I blogged a few days ago that I’d started to get into TrackMania Nations, the online-only, community-track populated version of the regular TrackMania series. I’d often been drawn to the TrackMania games since they very much represent a small independent studio success story on the PC, and the games do look very good - the time just never seemed to come up. TrackMania Nations is a great idea because it lets you experience the quality of the title without laying out any cash.
This post is inspired by my wife coming back from Mondomundi today with a huge bag of new variety coffee beans. Yum 😀 Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. Mmm, chocolate. They’re great, but most of us also know by now that the people that produce them have been generally getting screwed over the years. I saw a BBC documentary recently in fact about cocoa farmers and what a crushingly poor quality of life they had, getting paid the same base price for cocoa that they were paid up to 30 years ago.
People told me that working for yourself made holidays much harder to take, but I didn’t really appreciate it at first. It’s true though - especially since the OGRE community never, ever sleeps, never mind taking a few days off - there were plenty of people happily posting questions on the forum on Christmas day, all expecting a prompt answer like there was nothing unusual in that 😉 It’s pretty hard not to try to keep up though, since letting it lapse makes it really hard to catch up again afterwards - but, sometimes it’s a necessity.
Looks like the new server was a good investment - thanks to the distributed (dare I say ‘viral’ without having assorted foodstuffs thrown at me?) publicity campaign for the OGRE 1.4.0 final release, there has been a stampeding of feet towards ogre3d.org. Website hits tripled their normal pace to 1.5 million yesterday and downloads increased by even more than that, with a total of 5,000 files being pulled down (peaking at 400 an hour at one stage), sucking a total of 135GB in bandwidth - thank God for the Sourceforge mirrors is all I can say!
It’s had really quite mixed reviews but I knew immediately on watching the trailer that I wanted to see 300. I’m always a sucker for good historical fantasy, or just fantasy in general, having a special place in my heart for classics like Conan the Barbarian and Lord of the Rings on the one hand, and even unintentionally comedic nonsense like Hawk the Slayer on the other. It’s all good.
I just read today that US airports are going to start taking all 10 fingerprints from visitors instead of the 2 they’ve been taking in recent years - which in itself was quite surprising to me when I got there last year. Seems clutching a British passport doesn’t mean much anymore. This is apparently going to help them catch more terrorists, on top of the 34 pieces of personal information they make airlines hand over about passengers on inbound flights.
So, I had the first of what was to be 2 dentist appointments this week, to try to sort out some lingering problems detected on X-Ray of some impacted wisdom teeth I had removed a while ago. It was pretty uncomfortable, even though they shot me full of so much anaesthetic that my jaw didn’t come around for over 4 hours and I was forced to walk around town trying not to look like a stroke victim.
If you don’t read xkcd already, I urge you to do so regularly, it’s really quite funny. There are lots of webcomics around obviously, but I have 3 main favorites, all for subtley different reasons: User Friendly, because it’s always taking witty pops at the big corporations and cuts across pretty much every element of IT, Penny Arcade for its game focus and unapologeticly visceral humour, and xkcd because of its, well, quaintness and subtlety.
You already know this if you frequent the OGRE site, but we got accepted for the Google Summer of Code again this year, which is awesome. I know from experience that it’s a fair amount of work, especially around the ‘pinch points’ like the application process and milestones, but it’s really worth it. I only realised this morning that today was decision day for the organisations so had to rush around updating some documentation and reading up on this year’s procedures.
I’ve been getting more an more frustrated lately with the speed of my internet connection. For example, when I was doing an Ogre release recently with the help of 2 other team members, we all started uploading at the same time. My colleagues were complaining that their uploads were going slower than usual, to which I asked how fast that was - and it turned out it was about 15 times higher the best speed I normally get - and they were used to getting about 20-25 times my top speed.