I’ve been mentioning, and even writing about, POV-Ray for a while now. It and I go back quite a few years, and — as with may of my long-time hobbies — it’s something I’ll pick up and get really into for a while. Then, after some period, which varies considerably, I’ll exhaust my interest, and back it goes onto the shelf (which is not the same as onto the back burner).
This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve picked it up, but the first time I’ve really gotten into it. It’s been fun and very productive (all this retirement free time is awesome). I make no claim for being any good at creating mind-blowing scenes (but I’m working on it). I do, however, have a couple process tricks that have made my life easier, and I thought I’d share them.
This first one is about managing camera positions.
Having penned a perplexing pair of Python posts, and planning a putative pair of POV-Ray posts for the pending week, I feel the pressure to pause and ponder some other puzzle for a period. Like words that start with “P”, for instance. Or something more profound, like peas in our time. (And pass the potatoes.) Perhaps something personal would please?
I can’t write of cabbages or kings. I don’t care much for the former (except in egg rolls), and I wrote about chess yesterday, which is almost about kings. Nor can I write of sealing ships or sailing wax. (Wait… how did that go?)
But it is Science Fiction Saturday again!
Last time I mentioned wanting to write a chess move parser since my earliest days of programming. Hard-core coders often see things in terms of the software behind them. For instance, I sometimes wonder about the software running my microwave oven. Andy Warhol drew our attention to how an artist is behind even a mundane soup can label. Similarly, every computer-driven item in your growing collection of smart tools and toys has a programmer or many behind it.
Dedicated coders also look at problems in terms of the software to solve them. When my (ex-)wife complained about the difficulty of scheduling teachers, rooms and classes for the year, I began pondering scheduling software. I think a big part of it is the challenge of solving a double-puzzle. First you have to figure out the problem, then you have to figure out the software solution.
One area that programmers find extremely attractive is games!
I don’t know if it’s having been in the saddle so long, having all this retirement time, or the magic of Python (perhaps all three), but I’ve made major advances in personal projects that have been on my drawing board for a very long time. One of them, in fact, goes back to my earliest days of programming in late 70s!
It’s certainly true that 35 years of writing computer software teaches you a few tricks. At the very least, you learn all sorts of things not to do! On some level, the computer language doesn’t matter, but a highly expressive language makes some kinds of development not just easier, but actually fun!
And Python! I haven’t laughed with delight over a computer language since Lisp!
Dateline: Monday. The little-known eclectic blogger, Wyrd Smythe, had no idea that his blogging provider, a mysterious global enterprise known as “Word Press” (a possible anagram for “Sword Reps”), had granted him extreme power over the weather. At this time, we cannot report whether this was a deliberate seasonal gift, or if the power somehow escaped the control of its owners. Neither can we report on how many this may affect.
What we do know is this: On Monday, when the unsuspecting blogger clicked the “Let It Snow” checkbox on his settings page, sure enough, a gentle snow fall began on his posts. That was the desired and expected effect. What happened next, however, was a surprise.
It also began to snow outside for the first time this season!
As I’ve posted articles recently, it’s been impossible to not to notice a looming milestone: post #300! Which is what this one is. At least, it’s the 300th post on this blog. The double qualifier is because there are a number of pages not included in that count, and because I had a go at a baseball blog before I started this one. (Plus I have another blog with a small number of posts.)
On top of all that, there’s all the stuff I wrote on Newsvine and other online forums, not to mention several personal website incarnations. And I can’t even begin to number how much I wrote for work over the years; there were four websites I authored and countless user and technical documents.
But still… 300 Logos Con Carne posts, that’s not nothing!
As one might guess from yesterday’s post, which was supposed to be about vampires, that the geek force runs strong in this one. Of course, it always does. Far as I can tell, I was born an über-geek and shall remain an über-geek until my final breath (which will no doubt be some geeky observation).
But then geek comes from “carnival geek” and just means someone with expertise in a niche field. I’m fine with that — it’s just the plain truth in my case — but I like to believe my expertise is maybe just a little bit broader than biting heads off chickens. (On the other hand, as perhaps everyone does, I’ve sometimes wondered if joining a carnival might not make for a much simpler life.)
In any event, for a while I intend to indulge my inner über-geek.
November shouldn’t pass with just the one post. I intended a post last Science Fiction Saturday to rave about the new Doctor Who episode (celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who), but the day slipped to Sunday before I got the writing motor started. I’ll rave about it now: it was really, really good! A wonderful, delightful milestone marker and, as always, built on a damn good story.
I’ve not been idle lately! Dedicated post-retirement loafing finally shook the work dust off my shoes, and I’ve gotten back into personal project work. Seriously into it. In the 16-hour sessions, sleep and eating are unwelcome distractions, not knowing what time of day (let alone what day of the week) it is sense of seriously.
And I read some really good vampire novels!
Have you ever really thought about the fact that South America isn’t?
Isn’t all that South, I mean. Nearly all of it is actually east of nearly all of North America. Most of it is east of Florida, although residents of Maine can safely refer to “south” America (especially if they mean Peru, Chile or Ecuador). And people on the USA west coast? The closest shores of Hawaii are just about as far west as the closest shores of South America are east.
And it’s nearly as far east from New York City (at 73 degrees west) to Rio de Janeiro (at 43 degrees west) as it is from Rio to Lisbon, Portugal (at 9 degrees west, so only four degrees further).
Perhaps we should rename it South-South-East America!