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1  Other Software / Developer's Corner / I really do wish so-called ‘professionals’ would quit writing rubbish... on: April 16, 2014, 09:44:21 PM
...especially about others' work.

The worst database developers in the world?

If the makers of MMO RPGs (Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games) aren’t quite the worst database application developers in the world, they’re at least on the short list for consideration. The makers of Guild Wars didn’t even try to have decent database functionality. A decade later, when they introduced Guild Wars 2, the database-oriented functionality (auction house, real-money store, etc.) would crash for days at a time. Lord of the Rings Online evidently had multiple issues with database functionality. Now I’m playing Elder Scrolls Online, which on the whole is a great game, but which may have the most database screw-ups of all.

ESO has been live for less than 3 weeks, and in that time:

1. There’s been a major bug in which players’ “banks” shrank, losing items and so on. Days later, the data still hasn’t been recovered. After a patch, the problem if anything worsened.

2. Guild functionality has at times been taken down while the rest of the game functioned.

3. Those problems aside, bank and guild bank functionality are broken, via what might be considered performance bugs. Problems I repeatedly encounter include:

If you deposit a few items, the bank soon goes into a wait state where you can’t use it for a minute or more.
Similarly, when you try to access a guild — i.e. group — bank, you often find it in an unresponsive state.
If you make a series of updates a second apart, the game tells you you’re doing things too quickly, and insists that you slow down a lot.
Items that are supposed to “stack” appear in 2 or more stacks; i.e., a very simple kind of aggregation is failing. There are also several other related recurring errors, which I conjecture have the same underlying cause.
In general, it seems like that what should be a collection of database records is really just a list, parsed each time an update occurs, periodically flushed in its entirety to disk, with all the performance problems you’d expect from that kind of choice.

4. Even stupider are the in-game stores, where fictional items are sold for fictional money. They have an e-commerce interface that is literally 15+ years out of date — items are listed with VERY few filtering options, and there is no way to change the sort. But even that super-primitive interface doesn’t work; in particular, filter queries frequently return incorrect empty-set responses.

5. Much as in other games, over 10 minutes of state changes can be lost.

Except perhaps for #5, these are all functions that surely are only loosely coupled to the rest of the game. Hence the other difficulties of game scaling and performance should have no bearing on them. Hence there’s no excuse for doing such a terrible job of development on large portions of gameplay functionality.

Based on job listings, ESO developer Zenimax doesn’t see database functionality as a major area to fix. This makes me sad.

So, with no inside knowledge of platform and/or design decisions and reasons behind those- not to mention, the actual problem, but rather enquirer level reporting of rumors, you come up with this post.


And people actually read this and believe this, and start to denigrate developers because of this.
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 16, 2014, 11:59:37 AM
I just printed that out and posted it on my wall at work.  If I get fired, I'm blaming you!  tongue
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft dropping support for Windows 8.1 on: April 16, 2014, 08:24:12 AM
OK, so maybe I mis-interpreted what was said; throw me a bone here:

... those users who have elected to install updates manually will have 30 days to install Windows 8.1 Update on Windows 8.1 devices; after this 30-day window - and beginning with the May Patch Tuesday, Windows 8.1 user's devices without the update installed will no longer receive security updates.

Ok, here's how I understand it.  It seems to be saying that if you have updated to 8.1, there is a 30-day time window in which you will need to upgrade to 8.1 Update 1, and if you don't, you will no longer be able to receive any updates including the all-important Update 1.  In other words, if you somehow miss the deadline, your 8.1 is and will always be dead to future updates.  Or did I err?

Yes, you erred.  After the deadline, windows 8.1. will be blocked to windows updates.  You can update to something other than 8.1 (i.e. putting the SP on) and then be able to update.  But plain vanilla one will not be able to get other windows updates.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft open-sources the .NET compiler on: April 15, 2014, 10:13:18 AM
It won't be as open as FOSS wants it to be to be 'open'.  It won't be as closed as it was before.  It might be good- but those two things won't make anyone satisfied, no matter how good 'good' is.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Anyone here using a standing desk? on: April 10, 2014, 02:55:15 PM
Yeah... I was already doing most of this.  Because of trends and studies, I kept thinking about moving to a standing desk.  Glad to read this, however.  Thmbsup
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Anyone here using a standing desk? on: April 10, 2014, 02:02:59 PM
It's not just slouching, however.  Note the posture of his back.  If your monitors and keyboard are not at the correct angle, you will tend to crane your head forward while in that position.  Until I lowered my chair, I found myself doing that, and had aches and such in the back of my neck.  Your neck needs to rest supported (which is the reason that the high backed chair is important also).
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 09, 2014, 05:48:10 PM
^ *For some people.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 06:40:11 PM
And if you want to see what the future of XP holds, ask the 2k users that didn't upgrade, what their main issues are:

1) trying to run an older OS on newer hardware and trying to find drivers that work, or
2) trying to run newer software on the older OS, or
3) being restricted to older browsers which do not support newer features so accessing things like Flash or YouTube no longer work.

