December 31st, 2030
hairyears: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] hairyears at 11:59pm on 31/12/2030 under
I've been reviewing and correcting broken links in the old LJ-Imported posts of my 'home' journal*.

I've interacted, briefly, with an awful lot of people over the last decade-and-a-bit. Most have stopped posting and many have deleted their old LJs; a few are now active on Dreamwidth and if I've recently granted you access, it's a throwback to some long-forgotten comment or a longer conversation that we never got around to restarting.

It's interesting reading my older posts: some of them are "Wow! Was I ever that good as a writer?"; most are dull, and many of them are toe-curlingly self-centred and best left unread. But I wrote them and hit 'Post' and they can stay there: Facebook's the place for the polished and redacted picture; here is where you get the warts and all.

Interesting, too, that my best writing and the most interesting things that I've found to say are in the comments I have posted on your journals: I might sometimes be a passably skilful writer (or an appalling Limericist) but I am not a particularly original one and I am at my best with ideas and the inspiration other people offer me.

And that is all ephemeral, for comments elsewhere do not get imported by the Dreamwidth import engine: and they were never mine to 'own' for they are in other peoples' spaces, and insired by their ideas.

So: Hi. Remember me? I'm posting a bit more, and trying to keep up with the reading list. And that, alas, has become much easier to do, even if I only catch up at weekends.

If there's a comment of mine that you actually remember, post a link to it - or copy-and-paste the entire thing here, into a comment about a comment.





* (footnote) )
October 18th, 2017
jack: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jack at 09:37pm on 18/10/2017 under , , ,
Spoilers )
jack: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jack at 01:34pm on 18/10/2017 under
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.
October 16th, 2017
jack: (Default)
You know that weird feeling where your tests sometimes pass and sometimes don't, and you eventually realise they're not deterministic? But it took a while to notice because you kept changing things to debug the failing tests and only slowly realised that every "whether it succeeded or not" change didn't follow changing the code?

In this case, there were some failing tests and I was trying to debug some of them, and the result was the same every time, but only when I ran a failing test by itself and it passed did I realise that the tests weren't actually independent. They weren't actually non-deterministic in that the same combination of tests always had the same result, but I hadn't realised what was going on.

And in fact, I'd not validated the initial state of some tests enough, or I would have noticed that what was going wrong was not what the test *did* but what it started with.

I was doing something like, there was some code that loaded a module which contained data for the game -- initial room layout, rules for how-objects-interact, etc. And I didn't *intend* to change that module. Because I'm used to C or C++ header files, I'd forgotten that could be possible. But when I created a room based on the initial data, I copied it without remembering to make sure I was actually *copying* all the relevant sub-objects. And then when you move stuff around the room, that (apparently) moved stuff around in the original copy in the initialisation data module.

And then some other test fails because everything has moved around.

Once I realised, I tested a workaround using deepcopy, but I need to check the one or two places where I need a real copy and implement one there instead.

Writing a game makes me think about copying objects a lot more than any other sort of programming I've done.
October 10th, 2017
jack: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jack at 02:19pm on 10/10/2017 under , ,
I've read several examples of sociopathic characters in several different books, and been left with a bunch of thoughts.

Read more... )

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