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Title: Ratings here. Snapshot to follow shortly.
Posted: July 21, 2010 (09:41 PM)
Here are the ELO ratings...basically, it's logarithmic, with someone rated 120 points above the next person likely to get 2x as many votes. This is only for entertainment purposes & not for predictions, and a sweep will probably turn everything upside down.
1 Janus 2167
2 Jerec 2098
3 Bluberry 2051
4 Suskie 2051
5 Venter 2030
6 Overdrive 2026
7 Asherdeus 2009
8 Leroux 1965
9 True 1915
10 Genj 1901
11 Zipp 1901
12 Wolfqueen 1884
1 Jerec 2293
2 Janus 2238
3 Asherdeus 2200
4 Bluberry 2092
5 Venter 2036
6 Leroux 2030
7 Suskie 1970
8 Overdrive 1908
9 Zipp 1886
10 Genj 1840
11 True 1800
12 Wolfqueen 1707
Title: Week 3 stats...no graphics yet.
Posted: July 20, 2010 (03:41 PM)
And I forgot to look up my photobucket password or bring my script to work. So unformatted stuff first. Hammer on me to bring the formatted. My company is hoping to release the next version of their little software product, but they were hoping to last month, and I've let that mess with other stuff I need/want to do.
Graphics will go in the main thread, which I don't want to spoil with tacky texty stuff like this.
It's rather interesting right now with Team OD in 2nd but with the fewest overall votes. Team WQ could jump to first if things go right. If there were pundits, they would be blabbing about parity.
Team Janus 2 6 17
Team OD 2 4 11
Team Leroux 1 5 15
Team WQ 1 3 11
Janus 3-0 7-2
Jerec 2-1 6-3
Venter 2-1 5-4
Bluberry 2-1 5-4
Suskie 2-1 5-4
True 2-1 4-5
Asherdeus 1-2 5-4
Overdrive 1-2 4-5
Leroux 1-2 4-5
Wolfqueen 1-2 3-6
Zipp 1-2 3-6
Genj 0-3 3-6
Title: Stats, week 2, late and unformatted
Posted: July 19, 2010 (02:46 PM)
So I forgot to run my programs. I forgot some were at work, some at home. I forgot they had a few bugs. And I forgot my photobucket password so I could upload a spreadsheet screenshot. So you will get the text only version for now, augmented to graphics when I get the chance. It's all in place. Thanks again for your patience.
As a bonus, player ratings tonight for weeks 2 and 3.
Team Janus 2 wins, 5 matches, 13 votes
Team Leroux 1 win, 4 matches, 11 votes
Team OD 1 win, 2 matches, 6 votes
Team WQ 0 wins, 1 match, 6 votes
Player, match record, votes
Janus 2-0 5-1
Jerec 2-0 5-1
Bluberry 2-0 4-2
Asherdeus 1-1 4-2
Venter 1-1 3-3
Leroux 1-1 3-3
Suskie 1-1 3-3
Zipp 1-1 3-3
True 1-1 2-4
Genj 0-2 2-4
Overdrive 0-2 2-4
Wolfqueen 0-2 1-5
Posted: July 08, 2010 (02:35 PM)
This probably gets a lot less funny after 15 minutes. But the idea is pretty cool.
Title: chess, writing, coding
Posted: June 03, 2010 (06:00 PM)
So today I finally wrote a program I'd been kicking around--a chess puzzle solver. Basically you have X chess pieces on a board and you want to start at a given one and capture the others. It would help to solve a mini-puzzle in an online game.
Surprisingly, the weird-move pieces (pawn/kt) were easier than the more conventional ones (rook/bishop/queen.) They only had fixed squares, so I had all sorts of tests to make sure a rook can't hop over a piece in its way.
The code's surely horrendous for fans of compactness, but on the other hand, I see that now. While comp-sci types used to annoy me with OMG ITS CONVENIENT, I didn't like structured/object oriented programming on principle. It gave these jokers more time to mouth off, apparently. But once I cut and pasted code--and had to cut/paste 30 modifications--ok, I don't just know it, I've felt it.
So I may rewrite it. But it's not the sort of rewriting/succinctness I ultimately want. Still, despite my aptitude for computers, chess, and gaming, I'd never really combined them, or written any sort of solver. I didn't realize it til after I'd written the program. For some reason I'd put chess programmers on a pedestal--as if it were too tricky. I didn't write anything like AI, but...I was able to mock up something small in a hurry. And the more I do that, the more it gets old hat and I believe it can build to something bigger. I'd like to think I've always had faith, but taking just an hour for something like this gives reason for faith--and feels darn good.
