Hixie's Natural Log

2005-01-11 13:49 UTC Personal plans for 2005

The new year comes at a convenient time for me emotionally speaking, marking the conclusion of one chapter and the coming of several opportunities. Over the end of 2004 I learnt a lot about myself, and I now want to test this new knowledge and maturity "in the field".

One of the things I learnt was that I cared much too much about what people thought of me. This concern ended up so extreme that it mentally paralysed me on several occasions. I've also come to realise that my own happiness depends on more than just other people's happiness; that my happiness in and of itself matters. Henceforth I will be significantly less concerned with others' opinions of me, and will instead focus on what I want from life.

At least, that's my intention. Changing one's personality is not a trivial process. Faking it is hard enough; making a real change, one that makes a real difference to how you deal with people, requires a concerted effort. Otherwise all you need is some random small thing to trigger a memory and boom, you fall back to your old habits.

I also intend to continue a recent trend and get out more. I definitely will be doing more salsa (probably not only during the course I'm taking), and I also want to find some more groups of board game players. I'd also love to play in a big band, but I don't know of any bands that would accept a mediocre Clarinet player whose practices don't conflict with some of my other engagements.

As part of playing more games I have already organised two evenings of board- and card- games at my flat last week, and plan to do so again in future.

(It's very ironic that I have a much more active personal life now than I did.)

I also want to do something with my model trains. I set them up as an alarm clock last summer and never really had a chance to do anything more with them. I'm not sure exactly what to do, though. Last Sunday I laid out some straight track in our living area so that the trains are at least on display to some extent, and not just rusting under my bed. (As a sidenote: be careful when cleaning your bedroom if you have trains around. I was vacuuming earlier today and sucked up one of the little cars straight up into the vacuum cleaner. I had to go poke around in the dust bag to get it back out.)

I need to make something with the track. For that I'll need to just go and buy more track, of course. There's only so much you can do with two points, a circle, and a few straights.

Part of the problem is that I'm drowning in cable already. I could alleviate that a little by replacing the k83 decoders with one track-mounted digital decoder per point, although that isn't cheap. But the main source of cabling issues is the sensors. Each one requires two cables to an s88 decoder, and I already have eight. That's a lot of cable for one circle and two sidings on a pure-digital network. Since you can only chain up to four s88 decoders in a row to one Märklin digital interface unit I guess at least there's an upper limit of 64 pieces of cable... but that's still a lot of cable and makes redesigning the layout very awkward.

Sensors are great, though, so it is worth it. I love writing code that detects where the trains are on the layout and reacts accordingly. I've always found that getting computers to do things for me is more satisfying than doing them myself, and all the more so when the "thing" in question is physically moving stuff around. I've long dreamt of one day having a huge layout go all the way around my house at eye-level, all computer-controlled so it does appropriate things like switch on the train's lights when the room is dark and run around the bedroom when it's time to wake me up and run to the entrance hall when visitors ring the doorbell, etc. Maybe I'll even be lucky enough to find a girl who thinks that living with me and such a setup is a great idea!

Hey, a man can dream.

Other projects I have going on include playing Voidwars, writing a genetic-algorithm client-side NPC for Voidwars2, and occasionally working on Mozbot. So far, though, nothing to report on those.