Category Archives: Diary

CobbleBot

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Filed under Diary, Programming, Ruby

So, I've been working (intermittently) on a GitHub project called CobbleBot. It's a Rails application + Resque ... thing. Basically, all you do is start up a vanilla Minecraft Server and point this app to it. It reads the logs and other json for the players and does stuff.

It's based on scripts me and my staff have worked on since 2011.

One of the things it does well is allow players to message each other. They can type a message like: @inertia186 Hey, how's it going?

When the player logs in, they'll get notified that the have mail.

Mainly stuff like that. It also can play sounds on certain events like PVP and achievements. Mostly stuff that the log keeps track of. It can't tell when players pick up items, so it's not like command blocks in that regard.

CobbleBot Token: a3fc973bcdaab15d
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Quizzaciously?

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Filed under Diary, Writing
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The Simulation

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Filed under Diary, Programming

I run a simulation. It’s a simplified version of the world that explores what would happen if there were no laws.

Turns out, people self-organize. They leverage knowledge and trust for one another. That’s the man commodity in the simulation: trust. Trust is the first, most important thing.

There’s still cruelty. There’s still unfairness. But these things are not sanctioned under the color of authority, so anyone who wants to avoid these power plays can go off on their own and no one will bug them.

When the powerful ones self-organize, it is difficult for them to maintain the power without the color of authority.

They organize like NATO. They have their formal rules and try to exact penalties for certain behavior. There’s usually only one group like that. But it falls apart over and over.

There are also people who expect the laws and quickly leave when they don’t see them showcased front-and-center. Or they expect hand-outs when they arrive.

The simulation does not provide anything to the new arrivals. They are plopped in the middle of a vast ocean. They are told what’s going on, but many ignore the information.

The simulation has rules, but only for dealing with “out of band” scenarios. Something that is "out of band” deals in terms of maintaining the simulation itself. Basically, interfering with or threatening the existence of the simulation is forbidden.

If you would like to take a look at the simulation for yourself, you can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay6cmOf9598

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The Furling Episode

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Filed under Diary

So, you were watching "Remember When (200)," Episode 6, Season 10 of Stargate SG1, and you thought you must have missed the Furling episode.

Actually, the "previously" segment is all part of the current episode. Watch it. Don't look for the previous Furling episode. It doesn't exist. Notice, the planet is destroyed. It didn't happen.

Probably the big tip-off is when Sam says, "Well that never happened."

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Debian wheezy - gem install libv8

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Filed under Diary
If you're having issues with gem installing libv8 on Debian wheezy, try this as root: apt-get install libv8-dev Then, as a user: gem install libv8 -- -with-system-v8 wheezy-from-toy-story
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"The treacherous are ever distrustful."

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Filed under Diary, Humor
Good Guy Gandalf
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My First Minecraft Mod: Endermen vs. Zombie Pigmen

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Filed under Diary
endermen_vs_pigmen.zip Download this file

I wrote a tiny Minecraft mod for the 1.2.5 server.  It's not a bukkit plugin, just a regular mod to the official minecraft_server.jar.  So I doubt anyone will bother to try it.

My mod adds a new drop to Endermen.  If an Enderman is killed by a Zombie Pigman, the Enderman will drop Record 11.

You might wonder how this fight could ever happen in the first place.  Well, my mod also adds the ability for Zombie Pigmen to look at Endermen like players do.  And this angers Endermen, just like when players look at them, which causes the Enderman to attack the Pigman.

If the Pigman manages to kill the Enderman, then you get your record.

Normally, a Pigman will never spawn near an Enderman.  But it is possible.  Yes, you can spawn them together in Creative Mode.  But beyond that, you may be aware that it is possible for a Pigman to spawn if a regular pig is struck by lightning.

Also, Endermen are more powerful than Pigmen.  It takes about three Pigmen to kill one Enderman.

So if a Pigman ever spawns by lightning, it's a good idea to damage the Enderman before getting them together, since it's pretty much impossible to get enough Pigmen to do the job without help.  Or maybe you can buff the Pigman and poison the Enderman with potions before the fight.

Pro-tip: A Pigman is more likely to look at an Enderman if the Enderman is standing between a player and the Pigman.

So it's not an easy task, but I'm assuming it is possible, though I've only tested it with spawner eggs.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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iTheft

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Filed under Diary
Angry_birds

On Monday evening after work, some dude swiped my iPhone 4 while I was standing at the bus stop.  He grabbed it right out of my hands, ran, and jumped over a fence.  Several people witnessed it, including the bus driver.

