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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Stating the obvious

I’m a fan of Google, but I just have to highlight this nonsense: Google successfully patents the idea of putting things inside other things. Wow, what a genius idea. Is it just me, or could the IT industry achieve a lot more if we accepted that things such as this were absolutely bloody obvious and went and spent the resources required to file and administer patents like this on something more useful instead?

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So, I finally got around to creating that ‘Direct3D10’ folder underneath ogrenew/RenderSystems today. Don’t get too excited, it’s basically just a copy / rename job so far, but I have at least made a start. Anyway, even though I’ve read bits of the DirectX10 docs before, there’s nothing like a practical implementation to really focus the mind. So, I figured the first thing to at least attempt to get compiling was the vertex / index buffer support.

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No pain, no gain

I finally managed to finish Hard mode of Guitar Hero 2 last night, having decided finally to stop avoiding the nefarious ‘Furious Fretwork’ section (and particularly two hand-shredding  tracks, Carry Me Home and Psychobilly Freakout) and tackle them head-on. I’d avoided them partly because I don’t like the songs that much, and partly because they’re so bloody difficult, but after a week without playing guitar, real or virtual, I figured my hands were as fresh as they were going to be (although I did do a bit of real guitar practice first).

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Back, photos

Typically having had just enough time to finally adjust my various mental and physical cycles by 8 hours to GMT-7, I’ve returned and am undergoing the exact same process in reverse. As such I’m feeling a bit rough but at least I can adjust in familiar surroundings. In the meantime, here’s a few photos of me doing the rounds at various Silicon Valley locations (click for full size versions): I managed a few hours in downtown San Francisco too on Sunday before heading back to get the flight (all of yesterday was travelling, what fun), which was ok I guess.

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Google Mentor Summit

Had a good time at Google today  - their campus is absolutely massive and there are quirky things like the replica of  SpaceShipOne hanging over the main stairwell (pictured) and a T-Rex skeleton inexplicably present in the grounds - apparently its name is ‘Stan’ athough I actually think ‘Alta Vista’ or ‘Lycos’ might have been more appropriate. The mentor summit went well, I met Greg (aka Xavier) in person finally which was cool, along with loads of other people including Marten from Crystal Space, the guys from BZFlag (I’d met Sean from BZFlag at Siggraph before so it was good to talk again), plus developers from Theora, Eclipse, Apache, Drupal, Joomla and lots of others.

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Phew, the jet lag certainly isn’t beaten yet. Even though I managed to stay up until about 9:30pm last night before succumbing (remember, this was actually 5:30am according to my body clock), it hasn’t entirely compensated and I’m feeling pretty tired now (6:45pm aka 2:45am). I didn’t notice until I got back just now because I’ve had a really busy and interesting day. This morning I was at NVIDIA where I had a tour of the campus and some really interesting discussions on a variety of subjects.

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