Developer.com is on my fairly modest set of RSS feeds, and occasionally it has something interesting in it. In general I have found that over time, online articles on development from this sort of place have become less and less useful to me, probably because most of them are of the ‘getting started’ type, and I’ve been a developer for long enough that often I either already know what the article is about specifically, or I can see that it’s just another technical take on an old idea.

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Mmmm, Orange…

Yes, my pre-ordered copy of The Orange Box turned up today. Seemed like too good an opportunity to miss before the glut of Xmas games comes rolling in - I played Half Life 2 on release, but I hadn’t gotten around to playing Episode 1 yet, so this package includes four new things to play with, namely Half Life 2 add-ons Episodes 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. I wouldn’t call it five games in one really, more one full game and 4 nice add-ons.

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Dare to be Digital is the UK’s premier video games creation competition for students, and several of the entrants this year (4 of the 12 teams in fact) used OGRE as a basis for their graphics. This was in itself rather cool when we heard about it in the forum, but I just noticed that out of the 4 awards available, projects using OGRE won 3 of them. That’s not all, as winners these projects get shortlisted for the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ Award so will be no doubt heading to London next week for that.

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The OSI have just approved the Microsoft Public License and Microsoft Reciprocal License as official open source licenses now. Understandably, this has generated some online debate. I’ve read them, and I don’t see the big deal. The former license appears to be quite MIT-like, with the addition of a couple of explicit patent clauses (contributors agree not to sue you over patents, unless you sue them). The latter is much the same, except with the additional clause that you have to pass on the licensed source code to recipients of binary code.

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Incoming Leopards

So, a formal release date for Mac OS X 10.5 aka ‘Leopard’ has been set now, 26th October or just over a week away. Really it should have been out by now, this represents a 4-month delay on the original release schedule which was to see it released with the ‘Santa Rosa’ Macbook Pro line - slightly disappointing but keeping it in context, it could have been a lot worse.

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Quite a few of you will know the name Pelican Crossing already, they’re the company that does Blink3D, a web-based 3D interactive content creation / viewing system which uses OGRE. Well, I was aware that CEO Clive Jackson was in California last week for the Virtual Worlds conference, although I didn’t at that time know precisely why except that there was an announcement on the cards - it would have been good to meet up (especially as he was dropping by NVIDIA too) but unfortunately we missed each other by a week.

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Yuval from the hugin / panotools project took a 360 degree panoramic photo of people at the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit this year, when we were outside by Stan the T-Rex skeleton, and he’s put it online now. When you eventually locate me (not hard, since the T-Shirt I’m wearing is something of a giveaway), you’ll be able to see a bunch of other folks I mentioned around me - Xavier is on my left just peeking over the top of someone else (ie to the right of me in the photo), Sean from BZFlag is on my right (a bit of a gap, he’s the guy with the sunglasses),  Marten from CrystalSpace is in front and to my left in the stripey top.

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As most of you will know, Direct X has always used the COM reference counting mechanism. Personally I’ve always hated the explicit reference counting style (ie having to call Release() when you are finished with an object) - because of the negative effects of not calling Release the precisely correct number of times it’s not really far removed from having to manually manage memory anyway, and is vastly inferior to the automatic reference counting done by smarter systems such as boost:shared_ptr<> (which Ogre uses a derivation of, natch).

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You probably all already know by now that Al Gore and the IPCC jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Skipping all the arguments about which part of the partnership deserved it most, I have to say that out of George ‘Dubya’ Bush and Al Gore, I know who came out on top of the 2000 US presidential elections. The ‘winner’ went on to be regarded as a running joke, a swaggering, arrogant ignoramus who makes our Prince Philip look like the most canny and tactful of political commentators, and who has no doubt damaged foreign perception of the USA for decades.

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Only 700 years late

I just heard that the Vatican is set to finally pardon the Knights Templar, almost exactly 700 years after the order was declared heretical by the church in what has long been believed to be basically an argument about money (Philip IV of France owed them a shedload of cash, being as they were the first world bankers). Allegedly documents ‘recently released’ from the Vatican archives have reinforced that the then Pope Clement V never actually believed they were heretics at all, and it was in fact purely about money and power.

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