Moving beyond language

When you’re talking with some programmers, particularly younger ones, you can’t help but run into the ‘great language debate’ at some point or another. That is, that many programmers have a language which they feel is superior to all the others, and they’ll put up a ton of resistence should you suggest that they use something else. It happens in other areas too of course - preferred operating systems, databases, apps etc, but as coders the language issue always tends to come up most, closely followed by IDEs.

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Taste, or lack thereof

I like co-op games a lot - currently my wife and I are battling on-and-off through the triple-distilled gameplay that comprises the multiplayer co-op levels on N+ - and both ruthless and supremely entertaining they are. I’m glad that game designers are starting to give this mode more attention these days, and so when I initially saw Army of Two (peripherally), I was semi-interested given that it was clearly designed for co-op from the outset.

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Yet more proof, if we needed it, that Mr Facebook has his head permanently lodged shoulder-deep in his own arse, because allegedly, Facebook is now going to help rid the world of terrorism. Yep, that’s right - not content with running a one-trick popularity-dependent company that despite still scrabbling around for a viable business model still gets funded to a level that defies all rational analysis, nor with his could-you-get-any-more-pompous 100 years of media gaffe, good old Zucky is now taking credit for stopping terrorism too.

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It’s easy for my wife to tell if I’m ‘properly’ sick; if I don’t have any interest in touching a keyboard for a while, it’s official - I’m ill. More reliable than any doctor’s prognosis. I came down with proper ‘flu for the second time this winter, which sapped my energy to do pretty much anything for the last few days. Sucks. I didn’t even have the energy to play any games until late in the weekend!

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Farewell, adventurer

It’s a sad day - Gary Gygax, pioneer of pen-and-paper roleplaying games and one of the original DnD creators, has passed away aged 69. While I never played the original DnD (I was only a year old when it was released), Gygax had a hand in many of the seminal experiences I had with PnP RPGs. I’ve had a long history with them, starting from MERP (which all came about from reading LOTR) when I was 13/14 all the way to the present day.

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I’m not even sure it’s possible, but EA seem to think it is. I’m kind of intrigued by Battlefield Heroes - they’re making it free to download, apeing the Team Fortress 2 toungue-in-cheek approach (along with the cartoony visuals), and supposedly making it friendlier to those who don’t live & breathe online gaming.  I’m skeptical though, I’ve yet to see any online FPS that is actually fun to play unless you practice like a man posessed.

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I never touched Flash coding before this weeked - I’ve never really felt inclined to do so, I generally dislike Flash interfaces on websites and as such I never felt the need to buy expensive tools from MacromediaAdobe to develop in that environment. There was also the fact that forcing someone to install a plugin to view your content always left a bad taste in my mouth. A few things have changed that attitude recently though.

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Holy cow, the EC has now fined Microsoft a cumulative figure of £1.27bn (~$2.6bn) for what they say is the worst case of non-compliance with antitrust / competition law in 50 years. Even when set against the quadzillion dollars Microsoft makes every waking second that’s a pretty robust kick in the knackers if I ever saw one. The latest round covers the period where MS finally opened up some specs about desktop interoperability, but charged competitors disproportionate royalties to use them - supposedly because APIs now represent ‘significant innovation’ if you’re Microsoft, although in my opinion an API spec represents about as much innovation as my next shopping list.

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Hibernate, presented

I reprised my former role as ‘wizened business software guru’ last night by giving a presentation to my local developer community on Hibernate, the Java-based object-relational mapping system (ORM). I really like Hibernate; not only has it got an enormous amount of features, and performs really well, but it’s also built on very sound design principles. As someone who has used several ORMs in the past, and written a couple of my own going back a decade or so, I can appreciate the thought that has gone into it.

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Go, ninja, go

XBox Live Arcade continues to serve up some great small gaming experiences, it’s one of the major boons of the platform at the moment I think. It’s great to indulge in some micro-slices of gaming goodness while at the same time supporting independent developers - that’s why N+ is to be the latest addition to my collection. I played the demo version last night and thoroughly enjoyed it so I intend to buy the full game next time I’m on the 360.

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