Set Wants to be Free

In 2003 I created an online and multiplayer version of the card game Set, so that I could practice and play with people at a distance. It was one of my more successful projects and although I didn't actively advertise it many people seemed to find and enjoy it. Last September I was threatened by Set Enterprises to cease and desist infringing their trademark and copyrights. Of course I knew I had been intentionally doing this I didn't feel like I had much of a leg to stand on and took the page down. Almost a year later, I'm still receiving emails from people who enjoyed my game, who want it back, who want my program to run their own servers.

Ben's ethical diatribe )

The question I have is, what can I do now? I'm afraid of putting the game back up or distributing the server for someone else to serve, but I want people to be able to play it. The Set Enterprises website is unbearably crappy and hasn't changed at all. I offered to give them my version for free to let them provide it under whatever terms they liked (for pay if they needed, though it should be profitable with ad support alone, I thin) and I didn't even get a reply. A simple search or the Wikipedia page will give you a list of many other sites about or containing Set. Many have playable versions as Flash or Java applets (although not many have true multiplayer capability). How is it that they can continue to operate? If anyone has a suggestion for me, I'd really like to know what people think.
Keywords:Games | Website Projects | The Law
Comments:4 comments
CrossPosting to LiveJournal

You asked for it and you got it! Most of my friends use LiveJournal and only check the blogs they can read on their friends pages. I have had a LiveJournal account for a while but I haven't used it. My friends suggested that I should, or at least generate an RSS feed for them to syndicate. In the past I used my custom system because I hadn't intended it to be blog-like. It wasn't supposed to be like this but that's what it evolved into. It might not be what I want but it is what I can actually maintain, so better than nothing. Anyway, now that they are so similar, why don't I use LiveJournal? Well, I'm pretty invested in my system since I spent so much time creating it. It integrates with my other sites nicely and I can do what I want with it if I want to change it later. But I decide to use LiveJournal also. After much work, my website now knows how to crosspost all of these entries to my LiveJournal. I can't garuantee everything will work perfectly all the time, but it should be good enough. I even have comments made on either site synced so you can comment wherever you'd like. Maybe people will comment now. I also now support ljcut and ljuser tags. All my old posts are even moved over so check it out. [info]sparkyb
Keywords:Website Projects
Comments:4 comments
Why do people suck?

My website got defaced today. I've never taken much time to worry about the security of my website. I've always relied on luck and obscurity, which really aren't tactics. Now I don't even know what to do to prevent it from happening again. Luckily it didn't seem like any of my stuff was destroyed, not even my main page edited, just a new one put in front of mine. Still though, I have to ask the question, why do people do things like that?

What does someone get out of messing with my computer? I say the same thing for people who cheat at games and some other activities. What is so fundamentally wrong with some people that they get pleasure out of hurting others in this way? I didn't indent to make my website all that secure. It isn't a challenge. You aren't cool or talented or 133t or anything like that, why do you think you are? Honestly, is there anyone out there who gives any respect to people like website defacers, spamers, crackers, or vandals? What do they do it for then? What is the attaction and the prestige in something that I can't even imagine other people who do it respect? Sometimes I wish that all stupid people like that would just be gone. Humanity is wasted on them, and they really don't deserve to be able to perpetuate their genes. There are explainations of crimes like robbery, assult, rape, murder, and genocide, even though there is of course no excuse for these much more terrible acts, but I can't even imagine any explaination why someone would want to be a petty nusaince like the things I'm talking about. I say either be completely evil so that we can lock you up, or stop bothering people and be a productive member of society. I know that seems kind of harsh, but the way I feel right now just seems to warrent that level of hyperbole.
Keywords:Website Projects | Anger
Comments:7 comments
Personal Stuff

There's some question as to whether I should write journal entries that are so personal, like the one right before this (which may or may not be there, I keeping going back and forth on whether it should be public or private). My website is a very public forum and there is no telling who might read it. I try to keep things vague and benign so that there's no room for true damage. One of the worries is that someone who might be a potential employer might find this website, and there is no need for them to be reading my most personal feeling. Does that give someone an upper hand on me? My goal is to get these things out though. There are people, my friends who I want to see this stuff. The reason I have a journal is to save me saying the same thing to several people at different times, and to save myself from telling it to people who might not actually care. If they come here and read it, then they must care. The way I see it, I hope that someone whom it might not be appropriate to read such things about me won't, and I don't make it so explicit that it would be bad if they did.
Keywords:Website Projects | Worries
Comments:0 comments
Games Competition

