Old Fogeys

Apr. 25th, 2008 12:21 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
I've become a member of Communauto last week, and combined with getting my bike back, means that I'm at what is going to be my peak mobility for the next little while.

Used Communauto a couple of days later to go to a Quadra hackfest at Rémi's, with [livejournal.com profile] slajoie as well. I've had a surge of interest in Quadra, but it is a delicate thing to do: we need to release a new stable version before we can hack on the "next generation" version, and while we're getting very close now, there is definitely a momentum thing that can be lost just too easily. And now the kind of things left are packaging related, which isn't the most exciting (so help us out, [livejournal.com profile] dgryski!). We've got interesting ideas for future development, but we can't really do any of this for now, since it would make merging from the stable release very annoying (and it already isn't too wonderful at times)...

Getting my bike back meant going to work on bike, and that is ridiculously quick, on the order of six to seven minutes. That's faster than the metro, by a lot (that's only a bit more than the average waiting time, and I don't have to walk to Lionel-Groulx). In my opinion, that's not even good exercise, I hardly have time to break a sweat even if I go fast, so I might end up taking detours on good days (the Lachine Canal bike path is nearby).

Related to Quadra, I've been looking at SDL (which the next version of Quadra uses instead of its internal platform) and SDL_net. It's funny how game developers are so conservative sometimes! I don't know much about 3D games, but in 2D, people seem to develop more or less like they did on DOS more than 10 years ago, which was very limited back then, due to DOS not having much of a driver model. Because of that, since anything more than page flipping and waiting for the vertical retrace (using polling PIO, of course) is specific to every video chipset. A game wanting to use accelerated blits had to basically have its own internal driver model, and when a card was not supported, either the game would look bad (because it would use a software fallback), or would not work at all. In light of that, most games just assumed a basic VGA card (the "Super" part is made of vendor-specific extensions), using 320x200 in 256 colors (like Doom), or 640x480 in 16 colors (ever used Windows' "safe mode"?), with maybe a few extra extensions that were extremely common and mostly the same.

Then, DirectX appeared and all the fancy accelerations became available to games (window systems like X11 and Windows had their own driver model, but could afford to, being bigger projects than most games, and were pretty much the sole users of the accelerations, so they existed). What happened? Game developers kept going pretty much the same way. Some tests by Rémi back then found that using the video memory to video memory color key accelerated blits (with DirectDraw), getting hundreds of frames per second, where the software equivalent could barely pull thirty frames per second on the same machine. About an order of magnitude faster! You'd think game developers would be all over this, but no, they weren't. They were set in their ways, had their own libraries that did it the crappy way, and didn't bother, overall. The biggest user of 2D color keyed blitting is probably something like the Windows desktop icons.

Then, 3D acceleration appeared, and they just didn't have the choice. The thing is, this hardware still isn't completely pervasive, and especially for the target audience of a game like Quadra, who like nice little games and won't have big nVidia monsters in their machines, so using the 3D hardware for that kind of game would leave them in the dust. Nowadays, DirectDraw has been obsoleted and is now a compatibility wrapper on top of Direct3D, so oddly enough, we're back to 2D games having to avoid the acceleration.

Thankfully, in the meantime, the main CPUs and memory became much faster, so you can do pretty cool stuff all in software, but it's kind of a shame, I see all of this CPU being wasted. Think about it: Quadra pulls in at about 70% CPU usage on my 1.5 GHz laptop, so one could think it would "need" about 1 GHz to run adequately, right? Except it worked at just about full frame rate (its engine is bound at 100 frames per second) on my old 100 MHz 486DX! Something weird happened in between...

