Philosophical Ranting of an Engineer

Summer Update

June 28th, 2006

So I’ve been home for a while now and haven’t posted much here. After my blog broke and I was unable to post for so long, I got in the habit of not posting. So here is a post in my traditional style, half schizophrenic, half update, half philosophy, and half bad math.


I still don’t have a job. After a week of relaxing and goofing off I began looking for remote Ruby on Rails work and despite receiving several responses telling me they were very impressed with my resume, and my well written cover-letter, I only had one company interested in me. Unfortunately the man I spoke to was supposed to get back to me a week ago and has not. I have been doing a little bit of part-time work at Haverly, the company I worked last summer. The application I developed needed a few upgrades, but I want to do something more substatial this summer. Looking for work is depressing. It is much more fun to learn about stuff and work on my own projects!


During my time at Rose, I have used CVS and Subversion on various projects. Most prominently SVN was used on the CMS I wrote winter quarter. Now it seems stupid to work on any significant project without some sort of version control and SVN is what everyone is using these days. Dreamhost, my web host, recently installed SVN but I was busy with school and never got around to installing it, thinking it would be difficult to administrate. I finally decided to play with it, bought a book, and have been learning a lot. If things go well, I will be giving some employees at Haverly a demo of SVN and trying to convince them they need to jump on the version control bandwagon. Fun stuff.


After mentioning working on my own project, I can’t forget to mention it. I finally found a Ruby on Rails project that is both interesting, not too large, yet challenging. Well, I don’t know about challenging. Mostly I just want a project I can work on and finish and have to show people. And that is what this project is, a web application for displaying your work. You could say it is a portfolio app. I don’t have anything to show yet, but I’m working on it. Probably the most difficult part of it would be creating a nice layout, but I managed to find a decent theme off OSWD.

Game Development

I can’t remember if I had written on here about a game I wanted to start developing. Well, I started learning some DirectX at the end of winter quarter and did a little at the beginning of spring quarter, but PLC took over my programming life and I stopped. I did buy a book with a couple of tutorial projects and I’m partway through the first one. I haven’t forgotten about this; I really need to get on the ball and start making games. It drives me crazy that I haven’t, but I never end up getting started. Once I finish working on ShowCase I hope I will begin working on this again. I’ll keep you posted.

Guild Wars

Speaking of games, I’ve been playing a few with friends now that I’m back home. Last summer we played Guild Wars and beat it. Guild Wars: Factions came out around the same time this year and we decided to play it again. Unfortunately this means it came out about two weeks before I finished finals and came home, so again, every bought the game before me. That’s ok, I don’t hate you guys for doing that to me TWICE.

Factions is very different from Prophecies, the name that everyone is calling the original. The campaign itself is shorter, by about half I think, and you level much faster. By the time I did the third mission I was level 20, the cap. At first we all thought this was a lot better than prophecies where you don’t usually hit level 20 until you reach the area where you ascend. But as we played I think we began to realize that the plot is pretty stupid. I don’t like it as much as the first one. And without the incentive to level up, we have began losing interest. From what I hear there are a bunch of new PvP options, including a 16v16 Alliance vs Alliance mode. This sounds like a LOT of fun, but you can’t ally with anyone until you’ve beaten the campaign I believe. Also, the campaign is very difficult. The last couple missions, as in the 3rd and 4th, have taken us several attempts to beat. Where has the magic gone? The missions in Factions are much more linear. You can’t get past certain places until you’ve complete your primary quests or beaten the next mission. This means that you can’t jump again and grab the elite skill you want and elite skills seem to be the only reason to complete the campaign I think. Like I said, the plot is boring, the cutscenes are terrible, and there is little reason to care about it.

I still feel that Guild Wars is a great game. I love the variety of skills available to you. Choosing skills from both professions and trying to come up with an effective build is a lot of fun. Doing everything as a party of 8 is great. The interaction between players is good. Factions just doesn’t seem to present well, in my opinion.


I’m playing hockey again! Woot! Unfortunately its at an outdoor rink on unfinished cement. The floor is more slippery than… um… (insert imagined slippery object here). I can barely accelerate hard without losing grip and a hockey-stop is out of the question. This is really frustrating because the whole game slows down as people don’t bother to skate a little harder and grab the puck that is behind them. Instead they circle around and let someone else grab it. It is still a lot of fun to play though, even if I was terribly out of shape when I began to play. I’m doing better now after 5 weeks. I scored last game! Playing once a week is not enough though. I won’t say that I had forgotten how much I enjoy the game, but now that I’m playing again I am throughly enjoying myself and wish I could be playing more. There need to be more rinks close by.


I went hiking and camping with Todd, Lem, and Daniel up at the Punch Bowls last week for two days. It was a lot of fun. It was hot, sunny, there were bugs, and we were all very tired. But we had fun hiking and swiming in the pools. We followed the river all the way up climbing over rocks most of the way, and then climbing UP rocks at the very end. On the way back, we followed the trail the whole way and it took us less than 3 hours instead of the 7 we took going up. Understand that we had a long lunch and took a lot more breaks going up, but it was still impressive. It took us two hours to climb the last stretch going over large rocks and it took us 15 minutes to get back on the trail.


Just this last week I began listening to Pandora. My roommate introduced me to it while at school but I never really listened to it. It is a web radio station built on top of the Music Genome Project. Some experts tag songs with certain attributes. When you create a station you pick some songs, or artists, and Pandora tries to pick songs with similar attributes. This is different than other web radio stations that try to pair what other people like to what you have said you like. Pandora shows no preference for more popular bands, it is simply based on what songs sound like. It is really quite excellent and its free to listen to. Supposedly by subscribing you can get rid of advertisements, but I haven’t seen or heard any ads yet. Go check it out.


That’s about all I have to say right now. Todd and Daniel are in South America on a mission trip so its a little lonely here right now. They will be gone for another two and a half weeks. This will give me time to work on my projects though.

P.S. I left my razor in Indiana so I haven’t really shaved since I got back. I think I must look pretty wild, but I keep getting positive comments about my beard. Odd.

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