Last week a graduate program at USC challenged the ETC to a games competition. When I saw the subject of the email, I thought it was a neat idea but I assumed it would be all video games that I don't play. When I actually read the email, I was pleased that they selected a variety of games to challenge different aspects of gaming. Other people in the ETC weren't as happy that USC had selected all the events or that they hadn't even heard of some of the games. While it is troublesome that they alone have probably selected their strengths, I'm sure we will be able to select the games for a later match. On the other hand, I am very familiar with the games that many people were not, so I am glad I will get this chance to represent the ETC. The five games were Halo 2, an FPS; Burnout 3, a driving game; Literati, a word game that is essentially scrabble; and two of my favorite games, Set and Carcassonne.

The most exciting part of all was that their rules dictated competing in Set via my website. I'm not sure if they realized what they had done, but if they had visited any other part of the website they could have easily seen that I'm a member of the ETC. On the other hand, it isn't really like they'd have a choice. I did a search and it seems that my website is the only place on the web to play Set. I've taken this opportunity to improve Set, even though I thought it was done. Things have been so busy that I've spent more than a week now on changes that I thought were only worth one evening.

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Keywords:ETC | Games | Website Projects
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Fashion Simulator

I've always been a jeans and t-shirt guy. That's how I know how to dress. For something fancy I've got a suit, but anywhere in the middle I'm very uncomfortable. More and more recently I've realized that I'd like to dress better, at least sometimes. At least I should have a decent wardrobe that I should never stress over an otherwise fun event because I'm not sure what I have to wear that would be appropriate.

It finally came to a head over Thanksgiving. I had to go to my high school reunion. It was at a club, not a place I'd normally go. I didn't know what to wear for clubbing but I desperately wanted to prove that I wasn't the same uncool geek I was in high school. My mom and I went out and got a few things that made me feel great that night. I know it might not be cool to go shopping with my mom, but I just can't do it myself. After that great start (particularly the shoes) I decide this was a good time to solve this problem once and for all.

Over winter break I was going to go shopping for more close but it didn't happen while I was home, which meant I had to go by myself back in Pittsburgh. I needed some nicer things for visiting companies in California on the ETC west coast field trip. Shopping for clothes by myself is hard. Even with trying on clothes I'm not sure whether it really looks good or not or whether I will wear it. Many previous trips clothes shopping have ended up in items that sit in my closet unworn because I changed my mind after I got them home. I think I did a little bit better this time, but then I had a new idea.

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Keywords:Website Projects | Worries
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9 Behind

I'm already 9 journal entries behind and they keep piling up. That's 9 days/things I've said I need to write about and haven't. They've gone on a list to be written and predated. If I get around to them, many of them will show up before this one. They certainly aren't the only things I haven't gotten done yet. I've got many whole huge lists of things I have to do, and many more things I just want to do. What would be great would be if I could pause time and get a few days to get things done without deadlines getting closer or having more things to add to the list. Then I'd be able to sleep too. I'm going to sleep now, since I'm only going to get less than 3 hours as it is. A promise: even though I know I have Animateering due at the end of the week and Visual Story due on Wednesday, if my Visual Story group doesn't find a way to need me today (I'm leaving it up to the rest of them to manage since I can only worry about so much) then I'm coming home early and getting some of this list stuff done and getting some sleep so that I can attack Visual Story and Animateering full force again on Tuesday.
Keywords:Website Projects | Busyness
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BVW Day 3: McConomy

Today was the 3rd day of BVW show stuff. We woke up early in the morning and loaded into McConomy. It went much better than the last two days and I felt a lot better about it. Will Bosley is my angel. I really respect him as stage manager. It's another type of job I think I could do well or at least I'd like to try but that I know Randy would never trust me with, but I can't complain because Will is clearly the best choice for this job. Things really did run so smoothly today. Also people weren't getting on my bad side as much. I don't know if sleep is a factor. I don't think it is for me since I was plenty well rested yesterday that I don't think it was the cause of those problems, and I was still fuming mad when I woke up today. Maybe everyone else got some sleep and we're all getting along better today.

