September 2022 is no more. Life started getting in the way of blogging frequently, with “only” 6 posts, compared to 10 in July and 9 in August. That’s still more than 1 a week so no reason to panick. Most of my keyboard strokes went towards my new book The Creative Programmer which is finally released in early access! A last peer review of the rest of the manuscript is due this week and we hope to start the production process for the final version somewhere in November.
In the meantime, I’ve been given green light to defend my PhD somewhere in June 2023. There’s one more paper to hopefully get accepted today, one more to write, and then even more keyboard action will be required to put out a dissertation. Luckily, I can reuse the bulk of my paper texts, but it’s got to be a coherent whole, with a main story line woven in. I hope that all Creative Programmer manuscript work is done by then. Over the course of the last the last few months, it felt like one of those irritating open tabs in your browser that you constantly think and worry about, but are afraid to close because you might still need it. Juggling too many balls can be dangerous…
Previous month in review: August 2022.
Books I’ve read
This month, I finished:
- Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitin, a 568 page book that could loose more than a few pounds but at its core contains many interesting messages. I did pick up a few notes and integrated them into my work. 3/5—I liked it.
- The Many-Colored Land by Julian May. A pioneering sci-fi/fantasy that takes place in a distant future where they discover a portal back to the Pliocene era. Guess what: four million years ago, the Earth was (temporary) inhabited by aliens that partly shared our genes. It’s a classic from the eighties that I somehow never read. 4/5—really good.
- The Polymath by Peter Burke. See my notes in the Polymathy blog post of last month. 3/5—I liked it.
For October, I spotted a few walking related philosophy books (or the other way around) in a local book store that we convinced to walk back home.
Games I’ve played
In case you’ve been living under a rock: on April Fool’s Day, Ron Gilbert surprised the world with a Monkey Island announcement he’s been working on in secrecy for 2 years. It already hit the (virtual) shelves in September, so naturally, we had to play it. A friend shares our Monkey enthusiasm and bought it for my birthday, thanks Luk! Is it any good, you ask? Yes yes yes! See my lengthy review.
To properly enjoy Return To Monkey Island, you need to have played at least the first two games, The Secret of Monkey Island and LeChuck’s Revenge. In anticipation of the release, we replayed those for the 4th or so time. The jokes, the atmosphere, the puzzles, …—more than 30 years later, they still get to us. What a classic. No wonder I have two posters of Steve Purcell’s artwork put up in my home office.
As an aside, Google announced it will be shutting down Stadia in January, its game streaming service. And yet, they can’t resist putting out dumb statements like this:
We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google […] - as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed.
Yeah right, the future of gaming: streaming (lending) stuff off a giant that decides whether or not you get a frame. I’ll pass. That reminds me, I bought a few new old Game Boy carts I still need to try out!
Selected (blog) posts
- Generating art from lattice graphs by alexwlchan. I love these inventive Python-powered pieces of art.
- Firefly Sanctuary is a website of a home where a physical guestbook is filled in by visitors. Both ideas are great!
- The myth of the developer that can’t code by Neil Sainsbury. I do have my own hypothesis on this one that agrees to disagree but it’s nice to evoke a bit of discussion. By the way, hiring is broken by Behroozi et al. is a great related paper to read.
- There’s a RSS Club set up by Dave Rupert? The idea is to publish some posts exclusive as RSS items. It’s an idea. Not a good one, but an idea nonetheless.
- OPL2LPT: an AdLib sound card for the parallel port by Vincent Bernat. I love pictures of ISA cards, especially if they include a Monkey Island big box.
- Pathfinding demystified by Gabriel Gambetta. Very technical and informative. Gabriel’s posts, like emulator-backed remakes, are amazing but very dense.
- The Beautiful Diablo 2: Resurrected Machine by Fabien Sanglard. Fabien also explains in great detail their looting and Mephisto run tactics, just like old times.
- Loneliness in academia by Daniel Lemire. Isn’t it telling that I stumbled upon this post for the third time this year? Sigh.
- If I Die Before My Wife by De Wet Blomerus. Investment advice passed on.
- Compressing and embedding a Worlde word list by Chris Wellons. I wish I was as fluent in algorithm juggling as Chris.
Other random links
- Spacemacs—because “the best editor is neither Emacs nor Vim. It’s Emacs and Vim!”. I’m too scared to try it out though.
- The research group Brains on Code conducts empirical software engineering research related using behavioral, eye-tracking, and neuroimaging studies to understand program comprehension.
- The GraalVM Java VM has a high-performance Ruby code interpreter called TruffleRuby. On that note, I was surprised there are so many JDKs available, and sites like https://whichjdk.com/ or https://sdkman.io/ exist to help you navigate them.
- With Stackaid.us, you can fund all open source dependencies at once: it distributes a sum among projects' direct and indirect dependencies. Currently limited to JS projects.
- According to Ruben Schade, Scoop is a better Windows package manager than Chocolatey.
- Peanut-GB, a Game Boy emulator on a Playdate? Wow!