I have become an XKCD re-poster because, well I like it… July 20, 2017 at 8:32 am

XKCD

Ernie

Insane in the membrane April 12, 2016 at 7:26 am


Ernie

Amusing, but is still understating the issue March 10, 2016 at 11:15 pm


Ernie

What is wrong with our country? March 1, 2016 at 11:45 pm

We must be largely mentally ill. Are we seriously considering Donald J Drumpf as the leader of our country? I know that many of our politicians have issues, but I really think we need to draw a line. On one hand A Drumpf/Palin run would take us a long way towards the prophecy of Idiocracy. What is even funnier? I typed ‘Idiocracy’ into ‘the Google’ to make sure I had the spelling correct and that association was already made. At least some people are starting to think, but I was more than a bit nervous about McCain/Palin, but (IMO) our country woke up before it was too late.

Ernie

The Kindle is dead, Long live the Kindle! April 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

Sometimes ya just gotta wonder ’bout things.

2015-04-20 19.20.11

This is the third Kindle I have murdered. I don’t THINK I am especially evil to my hardware, but wow.

On one hand this was a Gen 1 Paperwhite AND I had considered getting a Voyage when it was announced, however the Paperwhite was just fine and I really didn’t NEED a new device. (Not like that has really ever stopped me in the past!) I had put off dealing with it for a while and last night the ‘watershed moment’ happened. I launched that puppy off of a towel I set the device on. Something about hitting the corner on a tile floor from at least 5-6 feet in the air didn’t agree with the touch screen. Like previously destroyed devices this shattered the touch screen enough to render it unusable.

Last week Apple did me a solid and replaced a battery on my iPhone 5 under warranty. I was ‘kinda’ hoping that I would ‘have’ to buy an iPhone 6, but alas instead they just made me a more loyal customer. In all fairness, Amazon did the same with the second of 2 K3’s that got killed too. Something tells me that an assisted launch of a Kindle isn’t really a warranty event. :-) At least this one lasted a couple of years.

I am not all that unhappy about it, and I REALLY didn’t do it on purpose. :-O

Ernie

10 Years to the Day … Weird April 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

For some reason today I was going ‘back in time’ reading over my BLOG. This whole thing has started / stopped / started / sputtered, and has mostly been ‘Meh’ overall. There really isn’t a coherent theme, and other than ‘bot traffic’ AFAIK I am really the only person that pays it much attention. I know it gets indexed and I know every now and then someone spends a little time here, but not overly so.

So I REALLY didn’t plan this AND I went ALL the way back in time (as far as THIS BLOG is concerned). Wow, 10 years ago I was sitting in Miami (Most likely Miami Beach ~and~ most likely at my desk in my SOON to fail business, the writing WAS clearly on the wall, but it wasn’t long after I started the blog when the final decision was made by me to pack it in.)

This blog was more or less ‘started on a whim’ (as I remember it) because some ‘folks that I knew’ had basically rolled out a blogging service many months prior and I figured, what the heck. (I actually DID ~know~ a few of the people that worked on it, as in like personally met them, but couldn’t tell you who they are NOW. Sad really, but that is life.)

During ‘its’ life, the blog has transitioned between (I am fairly sure it ~was~ originally MSN, as that would have put me in contact with ‘folks that worked on it’) at least 4 different groups at MS, and another host when MS shut down. I ~think~ the last iteration was called ‘Live Spaces’. I didn’t make notes on all of that so reality is that I am likely wrong.

Wow. Something that has some fairly interesting (to me anyway) key focal points of my life preserved. I didn’t really BLOG about most of my ‘failures’ but I can see the initial cracks that started the avalanches.

Nor have I written about ALL of my successes either, but I can see some of those obliquely preserved too! (It is ALL about context.)

The weird part? Todays entry wouldn’t even EXIST unless I was triggered to look at the content by an exceptionally weird confluence of butterfly wings flapping. Even then, deciding to LOOK AT my very first entry wasn’t a conscious decision! That to me is THE MOST odd part. Completely unplanned.

Weird. (And Wow, 10 friggin’ years TO THE DAY. Kinda neet?) Weird.

I wonder right this minute what the future holds. I have noticed more than one subtle observation that has turned out to be ~major~ themes in my life AND I didn’t understand the ramifications of the observations AT THE TIME. I am loath to make any other observations right now because of that. You know, ‘jinx’ things, because THAT would be science. 😉

Ernie

Columnized text in Minecraft Chat February 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Minecraft uses variable width fonts in the chat output during gameplay. For plugins that benefit from displaying tables of data this will cause issues. It isn’t possible to just use spaces to align columns of data. Any text that contains characters outside of the ‘normal width’ will cause columns to be pushed to one side or the other.

Most characters are equivalent to six pixels in width. The ones that cause problems are not the same width. The biggest troublemaker is ‘space’. A space is rendered equivalent to four pixels wide. You could almost ‘fix’ the problem filtering out troublesome characters, but the output would unpleasant.

