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...that she might be a sufficient reason for young Candide

and he for her


August 9th, 2006

Scott Draves @ 08:58 pm

Current Location: work
Current Mood: energetic

This guy is really quite amazing. I'm jealous of his life path. I've decided I want to know more about what goes on inside electric sheep. I'm worried that I don't have near enough math background to follow the actual engine behind fractal flames, but the shit is fully open source so I'm allowed to _try_. The first order of business, I guess, is to convert my home desktop to a linux box. I'm debating the wisdom of that plan, for obvious reasons (windows actually _works_, and I can play _games_ on it) but I think my life will be markedly improved if the fun thing I do when I get home from work is hack on code, and I have two projects, one minor and one major, that would be totally worthwhile to play with, and neither is particuarly work related.

One is rewriting my color scheme randomizer in a more general way using Ruby instead of Python. This will a) teach me ruby b) give me more control over random color schemes, and c) let me finally contribute my favorite (yes, it's trivial, but I love it every single day) coding accomplishment of the last five years to the general public. Hell, if I do it correctly it probably won't even that hard to work it into emacs, but I'll leave that to somebody who cares, because the second project will be:

Learning more about electric sheep and understanding how the system ticks both in terms of the distributed system and in terms of the fractal rendering. I'm better equipped than most people on earth to understand the former, and I figure I can work my way through the latter. Worst case maybe I'll pick up a book or class or three on chaos and fractals. I mean how hard can it be really, right? ::whimper::

Meantime, I'm going to try to talk Draves into coming and giving a talk. Failing that maybe I can stand him a pint some time.

Edit: ::grimace:: Well, plan A was somewhat stymied by Ubuntu's inability to handle displaying X on my hardware configuration. I suppose I'll have to hack at that some time when...well, when I have some time. Not really what I wanted that path to look like, but I'm not exactly shocked. ::sigh::
 
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From:themabbi
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
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Buy a second hard drive, install Linux on it, create an entry in GRUB for Windows and Linux, boot to whichever floats your boat at a particular moment.
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From:hawk
Date:August 10th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
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I actually already have a second hard drive so that may be simpler still. The problem is mainly I haven't screwed with Windows since I powered this thing on, and I don't know how straightforward it is to get Windows to a happy state. Also, except for the fact that it can play games and the fact that I know it works with my hardware, Windows can pretty much eat a bag of dicks and die in a fire. I'm...not a fan. Still...games...::sigh::
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)

scott draves

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So I was gonna remark on it earlier, but now that you've fully succumbed: I discovered flame (also by him, and the precursor to electric sheep) back when I was in high school, and I similarly became fascinated with it and him. I think I even wrote him a fan letter way back when.

The distributed system is pretty straightforward, I think. I tried to understand the code but it was beyond me at the time. Now that I think back to it, I'd expect it to actually not be that complicated. I don't think fractal math has much to do with it: instead, google for [ifs fractals]. You can even generate them in 3d (I forget whether it was Draves or someone else who had the nice gallery page).

BTW, if you run the Gimp, make a new image, and pick Filters, Render, Nature, Flame, you'll get an interactive browser and generator. It's really neat: it shows the current image and then others in its "neighborhood", and clicking on a neighboring image recenters you. Back in HS I would generate animations that morphed between images I liked (which is just what electric sheep does, in a distributed manner).
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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I had no idea he was in SF. I should look him up when I get back.
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From:hawk
Date:August 10th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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Yeah, I sent him an email to see if I might lure him to give a talk. We'll see if there's a bite.
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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Schedule it for after I'm back (September or later), please. :)
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From:hawk
Date:August 10th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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He's in -- now I just need to figure out how the hell to schedule a tech talk. If you'd like to make a more detailed timeframe request, do it soon.
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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I plan to be back by Sep 4 (that's a Monday, so really by Sep 2).
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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And now that I look again, it seems the distributed system bits have become more complicated since I last looked at it (which I'm pretty sure was before 1999 -- has it really been around that long?!).
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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His blog links to http://www.sigevolution.org/new/issue.pdf which has a bit of the math on page 11.
From:evan
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:43 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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http://flam3.com/flame.pdf -- 15 pages on the algorithm.
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From:hawk
Date:August 10th, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)

Re: scott draves

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Nice!
From:surrealpenguin
Date:September 18th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for bringing Scott in to talk at work! I talked with you briefly there, and then Evan linked to you, and then I think I saw you at Verde tea the other day... so I think I'll start reading your posts. I'm Patrick Barry, by the way - nice to meet you :)
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From:hawk
Date:October 21st, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
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Heh. Just saw this comment. You've probably registered by now just how little I post, but you're welcome to read. =)

...that she might be a sufficient reason for young Candide

and he for her