Welcome to MekTrix 4.0

Aka Shish’s Place of Stuff

Wormholes \o/

Finally got round to checking out wormholes, ended up making ~100mil in loot. Quite pleased, just salvaging one more wreck before heading home; not bothering to check d-scan since the system’s been empty all night, and what could turn up in the final few seconds? Look away for a moment, look back — webbed, scrammed, jammed, and neuted by a group of T2 gankers. Pants were shat, drones were launched, and fingers were crossed. Can’t tell what’s happening as all systems are down… 15 seconds later, an explosion. Still under heavy fire, but my sleeper tank has held and the warp drive is unlocked \o/ Flee before the backup tackler gets in range~~~~

Having run to safety, I check my kill list and see that the tackle ship was more than twice as expensive as mine, and it’s also my first killmail for that character since IRON was around XD Plus, 4.5mil bounty from that pilot’s pool \o/ A nice bit of extra win to a profitable evening /o/

Posted May 31st, 2013 by Shish, in Uncategorized

Crash resistance <3

Graphics drivers lock up, but I don’t want to reboot, or even log out / in again since I’m in the middle of stuff. What to do?

Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch to console mode. Screen is black, as the drivers are still locked up; but pulseaudio has detected that my desktop login is no longer visible, so it mutes the sound from that session. That’s pretty cool.

Blindly type in my username and password in the hope that I can log into a locked-up console. Turns out that firstly, I can (yay), and also, pulseaudio detects that I have a new session for the same user, and sends my desktop session’s audio stream to the console session, so my music continues playing from where it left off (wtfawesome).

Then “killall -ABRT enlightenment” to kill my window manager – with most WMs, they’d just die and exit and I’d be at the login screen again, but Enlightenment is a desktop by coders for coders, and hence does something far more awesome — pops up a message saying “Hey, E crashed, would you like to relaunch it and carry on?”, to which I respond “yes”, and it re-initialises the graphics stack and picks up all my still-running programs just as they were before the lockup.

Uptime \o/

Posted May 15th, 2013 by Shish, in Uncategorized

Strike Witches ep01

I saw a music video with clips from the series, and it seemed pretty cool; the best of magical girl and mech worlds? Unfortunately not. After trying really hard to like the first episode, I can’t think how to describe it other than “a bit pants”:

Posted June 19th, 2012 by Shish, in Uncategorized

Programmer-relevant whitespace in python

A comment was made at #rsparlyredux along the lines that while python’s enforcement of proper indentation stops people from not indenting at all, it also stops them from adding extra indentation, and sometimes extra indentation can be useful for the programmer. IIRC the example was OpenGL, where a common pattern in C is:

    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 0);
    gl_add_vertex(0, 1, 0);
    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 1);

If you tried to do this using python’s standard syntax, it would complain that the indentation of the middle lines is unnecessary. However, you can actually do this in python, by turning the block of code into one logical code line – it’s maybe 5% extra typing when you’re dealing with this edge-case, but I consider that a fair trade for 10% less typing under normal circumstances:

gl_start(TRIANGLE); \
    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 0); \
    gl_add_vertex(0, 1, 0); \
    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 1); \

(semicolon to separate multiple statements on one line, backslash to keep the whole thing as one logical line, so internal whitespace is ignored)

Edit: there is an even more pythonic syntax for this sort of thing. I’m not sure the stock GL library has been updated to support the with statement yet, but in theory:

Edit edit: A lovely Rory had the same thought, and has actually written the code to make it work, see first comment /o/

with gl_start(TRIANGLE):
    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 0)
    gl_add_vertex(0, 1, 0)
    gl_add_vertex(0, 0, 1)

(gl_end() is called automatically at the end of the `with` block)

Posted November 26th, 2011 by Shish, in software, tech

Models of Heaven

This got me thinking. All the models of heaven that I’ve seen have had glaring logical flaws, inconsistencies, and mutually exclusive parts in their descriptions.

