Friday, June 30, 2006

We interrupt this blog with an important announcement...

The Metal Box has posted a beta of Merlin's Revenge 3, the sequel to the popular free online game Merlin's Revenge 2. Check it out!

Oh, and Argentina lost to Germany. Though it's shocking, of course it's not nearly as important as MR3!! :p

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Quote of the Week

The quote of the week is:

"If everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane."
- Anonymous

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

LF 2.5 Modding, Day Two

Marshall, the deveoper of LF2 CE, has informed me that he is working on a new version of his mod, that is much better. Since a lot of characters I'm adding to LF2.5 are from CE, I have two choices now: I could push ahead, or I could wait for Marshall to finish.

I dislike waiting, but I don't like unnecessary work either, so I chose the middle path: for now I'm not adding CE characters, just characters from other mods, and backgrounds.

Today I worked on backgrounds. I added five that i liked, three from CE and two independent backgrounds. Enjoy!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at

AIME Class: Complex Numbers and Polynomials

Today I had a meeting of my AIME class. The topics being discussed were complex numbers and polynomials, and though neither o these topics is my strong point, the class wasn't that bad.

Here's an interesting problem (interesting because although it looks like a simple arithmetic problem, in reality the solution involves polynomials):

(Note that calculators are not allowed on the AIME.)

I'll let this one stand for a few days, then I'll post the answer. Try doing this without a calculator! :p

Monday, June 26, 2006

LF 2.5 Modding, Day One

After working on the PrestoSoft site, and doing a bit of Euro work, I decided to see what I can do with Little Fighter (note that it is now going to be called Little Fighter, not Little Fighters, Little Fighter being the correct name) 2.5.

The first thing I did was remove some characters. With Bob's help (Bob is my playtester =) ) I managed to find the ten least used characters (duplicates for the most part), and removed them. The reason for this is that the original LF2.5 had an overwhelming array of characters, and this way I'll be able to add some more characters without overcomplicating the game. Some characters removed included LF2_Template (accidentaly inserted twice in the last version), LF3_Louis (a carbon copy of LF2_Louis), and LF3_VanderTower (a very screwed-up character to say the least, his only moves involved committing suicide apparently).

I then proceeded to add a few characters. I'll start by adding all (or at least most) of the characters in LF2 CE, as I mentioned in a previous entry. Today I started by adding CE_John and CE_Deep, the first two characters in LF2 CE. I haven't modded LF2 for over a year, so I have forgotten how to use the Data Changer for the most part, and it took me a while to fix some simple bugs, but I finally got both characters to work perfectly.

CE_John demonstrates his new Electro Zap move

CE_Deep uses a Sword Demon to knock Freeze back a fair distance

Yet Another Use for AP Classes!

[21:25] Da Sooop Nazi: me: i was just given the job of making my 4year old sister fall asleep
Bob: lol
me: i had to sit there for an hour
till i came up with a great idea
i started reading to her from the AP euro book
Bob: LOL
me: she fell asleep immediately!
Bob: wow
me: i know

[21:26] deathbypapercutz: yes
[21:31] Da Sooop Nazi: yet another use for ap classes!
[21:31] deathbypapercutz: quite right

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Competition in a Small Niche

I made Little Fighters 2.5 a little over a year ago, as a standalone compilation of different modifications of LF2, a popular freeware fighting game. The reason I made it was actually to have some fun in computer class (LF2 itself was starting to get boring), but it's become much more popular than I dared imagine, with over 60,000 downloads at last count. I've profitted from it as well, making a bit of money off Google ads.

However, competition has arrived in the form of Little Fighter CE, a modification with the same premise as my own. It has become rather popular among the LF2 community.

Now I am faced with several choices:

1. Ignore it. After all, I have superior marketing (for now at least), and besides, I haven't edited LF2.5 for a year - I've probably forgotten how to do it after all this time.
2. Release a new version of LF2.5. Hey, I have some free time. And there''s plenty of content I can add.
3. Combine LF2.5 and CE into one game. The original LF2.5 is simply a combination of several mods. All CE is is one big mod. So the logical next step would be to literally absorb the competition. It's perfectly legal as well.

I'm working on a lot of things right now (my fledgling web network, the Prestosoft site, AP summer work, math), but if I have time I might try releasing a new version of LF2.5!

Friday, June 23, 2006


A friend of mine is a software developer, and this summer I am helping him redesign his site.

