Category Archives: Uncategorized

Recovering

Okay, I’ve got MovableType working again. That’s a plus.
If you missed the fun, the box that my sites are hosted on got compromised on Friday. Still not sure how, but it’s looking like it was an IPB exploit – that’ll teach me to not keep it patched up to date, I guess.
I’m currently working on restoring VJ Army and Pop’n Navy to working form. I am happy to say we have a full, uncompromised backup – but I need to do a lot of tweaking before it’ll be back to a working state. Stay tuned.
Edit at 8:21 PM: VJ Army is live. XML and sig generation is screwed for the time being, and will be coming back eventually.
Edit at 8:58 PM: Pop’n Navy is live again too.

The PSP US Launch Countdown Begins

Sony has finally announced the US date and details for the PSP.
Short version: They’re only selling the value pack at the start, and it will be $250. But, in addition to all the goodies you get (headphones, wrist strap soft case, remote, 32 MB memory stick), the first million US PSPs will also come with Spiderman 2 on UMD for free.
I’ve had the opportunity to play around on a PSP at my local independent gaming superstore, and honest to god, the second I laid my hands on the thing, I couldn’t fathom playing my DS anymore.
Very much looking forward to March 24th. Very much indeed.
Edit: They’re also launching with 24 titles. For comparison, the DS is only due to have 13 out by that point according to the IGN release schedule. This is going to be mighty interesting,

Passing Train

In the course of a day, I tend to take a lot of pictures, hoping I’m going to catch a really good shot. I snag about 10-20 on my SideKick 2, and 10-15 on the Olympus if I have it. Most of these shots are taken discretely, as I have to try to “steal” them as not to get people punching me in the head.

As such, I get a lot of shaky and/or badly lit and/or badly framed pictures. 98% of all of my photos get immediately discarded, and half of the remaining ones get tossed when I look them over.

Out of the remaining 1%, most of them I have to retouch a bit – black and white often helps with the crap I shoot, or some rebalancing, or cropping.

But this photo that I managed to snag today at 59th & Lex is probably my favorite photo out of all I’ve taken since I started my photo obsession with Flickr. I hope you like it. And if you don’t, that’s okay too.

Webster’s Destroys Simpsons Joke

Most everyone remembers this bit from the Simpsons, episode 3F13, Lisa The Iconoclast:

Many of the class is assembled to watch a film, "Young Jebediah
Springfield". The film is cheaply made.  After a "fight" with a "land cow",
Jebediah is asked by a boy how he can hope to achieve such
greatness.

Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
Edna: Embiggens?  I never heard that word before I moved to
Springfield
Ms.Hoover: I don't know why.  It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Way to go, Webster’s Dictionary. You’ve totally blown this classic Simpson’s joke. You assholes.

Happy 1 Year Birthday, VJ Army

[this is being crossposted on both my blog and the VJ Army forums]
A year ago today, I completed my most ambitious coding goal of my life – VJ Army. I had turned what was originally a single user score tracking script into a multi-user, competitive score site. It was (and still is) rather rough around the edges, but it certainly worked.
Since then, I have been pleasantly surprised again and again by what the site has become. I find myself fortunate on two fronts:
I’m shocked at how easily I’ve made my code adaptable and open to change. Yes, it’s rather messy to look at, but I really lucked out with much of the initial database design, the flexibility of the code, and a few of the algorithms I ended up writing make me look back and wonder what I had done that day to come up with such inspired coding. (There have also admittedly been portions of code where I wondered what I was smoking.) The code was adaptable enough that I could adapt it into another score site – for Pop’n Music – with minimal work.
But more shocking is how the site has restored my hope.
Understand the following: I’ve been in the Bemani community since the end of 2001. In the just over two years between when I started playing DDR and when I launched VJ Army, I had grown incredibly jaded and hateful of anyone who played music games. The drama, the flaming, the reputations that some sites had versus others…it was hellish, beyond anything I had dealt with in a gaming community before.
I had picked up Beatmania IIDX in early 2003 because I wanted to get away from the DDR players. IIDX at home can be a hugely isolating game, and at the time, it was just what I needed. The community at the time was – no offense to those involved, and I certainly joined this at times – a bunch of elitist assholes.
When I got requests from friends (John Stiles and Ryan Madeksho are the two most responsible for the requests) to make a multi-user site, I coded it with some trepidation. My fears that the site would turn into a massive penis-waving competition made me wonder over and over if I was doing the right thing.
I’m so very happy I was wrong. We’re currently 1,063 users strong – not all active, but far beyond what I expected to see. Over 25% of these are on the forums, which are amazingly trouble free and surprisingly useful.
And while all this was going on, something amazing happened in Japan. There had been a nearly two year hiatus of IIDX home releases – 9th Style had been released, and we were still playing 6th at home. But as the community started to rally, Konami started to listen. In the span of one year, we will have had three home releases, spanning from 7th Style to 9th Style. Konami has once again gotten serious about IIDX at home, and while I know it’s really not the case, I’d like to think we all had something to do with it.
Before I get to indivdual people I’d like to thank, I want to thank the user base as a whole:
If you’ve ever posted a score, thank you. You’ve helped to make the site what it is.
If you’ve ever posted a bug report, thank you. Without you, I’d never catch the holes in my code and never be able to catch them all myself.
If you’ve ever posted a feature request – even if I rejected it – thank you. The passion you all have to make the site grow is unbelievable.
If you’ve ever PMed me, or emailed me, or even IMed me just to thank me for the site, thank you. I really do appreciate it, and it keeps me going.
If you’ve ever bought something from the VJ Army store, thank you. You’ve helped to keep my gaming addiction in check, and my wallet (and my wife) thank you just as much as I do.
If you’ve ever referred a friend, or said kind things in public about VJA, thank you. This site couldn’t thrive without word of mouth.
Okay, now onto specific people:
To John “mafiaboss” Stiles – thank you for kicking my ass about the features. You’re always spot on with your requests, you’ve more than helped out with the coding (percentile sort, live grade adjustment), and it’s always a pleasure to watch your progress, even if it means you’ve passed my skill level in far less time. Cheers, my friend.
To Ryan “ryan2dx” Madeksho – you are truly a fantastic IIDX player, and without your help collecting note counts and difficulties, I couldn’t have the site as ready for each home release. Thank you for driving me to get the site built in the first place. …./
To Aaron “rmz” Ramsey – you are incredibly helpful between bug reports, helping out on the forums, and keeping people in check so I don’t have to repeat myself quite so much. I’m very happy to have you around.
To Malcolm “Reo” Cuffie – if I couldn’t bounce ideas off of you, I don’t know what I’d do. Thanks for listening.
To Random and Ransai – I know this isn’t related to VJA, but thanks for trusting me and believing in my coding. I promise, there’s still more to come.
To my wife, Katie – thank you for putting up with my shit. For those of you who don’t know, I frequently end up coding and managing the database at strange hours, and she tolerates it with the patience of a saint. Without her understanding and support, I sure as hell wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on the site as much as I have.
To Paul Kehrer – your donations of time, server space, bandwidth, and understanding are immeasurable. Thank you so goddamn much. gg sir.
Before I get onto the meat of the goodies today, here’s some fun with numbers.
Over the first year, VJ Army has received:

  • An average of 2.9 new users a day.
  • One new score entry – not including updates, just flat out new entries – every three minutes.
  • One new course score entry every two hours.
  • An average of 545 scores entered per song, across all difficulties.
  • An average of 36 scores per expert course, across all difficulties.
  • Top 5 Songs AAA’d on L7:
    1. 5.1.1 (319)
    2. Nothing Ain’t Stoppin’ Us(247)
    3. Burning Up For You (226)
    4. Comment Te Dire Adieu (178)
    5. Spica (162)
  • Top 5 Songs AAA’d on 7:
    1. 5.1.1 (312)
    2. Nothing Ain’t Stoppin’ Us (273)
    3. Burning Up For You (190)
    4. Comment Te Dire Adieu (182)
    5. Love Will… (161)
  • Top 5 Songs AAA’d on A:
    1. Don’t Stop! (103)
    2. i feel… (92)
    3. Burning Up For You (97)
    4. Comment Te Dire Adieu(97)
    5. World Wide Love (87)

Here’s to having another great year of IIDX.

The Snowdown


As mentioned yesterday, today was the day we braved the cold and the mounds of snow in an attempt to find our way to Central Park for Youngna’s snowball fight.

We inadvertently arrived fifteen minutes early, and this turned out to be a fairly bad move as the wind whips ridiculously fast across the Great Lawn at times. Luckily, Jake made his presence known, and we all started plotting Youngna’s demise as the clock ticked past noon.

She arrived at 12:15, and Jake promptly dumped her headfirst into the snow. The fight was slow and rather powdery – the snow hadn’t melted any, which lends to good packing snow, so I ended up flinging showers of snow at people. The slow pace often lending to mexican standoffs and snow wrestling.

We weren’t the only ones in the park having fun today – plenty of kids and their parents were out, sledding down Cedar Hill (despite the obviously wrong sign). There was a virtual parade of dogs – some romping, some walking normally, and some insisting on being carried by their owners. Almost all of them were in jackets, shirts, and boots. Très cute.

I’m grateful to not only have had a snowball fight on the Great Lawn with a number of photobloggers, but to have seen yet again how beautiful Central Park can be, even in the worst of conditions.
Photos from the rest of the snowballers: Jesse, Karen, Youngna on Flickr and on her site, Jake, Rion, Keith, Tien, and at long last Janelle. I swear, this is the most photographed snowball fight in history.

Yellow

When I came in on Wednesday, I was alerted to some sort of ceiling leak in one of the rooms I can often be found in. I helped to clean up the slightly yellowish liquid, thinking the coloration was caused by the pipes or the ceiling tile or something else.
I was just informed that the leak in question was coming from Autopsy.
Despite the fact that I’ve showered twice since then and washed my hands countless times, I feel like I could really use another shower right now. *shudders*