May 3rd, 2007


Help someone debug, and you've solved their problems for a day. Teach them gdb, and ...

After a nice lunch at the Faculty Club, I sat on the Cut for awhile to relax and enjoy the weather. After about ten minutes whatever student group had the stereo playing was sending that damned "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" song, and in a show of incredibly poor taste, instead of changing the station, they turned it up. This unrelaxed me. I managed to make it back to my office without killing or even saying harsh words to anyone, but ... grr.

Dear readers,

What music makes you cringe? I'm aiming more at the "devoid of musical merit" songs that you wish would just end whenever you hear them (like the above) rather than just songs that are overplayed "candy music" (like most of Britney Spears' stuff or maybe Hanson's "Mmmbop", which are sometimes ok to be listened to infrequently enough). I understand fully that tastes differ a lot - some people like that "Heaven's Door" song, and I've known a number of people who generally hate Avril Lavigne's stuff (which I rather like).

An amusing quote from TheRegister - Denmark's national anthem is "Der er et yndigt land" and has a total area of 43,094 square kilometers. That's one big anthem!

At that same lunch today, I was reading in one of CMU's (often also inane) magazines about someone working on literacy programmes for the blind. This concept hurt my brain and I was scanning over the article wondering what the heck they were talking about until the word "Braille" finally caught my eye and I felt stupid for not thinking of that. I suppose some notions of literacy might not take Braille into account by accident, but the conceptual distance from there to ones that do is small enough that it doesn't make much sense to use the narrower version for much of anything, I don't think. It's easy to lose sight of the potential difference though..

I just realised why bolding doesn't show up in my entries through RSS/Atom readers or LJ - instead of using real bolds, the Wiki-style bolding markup I use translates to a span rather than a HTML bold, which is fine when my stylesheet is included, but I don't think RSS/Atom supports that kinda thing and I'm pretty sure LJ doesn't. Yet another thing to think about the next time I open up that code...

There's been a lot going on in the world worth noting - my next entry will probably cover it.

  • Current Music
    Super Mario Brothers - Castle Theme

While on the Topic of Music...

I thought I would provide a pointer to my favourite yet remix of my favourite piece of music used in a video game - Neil Benjamin's Far Away Memories, a cover of To Far Away Times, from Chrono Trigger. (click on the download tab on that link to download). If you like the tune, it's possible to find a number of great variations on it with a bit of effort - particularly enjoyable is a version with lyrics, sung half in Japanese, half English (from another ocremix project). The process of adapting music for that medium (or vice versa) seems like it would be really interesting - I'm sure that translating songs from one language to another must be difficult, but to actually need to simplify the music itself (or to attempt to go the other way and extrapolate/improvise it to the complexity of normal music) is something else entirely. ... I suppose this might not be a concern anymore with video games often coming on media that have the space to store compressed PCM audio...

And on the topic of games, when I've had time I've been enjoying playing Final Fantasy V for the gameboy. I tried playing it in the distant past using an N16 ROM, but my Japanese wasn't (and isn't) good enough to make it easy to play untranslated. Its basic game engine feels very similar to Final Fantasy IV, even if some of the story elements made their way strongly into FFVI (which had a really great engine that, AFAIK, never was used again in an RPG). I can see why the game never made it to the United States during the initial run of the series - it's more complex than the other FF games, and the Japanese videogame industry (probably based on good market research) generally made games simpler and easier when porting them for American audiences, also meaning a lot of RPGs never made it over here. Apparently the number of Americans (then?) that like a good, complex game is too small a part of our gaming demographic. Those few people who did like complexity enough were, amusingly, often the right people to leave out (non-Japanese おたく, as it were), because they let themselves in by patching ROMs with homebrew translations and attempting to read Japanese (I did a bit of each).