Moving

•4 August 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, this blog, such as it is, is moving.  If you care to read, find it at my personal site at:

http://mmhacker.com/blog/mmhblog.aspx

New phone and George Carlin

•27 June 2010 • Leave a Comment

So I have finally managed to acquire the new phone I’ve been hoping for.  My girlfriend and I made a stop by the Verizon store while on a shopping trip with friends and decided we really couldn’t pass up the deals on offer.  So we got a pair of Motorola Droids and a good sized phone bill, and all I can say right now is “Sweet!”  Seriously, the Droid is one of the coolest and best working smart phones I’ve ever had the pleasure of toying with.  It operates smoothly, the Android App Market definitely rivals the Apple App Store in selection and usefulness, and it’s really just a lot of fun to use.  Further review to come in a few days.

Stuck at work on a Sunday (some people didn’t show), I’ve been watching some of George Carlin’s old specials.  They’ve made me remember just how much I love Carlin’s comedy.  One bit that struck a chord with me tonight was from a special in 1992.  Carlin talked about how the system of the US was just starting to fall apart, how things were going to go downhill in the near future.  The accuracy of some of his statements was almost scary.  But my favorite bit was his attack on environmentalists.  He chided them for their arrogance in believing that by cleaning up they were actually “saving the planet.”  As Carlin said, the planet was here a long time before us, and will be here for a long time after humans stop existing (probably).  Some plastic bags and aluminum cans aren’t going to impact the planet that badly, because they came from the planet.  Maybe the only reason that humans were allowed to be born was to make plastic, since the planet couldn’t figure out how.

“Why are we here?”  “Plastic, asshole.” —The planet

Return of the Hacker

•23 June 2010 • Leave a Comment

Looking at it now, I realize that the title for this post looks like a really bad horror movie, or a really good nerd movie.  Take your pick.  So I’m back, after a rather busy (yet fun) two months.  Fun began with a nice round of presentations, one to the department’s advisory board.  Made it through them, continued on to finals.  Destroyed them, made it out of the semester with better grades than I had originally hoped for.  Hooray!  Stayed with friends for a few days, then got ready to move into the new apartment.  Girlfriend’s trip to Hungary got canceled (she’ll probably go next year), so she was there to help move in.  Got a promotion (no more night shift), and helped some friends do some moving of their own.  Had a fun weekend driving a moving truck to Louisville and back for two of them.  Started new job.  Been doing that since.

So that’s the abridged (and grammatically incorrect) version of what I’ve been up to.  Now to the present.  The dorms are behind me, I have my own apartment where I live with my girlfriend, a dog and a cat.  The new job keeps me busy from 8-4 every day, and my phone rings off the hook the rest of it with questions from my minions…i mean, subordinates…some intelligent, some not so much.  I’ve gotten much better at waking up to my phone ringing in the middle of the night, as it generally rings two or three times around midnight, and a few more time around 4 am.  Being on call 24/7 is definitely not a perk of this job.  Today was my first day late for work, which I don’t feel too bad about since I’m usually here about 20 minutes early.

I feel like I’m really out of practice at this writing thing…it feels kind of foreign.  I suppose it’ll come back to me.

Most people can agree on the Ten Commandments.  Killing is wrong, stealing is wrong, and weekends are for sleeping.  –MM Hacker

Random 2 a.m. post

•28 April 2010 • Leave a Comment

Quote of the Week: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” —Hunter S. Thompson

A post from work once again.  Having completed the hour’s rounds, I thought I’d check my e-mail and RSS feeds.  And lo and behold, Engadget brings me news of some cool stuff, without it being on the subject of Apple or Android (seemingly for the first time in weeks).  It turns out that a professor and group of students at the University of Florida are working on a new, cheaper solution to night vision.  In the last few years, night vision has been coming down in price drastically, to the point that an inexpensive pair of goggles is within the price range of most anyone.  The student’s new method could lower that price by quite a bit more.  But it’s not the price that makes the breakthrough so exciting, but the method and applications.  This new material is an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) film, a thin material made up of minute LED’s powered by luminescent organic compounds, in this case compounds that react to infrared radiation.  This means that instead of  continuing to build today’s complicated night vision goggles, which is complicated, to say the least, all one would have to do is place a layer of the OLED film over normal goggles or binoculars, and…voila!  The team is talking about some pretty interesting applications, including layering the film on car windshields to assist drivers’ vision while driving at night.

Oh, by the way, Apple is taking over the world.  They’ve just started finalizing plans to buy out another company, which brings the amount of companies they’ve acquired recently to…quite a few.  On top of that, some more of Apple’s devious plans have come to light recently, such as their  plan to place unskippable ads on iPods, iPhones, etc.  And these aren’t just annoying ads that you ignore, oh no.  If you don’t respond to them in some manner, even if it’s just to say that you’re not interested, they can make your device stop working: as in disabling the speaker jack on an iPod or not allowing your iPhone to make calls.  Yes, the patent for this system is under review in the US Patent Office as we speak.  As much as people dig at the evil Microsoft mega-corporation, it’s Apple I’m afraid of.  Microsoft comes out, up front, and tells you that they’re out to make money, and that’s pretty much it.  They put out decent to great quality software/hardware and they sell it for the sole purpose of profit.  Steve Jobs and Apple are still trying to convince the world that they are just the underdog trying to market unique products to unique people, people who refuse to bow down to the evil Microsoft empire.  Tell you what, just watch “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” the true story movie of the beginnings of Microsoft and Apple.  What you’re going to learn is that both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are crooked bastards, plain and simple.  But enough ranting on such subjects, it’s almost time for my next rounds.