Fortunately, all the design work has been done for me. Kudos to Blue Cherry Graphics, will, and the rest of the guys at Design Outpost for designing the new logo and site template!

What is my job, then? you may ask. Well, the site template that we were given is a simple HTML file, while the site is based on custom ASP scripts. My job is to merge the HTML template and ASP scripts into a functioning site.

This is not that easy, however, and I've had to rewrite a significant portion of both the ASP and HTML.

Today I was able to convert the main page:

The old ASP site

The HTML template

Final result

As you can see, the page looks almost identical to the original HTML file, but adds the features of the old site, most notably, ASP scripts that customly generate each page.

However, this new site is still far from perfect: Search doesn't work, some fonts aren't right, and the bottom of the News box is missing.

And of course I still need to add about 40 more pages...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Vinci Code?

(Thanks to for this image!)

Quote of the Week

The quote of the week is:

"What do you call 500 lawyers lying on the bottom of the Ocean?
A good start..."

- Danny DeVito (from The War of the Roses)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reflections on the 2005 - 2006 School Year

I think it's time I write down my thoughts about my freshman year, which ended about a week ago. Here goes:

Honors Global Science (Mr. K) - I have very strong emotions about this class, all of them negative, and all concerning the teacher. Quite frankly, he has no idea what he's teaching us - he feeds us wrong information and denies it, he has an average of 5 mistakes on each test (which definitely affects one's grade), and whenever there's any problem of any kind, whether the tests were graded incorrectly or his worksheets are covered in typos, he always puts the blame on his "aide". None of us have ever seen his aide, and he or she may not even exist. I heard that Mr. K may be teaching AP Biology next year. If so, I will seriously consider dropping the class. I would do anything to avoid having him again...

English I (Mrs. B) - I was never a big fan of english, so I did not immensely enjoy this class. However, I did manage to stumble through. I imagine Honors English next year to be a different story. Our teacher was decent, but spent an inordinate amount of time "checking her email". Countless periods were wasted just because she said, "Can you just do your work for five minutes while I check my email?" and then came back no less than an hour later.

AP Calculus AB (Mrs. V) - This was the hardest math class, and the first AP class of any kind, that I ever took, so this was an interesting experience for me. In my opinion, calculus is an interesting topic, second only to combinatorics in terms of my favorite branch of mathematics. Our teacher was fine, but tended to laugh at her students (especially me - I was the only freshman in a primarily senior class). I remember one time we were taking a rather difficult free response test and Mrs. V let us draw pictures or write poems instead of answering problems we couldn't get (I still did all the problems - even calculus comes easier to me than art or *ugh* writing).

Spanish I (Senora B) - Our teacher taught us nothing. Everything we learned we learned from the textbook. 90% of the time was spent either taking ridiculously easy tests or playing pointless 3rd-grade-level games that had nothing whatsoever to do with Spanish. Also, she was nearly deaf - you can imagine what the class was like ...

World Geography (Ms. G) - This was probably my favorite class. I am interested in both geography and history, and this makes me better suited to take Euro AP than others. I am already held in high regard by my friends for my ability to read two consecutive chapters in the Euro book without falling asleep. :p

Health (Mr. P) - This was a pretty boring class, but Mr. P made it funny. The highlight of the year was his famous (dare i say award-winning?) puppet show, featuring the lovable Mr. Hippo and Ms. Alligator demonstrating the properties of body metabolism.

PE I (Coach B and Coach P) - PE. 'Nuff said. =(

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bad News for PodDonkey!

I thought that come summer PodDonkey would be getting more visitors, but just the opposite is true. See the image on the left (the red line indicates the start of summer). The reason for this is simple - contrary to what I thought, the majority of PodDonkey forum members are busy over the summer, whether with vacations, summer school, or AP summer work.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Funniest Photo I've Seen All Week!

(Made in China)

The question is: typo or intentional? The world may never know...

USAMTS Prizes! =)

This year I participated in the United States Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS) and placed Silver, with the fifth-highest score among all freshmen (well, to be fair, only 49 freshmen participated).

After a month or two of waiting (well, actually, I forgot about it within a few days), my prizes came today:

1. A USAMTS T-shirt. It's waaaay too big for me, but I will wait in the hope that someday I'll be able to wear it.
2. My choice of two books: There was a list of eight mainly math-related books to choose from. I chose the only two that were not math-related - one on cryptology and one on theoretical physics, both fairly interesting topics, if a bit difficult to understand at times.
3. A USAMTS pin and a signed letter from the contest director, Richard Rusczyk.

