Cthugha lives!

I have been a touch distracted and not able to write much since the beginning of 2020 and it has only continued into the Coronavirus-lockdown-hell.

In an attempt to recover some sort of focus, I have decided to revive an old software project:

CTHUGHA

For those of you who don’t have a good memory or a love of early 90s visualizers (aka trip toys), CTHUGHA was one of the first and the best. Starting from a win32 console app the code base was massaged into a Mac version, at least two Linux versions, a Java version, and WinAmp plugin, along with another couple of Windows based versions.

So, what the heck is it? An oscilloscope on acid is the description in the code and the websites. It works as good as most any other. It supported taking audio (from an microphone, cd, files) and visualizing it. The verity of visualization, both in color and style, was pretty impressive even by today’s standards, you could watch it for hours and not see the exact same pattern twice. It was used in dorm rooms and in clubs, as something to show on screens during parties.

It was never easy to setup, there were multiple packages that had to be downloaded and put in the right place, and the documentation was about as good as you could expect, but if you got it running, it was worth it.

Somewhere, between 1994 and today, I started squirreling away any version of the code base I could find. I would poke at it and try to get it to compile, not really worrying about it running.

The code base was from the early days of c++ and mostly relies on pointer and array math that makes an unbounded strcpy on user input seem like a good idea. What I am saying is that the code base was a mess. There were some systemic issues, such as assuming that sizeof(int) was always going to equal sizeof(long), basically stuffing twice as much data into a space too small and then jumping off into the wrong memory location and writing more there.

But, there was an X11 version, and one thing that is pretty nice about a GUI environment that has not changed since the mid-70s (I kid, but not by much) is that it still works today. So, that was the first version I focused on getting running.

And here are the results:

random screen cap from the X11 CTHUGHA
Another screen cap
yes, yet another screen cap

Next up: CTHUGHA in 3-D

Home alone…

2019.01.07

mr. test test test test test

2013-01-08
This is a test.
nothing to see.
move along, please.
2013-01-07 11.17.48

The second worst flight ever

We are currently en route to Argentina. I say en route because I am writing this from a hotel room in Mexico City. My wife, in a terrifically misguided effort, is attempting to wrest the “Worst Flight Ever” award from my father. My father earned the award for a trip he booked me (“it was really cheap” is his excuse) from Seattle to Pittsburgh, with a nine hour layover in Newark, in the middle of the night. Not the most exciting airport ever, Newark is even worse with everything closed. On this trip we flew from Boston to New York, JFK and then took the red eye to Mexico City. After which we have a seventeen hour layover before we fly onto Argentina.

This current flight would have won worst ever, but we had the foresight to get a hotel room and slept until midafternoon. We got a ride downtown and had a great afternoon. Saw a bit of Mexico City, walked through the National Palace and saw a great exhibit on the Maya (here) and walked through the Catedral Metropolitan (here). We are going to grab dinner and then get on another red eye to Argentina.

As a side note, the old winner of the second worst flight was a flight from Seattle to Boston, where the plane had mechanical problems, the fuel was all dumped over the Rockies and then they had us all assume crash position as we landed mainly so we would not notice the fire engines racing along side the plane. Then the airline tried to stuff us all on an airplane too small for the number of passengers. That was a looong flight. The kind of flight where afterwards you feel like you have survived something, we should have had t-shirts printed. I only bring this up to let everyone know even the competition for second worst flight ever is tough. This is not a prize awarded lightly.

Photos to follow when we have reliable internet.