The first thing I wanted to do was locate and wipe my phone.  You might wonder why I would be so eager to wipe it.  #1, I have a recent backup, so my data is safe.  #2, I didn't want the data (like all of my passwords) in the hands of someone who might know how to get it (very very unlikely, but still).  #3, I wanted to deactivate my phone service ASAP.  #4, I knew once I deactivate my phone service, I would no longer be able to locate or wipe it.

So after my hour long bus ride home, I did indeed manage to locate and wipe.  Then I told AT&T that my phone was stolen and that I wanted it deactivated.  The AT&T rep wanted to be sure it was in fact stolen.  They frequently hear of situations where the phone was just misplaced.  I told him I was certain it was stolen.  I asked him how often he hears people report the phone taken right out of their hands.  He said he'd never heard of it.

Next, I called my local police.  Right after I started explaining that I wanted to file a report, it dawned on me that I couldn't go to my local police department.  Why?  Remember the word "jurisdiction."  Since the crime was committed in Los Angeles, I couldn't report it to Torrance PD.  So I called Los Angeles Airport Police.

I started over, but the male officer stopped me and asked if I was at the front door.  I told him I wasn't, so he transferred me to a female officer who was playing Angry Birds.  I started over.  I used the word "stolen" so she told me I need to get a copy of my contact and bring it over to the station.

So I was a little confused already.  Apparently I needed to prove it was mine to begin with.  But keep in mind, I used the word "stolen."  My mistake.  In legal terms, that means something specific.  I'll get back to that.

Not having realized my mistake, now my goal is to find the six-foot-long receipt I got when I purchased my iPhone from the Apple Store.  I don't know where it is, but I find the box.  And Apple prints the unique serial number for each phone on the box.  So at least I had that.  But the sales contract is nowhere to be found.

So I decided that the phone bill will have to work.  They didn't say they wanted the phone bill, but come on.

Then I remembered that I opted for the paperless billing option with AT&T.  No problem, I'll just log into my account with their web site and print the last bill.  Nope.  Remember how I deactivated my service?  Well, that deactivates everything, including the billing tools.

Call AT&T again and explain the situation, again.  Plus added the detail about needing the contract but just wanted to print the last bill instead.  The rep said they would send me a copy of my bill at no charge, but it'll take 7 to 10 business days.

Later, I realize, that I don't need to deal with this.  My iPhone wasn't stolen, I was robbed, I thought.  I don't need a contract to move forward.  I just need to file a report that I was robbed.  Remember the word "robbed."

So the next day, I go to the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.

Me: "I've been robbed."

Male officer: "Ok, did this just happen?"

Me: "No, it was yesterday evening."

Male officer: "Why didn't you come in then?"

Me: "I didn't have any evidence for the report."

Male officer: "What kind of evidence?"

Me: "I have the serial number, the last ping location an hour after I was robbed."

The female officer, still playing Angry Birds, offers her insight at random.

He startes filling out the report, and asks where this happened.  I told him it was in the Parking Lot C Bus Terminal.  He pauses, then looks up and says, "Do you want to do this legitimately?"

I've learned to stop talking when someone says something completely, utterly stupid.  I kept silent and vacantly stared at him.

He went on to explain that the location where this happened was under the jurisdiction of LASO.  What is LASO?  LASO is the cute term they use to mean LASO, you idiot.  Don't you know what the LASO is?

Los Angeles Sheriff's Office.  Only, they don't officially call themselves that.  It's actually called Los Angels County Sheriff's Department.

Ok, so I wasted my time.  Funny thing is, I knew I was wasting my time from the beginning.  I knew the only reason I was filing a report was because people were going to tell me to file a report.  If I had said, "No no, I'm not going to file a report.  That's a waste of time," people would have said I was being hyperbolic or obtuse or Typical Anthony™.

Now, I have to actually waste my time in order to prove it's a waste of time.

So I go home and call the number I got from the "helpful" officer at Los Angeles Airport Police Department who wasn't playing Angry Birds but may as well have been.  It's disconnected.

Head, meet desk.

Google LASO.  No relevant results.  That's when I find out the real name of the department.  LASO must have been something they called it before the Internet or something.  I am now trying to locate the correct department among three regions of unincorporated sheriff departments.  None of them seem to be right.  There doesn't seem to be a central way to report crime.

So I start completely over.

I call METRO.  I ask them who I would contact iffen I have been robbed.  They give me a number to the Sheriff.

I get through to a deputy who puts me on hold for a long time.  Apparently there was a train wreck or something.  Now, this guy is actually professional.  I'm not kidding.  I tell him I was robbed, he tells me he'll determine that.  Ok, good.  I tell him the facts, he tells me, no actually, since I wasn't physically on the bus when this happened, Los Angeles Airport Police Department is actually the correct jurisdiction and that the information I had been given earlier that day was in fact erroneous.

