Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Kind of Pussy

I came across this article today, which is apparently a more serious version of an extremely silly thing in some movie.

Anyway it talks about Sheepdogs, Sheep, and Wolves.

See, I think I am something else. I am a cat.

I am lazy and self centered, but not aggressively predatory unless I need to be. I avoid wolves when I can, find sheepdogs annoying but leave them alone of they leave me alone, and mostly completely ignore sheep. I will flee most of the time when threatened but I think I am capable of violence if cornered. Mostly I try and find ways to entertain myself, but do very little work.

I try to figure out these silly little creatures who work so hard. I look at the sheep, which are apparently as far as I can see, only exist to be sheered, or worse, made into a meal. I look at the loyal sheep dog who barks orders and makes a fool of himself. But you know, they DO keep the wolves away. I guess I can thank them for that. No one likes wolves.

And I guess sheepdogs may find my attitude disgusting. Every once and a while a sheepdog will bark at us cats and we may get into a little fight. But you know what buster? I don't need you... or I tell myself that anyway. I could leave and become a stray... but it's nice living here ya know?

So what am I going to do? I won't become a sheep. I am not going to be shaved or devoured. And I won't become a sheepdog. I don't do tricks on command. And I won't become a wolf, which have to hunt and kill for food. And I don't really want to extend this metaphor into uncomfortable territory by bringing vermin into play.

You know what is the funny thing is? I am probably kept as a pet. Fed some food every once and a while, and kept for sympathy. I am too fat and lazy to do any real work, and even if I could I probably wouldn't. This whole "society" thing? Yeah it's nice and all, but what about the cats from long ago who lived as predators. Even dogs are relater to wolves that have been taken out of the wild.

You know, I am not even sure what point I was trying to make. Except maybe this: This whole Wolf/Sheepdog/Sheep thing? It's not that simple. Not everyone is a happy little sheep that obey everything and need defending, and not all "evils" are aggressive wolves. And not all sheepdogs know what they are talking about for that matter. Of them all, ironically, it might be the cat that is the most adaptable of them.

And maybe this metaphor was way too furry.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Div-ided Over Tables

A debate has been raging for years and years on the web, the great tables vs divs debate. The idea is tables are meant for "tabular data", you know like spread sheets, and shouldn't be used for layouts. That's all well and good, but what it's meant for and what it does are two different things. It makes grids. Grids can be helpful for layouts. Hence using tables for layouts seems fine to me. When they are used right. This layout on my blog here for example, really would probably work better and be less hacky with a table. Just one. But then again with a layout like this it doesn't make that much of a difference.

And I know some people might bring up how screen reader software treats tables and blah blah. Personally I don't see what the difference is. Without the visual layout information it's all just blocks of text anyway. I feel sorry for blind for all the stuff they miss out on, but I really cannot imagine the difference, as long as it's done in a reasonable way.

But I think this whole debate is just a symptom of a more pressing problem, that webpages have become to reliant on complicated markup and stupid hacks. Or maybe that was always the problem since someone decided that making HTML as vague as possible about everything. Honestly it took me ages to get used to using divs and CSS. Mostly because I am always intentionally like 5 years behind. I hardly ever use CSS3 because it's just not supported enough. JavaScript I got used to, but lately I have been browsing with it off because more and more security problems are reported with it, and god does it annoy me how over used it is. For lulz I put a message in this blog when it's turned off the other day.

Here is an experiment for you. Using firefox? Go to the "View" menu. Go to "Page Style". Select "No Style". Notice a problem?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vector Art is Doomed

Every once and a while I mess around with Inkscape and other vector art programs, but I find them lacking in many ways. Much of the reason for this is the way paths work. I actually think they should take a hind from Doom level editors (which are probably in turn based on CAD programs). Looking into the .SVG format it seems that the biggest problem is a lack of point or line objects.

SVG files define all the path info in a big block like this:

d="m 28.575867,107.0797 c -0.123355,5.53028 0.684603,11.10722 2.649974,16.27795 1.96537,5.17074 5.109136,9.92603 9.292245,13.54553 4.514219,3.906 10.122472,6.40535 15.917209,7.83924 5.794738,1.43389 11.795405,1.84498 17.764278,1.932 6.417683,0.0936 12.890473,-0.18795 19.126585,-1.7066 6.236112,-1.51866 12.259952,-4.33887 16.868082,-8.8066 4.61045,-4.46998 7.63175,-10.45068 8.97929,-16.7293 1.34753,-6.27862 1.07261,-12.84368 -0.30719,-19.11529 -2.314,-10.517816 -7.8188,-20.382009 -15.87312,-27.530932 C 94.938912,65.636775 84.32799,61.311069 73.558802,61.250674 61.69759,61.184155 49.967322,66.350885 41.745372,74.900291 33.523423,83.449696 28.840374,95.221251 28.575867,107.0797"

I much prefer the Doom way with vertexes, lines, and sectors. You place points, join two points to make a line, then have each side of a line be tagged for closed areas. The only thing doom lacks is curves, and that's actually easy to do, just make lines connect have up to 4 vertexes, two for the end points and two for the curve control nodes.

It may be possible to do some of this in SVG now with some javascript scripting actually, which would be handy for maps and such where a lot of lines connect at the same place. But some of the neat stuff you could do with a SVG-like format that uses this is interpolate the line width and color for each vertex. Mostly I just wish I could make solid shapes with outlines only on some edges. Oh well. Maybe there is even inkscape plugins that do a lot of this crap already. I donno, I didn't find any.

Maybe I just should learn to draw without relying on such silly tricks. I mean inkscape has a snap to vertex feature anyway.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Books of the Wanderers

The Books of the Wanderers are a collection of works on philosophy, religion, and politics believed by a number of people of the Wasteland area to be written over the period of hundreds of years by a series of reincarnations of a figure known only as The Wanderer. The texts themselves usually do not specify if this is true, but several discuss the possibility, and more recant texts even go as far as to say that everyone could count as a reincarnation, and that anyone can write a Book of the Wanderers that could be accepted as genuine. A recurring theme is that truth is something everyone must find themselves.

The books are usually not bound together in a religious "canon", and are sometimes updated to include new relevant writings following the same theme. Most all of the books are written anonymously and most without any explicit way of telling that they are in the same series except for occasional mention of the others.

People often make comments and notes on the pages and when they die their copy is passed on to someone else. When this practice started is unknown but it must have been in the last hundred or so years following the idea that anyone has equal authority to write one of them, as well as edit them provided the original is available somewhere to edit. With the discovery and reverse engineering of computers found in Ark Vaults and the advent of The Network, some have turned to Ziki-like software to share ideas.

There are many books, but the "core" set include:
"Metagenesis" (mostly about the possible origins of the universe and what may be outside it, as well as possible reasons it may exist)
"Archetypes" (primarily about the soul, including ideas about reincarnation, and parallel incarnation, but also discusses consciousness, the subconscious and the self)
"Protoethics" (about breaking down ethical and moral systems to their root components and examining them and commenting on their necessity and effectiveness)
"Law and Chaos" (much like "Protoethics" but with governments and political systems, also introduces ideas of Chaos Theory, and natural law)
"Memetics" (most recent of the core books, about information and ideas, including then controversial views about the connection between ideas and souls, and The Wanderer and other souls communicate or are incarnated though ideas)

Excerpt from the Book of the Wanderers entitled "Metagenesis":
In the beginning, it is said, there was Void.

It was before all existence, and before all time. It did not desire. It did not change. It did not exist. And yet it was. Void looked upon it's self, and saw Void. And in doing, it changed.

It no longer could be Void, it no longer wanted to be Void. It wanted to exist apart from Void.

To exist apart from Void was to divide it's self. But there was nothing to divide it's self by, no way to form a barrier between something and nothing, something did not yet exist.

And so the only thing that it could do was divide nothing by nothing, and the result was unexpected.

Is this true? I do not know. But how else could something come from nothing?

Born from Void was Chaos, that which could be divided and could change, a thing which was uncountable.

Born from Void was Order, that which could observe and could structure, a thing that was one.

Born from Chaos and Order was Time, that which could allow change and structure to exist together and could allow things to evolve, a thing which is finite.

Born from Chaos and Order was Space, which could allow observation and devision to exist together, and could allow things to move, a thing which is infinite.

And remaining always was Void, which could do nothing, a thing which is nothing.
Is this true? I do not know. But how else could these things exist?

It seems that which did exist looked at the Void it came from and desired to fill it with all manner of things and make a place filled with existence. Not all existence is pleasant, not all of it is good, but it is. Existence to fill the void.

A voice in the mind fears the Void. A voice that does not want to end existence.

A voice in the mind rejects the Void. A voice that wants to create new things.

And yet, in the back of the mind, somehow a there is a voice that embraces the void. It whispers to destroy, to end everything. To make everything go away and return to nothing. But if it was done, Void would find it's self looking at it's self again. It would create everything anew.

If all things come from Void, should all things return to Void?

I think not. Void should be feared, Void should be rejected.

Those that wish for Void to swallow all are ones who are in pain. Existence may be full of pain, but pain is not all existence.

But Void should also be pitied. Because Void can never be anything but Void. The very act of creation makes it so.