Not enough ph34r.

One word that I've never picked up from l33tspeak is the word ph34r (fear). I ought to start using ph34r more often; chances are pretty good that I won't, but I still like the idea a bunch. I also need to work on getting the phrase "raging it" better entrenched into the common lingo amongst my friends.

Ah slang, I love you so.

Fish are good college pets

So, I'm sitting here watching Mr. Tickles do his thing and it occurs to me that fish make for extremely good pets in college. The best thing about fish is the ease of taking care of them. I feed my fish two or three times a day and then every few weeks I have to change some of the water or change the filter. Compare what I have to do to what someone with a dog, cat or rodent has to do. A cat owner has to change the kitty litter frequently, feed the cat, train the cat to use the kitty litter and make sure that the cat never manages to get away. The owner of a dog has to house train it, take it for walks, pay attention to it and so on. Rodents are much closer to fish as far as attention needed to keep them alive, except that their cages need to be cleaned more thoroughly and more frequently.

There is, however, one slight problem with fish, notably, it's harder to get a fish that's interesting and has some personality than most other types of animal. The solution to this problem is found in one of two ways: selecting your fish very carefully or getting lucky; I managed to latter. So, as might have been inferred from the beginning of the previous paragraph, Mr. Tickles is my fish. Tickles (as I refer to him when I don't want to bother with many syllable) is a Tiger Oscar (Astronotus Ocellatus), of the family Cichlidae (the cichlids). The noteworthy thing about Oscars is that they're large aggressive fish. Right now, Tickles is about 6"-8" and will grow to about 10"-15" eventually. His personality would be hard to classify as he's got quite a bit of it for a fish (I got lucky), but suffice it to say that he's a rather fun character and I've really taken to him.

That Tickles is aggressive and big means some amusing things in the future. Supposedly, his breed of fish will not only eat most things (living or otherwise) but will also eat creatures up to slightly larger than himself. This of course will be great when I get off my lazy ass and hunt down some other fish for him to eat. I would have done so before, but difficulty arises in that many fish carry dangerous parasites and the feeder fish at the local PetCo™ carry fatal ones to oscars. He does eat sushi, leftover Chinese, hotdogs and all sorts of other such things.

All in all, I'm quite fond of Tickles and very glad that I got him.

Oh yeah, this one time he bit Kurt; that was funny.

Ozone Beast, such a good friend you are

So, there's this irritating little thing about my personal web page, namely, the internet (google and MIT's search service) see fit to index it as being at and not as the preferred gwax based domain. Needless to say, it irritates me to have a domain name and then have search service ignore it, so I've gone and used php to tack on a little note at the top if anyone tries to access it without using a gwax domain name. Try visiting it via ozone-beast if you want to see the note, or don't bother if you don't care.

While, I'm on the subject of ozone-beast, let me just say how much I love that machine. Mind you, ozone-beast isn't a very good computer, but it's massive and awesome. Ozone-beast is a dual Pentium something-or-other, with a few hundred megs of RAM and 16GB of RAID5. I've failed to put a number of different OSes on the beast including Windows 2k, Debian and some others, but have managed to get NT4 working fine. Ozone-beast runs all of my DNS and my personal web server.

Ozone-beast might sound like a funny name, but it's got perfectly reasonable roots. When I first got the thing it pumped out gobs of ozone and made a terrible amount of noise. It's a beast and it makes ozone, hence ozone-beast. Now it doesn't pump out nearly so much ozone (I suspect that the fans were the cause of that), but it certainly makes just as much noise. I usually have a love-hate relationship with most of my computers, but not ozone-beast, there's no hate there.

Ooh, I almost forgot, it's got wheels too.

Methinks it's time for some updates

So, I'm sitting here working at Random Hall's front desk (which is, incidentally, a really boring job) and it occurs to me that I should get some of my web presence up to date. I update my personal web page pretty frequently but they're mostly updates of the incremental variety (e.g. fix this spelling/grammar error, update that little piece of information, etc.) and I think that it's probably about time to do a bit of a revamping of sorts. I'll probably keep the same layout that I've already got because I'm rather fond of it, but I'll toss some content, add new bits, and so forth, but there's one little bit of this whole thing that I'm pretty torn about and it relates to this here blog. Namely, I don't know if I want to link to my blog from my main page or not.

Whether or not to link to my blog from my personal page is a complicated issue. On the one hand, there are people that look at my web page and know about my webpage that I would like to know about my blog and yet, on the other hand, there are people that know of my web page that I don't know if I'd want to read my blog. The most notable cases being my parents and possible employers. This issue is compounded by the fact that I've just started out on this whole blog thing and I haven't really established a good enough rapport to know what the rating level is going to be. Chances are I won't want to feel obliged to keep this thing PG and I expect that I'll probably shoot for about PG-13 or so.

