Monday, April 01, 2024

The Books I Read - March 2024

Pretty happy with how my reading tracking is going. My spreadsheet has all the data so it's very quick to generate the page, although from some thoughts I've had about game tracking I think I may be able to automate a bunch of this, since generating HTML by hand is not a way to live.

Update: Finished one more book in March, so snuck it into the post..

Stats for March - (Year to date)

Reading Stats

Books Read - 12 (36)Pages Read - 4206 (12741)


Unique Authors: 10 (21)

Author - books read - pages read

Amanda Cross - 1 - 186 (1 - 186)Andrea Penrose - 1 - 387 (3 - 1126)
Anna Lee Huber - 1 - 384 (1 - 384)Ben H. Winters - 1 - 322 (1 - 322)
Charles Todd - 1 - 352 (1 - 352)CLAMP - 2 - 1188 (2- 1188)
Daniel O'Malley - (1 - 688)Deanna Raybourn - 2 - 650 (3 - 996)
Dorothy L. Sayers - 1 - 132 (1 - 132)Elly Griffiths - (8 - 2910)
Hanna Hagen Bjørgaas - 1 - 258 (1 - 258)Ian Rankin - 1 -241 (1 - 241)
Ilona Andrews - (2 - 668)Jacqueline Winspear - (1 - 352)
Katie Mack - (1 - 237)Martha Wells (1 - 424)
Mary Robinette Kowal (3 - 841)Brown, Roediger, McDaniel (1 - 293)
Sherry Thomas - 1 - 364 (1 - 364)Suzette Mayr - (1 - 224)
Vernor Vinge - (1 - 555)

A word cloud of all the authors above. CLAMP is large in the centre, and the others are clustered around in a spiral, roughly in the order I read them.March 2024 Author Cloud

Publication Range

Earliest Book - 1923 (1932)Most Recent Book - 2023 (2023)

Publications by Decades

2020s - 2 (9)2010s - 7 (23)
1990s - (1)1980s - 1 (1)
1960 - 1 (1)1920s - 1 (1)


Borrowed From Public Library - 6 (21)Shared with Friends - (1)
My Library - 2 (3)My Physical Library - (1)
Audible - (3)Author's Website - (1)
Borrowed From Friend - (1)My Kobo Library - 4 (5)


Audio Book - 5 (14)eBook - 5 (17)
eBook (Comic) - 2 (2)Blog Post - (1)
Hardcover - (1)

Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Video Games I Played - February 2024

This is the second new monthly games post.

I'm not feeling very settled in what anything means. The book posts have some basic stats about the books which don't really get into the nature of what I'm choosing to read and why. For January and now February I've tried to divide games into "Games I've played intentionally" and "Games I've played to feel something moving" -- which has gone by a few different names. Given that I'm trying to do everything more intentionally that makes it harder to see what I'm doing and also leaves me in a strange place with games like "Final Fantasy XII" which I seem to be playing mostly to get through it.

You'll also notice this update is coming kinda late into March and that's largely due to me not really having a good feeling for what tracking the games I play means to me in 2024. Still I won't to remember what I've played, so we'll keep going and see what's next.

The Games I Played in February 2024

Two arcs, a smaller blue inner one and a larger green outer one. In the inner blue arc are `Final Fantasy XII`, `Wildermyth` and `Hollow Knight`. In the out green arc are `Into the Breach`, `Mario Kart 8`, `Sunless Sea` and `Pikmin 4`.

I had planned to focus on playing Final Fantasy XII, as the game I'm playing to enjoy the story and chill out with. The problem with this is that I'm finding FFXIII to be profoundly boring. I just don't really want to play it and it doesn't seem to have a ratio of story-to-gameplay that pushes me to keep playing. (I'm not sure what the ratio of story-to-gameplay is nor where it pushes me to play games, but it seems like a workable metaphor, is there something good enough to make you want to play even if something else makes you not want to play.)

I also trailed off Hollow Knight, as I often do. Honestly February was not a month where I wanted to play games much.

Wildermyth I played a bit of and think it looks interesting, but I think it's a think I could play with my partner and we could have a lot of fun with it, so I've been holding off looking closer.

The games in green have all been games I've played for the joy of making stuff move -- as I constructed above -- and they've all done that admirably. I'm regularly struck by just how good Pikmin 4 is.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

The Books I Read - February 2024

I've made a few more slight adjustments to my infographic for February and cleaned up a few things that seemed to sneak over from last year. It's still a bit manual, but I have a spreadsheet doing my math now and so I only had to copy stuff and make the updated entries bold. One other change I'm making from last year is that I'm handling multiple authors as a single unit, so you'll see Brown, Roediger, McDaniel as a single unit and if I were to read a hypothetical Brown and Roediger book, they'd be listed as another entry.

