Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding …if you know what I mean (Meta #11)

I couldn’t think of title so this is the best I could do. It’s a from an old skit show called Whose Line. Very obscure reference. I isolated the clip and uploaded it thinking it was funny. I didn’t get any reactions but I’m still assuming it’s hilarious.

It ended up being a bit longer without a Meta post than I had intended.

The year started out well, with that series of posts about choosing a game making platform. This was followed by a series of attempts to make things with GameMaker Studio (GMS). Unfortunately due to various reasons this didn’t last very long or go very well. Part of that could be blamed on the developer of GMS being acquired by Opera and immediately making pretty much all documentation and any video tutorials immediately obsolete. But more likely I had just reached my saturation point. For frustration and programming. And programming-related frustration.

So I started programming in straight Python, instead. You’ll notice a series of posts on that experience on this blog, actually. I couldn’t tell you why I stopped with the Python project, other than over saturation on that and needing something else.

Okay, the first 8 1/2 months of 2022 weren’t really that exciting. And whatever got turned off after I stopped Python for whatever reason really turned off. Which is unfortunate. Kind of feels like I’m going through the symptoms of depression. But no one is qualified to diagnose themselves on such things.


I said 8 1/2 months because that is when there was something of a family emergency. You always tell yourself you’ll handle things like that well because obviously you’ll step up when it matters.

Well I did step up and deal as best I could. It just turned out I was dealing with multiple things at once and this made it difficult to get through the first thing.

No, I don’t really feel like going to into detail on what I’m talking about. I’m still dealing with it and it’s kind of private.

I will say I ended up doing something I’ve never done before: driving 2,000 miles across the country all on my own. While suffering through some kind of stomach bug, which made it…so much more fun.

It wasn’t as big of a deal as I might of thought: start driving at 8 or 9am, make however stops at restaurants or rest areas, then find a hotel with a vacancy about an hour before sunset.

It took about 3 1/2 days to make the trip. It would have been much faster but a few things delayed me. Like a combination of Best Buy and Verizon. I’ve tried to avoid Best Buy as best I could over the past 25 years. And this experience isn’t exactly encouraging. I don’t know how much I can blame Verizon since it was entirely the fault of Best Buy. I do wish Verizon had a way to deal with it more effectively. I’m being vague, aren’t I? Okay, just keep in mind the Best Buy people don’t really know to scan a mobile-related device at the register all on their own – an action required in order for said to device to actually function. Unless you remind them. Which I apparently didn’t know to do and had to suffer the consequences. The lesson is the Best Buy people have to be told what their job is since apparently they don’t know.

This family thing I’m not talking about is coming to a natural conclusion. Or will be in the next month or two. Part of me is glad it is coming to an end, even if my life isn’t going to be the same ever again.

Since I can get a little obsessive when I start thinking about these things, I’m going to try and move on.

Wishing to make plans for 2023

Looking at the list of items in my “drafts” for this blog, it seems like I really shouldn’t have anything new to add to my list of things I’d like to do. Having said that there are a few things I would like to accomplish over the next 6 months or so.

For one, I would like to write a utility for myself to help me at work. In Python, C# or PowerShell. Or maybe all three. Seems like a silly thing to get hung up on.

Since Python and GUIs in Windows seems like a whole separate adventure, I might have to save that for last. PowerShell has something of a UI methodology but it seems like something of a kludge to me. Which just leaves C#, the language I know the least about.

Actually I don’t think it would be that bad to write it in C# as I’m already somewhat familiar with it from PowerShell (due to their close relation to the .NET framework) and that this would a very simple utility that most consisted of API function calls anyway. Somehow that would actually have the least number of headaches.

I would also like to go through some tutorials for Godot so I can really get the hang of the “node system”. Besides that I would like to work more with Godot’s not-Python. And there’s a “Mono” version that uses C#.

