Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Day 0

I took a nap at 1am and then woke up at 10am. . . FAILURE! I didn't even hear my alarm go off! Time to start over.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Day 1

3:30am - Nap: sorta sleepy for about 30 minutes before, refreshed after

8:00am - Nap: nearly asleep for about 20 minutes before, showered after so I don't know if it was the sleep or the water.

10am - Red Bull: I cheated . . . Rash decision

12:30pm - Nap Time: Red bull has me awake, physically; I still feel groggy . . . oops! I'm going to lay my head down for 25 minutes. I also have a headache. I have felt kind of groggy since my last nap but not nearly as bad as I would be on zero hours sleep. Additionally, I am having more problems than usual focusing. We will be leaving for lunch at 1pm I slept through four minutes of William Shatner; I must be more careful about oversleeping. From reports I've read; oversleeping is a common reason for stopping. I can't oversleep lest I a) lose the benefit of less sleep, and b) miss important awake things.

4:30pm - At the (loud!) datacenter, spacy on the drive here, kind of like when you're driving and super tired you sometimes don't concentrate enough on the road and then crash? Well its not nearly as bad but it feels like that.

5:00pm - Woke up to my cell phone telling me I was done sleeping. I actually felt nautious waking up which persisted for about 10 minutes. I feel about the same as I did before the nap. I don't recall any dreams in my sleep.

9:00pm - Previous to this nap I was pretty excited about working on my car, so when I went "to sleep" I didn't fall asleep until right after 9:16pm (i cheated and opened my eyes to see the time) I did manage to fall asleep though and awoke started to my cell phone's alarm.

9:30pm - I feel pretty rested to the extent that I don't think I needed to take that nap.

12:24pm - I am getting tired and now I have a headache. Nap time in one hour; having trouble focusing again.

In summation, I think I was far less exhausted than I expected to be, but if my condition stays as it is now, I will not be keeping this system for too long. I have headaches, I feel warn out all the time and I'm usually sleepy. I am going to give it a couple weeks though.


Josh, Candi, Joe and I drove to Toronto (Joe only to Lansing) on Friday and retureturned today. The trip was exciting and quite a bit of fun. Thanks to Shelia for the hospitality and fun times. Thanks to Greg as well for joining me at my first Rave and thanks to Ben and Bonnie for the invite.

Talking with Shelia I've decided to make one big life change. I'm going to attempt to start a Polyphasic Sleep Cycle. Ultimately I think it will fail, but this is worth a shot. It seems to have worked for some people and unlike most, I have job that would accomidate the changes in sleep behavior. Coupled with a hoodie to cover my eyes I expect to have little difficulty getting my naps.

The idea behind Polyphasic Sleep is that you force your body to go immediatly to REM for ~25 minutes every four hours. I guess this is what Kramer did in an epsidoe of Seinfield. I hadn't known that before I learned about this.

My first of (hopefully) many naps occured at 11pm on the drive home. I didn't sleep as I was not tired, but didn't open my eyes for 25 minutes. The time is now 5:23am, my next nap will commence in two hours and 37 minutes. I feel awak right now but was nearly falling asleep at 3:30am when I took my second nap.

I was thinking we might do this again in December, but then again I don't want my warrenty to expire with in a year of getting my car. That would be bad news.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Fwd: Cyberpunk Canon

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Oct 22, 2004 12:18 AM
Subject: Belated cyberpunk reading list

I believe I owe you a copy of this; not just books, but comics & music
too. Enjoy.

[from a hackerish mailing list, 6 Nov 2003 at 22:45]

This is a very biased selection of books & short stories from the original
cyberpunks, not the next-gen Stephenson crap (I hated "Snowcrash"); I've
included related works & some music & comic book suggestions as well:

Start here:

Vernor Vinge
* True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier
 (The title short story came out in 1981, right before Gibson started
  writing Sprawl stories).
* Then read all the rest of his stuff.

Next, the classics:

William Gibson
* Burning Chrome (short story collection, (Neuromancer pt0)
* Neuromancer
* Agrippa (poem; read the history on this, or search the alt.cyberpunk
 archives so you can see what all the fuss was about)
- Count Zero (Neuromancer pt2)
- Mona Lisa Overdrive (Neuromancer pt3)

Bruce Sterling
* Mirrorshades (the original cyberpunk anthology)
* Schismatrix Plus (includes Schismatrix and Selected Stories from
 Crystal Express)
* Crystal Express (track down the Arkham House edition if you want to
 be 'l33t)
- The Difference Engine (with Gibson; steampunk - what if the Information
 Age started ~100 years earlier, during the Industrial revolution, when
 the British Empire was at its peak?)
- Holy Fire

Walter Jon Williams
* Hardwired (Neuromancer meets Mad Max/The Road Warrior)
* Voice of the Whirlwind (kinda like Neuromancer 100 years later)
* Facets (short story collection)
- Angel Station

John "I'm an actual punk musician" Shirley
* The Eclipse trilogy - the rise of fascism in a future post-war Europe.
 1) Eclipse
 2) Eclipse Penumbra
 3) Eclipse Corona

Rudy "Mr. Math" Rucker
* Anything; the guy is an amazing and perverted nutcase.
 http://www.mathcs.sjsu.edu/faculty/rucker/ <--homepage
 You may want to start with the Software/Wetware/Freeware/Realware series,
 then the Seek! and Gnarl! collections.

Greg "I am not a cyberpunk" Bear
* Blood Music
* The Wind from a Burning Woman (Short story collection; get the Arkham
 House edition to be uber 'l33t; "Hardfought" is one of the most grimly
 terrifying and saddest things I've ever read.)
* Eon
* The Way of All Ghosts (short story in several anthologies)
- The rest of his stuff up to about 1997 is good.

The protopunks:

Alfred Bester
* The Stars My Destination (MUST. READ.)
* The Demolished Man
* Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester
 He wrote this stuff in the frellin' 1950's! And it kicks ass!

William S. Burroughs
* Naked Lunch
* The Ticket that Exploded
* The Soft Machine
* Nova Boys
 Drug-addled cut-up surrealist sci-fi with S&M/homoerotic overtones.

Samuel Delany
* Nova
* Driftglass (short story collection; "The Star Pit" is a must-read)
* Dhalgren
* Babel-17 (neurolinguistics in warfare)

Also try:

* The Ultimate Cyberpunk (anthology) - by Pat Cadigan (editor)
* The Alt.Cyberpunk.Chatsubo Anthology - by Che Paula Dunlop (editor)
* Storming the Reality Studio:
 A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction (essays and
 articles) - by Larry McCaffery (editor)

Pat Cadigan (chick cyberpunk)
* Synners
* Mindplayers
* Patterns (short story collection)

Philip K. Dick
* Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka the film "Bladerunner")
* A Scanner Darkly

Arthur C. Clark
* Childhood's End (Blood Music in an earlier incarnation)

Thomas Pynchon
* Gravity's Rainbow (another massive surreal cut-up weirdness book like
 Dhalgran and the Burroughs stuff that seems to make no real sense
 but is still cool, especially if you read it while hallucinating.)
 (You may want to pick up one of the various Gravity's Rainbow "readers
  companions" as well).


* Early Skinny Puppy, Einsturzende Naubauten & Sonic Youth. Front 242 is
 good too.


* Adam Warren's stuff from Dark Horse Comics; this includes his "Dirty
 Pair" work, his run on "Gen13" and especially the "Titans: Scissors,
 Paper, Stone" one-shot.

* Anything by Masamune "Ghost in the Shell" Shirow (also via Dark Horse

-  Paul Pope has done some very interesting cp-ish comics: 100%,
  Heavy Liquid, THB, The Ballad of Dr. Richardson.

-  David Mack's Kabuki has many cp-ish overtones.

[This started a fairly long thread on the root@se2600.org mailing list;
other items that were suggested:]


- Frankenstein (M. Shelley)
- Faust (Goethe; W. Kaufman, translator)
- Terminal Man (M. Crichton; also, The Andromeda Strain)
- Shockwave Rider (J. Brunner)
- Vacuum Flowers (M. Swanwick)
- Permutation City (G. Egan)

- Empty Zone - Jason Alexander
- Transmetropolitan - Warren Ellis
- Mek - Warren Ellis (little three book mini)
- Global Frequency - Warren Ellis (sorry Warren Ellis is/has done some
 of the best stuff in comics to date.

[Next thread, by E2:]

On 7 Jan 2004 at 14:14, E2 wrote:

> For my english class this semester I have to write a research paper on
> a body of fiction, be that book, film, or tv-series, roughly along the
> lines of 'detective' fiction (as in Sherlock Holmes, etc).  The idea is
> to higlight notions of criminality, perversion, delenquency, and deviance
> that arise in popular culture.  I was wondering if anybody had any
> suggestions for books that fall into a the hackeresque/cyberpunk field
> but still have the detective story elements.  Right now I'm thinking
> about Blade Runner (cause it's such a sweet movie) but I'm wondering how
> much tourqing it will take to make my paper topical.  Hit me.

[My reply:]

- "Bladerunner" (aka "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?")
 by Philip K. Dick
- "Altered Carbon" by Richard Morgan; new/3rd-wave cp/detective novel,
 very good IMO.
 [His 2nd novel, "Broken Angels", just came out & it is also very good
 & very disturbing.]
- "When Gravity Fails" by George Alec Effinger; 80's cp novel set in
 Cairo from a Muslim PoV.
- "The Demolished Man" by Alfred Bester (original 50's proto-cp & the
 first novel to win the Hugo); murder investigation & detective work.
- "A Scanner Darkly" by Philip K. Dick; not exactly a detective novel;
 an cop whose undercover alias is so secret that his supervisor and
 co-workers don't even know who he is, is assigned the impossible task
 of watching and eventually busting his alias (ie - himself); revealing
 that he is the cop *AND* the surveillance target to anyone would
 quickly get him killed by drug dealers & corrupt cops on the take.
- "Noir" by K. W. Jeter; interesting reviews, but I haven't read it
 yet; described as "a hardboiled cyberpunk detective novel".
- "Tea from an Empty Cup" by Pat Cadigan; I haven't read this one yet
 either, but I like her other work; also described as "cyberpunk noir
 detective fiction".

Not cp, but still interesting:

- Larry Niven's Gil "the ARM" Hamilton stories, collected into one
 novel; hard sf cop stories set a couple of centuries from now.
- Isaac Asimov's Elijah Baley & R. Daneel Olivaw novels, "Caves of
 Steel" and "The Naked Sun", followed by the related "The Robots
 of Dawn" and "Robots & Empire".
- "/" (aka "Slant") by Greg Bear; cp, not a detective story, but has
 a very interesting futuristic cp murder investigation.
- "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs; proto cp with a lot of
 criminality, perversion, delinquency, and deviance.

Hope that helps, post the paper when you're done. Hell, post it
before you turn it in if you want criticism (constructive & otherwise).


The very best "Hard Boiled Private Eye" meets SF stories I've ever
read/seen are "A Case For Charley" (1984) and "Charley Gets The Picture"
(1985) by John B. Spencer (A Brit. 1944-2002
http://www.johnbspencer.com/bibliography.htm and also a musician).
They may be somewhat hard to come by these days. Think Raymond Chandler
crossed with Bruce Sterling.

Not a body of fiction, but Clifford Stoll's "Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy
Through the Maze of Computer Espionage" might prove insightful.

[In a similar vein, Bruce Sterling's non-fiction "The Hacker Crackdown"
is online for free & documents the Secret Service raids on various hobby
BBS systems in the early 1990s and the comedy of errors that followed,
- the "stolen $70,000 secret document that would let hackers take down the
emergency 911 system" (revealed in court to be a few pages of billing
procedures that was available to the public for ~$7);
- the assumption that role playing game publisher Steve Jackson Games was
really a secret front for training hackers, and that their "Cyberpunk"
gaming module was a "handbook for computer crime" (example: sections of
the module describe items like cybernetic neural jacks that will let one
plug into the Net, "black ice" and "icebreaker" software you can buy for
your cyberdeck, etc).
Google the book & author for numerous links.]

Also worth mentioning for atmosphere:

Roger Zelazny:
The Great Book of Amber (all 10 volumes; first five are great, 2nd five eh)
Lord of Light
Doorways in the Sand
Four for Tomorrow
Jack of Shadows

Gene Wolfe:
Shadow and Claw
Sword and Citadel
Urth of the New Sun

I hear "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville is good.

HOW TO - Build the Ultimate Gaming Table

HOW TO - Build the Ultimate Gaming Table: " Marc writes 'This is a well detailed plan of building 'the ultimate gaming table' for role-playing and board games. I appreciate the details like cup holders and dry erase boards as well as the layout of the room itself.' Link."

Pretty geeky, but I thought it was slick!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Added plazes.com buddies/friends support

I've added support for interacting with a plazes.com buddy list. The buddy list is implemented with a list and friend access via name is accessable by a get method. Each setitem, append or other manipulation of the list causes a remap to occur such that the list doesn't need to be iterated over each time someone access a friend in the list. I'm sitting on a problem though that prevents the buddy list from being sorted in place using any sort of key (friend name or proximity) because I don't know how to repopulate the buddy list object without either destroying all its meta data or iterating through it, popping off all the values than extending() the list again.

An interesting thing though about the terminology for plazes.com's friend/buddy list . . . the rpc call is buddies, the docs reference the list as buddies but individuals in the list are referred to as friends; the same with what's on the website.

I used a nasty cludge of code snippets to make this version work. Its not really useful.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

pylauncher: GUI launcher and friends browswer in python

I just committed the first "release" of a pygtk based launcher for plazes.com. Yay for everyone! Soon to arrive features include:

  1. Friends Browsing - Get a list of your friends and other plazes users online, sorted how you want it
  2. Automatic polling/updates - Adhering to the design docs, your plazes location will be checked every 4 minutes for changes, with updates submitted as needed.
  3. In client plaze addition - As soon as the API supports it
  4. GPS coordinate updates - In conjunction with #4, as soon as the API supports it.
  5. Happy fancy dancing ponies - You read that right.