tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

Archive for the 'Randomness' Category

Well, crap.

Scientists claim that red has a statistical advantage over blue in online games.

Apparently red causes people to get distracted while they’re playing, reducing their chances of winning. I would say the wins my team has scraped on Goldrush in Team Fortress 2 say otherwise (I usually pick Blue on that map), but Valve’s own statistics disagree: on every map but Gravel Pit, the red team has a higher statistical chance of coming out on top.

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my loyalties…

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How to fix Soul Calibur IV

A long time ago, in an IRC channel far, far away:

[19:27] <@SonicTempest> at this rate to balance the number of new female 
characters in SFIV they need to add someone who's super manly
[19:27] <@SonicTempest> er SCIV
[19:27] <@SonicTempest> Guts plz
[19:28] <@xephyris> no guts
[19:28] <@xephyris> oh wait
[19:28] <@Hayate> welll theres Vader and Yoda :p
[19:28] <@xephyris> the berserk guy hasn't been put in yet huh
[19:28] <@xephyris> yeah ok guts plz
[19:28] <@xephyris> you know
[19:28] <@xephyris> get the fist of the north star guy in plz
[19:28] <@SonicTempest> ww
[19:28] <@SonicTempest> Kenshiro or Raoh w
[19:29] <@xephyris> how about both w
[19:29] <@xephyris> ps3 gets kenshiro
[19:29] <@xephyris> to balance out vader
[19:29] <@xephyris> and xbox gets raoh
[19:29] <@Hayate> no theyd be broken tier
[19:29] <@xephyris> while we're at it let's put Jojo in too
[19:29] <@xephyris> the only game where you can wrrrryyyy for real
[19:30] <@SonicTempest> www
[19:30] <@xephyris> wow man
[19:30] <@xephyris> if it had guts, jojo, and kenshiro
[19:31] <@xephyris> it'd be the manliest game on the planet

You heard it here first!


The answer to the programming problem I posted

Well, AN answer, at any rate. Click through if you want to see it, but hold off if you want to try it out for yourself.

Read more

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Riddle me this

A few of the guys in my team have a fairly regular ritual of going to the espresso bar on the first floor to swap anecdotes and design/programming problems over coffee (or any similarly delicious beverage). At today’s session, a co-worker and friend of mine raised an interesting programming problem that had been posed to him by another person, and I thought it was interesting enough to reproduce here. Give it a shot if you feel so inclined :)

The goal is to write a function in C that, given a null-terminated string, prints it in reverse (You don’t have to return the reversed string – just print it). However, there are a few restrictions:

  1. You can’t create any local variables (apart from function arguments)
  2. The only library function you can use is printf()
  3. You can’t use any other language constructs (no if…else, no loops of any kind, no goto, etc)
  4. Any subroutines you create must also abide by rules 1, 2 and 3

This is apparently entirely possible. My C is rusty at best, but I’ll be giving it a shot on my newly-formatted Linux laptop (which I have christened ‘Potato’ for some bizarre reason).

A hint that may or may not be useful: think about what printf() returns.

On a side note, my friend’s suggested solution was pretty hilarious; he suggested using a format-string exploit in printf() to point the instruction pointer at an arbitrary location in memory, which he would have filled up at an earlier point with assembly instructions (again using printf()). The assembly code then prints the string in reverse with no regard to the rules (since it isn’t technically C). He hadn’t gotten it to work, but I’m pretty sure that it would, given enough time.

Said friend is leaving Amazon to work for Microsoft in a few weeks, by the way, which makes me wonder what sort of software he might write there.

On an even more hilarious note, as a result of the above ‘solution’, the discussion quickly turned into one about whether or not C’s printf() function is in fact Turing-complete.

EDIT 2008/05/21, 2045 PDT: Solved it! Although the basic idea for the solution came frome one of my teammates…

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Something you don't read about often

Police incompetence in Singapore!
Terrorist suspect escapes while in police custody in Singapore

It's always great for your peace of mind when your family lives in the same 700 square kilometre area as an escaped terrorist.

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Same old, same old

This had me shaking my head

The main line that threw me for a loop was

While in prison, Mr Ranjan contested and won a seat in parliament for his party, an ally of the government.

Mr Ranjan is expected to remain an MP until the next election.

I think it's fairly obvious that this is bloody ridiculous.

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I'm a few hours early, but…

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! :D

(more where that came from here)

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When I was in primary school, there was a locally-published series of books called “Bookworm Short Stories” that revolved around the daily adventures of a group of (somewhat stereotypical) Singapore kids in primary school. It was fairly popular at the time – I still have a few of the old books, but I never thought too much of them (Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were far superior in my eyes). The publishers would come around to my school about once a semester and try and make us all buy the newest copies of their books, sign up for fan newsletters and so on..it was pretty depraved marketing, now that I think about it.

Anyhow, an idle comment in IRC prompted me to find out what had become of the series since I stopped reading it all those years ago.

The results of my investigation were somewhat…disturbing.

A quick look at the edit history confirms that this is probably the work of Wikipedia vandals (a lot of the questionable stuff was added by one guy and the citations are all nonsense), but it did surprise me for a minute. Although part of me wonders if this post-shark-jump series would be any more interesting to read :P

An upcoming release on Steam has me pretty interested. It's a game called AudioSurf, and it was a finalist at this year's Independent Games Festival. The gimmick of the game is that it takes your music (ANY music) and turns it into a puzzle/racing/rhythm game hybrid with multiple game types. It's basically a cross between Rez, Lumines and F-Zero, if that's possible to fathom :P

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk

God Knows by Aya Hirano

One Winged Angel by Nobuo Uematsu/The Black Mages

and just to annoy the crap out of my friends list, here's
Never Gonna Give you up by Rick Astley

It gets released on Steam on Friday for $10, but you can pre-order it before then and get it for $8 along with a copy of the Orange Box soundtrack preloaded into the game for you.

I'm making a note here.


Oh, and here's one for and :

And on a completely random note, I saw all 13 episodes of Minami-ke on Sunday and I loved it. バカ野郎!!!

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This is undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of television ever to have been written. Or not written, if you know what I mean.

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Fulfilling an obligation

Yoinked from
1) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
2) What was your dream growing up?
3) What talent do you wish you had?
4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
5) Favorite vegetable?
6) What was the last book you read?
7) What zodiac sign are you?
8) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
9) Worst Habit?
10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
11) What is your favorite sport?
12) Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?
13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
16) Do you have any pets?
17) What if i showed up at your house unexpectedly?
18) What was your first impression of me? (hmmm…careful!)
19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
22) What color eyes do you have?
23) Ever been arrested?
24) Bottle or can soda?
25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
27) What's your favorite place to hang at?
28) Do you believe in ghosts?
29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
30) Do you swear a lot?
31) Biggest pet peeve?
32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
33) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
35) Do you believe in God?
36) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

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