Older blog entries for cTaylor (starting at number 141)

8 Mar 2005 (updated 8 Mar 2005 at 09:37 UTC) »
Semi-mandatory update

Still working on the blender/python-c/c++ stuff - it's coming along a lot smoother now that I've managed to marshal all the python structures (and their substructures) I need over to C++ land.

So hooah for that.

Still overseas, this is my last week here - I'm amazed at how much this particular area is trying to modernize. I often get the distinct impression that while they modernize, they are 'kicking to the curb' some of the most interesting and fascinating aspects of the indiginous culture. I mean it's still 'there' but, you have to look a little more throughly for it than in other nearby countries.

And so the spectre of globalization rears her bitch-godess head. I call her a bitch-godess b/c she gives with one hand and takes with another. Oh well, that's the nature of all things I guess. I'm often reminded, driving around, of the history associated with people that do missionary work. Sure they're there to help improve the quality of life, but they also can end up modifying the local culture/community in profound and sometimes tragic ways.
1 Mar 2005 (updated 5 Mar 2005 at 09:15 UTC) »
Long Time, No See

I'm still overseas - it's been a pretty nice trip so far, and the internet is *all* over the place here. Which is nice for a change.

Software Items of Interest

I'm still working on the Blender/Python C/C++ module. It's coming along really well so far and my QuadTree only took like 4 hours of worry and concern to write and get going - hooray for me!

Now I need to write up a OctTree to improve access times. To some of the Blender PyObject's that I'm using. The fact that I can access any Python module already installed on my system is unbelievably cool. This has also made the module work far simplier than I initally expected.

Long story short, C/C++ module development for Blender has been a lot of fun and it's been a worthwhile experience. Sooooo yeah. Ain't that great.

Back to books. Oh, and Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver seems like a practice in redundancy. I understand and appreciate the whole past referencing future/past thing he's doing but I have to admit, he's going out on a limb far more often than I can appreciate and I'm giving him as much credit as I can. Sometimes there's such a thing as too much detail and too much referencing!

I'm outta here for another week.
Spinning globes don't stop

Well, I completed my army school last friday and within 2 days I was on an airplane going overseas. Now I'm just trying to find ways to fill in gaps of time.

Outside of playing the occasional video game for escape, I've been messing with Quadtrees and PDFBox. As usual, I hope to knock out a couple of issues prior to my return home.

Speaking of which, while I was at my army school, the lease ran out on my place, so now I'm offically homeless and am looking at renting a BOQ on base when I get back to Atlanta.

Living out of a suitcase isn't too bad. It's like living in the woods you just have to keep tabs on all your stuff and make sure to pack *exactly* what you need - not too little and not too much.

Hopefully, a job opportunity in the works will pay off and I'll be able to live in one place for atleast a couple months before bouncing all over the globe. I'd like some staticness to my life.

that's it for now. laterz.
Consistancy

I've talked alot with people about being consistant with the project work I involve myself with and I just can't seem to find enough spark in what I work on from a day-to-day basis to stick with just one effort.

I bring this up b/c it seems like Surphaze as suckered me into working on 3d stuff recently. I made a vow a very long (very long) time ago to avoid this part of computing b/c it was really trendy (yeah, I'm just soooo punk) and I also secretly harbored some anxiety about the mathematics involved.

Well, turns out the math isn't so bad for me and I seem to really enjoy the work.

We're tweeking a normal mapping plugin for blender and I've been really impressed with the python integration that's going on in blender.

I cooked up the normal mapping function two nights ago in about 2 hours (most of that time was reading the blender API and hashing out some questions with Surphaze).

Now we're at the point where it's kinda slow for generating maps for complex objects. My math is a bit on the slow side and that's party b/c I ganked the procedure from a really outlandish reference site.

So, Surphaze has made some improvement notes for me (speedup processing time: so cutting out big numeric pieces and writing them in C and then add another vector transform for the structures we're using) - he has added a couple of features that'd make the script "super cool, thanks for asking" (he wrote about 95% of it, I just figured out that he needed to be using tangent space for his mapping technique).

So I have that in the works for now. When all this is complete we'll be able to tackle some more further adventures in 3d rendering - like more real-time rendering stuffs. Oh, I also got some more scripting under my belt with tnl -> I scons'd the build system b/c they were using "old skool" make files and the gnu auto-tooling system is nice but, it's really ugly. I'll stick with my Python + SCons classes thank-you-very-much!

I'm still tooling around with PDFBox and a couple of other projects - just so when I read this later I can remind myself that I do have other obligations to attend to. :-P
18 Jan 2005 (updated 18 Jan 2005 at 01:54 UTC) »
Writing...

