What nobody else will do

Sunday 7 August 2022, 00:00

Somebody asked whether there's a purpose to my life (or that of whoever cared to answer) - on Twitter, where my profile description currently consists the the three words "Anchorite, apostate, asteroid."

I don't think there is. I used to think there was, but it's been some years since that fell apart for me. However, it's interesting what's left.

Shaping Hint

Sunday 31 July 2022, 17:00

This is the output from one of my text-generation AI experiments. I started with the GPT-J 6B model, and fine-tuned it on about 200,000 words of my own fiction writing (about half of that being the text of Shining Path). It took about 36 hours to fine-tune the model on my 12-core desktop PC, notably not using GPU computation, and then maybe 12 hours or so to generate this text under human supervision.

The fourth help

Sunday 31 July 2022, 00:00

I've written before about three very different actions that all end up being called "helping" someone. It recently occurred to me that there's a fourth important one as well.

Visible ontologies

Sunday 24 July 2022, 00:00

Web services expose their underlying data models throughout their interfaces, much more so than we might expect, and they're all different. Two services that seem to be direct competitors will have importantly different ontologies of the data, and this affects all aspects of how they feel to users.


Sunday 22 May 2022, 14:46

When I was a child I always wanted to invent games. As I got older I became more and more disheartened by the number of my games that were never actually played, and in fact the larger pattern of my work going unused has been an issue for me throughout my life. But Spywar was one of my most successful childhood games.


Thursday 16 December 2021, 13:02


これは「TeX & LaTeX Advent Calendar 2021」の17日目の記事です。 (16日目はCareleSmith9さん18日目はSpark Hiroさんです。) 悪い日本語でごめんなさい。 練習ので、一年に一つの記事を書いています。 早く流暢になりますかな?

Scarcity, abundance, and lost careers

Monday 29 November 2021, 09:42

How should institutions make hiring and promotion decisions, in theory? How do institutions make such decisions, in actual practice? What happens, and what should happen, when someone's career is interrupted? Is it possible to restore an interrupted career, and should that be done? What happens to institutions when society overproduces, or underproduces, elite individuals? This article looks at ways to understand these questions, starting from an historical episode.

Fixing cut-off margins and bad paper size in Okular printing

Saturday 31 July 2021, 13:22

Ever since a recent "upgrade," the Okular PDF reader on my Slackware Linux system has been printing pages with incorrect margins, adding extra blank space at the bottom of every page and subtracting it at the top in such a way as to cut off part of the print at the top. No configuration changes seemed able to resolve the issue, and it was hard to get any useful debugging information. Searches on the Net found many instances of people having similar problems, but no convincing solutions - and the KDE development team has a history going back at least 13 years of never ever acknowledging or fixing any problems with printing options, always blaming it on the users and erecting unreasonable procedural barriers to bug reporting. Here are some notes on how I was able to fix my problem; it's an ugly fix and may not be useful to everyone with similar issues, but the notes may still be of some use.

Tsukurimashou 0.11 release

Thursday 1 July 2021, 08:26

I've just posted the version 0.11 release of the Tsukurimashou Project - my parameterized font family for English, Japanese, and Korean, now with 2912 kanji including all those taught in the Japanese school system through Grade Five and more than half of Grade Six. This is the first release of the full project since November 2017, and the project began in 2010 - so it's kind of a big deal.

Range wars of the Net

Sunday 25 April 2021, 08:06

The beginning of the 2020s has seen a great acceleration in creeping attempts to co-opt the online world for the service of the USA's political tribes. The overriding principle seems to be that no space can be allowed to remain free of political charge. Neutrality is claimed to be impossible. Every community has to choose a side, any attempt to avoid taking a side is pointed at as supposedly a "dog whistle" of taking the wrong side, and which side everybody is on is more important than any other purpose the space could serve.