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Information Dump   Leave a comment


It’s been a while. I purchased an electric guitar about two months ago, and from the moment it arrived, I’ve been pretty much playing guitar in my free time. So yes, not much work has been done on SICP in that interval, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about guitar in that time.


It seems a bit spontaneous, to me, to decide to pick up guitar, but I’ve had this ache since I got into listening to rock music (~age thirteen) to learn to play guitar. Of course, when I was thirteen I lacked two things. The perseverance to actually keep going with it no matter the boredom, pain, and whatnot, and also the money to actually buy the equipment I needed. That ache has been on the backburner for a while (read 3 years :), but recently, when I began to listen to some really great guitar it was reawakened. Hearing Joe Satriani smash out a solo, or just some meaty power chords from deep purple made me wish I could experience that. So when I decided to get a guitar a couple months ago, I had a clear goal in mind. I knew that I wouldn’t be JS in a month, but what I could do, was have fun! I decided for both cost purposes and the interest of fun to forgo getting professional lessons. I believe this is the right approach, at least for me, because I’m not burdened by the boredom of running through the same exercise fifty times ’til my fingers seize up; I can just grab a tab or two and practise.

The Equipment

It was also in the interest of “fun” that I decided to purchase a Squier Stratocaster electric. There’s just so much more you can do with an electric, and after hearing a lot of my friends recommend it as a good beginners guitar I was set. It was also cheap, only ~$150. I also needed an amp, and after a fair amount of research I decided to get an orange crush 10. Orange make beautiful amps, and my ~$200 solid state amp is testament to that. Of course, the best way to save money is to use eBay, so I bought my gear from there, saved about $50, including postage, of course.

My Amp

My Amp

My Guitar

My Guitar

So, yes, I’ve managed to learn quite a bit in the last two months, and I’ve had a heck of a lot of fun doing it! Guitar is a really great instrument to play; it’s very expressive. It’s quite easy to bend strings, add a bit of tremolo, and you can apply numerous effects to modify your sound. I personally have also got an MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal, for stretching out rhythm pieces, and giving a bit of sustain to reggae sounds.

I’ll leave you with that, my next post will feature a song I’ve composed, and the method I used to record it.

Happy Hacking!


Posted 21/09/2010 by Emmanuel Jacyna in Uncategorized

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Commander Keen Discovery!   Leave a comment

Those who recognize the source of my header image will probably have realized that I’m a big fan of ye old DOS games from the early nineties. Of recent I’ve been playing Commander Keen 4 (darn those dopefish), an absolutely classic side scrolling platformer. I’ve played commander keen for a very long time, but today I just made an amazing discovery. You can actually kill the moving fake stone things! I always thought that they were impossible to kill, so I’ve gotten used to tricks like making them drop into holes and pits. The trick is to shoot them while they are jumping at you, that way their sensitive bellies are exposed and able to be stunned by Keen’s weapon.

Anyway, here’s a short sequence of images to demonstrate the method:

Get the rock to attack you, by turning away from it, but move so that you will be out of the range of it's jump

Then turn and shoot it while it is still in the air

It should now lie there, looking stunned

Posted 02/07/2010 by Emmanuel Jacyna in Games, Uncategorized

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More pong updates   Leave a comment

My Curses based pong clone is coming along rather nicely, I’ve made many improvements to the codebase, and also added a proper interface.

See the ball and paddle? They move!


  • Added menu system
  • Added “fancy” background in the menu
  • Added proper build system
  • Added  the ability to customize the size of the playing field
  • Tidied up the code
  • Messed it up a bit more :D

It’s been a very educational experience working with ncurses and C, which are both very new to me, but I’m getting better at interpreting gcc’s error messages… often 10 lines of error can be generated by something as simple as a missed closing bracket! I also finally got around to writing a makefile for the project, which simplifies the task of building it quite a lot. make debug is all I need to get debuggable code ready.

That’s all for now, I plan to post something on the actual game mechanics sometime soon, as always, you can enjoy the game by grabbing it from github

Posted 01/07/2010 by Emmanuel Jacyna in Code, Games

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