Irrsinn.net: taking joy in human unreason

webdev tag, page 2

Search-building: custom or Google

Until earlier this week, I had a lousy site search in place. It was one of Google’s Custom Search Engines, barely configured and only on its own page, due to it’s hefty (and blocking!) JavaScript. I’d long since disabled WordPress’s search since my stories aren’t being run in WordPress, and I didn’t feel like trying to chew on the internal search mechanisms to include the stories.

Last week, I started playing around with a project to create my own (Python) site search, including a crawler and Whoosh-based search. I’d seen the implementation of a Lucene search in Zend go fairly easy-peasy, and liked the idea of a self-hosted search.

Problem is–well, one of the problems is–the crawl time for a site with 1200 posts (most of which are low-priority) is a deal-breaker on a shared hosting provider. It takes far longer than 5 minutes just to collect the links, even with multiple threads. Add the parse time to get indexable content for 1200 pages, and I was stuck contemplating how to crawl and index the site in parts.

This sounds like a great, fun, project. …Except that it’s already been done and I have other things I’d rather be doing. Google did it; their index for my site updates surprisingly quickly and doesn’t make me afraid that Dreamhost will smite me. (I’ve been with Dreamhost for several years now, and while I’ve learned how to properly deploy a site since moving here from… Brinkster, was it?, I don’t relish the idea of learning a new environment for all the stuff I run here.)

So instead of the 4-5 hours I’d spent screwing with the Ikea-esque assembly of a site crawler and search, I spent two this week really making Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) work for me. Yes, there are ads. Yes, it’s not a solution that I own. (Then again, neither is my email, in that sense.)
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Weekend linkage

Just a few, since I’m so far behind on my reading (down to 425 unread items!) and I just posted a set on Friday. Enjoy.

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Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Website Feedback – If I can wrap up and launch this damn character sheet app, stuff in this post will be handy for when it betas, especially the surveying. I suspect the LARPing audience will be sufficiently… opinionated to speak on it.
  • Six Useful CSS3 Tools – Some of these are pretty slick, if you're moving into CSS3 development.
  • Sharpening the blade, part MCMXVII: Nine Amazing Hours. – This is incredibly cool, and I plan to use it for a bit and see if it helps me focus.
  • Amazing Examples of Paper Art – I almost hate to link to this, in case Greg gets ideas for elaborate projects.
  • Python Business Rules Engine – Lott raises a good point about handling complex business rules, in that it's (often) cleaner and simpler to go ahead and incorporate complex business rules into the app itself rather than writing a parser to allow external entry. In my case, I have such a small user base on the side that would have been entering these rules that it's just as fine for me to do a small code release for any games added with these validation rules in them.
  • YouTube – Turkish male belly dancer "diva" – Major glitter warning, here. Major. This may be the first male bellydancer I've ever seen who wasn't mocking dancing, and he's very good. I don't like the music or the dissolve and swirling transitions, though. Or the glitter. That's a lot of glitter.
  • Amazon S3 and CloudFront with WordPress and DreamHost | .larre – This is quite a cool plugin. Not the quickest to set up with CloudFront, minifying, and combining, but worth the effort, even just for the hell of it.
  • Girl quits her job on dry erase board, emails entire office – This is apparently fake, but a cute read anyway. I’d advise against airing dirty laundry like that, though.

“Pursuit” posted and character sheet news

Chapter 9 of Witches, “Pursuit” is live. Actually, it went live yesterday, I just neglected to post here for it. I was busy having my ass handed to me by some type of hydra. Damn D & D 4e hydras. It had seven heads by the end.

“But how do we get you out of here without anyone noticing?” Robert asked absently. Satisfied that her hand was fine, he pulled his hands back out of the attached gloves.

Hardi tamped down a grin of victory. “Nice and easy. You’re going to create a distraction, and we’re going to slip out.”

A small smile played on his lips as he asked, “What kind of distraction?”

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Tidying up LARP character sheets: an app in progress

So. I LARP. Twice a month, I go out of my house dressed like a nurse and stand around acting like I see ghosts and have an extra-special creepy ghost of my own on my shoulder.

Yeah, so if I’m late to your Saturday afternoon picnic this summer, this is likely why.My Geist LARP character
I LARP in White Wolf‘s Geist system, which is very new in the LARP world — the worldwide game just started in March. There’s one person that has taken it upon herself to create and maintain (sorta) Excel character sheets, and the sheets for the Vampire game seem up-to-date and fully functioning. The Geist one isn’t so much, alas.

Instead of mucking with Excel files — which don’t work in OpenOffice or GDocs very well — I’m going to move this whole idea online. The idea’s in architecture/design, but the core idea is simple: a place where people can make, save, and print World of Darkness character sheets. It’s going to be tailored at LARPing in the Camarilla for the moment, including fields for member numbers and such. It’s designed so as to be easy to add other World of Darkness games — those of a certain version adhere to the same formulas, by and large.

The initial release’s functionality is simple, too. Folks create an account in a very slim process — username and password, with a (re)CAPTCHA to cut down on spammage. When you create a character sheet, you pick which game you’re playing. Initally, that’ll be base World of Darkness or Geist.

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Recent Posts

Exploit: Zero Day “Headless Swarm” Landing December 1

So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.

*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…

It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.

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Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

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Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

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July 3rd 2016
Tags: On Life and Love, , No Comments

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.

One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

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Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.
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Questionable Decisions: Hot Yoga

I made a questionable decision this afternoon.

After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.

Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.

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