Jun 30 2020

halfway there

justin scawful • 30 june 2020

the year 2020 is now halfway complete. insane to think of everything that has happened so far. this time period is going to be studied for decades to come i'm sure of it. easily the most unprecedented event in american history since the great depression. i can't help but feel like we are about to enter a period of long decline. i don't think our political leaders have the ability or the willpower to fundamentally restructure our economy and society in the way that is required to make things more equitable and sustainable. my fear is that the situation will get worse faster than anybody can imagine and i'm hoping that i can elevate myself financially as fast as possible to prepare to weather any potential storm.

i bought some new books in the last couple days. i'm not sure why i've been on a book buying spree but i have been. yesterday i got a piano exercises book as well as a couple different computer science based books. one of them is "code: the hidden language of computer hardware and software" which has been really interesting in the way it explores the historical lineage of modern computers with morse code, the telegraph, binary, boolean logic, and circuits. those are the concepts that have been established thus far and i'm already seeing how this connects with modern computers. it's a very interesting read and i got through like ten chapters in one afternoon just out of pure intrigue. today i got "computers and thought: a practical introduction to artificial intelligence" from a local bookstore in the town next to mine. it's an mit press book and it was really the only piece of computer text of value in that bookstore. it was a lot of fun exploring the bookstore though it had a really nice atmosphere.

objective state

justin scawful • 21 june 2020

the past week has been pretty uneventful. i'd label that as a good thing for the most part. i've spent a lot of time reading and programming. it's nice to actually be able to update my reading log, though it reminds me of books from a few months ago that i never completed that are now locked in time. i started a new instagram specifically for my coding and music primarily. i'll probably also be more political on there and use it as my account corresponding to information overlordz so i don't have to bring that onto my front facing instagram that my family follows. you can find it here. i think it'll be nice since i rarely use my main instagram since i like to preserve the aesthetic of nature related pictures and stuff with my girlfriend.

the programming i've been doing has been mainly C++ and i started picking lisp back up again. i found an interpret/compiler for the scheme dialect called chicken that is really useful since it has extensions to add support for popular libraries. specifically, it has sdl2 which i've been using as well as doing more sicp exercises. i've been jumping between sicp, design patterns, and c++ crash course absorbing a ton of information along the way. this all started when i was encouraged by a friend to start doing problems on leetcode and codewars to practice my skills and get my profile ready for interviews in the future. being the stubborn egotistic asshole i am i've insisted on using C++ instead of python for the problems. not that there is anything inherently wrong with python but i just don't have the interest to learn about it when i find more overlap in the things i'm interested in with C++ (rom hacking and game programming) but this has also revealed that i am sorely lacking in familiarity with the vector and string libraries alongside some subtleties of the how the language works in terms of implementing efficient algorithms.

in contrast to all that, lisp has been really fun because the language is so stripped back to a few key elements that the implementation of most ideas and algorithms is completely bounded by my design and not preset structures like using standard library functions. not that i couldn't design my own data structures in other languages but just that the way you can express functional and imperative programming in lisp is much more intuitive in my opinion. i started chapter 3 of sicp which deals in the concepts of objects, modularity, and state. these ideas are perfect because they coincide with the objected oriented principles found in C++ design patterns without all the extra gibberish about abstract classes and concrete derived objects. being able to pass around functions as objects with ease and create constructs that change overtime with local state variables offers an intimate look into the fundamentals of object oriented programming. i found the juxtaposition with the substitution model used in functional programming very interesting as it brought into perspective the style of programs made in the first chapter of the book.

i'm still waiting on my midi controller to come in. allegedly they'll have the inventory tomorrow and ship it out as soon as they get it but they told me that about june 12th and here we are.

new phases

justin scawful • 12 june 2020

it's been a little over a month since my last blog post, i didn't mean for it to be that long. after school ended i was just so relieved to be done that i went into full chill mode and stopped doing a lot of things i was doing to maintain my mental health. without that extra responsibility, the rationalization was that i didn't need to be maintaining myself nearly as heavily i guess. i did a lot in the last month though in terms of my own hobbies and fulfillment. i've worked on the zelda hack more which i need to do another blog post about since it was dungeon related and i did not document that. seph just released his beta for his new revamped hack last night so i think beta testing that will be my excuse to document and work on my hack as well, since i'll have to boot into windows to patch the ips file.

i've also been reading more. i started a tale of two cities which is a book i've had in my possession for awhile but quite frankly did not have the reading comprehension to make it through. as i've done more reading over the past year i've been able to improve my concentration which has made denser text more digestible. i also got a programming book called design patterns elements of reusable object-oriented software which details methodologies of designs for structuring your class and object relationships. the first two chapters detailed what a pattern is and how it's relevant as well as giving examples of different design patterns being implemented in a text editor and then the next three chapters are a catalog of different design patterns categorized into three groups: creational, structural, and behavioral. they go into really good detail and provide just enough sample code and diagrams for you to get the idea and try to implement it for your own needs. i decided to start working with the creational patterns first, naturally. i'm implementing the example maze game they use for the sample code with sdl hoping to get a real visualization of these patterns at work.

i've been working on producing music lately too. practicing the piano has helped me with creating melodies on my midi keyboard. i've been getting a lot better at composition and progression of my works i think, though the soundscapes themselves and the mixing is not pristine or anything. my girlfriend bought me the akai mpk mini ii for my birthday which i'm excited to get but it was back ordered until today, so hopefully that order gets filled soon. i also got an adapter so that i can plug it into my phone and play with garageband wherever i go. it may not be useful all the time but i think it'd be a neat thing to try out and experiment with when i'm on the go and don't wanna pull out my whole laptop. only problem is since the adapter goes into the lightning port and i don't have airpods so it's gonna play over the speakers. maybe that's what i need to get next lol.

we've began reopening things in my state now. the lobby of my job is open now and you can go into a lot more places in general. there were the massive black lives matter protests that slightly delayed the reopening when people were looting and rioting. there were curfews here in my city and the mayor even bodyslammed a protestor on video. downtown chicago was a complete mess. this whole situation is revealing a lot about the absolute state of power that the police actually have in this country with how much offensive violence they engaged in. it's quite telling that after the lockdown in response to covid and the subsequent economic disaster that the minute things start to reopen something like this explodes. the united states of america is a deeply unhealthy nation and the chickens are coming home to roost with the toxic ideologies that permeate within our borders. it's very surreal living in these times and nothing really surprises you anymore.