All posts by Jarrett Billingsley

Lines in the Sand

I don’t feel like working on Croc anymore.

Interpreted languages have come really far in the last decade and I’m still at a 2005 level of complexity. It’s hard enough making a language compiler and interpreter and standard library and all the specs and docs, so there’s no way I can also make a tracing JIT compiler for it on the level of something like LuaJIT. There’d be no point in making something like that without a community to support it anyway. And where would the community come from? It’s yet another single-threaded side-effecting dynamically-typechecked language that does the same things that Lua/Python/Ruby have been doing for years. Even I want a different language by now.

I’m tired of working on it for hundreds of hours and never getting any use out of it or recognition for it. I’m glad I worked on it and I’ve learned a bunch of stuff, but I don’t want it to be the only programming project that I can point to and say “I made this.”

But I’m not really a “maker,” I’m more of an “explorer.” I didn’t make Croc because I wanted to make stuff with it. I made it because I wanted to figure out what made compilers and interpreters and garbage collectors tick. It’s the same reason I played around with game mods and game engines and 3D graphics and audio before it. I’m more interested in how things work than in what they do.

Making another library feels like it’d be a lot more tinkering in obscurity, but I’m not interested in making things that do stuff either. So I don’t know what to work on.

A maritime analogy for (a few) mood disorders.

Most people have a boat. Sometimes it rains or gets windy and they get wet, but they’re still alright. Maybe once in a while a big enough storm knocks them out of the boat, but they’ve got a life vest and they’re tethered to the railing. With a little effort they can get right back on.

Some people don’t have a boat, but they have a good life vest. As long as the weather is fair and the wind is calm, they do pretty well. But even a little chop can make it hard to stay above water, and a storm can make it almost impossible to breathe.

Some people don’t even have a life vest. They have to tread water constantly, a daily struggle. Sometimes even that gets to be too much and they rest their muscles, sinking below the water. Sometimes they don’t come back up.

Then SOME people on the boats say to the ones in the water “just get back on your boat, it’s not that hard!”

Fuck those people.

Miscellaneous Little Programs (for Windows)

There are a number of little programs I use on a regular basis which I figure other people would like to know about as well (and I want to keep track of them in case I have to reinstall or something).

  • Hyperdesktop: Incredibly useful screenshotting app that uploads directly to Imgur or any FTP server of your choice. Upload the whole screen, the current window, or a selection of the screen. Even draw on the screenshot before uploading! (The site seems down at the time of writing but hopefully it’ll be back up soon)
  • Vistaswitcher: Tired of the weird behavior of the app switcher in Vista/Win7? Sick of the stupid desktop item at the end of the first row? Wish ALL the items were MRU like it’s been since forever? WELL NOW YOU CAN
  • InfraRecorder: Very nice basic CD burning and ISO ripping program. Mostly what I use it for is ripping PSX ISOs (so that emulated PSX games run much more smoothly than from the physical media), at which it does a lovely job.
  • WinDirStat: Get a nice interactive treemap of your disk usage! Shows other file statistics as well.
  • WinMerge: A great general-purpose diff/merge program, but what makes it really useful is the filesystem diff/merge. Got a couple different copies of some folders that you really should have put in source control to begin with but forgot to because you’re an idiot? Of course you do. This is great for that.
  • WinSCP: FOSS FTP/SFTP/SCP client. Why would you bother with anything else?
  • KeePass: Isn’t it a pain in the ass to have a million online logins? This is why people use the same damn password on every site. Well now you can keep them all securely in an encrypted database, which you can put on Dropbox or something similar and never have to worry about being without your passwords — there are KeePass apps for Android and iOS as well. It does a lot of cool things, and can generate secure passwords for you.

Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)

I’ve been watching Cooking With Dog and she makes so many delicious-looking things, and when I saw the video on Tsukune, I knew I had to make them.

The ingredients are listed in the video description, but there’s a few things that are difficult to find. Don’t worry about the Nagaimo Yam. The sake can be found at any liquor store (or any grocery store here in CA, ha ha ha), and the mirin (or “aji-mirin”) can be found in the Asian section of big grocery stores (look with the soy sauce, ponzu sauce etc.).

The Nagaimo functions as a thickener, so since I couldn’t find it, I just increased the amount of egg and starch and it came out just fine. I made a lot of tsukune because they looked so tasty and I wanted to make enough to eat them as an entree (with some leftovers), so I more or less tripled the recipe. Here’s what I used:

1 lb ground chicken
3/4 tsp salt
100g chopped onion (about half a large onion.. would’ve used more but I ran out)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp grated ginger
7 Tbsp corn starch

And for the sauce, I tripled the amounts on everything, so 3 Tbsp each soy sauce, mirin, sake, and water, and 1 Tbsp sugar.

I cooked the tsukune in two batches, wrapping the first batch in some foil while I cooked the second. After the second batch was done, I put the first batch back into the pan and poured the sauce on, reducing it and tossing the tsukune in the sauce.

They were delicious! The sauce was tasty on its own, but you can try putting red chili flakes on them for a nice zing. I think they might be great in an orange chicken sauce too.

Sorry comments are still disabled… I haven’t found out a way to keep all the spam out yet.

Oh my god spam

I’ve had something like 800 spam users sign up since I opened commenting again, and WP has been emailing me every half hour to review dozens of spam comments. UGH

Thanks for the comments on my last entry, but I’ve had to disable commenting for now. I really don’t know how to make the spam stoooop