Monday, December 17, 2007

Home equity hell:

I realize that these are national estimates, and thus not representative of my situation per se, still I think if we go by the dates they set. If values go back to 2005, 2004, or even 2002 levels where would that put me?

Well I got my place virtually at the end or 2005. And the guy I bought it from lived there only a 2 or 3 years. And he bought it for less than 10% of my purchase price. If he bought it in 2003 then that would be my 2003 level: -10% in value. If it was 2002, then even better. Either way hopefully it's less than that, because I don't have that much equity :(. That is not factoring in improvements, which will certainly help. The other good thing is relatively few foreclosures in my area (3 in the last 2 years out of 200+ units, iirc).

We'll see how this goes with fuel prices going up. This Spring will tell us how that goes.

Re: Previous Post: Unfortunately youtube removed that video in my previous post; possibly because of the song it used. Or it could have been the creator himself.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Other good blogs/sites I've been reading:

This is the blog of Paul Krugman on economic policy:

I find him quite interesting, and often quite correct (and if not - at least quite honest). He is also quite critical of the analysis of our media stars, whether it be Greenspan on economics, or Guliani on whatever Guliani thinks is the way forward (it's not - whatever it is).

I read most of these: - blogs buy Linux kernel developers, especially Robert Love - although I don't always agree (John McCain for pres?) he is still interesting to read. Most of the people on that planet are (others like not so much - not that it's bad).

Others like Glenn Greenwald have some of the best insight in our Beltway/Establishment media . Although I haven't been quite into his blog as I recently was (possibly from outrage fatigue) his recent posts on Joe Klein are very interesting indeed. Joe apparently can't read the very obvious language of the bill, and does a poor "correction" in response.

The blog I've been reading every post of lately is It's a very thorough blog on the issue of fossil fuels and hitting the peak (when supply will not increase). Peak Oil as it's called is getting more and more well known with $100 oil looming. Most of the talk is in other countries unfortunately, especially Ireland (smaller nations do usually lead the pack, often vulnerable ones).

The price of oil has been going up steadily over the last 8 years, and will continue to climb. Shortages are already occuring in China, Nepal, and even North Dakota (diesel shortages). I suggest reading more on the subject. While there is a lot of information and it is complex (with many unknowns in production/capacity) even is pointing that we are currently already in a supply plateau, while demand increases.

The UK is already importing oil (it was an exporter for some 20 years or so prior) while Mexico's production decreases -it will probably be importing oil within a few years, top that with the fact that 60 of 98 oil producing countries (Non-OPEC iirc) are in declining producton- and many exports decrease in oil exporting nations because of increased local consumption (the Export Land model) - resulting in less gas and other oil products for us. An ecomonic downturn (say, from sub-prime mortgages) will only delay the inevitable.

You can guess which issue I find more problematic (Peak Oil is right up there with Global Climate Change). The only good thing is that Peak Oil may make Global Climate change a moot point - a lot of models predict continual increase in oil production. Right now total liquids production is about 85 million barrels per day (including ethanol, natural gas, et al), even the head CEO of Total said it will never go above 100 million. That is how much we would require in less than five years.

Needless to say I expect more issues in smaller countries from now on (like Nepal and Indonesia) to keep hitting the airways (did I mention Indonesia's airline being grounded for lack of fuel). It just keeps getting better.


Oh and btw, hydrogen fuel cells are totally gay. About as gay as ethanol. Electric and Biodiesal are much less so.

More on the OLPC laptop front:

"Thanks to your early action, your XO laptop is scheduled to be delivered between December 14 and December 24. Our "first day" donors are our highest priority and we are making every effort to deliver your XO laptop(s) as soon as possible. We will send you an update upon shipment."

I received this email about the XO laptops earlier today. Hopefully it comes closer to the 14th than the 24th. I've been getting worried because of the lack of feedback, besides a paypal reply email I haven't had any feedback until this email today.

In other news I finally posted Black Shades Elite on, and I've already gotten a decent amount of feedback - a patch, another link site, a Gentoo ebuild and a few others that appear to have followed the previous incarnation of this game (Black Shades).

The OLPC laptop also comes with a 1 year T-Mobile Hotspot subscription - anyone want to buy it? I'm never going to use it - even when I do travel.

Monday, November 12, 2007

OLPC Laptops are up for grabs, I was ordering one the minute you could :).

A couple nice links:

Apparently the laptops are going fast (while they said until the 25th, it appears as though there are only X number to be sold at well - so they'll probably go a bit quicker.