Like I said, he was actually professional.  He told me he was going to call the correct office while I was on the line and make sure I got to the correct department this time.

So these other departments managed to defeat this deputy's very professional strategy.  Here's how.  They wouldn't take the call.  I actually heard them hand this nice deputy off to different departments until he gave up and called some kind of central number.  The central number answered with a recording:

"You must tell the operator where you want officers and why you want officers."

"The following message is for the hearing impaired ... "

[SCREACH-SCREACH-BEEP-BEEP]

[Other languages]

They actually pump the TTY noise into the recording so you have to hold the phone away from your ear.

The deputy and I listened to this loop for about 15 minutes.  He finally gave up and asked if he could call me back.

He called back and said he got someone who will call me back.  I thanked him and told him he was very professional.

Now, apparently the correct department was calling me back, right?

Someone from Los Angeles Airport Police Department called back.  She wasn't playing Angry Birds and told me to call this other number.  It won't result in a police report.  She told me if I wanted to file an actual report, I should probably call my local jurisdiction to ask for a courtesy report.

So that's it.  I'm not filing a police report.  I'm done.  It's a waste of time.

There's always a chance that a larger crime will be committed with my iPhone somewhere in the vicinity.  In that off chance, it'll be confiscated during the course of such an investigation.  At that point, the serial number will be reported to Apple, and matched up with my name.  I might get it back then.  I'd have better odds winning the cost of the phone in the lottery.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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Using The Higgs Boson To Prevent Terrorism

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Filed under Diary

Imagine an elaborate system to prevent terrorism by using the theoretical quantum particle known as the Higgs boson.

To do this, one must build a rigid set of guidelines with a directed point of failure.  The point of failure will be used to decide if a Higgs boson particle should be created.

This boson doesn't "want" to be created.  The Higgs boson is a particle that should not exist in this spacetime frame.  It only exists in other frames of space-time.  If we cause this boson to appear in this frame of space-time, we will create a paradox.  But basic causality will prevent the Higgs boson from appearing in this frame.  It's just a fact of nature.  It's a scientific law.

In this way, it's similar to lightening.  Lightening travels through the path of least resistance.  In the case of a temporal paradox, causality will use the easiest effect to prevent a cause.  Cause and effect are reversed in the situation of a paradox framework.

When I say "easiest," I am not referring to Occam's Razor.  The actual effect that prevents the cause may appear to us as the least obvious effect.  So directing the effect is very difficult.

I think the best way would be to use encryption.  Each airplane that we would like to protect will carry several encryption keys all over the plane.  They will be made of very fragile material.  Under normal circumstances, if they plane remains intact, they keys will be retrievable.  If the keys are retrievable, they can be returned to the facility that will decide to then not attempt to produce the Higgs boson particle.

The keys are encrypted in order to prevent counterfeit keys from entering the equation.

That's the setup.  To summarize: Got all the keys?  Yes, we do?  Ok, then we will make no attempt to produce the particle today.  We'll try again tomorrow with new keys.

The tricky thing to remember is that the Higgs boson particle will only be produced if and only if a key is missing.  The idea is to build a system that will mean the easiest way to break down key retrieval is to destroy an airplane.  Since that is the easiest thing to do, causality will require terrorism to become harder.

Got all the keys?  No?  Uh oh, one or more is missing?  Ok, we shall now attempt to produce the particle that "doesn't want" to be produced (which then prevents the terrorist attack in the past).

It is important to ensure that the Higgs boson particle will be created in earnest if even one key is missing.  If the key is missing because a plane was destroyed, it is imperative that they attempt to proceed.  Doing so will then produce the effect to prevent the cause.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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That Bin Laden Killing

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Filed under Diary
I have some vague sense that many people are opposed to capital punishment, and for good reason, and especially when there is no trial and conviction, and yet we are expected uncritically to celebrate the death of Bin Laden at the hands of the U.S. state. The government needs glory and we are supposed to provide it, regardless of the cost (which, as Anthony Gregory points out, has been American liberty itself, in addition to possibly millions of lives). Lew Rockwell points out that there is a reason for the timing of this announcement. Regardless, so intense is the pressure not to question any aspect of this that the Cato Institute took the trouble to issue a note of congratulations and inform us all of what a “huge debt” we all owe to the government for its magnificence. The killing also permits simple minded people to imagine that all U.S. foreign policy struggles with Islam are due to one bearded guy with a grudge and have nothing to do with, for example, the American penchant for invading other people’s countries and stationing troops in the lands that Islam considers holy.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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