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Tuesday April 15, 2014
RIPT (Ript) shareable scrapbook-clipping programme - Mini-Review
Intro and Overview:
RIPT is a shareable (with other RIPT users) scrapbook-clipping program.
I thought I'd publish a review of this forgotten, elegant program for those who (like me) might find an occasional - if not frequent - use for it. I don't really need it now, as I tend to use:
Monday April 14, 2014
Rusty's Real Deal Baseball: Most Effed Up Game Ever
An utterly fascinating and entertaining discussion of a strange video game (Rusty's Real Deal Baseball) based on in-game purchases:
Other reviews of the game:
Tuesday April 08, 2014
Are your websites secure? The openssl heartbleed bug
As it is already known, the heartbleed bug is a vulnerability in the OpenSSL library which seems to compromise the traffic flow at secure sites. the web admins everywhere are rushing to patch their servers with the latest bug-fix.
to check if your site's exposure level, you can go here to test. to learn more about the bug itself, click on the image below.
Saturday April 05, 2014
I LOVE this program. For me, it is the perfect brainstorming tool I've always been looking for.
It's easy to change the look of each element. It's easy to put background shapes around a selection of elements. It can export easily as images, pdf, whatever. You don't need a "center" like most mindmaps. It's easy to link things together with lines or arrows. It's easy to do simple alignments of elements.
I've been looking for something like this for years. I tried a whole bunch. Things like Personal Brain are too fancy and complicated. Mindmaps never worked for me at all. Visio is too much and too hard to do simple things. I settled on Edge Diagrammer (thanks mouser!) for a while because it was the easiest of those flowchart tools to use. Regular notetakers and outliners are not freeform enough for brainstorming.
Monday March 31, 2014
Dr. Windows recommended for April Fools Day Pranks
The excellent ILoveFreeSoftware website reviewed/recommended my DrWindows program today as a good way to play April Fool's day pranks on people:
Dr.Windows is apt to create real fun and play pranks on friends, as it lets you display amusing messages at regular intervals. In short, this is a fun application that lets you play harmless jokes on your friends.
If you use it to play a prank let me know how it goes
How The Most Expensive Game Jam In History Crashed And Burned In A Single Day
Here's an interesting article about something that happened this past weekend. It seems like a simple and pretty good concept: Organize and film a game jam to give folks a view into the ups and downs of indie game development. If you don't know what a game jam is, it could perhaps be summed up as an event in which game developers gather (often in one physical location, but not necessarily) and design and create a game in a short period of time (usually between 24-48 hours (a weekend) to 7 days (a full week)), often based on a theme or idea. They're mostly a non-competitive, fun, coding challenge almost like DonationCoder's own NANY, except done over a week(end). It's a great outlet for creativity and experimentation, and the short time limit liberates you from worrying about it being an utter failure or total crap. And many game jam games have been further developed into full fledged indie titles that are relatively popular.
Personally I found the first several paragraphs of the article hard to follow, as if the author was trying too hard to wax poetic and write prose rather than trying to describe what happened. But once he starts describing the events that took place, it becomes an interesting read about how one person when given too much power, can ruin things for all involved.
That natal idea, and one of the themes central to all 11 developers agreeing to travel to Los Angeles for the shoot, was the production and filming of a game jam for a televised audience (or at least a YouTube audience) with the intent to document the ups and downs of actually developing a game – hopefully sharing that experience with a viewership likely ranging into the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. More importantly, it would be an opportunity for the group to share the closely-knit spirit of togetherness unique to indie development, presented through the lens of popular YouTube personalities with massive, mostly younger built-in viewerships. A slam dunk, you might say, created in earnest to shine a kind of light into the often misrepresented world of creating… or at least, that's what everyone thought.
