Category: Will White

Will says the logo makes him think of pickle jelly. I suggested he think of jalapeño jelly instead

At Lisa’s persistent instigation, Will, Kyle and I drove up to Pittsburgh on Friday to jam on games for the One Laptop Per Child Project. We actually got to handle some of the XO prototypes, which are even smaller than I expected, but also pretty neat.

We didn’t win, but we did create a complete game, albeit one that only fully worked four hours after the judging round. We also had a lot of fun, and not a lot of sleep. Some of the other projects looked great, and the winner was really polished–I have no doubt it will end up as part of the standard XO package.

I feel bad about the way the game turned out, because all the delays and problems were due entirely to my inexperience in the required tools (Python and Pygame). On the other hand, I’ve been mumbling about needing to learn Python for four years now, and now I have! Mumbled. I mean, learned.

The game (“Caketown”) lacks a lot of things (an intro, an outro, more than two levels, etc) but I’m going to post it anyway so you can hear Kyle’s fantastic music and see Will’s amazing art. What you don’t get to see is Lisa’s work as project coordinator, colorist and, now, one of the few living experts on how to install software on the XO.

Here it is as a Windows executable, in zip or gzip form (I recommend unzipping to C:\Caketown\). If you’re not running Windows, you can have the gzipped source and data, but you’ll need Python and Pygame installed to use it. You could also wait a little while, as I really do want to put together a finished and more coherent version with code that will not, when read, summon Nyarlathotep (the Crawling Chaos).

Weird footnote: unexpectedly, I recognized and got to meet a couple of people I knew or knew of from Internet (Bryan Cash and Tom Murphy). And they were both kind of startled / scared! But somebody did that to me once so it’s only fair.

Its name is Weakness. Its playlist is Fear Of The New.

This is the entry where I gush about my mp3 player! Pretend it’s 2002.

My messenger bag is considerably lighter now that I’m not carrying my Discman and fifty CDs in it all the time, and I never have to try to hold three things while standing up again. That’s awesome! I sneakily got a refurbished Shuffle directly from Apple, so I got the one-gig version for the 512 price, and it’s still got a year warranty. That is also awesome! I get to carry the Magic Future Perfect* Radio Mix Tape From Heaven around in my pocket and it makes me happy.

It doesn’t introduce me to new music like the radio and mix tapes are supposed to do (remember when the radio introduced you to new music? Ha ha!), but that’s what I have Lisa and Will and Maria and Ken for. Ken, move back already, dammit.

The audio quality on the Shuffle is really excellent–I’ve actually noticed instruments in the midrange I never heard before, and there are none of the audible compression artifacts I used to get with my mp3-CD player. The one thing it doesn’t have is a bass boost, which is crippling. I am a little bit addicted to my bass boost. I am addicted enough that tonight I purchased paraphernalia with which to enjoy my dependency. Having an equalizer the size of a pack of cigarettes really destroys the point of having a music player the size of a stick of gum, but man, I was getting the dee tees. I’ll probably bitch later about how it works out.

Before I knew the Koss equalizer existed, I was actually considering looking for some converters and a battery-operated guitar effects pedal that would let me change the bass, and just carrying that around instead. Then I thought “ah, but that would strip the signal to mono.” Then I thought “and would be completely insane.

I was annoyed at first that I had to partition the areas for audio storage and file storage separately, but I fit every song I wanted in less than the 800 megs I’d reserved. There is a remedy, as it turns out, but honestly I’m only using it to listen to the second good duet in the history of pop over and over again.

(The first, and previously only, was “Under Pressure.” Bowie and Queen.)

* A grammar joke!

I never talked about Sad and Happy Movie Day! Sad and Happy Movie Day was great! In attendance were myself, Maria, Lisa, Scott and Will; Maria’s brother Michael showed up for the second movie. We watched City of God and Shaolin Soccer, as was foretold by the ancients–first one subbed, second dubbed, but the dubbing actually worked really well for SS. It added to the goofiness of a film that takes its goofiness very seriously. City of God was appropriately poverty-stricken and filled with violence by and against children. The ending was not actually sad, but maybe that was for the best. We are still testing our toes in this format.

The next SAHMD will probably be in two or three weeks, whatever’s best for most of us. Hackers has been pretty thoroughly shot down, because all my friends are worthless Philistines, but I don’t think anybody objected to What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Are there any strong objections to that? What about suggestions for happy movies? Information access protocol!