Welcome to Packbat Wiki!
I started this site in 2012 as a place for me to write about things that interested me -- but if you're interested in contributing to or commenting on any of these pages, feel free to create an account. As a spam restriction measure you will be initially restricted to the Talk pages; post on mine to get fuller editing access. (Unfortunately, spam is growing to be a noticeable problem, and I've needed to be more liberal with the banhammer; let me know if I screw up via my gmail address -- my first name followed by the first four letters of my last name.)
-- Robin Zimmermann.
P.S. If you are having difficulties registering a username, this may be because you are browsing on .com instead of .net -- if so, either fixing the URL or (if you do not have write access to the URL field) clicking on the "Random page" link should correct this.
This is a bit of a new experiment: rather than adding new content directly to pages, I write bloglike posts that (besides being archived as blogging) get transferred to the appropriate Wiki pages. Here's hoping.
2014-01-16: An Ignoramus's Quest for GCC, Part Two
Having learned that I could not simply
walk into Mordor install GCC, I proceeded to the aforementioned GCC binaries page with the optimistic belief that I would find what past experience told me to expect from binary pages:
- An executable file approximately identical to what one would obtain by compiling the source code on my own computer, or
- An executable file that acts as an installer that produces a folder full of files approximately identical to the folder full of files that I would produce if I were following the procedure to compile the source code on my own computer.
...as opposed to a pageful of links, each of which was -- with but a handful of exceptions:
- An independent project which, for motives probably similar to my own upon setting forth on this quest, contains GCC somewhere inside its bundle of tools.
...and each of which was -- with but a handful of exceptions:
- Built to run on one or several flavors of UNIX.
Nevertheless, I forged onwards, quickly narrowing my search down to the two "Microsoft Windows" options listed:
I opened each in a separate tab and started to read.
(There was one other option that I might have considered -- DJGPP, the DOS version -- but not only did I immediately eliminate this from consideration on the grounds that Windows is no longer DOS, but my immediate elimination of it from consideration was wise: running it on a Windows NT system can lead to ... issues.)
(Yes, Windows 7 is Windows NT.) (I think.) (It doesn't actually matter.)
(To be continued.)
2014-01-13: Short Status Update
...hi. Been a while. Let me tell you what's up.
- Something I haven't mentioned on the Web (at least, not to my recollection) is that I'm in therapy for anxiety. As Boggle the Owl will tell you, anxiety is no joke -- but I'm dealing, and getting better.
- Over the past month or so, I've been trying to maintain a regular schedule of self-improvement, with partial success. (It is quite fortunate that among my successes to date is realizing that I do not need to achieve perfect success, although I hope to improve the fraction a bit.) (Possibly by decreasing the denominator.) (But partial success is definitely a part of the aforementioned "getting better".)
- The Bayesian Clocks thing is definitely on hiatus, but I intend to return to it. (Having a running copy of Matlab on my computer will probably be an aid to this -- graphs are fun and pretty, and numerical solution is often simpler than analytic.)
- The blog ... well, I hope to post a few things here, but it is not a priority. I do hope to get a little bit of joy out of it by making a record of one of my self-improvement projects: learning C. Well, more specifically...
2014-01-13: An Ignoramus's Quest for GCC, Part One
(Yes, this is posted out of order. Relax, I know what I'm doing.)
Over the weekend, talking with a friend from the Less Wrong group in my area -- LessWrong DC -- I've decided to begin studying the C programming language by studying The C Programming Language (by Kernighan and Ritchie -- a.k.a. K&R -- second edition). As an aid to doing so, I decided to install the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) on my Windows 7 laptop, for two reasons.
- GCC is GNU free software -- so if I find myself engaged in a serious C-programming project, I will be able to do so without worrying about acquiring new software licenses.
- GCC is, according to what I've heard, the gold standard of C compilers -- so if I find myself wanting or needing to use some other, I can expect at the very minimum to find users of the new compiler who are already familiar with the differences.
Proceeding on this noble basis, I typed "GCC" into a search engine, opened the webpage...
...and ran into the first problem that faces the uninitiated when they set out to use free software: that free software people are living in their own private universe. Indeed, they seem especially prone to the high-percentile-rank variation of the Dunning-Kruger effect: their idea of a rank beginner -- of someone whose knowledge is as close to nonexistent as can be found among those with whom communication is possible -- is an individual who can already compile C source code to run on their computer.
Meaning, in this case, that the installation instructions on the GCC website include, as the very first prerequisite to installation, possession of an "ISO C++98 compiler" -- one capable of configuring and building the raw GCC source code that is the product which GNU provides. Although, to their credit, they are sufficiently self-aware as to remark that:
Important: because these are source releases, they will be of little use to you if you do not already have a C compiler on your machine. If you don't already have a compiler, you need pre-compiled binaries. Our binaries page has references to pre-compiled binaries for various platforms.
...leaving me with my choice of two yaks to shave:
- Choose a binary distribution and use that instead; or
- Find a C++ compiler somewhere and build GCC.
Given that the latter appeared to likely have significantly more fur than the former, I decided to check out the provided binaries page and see what I could find.
In the interest of keeping the front page navigable, I am (manually) shifting entries to archive pages over time. Blog:Archive Index will connect you to that page.
At the moment, the most recent archive page is Blog:Archive 2013 (part 1).
The following are pages on the Wiki which (should) connect you with most of the interesting non-blog content that I have or have promised.
...the definition of "recent" is a slippery thing; expect content here when I figure out what it should mean to me. That said:
- Henderson Duct Log - because, as Robert Pirsig said in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, when a problem turns out to be not easy, it's a good idea to do Science to it ... and science requires data.
- Essays - because it seemed like a good category for things. (Categories ... now there's an idea.)
- Packbat's Recreations
- Wherein the site owner blathers about some of the pointless stuff he does.
- Blog:Archive Index
- An index to all the old blog entries that said site owner plans to have written in the future.
- Packbat's Reading
- Wherein the selfsame site owner maunders about books he has skimmed.
- Wherein reports are made on places and events.
- Idea Pad
- Wherein ideas are thrown at a wall to see what sticks.
- Some ideas aren't short enough to fit on one line of one page.
- Wherein memorable phrasings are not-particularly-im-mortalized.
- Pro Tips
- Wherein useful suggestions of little to no import are provided.
- Link:Art, Link:Webcomics, Link:Web Fiction
- Wherein URLs that, at one point, directed browsers to interesting visual works, visual sequential works, and textual sequential works accumulate.
- Wherein criteria are proposed for the measurement of arbitrary qualities.
- Wherein experiments with Wiki formatting are conducted and randomly deleted.
- Roll to Dodge - Zombie Apocalypse
- "Roll to Dodge" is a simplified kind of forum roleplaying game in which the outcome of each action is determined by rolling a single d6. theplague42 and Packbat were moderating this game starting in January 2011 (until I vanished of the face of the earth) - the above is the beginnings of a copy of this archive, condensed to include just the player actions, die rolls, and resolutions.