At some point GAME_JAM outgrew itself, attracting the attention of major sponsors as well as a couple of our "high creative" production executives from the adjacent office down the street, and over the next four or five months the show began phasing into something less documentary and more docu-tainment. A sort of competition, held between four teams of "Jammers" (the developers), and "Gamers" (the YouTubers), as they battled it out to see who could come up with the best game combining both development and entertainment skillsets. Plus to see who could win a healthy array of branded prizes, generously procured by said sponsors and totally un-vetted by anyone who actually understands game development. At some point which remains unclear, the show wholly dipped into a scripted reality slant and became less about making a game and more about creating drama for sake of the audience, less than one day out of the four blocked off for shooting available to sit down and jam. The rest of the program, as it turned out, was filled with arts and crafts, physical challenges, and competitive gaming – once again, totally unrelated to game development. But that wasn't communicated to anyone, and through Polaris' local contacts the developers were signed up and flown out to Culver City, where they awaited their first hurdle in Maker's legal department.
It's a pretty good story about how standing up to and being united in the face of what essentially equates to bullying can really change the outcome. That is to say, from my perspective, I think that a lot of the developers here have a bitter taste in their mouth from the experience, and yes it's true that the game jam was cancelled, but it could have been a lot worse if it had continued on the path it was going down. The event may have been a failure, but I see this as a general success in doing the right thing in the face of adversity.
Read the article here: http://indiestatik.com/20.../most-expensive-game-jam/
And it's also worth reading about the experience as described by three of the developers who attended:
Zoe: http://www.beesgo.biz/reality.html (She was contractually obligated not to write about the specifics, so it's a little less directly related)
Tuesday March 25, 2014
Microsoft Word under attack. Don't open RTF files!
Microsoft Corp. on Monday issued an emergency security warning saying that hackers have found a way to booby-trap certain common Word files with the .rtf extension.
Microsoft says it's aware of attacks going on now, but there's no fix yet to stop the hackers. It's working on a way to stop the bug.
The only way to be sure your computer won't get infected is not to open a document with the .rtf file extension until Microsoft says it's fine to do so.
Read more here:
The Business Insider article seems to imply the attacks are for all editions of Microsoft Word, but the actual security advisory says the exploit only works in versions before Word 2010:
At this time, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010.
We were glad to see in our tests that this exploit fails (resulting in a crash) on machines running Word 2013, due to the ASLR enforcement introduced for this product.
So be sure to read the actual security advisory posted by Microsoft here to get the actual info:
Monday March 17, 2014
PMOG: The story behind the rise and fall of GameLayers, Inc.
How to lose almost everything developing a browser toolbar game and live to tell about it.
I played PMOG a bit during it's heyday, and I must say it was pretty fun at times, when you would run into a fellow PMOG'r on a random website, or go to some obscure blog and get mined, or find some cool new website while completing a Mission. It added a new dimension to your surfing, made it more engaging and random than simply clicking on the next link like a monkey hitting the biscuit lever.
I was sad to see it go, and now a bit wiser having read the behind-the-scenes cautionary tale.
A Story of GameLayers, Inc.
Making online social games 2007-2009
by Justin Hall
Between 2007 and 2009 GameLayers made a multiplayer game across all the content of the internet.
I was the CEO of GameLayers and one of three co-founders. Here I'll share lessons and data from this online social game startup. This Story of GameLayers covers prototyping, fund raising, company building, strategic shifting, winding down and moving on.
Raymond.cc compares 20 Drive Imaging Tools
Nice comparison of Drive Imaging backup tools -- both free and commercial. Focused mainly on speed differences.
AOMEI Backupper excelled in all tests bar one. When you consider its features compared to other free backup software, and the fact it’s free for personal and commercial use, Backupper is really worth looking at. Although it never won any of the main tests, we have to commend Acronis True Image for producing consistently strong results in all tests while showing no real weaknesses.
Both Macrium Reflect and ShadowProtect were also strong but each had a weakness in at least one area. EaseUs Todo Backup was good at backup speed but slow at restoration while AX64 was generally fast with its no frills ease of use philosophy. The higher compression and portability of Drive Snapshot makes it useful as a backup and restore from anywhere type of tool.
