Author Archives: xangis

Karaoke and Cold Lazarus by Dennis Potter

I recently watched a pair of British Sci-Fi dramas by Dennis Potter filmed in 1996. Over the years I’ve seen references to Cold Lazarus here and there (including as the title of a Stargate episode) and decided to check it out. It’s the second part of a pair, the first being Karaoke. Apparently they’re available […]

Open Sourced: SpaceTheremin, a Virtual Theremin

Back in 2007 I wrote an application called SpaceTheremin. It is a simple app that lets you use your mouse to control a virtual theremin by moving it over a beautiful public domain image from the Hubble Telescope to control pitch and volume. Over the years I also released versions for Linux, webOS, and OSX (via […]

Open Sourced: RoboBlather, a Text to Speech Application for Windows

Back in 2008 I released the first version of a simple text-to-speech program for Windows called RoboBlather. Over the years it has enjoyed some popularity among a small niche of users due primarily to its uncomplicated interface. Today I finished open-sourcing it under the MIT license. If you’re interested, it’s available here on GitHub. You […]

Thanks Again, Capitalism

Two days ago I started a new job doing DevOps at a large public company. I was really excited about it because they were doing interesting things combining technology I know well – Python, Django, C#, PostgreSQL, and C in a Linux environment on AWS managed using Salt Stack. They were also using some interesting […]

My History As A Musician

Like many Americans, I was exposed to the recorder in grade school. I didn’t much care for it, and the terrible traditional public domain songs we played like Hot Cross Buns made me not really care for music. Later, in middle school, there was a choir class. At least one mandatory semester. Didn’t like that […]

Roland: Wrong But Persistent

This is an update to the unsubstantiated legal threat I received from Roland a few weeks ago. My ISP, Linode, was reviewing the situation and still hadn’t come to a decision (I suspect they wrote to the email address of the sender and failed to receive a reply, as I did). However, today they received […]

Free Wave Samples Is in Danger

Ten years ago I created because there was a shortage of free high-quality samples online. Specifically, the type of samples that would be useful for making music with samplers and trackers. I recorded sounds from my large collection of synthesizers (and some other instruments), a mix of preset patches and custom patches that I’ve […]

Having a Career Again

For the last five years, since moving to Portland, I’ve been obsessed with building a viable startup. During that time, I was either working on my own startup as a founder (or cofounder), or working a regular job just long enough to get the money to try again with another startup. None of those four […]

Old Basternae Blog Posts Imported

I ran a blog for about seven years at It was almost entirely about Basternae MUD and the evolution of the ModernMUD codebase, but also included a lot of general programming-related entries. I’ve imported all of the previous posts from that blog for the sake of preserving history, though many of them will no […]

Quora Answer: How would you find the websites to build a search index from scratch?

I originally wrote this as an answer to a question on Quora. It depends on the scale. If you just want to experiment with web crawling and build a basic search index, it’s common to start with the Alexa top million websites, which can be downloaded in a CSV file via S3 at: The top […]

Interesting But Not A Business: The Story of the WbSrch Search Engine

I write this after having just shut down my almost-startup, the WbSrch search engine. I started working on WbSrch for “fun” in the fall of 2013. AltaVista, my favorite search engine from “back in the day” had shut down that summer. Nostalgia combined with annoyance at how bad/annoying/intrusive/evil Google had become convinced me to try […]

Quora Answer: My son got an offer from a 1-year-old startup by some very senior folks from Google. The pay is good and product idea is good, but it’s a startup. He asked for our advice on this. What are some suggestions from people from relevant fields?

I originally wrote this as an answer to a question on Quora. I joined a startup founded by ex-Google people in 2010 as the third engineer. I worked there for 2 years, had a great time, learned a ton, got my first patent out of the process, and the experience is one of the best […]