As I write this I realized my code lets kings and knights and pawns wrap to the other side of the board. But I also realize worrying about that sort of thing too soon probably derailed some earlier projects. Sort of like the minor compulsion of proofreading rough drafts for grammar before letting the ideas out. (And that "focused" editing has often left bigger pieces more disjointed than I'd care to mention.) It's as if I'm finally able to tell my meddling overzealous proofreader--DONT DISTURB ME. COME BACK LATER. I'M BUSY.
Title: Relative importance
Posted: May 24, 2010 (05:10 PM)
I remember a passage from CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters where the letter writer discusses the thoughts of one man. Basically, the man sat down to think of something important just before lunch. But then he said "that's too important to think of before lunch." The next day he said to himself, re: another thought, "that's not important enough to think of before lunch."
In either case, the importance was just a MacGuffin to cop out. It pops up in different contexts.
Writing piece a is too [from the gut/potentially unrefined] to [work on/write a rough draft for] right now, because I am too [busy/alone and catching up with my thoughts] at the moment.
None of this makes any sense, but it's useful for wasting perfectly good time and motivation. It's sort of creative, in a way. But it's not what anyone ultimately wants to do. It's not even the do-nothing we'd opt for. But it gets done too often.
Title: A puzzle
Posted: May 18, 2010 (09:19 PM)
Man, I'd love to see this in a game, somehow. I remember at some math program I was at, the teacher in charge posed this puzzle:
--spinner A always comes up 4.
--spinner B comes up 1, 5, or 6 with equal chances for each.
--spinner C comes up 2, 3 or 7, with equal chances for each.
The teacher lets you pick first. Which is the best one to pick?
B is. It loses to C 55% of the time--1/5/6 vs 7 and 1 vs 2/3. C loses to A 2/3-4, and A to B 4-5/6, 66% of the time.
Design 3 wheels A, B and C so that each is equally bad for the first person to play.
I spent some time late at work scratching this problem out. I don't know why I didn't do it earlier. But that I like puzzles like these tells me about my taste in games and why it might not match up with people's here. Still, I hope it's fun to tinker with.
Wheel 2 = g chance of 5, 1-g chance of 2
Wheel 3 = g chance of 3, 1-g chance of 6
Where g = the golden ratio, e.g. (sqroot(5)-1)/2.
Title: Crossing the Line
Posted: May 14, 2010 (09:46 AM)
"Kid, you're lucky we've always let you do what you want. But then you went and pushed your luck and did what you REALLY wanted. Greedy."
Title: A tough 1%
Posted: May 11, 2010 (08:55 PM)
So my progress bar on the title went up another 1%. That's a lie, actually. It should've been at 68% to begin. I mistakenly deleted a ==== separator from something that was barely more than ideas strung together.
Still, it feels good to put that down, then some. It'd been a while since I moved. Also wrote an app that looks for a specific word in chapters and spits out all instances, whether it is commented or not.
While it's bad to rely on numbers, of course, they do give me some sort of bearing as to progress. I've let myself be sidetracked with the novel I want to do--and yet, I know, pushing 1.5% a day will finish a draft of the novel by the end of June. That's about 5000 bytes, really. It's doable, especially since the ideas are there, and since I have vacation time and Memorial Day.
Then again, I said this a while ago. New ideas haven't been the problem. Organization has.
Title: 2, the batch file
Posted: April 29, 2010 (03:43 PM)
So yesterday I wrote a script called 2day.pl. It opens up my daily writing file e.g. c:\writing\daily\20100429.txt in wordpad. Then I decided...
...why not write a batch file called 2.bat which calls 2day.pl? I mean, there's no sense in half-assed laziness. It's paid off already. (Windows start key) R 2 (return) and boom!
Having that utter convenience does trump the utter convenience of web sites I can waste time at. It may take a while to recoup the time writing the script with strictly the keystrokes saved, but taking down one more annoying barrier is a good feeling. It led to several more.
Of course, a problem with 1-letter/number batch files is that there are at most 36 of them--including the numbers. You have to be sure they make sense. And they'd better be relevant ones. I remember thinking as much when I started. So I have stuff like u.bat for going up a directory, g for going to various versions of our technology (g 8, g 80 or g 800 goes to c:\tech\800\final) and other 2-letter commands.
The trick is remembering this language of shortcuts, but then I wrote up documentation on that, with scripts to check all the batch/perl files.
It occurs to me that I've made my own sort of mini-language, though I probably took too long to do it. It is like CS Lewis's old mini-paradox about winding Queen Susan's Horn. "Let's not use it til we're sure we need it" -> using it too late.
