April Fools Puzzle Contest

See https://blog.ircpuzzles.org/2023/04/2023-april-fools-live/ for how to play.

Every year, the libera IRC network has a puzzle contest starting on 04-01. (It’s not an april fools joke). It’s fun but quite difficult.

This year I wrote about a third of the puzzles. Give them a try, either alone or as a team! It will be open indefinitely, but social activity will die off in a week or two.

As of writing, no one has won (finished all the puzzles) just yet.

D&D Spells: SRD vs 5e Player’s Handbook

I’ve been working on a spell guide for D&D games. During the process, I researched the differences between the Dungeons and Dragons 5e Player’s Handbook (PHB) and the 5e System Reference Document (SRD).

For those that don’t know, in 3e Wizards of the Coast released the core rules of the game for free. They’ve continued to do so for 3.5, 4, and 5e. The 5e rules were released under Creative Commons recently (thanks!), in response to some community backlash over proposed licensing changes (eek!).

There are 361 spells in the PHB, but only 318 in the SRD. Which are missing?

Here are the 43 spells in the PHB but not the SRD:

  • arcane gate
  • armor of agathys
  • arms of hadar
  • aura of life
  • aura of purity
  • aura of vitality
  • banishing smite
  • beast sense
  • blade ward
  • blinding smite
  • chromatic orb
  • circle of power
  • cloud of daggers
  • compelled duel
  • conjure barrage
  • conjure volley
  • cordon of arrows
  • crown of madness
  • crusader’s mantle
  • destructive wave
  • dissonant whispers
  • elemental weapon
  • ensnaring strike
  • feign death
  • friends
  • grasping vine
  • hail of thorns
  • hex
  • hunger of hadar
  • lightning arrow
  • phantasmal force
  • power word heal
  • prayer of healing
  • ray of sickness
  • searing smite
  • staggering smite
  • swift quiver
  • telepathy
  • thorn whip
  • thunderous smite
  • tsunami
  • witch bolt
  • wrathful smite

Why are they missing? Well, the official WoTC answer is:

In general, the criteria for what went into the SRD is if it (1) was in the 3E SRD, (2) has an equivalent in 5th edition D&D, and (3) is vital to how a class, magic item, or monster works. For example, the 3E SRD has the delay poison spell, but in 5th edition that’s handled by the protection from poison spell, so protection from poison is in the SRD.

Wizards of the Coast, SRD5.1 FAQ

Looking at the actual list, every single spell missing was (1) not in the 3E SRD, (2) was added in 5E. I was curious what fraction of new 5E spells got added to the SRD vs. not, but it looks like no one has a list of new 5E spells, so I couldn’t easily check.

The following are renamed but present in the SRD, presumably for trademark reasons:

  • drawmij’s instant summons, evard’s black tentacles, leomund’s secret chest, melf’s acid arrow, mordenkainen’s faithful hound, mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion, mordenkainen’s private sanctum, otiluke’s freezing sphere, otiluke’s resilient sphere, otto’s irresistible dance, rary’s telepathic bond, tasha’s hideous laughter, and tenser’s floating disk are all shortened. They become instant summons, black tentacles, secret chest, acid arrow, faithful hound, magnificent mansion, private sanctum, freezing sphere, resilient sphere, irresistable dance, telepathic bond, and floating disk.
  • bigby’s hand becomes arcane hand
  • mordenkainen’s sword becomes arcane sword
  • nystul’s magic aura becomes arcanist’s magic aura

Old Wikipedia (urdu)

Pakistan has blocked access to Wikipedia. Old Wikipedia is now available in urdu, and has the same content.

We are working on more clearly communicating the Old Wikipedia is not Wikipedia in Urdu like we do in English–translation help would be welcome!


پاکستان نے ویکیپیڈیا کی رسائی روک دی ہے۔ پرانا ویکیپیڈیا اب بزبان اردو میں دستیاب ہے، اور اس میں پہلے جیسی مواد ہے۔

ہم انگریزی میں جیسے، ہم پرانے ویکیپیڈیا کو ویکیپیڈیا کے بطور بزبان اردو مذکور نہیں کہنے کی سعی کر رہے ہیں- ترجمہ کی مدد خوشبو دائی جائے گی!

2023 Flash media longevity testing (3 years later)

  • Year 0 – I filled 10 32-GB Kingston flash drives with random data.
  • Year 1 – Tested drive 1, zero bit rot. Re-wrote drive 1 with the same data.
  • Year 2 – Tested drive 2, zero bit rot. Re-tested drive 1, zero bit rot. Re-wrote drives 1-2 with the same data.
  • Year 3 – Tested drive 3, zero bit rot. Re-tested drives 1-2, zero bit rot. Re-wrote drives 1-3 with the same data.

This year they were stored in a box on my shelf.

Will report back in 1 more year when I test the fourth 🙂

2022 books

Here’s a list of books I read in 2022. The ones in bold I recommend.


