Tag Archives: work


Yay! Just heard back from Google. I passed my phone interview and am being scheduled for another one. Hopefully, after this time around, I’ll be hopping a plane to Cali and signing papers, ne? 🙂 I hope, I hope, I hope…

We could really use me having a real job. Would mean we could pay off debt, get a second car (though with the trouble it’s having right now, Penny’s more in favor of scrapping it), and – most importantly – Penny could stop working and turn into a mommie.

migration underway

Ok, for those who haven’t been following along, the summary:

  • I used to work as a sysadmin for the College of Engineering and Mines at the University of Arizona
  • My boss’s boss was a soulless little troll who is incapable of making rational decisions
  • I refused to play along with his little political games and quit before he could fire me for insubordination
  • Hedwig and Nobby are no longer hosted on university webspace

The official server status report is being kept on my general access university space at http://www.u.arizona.edu/~ammon.

snakenstein revisited

This morning, a job posting went across the MUD-Dev meta list. Well, two postings, really, but the one that interested me was an entry-level game programmer position with Three Rings – the Puzzle Pirates people. They are an open-source house that develops in Java under Debian. They use Ant and have a pretty cool open networking library (matchmaking, etc…) called Game Gardens.

Part of the job posting mentioned that short-listed applicants would be asked to develop a small game in the library. So, I’ve been poking around with it today and think I have a pretty decent grasp on how they’re doing things.

In preparation for playing with the library further, I am planning on writing a networked version of the old snake game. I figure since it was the first graphical program I ever wrote (Turbo Pascal, back in the summer of ’93 or so), it’s a good candidate.

My first playable (single-player) draft of the basic game took about 2 hours to write up since I kept getting distracted by Penny 😉 I’ve got a jar file available for download here. It is pretty ugly at present and doesn’t keep score (other than growing your snake). Every time you crash, it will ask if you want to play again – until you click no, at which point the program will just sit there until you close it.

It doesn’t use Game Gardens yet, that’ll be the project for tomorrow. I have plans for allowing for various types of power-ups and a population of up to 4 snakes on the field (one starting from each cardinal direction on the map). We will require the players to collect assorted eggs until a key appears. Grabbing the key will open the exit, go through exit to next map. Maps will have various silly little patterns of walls on them. If I get to keep playing with the thing, we will probably add different sorts of walls – moving obstacles, etc… I also have ideas for actual sprites to use, but that’s not a major priority – the game runs just fine in blocks of colour.

alumni migrationness

This post was somehow flagged as a draft for over a year. I’m not sure why, or if I meant to go into details about my displeasure with the OSX mail system. I do remember that I solved the problem and spent the next week figuring out how to actually copy emails from a traditional unix mail spool to the Mac’s Cyrus IMAP database monstrosity. I eventually wrote a java application that acted as an imap client, logged into both email accounts (the old debian machine and the new mac) and copied messages over manually.

But shrug, I figure I may as well activate this post 🙂

– Ammon [Nov 9, ’06]

Yesterday (the 12th), I spent the entire day working on the alumni migration.

I had some usable code that was almost ready to start testing on the 11th – but connectivity went funky. Everyone got kicked from the mud except me; dns resolution was spotty; Hydra seemed able to talk to most of the outside world but not all of the inside; Sora was able to see Hydra in order to IM me – but not Hedwig, who is sitting on the same switch (and KVM). This downtime had the lovely effect of hosing my active file edit, so I lost a good deal of work – but having already done it, the mundane parts flew by.

Manual creation of user accounts under OSX is a tricky thing. It is kind of a chicken vs egg problem – at least when using the password server. In order to create the LDAP auth fields, you need to first register the user’s password. That’s right. They need to have their password in the system before they can create an account 😉 I wound up doing this in like 4 phases – including a good bit of messing around with proc_open() arcana.

That was a fun and exciting problem to solve. I felt a substantial productivity high while working on it and for a good while after I got it working.

Then, of course, things got worse, and the stupid problem arose. It is apparently all but impossible to create an email account on an OSX server without using a gui. That’s right. This is a BSD Unix machine that I spent an entire day hacking from a command-line, and they want me to click on a little box in the management console app in order to allow users to receive mail.

Words really can’t begin to describe my annoyance at this – and I’m not going to try right now, but trust me, it’s a bad and nasty problem. Somebody at Apple (prefferably plenty of people) deserve a healthy dose of violent reeducation.

cranial shields failing

Well, today started in a sufficiently lousy mode and has continued along that vein.

I wasn’t able to get much in the way of sleep last night. I had every intention of crashing some time around 10pm, but I discovered that I only had 100 or so pages left in my book… and was tempted. On a good day, I could have finished that in under an hour, but Penny decided that she wanted to pester me a bit, so it wasn’t until about 1am that I actually finished the durned thing.

When I ‘woke up’ this morning, I came very quickly to the realization that I hadn’t really recharged at all. So, I tried to go back to sleep with plans on getting up at 10 or 11, taking Penny out to breakfast, and heading in to work around noon. This didn’t work either, Penny kept coming in and out of the room, turning lights on and off, etc… her office actually called her once and I had to answer that while she was in the shower.

So, at around 10:30 she started trying to actually wake me up, and kept doing so about every 90 minutes. This did not work out too well. I was, erm… cranky and yelled at her.

Thus, having made my wife cry, and having kept her around the house late enough that we weren’t able to go out for breakfast as planned… things were not mentally perfect to begin with. I’ve not yet had my pill, so that is probably not helping much either.

Anyhow, I am finally at work and have completed a survey of the password gathering seive’s progress. We’ve collected 45 of the passwords so far out of 180 users on the system. This wouldn’t be such a bad percentage, except I know how many more of those users are actually active – about 78 total have inbox spools exceeding 10k. So, the capturing process will continue.

I also set up an appointment to meet with the ambassador lady to help her make a final decision on blog software to install for their site. I am going to recommend this package because it is durned cool 😉

Otherwise, I am really and truly without anything to do here at work. My brain is completely drained from lack of sleep – I tried programming on a few different little projects but with no real success.

dirty rotten no good

Well, the networking losers here in the ECE building decided to have a major scheduled downtime today. They sent out a fairly uninformative email, but at least did have the courtesey to let us know beforehand. They claimed a 12 hour block of time for the project and gave no details other than it was gonna be big.

At like 6pm, they stopped working on things – without bringing everything back up – and went off to dinner. They got back at around 8:30 and I went in to ask them a few questions. I was brushed off in a rather uncouth manner.

However, after 15 more minutes of banging on things, I have finally figured out a way to get my servers -back- onto the internet. They changed our gateway’s ip address w/o any notice and would have just left me to rot.