Obviously these tests are only one part of how well a particular backup software works, testing for other factors such as reliability and stability are simply not possible unless a program is tested in multiple scenarios over a period of weeks or months. But one thing you wouldn’t want from your backup software is for it to work inefficiently, because don’t forget, these results will be magnified the more data you are backing up or restoring.
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Stephen Wolfram's Long Demo of the Wolfram Language
I am not a big fan of Stephen Wolfram -- I think his "A New Kind of Science" was a mess.
Likewise, I experience some real cringing listening to him describe his new 30-years-in-the-making "language" as being great at doing everything. In fact I think from everything we've seen so far, I'm not sure "language" is the best description for what this is. I have a deep skepticism for projects that try to make it super easy to do big complicated things -- because often they make it exceedingly difficult to actually write code that does what you want.
He looks like he's basically thrown everything including the kitchen sink into this -- it looks like a massive amount of work, and a massive amount of work to maintain -- which makes me skeptical about it's survival.
BUT whatever it is, there are some very cool things going on here.. And it looks like a wonderous thing to play with. Well worth a watch:
Friday February 21, 2014
The Voynich Manuscript -- Serious Progress Decoding it
Just finished watching the 47 minute video presentation. Wonderful, dry, humble, relentless, dedication to science. What a pleasure it is to watch something like this (as compared to those things like Ted talks which make me want to set off a suicide bomb in the audience). Fascinating! I can't wait until they can decode it all.
The 600-year-old, strangely-illustrated Voynich Manuscript (which resides at Yale University) has been called the most mysterious manuscript in the world. Not a single word of the secret language has been decoded, at least not until now. Stephen Bax of the University of Bedfordshire says he has decoded ten words from the Voynich Manuscript.
Wednesday February 19, 2014
Amit Patel's Red Blob Games and Game Programming Pages
DC member App103 found this fantastic collection of articles and links by Amit Patel on game Programming.
He discusses pathfinding, procedural world generation, AI coding, and a huge range of wonderful topics. Very nicely organized and presented.
I’ve been helping people make games since 1990. I wrote games earlier in life, with Solar Realms Elite being the most well known, then worked on an environmental simulation game called BlobCity, then took a break for over a decade. The recent rise of indie, mobile, tablet, social, and web games have made me interested in game development again. My current passion is using interactivity on the web for learning, especially learning game algorithms. With modern web browsers, there’s no need for explanations to follow the formats used in magazines, technical papers, and books. We can combine learning by reading, learning by watching, and learning by doing.
Sunday February 16, 2014
What the Heck is Happening to Windows? Article on Windows 8 Disaster
I could not resist posting an extended quote from this article on the Windows 8 disaster and the possible road back for Microsoft:
After watching Windows Vista get mismanaged and then slapped around by Apple, it tapped Steven Sinofsky to reimagine Windows. It's fair to say that this man shares many of the same character traits—and flaws—that defined Steve Jobs. He was belligerent and one-sided, didn't work well with others, had no qualms about tossing out features and technologies that didn't originate with his group, and had absolutely zero respect for customer feedback. Here, finally, was a guy who could push through a Steve Jobs-style, singular product vision.
And he did. Sadly, the result was Windows 8.
The reason this happened is that while Sinofsky had the maniacal power and force of will of a Steve Jobs, he lacked Jobs' best gift: An innate understanding of good design. Windows 8 is not well-designed. It's a mess. But Windows 8 is a bigger problem than that. Windows 8 is a disaster in every sense of the word.
This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone's opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period.
While some Windows backers took a wait-and-see approach and openly criticized me for being honest about this, I had found out from internal sources immediately that the product was doomed from the get-go, feared and ignored by customers, partners and other groups in Microsoft alike. Windows 8 was such a disaster that Steven Sinofsky was ejected from the company and his team of lieutenants was removed from Windows in a cyclone of change that triggered a reorganization of the entire company. Even Sinofsky's benefactor, Microsoft's then-CEO Steve Ballmer, was removed from office. Why did all this happen? Because together, these people set the company and Windows back by years and have perhaps destroyed what was once the most successful software franchise of all time.
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