Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Maya .ma geometry convertor

Posted in Other by Ziggy Monday August 4, 2014 at 21:13

So, Maya is a piece of 3D design software. Like most major software packages, it have its own file format. The file is plain text, which is nice, but even so there are no converters for it ANYWHERE (that I could find). If you want to get geometry out, you have to do it through the (proprietary) Maya software interface. I don’t own Maya, and Autodesk doesn’t provide any stand-alone viewers, let alone a file convertor. So, basically, if you’re trying to use .ma files, and you don’t have access to Maya, you’re out of luck.

Except for me, because I’m a wizard or something (see the blog title). Here’s a python script I wrote to rip vertex positions out of .ma files and dump them into a .obj file (which just about any other software package should be able to import). It’s kludgy and terrible, but it worked for the file I needed it for. If it will work for you as well, great. I’d love to see someone knock this into a real Blender file importer for .ma files, but it hasn’t been done so far, so I’m not holding my breath.

The code is all original to me, and is released to the public domain, no rights reserved.

Singapore: Boldly Go!

Posted in Other by Ziggy Friday August 1, 2014 at 04:32

I recently spent a week in Singapore. I think I could safely say that it was one of my least relaxing vacations so far, but that’s entirely my fault. I didn’t even have my wife and kids with me, so I can’t blame anyone but myself. It was also one of the most enlightening and encouraging experiences I’ve had the pleasure of living through. (more…)

Personal Programming History of the Toad Kind

Posted in Other by Toad Wednesday June 25, 2014 at 10:55

After publishing his own personal programming history, Ziggy asked if I might like to write my own.  Since I don’t do a lot of writing, was referred to in the article, and mostly since he asked me to do so, I decided to go ahead and see what I could remember.

The first action similar to “computer programming” that I can remember is assisting my dad (a career computer programmer and information systems developer) in programming runs of EPROM integrated controllers for trackballs that he was developing as a side business.  It wasn’t actually programming at all: my job was to plug in a chip, press the “up” arrow twice in a terminal emulator and run the command from history to erase it, press the “up” arrow twice more and run the command to write the firmware to the chip, unplug the chip, drop it in a chip tube, and repeat.  I feel like I probably did hundreds of them (in fact, it was probably only dozens), and I loved every minute of the monotony, just because it got me closer to “working” on a computer.


Today is an Excellent Day

Posted in Other by Ziggy Wednesday April 16, 2014 at 01:58

Woke up this morning, soft morning light filled the room.

Ate a quick filling breakfast, pet a tiny cute animal while looking out the window as the sun came out from behind the clouds.

Watching different sized rain droplets out of the garage as they fell at distinct angles in the wind.

Got on my motorcycle, drove in the sun as the rain fell.

Rainbow and freeway and wind and powerful engine.

Got to work where I’m learning about how to command giant industrial robots.

Sold my motorcycle to a good owner for a good price.

Cleaned my desk, inside and out.

Talked to a guy about Japan for a while, where I soon will go.

Had dinner with my second cousin.

Came home and talked to my wife over the internet.

Cascading Failure: Lumber Edition

Posted in Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday December 4, 2013 at 13:27

Sometimes things just seem to “go wrong”. My suspicion is that this is a result of putting off solving problems until they build up and overflow into non-related areas. Here’s an example from today.

I need to shoot in a part with the laser tracker in building B. Sadly, the genius laser tracker guy is out of the country (doing laser tracker stuff), and the backup genius is also overseas. There’s a few standby marginally competent laser tracker guys on the project, but they can’t figure out my part.

So we went to get help from another project. (more…)

Thinking for Fun and Profit

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur,Other by Ziggy Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 22:12

Some like to sweat. Some run for fun. They like to run in the hot hot sun.

I do not like to work this way. If I must run, I’ll run away.

Instead I like to learn and think. I like to think and think and think.

And when I think, my thoughts, they stink! But when they don’t, I use some ink. (more…)

New Baby!

Posted in Children,Other by Ziggy Saturday June 29, 2013 at 11:15

Name: Theodore Valorous Spooner

Weight: 3.56kg (7lb 13oz)

Length: 51cm (20in)

DOB: 2013-06-28T15:05Z

IMG_4071 IMG_4063

Trivia: We had trouble coming up with a good name. I was fascinated with Väinämöinen for a bit, but Anna talked me out of it. Were thinking about Alfred for a while too. The colorful hat and blanket (and booties, but no photos) were made by my very talented mother.

Christmas Letter, 2012

Posted in Other by Ziggy Friday December 14, 2012 at 09:10

To friends and family, enemies and strangers, all alike, one and all together,

From the Spooner family of Paul and Anna, together with our children Leahana, Charlette, and the One who has no name.

We welcome you to this, our Christmas letter. (more…)

Over and over

Posted in Other by Ziggy Monday November 26, 2012 at 11:32

Talking to the internet is like talking to an old guy with Alzheimer symptoms.  You have to know where you’re going, and say the same thing over and over. If you get bored of it, the old guy gets mad at you for being rude to him. If you give up, the internet will forget you existed at all. And then you die, and you’re forgotten anyway.

So, basically, what I’m saying to you, dear reader, is: If you want to know what I think, read through the archives.

No, there isn’t anything new in there. But you’re not going to find out the latest news on this blog anyhow. There are quite a few things I want to say again, but I’m not saying them twice. We’ve worked hard to keep this blog insightful and meaningful. If you’re looking for entertainment, perhaps best to look elsewhere.

Stories and programming

Posted in Articles,Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday November 21, 2012 at 14:42

Over at, someone left a comment that it would be cool to write a program in the form of a story.

This is both easier and more difficult than it sounds. (more…)

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