Sunday, November 20, 2016

Random Thoughts

I'd planned to do more today that I could share, but that alas did not happen.  I decided to play the game World of Warships a bit before getting started.  It had been months since I'd last done so, and the end result was my computer had to download and apply thirteen gigabytes worth of updates before I could play, during which time my computer wasn't very smooth doing anything else.  It took darn near two hours.

I washed dishes in the kitchen.  I cleaned my shower and replaced the old shower curtain liner.  I replaced a burned out bulb.  I threw out trash.  I sorted through my old code and tracked down stuff I prototyped days, weeks, months, or even years ago - this included a partial implementation of algorithms for computing the minimal cycle basis of planar graph, complete code for implementing circular arc fillets (my own C# implementation of the venerable algorithm from the 90's Graphics Gems series), C# and C++ versions of basic drawing functionality, an incomplete but partially-functional CPU-based terrain brush program, and a host of others things I'd written at one point or another.  I found that I'd written a lot of code with which I'd then done nothing, but which ties in nicely with the projects I'm working on now, and that I'm blogging about.  You may see some of that mentioned in coming months.

Earlier in the day, I went to the movie theater and watched the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I really enjoyed the movie, and perhaps I'll do a review on it at some point.  My point here, right this moment, is not to discuss my day or the movie in terms of plot, characters, or pacing. Instead, I'd like to briefly touch on the amazing rendition of Manhattan in the 1920's that was an integral part of the movie.  It felt very much like that age should feel in a movie.  Subways, streetcars, and elevated railroads provide mass transit.  Cars and trucks of the era line the streets.  The buildings look right.  The newer skyscrapers that we're accustomed today are absent.  Very well done, with the tiniest of exceptions: the streetcars.

The streetcars of New York City were electrically powered.  In Manhattan, they were largely powered by an electrical conductor in an underground conduit, which opened to the outside via a narrow slot between the rails.  It looked a bit like the cable cars of San Francisco, but instead of the streetcar gripping a cable that moved in the conduit, the electric streetcars had a plow that extended below the car and into the conduit to make contact with the conductor.  In some cases, the conduit was in fact the conduit of former cable car lines.  Only a few other cities employed such a technique, such as Washington, D.C. and London.  In the rest of New York City, the more traditional means of overhead wires supplied the electricity needed to power the motors of the streetcars.  In the movie, almost entirely set in Manhattan, neither means of supplying electricity to the streetcars were seen, but the streetcars were observed rolling along with no problems.  I found this immensely amusing.

Assuming I have enough time tomorrow, I hope to do something worthy of posting about.  Until then, world, try not to blow up.  Thanks.

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