here's hoping.. note to self: check status here (I assume this link will only work for me)

ugg.. what is this ".mobileprovision" file I seem to need? ok, it's something or other.. another silly hurdle to jump through..

ok, I pressed "Build for App Store".. AppGyver is thinking about it, and will e-mail me.. I think I may take a walk..

..oh, I thought it was 5pm, but it's 2pm (my Mac didn't update, even though it's set to.. when I opened the time settings it updated, so it was capable of knowing where I was, and it was instructed to check automatically and update my time, but I wonder how often it does the check..)

AppGyver says "your build for application color-golf-app is ready.", so sweet.. downloading.. 14MB.. downloading.. either they're slow, or I'm slow.. probably me.. hm.. speedtest says 1.7mb download.. anyway, it's done.. let's upload that sucker to apple.. where do I do that?

good lord, developer.apple.com has lots of stuff to read, but where is the link to actually do stuff, like upload my app? I feel like this is documentation for some other place I should be..

ahh! the secret place is "iTunes connect"..

hm.. ok, now I need screenshots, but I don't have an iPhone, but I can run the simulator, but it doesn't seem to be running the retina version.. how do I get that to work again? hm.. it could possibly be that I have an older version of xcode, let's try upgrading to 5.. done.. let's try again (hope, hope).. yay!

so many hurdles.. I've decided to app will cost money. That's the only reason to jump through hoops. The idea is: people can play it for free using the webpage, and if they want to support development (me) they can buy the app, and we'll see if anyone does.. I'm kindof guessing they won't.. maybe it should be free first, and see if people download it.. whatever, that would require changing some setting, we'll just see what happens..

uploading.. uploading.. and even after it uploads, I've heard I'll need to wait for them to approve this thing..
hm.. so here are the resolutions for the splash screens:

320 x 480, 640 x 960, 640 x 1136, 768 x 1024, 1536 x 2048, 1024 x 768, 2048 x 1536,

ok, now those are not the same aspect ratio, so I can't just make the biggest one and resize them.. also, the biggest one is bigger than the original version I made, so maybe I should remake it bigger? I could scale it up I suppose.. it would probably look crappy, but how many people would experience it? hm.. I think I'll redo it as a 2048x2048 square, and then we'll worry about the different aspect ratios.. I think ImageMagick probably has a thing for adding extra whitespace, hopefully..

ok, so I now have a 2048x2048 version of the splash:

..now let's see about this ImageMagick canvas resizing that I hope is possible..

stack overflow says something like:
convert input.jpg -gravity center -background white -extent 50x50 output.jpg

..let's try this:
convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 320 -gravity center -background black -extent 320x480 splash320x480.png

it worked!:

now to convert 320 x 480, 640 x 960, 640 x 1136, 768 x 1024, 1536 x 2048, 1024 x 768, 2048 x 1536 into a bunch of command lines using javascript-eval..

var s = ''
_.each(input.split(/, /), function (x) {
    var xy = _.map(x.split(/ x /), function (x) { return 1 * x })
    s += 'convert splash2048x2048.png -resize ' + Math.min(xy[0], xy[1]) + ' -gravity center -background black -extent ' + xy[0] + 'x' + xy[1] + ' splash' + xy[0] + 'x' + xy[1] + '.png;'

gives me:

convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 320 -gravity center -background black -extent 320x480 splash320x480.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 640 -gravity center -background black -extent 640x960 splash640x960.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 640 -gravity center -background black -extent 640x1136 splash640x1136.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 768 -gravity center -background black -extent 768x1024 splash768x1024.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 1536 -gravity center -background black -extent 1536x2048 splash1536x2048.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 768 -gravity center -background black -extent 1024x768 splash1024x768.png;convert splash2048x2048.png -resize 1536 -gravity center -background black -extent 2048x1536 splash2048x1536.png;

..oh, it's so beautiful I want to cry! it even did the ridiculous landscape splash screen they seem to require:

now to upload those suckers..

The airport in Honolulu has an outdoor area inside security.

The flight from Honolulu to Hilo:
"No sign of rain in Hilo"
5 minutes later: "It's raining in Hilo, and too windy to land"
a few figure eights later: "We're going to attempt a landing"
everyone claps when we land safely

A gecko in the Airbnb place

I was working on making the Apple version of color golf, and it wants icons of different sizes.. I tried buying an app for making the different icons, but it didn't make all the ones I needed..

but then I remembered the command line, and ImageMagick..

I was also uploading some pictures for another post which are large, and I discovered "mogrify" (part of ImageMagick) for resizing a bunch of files in place:

> mogrify -resize 1024 2014-01-30*

..that resized all the pictures I took yesterday to be 1024 pixels wide, and however tall to keep the proportion..

and now to resize those images to all the dimensions I need.. which dimensions do I need?

57, 114, 72, 144, 120, 76, 152, 29, 58, 50, 100, 80, 40.. now to paste those numbers into javascript-eval and do:

var s = ''
_.each(input.match(/\d+/g), function (x) {
    s += 'convert icon512x512.png -resize ' + x + ' icon' + x + 'x' + x + '.png;'


convert icon512x512.png -resize 57 icon57x57.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 114 icon114x114.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 72 icon72x72.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 144 icon144x144.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 120 icon120x120.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 76 icon76x76.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 152 icon152x152.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 29 icon29x29.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 58 icon58x58.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 50 icon50x50.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 100 icon100x100.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 80 icon80x80.png;convert icon512x512.png -resize 40 icon40x40.png;

..run that.. yay command line! (boo 99 cent app store app that didn't work)


Look past the Windows error message, above the screen to the anti-bird spikes.

I wanted to also include a picture of the bird that was walking 10 feet from me, but it flew away too quickly. edit: got it!

