My life seems to be moving in strange waves of productivity. I've spent several days by creating 3D models, then by programming and then by writing. But I can't just switch context and mix it, to do for example a bit of programming and a bit of 3D modelling. It just comes and goes with waves of inspiration and inner motivation. Weird.
I would like to return to the development, but I can't find the motivation. I still think about rewriting it to something else. Maybe java (graalvm), maybe rust, or nim.
One of the reasons is rpython (python to C translation and compilation toolkit), of which I am tired lately. Second reason is that I think that the architecture is wrong in some specific details, but I am not sure how to do it better. It works, but it is slow and really really hard to debug. I would also like to add some kind of GUI, but rpython offers no support beyond "C ffi". Which sux.
Object wiki update
objWiki, on the other hand, is receiving a steady flow of commits. I've refactored a lot of unclear code, added a internal documentation to (private) objWiki notion page. The goal was to lower the cognitive load of the PyQt code as much as possible.
I've added a lot of internal features and improvements. One of the most visible new feature is the support for headers.
The toolbars change dynamically, right now you can see the toolbar for the header, which offers you all kind of structural transformations (to the normal text, or other header sizes).
At the moment, I am working on the core editation functionality. Context menu that will allow you to transform, duplicate or delete every input object in the node. Internal command line. Joining of two inputs, support for the undo across multiple inlined widgets and so on.
This is still in the infancy, but when it is done, adding new features, like inlined images, or any kind of widgets, should be really quick and simple. The hardest part is to make PyQt work with the rest of the system. This takes most of my time at the moment.
I've created the /r/cyberDeck subreddit more than four years ago (). You can read the article Cyberdecks to see what I've had in mind; diy headless computers, that use head mounted displays (think Oculus) as a primary output device.
For example, the founder of the Oculus, Palmer Luckey has built himself a computer in keyboard, that wirelessly connectes to his Oculus Go. I was at a time really interested in the 3D environments, so I've also created /r/HMDProgramming, a subreddit about programming inside 3D environments.
I've filled /r/cyberDeck with all resources that were available to me at the time. I was interested in inspiration, howtos, experiences with building your own "GPU heavy" device and about a software you would use.
Instead, it got plagued by cyberpunkish aesthetics and all kinds of diy computer builds. People just posted whatever looked like "cyberdeck" to them, even to the point of just posting stuff like rPI with usb keyboards, lying on the table in mess of wires, because it looked "raw" enough. Worst of all, almost no one cared about head mounted displays.
I've chosen the word "cyberdeck" specifically because it has a meaning, defined by the early cyberpunk and Shadowrun novels. I knew that it would resonate with the people, but as it turned out, it resonated too much.
At first, I fought against the trend, but when the number of subscribers raised to several thousands, I've decided to let it live its own life. Now it has more than nineteen thousand people happily sharing their builds. It is a nice sub, full of enthusiastic people who love their idea of "cyberdeck".
So, as of , I've released myself from the "ownership" of the sub, because it no longer fits my needs. The guy called Talulabelle is moderator for more than a year now, and I guess he is more than competent to take care of it. Or not. I don't really care.
I did a lot of improvements to the blog. Most notable is that I've turned the ads off.
Unrolling the sections
Root sections were historically just one page with a bunch of headers, under which the articles in that "section" were listed.
Now I've changed the way how it works and looks into something much more readable:
As you can see, each article now has description visible. Categories with a lot of articles still hide most of the older ones, but by default offer more space for the previews. Each article that has metadata with time shows it next to the name of the article, with the information about number of subpages and when it was updated.
You can see a lot of toplevel categories in the right menu. My theory is that this should increase the time users spend on the blog. What you can't see is also a list of tags and the list of pages that refer to this page, both of which I've added to articles (this is a category page, so thats why you don't see it).
One of the hidden features is that I've added a lot more metadata to describe each page. I've added so much, that I've had to create internal documentation page just to keep track.
More interesting metadata:
reply-to:whether this page is a reply to some other article.
alt-repr:when I publish same page on multiple platforms, this header contains link to alternative representations of the page.
alt-translation:Internal link to alternative language representation.
originally-from:Some of the articles I've published here on my blog were originally published by me somewhere else.
The idea is that all of the listed headers will be shown in some specific standardized GUI element on the top of the page.
My life/work ballance is a shitshow. Six months on the homeoffice caused that I've lost track of what is work and what not. I am sitting in front of the same LCD and keyboard all day long.
On top of that, the company where I work is preparing to replace thousands of systems in the Romania with our own implementation that already successfully runs in the Czech, Slovak, and Polish language mutations.
There is huge rush to fix all bugs, some of which are not even in software, but caused by changing legislation and business requirements.
I've redone some pieces of the software I am working on five times and it is still not done. Needless to say, this is not good for moral.
And just for things to be more interesting, some of the guys from the Romania have no idea what they are doing. Literally bunch of windows only webdevs tasked with python/linux/packaging job. I've tried to help them as much as I could, but it was complicated and strange story. So much that my friend suggested that I should write it down. I am working on that.
My life kinda sux. I've had more fights with my girlfriend, and we are not talking with each other at the moment, most probably also for the next three weeks (as per agreement), and quite probably not ever. Fights, breakups. All kind of nasty crap.
On the completely different topic, I've visited my brother at the mental hospital in the south of the country. He is locked there now and then, because he suffers from the paranoid schizophrenia. He was quite slow, because of all the medication he takes. But he was happy that I've come and took daughter and gf with me. He thinks about getting married with his gf, which is nice I guess.
My second brother returned from the travels all around the world after he successfully finished bachelor degree in machine learning class at university in Edinburgh. We went to lunch. I've ordered "half of the duck".
We had a hard time to eat it in two people. I don't understand who can eat this alone.
I've been going to all kinds of restaurants (korean, italian and so on), before the lockdown begins again. Since children here are going to the schools, I expect lockdowns of pretty much everything in two to three weeks, when the effect of spread among them propagates to their parents. So far, the numbers here make record every day. The government is issuing new restrictions every day, in a way that makes no sense and speaks of immense misunderstanding and mess.
I also feel kinda bored with my life. Maybe the coronavirus situation is getting to me. I am bored by my job, bored by my lifestyle. I can't help to be somehow drawn to big machinery. Ships. Shipyards. Offshore sea wind turbines. Also, all kinds of military hardware. I think about realigning my life with some of this stuff again and again.
I've finished last book of the Starsiders trillogy; Leaping to the stars. It was quite excellent and brilliant, and I loved every part of it.
Only god knows how long now I have to wait for the next book by Gerrold. More specifically for the fifth book of the Chtorr series.
I've immensely enjoyed the parts where the main protagonist talks with the monkey toy stuffed with the advanced artificial intelligence:
This is why you read sci-fi. Not because robots and all kind of hi-tech shit, but because it can take you to weird philosophical places.
Crystal Society is one of the "Rational fiction" books, like HPMOR. Whole premise is that the "main protagonist" is one of the threads running in the crystal processor. They have a body, which they control together with other threads. They make decisions together. They pay each other strenght. And we are watching them trought the "eyes" of the thread running in this robot, as they make themselves free from human scientists, that want to control them.
I've liked the book, but not from the beginning. You see, the whole book at the beginning feels like conversation drama with seven people, locked in one room. Which may work for movies, but is quite hard for books. Then I've thought about how I would write something like this, and I concluded that it is actually done quite right, and it also became more interesting in time, so I've enjoyed the rest.
There was actually a lot of quite interesting ideas and it was all parallel with parts of human mind, that somehow create a whole person. Interesting quote:
General consensus that humans aren’t smartest possible beings; humans are stupidest possible beings capable of civilization. Evolution makes intelligence and boom, suddenly it rules the planet. No time to optimize, so to speak.
Unflattening is absolutely brilliant essay in form of comics, and also a PHD work about how comics can be used to tell stories and also represent all kinds of visualisations. Highly recommended.
Last book I've finished is Stáčení temného piva, or The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers.
I've read the book several times when I was younger and it was a kind of guilty pleasure for me to read it again.
It is basically a fantasy about beer set in the historic Europe.
I wrote GPT-3 →first czech article about GPT-3. It was quite well received and it got a lot of comments on the abclinuxu.
I've also published:
Stuff I didn't like
I've lost weight and muscles. More than I've thought. Six months on home office really did me no favor.
Work bullshit. Pretty much same as always. I mean I like the nature of the job, but I don't like when processes fail and people in charge decide to solve problems with brute force manday power, instead of proactive thinking.
Fights with gf.
I've begun to run ~1.6 kilometers (~1 mile) before sleep. I am quite surprised that I've managed to really run every day, no matter how tired I was.
I've tried running before, but only from time to time. Now I hope I can keep the streak for as long as possible (6 days at the moment of publishing this blogpost), and I would really like to make a routine from running before sleep.
I am experimenting with Cookie cooking. I've done several batches of various recipes, and it ended up like something else than expected on each occasion. Some of them were quite good, but I still don't have recipe that would do what I want.
I want them to be crunchy, I don't want to use milk (or butter made from milk) and I want to put a lot of raisins and only moderate amount of chocolate. And no oat-flakes, for fucks sake.
I've pushed Eric to take me to shooting range again. He even mentioned it in his weekly update 🤭
I am quite shitty shooter, and I don't like CZ 75 (too small for my hands) but I've managed to group the shots at the end into acceptable spread.
I really need to start working on my firearm pass. But that will require to switch my physician for someone here in Prague (my old one is several hundreds kilometers far away), which is normally not a problem, but fucking corona is blocking everything. Then I can get a medical approval, and begin to teach myself all kinds of legislative and other relevant stuff.
My router suddenly died and didn't even blink, even when I've tried a different power source.
It was quite old, chewed by dog several times, so I've ordered new one and installed it immediately when it came:
It should be slightly faster, and it has beam forming antennas, but other than that, it is quite ordinary and unremarkable SOHO router.
Which brings me to monstrosities like this
What the fuck? This can be literally used for a model of alien Prador warrior from the books by Neal Asher.
Prador resemble extremely large crabs. The body is covered by a flattened, pear-shaped shell with scalloped rims. The wide front end of the body bears several pairs of small red eyes, including one pair on movable stalks. They walk on six insectoid legs, each ending in a large spike. Adult Prador shed the hindmost pair of legs and lose the ability to regrow lost limbs. Hanging from the underside of the body are four small manipulator arms ending in clusters of fingers and hooks serving as hands. Positioned above these are huge crab-like working claws, used mainly for combat and heavy labor. Prador mouths are sets of grasping, shearing mandibles suited for eating meat.
It even have front claws! Needless to say, that I've saved the pictures of various SOHO Wifi routers as a reference for a 3D model of Prador warrior.
I've thought a lot about buying minicomputer like GPD pocket, or similar. I've had a Jornada 720 in the 2010s and I've used it to write my first blogposts at abclinuxu.cz. So I've decided to buy old Jornada 720 (only 32 megs of RAM) as an experimental Emacs terminal. They are quite cheap, so it is great testing device before you buy something pricier. I wanted to see how big it is, and whether I can touch type on it.
At the moment, I am still waiting for the CF card, so I can boot Linux (Debian). But even the preinstalled Windows CE have some prehistoric mobile word and I've tried touch type several times.
So far, I have a feeling that the idea of small pocket notebook is simply not for me (my hands are quite big).
My friend is getting rid of all kinds of hardware, and he offered me to sell his Oculus Quest for two thirds of the market price. I've accepted, but we didn't finish the transaction yet.
Plans for immediate future
I would really, really like to go to the gym again. I've went for the better part of the 2017, part of the 2018, and several times during the 2019. Not once during the 2020.
I would really like to pay coach and go two or three times like before, but with the corona situation here in the czech republic, I am not sure how wise that would be.
Become more social
I kinda decided, that I wan't to make new friends and generally be more social person. I think that six months in almost solitude (if you don't count my gf and daughter) really did its job on me. But again, fucking corona is blocking this.
Do some practical stuff
I would really like to go to some kind course about making something physical. Maybe something from wood, or metal. Something with your hands. But fucking corona ..
Great article about various lego interfaces and design decisions: The UX of LEGO Interface Panels. There is more to this article than may seem of the first look.
How GPT3 Works - Visualizations and Animations is a great article with a lot of animations. There are also other articles that go into most specific details of embeddings and self-attention layers.
Web browsers need to stop is a quite cool rant with which I can agree.
Three blogs on the more or less same topic:
I've enjoyed this for a moment. Really beautiful vocals at the end.
This is so impressive. He literally makes music from nothing, and on the fly. I am quite in the state of envy.
The Bald and Bankrupt is here in Prague. And he is here quite often? Wow.