spotmarket Prototyping

The past few months have been a series of shifting goals and commitments for me, both personally and professionally. I’ve spent more time outside running trails in the Marin Headlands and I changed jobs, landing a engineering role at a trading firm.

The winter months in San Francisco mean rain, and as such, I have been spending a lot of time reading Python tutorials, collaborating with James and Greg at element43, and working on a list of design requirements for the spotmarket trading platform.

The biggest addition to the project has been the buildout of a proper homelab server running ESXi. I’ve wanted to build out a homelab since I’m a network engineer and often tinker, but I’ve never really had a driver for the project. For the odd virtual machine or instance of a virtual switch/router that I’ve needed, I’ve leveraged an install of Oracle VirtualBox on my desktop. Now that I want to run development, production, and other testing machines, I built out a server.

Server ‘esx-01’, Uninspired Name

I ended up running ESXi 5.5 because I struggled to get my ‘unsupported’ NIC to work in 6.0. I followed a few guides to load drivers into the installation ISO, but was unable to get the setup procedure to complete properly for 6.0. My needs are basic on the VMware end so I’m sticking with 5.5 as I was able to get that to install with Realtek 8168 onboard NIC.

Details for the build:

  • ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 Motherboard
  • AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8-Core 3.5 GHz CPU
  • SanDisk Ultra II 2.5″ 480GB SSD
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB)

IMG_0337 IMG_0338


Python Learning

I was in a computer engineering program for two years in college before switching over and finishing in a telecommunications program. During that time I was exposed to assembly, C, and C++. I spent many late nights struggling with those languages, so I was apprehensive to dive back into programming.

I picked Python as the main language for this project and so far it has been outstanding. I’m getting more comfortable with the Python datatypes, iterators, and reliance on indentation. For data manipulation I’m using pandas, which for anyone that loves rows and columned data, it is second nature.


Another item that has taken a lot of brain time has been the switch from MySQL to PostgreSQL. I’ve had to learn about the use of schemas, differences in data types, how to enable TCP access, and migrate my administration/query generator tool over to pgAdmin.

The Chats

If you have any comments or want to chat with me, find me on the new #k192space channel at Upcoming posts will delve into coding and talk about the reporting that I’ve started to build.


20 Questions with Blake

This week I opened up the floor for questions on Twitter and here are some of your questions answered.

If I review the type of games that have really captivated me, they all contain a sandbox element. You are given a place to play, a set of tools, and you can do what you want within the limits of the game framework.

The Doom series, with it’s ability to create custom levels, textures, and game logic drew me into game design at an early age. The Sim City series was especially entertaining as you could build something up, save it, and then see how it performs under disaster scenarios. Alien invasion? Four volcanoes? <evil laugh>.

An amazing game called Star Control II really stands out. The first time I pulled up the map in Star Control II my eyes went huge with anticipation. You mean I can go to any system at any time? It isn’t all scripted? Eve mimics this type of exploration possibility.

I think I saw a ad for Eve on a side-banner ad at PCGamer’s site in 2009. At the time I wasn’t playing anything with any dedication and I had never played one of those new-fangled “MMORMOOPMMGOOPGs” so I thought I would give it a try.

I spent a few weeks trying to figure out how items were structured. Lows, Mids, and Highs? Lasers, Artillery, and Rails? Armor, Shields, and *gulp* Hull? I remember that I put some lasers on my Gallente frigate to run Level 1 missions and I exploded almost instantly due to not knowing how to tank damage.

After pouring through guides, forum posts, and chatting in the NPC channels I came to the conclusion that joining a corporation was the next course of action. Mining is fun, right? So let’s join a mining corporation.

Three years later, I still have relationships with some of the people in my original corporation. I can tell you who has kids, when time they wake up, go to work, and how drunk they can get and still warp to a gate. Space friends I tell you.

My dad’s name is Ray and he is a architect and private pilot. Here’s a picture of me flying with him in his Piper PA-32.

Please note that I have a fear of heights and yet strangely I feel very comfortable in a plane when my dad is piloting. I have major anxiety issues on commercial flights which I believe has to due with a trust factor; I trust my dad to pilot the plane well because I know his abilities. In the commercial setting, I have no control over what is going to happen.

And yes, I got the Kindergarten Cop reference.

I wish. have you looked at the T2 production workflow?! Eve Journey has a good summary of the skills and people involved but honestly, who at CCP came up with it?

I understand that it was designed so that no one person can control the entire chain from raw materials to end product, but come on. I’m an industrialist-spreadsheet-custom-sql-database-wallet-manager type of guy and have spent hours trying to figure out to optimize my Tier 2 production chains.

Try this trick: if the room is spinning, you should lay on your back on the bed. Place one leg on the floor. Strange, but it helps me out!

If you haven’t read this post about one corp member’s failed April Fools joke, then do so now. Here’s the crux of the post:

This year, I turned my brain towards a simple, yet massive prank: In between the hours of midnight and five AM, I was going to move the WH PoS one moon to the left, then, send a corp mail saying “har har i wuz spy and stole your iskies”.

I have not. It is all about chance. I can say that if you are in a C6/5 and scanning around there is a very high probability that you will run into Aperture Harmonics. When you get an undesirable WH link, you hop in your battleship, Orca, or Capital and close the wormhole.

One time we got a link to a Aperture system with a few Capitals in it. My corpmate wanted to close the link quickly so he got into his Orca. As he was about to warp to it I yelled over comms, “stop! hold position!” as a Aperture Dreadnaught appeared on our side of the wormhole. I sat quietly for a few seconds, taking a deep breath while looking at the ferocious Revelation waiting out his jump timer.

Before I reacted, he jumped back to their side, closing the wormhole. Apparently they also wanted to link closed! As always in wormhole space, have cloakey eyes everywhere.

Sound? Rain and thunderstorms. Favorite color? Navy blue. Eve in the next few years? I would like to have a BPO of every Capital, Subcapital, Module, and Ammo and become a industry giant. I’ve collected 3 Carrier, 3 Freighter, and the majority of the useful Module and Ammo BPOs, but I still have a long way to go.

Sleepers! Ah, yes. I spent an afternoon doing some reading on the origin of the Sleepers and found some very interesting comments from CCP Dropbear:

The complexity of the Sleeper’s story runs so deeply that it may take some time to understand.

The pieces of this puzzle are scattered across a wide area, and a stretch of time unlike any event in EVE has seen before.

We are watching and waiting for the day to come when the capsuleers will move this particular storyline forward. We are still waiting.

Ominous yet intriguing. Hopefully we are in store for the same type of depth as in the Babylon 5 “Space Opera” (as I call it) series.