Blogposts about the update of a.k.a. This site.

Recent Blogposts of Meta

Resuming Normal Operation and Future Plan of Sadale for 2021 and 2022

Jan. 23, 2021, 2:20 p.m. Meta

Hey guys! I'm glad to announce that Sadale is finally resuming normal operation. Sadale had previously entered limited operation mode due to the wordings in the employment agreement that I've signed with my ex-employer. With my new day job, I'm very glad that I'm able to, once again, work on personal projects again.

Accomplishments in Limited Operation Mode

Despite that Sadale was in limited operation mode, I've managed to pull of the following during accomplishments:

Planned Projects

Currently, the following projects are planned:

  • By the end of January 2021:
    • Global Game Jam 2021 Participation
  • By the end of 2021:
    • Significant improvement in my music composition and audio engineering skill
    • Experiment with using the same PCB for two different projects
      • Development of a USB programmable 7-segment LED device
      • Development of a low-cost internet-synchronized clock
  • Starting from 2022:
    • Continue developing ilo musi. Hopefully the distribution would happen in early 2023

Planned Project: Participation in Global Game Jam 2021

Last year was a combo-breaker of my Global Game Jam participation due to the limited operation mode. This year I'm very glad that I'm able to join the event again! :D

This year I plan to do something different. I'll be joining with fellow Toki Pona speakers. For those who didn't know, Toki Pona is a minimalist constructed language with less than 130 words. Many wordings are ambiguous that the listener has to figure stuffs out by context. At first we thought about communicating with team members exclusively in Toki Pona. But some of the team members seems not to be able to speak the language well. So I'm not sure if it'd be a good idea.

Let's see how it'd turn out. Maybe we'd end up developing a game that has Toki Pona language inside. Maybe it'd be fun to make the game. Wait for the end of the event and we can tell.

Planned Project: Music Composition Training

One of the major problem of how I compose music as of today is that it heavily relies on trial and error. I do understand the theory/math of the plugin that I use. However, I've no idea on how they sound like. I just tinker with the knobs until it sounds right.

In addition, I'd like to learn efficient mean of transcribing existing music pieces so that I could reverse engineer them. Then I can make my own with similar style of the reference work.

Here's my plan in regards of music training that aims to improve my music composition and audio engineering skill:

  • [done] Pitch identification, individual note. i.e. CDEFGAB and with sharps and flats
  • [done] Melodic interval identification. i.e. m2 M2 m3 M3 P4 P5 m6 M6 m7 M7 P8
  • [postponed] Chord identification
    • base note, quality, variation, etc.
    • (postponing for microtonal melodic interval identification)
  • [postponed] Chord progression identification
  • [WIP] Microtonal melodic interval identification
  • Rhythm identification
  • Timbre identification (synth, filter, etc)
  • Maybe playing music on MIDI controller

In the past months, I've been using GNU Solfege for ear training. It worked well until I got stuck at harmoinic progression. Then I decided to take a step back and used another tool for training my skill on identifying the base note of a chord. What I've found was that I often miss the note by a semitone. So I thought that it might be a good idea to do microtonal melodic interval identification first. Maybe that'd ultimately help with chord progression identification.

As for timbre identification training, I believe that I'd have to use some kind of specialized tool for that as GNU Solfege doesn't support that. Maybe I could find one online. Or maybe I could develop an LV2 host that'd train me to identify sound produced by a synthesizer with random parameters.

It's going to take a while for me to complete this training. Hopefully I'd become a better music composer after this. Then I'll try composing music with my newly learned musical knowledge. Maybe I could create instrument template for making music as well.

Planned Project: Two Projects Sharing the Same PCB

I'd like to perform an experiment of developing two different product using the same PCB. That's mainly because, based on the experience of ilo nanpa, the units of production of my projects would be very small. Maybe the demand would be like 10~20 units. However, when I'm ordering the PCB, I'd have to order at least 5~10 pieces of them at once. Having multiple designs on the same PCB would allow me to dynamically allocate the same batch of physical PCB for multiple projects. This would allow me to have less unutilized PCB stored in my home.

I've come up with a preliminary schematics and I've tried sourcing the components for the projects. The only component that I couldn't source so far is the USB-capable microcontroller. I was told by multiple sellers that that particular model of microcontroller would take months to restock. So I guess I have to pick another one and redesign the schematics.

Planned Project: Shared PCB: USB Programmable 7-segment LED Device

This device is just like LED name badge. Except that it has 7-segment LEDs on it instead of LED matrix. Here's the planned feature:

  • A microcontroller with USB capability. Maybe STM32F070F6
  • 8-digits x 2 lines of 7-segment LEDs
  • Powered by either batteries or USB
  • USB interface for programming the content to be shown on the LEDs
  • Maybe a mechanical case

With this project, hopefully I can learn working with USB, which could be useful for the ilo musi project (the portable game console) if I wish to implement USB feature for that.