Game developers seem to be used to blocking APIs and polling so much, it spills over in SDL_net, which uses its sockets in blocking mode, and where one could easily lock up a server remotely by doing something silly like hooking up a debugger to one of the client and pausing it. Maybe unplugging the Ethernet cable would do it too, for a minute or two, until the connection timed out. How awful...
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
A little while ago (okay, okay, that was in November!), I went to see Me, Mom & Morgentaler at the Club Soda with [livejournal.com profile] gregorama and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe. Oh my goodness, the energy! They did pretty well, for a bunch of fat people in their fourties. ;-)

On top of the sheer awesomeness of it, this was a rather significant event for me on so many fronts. To this day, I still remember parts of an evening I spent in St-Hyacinthe's downtown, on the sidewalk in front of one of the venues there, where I watched this band of insane people jumping around on the stage, being so completely and madly happy. That was sixteen years ago, and since then, lots happened, of course, and I didn't really expect to see them.

In fact, I didn't really even expect as much as to be able to pick up their CD, until that evening where [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe and I wandered from one used records store to the next (and to the next, and to the next, etc!), and we found it! Actually, she had found it, and managed to snatch it away in front of my eyes, but it turned out all right, as she gave it to me as a farewell gift, before I left for France. That was eighteen months ago, and since then, well, lots happened (ok, well, not nearly as much as in the sixteen years before, but still!)...

Among other things, we broke up, and frankly, while I try to see the nuances and not think in terms of black and white, a pretty ridiculously significant share of this disaster was on my shoulders. People weren't around to see it, but it was a massive breakdown, including talks of breaking up with [livejournal.com profile] azhrey as well, for a bit. I've come out of this rather scarred and traumatized, and I'm surprised I didn't just lose it (or maybe I did?). After this, I was still thinking that non-exclusive relationships could work, but I was seriously questioning my ability to do it myself, and considering how much happier my life has been since I accepted this aspect of myself, this was some hard core introspection. Let's just say that the daily ride on the commuter train was sometimes very thoughtful. I have been, and still am, to a degree, ashamed of the all pain I've caused to the people who I wanted to hurt the least.

I finally figured that maybe I wasn't doomed to failure, if only I could manage to learn from my mistakes.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Whew, I slept really well these last two days: 23 hours in two nights! This was making up for a week of bad sleep, and was quite welcome!

Saturday, after shopping for some items for our soon-to-be new apartment (w00t! I can't wait!), we headed over to the Maison de Jade, in the evil place that is Boucherville. There, we had a gathering of the evil members of the former Club Info of the Cégep de St-Hyacinthe, ate (quite!) evil food and laughed evil laughters with our bellies full. This was (as usual) organized by [livejournal.com profile] pdage, evil space burger overlord (retired).

The next day, I shot a bunch of people to celebrate, and also found out that [livejournal.com profile] slajoie is now on LiveJournal (better late than never!).
pphaneuf: (Default)
Lalala, I'm a lazy arse, news at 11...

Friday, went to visit [livejournal.com profile] cloquewerk and [livejournal.com profile] messiahdivine with [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe. After some fiddling around at the video store (which is of surprisingly fine quality, on Sherbrooke, just east of Decarie, beside the Subway, recommended!), we picked up The Hudsucker Proxy as a backup for our planned Meet the Feebles. Turns out it was excellent, and has Bruce Campbell in it! The future is now!

Saturday, there was some hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] swestrup and [livejournal.com profile] taxlady at [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's place, where I had way too much coffee and those "palmier" thingies. Whoa. Then, I took the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey out in the boonies of Mont-St-Hilaire to go to a sort-of high-school reunion. It was actually just of people from the "enriched" program our high-school had, at one of those person's house, after she decided to do a search for the alumni. Yeah, I'm easy to find, no kidding. One of my good friends who also worked with me, one of the finest programmer I've had the pleasure of hacking with, is also giving up on the computer industry, like many others are doing. I'm pondering it, sometimes, I have to admit. It was generally great, though, seeing what my schoolmates had become and all. [livejournal.com profile] azrhey commented that, compared to her high-school reunion, it was more of "what we're doing now is cool" than "do you remember how cool it was back then", which I agree and found rather nice.

