Randomness and Unicorns for Programming


Programming seems to have a gulf dividing the playful and the useful. The random and scripted. The fun and the business. KrazyDad writes the book review and calls for a concerted effort to close this gap. The pleasurable and “recreational programming” mindset seems to be giving way to OOP and other acronyms that do little to inspire new programmers to experiment. While I agree I also think that the web of today makes a lot of old boring aspects – now playful. There are things like the 1K competitions, and all the magic that is now coming our with these new CSS3 properties. Although it’s not enough, I think there is at least a spark of it, and agreed it could be better in that it could be easier for newbies to jump in and experiment without understanding so much first. Thanks for the book recommendation Jim, I’ll add it to my list and hopefully get an into to BASIC.

For a long time, the amount of joy I derived from writing software was proportional to the amount that the features depended on randomness. There is a relationship between the RND() function and the perception of utility. To me, programs that are useful, and that do not require randomness, are useful, but boring — they fill out your tax return and monitor patients in hospitals. The RND() function is like a firehose from God, and the programs that use it are useless, but fun — they are games, and simulations, and art.

KrazyDad » Blog Archive » The mark of the unicorn.

Foundation Actionscript 3.0 Animation: Making Things Move! | Review

as3animation coverKeith Peter‘s Foundation Actionscript 3.0 Animation: Making Things Move!

Can I just say WOW! Being a student of art and animation before turning to the flash world, I love how Keith is able to explain programming in terms that are very easy to understand and follow. I’ve been a huge fan of his since I first peeked at Flash Math Creativity and Flash Math Creativity, Second Edition. I then followed to his bit-101 site and devoured his tutorials there: gravity, easing, elasticity, etc…

This book helps me transition all those techniques I’ve incorporated into my practices from actionscript 2 to actionscript 3. He also teaches me more about object oriented programming with the same simplicity he explained gravity years ago. It’s a great read and an essential part of my collection. I could safely say that I’ve learned more (at least as much as) from Keith’s work than anyone else in the industry. Anything from him always make sense and inspires my code and projects to be better. So go get his book to support him!

Also, friends of ed makes available the source code that goes with the text here.

Thanks Keith — and keep up the great work!

Learning ActionScript 3.0: A Beginner's Guide | Book Review

Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser’s Learning ActionScript 3.0: A Beginner’s Guide.

This book is published by O’Reilly and is part of the Adobe Developer Library.

This book was a great way for me to move into as3. I’m coming from a visual design background with little formal programming training, to know more of my background check my about page. Being mostly self taught, I found myself learning about basic programming skills with this book. This book helped me catch up to the as3 world and I began doing some really cool things in flash once I had a base for understanding all the differences and new things in as3.

I really enjoyed the visual aspects of this book as well. Many of the diagrams and illustrations have the hand drawn look. Like so:

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand actionscript and actionscrip3 more specifically. It’s a great helper at migrating from as2 to as3. On the cover, it claims to teach “everything needed for non-traditional programmers–web designers, GUI-based Flash developers, those new to Actionscript, visual learners–to understand how Actionscript works and how to use it in everyday projects.” I would agree with that whole-heartedly. All I can say is that after reading it and working through some of the samples included, I better understand AS3 and am confident that through the foundation it has helped me lay I will soon become an actionscript ninja.

Thanks Ryan and Zevan!

Code is good; Books are good; Source and Books are even better!

I’ve been thinking about this blog and what kind of content I want to be creating for the world and yes, you. I really enjoy creating working tutorials and open source project or components available to download and learn from. I make these available so that you are able to pick it apart and hopefully learn something from it. And in the best of scenarios it helps you solve some problem in one of your own projects, or you contact me and are able to teach me a better way I could have done it (my personal favorite). There are no shortcuts to this kind of stuff. Learning is a process, and the way I learn (especially when it’s related to flash) is to get my hands on something that already works and pick it apart. So that’s what I try to provide in my “tutorials”- I use the term loosely because, they aren’t really walkthroughs per say, but more working examples for you to look into and see how it has to (or at least could) fit together and work. I have really enjoyed the direction I’ve gone with the blog, and to get to my point…

I have also learned a lot of what I know from books. Reading books and understanding the whys to all the ways things are done in actionscript has helped me a lot. It may have been an epiphany, but I thought – why not share the ones that have made the biggest support for me, or at least list the books that sit the closest to my keyboard when I am working through a project.

