Tech

Genesis of a server

So, I finally finished the final touches on the new server for ogre3d.org today. I’d hoped to be at this stage mid last week, but an unfortunate base OS reinstall delayed that. Now we’re back in business and ready for the switchover tomorrow morning, I thought I might take a few minutes to go over the setup we’ve got. Physical Hardware: Intel Core 2 Duo 6400 (2.13GHz), 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA Hardware RAID 1

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My new bodyguard, Kaspersky

As names go, it wouldn’t be a bad one for a bodyguard, given that it might conjure the image of a 7ft wall of meat from the former Eastern Bloc. I had to change the virus software on my main machine this week - or rather my Norton subscription had expired and since I’d become aware for a while that it has had a significant fall from grace in recent years I went looking for something else.

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EC to MS: protocol 'innovations' are nonsense

So it’s been over 6 months since the EC ruled that Microsoft had to share details of its protocols with other vendors in order to allow interpoerability, although it left the door open for MS to charge a fee for this privilege. MS came in just in time and delivered a 1500-page document explaining the protocols and came up with a 3-level pricing structure (bronze, silver and gold) which determined how many of Microsoft’s ‘innovations’ you were getting in those protocol definitions.

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GiveawayOfTheDay.com

This site came up on the OGRE forums and I must say it’s a very good idea. Basically, for 24 hours they make a piece of software that is normally commercial available for free to all who download it. And don’t worry - they do it with the permission of the publisher of the software, this isn’t a warez site. Clearly the draw for them is that they get a bucketload of publicity for this short period and get in front of a load of users they probably wouldn’t otherwise have attracted.

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PC gaming: retail isn't the full picture

I’ve lamented a few times on this blog about the way the PC gaming industry has appeared to have been in a slow decline in the past decade, and how consoles now dominate our gaming landscape. Now, I love my console games as much as the next guy, but as a developer, such a closed platform is always a disappointment. I grew up in the UK where pretty much every kid who played games did it on a PC - not as we deem it now, but a Personal Computer, not a console.

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Chartered IT Professional (CITP)

I just got a phone call from the British Computer Society, of which I’ve been a member for quite a while now, to let me know that I’m now a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). Nice. I’m a strong believer in professional and ethical standards, something I hope permeates all my work, even my previously spare-time work on Ogre, and I originally joined the BCS because of that - after all accountants and lawyers have professional bodies, why should IT be any different?

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Meeting Houdini

No, no, this has nothing to do with Hungarian blokes dangling upside down in straight jackets. Houdini is the name of a rather unusual modelling, animation and rendering tool that I’d heard of in passing before - a friend / former work colleague had used an academic version at university and was always extolling its virtues - but I’d never actually encountered it until this week. It’s not really talked about in real time graphics circles, unlike contemporaries like Max, Maya and XSI, but when you look at its rap sheet, you really wonder why it doesn’t get more attention in our field.

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SELinux - very handy

Those NSA techs know a thing or two about security - you’d kind of hope that was the case I suppose, especially if you’re part of the world’s current dominant superpower (at least for now ;)). They came up with SELinux in response to a need for kernel-level mandatory access controls which were very configurable to many levels of security clearance, and indeed in its entirety it’s a pretty complex policy-driven security system which greatly enhances both the granularity and strength of security policies over and above the typical Directory Access Control (DAC) approach you get with regular Linux filesystems.

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Nintendo. Loaded.

I’m guessing that due to the cultural differences, Nintendo’s execs aren’t sitting back with a fat cigar and a glass of port, over-indulging themselves and generally generally enjoying how much goddam money they’ve managed to make last year, but you could understand it if they did. Sales figures for December 2006 are coming in, and my goodness did Nintendo rake it in. In terms of generating raw cash, everything seems to be in their favour.

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Brains vs graphics

When it comes to game graphics, I’ve always had something of a mental dichotomy. Despite being obviously really keen on real time graphics (you might have noticed a hint or two to that end over the life of this blog), I’m also a very strong believer that in good games, graphics are far from the most important element. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to make better and better graphical subsystems, because as a graphics geek I love to do it, but at the same time I have my feet firmly on the ground as to the place of these results in the grand scheme of things when it actually comes to enjoyment.

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