Older blog entries for shlomif (starting at number 706)

Freecell Solver 3.22.0 was Released: Bug Fixes

Freecell Solver version 3.22.0, has been released. Freecell Solver 3.22.0 is available in the form of a source archive, from the download page. Freecell Solver is an open source framework (library and some command line applications), for automatically solving several variants of card Solitaire / Patience games, including Freecell.

The highlights of this version are some bug fixes: the Win32 NSIS (= Nullsoft Installer) package should now build, run and process the presets (e.g: -l as properly). Furthermore, there's a bug fix to the command line flags processing, where flags whose prefixes are known flags were erroneously recognised as such (e.g: --resetjunk vs. --reset).

On the new features side, the JavaScript-based solver now accepts arbitrary fc-solve command line options, so it can be used to solve any of the supported variants of Solitaire, as well as support most other fc-solve features.

Enjoy!

Syndicated 2013-10-07 17:29:00 from shlomif

Yom Kippur 2013 Summary

This Yom Kippur, I again went over my blogs from the last year, and tried to draw some conclusions. (It's already Sukkoth and Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I decided to blog about this already.). I again noticed that I didn't blog a lot most of the time, but I guess no real disaster occured due to that.

This year I had a lengthy hypomania, which was followed by a period of working a lot on code, and then a period of tiredness and feeling of lethargy (though I was almost always constantly doing something), and now I've started working as a software developer, which keeps me busy. The Hypomania made me realise several things that I have done or thought wrong, so it was not too bad.

This year I finished some books, watched some films, added a lot of content to my home site, and made some new friends online and offline, so I can be proud of myself.

There were a few times, when I got into some trouble or made people angry, especially during the hypomania, but I hope I have drawn the right conclusions.

Shanah Tovah, Gmar Hatimah Tovah, Happy Sukkoth, and Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day to everybody.

Syndicated 2013-09-19 11:45:42 from shlomif

Tech Tip: Tmux: Disabling the Time Display in the Status

tmux is a usable and open source terminal multiplexer (that allows one to run several programs in the same terminal, detach them, split them into windows and viewports, etc.) which I've been happily using after switching to it from GNU screen. Some weeks ago, I noticed that if I keep tmux open in a konsole tab, then eventually that tab got highlighted as modified, even if there was no activity in the tab. I realised the problem had to do with the fact that tmux displays the current time by default.

In order to fix it, you can use a line like the following in your ~/.tmux.conf file:

set -g status-right '#H'

-g applies the assignment globally, and '#H' displays the hostname (and not the time or whatever else is there by default).

While searching for an answer, I ran into the powerline project which provides much more functionality, seems like an overkill for me, but may work for you.

Shanah Tovah to everyone!

Syndicated 2013-09-04 11:06:54 from shlomif

Tech Tip: Disabling Audio or Video in mplayer and VLC

In order to completely disable video in VLC, from the command line, use the --novideo command line flag - this way only the Audio will be heard. To do the same in mplayer, use the -novideo flag. You can do the same for audio using --noaudio and -noaudio respectively.

A different propsoed solution is using -vo none in mplayer or --vo none in VLC, but this causes the video to still be decoded (just not presented) - at least in VLC.

Cheers! You can reuse this entry under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence (see how to comply with it).

Syndicated 2013-07-30 09:00:57 from shlomif

Freecell Solver 3.20.0 was Released: Major Simple Simon Optimisations

Freecell Solver version 3.20.0, has been released. Freecell Solver 3.20.0 is available in the form of a source archive, from the download page. Freecell Solver is an open source framework (library and some command line applications), for automatically solving several variants of card Solitaire / Patience games, including Freecell.

The highlights of this version are some major optimisations to the solving code of Simple Simon, as well as many code cleanups, refactorings and smaller optimisations. Furthermore, the “qualified-seed-improved” preset was added, which yields shorter solutions.

Enjoy!

Syndicated 2013-06-26 18:12:00 from shlomif

Freecell Solver 3.18.0 was Released: JavaScript port

Freecell Solver version 3.18.0, has been released. Freecell Solver 3.18.0 is available in the form of a source archive, from the download page. Freecell Solver is an open source framework (library and some command line applications), for automatically solving several variants of card Solitaire / Patience games, including Freecell.