They are not crying about security problems. #2 & #3 were my main issues with running WinME, back in 2008, and would most likely still be my main issues if I were to take that PC out of retirement, with an entirely different issue not even on that list, if I were to try to get it online via anything but dialup. (same issue I had back in 2008, having to replace a combo modem & soundcard with both a NIC & soundcard via a bridge board soldered into an ISA slot, for which the PCI slots on it are disabled at the hardware level, by the manufacturer, leaving only 1 working ISA slot on the board to work with. If I could get past that, I'd likely then have to deal with issue #1)

This.  Very eloquently stated.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 04:43:12 PM
So... how long do they support a 12 year old operating system?  Does it matter that they don't support windows 95 anymore?  Or Windows ME?  Or... god forbid, Windows for Workgroups 3.11?
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 06, 2014, 11:28:24 AM
"Sorry, wraith808, I must have misunderstood you then. smiley"

No, please, it's the other way round: Your mentioning of "VUE (which I prefer) and CmapTools" was more than adequate since Scapple

No, he was right on.  Perhaps not for your purposes, but for the purposes of the conversation.  I never said that VUE and/or CmapTools were mind mappers.  I only said that for my intents, I wasn't looking for mindmappers, i.e. his suggestions were cool, though neither were really what I was looking for, and given that Scapple integrates more tightly into what I wanted for writing, it was a better choice for me.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 04, 2014, 08:57:15 PM
^ I never said that they were. smiley
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 04, 2014, 07:44:29 PM
Oh... not looking for mind mappers.  More help in plotting and structure.  Which is the reason that Scapple and Tinderbox rule.  They are supposed to have the windows version out soon... so I might get it after NANY if I actually make it this year again.  Storyspace is another one that looks good, but is terribly expensive.
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 04, 2014, 06:17:13 PM
Yeah... I've been using that with Scrivener for a while, and it's great!  I plan to graduate to tinderbox eventually, but until I can justify that, this works.
14  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GS-Base Mini-Review on: April 04, 2014, 10:41:33 AM
I updated with the (very generous) upgrade terms.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: April 03, 2014, 02:46:39 PM
Someone recently asked me about the best fight scenes I've seen in terms of acting, writing, and general pathos rather than being 'just a fight scene'.

Warrior came to mind.  Some of the best acting I've seen in a Western MA flick.


By the time of final fight (Tom Hardy vs Joel Edgerton) - I had no idea who to root for- there was such emotion behind both choices, and the emotion between the two brothers. Though in most competition fight movies, they are building towards that final battle- I felt that the blocks had been more competently put in place, so that when it did happen, it felt more like a payoff rather than the execution of a trope.
16  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / GS-Base Mini-Review on: April 03, 2014, 02:05:14 PM
Citadel5 dropped by to offer a 50% discount on GS-base until April 8th.  A database?  For less that $20?  And 50% off?  I had to try this...

Basic Info

App NameGS-Base
App URLhttp://www.citadel5.com/gs-base.htm
App Version Reviewed12.1.5
Test System SpecsWindows 7 64-bit/32-bit
Supported OSesXP/Vista/7/8 32-bit/64-bit
Support MethodsForums - http://forum-eng.citadel5.com/ and e-mail.
Upgrade PolicyFree upgrades for 12 months - not sure if upgrade after that is full price.  Update from the Author: Upgrading: After 12 months current users can purchase a newer version at any time @ 50% off.
Trial Version Available?Limited Trial version is available - Limitations listed: http://www.citadel5.com/trial.htm
Pricing Scheme$19.95 (bulk pricing available) - http://www.citadel5.com/ordering.htm
Author Donation Linkwraith808


GS-base is a personal generic database application.  It touts size of tables and speed with up to 12 million records in a table and 2047 fields in one record.  It uses a format that looks much like a spreadsheet for entry, and supports calculations and formulas in fields.  It has a wide variety of support for industry standard file formats, and stores the database in an industry standard zip file format.  GS-Base is a database that is for the most part aimed at people that use excel or other spreadsheet formats, but want to create a database.  It can be used for a wide variety of purposes- no specific function is inbuilt, though there are many tools for export, forms, and merging.

