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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Sometimes people just don't think

ISC makes dhcpd and BIND.

Dhcpd can up­date a BIND zone us­ing a va­ri­ety of meth­od­s. The one I saw ex­am­ples of is called the "in­ter­im" method. It re­quires that you cre­ate what's called a TISC key, used by BIND to au­then­ti­cate the zone up­date re­quest­s.

All fine and dandy. BIND even has a tool to gen­er­ate such keys.

Too bad about 1 in ev­ery 8 times, the key will in­clude a / and will be a syn­tax er­ror if you in­clude it in a BIND named.­conf file.

A mi­nor bug? Sure. But come on, noone has no­ticed it?????

Now, this is news to me.

Tavia seems to be an­oth­er KDE web brows­er.

I say nice.


Be­cause of a ques­tion on the PyKDE list, ask­ing for a more com­plete HTML wid­get us­ing Qt (not kdelib­s) I am look­ing at kde­nox, which is sup­posed to be a Qt-on­ly (QT/E) kon­qy. Per­haps rip­ping off the khtml piece of it won't be too hard, and then it can be sip-wrapped.

Prob­a­bly noth­ing will hap­pen with it, but I am look­ing ;-)

Nice graphics

Dan­ny Allen has been kind enough to send me some pret­ty pieces for my On­go­ing Game De­vel­op­ment Ef­fort That Has No Name Yet (But Should Not Be Called Any­thing Jew­el­ry-Re­lat­ed) 1

So, thanks Dan­ny!

I think I am go­ing to switch to SVG-based im­age load­ing, too.


Or, as I call it, OGETH­N­NY(B­SNBCA­J-R)

On other news today...

Python code re­al­ly does­n't look good on plan­etkde, so fol­low the link to my page to see it right if you are there ;-)

Adventures in Hi-Fi

As I blogged ear­li­er I am writ­ing a game (and yes, it's pret­ty much playable al­ready).

One thing I did­n't men­tion is that I nev­er wrote a game be­fore. Yeah, I know ev­ery­one does it as one of his first pro­ject­s, but I nev­er did.

So, there are some things I re­al­ly have no clue about 1, like sound and mov­ing graph­ics around.

For the graph­ics stuff, QCan­vas is just fine and dandy, but to make things bloop and war­ble and squeak when the time is right, I found Qt's sound sup­port some­what de­press­ing.

Come on, NAS? Who us­es that? And what about mu­sic? I had no idea.

So, I start­ed try­ing to fol­low one of my lead­ing prin­ci­ples of de­vel­op­men­t: find a way to make it Some­one Else's Prob­lem (T­M).

The usu­al way to do that is find­ing a li­brary that han­dles the prob­lem, write min­i­mal glue, stick it to the side of the pro­gram, tell the pro­gram that's his new ar­m, and for­get about it quick­ly.

Here's what I found.

Mi Dios!

I thought I should start by adding one of those an­noy­ing lit­tle tunes ev­ery game has. It's just a game tune, I don't want to have to in­clude a 3MB OGG file for it, so I want­ed an in­stru­men­t-based for­mat.

I re­mem­bered MI­DI tunes. You may know them as ring­tones nowa­days, but they used to be just cheesy tunes gen­er­at­ed by your SBPro's FM gen­er­a­tor, not your phone.

In fac­t, I re­mem­ber hav­ing a lit­tle prog­gie called playmidi, that would do that in Lin­ux.

Well, it seems that in the past few years, ei­ther sound cards have for­got­ten how to play them, they fell out of fash­ion, or some­thing, be­cause the on­ly things I found that could play MI­DI are mon­strosi­ties that re­quire a 9MB dig­i­tal in­stru­ment set. And how was I to in­clude that along with my 25KB game???

So, what's nex­t? I had a C64, so...

MOD me up!

MOD files are like MI­DI files, on­ly the MOD in­cludes it's own in­stru­ment set, called sam­ples, and in­struc­tions on how to re­peat and al­ter those sam­ples to make a tune.

Good news: there are nice-­sound­ing, fun­ny MOD files that are about 30KB in size.

Bet­ter news: There is a pop­u­lar li­brary to play them! It's called Mik­mod, and your dis­tro has it (and it's a de­pen­den­cy for KDE's mul­ti­me­dia pack­ages too).

Even bet­ter news: It has sup­port for play­ing sim­ple sounds (sam­ples in mod lin­go) by call­ing a cou­ple of func­tion­s.

Awe­some news: It in­cludes a soft­ware mix­er so you can just tell it to play this, then play that, then that, and a tune in the back­ground, and ev­ery­thing sounds at the same time.

So, we have a win­ner. This ba­by can han­dle ev­ery­thing I need for the game!

But... is that a snake in your pock­et?

I can't find a Python bind­ing for it. I am sure as soon as I post this ar­ti­cle some­one is go­ing to come up and tell me, here they are, mo­ron! But I just can't find any.

So, I de­cid­ed to do some­thing I want­ed to do al­ready and learn to use Pyrex. Pyrex is a tool to write python ex­ten­sion­s, with al­most-free ac­cess to C li­braries, in an al­most-python lan­guage (on­ly mi­nor syn­tax dif­fer­ences).

That way, I could write a Python mod­ule to use Mik­mod.

You know what? It was al­most scar­i­ly sim­ple 2. I did­n't wrap all of Mik­mod 3 be­cause I don't need it, but now I can do stuff for games and apps al­most triv­ial­ly.

Even more: Pyrex has awe­some dis­tu­tils sup­port, so build­ing the ex­ten­sion­s, usu­al­ly a pain in the rear, is triv­ial (most­ly you just copy and delete stuff, with some search and re­place).

One thing I found I did nice­ly is this: Mik­mod re­quires you to call Mik­mod­_Up­date ev­ery once in a while so it fills the sound­card's buf­fer with stuff to play. If you don't, it skip­s.

So, I just start­ed a thread that loops and takes care of it. You don't even have to know about it to use the ex­ten­sion. Oh, sure, if your Mik­mod is not thread­safe, it break­s. Well, get a de­cent Mik­mod pack­age, then.

How does it look?

Here's a whole noisy prog­gie

#Load the modules
import mikmod, time
#Init the library
#40 voices, 20 for music, 20 for random sounds (overkill)
#Enable sound, starts the thread that pushes sound, too

#Create a module, that is, a music track

#Load two samples, just a couple of noises

#Start playing the song

#For the duration of the song, each second, make some noise


#Close the mikmod library, stop the thread, etc.


As if that would sur­prise any­one!


On the oth­er hand... wait­ing for stuff to com­pile... how quain­t.


Ac­tu­al­ly, I am wrap­ping al­most all of Mik­mod, I am just not ex­pos­ing it to Python be­cause I don't need it.

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