Friday, 21 February 2014


There are two kinds of Oud --- one smells nice, the other sounds nice.  Both together create just the right ambiance for a nice, relaxed afternoon of coding.

And because one Oud is never enough, here is another one:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The first ten million years were the worst...

.... and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.

(Marvin, explaining the essence of being an Android.)

My Javascript toy outgrew Javascript and so I took a look at Android, thinking this might be fun. 

Now I'm not a fan of piddly little screens and awkward data input, but well, said toy would actually be useful on a portable device and so...

Tip 1: The help pages are not all too helpful. Every single one of their instruction for Linux will give you at least 2 puzzles to solve, and most are not that trivial.  

Tip 2: The download link gives you partial downloads, but at least the helpfile points out that this doesn't contain everything you need.  Which is helpful.

Tip 3: No, the problem is NOT that you run that emulator  over the network, nope. Due to umm, emulator emulation, which maketh a veritable treacly emulsion out of the computing power of the shiny new hardware you have.  You can attempt to tweak it in various ways, but it will still be slower than anything you've ever used in the past *uh* 30 years. The emulated device takes about 5 minutes to come up, and it gets worse from thereon.

Tip 4: For a less retro experience, get and install Genymotion. It is still pretty slow, but semi-workable, with patience.

On the plus side: playing with Android is almost as fun (but not as productive or as fast) as working ye olde ZX Spectrum and you'll have enough time to play a few moves of Kingdom of Loathing whilst-u-wait and the game contains just about the level of humor you need in this situation -- an adventurer is you!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Making Shape

Francis Roads explains making good shape like this:

 The term is usually employed where there are two or more moves that achieve a given objective. The goad shape move is the one that not only achieves the aim, but gains some other advantage, which may, however, be small and intangible at the time. The player with an understanding of good shape has a short cut to finding the best move in many situations. In a game free of gross blunders the accumulation of small advantages from good shape will decide the outcome.
Without further ado, therefore, here are my criteria for a move to qualify as good shape:
  1. It maximises liberties
  2. It maximises eye-making potential
  3. It keeps options open
  4. It influences as much of the board as possible
  5. It denies the opponent good shape 
Of course Francis wasn't talking about programming there, but I think that programming is very similar to the game strategy he was describing.

Now that I'm starting be be semi-fluid in javascript and I'm wrestling a small octopus in form of a 2000 line script of a toy I'm creating as I'm figuring things out, I'm finding out just how good my 'making shape' jutsu is... (sometimes good, sometimes woeful...:)