No more LJDecember 16, 2010. 11:21 AM.
I've decided, what with the incessant insertion of ad scripts into my ad-free page, the lack of usable features, the rapidly-diminishing community, and the always-hovering notion that people who post on LJ are drama whores stuck in the past, I've decided to move my blog.

The new URL is http://jeffreyatw.com/blog, and for those of you using LiveJournal, you can continue to follow my blog entries by subscribing to jeffreyatw_feed. This feed will always point to my blog, even if I move it to my domain or elsewhere.

So long, LJ, and thanks for all the phish!
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Social mediaDecember 14, 2010. 2:05 PM.
A few nights ago, I went to √úmloud, a charity event at DNA Lounge. They had a raffle, and I bought a few tickets. The lady selling the tickets happened to have a Square device on the phone she was using to accept payment, and I thought it was so cool that I decided to pay by card instead of cash. Shortly afterwards, I received my fancy email receipt and tweeted about it.

Since then, that tweet's been retweeted by Keith Rabois, an investor recently hired by Square, and I've been followed/mentioned by Sangeeta Narayan, a recruiter also working for Square. This is part of a social media strategy, that's for sure, but I really wonder if scouring the Internet for nobodies like me and boasting about it on your Twitter stream is really an effective use of time.

I'm assuming I'm being used as yet another example of a satisfied customer, thereby enforcing the strength of their brand. That's fine - they can use something I've publicly posted on the Internet - but I'm sure there are other, more influential Twitterers (companies that use the product, for instance) who can be courted and formally quoted. I guess more press doesn't hurt... but for someone like me who has seen social media make its place on the Internet, the simple act of being retweeted by an investor gives me an uneasy feeling. If you're going to subjugate me as a consumer, I'd prefer you do it in private, like it used to be in the good ol' days.

The weirdest part, though, is the fact that the recruiter wants to talk to me. What more could they possibly want from me? I called the thing "fancy" and that I'm "fond" of the payment method. Do they want to mail me release forms so they can put my quote on their website? Or, since this person's a recruiter, does the mere fact that I put "web developer" "I develop webs really good" on my Twitter profile bio mean that they want to hire me for their web software engineer position? Why would simply using and talking about their product make me cut out for that position? That's like hiring someone who likes eating McDonald's to work as their VP of marketing (shudder).
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Cool quote broDecember 3, 2010. 11:40 AM.
"Neither the full-body scanners or the enhanced pat-downs are making anyone safer. They're more a result of politicians and government appointees capitulating to a public that demands that "something must be done," even when nothing should be done; and a government bureaucracy that is more concerned about the security of their careers if they fail to secure against the last attack than what happens if they fail [to] anticipate the next one."

The most concise and accurate analysis about the whole TSA debacle that's currently making waves in the media. Bruce Schneier has been writing a few (very similar) essays about this, and they are all required reading. You must be prepared to discuss them in tomorrow's class, or you get an F. >:[
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Europe TravelogNovember 20, 2010. 1:33 PM.
Since I still use this as my official journal, I thought I might as well plug a tumblelog that Anna and I have been keeping together:

http://dervoyage.tumblr.com/

We're already back by this point, but read through and look at the photos, if you haven't already!
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Sonic 4 reviewOctober 11, 2010. 11:43 PM.
Sonic 4 is pretty much what I expected it to be: a rehash of the Genesis Sonic games in 2.5D with one or two new gimmicks, and most of the flaws that come with modern Sonic games: sub-par level design, frustrating bottlenecks, and a misunderstanding of the physics that made the original Sonic games fun.

That's not to say it's not worth playing - it's a fine addition to the Sonic library, but I'd say it's not as good as Sonic Rush or Sonic Rush Adventure.

Being episodic, the game has only 4 zones, but each has 3 acts and a separate boss battle. The zones are basically Green Hill, Casino Night, Labyrinth, and Metropolis, but with new names. There are no new enemies - just ones from the first two games. The stages play almost exactly like the old ones, with the exception of a fun card-based stage in the casino zone, where you run through, on, and over cards which reward you richly with coins and extra lives. You have stage select access after you beat the first act of the first zone, which makes the game somewhat non-linear - but you'll probably end up playing it from start to finish anyway.

The special stage is from Sonic 1, only you rotate the stage itself instead of moving Sonic around. I preferred it the old way. The final boss (spoilers I guess) is Mecha Eggman from Sonic 2, only it drones on for about 4 times as long and throws some very unfair punches your way.

As for the misunderstandings: it seems like the entire team that put this game together forgot that the original Sonic games were all about momentum - when Sonic starts rolling or flying through the air, you don't need to control him to keep moving him forward. Instead, this game has you basically holding down the D-pad at all times in order to get Sonic to move. Otherwise, Sonic rolls to a stop extremely quickly. That's not how the game is supposed to play. Not even the Sonic Advance or Rush series made this mistake.

Sega might have changed the physics around because of the addition of the homing double jump, which is really a game-changer, I guess you could say. You use it all the time. You have to. If you don't, you're in danger of falling down a pit and dying - and there are a lot of unexpected pits in this game, echoing the poor level design rampant in Sonic Advance. There are some truly frustrating parts that took me 5 lives to get through, when they really shouldn't have.

There's no voice acting in the game, which is intentional - it's supposed to appease old-time fans (duh, the entire game is nothing but a giant appeasement), but there are times at which it almost seems as if Eggman is having a dialog with Sonic, where he flails around for about 10 seconds and you have to wait for him to finish not saying whatever he's saying. It's a little awkward. The music is also kind of awkward - you're supposed to be reminded of the synthy stuff from the Genesis titles, but I'm just not feeling it. It could have done better with a recorded soundtrack, or more realistic instruments. I guess I should just be happy that it's not another rap-rock debacle.

If you're a long-time Sonic fan, I'd say get the game. $15 (Wii) is a little steep for a downloadable title, but it's a nice thing to have in your collection. I think I'll get episode 2, but I truly hope they'll work out the physics and level design problems - not really holding my breath, though.
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Final Fantasy XIV ImpressionsSeptember 16, 2010. 11:18 PM.
I played Final Fantasy XI for about half a year back in 2004 so I definitely wanted to try FFXIV while it was still in beta.

I am quite disappointed!

Let's start with the main bit: the game is way too much like FFXI. I understand that Square Enix was trying to reach some sort of balance of new and old, and tries to stay true to FF roots by reusing themes from games past (in this case: the same races with new names), but I think they could have created an entirely new world instead of taking an old one and multiplying the polygons by a few.

The locales are also not as imaginative as I expected them to be. So far I've traveled two cities, a forest, and plains, and they're... well, boring. Limsa Lominsa (my starting place) is a city spanning coastal rocks, but it's bland as hell. Its outskirts are green with gray rocks, forever, with not much variation. The only way you can really tell one place from another without the usae of a map is by seeing how far away you are from a big city.

The game's graphics don't feel optimized. In fairness, my computer's starting to dip into "low-end" territory (GeForce 8800 GTS 512), and the game is still very playable, but things still feel sluggish, overall. Low frame rates, especially compared to something like a Source Engine title.

And talking about sluggish - I can barely use the UI! The mouse just drags along the screen like molasses, trying to buy/sell items is nigh-impossible due to the game seriously freezing up when you try to navigate from menu to menu, and this clumsiness also translates into battle, where it's exceedingly difficult to select enemies or party members. The unresponsive UI alone is reason enough for me to stop playing the beta, for free.

More reason to not buy the game: it seems as if you can run out of things to do quite easily. You're only allowed to initiate 8 quests in the period of 48 hours. Maybe this is just a beta thing, but, uh... I can complete 8 quests within the period of ONE hour. Does Square Enix honestly want people to play an MMO, one of the most addictive electronic things you can do, for only one or two hours every two days? Do they expect the player to take up the rest of the time trying to craft shit and work with the clunky UI system to set up a bazaar?

The beta provides almost zero documentation about how everything works, and I hope - for the sake of people who will actually buy the game - that this improves by the time it's released next week. But I'm still totally in the dark about the most efficient way to make money in the game (there is no Auction House system), whether it's better to solo or party up, why the game seems to put so much emphasis on working on multiple classes rather than focusing on a main one, etc. etc. etc.

Did I mention that the game still crashes regularly?

The whole game seems unfinished and poorly thought out in a number of ways. It's a shame that Square Enix has decided to proceed with the release rather than spending more time working out some serious kinks. Hopefully the poor experience by early adopters won't detract players who try picking it up down the road when (if?) FFXIV has got its shit in order.
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Website Review: Treasure Island Music Festival 2010July 13, 2010. 11:25 AM.
soygirl mentioned she liked reading my rants on how websites are built, and since I'm in the website-building business, it makes sense that I'd have some insights on what's what. This is not to say that I'm an authority on how sites should be built, nor am I the only one spending time nitpicking. There are sites that focus on the whole package, like Sitecritic.net and Web Pages That Suck - both of which, for some reason, have pretty bad UI - but are thorough and well-written. As a developer, not a designer, I'll try to focus mostly on use of code, and how websites that look just fine could greatly benefit from a bit of code rewriting.

(I don't know if I'm going to write even more than one of these, so I decided I'd stick this on my personal blog for now.)

The lineup for the 2010 Treasure Island Music Festival was released yesterday. I'm pretty excited about everything on day 1 (being more of an electronic than indie guy). The color scheme for this year is a little strange (reminds me of a rotten fruit salad) but otherwise I like the design they're going for. I was a bit appalled when I took a look at the code and a hodgepodge of tables jumped out at me.

The tables, Duke! The taaabblles!

There's a myth that the <table> element is an awful, taboo, even deprecated thing that shouldn't even be thought about when it comes to putting a site together. It's false: <table> is great for, well, tables. Spreadsheets. Charts of data. Anything that can be logically arranged in rows and columns. But I don't see any spreadsheets on this page:

Rotten fruit salad

In fact, I don't see any rows or columns at all, in a traditional sense. I suspect tables were used to "speed up" development, as this reeks of a "slice and dice" job, where the developer was given a mockup and he decided, for some reason, to splice it into tiny bits and shove it into a series of convoluted tables with rowspans and colspans.

Bottom line: splicing is baaaad. I can't think of a situation in which splicing would be a good thing to do. When you splice a PSD into tiny images and scatter them throughout a page, you do a few things:
  • You waste time taking apart an existing design and putting it back together, when you don't have to
  • You make a page hard to maintain - what if the design changes?
  • You increase the amount of HTTP requests by a buttload
  • You doom a page's SEO value by increasing load times, removing any opportunities to make a page semantic and machine-readable
The developer, instead, could have exported the entire design as a single PNG (oh god, I just noticed that they're all GIFs), set it up as the background of the main site container, and overlaid some absolutely-positioned lists, whose text content is hidden via CSS. That is to say, the site with styles disabled would look something like this:

Treasure Island Music Festival

  • LCD Soundsystem
  • Deadmau5
  • etc...
  • Belle & Sebastian
  • The National
  • etc...
And with CSS implemented, the site would still look like it does above.

I am generalizing in one area, though, and that's with hover states. If you yearn for the days when your visitors could be whisked away to a magic cyberspace of interactivity, then I guess you gotta implement your danged hover states one way or another, so you do have to splice the PSD and save the images individually (or turn them into sprites, or something equally clever), and use CSS to specify what shows up when you hover where. Instead, this site uses a horrid cocktail of JavaScript and invalid HTML attributes (srcover? oldsrc???).

In general, this a site that, despite being functional and pretty-looking, makes me want to smack the developer upside the head. It lives in a world where <table>, <div>, and <img> are the only HTML elements worth using, substitutes CSS for deprecated/invalid HTML attributes, loads a million images when in a perfect world it wouldn't have to load any (web fonts! SVG! etc.!...), and sacrifices any chance of being accessible to search engine bots or those with disabilities (no meta tags, no alt text, not a hint of semantic HTML usage).

Boy, this was kind of therapeutic. If you found this at all interesting, feel free to send me some more examples. I'm looking to rant about recent, small-scale sites that aren't overtly horrible but could use some work. Or I'll find 'em instead.
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Good thing I'm okay at puzzlesJuly 12, 2010. 5:29 PM.
My roommate locked himself out of our apartment, but noticed it before he left his building. After waiting around for his building manager, he decided to come down to my office building and pick up my building and apartment keys.

He's got a weird sleep schedule, though, so chances are he'll be asleep when I get home. I suggested that once he gets into the building and apartment with my keys, he picks up his key, puts my two keys inside the mailbox with his mailbox key, and I open up the mailbox with my mailbox key to retrieve my two keys.

As he was leaving I realized I wouldn't be able to even enter my building to access the mailbox if he had my building key, but then I remembered that my cell phone is also a key - I just use the numpad at the building door to dial my phone and unlock the door.

I took the elevator back to my office floor, and tried opening the front door to my office - locked. As a contractor, I don't have a keycard. Fortunately, a round of loud knocking alerted someone and they let me in.

My head hurts.
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Old emailsJuly 8, 2010. 12:39 PM.
Damn I have used my LJ in the past month more than I have all last year. I guess I'm REALLY BORED.

So bored, in fact, that I will now share with you some ancient emails that are sitting in my Hotmail folders, titled "Important Stuff", "Cool Stuff", and "Family and Friends". I made these folders in 1996 and they have accumulated some real gems over time. Looking through them, I always wonder what these people were replying to or what I sent back to them, but alas, Hotmail didn't save sent emails back then.

I've removed some last names and email addresses. If you find an email of yours in this post and you want it removed, well, I'm flabbergasted and astounded that you actually found and recognized it, and sure whatever I guess I'll take it down.

A penpal letterCollapse )
One of many 'is so-and-so still there' emailsCollapse )
A second cousin quizzes me on cultureCollapse )
A summer camp friend swaps some ROMsCollapse )
I win a prestigious awardCollapse )
I snub a blind date, it seemsCollapse )
Another summer camp guyCollapse )
Scroll buttonsCollapse )
Virus attachedCollapse )
I guess I used to email teachers I likedCollapse )
Aw it's my grandma on WebTV :)Collapse )
One of many embarrassing MIDI requestsCollapse )
Narf, it's a BeatleCollapse )
Another embarrassing MIDI requestCollapse )
Goodbye HotmailCollapse )
Pep talk from LobstCollapse )

There are a few other greats that I haven't included due to length or because they were by James and I don't want to embarrass him too much.
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Pac-Man iPhone WallpaperJuly 7, 2010. 2:31 PM.
This journal entry has moved! Get the wallpapers here.
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Vote in this poll plz.July 7, 2010. 9:25 AM.
Back in the heydays of LiveJournal I sprang for a Permanent Account, which means I should be able to post polls forever. So I might as well take advantage of this and ask you guys a hard question about our trip:

Poll #1589100 Places to drop

Which destination should we DROP?

Rome
2(11.8%)
Venice
3(17.6%)
Munich
6(35.3%)
Amsterdam
6(35.3%)


I might post a second poll later, identical to this one but with the #1 most droppable place dropped.
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Europe Trip OmgJuly 6, 2010. 11:47 AM.
Anna and I are going to Europe! For 2.5 weeks! In November!...

Yes, we're really, really jumping the gun and planning way too far in advance. But what the heck there is not much else to do during downtime at work. At this point we're planning on visiting these places:We've already bought some pretty cheap airplane tickets. We're planning on taking trains from place to place, and using as many sleeping cars as possible to save time and money.

Doing this in 2.5 weeks is a little ridiculous, so we are considering dropping Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, or some combination thereof. We've never been to Rome but there are definitely enough churches to see along the way, I've been to Venice but hear that it's murky and ugly in November, and I've also been to Amsterdam and while it's beautiful, I'm not really sure what there is to do for 2 days unless you plan on taking mushrooms.

I've been nerding out in planning this thing. We're using Google Wave to collaborate on all the aspects of the trip - airfare, trainfare, lodging, things to see, dates and locations, etc. etc. The events we're proposing so far are on a Google Calendar, which I am sending through Yahoo! Pipes, entering into Google Maps, and back into an iframe in Google Wave so we can see a map of places we plan to go to. I've already put a Google Spreadsheet together of possible times, durations and fares for train travel from place to place.

The only real downside to planning so far in advance is that we have so long to wait and obsess over it. I'm hoping that when the time comes we aren't too jaded or disappointed, but it's not a genuine concern. In the meantime we can learn more about the places, cultures, and languages, so when we're there we don't just hang around the biggest tourist attractions we can find.

This also means that there's time for you out there in blogland to give us suggestions on what to see and what to skip. C'MON, DO IT.
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iPhone 4 The TieJune 26, 2010. 12:05 PM.
I reserved an iPhone 4 the day preorders opened - I didn't actually order one since I couldn't get through Apple's website; I reserved one via the Apple Store iPhone app instead. Turns out this was about as good an outcome as waiting for it to just be available, since I wouldn't have had to wait in a 6-hour line, like I did. I even made fun of the people waiting overnight to get their iPhone so they don't have to wait during their workday, but there I was. I am such a tool.

Now whether I'm a tool for actually BUYING the new iPhone is debatable. Getting a new phone usually results in me MAKING money, because I can sell the old one, sans contract, for about the same price of a new one, plus AppleCare, plus tax. Disregard the fact that I took time out of my work day to get this phone, which cost me almost that amount in lost pay. It's not lost! I'm on contract! I can make it up whenever I want! Ugh!...

No, the reason I might be a tool is because of Early Adoption Syndrome. The new iPhone has two flaws, both of which I'm not sure if Apple will have a solution to anytime soon.

First, it's the infamous left-handed signal loss issue, which does affect me, because I am left-handed. Almost all of the calls I've made so far have required that I move my hand from the natural phone-holding position, lest the calls be dropped. It's a real shame. I can't start holding it in the other hand because it's still difficult to lift my right hand to my face. I really don't want to buy a case because I keep the phone in my pocket and I can see the rubber conflicting with the ease of taking it in and out of my pocket. That, and I don't feel as if I need to buy something extra to correct an inherent design problem.

Second, it's FaceTime: it might work right out of the box, but it doesn't when you restore your old iPhone's backup onto the new phone. You can't re-enable it: the option just plain disappears from the phone settings screen. The only way to get FaceTime to work is to restore your iPhone to factory settings and start from scratch, which would be fine, if it wasn't for one thing: Final Fantasy II. The game, and many other games I have on my phone, have save data which I want to keep around (the data screen reports I have spent 23 hours and 18 minutes on the game so far). So basically, I need to finish up the game - which, by the way, runs just amazingly on the new phone compared to my old one - before I can restore and enable FaceTime. Which is fine, because I don't know anyone else with an iPhone 4 and the feature is a gimmick just like video chat has always been.

Overall I'm glad I upgraded, mostly due to speed concerns. The OS and apps just blaze along. The new higher-resolution screen is pretty, but doesn't really affect my experience that much. Due to the reception problem, I might have been better off buying an iPhone 3GS, which is also pretty fast. But I'll deal with it. Maybe Apple will come out with a software update that will solve both problems. Probably not. But there's always hope.
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Binary Image ConverterJune 22, 2010. 5:02 PM.

Binary Image Converter


I made another HTML5 toy! It deals with binary images that print ASCII messages when converted, and vice versa. Try it out!

Last night, I noticed chickensnack's favicon on his site - I converted it to a binary string by hand (by literally typing out the 1's and 0's), and then feeding it through a binary-to-ASCII converter I found through Google. I decided that there must be a better way!

I wrote this toy to function almost entirely in JavaScript, so everything except form submission and image verification happens in JavaScript. This includes the actual pixel manipulation to read or generate a bitmap, thanks to data URI and canvas.

I learned how ASCII and binary are converted from one another - JavaScript has a handy function to parse a binary digit into an integer (parseInt(x, 2)), but not the other way around. I also learned how to convert images and canvas data into base64-encoded data URIs, meaning that I don't need to temporarily host an uploaded image on my server - just process it in memory and spit it back out in the response.

This toy (currently) only works with ASCII, meaning you're out of luck if you try throwing Unicode in there. And also due to the way that browsers display non-printing ASCII characters, you'll run into problems if you try encoding any old image into ASCII. Perhaps I'll create a variation that converts the binary into base64 intermediately, so non-ASCII characters can be displayed properly. This would be incompatible with the version I've made, though.

Some examples for you to try:









Source for this can be found here:
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Magic.June 22, 2010. 12:32 PM.
Jeffrey: carl and ellie cant be in the same world as andy because they are more cartoony than andy
Jeffrey: i refuse to believe it......
Anna: what will it take you to believe?
Anna: a wizard?
Anna: I can get you a wizard
Jeffrey: FETCH ME A WIZARD!
Jeffrey: ONLY THE FINEST WIZARDS, CLAD IN SILKEN ROBE AND CAP
Jeffrey: WITH A COMPENDIUM OF MAGICAL KNOWLEDGE RIVALING THE GREATEST OF DRAGONS!
Jeffrey: They're over there in the supply closet.
Anna: yeah, I ordered too many last time
Anna: we are in abundance of wizards
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jeffreyatw.com v13June 18, 2010. 5:48 PM.
After a few years of my site sitting around and doing nothing, I decided I'd have it continue to sit around and do nothing... IN STYLE!

I made my site all HTML5 and CSS3-ey by using more semantic elements and some nice gradient and shadow stuff. The site looks best in Chrome, but degrades gracefully in other browsers. I load my portfolio's section names via Django, and I request my Twitter and LiveJournal feeds via JSONP. Furthermore, there is only one image on the page, the photo of me - everything else is done up in CSS. All in all, it's a pretty and pretty simple site.
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FiredApril 29, 2010. 11:39 PM.
I have a job now and the mandated 30-day silence period has ended, so here's this post!

I was fired from Linden Lab last week. Basically, some goons were banned, other goons asked me why they were banned, I asked coworkers and attempted to discover in our internal issue tracking system why they were banned, and relayed my relative lack of findings. More simply, I broke NDA.

It's a real shame that despite my contributions to Linden Lab, this was the anvil that broke the perfectly healthy camel's back. It sort of came out of nowhere. I had been granted a bonus just two weeks prior. Coworkers across the board all appreciated my contributions. I was having a great time working there. But an attempt to share internal information with especially dubious customers is an obvious no-no, so I had to be let go.

I don't agree with the result. I obviously misjudged and overstepped my boundaries, but I am very surprised that what I did led directly to termination. It was also said that what I did would create a lack of trust between me and my coworkers. I debate that - I am not the untrustworthy type, and I learned my lesson. I can't take back what I did, I don't think this damages my relationship with anyone irreversibly.

I am not boasting when I say that my absence at the Lab will hurt the company more than the result of anything I could have discussed with these users. I think my team believes it too, but rules are rules. I don't think this extreme decision is wrongful termination, though. I did indeed break a rule that was in my employment contract. They have every right to let me go, but I didn't expect that Linden Lab would be the kind of company that would be so strict about these sorts of things.

Many of my coworkers have contacted me since my departure, shocked and saddened by my abrupt leave. I signed an agreement not to incite anyone to leave for 30 days, so I'm trying to be careful about what I say to them, since I'm sure a lot of them might find this whole affair quite angering.

I'm not worried about my future prospects. This is a minor setback - given my array of skills I don't expect to be unemployed for very long (and after properly explaining my reason for being fired to future interviewers, it shouldn't affect any decisions too much). I'm just disappointed that such a good experience was taken away from me. It was fun work, fun people, and a fun workplace. I'm also concerned about what will become of the projects and teams I've worked on. Many were short-staffed (with me as the only developer on a specific project), and hopefully they'll find a capable replacement. Of course, it's no longer my problem.

Here's to bigger and better things.
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Achievement Unlocked, or Why Lyndon LaRouche Owes Me An ArmMarch 10, 2010. 4:28 PM.
I broke my first bone yesterday, and it was pretty badass!

I was biking to work as usual, eager to jump in and check all my code into SVN, when I noticed something new on Market Street: LaRouche PAC tabling with their obnoxious "Obama = Hitler and should be impeached because he wants people to be healthy" posters. Quite angered, I continued along my route, up until I reached the usual crosswalk at Market and Sutter.

Quite distracted, I did not wait until the light turned red to turn left and cross the street - rather, I started turning left at the yellow light. Meanwhile, a dude decided to floor it across the intersection before the light turned red. Bad combination!

I heard a screech, felt the impact, instantly thought "oh shit, this is a real-life accident I'm a part of," saw the world turn upside down, saw my bike fly across the intersection, hit the ground landing on my right arm, saw a flash of red, bounced up, and landed on my chest. Within seconds I was on my feet, yelling for someone to stop that car, which was at the next light by that point.

A bunch of people rushed over to me and someone helped me sit down, then lie down, on the curb. Answered "yes" when asked if someone should call 911, unaware of the state of my arm just yet. My bike eventually showed up next to me on the curb, but I noticed my phone was gone when I checked my pockets.

Ambulance and police arrived in very short order. The man who hit me had come back and was apologizing profusely to me, and answering to the police about what happened. It wasn't really debatable what happened - he was zooming through a yellow light and I jumped the gun having assumed that no other cars were coming. Eventually paramedics were asking me the usual questions - where it hurts, whether I have any allergies, etc. etc. It was becoming more and more apparent that my right arm had been more than just twisted. I asked, sheepishly, if anyone had seen an iPhone lying around.

Soon I was on a stretcher being whisked by ambulance to SF General Hospital, with pillows to cushion my right arm. The receptionist at Linden Lab was notified of the situation. My bike went along for the ride, slightly beat up but definitely in fixable condition. (I was wearing a helmet, by the way.) I was brought into a trauma room, had my shirt cut off and my pants removed, and was hooked up to morphine. I was quite conscious this entire time - the shock had worn off pretty quickly after I got hit, and all I really felt was intense pain in my shoulder. A doctor ran x-rays, but I couldn't easily move my arm into the requested positions since the pain was basically blocking me from doing so.

A social worker asked if there was anyone they could call, and at that moment, a policeman walked through the door with my phone. He snarkily remarked that it would have been smushed on the side of the road had Muni actually been a reliable service. Unfortunately, the screen was white, and despite a tech-savvy nurse's attempt to replace the SIM card and get the numbers off, it was a lost cause. I did know my mom and dad's numbers, so they were notified, and eventually my dad notified Anna. I was shown the results of the x-rays and I did indeed have a fracture in my humerus, near my shoulder.

Eventually I was brought into the trauma center hallway, where I stayed for about an hour in pain. I asked for water, but they couldn't provide it because it was possible I was going to undergo surgery and needed to have an empty stomach. I eventually requested more morphine, which they supplied a good 15 minutes later. Anna eventually came and I swear it never felt so good to see the face of a loved one. She stood there stroking my knees as I walked her through what happened.

It turned out that the first x-rays weren't telling enough, so I was wheeled away for a second round, and wheeled back to the hallway, where I waited around for yet another hour. Then it turned out that the SECOND round of x-rays didn't show anything useful, so I was wheeled away for a third one. And back to the hallway. An hour later, I was given a sling and declared free to go, with a Vicodin prescription.

It was about 4:30 by then - a good eight hours since the accident - and I was very thirsty and hungry. So much, in fact, that when I attempted to get up and walk around, I became very dizzy due to low blood sugar and took a seat until I was provided with some apple juice, milk, and an orange. The best apple juice, milk, and orange I ever fucking had.

Anna helped me clothe, and we were out the door. So very fortunate that Anna lives a block away from the emergency room doors. I took a small nap as Anna (who hadn't eaten all day either) ordered some food from the delicious Big Lantern.

That's pretty much the story. Got my Vicodin, headed back to my place with a pint of Humphry Slocombe's Secret Breakfast (and a complimentary cookie), watched the new Lost, and hit the hay. Today I'm taking it easy, answering company email, scheduling a follow-up orthopedic appointment with Kaiser, and getting my iPhone's screen replaced (good as new!). I'll probably be out and about regularly by next week.

I keep reminding myself that I got hit by a car yesterday. It's surreal. I was that dude that everyone saw flying into the intersection after a loud screech and a crunch. It's the first time I got hit by a car and the first time I broke a bone. On both counts, pretty tame compared to what could have happened in that situation. Glad to be up, conscious, and already on the road to recovery.
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Post About How I Am Enjoying Second LifeFebruary 21, 2010. 6:14 PM.
Probably has something to do with the fact that I work at Linden Lab, but I've begun to actually enjoy mulling about in Second Life. I'm proud of the product my company's working on. Crazy, right?

Anyway this is mostly a vanity post to show how I've actually learned how to create stuff to an extent - I've made my avatar look marginally less shitty than it once did.

My avatar was originally created and given to me by Neil Cicierega, or trapezzoid, who used to make neat things a few years ago in SL. I started using it as my main set of clothes once I started at Linden Lab last year, and since then I've made a number of improvements, like making it shinier and glowier. I went all-out this weekend and replaced a bunch of simple primitive shapes with curvy sculpted stuff.

Behind the cut are a few before-and-after pictures I just took. Although it's still rather unprofessional, I like to think I kept the spirit intact while updating it quite a bit:

Big pixCollapse )

And as a bonus, here's a 3D buttbot which actually works, plus me and a few goons in the background.

Another image under the buttCollapse )

P.S. for those of you who have seen me in-world and wonder what that swirly vortex thing is on my chest, here's some hints: it's animated, it's not a simple texture, and you can't yet make it or see it!
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Because this is the place for long-form contentJanuary 19, 2010. 11:48 PM.
I wrote this on IRC and I feel like sharing it with you. My name (over and over) omitted.

final fantasy crystal chronicles my life as a darklord
it's a tower defense game
tower defense pisses me off because it falls into the category of "games that eventually get impossibly hard"
might sound weird but i don't like games where it gets harder as you go along
the point of these games is you're supposed to learn and hone your skills so you can face the challenges later
but i don't think game devs get that, i think they expect you to lose more often as you go along
which to me means there's less incentive to continue
anyway it's an interesting game because instead of building towers to ward off invaders, you're building FLOORS on a SINGLE tower.
but that basically means it's less flexible than your average tower defense game since you're putting attackers on a one-dimensional grid rather than two.
anyway that is the longest rant i have written in 5 years so read well.
or don't.
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