The highlights of this version are the new port to JavaScript, courtesy of the wonderful emscripten compiler from LLVM to JavaScript, that allows Freecell Solver to run inside modern browsers, as well as the fact that the test suite and the relevant now work on 32-bit systems (previously they only worked on 64-bit ones).

Enjoy!

Syndicated 2013-05-30 17:39:00 from shlomif

Blog Entry for my 36th Birthday

Being born on 5 May 1977, I turn 36 (= thirty six) on 5 May 2013. 36 is a special number for me in part because it is the square of 6, but more importantly because it is two times of 18. The age of 18 is considered the start of maturity in Israel when Israeli boys and girls gain the right to vote, and are supposed to enroll into the Israeli military, and normally hit sexual maturity at that point. The time I was 18, 19, 20 in 1995-1997, was very influential for me, and now I feel that I have achieved a second maturity.

I feel I have finally reached peace of mind, am enjoying all the little things in life, and can honestly see reality as it is, and see through many lies. Part of my problem was that for a long time I was playing the “Invisible”, which is something I decided to avoid from now on and work on better publicity. A different issue was me thinking of myself as The Eternal Jew, i.e: a profile, or a “god” in the stock exchange of the gods, which was an unhealthy tendency that I finally put to rest in a scene of my screenplay, Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (thanks to the wonderful protagonist there). Finally, yet another problem was that I have not accepted who I am, which is also something that I decided to avoid from now.

If I were ever going to visit Fantastica, the land of imagination, I would need to be very careful from the wrath of the characters of my stories and screenplays, whom I have put to much suffering (but at least all of them, with an exception in The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it, ended up alive at the end of the stories and happier than ever. However, all this suffering was secondary to my own which involved hypomanias, and even some Manias, which caused some deteriorated health, and unhappiness to my surrounding.

I have decided that from now on, I would like to socialise more. I was told and understood that the lack of socialisation was part of what is causing hypomanias, and the underlying reason behind Bipolar disorder. I have already attended one Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference in Tel Aviv, and it was a wonderful and colourful experience, and also proved a catalyst for coming up with the idea of a screenplay I have written. I want to do stuff like that more often which will hopefully mitigate my hypomanias problem.

On this occasion, I would like to thank the people who helped me and guided me throughout my journey to maturity: my psychotherapist (whom I won't mention by name, but who provided a lot of solid advice), and Dr. David Burns for his excellent book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy; my friends from the Technion, the Haifa Linux Club, and the Tel Aviv Open Source Club; my friends from the Internet, and my family members for being there when I needed them.

I would also like to thank my characters, who provided a window into my soul and my innermost desires:

  • The ex-Member of the Organisation from my first real novella The Enemy, who was full of mathematical logic and was practically inhuman.

  • The Friends in “The One with the Fountainhead” who were happy to play the characters from Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead while parodying and modernising it along the way. They signified what I was unhappy about the Fountainhead and also my growing interest in romantic relationships.

  • The Human Hacking Field Guide brings us Erisa→Eve, the sexy, mysterious, insurgent, and typical “bad girl” antagonist, who after becoming less of a rebel without a cause, and at the age of 18 felt like she can write her own replacement for In Search of Lost Time, and publish it, and it would be better than the original. Eve, I wish I knew I was reflecting on myself in this respect!

  • From Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”, we find such characters as Q, my own Q2, Jadzia Dax, and my own Katie Jacobson, who face a mishmash of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Judaism, Julian Jaynes’ Bicameral Mind theory and other Near East history, open source hackerdom, and various Elders of Zion and Illuminati conspiracy theory, and survive to tell the tale, reflecting upon some of the farfetched stuff I thought to be true, during my “Great Mania”.

  • Finally, Selina from Selina Mandrake - The Slayer, handled the various vampires and demons she ran into in a graceful and natural way, and finally put my whole obsession with “The Eternal Jew”/“The Invisible”/“The Slayer”/ “The Dispeller”/“The Free”/etc. to rest. Selina, you are great - I love you!

During this period, I have also started writing Humanity - The Movie, which aims to be a parody of Humanity and modern life in particular, and which I originally imagined as being written and filmed by a Bajoran extraterrestrial who arrived at Earth, also during my “Great Mania”. I also began writing The Pope Died on Sunday, which tells the story of an atheist female graphic designer (and a software developer by training) in Milwaukee, during the summer of the year 2000, reflecting on an old mentality, and finally The Blue Rabbit Log, which is a Crazy Comedy parodying Role-Playing Games, and is based on an old idea of mine.


Anyway, right now, I feel like I have reached some greater and greater enlightenment and am more capable of handling life’s problems as I run into them. I have been realised more that the gods help them that help themselves, that I should be happy of what I am and proud of it, and that the people around me can often be dicks. I also realise now that my relentless policy for honesty and sincerity got me in a lot of trouble, because people don't want to face the Elephants in the room, but that I should still try to be more tactful in the future I also realised many people can often be jerks, and try to hurt you on purpose.

Cheers, and have a great 5 May day.



comment count unavailable comments

Syndicated 2013-05-05 11:18:39 from shlomif

Blog Entry for my 36th Birthday

Being born on 5 May 1977, I turn 36 (= thirty six) on 5 May 2013. 36 is a special number for me in part because it is the square of 6, but more importantly because it is two times of 18. The age of 18 is considered the start of maturity in Israel when Israeli boys and girls gain the right to vote, and are supposed to enroll into the Israeli military, and normally hit sexual maturity at that point. The time I was 18, 19, 20 in 1995-1997, was very influential for me, and now I feel that I have achieved a second maturity.

I feel I have finally reached peace of mind, am enjoying all the little things in life, and can honestly see reality as it is, and see through many lies. Part of my problem was that for a long time I was playing the “Invisible”, which is something I decided to avoid from now on and work on better publicity. A different issue was me thinking of myself as The Eternal Jew, i.e: a profile, or a “god” in the stock exchange of the gods, which was an unhealthy tendency that I finally put to rest in a scene of my screenplay, Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (thanks to the wonderful protagonist there). Finally, yet another problem was that I have not accepted who I am, which is also something that I decided to avoid from now.

If I were ever going to visit Fantastica, the land of imagination, I would need to be very careful from the wrath of the characters of my stories and screenplays, whom I have put to much suffering (but at least all of them, with an exception in The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it, ended up alive at the end of the stories and happier than ever. However, all this suffering was secondary to my own which involved hypomanias, and even some Manias, which caused some deteriorated health, and unhappiness to my surrounding.

I have decided that from now on, I would like to socialise more. I was told and understood that the lack of socialisation was part of what is causing hypomanias, and the underlying reason behind Bipolar disorder. I have already attended one Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference in Tel Aviv, and it was a wonderful and colourful experience, and also proved a catalyst for coming up with the idea of a screenplay I have written. I want to do stuff like that more often which will hopefully mitigate my hypomanias problem.

On this occasion, I would like to thank the people who helped me and guided me throughout my journey to maturity: my psychotherapist (whom I won't mention by name, but who provided a lot of solid advice), and Dr. David Burns for his excellent book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy; my friends from the Technion, the Haifa Linux Club, and the Tel Aviv Open Source Club; my friends from the Internet, and my family members for being there when I needed them.

I would also like to thank my characters, who provided a window into my soul and my innermost desires:

  • The ex-Member of the Organisation from my first real novella The Enemy, who was full of mathematical logic and was practically inhuman.

  • The Friends in “The One with the Fountainhead” who were happy to play the characters from Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead while parodying and modernising it along the way. They signified what I was unhappy about the Fountainhead and also my growing interest in romantic relationships.

  • The Human Hacking Field Guide brings us Erisa→Eve, the sexy, mysterious, insurgent, and typical “bad girl” antagonist, who after becoming less of a rebel without a cause, and at the age of 18 felt like she can write her own replacement for In Search of Lost Time, and publish it, and it would be better than the original. Eve, I wish I knew I was reflecting on myself in this respect!

  • From Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”, we find such characters as Q, my own Q2, Jadzia Dax, and my own Katie Jacobson, who face a mishmash of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Judaism, Julian Jaynes’ Bicameral Mind theory and other Near East history, open source hackerdom, and various Elders of Zion and Illuminati conspiracy theory, and survive to tell the tale, reflecting upon some of the farfetched stuff I thought to be true, during my “Great Mania”.

