Showing posts from July, 2008


So today I'm 101010 (in binary), or 33 in base 13, but nobody makes jokes in base 13*.

I guess most geeks know that 42 is the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", unfortunately I need to explain the special significance to everyone else.

Somehow, I do feel wiser this year, perhaps it's just the senility making me forget my ignorance.

* *is also 42 in ASCII.

MAME Decal Mistakes

The self adhesive poster came back from the printers and I quickly realized that I should have re-measured the MAME console.
The SVG file that I used was the original blueprints, but not exactly what I actually ended up cutting. My final console ended up being a bit deeper than the plan and some of the holes were placed by eye.
So you can see in the image that some decals that were supposed to be on the sides (like "Nintendo" and the packman ghosts) ended up appearing on the bottom. Also, some of the holes don't line up nicely with the text like "Start" and "Pause" are more obvious.
The resolution also isn't that great, I'm guessing that it's 100 DPI instead of 300 DPI which I was expecting.
But from a distance it looks pretty nice and I'm still glad that I went and did it. I'm a little wiser now - next time I'll make sure to remeasure.

Mame Console Art

Here's my and my Son's effort for a MAME console design. Not the prettiest, but it was fun creating it. I've sent it to the printer's and it should be ready tomorrow.
The one I sent to the printer doesn't have the circles nor the black border which comes from my original design when I built it three years ago.
The format that they liked the best was the PDF version which Inkscape exported without any problems. The mistake I made was to not to shrink the "paper" to the size of all the boxes so I ended up paying for a little extra white that I probably won't need (it ended up being R$35.11). I think I should have also left cut marks in the diagram to make it easier to align and cut out the pieces, we'll see if that will be necessary.

Another Gimp Script

I've been wanting to make a plastic print to cover my my son's MAME console for a while now (3 years already?). All I need to do is get some bitmaps, or even better some scalable vector images, from a couple of games, put them together and send it to the printer, right?
I knew I was in trouble, when after a few searches I got my own blog listed. Seems there aren't that many game fans making nice svg images of popular videos game characters. I did find, however, the which has the sprites from a lot of games, the problem is, they are all tiny.
For example, here's what Megaman looks like .

Zooming that up 8 times, for instance looks kinda crappy:

Using the cubic interpolation 8x does only a so-so job:

I tried various filters and effects and got the look I think I wanted which you can see here:

I wanted to fiddle with the steps so I put it all in a python plugin which you can find here (here's a direct link to the code which may have some useful rou…

My Backup Setup

Mostly my "backup" in the past has been putting everything into an offsite subversion repository. This works, but there are always things that I don't have saved that ends up being important and I don't normally save my large images.
On occasion, I'll also make copies to DVD (in sets like "pictures") and that works fairly well too, but I don't do it often enough.
I've wanted to setup a a real backup setup like provided with bacula, which is very complete and has a great name and subtitle ("It comes by night and sucks the vital essence from your computers."). Under Ubuntu is installs quite easily but getting it setup is quite daunting, it's more for a company wide backup solution. I like the fact that it's written in Python and that it can properly backup even Windows machines, by installing a small program on each machine. But in the end, after reading the whole manual, I never got it setup.
I just installed a new drive which w…

Google OpenSources Protocol Buffers

Google has open sourced Protocol Buffers which is used extensively at Google. It's used for storing data in big tables as well as for RPC communications between services. It's perhaps nothing revolutionary, except that it works and it's fast. The other day I realized there are two very nice features of protobuffers: You can have a zero sized protobuffer, which can still return (default) values.Protobuffers can be both forwards and backwards compatible.I suppose the easiest way to see the advantages is with a sample. Imagine you want to store some settings for a program. message Settings {
optional bool auto_backup = 1 [default=false];
optional int32 backup_frequency_sec = 2 [default=30];
optional string backup_fname = 3 [default="auto.sav"];
}By having everything optional and with defaults, even if the settings file is zero bytes long (or doesn't exist) that's still a valid protobuf file and you can create a protobuffer instance that will have the cor…