, by Aho, Lam, Sethi and Ullman
- Structure and interpretation of computer programs by Hal Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, and Julie Sussman
- Pragmatic thinking and learning - refactor your wetware, by Andy Hunt
- Practical common lisp, by Peter Seibel
- The algorithm design manual, by Steven Skinea
- Brief lives, by Neil Gaiman. The seventh part of the collected Sandman comic.
- Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell
- Mahatma!, by Zac O'Yeah
- Gomorra, by Roberto Saviano
- Inshallah, by Donald Boström
- Montecore, by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
- Hemsöborna, by August Strindberg
- Everything is illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer
- The time machine, by HG Wells
- Egalias döttrar, by Gerd Brantenberg
- The secret history of Star wars, by Michael Kaminski
- Learning Cocoa with Objective C, by James Duncan Davidson
- Cocoa programming for Mac OS X, by Aaron Hillegass
- Människa utan hund, by Håkan Nesser
- Tyskungen, by Camilla Läckberg
- Carolus Rex, by Ernst Brunner