Progress?

by Administrator 30. March 2007 17:25

For me, it comes down to a question of innovation and real-world improvement.  Is find . -name *cpp -exec ls {} (or similar) still the best way to find files on a computer?  If I want to know rougly how large a project is, is find . -name *java |xargs wc -l the best way to see how many lines of code the team has produced?  Is make the best way to group many files into a single logical output?  Are ex macros the best way to refactor your code?

Is James Gosling's statement that most real development is still done in emacs (Java developer's journal, July 2000)the most bullshit words to be spoken since "No one will ever need more than 640k..." ?

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HDMI enabled Xbox360

by Administrator 20. March 2007 18:56

I saw this first here: http://feeds.joystiq.com/~r/weblogsinc/joystiq/~3/103076806/

First, its my opinion that Microsoft absolutely did the right thing by not including HDMI when the XBox360 released.  The rollout of everything related to HDMI from a hardware standpoint has been rough and incongruent.  HDMI support in hardware (players, TVs, projectors) is only now reaching a tolerable point and would have hurt the Xbox360 when it launched.  Copyright holders are, of course, jumping up and down to get everything going over an HDCP enabled connection and the future of video and sound is HDMI 1.3 right now with its wider color depth and increased bandwidth for high definition audio.  I do hope they are making this an HDMI 1.3 device.

With the new price of $476 if you were to buy the Wireless adapter, the wireless controller/charging station, and the HD-DVD add-on your total price is $800.  Suddenly Sony doesn't look quite so crazy with the $599 PS3, do they?  Granted, you don't NEED to buy the HD-DVD drive for $199 but for $600 (HDMI Xbox+wireless controlers+120gbhd, 60GB PS3 with Bluetooth and Blu-Ray, both w/802.11) would you rather have 60gb more of hard drive space or High-def optical disc capability?

At any rate, while it may piss of the 6million existing Xbox360 customers its the right move for MSFT to make, and also in my eyes validates many of the PS3 design decisions.  It also means I may get an XBox360 to put in my home theater for Gears of War and Dead Rising now that I can (almost) get an HDMI version.

{edit: Tycho agrees with me and then some http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/03/21/#22092}

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NPR interview with Frank Miller

by Administrator 12. March 2007 17:20

I dislike quoting actors and directors and the like because I generally consider them too out of touch with reality to have much to say that bears on my life or the life of anyone who doesn't live in a meticulously constructed fantasy world.  This NPR interview with Frank Miller (wrote the graphic novel the recent film "300" is based on) shows surprising clarity for "one of those hollywood people".  I'll post the same extract here as I read on The Atlasphere.  I am specifically talking about the notion of cultural equality:

From the interview:

NPR: […] Frank, what’s the state of the union?

FM: Well, I don’t really find myself worrying about the state of the union as I do the state of the home-front. It seems to me quite obvious that our country and the entire Western World is up against an existential foe that knows exactly what it wants … and we’re behaving like a collapsing empire. Mighty cultures are almost never conquered, they crumble from within. And frankly, I think that a lot of Americans are acting like spoiled brats because of everything that isn’t working out perfectly every time.

NPR: Um, and when you say we don’t know what we want, what’s the cause of that do you think?

FM: Well, I think part of that is how we’re educated. We’re constantly told all cultures are equal, and every belief system is as good as the next. And generally that America was to be known for its flaws rather than its virtues. When you think about what Americans accomplished, building these amazing cities, and all the good its done in the world, it’s kind of disheartening to hear so much hatred of America, not just from abroad, but internally.

NPR: A lot of people would say what America has done abroad has led to the doubts and even the hatred of its own citizens.

FM: Well, okay, then let’s finally talk about the enemy. For some reason, nobody seems to be talking about who we’re up against, and the sixth century barbarism that they actually represent. These people saw people’s heads off. They enslave women, they genitally mutilate their daughters, they do not behave by any cultural norms that are sensible to us. I’m speaking into a microphone that never could have been a product of their culture, and I’m living in a city where three thousand of my neighbors were killed by thieves of airplanes they never could have built.

