Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Apocalypse now

If the Katrina hurricane and stampede in Baghdad (over 600 dead) is not convincing enough for you, here are "other top stories" currently displayed on CNN. The end is near. Repent! (Alternatively, you can put paper bags over your heads.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Important message from Katrina to all New Orleans Christians

Dear Christians. It seems there are now only three possibilities:
  1. You are bad Christians and you are being punished.
  2. God is evil bastard.
  3. God does not exist.
Think about it before rebuilding that church...

Even the homeless want their hair to feel nice and natural

Even the homeless want to have nice hair

Monday, August 29, 2005

CNN = teh L33T!

CNN is apparently at the forefront of digital frontier frontlines. Just now, after the hurricane Katrina report, the anchorwoman explained that "We were watching this report because of the new technology called 'FTP'. That basically means he shot the video and sent it to us using the computer!" I hope I will be able to use this technology someday, too.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Stonehenge is fake

Interesting article here. It seems that, unbeknownst to most, today's Stonehenge has very little in common with what originally stood there - it was "rebuilt" during the last century! See how Stonehenge looked in 19th century. Would you recognize it?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wonders of Japanese porn

The creativity of Japanese minds also encompasses the field of porn industry. (This is my photo of a small part of Tokyo shop. Yes, that's all porn.) I wanted to write something about it for a long time but this guy does it better. His opinions also stem from more intimate knowledge because he actually screwed the Japanese canned vagina.

Field of dreams

Field of dreams

Yes, actually, this is not a field. Thanks to all agriculturists.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I am a proud Pastafarian

From time to time, weird Christian (Mormon, Jehovist, whatever) people stop me on the street and explain to me that God exists or - worse - that I need him.

pict001.jpg

If this happens to you, the absolutely worst thing you can do is to point out inconsistencies in the Bible and try to prove that God does not exist. This is bad idea because Christians know Bible better than you and you cannot prove God does not exist when no one is even sure what the words "God exists" mean. The only correct way is to "put ball back into their court" and explain that you indeed believe in God. This will make them happy at first but then you drop the "bombshell" - the God you believe in is different than their God.

It's best to use some kind of God which is not very well known to the Christians. Satan works really well if you explain that "your Satan" has nothing to do with "Satan" in the Bible (of course "Bible is pack of lies, created by the real Satan to confuse people" etc., etc...). When you use Satan, the discussion usually ends really quickly. If you have enough time, you can choose something more original. I sometimes used "Purple Gelatinous Cube" as my God (of course, nobody can prove that "Purple Gelationous Cube" did not create the universe). But now, I have new God: Flying Spaghetti Monster!



Flying Spaghetti Monster consists of two eyes, two meatballs and spaghetti. It created the whole universe, its followers are called The Pastafarians, dress as pirates (if possible) and their prayers are ended with "Ramen". In reality, it was created because of Evolution and Kansas School Board (if you are American, you probably know about it, if you are not, you probably wouldn't believe it) - you can read about it here and remember - this is not a joke or parody. This is really happening in the U.S.!

Flying Spaghetti Monster's homepage is here. But God does not need homepage. If you let FSM enter your heart, you WILL KNOW THE TRUTH. Ask yourself: What is more believable? Flying spaghetti with eyes or God who is his own son and the dove at the same time? I cannot wait for my next encounter with a rabid Christian (Jehovist, Mormon, whatever). Arrrrrr, shiver my timbers!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Don't dream it, be it

When I grow up and become rich, I want my house to look just like this one.



The 180 rooms on the right will be for the dogs (60 for Chucky, 120 for Albert, because he is bigger). Also, there will be sharks with laser beams in the pool and chocolate waterfall.

At last, alternate sender address in GMail

Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Google Talk launch, one important GMail improvement almost got lost: You are now able to easily use different "From:" and "Reply-to:" fields in the e-mails sent from your GMail account. Just go to "Settings" and click the "Accounts" tab. You can now be fuka@fuxoft.cz as easily as pooh@kompost.cz. (Of course there is rather nifty mechanism in place to prevent fake headers and spamming.)

