Orbits of planets

When I'm not feeling particularly inspired to work on a bigger project, I explore topics that might be useful later. I have been reading about planetary exploration, orbital mechanics, lunar chemistry, and other space topics. Along the way I found John Carlos Baez's blog post about the Pentagram of Venus. What a cool image! I wanted to try it myself. So I did.

Orbits of planetsOrbits of planets

Play with it yourself!

Labels:

Tiles and edges

Last winter I was playing Factorio and Production Line, and explored the representation of conveyor belts on grids. This winter I've been playing Oxygen Not Included, and explored the representation of tiles and edges.

Grid with pipes placed on tiles
Grid with pipes placed on tiles

Labels:

What I did in 2018

My plan, from a year ago, was:

  1. Produce explanations and demos from my procedural map generator experiments.
  2. Go back to old articles and update them.
  3. Work other developers on algorithms and articles.
  4. Write a tutorial on coordinate systems and cameras.
  5. Write tutorials about making interactive tutorials.
  6. Become faster at writing explanations.

What did I do in 2018? I think I did reasonably well with goals 1, 2, and 6, and not so well on goals 3, 4, and 5.

Printing my pages

Occasionally someone will want to print one of my web pages, even though it means losing access to all the interactive parts. There are a few things I do to make this work better:

  1. I try to start all my interactive diagrams in a state where it's informative without interaction. This is not only helpful for printing, but also for people skimming the page. I haven't always done this in the past so I've been trying to go back through my older pages and change them to work this way.
  2. I have a "print stylesheet" using @media print { … } that changes the page style when printing. It changes the font, removes background colors, removes text shadows, and instructs the browser to avoid breaking the page inside a diagram.
  3. (Added today) When printing, I display the URLs for the links on the page. Since you can't click the links, it's useful to display the URLs.

Labels: ,

Website updates, part 3

While updating my website build process over the past week (part 1, part 2), I decided I should also revisit my page layouts. Last year, I started learning about responsive design, studied the theory, and implemented it on my site. I converted 514 out of around 600 pages, and said “The rest are either unimportant or impractical to convert.” Of the ones I didn't convert, some were in a 450px width and most in a 600px width. I wanted to see if I could convert the 450px pages to 600px at least.

Labels: ,

Website updates, part 2

In part 1 I described some of the things I was doing to improve how my site is built. I had planned to implement the translation of each XHTML file to HTML in Python, but that didn't quite work out. I went back to my primary goals:

  1. Versioning of references to JS, CSS resources, so that I can improve browser caching of my pages.
  2. Tracking dependencies so that if something a page depends on is modified, the page is rebuilt.
  3. Custom macros for each project.

I was hoping to implement all of this in November before I started my December project, but I didn't. So I decided to focus on the most important part, versioning.

Labels:

Website updates, part 1

I finished mapgen4 last week and wanted to "sharpen my tools" before I started the next project. My website is over 20 years old and spans 5 domains. The build process has grown over time, supporting all the different tools I've used over the decades.

There are a few features I've wanted to add to my static site generator:

  1. Versioning of js, css resources so that I can increase the expiration cache time. This should improve load time. I've been doing this manually and want to automate it.
  2. Dependency tracking, so that if something includes another thing, and that thing changes, the first thing gets rebuilt. This should reduce content mismatch errors.
  3. Custom macros for each project that get expanded at build time. This should make it easier to write new pages.

Labels:

Mapgen4: finished

Not with a bang but a whimper

Back in July, I started mapgen4, the successor to mapgen2, my Voronoi-polygon map generator from 2010. Back in August I posted that I had planned to finish the map generator “in a month”, and then write a tutorial.

That was three months ago.

Labels: ,

Math explorables

There are times when I'm on YouTube watching a math video that I think, “oh, that would be fun to play with!” What I should do is recreate the diagram in Desmos or Geogebra. But instead I just move on to another video. Recently I decided I should try making some diagrams, in part to improve my Javascript/web skills, but in part because it seemed like it'd be fun! So I did this for two math videos:

Mathologer multiplication on a circle
3Blue1Brown Feynman's Last Lecture

Both of these were quick, under an hour (mostly fiddling with colors, line widths, transparency, etc): an ellipse from line segments, multiplication with modulo on a circle.

Labels:

Procedural face generator

I've had my red blob logo since 1987. I doodle various facial expressions on the blobs, and also experiment with mathematical representations.

Labels: