Saturday, April 30, 2005


I'd like to make a special announcement. As of yesterday, I burned all my home movies onto DVD, took the DVD filesystem and copied it to the fileserver, then stowed away the actual media in my backup archives. The raw AVI Type 2 feeds were deleted and replaced with the MPEG2 VOB's.

The home movie transcoding project is now marked as complete.

Damn. That was not easy. But I must say, I learned a lot about how to produce DVD-Video. Most noteably:

  • Windows (XP Pro at least) absolutely sucks at pulling frames from a DV interface. Absolutely and completely. Linux didn't drop a single frame unless memory was being taxed for some other process. So ripping raw DV as AVI Type 2 was only really feasible on SuSE.

  • Linux (currently) absolutely blows at transcoding DV into MPEG2. The software is there... the fool-proof tools aren't. For some reason MJPEG consistantly produced absolute rubbish MPEG2 streams, and ffmepg would work spectacularly aside from random garbage, bad timestamps and codec errors every so often. But having just one error every so often ruins an entire DVD, so it was nixed. And while I'm a so/so fan of Nero tools, Nero Express 3 on WinXP Pro transcoded the video and built the DVD filesystems (including some really spiffy menu screens) beautifully. Linux has a way to go with DVD authoring, Nero has it now.

  • Apple makes the best DVD media. But it would be cheaper for me to buy an entire publishing studio than to buy a 20-pack spindle. I used Sony's instead. TDK was the only dual-layer media I could find at the time.

  • NVidia's NVDVD is actually a neat lil' tool - one I'd rate as the best media player on the market right now. Fast (in rendering, not loading) and unobtrusive, I'm using it for everything now. In Linux, there's half a dozen media players that are fantastic. Take your pick.

    Alas... I'm done. So happy. Now, once I heal from being sick for the past two weeks, I can get back to finishing SystemInfo. Then work on my CrystalSpace stuff. Ugh.
  • Monday, April 18, 2005

    I Hate Walking

    I've been trying to pick back up with Morrowind and Thief: Deadly Shadows recently. You know what they're big on? Walking.

    Somewhere down the line the "RPG avatar" became the "video game powerwalker." It's like someone watched Final Fantasy being played and said "Hey! You know what defines this series? You need to walk places! Walk, walk, walk. That's a funny word, isn't it? W-a-l-k. Walky walky walky."

    So you just scored some big loot. In the original Thief series, they just gave you cash right up front. They trusted you'd find a fence somewhere to sell your diamond-encrusted full plate of armor. But now... nooooooo... they've incorporated "RPG elements," which means you need to go walk from town to town (and level loading screen to level loading screen), finding places that buy furniture, antiques, plate armor, handicrafts, birch bark canoes, etc. Because I don't already have to wander enough from place to place running errands in real life.

    I don't mind walking around and enjoying the scenery. In fact, 90% of my time in Morrowind is spent enjoying the scenery. But this is supposed to be an escape from reality. Not an attempt to run chores on an ethereal plane.

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Healin' Feelin'

    I had no better title that came to mind. Sorry.

    Wow. Bad chicken in the pasta. Severe gastric pain for two days. Ick. Kids, don't try that at home. Adults either. Ow.

    Ummm... so... I must now confess. My train of thought has so completely derailed that recently I bought a breadboard, logic circuits, a zener diode, resistors and a lil' booklet to learn how to build circuit... stuff... I DON'T KNOW IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME.

    Coder's block. See, my thought patterns don't just work like a deck of cards... they are a deck of cards. That is, if I don't have a full deck stacked, it just doesn't work. Kinda like... riiiiiiight... now.

    C'mon... *slams head against table* C'MON!!!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Bad Chicken

    Bad chicken... now... severe pain... ugh...

    Thursday, April 07, 2005


    I have to share this spam...

    On behalf of the organizing committee, I would like to extend a cordial invitation for you to attend one of the upcoming IPSI BgD multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary conferences.

    Wow! Multi, inter AND transdisciplinary! How is that even physically possible?!?!

    In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6. "What are you doing?", asked Minsky. "I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe." "Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky. "I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play." Minsky shut his eyes. "Why do you close your eyes?", Sussman asked his teacher. "So the room will be empty." At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

    What Time is It?

    What time is it? Hell yeah, it's Darwinia time.

    Linux client was released March 18th, but because I had all but given up on it I wasn't watching. One more reason not to sleep.

    One nifty addition to their website is their developer's diary. I'm always interested in how a game creatively evolves... and it appears their version of "evolution" is pretty much akin to my own. Try out some random nifty game ideas and then... umm... profit?

    They had a geninue love for the technology and loved the challenge. Then, when it came time to think about game balance:

    At this point the Player STILL controlled a group of around 100 Laser Troopers at once, which meant despite all our best efforts over the past few months, the game was still shit...

    ...Chris had a flash of inspiration about how to generate trees using simple fractal algorithms, and was more than willing to invest serious time investigating this issue rather than dealing with the underlying gameplay problems. Nevertheless, the resulting trees were beautifull to behold and gave us some wonderful early screenshots.

    I love these guys.

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Enterprise Software vs. Enterprising Software

    Here's the crux of the post I was about to write:

    Blah blah job is boring blah blah enterprise software is more about readability and maintenance than speed blah blah ISV realms are more interesting blah blah Java blah blah Ruby on Rails blah blah wish I could work more on texture mapping blah blah blah.

    There you go. Glad I got that out of my system.