This is another recent hacktivity log of what I have been up to recently, as
far as software development and writing is concerned.
“Every Publicity is Good Publicity…”
True to my belief that “The Gods help them that help themselves”, I have been
working much more on publicity recently, utilising
my Twitter account,
my Reddit account,
my Facebook account
and other online resources. I am not exclusively promoting only my own works,
and also share/retweet/etc. the posts of my friends. I had great success
/r/xkcd subreddit post which so far received 150 upvotes (and 36 down
votes) about my
at the NSA which has a strong
xkcd (= the web comics) theme,
and also had some lesser success with posts to other subreddits. As usual,
I also upvote and comment on other people's posts and comments.
It seems that the main problem with my site up to now has not been
that it lacked good content, but
that most people were not aware of the site.
I’ve also been experimenting with buying
Project Wonderful web
advertisements, but so far they did not yield too many clicks.
The Olamot Sci-Fi/Fantasy Conference
As I reported
on the Hamakor mailing list, I attended the Olamot
Science-Fiction/Fantasy/etc. conference that took place during Passover in
Tel Aviv, Israel, and had a great time. I didn't bring a camera to the first
day, so people on IRC did not believe me that I saw many highly attractive
geeks there, which I remedied by bringing a camera
and taking many
during the second day.
The conference was colourful, zany, and inspiring and most of the people I saw
agreed to be photographed. I spent most of the time there
helping with the booth of the
open source community
and we were better organised and more prepared than a similar
conference several years ago, where we only had a very huge and heavy
Sun CRT screen that did not yield to our attempts to get it to display
something on the computer.
Work on Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (a Buffy Parody)
I was able to mostly complete my work on the screenplay
Selina Mandrake -
The Slayer, which is marketed as a parody of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but which also
crosses over many other elements, including from
Trek: Deep Space Nine,
Judaism, history of the Near East and Europe, and computer geekdom. It is
in a usable condition now, but there are still some missing scenes, and the
screenplay may also need some polishing.
Buffy and Clarissa Facts
In the name of girl
I have continued to collect factoids about females:
from the show
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and
Explains It All (which I fear no one is familiar with or remember
now, but still makes for some awesome factoids). Additions are welcome.
Summerschool at the NSA
I got the idea for the screenplay
at the NSA during the Olamot conference mentioned above, and I
am thankful for such great conference for providing a lot of inspiration.
I was able to complete the screenplay in less than two weeks and
it is in a usable condition now (but likely still has many rough spots).
Quoting from the abstract:
The Hollywood actresses
Michelle Gellar (of
Summer Glau (of
conspire to kick the ass of the
(= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using
special warfare that is completely non-violent.
This screenplay crosses Judaism, the Mother Goose nursary rhymes,
Little Pony, substance/etc. addiction, xkcd, Buffy, the song
Problems” by Jay-Z, and some personal insights and memes, and despite
all that is actually mostly realism for a change.
“All Truth is God’s Truth”
Some people, with whom I talked on the Freenode
chat network, complained that I didn’t stay loyal to my Jewish roots,
and instead crossed Judaism with other idea system, and some newer sources of
influence. However I’d like to quote Larry Wall from his
I have a book on my bookshelf that I’ve never read, but that has a great title.
It says, “All
Truth is God’s Truth.” And I believe that. The most viable belief
systems are those that can reach out and incorporate new ideas, new memes, new
metaphors, new interfaces, new extensions, new ways of doing things. My goal
this year is to try to get Perl to reach out and cooperate with Java. I know it
may be difficult for some of you to swallow, but Java is not the enemy. Nor is
Lisp, or Python, or Tcl. That is not to say that these languages don't have
good and bad points. I am not a cultural relativist. Nor am I a linguistic
relativist. In case you hadn't noticed. :-)
Furthermore, like Ayn Rand
noted in her journal,
a good work of fiction requires a solid philosophy, and so one can learn
a lot from works of fiction. Furthermore,
noted that “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”, so even
humorous works of art convey a good philosophy.
I think the main difference between
contemporary or old works of fiction, such as the Greek mythology, Aesop’s
fables, the works of Alexandre Dumas Pere,
Star Trek, Buffy, etc.
and “holy” works such as
the Holy Bible
or the Qur’an is that some
people still take the latter too seriously, and consider them the final
word on how to lead your life, rather than just another step in the road
So I’m not going to let my personal philosophy stagnate by sticking only
to traditional Judaism, which itself was never pure, and always
incorporated many useful ideas from elsewhere, and still should.
XML-Grammar-Screenplay / XML-Grammar-Fiction
When working on the screenplays, I noticed that some of the error messages
were quite unhelpful, so I implemented more informative error messages
/ XML-Grammar-Screenplay. I noticed that the code was getting quite
complicated, so I refactored it a little, but there is still a long way
Someone reported problems understanding the solutions of the online (JS-based)
port of Freecell Solver, and
I decided to convert the card suit identifiers to their Unicode equivalents.
Foundations: H-0 C-0 D-0 S-0
: 4C 2C 9C 8C QS 4S 2H
: 5H QH 3C AC 3H 4H QD
: QC 9S 6H 9H 3S KS 3D
: 5D 2S JC 5C JH 6D AS
: 2D KD TH TC TD 8D
: 7H JS KH TS KC 7C
: AH 5S 6S AD 8H JD
: 7S 6C 7D 4D 8S 9D
Foundations: ♥-0 ♣-0 ♦-0 ♠-0
: 4♣ 2♣ 9♣ 8♣ Q♠ 4♠ 2♥
: 5♥ Q♥ 3♣ A♣ 3♥ 4♥ Q♦
: Q♣ 9♠ 6♥ 9♥ 3♠ K♠ 3♦
: 5♦ 2♠ J♣ 5♣ J♥ 6♦ A♠
: 2♦ K♦ T♥ T♣ T♦ 8♦
: 7♥ J♠ K♥ T♠ K♣ 7♣
: A♥ 5♠ 6♠ A♦ 8♥ J♦
: 7♠ 6♣ 7♦ 4♦ 8♠ 9♦
Moreover, Shirl Hart informed me that he/she have uploaded
a Java port of
their Freecell Solver to GitHub, which runs much faster (70x reportedly)
than the Perl version (but might still consume more RAM than an equivalent
C port). All the power to Shirl!
DocBook EPUB generation
I ran into some problems with getting the EPUB (an Electronic book format)
generation of the
DocBook/5 XSLT stylesheet
to work properly, but it was fixed in
commit thanks in part to help I got on the docbook-apps mailing list.
I have been desperately
to find a usable photo (under a Creative
Commons licence/etc.) of
(= the singer and musician known for her YouTube videos)
for her Wikipedia pages, without luck so far.
I also have been trying to protect
English Wikipedia page of Tiffany Alvord (another superb artist) from
deletionism, and it’s ironic that the
Wikipedia page about her is longer and more comprehensive, even though
Alvord is American and almost always sings in English.
Furthermore, I have been using
pages in the Buffy Fan Fiction Wikia to organise my thoughts for
Selina Mandrake screenplay.
Thanks to protist (Jonathan Avery) and Gabor Szabo for
reviewing this post and commenting on it.