The traditional image of humans wearing togas, clouds, and /nothing else/ seems somewhat dull, and I don’t see any logical or spiritual reason for it to be this way. I can only imagine that this model was invented by a poet in the middle ages, along with so much other supposedly canonical Christian imagery (See Cracked for details).

As to the model of “Like earth, but with a strictly invite-only guest list. No dogs allowed.” — If we assume that heaven is a place of happiness, how can we be happy when the things we love are barred from coming with us? If it’s not a place of happiness, then this model is just a limited (worse) version of earth. Either way, this model sucks too.

There’s also the idea that everybody gets their own personalised heaven. At first this seems great, but some people’s heavens would be mutually exclusive — the only way for them to co-exist would be in strictly segregated areas. Everybody would have to have their own simulated universe where they are the lone conscious being, and everybody else is robots for their pleasure. This seems to be a place of happiness in the same way that getting high on drugs is happiness — with the world bending to your will you could stimulate the brain to release the chemicals of joy, but deep down it seems meaningless and depressing. This model is shallow happiness at best.

So, what could heaven be like? Let’s start from some “facts” (I don’t actually believe any of these, but they seem to be fairly standard among religions)

– There is a soul, a consciousness that can live without the body
– You will meet your ancestors
– Heaven is a place of happiness

So, let’s start with a whole bunch of dead people, their souls idly floating above their bodies according to fact #1. What do they do now? In order for fact #2 to be true, they all have to go to the same place. But wherever you have multiple consciousnesses, you will have multiple viewpoints, disagreements, arguments, fact #3 gets broken. There is a straightforward solution to this: all souls go to the same place, and they do not remain separate. Heaven is the place where all souls merge into one all-knowing blob of experience and memories.

Extrapolating that this blob of consciousness is ever expanding, growing in knowledge and spiritual power, how does God feel about the competition? My answer to that would be that the blob itself /is/ God — when a child is born, a fragment of the God splits off and enters the body; it spends its life gaining knowledge and experience, and when it dies everything it has collected is merged back into the whole. This collective-consciousness God shapes the world by choosing which bits of itself to put where.

This model of the afterlife seems logical and self-consistent (please point out if I’ve missed something), so I think it’s ahead from the start – and for bonus points it also accounts for both the “heaven” and the “reincarnation” theories. It even tells us what the meaning of life is (Well, it pushes the reason one step further up the chain at least – we now have the question of why does the blob exist and why does it want to collect experiences, but these questions are no less answerable than our current ones).

As an atheist attempting objectivity, the latter model seems all round better. I wonder why the first few models are the ones that are preached about, and I don’t hear anything along the lines of this one?

—- Essay ends, rambling follows —-

I’m pretty sure there are a few religions with ideas of a shared life-force that we all come from and go to – I can’t name any real world religions that believe it, but I can name enough fictional ones that I assume there is some basis in the real world somewhere.

To be cynical for a moment: the mainstream models of heaven might not have logic or provide happiness, but they do put the preachers in power, allowing them to continue being mainstream. The latter model says that it’s fine to kill the preacher because that’s another useful data point for the collective consciousness to have. The net result is that popular belief is not influenced by memes that are true**, but by memes that protect themselves, which is an entirely different tangent of depressing.

** not saying that this model is true, just that a logical model is more likely to be true than a self-contradictory one.

Tangent! If you don’t care about religion but you think the idea of memes protecting themselves is interesting, see research on conspiracy theories — theories where every element is pinned down with specific verifiable details get rejected when somebody thinks a single element might be dodgy. The successful conspiracy theories are the ones that don’t have any details, they just give a general idea and allow people to fill in the blanks with whatever they want to believe o.o

Posted September 16th, 2011 by Shish, in personal, reallife

Number magic: not actually magic

A thing I’ve seen around the internet is “if you add your age to the last two digits of your birth year, it is 111! magic!” – I’ve tried explaining why this isn’t magic, but haven’t made it as simple and clear as nbisby on the opera blog. To paraphrase:

