Which super-villain are you?

Posted by MrTact on Jan 16, 2007 in Uncategorized

Your results:
You are Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom
The Joker
Lex Luthor
Green Goblin
Dark Phoenix
Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy
Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.

Click here to take the “Which Super Villain am I?” quiz…

I’m a bit surprised . . . I kind of expected to be The Joker, and as you can see, it was a close call.


The five things meme

Posted by MrTact on Jan 16, 2007 in Uncategorized

ZOMG! At this rate of postingage I am likely to bring t3h Intertubes crashing down around our ears. It is like I am on fire or something.

Well I was tagged the other day by Anthony for this “Five things you probably don’t know about me” meme. Now, I haven’t been dead, and I was never a child actor, but I think there are a couple of things that are interesting about me, so here we go:

  1. I won an Origins award. I have an actual certificate and everything: I keep it locked away in a bank vault, because I don’t think PaperDirect makes that pattern anymore. Was it really 1992? Holy Christ, I feel old. (Apparently, this is the only time Pulver’s won, which is shocking considering his body of work.)
  2. I only have wisdom teeth on the top. Apparently, that happens. (You may draw your own conclusions about the ramifications.) I have had three different dentists tell me I still need to have them out, but every time we get close to doing it, they suddenly find a much more expensive procedure that I need more urgently.
  3. I write sff. That’s “science fiction and fantasy.” Philistines. I am serious about it, though I don’t expect I’ll ever make a living at it. (One of the downsides of making a decent living doing what I’m doing. If I were eating Top Ramen every day, you can bet I would write a lot more.) I haven’t sold anything yet, but I’m only just getting to the point where I’m producing things I feel are worth trying to sell. Stay tuned . . .
  4. I create card games. I have one called Billionaire that I’ve been working on for 13 years now. (Yikes, it’s 2007. Make that 14.) It’s almost done. Really. (I actually stopped putting stuff into it in 2005, and since then have been concentrating on taking stuff out. If you don’t get that, hang tight, because I’d like to talk about it more in a future post.)
  5. This space intentionally left blank. (Uh, actually, I can’t think of a fifth thing. But I don’t want to wait and let this post fester, so I’ll use this as a placeholder until something comes to me.)

I don’t think I even know five people with blogs who haven’t already been tagged. How about etrigan, Stavros, and Rod for starters? Edit: ah, looks like deinonych hasn’t been tagged, either.


“It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s a time for miracles.”

Posted by MrTact on Jan 16, 2007 in Uncategorized

OK, technically it’s right after Christmas. Nevertheless, I have actually gotten off my ass and updated my sidebar. My profile now actually says something about me, which will doubtless be handy if you end up here by googling some obscure phrase (e.g. “penis whistle“), so you will know whether or not you’re on the right penis whistle page. (Hint: probably not.)

Also added links to a couple of my favorite industry blogs, thereby artificially inflating strengthening their Technorati ratings; more will doubtless follow. Maybe even some other categories, like my favorite Python programming blogs, and/or some of the sff writing blogs I read regularly. (Even if they don’t, at the very least this should get Anthony off my back. Well, about that particular issue, anyway.) But relative to my historical output here, today has seen nearly infinitely more posting, and at some point it’s wise to devote some time to more productive things.

No photo, though, and I’m sure we’re all equally glad of that.


Python and whitespace

Posted by MrTact on Jan 16, 2007 in Uncategorized

I’ve introduced Python to many programmers, and most have had the same initial reaction: “What? Leading whitespace is significant? Oh, I ain’t touching that.” This has always struck me as odd. I have strong feelings about Python’s use of block indentation, and this blog post by Paul Bissex last week reminded me of them. And so, here they are.

Many serious Python programmers will tell you using whitespace to delineate blocks is no big deal. I disagree. Lacking syntactically-significant whitespace is, in fact, a serious misfeature.

A bold statement, you say? Absolutely. And not one I would make without a strong argment to back it up. Here’s the thing: every programmer I know uses indentation to indicate block structure. I know there are programmers out there who don’t, but I feel comfortable stating that they are way, way in the minority.

If you accept it as given that the overwhelming majority of programmers use indentation to demarcate blocks, programming languages should treat initial whitespace as significant. Otherwise, it is possible to write code where the semantic meaning disagrees with the syntactic meaning, leading to bugs. Here’s the canonical C/C++ example:

    if (something_is_true)     do_one_thing();     do_another_thing();

Many C/C++ programmers I know have made this mistake (myself included; in fact, I always wrap conditional blocks in { } nowadays for this very reason). Even if you are Joe Brilliant C++ Programmer and would never do anything this obvious and stupid, chances are good that the next guy who works on your code is not going to be as experienced or as smart as you. This mistake is not possible in Python.

By contrast, I have never heard a compelling argument not to have syntactically significant whitespace; most of the ones I’ve heard equate with “it’s yucky”. (Oh yeah, there’s the usual bitching about spaces vs. tabs, and the “horror stories” of mixing the two. I have been using Python actively for about four years now, and A) I’ve been bitten by this “problem” less than a dozen times, B) it’s always quickly become obvious what the problem is, and C) any reasonable editor can fix the problem in a matter of seconds.)

What it boils down to is a choice between distaste and correctness. And, frankly, having spent years maintaining code written by other people, I’ll pick correctness every time.


Mad craziness

Posted by MrTact on Jan 16, 2007 in Uncategorized

It is snowing here. I think in the 9 years or so that I lived here prior to moving to California (in 2004), it snowed here once.


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