So books are good. I will be continuing with my tutorials and open source working examples and put up as much code as I can, but I want to also talk about where I learn some of the things I learn.

So if you follow the blog, thanks! You’ll start to see a larger variety in posts. Dare I put this in writing but I’m also trying to increase the frequency of posts. I’ve been pretty good at getting at least one post a week, so I’ll try to bump it up to at least 1 and a half posts a week 😉 Go ahead and subscribe to my feed if you want to be sure not to miss any of them, and please jump back to the posts when it’s interesting and let me know, comment with any books that have helped you better understand you specialty.

The Mullins Family Bluegrass Songbook

Mullins Songbook Cover

I made this Bluegrass Songbook. 50 Songs including lyrics, melody line, TAB melody for guitar and chord charts for guitar, mandolin and banjo. Many folk, gospel, mormon and family songs. Songs included are:

  • Abide With Me Tis Eventide
  • All Over The World
  • Amazing Grace
  • Battle Hymn Of The Republic
  • Blackbird
  • Chim Chim Cher-ee
  • Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
  • Come Come Ye Saints
  • Count Your Blessings
  • Cruella De Vil
  • Did You Think To Pray
  • Do Lord Remember Me
  • Do What Is Right
  • Down By The Riverside
  • Drifting Too Far From The Shore
  • Farther Along
  • Give Said The Little Stream
  • Go Tell It On The Mountains
  • God Be With You
  • Happy Family
  • House of the Rising Sun
  • How Great Thou Art
  • I Am A Child Of God
  • I Need Thee Every Hour
  • I Wanna Be Like You
  • If You Chance To Meet A Frown
  • I’ll Fly Away
  • I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home
  • In The Leafy Tree Tops
  • Israel Israel God Is Calling
  • Just A Closer Walk With Thee
  • Let Us All Press On
  • Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words
  • Oh My Father
  • Onward Christian Soldiers
  • Precious Lord
  • Take My Hand
  • Rocky Top
  • Salty Dog
  • Scarborough Fair
  • Shady Grove
  • Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  • Teach Me To Walk In The Light
  • The Bare Necessities
  • There Is Sunshine In My Soul
  • Turn Your Radio On
  • We Are All Enlisted
  • What A Wonderful World
  • When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
  • Where Did You Sleep Last Night
  • Zip-a-dee Doo Dah!

Product Details:
Printed: 108 pages, 8.5″ x 11″, perfect binding, black and white interior ink
Download: 108 pages, 8.5″ x 11″, color PDF

Visit the product page at Lulu.com

Beulah Henderson Riley Book

Beulah Henderson Riley is my grandmother, I always clled her Gran-B. This is her ‘autobiography’ which I added photos to and made into a book on blurb. I’m planning on creating a new more graphically aesthetic book in inDesign soon, so check back for that!

Beulah Henderson Riley – The Book

Beulah Henderson Riley. A book created by combining Beulah’s personal life story and other writings with family photographs. Created and Edited by Evan Mullins. Order a physical copy through Evan’s store at Blurb.com.

Her autobiography and personal history. Born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia she tells her family history and recounts events in her life. Also contains local church history for the Roanoke Virginia area. Also features actual family photographs to coinside with her writings.

Appendix also contains:

  • A presentation she prepared for her mother Osceola Ferguson Henderson entitles “This is Your Life”.
  • A talk she gave in Sacrament meeting discussing church history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Roanoake area.
  • A talk give by her daughter, Suzanne Riley Mullins, at her funeral in 1993.

beulah book

Book site at Blurb.com

Book Preview (pdf)