Also, to sign-up with GMail, new users no longer require personal invites if they live in the U.S. and have text/message capable mobile phone. If this does not apply to you, you are interested in GMail and you still don't have the account (is this even possible?), just drop me an e-mail to fuka@fuxoft.cz with the subject "GMail Invite".

DNS + DHCP home network supermini-HOWTO

I have small home network (one router connected to the outside internet, three desktop computers connected to the router) and I had problems configuring the hostnames correctly. The router ran Debian Linux with BIND9 as the nameserver for the whole network and DHCP server which "leased" the IP addresses to the other computers. The problem was that I was unable to dynamically allocate the hostnames so that, for example, I could do "ping fuxoftlaptop" from all my computers, without configuring all of them for fuxoftlaptop's static address (not to mention the more complicated case when the assigned addresses are dynamic). I knew it could be done but I was unable to do it without becoming an expert at BIND9 and DHCP servers configuration.

The solution is called DNSMASQ. It replaces both BIND9 and DHCP servers, its configuration is simple and it's more than sufficient for small home networks. After moving into our new flat (with different Internet addresses), I can just change a line or two in the router config and all my computers will be instantly connected. Hopefully...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Siesta

Siesta

Talk @ Google

Today, Google launched its Instant Messaging service, Google Talk. I cannot check out the application itself (it's only available for Windows 2000/XP) but that doesn't mean I cannot use the service.

The nice thing is, Google Talk uses Open Source Jabber Protocol (already used by many clients) and that means I can use my Jabber-compatible GAIM Linux client to be online as "fuxoft" on Google Talk at the same time I am online as "2745855" on ICQ.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid there is currently no way for non-Windows users to use the voice chat on Google Talk. On the other hand, it seems that Google Talk Windows client doesn't support file transfers yet...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The storm is coming

The storm is coming

(Taken from our balcony and slightly Gimp-ed.)

Katok.ru

While watching CNN, I saw a segment about Russian figure skating where the coach had "katok.ru" imprinted on his back ("katok" = "ice skating rink").

After visiting katok.ru, I'm afraid there is something fishy about the Russian figure skating federation!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sudoku (part 2)

Concerning the previous Sudoku post: The best online implementation is probably here. It's written in Flash, you can easily copy it to your hard drive.

The best FREE implementation for Palm PDA is here (although the random puzzle generator currently sucks). There are other (non-free) implementations.

And no, really, I've never before heard about Sudoku (also called "Number Place"). I don't read printed newspapers.

UPDATE: The Flash page linked above generates puzzles (on "Hard" setting) with more than one solution! I guess these are not valid Sudoku puzzles...

UPDATE 2: "Anonymous" wrote that "official Sudoku puzzles" actually have to be symmetrical (which is NOT true for most of the puzzles I found on the web). See Wikipedia entry.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Indecent Proposal

pict0632.jpg
Today, when walking near the Old Town Square (the biggest number of foreign tourists per square meter), I was stopped by a foreign man (dark skin, broken English) with a small daughter.

First he asked what kind of dog Albert is. When I explained to him that Albert is either very big Chihuahua (6 kg) or a very special mix of Chihuahua and whatever (dachshund???) - in any case, he is unique - he offered me $1000 to buy Albert on the spot!!!

I declined. And I felt good. I hope one day I'll be able to explain this to Albert.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Three small things

  1. For the readers from Czech Republic: I still didn't sell my flat at Vinohrady (which I have to do before I can move to the new one). If you are interested, or know someone who is, show him this link, please. The price has now been lowered to 3,150,000 CZK.
  2. For the readers who are natural English speakers: Can someone please explain to me why exactly is "Fuxoft" considerect provocative nickname? Does it sound like "F*ck soft"? Or like "F*cks oft[en]"? Or simply because it starts with "F*x..."?
  3. I started experimenting with what can be done with my cheap digital camera and Gimp. I think some of the results are - (how to put it without insulting the people who understand photography?) - interesting. Like this rubber teddybear...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Feed your brain

