Tag Archives: Techiness

I’ll clump web design talk and gadget talk here, I guess.

d20 3.5 SRD Spell Lists: First Beta

So I’m in a D&D 3.5 campaign now. And I’m playing a Druid, which is kinda exciting–it’s the first time I’ve played a Druid at a high enough level that I can shapeshift, and I just tipped 5th level on Sunday. (Campaigns always fizzle out early…)

Anyway, the campaign is a hodgepodge of standard D&D and Sandstorm, and summoning restrictions by the GM mean that my spell list involves a fair bit of swapping out that’s a little annoying to manage. For instance, I’m using Sandstorm’s “Desiccate” instead of “Summon Nature’s Ally II”, since I can’t summon.

Since Druids are the type to prepare a few spells per day from a large list of available spells, I needed a quick way to see all of my available options without flipping through two sourcebooks and my swap list at the table. Then I wanted to avoid having the jotted down short-hand description of the spell that I refresh every “day” as I try out new spells.

Pain in the ass.

A bit of Googling lead me to conclude that with the advent of D&D 4e, many of the 3.5e resources… disappeared. And by disappeared, I mean:

All files withdrawn at the request of Wizards of the Coast.

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Brain Twist: .NET MVC 3, Entity Framework 4.1, and TDD

Talk about taking a large bite.

In the interests of pushing my .NET knowledge, I began migrating the Geist character sheet project that I’d started in Django to .NET MVC 3. I hadn’t done MVC in .NET since MVC 1 was beta’d, but hey, MVC is MVC is MVC. Right?

So in the interests of making things more interesting and more testable, I decided to dive into the Entity Framework 4. My beginning read of POJOs in Action, along with my previous experience with .netTears–I mean, .netTiers–had me generally familiar with the concepts of entities, contexts, and repositories.

Kicker is, POJOs is just a book (and one I’ve barely dived into), and .netTears uses code generation, meaning I could get away with treating it as just a very hefty ORM in the applications it was in. Generate and go.

Getting my fingers in it was a whole ‘nother experience.

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Chewing on Granny Squares

My knitting colleague E. made the (arguably) goofy decision to refresh her crocheting skills by taking on a granny squares blanket.

It’s a great idea for using up a ton of scrap yarn.

It’s not a great idea if you enjoyed the level of sanity you had when you started.

She quickly ran into the classic self-randomizing problem: given 20 different colored yarns of different weights, how do you put 3 different ones in each square while trying to keep the colors as random as possible? Sounds easy enough, but after 15 or so squares, it gets tricky. If you’re aiming for randomization, the last thing you want is a big diagonal of purple in your blanket when you’re done.

So E. appealed to me and asked me to write her a “script” to randomize her colors. I was on board, look forward to some Python/Django fun before I realized that what I’d been handed was a graph coloring problem with some fun restraints. (Turns out it was easy, but fun to think through.)

Before I get into the technical bits, go make a blanket or two. Then go find some esoteric method to contact me (or comment here) and let me know what you think, especially if you run into an issue.
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Deployment Automation with Fabric: Bee’s Knees

One immensely valuable thing I learned at Skookum was the value of automated deployments. I worked with a gent who took the time to work up Capistrano scripts for each staging and production environment of the whale of a project I worked with him on.

I appreciated it during development, but I didn’t appreciate it until we were deploying single tweaks out to production on Amazon EC2 in rapid cycles. I haven’t worked with EC2 since then (second half of 2009), but let me tell you, deployments were for the birds.

With his scripts though: run the script, enter your SSH or git password(s) a few times, and you have an automated deployment that runs for each person on the team, despite all our separate setups (Mac, Linux, cygwin, etc.).

It sounds trivial and obvious, but how many deployments did I do by hand, or try (poorly) to document for someone else, or forget how to do before that really sunk in?

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