  • Consider your age is (2011 – yearborn)
  • The last two digits of your birth year is (yearborn – 1900)
  • Added together is (2011 – yearborn) + (yearborn – 1900)
  • The year you were born cancels out:
  • 2011 – 1900 = 111

The magic where you have a ring of numbers, and no matter where you start the instructions always have you finish in the same place, use similar cancelling-itself-out tricks :3

Posted May 26th, 2011 by Shish, in reallife

Ace Combat 3

Finally completed Ace Combat 3 – 30 missions with a plot that’s surprisingly confusing for essentially nothing (mission 1: blow stuff up for company x, mission 2: you now work for company y, blow stuff up. Mission 3: you are in space for no particular reason. Blow stuff up.).

Looking it up on wikipedia, it seems the Japanese version has twice as many missions, plot-explaining cutscenes between them, character interaction, multiple endings, better copilot AI, radio chatter, etc etc; but this was cut from the UK version for no apparent reason. WTF, Namco?

Posted January 8th, 2011 by Shish, in reallife, tech

Doing the time warp again

(Background: Braid is a game where you can do stuff, then rewind time and use your knowledge of the “future” to your advantage)

As far as I remember, I only briefly played Braid as a demo, on my own, a couple of years ago, and I skipped most of the levels for being a pain. But I have just spent the evening playing the full game, with Aoi (who I met this year) telling me how I solved the puzzles before, and how I got 100% completion on them. Then when she can’t remember one level’s solution, I think to myself “maybe I should look online”, and she says “this is where you looked online last time… but you can’t now because the internet has cut out”; then I went upstairs and checked, and it had o.o

I wonder which is weirder — her being a magical girl with the power to see the future, or me actually having played a lot of Braid and then completely forgotten it…

I do kind of vaguely remember it, now that she tells me in detail what happened, but that in itself is weird as I was waiting for the linux release before buying — and if we were watching a youtube run through just to see the plot, why does she know so much about the puzzles? Did we really go through the demo, then watch a full plot + puzzle run on youtube, she remembers every detail, and I don’t remember it at all? o____o

A tangent on free will / determinism / many worlds — apparently, I approached each puzzle in exactly the same way this time as I did when I was playing it the first time, as though this time /was/ my first time… This then makes me ponder the many worlds theory — in one universe a coin flip lands heads, in another tails; but would it? As eeriely demonstrated, even with a system as complex as the human brain, given the same inputs you get the same outputs…

Posted December 21st, 2010 by Shish, in Uncategorized

KVM / Virt-manager / Bridging

I wanted my VMs bridged onto my LAN so they would be publicly accessible, but virt-manager only had options for creating new, private bridges. However, it turns out that if you create the bridge yourself, libvirt will use it. So, in /etc/network/interfaces:

auto virbr0
iface virbr0 inet manual
pre-up ifconfig eth1 down
pre-up brctl addbr virbr0
pre-up brctl addif virbr0 eth1
pre-up ifconfig eth1 up
post-down ifconfig eth1 down
post-down brctl delif virbr0 eth1

Then when libvirt-bin tries to find / create the “default” network on virbr0, it uses the already created one, and the guests are then bridged with the rest of the network. Note that adding this config on eth1 stopped networkmanager from working for eth0, so I had to set up eth0 in interfaces too. Having this setup on a single port should be similar (I would guess that replacing “manual” with “dhcp” would work?)

Posted September 14th, 2010 by Shish, in Uncategorized

Russian Around

There needs to be a family sitcom called “Russian Around”; it would be set in the cold war, where a bumbling Russian spy rents a spare room from a stereotypical American family, and we laugh as he fails to grasp concepts like “freedom” and “thanksgiving”, and he also fails to actually spy on anyone; but despite the strong Russian accent and behaviour, people all think he’s just a quirky friend, not suspicious at all (mostly because that would cause a sudden violent and depressing end to the series…)

My first analysis of that brainwave is “Amusing mental image, probably wouldn’t be very successful in practice”; but then I look at other sitcoms and think “oh wait, everything else is worse”. So, anyone want to invest? :P

Posted August 31st, 2010 by Shish, in MoS