Today, I saw a book called "Sudoku" in the local bookstore, proclaiming "Revolutionary worldwide hit - wordless crosswords". If something is worldwide hit, I presumed I could also find it on Internet. And I did. The idea is extremely simple. The puzzle is always a grid of 9x9 small squares (or, in other words, 3x3 big squares, each consisting of 3x3 small squares). Some of the squares have numbers in them. For example:



Your task is always the same: "Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains all the digits 1 through 9." That's all. This might take from 10 to 30 minutes of your time. There is always only a single solution. For the problem above, the solution is:



This reminds me a little bit of my favorite old GameBoy game "Mario's Picross", also known as CrossPix, Nonograms, Griddlers, CryptoPics and under other names.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Truly cross-platform UI?

O.K., I still want to create some more games in my life. I have some ideas (more precisely "pre-ideas"). I don't have much time (more precisely, I don't have much time for things which won't bring me any money). But I want to try.

I have tried many, many, many programming languages, libraries and IDEs. However obscure they were, I at least TRIED them. Unfortunately, the languages that seemed most elegant and promising to me (namely Smalltalk and Eiffel) are actually used by so few people that I am basically unable to do anything more complex in them. Please note the use of "I am". The fact is that I PERSONALLY am unable to devote time to "grokking" the concepts that are undocumented and/or badly implemented and the respective user bases are so small, it's matter of pure luck how soon your questions are answered in mailing lists/newsgroups. Again note that I PERSONALLY am unable to work in this way. When I have three hours in a week to devote to my hobby, it's simply unacceptable for me to stop working after one hour, post a question to forum, and then wait several days for an answer.

Note that I am in no way bitching about the lack of support for these (and other languages). I think that both Smalltalk and Eiffel (more precisely: their free implementations) are great concepts and the fact that their user base is so small is a sad testament to the current status quo.

Speaking about status quo: Unless I will be paid very large sums of money, I will never voluntarily program in C/C++ or Java. It's out of question for me to develop my pet fun free project in these languages (with enormous user bases) which I consider aberrations. I know, I know, it's not a wise business decision or a wise decision at all - I am not necessarily businessman or wise person. I simply did not see any semblance of FUN in these languages. That doesn't mean I think you are stupid if you use them.

So, during my attempts to to strike balance between "language beauty" and "sufficiently large user base" factors (which seem to be mutually exclusive), I settled on Ruby which seems to me like a cross between Python and Smalltalk.

Now we are finally getting to the point...

With the language choice hopefully solved, I had to start thinking about the UI. First of all, the game will consist of text and simple (VERY SIMPLE) graphics (which will be put mostly to informative use - arrows, icons, simple tile-based diagrams). That's the necessary choice because I am not more of an artist today than I was 20 years ago:



(Hahahahaha!)

Secondly, the game will contain lots of text. In Czech. Everything is developed in UNICODE, thus the UI has to support it. (Surprising number of widely-used libraries don't.)

The game will be controlled mostly by clicking and "mousing over" (with text boxes popping up). There will be keyboard shortcuts and there will be some SIMPLE real-time interaction (press the required sequence of keys in the required time etc...). In any case, 99% of it will NOT BE REAL-TIME. Also, I think I don't need any sound, although some MOD/MP3 playing routines would be nice.

Now, another "problem" is that I am currently using Linux (Debian) and I am booting into Widows only once or twice each month, when I absolutely need to use FL Studio or other applications which have no Linux equivalents (there's much less of them than I initially thought, I am happy to report).

This means another problem: I am developing the game under Linux. (Using only free software.) Of course I am not ENTIRELY stupid and I want the finished game to be available to Windows users. However, I don't want to spend much time converting it. Or, rather, I don't want to spend almost ANY time converting it to Windows / other platforms. That means many supposedly "cross-platform" libraries like TK or SDL are also out of question. Furthermore, I need clear instructions for average non-stupid person to download required stuff and run my Linux game under Windows.

All of this led me to conclusion that might seem absurd at first, but the more I think about it the more sense it makes. I will use Firefox as the UI!