The bird did not land on the screen.
lust has a climax in orgasm,
and frustration has a climax in crying

when I feel deep sadness or melancholy, it seems blasphemous that a time will come in the future when it is forgotten.. yet that time seems to come..

I worry what others think of me.
I worry that I'll say something wrong, and others will believe it.
I worry that other's may hold me on a pedestal that I'm not on, and they'll be disappointed when they find out.

life seems endlessly frustrating,
and it only frustrates me more to hear someone say "life is endlessly frustrating", as if they know the answer, and are graciously bestowing their wisdom on me..

which means I hate to think of others as better than I am.
I want to be thought of as equal..

yet at the same time, I want to find the answer to life, and tell it to everyone.. but would I be satisfied if someone else found the answer first and told it to me?

I'm not sure I would even accept an answer. I'm not sure I accept the idea of knowing anything — though for consistencies sake, I can't know that knowing is impossible..

and I keep searching..

part of me thinks suicide may be the answer,
but I'm unwilling to seriously consider the possibility,
so I'm not sure..

I wish our society was fine with suicide, so people could think about it without guilt, and choose not to do it for whatever reasons people choose not to do it, which I don't know, because I've never seriously considered the possibility..

these thoughts are behind a wall that I want so badly to break..
there are so many thoughts I want to confess that I think people will think less of me for.. here are a few:

  • I left the LDS church for many reasons, but one of them was that I wanted to look at porn, and this was considered sinful, yet it didn't seem evil to me, and I wanted to do it very much
  • I still look at porn
  • I wanted to try marijuana in part because I was bored with the experiences I had had, and I hoped it would be new.. and it was
  • I still use marijuana about once a month.. in fact, I have a prescription for it.. in fact, that is why I got turned down for health care prior to Obamacare (I didn't pay for marijuana with my health care, but the prescription is for "depression", which is a "pre-existing condition")

I worry that this stuff I write is.. me trying to get attention.. I want it to be about exposing myself as a way of sort of.. I don't know.. understanding myself better.. getting to the root of my issues and such..

but this is a public blog, and I know that people read it.. so it has got to be about influencing other people.. a little bit..

..just seems hard to really expose myself fully and honestly without looking like I want people to think that I've fully and honestly exposed myself..

I'm not high right now by the way, in case that's something people are thinking.. though I do think there's a chance I'll delete most of this later.. (in fact, nothing in this blog was written while high, except for these images.. I have written stuff while high, I've just been afraid to post it anywhere publicly)


oh my god, what a beautiful movie

my circumstances watching it were as follows..
I had just said goodbye to my dad and my mom,
because I'm leaving tomorrow,

and I went to a late night showing,
at a new, clean, but unpopular theatre,

I was literally the only person watching her when I did,
and when I left, I saw no one as I walked to my car,

and my car was almost the only car in the lot — a huge lot,
and I drove home on an almost vacant freeway,
and arrived home where no one is awake,

and I went up to my room to write this.
I had thought about what I would write as I drove home.

I feel such exquisite melancholy..
I just want to curl up in ball and fade away..

caution, possible spoilers past this point

the guy says at one point that he fears he has experienced everything already, and everything going forward is going to be a less good version of things he's already felt..

I've felt that.. she tells him it's not true, but she doesn't make a good case — she says he'll still feel good things in the future, and he will, but she doesn't make a case that he'll feel new good things..

she tells him that she can he his and not his, and that seems right.. but painful..

we already have computer systems today that are smarter than humans at various things..
and even humans are really just robots,
and I suspect we're parts of larger systems that we don't comprehend — systems that we actually don't comprehend, or even have hand-wavy names for..

and I'm fine with that..

but she tells him goodbye.. that he can't go where she's going.. basically that as much as she loves him, he's so slow it's painful for her to talk to him.. and I think she's right..

yet I feel compelled to push toward creating this future — this intelligence — even though I think the practicalities of timing will mean I can't be a part of it.. even though I think it will leave me behind..

..what it is to know I'm a pawn, and gain no glory even in knowing it..

I think I'll take a walk all alone in the dark..


color golf app 2

I got up earlier this morning because I was worried about a couple issues with the android app. First, I don't see the animation of the color when it updates, it just appears to wait a bit. And second, more annoyingly, it when I select a shade of red, green or blue, it highlights that entire row in light blue.

I figured I'd fix these issues real quick, and then go back to bed, but the issues seem harder to fix than I thought. I thought the slowness waiting for the color to update was the animation going too fast for the android phone to actually display anything, but it's not — it just takes that long to redraw the entire dom, and the animation is probably done playing by the time it's ready to play it. This can be fixed, but not "real quick". Second, I'm not sure why the row is highlighted in blue. I thought it might be because I'm redrawing the entire row after you click, but it also highlights the button at the bottom in blue when it is clicked.. though, now that I think about it, I could probably at least reduce the highlighting to just the cell that is clicked.. but it would still take experimentation..

Also, more annoyingly perhaps, I discovered why I couldn't rate my app as "For Everyone", and that is because it asks for permissions for everything, even after I unchecked everything in AppGyver's thing.. ugg.. another problem that will probably not be "real quick" to debug.

I'm pretty soured to this phone app creation process. And if I want to update anything, I need to re-upload crap, and people need to re-download their apps..

..anyway, I'll worry about it later. Bed time.. again..


color golf app

tl;dr: here's the android app.. iPhone still requires jumping through hoops..

After adding google analytics to color golf, I noticed after 2 days that the first derivative was positive. And it continued to be positive the third day. And I said to myself, if it is positive the fourth day (today), I'll make an app.. and it was.. so I plan to right now..

how aggravating.. I was writing my progress here, but ran into problems, and I was writing about my problems here, and then Chrome crashed, and I lost all my venting comments about my problems!..

to summarize, I'm using AppGyver to build this app..