  • Finally, Selina from Selina Mandrake - The Slayer, handled the various vampires and demons she ran into in a graceful and natural way, and finally put my whole obsession with “The Eternal Jew”/“The Invisible”/“The Slayer”/ “The Dispeller”/“The Free”/etc. to rest. Selina, you are great - I love you!

During this period, I have also started writing Humanity - The Movie, which aims to be a parody of Humanity and modern life in particular, and which I originally imagined as being written and filmed by a Bajoran extraterrestrial who arrived at Earth, also during my “Great Mania”. I also began writing The Pope Died on Sunday, which tells the story of an atheist female graphic designer (and a software developer by training) in Milwaukee, during the summer of the year 2000, reflecting on an old mentality, and finally The Blue Rabbit Log, which is a Crazy Comedy parodying Role-Playing Games, and is based on an old idea of mine.


Anyway, right now, I feel like I have reached some greater and greater enlightenment and am more capable of handling life’s problems as I run into them. I have been realised more that the gods help them that help themselves, that I should be happy of what I am and proud of it, and that the people around me can often be dicks. I also realise now that my relentless policy for honesty and sincerity got me in a lot of trouble, because people don't want to face the Elephants in the room, but that I should still try to be more tactful in the future I also realised many people can often be jerks, and try to hurt you on purpose.

Cheers, and have a great 5 May day.

Syndicated 2013-05-05 11:15:36 from shlomif

New Story: The Earth Angel; Soviet reversal jokes; new text in The Pope and in Selina Mandrake; “Put

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage.

  1. There is a new story titled The Earth Angel which I have started to write:

    Dr. Alan Stein (Attn.) had not seen that side of Samantha before. As they sat there in the Chinese restaurant, two days before Ari, their system administrator, left for a trip to Israel, Samantha was emitting a lot of profanity, and sharing her frustrations of her life and the world. Dr. Stein was beginning to regret the fact that he had agreed to comply with Ari’s wishes, and invite her to lunch with them.

    Samantha Rodriguez was the newest hire at Alan’s law firm - a brilliant attorney in her early thirties, who looked great, was always groomed, and got a lot of work done, despite the fact that she almost never stayed overtime, and also took many days off. One fly in the ointment was the fact that she was single, sexy, and kept asking her co-workers out on dates, or accepting their own invitations. As much as Dr. Stein agreed that she had been a good hire, he was desperately trying to avoid interacting with her.

    “Anyway, I ended up telling my friend, Jasmine, who can be a real bitch sometimes, to fuck off, and deal with her troubled life herself. I simply ran out of patience.” she said.

    “Bravo!” Ari said while clapping his hands. “By the way, Samantha, how did you become a lawyer?”

    “Oh, that's a long story.” she said while playing with her fork.

    “And we’ve got time to hear it, right Mr. Stein?”

    “Yes, I guess we do.” Dr. Stein answered.

    “Well, I studied Linguistics as my B.A.,” Samantha said “and by the time I graduated, my head was filled with vocabulary, and to a lesser extent - grammatical rules, my heart was broken from many heartbreaks, and I didn’t know what to do with the rest of my life. I ended up narrowing it to three options: 1. Find a paying job - as a programmer or whatever else I could land. 2. Stay in the academia, studying for a Masters and/or a Ph.D. and — 3. Go to law school. I figured out fucking Med School was never my thing.”

    “Anyway, after consulting it with my friends, I became even less capable of knowing what to do. So I did the logical thing - I rolled a die.”

    “A die?” Ari said.

    “Yes, a ten-sided die or a 1d10 in role-playing game parlence. That’s usually what I use. It landed on the law school option, so that’s what I decided to pursue.” Samantha said.

    “So, you placed your fate in the hand of chance?” Ari asked

    “Yes, I did. Nothing wrong with doing that, if you ask me.”

    “Well, everyone say you are an excellent attorney.” Ari noted.

    “So they do.” Samantha said, “Maybe they are right.”

  2. The translation of the already written part of my story, The Pope Died on Sunday is now complete:

    Rachel contemplated how to start the conversation.

    “So how did you become an infrastructures engineer?” Rachel asked.

