Older blog entries for cTaylor (starting at number 144)

Long time no post.

Well, I managed to survive my last couple of travel events. Saw my sister graduate from UPenn. Back into the swing of things CONUS style.

Recently picked up Guild Wars. It's been a terrific waste of time and it seems that plently of my old college buddies are playing it.

As you are about to discover. I recently have been re-introduced to gaming. I've been out of the loop since way back. Shortly after say...the original Quake game.

Doom 3 was pretty fun - scarey as hell but, I'd have to say it does a good job at what it was intended to do. Scare the pants off you. It's a bit repetitive but, the enviorns are really immersive and I enjoyed it. The teleport-ambush thing id does with the game is very predicatable for anyone that's played the original dooms or the first couple quake games. No suprises there.

1/2 life 2 has been fantastic. It feels like I'm *in* an action movie. I just cleared Ravendorf and that was a blast. It's been a really fun game thus far. It still packs the old-school 1/2 life 'flava'/'feel' and the physics engine they've implemented is unbelievable. I spent about 5 minutes the other day spliting wood underwater and watching it float to the surface. Really life-like and realistic. It also *feels* like you're in a 70's era John Carpenter movie.

As for coding. Normal Map Baker has required a lot of data structure considerations. I've had to scrap a lot of work and tweek some of it out b/c I was getting confused by my design. I want to say I'm 80% done but whenever it feels like I make progress, I move backwards a bit to make things 'better'. So, I'm getting there.

I have a new idea for another blender plugin. I've been using a lot of dan's shared memory code to get it together and while i've yet to even consider how far into it i am, i feel it has the potential of being another 'exceptionally cool' add on for blender. I'll drop more info out when i get the code going someplace interesting.

Beyond that I'm preparing for more drill weekends and another trip overseas.

Yay!
Normal Map Baker

Got the build system completely tweeked out unfortunately my 3d geometry code was shifted around a little b/c of some debugging my partner-in-crime did with his own sources (from Flatter3d).

So, that's the temporary update. Next weekend I have to fulfill my guard commitment by assuming my officer role in the company - it'll be a long week for me doing army stuff. Guess I should get my haircut tomorrow.

The weekend after next I go back overseas for about 30 days. The day I get back, I'll have to fly out to Philadelphia for my sister's birth day.

So for now, it's taxes, bills and rent payments for 2 months and then I go away and come back only to bounce up to Philly and then I come back here for some R&R and a friend will visit from up north.

Such is my life. Travel.
Back in the U-S-A! I-safely-got-Back in the U-S-A!

It feels great to be in the states! I've had quite a busy week - getting a new place, paying off bills, getting back into the groove of post-active-duty-post-deployed life (back to back treking is getting old!). So now I must haggle/contend with tight financing for the time being. I think I'll handle it just fine.

but, I really mean it this time!

It's still going to be awhile what with all my traveling and whatnot. It doesn't help any that I'll be going overseas again mid-april. So, there's much preparation at work getting things lined up for our next trip. It'll be about a week longer than the last one.

While I'm over there, I'll keep pushing not only the normal baker but the pdf filter for beagle. From what I can tell they still need one and after reviewing some of the code I need to translate, it'll be a heck of a lot easier this time and I'll probably be able to finish it in a timely fashion.

The new rule is pdf filter at work, baker at home.

Beyond that, I'm seeking employment opportunities. I keep my eyes pointed on online hunting tools but, nothing I find really seems all that more involved than what I'm currently doing.

I don't mind the tempo of my current job but, I don't feel like it's the right kind of thing for me. I want a bigger challenge. Or just something 'bigger'. What I'm doing now really makes me feel like my tires are deflated or half empty - at times.

I have friends working on masters degrees or PhD's - I have friends writing embedded linux code and getting paid to do it! While I know I should limit the amount of gauging I do with what I consider my 'peer group' I just can't shake the feeling sometimes that I should be doing more.

And while I get to travel the world, yet...I feel extremely dissatisfied with my job. I guess that's my post colliegate self-discovery process at work. go fig.

The Soy + Salmon diet is still working! I've lost a grad total of 20 lbs since December thanks to a number of dietary changes and a light work out routine. I recall being very upset with all the exercise I was doing and the little physical return in weight loss I was receiving - now I cut back on calories and do a lot less working out and *bam* the weight begins to drop. I guess that just proves how much diet (in terms of caloric intake) is a part of the problem.

Managed to fly <yeah I travel a lot> to D.C. for the weekend to meet up with a friend up there, had a wonderful and interesting stay up there - hopefully, I'll manage another trip that way in the near future pending another business trip.

Well that's it for now. Back to my regularly scheduled baking session.
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.

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