While searching for a solution I ran into an implementation that came very close to fixing the issue, but still had minor misaligned text which was highly visible and distracting to me. Not being happy with the improperly aligned text I started doing some tinkering and testing various unicode characters for width. I was able to stumble onto an unobtrusive character that seems to be on most platforms AND (more importantly) is the equivalent to one pixel wide.

In addition to fixing the problem with misaligned text I was able to add the ability to ‘properly’ align numbers to the right (for those of us using left to right rendering fonts).

Tables of output for the SimbeyMod teleport feature:
tp1

The implementation allows for left, right, and center alignment for columns. In addition the behavior keeps the table only as wide as required for the widest display area needed and will collapse ‘less important’ information as required.

Dynamic sizing of the ‘Name’ Column:
tp4

Dynamic removal of ‘less important’ Column:
tp5

I ended up with following solution:

Usage:

Ernie

The “Hope Monkey” is dead, long live the “Hope Monkey” January 28, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I recently re-read the first book of the “Star Force” series Swarm by B.V. Larson. In that book the main character talks about how his “Hope Monkey” grabbed a hold of him various times in the book.

I just went through a similar emotional situation (thankfully NOTHING ~AT ALL~ like the events in the book, JUST the emotional reactions). I tried REALLY hard not to even consider giving into the hope and I failed miserably. In both regards. For that which I had hope, and for letting the hope give me energy. It is a massive come down. I went from feeling on top of the world, to another place entirely.

You never WANT to ‘give up all hope,’ and I ‘hope’ that the gross death of the last “Hope Monkey” can be cast asunder and a new one can take its place. I am old enough to know that I am a “passionate individual” and that is a sword that has two edges and is many times as dangerous to the wielder as it is to the obstacles my passions can help me overcome.

Don’t take any of the analogies to seriously. Followed beyond the mere surface likeness, would make them exceptionally scary.

OK, so back to that book. :-) I would not say “Mr. Larson is the worlds best producer of great literature.” It is enough for me to say that I enjoy his work and my kindle account is loaded with a good percentage of his product. Swarm is one of the most memorable (and the first) of the series, but all have been enjoyable. IDK if it would appeal to you. My tastes are “fairly pedestrian” apparently.

Ernie

Interesting (To me) July 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Looking through code recently written I noticed that I was using std::for_each where the new syntax of range based for would have sufficed.

Given how it was used, I don’t understand why I didn’t use the new syntax…

std::vector < int > vec;

for( int c : vec )
{
    //...
}

vs…

std::vector < int > vec;

std::for_each( vec.begin(), vec.end(), [&]( int c )
{
    //...
} );

The new range based for is much easier to understand in this case. As far as code generation, both are fairly close to identical in an optimized build. If a lambda expression is required either expression can be used (‘just’ call the lambda in the loop). The only real place the std::for_each ~should~ be used is likely when the range is a subrange. I have many times wondered why for_each didn’t have an overload like so:

std::for_each( vec, [&]( int c ) 
{
    //...    
} );

or…
using string_map = std::map < std::string, int >;

string_map items;
//..

auto es = items.equal_range( "E" );

std::for_each( es, [&]( string_map::value_type& v )
{
    //...
} );

Without aliases (or auto) try typing in the second expression. The pair<...> returned by equal range as a raw type is exceptionally painful to type, let alone read.

In general I prefer simpler looking code over more complex. (Ever looked through the std:: headers? Yipes!) Often while reviewing code a few days after writing it, I will notice that I could have done things a little better. When I am in control of the project I am not afraid to refactor.

Ernie

Grumble June 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I have had crummy “luck” with power supplies. (Better them, than some of the alternatives!) I was in the middle of using my “big boy” Linux box today (remotely via XWindows and SSH) and “things” just ground to a halt. (All my VM’s that had network mappings to various resources hung, and the host OS wasn’t happy either.)

Took me a while to track down that problem. I always favor local over remote for trouble (mainly because I didn’t want to trapse over to the room my Linux box was in). When I finally figured out the problem I had to pull apart a bunch of wiring to get at the box. Then I had to start diagnosing issues by pulling likely culprits out of the box. In the end by the time I figured out it was the PSU, Corsair tech support was gone for the day. Sigh. Even ~IF~ they honor the warranty (it is registered and under a year old) that means at LEAST a week without my (big) computer. The AX1200 seems to be discontinued these days and I loath wiring. That is one of the reasons when I built this beast that I picked the modular Corsair. MUCH easier to deal with cable routing. Looks like the replacement AX1200i doesn’t use the same connectors so even if I jaunt over to FRYS and pick up something local, I am likely to have a “fun time.” rewiring everything. (I don’t trust their web site, but they say the AX1200 or AX1200i isn’t available in store.)

I suppose there is ~something~ to say about the Macbook Pro Retina that leaves almost everything beyond user intervention. Over all I use that machine (at least as a front end) more than any other. (Typically with the lid down, external mouse and keyboard too.) If it wasn’t for the few times I need to pull it and work with the machine remotely, I would likely be happier with something like a powerful Intel NUC device “glued” behind my monitors. The specs are getting fairly decent. Some will even support two 30″ monitors via Displayport 1.2 multi-streaming.

Ernie