Ahh!! I hate computers!! It wasn't resizing the window correctly, and I remembered something about iPhone's and "innerHeight", so I tried outputting the innerHeight value, just so I could see what it is, and now it does resize correctly..

Ok, I guess the issue is that it shows the wrong height the first time it runs, but if I update it "in flight", it resizes correctly.. so I do need to use innerHeight..

pant pant.. I hate this kind of programming. I'm solving lots of uninteresting intermittent problems, different on different devices and platforms..

Ok, it's seems to be running fine on the iPhone simulator, though I can't seem to run the retina simulator (which was the default before I upgraded AppGyver.. grr..).. let's try running it on Android..

hm.. it's too tall.. the iPhone showed the phone's status bar, but Android doesn't.. I think that's a setting.. maybe it is a setting, but I can't find it.. whatever, I'll just make my thing shorter leaving extra space..

ok, now that it looks ok on Android, it probably doesn't anymore on iPhone, so let's test again.. seems fine..

hm.. now how do I actually upload this sucker to the app store? And what do I do about an icon?

I have to pay $25 to be allowed to upload apps to Google Play store? wtf?

Hm.. icon, icon.. need more music.. Passenger.. mm.. yes..

ok, I have an icon, such as it is:

..may as well add this as a favicon to color golf.. ok..

hm.. apparently I need to save this file in 4 different resolutions.. and I also need a splash screen, which also needs to be saved in 4 different resolutions..

time for more music.. One Direction.. oh yeah.. maybe it's the way she walked!..

beautiful.. ok.. now to export to lots of resolutions: 720x1280, 480x800, 320x480, 200x320, and now the icons: 96x96, 72x72, 48x48, 36x36 (not 32x32?)..

and now it wants an "Android keystore file".. what is that? thanks internet.. done.. (let's put this keystore file some place I'll remember.. how about "Dropbox/keystores/".. how could I forget that? and it needs a password.. really? isn't the file itself a giant password? how about we put the password in a README.txt file in the same directory as the keystore file.. perfect, so secure :)..

ok, apparently the build has been put in a queue.. it's says it will e-mail me when it's done..

good god, it failed: "Application package identifier must have a minimum of 2 segments. For example 'com.google.messenger'".. sigh.. how about 'org.glittle.colorgolf'..

how long does this take?.. done.. that was maybe 5 minutes?.. now let's upload it to google..

(trying to find the right tab.. I see a tab here for how to spell "sigh".. sigh..)

hm.. I don't see the tab.. did I close it? ok, found it..

uploading the file took a little while, how big is this thing? 7.4 MB!!? huh.. whatever..

ok, now I need screenshots (sooo much mindless tedious work!! this sucks.. I need to hire someone the next time I do this..).. anyway, lamenting aside, I think the screenshots should show the game "in progress".. should I play it, or make a version with default stuff? I guess I'll just play it, not sure how much difference it will make..

hm.. how, again, do I take a screenshot on an android phone? It's something weird.. right, hold down the down-volume and power-button simultaneously..

good, now I've got a couple screenshots, hopefully dropbox has uploaded them to my computer by now.. weird, my phone has the android back-home-menu buttons on the screen itself, rather than as actual buttons, and they show up in the screenshot.. should I remove them? how about, nope..

huh, it won't let me rate my app as "everyone".. why pray tell? I guess this is a "low maturity" app..

ok, it says it's published in Google Play, but may take several hours to show up.. now for Apple.. how hard could it be on Apple?

Fucking hell, Apple wants $99 a Year!!? My app is fucking free! sigh.. huff.. pay more money to Apple..

ok, Apple is "processing" my order.. I get the feeling I'm not going to be publishing in the Apple app store within a single day..

aww.. there's someone in Sydney playing color golf right now.. ok, failure to public iPhone app today, but bed time.

hole in the soul

A friend once told me that some religious people who become not religious have a sort of disease. They feel a hole in their soul that religion used to fill, and now they don't know how to fill it.

And he thought I had this disease. And I do. Did. Maybe still have.

I suspect that some people gain this disease by taking drugs, and having a somewhat religious experience, like having a curtain pulled away that they didn't know was there, and seeing heaven for a moment.

I suspect that some people gain this disease by having a near death experience, and having a similar view into another realm of existence, after which it becomes clear that there's something more.

And there's this pull to find the answer. It's like a puzzle — a super important puzzle — that needs solving.

The need is the disease. Disease is a harsh word. The sense in which it is a disease is that it can be unpleasant, and time consuming. Like feeling loneliness — a need to find love — and spending lots of time on online dating sites.

I suspect that if this doesn't turn people to God, it turns them to meditation. It turned me to meditation.

The God solution is: God exists, and they love you, and you can be reunited with them after you die.

The meditation solution is: accept that the puzzle may have no answer, and there may not even be a puzzle. But this isn't a solution to the puzzle. It's a solution to the disease — a way to cure the need to find an answer.

But it's confusing, because curing the disease is pretty great, and so it seems like it is an answer, as if the puzzle was figuring out how to stop trying to solve the puzzle. It has this nice circular self-referential property that the best puzzles often have.

So beginning meditators like myself, with a fresh hole in their soul that needs filling, hear a solution like "the way to X is to go to not X", and take it as a riddle of sorts, and meditate, hoping to expand their mind enough to comprehend it's self-referential weirdness.

But it's not a riddle. It's a sort of "tip". It should be phrased as "Hey, so you have that disease where you feel a hole in your soul? Do what you need to, but a useful thing to consider along the way is that, although it feels like you have a hole in your soul, that may be a sort of trick of the mind. Your brain might be capable of presenting the illusion of a 'hole in your soul'.. maybe it can't.. maybe you can trust that your feeling is an accurate representation of reality.. but make sure of that. Don't take it for granted."

♛: Are you enlightened?

♔: No.

♛: Do you want to be?

♔: I'm fine either way.

♛: How can you be fine not being enlightened?

♔: You could be too.. some call it "enlightenment".


idea: a "donate with paypal" type button that let's people do a kickstarter-style pledge for a specific feature upgrade, e.g., "pledge for feature X, which we'll implement when pledges reach $100"

open key val

I had wanted to use OpenKeyval for a project, but it didn't seem to be working, so I added this functionality to view-count — I suppose it should be it's own server, but it's pretty similar functionality, and it's a free heroku server, which has a tendency to fall asleep, so overloading it is more likely to keep it awake ;)

here's how to set a value: http://view-count.herokuapp.com/set/MY-KEY?MY-VALUE (or POST with MY-VALUE in the post body)

here's how to get a value: http://view-count.herokuapp.com/get/MY-KEY



I'm interested in facial expressions. I've heard "smile and you'll feel happy!", and I think that's true, and I think if I'm happy, I'll smile — I think smiling is part of happiness. I don't think happiness is a raw sense, I think it's a pattern the brain recognizes, and smiling is part of the pattern.

I saw a rabbit on my walk today, and I stopped to look at it. It didn't run, but it seemed like it was eyeing me. I wonder if it imagined running, but also imagined waiting and running only if I stepped toward it, and it's rabbit brain figured the second option was best.

When I think of adding 5 and 26, I sort of see the 5 move over the six, and then the 5 and 6 change into an 11, which doesn't fit, so the first 1 moves over the 2, and the 1 and 2 change into a 3, and I see 31. That is, I see addition happen, and I recognize it as addition, but the doing of addition itself seems unconscious, like muscle memory.

When I read this sentence, I understand what it means. I think "understanding" is just a feeling. It's my brain's way of saying "got it", like it would say "got it" if I looked at a person and recognized who they were. And "got it" really means "I'm ready to answer queries about this thing", but I wouldn't know the answers to the queries until I brought a specific query to mind, and then my brain would automatically spit out images or words that answer the query, just like if it saw "5 + 6?", it would automatically spit out "11".

drawing in church

An old LDS friend invited me to a church thing. There was going to be a representative of the First Quorum of the Seventy speaking. He said this person was pretty engaging with the audience, should I want to ask a question. I was reluctant — I couldn't imagine asking any questions I might ask in front of over a hundred LDS people — but said I'd go if he asked if I could talk to him one-on-one afterwards. He agreed to ask, so I went.

I doodled a bit during the talk, shown above. I've been trying to draw faces better. There are lots of noses and eyes of people around me. The whited out parts are names, as opposed to some super secret LDS something-or-other.

And afterwards, he did meet with me. We talked for an hour. I told him I wasn't a member, but had been until high school, and that my main objection had to do with free will — it seemed like there wasn't any, and that human brains were sort of pre-programmed with desires and did the best they could to meet them given what they knew. He seemed to agree that there was a lot of that, but believed there was still some free will. In any case, he was a nice person, and it was a good conversation.


color golf 3

I upgraded color golf a bit, in anticipation of making an app — I felt like people needed to be able to restart a game, and also have some tracking of progress over multiple games.. so I added a "best score", and a record of all the colors guessed in a single try.

I also added google analytics, so I can see who's using this thing in web browsers, and who's using it on a phone..


I would love to see a human's palette of qualia.

I had thought that I had little meta-thought sensors in my head that could "see thoughts happening", or sense stuff going on inside my brain, like "my prefrontal cortex is engaged now because I'm experiencing the unmistakable qualia of prefrontal cortex engagement", but I'm not sure that I do..

I think I may only be able to sense the traditional five senses, as well as emotions — though I feel like many emotions can probably be broken down further — and these senses can also be generated in my imagination, and maybe everything else is pattern matching on real or imagined sensations..

So when I think "I want to go to the store", really my experience of the thought is imagining the scenario where I've gotten the goods I want and I'm all happy, and imagining the various steps needed to achieve that goal, and imagining the pains or pleasures these steps will bring and seeing that the net result is positive.. so "I want to go to the store"

And when I have a memory, say of a time when I was in high school, it seems like I have a meta sensor that tells me "this is a memory", but maybe I recognize that it's a memory by looking for features like "it contains people and objects that I recognize and can recall other stuff about, and it is consistent with various facts that I can recall" (where the step of "recalling" stuff is something the brain can do, but the feedback it gets is in the form of sensations, just like I can "move my arm", but the feedback I get is proprioception and visual feedback).

500 people have played color golf :) — and a fifth of people who play "play again".

I'm not sure what to do about it though.. I could make an app.. but I'm not sure how to advertise an app.. do people just post apps in the app store and hope that people randomly stumble there?


♛: it's this deep sense of frustration.. just saying that I'm frustrated doesn't seem to remove it.. it is so deep I don't know how to fully express it..

♔: well, perhaps we can decompose it.. do you feel averse to the feeling?

♛: hm.. I'm not averse to the feeling itself, per se.. it's more that I feel averse to the situation that the feeling represents, which is something like: I've eaten all the fruit in the garden of eden, but I don't know how to get to another garden.. I may go my entire life and not make substantially more progress than I've already made.. I feel averse to the universe being shaped that way..

♔: so, you have an embedded assumption there, that you know how the universe is shaped..

♛: well, no, I'm not sure it's shaped that way, but it really seems like it probably is, and I'm not happy with the magnitude of the probability..

