Could I have handled this PC interaction better?

I started up a play by post game on roll20 for a group of friends. A co-worker, and friend of another player, had asked to join in. Let’s call him P1, or Player 1. I said sure, we got the game going after some slow start up.

The party is meeting for the first time in a tavern. They get the adventure hook and agree to work together. P1 is playing a gnome wizard. My wife is playing a human paladin. She thought it would be funny, since her paladin isn’t the brightest of the bunch, to pick up the gnome and get them on the road. P1 responds by wanting to not be picked up. I ask both for a strength roll. P1 loses. So I ask him what his response is to being picked up. His response was to quit and leave our discord server we were using for ooc talk.

While I don’t miss someone who would bail so quickly, I do wonder if I could have done something better. I’d like to learn from this to avoid such a situation in the future. Should I have stopped my wife before she even tried to pick up P1? Was it wrong to let the dice decide who won the conflict of being picked up?

Do any single-cell organisms exist that approximate NP-hard problems within a factor better than $1/2$ $log$2?

I’ve seen on Wikipedia; that set covering cannot be approximated in polynomial time to within a factor mentioned above. Unless $ NP$ has quasipoly-time algorithms.

Now, this must pertain to classical algorithms and does not mention any approximation algorithms that may only work in nature.

(eg. Things like Amoebas solving $ TSP$ problems)

  • Do any single-cell organisms show any promise in solving $ NP$ -hard problems in polynomial-time?

  • Or approximating them better than any known classical algorithms?

Batching multiple nearest surface queries: Is it faster? Are there better algorithms?

I’m working on an algorithm that computes lots of "nearest point on a triangulated surface" queries in 3d as a way to resample data sets, and I’m wondering if there is any information out there on speeding up these queries. My gut tells me that partitioning the set of query points in a voxel grid or something, and doing them in batches could be a speedup, but I can’t quite see how I could efficiently use that. Also I’m not sure if the time cost of partitioning would balance the search speedup. Is running N independent queries really the best way?

I found that there are papers and research for the all-knn algorithm, but that’s for searching within a single set. And then, those speedups take advantage of the previously computed neighbors or structure within the single set, so I can’t use them. It feels close though.

Any help is appreciated.

How to better manage Qualys WAS for 30 sites that are scanned monthly

I was giving the responsibility of a Qualys WAS. There are around 30 sites I need to monthly scan, and check alerts. I need to automate all this process so I’m thinking on this

  1. Create a script or application that could easily schedule and start the scan of the sites

  2. The same app will also pull the reports from Qualys WAS

Now it comes to the issue:

I need to report on the issues found. And have those reports where they could be accessible for compliance reasons.

What do experts do about this?

  • Is the best option to create an application that pulls the issues found from Qualys and later, presents them in a system or DB, with a web interface easy to be validated and share with people who need to access that info?

  • Do you think that having 30 sites, scanned monthly, validating issues found, and doing some other administrative stuff to keep this part working as perfect as possible, do you think just one skilled engineer is enough 100% on this? Or do you think I will need to ask for more people?

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Did PHP’s rand() get better?

I know that PHP used the system implementation for its rand() function, which is usually a weak LCG or LFSR implementation. Did this change? In case it still does, I am using Fedora 32.

PHP states in its documentation that rand() does not create cryptographically secure values.

I’ve written a small script, that creates a 400x400px PNG by randomly coloring pixels black or white:

<?php  $  resolution = 400;  header("Content-type: image/png"); $  im = imagecreatetruecolor($  resolution, $  resolution)     or die("Cannot Initialize new GD image stream");  $  white = imagecolorallocate($  im, 255,255,255);  for ($  y = 0; $  y < $  resolution; $  y++) {     for ($  x = 0; $  x < $  resolution; $  x++) {         if (rand(0, 1)) {             imagesetpixel($  im, $  x, $  y, $  white);         }     } } imagepng($  im); imagedestroy($  im);  ?> 

I cannot see patterns anymore when using the function in PHP7.3 though. May there be patterns at a level I cannot display in my experiment?

rand():

enter image description here
random_int(),

for use where unbiased results are critical

according to PHP’s docs

enter image description here

Responsive input sliders – is there a better way?

I am building an app where a user controls inputs via multiple sliders each with discrete steps. The app then uses the combination of slider values to run some calculations and returns back an output value.

The sliders are meant to be highly responsive, so the user can immediately see the impact of their input combination on the output value -so I have resorted to eagerly calculating ALL possible combinations of sliders and letting the client query the results in the browser itself for faster response times.

The problem is that the number of possible combinations can seriously explode. If I have 5 inputs each with 10 steps, that is 5^10 = 9.8 million possible combinations! That’s way too expensive to calculate eagerly.

Is there a better way to do this? I could try to restrict the number of sliders that can be moved at any point, to lower the solution space…but wondering if there’s a better solution out there.

Why do tempdb spills still occur even with good row and data size estimates (better than actuals)?

We’re seeing tempdb DB spills for some hashing operations. If the estimates are indeed good as shown what would be the next thing(s) to look for? Looking for a generic answer without having to resort to the specifc query.

This is part of an SP. Just switched to 2019 version to see if it would auto adjust but still getting spills so far.

Microsoft SQL Server 2019 (RTM) – 15.0.2000.5 (X64)

Hash Match Warnings

In what ways are high level martial characters better than a high level spellcaster with True Polymorph?

I am a DM running a high-level campaign. My group has recently leveled up to 17, and one of the casters has taken True Polymorph. They have stated their intent to turn into the most powerful kind of dragon allowed by the spell, and use it in combat.

I am worried that the martial classes (Paladin & Rogue) in the party will feel overshadowed by this – after all, with a prep time of 1 action, this caster can turn into an Adult Gold Dragon that almost certainly possesses better mobility, greater or equal damage output, and a health pool twice or more the size of theirs. When that health pool is depleted, they return to “only” a 17th level caster down their 9th level spell slot.

So, I am asking this question to identify the ways in which high level martial characters can excel in their niches in ways that this caster cannot just by turning into a dragon/other high CR creature.

My intent with the answers I get is to implement them: i.e. structure the game such that it is one that supplies a set of challenges that make the martial characters feel useful and powerful, rather than a set that make them feel outclassed by the shapeshifted caster, regret their class choices, and feel like “transitional characters” whose only purpose was to get the casters to level 17.