Bay Area, California
Programmer, SysAdmin, Artist
We all know Minecraft. It’s a great tool for relaxing and creative building. I’ve spent many hours, alone or with friends, building and exploring.
There’s a lot of mods for Minecraft which have greatly extended its replay value. One of my favorites is ComputerCraft. It adds Lua-driven computers which can act upon redstone signals (Minecraft’s form of wiring) or drive signals on its own. Even better, you can control a robot called a Turtle.
The problem with a geek mindset is that you are looking to solve problems which might have already been solved. It isn’t about fame or bragging rights (usually), but a deep desire to understand a system in thorough detail.
Past readers might be noticing a trend by now.
A few of my friends have Twitter horse_ebook style accounts. If you’re not familiar with this, well, it has a Wikipedia entry these days! In short, it’s a semi-famous (in a meme-ish way) bot which posted snippets from Ebooks in an attempt to avoid spam detection on Twitter. It mixed up the sentences of the books in a way that generated a lot of unintentionally funny non sequiturs.
Back to Twitter – My friends have their own versions of this account, and most use something like Mispy’s twitter_ebooks Ruby program. It’s a fun and silly thing to do, and I wanted join in.
The process is simple: Acquire Twitter timeline, and then process it into a Markov chain. Then walk this Markov chain to generate a new Tweet, and post that. Do so on a schedule, so the program can be triggered and run unattended.
Nothing too exciting, but I did learn a bit about writing unit tests using Mocha. My previous projects used my own simple testing suite.
While I was working on several projects utilizing Adobe’s Flex SDK for Flash, I found myself growing wistful for the days of C-style macros and defines. In other words, a pre-processor. Why?
Let’s find out!
I use Adam Atomic’s excellent lightweight 2D Flash game library called Flixel. But this article is not a tutorial about how to use Flixel or write games in Flixel; There are plenty of pre-existing blogs which do an excellent job of teaching the basics.
My goal for these series of articles will be to teach more advanced Flixel concepts. Not all of these concepts will be specific to just Flixel, so you might get use out of my tutorial even if you are using something like Flashpunk or an entirely different platform.