Sunday, I don't remember leaving my bed much. There was some messing around with my computer infrastructure, unclogging an email jam and assorted things. I think I have an addiction to Perl, but who says that's bad? ;-)

Monday, I stayed home after work. I hacked feverishly on getting more of my computer situation sorted out, which I have to do before I can move my server to my mom's place. Almost there, almost there! Ugh.

Tuesday, [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe and I went to visit Rem and Coco down in McMasterville. There was some BBQ, some weird cheese, some porto, some computers, some geekery, finding a lost book and subsequent forgetting of the lost book. I broke stuff. The usual silliness.

Today, I picked up my new glasses. Yay, no more broken eyewear that barely clings to my nose (it's handy having a big nose, sometimes!)! I then went to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's place where we took some photos of ourselves to give away to some people, like moms and such. I took my tripod, but forgot my quick-release plate (which allows one to put the camera on the tripod), so I was basically carrying around heavyish aluminium tubes and fittings, for fun. Cuddling and watching some shows, as well as getting a great massage (thanks again!). I was worrying about the lady muchly recently, but turns out that tonight, it's me who's sleepless (my tummy is rebelling against me, I think, but stress probably isn't a stranger to these things). The irony...

Tomorrow, I'll be going for some pools with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, [livejournal.com profile] gregorama, as well as possibly [livejournal.com profile] jul3z and others (I didn't keep track too closely... I'll also be paying the wonderful people at the SAAQ a visit, aren't I the nicest person ever?

[livejournal.com profile] ayria is coming over to visit this weekend (which I'm told is allegedly a long one, but I know nothing of these things), and I have to admit having a bit of a hard time containing my squeeing.


Ohh! Candy!

Feb. 1st, 2006 05:54 pm
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Sweet. Reminds me of my old VT220, hehe.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Went to Archambeault to take advantage of my gift certificates, for some extra music on the road. I got myself The Arcade Fire's "Funeral", as well as the Violent Femmes' deluxe edition of their self-titled debut album, which rocks so much, it's amazing! The latter, at least, is excellent road music, we'll see about the former. Speaking of the Femmes, they have the most awesome trivia page ever, check it out, it's hilarious!

I'm still looking for Me Mom and Morgentaler's "Shiva Space Machine", which is possibly one of the most kick-arse ska album in the history of the world! Before the Planet Smashers, there was MM&M, described as "the Montreal supergroup of ska", stuck between the second and the third wave of ska, but doing stuff that would still fit right in today. Speaking of them, where are they now? Heh, their sax player was with the Planet Smashers for a while? How am I not surprised...

Was joined by [livejournal.com profile] gorbash_dragon for some coffee, where she also gave me a chocolate rose as a Christmas present. She was saying it was getting important that she gave it to me, before we got to Valentine's Day and that I'd start getting ideas, hahaha!

Got myself some new wipers to replace the fucked up ones I had (one was crapping out and the other I damaged while de-icing), so I can see what's happening in front of me when I'll be driving to Waterloo (quite important). They're pretty damned fancy "frame-less" wipers, never seen those before. Being frame-less, they're good to use during winter (as there is no fragile frame to damage), but they are also very aerodynamic, so you can use them in summer too! Am I ever easily entertained, or what?

I think the plan tomorrow will be to hit the Huether for a stout float upon our arrival (which should be at 8-9pm). There are rumours of [livejournal.com profile] andukar, [livejournal.com profile] pcolijn_rss, [livejournal.com profile] jbdeboer and Mr Wise (where is Mag?)! Then off to [livejournal.com profile] elliptic_curve's farewell party. Then we'll see and make it up as we go, as usual. :-)

I feel very inspired these days for all sorts of programming projects, but while it's very exciting, it's also rather frustrating, as I don't have time to actually work on them, and I also have ideas of what the previous idea would allow me to do once it would be done (but I need to do the first one first!) and so on... Also, they tend to all run into each others, so I sit down at the computer to work a bit on one of them, then I get an idea for the other, so I stop and start thinking about that... The net result being that I have a huge pile of reason for wanting to sit at a computer to hack instead of doing whatever I should be doing, and when I do so, I'm not really that productive. Scatterbrained me, gah!