Stats for February - (Year to date)

Reading Stats

Books Read - 12 (24)Pages Read - 3793 (8535)


Unique Authors: 9 (13)

Author - books read - pages read

Andrea Penrose - 1 - 369 (2 - 739)Daniel O'Malley - (1 - 688)
Deanna Raybourn - 1 - 346 (1 - 346)Elly Griffiths - 2 - 703 (8 - 2910)
Hanna Hagen Bjørgaas - 1 - 258 (1 - 258)Ilona Andrews - 1 - 335 (2 - 668)
Jacqueline Winspear - (1 - 352)Katie Mack - (1 - 237)
Martha Wells - 1 - 424 (1 - 424)Mary Robinette Kowal - 3 - 841 (3 - 841)
Brown, Roediger, McDaniel - 1 - 293 (1 - 293)Suzette Mayr - 1 - 224 (1 - 224)
Vernor Vinge - (1 - 555)

A word cloud of all the authors above. Mary Robinette Kowal is large in the centre, Elly Griffiths is large below her and the others are clustered around in a spiral, roughly in the order I read them.February 2024 Author Cloud

Publication Range

Earliest Book - 2013 (1999)Most Recent Book - 2023 (2023)

Publications by Decades

2020s - 5 (7)2010s - 7 (16)
1990s - (1)


Borrowed From Public Library - 5 (15)Shared with Friends - 1
My Library - 1My Physical Library - 1 (1)
Audible - 3 (3)Author's Website - 1 (1)
Borrowed From Friend - 1 (1)My Kobo Library - 1 (1)


Audio Book - 4 (9)eBook - 5 (12)
Blog Post - 1 (1)Hardcover - 1 (1)

Friday, March 01, 2024

Project 21 - Code Doodle - Swarm Doodle (Introduction)

It’s been a while since I’ve built anything interesting in the Artificial Intelligence field and with all of the neural network / transformer / LLM nonsense going on right now, I wanted to go back to one of the parts of AI I love, swarm systems.

If you haven’t heard the term before, boids are a generic model for the way organisms swarm together. Think fish in a school or birds in a flock. Each animal has a pretty simple set of things its trying to do but sometimes the overall effect can be breath taking; think of a huge murmuration of starlings at twilight. Boids -- think they fly like a boid -- are a way to model how bunch of simple agents can create a very complex behaviour, and how small tweaks to an agents behaviour can change the way a whole system performs (think starlings compared to geese). They're a very old addition to the world of artificial intelligence, and they've also been extreamly important to the world of film making.

Walter Baxter / A murmuration of starlings at Gretna / 

That being said, it’s been a very long time since since I’ve messed around with swarms (or boids) and I’m quite rusty and -- as I think is a theme here -- my vector math always seems to be just a touch insufficient. So, I’m going to write a short series as I go about putting my swarm system together.

I’m not going to go into all of the details right now, but I’m going to roughly follow Craig Reynolds Boid model. A lot of the details aren’t in the original paper and the content in the Wikipedia article is slightly out of line with my memory, so I’m going to bushwack from what I have to a hopefully working swarm system (rather than do more reading right now).

For this doodle, I’m taking my pre-existing moving agent code -- which I always wrote with an eye to doing a swarm system and expanding on it. To start I have little circles that try to balance being between the mouse and the middle of the screen. To build boids we’re going to have to expand that a little and add in a few more things to do.

I’m trying to stay close to Reynolds model for now, although there’s lots of fun to play with later on. I’m going to set up three “urges” for the boids, a separation urge -- “I’d like to not crash”, a heading (or alignment) urge -- “I want to go where everyone else is going” and a cohesion urge -- “I don’t want to be the only one out where I can get eaten”.

I’ve been working on this for a while -- and then not working on it for a while, so I’m starting to write with the intention of kicking myself into finishing the project. I’m about halfway done putting everything together -- which you'll notice when you look at the code in the repository, and I think I’ll write this up in four or five posts over the next few weeks. Once I get the basics done, I’m looking forward to all the other things I can play with.

The Books I Read - March 2024

Pretty happy with how my reading tracking is going. My spreadsheet has all the data so it's very quick to generate the page, althou...