Author Archives: xangis

Open Source: Proxima Controller, a Virtual MIDI Controller

Back in 2008 I created an app called Proxima Controller. It’s a virtual MIDI controller that runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux. I wanted an easy way to control external MIDI hardware (synthesizers, etc.) from my PC and there wasn’t an app that I liked available. It started out as a Windows-only app. A few […]

Spells and Sample Zones Added to ModernMUD

I wasn’t sure whether I’d ever end up working on the ModernMUD project again. Turns out that the answer is yes. Today I added four sample zones, a bunch of spells, and a sample help file to the open source project on GitHub. It’s available here: https://github.com/Xangis/ModernMUD.

Trigram Generator for Windows and Linux

A long time ago I wrote a free Windows app called the “ZC Trigram Generator”. It was a simple app to generate plausible-sounding words based on a set of input words. It had a steady trickle of downloads for around 8 years or so, about 1500 downloads per year. Two years ago I open-sourced it […]

Guitar Tuner and Bass Tuner for Windows

Guitar Tuner and Bass Tuner are the first desktop Windows apps that I wrote. I don’t recall how long ago, but it was certainly more than a decade. They’re super-simple apps that let you sound notes to tune your guitar or bass to. They only support standard tuning and use the default MIDI device for […]

Bad Job Descriptions Waste Everyone’s Time

Most companies hiring software engineers want you to know a few specific languages and/or technologies. It makes sense. The more you know about their existing infrastructure, the faster you’ll be able to contribute effectively. When those companies completely fail to include any of those desires in a job listing, it wastes everyone’s time. They get […]

Java: Overcoming A Technology Prejudice

For a very long time I’ve been anti-Java. It started when I was a PC technician in the late 1990’s. The Java Runtime was always a nuisance to maintain and the apps were terrible memory hogs with bad user interfaces. My view of Java didn’t improve as I learned and worked in C++ and then […]

FreeWaveSamples: DMCA Response Period Expired, Samples Restored

This is an update to a previous post about a DMCA request frivolously filed by Roland Corporation against freewavesamples.com. I sent a DMCA counter-notice to my ISP, Linode, and they forwarded it to Roland. 14 days (10 business days passed) and Roland did not respond. Yesterday Linode contacted me to let me know I was […]

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 freewavesamples.com 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 basternae.org. 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: http://s3.amazonaws.com/alexa-static/top-1m.csv.zip 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 […]