Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   my own private Spelling Bee
Wednesday, June 28 2023
The day started as one of my typical Wednesdays, beginning with a 150 mg dose of pseudophedrine. I had a software project unrelated to work that I wanted to complete today. It was such an interesting project that I decided (as I can!) that it was creative enough to grant me drinking privileges. The project was one I started back in May to produce a form of the New York Times Spelling Bee where I can play the latest game completely detached from the actual databases at the New York Times. This would solve the problem of the gameplay between Gretchen and me comingling. I'd gotten things to a point where I could configure the seven letters, but things were going to need to be more complex to do what I wanted, which was to provide a place to paste in the source code for the Spelling Bee's web page. Then I would have logic to parse out the letter arrangement and all the answer words (all of which is in plaintext for those who want to cheat!) and then start up a game that could be played in a web page completely offline. Since none of the data from game play would be sent anywhere, it would mean that Gretchen could play the real version at the New York Times website and in the app without any concern about my words spoiling things for her.
So today I build a quick and dirty form to allow me to paste in that source code. Initially I thought everything could be written in Javascript, since there was no need to persist information. But there is so much source code that needs to be parsed that I couldn't send it in a query string variable (which traditionally had a limit of something like 1000 characters). This meant I had to post the data (send in the body of the document), and posted data cannot be read by a front-end-only technology like browser Javascript. I needed some backend technology, one that I hopefully wouldn't have to install. Since I mostly just use Windows or Chrome laptops and I always have a Windows machine available, I was happy doing things using a simple Microsoft backend technology such as Classic ASP (which I've been familiar with since late 1998). So I wrote a form processor in VBScript on an ASP page to parse out the bits I needed. My VBScript skills are rusty at this point, so I relied heavily on ChatGPT to produce the necessary parsing function (one that I myself have written many times in several languages; it takes two delimiters and a haystack as parameters and returns whatever it finds in the haystack between those delimiters). Even so, the ASP page kept crapping out on me and ChatGPT didn't seem to know why. Later I realized that this was because, unlike most modern web languages (such as PHP and Javascript), VBScript can only quote strings using double-quote.
By late this evening, I nearly had things working. But unfortunately I was using a Javascript compilation system called Eleventy (that's what the open-source Javascript Spelling Bee clone used), and it absolutely required that the page doing all the fancy Spelling Bee stuff be produced through compilation. Since that page was now an .asp file (for the required source code processing), I was having trouble making it serve both masters. But I was almost there.

In the remote workplace, we had a very long group QA session this afternoon (it had to be bumped from its usual Tuesday schedule), and by the end of that, I felt like I'd had an unusually productive week. I then proceeded to make a small amount of bean-based chili, so as not to produce too many leftovers. After Jeopardy!, I was feeling like i wanted to watch more teevee with Gretchen, so I started playing a copy of the movie Harold and Maude that Gretchen had recently had me illegally download. I hadn't seen it since back in college, and it's possible Gretchen hadn't seen it since then either (though she said she's seen it many times). There is a lot about that movie that hasn't aged very well, such as the antiquated acting style of the actress playing Harold's mother. I also found Maude's personality more grating that I'd remembered it as someone in my early 20s.


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