So, I've started to write a little more outside the scope of this blog. On paper. It's been pretty rewarding just getting some non-technical ideas out on paper has done wonders for my overall mood.

Back on the technical side of the house, I've got some scons scripts together that'll build csharp files into dlls, exes, and netmodules. They require more 'robustness' but for my purposes... they work great.

Back to the regularly scheduled network programming...
Weekend

Had a great weekend and even managed to get a lot of work done! I've been messing with JLex and have found ANTLR to be a heck of a lot more helpful for some of the grammar work I've recently took a plunge back into (ie: my little grammar checker).

I had the misfortune of seeing House of Flying Daggers - for a good time go see this movie. It's absolutely the worst movie I've seen this year. The story drops off about 3/4 of the way through and becomes a street fight between 2 guys over a girl she wakes up after a year of them fighting and then dies *again*. Sure it's a metaphor about the eternal struggle of love or whatever but, I have to say... this particular variation of the theme is totally lame. B Rated for sure. I also think the translation was shoddy.

From what most people have been telling me, Alexander is evidence enough that Collin Farrell and Oliver Stone are in-the-closet NAMBLA members. Nuff said, think I'll pass on that one. I had a buddy today tell me that the movie isn't so much a show as it is a tragic event in his life. An event that would rival this following Denis Leary Quote:

"Yeah, I love living in New York, man, and people who live in New York, we wear that fact like a badge right on our sleeve because we know that fact impresses everybody! "I was in Vietnam." - "So what? I live in New York!" - "Really?"

Just imagine: "So what? I saw Alexander" - "Really?" My friend mentioned possibly wearing his ticket stub on his chest as a badge of courage. He also said something like "I'm surpised traumatized viewers aren't on the streets using that as a pitch to bum change off people."

In anycase, A Life Aquatic was great the second time through. In any event, time to get back to the grind. Time to keep plodding along with PDFBox for C#.
Woohoo! Success!

I got SCons working with my current batch of PDFLib.NET source! Yay!

While it did take me about 1 day to adjust to the 'SCons' mentality, I have to say it was still a heck of a lot easier hacking the build system when compared to the amount of energy/work/time I usually expend when autotooling or Nanting.
11 Jan 2005 (updated 11 Jan 2005 at 04:58 UTC) »
Promotion

Been working on a build system for some work I've been hacking on since the Christmas holiday. Something related to PDFBox.

I've been using SCons over the gnu-autotools b/c I really enjoy the experience and the ability to tap into the capabilites of python inorder to build software.

Getting in Shape

Prior to coming back on temporary active duty, I put on some undesired pounds.

Completing college, taking too many math/science courses my last semester, severely spraining/rolling my ankle (it made a loud popping sounds other people around me heard on a soccer field) and dealing with the post stresses of college life took their toll and I was managing to weigh in at 224 lbs. Heavy weight lifting combined with all of the above didn't help the situation either.

Historically, I would have to run something like 10 miles a day to start up my metabolism (which I have done many times) along with severely cutting back on my food intake.

Needless to say, I've gotten kind of tired of this approach and took some advice my parents bestowed upon me

A year ago, my father had heart surgery. He was the 0.0001% of the population that was supposed to not have it. In that, A) he's in terrific shape, B) works out every day-religiously/watches his diet, C) low body-weight/fat. Unfortunately old age or genetics has caught up with him and he ended up going in for a stint and staying for a bypass for a 7 way blockage. During the surgery, the doctors paused to examine his heart and lungs because 'they'd never seen a set that healthy before'.

Considering the surgery he sustained, my pops re-adjusted his dieting. Now he consumes soy-based products like boca burgers, some chicken (non-soy and soy), and some cajun-frozen chicken (non-soy).

After getting home for Christmas, I decided to try out the boca products my folks were eating and the health cereal. I really liked the stuff. It filled me up, so I wasn't snacking, and man...I just really got a big energy boost.

Which is not to say I don't snack...I still do I just go for oatmeal or hommus with pita bread.

I managed to lose something like 10 lbs in just over 2 weeks. Magical I know but, I had to do nothing more than run 25 minutes a day (treadmill/outdoors) and dramatically alter my eating habits. So, now I'm all into eating the stuff my folks were feeding me.

Just a tip for all those individuals out there that would like to try something different. Just remember to mix up that food intake. Just eating boca burgers (I usually include whole grain bread, spinach leaves, heart-smart cheese, and hommus) could increase your estrogen levels and that's bad news for dudes.

Make sure to watch calorie intake. You'd be amazed at the difference between a soy burger's caloric count versus a bag of potato chips.