♔: ah, this seems like a "no fly zone" for your thoughts — which is generally bad — so let's entertain that thought: you won't make significantly more progress over the rest of your life..

♛: huh.. I guess I could handle that..

So many of my ideas are of the form: it would be cool if lots of people did in X, but essentially worthless if only a few people did X. So there's this bootstrapping problem of getting lots of people to do X simultaneously that I've never overcome.

Color golf is nice because I think it's cool even if I'm the only person who uses it, and that's a pretty good indicator of other people liking it. So far 99 people have played it. About 25 or 30 from this blog, and the rest after I posted it on facebook.

So maybe I should focus on those sorts of ideas.. I looked through a list of ideas I had, and pretty much all were of the "needs lots of people" variety. Here are a few ideas rattling around that don't need lots of people:
  • make PIMA usable.. I still use it myself, even after trying Evernote, where the main win over Evernote is that there is a feed, like e-mail, but I can push items into the future, like Boomerang for GMail. The main win over e-mail is that I can edit the items, like Evernote.
  • make the sketch camera work, where the difficulty is getting good detail from a crappy webcam, perhaps by combining multiple frames using super resolution.. though I find it's not too bad to take a photo with my phone and let Dropbox automatically send it to my computer.. still, it would be easier if I could just hold it up to my webcam, and I think I would draw more sketches..
  • make the music offshoots of color golf for identifying note sequences and notes in a chord — I definitely want to try this myself, though I'm less sure of other people caring about this..
  • there is an odd juggling thing I can do, involving four tennis balls.. I could upload a video of this.. I think people might like it, though that's about where it would end.. though some people might learn to do it, which would be cool..
..I need to think of more..


I was just reading through the spec for this year's battlecode, and noticed this section specifically curtailing the use of regular expression functions in the String class.. which makes me smile, since I feel a bit responsible for that, having exploited it in the past.

facebook notes

color golf updated

The new color golf.. hopefully ready to post on facebook.. I think I'll wait until tomorrow for a better time-of-day.

style attribute caring about order

This is how Chrome is rendering the following:

<div style="width:100px;height:100px;border:20px solid rgba(0,0,0,0.5);

<div style="width:100px;height:100px;border:20px solid rgba(0,0,0,0.5);

The only difference between these is the ordering of "background:red" and "background-clip:content-box". Is this ordering supposed to matter?


Guru Meditation?
note: box-sizing:border-box, for when I want a div to be width:100%;height:100%, but I also want it to have padding and a border.
hm.. I'd like to post color-golf on facebook and see if people like it.. but I feel like I need to fix some things first:

  • make it prettier.. it is a bit ugly
  • make it more clear what the goal is, and what the controls are.. maybe change "ball" to "your color" and "flag" to "goal color", and maybe before any shades are selected the "swing" button could say "select shades of red, green and blue to match the goal color"
  • make it show the answer after 6 strokes, like mini-golf.. it's kindof annoying to keep fiddling with it for 11 strokes, which I've done
  • maybe add a "share" link somewhere, to have some chance of virality 
  • maybe make it 7 shades instead of 8, because sometimes, especially when the darkest shade of blue is missing, it's hard to even see that the colors are different
I was working on a phonegap app, using an iPhone simulator, but it couldn't fit in my screen — an upright iPhone has more vertical pixels than my MacBook Air. In order to debug a graphical artifact at the bottom, I had to have the simulator turn the iPhone sideways.

I had a lucid dream without realizing it.

I've been trying this technique where I actively observe my mind — like focussing on breathing, except the thing I focus on is the goings-on of my mental landscape, which is far more interesting — and I keep an intention to relax and dream.

Anyway, I got very relaxed, and at some point I remember closing my computer and thinking "wait, I didn't actually move at all.. I didn't actually have my computer open".. and later, I thought maybe I could move my limbs and "get up" into dream land, so I tried, but I felt like my limbs moved, but that I woke up, so I thought "shoot, I guess I'm not in dream land yet", and so I stopped moving and was relaxing again, and I tried to move a bit later, but this time I did move, and I was awake, and it occurred to me that I was in dream land on the previous attempt.

So this is very exciting.. I think I may know how to go directly from awake-land to dream-land while maintaining consciousness.. I just don't know how to know that I'm there, and "get up" in dream-land.

One trick I've read about is doing some "reality check" that doesn't involve moving. They suggested willing a freshly baked pie into existence, and if I could smell the pie, I must be dreaming. I'm not sure I've ever smelled something in a dream, so I'm wary of relying on smelling a pie. I've thought of willing myself to float, and if I do, I'll know I'm dreaming, but I'm not always super successful at having the things I "will" to happen happen as planned, so.. I'm not sure.. maybe I'll just develop a better sense of it as I fail more in the future.


note to self: current meditation techniques:

  • try to decompose things I recognize, like a tree into lines and colors, and a color into red, green and blue
  • try to verbally identify senses, feelings and thoughts
  • try to observe brain activity as if from a third person perspective
  • try to relax as much as possible while maintaining awareness
general principles

  • be open minded — don't hide things from self
  • be non-judgmental of stuff that's in my head
after playing color-golf a bit, I've sort of convinced myself that yellow really is red-green
there's a couple restaurants I love in tempe arizona — haji-baba and pita jungle — but I'm not there often enough to remember them.. I feel like I need computer-assisted contextual memory..

just color-golfed 78.. a score to beat.. hm.. I might make it tell you the answer after 6 strokes (update: golfed 72; update: 54!; update: 50!; update: 49!)

disabling cache

I uploaded the new color-golf to github, but the version it showed on my machine was cached. I often have this problem, and reloading the page doesn't work, but I found something that does! In the JavaScript console thing, clicking the little gear in the lower right, there's a thing to "Disable cache (while DevTools is open)" option. Perfect. Thanks google!

color golf 2

I indeed find the discrete units more fun :)

And I made "yards" give the city-block distance from the goal, so if it says 2 yards, then I know that I either need to move one color by 2 units, or 2 colors by 1 unit each, which is helpful.


color golf

I think playing the color thing I made before has improved my perception of color. I figured it might help me even more if I didn't see the correct answer right away, but needed to figure out how to nudge my answer to be correct, which gave me the idea of "color golf".