And I realized that it'd been a while since I last created a 1- or even many 2-letter batch files. And I had ways to document them clearly, and I could guess at most, anyway.
I really don't know if my coworkers have this semi-language, too. They seem to know the already made ones better than I do. I would like to bridge that gap--both to and from them.
Title: Achievement unlocked: GOBS OF POETRY
Posted: April 20, 2010 (02:58 PM)
I now have a limerick for every day of the year. Sadly, a few may be redundant. But I had ~300 at year's start and 370 now. I'm generally satisfied at the weird rhymes, and I have a small pile of ones that I can't put into a small story yet. Maybe I'll share a few if I haven't blogged a bit. Many are funny months after being written. Sometimes I even (sheepishly) fix the meter. Some are more profane than you'd expect from if you've read my reviews.
It's great to hit my first real organizational writing goal--it'd been for the end of the year, but I figured I could get done early if I sat down and wrote where I got. I've had goals where I said, write X amounts of notes.
Of course, the next goal is getting my novel-o-meter to 100%. It hasn't moved in a while, but I think it will. It's the anonymous one, but true's encouragement has helped move the non-anonymous one ahead. I'm not sure of the percent complete, but there's a lot I've had bumping around that I never sorted out.
More tweaks to my daily writing routine and programs means I can just create arbitrary sections and push a button, and my daily text file is merged into the Big Magilla. It's a relief to be able to get home, push a button, and have everything merged. There's a lot of stuff I was worried I might not use enough vs the effort expended, but I feel very good because I've earned the convenience and tailored it to what I need.
The best part of it is that I can now create sections a lot more easily. Before, I just had 10 or 20 hard coded ones. Now, everything can fall where it should, right away, with a bit of planning. I wonder why I didn't do this before. It's as if I got trapped by "be grateful for what you have" with NoteTab Standard's outlining ability.
Also, there's the speech recognition software, Dragon, that I got after reading bloomer's blog entries. It's useful to be able to gesture or walk around when I need to, to transcribe stuff. It's energy saved that can't really be calculated.
Part of me is upset I haven't made even more use of this. I need to have confidence I will. I'm pleased with the time I've taken to make things convenient--not just to have convenience, but because I've identified some bottlenecks that can sap my energy and time before I get around to the tough stuff I really want to tackle, even if I have to build myself up for it.
Title: I'm #57/58! I'm #57/58! (I think) and other stuff
Posted: March 30, 2010 (01:52 PM)
So using Benford's Law, sort of, I was able to guess what position I am in total hits.
At least, I think you can poke it to say "the distribution of logarithms of natural/quasi random numbers is roughly evenly distributed." Or you can, less pretentiously, say...
(#50's hits) squared / (my hits) = someone's place.
101-that = my current rank.
I suppose I could graph everything out to see if my guess holds true for HG hits, but it's fun to be pretty sure I snuck up a place in the rankings in the past 2 weeks without KNOWING. A year-end goal (well not really--it's out of my hands) is to crack the top 50 and I suppose I could use a linear model to see how I'm closing the gap. I think I started 7000 back and it's at 5000. So I should make it, especially if I rewrite stuff.
I also rewrote my script to parse my daily files. It was actually easy to use stupid tags on my writing (e.g. \novel = stuff for a novel) and it folded into a lot of the xml creation at work and even my script to pull daily writing into my big writing file(s)--and best of all I don't have to use any stupid fun tricks to track it all.
That saves up my daily store of the stupid fun tricks that hopefully can give my writing the flavor I want.
Title: basketbally stuff
Posted: March 19, 2010 (10:14 PM)
More blogging about basketball. Purdue and Siena played an entertaining game today in the NCAA first rounds. Purdue was fortunate to come away with the win. I was fortunate to be able to watch it all at work--thanks to the work environment and March Madness on Demand. I didn't care if people got a bit upset when I had something to say, because well, they were babbling all morning.
My experience up to the game helped give a lot of new reasons for various truisms, or it made stuff obvious that should've been.
First, the whole being grateful for whatever comes your way. That's what sports fandom should be about, because you have no control over what your favorite team does, and you need to recognize that. Purdue's had twelve first-round wins in a row, and I remember when they exited early. I didn't picture such a run back during their last loss ('93, Rhode Island.)
Second, people are people, and talking heads try to grab the news. I had more fun reading Siena fans' perspectives than national news outlets. Both sets of fans had dreams for how their team would do, and nobody played the underdog role too much. Reading how perhaps Siena's best basketball class ended with a first-round loss is sad. But it'd've been wrong for either side to worry about the other team's fans.