I stayed up late last night being very upset. I didn't want to wake up and come in today but I knew I had to and trying to come in late would only make things worse. When I woke up though, I was still pissed. I came in because it was my job. When we started doing things I just went into work mode where I focused on the job I was doing. I was ready to snap back into my mood if anyone said anything to me about it or said anything snappy to me or if the setup got to chaotic, but none of that happened. The more and more of the setup that went well the better I felt until the day ended up turning out pretty good. Order reigned supreme, the clouds parted, a beam of light shown though, and all was good.

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Keywords:BVW | Anger | Website Projects
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Soliciting Website Feedback

I've had this new site up for a few months now, and I feel that I've been pretty good about adding to it on a reasonable basis. The summer is an excellent time to work on my web projects so I feel it is time to assess how this site is doing and what it needs. (I also have long todo lists for all my other sites that I want to get to)

Occasionally someone mentioned this site to me, but for the most part I have no idea if people actually read this. I don't have a good way of checking my web access logs, so for now they just sit there. I'll get to that one day. I've got the system for leaving comments but I've only gotten one or two. So here I'm going to strongly encourage people to leave comments.

If nothing else, just leave a comment letting me know you read this site. If you really want to be helpful, here are few things I'd like to know what people think about. Tell me about how you read my site (frequency, browsing pattern, etc). What other of my sites (all listed on the left) do you visit/use? What do you like about my journal? What don't you like? What new features would you want to see?

And more specifically... How do you feel about me having my own code vs. keeping a blog on a site like LiveJournal or Xanga? I've been trying to keep the content to the most interesting stories, opinions, and information (stuff I'm likely to talk a lot about if I know you). How do you feel about that? Should I write about feelings/daily events more? Should I write more/less often? How do you feel about the length of the entries? Do use use the keyword at all? Is the main listing in a decent format or is there one you'd like better? (like LiveJoural, more date based than entry based?) If you don't feel like telling me in a comment, send me an email. I want to hear any kind of comments people have.
Keywords:Website Projects
Comments:1 comments
It's new to you

Yay! I'm only minutes away from making Thought Repository and the new version of my website live. At least for a little while this will be the first entry that you'll see. I wanted to use this space to introduce people who've visited my old sites to this new one. The entry About Thought Repository explains a little about what this new site is and how it works, with a little of this motivating history. The entry Backlog explains how the initial set of entries is comprised of old journal entries, old static pages reformated as entries (with made up dates), and a set of new entries written recently to cover the 6 months since I last wrote in my old journal (back dated to when I should have written them). If you've read my journal before, it is this last set that you will probably be most interested in as well as the ability to comment on new and old entries. Happy surfing.
Keywords:Website Projects
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About Thought Repository

What is a Thought Repository? This website. Thought Repository is not a blog. It may seem like one, but it isn't because I say it isn't. Yes, it is a website where I can put my thoughts on a number of issues such as my life, work, hobbies, stories, and opinions.

I've had a personal webpage since approximately 1998. There have been numerous new designs and revisions, none of which I was statisfied with for long. The idea was always to provide information about the things I like to do, and the things I know well for the benefit of others. From a small set of pages to the advanced code that runs Thought Repository, the progression has been from something that is hard to maintain to something easy to add to on a more regular basis. So, while it may be like a blog in ease of posting, the goal is the same as it always, to inform and entertain.

In the past it was very defined what was my personal website and what was just another one of my sites (which all happen to reside on the same box). Thought Repository, while it is the core of my new site, is only one part of what I want in a personal site. Within Though Repository there are longer entries that I have written, and also shorter descriptions of interesting links to other good sites on the net. Besides Thought Repository itself, there is my picture gallery, inherited from the last version of my site. Although these two are the main parts, there are some applictions (like Set) and some miscelaneous static pages that could be considered part of my personal site or seperate entities. I no longer wish to make any distinction about seperate websites. All my applictions (link on the left) are part of the experience. Happy surfing.
Keywords:Website Projects
Comments:2 comments

After the long, hard work of building the Thought Repository interface, the task at hand is to fill it with an intial set of entries. There are couple different classes of entries that result.

