Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Speculative Delusions

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:28

I think about how to use the things at hand. It’s kind of like this but for tools and equipment. It happens with skills as well, but much more rarely. My psyche is more focused on possessions than personal powers. Of course, being a young man, a lot of these hypothetical scenarios involve using whatever is at hand as an improvised weapon in some sort of violence-driven cinematic sequence.

In any case, I’m often rather startled by the incongruity of the speculations that come to mind. I’m going to start posting these under the Delusions of Grandeur category. Hopefully these missives from my imagination will prove interesting and worth reading, in keeping with our high content standards here at Isqua Istari.

To add some content to this article, here’s an example. (more…)

TUNR: Charge More for Violence

Posted in Other by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:22

My response to:†TUN Slow Down the Violence
People play to learn. We want to learn things that are expensive to learn. Killing people is the most expensive thing†that we know about, so it makes total sense to learn about it in games instead of through real life.

Also, “shooting” is much easier to implement than other forms of personal violence (wrestling, swordplay, etc). It’s basically just a mouse click on a target, and doesn’t usually involve much reaction other than target tracking.

I agree that adding needless violence is a bad habit, but violence in itself isn’t bad. Employing violence is a good idea in the right context. Given the insane cost of killing actual people, killing people in games seems like a pretty good context to me.

Stratasys Catalyst CMB file parser

Posted in Other by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:11

A company I used to work for owned a Stratasys 3d printer. The program that sends print files to the printer is called CatalystEX, and while it imports industry standard STL files, it exports and saves in the (almost certainly proprietary) CMB file format. These files encode the tool path that the printer uses to build the parts, so modifying it makes it possible to modify the print.
Why might one wish to modify the print? Perhaps because Catalyst is very “user friendly” and not a “powerful editing tool” like “some other programs” namely Blender. So, I started writing a bit of Python code capable of importing a CMB into Blender for editing, and then exporting the modified CMB for printing.

I didn’t get very far, but was making decent progress. I left the company, and no longer have access to the printer, and therefore further work would be highly difficult to carry out.

This effort was made feasible (and very likely possible at all) due to the extensive previous work of Andreas Reichinger which went into picking apart the CMB file format, which (at the time of this writing) can be found here:

As I mentioned, I didn’t get very far, but I did manage to discover that the†”27 bytes ?” field was actually 35 bytes long. Not sure what it contains, or if it’s per-printer or what. I also never got around to writing out modified part programs, so I don’t know if there’s a sum-check built in or anything.

Below is the full text of the reverse-engineering reference, just in case the link goes off-line: (more…)

“There Is A Redeemer” alternate chorus

Posted in New Lyrics by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 11:40

The song “There is a Redeemer” was running through my head while driving to work, and I made up another chorus for it… Something like-a-this:
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your life
For blessings of food and cloth
for nation, children, church, and wife.

For reference, the “normal” chorus I’m familiar with goes like this:
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us Your Son
and leaving Your Spirit ítil
the work on earth is done.

Both are good. I feel like we could do with less lyrical repetition in our songs, so this is a step forward in my book.

More piano improv

Posted in Music by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 11:22

Made while we were down in California visiting in the summer of 2015.

The sounds in the background are my children playing with Duplo, wooden blocks, and toys with their grandma, my mother.

SpoOratory Ep2

Posted in SpoOratory by Ziggy Monday January 11, 2016 at 17:48

It’s the spooner podcast! Ben and Travis play mechs and tonks, then Luke hijacks the conversation with games about insanity at about the 15:00 mark, switching at 21:20 to talk about canon and official lore. 24:42 verges into meta-commentary, followed by a brief discussion of the Occulus Rift pre-order at 25:55. Plus 26:30 is a glowing endorsement†of an outline for a Science Fiction story that I (Paul) am trying to put together.

Virtual (beep)s

SpoOratory Ep1

Posted in Podcasts,SpoOratory by Ziggy Sunday December 13, 2015 at 15:58

It’s the spooner podcast! Episode 1, architecture and living spaces.


Bee Hive

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Sunday May 3, 2015 at 17:51

A couple years ago, my wife and I defeated a wasp nest. A year after buying our house, we discovered another wasp nest up under the attic vents. They can’t get into the attic itself, and they are pretty far from the doors, so I let them live. Anna was stung a few weeks ago, but it seems like an isolated incident. The wasps are on probation.

Today we had lunch outside. (more…)

PS Cast: Tryop

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Monday March 2, 2015 at 11:13

The company that I talk about in this episode has turned into Tryop.
Er, here’s the Proto-Tryop Podcast, filled with egotistical speculation.


PS Cast: Cyborgs

Posted in PSCast:S3 by Ziggy Sunday February 22, 2015 at 00:02

A brief snapshot which is over almost as soon as it has begun.
Oh, it’s about Cyborgs.


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