Regardless of the prizes, I highly doubt that I will participate in this contest next year, because it is a lot of work - twenty very difficult problems over the course of about four months. With my AP classes and AIME preparation I doubt I will have enough time to do this.

Was Taking Four Honors/AP Classes Really a Good Idea??

[12:20] dasooopnazi: you know what's *not* funny?
[12:20] dasooopnazi: "Good luck and have fun, after all, this is HISTORY!"
[12:20] dasooopnazi: from the AP euro summer work page
[12:21] dasooopnazi: i feel like crying >.< [12:21] MCFienb: haha
[12:21] MCFienb: glad I didn't take that class

Looking over the summer work for the four AP/Honors classes I'm taking next year, I did some calculations, and found:

AP Euro: about 72 hours of work
AP Bio: about 48 hours
Honors English: about 24 hours
AP Stat: about 0 hours (no summer work)

That's 144 hours of work - six days of continuous work. Now, there are about, what, 70 days left of summer? I have to work two hours a day, every day, for the rest of summer!

Well, I gotta run - summer work awaits! :-(

Why Blogger?

Why did I pick Blogger over other blogging systems?

The answer is simple: Blogger gives you much more control over your blog than other systems. Although Blogger is lacking some features such as a shoutbox and post categories, it is possible to add them:

CBox - a fully-functional shoutbox
Blogger Categories - Just a few lines of JavaScript let you categorize your posts!

I am new to Blogger, but I am sure that there are a ton of Blogger mods out there, and their development is made possible due to Blogger's style editing feature, which lets you add just about anything to your blog!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogging + Modding = Blog Mod!

I had a bit of free time today, so I decided to add a link to this blog to PodDonkey. Then I thought, "No, I can do better," and so decided to add a new feature for PodDonkey forum users: a link to their blog in their profile. Easy, right?

Two hours later: Nothing works. I go through every file, find a handful of errors, upload again. Still nothing.

One hour after that: Finally figured out the problem: I copied and pasted a chunk of code between four files, thinking that it will work in all four files. However, closer inspection revealed that the four files all have different names for the same function: $row[], $privmsg[], $profiledata[], and $postrow[], and simple copy-and-pasting just won't cut it. I fixed the code, uploaded, and it works like a charm!

<-- The circled button, of course, links to this blog. Although I have installed many forum mods in the past, this is the first mod that I coded from scratch. Who knows - if public response is positive, maybe I'll try to submit it to the phpBB database!

A little about me

Let me start off this blog by writing a little about myself.

My name is Alex (as you undoubtedly know already). I'm an incoming sophomore at a certain high school in Southern California. Today is the second day of summer, and needless to say I am very excited!

I am very good at math, and last year I was on the California team in the 2005 National Mathcounts competition. My other hobby is web design: my first website is PodDonkey and I am planning to make some more by the end of the summer. My goal is to manage a functioning web network!

This summer will involve quite a bit of work, because I am taking three AP and one Honors class next year, and will have to do a lot of summer work for these classes. Also, I am taking an onine math class, to improve my problem solving skills, so that I might fulfill my goal of someday making the U.S. team to the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

And let's finish up this blog entry with a personality test:

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||| 30%
Stability |||||| 26%
Orderliness |||||||||||||||||| 80%
Accommodation |||||||||||| 43%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Mystical |||||||||||| 50%
Artistic || 10%
Religious || 10%
Hedonism |||||| 30%
Materialism |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Narcissism |||||||||| 36%
Adventurousness |||||||||||| 43%
Work ethic |||||||||||||| 56%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 43%
Conflict seeking |||||| 30%
Need to dominate |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Romantic |||||| 30%
Avoidant |||||||||||| 50%
Anti-authority |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Wealth |||||||||||||||| 70%
Dependency |||||||||||||||| 63%
Change averse |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Individuality |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Sexuality |||||||||||||| 56%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||||||| 63%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Physical Fitness |||||||||||||||| 64%
Histrionic |||||||||||| 43%
Paranoia |||||||||||||||| 63%
Vanity |||||||||| 36%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||| 56%
Female cliche |||| 16%

Saturday, June 17, 2006

First Post!

Welcome one, welcome all, to my new blog!

I used to have a different blog, but I decided that I wanted a more professional and flexible blogging system, so I have switched to Blogger. Over the next few days, I will be experimenting with these settings.

My old blog can be found here.