July 2015

Counting Cards and Scrabble

  • Posted on: 22 July 2015
  • By: davis

Nigel Richards is a legend among the Scrabble community. He employs the same approach to language that a card counter applies to a deck of cards. There are constants - numbers and symbols on the cards, text shapes on the scrabble pieces. The board is always the same in Scrabble - rules vary in Blackjack. 

What I found interesting was the discussion on HackerNews about his style of play. Nigel doesn't know French, and he can't speak a lick of it beyond "Bonjour." He's just memorized random combinations of characters, essentially. Some people were quite annoyed with this, arguing that Nigel should have to define the French words (i.e. have a degree of familiarity with them in any context other than their literal spelling). But that's an obtuse way to trying to place a limit on human creativity. Scrabble programmers have known this for years - scrabble is a game of dictionary brute forcing, and mathematical theory to maximize point values from the board. 

But that doesn't make it very fun to play against your cousin who's memorized all of the two and three letter words in the Official Scrabble Dictionary and runs circles around you.

It's not fun to get dropkicked by someone who plays the game. And so there are people who will always bemoan someone who's perceived to be playing outside the "spirit" of the game.

Which brings me to card counting.

Clean URLs On Drupal and NearlyFreeSpeech

  • Posted on: 20 July 2015
  • By: davis

Finally got this working. I couldn't enable clean URLs on NearlyFreeSpeech's hosting. If you're like me and can't go anywhere in your Drupal installation but your homepage, read on.

Here's what you need to do:

In your Drupal site root, you're going to need to download and edit the .htaccess file. Open it with Notepad++

Comment out the Order Directive using the "#" symbol

I'm a Millennial

  • Posted on: 20 July 2015
  • By: davis

I like to eat things. I like to talk about eating things. I like to make my eating of things a cultural statement. I only eat at certain places because some places are low-class. When I go to high-end restaurants, I know the food is better because people dress differently. I don't dress differently though, that would be cultural appropriation, and I'm NOT down with that.

I'm just a foodie - you might not understand. I like to read food blogs. I like to post pictures of food. I like to watch commercials of food. I like to watch cooking shows where famous people eat food. I can't experience it in any way, of course, but I like to watch people eat food and then moan.

Oh yeah, the way they shove food in their mouths gets me going. I like to watch a panel of culinary experts put calories in their mouth and exhale blissfully. This makes me happy, so I watch it all the time. I like to see people cooking food in the South, the North, India, Antarctica. I live in a country where obesity kills a ton (hurr hurr) of people each year. I mentally masturbate to the thought of more food. I buy my cooking utensils because a fat lady on T.V. also prepares her caloric intake using the same tools! I have favorite food makers, and I've never tasted their food. It sure looks good when I'm watching it alone on my couch at 2AM.

Conversationally, I'm stunted. Hey, have you seen the latest Game of Thrones? You haven't? What about Mad Men, Sopranos, Arrested Development, or any other show? I can only relate through the discussion of broadly-available entertainment mediums. I love it when marketing consultants put together Twitter campaigns to track their demographics - yeah, I love participating in the ecosystem known as Big Data. 

Switching From Rackspace to NearlyFreeSpeech

  • Posted on: 13 July 2015
  • By: davis

I had some growing pains switching from Rackspace to NearlyFreeSpeech today. I needed to port four Wordpress sites and a Drupal installation. I encountered quite a few stumbling blocks along the way, mostly due to the way NearlyFreeSpeech configures their permissions.

To get new Wordpress installations working on NearlyFreeSpeech:

SSH into your server with Putty. You will be dropped in /home/public by default. Wordpress files need to belong to the "web" group. Use the following commands

No One Cares About Your Excuse For Being Late

  • Posted on: 8 July 2015
  • By: davis

Hoooooly shit is this some new thing the internet is going through?

I'm seeing tons of shitty clickbait articles from EliteDaily, Buzzfeed, et. al about the habits of chronically late people.

Seriously, look at this stupid fucking title - "Optimistic People All Have One Thing In Common: They’re Always Late"

Building An Arduino-Powered Infinity Table

  • Posted on: 7 July 2015
  • By: davis

Matt Ibarra and I wanted a fun project. My girlfriend Amanda wanted a table.

Thus, we decided on an Infinity table. We accomplished this project in one night!

We wanted a coffee table to play around with, and the infinity effect seemed pretty cool. We've tried building an LED hoop before, with moderate success. This time, we wouldn't have to deal with the downsides of stuffing LEDs in a hoop.