I'm thinking of changing the sliders to discrete units, so it's more possible to get the exact color, as opposed to a "good enough" match.

I've also been thinking of a similar game for identifying notes in a short sequence, or notes in a chord, to see if that helps me perceive music any better.

view count

This is how many unique people have viewed this post:

Here's how to add a counter to another page using JavaScript:

    url : 'http://view-count.herokuapp.com/view/' +
    xhrFields : { withCredentials: true },
    success : function (count) { alert(count) }

Here's the source code. It uses cookies to track uniqueness. It runs on a free heroku server, and shouldn't be counted on (hehe), but you can run your own server.

Here's the unique view counts for everything the server knows about. Note that if you use this service, your view counts will appear in this list publicly too:

note to self: start using https://github.com/cancerhermit/Sublime-JS-Beautifier, and stop beautifying manually


A friend showed me this, which is from here. You're supposed to focus past the screen so you see three circles, where the center one is an overlapping of the two. Now your brain needs to decide what to do with the center one — see a vertical line, a horizontal line, or both. When I do it, my brain kinda flip-flops between seeing one and then the other, and sometimes both. The guy who created this advocates trying to see both.

Some thoughts:

  • It seems that I have some voluntary control over which image dominates, which is odd.. I hadn't even considered trying to control this, but it does seem possible with practice, and I wonder if that same mental knob is useful for anything else..
  • This makes me think of eye dominance. I'm left eye dominant, though I don't really notice a dominance of the left vertical bar in this exercise.
  • I like this exercise because it gives really good feedback about how well I'm controlling a mental knob, even if it might be a useless knob.. but it seems like good practice finding a mental knob, and I wonder what other exercises like this are possible for developing mental skills.

color game

I made a little game to see if I could train myself to see the red, green and blue components of colors. It shows a color, and I adjust the sliders. When I click done, it shows what the sliders should have been, and below that it shows what color I made. It also shows a score, which is 0 if the colors are as different as possible, and 1 if they are the same — only accounting for hue and saturation.

I'm better than I thought with an average score over my past 10 attempts of 0.866, as shown.. whatever that means.



The wall feels dry. I experience a qualia of dryness. Is it a raw sense? It seems like no — it has to do with texture, a certain roughness and non-stickiness.

I assume a baby starts out with just raw sensations and starts to build up higher level patterns. If a pattern repeats, it seems useful to group it as "that thing I saw before". If a pattern is followed by pain, it seems useful to associate it with the pain.

I think my body probably does have a raw sense for dryness if I'm actually dehydrated. Thirst seems like a raw sense. I wonder if the dryness I feel on the wall is ultimately an association between the textures I'm feeling, and the probability of thirst happening soon.


Yellow is really red and green. But it doesn't look like red or green to me.. it looks like yellow. I wonder if I could train myself to see the red and green in it. I am better able to see the green and blue in turquoise, and yellow seems categorically similar to turquoise.

I suspect qualia is associated with raw sensory inputs, like red and green, but also with higher level patterns, like yellow or even the recognition of a person — there is a qualia of recognizing my mom.

I don't think all recognition involves qualia. For instance, I can read the number 5276498, and each digit has a qualia of being the digit that it is, but the number as a whole is just some large number. To remember it, I would need to sort of repeat the digits in my head.

meditation end game 2

I said I thought meditation ended with the discovery of an empty box. I think that was wrong.

I think the mind is like a computer, and if you want to do normal things, it's pretty easy, just click the right icon — you don't really need to know how it works. But if you want to do more complicated things, like programming, then you need a deeper understanding of how the computer works.

I think meditation is just a name for the study of one's own mind in order to gain that deeper understanding.

Unlike a computer, however, the mind can be difficult to explore, like an island. It may have high mountains with sheer rocks that are difficult to climb, and some parts may be on the other side of rapid rivers that are difficult to cross. Hence, exploration of the mind requires some skills and tools like rock climbing and rope bridges.

Meditation is also, confusingly, a name for these various skills and tools useful for exploring the mind.

meditation good or bad

I kind of thought meditation would lead to some constant tranquil state of mind in which everything becomes easy and fluid, but as far as I can tell, it doesn't — no state of mind I've entered is constant. It's more like becoming ok with not being in a constant tranquil state of mind.

In fact, my meditation teacher friend compared it to growing up, where things seem magical as a kid, and when we grow up, the magic fades, where meditation is like growing up even more, with the magic fading even more.. and we all know from the movies that growing up isn't necessarily good.

I also kind of thought meditation was about realizing some subtle truth, or finding some hard-to-find mental realm, but once found, it would be done. But as far as I can tell, it's more like learning to play the guitar — it just takes a lot of practice, even if you know exactly where and when to put the fingers, and what the song will sound like.

So, I think meditation is good.. but I'm not sure.. time will tell I suppose.


I believed until recently that consciousness was, in some sense, supernatural. But now I tend to think consciousness is a mental construct, like our concept of a chair.

And I believed qualia was a sort of building block of consciousness, but now I think consciousness is an example of qualia — the qualia of being self-aware.

But qualia does still seem strange. It makes sense that our brain would have some notion of a sensory input like red to distinguish it from other sensory inputs like green or blue, but it does more than distinguish it — it grants it an absolute quality that seems impossible to convey..

