Friday, February 12, 2016

Exercising in the clouds

Yesterday I wrote a computer program that creates a new "database" of positions from the M1-h positions "database" by filtering them. The positions with only white pieces and maybe a few black pawns are selected. This means that black most of the time cannot interfere the mate. Neither with a protected attacking square, nor with a black piece that can be used to interpose the check. The cage around the black king is build from the aura of the white pieces. It took me just about an hour or two to write it. It works like a charm. But then I tried to upload it to the cloud, so that you guys can use it too. I saw that Aox used google drive, so I tried to publish it with onedrive. That was stupid of course, my memory failed me there. The documentation of onedrive is so crystal clear, that it took me a few ours to find out that it wasn't possible there. When I finally discovered my mistake, I tried to publish the program on google drive, but after reading their crystal clear documentation and wasting an hour or two to implement it, I stumbled on the fact that google drive is going to abandon their solution at august 31 this year. So I switch to dropbox, which crystal clear documentation took me another two hours, only to find out that they had placed their service behind a paywall. I dabbled around with a few other free hosting solutions, all with crystal clear documentation, so I wasted more and more hours, to finally end up with github.

What is it with those techies?! None of them is able to write an intuitive user interface, and none of them can write a comprehensible documentation. As a seasoned programmer with 30 years experience I'm not too clumsy with computers, but why has it always to take a few hours to find out something which is essentially simple? At github I am wading kneedeep throught the repositories and branches I have created, I even had created an automatic webpage occasionally, but how to customize it is still hidden behind vague unexplained concepts, unreadable "crystal clear" documentation and buggy software which gives no clue that I managed to let it fail. I even found myself typing prompt commands in terminal mode at a certain time, bringing me back to the strong winter of 1928 when I had done that for the last time.

Of course I will find out how to publish a page in the cloud in the end, since I always do. But why do all those techies live still in the stone age? I suspect that I will have to make my own punch cards, but in the end I will prevail.


  1. Ah, the (not fond) memories of those card punching days! Everything was batch processed, with a 3-day turnaround. The one skill you learned immediately was to always desk-check your code before submitting to the batch queue. Otherwise, the turnaround time (typically, 2 days) would kill your productivity.

    I'm just curious: what language/IDE did you use for your program to extract the mates? I just downloaded Libre Office so I can take a crack at using Base (database) and the version of Basic that it supports. I'm still contemplating whether I want to invest the time to learn how to be productive using it.

    1. The "database" between quotes is a javascript FEN-array.

    2. Thanks for the info. I was pretty sure (given the context of the recent discussions of Aox's tools) that the "database" was the FEN-array. My personal "weapon of choice" for filtering any text file has always been gawk, the GNU version of awk. (I know: it sounds like a parrot squawking.) It's so easy to set up regular expression patterns and actions to be taken whenever the pattern(s) match, which is the essential function of a filtering program.

  2. You can dit the source of Blogger-Pages and use javascript