NPR: As you look at people around you, though, why do you think they’re so, as you would put it, self-absorbed, even whiny?

FM: Well, I’d say it’s for the same reason the Athenians and Romans were. We’ve got it a little good right now. Where I would fault President Bush the most, was that in the wake of 9/11, he motivated our military, but he didn’t call the nation into a state of war. He didn’t explain that this would take a communal effort against a common foe. So we’ve been kind of fighting a war on the side, and sitting off like a bunch of Romans complaining about it. Also, I think that George Bush has an uncanny knack of being someone people hate. I thought Clinton inspired more hatred than any President I had ever seen, but I’ve never seen anything like Bush-hatred. It’s completely mad.

NPR: And as you talk to people in the streets, the people you meet at work, socially, how do you explain this to them?

FM: Mainly in historical terms, mainly saying that the country that fought Okinawa and Iwo Jima is now spilling precious blood, but so little by comparison, it’s almost ridiculous. And the stakes are as high as they were then. Mostly I hear people say, ‘Why did we attack Iraq?’ for instance. Well, we’re taking on an idea. Nobody questions why after Pearl Harbor we attacked Nazi Germany. It was because we were taking on a form of global fascism, we’re doing the same thing now.

NPR: Well, they did declare war on us, but…

FM: Well, so did Iraq.

I'm not a big GWB supporter these days but I agree with what Frank Miller is saying about culture.  The notion that we can't condemn people for holding onto barbaric practices like enslaving women and mutilating little girls because "that's their culture and no one's ideas are any better than anyone else's ideas" quite frankly has gotten old and will be the downfall of western civilization if not checked.  What's funny is that a nation like Iran or the various African nations engaging in what most of the civilized world regards as insane human rights violations can take the stage at the UN and condemn the United States for our various questionable practices.  Iran can blast the US for not sending enough troops to Darfur or something, meanwhile the world should turn a blind eye to its Barbarism.  This is why the UN is a joke in my opinion.  The international community has done a poor job of working out Standards for Participation.  You want to be in our club? (where our club is trade, assistance, etc)  You have to follow our rules, and our rules must include some fundamental standards for human rights within member nations.  The US is absolutely not without its flaws, but Murderers and dictators should not be able to take the stage at the UN to crticize civilized nations.

I'm sure I'll get blasted for this, flame on.

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VS2005 on Vista

by Administrator 11. March 2007 23:00

I am running VS2005 on Vista with the Beta of the patch that allows it to run on Vista or with some Vista specific enhancements.  I set the ide .exe to always run as administrator and cannot get over the fact that it still asks me if I'm sure every time I run it.  This is ridiculous.  Of course I could turn off UAC but part of the reason for doing this was to learn the ins and outs of what my clients will experience with Vista.

I got the Smartphone 2005 SDK and am working on a smartphone video game which will be the subject of a few posts: nothing innovative at this point but if I can leave MotorStorm alone for long enough I'll get into some interesting code.

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Redistributing C++ console programs built with VS2005

by Administrator 9. March 2007 19:14

Oddly enough compiling a console program with VS2005 that uses only the most basic Win32 functionality (release mode) does not gaurantee it will run on other computers.  That's swell since not having to distribute the .NET framework or bootstrapping a .NET framework install are common reasons for creating native programs.  At any rate, if you distribute an uber-simple C++ .exe built with Visual Studio 2005 (I hear Visual C++ Express Edition has the same issue) you may get an "The application configuration is incorrect" error in Windows when attempting to run.  In my case, the answer was in the Event Log showing an error that the Partial Assembly VC80.CRT could not be resolved.  Sounds like some bizarre dependency on Visual Studio libraries are built in by default.  The solution I Googled around and found is to statically link parts of the C runtime used by ATL, even though my app happens to not be using ATL according to the Linker.  Here is the setting in my console application property pages:

 

Statically linking to the C runtime is probably a terrible idea for significant projects but for my .NET bootstrapper it'll be fine.  If you are building a significant app or don't want to statically link in this fashion, google the error in the Event Log to find instructions on building the .exe manifest and such.

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Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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