..I'd love to see a stack trace of my brain when I say "I am now experiencing the non-relative absolute redness of seeing red".


meditation end game

This may not sound like an endorsement of meditation, but it seems like a long path splattered with brief highs and soul tearing lows until the victim falls, quite by accident, onto a box with the answers they seek, and the box is empty.

And the emptiness gives answers to life's great questions like "what should we do?" with "it doesn't matter, and you don't get to choose, and there isn't really a 'you' so much as you think there is."

..what a relief.


making decisions

Sometimes I get frustrated making decisions. I think I'm optimizing over a self-contradictory set of values. I think these values were cobbled together over my life from random sources. Fuck.

doing laundry

I wear the red shirt while I wash all the others.


feeling sorry for myself..
    acknowledging that I'm feeling sorry for myself..
feeling sorry for myself..
    acknowledging that it's just a feeling..
feeling sorry for myself..
    acknowledging that I'm identifying with the feeling..
feeling sorry for myself..


advertising is mindcontrol

A couple ideas for an advertising campaign against advertising campaigns.


false mental recursion

I used to play this game. I'd look at my mind. Then I'd look at myself looking at my mind. Then I'd look at myself looking at myself looking at my mind.

I felt like I was getting an increasingly meta perspective, and I tried to get as high as I could, but I could never reach the top. I suspected that a wellspring of mysterious cosmic consciousness might be lurking up there.

But, I think there need be only two cameras, and time. One camera sees the mind a moment ago. A moment later, the second camera sees the first camera seeing the mind two moments ago. Then the first camera can see the second camera seeing the first camera seeing the mind three moments ago. (edit: I originally described this with one camera, but it would need to be a camera that could see itself — easier with two cameras I suppose ;)

It's like a webcam seeing a webcam — the image actually becomes infinitely recursive going forward in time, but it starts out with one of the cameras not seeing itself in the other screen. Even double mirrors do not peer into infinity. One of those nested mirrors just has a ceiling light in it.

meditation notes

  • I had thought that I could step back and watch thoughts happen, rather than sort of have the thoughts consciously, but now I think that I never actually have thoughts consciously, I only ever observer them after the fact. In fact, I don't think any actions or thoughts are initiated consciously, even the directing of attention. I think consciousness only watches.
  • I had thought it would be good to build a sort of program that notices what's going on in my mind as it goes on, but I'm not sure I ever actually notice things as they happen — only after they happen — so it seems good enough to sort of let my mind do or think X, and then note that I did or thought X.
  • It seems that pointing the eye of consciousness at some things will prevent them from happening; for instance, I can't watch myself lift my arm. I can see the intention — feel the tension in the relevant muscles and see mental imagery of my arm lifting — but the actual "go" signal, I can't see that. I need to stop looking for the "go" signal, and then my arm will lift. This seems to be true of thoughts as well. My mind sort of "reads" thoughts internally, and I thought that was something "I" did, but it seems that it is something I let my brain do, like lifting my arm.
  • This isn't a fully fleshed out thought, but I feel like some of the mental frustrations I've experienced throughout my life are akin to the timing based feedback frustration of hearing myself talk half a second after I talk, as happens sometimes over the phone. For instance, when trying to dance, I think thinking about it — trying to watch it — hinders the process. Feedback in this case should probably happen at a longer time interval.. perhaps.


a philosophical thought

I'm exaggerating, stereotyping, twisting and ignoring the truth here, but:

Westerners have looked for god externally — suns, volcanos, white robed men in heaven, abstract notions of infinity. But god keeps getting pushed back as more phenomena are explained by the progression of simple laws, and many westerners tend to think god doesn't exist.

Easterners have looked for god internally — awareness of awareness, altered states of mind, deep senses of peace, compassion or connection between all things. But god keeps getting pushed back as more phenomena are explained by the progression of thought patterns, and many easterners tend to think god doesn't exist.

Westerners think that human brains are "in" the external world, and must therefore be explained by the progression of simple laws, and so many westerners would say there is no free will or consciousness, the same as many Easterners would say.

But, Westerners still tend to feel like they have free will, and they get angry at the human in the car cutting them off for exerting their free will unjustly.

Easterners have found a way to feel like there is no free will or consciousness — to recognize at a gut level the mechanical nature of mind — as much as possible.

As far as I can tell, that is what meditation is. And it just involves watching the mind and how it works.

And there's no euphoric payoff. The main payoffs I see are: pain doesn't seem as deep, though nor does joy; and I suspect the brain can more effectively achieve its goals by having a more realistic view of what's going on in itself.


The sketch-camera thing is turing out to be trickier than I thought. One issue is resolution. The mac's web cam is 640x480, and still frames appear a bit blurred. I'd like my sketches to be crisp.

One solution I'm considering is "super resolution" — overlaying multiple still frames of video on top of each other. This requires aligning the frames, which I'm concerned might be slow in JavaScript.

I'm curious what the mac does with it's "signature thing".. does it use multiple still frames? maybe I should try showing it some image that is pretty detailed, and see how it does.. hm.. the answer appears to be "no". I drew a dotted line with about 6 dots, and it turned that into maybe 3 dots..


I feel like mental states and phenomena are hard to be sure about — they seem to shift and seem highly convoluted with other mental stuff and also with expectations set by what I hear from other people. I was just thinking about a couple things I think I'm wrong about:

First, I mentioned "jhana" states before, here here and here, and I said I thought I had been to 13 of them.. upon further reflection, and talking with my meditation teacher friend, I'm not so sure.. I'm pretty sure I've entered 4 of them. The first 4 have pretty clear eye movement characteristics, and seem fairly "mechanical" in that sense. The ones after that seem more subjective. I think I got my brain into various states, but I'm not sure if they were "jhanas".