Remember to still get out and jog - you don't need to be the fastest person out there, but it pays off in dividends.

New Hardware

Besides my new, lighter, more nimble body, I've also managed to get a decent laptop. So, I'm thinking about giving Ubuntu a shot.
14 Dec 2004 (updated 14 Dec 2004 at 04:02 UTC) »
Life stuff

Boy, it's been almost a month and a half since I've chatted on this-a-here-blog. I feel so slack. Then again, I've not really been slack, just worked to a point in which reflecting on my day is sort of... well, borish.

I've been doing this full-time 'Army thing' for a couple months and lets say for the last month I've been taking IT classes, electro-statics classes, basic circuit classes, radio classes, etc.

I've been a bit frustrated by the course layout not so much because of the material in the courses, that's merely been an affirmation of something I knew little about before - that I actually learned things in college, the least of which was an ability to think! My frustration has been with the overall attitude exhibited by the 'professionals' teaching the material.

In college, I was often *extremely* critical of my course work and my university, so much that it was just a real bummer of sorts dealing with the day-to-day grind of it all.

Now, I can sit back, hear a half assed explaination of basic electro-statics and recall hours of lecture and review gratis Dr. Moyle with some coherancy. I've felt so confident of my abilities, that I was teaching night classes on the material during the evenings to many of my non-science oriented classmates at the school house here.

They seemed to appreciate the gesture and I take their coming back on a nightly basis to be an extreme form of flattery. Overall, I've enjoyed the experience of teaching and it's really rewarding to see someone move from struggling to mastery in a short period of time.

Boy. When I read what's above to myself - I sound so haughty. I need to slow down on the Neal Stevenson books. Quicksilver is waking very old and unused english-type parts of my mind. Oh, the H.P. Lovecraftish mapping of my mind.

Code stuff

I've continued the PDFBox port to .NET. I'm staying the course this winter and it seems like such an annoyance. I wish this process could be simplified and while projects like IKVM kick so much ass, but I have a C# requirement to meet. So all this java code rocks but at the same time, it needs to be rehacked into C#. ugh!

I've also been writing some tools out in python for some automation issues I've seen pop up in my day-to-day work with military documents. I've been tempted to work on a document suspension tracking software system with some additional features for personnel management and whatnot. the pdfbox code i've been hacking may make a python appearance eventually since one of my goals is to have that code integrated into this tracking software.

the grammer checker is still in existance, i've just been taking it easy for now. my priorities have changed again and now that i can see some opportunities to contribute to less academic projects... i dunno, they just seem to shine more readily.

in the same token, i've been talking with an old friend from my lymric days about possibly working on a video game for gnu/linux. and that work seems to be coming along well. we're a lot more organized with this effort and while i still lack a laptop or desktop with 3d support, we seem to be doing just fine without. go fig.

When all's said and done

I've been keeping busy. I feel a lot more 'with it' these days and less mopey which has been a nice change of pace. I attribute this rejuvenation to the people i'm surrounded by (beats the crap out of feeling alone in an appartment), the environment i'm in (i'm losing weight again! woohoo! 1 hour of running in the mornings combined with 1-2 hours of swimming/running/weight training) seems to be helping out tremendously. In anycase, I'm out for now...

Post-it notes

Blade Trinity :: friggin' rocked out. I really enjoyed the darker tone of this flick over the last one - the continual iPod commerical that was the new female character (Whistler's daughter) became a bit obnoxious, then again the wise-cracking dude from Mall Rats helped lighten the tone and bring some self deprecation to the movie that was a bit refreshing and reminded me of some funny stuff I saw in AvP. Overall, this movie kicked booty.

Ocean's 12 :: a lot of people felt this one was way too busy. The multi-plot-line stuff that the Matrix made famous is deployed in the flick with some success. There was a lot of good humour in this flick and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's definitely not the first movie.

School House Rock

So, it's been a long and tragically slow week. I managed to roll my ankle monday on a five mile run so, i've been recovering from that experience - i went for a jog tonight, did about 2 miles with some annoyance, so i should be good for tomorrow morning.

on the coding front, not much has happened, my work schedule here has picked up a bit and by the time i get around to hacking i'm usually straight out exhausted. today was my first shot this week to hack on the pdf filter for beagle, made some progress. i'm mostly dealing with differences in Java/C# apis at this point. had to add 1 more class to my ported list.

beyond that, i should get my desktop up before the vets day weekend. at that point i'll get my 'gentoo on' and i'll start hacking on my filter a little more regularly (i'm tired of dealing with the laptop).

enough for now. later all.

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