Planned Project: Shared PCB: Low-cost Internet-synchronized Clock

This device is just a LED clock with internet time sync mechanism. Apparently the auto-synchronized clocks are rather expensive in the market and it isn't worth my money to purchase them. So I'd like to develop my own one. Here's the planned feature:

  • ESP8266 microcontroller for time sync and configuration via Wi-Fi
  • Large 4-digit 7-segment LED display
  • Buzzer with alarm function
  • USB-powered
  • Mechanical case

With this project, I should be able to learn designing mechanical case, which'd be useful for designing the mechanical case of ilo musi project in the future.

Planned Project: ilo musi - New Features to be Developed

This was the main project that got suspended during limited operation mode. It's the portable game console project that I've spend a year working on. From now on I'm able to work on this project again. After working on all of the aforementioned projects, I'd like to make a better version of ilo musi. The following features are currently planned:

  • Microcontroller upgrade:
    • Get the one with more RAM so that the game can be loaded to the RAM. It eliminates flash wearing issue.
    • Alternatively, get the one with higher number of write cycles. The current 1k cycles is just too little.
  • Audio system overhaul
    • More playback channels
    • Increasing bit-depth from 1-bit to 8-bit
    • Hopefully can maintain the current performance by using precomputed tables of waveforms and stuffs
  • Allow exporting games developed for this console to the web
    • Technically it should be possible to export a C program to the web. I'd just need to port the API of the game console for the web
    • This is essential for people who doesn't own a console to play the games. It'd be helpful for game jams
  • A mechanical case for the console
    • Maybe use a 3D printer as the expected units of production is rather low
  • Maybe Arduino library support so that the device can be doubled as a kind of development board
  • Maybe Arduino-compatible pinout
  • Maybe USB support

End of Blogpost

Hopefully all these projects would lead Sadale to a wondrous future. It'd take Sadale a step closer to the dream of becoming "a cyber entity capable for creating literally anything possible using computers".

Sadale Had Entered Limited Operation Mode

Sept. 22, 2019, 11:27 a.m. Meta

Hey guys! It's been quite a while since my last blogpost. I've got a bad news for you guys. Sadale had entered limited operation mode. Due to copyright concerns, Sadale will not perform further research and development work until this mess is cleared.

What happened?

After I stopped freelancing, it took me a while to land on a day job. In fact, I've got two offers. The first offer is offering 30% more salary than my first day job. And the second one is 60% more than my first day job. After briefly working for the company who made the first offer to me, I decided to switch to the second one. Mostly as a tactical move to get me decent compensation in all of my future jobs. As it goes on, it's found that this company I'm working for is rather awesome, tho.

Anyway, here's the problem. For both of the offers, the contract is claiming the copyright ownership of stuffs that I work on outside my work hours.

- Wait what?

Yes. They're claiming it. I pointed that out immediately after receiving the contract for both companies. And, well, I was verbally told that the work that I do outside the work hour wouldn't have their copyright assigned to the company. I didn't further fight for that because I pretty much needed a job after I was done with freelancing. Anyway I think that verbal commitment isn't trustworthy because that isn't in black and white. And I'm sure that the guy who told me that I can retain the copyright ownership of the stuffs that I work on outside my work hours isn't the only guy who could sue me.

Consequence of the Bullshit Clause of the Contract

Since I've signed that bullshit contract, it means that the company I'm working for may have the right to claim any further R&D work I do, even outside my work hours, which is bullshit. I mean, I'm not using my work hours, nor the company's resource, nor the company's connection for my personal projects. I'm not even competing with the company I'm working for.

I've asked my supervisor to disclaim the products that I develop on project-basis by email. After going thru some troubles, this had went thru. However, I'm not entirely sure if the emails would be legally binding. I really have to consult a lawyer, just to be safe.

Here's the problem. I pretty much need the copyright for everything that I develop outside work hours because I share and publish my works, often under open source licenses for software and electronics, and creative common license for music and other creative works. Since I've signed the contract, I'm no longer able to develop anything outside work hours without risking getting the copyright of the stuffs claimed by the company I'm working for, unfortunately. :(

The wordings of the copyright clause in the contact of the day job that I had before I started freelancing was different. It was worded in a way that they'd only be claiming the copyright of the stuffs that I was ordered to do at work. That why copyright was never a concern until I've taken this day job.

Moving on

To avoid getting the copyright of personal projects claimed by the company I'm working for, Sadale had entered limited operation mode. Until consulting a lawyer, I'll not work on any copyrightable stuffs outside my work hours.

