Jason's Blog

Archive for August, 2005

It’s time to reclaim space

by on Aug.29, 2005, under General

I was just reading an article on space.com about the new direction and vehicles NASA will be using in the next decade or two. I wish I could portray the excitement and feeling that the thought of new space exploration brings. Even more, returning to the moon – there is very little else in the world that interests me more. I was watching Apollo 13 last night, and I’ve watched it the last few days off and on – there’s so much there that represents the best of humanity, the ultimate struggle to reach beyond ourselves.

I know many in the nation think the space program is a waste of time and money. I think those are the same people that think any form of progress or expansion of the human spirit is equally a waste. The space program has provided more dreams than anything else in recent memory. No other endeavor has ever faced so many struggles, nor faced such a difficult task, and yet, provided such an amazing set of results. The space program is not a waste of time, or no more so than any other task which has expanded the horizons of the human race. Would Christopher Columbus sailing west have been a waste of time? Would Newton looking up at the stars in wonder have been a waste of time?

Space is a dream – it’s a dream that expands beyond the boundaries of our current mundane lives and lifts us up to new heights. Such a dream is worth any effort.

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Five Questions Time :)

by on Aug.17, 2005, under General

Christian sent me five questions to be answered as part of the “interview” game. First, the rules on the game:

The Official Interview Game Rules:

  1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below asking to be interviewed.
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions – each persons will be different.
  3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

SO here we go on some very Christian questions, and what should be very Jason answers (i.e. wordy, not entirely normal, with lots of rambling) wink If you want me to interview you, leave a comment and I’ll do so smile

1. You are stranded on an island with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and
Linus Torvalds. Which one do you kill for food? (Okay, that was way
too easy. Bonus points if you describe just exactly how you
kill him.)

Hmm, let me see… BILL GATES. I think I”d start by finding a local coconet tree, tying him on that tree, stripping his clothes off (kinda nasty, but wait for it), and leaving him out in the sun. I’d also then drop a ton of fish all over him, letting ants and insects crawl up his body. Not to mention any birds nearby, things like that. And, then, slowly feed him water through a drip tube over a period of a week, letting the sunburn him to a crisp. However, I’d do my best to keep him allive long enough for penguins to show up (I’ll assume it’s an island visited by penguins), whereupon the penguins would have a feast, one body part at a time smile A little tooo graphic perhaps? Oh well smile

2. What’s so great about SW: KOTOR? And should one play it on PC, Mac, or XBox?
First, let’s just say this for all those other readers. Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic is an RPG – Role Playing Game, but it’s also in many ways a first person action type of game. The game itself isn’t overly difficult, particularly if you set it on easy level. However, there are a number of things which make this game not only unique, but perhaps one of the best games I’ve EVER played. And coming from me, that should say a lot right there folks. Mostly because I’ve always considered the older Final Fantasy series games to be some of the greatest games ever produced. SO, what makes SW: KOTOR great? Here we go:

  1. It’s Star Wars. ‘nuf said.
  2. KOTOR is a true epic of a game. To explain, let me first discuss another amazing game. If you look at Final Fantasy III (actually I think 5), it has all the elements of a truly amazing story. Excellent character development, moderately simplistic controls, engrossing plot lines, cohesion, evil antagonists/good protagonists, you empathize with a lot of the characters, and any number of other traits that make a story great. It’s a truely amazing “world” that you get involved in.
    Knights of the Old Republic tops this. Let me say it again, Knights of the Old Republic tops this. First, one of the base concepts of the game – good vs. evil. Throughout the entire game you’re faced with choices. Do you help this person out, or do you watch as thugs beat the crap out of him. Do you choose the way of battle or negotiation and persuasion? The choices you make in this game are extremely complex – and ALL of them have an effect on not only your characters alignment, but how you feel. “how you feel” you might ask? I mention this because you truly come to know and take an interest in the characters in this game. Further, all the actions you take are pretty evil, and have consequences. And I do mean you can be EVIL in this game.
    Many games have numerous side quests, and in that aspect KOTOR isn’t all that different. What sets KOTOR appart though is that many of these sidequests delve into issues of what is right/wrong, how the choices you make can affect even the smallest person. Further, the sidequests are more about developing the background and story of the other characters in the game – getting you involved in them in a way that adds to the whole of the story. These are but a few aspects of a massively addictive game.
  3. Some other aspects that KOTOR has – very cool powers you can individualize for each character, pretty simplistic controls, yet fun to watch battle scenes including lightsabers, fairly well developed character interactions, multiple worlds to explore, etc. etc. It’s an engrossing epic that truly ups the bar for the genre of RPGs. Or any game for that matter. The battle system, the leveling up system, the system

Now, to finish up – what system to get KOTOR for. I personally find that it worked best with a gamepad style of controls like those on the xbox. However, a good gamepad on a computer platform would allow one to play this game with as much effectiveness. You’re not playing this game for the graphics – you’re playing it because it’s an awesome game you get engrossed in. Although, I HAVE to take one issue with the above question: PLAYING IT ON A PC???? ARE YOU REALLY THAT EVIL????

3. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?
Oy, VERY tough one. The Crow stands out sometimes in my mind, mostly because of the concept of a love that goes beyond death. It’s kinda dark and gothy, but it’s really a … well, the concept of honor stands out. There’s a lot of aspects in this movie I love. The way the city is laid out, the darkness to it all, the music, the characters in it, the way people move, etc. It’s hard to describe. I do of course have some other favorites, including the movies such as The Princess Bride, Star Trek (the movies), STAR WARS BABY – although the ORIGINALS, not the remade versions. The Matrix is also in the top 10. It’s really hard to say though which is my favorite, and that favorite changes from time to time, depending on the mood I’m in.

4. What is the longest you have gone without sleep? Please give details. Oy… umm, well, let’s see. Probably when I was back in Highschool. Me and a bunch of friends had driven down to Oklahoma (I think it was Oklahoma – this was a long time ago) for a Con – Convention. The idea was to drive down, enjoy the weekend, and drive back. Now, I think this is the longest period of time I was awake without sleep, but it gets kinda hazy after a while. Mostly because of another Convention here in town (I’ll get to that in a minute). Anyways, I was at this convention, playing games, hanging out, exploring the building, doing LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and stuff. The trick to it is we wanted to stay awake as LONG as possible to play the games and keep on going. To aid in this effort, I’d made up several bottles of a special concoction we’d all drank smile Let’s just say when you add a bag of pixie sticks to big bottles of mountain dew, and drain the sucker, well… Shock Nine hangover anyone? I think I managegd to stay awake something like 36+ hours on that stuff.
The only other time that I can think of that compares to this was at another convention. I’d been working as a security guard/bouncer type with some other friends. With that, I volunteered for the “Graveyard” shifts. Graveyard meaning I was up all night. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep the Friday night or Saturday night of that convention. The reason I don’t list this first is because I really don’t know how coherent I was, nor remember all of the details on how long or if I nodded off at some point. I do remember this though:
1) It was the night of my HS’s prom (I was a Junior, I believe at the time, and thus didn’t go. Course, I never went to my prom, but whole different story). Thus, I saw all kinds of rooms at the hotel I was staying at being obtained by fellow classmates. Lets just say it was entertaining wink
2) This is the more… odd memory. There was an anime room downstairs at the hotel. I remember spending a lot of my time in that room. However, I do distinctly remember one animation during that time period. I was on that special concoction of pixie sticks & mountain dew, and thus not entirely sane at the time. There was this anime on, of dancing clocks dancing and changing shape, sucking someone through a mirror, and numerous other VERY odd scenes. Let’s just say this – imagine being massively drunk/some condition other than normal and watching really screwy anime. Oy. Might explain some of my wierdness wink

5. What is the funniest thing you have ever commented in your code?
What about the most profound?

Hmm, another tough one. The funniest thing… well, I’m not sure if you’re asking whether the code itself was funny or the comments were. I’m going to assume the comments at this point wink I think perhaps the funniest thing was a long while back. I vaguely remember getting slightly intoxicated, and then finishing up the comments for my program smile I’ll include a few samples below – and though not so funny today perhaps, or not really all that funny in general. I guess what was funny though was getting an A for writing a program while intoxicated at 2am. I’ve never since worried about my coding abilities wink

/* identifier declaration section of program */
/* Here, we tell the computer what in the hell we are doing...very
* strange, shouldn't it know already? Then again, some of us are
* using win95, which means as insane as we are, the computer
* COULDN"T understand us...
*/
fflush(stdin);
/* FFFFFFFFFFFFLLLLLLLLLLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH*/

/* GOOD GOD, THE USER ENTERED A MESSED
* UP VALUE, SHOT HIM!!!!!!!!
* NO, SHOOT HIM!!!!!
* NO, GIVE HIM A MESSED UP ANSWER!!!
*/
/* Lets see, they got lucky and got
* some good answers here. They must
* not be in math, since math
* never returns/creates an easy answer...
*/

As said, not really all that funny, but hey, it was funny at the time! smile

NOW, with that said – what was the most profound. I remember once writing some code, commenting it, and then suddenly starting to ramble on on the nature of life, what I was doing, whether anything had meaning. I think I ended up typing for an hour straight, just typing, writing out thoughts. In the end, I had the meaning of life, but forgot to save the file wink In all honesty though, I’ve rambled sometimes, as you’ve seen in this blog on numerous topics. A lof the times when I’m coding, I’ll just start thinking of something else, and keep going with those thoughts. Programming is about thought and philosophy as much as it’s about art and engineering. At least, in my view. And, with that, sometimes you just start thinking of things. This isn’t necessarily the best answer to the question, but it’s one of the only ones I can give. Have I written some profound stuff? In my view, not necessarily profound to anyone else, but definiltely I’ve written some things which were profound to me. Particularly at that time.

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Censorship post on my development site

by on Aug.03, 2005, under General

I wanted to post a link to another post I wrote on my development blog, just in case people don’t read it regularly. With that, the basic summation of my post is that censorship is bad. Any company that chooses to sue to keep their problems hidden is a company I don’t want to deal with. I firmly believe you should fix your problems, instead of trying to hide them. Even worse is using the law to do so. Anyways, read through the post, let me know what ya think.

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Hell hath frozen over twicefold…

by on Aug.02, 2005, under General

As one slashdot reader put it so aptly, hell has frozen over and the devil has taken up hockey and ice fishing… Why you ask? Because not only is Apple switching to intel for their processors, but now, to add icing to the cake, they’ve finally released a multiple-button mouse named the “Might Mouse”. And it does look mighty nice indeed….

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