In the words of comic author Ryan Sohmer:

Because I Can

<edit>4:30 a.m. brings depressing news for Android phone manufacturer HTC.  Apparently, Microsoft lawyers have made the case that Google’s Android operating system infringes on one or more of Microsoft’s massive number of software patents, in one manner or another.  It is, in my personal opinion, one of the problems with intellectual property/copyright law.  Microsoft came up with an idea, wrote the software for it, and now anyone who uses software that even kind of resembles the original Microsoft product might end up on the receiving end of the software giant’s wrath.  Here, HTC opted to save themselves a headache and just pay Microsoft a royalty fee.  So now, a company is being forced to pay Microsoft for the use of Google’s operating system.  Makes you wonder what the possible case between Microsoft and Google might look like.  In a similar recent case, Apple recently received the original design patents on the first gen iPhone, meaning any phone that resembles the iPhone design (read: most smart phones to come out since then) could be in violation of Apple’s patents.</edit>

Modern RPG?

•26 April 2010 • Leave a Comment

After today’s jazz history test, I started thinking about the new high end PC I’m looking to build, which inevitably lead me to thinking about gaming.  The thoughts about gaming lead me to think about RPG’s, which made me wonder why there’s no real, true-to-life RPG with a modern setting.  Oh sure, there are games like the GTA series and Saint’s Row, which are technically RPG-ish, but their massive levels of out-in-the-open violence and law breaking with no real punishment system (like the ability to get away from the cops by driving away really fast, like the local constabulary have never been involved in a high speed chase), create an alternate universe for everything to take place in.  So what I’m looking for out of game designers is a open world RPG with a good story set in the modern world.

Now some people have suggested that no such game has been created because you just can’t come up with a good video game story based in the today’s real world, involving real people without incredible superpowers, without throwing in massive amounts of crime, etc, for the player to indulge in; such a game, they say, would most assuredly be incredibly boring.  I respectfully disagree.  In fact, with a good writer/writing staff, I’m pretty sure that a damn awesome story could be written, possibly in the law enforcement area of things.  Seriously, scan some headlines on the internet, there’s enough crazy… stuff … happening on a regular basis to create some great plot points.  For instance, a few of today’s headlines: “Man Finds Missile Launcher While Gardening,” “Man Killed by Exploding Cell Phone,” and, what the hell, “Goat Arrested for Armed Robbery.”  Thinking back, there was the incident of a man building a homemade tank (a bulldozer covered by a reinforced concrete shell) and setting out to crush the homes/businesses of everyone involved in the loss of his garage.  The police were completely unable to stop the guy, and his rampage only ended because the bulldozer finally gave out, after which it took police several hours to cut through the shell with a oxy-acetylene torch.  And then there was the man that stole an actual tank.  I’m just saying, interesting things happen.

So, barring story issues, I managed to come up with a few reasons why no such game has come out yet.

  • Game designers couldn’t come up with a way for passerby to be heard over the main character’s iPod
  • Everyone is waiting for a special cell phone controller to be developed, since you’ll be far too reliant on your in-game phone to always use the normal controller
  • Nobody wants a video game to remind them how bad the economy is right now
  • “Reality is stranger than fiction” — The video game companies don’t want you to realize just how bat-shit crazy the world really is, just in case you don’t already know

— Most people can agree on the Ten Commandments.  Killing is wrong, stealing is wrong, and weekends are for sleeping.  MM Hacker

Ok, I was wrong

•20 April 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, I thought I was winding down to the smaller stuff, and the rest of the semester would be a breeze.  I was wrong.  Having plotted out my activities for the next two weeks, I’m officially in trouble.  Ah well, such is life.  So, the rundown (the short version)…

  • Finish coding my GUI project
  • Deal with 3 or 4 tests
  • Prepare presentations
  • Finish game design projects
  • Work on apartment stuff
  • Pack up dorm room

So I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks buried one place or another on campus, depending on the time of day.  Oh to add a little content to this post…

Quote of the Week: “Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive … then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman

A New Place, and other happenings

•18 April 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, it’s official.  We put down a deposit on an apartment for next year Friday afternoon.  It’s a decent sized one bedroom place with a pretty nice kitchen and living room area and a small backyard/patio area with just enough space to set up a 12×12 dog kennel.  I’ll be moving in a few days after the school year ends while my girlfriend is in Hungary for a week (I somehow sense I’m getting the short end of the stick here.)  Now I just have to find a floor to crash on for a few days until the current tenant moves out.

In other news, I’ve finally managed to complete a good chunk of my big assignments for the semester, and can finally focus on the smaller stuff.  Woohoo.  Hmmm… Well, I don’t have as many other happenings to talk about as I thought, so I’ll just share a picture and move on.