A shabby week

The start of my week hasn’t gone that well at all. Firstly, I went to the dentist for a checkup which went rapidly downhill - unfortunately I had impacted wisdom teeth which were removed several years ago, but they left behind some hidden problems which were missed or deemed not serious enough until I had a routine x-ray on Monday, at which point my dentist says it now needs sorting out.

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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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I always take these rankings with a bit of a pinch of salt, but it was a nice surprise as I went to check out the download stats that we’ve just about sneaked into the top 20 ‘Most Active’ projects list for the last 7 days. I’m not really sure how they measure that, and I know we lost out for a while by moving our website away from Sourceforge’s hosting, but I’m willing to allow myself a little bit of satisfaction anyway, bearing in mind that we’re in some good company in that list, and Sourceforge host over 140,000 projects.

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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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Hey, this is pretty cool. Again it came up on the OGRE forums - CNN were running a report on a ‘Seeing Machine’ designed to help people with impaired vision, and it turns out that at least some of the software they’re running is using OGRE - most obviously the ‘virtual gallery’ although I’ve spotted the tell-tale OGRE debug panel on some other shots too. There’s some more detail on this project, together with videos showing more of OGRE on MIT’s website.

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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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Man vs virus

I hate getting flu whilst travelling - it last happened to me on the way back from Canada a couple of years ago, which wasn’t fun. Due to the awkwardness of living on an island with limited air links, my trip back yesterday required a connecting flight and a 4-hour stopover in one of the country’s dullest airports (Exeter). Unfortunately that morning I started to come down with really bad flu symptoms so it hasn’t been the most fun of journeys (not that it was really fixing to be anyway).

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I’m jumping on a plane for a business trip now and so my presence in the Ogre community will be somewhat more muted than usual until the weekend. It’s weird - I’d almost feel like I needed a sitter, if it wasn’t for the army of people doing such a good job already looking after the community 😀I know I’m at risk of repeating myself, but I don’t think it can be said enough - I really appreciate all the time people put in of their own volition on the forums, looking after other Ogre users.

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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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Busy week

Well, it’s longer than usual between blog posts, but that’s because I’ve been pretty darn busy. During the day I’ve been taming Houdini most of the week again, via a combination of sweet-talking and blunt trauma. God, it’s a beautiful tool for the user, but lift the hood and you find within a veritable labyrinth of unsignposted corridors, dead ends, fake doors and hidden pit traps. The enormous flexibility and abstraction that works so well for the end-user makes extracting the relevant data and figuring out the internal relationships somewhat challenging to say the least, more so when documentation is almost non-existent, and where it does exist, it’s often inaccurate.

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