Mini-Review of Usage

At the time when I first decided to use it, I'd just started playing The Elder Scrolls Online, and wanted to quickly create a lightweight database that I'd be able to use to collect information on alchemy reagents quickly, but still ensure I'd still be able to use the data when I had time for a more robust solution.  In a couple of hours, I'd created a database that served that purpose, and output the sum of the final data to a format that I could reference during the game.  It was very intuitive for the most part.  

The database is stored in a zip file- by default, it uses industry standard .zip, but can use .gsb instead, though the internal format remains the same.  Inside the .zip, the database format is plain text, comma delimited, which is a plus.  Blob fields are stored in their entirety in their original format- another plus.

My Database

The field dialog, with a standard field

The field dialog, with a calculated field

I've enclosed the plain text of the main database table, and the PDF output of a dump of that table.

There's a lot more in the way of functionality that I haven't touched- it happened to come up for sale when I had a use for it, and wanted to give an initial impression to see if I wanted to purchase it.  Even at the normal price of $19.95 it's a steal.  But at 50% off, it's a no brainer.  You just don't find this level of functionality in a database for $10.  I'll update as I use more- but I definitely recommend it from what I've seen in my brief trial. I've already purchased the full version, and just from my use so far, count it as a gain.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Nice blog post on the parasitic software hosting sites bundling junkware on: April 03, 2014, 09:41:02 AM
You're giving them too much credit for the effort they would be willing to put in.

As it stands, does the installer ever run?  From the step by step, it doesn't appear so.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Nice blog post on the parasitic software hosting sites bundling junkware on: April 03, 2014, 09:26:06 AM
For the respective user that would be too late though as once your installer runs, all the crap has already been installed.

Edit: Well, I guess you assume that if you do this your SW wouldn't be wrapped like this in the first place.

the first hope would be that the site would not be able to use their wrapper if my installer made the result unusable.
the second hope would be that the really lazy sites that don't check their wrapper success, would get penalized after the fact because my installer would tell the user the reason the installer has failed and blame it on where they got the download.

But you have a zipped portable installation... they can do whatever they want with that.
19  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: GS-Base - 50% off on: April 03, 2014, 02:32:26 AM
Personally, I like having data in a universal format.  Munging the file name doesn't really do anything in the end, IMO.  I did some testing, and it's definitely worth the price- at least to me.  I'll be posting a mini-review.
20  DonationCoder.com Software / N.A.N.Y. 2014 / Re: NANY 2014: Mug-shots here on: April 02, 2014, 03:08:26 PM
I didn't know there was a new option on the image!  Now I have to see about getting another! LOL
21  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: GS-Base - 50% off on: April 02, 2014, 11:30:24 AM
One question- there's no indication of format of the files, nor exports, other than the blurb

Convenient plain zip file format enabling users to view and modify records, tables and embedded files/images even without using GS-Base.

What format are the files internally?  And does the coupon apply to the bundle also?
22  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: GS-Base - 50% off on: April 02, 2014, 11:28:02 AM
In general, it's good to announce your affiliation with a product more explicitly (though the S/N gives a good indication).  You are also welcome to post in the announce your product section.  And welcome to the site!
23  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: How The Most Expensive Game Jam In History Crashed And Burned In A Single Day on: April 02, 2014, 09:41:07 AM
They've had a few of these before on Humble Bundle (specifically remember the Mojang one) and they seemed to come out well.
24  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: 86% of Gamers Prefer Free Games With Advertisements on: April 01, 2014, 08:16:19 AM

I guess the day when 100% of games are free with ads will be the day I stop playing games. I always cringe when I start reading about a cool new game and see that it'll be 'free to play'.

That day will never come.  The % (whatever it is- I distrust their 'science' used to get the numbers) are casual gamers- which is why Zynga was so popular.  But notice Zynga's fall.  You have to continue to innovate, even with that in-built reliance on addicting gamers, or one day you'll find that your user base has moved onto the next cool thing.  Hardcore gamers will always pay to support games.  It's a smaller market, for sure... but a very voracious one.
25  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: YNAB is Now Free for College Students on: March 29, 2014, 10:25:55 AM
That's a great initiative!  College is an easy time to get off track.  I applaud this!  Thmbsup
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