I think that the best way to go about this is to just not worry about it at all. I'll just link my web page up to this and deal with this blog as I feel like. Worst case scenario, I spoil someone's innocent impressions of me or something, but that kind of thing is bound to happen eventually with most people.

Posted from Athena

I was a little bit concerned with trying to find a way to post to my blog when I wasn't at my personal computer. This problem has now been solved as exemplified by the fact that I am writing this post from an Athena dialup machine and will be posting it from here too.


6.270's a' happenin'

So, I'm doing this here 6.270 - Autonomous Robot Design Competition as my thing this IAP. To sum it up in a brief little chunk, basically, a lot of people make some robots out of Lego and control them using these Handyboard things, which are just fancy little control boards that let you make simple robots. All of the robots (60 teams worth) will then be pitted against each other in a set of qualifying rounds and then a big double elimination competition.

Now, that the cursory explanation for those out of the loop is done, some other details. My team consists of myself and that Muth kid. Muth's a good kid; I like him and I think that we'll manage to do pretty damned well with this competition thing. We've already figured out our strategy for trying to win and it seems pretty solid and more importantly, simple. Since we've got a good hold on what we're going to be doing and how we're going to do it, we've taken up being a bit arrogant, but I think that it's not totally unfounded. Following are some of the amusing things that exemplify this arrogance:

  • Planning to be done 1-2 weeks before the competition
  • Planning to sit around getting wasted while everyone is frantically trying to make theirs work when the deadline is upon them
  • Fielding a placebo robot for qualifiers
  • Naming our robot "# Awesome", where # is the number of points that we will be earning in every round.
  • Not using the extra batteries
  • Not using the expansion board

Anyway, the list continues, but the basic point is that we think that we've got this competition in the bag and we're going to be jackasses about it. It will be pretty damned fun to be better than the rest of MIT and lord it over them. Admittedly, if we fuck up, then we're just a pair of idiot jerks, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Progress Quest

Last night a friend informed me of a revolutionary new computer role-playing game, Progress Quest. The really interesting bit is that it seems to be very rather unlike any other such game that I've ever seen. The primary difference is that it is, what's best referred to as, a fire-and-forget role-playing game. Besides the fire-and-forget bit, which I will get into in a momentarily, the game plays like other such games (Diablo, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, etc.), except in that it's a little lacking on the visuals. It even includes net-play for those that prefer to have companions.

The game runs under Windows and there don't seem to be any ports to other platforms. The system requirements are incredibly minimal, requiring about 6MB or RAM and using an average of 0%-1% of my CPU.

So, about the fire-and-forget bit; you start out the game, just the same as you would start any other computer (and many non-computer) role-playing games, by rolling up a character, selecting a race and selecting a class. The character creation system informs you of the fact that the games atmosphere is not a terribly serious one, but humor does not a bad game make. The interesting bit comes in after you have made your character and begin play. The controls and interface are fairly simple; the interface is a standard, fairly detailed character sheet and there are no controls. No controls, you might ask, well then how do I play and develop my character? The answer to that is simple; it's a fire-and-forget role-playing game, so your character will do all the work for you. Your character will run around adventuring, killing random monsters and making progress on his quests. This might strike you as a bit odd at first, but give it a little time and you'll find that it really grows on you (and not like a fungus or a tumor).

I strongly recommend that you take look at it; it's quite a lot of fun. And if you find yourself playing online, feel free to look me up, I go as "Contrad the 70th" amd I play in the realm of Oobog. Contrad the 70th, named after a brand labratory soap produced by Decon Labs, is of the Land Squid race and a member of the Bastard Lunatic class. As of this post, Contrad is level 13 and I hope to play enough to get him to a significantly higher level; after all, it is IAP and I will have plenty of time on my hands.

i'm content

Ok, so I think that I've gotten this blog thing set up to my heart's content. Now I think that I'll probably go about finding other ways to waste my time for a while.

Oh, by the way, if my banter seems a bit inane and boring, it's probably because I just started on this blog thing. So bear with me, it'll probably take a little while for the perterbations to work their way out and for me to reach a steady-state.


Well, I've finally gone and sold out (again). Here's my new blog. As of right now it's pretty much a work in progress, so we'll see where it gets to from here. Heck I might even abandon it if I'm not sufficiently amused. But all that is, as we say, in the future.