September 2, 2022

Hosting

Tags: Meta, Technical

This website has moved. Since 2013 it has been hosted on a small virtual server at Linode. Now it is hosted through Github Pages. I should mention I have been very happy with Linode’s service and cost, but their minimum service is still overkill for this simple static website. I continue to use Linode for the Concealed Intent game server (for now).

So why the move? Maintaining an Internet facing server is a pain. There are a number of threats and it is just not worth the time in upkeep. Or worse, no support is performed and the server slowly degrades, becoming increasingly vulnerable (of which I am guilty since 2019). With Github all that work is handled by someone else, and the cost is 100% less (Github is free on my current plan, but even if I need to go to the paid plan later it’s still 25% cheaper).

There are some useful side effects of going to Github too. The site uses HTTPS always, without me needing to play around with certs! Also, I changed DNS provider to Cloudflare, and so far their free service is great too - they even cache & compress the website so it should load super quick.

Overall, I have been happy with the process and outcome. There was a bit of fiddliness getting the DNS setup due to lag in updates propogating, but that was it for problems. The only issue to solve now is how to handle automatic backups, but then Github is probably more reliable then me, so I’m not rushing (touch wood). Might have to look into moving Concealed Intent too, although that’s a much bigger task.


August 17, 2022

Roguelike Tutorial 2022

Tags: Video Games, Technical, Javascript

As a distraction from other things I should have been doing over the last 6 weeks, I completed the /r/roguelikedev Tutorial 2022. An event to teach people how to write roguelike games like Nethack, Angband, and my old favourite, Omega. I wanted to learn some Javascript, and this seemed a good way to go.

It is done now. There is a playable version here and the source code is here.

The controls are:

  • movement/target: arrow keys or wasd (+qezx)
  • look: ‘/’
  • pickup: ‘p’
  • message history: ‘v’
  • drop/leave: ‘l’
  • activate/use/equip: ‘u’
  • character screen: ‘c’

/r/roguelikedev Tutorial2022 Logo


June 27, 2022

Brisbane

Tags: Travel, Australia

I’m just back from a week in Brisbane (or more like 5 days when travel days are taken into account). It is worth visiting, but I don’t feel any need to return (is this how people feel about Perth?). It seems like a city for living. We spent most of time walking around the city and just hanging out. Surprisingly pleasant thing to do as long as one doesn’t travel too far into the suburbs. The city makes decent (but not great) use of its river. There are good crowds in the CBD, good public transport - it all felt safe. A nice trip.

We also spent a day on the Gold Coast and my thoughts of that city are less favourable. It felt sterile and empty, like a retirement village. However, many of the shops and bars suggest a beach & alcohol centred holiday resort (like parts of Spain, not my sort of thing). So maybe it was quiet because it was a working winter’s day.

Not enough good photos to create a slideshow of this trip. I rarely felt the need to take a photo.

Brisbane

The Gold Coast


June 1, 2022

iPod

Tags: Memories

The iPod is no more, long live the iPod. My first iPod was a second generation model bought in early 2003. Since then I have always had one, my third and last was a leaving gift from teammates at Merrill Lynch in December 2007 (such a great gift). Despite currently poor battery life, it is still running (in near daily use) as the music/podcast system for my car (see pic below).

My last iPod

I loved all of my iPods, even the short-lived second one that had battery issues from purchase and was quickly replaced by the improved 2007 model. I like to walk around aimlessly, so have always carried a means of listening to music on-the-go. However, the iPod with its small size and large capacity proved to be a step-change in quality compared to old Walkmans, Discmans or just a radio. They gave me the time to listen to great music and my first taste of a world of interesting podcasts.

It is sad that they have fallen foul of mobile phones’ hunger for new functionality. RIP my old friend, at least until a nostalgic return in a decade or two.


April 16, 2022

Esperance (and places along the way)

Tags: Travel, Australia

Late last month (scheduled to avoid school holidays) I went on a week’s holiday. Three nights in Esperance, and 3 nights on the journey there and back.

Some thoughts:

  • I expected to be unimpressed by Wave Rock. While the rock itself is largely as expected and will be largely “done” in a matter of minutes, the surrounding area has a few other interesting sights and walks. Well worth spending a day checking the place out.
  • The size of the wheatbelt is astounding. We could drive for hours (often speeding) for 2 days only seeing continuous wheat fields broken occasionally by huge “bins” (horizontal wheat silos) and even more rarely by a tiny town.
  • Esperance is larger, greener and further than expected (again). It is a decent sized town with enough local industry to maintain itself - it is not just a tourist town (but there is a decent amount of that). I have this idea that the desert starts not far from Perth, and nearly no one lives out there. Clearly this is not true, although it took long days of driving to get to Esperance, and we passed very little on the way other than dry’ish farmland.
  • Tourist Esperance is mainly about spending time outside. There are so many beautiful beaches we became numb to them by the end.
  • It was incredibly and constantly windy for our entire time in Esperance.
  • If Albany harbour was in Europe or China I’m sure it would be the base of a famous or historical town. It definitely looks like it should be full of tall ships or triremes.
  • Restaurant food continues to be disappointing outside Perth and a couple of tourist towns. We had one good (and one decent) restaurant meal on the entire trip - the rest were poor.
  • IPhones take decent photos! All the photos here were taken on phones despite having my old trusty point & click camera. It is hard to justify taking the extra device when the phone does so well. I suspect just discovering this means I am years behind the times.

Some photos from the trip are in a short slideshow available here.