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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dead-Bugging a QFP32

This morning I spent a few hours soldering a QT1103.Now, the QT1103 comes in a QFP32 form factor --a form factor which was almost certainly never meant to be soldered by hand,and, just as certainly, never meant to be soldered without a nice little footprint of tinned smd pads.But you can connect to them, so I had read, byflipping 'em on their back and soldering small wires to each pin, the result of which you see above.While this may look like a terrible job (a) there aren't any bridges and (b) this is really really small -- these wires are individual strands of a stranded copper wire.
Of course, I have yet to see if the device will actually work after I went to all this trouble (I could have cooked it, after all).But whatever the outcome, it was certainly the most fiddly soldering job I've ever done. I begin to see why people pay $20-$40 to have a PCB made.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Well, that's it. The end.
I gave my talk today, and people seemed to appreciate it (and the presentation software). It would be cool if someone else started using my presentation style, but I doubt it will happen.On the plus side, this was a fully morally-correct presentation: linux and my own presentation software -- no non-free taints.
I also got my final sticker sheets: TCHOW in color + some 'redacted' stickers to place over my laptop's hard-to-remove branding.All told I have enough stickers to even give a few away or stick them on stuff.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today was exciting. I made stickers (again), and talked with Mat Shlian, who does cut and folded paper sculpture.The thing pictured below impressed me because it has a nice springiness.

I chatted with some interesting folks during the poster session; not so much about the poster and more about life in general.Most interesting was the conversation with a film restorer about how noise is removed and then re-added for old films.
I went to the reception and hung out with various people; found out that some other folks are also considering research much like mine (but I think it will be okay).
I did a talk dry run in here somewhere too. Should be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Not much happening that I was interested in today.Saw Ton Rosendaal and others talk; resisted the urge to get a photo with him.Picked up my stickers from Studio; I shall definitely do more! Digital Domain's pre-vis for Speed Racer used the Top Gear intro music.
I went to the Computer Animation Festival. There was a long run of films from a French school (supinfocom, if I recall), all of which had a lazy animation style that offended my eyes. It was very much like being slowly crushed by rocks.The other films were good though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sat in sessions in the morning, talked with people about my poster (and about gradient paint) in the afternoon.Brian Curless apparently has something coming out at ECCV worth checking out.Gradient Paint seems to impress and confuse people (though different people are confused by different parts).
In the art gallery, I came across a cleverly cut sheet of steel:

Then came TCHOW logo-stuff.

Thanks to emerging technology (and the guts of an old printer), one can enjoy a TCHOW-branded cup of coffee, as pictured above -- though, unfortunately, they weren't actually allowing people to drink the coffee.So one could look at it, at least.

That's a lenticular print of the tchow logo (that is, a flat image with a lens sheet over it allowing for different views per-eye). Sort of very much like a zig-zag-folded piece of paper really.Upshot being that, in person, it's 3d. Which is nifty!
Finally, I made some TCHOW stickers, but those haven't printed yet.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Doing a fast-forward is a bit of an adrenaline rush, I must say.
Everything else was pretty much me just being sleepy and hanging out; Alex Evans was going to talk but he canceled (which was disappointing).
Ed's keynote was nice -- I need to catch up with him and see how he reconciles his commitment to produce the best possible content with being a profit-seeking public comapny.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Consider this the first of my SIGGRAPH reports.I figured I'd write things up this year to capture the event for posterity.
Approaching the building, I began to again meet the realization of the sheer enormity of the event.The venue (the LA convention center) is giant, just like all the other venues have been.Somehow I always forget this.
I was early for registration and thus about the third person in line for contributer registration.For some reason I never got the mini-guide that is so useful for finding one's way about the conference. I'll have to get one tomorrow.
Also, I didn't get the ribbons I was entitled to (I got "Paper Author" and had to ask for "Poster Contributer" and "Paper Reviewer" -- by number, in fact)The ribbon-accounting is relatively poor, so I could probably easily have gotten some other ribbons I wasn't quite entitled to (I recall that Wojtan may have managed something of the sort last year).Nonetheless.I think there might also be a speaker ribbon or paper presenter ribbon or something.Really, it's all just silliness anyway.
But, on a positive note, I did get the copy of the proceedings I was entitled to (unlike last year).Of course, maybe it would have been better not to -- given as I spent the next five hours walking around with it in my backpack.
I did manage to relieve myself of one burden: my gigantic 8'x3' poster barely squeezed onto the provided board. (I did see at least one 8'x4' poster already up, so while I was tied for maximum width I was not at maximum area.)I put some post-it notes nearby with a request-for-comments; I'll see if anyone uses this novel system to interact with the poster.
So that's about it for day zero: some items lost, some gained, some not gained that should have been and some gained that perhaps, more prudently, shouldn't have been.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On Milestones

