Friday, October 31, 2008

Hiring in Portland and Fresno

Decipher is hiring web developers.  Decipher is also paying people who know web developers - up to $1000 just for knowing someone who needs a job.  Details below.

We're looking for a manual tester and test engineers in Fresno, CA.
We're looking for web designers, people experienced with design and prototyping on the web, and software engineers in Portland, OR.
If you are one of these people, send us your resume!  If you know one of these people, send us their resume!  We are paying referral bonuses of $250 if we hire your referral, and an additional $750 if they stay at Decipher for 6 months!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is that part in the painting where God's finger touches Adam's

I've been making very exciting progress on Goonmill lately.  The user interface has undergone a complete overhaul, and I undertook a lot of interesting challenges in getting a precise, cross-browser layout with a maximum focus on GM usability.

I've gotten it up to the point where I can use it myself by maintaing (with Tomboy) a Dogfood list, a list of everything I've noticed which would annoy me too much to use it.  As I go through and fix things, I would add to the list, so the list continually gets longer but the things remaining to fix still get shorter over time because I fix more than I find.

As of this writing, that list is 39 items, with 33 crossed off.

I really feel like Goonmill is going to become a useful resource to other people, and I'm looking forward to doing some blog posts or maybe even some kind of lightning talk somewhere on the application of Athena, Twisted and Prototype to a real, modern-look-and-feel web application with a purpose.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goonmill - still seeking art - samples here!

I mentioned this earlier: I am seeking samples of art for monsters in the System Reference Document for D&D 3.5. These must be openly-licensed, i.e. CC-BY, public domain or other non-restrictive license.  (It must allow derivatives and commercial uses.)  The purpose is to pile the artwork up until every monster in the books has free token art to go with it.  This will make it much easier to include with Virtual Gaming Tables, RPG management software, and the like, but I want it free enough that people can think of their own uses, and not have to worry about whether they are breaking copyright law.  Publish it with your module PDF?  Make a Flash game with it?  I don't see why not.

I am publishing thumbnails of what I have so far, with a complete table of all the monsters.  I need images of 500+ of these monsters, but I have 165 covered so far!  A lot of them would be easy because there is so much repetition; for example, if I had one decent CC-licensed dragon, I could just recolor and reposition him and cover about 95 dragons in that list (not an exaggeration).

There are 110 unique, freely-licensed images in the index below, and (because of duplication) they cover about 165 of the monster entries.

The sample page of my freely-licensed Monster Art.

At the top of the page are thumbnails of all the images I have, culled from  Below that is a table with all the monsters in the SRD, next to the filename of an image if it has one.  My top priority is getting the table filled; second priority is getting higher quality images and more variety for some of them.  Third priority is getting alternate images for as many as possible, so that a creator has a choice of which token to use.

I will release the full archive (full-sized images) as soon as I get off my lazy butt and go get the attributions i need for some of those 110 images.  While they are all freely licensed, some of them do require attribution, and I owe it to the creators to at least provide that before I publish fully.

The reason I am picking this back up again is the Encounter-a-Day blog is throwing around the idea of a monster manual wiki (which I think should be named the Mob Manual), and I have offered this index to help out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Prism on Ubuntu

I downloaded and started playing with Prism.  And it actually worked, which is cool.  There were only two setup steps:
  1. Unpack the tarball in /usr/local/prism, or /opt/prism or something.
  2. Symlink /usr/lib/firefox/plugins <- /usr/local/prism/plugins so Flash etc. works.
Unsurprisingly, there are still some problems.
  • The Refractor for Prism extension doesn't work very well.  Likely this is a problem with Refractor and not Prism, but what it does is it creates a shortcut icon on the desktop.  The shortcut runs your system Firefox, i.e. the same executable you are using Refractor for.  It doesn't ask for the location of the prism executable. It writes the webapp config to the wrong place, and it puts the wrong options into the Launcher.  That's kinda useless by itself.
  • Running /usr/local/prism/prism and then typing in a URL did create a working shortcut, but unlike Refractor, it didn't automatically grab an icon from the website.  You can try, instead, using Refractor to create the launcher, and then editing the command line so it points to /usr/local/prism/prism, get rid of every option except the "-webapp xxx@xxx" arg, and then move the webapp config dir it creates from ~/.webapps to ~/.prism/$profile/webapps.  It's about the same amount of work as downloading the icon yourself.  Either way, the setup of a webapp is a bit of a mess right now.
  • You get a blank profile, so your fonts, addons, user stylesheets etc. are all missing.  You might be able to fix this by copying a profile from ~/.mozilla/firefox to ~/.prism, and then running prism -ProfileManager, but I didn't experiment.
And one show-stoppingly dumb problem:
  • Every prism application runs in the same process.
I created one for Pandora (which worked fine, once I symlinked Flash), and one for Google Reader.  Ran them both.  Pressed Ctrl+Q to quit one of them . . . and the other one shut down at the same time.  I mean, what?  Isn't a big part of the point of prism to isolate your apps from one another?  If one of them crashes, they don't all crash, and that sort of thing?  That's lame, so sorry, I won't be using Prism yet.