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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Giving BartleBlog the push it needs

I found a cou­ple of hours to hack, and de­cid­ed to spend them on Bartle­Blog.

Here's what got done:

  • UI for blog pre­f­er­ences (still need to do maybe ten of these lit­­tle mod­­ules).

  • Search for files in rea­­son­able places (in­stead of us­ing the DB in the cur­rent fold­er, for ex­am­­ple).

  • Start­ed work on a first-use wiz­­ard

  • Start­ed work­ing on a orig­i­­nal and sim­­ple help sys­tem (re­­source files, yay! ;-).

  • Im­­ple­­men­t­ed (lame­­ly) post­ing of "s­­to­ries" which are stat­ic pages that are not part of the blog's flow.

I in­tend to spend a cou­ple of hours on it ev­ery day for the next ten days or so. Af­ter that, who knows, maybe a re­lease will be rea­son­able.

Why you don't have to take economists too seriously

I bet you have seen be­fore some ar­ti­cle about how some econ­o­mist cal­cu­lates the val­ue of things.

For ex­am­ple, if you pre­fer not to have health in­sur­ance worth $100 a year, and that means you are X% more like­ly to die in 20 years, then some num­ber-­mas­sag­ing will tell you you val­ue your life at $Y (the num­bers are not re­al­ly im­por­tan­t).

Here is an ex­am­ple in Slate mag­a­zine which in­cludes a rather clear ex­pla­na­tion of how this process work­s.

It shows that a Chica­go drug deal­er val­ues its life at be­tween $50000 and $100000.

Now, this is all based on the fact that that per­son choos­es to go on his life in a cer­tain way for a cer­tain amount of mon­ey. How­ev­er, I am pret­ty sure if of­fered $100000 or life, he would choose life.

Since that choice is just as his as the one used to reach that num­ber, it's clear that hu­man be­ings are in­co­her­en­t, or maybe that the dif­fer­ence in val­ue be­tween a 10% chance of death and a 100% chance of death is way larg­er than econ­o­mists es­ti­mate.

Per­son­al­ly, I can't even think of an amount of mon­ey that would make me take a 50% chance of death. But I am aware that, for ex­am­ple, my di­et caus­es me a cer­tain risk, maybe 1% or 10% (no idea).

How about you? Do you be­lieve in economist­s?

PHP is for lucre. Filthy, filthy lucre.

Got comis­sioned a small job for a cus­tomer:

  • Take a form done in an­­cient HTML us­ing dreamweaver.

  • Re­­do it in PH­P+MySQL

  • Make it work.

  • Add val­i­­da­­tion.

  • Make it look the same.

Ok, it's not ter­ri­bly hard, but it's not ter­ri­bly sim­ple, ei­ther, spe­cial­ly if you are not all that up­-­to-­date on PH­P.

But hey, us­ing HTM­L_Quick­Forms and Ren­der­er_Table­less, it's kin­da done.

But boy, do I now re­mem­ber how I don't like PH­P!

What I am plotting...


Ok, here's what I have been do­ing:

  • Dad­dy work. Lots of it. Fun!

  • Ac­­tu­al work. Lots of it. Fun, but not so much!

  • Worked a lit­­tle more in RA-Flip. Play/Stop/­­Pause is done. The ed­it­ing mode and open­ing/sav­ing files is pret­­ty much done, so it will be ful­­ly func­­tion­al as soon as I can spend an af­ter­noon in it.

  • To­bo­­gan (My slideshow soft­­ware). It works nice­­ly. There are many rough spots and it needs a few fea­­tures:

    • Some way to ed­it the CSS for in­­­di­vid­u­al slides in a nice man­n­er. Like set­t­ing back­­­­­grounds and colours (and not much else)

    • A nice way to save the slideshow so it ends all in a sin­­­gle fold­er.

    • Many UI de­­­tails

    • Docs

    • A site

  • Bartle­Blog: it has worked well for me for a long while, since I have been post­ing this blog us­ing it. And re­al­­ly, it's a nice blog, is­n't it? ;-) But of course, there is stuff to be done:

    • Many UI de­­­tails

    • De­­­cent flickr and openo­my up­­­load­­­er­s/­­­man­agers

    • Some ex­­­tra gad­gets I have in mind

    • Docs

    • A site

And that's all I have in mind right now. Ex­cept maybe a graph­i­cal Be­funge in­ter­preter, but that's not re­al­ly im­por­tant ;-)

BOP: Ball Oriented programming

Some of you may be fa­mil­iar with weird pro­gram­ming lan­guages. Some of you may even know about bidi­men­sion­al lan­guages. Some of you may have seen Flip, where com­pu­ta­tion is per­formed by balls bounc­ing off things.

Now you can see Flip us­ing Qt. My Ra-Flip in­ter­preter. I wrote it in a lark af­ter find­ing out about Flip in Good Math, Bad Math and shares no code with the orig­i­nal, but it's a sim­ple lan­guage ;-)

It's al­most fea­ture-­com­plete. Miss­ing are:

  • Lev­­els (to make it three­­d­i­­men­­sion­al)

  • In­­put

  • Start-stop-­­pause-de­lay con­trols

Here is the manda­to­ry screen­shot:


But that re­al­ly does­n't do it jus­tice, so here's a video:

The fun starts around 35 sec­onds in. The pro­gram prints an in­fi­nite se­ries of even num­bers and stores odd num­bers in a ... I am not sure how to call that. A cir­cuit?

I may think about writ­ing a some­thing-­to-Flip com­pil­er, so you can write your pro­grams in some sort of sim­plis­tic im­per­a­tive lan­guage and then see them as a pin­ball ma­chine.

It may be cute if an artist could spend a few hours mak­ing nicer gad­get­s, be­fore I do it (it won't be pret­ty ;-)

And yes, this is prob­a­bly the most use­less pro­gram writ­ten us­ing Qt, right there with kyes.

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