$site_title

Quotes I Like*

New Metric System: 1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

*Your mileage may vary. Some quotes are puns, or require historical or technical literacy to appreciate. If you miss the humor, please re-read the Internet and then try again.

Navigation

More About This Website

This website openly advocates for free-as-in-liberty software and ethical computing, and against software patents and ridiculously long copyright terms.

Welcome!

This is the technically-oriented website for George F. Rice, who often goes by the computer login name of ricegf. This site is decidedly, and intentionally, low-tech for easy maintenance and broad compatiblity across browsers, and focuses on free-as-in-liberty software and ethical computing. (I haven't uploaded quite everything below yet.  It's coming, though!)

Blogs and Writings
Free-as-in-Liberty Software
Non-Computer Games
Living la Vida Libre - This is my technology blog dedicated to whatever strikes my fancy.

Reviews

System76 Starling - An in-depth look at the Ubuntu Linux-powered netbook I received for Father's Day 2009

Installing Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu
- Which is easier?  I try to be objective, but the winner in ease of installation and getting started is quite clear.

Advocacy

My Linux Journey - Linux was created in 1991 by Linus Torvolds, but I didn't get around to using it until the 21st century. Here's how I found my current favorite operating system.

Linux Marketshare - Anti-Linux detractors often claim that Linux has failed in the marketplace. Here's some actual numbers that indicate how free software's most visible product is doing.

Smartphone Marketshare - The hottest computing sector as of 2010 is smartphones. Who's got the momentum, and who's fading fast?
Behexed - This game is reminiscent of Bejeweled®, except that the game elements are arranged in a hexagonal pattern. In addition, if you are fast, you can swap several elements in a single move, allowing for a much more interesting game (in my humble opinion).

Stopwatch Logger - This is a fairly basic stopwatch program, with a GTK+ graphical user interface or command-line interface, for tracking a large number of overlapping events. I originally wrote it to track timings for my son's troop members while working on the Physical Fitness merit badge in Scouting.

Worklog - A fairly sophisticated tool for associating time worked to charge accounts. The original version was written in GBASIC in 1986, was translated into awk and csh in 1991, and eventually rewritten from the ground up in Python in 2004. It works exceptionally well from the command line - so much, in fact, that I still haven't gotten aruond to writing a graphical interface. Yet.

George's Adventure Kit - This hypertext-based "choose your own adventure" story kit was originally written in 1989, predating the web; once the web was invented, I added a translator. My children, at least, enjoyed the "Jamie and Lucy" stories (and wrote a few of their own), the Halloween-themed "Shadow Flight", and the amusing "A Walk in the Woods". It's still a lot easier to write adventures in GAK than in HTML, by the way.,,

Starwars.py - The very first (text only) computer program I ever wrote, back in 1978 the day after I first saw the original Star Wars® movie, translated into Python. The original version ran in only 50 keystrokes on a TI-57 calculator that I affectionally named Alexander, and which I still own to this day.  I guess you never forget your first love...

Python Libraries / Utilities

Hexathon - This library provides classes for hex boards, similar to the old Avalon Hill war games, and various supporting classes to make writing games on hex grids relatively easy. This was my first foray into serious Python programming.

Bunch - This class provides persistent storage of eclectic data. It is heavily modified from a similar concept found on the ActiveState Python Cookbook web site (the original code is licensed under the Python Software License).

Concepts and Rough Code

Texas Yachts Free - This game is based loosely on Yahtzee®, but with several odd twists: The game can be played with more than 5 dice; the dice can be polyhedral, with from 4 to 100 sides each; and one or more dice can be shared among all players in a round, Texas Hold'em style.  Status: Core game libraries written.

ImageShot - This utility attempts to provide very high-end screen shot and image manipulation capability in a free operating environment, similar to SnagIt® for Microsoft Windows.  Status: Basic infrastructure written, but Shutter provides enough capability that my motivation for this project has flagged a bit.

Jitterbug - This game / environment was envisioned as a way to gently introduce children to programming. Using a foolproof dance constructor (really a disquised programming editor), the child can teach little bugs to perform dance moves while dragging its tail - something of a cross between multi-threaded turtle graphics and an over-achieving Spirograph®. (The real fun was in working out the math for wheels rolling around odd custom shapes.)  Status: Mostly the interesting equations and user interface concepts.


Elven Fire - This fantasy role-playing and medevial wargame has been developed and extensively play-tested over the past 20 years my my children and I. It can be played with polyhedral (multi-sided) dice, six-sided dice only, or percentage dice only.

Cosmic Warfare - This futuristic cooperative game invests players as mercenaries intent on stripping the briefly-held enemy flagship of as much of value as possible before escaping back to home base.

Blitzkreig - A short, fast-paced tank combat game that rewards taking risks and as many shots as possible. This kept me entertained during really boring high-school classes. Please don't tell my teachers.

Inflation - Written during the Jimmy Carter administration, when inflation was all the rage (so to speak), cash in this little diversion drops rapidly in value as the game progresses. And, unique among games that I've seen that use cash, the amount of cash you have at the end has nothing to do with who wins. As in life, it's what you do with your cash during the game that counts!

Polyhedral Pigskin - This classic American football game is played using polyhedral (multi-sided) dice.

Tic-Tac-Toe in 6 Dimensions - Everyone has played Tic-Tac-Toe in two dimensions, and most geeks have tried it in 3 dimensions. A professional diversion into hypercube processor configurations led me to work out additional dimensions for Tic-Tac-Toe - with a board supporting 6 dimensions, but only if you dare.

Gut Check - This game is simple to learn and play. You don't really need the board; once you know the scoring combinations, 5 dice and some scratch paper (or a good memory) gets you some cheap amusement.

All original software on this site is free software released under the Gnu General Public License version 3 or later (for earlier software, the Gnu GPL version 2 is still used). You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

All original non-software material on this site has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. This provides a specific framework should you wish to improve upon and redistribute any material from this site.

I hope you find much of value to you here. Please feel free to send me your thoughts on how this site could improve.


Privacy Notice | Feedback | Creative Commons License | ©2001-2010 George F. Rice