Now, think about it: Almost everyone either has installed or is able to install Firefox. Almost everyone is able to download and install Ruby (even the Mac guys, I think). The game itself will run its own simple webserver (Webrick is included in the default Ruby installation) which will be more than enough because it will only run locally and serve the single local player. There is no problem with Czech text and simple graphics in HTML. When I see the UIs at gmail.com or maps.google.com, I am pretty sure I can create pop-up infoboxes and keyboard interactivity exactly as I want. I think I won't even need to use AJAX but it brings even more interesting possibilities to the table.

Of course, I know most of the people would prefer single clickable .EXE file. Well, tough luck.

Anyway, all of this does not mean I will ever finish anything, of course. But it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to think about it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Kryspin gets evil and interactive

Just two short observations: Kryspin really has evil eyes and Kryspin gets interactive (AVI, 6 MB). My next goal: To teach him to play Metal Gear Solid.

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Hillbilly art"?

I stumbled upon great paintings by Jesse Wiedel. I don't know if he's amateur painter or if he cunningly impersonates amateur painter. I know I could probably find out easily but I really don't care and I don't want to spoil the impression. His works remind me of the stuff I see painted on amusement park rides.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

1000 MB of rising sun

Finally, I was able to upload all my photos from two trips to Tokyo - 2002 (120 photos) and 2004 (over 1100 photos!!!).



If some of the photos seem suspiciously non-Japanese (e.g. Mayan pyramid), that's probably because they were taken in one of Tokyo's Disney resorts.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Kobliha no more

It's official. Our cat is now called Kryspin.



Not a bad choice. He definitely has some of Crispin Glover's personality...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Railroad by foot (and Dick)

Today, I took the dogs for a "little" walk. We started at Prague's Main Station (Hlavni nadrazi) and went to Vysocany (to have a look at our new flat). The catch is, we went mostly ALONG THE RAILWAY TRACKS and saw some fascinating sights. See the whole photoset here. It's amazing how much decay and dead things you can find literally few meters from the busiest streets.



Cat name update: Karolina came up with "Dick"! I emphatically agreed ("Our pussy is now called Dick!!!"), however, several hours later, she became suspicious why I'm smiling all the time and remembered her English lessons... :(

"Bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist"

OK, this is it. Israeli soldiers are now shooting Israeli Arabs (and then being lynched by them, it seems). This would mean that war on terror is officially over and the terror has won. Congratulations, terror.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Say no to politically correct fairy tales!

This might seem like a joke but it's really true. While in the bookstore, I saw nicely illustrated children's book "Little Red Riding Hood". I picked it up nostalgically and flicked through the pages (less than 20 in total) to be shocked. The whole plot was "slightly changed": No one gets eaten at all and, in the end, grandmother and Little Red are discovered hiding in the closet! What the hell is that? I don't want this crap for my (future) children. I want blood and freudian symbolism!



To calm myself, I immediately had to visit SurLaLune fairy tales page, read the original version(s) and excellent analysis of this and other fairy tales. Bring back Brothers Grimm and Andersen!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

How fast is God, exactly?

Another nice example that most of Czech media outlets take their stories verbatim from one single news agency: No matter what story about the latest space shuttle launch I watch or read, the words "I wish you godspeed" are always translated as "I wish you to be as fast as the God"...

The hunt goes on

Based on your requests below my previous post, there are now some photos of our cat's pubic area here and here. Do YOU see anything resembling penis or testicles? I sure don't.

Also, the name "Kobliha" ("donut") has now been deemed unsuitable by Karolina, so we have to think of something else. So far, all of "Satan", "Asmodeus" and "Nekobus" were nixed.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Kobliha's dark side

It seems the previous pussy reports were greatly exaggerated. Thanks to the medical expertise of well-known animal doctor, we are now sure that Kobliha is male. WTF?

Monday, August 01, 2005

London calling

If there's no money to go to Tokyo, I enjoy visiting London. My last visit was on the 2004/2005 New Year and now, thanks to the miracle of Flickr, you can see the photos.

Mind you, I don't care about galleries and statues of famous dead people very much. You'll see Sigmund Freud action figure, pro-Bin Ladin poster and George W. Bush family paper dolls...

UPDATE: Now also available: London 2001 and London 2003.