Friday, 31 July 2009

Change For The Sake Of Change?

Some updates on the magazine interview bit: the photographer will be visiting me at home next Wednesday for a photoshoot of about an hour, joined by a cosmetician, which is a big relief to me as it'll mean that I'll look close to as pretty as I can :) I guess I could have asked the photographer about the setup and such, but it's also kind of fun to keep it as a surprise. I'm already relieved that the photographer will be a woman. I notice that I feel far less defensive when I'm with a woman than with a man.

Today the guy from the IMK arrived for our appointment this morning. In short, he was here to gather data, but also to help me get the most out of the process by assisting me in answering questions, calculating certain financial balances and such. He seemed fairly impressed by what Trevor and I have accomplished so far, including the first game of which I showed a sample. He'll prepare a report which will be submitted as a recommendation in 2-3 weeks time. I'll receive a phone call from him when it is ready. I should hear whether my request for income support was accepted or not shortly after.

If I get accepted I'll have to face some serious choices and changes. For the first time in a long time I'll have no financial issues, with the option and the expectations from my environment to start living on my own. I could be living in my own place in a few months from now. I have been working towards this even before I started living here in Almere, yet now that it's possibly about to become a reality I feel a lot of conflicting emotions.

Of course I don't want to be dependent on others, no more than necessary at least. I feel quite bad for the burden I have and still place on Pieter. Yet I feel so frightened at the thought of taking this big step, of living alone for the first time. I'm reminded of the days I spent in my apartment in Canada over a year ago. I felt so cut off from everything, and if I think about it, other than Pieter I hardly know anyone here in Almere. What if I can't seem to make more friends, what if I'll find myself just locked up in my place, getting less contact with others than now simply because Pieter keeps dragging me along to places and such?

Perhaps I'm just too tired and jaded to think about such things at the moment. I have been suffering from sharp, stabbing pains around my temples and back of my head for two days now. I have noticed that they intensify with stress, like if I hear something sensitive to me. Right now I feel incredibly worn out and I hardly feel them. At any rate it's an almost burning sensation, with the skin around the area becoming really sensitive too, which is downright impossible to ignore. It's probably just due to stress, with the increase in preparation for the IMK appointment today. Scary thing is that it would show how close I am to becoming virtually incapacitated due to stress at this point.

In happier news, I began work on a new file format and parser system for the hardware simulator yesterday to replace the Xerces XML library and XML format files I was going to use. This new format and parser are fully designed for the intermediate format the simulator uses, and so far it has been a breeze to work with. One thing I learned the past few days is that the key to easy parsing is to have the proper structure in the format you're parsing. If you have a text file with just data in it separated by spaces and such, there isn't really anything to give it structure, to indicate sections and what might be tags or similar and what might be data.

I decided to use an XML-like format as it makes sense to use tags, I only made the tags a lot more compact. Essentially a tag is formed like this: [tag:data] which is quite basic. The tag defines what it is for, the data (a single string) defines what it contains. It is easily parseable using standard C++ string handling methods and so far has taken me about 5-6 hours to set up the parser and get it to the point where it loads parsed data into target data structures for use in the application. Compared to the tens of hours I spent on Xerces, especially due to the lack of documentation, it has really been a pleasure so far.

I hope that the rest of the simulator will be as cooperative. I have to finish bits of the simulation routines, which will take another day or two. After that it's time for debugging and testing. I still need to determine the exact testing procedure. I want to use a system which will only run the simulator application and run both Lilium and the competitor's application to test scaling when the workload is increased. As I pointed out before I'm not sure the system I intend to use for it will perform as intended, which would pose a big problem. At any rate the IMK appointment today has made is clear to me that Lilium will be a big part of Nyanko's strategy the coming years.


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