The current company I'm working for is having a rather awesome work culture. I think that I'm probably able to learn far more from working for this company than the day job that I had before I started freelancing. In short run, I'll continue to work for this company. I'm stopping all of the development work of all of my personal projects. I can't even join events like Global Game Jam with this clause in effect as it'll generate copyrightable, god damn it!

Depending on the advise of lawyer consultation session, I may have to look for another job to get this sorted out in long run. I could also try fighting for the clause. However, considered that it was such an ordeal to get the copyright disclaiming email (which may not even be legally binding) to get thru, I wouldn't be optimistic on fighting for rewording of the clause.

However, works that don't generate copyrightable can go on. For example, I'm particularly interested in solder paste stencil-based soldering. It has been taking me like two freaking hours to produce a unit of ilo nanpa (the Toki Pona calculator). And the demand of the device is just far too low for outsourcing the assembly process because that'd be cost inefficient. With stencil-based soldering, it should save me quite a bit of time on producing the units. As production method isn't copyrightable, practicing the soldering technique will work even with this bullshit clause being in effect.

Perhaps I'll also take time on learning new stuffs, like learning music composition techniques, and perhaps also learning drawing. This will be done by mostly following tutorials available online. I'll expect all of the stuffs that I make for the purpose of learning will have copyright assigned to the company I'm working for. Anyway I won't care because those are just work done by following the tutorials and they won't be publish-worthy. On the bright side, after this copyright crap get sorted out, I'll be a much more capable individual. Then I'll be able to produce stuffs that has far better quality than I am able to now.

To avoid any potential dispute, I've decided not to work on the portable game console ilo musi any further until this situation is fixed. Not even for non-copyrightable works like units production and testing. Therefore, the original target completion date of ilo musi project by the end of 2019 will not happen. This project is now completely suspended. :(

For now, I'm going to focus all of my power on preparing for the upcoming Maker Faire. I'll be exhibiting ilo nanpa in Maker Faire Shenzhen 2019. This will be the first exhibition in my life! I'll probably be producing extra units of ilo nanpa so that they can be exhibited during the event. As the exhibition preparation is quite a bit of work, I'll look for free lawyer consultation session from the government some time after the end of the Maker Faire. Goes HTTPS

April 15, 2016, 2:20 a.m. Meta

Thanks to Let's Encrypt. We can now get SSL certificates for free!

I was slacking off while doing homework. That's why I did the HTTPS setup yesterday. :P

Currently, only some of the subdomains of supports HTTPS. I'd like to test it for a while before enabling it for all of the domains.

Many image links in blogposts are still having http:// prefix . I'll convert them to https:// when I got time.

Hiatus of Development

March 3, 2016, 11:43 a.m. Cellphone Diver Koloniigo Meta RPS

I'm sorry to announce that the development of all project of Sadale is suspended since I made the last blogpost. It is expected not to be resumed for weeks.

The main issue is that right after my illness, I got a lot of homework to do because they stacks up while I was sick. Right after I completed them, I got tests. Then I got to do revision. And now I'm writing essays. Later I need to prepare for presentations. Then I got exams. :(

Apparently I won't be able to work on any project until (hopefully) the end of the exam.

Anyway, there is some unannounced progress on Cellphone Diver that I made a while ago. That's upgrade store! I've got the basic of upgrade store functional:

Cellphone Diver Upgrade Store

Currently, there are two projects to be completed:

  • Cellphone Diver
  • Koloniigo

When I got time, I'll do Cellphone Diver first. If it's a success(get to the frontpage of a flash game site), I'll start another flash game project before working on Koloniigo.

Meanwhile, there's a project that I completed developing. It's the website for next International Asynchronous Rock Paper Scissors event that will be held in 1st April 2016! I've contacted a Polish guy and he will probably host the next event. The site is done and instruction on setting up the site is sent to the hoster. I'll let you guys know when the site is ready. Stay tuned!

Major Website Update!

Oct. 24, 2015, 6:13 p.m. Meta

I've updated the UI of the website!

Feature of this new site:

  • Modern UI (Achievement unlocked! I've never did it before!)
  • Tag filtering function
  • Merged blog with homepage
  • Social network buttons
  • SEO (Yet another achievement unlocked! It's first time that I do it)
  • Mobile friendly
  • Works without javascript(with minor font display issue)
  • Easier captcha for comments
  • Bugfix: image display resize issue

New site icon

New site icon

Old homepage (archived)

old homepage

Old blog (archived)

old blog

Yes. The logo looks like the bootstrap one. I didn't know the existence of bootstrap by the time I made that logo. Now I know it. That's why I've changed the logo.

This is indeed a big improvement of this website. It have taken me 10 days for working on this update. It's still not done. This site still lack content like product list and link exchange. I'll add more stuffs to this site soon!