Second, I mentioned here a mental transition I thought was "falling asleep". I'm less sure it is that, and a better characterization of it, I think (there might be two different phenomena at play) is feeling a sense of confusion and also bodily discomfort, e.g., my body wants to change position. I've heard about this "body wanting to change position" when reading about lucid dreaming associated with nearing sleep paralysis, but I'm not sure.. I feel like I've entered lucid dreams without ever feeling like my body needed to change position, but on the other hand, I may have just fallen asleep those times and realized shortly thereafter that I was in a dream, and thought I had succeeded in staying conscious through the transition when in fact I had not..


We study math and science growing up.. I wish we studied how to think and feel.

"Hey kids, you are robots with biomechanical brains, and we're going to learn the mechanisms of those brains, and what changes you can make to those mechanisms.. yes Billy?.. no, you can't induce continuous pleasure.. yet.."

Todo items are painful to think about. Why, I wonder.. perhaps because they seem to have wrapped within them the anticipation of doing the thing, which I anticipate being painful.. so I guess it's a signal telling my brain "hey, this thing will be painful to do, so factor that into your decision to do it"..

..but, they're so painful to think about that I avoid even letting them enter my mind, which seems inefficient — in fact, if I have many todo items, I can't plan around them at all, because it's too painful to have them all in my mind simultaneously..

..so, what to do.. I could try to convince my brain to not feel the anticipation of a todo item, but then maybe I'd end up doing more painful things than I need to? hm..

meditation notes:
  • consciousness/qualia/experience seems like memory formation (noted before)
  • mind receives input from eyes, ears, body, thoughts, etc, and it does pattern matching — this bunch of splotches looks like a cat — and model building — there is a cat there
  • the notion of "self" seems like a model: there's probably a self-neuron that fires in my head when a pattern of sensory inputs and thoughts looks like a "Greg", and I update my model saying "there is a Greg there".. and there's probably some symbolic connection elsewhere that says "I am Greg", but that connection seems tenuous.. "Greg" seems like a storybook character..

lucid dream

It's still super exciting for me when I have a lucid dream because I try sooo hard and still fail sooo much — like all the time. My last success was a month ago.

Some notes:

  • I did not count this time. Instead, I did a sort of meditation I've been doing which involves sortof just being aware of what's going on in my head without judging it. Of course, I've done this meditation before without entering a lucid dream.. I think the difference may be the timing — it was early morning, and my body was still expecting to get some more REM cycles in. I sortof hope that's not the reason, because I would like to be able to have lucid dreams whenever..
  • Prior to the dream, I did notice a sort of mental transition which I'm pretty sure is "falling asleep", which is characterized by.. I'm not sure.. thinking less clearly perhaps, and not having a sense of time so much.. My mental faculties picked up a bit after I was in the dream..
  • I made more of an effort to be non-judgmental this time about the mental imagery floating through my head as I was drifting into sleep. Usually I think I worry about it not being as good as I hoped for. I think I interact with it a little, to the extent to which it seems like it would be more effort not to.. where I suppose the interaction itself is part of the hypnogogic hallucination.. I'm not sure on this point..
  • I'm pretty sure the dream started with a sortof hypnogogic mini dream where I was being held by a woman (yeah yeah), but I noticed that I really felt like I was being held, which seemed like a good sign that my mind had left reality behind and that I was at a point where I could walk around.. so in a sense, I guess this was a "reality check" waking me up from a dream, but I'm pretty sure I never lost consciousness, and there were lots of mini dream sequences prior to this one, they just weren't as real..
  • This was perhaps the longest lucid dream I've had.
  • I worried at a couple points of bad scary things happening, but they didn't — that is, my mind was able to have some concern about something, without that concern manifesting itself, which suggests that lucid dreams do have some capacity for thought. Though I do recall at one point seeing a mirror and wanting to step into the mirror, but I decided not to because I thought things might get too weird if I did..
Notes from the dream itself:
  • I saw a woman who walked behind a piano, and I sat down at the piano. She was an instructor I guess because as I played, she was commenting on whether I was doing well. The piano had wooden brown keys, and no black keys, which is fine for me, because I don't use black keys. I played a melody, and I heard it, which surprised me a bit, because I don't often hear sound in dreams, and although I've written previously about hearing sounds, I referred to people talking, and I'm not entirely sure that I do hear people talk per se, as opposed to just know what they're saying. The notes worked, in the sense of being in a key, though I don't have perfect pitch, so I'm guessing the pitch of the first note I played was random.
  • I walked around and explored the building I was in, which changed as I explored it. I wanted to walk out into an expanse of landscape, and I kept this thought in mind as I walked down a passage, but it emerged into an even longer underground hallway, but I walked down that still hoping for a landscape, and when I went around the next bend, there was another long underground passage. I turned into one of the doors off to the side, and there was a window, and directly outside there was a view of a wall, but above the wall I could see the landscape I was hoping for. I tried to climb out the window by willing it open, and it did open, but I couldn't think of a way to get over the wall before the window closed again forcing me back inside. But I went through another door and there were a series of large floor to ceiling windows with a good view of the scenery, so I figured that would do. Whatever building I was in was moving along, like a train, and I could see the scenery change.
  • At some point it seems that the building with windows more-or-less collapsed down to a small ship that I was piloting, and I started flying around, and at some point I had an external view of myself, and upon realizing this I woke up — I'm not sure that's why I woke up, it's just when I woke up.


I'm working on the thing to let me hold sketches up to my mac's camera, mentioned here. This image was captured and filtered using JavaScript.

Next step, make a filter that captures a sketch and removes the background..