Older blog entries for dancer (starting at number 25)


We're moving offices today(friday), and over the weekend. All is Chaos, much as can be expected.

Alas, I am also overcome with a nasty sinus infection (the gift that keeps on giving). I feel terrible. All my stuff is now in boxes. Home I go. Network access will be spotty over the weekend. Must try some Life(tm) to make up for it.


I've been within six inches of resigning four times in the last three weeks or so. So far this year has been great for company revenue and company growth, and horrific for job-satisfaction and sanity.

Things seem to be on the improve. Well, we'll see, won't we?

I have misgivings about the office move. Nebulous, inarticulate things. The last one was supposed to have gone smoothly, and was far from that. This one is supposed to also. Yeah, right.

Going to try to get an early night, and get out of here by 6 or 7pm.


Not playing it, but can't say I'm totally enamoured with the idea of the board being laid out on the desk six inches behind my chair. Might fetch a sharp object and start a transfer-of-stress program, next time there's a big strategic meeting at my elbow.


That at least is going well. I've not had time to make any real contributions this last week, but I'm hoping to spend some time on it.

No comment.

Across the Danless wastes, begin week 2

Mind you, it's wednesday. Easter ate up friday to monday, and ANZAC day ate up tuesday. One of those delightful little lunar coincidences.

Igor starts at the office today. I expect him to suffer through the usual two days of induction process and workstation/network woes before I actually get to start him on anything serious

That said, Marty and Dave(2) are both starting to pick up steam. Pleased with them.


We've just released 0.25, and are starting to get positive feedback. I've already almost lost track of the amount of Nifty Stuff(tm) that we've put in the development branch since we branched the tree. Said branch was to allow Willem to tweak the source a little further for Windows issues while we moved ahead. We're doing a merge back with the trunk in the next 24 hours, and who knows? We may be ready to do another release. Or, we can hold off and sprinkle more nifty stuff in!

Feeback of the day: The new version works and it simply kicks ass! Someone should give u guys a huge pile of money for your efforts ;) Thanks!

Well...okay. I'm waiting for mine. I think it'd look just dandy next to the bookcase.

Across the Danless wastes, end week 1

Well, we're still here. It's Easter, and that plus Anzac day amounts to 5 full days off. I think I'll spend that in sleep and couch-potato mode. That'll prevent me spilling the blood of the innocent, and making primitive cave paintings with it.

Jenn's not so well at the moment. She'll need looking after. Hoping to get some hefty Exult work done over easter:


Willem's been quiet. We're not sure of the status of the windows port yet. We're delaying a new release (0.25?) until we know for sure.

Monsters. Our devel branch is acquiring monsters, and pathfinding, and better character animation, and more usecode, and every thing we can stuff into it.

Looking at ant-pathing and A-star algorithms at the moment. Both of which appear to work the way I had though a pathfinder might work when I started thinking about pathfinders. So..I was obviously on the right track.

We don't have any sort of a combat system, let alone an implementation of the one that the original had. We're planning on starting with a simple one: You click on the monster and it dies.

We'll then do the thing with the loot, experience points, and distribute some random damage to players based on armour and such. That will give us chunks of the underlying mechanics that we can clean up before we implement the full combat mode.

Across the Danless wastes, week 1

Today we have to do without Dan. We also have to do without Tiff. Both are key figures around the office. Both are off to be married (to each-other, as it happens). Both are gone for six weeks.

Somehow we will have to make do without them.

No, we're not moved into the new offices. We took a peek seven days ago. It was a playground of dangling wire, fresh paint, no carpets and no walls. It looked much smaller than it had before. Scarily smaller. Some fitters were venturing to start laying some carpets, and I am told that some progress has been made, but we're not moved yet.


It felt like a busy weekend. It's going to be a busier week. I've got after-work bookings for every night this week. I can't stay till 10:30pm every night. Will this cause major sociopolitical ramifications? Will it significantly affect the speed of light?

Going to try to write about more useful material later in the week.


Friday just went. Tandem bugfixes with Lover-boy-Paul. That went well. Finally walked the length of Lygon street home, with Gus (he turns off about 30 minutes before I get home). Got home at about midnight. Had a good talk though.

It's now saturday night amd I'm still recovering from friday.


We branched a development path while Willem finishes off win32 bits. New release soon. Having some trouble actually checking out the branch, though. It sits there for over an hour exchanging data, but not actually claiming to be doing anything at that point. I'll leave it go a while longer and see if it gets any sense.