1632 by Eric Flint
Alex Verus 1: Fated by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 2: Cursed by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 3: Taken by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 4: Chosen by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 5: Hidden by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 6: Burned by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 7: Bound by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 8: Marked by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 9: Fallen by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 10: Forged by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus 11: Risen by Benedict Jacka
Art of the Adept 2: Secrets and Spellcraft by Michael G Manning
Art of the Adept 3: Scholar of Magic by Michael G Manning
Aspects by John M Ford
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman
Bastion (Immortal Great Souls 1) by Phil Tucker
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Citadel: Training in Necessity by Unillustrated
City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender
Cradle 11: Dreadgod by Will Wight
Crown of Vengeance by James Mallory and Mercedes Lackey
Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson
Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Gamechanger by L. X. Beckett
Genius by Leopoldo Gout
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Grand Game by Tom Elliot (LitRPG)
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Head-on by John Scalzi
He Who Fights with Monsters 1 by Shirtaloon
He Who Fights with Monsters 2 by Shirtaloon
He Who Fights with Monsters 3 by Shirtaloon
He Who Fights with Monsters 4 by Shirtaloon
He Who Fights with Monsters 5 by Shirtaloon
Highfire by Eoin Colfer
Immortality Code by Douglas E Richards
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees
Insane City by Dave Barry
Iron Prince by Bryce O’Conner and Luke Chmilenko
Isolate (Grand Illusion 1) by L E Modesitt Jr
The Kevin Jenkins Experience by Hambone
Kusuriya no Hitorigoto / Alchemist’s Journal by Natsu Hyuuga et al
The Left-handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
Lock In by John Scalzi
Mage’s Blood by David Hair
Mark of the Fool by J M Clarke
Martian Abroad by Carrie Vaughn
Master Li and Number Ten Ox 1: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
Master Li and Number Ten Ox 2: Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart
Master Li and Number Ten Ox 3: Eight Skilled Gentlemen by Barry Hughart
Mazer in Prison by Orson Scot Card
Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
Memory of Earth 2: Call of Earth by Orson Scott Card
Millenial Mage by J L Mullins
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Orc on the Wild Side by Tom Holt
Pact by wildbow
Penric’s Progress by Louis McMaster Bujold
Penric’s Travels by Louis McMaster Bujold
Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Powder Mage 1 by Brian McClellan
Primal Hunter by Zogarth
Quantum Shadows by L E Modesitt (in the style of Gene Wolf)
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Recluse 1: Magic of Recluse by L E Modesitt Jr
Recluse 2: Towers of the Sunset by L E Modesitt Jr
Recluse 3: Magic Engineer by L E Modesitt Jr
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Red Rising 2: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Red Rising 3: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
RE: Trailer Trash by FortySixtyFour
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Rook and Rose 1: Mask of Mirrors by M A Carrick
Rook and Rose 2: The Liar’s Knot by M A Carrick
Salvaged by Madeleine Roux
Salvos by V A Lewis (LitRPG)
Scardown by Elizabeth Bear
Servant Mage by Kate Elliot
Significant Digits by Alexander Deebus
Sleep In a Sea of Stars by Chistopher Paolini
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
Soulmage by meowcats734
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
Story of My Life by Hellen Keller
Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
A Succession of Bad Days by Graydon Saunders
The Starless Sea by Eric Morgenstern
Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson
The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
The Every by Dave Eggers
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
The Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller
The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The Truth and Other Stories by Stanislaw Lem
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan
Three Body Problem 2: Wallfacer: Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
Throne of the Five Winds by S C Emmett
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng
Venemous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman
Vigor Mortis by Natalie Maher
Ward by Wildbow
Weirkey 1: Soulhome by Sarah Lin
Weirkey 2: Rainhorn by Sarah Lin
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell


The Art of Computer Programming v1 by Donald Knuth
The Art of Computer Programming v2 by Donald Knuth
Attack and Defense by James Davies
Burning Wheel (RPG) by Luke Crane
The Economist (magazine)
Home Improvement 1-2-3
Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores (1988) by Steve Ettlinger
Inadequate Equilibria by Eliezer Yudkowsky
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Programming Crystal by Ivo Balbaert
Sigbovik 2021
Spymistress by William Stevenson
What If? by Randall Munroe
What If? 2 by Randall Munroe

Hack-A-Day: Hack-A-TV-Guide

It’s no longer november, but I’m still doing a project a day. It’s an all-month hack-a-thon!

Yesterday’s project was Hack-A-TV-Guide (demo, source). It’s a TV Guide generated from Wikipedia. I got the idea from having written isrickandmortyout.com. Why not do the same thing, but for every show?

I’m going to call this one a flop. There’s a good version of this project, but I ran out of time. Basically all it does is display info about a show, which is not very useful.

Hack-A-Day: Hack-An-MMO

It’s november, and I’ve decided this month that I’m going to do 30 projects in 30 days. It’s an all-month hack-a-thon!

This is November 30th, so this will be the last project.

Today’s project is Hack-An-MMO (demo, source). It’s a small collaborative art RPG. You can draw people, places, and things to populate the tiny world. Have fun!