I read today that ‘Pentagon uber-hacker’ (if you believe the US authorities, who presumably don’t want you to think that their security systems are akin to wet tissue paper) Gary McKinnon has lost his appeal in the Lords against his extradition to the USA. I think we can all feel sorry that a misguided but definitely non-malicious geek is going to get the book thrown at him. Coincidentally, we also watched Sneakers last night, after I finally got around to buying it on DVD.
Some people think I bash Microsoft a lot on this blog, and maybe that’s true, but I don’t think I ever do it unfairly. To prove that I don’t just comment on the bad stuff, here’s a major piece of positive news about the software behemoth: Microsoft appears to have fixed the flaws in the Open Specification Promise (OSP). The major flaw in the OSP when it was originally announced is that the promise not to sue people who developed upon or used Microsoft protocols and formats extended only to those who operated non-commercially.
The main problem with democracy is that you give the vote to a large number of people who don’t have the slightest idea what they’re doing. They’ll believe hype, be swayed by style over substance, and vote for what’s fashionable, or blindly along party lines. As Churchill once said, democracy is the worst form of government … except for all the other ones. I think the results of the latest Sourceforge Community Choice Awards underlines this from a somewhat less critical perspective.
I was playing about with working in Photoshop today because I needed to polish off a logo for the new product I’ve been working on during what time I could find in the last few weeks (which has often been evenings and weekends), and while I was at it I decided to update the Ogre logo a little bit. Yeah, I know - it’s totally derivative and shamelessly jumping on the ‘wet floor’ bandwagon, but I don’t care; I like it.
Damn, it’s not a bad situation to be in, but I suddenly feel even more swamped than usual with gaming opportunities. Rock Band continues to be a bottomless well of fun, with its continuous drip-feed of new content and experience-driven gameplay, it just seems to get more enjoyable as time goes on as the song library expands, and you get to grips with the less known tracks. However, my birthday just passed and I received 3 new games, two for the Wii and one for the DS, both fairly neglected platforms of late.
This is the kind of thing that gets me up in the morning. This is a new interactive exhibit at the Australian Museum in Sydney called 'Dangerous Australians'; it's a 6-metre long table with motion tracking cameras, allowing people to interact with 10 of Australia's most dangerous creatures. It looks great, and I'm glad to say it's running on Ogre (among other things). The table is in fact driven by 4 Macs, each with a projector and camera setup.
E3 was on while I was away, so on my return I eagerly checked the various gaming news for what juicy nuggets had emerged - and that would be almost none. It’s telling that probably the biggest news was that Final Fantasy XIII is no longer to be a PS3 exclusive - not even a timed exclusive, it’ll be multi-platform at launch (in the US and Europe anyway). A headline grabber for MS for sure, but while I get the feeling that this will be greeted with equal amounts of teeth-gnashing and gloating from the Playstation and XBox fanboy camps respectively, for everyone else located on planet Earth it’s really not that interesting.
The last few weeks have been pretty hectic for both myself and my wife, with weekends and evenings frequently acting as extensions to the regular working week as much as anything else, and as such the trip we’d booked to Paris a few months back kinda snuck up on us - pretty much before we knew it, we’re sat in a cafe blinking at the sun, frantically trying to excavate memories of school French lessons buried under 15 years of neglect.
It’s formally the end of an era - even though Windows 3.11 (aka Windows for Workgroups) hasn’t been sold for PCs for some considerable time, Microsoft has still been licensing it to embedded device manufacturers right up until the present day. However, now they’re finally pulling the plug. I’m actually impressed they kept it up this long! Most serious enterprise software vendors will support product lines for 10 years at a stretch, but it’s been 15 years since WFW was released - that’s pretty impressive.