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Week of December 28, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I'm back :wave:

Sadly, I fell asleep last night before I could get to the dev log (not that it really matters, since there's nothing to log about :cry:). Yesterday's drive was absurdly-tiring. On the way there, it rained half of the way (~5 hrs). On the way back? I'm not even joking -- it rained the whole way :crazy: 10 hours of driving in rain (ranging from moderate to heavy) is surely enough to drive any man mad (how do those truckers do it all the time? Are they even mortals?? :shock:) So that meant no spare CPU to do anything but focus on the road. Exciting :problem:

On the bright side, your prayers / tribal dances / incense-burning worked, because, upon my arrival inspection, it came to my attention that no tires or important pieces of machinery were harmed! Tremendous :clap:

Now then! Let the code begin! :)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

Re: Week of December 28, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Wow. Well, that was not the day I was looking for. 'Twas a day of much blood, many terrors, and the loss of one beloved pseudo-family-member. And yet, in the end, the sun set on the day of terror, and we were left with what one might rightfully call a new beginning.

I wish I had the energy to tell the tale in the lavish and poetic manner in which it unquestionably deserves to be told. But, as the tale itself will reveal, I am left with very little energy in the wake of today's events, so excuse me if I don't make it all sound quite as exciting as it should.

Preface: so, remember yesterday? Well, it turns out your prayers actually didn't work :ghost:

It was really a very average lunch, you know. A home-made chicken caesar salad, no frills. But what came after was by no means an average after-lunch. I returned to the cave, and immediately noticed something odd. The computer was off. Strange, especially considering this thing is typically always on (with a restart every now and then). A nasty feeling started to develop in my stomach. You know what I mean. That feeling that says "hey, FYI, your life's about to get harder!" And indeed, it did. The computer wouldn't start. Oh boy. If you remember the Infamous Diet Coke Incident of a few months ago, you might be raising an accusatory brow at me right around now. But listen, I swear, there was no Diet Coke involved this time!! I didn't do it :shifty: :ghost:

30 minutes later, it was clear that this wasn't going to be resolved quickly like last time. I tried every possible configuration of RAM, including swapping them out with my other computer just to make sure they weren't both fried. No, that wasn't going to work this time. I read online, using my laptop, grasping for some help on what to do in this situation. Tried as much as I was able to, but couldn't ever get further than ~1 second of power before a hard-shutoff.


I panicked pretty hard for about 15 minutes, thinking about how tremendously difficult everything had become (and why had it become like that?), and that now my main rig was down and I'd have to make yet another long drive if I wanted to get to a decent computer shop to get a new one quickly (rather than waiting for a custom order). A sea of negativity and death and such. Wallowing in self-pity and wondering why life couldn't just rain down sunshine upon me like it used to :roll: (Ok, you guys already know I have a bit of a flair for drama, but still, my computer dying has always been the scariest thing for me. Ever since I was a kid, nothing could throw a harder wrench in my stomach than my computer dying. After all, I do pretty much spend all day everyday on it :oops: )

But then, something magical happened. I was visited by some spirit. I will call him, for lack of a better nickname, RoboJosh. Somehow, in the midst of what felt like the worst thing that could possibly happen to me at the time (well, short of some kind of terrible physical injury), something in the brain just broke -- or connected? Some mass of neurons, some neurochemical, I don't know what it was. But amidst the flood of anxiety, one of the floodgates broke, and then there was only silence. This stoic spirit grabbed my toolkit and slammed it on the ground, then proceeded to methodically scavenge the corpse of my dead machine.

(Sidebar -- I know almost nothing about computer hardware. I'm 99.9% software. It's pretty shameful, I know. Shameful that I've never put a new GPU in, touched a SATA cable, plugged or unplugged anything coming out of the power supply, etc. All I've ever done is replace RAM, and for me, even that is a big ordeal :oops: Lucky for me, all of this was about to change... :sick: )

Anyway. This fellow, this RoboJosh, or whatever he was, decided he no longer cared about knowledge or lack of knowledge of computer hardware. After all, he knew how to screw, unscrew, plug, and unplug. The last thing I can remember is him ripping into the case. And then it all went black.