Third, there was even a lesson about not letting people, or yourself, feel sorry for you--President Obama said as much while choosing his bracketology, and Lewis Jackson, Purdue's point guard, said Purdue didn't want or need that. I, as an Obama voter, agree. I hope to follow this example, of people younger than myself.
So my irrational faith in people I never met has paid off with the inspiration to put speculation aside. An NCAA win is something special, whether you're the underdogs or a team with the talent and work ethic to expect a win. It's made me feel grateful in a way that being told to be grateful for my brains/opportunities/etc never could.
Sunday, Purdue faces another Texas A&M, another team disappointed by a very unfortunate injury. It's apparently harder for neutrals to watch than Robbie Hummel's was. I have no desire to. The cliche about how it would be nice for both teams to go through is just silly, of course. Part of what makes the tourney great is that there are no participation ribbons, but after the shock of losing, teams and their fans can take the good bits and remember them.
Even if losing in each successive round can potentially feel worse. Perhaps the winner will only be fodder next round for Duke, whom I confess I dislike. That doesn't matter right now, though.
Title: You are the Ref
Posted: March 16, 2010 (11:03 AM)
Had fun going through all of these. Not strictly a game, but an awesome semi-quiz about if something unusual happens in a soccer game, complete with cool illustrations.
You are the Ref
Even for those who find soccer boring, some of the incidents are almost hilarious, and they're all thoughtful. I probably got little more than what you'd expect right from plain guessing, and that's probably because eventually the questions overlapped.
I'm also impressed with how it describes the official's role as being active yet invisible, and how to deal with when laws being laws can suck, or even recognizing and owning up to mistakes made.
Title: Corey Haim
Posted: March 15, 2010 (03:02 AM)
I had another post planned, being a Purdue basketball fan and reacting to Robbie Hummel tear his ACL, then the game on Saturday. I'll let you google the halftime score. It was pretty bad. The upshot is, basketball games provide a good emotional source of frustration that's easier to bounce back from than just plain doldrums. I got a lot of good writing and thinking out of all that, but unfortunately for my team, none of that was review-related.
So why the post title? Well--Corey Haim died, and I overheard conversation about that at work. Of course, there are the types first with the news loud and clear, even though you will probably accidentally stumble across it in a bit. Then there are the types who have sympathy for rich person X they're sure, or are trying to, but they did have it all, even though money isn't everything. The first is annoying and the second deserves a nut-punch even if he doesn't mean to sound nasty. I'm not financially independent enough yet to do the honors and get canned, and besides, I'm more upset I didn't have a good response set to tell him to back the hell off and be happy with what he has. Perhaps I could've bored him with the below--it'd be the least he deserved.
All I could think about was Haim's strong performance in Lucas--ironically as an accelerated kid who would never touch drugs, opposite Charlie Sheen, the sympathetic HS quarterback who protects Lucas from the meaner jocks. Lucas falls in love with a girl a year older, and she falls in love with Sheen's character. The ending is one of the most real I've seen, and that's due in large part to Haim's and Sheen's acting that bust convincingly through stereotypes.
It's no secret both actors struggled with drugs. I don't know why. And I think people who say "they had it all," especially from a Smart People's Perspective, are missing the point and deserve a kick in the crotch. Because I think performances like in Lucas may only be possible from people who recognize insecurities or are willing to grab sympathetic roles that, well, are beyond someone in a state of mind to make a comment like the guy above. There's also the very real possibility that a Sheen or Haim may think "I seem to have it all and yet that's not enough," or even that people who criticise them for throwing it away fear THEY are going to.
I don't have all the answers. I can't say I've ever been a Corey Haim fan, but his death helped Robbie Hummel's injury remain in perspective. I doubt Purdue will have a Hoosiers moment this year. I sort of am dreaming for next year already. Hummel will be back. But in the meantime, I think all that really needs to be said when someone not unspeakably evil dies is the following. It's from Stephen Fry, who's also quite good at being funny, and I think it's useful to hear if we know the death of person X we never met and might not even like in person makes the world a lesser place. The computer industry does have enough "he's just an actor" sentiment, sadly.
There's some contradiction here. What if the nut punch deservee died tomorrow? Hopefully I would hold my tongue and let those who liked him have their say. But I would not feel obliged to feel any sort of loss. And the less obliged I feel to say or process the sort of platitudes Fry attacks, the more *actually* feeling loss does something for me, whether it's a favorite team's player injured or the death of an actor whose performance I admire.