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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Marie Callender's - Stockton

This will be the last time I see the Marie Callender's building in Stockton (or at least what's left of it anyways) after it closed down last January.

It apparently will be replaced with Chick-fil-A over here; I have previously heard about it but never gone over there, so it might be something new to try when they open.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Krispy Kreme Superhero Day

On April 28th, Krispy Kreme has a Superhero Day promotion where you get a dozen glazed doughnuts for free if you buy a dozen on April 28th. There's a doughnut box to match, with the appearance of a comic book.

This is the first time I've actually heard about it, and there's nothing on the official website about this year's event at the time of writing, but it can be assumed to be valid since they ran this in previous years.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Red Robin Black and Bleu Burger

A true knife-and-fork burger... once you ask for them.

The Black and Bleu burger at Red Robin sounded like a good idea at the time when it came to finding something new to eat, as I've almost always gotten burgers with swiss and portabello mushrooms at restaurants and never had blue cheese on a burger before.

It's not as salty as other burgers I've been normally eating at fast food restaurants, it's much worse.

At 4,496 mg worth of sodium as is, this beats the Saltiest Burger in 2015, as well as being way more sodium that I'm willing to handle in one day, let alone one meal. I had to split the sandwich into two parts as a result. Note that the sodium count does not include those from the endless fries.

Remind me to order this burger without the sea salt and pepper, as it effectively cuts the sodium down by more than half, and there's a supply of that on the table to season it to taste.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Inverse Crude Oil

Falling too fast.*

It seems like investing in inverse crude is always a bad time; it keeps going up, and a day after buying, it drops sharply. I might have enough to put in a few more shares at this point but no more.

My stance on crude oil going down to sub-26 still stands (at least for the next few months), particularly because of increased efficiency of getting that oil, and that no one, especially smaller companies, can keep that much crude oil forever due to storage costs (the price has even gone negative in some cases).

Then there's the possibility that even if all countries agree to reduce oil production, someone might break it to gain increased market share...

Unlike the above screenshot, I was unable to buy DWTI for whatever reason so I went for SCO (which instead has a -17% drop in this case). This is probably better since it drops less overall during a period of high volatility and they are cheaper allowing me to average down for less. I don't have the ability nor the funds to buy commodity futures / options contracts yet but I would use them if I could.

I've seen this volatility before when I had money in bitcoin a year ago so I'm used to it; unlike the former this is an ETF so I can't margin call on this one. The best bet would to be buying shares when the RSI for crude oil futures is high... and hodl.

UPDATE: On Feb 9th, crude price oil went down very quickly below 28, and I have since sold those shares for a profit noting a possible rebound.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Robinhood Stock Trading

Still waiting, but no longer.

After hearing about Robinhood on a Reddit post in /r/investing back in December that allows you to trade stocks without commissions, I decide to sign up for it at the start of the year in order to get into more diversified stock trading without having to pay a lot from commissions.

What appears to be an easy entrance instead may turn out to be a high barrier to entry. Despite the official FAQ stating approval can take up to five business days, it was at least two weeks after signing up and stuck with an 'account pending' (with the buy button on stocks visible but disabled) before allowing me to proceed. It doesn't appear to be limited to myself, though, as a post shows.

Although I was eventually approved and was able to start trading at the beginning of February, doing so is another story altogether as my tablet died and I have no means to get on for the time being (though I was later able to do so using bluestacks).

I opened an account on another brokerage generally as a backup, which got approved quickly, so I'll keep that one mainly for some other trades (such as leaps and options) and for larger purchases to prevent commissions from taking most of the profits.

Would like to see:

  • Updates the GUI based on actual current time, not the time on the Android device
  • Show max shares to buy on order window instead of tap
  • Buy up to X stocks over a period of time during the day below a set price
  • Tap / confirm = quick market order
  • Toggle line indicators on placed orders and/or breakeven points
  • Notify at certain price
  • Quick Stock Lists (useful if watching a lot of stocks)
  • Trailing stops
  • IOC or FOK orders


  • The time between stock price updates is 5 seconds. It takes at least 10 to buy or sell shares.
  • Place any market orders made off trading hours as day orders so you don't get unexpected trades; market orders have a 5% collar and they're not 'immediate or cancel' (at least at the time of writing) so they won't trigger if the stock difference between closing and next day's opening is too high (ex. NUGT Feb 11, 2016, +20.7% increase from previous close), but they aren't cancelled either, so the queued order might trigger unexpectedly at some point in the future if the stock slumps. You also cannot tell what price the market order was made at (nor does the email) so you'll need to write it down somewhere.
    • I haven't tested the other way around on what happens if you try to sell all shares of a stock but still have pending market sells made the previous day that did not execute.
  • It seems like Twitter mentions to @AskRobinhood or through other social media channels are more likely to go through than standard emails if there is no reply from the latter.
  • After account approval, it is strongly recommended you delete all messages related to any information you attached and sent to them via email, particularly since they now exist as web links and not attachments.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Americana Engine - Into 2016

"Glad to see it's still alive and kicking."

For months I have considered on exiting the game development market; I have previously made future plans on the basis that after my departure from AD, the game was well on its way with a new Kickstarter and a beta out at the end of 2015, with my efforts gone uncredited and my game engine completely unnoticed since its switch over to Unity.

It appears this was not the case, however, and I have chosen to resume production after looking through this month's statistics.

My career as a software developer may very well depend on completion of the game engine (as well as an optional game) and released for others to see; as many companies take working projects into their hiring considerations, I have determined that it is my responsibility to bring usable quality updates on a timely basis if I want even a remote chance at getting hired.

Upcoming in 2016: (not a complete list)

  • Porting to HTML5 - to make it more accessible to web and mobile devices, and also to serve as a means for others to present small demos without requiring the base game.
  • Possible open-source release on GitHub
  • Customizable GUI (what kind of information you can get, however, will be limited)
  • Project Website adjustments

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Superhuman, Chess Pieces, and Binary Code

The first performance of the Jan 4 premiere of Superhuman has Zoe Wheeler reciting from memory the sequence of 60 chess pieces (30 white, 30 black). Only there are two types of pieces to memorize: a King (White) and Queen (Black). A 0 or a 1. Binary Code.

Although there are over 1 trillion combinations (more like 118 quadrillion) that figure need not apply here.

Memorizing 60 1's and 0's might be a difficult task, but there are ways to cut down on the memorization significantly.

There are various methods of memorizing groups of binary code, including hexadecimal (grouping four 1/0s together to get 0-9, a-f), and base64 (grouping six 1/0s together to produce a letter or a number). I use the latter since I can memorize a string of 10 letters/numbers easier than other options.

Base 64 Summary:

A set of six 0 and 1's (64 possible combinations) are grouped together to form a single letter or number (A-Z, a-z, 0-9). Two more characters are used for the binary values of 63 and 64 since the total number of letters and numbers = 26+26+10 = 62. There aren't a string of seven black/white pieces in a row, so they can be skipped for the purposes of memorizing this.


The order the pieces are laid out are as follows (Treating a white piece as a 1, with the piece closest to her as the first):

100101 001001 010010 001001 010100 111010 110110 001010 111001 101101

This can be encoded to base 64 as follows:

37 9 18 9 24 58 54 10 57 45
kIRIT 51J4s

Now it's a matter of memorizing this string, converting it back to binary, and reciting it... in front of a live audience.