Alas, I was unable to finish my updates to the TAAG program. I’ll shoot for this weekend.
New York was a lot of fun. Unfortunately my camera broke, however, my friends took lots of pictures. I may edit this post later with one or two of them.
Edit: Eh, I’ll just link by buddy’s flickr account:
I’m the guy in the Radiohead t-shirt.
Today I modified TAAG and made it so it could work with FIGlet font files – however, I have NOT updated the version on this site. This is a pretty cool addition because it’ll let the program work with a ton of pre-existing ASCII Art fonts. After getting the app to load the files, I decided I’d implement most of the FIGlet font file parameters, which includes something called “smushing” which lets the author of the font determine the spacing between characters and how they should overlap. Me describing it probably sounds pretty boring, you can read more about it here:
Actually, that will probably be pretty boring too, unless you’re interested in developing your own ASCII Art font. Anyway, the reason I’m updating is to say I’m shooting for updating TAAG on Tuesday night. I’ll be in New York city the next 3 days (hanging out with friends), so I wont be able to work on it then, but I hope to polish off the small bit of coding I do have left on Tuesday (I’m taking the day off to rest). So if everything goes as planned, TAAG should have between 20-40 new fonts on Tuesday.
Until then, if for some reason you find yourself bored out of your mind and in need of something entertaining, check this out:
It always pisses me off when I hear about people buying up domain names for cheap and then selling them back at a huge mark up. I’ve heard everything from people snatching up domain names as soon as they expire to people registering the names of possible future basketball stars.
Some people argue that this is the same as buying up land. I see it slightly differently. People don’t create land, it’s already there. People do create domain names though, it’s basically their product name. Buying up all the domain names, to me, is like buying up all the possible product names one could use without ever having a product yourself. Maybe I’m totally off base here, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I hear about people buying up all the domain names they can think of just so they can screw over people who may actually want to use them.
Anyway, this little tirade was inspired by what has to be the most interesting article I’ve read in a long time:
The man who owns the Internet
If you’re a fan of reddit.com (which was, interestingly enough, started by someone I went to high school with – though I didn’t know him), you’ll probably already have seen it. However, to those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s worth a read. Highly recommended!
Even though the reception for my TAAG program has been somewhat quiet, I’m going to continue my plans to finish it up. I hope to by the end of this week add support for FIGlet font file types – that will open TAAG up to using hundreds of different ASCII Art fonts, which will be pretty cool. I also have a few more “advanced” features in mind. All in all, I’m shooting for being completely done with it in two weeks.
After that I’m going to look at my list of ideas and pick what I think would best fit this site. I’ve actually had a wealth of good ideas in the past few weeks, so I’m actually kind of excited about getting started on a new project. I just have to pick something of the right size (I don’t have a lot of free time) and something that would appeal to people who already visit this site.
For a couple of weeks I’ve been talking with some of my grad school friends about possibly starting up an online business. We’ve had a couple of really cool ideas, but due to them still being in school, we haven’t really had a chance to implemented anything yet. We were going to have a meeting about some new ideas tonight, but one of them decided they wanted to get drunk instead so things have been postponed I suppose. I think if the project with them goes no where, I may eventually strike out on my own and try my hand at an online business. I see so many websites offering interesting little services and most of the time I think to myself “man, I could have done that!”
I added 3 new fonts, updated the information pages, and added some new features to the online TAAG program:
I had hoped to get a little more done, but I of course waited until Sunday night to program up my ideas.
Hackers and Painters
One day while I was sitting in my graduate level Operating System class, bored out of my mind, the professor went on a tangent and started talking about coding styles. He mentioned a man by the name of Paul Graham and how Paul thought coding / hacking was similar to painting. This immediately caught my ear and I made note of a famous essay, entitled “Hackers and Painters”, that Paul had apparently written.
Reading Graham’s essay was like a shot in the arm. It reminded me why I was a programmer and why I went to school as a computer scientist. So many people go into computer science for the money, and so many of the people who teach it are “researchers” or theorists, I think it makes someone like me forget why they liked it in the first place. I related to that essay very well, and I highly recommend it to anyone who programs as a hobby.
It’s unfinished, it’s unpolished, but at least it’s something new 🙂
While I was looking through some old AOL stuff I was inspired by the old “Macro Shop” art of the late nineties. I hadn’t seen it in a long time and I remembered an old idea I had back in 2000. So I figured it’d be fun to program up. A lot of those fonts were incredibly hard to find. If you have any, please send them to me (txt files only). I also added in 2 non-AOL prog fonts that I saw while surfing the web.
As you can probably tell, it’s just a for fun program. Though it can have some possible uses if you want some cool looking letters. I’ll be adding onto it throughout the next week or two. There will be a ton of more features (right now the “Advanced Features” are commented out since they don’t all work) and a whole lot more fonts. I’m going to set it up to read Figlet font files, which will allow it to use an incredible number of fonts. I’m also going to make it open source. That way, if an ascii art font writer wanted, they could use the program on their website to show off the fonts they make.
Holy crap, I knew I had to have a back up copy of this program lying around somewhere! I actually use it all the time. I found a copy on a backup disk for my CS635 (Advanced Graphics class) files. I guess I was using it for one of my assignments. Woo! I’m actually really glad I found it. You can download it here:
I may do some updates to it. If you have any suggestions just let me know. Also, I initially tried to find a copy online, but I wasn’t able to. I did find some German guy recommending it though:
Makes me feel kind of cool that someone way across the globe was using and recommending my program.
I’m starting to feel a little bad about always promising that stuff is coming, and then never posting anything up :P. However, this Friday, come hell or high water, I will be posting up something new. It wont be finished, but it will be usable and near completion. Here are some tidbits about it:
– It will mostly be for entertainment / fun, though it will have applications in Ascii Art.
– I originally had the idea back in 2000, but decided against making it because I saw it had been done. However, after thinking a bit, I decided that it’s pointless to try and make something 100% original. So I looked at the existing app and thought to myself “could I make something that was better?”, and I decided that I could so I started programming it up.
– It will be open source, but not until I’m done.
Right now I have something I could post up, but I hope to make a few updates before Friday. Tuesday I get to see Al Gore talk (he’s coming to UMBC and doing that global warming talk he does) and on Wednesday I’m seeing Spiderman. So I probably wont get a whole lot done, but even if I posted what I have now it’d still be a mostly complete application.
This is an update to say updates are on the way :P. I was recently sent a copy of my color spy, so as soon as I check that out I’ll post it up. Also, a few updates back I mentioned I was working on an online app. I’m not going to finish it any time soon, so I’ll try and just post a beta version of it in a week or so (it wont be anything amazing – but it will be kind of cool).