Trial and Epic Fail

Ventures of an indie game developer

Great filter behind us?

Ever heard of the Fermi Paradox? Well worth a read.

NASA tests microwave thruster

This is the third time someone verifies a working microwave thruster. It would be seriously interesting to know what causes microwaves to yield an actual momentum. Perpetuum mobile anyone? I'm betting this has something to do with gravity.

Bitch in heat

Had a heated discussion yesterday with an dumb, über-convinced feminist who claimed that men and women are born tabula rasa, while I made the statement that for instance interests are pre-disposed by our hormones, and that would be the reason that for instance few women in the west (where interest is key) work in IT. Of course I didn't mean anything on an individual level, but I was talking about an actual distance d between the bell curves. She claimed there is none.


So today I did some studying and found that already Darwin knew many mental traits were inherited by animals:
So in regard to mental qualities, their transmission is manifest in our dogs, horses, and other domestic animals. Besides special tastes and habits, general intelligence, courage, bad and good temper, &c., are certainly transmitted. With man we see similar facts in almost every family; and we now know through the admirable labours of Mr. Galton10 that genius, which implies a wonderfully complex combination of high faculties, tends to be inherited; and, on the other hand, it is too certain that insanity and deteriorated mental powers likewise run in the same families.
Home free! But wait... Cattell and Eysenck found that:
One of the first of these twin studies measured 800 pairs of twins, studied numerous personality traits, and determined that identical twins are most similar in their general abilities. Personality similarities were found to be less related for self-concepts, goals, and interests.
Shit! I hate it when I'm dumber than dumb, über-convinced feminists! I can only hope there's a small d in that "less related" part of the interests above. What the heck, I'll go all in and say there is a d, and I'm sure of it. And even though I've never been, I belive the reason that Malaysia has about half female IT workers has nothing to do with personal interest, it has to do with landing a job.

Radio 2.0

It seems at least one more developer than me got tired of the current state of affairs in the music player business: finite, static playlists which you have to maintain. So Albertz deviced Music Player. It seems to contain everything I need, except a Grooveshark plugin. I'll build one of those and two frontends: one headless (keyboard only) and one similar but for mobile web. The mobile version doesn't even have to show songs, just an input field so we, or our guests can flip over to some song of their choice.

I'll hard-code F1-F4 or so for radio channels, grunge, rock, etc., and for hardware I'll use a Raspberry Pi for 50 bucks.

One other thing that I personally think would be awesome is to install a mic and let it double as a long-distance walkie-talkie. I could shout at the kids to stop fighting when I'm at work, or I could scream my last words if I get fatally injured by a moose in the forest... It's going to be awesome!

py

Python comes out on top in the universities as well. To-the-point language with a fantastic standard library.

Green Ubuntu server

I have a tiny 3W Intel Atom-based Ubuntu server, and I hadn't upgraded it for many years. Well, now I wanted Arduino support and thought it would be a good time to deal with the hassle of upgrading 7 major versions. Something went haywire and I had to reinstall. I'm still using an old SATA disk, so in order to save some watts and add some life expectancy to the hardware (which normally isn't used more than once a week on average), I want the disk to spin down.

To find the culprits spinning up my disk I ran:
ls -talc
in the root (/) folder and some other places. Then I added the entries I found to /etc/fstab:
tmpfs /var/log                                            tmpfs   defaults        0       0
tmpfs /var/lib/dhcp                                       tmpfs   defaults        0       0
tmpfs /var/lib/sudo                                       tmpfs   mode=700        0       0
tmpfs /var/lib/update-notifier                            tmpfs   defaults        0       0
And also added ",noatime" to my HDD partitions (not swap however). Then I added
hdparm -B -S 243 /dev/disk/by-id/ata-XXXXXX_YYYYYY
to my /etc/rc.local. Apart from that I installed a couple of packages I wanted and set an hourly cron job running dynamic DNS so I can connect from anywhere. DuckDNS is free and simple to use:
curl -k "https://www.duckdns.org/update?domains=pixeldoctrine&token=xxxxxx-yyyyyy-zzzzzz&ip="
Right, I also started the rsync service because I wanted a better way to backup my pictures. That's all I had to do to get the server exactly as I wanted it. If somebody could make a nice GUI to go with the desktop installations, I'm betting Linux will take over in a few years. Oh, and here's my powertop output:
Summary: 4.4 wakeups/second,  0.0 GPU ops/seconds, 0.0 VFS ops/sec and 0.3% CPU use
In the last 7 major version steps they've managed to more than half the wakeups on my machine when idling. I'm pretty sure Microsoft is not up to the challenge any time soon. "Which solution is best" is slowly overpowering "how much money is in this new solution" in some of areas where there is a BDFL. Linux desktop GUI needs an outstanding BDFL; with that I'd be hooked.

Programatically sending SMS

The SMS alert for the alarm wasn't as bad as I thought. I found Twilio, bought an account for the minimum $20 (they deduct $1 per month). They seem to charge about $0.18 per SMS. The code is a piece of pie:

Oh, and don't forget to escape your non-ASCII's (Swedish below):
char_xlat = list(zip('åäöÅÄÖ', [s+';' for s in 'åäöÅÄÖ'.split(';')]))
for ch,xlat in char_xlat:
 msg = msg.replace(ch, xlat)

About the author

Min bilder
Gothenburg, Sweden