Many, many hours and one trip to Target later, here I am, once again back to my normal Josh self, and -- somewhat miraculously -- typing my devlog in my lovely little gvim, from my lovely little awesome WM ubuntu. And nothing was lost :D

I've no idea what that chap did, but it seems that he managed to gut the old machine and replace my new-ish AMD machine's innards with them. Turns out it's not an AMD machine anymore :cool: Same old 16GB corsair, same old 560GTX, same old HD (with all data!!), and all the bells and whistles. As an added bonus, it's now housed in a case that's not falling apart, has much better airflow, and is, most importantly, not at the end of its life! :clap:

And to put the icing on the cake, both the old and the new HD are now housed here, so I can boot into my old rig (ubuntu / win7) or newer one (ubuntu / win8) as I like. Very pleased with that.

(RoboJosh talk aside...) It was a day of many learning experiences. I'm happy to no longer be so afraid of hardware since, as it turns out, it's not as scary as I always imagined it to be -- just takes a bit of time and patience to learn. I've got a much better set of tools (literally, like screwdrivers and pliers and such) now for when this kind of thing (or other problems) arise (yes, that was the Target run :geek:). Most importantly, my main development rig is no longer on the brink of death :ghost: Like I said, a new beginning.

You know, the way I see it, life is just preparing me for a new year with a lower difficulty level. It's getting all of the remaining problems out of the way so that early 2015 can be the smoothest, most LT-development-conducive period of my entire life. Well, that's what I hope, at least :roll: :D But seriously, think about it. In 2014 alone, I got a new A/C compressor unit capacitor, new motor for the indoor heating unit, new tires on the car, new connector hose for the toilet (which was what caused the 1st major water leak of the year), replacement tire for the new tire (for extra newness!), and now a new-ish development rig. That's a lot of newness. Clearly, this is all in preparation for an awesome 2015!! :shifty: :ghost:

Since I didn't get to work today, I'm planning to push through the night tonight so that I can have my meta-update out before the end of the year. Despite the tiring day, I'm feeling pretty motivated by the way it ended in success!


PS ~ Not sure why, but I seem to have picked up a solid 6 or 7 new FPSs in LT on this rig! Always happy to feel more smoothness :monkey:

PPS ~ I didn't write the devlog until my problems were resolved, hence the absurd (and unfortunate) deficit. But no matter, we will take care of that shortly :geek:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

Re: Week of December 28, 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "bah, he forgot about LT and went out and partied for the New Year! Good for him!"

But here's the thing.

At 9PM, I was like, sure, it'll take me an hour or so more to finish the metaupdate, then I can go out and have fun!

Three hours later, I was sitting on my upstairs couch, taking a momentary break to watch the ball drop, thinking, well, now it'll really only take me like 30 minutes more to finish. And THEN I can go have fun (if anyone is still awake).

Seven hours later, I was hitting the 'submit' button on the KS update, wondering how the frak time had managed to screw me over so badly :ghost: Check out the metaupdate :)

And now, dear friends, I will be retiring to my bed, where, ideally, I will have a very exciting dream about partying and enjoying the New Year :lol: :roll: :squirrel:

Merry New Year! Hope you guys had / are having heaps of fun :D :wave:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

Re: Week of December 28, 2014

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Boo :) :ghost:

Some of you seem to have gotten the impression that devlogs are ending. Where'd you get a crazy idea like that? :P :lol: Well actually, to tell you the truth, my initial plan was to end the devlogs...but not abruptly -- rather, to ween you off them slowly (devlog every 2 days, then every 3 days, etc..) But I decided it was too much to go over in the metaupdate, and I'd rather take things one step at a time. For now, devlogs will continue at full speed ahead and if, during RTB, I find that they are really cutting into dev time, then I'll reconsider it.

Anyway, New Year's Day was an enjoyable day of relaxation. I know, the metaupdate isn't really a true update, but still, it was New Year's Day, so I went ahead and indulged in a break :ghost:

Oddly, I spent nearly the entire day watching The Walking Dead. People rave about it and my facebook feed is always abuzz with it so...I figured I need to give it a try. Zombies are so popular these days :? Well, in a day I managed to cover the first two seasons (praise be to Netflix!) It was definitely enjoyable. There was one moment, in particular, that was impressively emotional and deep (the shooting scene at the barn :ghost:). On the whole, though, this show is creating an itch but not really scratching know? I keep waiting for something bigger to happen. I mean, come on, you guys rail on the zombies for having a 'dead brain,' and yet, you all are just running around from place to place trying to scrape out a bare-bones survival, and committing moral atrocities in the process :ghost: I'm not seeing that 'human' factor...the striving for something more, pushing the boundaries, innovating. Come on guys, build something! Invent something! Research something! Make a discovery about something! Daryl makes his own arrows, that's a good start!! The rest of you guys...?? DO ANYTHING INVOLVING YOUR HIGHER BRAIN FUNCTIONS!! :monkey: Still 3 seasons left though. We'll see :) They say when a show makes you scream at your TV screen, it has succeeded in making you care a lot. So, despite my criticism, I guess I care :lol:

