Matt Hackmann

My Santa Hat is More Famous Than I

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christmas
video

Every year (except last year), our station ellicits a candid reading of The Night Before Christmas from its employees. I again have graced the air waves with my handsome charm, but it's my Santa hat that steals the show. If you see a Santa hat in this video, it is the one I wear each and every day.

Christmas Lights Extravaganza

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anime
arduino
christmas
coding
raspi

I've been sitting on this one for a while now. I'm sure everybody's seen the video, but I've been meaning to do a technical writeup. In case you haven't seen the video and have no idea what I'm talking about: I made a computer controlled lights setup. You can watch it below:

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, follow the break for the technical goodies.Read More

Letting Go

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general

My room has always been a mess and myself a bit of a slob. By Aunt May's reckoning, this is the way of brilliant man. I think it takes an even more brilliant man to realize that his shit hole of a room needs a thorough cleaning. And it takes an even more brilliant man than that to never let his shit hole get to shit hole state. I'm not brilliant enough to get to that point, but I did clean my room today. And then I realized - there's only so much cleaning that can be done when there's no place left for all the shit in said shit hole. That's when difficult decisions need to be made.

Decisions like recycling that pile of mostly broken computers that you swore one day you'd get working again and turn into a nifty little in house server farm...

Of course, you keep the one extra computer that does work... plus a bunch of spare parts

Also, deciding that your really don't need your DS Lite, because you have an SP which can play your GBA games, and a 3DS which can play DS games. The extra system - while an extremely sexy piece of hardware - is just redundant. So, you trade that bitch in for $24, 20% of the price that you paid for it.

Or maybe that cord yarn that you bought because you were going to teach yourself how to crochet and make a stuffed Hobbes. Three, actually. One to keep, one for your progeny (pffft), and one to give away. Yup, just need to face facts that it's not happening.

Some things are a little easier to part with, though. Like a pile of old gaming magazines and course manuals from college. Goodwill'd!

And so, my room is clean and my closet is even clean. Hopefully somebody will put all my old shit to good use or if they throw it away, it won't be on my conscience.

Weekend of Productivity

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general

Being single has its upsides. It means I get to such things as lounge around doing jack shit on the days I'm not dancing for the man. I decided to buck that trend this weekend, though, and actually accomplished quite a bit. All of it started with my decision not to hop in line for a Wii U early.

The original idea was to take my brother to work at 2pm and then insert myself into whatever line there was at Walmart (they tell me there's no dash in that anymore). I was hesitant to say the least. That would have been a near 10 hour wait in a store with only a handful of electronics to keep me company. Despite the fact that I had loaded up a satchel of entertainment, I decided at the last minute to not get in line, resigning myself to not getting a Wii U right now. I could waste my time much more effectively at home.

I actually spent most of the afternoon programming up the last stages of the awwnime bracket to include a wildcard round. In between bouts of frustration, I'd browse around the internet or conversate on IRC, but in the end there were a lot of solid hours of coding done.

Once that was completed, I cleaned my room a little bit and also loaded up the dishwasher from lunch earlier in the day. Then, I caught up on my currently airing shows. I consider this an accomplishment as my laziness has reached heights so high that it feels like a chore to watch television. I think it's more I don't like watching shows alone, actually. Not as fun that way.

After retrieving my brother from work, we swung by Walmart to see how long the Wii U line was. The answer to that was a surprising "not very", and we spent about an hour in a half waiting before walking out with the last available Deluxe unit. I thank the good lord that I decided against the ten hour wait as the 90 minutes we did spend were pretty damned stressful in their own right.

Yesterday, I spent a goodly bit of time working out the final technical details of my computerized lights setup and began sequencing my first display to music (more info on that soon). I even spent some time chatting with the maternal unit and baked up some cookies. Also shipped my brand new Wii U off for repair because the disc drive doesn't like reading discs (sucks). But, c'est la vie.

All in all, a pretty damned productive weekend. More productive than I've had in a goodly long time.

A Cute World of Programming Possibilities

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anime
coding

Yay for fancy headers

My love for programming and continuing fascination with anime has lead to projects in the past. I've also worked on projects that were related to whatever online social circles I was involved with at the time. I seem to have found something that covers all of these at once.

Enter r/awwnime, a subreddit whose sole existence is to pass around pictures of cute characters from various anime. Doesn't exactly sound like a pool of awesome programming project ideas, but one would be surprised. This little subreddit of waifus and awws has inspired no less than four very different projects. I had been kicking around the idea of an awwni.me URL for a few days, so when this comment came along, I said "fuck it", dropped a few bucks and registered it.

Project 1 - Eyebleach Alternative

The awwni.me base site isn't much. It grabs the latest posts from the subreddit and displays it with basic slideshow style controls. Nothing too elaborate, but it lives up to its initial idea of being an anime alternative to eyebleach.

Project 2 - Post Title Analysis

This one was entirely curiosity on my point, both of the data that would be generated and the implementation. I wanted to see if I could programatically search for trending topics within the subreddit community, specifically characters and shows. The first step to this end was to build a cron job that would collect all new data on a periodic basis. Then, the title would be parsed against other titles to find the longest, most common phrase. In the end, I spun this off into a bot that posts statistical analyses of various things happening in the subreddt. Additionally, it also directly kicked off a project at work programatically associating similar stories to each other.Read More