Thu, 29 May 2003
You can only find this stuff by hitting random weblinks, really. The
masters thesis of Chaim Gingold:
Dollhouse (CBD) is an authoring tool and for making and playing
simple interactive comics.
Scroll down for the Mac/PC downloads of the CBD software. Be sure to
read the readme before plowing right in (the advice in there is short, but
Completely aside: I never seem to ever just randomly websurf to porn
sites. With all the constant raving about protecting our kids from randomly
finding sites that will harm their developing mind/soul, I've yet to
have my random weblink following ever lead to such a site...
Wed, 28 May 2003
I've come to loathe some of the aspects of OSX as I've used it
for the last few months. Reliance on the mouse (oh to be able to
alt-tab through windows) and the f*ked
manner in which the standard Mail package identifies attachments (ie.
everything is application/octet-stream!) are at the top of the list.
On the other hand, there are some really quite brilliant applications
available for OSX. OmniGraffle is the best
structured graph drawing package I've ever used (and I've tried
many ;). I've also just discovered Hydra, a collaborative text editing
program that effortlessly shares a text editing session amongst multiple
users. Sadly, it's not likely to be much real use to us until they make it
usable beyond a LAN.
I've also used OmniOutliner
a bit, and have written an OPML →
PythonPoint XML → PDF slide presentation script. Whee! :)
Tue, 27 May 2003
Or... "I am a
frog." As they say on the site, "it is finished to the pop
No, I'm not sure either...
Thanks, anthony. Really.
Mon, 26 May 2003
This could be a lot of fun...
These are the voyages of Her Majesties Æther Ship Dauntless. Our mission,
to explore romantic new worlds, seek out life, and expand civilization, to
boldly go where no gentleman has gone before.
The universe of Steam
Trek tries to create a vision of a fictional future
using the palette of Victorian Steampunk applied to the canvas of the Star
I played a "Victorian Steampunk" single-session roleplaying scenario a number of
years ago, and quite enjoyed it. Nice to see the concept is very much still
A while ago, I gushed about a game that looked extraordinarily
pretty - sadly most of the image links don't work any more.
I've now played it for a couple of weeks (around 50 hours or so) and
it's definitely very, very pretty. The gameplay is pretty well done too. It
just doesn't quite work...
- Did I mention that it's pretty? I have a brand-spanking 1.5GHz
processor and GeForce4 video card, with oodles of memory, so it runs like a
The control system is simple, and semi-realistic. You point the ship
the direction you wish to go, and it goes there. You turn the engines off,
and you coast. You just have to imagine there's a really complex system of
thrusters and the controls make sense :)
It has some potential for modding by enthusiastic players. One mod fixes
battleship weapons (ramping up their power, speed and range), adds
battleships and cruisers to random encounters, adds missions to destroy
them. Makes collisions really damaging (I believe smaller ships will be
destroyed if you cruise into an asteroid). Weapons etc. are much more
I've found that the exploration is fun - there's quite a few nice things to
discover in the very large universe of Freelancer. Quite often discovering
some things (like derelicts) can be quite dangerous (they're derelicts for
a reason ;)
The designers don't seem to have a good grasp on scale. Planets, space
stations and to some degree battleships are too small. Planets are far too
The trade lanes defy all laws of physics and are just plain annoying (more
on this below).
Everything (fighter, freighter, battleship) travels at the same maximum speed
(either "slow" or "cruise")!
To emphasise the stupidity of this,
there's a race in the single-player storyline, and the
only way you win this is for the opponent to mysteriously
stop dead near the end of the race!
The above two issues combine to make travelling around quite annoying.
There's a lot of docking with trade lanes and jump holes that break up long
distance travels and makes them quite tedious. One particularly good trade
run has to travel through 7 systems. I don't mind the jump holes so much
but to get between them there's a lot of
travelling at the crawling "cruise" speed, but sometimes there's trade
lanes to speed things up. Except you have to fly to them, dock, wait for
the end, fly to the next lane, dock, wait, ... etc. About 10 times for one
trip. It gets tedious.
