change log

I’ve been playing with Markov text generators.  There was a little too much for a blog entry, so see my results here. Also includes links to web pages where you can run the generators yourself, or even download my C code to run against your own texts.


I’ve basically redone the Almeopedia. You can find it here.  The help page is here.


The old version (which is still up, for now) has had a speed problem for a long time. Just loading a page took 40 seconds, which made browsing painful and editing almost impossible.

I’ve been redoing pages (like the numbers page) by using Javascript to process big raw text files, and I used the same method here. It runs lightning-fast on my computer. The first few links may be slow when you try the above link, but it should speed up once the files are in your cache.

Since it’s now my code, I was able to do some side features:

  • shortcuts for the Unicode letters I use
  • changes to facilitate the historical atlases
  • SFW mode (makes the pictures tiny and adds business-friendly nonsense titles)
  • improvements to the choose-your-own-adventure section
  • customizations to the Wiki markup to eliminate busywork

There’s about 3 meg of raw text.  I’m amazed at how fast Javascript can plow through it (e.g. if you do a text search).  I skipped some optimizations I could have done simply because it’s good enough as it is.

I also took the opportunity to put the Historical Atlas of Skouras into Almeopedia. The old version was in Flash, which is deprecated these days.

Unfortunately, the new version isn’t externally editable.  Still, if you find errors or think something should be added, shoot me an e-mail.

There are undoubtedly errors and bugs… I copied all the text by hand, but I haven’t yet checked each page.  But, one of the purposes of the project was to make it easy to revise what’s there and put out lots of new material.



I hinted on Twitter awhile back that I was entirely rewriting a major bit of Almeology, and now it’s done!  It’s on what I used to call Caďinorian  paganism.


That was one of the first pages I put up, 19 years ago, and I’ve never been entirely happy with it. I’ve greatly expanded it, with more information on non-imperial versions of the religion, and much more detail on the actual mythology. Now you can learn what the heroes Maranh and Koleva actually did. Plus you can get married using actual Caďinor wedding vows.

The old version was pretty jokey, which can be fun, but it didn’t fit in with the rest of Almeology. (It was already toned down from the first version I wrote, probably during the original D&D campaign. Sadly, I can’t find that version right now— I hope it’s hiding in one of my cabinets.) The old version was also a little too influenced by G.K. Chesterton and his rumination on paganism from a Catholic perspective.

This project also involved finding etymologies for, and sometimes renaming, a bunch of minor gods and demons. The Verdurian names came with the original document, usually just invented without a meaning. Now most everything means something. (Occasionally this meant changing the Verdurian name— I hope you’re not too bothered that  Évetel, Leanota, and Urdelan are now Ávetu, Eduela, and Uřädec.)

There are a bunch of new pictures of gods.  Two gods are still missing, but I expect to add them in later.

Edit: Finished the last picture, and it’s the best yet!

As part of this project I needed to update the Verdurian and Caďinor dictionaries. I used to keep the lexicon in Word, output it as RTF, and use a program to convert that to HTML.  But upgrades to Word and to the Mac itself broke the system.  Instead, I adapted the code from my revamped numbers list, and generate the dictionaries on demand from a text file using Javascript.

The advantage for me is that I can keep them up to date easily.  The text files also take up less room than the old HTML files. And the advantage for you is that you can ask for just the words you need. Yes, you could use Ctrl-F before, but a listing of search results is far more informative and more likely to give you just the word you need. Plus codes are defined so you can enter all the diacritical marks.

Alert reader Raphael reminded me that my website is now 20 years old.  That’s, like, older than several multibillion-dollar web businesses; I obviously wasn’t a very savvy operator.

To celebrate, I’ve created an explosion of content!

Hopefully that’s a little something for everybody.

My review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century got too long for the blog, so it’s over at the mothership.

In case you missed it, a couple of changes on


Over at Mefi, there’s a nice post on Faye Wong, showcasing a number of videos, some with English subtitles.  The poster was nice enough to mention my page, because of the Mefi connection and, probably, because most of the other Faye sites of that vintage have link-rotted away.


I took the opportunity to update it to Unicode, add more pics, and translate a couple more songs.

I wanted to see how different it would be in this modern world of today.  Answer: very.  What I did back in 1996 was to write out the Chinese text by hand, look it up word by word, puzzle out a translation, and then show it to a Chinese co-worker for help. Today I started by using an IME to enter the text right into the document– for the second new song I realized I could just Google the Chinese lyrics.  In any case I used Google Translate to get a rough draft, then looked up individual words as Google is usually comically wrong with Chinese.  I actually do know the basics of Mandarin grammar now, though I’m still pretty terrible at it.

I found my old folder of Faye stuff, one of many folders full of Information On Stuff that I accumulated back in the pre-Internet era.  (My Dad was the same, I discover.  Once, going through his desk, I found a file on my website: he had printed out some of my pages.  Probably it felt more real when it was down on paper.  Of course, given the scourge of link rot, maybe he had the right idea.)

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