I took the journal entries from my old site and back dated them. The times have been changed to protect the innocent. The old journals were written fairly infrequently with large amounts of information lumped together. This is at odds with the small focused post idea that Thought Repository is based on. Some of them I split, mostly, I included the headings the way they originally were and summerized the long posts. These of course tends to have more Keywords than most entries will, because they cover multiple topics.

As for the pages on the old site, most of them are just going to get lost. It is a pity. They describe activities that it would have been nice to capture at the time. However, since it was only brief summaries, it was basically useless. I'm not catering to the totally unaware. This is for my friends. Some of them that described how I felt about certain events have been preserved as entries that are back dated to either when they were originally written, or when the event described happened.

Finally, since I haven't written in my journal since September there is a lot to tell. I have attempted to fill in this periods by writing now, the entries I should have written then, and back dating them. The dates are basic guesses.
Keywords:Website Projects
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Up at 3am

... or midnight for all you pacific timers (just for you Steve). I tend to be up really late, in general, but specifically recently. I just have so much work to do. Quite contrary to the boredom of the first week or so. But I'll get to all that in just a second. Often I write in my journal at night just before going to bed. The problem is that what I always think as the closing of one day, the automatic titlizer and file namer seems to think it is tomorrow. Well I fixed that. Now it is today until 5am.

It has come to my attention recently that some people have actually been reading my journal. This is a bit surprising to me. Do you really read this regularly, or thoroughly? Why do you read it? What do get out of it? How is it like talking to me, assuming you know me? I'm just looking for some feedback, I want to understand. Would it be good to allow people to leave comments on my entries? Send me an email,
Keywords:Website Projects
Comments:0 comments
Ups and Downs

I'm going a mile-a-minute and I felt I needed to write a journal entry before there were too many thoughts to ever deal with. I really just want every thought I ever have recorded any time of day. Maybe I need a voice recorder or something. As far as brains go, my thinker seems to do better than my rememberer which renders the first slightly less efficient than might otherwise be.

Down: Social

No doubts about me as me, but I'm in a very different situation than I'm used to. I used to live with 30 of my friends. Now I live with 3 people. It is a big difference. I never had before and must discover now, the right way to hang out with people. It isn't like I haven't been making friends, I just don't know how to make them good friends. I don't know what to do when people aren't just there.

In addition there is something I wanted to call Not that feeling again! or "I think I'll have that drink now." The reasons for these strange titles are wholly unimportant. The sentiment is that, for all the progress I've made confidence-wise in social situations, I lack certain essential skills neccessary for moving past the types of social relationships I have now that I failed to develope at the time where it was possible.

Up: Media Lab

It was good to finally see my advisor, pick classes, and find that I had an office. Getting aquainted with the Media Lab will take some time, but I feel more comfortable there after touring around. I felt that I belonged. David is cool and I think we can work together.

Read more... )
Keywords:Depression | Media Lab | Website Projects
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Top Secret

New Features

Some changes are occuring in my journal. If you've read it before, then you'll notice that the font and colors changed. I started to like the idea that maybe I did it with a typewriter and so I tried to make it look that way. If you knew how my journal entries actually get composed that would seem ridiculous, but we can do whatever we want with computer. Anyway, the look is a minor thing but neccessary for the important new feature.
I've complained myself, and gotten complaints from those who know me well, that I wasn't being true to myself in my journal. This was because I had to carefully censor how I really felt due to my silly idea to make my journal public. I don't know who could be reading so I have to bring it down to the lowest common denomitor. There are things I don't want my close friend reading that I'd want to say about them, there are things my parents don't need to know about my life, there are things I wouldn't want strangers to know, and then there are things I wouldn't want anyone to hear me say but want to express none-the-less. I could pretty much only type stuff so benign (and boring) that I wouldn't mind anyone reading.

The solution is to be able to have private content in my journal. Stuff that only I can read. Now for everyone else the experience in terms of what you can read will be mostly the same. I'd like to think I took an interesting approach to this problem. Rather than seperate private entries, private text can be intersparsed among public text within an entry.

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Keywords:Website Projects
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To start off, skating didn't happen. :-( The rink was closed due to a technical problem with their new refrigeration system. That was kind of dissappointing, but hopefully they will open so and we will be able to reschedule. I hope everyone who was planning on coming this week will be able to come when we really go. It was really sounding like it was going to be a lot of fun, with all the people I got to go. It really surprised me how many friends I have, and how many of them are girls. I never realized that before, and it really drives home the point that I need to find myself a girlfriend. Obviously there can't be anything that wrong with me, because it isn't like I'm some total social outcast, but still I have been single all my life. Speaking of which, I saw this magazine article about nerds actually being mildly autistic in a friend's IM profile. Scary.