So this can be summarized as “do literally any programming” in any language. I don’t know how to make my attention span any longer that it apparently is. So restarting programming is the first goal, maintaining for longer than 4 months is the second goal. Guess I still have that same 5000 hours left.

I have accumulated a number “programming games” lately. Or I just noticed I had accumulated some. Maybe that would be a way to keep my attention span. Periodically switching to a game, then a different game, then back to programming for real. He said, optimistically.

Making the problem worse

I may not have been thinking rationally on that 2000 mile drive I mentioned. But to give myself an excuse to stop and possibly keep my sanity during all those hours, I would periodically stop at a Walmart to see if the Xbox and/or PS5 were stock. Well I did find a Series X. Actually I bought two Series X systems: one for me and one for my sister’s family/my nephew.

My thought was that I could run across a little Walmart in the middle of no where and grab one that just happened to be in stock. Not realizing pretty much all Walmart actually had the X in stock at that moment. Including the Walmart back home. At least I got a next gen console for MSRP, even if it wasn’t the one backwards compatible with the games console I had accumulated so many games for. I didn’t like those Horizon Zero games that much anyway.

So I gifted myself the one thing to make my apparent lack of motivation that much worse over time.

As a mini-review, having never used a PS5, I actually like the Series X quit a lot. Things load and quit quite quickly, the 4k blu-ray player functions well, the sound is really great, and a few of my old Original Xbox/360 game discs actually work with it. As a bonus, if I use a disc to install a game available via GamePass I can then play the GamePass version. And vice-versa it seems. I let my GamePass Ultimate lapse which means no more EA games. I still have the discs for a few games, though. No re-downloading necessary, the files are the files. Which is nice. So the only downside are the games I may be missing out on. Which isn’t really that many. There’s SpiderMan, God of Way, re-playing the Last of Us games, replaying some Uncharted games, probably others.

I still have my PS4. It’s not like it went any place. I’ll just be left out of future titles. Like the new God of War. I never finished the PS4 one so that might be a bad example.

Those other things

There are a few other things I worked on in 2022: I was trying to make a “cyberdeck” out of a 40 year old portable TV that I had gutted. I was making progress on placement of the motherboard, usb ports, LCD screen, and possible some speakers. I was working on it but it was making me frustrated. So at some point I told myself I was “setting it aside” only I never went back to it. The mess is still there, I just never went back to it. I also used my 3D printer quite a lot for the cyberdeck project. I should eventually do a post about the 3D printer, as well.

I also bought a Solar Generator out of some misguided idea about saving electricity costs. This is actually a series of Lithium/Ion batteries with an inverter that can be charged with solar panels in a convenient package. I went with a Bluetti device, which seemed like the best choice at the time of purchase. Perhaps I should do a separate post just on that.

The idea was that I could charge the solar generator during the day and run my R520 server off of it over night. Only it didn’t really work that way as the R520 drains the battery fast enough it’s gone dead over night. Even during the summer when the nights are the shortest.

I briefly thought maybe I could utilize the R520’s dual PSUs by using timed AC devices so that the R520 would just going from battery during the most expensive times of the day for electricity (4pm to 9pm or so) and run off the grid the rest of the time. This turned out to not be solution I thought it was. Possibly because I was trying to run the R520 and the UPS off the solar generator. I suppose I don’t have to always keep the R520 on the UPS at all times. But that is the only way that might be possible to signal the R520 to power itself off when the power is about to go out. Well there’s probably a stand alone device that isn’t a UPS that could do that. The point is if I want to run this server 24/7 and have useful things running on it I don’t want to risk data corruption with a sudden with power failure. And that could happen from either the grid or the solar generator. Thus the conundrum. I just need a device to safely power off the server when a power failure is detected. And keep the server running long enough to do so. Which sounds a lot like a UPS. I’ll have to think about this more.

Well this wasn’t much of a meta post but it will have to do. There probably some things I’m forgetting but they’ll have to wait until the next one.

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