Wednesday, June 29, 2005

John Carmack: Mac/PPC Peformance Gap for Gaming "Not a Myth" || The Mac Observer

John Carmack: Mac/PPC Peformance Gap for Gaming "Not a Myth" || The Mac Observer

Carmack speaks. I am not that up on the Mac world, but I have no reason to doubt Carmack knows whereof he speaks.

For those who know me, there is the understood depravity that I am a fanatic fanboy of John Carmack. He was my inspiration to get into video game programming back when I was writing unix software for the computer science department at Ohio State University. I'll never forget the quote from that first Wired Magazine article (still on the net if you look for it at someday I'll have to put a link to it here). Anyway, the quote was something like (I'm paraphrasing):

"Anyone can succeed as a video game programmer if they are willing to put in the hours. 12 hours a day, 7 days a week."

At the time, Carmack was living that mantra. He pretty much lived at Id Software. And as we all know, the fruits of his labors have had a significant impact on the games industry. My idol has since cut back a bit on the hours at the office, and his once myopic focus has since broadened to include everything from rockets to macro economic theory.

Who shares the chaos of my life?

My girlfriend, Lynda:

And her cat, Emma:

What do I look like?

What do I look like?

Here ya go - thanks to Blogger's new picture support.

Aren't they just thoughtful.


Performance 3D Video Cards

Performance 3D Video Cards

Here we have a nice list of the current Top 5 Performance 3D Video Cards. As someone who just can't seem to keep anywhere near up-to-date on what the latest and greatest graphics cards are, this kind of list is useful.

It was recently updated to reflect the most recent releases by NVidia so for the moment (June 29th, 2005) it is current and valid.

What Video card do you have in your best system? Mine is a ATI Radeon 9800 Pro with 128MB of ram. I got that about two years ago. Its amazing how long we can hang on to graphics cards before we feel that the latest games demand our purchasing a new one.

Back to business,


The Numbers - Star Wars Box Office Performance Comparison

The Numbers - Star Wars Box Office Performance Comparison is a great site to track the trends in the box office. I must admit that I am a bit of a media whore, and I love reading now and then about the big block-busters and just how much money that big budget movie is raking in.

Here's a look at the fate of the six star wars films. It is interesting that the Phantom Menace did better overall than the Attack of the Clones. This time around the Revenge of the Sith (revenge for what, exactly?) is looking to be the King of them all - Revenge of the Bad Movies Making the Box Office Tremble. This is just US sales, so one has to wonder just how close this will come to the #1 movie of all time: Titanic.

I do hate that we keep talking about records for most dollars earned, but it is so misleading because the price of tickets have been going up and up so the same number of tickets sold today would be like a 3rd or a 4th of the amount of money if it were sold in 1977. So why don't these losers go by Number of ticket's sold? I do have to ding this site for not providing that kind of data, though they do make an attempt to at least adjust for inflation in some charts, like this one : Top Records.

I blog to myself, I want you to blog me,
When I lay down, I want my laptop above me,
So I can type, those keys, those keys, those keys.

I want to... I want to blog with Divinlys.

Ah, someone stop me! :-)


Google Earth - Home

Google Earth - Home

This type of application has been available for at least five years now... I believe the original work to put this stuff on the web was done by Microsoft as proof of technology for their "Terraserver" (tm) software or whatever... they were trying to show how well Microsoft servers dealth with a database that was terrabytes in size.

A terrabyte used to seem so incredibly huge. I remember a friend of mine back when I was working at Ohio State University's Computer Science department, name of Eric Osborne, astonished me to the core when he told me that while working at the now defunct Digital, he had personally worked on a database server that had over a terrabyte of disk space. I remember grilling him fiercly when he told me that because I thought for sure he was pulling my leg.

Fast forward seven or eight years and I almost have a terrabyte of disk space for my home PC network. Times are changing, and I like this kind of change.

Google seems to be branching into a vast number of projects, none of which are necessarily forced to tie in with the rest. Its as if google has its software engineers pick a project they think is cool, and then they find some kind of monetary angle, however nebulous or tenuous, and then the team goes to work and makes it so.

I think it must be really great to work at google. I have a few friends at Microsoft who talked about their friends at google, and from those conversations I have the sense that google is about as hip and geek-friendly a company to work for as exists on this planet.

Well, enough of this blogging to myself, back to work....


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

6200 NVIDIA Introduces GeForce Go 6 Series for Thin and Light Notebooks New Delivers Award-Winning Multimedia Technology to the Mainstream Notebook Ma

6200 NVIDIA Introduces GeForce Go 6 Series for Thin and Light Notebooks New Delivers Award-Winning Multimedia Technology to the Mainstream Notebook Market Corporation announced reg gra

I recently purchased a new laptop from BestBuy, and it uses this as its graphics chip. I confess that when I purchased it I was only concerned with ensuring that the graphics chip could do DirectX pixel and vertex shaders. I didn't pay attention to how new the chip was, but fortunately it appears that my purchase was a wise one. The 6200 seems to be the perfect blend of power and portability. I find the same is true of the laptop - it weights only a little over 3 pounds, and yet it has almost 2GHz of processing power and a nice 1280x800 widescreen display that is not impossible to read. It isn't the fastest thing out there by any means, but it is more than ample power to meet my needs and gives me a good amount of portability in the bargain.

I bought this laptop for programming video games, and it seems to be a good choice for that provided the video game I am working on is not trying to push the hardware envelope. If you're developing for the XBox then you can bet you're going to be able to handle the game on this laptop (assuming, of course, that your xbox game can also be compiled to run on windows).


Homebrew Air Conditioning

Homebrew Air Conditioning

Now that's an air-conditioner. This guy built an air-conditioner using a garbage can, some copper tubing, a fan, and a lot of ice-water. Apparently normal water would work too, but it would take a lot longer to cool the room.

I am glad to have installed a real air-conditioner in my home, but at a price tag of nearly 6000 dollars, I can't say I am not thinking I might have been smarter to invest in a few buckets of ice water for the fifteen days it really gets hot in Seattle. The rest of the time, windows are good enough.

Ah well, I still feel its worth my investment on those days when its 95 degrees outside and everyone in my neighborhood is sweltering whilst I lounge in cool air-conditioned bliss.


Signing off,


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tabs vs. Spaces: What's a good programmer to do?

Tabs or spaces? Which to use? Do you set that option that says "Insert X spaces instead of tabs" in your editor, or leave it turned off?

This argument came up again for me recently at the company I work for (Snowblind Studios). I had been told to stop inserting spaces where tab characters belonged, and an all-to-common scene ensued wherein I espoused the tabs-are-evil mantra but had little memory of why that mantra was with me.

So I did a bit of research to put the matter to bed once and for all. Or, so I thought. Hah! What a joke. This is a religious issue if ever there was one. Want to see just how religious this argument is? Just check this out:

I mean, just look at all those posts? That's a flame-war if ever there was one!

A good clinical overview of this tabs vs. spaces can be found at this URL:
An excerpt from that article:

    Tabs in programming

    computer programming, the use of tabs for code formatting and indentation is an ongoing debate. Programmers are generally divided into two camps - those who use hard tabs in their code, and those who configure their editors to insert actual space characters when they press the tab key. When tabs are replaced to spaces in this way they are referred to as soft tabs.

    There are many arguments for and against using hard tabs in code. What can be said without doubt is that one early benefit of tabs, i.e.
    compression (see above), is now less relevant as storage is so cheap, and sophisticated compression algorithms can provide much greater benefits.

    External links

Other argument summaries:

Pro Tabs:
Pro Spaces
And yet more from the why_no_tabs page: