Downey Guy

Vote in this poll plz.

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.
Me.

Europe Trip Omg

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.
WAIWAI230

iPhone 4 The Tie

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.
NO

Binary Image Converter

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:
Yoda pizza

Magic.

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
Me.

jeffreyatw.com v13

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.
Me.

Fired

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.
Me.

Achievement Unlocked, or Why Lyndon LaRouche Owes Me An Arm

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.
BAD BOY BASS!!

Post About How I Am Enjoying Second Life

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:

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

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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!
WAIWAI230

Because this is the place for long-form content

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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