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Thoughts on language and more

Project Shovel

Then again, I could always change my mind.

It really was time I got the renewed AnacondaSoftware site uploaded, since it had been sitting pretty much done for a month now. So I finally did it, and it exposed a few things that I couldn't have seen from the test environment where i developed the theme. One of them I had to post a question on the PivotX site about, so I'll get that fixed up later next week, hopefully.

And with it, I changed my mind and decided to post the introduction to the novel, Spiral Island: Feint Innocence. This novel is the story of the game in it's most complete form, and I plan on coming back sometime later after releasing the game and remaking the game in this full form. Right now though, of course, the focus is getting it released in the Classic form, which, with some expansion of my vocabulary from the time I got out of High School altering the script some, is the way it would have been back when I was originally going to release it in 2003.

I originally started it some years ago, I don't know when, because at some point the file I was working on it disappeared completely. Just gone, I haven't found it on any of my old hard drives, and I haven't found it in any of numerous different backups. It simply vanished, taking with it the work I had done on it at that time. It was actually a long time before I decided to try rewriting it, because I wanted to finish searching everything before I gave up hope on finding it and having to do it again. Ultimately, I couldn't find it, so I had to start over.

Project Shovel is the codename for the novel itself. This means nothing more than my own pure amusement, and shouldn't be regarded as anything else. As it happened, late into the night when I was working on the restarted document, as tiredness crept in I saw the filename in my taskbar "SInovel.odt", and my eyes blurred it together. Continuing on, due to fatigue, I was wondering for several moments what the document was, because I didn't remember ever saving a file by the name of "Shovel.odt". I found it absolutely hilarious after realizing my mistake, and renamed the file accordingly.

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 19:00:00 -0500

Split Minds

Well, the AC still isn't fixed, but it is somewhat cooler today outside so the temperature's not so bad. I was going to go work from the library, but I woke up too late to do that. 

First off, as I mentioned on the AnacondaSoftware forum, Spiral Island has been split into two titles for the XBOX version. Mind you, I read about the announcement of the changing price points last Friday, while my AC was out, and because of the burnout I literally did not come up with this obvious solution for hours, I just mulled over general anger about it because I wasn't really able to think it through.

That aside, the game still doesn't have the entire story. The game follows the main character exclusively, and doesn't give you any extrinsic information that is not known by Amy herself. This is actually the reason why there are two parts to the story, the happenings themselves, and then Amy trying to piece it together for her report without the missing information to explain how strange everything is. 

Collectively, with everything together, the entire storyline is told in a novel I'm working on. There were a couple reasons for withholding the parts that weren't centered on Amy. One of them was for some things that would be simply too difficult to pull off in the 2D format, but mainly I didn't want to dilute the importance of Amy's role. She is the focus of the story, after all, spending too much time on the others would then make a person think otherwise.

It would be a while before I finish writing the novel completely, so I'm not going to really go into it further right now. But I think a little after the game is finally released I'll post the introduction to it. I don't want to post it before because it does contain some spoilers for the storyline, and the game's introduction is a more abbreviated form of what I have written there.

Wed, 29 Jul 2009 08:00:00 -0500

It Happened Again?

Yep, I happened to have had a birthday yet again. But no I don't particularly have much to say, because our AC is still out and it's still hot. I do have a couple things I want to talk about later, though, so I'll go into that soon.

Sat, 25 Jul 2009 10:00:00 -0500


I have nothing coherent to say today. Our A/C is not working, and my brain is melting. Prepring to use my Holder power to try and cool things down around here. I would go to the swimming pool at the fitness center I have a membership for, but since my car isn't drivable, and it would be too long of a train and bus ride, I'm not. Instead, I'll just sit here trying to keep cool somehow.

Thu, 23 Jul 2009 10:00:00 -0500

Browser Shifts

I usually use IE8 on my notebook. It's a decent browser, and much better than the dark days of IE6. Despite some unwarranted MS hate from people, it serves well for using the internet. I have all four major browsing engines on my machine (IE8, Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome for WebKit) so I can do cross-browser development, but generally I just use one for daily use. 

Lately, though, on my machine, it hasn't been serving so well for typing on the internet. Out of nowhere, and with no relation to anything I can figure out, it started randomly skipping characters as I typed. Spaces and letters would vanish and I would have to continually edit my text as I typed a lot more than I should have. I thought it was something related to my G15, but it did the same thing on the 1530's keyboard when I typed with that. I thought it was something plugin related, and turned them off, but it continued. I haven't been able to figure it out.

This started around the same time Google announced Google Chrome OS. It's built on Linux, but the Linux build of Chrome does not have all the features it needs yet, so it's still going to be a while before it releases. In the mean time, all of Google Chrome is moving forward in development continually, with constant changes to the backend Chromium project. Since they're working on an Extensions system currently, I decided to switch to the Dev branch of Google Chrome and use that more often. It's working for me, and I can type just fine, however the lack of good updated access to the Google Toolbar Favorites system doesn't help things much.

So at this point, now I'm using both Google Chrome and IE8 regularly in the day. Chrome for forum use and anything else I need to be able to type with, such as here on the blog, and IE8 for reading news sites and all my Google Toolbar bookmarks. The system works well enough for me like that.

Tue, 21 Jul 2009 11:00:00 -0500


One of the things specific to LDS culture, and one of the things I forgot about by the time I started doing linguistic studies, was an attempt during the 1800's at creating an English script specifically designed for helping immigrants learn how to speak English. English is a horrible language, in and of itself. Because of all the different pools it has, every rule has some other counter-rule, it's just a mishmask of written and spoken chaos. "Deseret", as it was simply called, was an attempt to try and improve that.

The written language is a phonetic language, much like Russian or Japanese. It was made by a committee comprised mostly of early Mormon church leaders, based on shorthand systems. Because the early church was getting people coming to it from all around the world, they wanted a script system they could teach to explicitly show how a word was pronounced, instead of how it was written. There's a total of 40 unique sounds expressed in Deseret (80 characters total, since there's both an uppercase and a lowercase), which, although probably not enough to express all the normal sounds in English speech, it is a lot closer to being able to portray the pronounced language we speak.

Ultimately, primarily because of costs of printing in the separate script, it was not adopted and fell to the wayside. It is occasionally used nowadays among small circles, but the only place I've ever seen myself it are at actual LDS historical sites. And I had forgotten about it completely, until I stumbled upon the fact that it's included in Unicode while I was researching characters from another language.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 21:00:00 -0500

Edited for Content

If you've looked at my YouTube channel, the first thing you see there are music video's I have made over the years. There's five total. From there, there's some other miscelaneous things, leading up to the video I've just uploaded, the second in my series of Commodore 64 videos. 

But there's only 5 AMV's, as you can see. I've wanted there to be more, but it's just five, with my last one still from many years ago. And there's a good reason for that: Adobe Premier.

I started using Adobe Premier in High School in my Advanced Multimedia class, and liked it a lot. Premier 6 was what we used then, and I liked it a lot, I did several things for that class, and that's where I started making AMV's. Because of time access to the lab I never finished my AMV projects I was working on during high school, so it wasn't until late 2004 that I finally finished one, done to I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel and to the anime Saikano. Between then and late 2005 I got a total of five videos done, and, with my last one, done to Blind Guardian's The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight, I intended to do a whole chain of them to Blind Guardian in particular.

I never made another one after that. Because of Adobe Premier. In the beginning of 2006, Adobe released Premier Pro 2.0, introducing a new GPU acceleration to video. I don't know if that was the cause, or if it was some other change with 2.0, but starting from that, it's ability to handle general video clips of various formats dropped. And with each new version it dropped more. I decided to switch over to Elements instead of Premier Pro, thinking that since it was aimed towards consumers and not professions it would maybe have better support for a broader encoding format, but it didn't. I bought the Photoshop Elements 5/Premier Elements 3 combo, and another unexpected issue came up: it wasn't compatible with my system. Despite claiming Vista compatibility, it did not work with Vista x64, and it wasn't until a week after my purchase that the requirements listed on the Adobe site specified that it had to be 32-bit Vista.  

I did use it on a 32-bit installation on my notebook, though, but wasn't very pleased with performance. I was trying to work on a .hack//SIGN video, but my render was just plagued with frame jumping errors that it wasn't going to work. So I removed it. Later, when I bought my XPS, it came free with the Photoshop Elements 6/Premier Elements 4 combo, so I decided to give it another try. This version was even worse than before, and on my XPS I tried doing a Higurashi music video but couldn't get the first few seconds without a ton of errors. So I decided to abandon it for music videos, but still kept it around for other purposes.

Now we come forward to these Commodore videos. The reason I was so delayed on making another one was because I had a ton of problems trying to use Premier to cut the first one, which was really little more then sticking the two different clips together and a third audio track. I tried doing it for this new video, and it completely trashed the game footage. I've had enough of it now, I've uninstalled Premier completely. What used to work great has just become garbage. 

But that leaves me with nothing good to work with as an alternative. I want to try playing with Cinelerra but I don't have a Linux machine set up right now or the time to really sit down and play with it. That will have to wait for another time, I guess.

Mon, 13 Jul 2009 15:00:00 -0500

Small Fires

Earlier tonight, ImageShack was hacked. For several hours, all the pictures were replaced by a message from some group, with, honestly, some rather confusing goals.

When Swine Flu hit, I talked about how Twitter wet ablaze with talk and rumors about it. I decided to watch Twitter references to ImageShack for a while to see what happened. While the hack was in effect, entry after entry just rolled onto the service. I didn't get a good timestamp to compare to until after the images were reverted, but talk of the hacking continued, leaving a good 200 tweets about it in just an hour's time.

Looking at the Google Trends for the day, the top two searches are for information about this, first of all "ImageShack Hacked", followed by the name of the group, "Anti-Sec". From several links there for news posts and blog entries, there's a lot more discussion going on elsewhere too, more fires in other locations. If they had remained hacked longer I'm sure the fire would have gotten much bigger.

As it stands, it will be interesting to see if there's anything more that comes of this in the next few immediate days. From my searches this group has apparently been around for ages, but this was apparently a move to bring their existance, their goals, and perhaps most importanly, the issue at had, into the spotlght.

Fri, 10 Jul 2009 17:00:00 -0500

Virtual News

The quote of the day today on my iGoogle page is "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one", by A. J. Liebling, a journalist for The New Yorker from the mid 30s to the mid 60s. At the time, of course, print wasn't heavily accessible to the everyman, partiularly for the amount of time needed for setup of a print. It was all lithographic, as photographic processes were just barely being introduced.

However nowadays, the nature of press itself is changing. Print is losing popularity, as more and more people turn to the internet for their news. And on the internet, everyone is the press. Everyone can make content, everyone can report their information. Blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, the list goes on and on, as the mass of everyone's press continues to grow. An explosion of information, an exponentially growing press. User generated, user run, and user approved. The freedom of press applies now to everyone, as everyone is now the press.

Fri, 10 Jul 2009 08:00:00 -0500

Space Constraints

As I said I would, I have put up a few Skewed updates this week. With a Dungeons and Dragons campaign taking up a majoriy of this week, completely throwing my sleep schedule back off again, I haven't been able to do as much work as I have wanted for the week. I just got the main function of my new scripting system for Spiral Island working properly, and I was going to spend some time with a profiler to make sure it isn't a heavy performance drain before continuing on, but I've been having some difficulty getting profiling tools to work properly.

One of the most amusing things about this apartment is we're all longtime friends, and at any moment something hilarious could happen out of nowhere. There's been so many random things that would have been nice to capture on video to upload to Youtube that just happened spontaneously. Conversation, too, spontaneous humor at any moment, so while playing D&D yesterday I decided to turn on GoldWave and record everything.

Now the problem with that is sessions of course go for a long time. I set it to record 5 hours worth, but since we just had one boss to fight left over from the previous session it was only 3 hours and 40 minutes of recording. The problem with that, though, is later on, trying to save the file. On average, saving MP3's at the usual rate of 128kbps will give you about 1 MB for every minute. Obviously, that would end up being a very large file at length, so that wouldn't work. Knowing some things about human voice range and encoding formats, I ended up going for 32kbps encoding rate at 32000 hertz sampling. I also used WMA format, which is better at lower encoding rates then standard MP3 is (a separate method known as MP3pro was written for lower encoding rates). I would have gone for 22000 sampling, honestly, but GoldWave didn't offer a high enough encoding rate at 22khz for my liking.

In the end, the nearly 4 hour file ended up at a filesize of only 50 MB. It sounds a little tinny due to the highpass of the sampling rate, but it's still easy to comprehend. Also, as a side note, the array microphone on the XPS 1530 is a lot more sensitive than I was expecting of it, I was very impressed.

Thu, 09 Jul 2009 16:00:00 -0500

Holiday Relaxing

Trying to get work done this last week has been rather diffucult. To try and remedy that, I've been spending the holiday weekend unwinding, and attempting to get back off my graveyard sleep schedule again, which I somehow ended up back on. I've watched Schindler's List and a couple other movies, and sat down and just fell into a writing groove for Skewed, writing a bunch of ahead parts. I'm going to perhaps spend the rest of the day continuing writing ahead, until I get to the end of this chapter, and also watch New Rose Hotel when I get some time.

Sun, 05 Jul 2009 08:00:00 -0500