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Name: Joe Wreschnig
Member since: 2000-10-25 02:18:10
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Homepage: http://www.sacredchao.net/~piman


I write a lot of Python-related code, mostly for game programming using Pygame (either the games themselves, or tools). I also write other things sometimes. I'm a Debian developer, and maintain/sponsor a number of games, Python and Ruby development files, and other programs I use.


Recent blog entries by piman

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23 Jul 2003 (updated 23 Jul 2003 at 21:21 UTC) »
fejj: Writing games is often amazingly demoralizing too. Just because it's a game doesn't mean you don't have 10 years of feature requests piled up (well, closer to 5 years, because I'm writing in Python). On the other hand, you're right in that it's not nearly as bad as a mailer.

Speaking of that, that's all I've been doing lately, hacking on pydance. I'm really proud of how far we've come in the past 4 months (new song selector, new menus, new graphics, half a dozen new game types, a dozen game modifiers). But, I still don't really see an end in sight.

Debian stuff has been really slow lately, so I sponsored a few people, and I'm also packaging Pathological. What I'm actually doing is probably getting in over my head so I'll have no time when school starts, but at least it's keeping me busy until then.

18 Jan 2003 (updated 18 Jan 2003 at 02:11 UTC) »

I've been doing a lot of work recently on PyDDR. I started out just packaging it for Debian, and apparently now I'm the second most active developer (next to the main author); a month ago I didn't even know Python. It's demoing at LWCE at the icculus booth (by Gentoo and Xiph, the Xiph guys will be playing DDR - don't miss it :), so drop by and take a look, especially if you've never seen a dancing or beat game before.

I think this project is really highlighting one of the weaknesses of free game programming (that I'm pretty sure we're all aware of) - the lack of non-code media. pyDDR absolutely depends on non-code media - not just graphics, but music - and its quality is directly related to the quality of those. So far, we have one song. One. It's by the main author, and it's a good song, but it's still just one song. We have an okay set of graphics. We have no voice talent at all for the announcer (I have to remove the existing one from the Debian package because it's non-free).

I don't want to say that the "battle" for free software is won - it isn't even close, I think - but there is a free software movement, that has produced a free system, and continues to enhance it. Free documentation is starting to come of age, and I don't think free fiction is far around the corner (especially based on recent articles on Kuro5hin). However, I can't find any sort of free music community that isn't just a subset of the free software community.

On a completely unrelated note - I can't get to LWCE to show a program I helped write, because I have to be at college getting a degree in computer science. No, this isn't really a "university education is worthless!" opinion, I just find it ironic and a little frustrating.

SyntaxPolice: Don't forget make modules_image; it makes .debs of all the module source packages you have installed (alsa, lm-sensors, etc).

Well, with a lot of toys breaking recently (my Rio, a hard drive, headphones, and both of my PDAs inside of the past 6 months), I managed to finagle my way into getting a laptop in exchange for all the birthday and Christmas presents I was ever going to get for the rest of my life. :) I was pushing for one anyway for school, and the sudden breakage of all else portable in my life pushed that priority up very quickly. The laptop is a Sony Vaio PCG-GRX570, with a P4 1.6Ghz, 40GB hard drive space, 512MB RAM, and a 16.1" screen. I know this is one of the places I'm surrounded by people older than myself, but I look back 10 years ago at my 486/33 and I couldn't imagine measuring anything in gigahertz, let alone more than one. And in something that weighs just a few pounds.

As for how it works? Wonderfully. I blew away XP right away (I'll be going for the refund in about a week; the reason I'm waiting a week will be revealed below) - sound, display, CD-RW, accelerated X, USB, ACPI, and jogwheel all working. Granted, I don't think a single one of them worked out of the box, but I'd rather have to spend two days and get everything working that have half the stuff work right away and the rest never. If you have the money ($2600 unfortunately, $2100 if you can find a floor model like I did ;), I definitely recommend it as a GNU/Linux system. I'll be working on a guide for installing and configuring Debian on it later,

Tomorrow my wisdom teeth come out. But tonight, I think I'll rate some Advogato diaries.

raph, I have very fond memories of The Phantom Tollbooth from when I was 6. I still have my battered paperback copy on my bookshelf, although its now next to SICP rather than Cars and How They Go.

Big stuff (some information has been obseleted because of the succeeding note) happening the world of music library and playlist design, thanks to Ruby. JZig is heavily involved. I'm listening to stuff with it right now (Martian Successor Nadesico soundtrack).

This is definitely going to be really insanely cool when we're done, and I still haven't seen anything else like it.

I'm tempted to open up this diary again rather than my LiveJournal one, partially because LJ is so slow, and because I don't always feel comfortable talking about programming topics there, since I know no one really cares. It's probably also because I've been reading Advogato a lot more (since k5's "technology" articles have gone waaay downhill), and because I want to get more involved in the free software community.

I think the latter point stems from what I'm learning at UMN at the moment. I'm not actually learning any new programming theory per se (I did learn Scheme, but second semester is Java and I honestly did everything we're learning in there before I hit puberty), but I'm learning how to formalize my programs and thought structures about programs, and also more about discrete mathematics, a subject which I "knew" from programming before, but didn't have the jargon to express. I'm finding myself reading CS research papers and understanding them, and managing to teach myself using them, in addition to tutorials and existing code, which is how I taught myself before. Honestly, this feeling is exhilirating, akin to how good I felt when I wrote my first program, or the first few months after I switched over to UNIX.

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