Older blog entries for Spooky (starting at number 69)

Time for the silly book game !

The instructions are: Grab the nearest book, open it to page 23, find the 5th sentence, post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

The effects of the coupling to the light field and spontaneous emission can be added independently.

Obviously I am at work. If I was at home it would have been from the Camel Book, but Luis probably needs a break from Perl. I considered moving the laptop closer to a more interesting book. Unfortunately more interesting books don't necessarily have a more interesting page 23. Besides, it would be cheating (and I can't do the typesetting that some of them would have required).


Thanks to work from Theo van Klaveren gnibbles now scales and uses SVG graphics. Colour-blind gnibbles players will be pleased to know that the bonuses are now different shapes, although the snakes are still all the same.

Theme selection has returned to aisleriot so it should now be basically what it was in terms of functionality. Thanks to Aaron Schlaegel we also have one and two-suit versions of spider for those who actually want to win a spider game slightly more often than a transit of Venus.


The Dog (who is really a cat) caught his first mouse today. I've been waiting for this: Both cats have been catching insects for some time now and have been slowly working their way up in size. At first it was cicadas, then a weta, and more recently centipedes. The cicadas were OK, they ate them without much fuss, however a centipede will keep a cat occupied for ages. They would bring it into the house, let it go and watch it crawl away. Just as it gets out of reach they flick it back towards them and watch it crawl away again. Eventually the centipede succumbs to this abuse and dies at which point it gets left in the middle of the floor. Cats are be complete bastards.

26 Apr 2004 (updated 26 Apr 2004 at 05:38 UTC) »

I've finally got around to attacking the back-log of patches for gnome-games, but there are still a few to go. If you've got one currently submitted and don't see anything happening within a week prod me. Luis' new patch-status query is telling me I've got a lot more to do than I expected which I suppose means that it's achieved it's purpose.

The new features in gnome-games from the patch list include a new (harder) AI for Iagno (thanks to Bevan Collins) and a new Mahjongg layout (from Rexford Newbould). Two patches I hope to include soon are for gnibbles rescaling (and SVG graphics) and a better way to customise key controls.

Oh yeah, I also changed the name of Lines to "Five or More" since that is a little less generic.

One of my fellow physicists has just given a talk on his research program. The core of his proposed project is a wafer of diamond coated in gold. He assures us there are good technical reasons for this.


My time in the US gave me enough understanding of american life and politics to appreciate the Doonesbury cartoons. I regularly follow them on the web and yesterdays (depending on timezone) cartoon strip was fairly stunning. However I'm clearly still don't fully understand Doonesbury when it seems more people are shocked by B.D.'s helmet coming off after 30-something years than the fact that his leg has been blown off. I suppose some things you have to grow up with (I defy any non-New Zealander to fully understand Footrot Flats).


I've produced a web-page describing how to get started with hacking Gnome Games. It is meant to be a HOWTO style document for the person who hasn't dealt with GNOME before and in theory this could (should ?) be generalised for GNOME as a whole. Feedback is more than welcome.

Before Ali points out that I mention jhbuild but not cvsgnome, I'll just say that I haven't forgotten about cvsgnome, but when questions get asked on games-list about build systems (as they will, because I've mentioned them on the web-page) I'd prefer it to be about the one I know something about. Sorry.

Stupid trick of the day

Sort files in your tarball by file type, not name. For a moderately mixed case like gnome-games bringing similar files together knocks 3% off the compressed file size (both gzip and bzip2). The trade-off is of course that bouncing randomly between directories is a great way to negate the effectiveness of the directory cache while decompressing.

Aisleriot now scales ! The code is in CVS. It's not quick and the code is awful (I kept changing the design of one end of the code and the other end hasn't caught up yet). I'm not sure I put all the new files in CVS either. Also, don't expect to be able to change the theme either, you're stuck with a badly scaled version of the old bonded PNG theme. All I can really guarantee is that I can play klondike on my machine.

Those of you who want to write SVG themes, look at bonded-new.png and copy that layout.

Maybe now I can pay more attention to the backlog of patches in bugzilla.

I purchased a USB to serial converter today. From the safety recommendations section of the manual:

When installing your USB to Serial Converter, do the following to avoid possible electric shock and damage to your system:

1. Turn off all power to your computer.

2. Unplug all cables connected to your computer, including the power cord.

3. Ground yourself by touching a metallic object before handling the USB to Serial Adapter and before installing the USB to Serial Adapter.

It doesn't end there, two pages later from the Hardware Installation section:

Follow the instructions below to install your USB to Serial Converter.

1. Power on your computer ...


People have been trying to contact me on IRC recently and of course they have failed miserably because I'm not very good at changing my nick to indicate I'm working, sleeping, or just generally not paying attention. Sorry.


At least I can answer one of the questions posed to me on IRC: how is the Aisleriot resizing code going ? The answer is very well thank you, expect big things to hit CVS in a day or so.

Python and Scheme

To those who want to rewrite aisleriot in python: you are sick and need help. Even if you could write the undo/redo code as elegantly and transparently in python as you can in scheme I will still be laughing scornfully at your impudence. Oh yeah, and emacs rocks way more than any other editor, ever, and KDE sucks and ...

The disturbing bit is I believe some of what I have just written.

11 Apr 2004 (updated 14 Apr 2004 at 10:58 UTC) »
GNOME Bugzilla

Fixed an 80000 series bug. Woohoo ! Only two whole years. I have older bugs on my list, but most are feature requests (fixing the remaining one requires finding a machine running OSF/1).


More scaling work has hit CVS. The cards don't change size yet, but the layout does. Some games don't work because they still try and set the geometry in a pixel-oriented fashion, but most seem to work. I'm working through those issues now and once done will move onto the actual cards themselves which should now be straight-forward. Unfortunately real life keeps seeming to interpose itself between me and hacking, but thats not all bad.

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