I think getting a rugged low power laptop for even this price is quite good. So giving a laptop to some Uruguayan is icing on the cake (I doubt I'll even use the year of T-Mobile hotspot wireless).

Publish me!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Black Shades Elite

Recently added the ability to take screenshots, and added some screenshots to the website . They can be taken in game by pressing F12 (also added to the help page - which I may want to make a bit more readable).

Also have a sound bug that I need to fix (appears to only happen on my x86_64 box).

Monday, September 24, 2007

First of all I'd really like to buy one of these:
then they go on sale in November - especially if I can get the hand crank or foot pedal. The coolest thing about it (imho) is the screen - very cool that it's so low power (apparently by reducing the filtering process - I forget the details - there's a white paper on it by the woman researcher that invented it).

The other thing is Black Shades Elite. While it still needs a much if it's ever going to be a multiplayer game I have fixed basically all of the things that really annoyed me (except for the sound bug): (1) added a help screen since I can't remember the keys to save my life; (2) re-wrote the GUI, this made the help screen almost trivial, but a lot more needs to be done in this reguard; (3) fixed the FPS limiter and tick thingy, so they run independently and less stupidly (it was very confusing at the get go), what really annoyed me was the busy loop instead of sleeping, so a game that should use less than %25 cpu at all times use 99%; (4) split up some of the huge functions (Init, Draw, and Tick), so it's a lot easier to read; (5) fixed all of the compiler warnings (that gcc found for me); (6) moved some other stuff around, and added new classes (Environment, Weapon) and added to others, making the game more modular (still a long way to go); (7) now you can change resolutions and it doesn't look too silly and added full screen as a config option; (8) and lastly a lot of general cleanup that is only really obvious if you look at the original code.

Major additions that'd I'd still like (although I'm not sure I'll ever get there) are: a model viewer - so I can work on added new models and animations. I think a nice tool to figure that stuff out will be very helpful. And with the re-organization it's becoming a possibility. Much more difficult is the networking: I've dealt with it only enough to know that it's very hard to get running smoothly. Not only does this require additional networking features it also requires more GUI additions (input boxes at least), a check box, as well as a proper button widget.

So the next part that I'll put most of my effort into will be the model viewer, because I need to figure out how all that works, and make it easy to add more animations and models. I'm not sure if I even want to think about any other cool features - this is enough for now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Been doing a couple things - playing around with package core, and also the source for this game: It has this iDevGames license. Before I put too much work into it I better see if I can actually use it. This license is weirded very... poorly, imho. I would like to simply GPL my code. Would that fall under educational? I don't see why not :).

I was working pretty heavily on getting my gumstix computer working. Which it does, although with some major bugs. But that was sidelined when I started playing Warzone2100, which is pretty fun. Although it has a unresponsive interface, annoying AI, and most annoyingly they switched the usage of the mouse buttons. Usually right-click is move selected units here, while left click is moving around the map. This game (that originally came out in 1999) does the reverse. I've played for a while and I still do the wrong buttons constantly.

Eh ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm going to take a quick jaunt to talk of pkgcore - I feel like trying new things, and eventually this may prove much better for embedded development. Assuming I want to do Gentoo on gumstix. Don't know what pkgcore is? It's a replacement for Gentoo's portage.

I used the ferringb branches. They use bzr, one of those decentralized versioning systems.
$ bzr get
$ bzr get
Building/install was fine for snakeoil-dev (installed with the --prefix=/usr/local). That works well enough. But pkgcore-dev itself had trouble building because it couldn't find snakeoil includes. You would presume that snakeoil is in /usr/local/include/snakeoil, but no, it's actually in /usr/local/include/python2.4/snakeoil. This is slightly weird, so I have to add an enviroment variable for gcc to pick it up:
$ CPATH=/usr/local/include/python2.4 python ./ build
Now it compiles just fine. Also (in the case of installing to /usr/local), you need to add the package location to PYTHONPATH:
$ cat /etc/env.d/99pkgcore
Then it works fine for me without any goofy symlinks or running from the user directory like some kind of punk bitch (that's right).

Friday, May 11, 2007

This site is depressing. Including the breaking news section.

Especially considering the nation I live in, the "US and A" uses 25% of the worlds oil on a daily basis. Good thing I'll be going home and drinking tonight...

