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Creation Date: 2003-03-11
It's been a week or two since I posted a Making Of JF. I'm not slacking, no. I just registered AltSci3D Manga Director, the software that I wrote to create Javantea's Fate Web Comic. Sourceforge gave me a free website, CVS, shell, FTP, and distrobution site, so I'm up and running. It's up at http://as3dmd.sourceforge.net/ . It's a pretty big step for me. Starting with just getting Linux running, then compiling a hello world program. The next thing I knew I had a full featured 3D editor. And now it's open source.

Today, I wrote XML support for AltSci3D. That's a decent step. It was actually really easy since libXML2 is so very easy to use. It was also easy because I'm such an XML guru. I know it so well that it scares me.The reason that I didn't start out with XML was because I felt that XML was not necessary in a purely linear data format. But I found that there are other reasons to use xml instead of tab delimited text. One of the biggest ones is stability and error checking. My data file was one of the most vulnerable parts of AltSci3D. If you accidentally did one thing wrong, not only would you get an error, but usually a seg fault and all kinds of crashy things. Now, if they do it wrong, it catches it before we are even started loading. Another reason to use XML is documentation. Space delimited data (even with comment) is very to document correctly. XML is built around documentation and allows comments everywhere. Another huge bonus for XML is nesting. Tab delimited data is very hard to nest without getting weird errors. XML is all about nesting. An infinite hierarchy which AltSci3D will soon have is very easy with XML, just put a tag within a tag within a tag. Last, but not least is interfacing with it. Interfacing an XML file is very simple, with a very few calls one can do it completely. Space delimited data is hard to do mainly because you have to write all the code yourself. So I've decided, XML all the way for my data files. If you haven't kept up with Making of JFs (I don't blame you), you don't know that I'm also working with Tar Archive files. I wrote a Tar Archive Static Library that I plan to integrate fully into AltSci3D. That way, a person can tar.gz up all their data files for each scene/page and run Manga Director for that one file. It's pretty sweet, ya know. I'd like to propagate my tar interface because it's so cool, too. I wrote a program called tcat that is really sweet. It acts like zcat, but with tar.gz files instead of just gz files.

I read a book called The Cathedral and the Bazaar and it inspired me to release it now rather than later. It explains how open source happens. The developers do it not for profit, not for charity, but for themselves and they open the source so that others can build on top of it to make it better for both. The end users are just a small part of the open source development. It's really about the developers using their talents in an amazing bazaar doing what they would be if they closed the source, but with the help of others. And there certainly is a place for capitalism in Open Source. The Linux distrobutions charge money for support of their product and it works fine. I plan not to charge for AltSci3D Manga Director or support of it. My reason for this is that the market is limited and the product (the manga) is more important than the tool. I will definately sell the product: Javantea's Fate which I made with AS3DMD.

Many people say that Linux will catch on in the user market when there are more games for Linux. So that is what I plan to do with some of my free time: develop linux games. I am going to port AltSci3D Manga Director to Windows because I can and because some people who will want to use it will use Windows. If more Windows developers thought the same about porting as I do, there might not be so many Linux developers making open source programs that compete with theirs.

My job is doing well. I finished a demo of my program and my professor and I went over it line by line. He took some time to explain how to write well-formed c++ code using vectors instead of arrays, nesting classes, and constant variables. It was the type of stuff that I had been missing by not taking any CSE classes. He was kinda impressed that I hadn't taken any courses and could program C so well. But I'm no Linus Torvalds, I can tell you that much. But maybe one of my projects will benefit Linux in a way that not even Linus can. I mean, how many people can code 8 hours per day 7 days a week while learning physics? But I'm still having to balance it with school. In three months, I'll be balancing it with a full-time job. It should be an adventure if nothing else.

Below is a letter I wrote to myself as a joke. I was sending documents to myself, and I always write something silly like:
Dear Mr. Voss, This is to inform you that you have overdrawn your checking balance by One hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000). The offending check was deposited four days ago by Penis Enlargers, Inc.

Best Regards,
Dear Mr. Voss,

I am an accountant from Zimbabwe. Attached is my income records so that you know that I am not kidding. Recently, I have been informed of the untimely death of my best friend from high school, Nobel award winning physicist, John Hikkeko. I know that you have heard of him. It seems that he has left me as sole proprietor over his estate. However, here in Zimbabwe, we have laws which nearly prohibit transfer of money through untaxed channels (taxes are nearly 500% here, sadly). However, the American Government has troops here and are very oppressive, murdering women and children almost daily. If you were to pose as me having reached the United States through underground channels, the government would fold and allow you full access to the estate worth 47,000,000,000,000 (47 trillion) picapes, approx. $50. If you do this, I would be happy to split the money 70/30 with you at which point you can leave back to the US with $15 or stay here in Zimbabwe in a life of luxury. The average monthly income in Zimbabwe is approximately 5 picapes, so the cost of living of a rich person is about 10 picapes per month. Think about it and look over my income records.

Peace and love, my brethren, nothing else,

I don't mean to insult or disrespect Zimbabwe or it's people, but from what I read, I wasn't far off from the truth of their situation there. If a person was actually tricked by this e-mail, they would write the US Embassy in Zimbabwe or the Zimbabwe Embassy here in the US. He would write something like:
Dear Sir or Madam:

I am Javantea who recently emigrated from Zimbabwe as a refugee. My best friend from high school, Nobel award winning physicist, John Hikkeko left me as sole proprietor over his estate worth 47,000,000,000,000 (47 trillion) picapes. I would like to claim this inheritance. You can reply to this e-mail, write me, or call me. Here is my information:


Upon reading your e-mail, both of those institutions would go apeshit (Zimbabwe because you now have twice their GDP and US because he is a refugee (aka terrorist) that they've never heard of). That person would be immediately deported to Zimbabwe, where he'd be raped, tortured, and killed (not necessarily in that order) for the $26.25 in his pocket. Okay, okay, it's a big joke and y'all aren't laughing, so I'm going to give up. My social commentary is as such: who are these people who send these e-mails explaing this great deal of fraud, embezzlement, racketerring, etc? It seems like it's some type of deranged, yet intelligent person, but I don't know who. They aren't profiting, they aren't hurting anyone especially, and they aren't making themselves known. There could be just one person that could fit that profile: Javantea!

It's so simple really, I've been sending data encrypted to each person around the internet that will turn into a super-virus as soon as I send a second e-mail that decodes it and runs it. Then I will become the ruler of the internet! Muhahahaha!
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