When programming, it helps to have little goals to guide you along the way;for simple projects (like I suspect the server stuff for necklace should be)those goals break down well as:
  1. It compiles: code made into object format with no warnings. Apparently all the syntax was correct. (Inevitably I'll find myself back here when I compile with VC++ instead of g++.)
  2. It links: there's some sort of simple test program that exercises the code. Here's where I find out that I forgot to write certain functions. (Another way of looking at it is that link errors serve as a to do list.)
  3. It works: there's a basic test driver working and things are going swimmingly.
  4. It actually works: all the nasty corner cases have been tested (all that I can think of -- I mentally earmark as I'm coding).
I'm currently at the second step, hoping to get to the third eventually.Big systems aren't a cake-walk, and I'm enough of a realist to know that there will be bugs and they will be subtle.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

PS3 Gaming

Ladies and gentlemen, the Playstation 3 gaming experience, for me:

Seriously, every time I turn this thing on, it needs to shuffle off to the internet for a few hours to update itself.Perhaps it could download updates in the background; then I'd only need to wait the interminable 15 minutes for the update to install.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Interesting Times

The previous two weeks have been exhausting.I flew to Dublin for the Symposium on Computer Animation, arrived back in the states, and catapulted into a glass blowing intensive class -- five days of nothing but sleep, eat, glass.
Needless to say, progress on almost everything TCHOW-related has been minimal.I am inching the necklace server code forward; in fact, as it stands, the game can submit high scores and learn if they are new.What is needed, however, is a cleaner design -- all this net code is getting confusing! The plus side is that a correct design should basically "drop into" other projects.
Time is running short, and there is research that needs to be done.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Silly Hats On Mars

So, the network stuff for necklace is stretching on and on -- partially because I'm not working on it very much, partially because of other events.Like, for instance, viewing new art while wearing formal clothing and silly hats (yesterday afternoon). I'm second-from-the-right by the way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Necklace Net code

I'm chugging along on some network code for necklace. The first release will be about the basic pervasive multiplayer element (i.e. a unified solution database). The next milestone after that is a decent level-sharing mechanism-- not that pasting text to your friends over IM doesn't work or anything.
One reason (among many) that this release has been taking a while is that I'm debating what really constitutes a "similar" level.In the most general sense, it's the graph structure on the pieces and the bitmap of the obstacles -- but I think that finding a canonical form here might well begin to look like graph isomorphism.Not to mention that there is plenty more path to travel here (reflections and rotations of levels are pretty much the same level).Perhaps I should just avoid this slope altogether.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Necklace Compile

I did a quick compile of necklace version 2343. This one has editable levels (but no randomized levels -- they'll be back). I also improved the graphics (though more work to be done there).
Please download it and give it a try. I'm especially interested in the level editing -- by constraining the pieces to begin in a similar adjacency relationship to that in which they end, am I crippling level design?

Tchow Pixel-y Logo

For a long time, I've favored a hand drawn look for the TCHOW logo-- though such a look has rarely actually appeared in projects as Imainly just have a clean gentium-face string.But, in pixeling out some of the icons for this site, I came up with something:

Intense, huh? And that's at double size pixels.It gets even sweeter when you blow it up bigger.

It's clean. Precise. Minimal. Bold.Expect to see this in future games.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Necklace Graphics Upgrades

This past week, I've been concerning my game-programming time (what little there has been) with doing a graphics overhaul on necklace.At present, I've got some shadowing and some refraction, which makes things a bit nicer looking.Next up, particles to indicate desired tangency (instead of those ugly pink lines).
If I continue at this pace, expect a graphically-updated release of necklace around the end of next week.
If you've played the current version of necklace, you'll notice that the level structure has changed significantly.This is because I'm moving to authored, rather than generated, levels.These are more satisfying to me -- though I'm not ruling out bringing back generated levels at some point.

New News Component

I'm adding a news system to TCHOW.This should encourage me to keep the site regularly updated, and allow releases of content in even smaller batches.The end goal, you see, being to make transparency that much easier for both you and me.

New News Component

I'm adding a news system to TCHOW. This should encourage me to keep the site regularly updated, and allow releases of content in even smaller batches. The end goal, you see, being to make transparency that much easier for both you and me.