This will cheer me up:

From the site:
"Chris has always had dreams of being an actor, a singer, a writer and helping people who have as he calls it "UP Syndrome", says Joe. Believe in yourself, work hard and never give up", says Chris. "We've all got disabilities. It's what we do with our ABILITIES that counts!" "We are all a celebration of life", says John.
"Everyone can be a Singer With The Band!"

"UP Syndrome" he calls it. Magical.

//reposted from the letters section of this blog:

Re: Re: Joe Klein



I don't think he is differentiating left-wing bloggers from Rush Limbaugh as far as "things just went too far". I don't see that in the section you quote.

My point here is that long before bloggers emerged, the various components of the right-wing noise machine -- the Rush Limbaughs and Matt Drudges and Fox News -- were viciously attacking the supposedly "Liberal Media" on a daily basis with the most personal and insulting sorts of assaults.

And the Joe Kleins and company didn't unleash these angry outbursts then. They did the opposite. The apologized and desperately tried to figure out how to appease those criticisms.

The angry pushback happened only since blogs began attacking with a much different narrative.

I get that (you made those comments before); but frankly I still don't understand how that works. Maybe it simply does come down to money (and career).



I'm not sure who these "left-wing bloggers" are? You? Andrew Sullivan? Are these bloggers the new "liberals"? Another bad but vague sect. He specifically states Limbaugh after all.

That's a different question altogether, and I've given up trying to constantly make the point. I think the world has basically become divided into two broad political categories (at least for now) -- those who are supportive of the Bush regime and the prevailing power structure that surrounds it, and those who are opposed. The latter group is called "liberal." That is how I would define the "liberal blogosphere."

Sorry about making your repeat yourself, that question was meant to more rhetorical than anything else (as in he's so vague in who he's attacking, he may as well be saying "Americans don't know America, I know America!".

And the point you bring up about the two kinds of Americans - those who are with Bush and those who aren't; "left" and "right", respectively. This brings up the interesting point that the US Ambassador to the UK (former Clinton official) brought up when in the UK - that he loves the UK political system because they are "all Democrats" (pro-choice, progressive taxes, etc, etc). So I'll make the bold statement that the basic mechanics of America have given us the current administration - when there are only two major parties this is what will eventually happen. I don't see this happening in any established parliamentary system. Most of which have like 4 or 5 major parties. The Republican strategist on Lou Dobbs even talked about America moving to a parliamentary system.

I think have 3 or more major parties will solve all of America's greatest problems - seriously. Even the issues you bring up with the Beltway media.

This is certainly something that I would like to see more consideration of. Because to get right down to it - America is broken (debatable). I'd like to do more research into this; because I think it is worth debating.

I notice that my posts are kind of incoherent ramblings, but there are so many issues ... I think the above is the root cause.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I've heard about Carlos Mencia's joke stealing; and now it's apparently come to a head:

Apparently it's not new, so says Joe "you's crazy" Rogan:

Joe makes an interesting case - I wonder how this will develop further? No more "Mind of Mencia"?

I won't cry.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I've been looking at some of this energy crisis stuff as of late, where will gas prices be?

Oregon State has a nice graph (others cite higher or lower values for given years, but remain relatively consistent):

Keep in mind the price increases of the 70's were more artificial (political) than the current situation. As of today the problem is with actual supply/demand issues - we are coming close to full capacity.

Nonetheless, I see many arguments that gas was $2 in 1950 (adjusted for inflation). And that's true, but at that time the world's supply of oil was increasing. Now that is not the case.

With prominent people making dire predictions: - look near the bottom at his bet.

Even worse, this guy makes it look like we're, well ... fucked:

While I think that site is overreaching a little, because there are many factors that can delay and soften the blow. Unless it does happen as quickly as it could: prices quadrupling in a matter of weeks (a barrel of oil hitting that $200 mark). The issue isn't the price per se, it's the rapid advance to that price - several weeks.

In the USA, this would destroy many communities that I know. I hear about people all the time that have hour+ communtes, 50 miles one way, etc. Not to mention nasty inflation given that everything from plastics to food. Long story short, this creates lot's of instability. And the big question is how much, it will most probably create a long term recession, or it could go all the way to the dark ages of chaos. Well probably not the latter, except in specific areas.

I'm certainly curious on the specifics of such repercussions. But the usual applies, and you better make sure you have a financial cushion. For my own curiousity I'm going to find more details about this. Many are already available, so research away!

So that's why I've decided to live a bit greener... and with the above in mind, cheaper in the long term. More on this to come...
Remember Reggie White? Defensive Lineman for the Green Bay Packers. He ranks in the hall of fame of athletes who need the Crash Davis School of Interviewing ("I'm just glad to be here", "I just wanna make a contribution to the ball club").