    “Well, ever since I was young, I wanted to be a plumber.” Greg replied.

    “A plumber? Seriously?” Rachel said with astonishment.

    “Yes. Very strange, but what can I do — that is what I wanted to be.” Greg said, “I spent a large part of the summer vacations being an apprentice for plumbers and enjoyed every moment. Anyway, after I graduated from high school, I was planning to go through a plumbing training course and to get my qualification. But my father approached me and told me: ‘Greg, my son, I have, thank God, enough money so you study what you want in university. So why not exploit that? If you want, you can become a plumber who graduated from university.’”

    And he went on: “So I agreed with him, but decided to study the closest thing to plumbing: civil engineering with a specialisation in the engineering of water and sewerage infrastructures. And surprisingly I realised that a large part of it was quite interesting.”

    “So did you become a qualified plumber eventually?” Rachel queried.

    “Yes, I passed the course. But I still got a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and that’s what I prefer to do.”

    “Hmmm…” Rachel said “Finding a good plumber in this day and age, to say nothing of one who is a university graduate, is hard.”

    “Well, I cannot testify that I’m a good plumber. A person cannot testify for his own qualities.” Greg replied.

    “Well, even a bad plumber is good enough for certain needs.” said Rachel and witnessed Greg bursting into laughter.

  3. There are some new or extended scenes in Selina Mandrake - The Slayer:

    [ Selina is sitting next to her computer at home with Firefox browsing the Hebrew wikipedia. She keeps highlighting words and hovering over them to find translations using a Firefox extension.

    There is a signal, and the Pidgin icon in the status bar starts blinking. Selina clicks it. ]

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: [on IM] Hello, Selina! How are you doing, today?

    Selina: I’m fine. Trying to contribute to the Hebrew wikipedia. These Affixes are driving me crazy.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: Heh, עברית קשה שפה, but there are worse.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: האם את מדברת עברית? [= “Do you speak Hebrew?”]

    Selina: Qtsath, or as new speakers will say Qetsath. Heh.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: Yes, one of the first words you have to learn to say, and it’s already a Shibboleth.

    Selina: Emeth. [= "True."]

    Selina: BTW, are you actually Mosheh Ben-Amram (= Moses) the Hebrew prophet?

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: I won’t deny that I am.

    Selina: Hah!

  4. I added a page of “In Soviet Russia” factoids:

    • In Soviet Russia, cats own you. No, wait! Cats own you everywhere.

    • In Soviet Russia, superstition believe in you. (Sawyer X)

    • In Soviet Russia, food tastes YOU! (Leuthihi)

  5. “Freecell Solver Enterprises™ Acquires Google Inc.” - a breaking news story published on 1 April 2013:

    1 April, 2013, Tel Aviv, Israel: Due to the spectacular commercial success of Freecell Solver Enterprises™’s Enterprise Edition and its Webscale™ edition, we have amassed quite a bit of cash in the bank, so we decided to make a small but important strategical acquisition. As a result, Freecell Solver Enterprises™ is proud to announce its upcoming acquisition of Google Inc., which will result in an exciting synergical merger.

    Some of the upcoming changes would be replacing Google’s tech support (which is notoriously bad) by Freecell Solver Enterprises™’s world-famous and superb tech support (as detailed in the essay “Seven steps to remarkable customer service” by Joel on Software), as well as integrating Google search into Freecell Solver™ for an enhanced experience in solving Freecell. We are also planning on creating a separate YouTube top-level category for card Solitaire-related videos (including screencasts and presentations).

    Another one is “Announcing New Israeli Usergroups”.

  6. There are some new sections in my essay “Putting all the Cards on the Table (2013)”:

    During the Middle Ages, the apprentices of craftsmen graduated to become masters, and started their own shops, at a much younger age than 18. Today, most people graduate from high school at that age, and are expected to remain disadvantaged until then. There isn’t a good reason why the youth of today should not be able to make useful contributions to arts, sciences, philosophy, and entertainment, despite their young age and inexperience.

    Here are some examples:

    1. Dmitri Gaskin is a core developer of both jQuery and Drupal and gave a talk about jQuery on Google Tech Talks, while being 12 years old.