What new Pratchett are we talking about exactly? Is there one I am unaware of? We must be due for a new one by now. Give. Speak.


We've been given a few hours notice that Motorola is filing a patent in Australia on (apparently) all forms of proxy-based web-filtering.

We have until the close-of-business April 13 localtime (that is, a few hours from now) to file an objection before it passes. Someone's lawyers apparently jumped the gun and we got advance notice of the completion of the review period. Trying desperately to get an opposition filed before the end of the day.

More on this, as I have it. I also intend to post a copy of the patent, if I can get my hands on it before the end of the day.

The date for Prior Art to be prior to is 24 January 1997. Maybe I'll take up alchoholism.


We're not opposing. Management is adopting a 'don't be first' stance, and letting someone else do it. Problem is, I think that attitude is more or less prevalent. I'm now seriously worried that the patent will pass review unopposed. :(

Further update

Management reversed, and an opposition was filed. Also another concerned company who I apprised of the matter filed as well, since it directly impinges on products of theirs that pre-existed. I think we may be out of the woods.


Escape is impossible. Prisoners will report to the day room! Don't even think about asking how my day was. It sucked. Big Evil Suck(tm). Quite angry and upset through the afternoon. What an interesting time to be being headhunted by another company. A firmish sort of offer has appeared. (Oh, my review results came in. They met the absolute minimum figure. The new company is offering more)

On the plus side after spending part of the afternoon moving in mysterious ways, we (me and Paul found one of the problems. It had been introduced during debugging and involved egregiously dereferencing a null-pointer. Bad pointer! Bad pointer! Pointers must point! Pointers mustn't not point!

It had however been deliberately zeroed, and the space it pointed to deallocated. It was trying to dereference it after that fact for debugging that was in error.


Coming along quite nicely. After I got my head screwed on straight, I got the midi synthesis going with timidity. If you have linux and a properly configured timidity binary with instrument patches, you get quite acceptable audio. Yay.

We're gearing up to do another release. Willem is on-board now, working in parallel to make sure all our stuff works under Win32, and he's building a sound-layer for windows that will do the same tricks.

No word from Amy or OSI. I'm beginning to suspect there won't be any. Maybe Bill can be contacted. If the problem is that OSI don't want to talk about it, then that won't help either, but it's worth a try. Anyone have Cap'n Bill's email address handy? I think I've lost it.




The last couple days I've been mostly beyond worry.I have a giddy lack of concern about things, that appears to transmit to the people around me becoming high-morale (or perhaps just similar lack of concern) in the process. Odd.

Martin(2) will be getting my old K6II/300 workstation, and I've been handed one of the new 550Mhz Athlon workstations that have been stacked in the machine-room. In the process I also step up one level of sound-card and get a fan-cooled 3d video card, instead of the heatsink-cooled V770 in my old box.

Prepping for the change engendered some problems, however. Built a new kernel...build modules...copy kernel to /boot/vmlinux-versionfoo, the system map to /boot/System.map-versionfoo and installed the modules. Add kernel to lilo.conf, moving the old ones down.

Run lilo and reboot.




Add debian rescue disks. Mount partitions, select 'make bootable from hard-disk'. Fixed. (Okay, add about an hour, because I had faulty floppy media, several of 'em in fact, including the office copy of Tom's root/boot)

Edit lilo.conf. Get the kernel I tried before as the default kernel. Run lilo. Cross fingers. Reboot. Fine.

Deep breath. Swap drive to new Athlon machine. Decide to make Athlon-optimised kernel. Build. Usual kernel copy and setup. Lilo. make bzdisk this time, as well. Reboot.



Will fix that on monday. At least I have a floppy that will boot the system.


A new guy wants to sign on and help out. Exult's starting to get popular. Willem, our windows porter has more or less officially signed on as developer number three, working to Keep Us Honest as far as portable coding goes (I've slipped into a couple bad habits over the years, and some of my code isn't happy in the majority of concievable environments).

The new boy wants to integrate SDL_mixer into the audio engine. That kind of suits me rather well, actually. There are some gigantic issues with instrument voices that I am afeared of approaching, and it would give me a little more time to work on the unified file API, some pathfinding AI, and a few other things around the project that I've been interested in getting my teeth into.

We shall see what the others have to say about the new boy.


Left the office at around 2am. Hazy and unfocused with aches in annoying places. Also not very coherent. So if this entry isn't either, you'll know why. It's the next day, and I'm working on resting up enough to maybe be more human tomorrow.

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