Friday, 4 March 2011

Escape From The Cubicle

Last year I had found myself becoming increasingly bored at work.  My less than glamorous job provides me with 10 minute intervals of time with nothing to do but stare at a computer screen.  Having ruined my interest in websites like reddit and slashdot by spending an unholy amount of time sifting through ffffuuuuuu comics and cat captions on the former and becoming frustrated with the inability of the latter to provide enough material to last me the entire day.  I decided to plot my escape from cubeland.  Not an easy task but not insurmountable either.  Probing the walls of my prison, I soon discovered that taking the direct route was out of the question.  The system that I use runs off a network drive and does not allow one to install any software without Herr Administrator's approval.  My access to the command line has also been removed and with it the limited supply of native tools I had at hand.  Through the long drudge of days chained to my desk by that manacle of a headset I slowly hatched a plan.  Gathering the required information by word of mouth and Google searches and testing it's feasibility in the evenings, eventually it came together.  My captors, out of necessity, had not disabled Java on our workstations.  Overlooked at first, the significance of this suddenly dawned on me.  A new world of Java applications opened up to me!  My first breakthrough came when I discovered shellinabox, allowing me to access the command line on my Linux box at home discreetly within a web browser.  Frustrated with it's sluggish interface, I grew more daring.  Soon I had a cloud9 server running at home and I was able to afford myself the luxury of an ide.  I still had to compile and execute my code through shellinabox and it was painful to watch it stutter across the screen.  As the months passed I became sure that what I was doing was either being ignored or completely missed.  Now I've thrown all my chips in, I now happily ssh into my system using mindterm and am even brazen enough to leave the jar file sitting in my network storage.  Life has never been so good.  My next steps?  Perhaps I will serve a webpage and devise a way to port my code to Java and embed it in the page so that I can work on graphical projects.  If this helps anyone out of a similar predicament, let me know.  I'll be glad to have helped someone.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Snake Wrestling

In the past few months I've been attempting to teach myself Python.  To that end, I decided to write a little program to put to use the new concepts and tools I was learning.  That small program has since snowballed into a project I call SerengetiSim.  I've got kind of a love hate relationship going on with this little program.  Since it began as a simple demonstration of what I had learned so far, it has grown in stages and slowly become a bloated mess of uncommented code.  I still put in little bits here and there when I don't have anything better to do but I have yet to perform a full rewrite to clean up the code and iron out some of the more persistent bugs.  Without any further ado, I present for your entertainment; The Wonderful, The Misguided, Misshapen, and Malformed SerengetiSim!

And here are the links to the pastebin pages for the source:

A few warnings:

  • is the main class and running it will initialize the game
  • text mode is currently set up to run on Linux only but can be made to work on Windows if you change the clear screen command and the ASCII color codes
  • don't make the map too big in text mode, I have not implemented a view port so you'll see the whole thing
  • is currently very broken and I did not include the graphics so if you're going to try to get it to work again you'll have to supply your own, pointing and laughing would be a better use of your time
If I ever get around to fixing the visual interface for the sim I might port it to a Java applet using Pyjamas and put it up. That's all folks.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

My return to the world of blogging

Well, I've finally decided to get back in the game.  It's been a long time since I've written anything substantial and it's a little strange starting up again so don't be surprised if this comes in fits and starts to begin with.  Given the amount of free time I have, I'm much better of using it to write rather than kill time playing Minecraft or endlessly destroying the world again and again in Infectonator.  Playing Dwarf Fortress is like beating a dead elephant at this point and Eve Online didn't do it for me.  So now I find myself sitting at the keyboard once more, listening to the chatter of the keys and squinting down the road ahead.  Wish me luck internet denizens!  I'll need it.

Also, Robot Unicorn Attack.  By the time you're done with that I should have another post up, haha.