Warrior Tang (tangaroa) wrote,
Warrior Tang
tangaroa

Note dump: Scraps and debris

More stuff found while cleaning old files:

Perl acquired bignums and smart string/int conversion. I had written an introduction to perl using these two examples:

my $million = "1" . "0" x 6; # Produces the string "1000000"
$million += 1; # Results in "1" because the string resolves to zero.

As of version 5.8.8, it produces "1000001".


One of the reasons I left my job a few years ago was that I was spending so much time supporting the call center -- after three of the employees left and were not replaced -- that my share of activity in the ticket system went from 5%-10% to 20%-30%, and I was only working half-time.


There was a movie a few years ago that had a good marketing campaign. It was going to be an entertaining review of advanced physics and of the mysteries that scientists are finding at the frontiers of modern theory here in the first decade of the 21st century, all explained in a way that normal people could understand it. I was taking a physics class at the time, and the teacher assigned us extra credit to see this movie that was supposed to be the best hard-science documentary since Sagan's Cosmos.

Of course, What the Bleep Do We Know!? turned out to be New Age bullshit. Here's a long takedown of the movie.


Here is a feature I suggested for a space-based video game that another student was developing.

Let's say we decided to make heavily populated systems with planets and features all over the place. The Sol system might have all of the nine or eight or sixteen planets or whatever it is now plus several of the major asteroids, Luna, Titan, and Jupiter's four major moons. Not all of them would offer interactivity, but they would be visitable and a scanner might return interesting reading material. There might also be starbases all over the place.

So, now we have this hugely populated system and we have to spread everything out to keep it from getting too cramped. Pluto is now very far from Earth in terms of game time. It might take a minute to get there! We can speed it up with some kind of autopilot system. You're on autopilot, you go fast.

We could merge this autopilot with a visual effect whereby if the ship is far from anything else, everything else zooms out. You see, you're in space and that stuff is falling back into the distance. The player's ship remains the same size and appears to travel at the same speed, but it covers more space. When you get close to a planet or an asteroid field or a ship that you want to interact with or vice versa, the view zooms back in as you get closer. Call it the "superman effect".

I think I've seen this in a game before, but I can't recall what it was.

"Superman effect"? That was a horrible way of explaining it. Essentially, I wanted to see your ship speed up when you went into an open area, coupled with a smooth dynamic zoom-out of everything but your ship, and you would cover the same number of pixels per second whether you were zoomed in or out.


I made a website for said game project. While it gave me a sense of accomplishment at the time, I looked at it again and gah it's ugly! It looks like it was made in 1995. That's why I'm a backend guy and not so much a frontend guy. I should have spent the time to make rounded corners and transparent backgrounds so it would look like it was made in 2001.

The site is busted since the apache configuration changed to disallow mod_rewrite in user directories. This is the second site for which this has happened to me. Don't rely on mod_rewrite if you don't admin the system yourself or unless you can point to it in a list of supported features.


By some combination of NFS and my working on the same files using two accounts on two hosts at the same time, I changed the ownership of one of my directories to another account that I no longer manage. Oops!


At one place I worked, I was hired twice. The first guy to hire me was my immediate boss. The whole contract was one to three sentences on a mostly blank piece of paper. It looked good, so I signed on. However, I then learned there was a parent company I had to deal with. The parent company's personnel duties were outsourced to a company in Texas, and I had to agree that this company in Texas could fire me for any reason. I also had to sign a non-compete clause that would be in effect for a year and a half after I left the job.

I still signed on despite the bait-and-switch. The terms weren't that offensive and the pay was excellent. At least I was not an hourly "independant contractor", and there was no arbitration clause.


Hint to anyone making a web page based on any non-HTML document; If you make edits to the text like spelling and grammar fixes before posting it, don't send back diffs or a plain English explanation of your changes. Send back a modified file in the original format that it was sent to you, or else the next version you are sent will have the same spelling and grammar errors.

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