This year’s yak-shaving

I tend to do the same things and think the same thoughts at the same time each year, without trying. Keeping a daily journal or worklog helps to spot these patterns.

Right now I’m having fun shaving a yak. I started working on a 3d animatable waterfall spectrogram, extending the ‘live sine waves’ seen here. The graph itself is functional now, but the FFT input isn’t working yet.

I remembered that the Audin project, my first courseware and still my best, was meant to include a 2d waterfall spectrogram. Audin was on a grant contract, and the time ran out before I could properly include and test the waterfall.

I started converting the Audin C++ waterfall code into Python to run the 3d stuff, and then decided it would be even MORE fun to continue and expand Audin itself, finally reaching my intended goal.

So now I have to rebuild and expand Audin before I can get back to the 3d representation. (Well, I don’t really have to, but it’s more fun to think of it this way.)

Here’s the yak-shaving picture from January 2018, with a snowy landscape identical to today’s landscape. These annual verbatim repetitions give credence to real astrology.

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Sidenote: Since I was talking about natural selection yesterday, this process fits nicely into the theme of evolution by subtraction.

My original 2002 courseware was full of useful features. It invited the student to do real experiments, and had a wide variety of sound-handling and animation. The later versions in Windows started to drop the useful features because the NYC publisher didn’t like them. They wanted text and still pics in computer form, like PowerPoint. I had to fight hard to maintain SOME of the animations, but lost the interactivity and sound. When the Windows EXE was converted to online HTML/SVG stuff in 2015, ALL of the good features had to be eliminated. Global compatibility does not allow experimentation or interactivity. Genes and languages and inventions follow the same track, from complex and subtle down to simple and blunt.

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