Richard Jones' Log

Sat, 26 Aug 2006
pyweek.org server issues

Sadly I'm having hosting issues with pyweek.org again. I think the whole thing must be jinxed. Apparently the machine I'm hosted on had disk problems yesterday. It was back yesterday afternoon (my time) minus about 2 days' data. That's bearable, since that means I only lost some diary entries and comments. Nothing critical to the running of the challenge.

My mailbox this morning had a slew of database connection errors from overnight, which seemed to be very temporary and certainly weren't around again this morning.

But now the machine's gone again. Totally. And theme voting for the challenge just started. My biggest concern is that there's people (including myself) who have booked annual leave for the challenge. Well, I guess it's time to look for backup hosting just in case... again :(

category: News | permanent link
PyWeek #3 only a week away!

The next PyWeek game programming challenge starts next Sunday at 00:00UTC. This means theme voting has now started for entrants. If you're interested, there's definitely still time to sign up to the challenge.

category: Python | permanent link
Mon, 21 Aug 2006
Cannon Fodder title theme, played on video game controllers

This is so cool and is by Press Play On Tape, a "Commodore 64 revival band".

Now I have "War! Never been so much fun!" stuck in my head :)

category: Games | permanent link
Fri, 18 Aug 2006
GLSL in Python via ctypes

Alex has written ctypes-based code for getting GLSL in Python. Much nicer than having to go through glew.

It's in the (growing) cookbook on pygame.org. I imagine the cookbook is going to be a popular resource during the next PyWeek.

Thu, 17 Aug 2006
Why Linux isn't ready for the masses (part two bazillion)

So the sound stopped working in the HTPC yesterday. Usually I just go through a relatively arcane interface to set the unfathomably-named "IEC958 Playback AC97-SPSA" setting to "0". This does something. And it usually makes the sound work.

Last night it didn't. I spent 40 minutes fiddling with the alsamixer interface trying to make sound come out of the computer.

In the end, I found a complete "asound.state" file online that I compared against my "/var/lib/alsa/asound.state" file. The culprit? A setting called "IEC958 Playback Default" which had the value:

'008200000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000'

In the working configuration, the value is:

'008200020000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000'

Fixing that "2" made sound work again. I have not a single clue what that "2" might switch. It's certainly not controlled by any of the alsa user interfaces.

I swear, if it wasn't for losing he ability to avoid DRM, I'd be all over using Microsoft products for this...

Fri, 11 Aug 2006
Python game libraries list moved

I've finally moved the game libraries list out of the PyWeek rules into the Python wiki.

category: Python | permanent link
Thu, 10 Aug 2006
Downloading Underworld

How underworldlive escaped my attention for so long is beyond me. I found it whilst surfing around the VoyagerRadio site.

Underworld are one of my favourite artists and it's incredibly cool that they're putting out new music (and other mixed media) in this format - and completely unencumbered by DRM. More of it!

category: News | permanent link
Sun, 06 Aug 2006
PyGame rewritten using ctypes!

Alex has done it! Pygame-ctypes lives!. In plenty of time for PyWeek :)

category: News | permanent link
Fri, 04 Aug 2006
PyWeek #3 is coming!

PyWeek 3 is scheduled it for the first week of September. The exact dates are 00:00UTC Sunday 3rd September to 00:00UTC Sunday 10th September. Visit the PyWeek website to sign up or read the rules. The PyWeek challenge:

  • Invites entrants to write a game in one week from scratch in Python either as an individual or in a team,
  • Is intended to be challenging and fun,
  • Will hopefully increase the public body of python game tools, code and expertise,
  • Will let a lot of people actually finish a game, and
  • May inspire new projects (see some games from previous challenges)
Wed, 02 Aug 2006
Looking for podcasts

I'm looking for some downtempo podcasts like "Tempo of the Down". I'm having a lot of trouble finding anything as most podcast index sites just lump all music podcasts into one lump. Or if they do have an electronic music section, there's just a name and a link to an RSS feed - no description. This basically means I would need to randomly select a feed and listen to it. This is how I found Tempo of the Down - but I had to download half a dozen podcasts (at around 75MB or so each) before I did find it.

I'm getting the feeling that most podcasts are discovered through human networking...

Any suggestions?

Lurking on comp.lang.python

... I read this, which I'd not seen before:

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." -- Brian Kernighan

And a related quote:

"To describe something as clever is NOT considered a compliment in the Python culture." --Alex Martelli

On a semi-related note, in response to this challenge I just threw together a basic Sudoku solver while drinking my morning coffee: sudoku_solver.py.

category: Python | permanent link