    2. Maria Aragon was 10 years old when she was recorded performing a cover of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way”, which has received over 50 million views on YouTube as of April 2013 (and which I like better than the original).

    3. Much previously, Samantha Smith changed the fate of the cold war, when being 10 years old, by the simple act of writing a letter.

    4. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Gauss started making important contributions to mathematics from a very early age.

    Our contemporary culture sort of expects kids (what Americans refer to as children, “pre-teens”, and “teenagers”) to remain “innocent”, naïve and inexperienced, and immature, and, as a result, most of them behave accordingly.

  7. The abstract to my yet unwritten novella “The Road to Heaven is Paved With Bad Attentions” is now partly translated to English.

  8. There are new quotes in the collection of Unix-like fortune cookies:

    An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer. You are in the wrong place.”

    So, the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

    One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”

    Satan replies, “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.”

    God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake. He should never have gotten down there; send him up here.”

    Satan says, “No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”

    God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

    Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”

  9. Many meaningful <meta name="description" /> tags were added to the pages to help with the descriptions in search engine results.

  10. I added a set of links to all the pages referring to my online presence elsewhere on the web, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Reddit.

Syndicated 2013-04-26 16:45:14 from shlomif

Recent Hacktivity Log

This is another recent hacktivity log of what I have been up to recently, as far as software development and writing is concerned.

“Every Publicity is Good Publicity…”

True to my belief that “The Gods help them that help themselves”, I have been working much more on publicity recently, utilising my Twitter account, my Reddit account, my Facebook account and other online resources. I am not exclusively promoting only my own works, and also share/retweet/etc. the posts of my friends. I had great success with this /r/xkcd subreddit post which so far received 150 upvotes (and 36 down votes) about my new screenplay Summerschool at the NSA which has a strong xkcd (= the web comics) theme, and also had some lesser success with posts to other subreddits. As usual, I also upvote and comment on other people's posts and comments.

It seems that the main problem with my site up to now has not been that it lacked good content, but that most people were not aware of the site.

I’ve also been experimenting with buying Project Wonderful web advertisements, but so far they did not yield too many clicks.

The Olamot Sci-Fi/Fantasy Conference

As I reported on the Hamakor mailing list, I attended the Olamot Science-Fiction/Fantasy/etc. conference that took place during Passover in Tel Aviv, Israel, and had a great time. I didn't bring a camera to the first day, so people on IRC did not believe me that I saw many highly attractive geeks there, which I remedied by bringing a camera and taking many photos during the second day.

The conference was colourful, zany, and inspiring and most of the people I saw agreed to be photographed. I spent most of the time there helping with the booth of the open source community and we were better organised and more prepared than a similar conference several years ago, where we only had a very huge and heavy Sun CRT screen that did not yield to our attempts to get it to display something on the computer.

Work on Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (a Buffy Parody)

I was able to mostly complete my work on the screenplay Selina Mandrake - The Slayer, which is marketed as a parody of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but which also crosses over many other elements, including from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Judaism, history of the Near East and Europe, and computer geekdom. It is in a usable condition now, but there are still some missing scenes, and the screenplay may also need some polishing.

Buffy and Clarissa Facts

In the name of girl power, and FOR GREAT JUSTICE, I have continued to collect factoids about females: Buffy Summers from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and and Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All (which I fear no one is familiar with or remember now, but still makes for some awesome factoids). Additions are welcome.

Summerschool at the NSA

I got the idea for the screenplay Summerschool at the NSA during the Olamot conference mentioned above, and I am thankful for such great conference for providing a lot of inspiration. I was able to complete the screenplay in less than two weeks and it is in a usable condition now (but likely still has many rough spots). Quoting from the abstract:

The Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent.

This screenplay crosses Judaism, the Mother Goose nursary rhymes, My Little Pony, substance/etc. addiction, xkcd, Buffy, the song “99 Problems” by Jay-Z, and some personal insights and memes, and despite all that is actually mostly realism for a change.

