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Solaris by Stislaw Lem

Sci-fi classic. Finally got to reading it. Cerebral.

Book does not have the traditional good guy, bad guy, or solved problem of an ending.

It reminds me a little of "The Man In the Maze" in that this book is about humanity discovering, and then trying to interact with, and discover the meaning of, something completely alien: a planet with a liquid "ocean" that appears to be some kind of life form.

Not to spoil it, but to give context. The planet the "ocean" is on, is orbiting a double-star. Because there are two stars, the planet's orbit should be wobbly, but is actually circular. That is what prompted to study the planet, and the "ocean" is discovered to be a mix of complex chemical and organic compounds, not simple like water. Nothing is living in the ocean. The ocean is all there is on the planet, except for the planet itself. Humanity then assumes that this "ocean" must be actively manipulating the planet's orbit, otherwise it could not be circular.

The book never resolves, as even by the end, humanity is still trying to find a way to communicate with it, or understand it. If I was younger, such a story would have been frustrating, as it has no Closure. But now that I am Older, I still enjoyed the story for that fact it is not the usual pattern, but almost a bit more on how humanity always want to try to learn/understand/control, and that is contrasted by this "ocean" where learning/understanding/controlling is not achieved.

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Went to the Long Beach Comic Con yesterday.



Weather was nice. Still long line to get in. Getting parked still a nightmare.



But, was a better experience this time. Got to attend some panels. Got to watch some sci-fi and fantasy movies. The Firefly-related panels were crazy long lines, so didn't attend those.



I still dont like crowds, or crowded spaces, but that was tempered by the fact I was in a sea of "my people," geeks, nerds, that share my interests.



It reminds me that there is a subset of people that I fit right in to. Gives me hope to keep searching, and trying to work at, and live in, and to participate in clubs, and communities, that have geeks and nerds, and do geek-friendly and nerd-friendly activities.



Ben got to try a Virtual Reality game, where you wear the VR headsets, and said it was a blast. Ben and Jenna found a large floor space a Lego club had put out Legos, and a large set of kids were having fun building Lego items. That entertained them for at least an hour.



Ben makes friends really well. At the Lego area, he ended up chatting up a pretty girl, and sharing about their smart phones, in a totally cool, age-appropriate way. Made me happy to see him happy, having fun, and being social.



Had lunch at the Islands across the street. A thing to do, during Comic Con, is ask for the food to-go, and just eat outside in the shade. Faster than the 1hr wait for being seated.



Next time, want to go for both days, as this year we just went for Saturday.



Decided that T-shirts are still "really my thing ", and look forward to getting more geek-related T-shirts, next time.

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clx12unwrapper - command line x12 unwrapper - project status - September

Finished implementing the project. Tested it on my X12 834v5010 samples. Seems to be working correctly.

Project homepage is at: http://mrflash818.geophile.net/software/index.html#clx12unwrapper.

Uploaded the source code, makefile, and licenses to the website.

http://mrflash818.geophile.net/software/clx12unwrapper/

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clx12unwrapper - command line x12 unwrapper

Seems I want to make another support utility, for working with x12 transaction text files.

I already have trimmer, because I needed a way to easily remove leading and trailing whitespace (because mainframe datasets can do what seems to be weird padding of text files).

The nc_834v5010generator wants X12 834v5010 files to work with that are both

  • trimmed - no whitespace before or after a segment
  • unwrapped - each X12 segment on a single line

So, did a google search for "open source x12 unwrapper" and did not find a pre-existing project, so making my own.

clx12unwrapper will assume any invalid whitespace was cleaned (by using trimmer, or a similar program). It will create an output such that each segment is on its own line of text.

Like "trimmer" I see it being a program fed by a pipe, and its output going to a separate file, like:

robert@pip: cat messyX12file.txt | clx12unwrapper > cleanX12file.txt

BUT

The smartest way, once someone has both "trimmer", and "clx12unwrapper" as compiled programs on a machine they do X12 work on, most likely, will be to do a pipeline of both trimmer and clx12unwrapper, like so:

robert@pip: cat messyX12file.txt | trimmer | clx12unwrapper > cleanedX12file.txt

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timediff - c++ version - September

Program compiles clean. Now need to test the maths, and vette the program.

Already discovered that it is not telling the user 1000-01-01 is an invalid year. Time to examine/test/debug using DDD.

DDD self-reminder: use the F2 key to run a command-line program, so the command-line arguments can be given.

2016-09-05 21pm

Added a ModernDateValidator object, that makes sure any User provided year is more recent than 1799. Tested the maths against LibreOffice's calc, set to year, and did a variety of inputs, making sure that my c++ timediff output matched LO's calc. Program now vetted.

Source code updated to the website. http://mrflash818.geophile.net/software/timediff/

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I wrote timediff, in C, a few years ago.

With each release of a new Debian Stable, I would recompile/test, and apply fixes as needed.

Well, the latest version of gcc that is in the current Debian Stable, is doing something unexpected, and I think it's a bug, but do not want to go crazy to fix it.

If timediff is invoked with a year that does not contain a zero, like 1999, it works just fine. (It has always worked fine, up to now.)

But now, when invoked with a year that contains a zero, like 2015, the C <string> strtok() function is returning only "2", and not "2015."

So, instead of continuing the program in C, I am going to refactor it to use c++, and the boost libraries.

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trimmer - finished, tested, source code published.


cat someFileToTrim.txt | trimmer > trimmedFile.txt 


Homepage for it, is located at http://mrflash818.geophile.net/software/index.html#trimmer

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trimmer - new cplusplus project

In working with x12 834v5010 sample files, to use for testing nc_834v5010generator, I notice that sometimes the files have unnecessary whitespace padding either at the beginning of a segment, before the segment ID, or after the segment terminator.

After researching for *nix text utilities, I did not find a simple program that does what I want. I could use things like regular expressions, but seems like overkill for what I need.

What I basically need is, a program that does boost::trim(strValue) on each line of a text file, so the output lines have any front-side or rear unnecessary whitespace removed.

a line of text file that needs trimming "     DTP*blah*blah*blah~     "
after trimming, should be "DTP*blah*blah*blah~"

Originally, I thought any program I make would take a filename as an argument, but I think I'd rather have it use pipes, so I can just "cat filename | trimmer > trimmedFileName."

Yesterday I started the project, but hadnt decided on using pipes. Project sourcecode is online at http://mrflash818.geophile.net/software/trimmer/.

Whatever I create, will be open source, GPLv3.

2016-08-06 After a bit of research, seems debian has many of the utility programs, like wc, in a package called coreutils. Downloaded the sourcecode for debian's coreutils, so I can see how the program wc, and others, accepts piped input.

2016-08-14

One of the magic functions that allows a program to accept input via piplining, that I used for my solution, is <cstdio> fgetc(stdin).

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Flinx Transcendent - by Alan Dean Foster



The final book in the series about a character named Flinx, and his adventures. Liked it.



Have been reading them since I was Young, and it was nice to have Closure, as this Last Book gives Closure.

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The Mote in God's Eye - by Niven, and Pournelle



Finally read this sci-fi classic. Liked it. Explores the concept of humanity discovering another alien race exists, for the first time.

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