I still think of Tracy Morgan's immitation (4/4/98):

Tracy: "And you know big midgets."
Colin Quinn: "You mean people?"
Tracy: "Yeah, hate them too."


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Economic Left/Right: -3.25

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.21

The questions are a bit weird: "No one can feel naturally homosexual." Ummm... Agree, disagree, ... Pat Buchanan?

I took one of these before, but it had different questions (way different questions). Interestingly I came out in roughly the same spot (maybe more economically right).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I need to post more often...

A few things. One, I think that Fearann Muin is probably dead. Because I'm it's last developer, and I feel no real want to continue it.

Favorite recent convo:

X: Is today Thursday?
Me: No today is Tuesday.
X: Heh, yesterday I thought it was Saturday.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Btw, Fearann Muin development has slowed, possibly to a halt.

Right now I'm playing with OpenGL funness... more on that if it does anywhere.
A post I emailed dealing with the ticking time bomb rationale for torture:

///start email
I came upon your "Once Upon a Time..." blog, and this article on torture; specifically the ticking-bomb scenario.

In Cornelius Ryan's book A Bridge Too Far, at the start of Operation Market Garden (which is what the book is about), the land invasion of the Netherlands from Belgium was instantly met with heavy anti-tank fire (taking out some 9 of 15 tanks of the tank platoon that spearheaded the operation). The way this was reportedly stopped is quite similar to a ticking-bomb scenario. The British troops captured some forward infantry (sentries or spotters for the anti-tank guns hidden somewhere in the woods firing on the tanks). The captured Germans were rushed over to a truck where they were aggressively interrogated: the interrogator pushed a pistol into one of the German's ribs and barked at him in German, asking him where the guns were hidden. I forget the exact details because I don't have the book in front of me, nonetheless, the a capture German revealed -well enough- the positions of the anti-tank guns, after which the guns were disable via counter-battery fire.

While ticking-bombs in cities with civilians are different then active fire on soldiers - the information they had are basically the same: they knew about the guns (obviously), and they had a good idea that one of the captured soldiers knew the location (although not necessarily true, I suppose - give the situation that rational was that it was "worth a try" - more on that in a second). The major difference being that they were already under attack - this would be like the bomb situation if a bomb had already gone off, and there was another with the potential to go off.

The multiple bomb situation was actually hit on with a British documentary (where London is hit by a dirty bomb), but interestingly enough they stopped the second bomb with good ol' fashioned police work. I wish I remembered the name of it...

As for the "worth a try" rational, it's dicey: in this situation they did not KNOW the soldiers knew the guns locations, just a good guess (at the very least to get a lead on the locations). But with this situation many questions come to mind? What happens if these Germans had no clue about the location? Would they have been shot? (or at least one of them to prove the seriousness of the interrogator). What if you shot them and still got no information? Unfortunately these situations are rarely told, probably for the reason that no one wants to be thought of as a murderer - even in so called "good" wars like World War II.

My own conclusions are unsure. There are other examples of on the spot interrogation yielding results, but with the failures rarely being reported (probably) it's hard to gauge how affective it is. In the example above, this scenario was a life-or-death struggle. If we don't stop these guns we are dead. But like you say KNOWing about the bomb is probably unlikely - the intelligence would probably be more general. The scary thing is if this is used as a substitute for actually investigative police work. As noted about the NKVD (the KGB prior to the KGB) was that they eventually degenerated into thugs that only knew how to torture, and thus useless in actual investigations. It got so bad Stalin (the main boss himself) had to disband them, because they became much worse than the enemy/criminals. It's just not a substitute for traditional police work. That and the main problem just keeps biting at you - how do you KNOW the person you are beating on or what-have-you knows the information? With the number of people released from Guantanamo cleared of being evil shows that KNOWing is rarely obvious. With that in mind, I think I would be right next to the interrogator poking at the German soldiers on their gun positions before the truck I'm in takes a round.

Unfortunately that's how this fear thing works so well, the proponents make you fear that you are in that truck, that it's them or us; even when it's a rare ... or impossible event. United 93 may be a good example.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thank you.
///end email

Btw, one of my own misunderstandings is the difference between torture and interrogation; which may explain some of my email. Google ticking time-bomb and you'll get a number of articles about this; 'tis interesting. And frankly I can't find the exact post I'm replying to here... just the blog: