Category Archives: Miscellaneous

How to Fix America Part 1: Election and Campaign Reform

It’s becoming apparent to me that if we ever want to fix the many serious problems of this nation, we must elect the President and Congress in a more fair and inclusive way where they actually represent their constituents.  The following is a list of what I think are common-sense solutions that would fix federal campaigns and elections so that these elected officials might actually be capable of doing the job that we sent them to do.  Please share.

  1. Election day must be a federal holiday.  All states must allow same-day voter registration.
    Every citizen should be encouraged and able to vote.
  2. No state may hold a party primary earlier than four months before federal elections.
    End the constant campaigning.
  3. All candidates for federal election may take only public financing and individual donations no more than $1000 per candidate per election.
    No more bought politicians.
  4. Congress will have term limits.  Senators may serve no more than three full terms (18 years).  Representatives may serve no more than five full terms (ten years).
    End the reigns of career politicians.
  5. Presidents are elected by popular vote, not Electoral College.
    No more elections decided by swing states.
  6. Congressional redistricting must be done by an impartial computer algorithm that only takes population into account and not demographics. or
    End gerrymandering.

† Requires federal law ‡ Requires laws in all states ♦ Requires constitutional amendment

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File Lister 1.6 Out

The new version of File Lister is available now. Download here. Changelog follows.

  • added counters to output format with pattern %i
  • added the option to use regex capturing groups in output format with pattern %v
  • added option to match full path in regex instead of only filename
  • added option to invert matching behavior for regex
  • rewrote output format parser to be pre-compiled for speed improvement
  • optimized regex matching for significant speed improvement when using regex
  • removed default pattern option from pattern selection menu, added “Default” buttons to some dialogs
  • fixed crash if output file in use by another program
  • fixed a bug with groupings in filesize pattern
  • fixed missing use of default options for date, size, and attributes patterns without parameters
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File Lister and Company of Heroes

A new version of File Lister is in beta now. I’ve been repeatedly finding it useful both at home and at work, so I figured it was the most deserving of an update. Besides a few bug fixes, there are also performance improvements, some more regex matching options, and the addition of counters and regex capturing groups in the output format. I’m hoping to release a final version within the next month. And this next release may not even be the end of the updates to File Lister as I’m also looking at adding features like command line modes in the future.

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Hurtgen Forest at night

I’m also trying my hardest to get my Company of Heroes map finally done (damn me and my perfectionism!), even if there’s no one around to play it anymore. It’s just too good and too close to completion to let it go unfinished. There’s just 1/8th of the playable area left to create and some of the out-of-bounds yet to be filled with trees–it really shouldn’t take but another concerted effort of a weekend.

And I’ve finally decided on a name for the map: “Hurtgen Forest“. Since my map is pretty much a fictional setting, I didn’t want to be too specific with the location. Though, I had always considered that it would probably be named after some area in Belgium or northwest Germany.

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Things and Stuff

This is going to be a rather random post–just a list of some of the cooler things I’ve been up to. I’ve been noticing how this feels more and more like a blog, but I do try to keep the personal details out of it. I don’t think anyone (maybe Kaylen) cares what I had for dinner last night (Pork Lo Mein), what I last watched on TV (CNN), or when I stumbled out of bed today (3PM).

Since the spring semester of college was over a couple weeks ago (one A, two B’s, and a C), Kaylen and I finally got a chance to go camping. Her school, UVA, is only 30 minutes from the lovely Shenandoah National Park, so we went there and stayed at a centrally-located campground called Lewis Mountain. It was a decent campground (well-maintained), albeit pricey (want a 10 minute shower? 2 bucks). It was surprisingly popular, too; most days there were almost no free spots by the evening. I enjoyed making fires and gathering firewood so we could cook the food, but the low abundance of good wood meant short-lived fires. The second day, we went hiking on a trail called White Oak Canyon, but alas we turned around not far from the actual falls and only saw cascades; we’ll be sure to carry trail maps in the future. I’ve uploaded most of the pictures we took (including some impressive panoramas) to the photo album in this directory.

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I said "Don't you like popsicles?"

When we got back home, I uncovered a set of popsicle makers in the basement. Kaylen and I had much fun trying out different frozen snacks such as Dr. Pepper, Code Red, apple juice, orange juice, pudding, and raspberry snowcone syrup. The only problem is the amount of water in the substances. Many of the drinks just have too much water; causing mostly ice crystals and little flavor. So we tried experimenting with reducing the water by heating the beverage on the stove; it works perfectly for sodas. About half syrup and half water is the best blend. Delicious.

With my new time off, I’ve been back to work on several things, of course. I dabbled with the code to my as-of-yet-unreleased alarm program some a few days ago, mainly touching on a few bugs and missing features (buttons that go to nowhere). It’s been a little hard going back to it since I haven’t really looked at the code much since last summer (it’s a shame); I’m wishing now that I had commented the code more. But with any luck, I might be able to finally get the few kinks out of it and release it publicly, maybe even to some download sites. The reason I only gave it out to a select few beta testers previously is that it was proving to be unreliable in a few rare instances, and an alarm that’s unreliable is no good.

But for the last few days, I’ve been putting together a new column on PC air cooling. I took some logs from MBM and turned the data into some pretty graphs in Excel and then analyzed the results. It’s mostly just neat to see how the temperatures interact to certain events, as my conclusions are pretty obvious for any computer professional. You can find it here.

As for entertainment, I’ve been getting back into Rise of Nations after being disappointed with Stalker’s linear, buggy gameplay. I finally finished Alexander the Great’s campaign for the first time and now I’ve moved on to a mod version of the Entire World (Baryonyx’s Extended mod). This could be good news for anyone still playing RoN as I may get into making some more scripts and improvements to my ScriptMaker, as well as finally releasing my map pack mod.

I’ve also been having some fun with the new Sam & Max season. I tried playing some adventure games before, but just couldn’t get into all the walking around and trying every combination of things to progress the story. With Sam & Max, either the puzzles are easier than they used to be or I’m just more intelligent enough to figure them out now. Either way, it’s an amusing little game that I can’t get enough of.

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Rise of Legends Beta

It arrived today! Twas direct from Microsoft in Washington. Of course, they send it and the preceding email while I was away on family business, but at least it’s finally here. There are 4 CDs; I hope to fuck that the retail version is DVD. Here’s a couple pics. I’ll post again when I’ve had some time to really dig into it. Spring break is saved!

I’ve also been working on some new apps (one using DirectX) and stuff, but nothing releasable. I suppose they’ll be put on the backburner, now.

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Working on term paper…

Just felt like a pictorial update. Additionally, I blogged. So boom.

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