“All Truth is God’s Truth”

Some people, with whom I talked on the Freenode chat network, complained that I didn’t stay loyal to my Jewish roots, and instead crossed Judaism with other idea system, and some newer sources of influence. However I’d like to quote Larry Wall from his “Perl Culture” keynote:

I have a book on my bookshelf that I’ve never read, but that has a great title. It says, “All Truth is God’s Truth.” And I believe that. The most viable belief systems are those that can reach out and incorporate new ideas, new memes, new metaphors, new interfaces, new extensions, new ways of doing things. My goal this year is to try to get Perl to reach out and cooperate with Java. I know it may be difficult for some of you to swallow, but Java is not the enemy. Nor is Lisp, or Python, or Tcl. That is not to say that these languages don't have good and bad points. I am not a cultural relativist. Nor am I a linguistic relativist. In case you hadn't noticed. :-)

Furthermore, like Ayn Rand noted in her journal, a good work of fiction requires a solid philosophy, and so one can learn a lot from works of fiction. Furthermore, Peter Ustinov noted that “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”, so even humorous works of art convey a good philosophy.

I think the main difference between contemporary or old works of fiction, such as the Greek mythology, Aesop’s fables, the works of Alexandre Dumas Pere, Star Trek, Buffy, etc. and “holy” works such as the Holy Bible or the Qur’an is that some people still take the latter too seriously, and consider them the final word on how to lead your life, rather than just another step in the road to enlightenment.

So I’m not going to let my personal philosophy stagnate by sticking only to traditional Judaism, which itself was never pure, and always incorporated many useful ideas from elsewhere, and still should.

XML-Grammar-Screenplay / XML-Grammar-Fiction

When working on the screenplays, I noticed that some of the error messages were quite unhelpful, so I implemented more informative error messages in XML-Grammar-Fiction / XML-Grammar-Screenplay. I noticed that the code was getting quite complicated, so I refactored it a little, but there is still a long way to go.

Freecell Solver

Someone reported problems understanding the solutions of the online (JS-based) port of Freecell Solver, and I decided to convert the card suit identifiers to their Unicode equivalents. So from:

Foundations: H-0 C-0 D-0 S-0
Freecells:
: 4C 2C 9C 8C QS 4S 2H
: 5H QH 3C AC 3H 4H QD
: QC 9S 6H 9H 3S KS 3D
: 5D 2S JC 5C JH 6D AS
: 2D KD TH TC TD 8D
: 7H JS KH TS KC 7C
: AH 5S 6S AD 8H JD
: 7S 6C 7D 4D 8S 9D

We get:

Foundations: ♥-0 ♣-0 ♦-0 ♠-0
Freecells:
: 4♣ 2♣ 9♣ 8♣ Q♠ 4♠ 2♥
: 5♥ Q♥ 3♣ A♣ 3♥ 4♥ Q♦
: Q♣ 9♠ 6♥ 9♥ 3♠ K♠ 3♦
: 5♦ 2♠ J♣ 5♣ J♥ 6♦ A♠
: 2♦ K♦ T♥ T♣ T♦ 8♦
: 7♥ J♠ K♥ T♠ K♣ 7♣
: A♥ 5♠ 6♠ A♦ 8♥ J♦
: 7♠ 6♣ 7♦ 4♦ 8♠ 9♦

Moreover, Shirl Hart informed me that he/she have uploaded a Java port of their Freecell Solver to GitHub, which runs much faster (70x reportedly) than the Perl version (but might still consume more RAM than an equivalent C port). All the power to Shirl!

DocBook EPUB generation

I ran into some problems with getting the EPUB (an Electronic book format) generation of the DocBook/5 XSLT stylesheet to work properly, but it was fixed in this commit thanks in part to help I got on the docbook-apps mailing list.

Wiki-ing

I have been desperately trying to find a usable photo (under a Creative Commons licence/etc.) of Christina Grimmie (= the singer and musician known for her YouTube videos) for her Wikipedia pages, without luck so far.

I also have been trying to protect the English Wikipedia page of Tiffany Alvord (another superb artist) from deletionism, and it’s ironic that the Spanish Wikipedia page about her is longer and more comprehensive, even though Alvord is American and almost always sings in English.

Furthermore, I have been using several pages in the Buffy Fan Fiction Wikia to organise my thoughts for the Selina Mandrake screenplay.

Thanks

Thanks to protist (Jonathan Avery) and Gabor Szabo for reviewing this post and commenting on it.



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Syndicated 2013-04-14 12:21:26 from shlomif

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