bjoreman.com

December 05, 2018

Photons

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

Tetris effect

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.

Then

(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

Poor Groot

All right, time to get this off my chest.

This is my largest Groot.

I am Groot, on the roof I am Groot, on the roof

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.

However.

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.

Groot … relaxing in the grass Groot … relaxing in the grass

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.

Oh, 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.