Now, off to cook myself some tacos. Yes, I said cooking (although it's not really, just cooking the meat, adding spices then rolling them up)! Fear me!

Man, am I using exclamation marks, or what? It's so exciting! Whee!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Crazy day, tried wonderfully interesting software optimizations, which turned out to nothing (or almost). Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Came back in the snow tonight, very late, to a quiet city. Took the night bus. I could physically feel the memories.

I'm missing some people terribly, and not just the usual suspects (although I do!).

I'm having this theory that people should sleep with their friends more. Not necessarily have sex, just, you know, go to bed together. There's something about just sleeping with someone, where you fade off into sleep together, and wake up together. Preferably in the same bed, but I'd say the minimum would be to be in the same room. Thinking back, I've done it with a good number of my best friends, and it always was a great experience.

I think I might just take up [livejournal.com profile] musicdieu on his offer (he replied to my call for a place to crash by pointing out he has a double bed).

I shall be taking the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey out for her birthday, um, later today. And have some gathering Friday. That should be quite nice, I think.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Today, on the plus side, I rescued some old data that the ever sentimental [livejournal.com profile] gregorama was attached to. A 40 megs hard drive's full content, shoved into a 13 megs ZIP file. I'll put it on my portable music player (which has 512 megs!). He passed me on some nice Dresden Dolls and Devotchka to listen to, it sounds nice, might look into getting some.

On the down side, the release I was supposed to make at work today isn't happening, since it's missing one tiny part. Damn. Should be done quickly tomorrow, but oh, so close!

Now, I'm off to watch my Einstürzende Neubauten Grundstück DVD (here's the trailer, for those who might want to borrow it) with some pizza! Woohoo!
pphaneuf: (Default)
I had two missions for myself yesterday. The first was to feel things through. I wandered about the city, reflected upon these things, and just felt. It's a sharp pain, but facing it always seems to make it leave me faster, and I rather prefer that to the eternal dull background pain.

The second mission after that was to cheer myself up. I thus headed over to [livejournal.com profile] emjayne's "Party like it's 1995" birthday shindig, and even though I didn't drink a drop (because of the first mission still semi-ongoing), I had massive amounts of fun. [livejournal.com profile] archdiva reading "Erotic Tales of the Old Russia" was, um, something. Cheetos burns! Met a large number of new people, I just about lost track. Walked back downtown with [livejournal.com profile] gregorama, talking about a few different things, thanks man!

I did get hugs, and I did smile.

Now that I'm picking up a bit, I find that I have a ton of things to do. I haven't been doing good at the job search thing, and I feel terrible about that (although I did pick up two contacts for bioinformatics in Europe from [livejournal.com profile] boyinsantiago). I decided that this week was going to be going home every evening (no going out tuesday!) at a reasonable hour, and work on these things. Friday will be, of course, [livejournal.com profile] blacksquiggles's birthday, though!

[livejournal.com profile] azrhey is arriving back from Québec City soon, and I'm looking forward to that. I'm not at all one to fret over a few days of not seeing someone, but these few days have been... special.

Now, I'll go and do some of these tasks, like hanging my damn curtains!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Friday, got to discuss the new project [livejournal.com profile] jimmysworld and I will be working on at the office. It's looking pretty cool, I'm looking forward to seeing this happen!

Then, headed over to [livejournal.com profile] vierge_en_trop's bash. I drank, was given apple and flax muffins, was given a pineapple-flavoured condom, took off my pants, was tickled and poked, got groped, then headed back home. It was awesome!

Today, took [livejournal.com profile] azrhey to see some of my farty old gang and play some games. She won her first game of Puerto Rico, while I was getting tied for second place at a very close and interesting game of Bohnanza. There was some pizza, then I won a game of Carcassonne by a single point. There was much gas all around.

Now, I just decided that my next computer would be a Mac, so I browsed PowerBooks and iBooks for a bit... I'm in no hurry, but I'm checking them out. :-)

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