So if you find the trading boring (understandably) there's not much
interest down the other career path - the limited for-cash missions you
fly outside the story. They all consist of flying to some grid point and
destroying everything you find there. Oh, hold me back. Modders are working
on this, but the really interesting story missions (eg. protecting a convoy)
aren't available outside the story. This is a great shame.
I haven't played the multiplayer game yet. I can't see the point.
Mon, 12 May 2003
The nice people a Linux.Conf.Au are
looking at having a Python mini
conference. I'm in :)
Fri, 09 May 2003
It's taken a while longer that I'd hoped, mostly because I've changed
jobs recently. It's out
now though, bringing a host of new features (and bugfixes of
- new instant-gratification Demo Mode ("python demo.py" :)
- added mysql backend (see doc/mysql.txt for details)
- web interface cleanups including nicer history display, nicer index
navigation and nicer popup list windows
- searching of date ranges
- better international support, including utf-8 email handling and ability
to display localized dates in web interface.
- more documentation including revamped design document, unix manual pages
and some FAQ entries
- significantly more powerful form handling allowing editing of multiple
and creation of multiple items
- tracker templates can contain subdirectories and static files (e.g.
and we may now distribute templates separately from Roundup. Template
HTML files now have a .html extension too.
- user registration is now a two-step process, with confirmation from the
address supplied in the registration form, and we also have a password
feature for forgotten password / login
- Windows Service mode for roundup-server when daemonification is attempted
- fixed issues with dumb email or web clients
- lots more little tweaks and back-end work...
- email system handles more SMTP and POP features (TLS, APOP, ...)
Big thanks to everyone who's helped with this release!
Wed, 07 May 2003
I've added more people to the list for the Python Programmer Weblogs
aggregation page, but alas yet again most of their RSS feeds are disabled.
Usually this is because their RSS items don't contain publication dates
or the dates are in some format that pyblagg's simplistic parser can't cope
with. The result is that their items float near the top of the page.
I'm looking into
RDF and the like a little
more seriously these
days, since it's related to my
I have to say that while RDF is
well-defined, the actual information RDF can be used to describe is very
much a moving target :) One of these days I'll read the actual RSS specs so
I can make an informed statement in the pyblagg code as to what a date
really should look like :)
I'll probably have to mandate that we use
RSS 1.0 with the
Dublin Core Module.
That's probably being too restrictive though...
Anyway, it'll happen when I find some more spare time, possibly after I
release a new version of
which has been pending for ... well, far
too long. Sometime after I've grown tired of playing with my recent
it's every bit as pretty as I'd hoped. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn't as
extensive as I (and a lot of other players) would have liked.
Fingers crossed for an update release with more varied mission types...
Fri, 02 May 2003
The Guardian has an article
talking about the downloading and sharing of television shows online.
First the music industry was hit by pirates. Now it's the turn of the TV
giants, as fans swap whole series online.
Now, within 24 hours of a show being broadcast in the US, people on the
other side of the world can see it, too. Dedicated fans of shows such as
24, Friends, Buffy, The Sopranos and many other hit series are using this
Rachel and I download Buffy and Angel as soon as someone in the US has
made it available. Why? Because we're dedicated fans of two of the
best-written television shows currently airing, and we're sick of having
the show spoilt by various parties before we get a chance to see
them here. US-based media, the local broadcaster (yes, in their "promo"
shown just before the show airs, they'll tell us how the episode
ends), random people in a cafe who've read the US-based media. They all
seem to conspire to tell us that "major character X is
going to die" months (or in the case of the local broadcaster,
moments) before we get to experience the story unfold. It's like
them announcing the conclusion to the latest thriller novel before
bookstores here get a chance to stock them.
The quality is sometimes apalling, yes. That's why we buy the DVD (or
bought the videos before they started putting out DVDs) when it's released
too :) We'd certainly buy the DVDs for the entire current series of Angel
and Buffy right now if offered the chance.