Saturday, September 28, 2013


I did a post like this for Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai as well, so... here goes.  By the way, the actual real title of this series is way too fucking long, so I'm just going to call it "WataMote" like the rest of the internet does.

Once again, something in entertainment comes along that draws a parallel to my life.  In WataMote, the main character is quite visibly introverted and has social anxiety disorder.  My social anxiety is very much self-diagnosed, but it very simply explains a lot of things throughout my entire life, so the engineer in me likes that explanation.

My only issue with this anime, and Haganai, is that the main character is totally inept, as the main group was in Haganai.  They want to find happiness, but they go about it the complete and total wrong way.  I know, there needs to be something for entertainment value, but for someone like me who finds that these things resonate fairly well with me, it's kind of disappointing.

I guess my main concern with WataMote is how nobody really notices that Tomoko is suffering and unable to figure out what to do.  Not even her mother.  This does correlate to everyday life where "if you're not an extrovert, fuck you" is an unwritten rule of society, but still.  The only person who takes any sort of notice is the student council's cultural festival chair, but that only happens with three episodes left and there isn't really time to expand on it.  The person that Tomoko is closest to being able to call a friend effectively doesn't get to do anything, except for an anonymous gesture that just confuses her more than anything else.

I'm not even talking about Yuu, who was Tomoko's middle school friend.  By the end of the anime Tomoko is referring to vast swaths of females as "bitches", including Yuu.  Yet she keeps her around to try and get the perspective of someone who she sees as "popular".

(by the way, those glasses look horrible on Yuu.  I know I'm not a fan of large-frame glasses, but still, they just look awkward.)

Honestly, one of the best things about WataMote is its opening song.  At first you're going "so metal", but then as you keep watching and see her breaking the chains and grabbing the sun you realize it's all a metaphor.

I know I'm discussing fiction here, but it does highlight a point that echoes real life for a large number of people: grade school life kinda sucks.  If you get instinctively seen as a "runt of society", you're stuck that way until college.  No joke.  You're effectively forced to mature faster as you constantly wish that everyone else around you would grow the fuck up and realize that all the things they're talking about are entirely trivial and don't matter.  You end up in "that group" that all the cool kids point and laugh at: the group of people that hang out with each other because nobody else will.

In this sense, WataMote and Haganai are kind of grafted at the hip.  Tomoko would probably have joined the Neighbors Club if she'd been a character in Haganai.  Hell, the series even references Haganai, among other things (I counted several Haruhi and K-On! references as well).

If you're going to watch this series, it does have plenty of entertaining moments.  Episode 8, however, was quite difficult for me to watch towards the end because of a scene that seemed to take forever that I knew would all end in tears.  Recalling the amazing opening song, episode 10 has the best transition to it by far.  Also, get yourself a copy of the OP single.  It has three versions of the opening song (karaoke versions don't count).  The first one is the one they used for the anime.  The second one is the opening song with just the female singer doing all the vocals.  The third one is the counterpart to that, with all male vocals.  They're pretty lulzy, especially the male version.

Anyway, I have to draw this post to a close somehow.  I'd give some inspirational words of "ignore the idiots that the grade school environment surrounds you with and make your real friends based on common interests in college" or something, but I hate inspirational speech.  It just sounds cheesy, even if it's true.

Also, WataMote is entertaining.  Hard to watch at points, but entertaining the rest of the time.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Comparator Clock in Minecraft, Explained

So with a very minimal amount of redstone it's possible to make a fast pulsing clock, just by using a comparator in subtract mode (third torch on).  We know it works, but why precisely does it work?  That's what I'm going to cover in this post.

Here is our example circuit.

Let's call the signal coming into the back of the comparator "Signal A", and the signal coming into the side of the comparator "Signal B".

When a comparator is in subtract mode, its output will be the strength of Signal A minus the strength of Signal B.

When the clock is off, Signal A, Signal B, and the comparator's output all have a strength of zero, so the result is plainly obvious: no redstone pulses.  The clock's output is stable.

When the clock is on, Signal A is the full signal strength of 15, and Signal B is zero.  The comparator subtracts zero from 15 and outputs the difference, which is 15.  Two blocks away from the output, Signal B becomes 13.

Signal B is now 13.  The comparator subtracts 13 from 15, and outputs a signal strength of 2.  Signal B once again becomes zero, so the cycle repeats.

This style of clock only works because the comparator has a built-in delay.  This delay is one redstone tick, or a tenth of a second.  The design actually uses this delay as a crucial component, because at any given step of the cycle the output of the comparator is dependent on the previous step's value of Signal B, so the previous value of Signal B needs to stay around just long enough for the comparator to notice.  If it had no delay it would pulse too fast for any other redstone component to even notice that the signal was changing.

When using one such clock, place a repeater somewhere adjacent to the redstone dust that provides Signal B, and then send the signal wherever you need it.

Edit: Notes:
  • In the creation of this post, I used the OptiFine mod and the Faithful 32x32 texture pack.
  • I'm actually flying high above my example redstone in creative mode, and holding the OptiFine Zoom button.  This combined with some cropping in Photoshop takes my obnoxiously large FOV setting out of the equation. (Quake Pro master race)
  • I did forget to turn off particles, which accounts for the bit of redstone that has zero signal having a particle above it.  The clock toggles faster than the particles disappear, the signal is indeed zero there.