The state of compiz

Since my Ubuntu Tips post, Compiz has really come a long way.  If you’re reading this because you checked out my ubuntu tips tutorial, you’re going to want to go here: for the most up-to-date methods of getting compiz on your box.  I especially like the new compiz-manager program that will load compiz, load your theme engine, and if it craps out, automagically revert to your default window manager.

If you need help with getting compiz working, you can usually find me trolling around #ubuntu-xgl on

What is in a name?

When I was around 13-14, I was playing a LAN game of "Quake" with a friend I used to write programs with.  At the time our in-game aliases were "Brandon" and "David".  At some point we came upon a mod for the game that caused blood to splatter on the walls when someone was shot.  After a particularly violent attack with a rocket launcher, all that was left of David was a particularly fancy splatter of blood on the wall.  I remarked that it looked like something of a Picasso.  I changed my alias then to "RedPicasso".

Fast forward to around the time of my 15th birthday.  Me, my brother, and our two friends from down the street formed a clan in a then-new game called "Counter-Strike".  Our theme was the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…  Death, Famine, Pestilence, and War.  I was given War, though not for any particular reason, I just liked it.

Another few years pass, I’m in late high school and taking my fourth year of German.  War was so common a name on the internet, so I’d stuck with RedPicasso (still my AIM screen name) throughout.  At some point I got tired of people asking if I compared myself to Picasso artistically, as I really have no skill, so a change was in order.  I chose to combine the two names, trying on RedWar for size.  Well, it was neat and all, but didn’t have that feeling I wanted in a name.  Something definitively me.  I decided to use the german equivalent "RotKrieg".  Yeah, that lasted  until about 45 seconds after I told the first person and they said, "Like butt rot?"

So, I took the best aspects of each name, Red and Krieg and since about 5 years ago, RedKrieg has been my alter-ego of sorts.  Friends with whom I forged a relationship online before meeting them usually call me Red when we meet in person, and I’ve been RedKrieg so long its as natural as my real name.

A bit of sci-fi

I woke up this morning with a half-formed idea for something really cool, and in my dreamy state I tend to float in whilst I shower, I managed to form a halfway decent idea for a sci-fi universe.  Take for example the series Stargate…  The whole series revolves around the one little device that lets you travel huge distances instantly.  This morning’s shower formed my device…

The Yang.  A vessel of enormous proportions, maybe half the diameter of earth’s moon.  Big, but not impossible.  Not solid of course either, so it wouldn’t exert the same gravitational fields.  Before I can explain what Yang is, I must explain its creation.

Maybe some 400 or so years ago, scientists on a far off world with technology maybe 1000 years removed from our own had an idea for a vessel of nearly infinite power to take them between the stars and beyond.  They envisioned using a quantum link between our dimension and an alternate universe, where everything was similar, save for one important fact…  Every proton in our universe is an antiproton there, and every electron has an antielectron twin.  This antiuniverse was created at the exact instant the link was created between the two universes.  The link is a permanant facet of both universes and can be moved only with enormous gravitational force.

A side note about alternate dimensions should be added here to explain how a universe can be created, in order to head off questions you’ll have in a moment before they even arise.  When a universe unfolds, so does its history and its future.  Every event leading up to the unfolding of a universe has occured, even if in the first universe it seems as though there was no universe to be there earlier.  This allows for the alternate universe to have the exact same history as the source, with the exception of every charge being reversed.

The tunnel was deliberately made in the disc of matter around a forming star, scientists from our universe then used nanites created on their end of the tunnel to begin construction of a ship to surround it.  Powerful electromagnetic fields were used to build the first nanite on the other side of the link and it was made to self replicate, just as the nanites on our side.  Power was generated by sending atoms toward the tunnel, the nanites on the other side would send antiatoms and the collision in the center would convert all of their mass into energy, further fueling the construction efforts.  Two identical ships were built using this nanotechnology.  One here, the Yang.  One in the antiuniverse, the Yin.  It took many months for the two ships to be built, and once they were, the enormous gravitational pull they generated was enough to keep the quantum tunnel at their very centers.  The Yang was flown from its orbit about the infant star and the scientists entered to begin what would become their race’s greatest undertaking.  The nanites on the other side were instructed to build identical copies of everything on board the ships, but the scientists did not count on one important aspect:  Once they stepped foot upon the ship, the nanites replicated them on the other side as well.  The giant quantum computers at the heart of each ship were linked between the two realities, effectively doubling their already gargantuan processing power.  A power used by the sentient computer to give the same gift to its creators as they had given to it…  A quantum link between their two minds, joining them as one.  Two universes, one consciousness.  Now the scientists, with intellect vastly improved, set forth to learn and explore, to help and to save.  They are aboard both the Yin and the Yang, consciousness always aware of both realities, the computer keeping them in touch with themselves over limitless distances via quantum links.  Two universes, one crew.  What wonders will they find?

Now that I type it all out, it seems pretty cheesy, but I think I can make it work.