Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2012

I left my job in July to pursue my PhD in computer science.  Though it was fun to be the highballer engineer pulling six figures out of college, there wasn't a day that went by where I didn't feel like a piece of shit for the (lack of) work I did.  I had the chance to put away more than enough money for the six to twelve month period before I became a teaching assistant or research assistant.  At least, I though I'd put away more than enough.  Burning through three months of savings during the cross-country move was enough to put the anxiety back into my daily life.  I made the push to get Google Ads on this site, but, as I'm sure you can tell from the absence thereof, my application was declined.  In light of the relative success and playability of MethRacer, I decided to port it to Android.  Rather than make a paid version for which I would be responsible, I decided instead to give it away for free and attach ad support.  AdMob has earned a name for itself as a ubiquitous and reasonably trustworthy ad medium.  Unfortunately, Unity and AdMob mix about as well as oil and water.  The reason behind this?  Well, to use AdMob, one must make use of their closed-source API for serving ads.  This is not a fun endeavor, as it usually involves subclassing the UnityPlayer for Android.  This was particularly problematic for me, as I only wanted to show ads on the GameOver, as part of an added incentive to stay alive.  After a few tries and more than enough failures, I gave in and started fiddling with MobFox.  My success was much more immediate.  Their API is utterly noninvasive and functions the way one would expect an API to work.  You formulate a GET request and fire it off to their serves.  They return HTML for you to display.  That's it.  Done.

Now I need to figure out how to display HTML in Unity.

It's surprisingly difficult to incorporate AdMob advertising into Unity3D games. There are commercial plugins available, but I would have thought it's a simple matter to connect to an AdMob server, pull down an image, and throw it on the screen with a hyperlink and forwarder ID. That said, incredible progress has been made on the full version of MethRacer. It's working on a Droid 3 and Droid 1 beautifully.

Some important notes about drug testing for welfare. The biggest point is this first paragraph. One need read nothing more. The other two paragraphs are just additional things to consider when stating one's position on drug testing.

Florida ran two sets of drug testing trials, one small as a proof of concept, and the other much larger in scope. In both cases, the cost of testing far exceeded the cost of the benefits denied to the less than 2% of people that failed. There was also no statistically significant change in the number of applicants, which suggests that it wasn't discouraging people who did drugs from applying. From this, one can state with certainty that it is economically ill advised to drug test welfare applicants.

If someone fails a test for cannabis or for opiates, it may be the case that they're using the materials to make their lives easier. [WARNING, ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE AHEAD] I have some relatives who, for the sake of pain relief, opt for cannabis over opiates because (1)the pain relieving effect is greater, (2)the psychological impairment is less significant when compared to opiates, and (3)the rate of tolerance is higher for opiates. They're not on welfare, but I offer this information to indicate that doing drugs doesn't automatically make one incapable as a worker. It could be the case that someone is consuming drugs to make it possible to work, not that they're using their benefits on drugs (which, because of safeguards in the system, is unlikely). The implicit assumption that drugs == bad worker is a fallacy of false equivocation.

A surprising number [citation needed | exact numbers needed] of people using social welfare are already employed, but are either at less-than-subsistence level, or require additional assistance. The average benefits allocated on a month-to-month basis is less than $300 for a family. Welfare isn't just EBT/FoodStamps. Welfare includes child services, health care, and a wide variety of other options. A child should never go hungry because a parent failed a drug test. [WARNING, APPEAL TO EMOTION]

If something above is inaccurate, please let me know.

SMBC is a long standing favorite for me. I jumped at the opportunity to purchase "Save Yourself, Mammal!" when I heard it was headed to print. The humor is consistently outstanding, and there were several comics which had me in tears. My biggest lamentation is that the collection is a bit sparse for my tastes. Having come from the full 2000+ collection of online comics, I was disappointed to discover so few were included in this publication. That said, I believe it's a better assortment than that present in the second book: The Most Dangerous Game. Hopefully we will see someday the full SMBC anthology, which I believe should be named, "The Gigantic Weiner Book." Perhaps someday a person will come along and scrape the SMBC site and compile the entire collection into something readable on the kindle. Until then, I recommend picking up his books:

Save Yourself, Mammal!
The Most Dangerous Game