Oh. I also got pretty excited during one of the first episodes when I saw 'Music by Bear McCreary' flash across the screen. Sweet! No wonder I liked the theme song. I know that guy...from a certain other series involving certain phrases such as "frakking" and "so say we all" :cool: Gotta admit, though, so far the BSG score is way more emotional. Not surprising, since so far BSG as a show was way more emotional. Wait, what's that? You say my space bias is showing again?? Oh dear...sorry :oops: :shifty:

Well, that had to have been one of the most off-topic devlogs we've had so far, am I right? :roll: Tune in tomorrow for..."Josh's Favorite Cooking Recipes: Extreme Soup Edition," and the day after for "Why I think our reality is an embedding in a massive, immutable fractal superstructure!" :P


PS ~ Thanks for the (thus-far really positive) feedback on RTB! Happy that most of you seem to be excited to see this change. Me too :D
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

Re: Week of December 28, 2014

Friday, January 2, 2015

What an absolute glutton! Another day of no work :o :shock: And yet, it feels so good :cool:

Sleep, a bit of BSG (since I was reminded of it yesterday), and some Starbound...but mostly sleep :roll: I'm not sure I've ever mentioned before how much I love Starbound. But I really do. It's one of those classic reminders to me that one of the easiest ways to let a player have fun is by giving them tools to build stuff. The ability to put one's creativity to use can be the difference between a dull game and one that you absolutely can't get enough of. In terms of LT, it means we mustn't forget the importance of the construction mechanic, as well as the ship/station editor. These are two of the prime opportunities for players to unleash their creativity (although the game as a whole can also be viewed like that, since it is up to you to 'construct' your own story). I wish that, someday, LT (3.0?) could be completely voxel-based so that we could see the same levels of player creativity as Starbound / Minecraft / etc. Spend one moment managing your multi-regional production industry; spend the next moment digging out a chunk of rock in an asteroid where you're going to build your next facility :D

Tomorrow I'm planning to do some planning. Or maybe I'm actually just planning to plan to do some planning? :crazy: Regardless, I hope to see some serious planning action :lol:

I hope your 2015 is turning out to be as fun as mine so far... :D

EDIT : Mistakenly called Starbound Terraria. Whoops :oops:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

Re: Week of December 28, 2014

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hmm. Do you ever have those days where you hop on Wikipedia for a second to check something that you're curious about, only to look at the clock sixteen hours later and ask yourself "wait, what just happened? And how am I still awake?" :crazy: Yeah, it was one of those days :shifty:

It was an honest mistake, really. I was just curious, you know, about synaptic plasticity and such. The old AI thoughts entered my head again, and I wanted to just do a quick check-up of how nature handles modifying those synapse weights. Well, it's way past my bedtime now (indeed, I'm actually writing this heavily-deficited log before going to bed), but at least I now know a lot more about plasticity...and the HH model of neurons...and voltage-gated ion channels...and solitons and soliton collisions...and the neural gas model for adaptive NN topologies...and associative networks...and adiabatic processes...and phonon propagation in lattices...and action potential studies in earthworm / squids / lobsters...and hebbian learning...and cortical column organization in rat brains...and holographic information storage...and...

:crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

Alright, look, I needed to get that stuff out my system. Just one solid day of burning my brain. It was a long time coming, you know?? But there's a bright side: when a kid eats so much candy that he ends up puking his guts out, he surely won't want to touch anything sweet for at least another month. Right? :shifty: :ghost: Anddd that's how I now feel about anything even loosely-related to the brain or artificial intelligence or physics or...anything informative, really :ghost:

You can't possibly imagine how serious I am when I say that I'm very, very happy to get back to Limit Theory when I wake up :ghost:

Bedtime!! :clap: :crazy:

PS ~ Seriously though, I read a paper that just came out in September 2014 that pretty strongly suggests that the conventional model of neural signalling is wrong...that electrical activity is, in fact, a side-effect rather than the true means of neural communication (which is, apparently, actually more mechanical in nature). How crazy is that? Of course, being a layman, I've no idea if any of it's credible or not...but...something about it really 'resonates' with me :lol:

PPS ~ Seriously, I feel bad about it. But I feel like my brain really needed a car wash :oops:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford

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