Speaking of IM profiles, and the real title of this entry, I wrote a little web application this week that allows you to include a link in your IM profile that will show a personalized message, in the profile, to different people on your buddy list. It also tracks who clicks the link. It was Sabrina's suggestion, but I can't believe I really did it. If you want to use it, it is designed to be not just for me so check it out. Yeah, that's what life has been like for me the past week. I have been working on these silly little projects instead of the work I have to do. Besides AIM Personal Away Messages, I did the website and bbGallery updates I mentioned last week, and I have 2 more things that I might end up doing soon.

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Keywords:Procrastination | Website Projects | Classes | Nostalgia
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For anyone who read the journal entry from the other day, I'm sorry for the negative attitude and bad English. Everyone has their down days. I try not to write on those days, but it slipped out. But who reads this crap anyway? Speaking of crap, you have to see Strong Bad's email, one of the features of It is really funny.

Meanwhile, the number of people going skating is ballooning out of control. Ok, it isn't that bad, but I didn't realized I had so many friends.... who like ice skating.... and are free Tuesday night.

Unbeknownst to our hero, in another part of town, My website has been updated again. You could call this revision 2 of the new design, but then again, who's counting? What's new? Well, I'ved decided that journals and pictures are content I can actually update where as the rest I can't. Plus, why do I need to write pages about stuff that I do if I can just write about it in the journal when it happens? Therefore, the pages become less important. Also, there were too many frames and annoying dynamic database type features, so I got rid of them all. Simple simple simple. The best changes went into bbGallery, the picture browser I wrote. Most of the changes were on the administrator side. I can easily generate and regenerate thumbnails and rotate and delete pictures from the web. Customizing the settings is all standard now. There are a few user changes you may see. Thumbnails really fit into their size now. It won't ever autogenerate thumbnails, instead it will just let you know when there isn't one available. Finally, you can see more details about the picture that the camera recorded.

Ok, that's enough for now. Sleepy time. Keep on scrollin' on....
Keywords:Depression | Athletics | Website Projects
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Meltdown and Reboot

I haven't written in a while. It was because I had a really rough emotional rollercoaster ride that left me unable to care about anything as trivial as my website. Oh, and I had a lot of class work. So the situation, for the curious, was this thing with this girl, and it sucked and wasted my time, but I'm over it now and ready to move on.

So back on the update scene here's what's been going on. Class are keeping me busy. Got my first OS assignment back. I wasn't too pleased with the grade despite the fact that ours was the most efficient shell our grader had seen. Efficiency, that is definately one of my things. Still waiting to get into 240 but I figure that if it makes it to the end of the semester I can just say, "Hey, I did all the work, I got an A on the final, now give me my credit and let me go on my way."

TAing is a lot of work. More than I expected but the pay and helping people make it worth it. Today I did 4 hours worth of motion capture, but it came out surprisingly well for my first time. I can't wait to see how it turns out in the worlds. Mocap makes me really feel important. Like I have something special going for me. Let's hope that carries though.

Speaking of things going for me, GRE's went well, so now it must be time to apply to grad schools. This is going to be a tough choice to make if I have to. Free and in Boston, or with my friend where I think would be more my style?

But what do I really want to say today. I feel on top of the world. I used to hit pits and stay down.

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Keywords:Depression | Classes | Grad School | Website Projects | TV
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End of Summer

Well, yesterday was officially the end of my summer. When the first few people who weren't part of the summer crew returned to the house I knew it was over. Within the next 5 days almost everyone will be back and then the real work begins.

It has been a good summer, but it will be my last like this. It was great because I was living in my own room, I had all my friends around to do stuff with, and I had a job that was fun but very unrestrictive (hours, attire, etc). Even if I'm still around after I graduate, I will want to get a real internship next year.

I've been finishing up my summer personal projects. This website was one. I still have to finish cleaning my house. Last night I finished cleaning the first, but worst, room. That only took me all summer. Now I have only 2 or 3 days to finish the rest of the house.
Keywords:Summer | Website Projects
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