all the world’s a wiki

I toy with the thought of converting this here website to MediaWiki (which my host supports), as I am more efficient at editing there than at writing raw HTML in vi.

The wiki’s first articles would be:

  • Two-dimensional design
    • Hyperbolic tilings
    • Arrangements of the color gamut in the plane
    • Curve-fitting
  • Three-dimensional design
    • Ray-tracing
    • Solid printing
  • Posthuman speculation
  • Political speculation
  • Linguistics
    • Diachronics
    • Writing
    • Conlang

I’d continue to report new thoughts here, and then integrate them into appropriate articles. I wonder whether MediaWiki and WordPress play well together. I’m not aware of any personal website that combines blog with wiki, but it seems unlikely that nobody does it.

And now I wonder whether a wiki on my home box would help me keep track of the little files I write as notes on this topic or that, and the PDFs that I download to read someday, and the

there are domains and domains, a free hosting service for comic strips, changed its name (not long after it was founded) to; but the old name still works, as do and (I just learned) and Well, mostly.

Mostly it doesn’t matter whether you look at, or; you get the same content. But sometimes images don’t show unless the address is

What’s going on here? Apparently these domains are not transparent synonyms for each other; but why would they be (flawed) mirrors?

fun with colors

Here, have a couple of Python scripts. Each creates an image file, 2^12 pixels square, each pixel of a different color. puts the coordinates of each pixel in Gray code, assigns each bit to one of the color channels, and converts each channel back from Gray code to choose a color. The assignment is chosen at random from 141926400 possibilities. is my attempt to re-create and extend this: it folds the square eight times to make a cube fitting the color space. The interesting part was maintaining continuity through multiple folds. This one has only 107520 possible outcomes; again they’re chosen at random. I don’t like the result nearly as much as the other, but you might!

You’ll need Python Imaging Library.

On my machine each takes less than two minutes, so with a simple shell script you can whip up hundreds overnight.

Continue reading “fun with colors”

hilarious title

On a private mailing list, a novelist asks for suggestions: what technological hobbies might a bright teenager have, in Oakland circa 1975? Chemistry sets were mentioned, among other things.

I may have had a chemistry set at age 8 or so; memory is spotty. A few years later we got an electronics kit, consisting of a collection of elements in Lego-like blocks. There was a booklet, starting with easy things like a light switch and an electromagnetic telegraph relay. (Maybe I thought the latter was easy because Dad and I had made one, about the same time as the possible chem kit).

Then on the next page was an oscillator or something. No explanation of why it was an oscillator. I thought, well, if I can’t see for myself why it’s an oscillator, evidently I’m not cut out for this stuff; so I quietly abandoned it.

My adolescence in a nutshell.

Of course it never occurred to me that perhaps there was no explanation because I was not expected to understand an explanation; I was expected to treat the oscillator as a black box. (Not that I had the concept of “black box”, either!)

Oh well.


My new telephone has dozens of ringtones and I hate them all: Newagey lo-fi orchestral crap, mostly laden with snare drums for some reason.

My last phone played the sound of an old-fashioned mechanical bell; the one before that, a pizzicato passage from a Ravel string quartet; before that, the quick part of Pachelbel’s Canon – in frankly electronic timbres that did not pretend to be an orchestra.

I want a ringtone that says “a digital device seeks your attention,” not one that sounds like something overheard on a cheap radio belonging to someone with no taste.