It’s always something

The week of August 25th-30th earns a major black mark. Localization is just one of those things that shows everything bad and evil about Open Source Code. It’s one of those things where Microsoft has a clear and winning advantage because someone makes the call and bing all products comply with a single, standard, well defined interface for supporting languages.

I finally beat the code on 3 platforms into conformance; I spent today baby-stepping through migrating the MySQL databases to UTF8/UCS2 encoding/storage on the dev cluster and then validated it on the beta.

Wrote up my end of week report and decided to test something quick on the dev cluster. Odd. It’s not running, though.

Outcome undecided…

Campaign #45, Day #65! (Take that, 30 minute shoebox maps)

It can take our Axis players a little while to remember that the tales of invincibility are survivors tales. As a dev, it’s great seeing the positive chat that ensues when either side gets in that groove with their gear and teamplay kicks in – like the Tiger formation last night – with Stugs, IVgs and lots of supply vehicles outside Geel.

They still rock…

Line-up has changed a lot since my 6 months as keyboard player, but they seem to have kept the sound and spirit of the band. Tickets for the Rumble Band, that I might fly 3000 miles for, Dad ;)

If you wanna get a better feel for the sound of the band, nip out, buy some good speakers and a lot of beer, drink the beer while wiring up the speakers, crank the heating/aircon up a little, then stop by their Sound Clips page, click a link, crank the volume on the speakers up to 11, and stare out the window at passing hotties.

Unicode literals and GCC

Meet my Chinese friend, yuè: 龠

Can you see him, or do you just see a funny box or question mark? You should be seeing a small version of this neat little fella on the right if you have the right fonts etc installed.

Yuè is my Unicode/UTF guinea pig. He is “U+9FA0” in UTF-16 and in UTF-8 he is E0 BE A0.

I can’t get him to print :(

Confused? I am

I’ve been in the US now for getting on 6 years. For most of it, I’ve had very little contact with people back in England and while I think I’ve probably passed the age where I’ll pick up an accent, I’m certainly less English than I was 6 years ago. I’m in the process of applying for my permanent work visa and I’m 37; mid-life looms and I have to choose a continent. And right there is where suddenly I discover facebook and old friends I haven’t heard from in anywhere upto 18 years suddenly get back in touch covering my life from Grimsby to London.

Less of these, thanks

Bah. Just, bah. I’ve had a bad stomach all week – I think – thanks to last weekend’s annual pest treatment of my apartment. I left the apartment door open last night and today I found a couple of roaches in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. Probably from outside, but still… Found that Easy-Off BAM kills roaches in seconds, way faster than Raid.

Electricity was out several times, no aircon for most of the day. And I was looking forward to calling my dad and my old mate Simon but my phone line was out for most of the day.

But, an old friend I had just given up hope of ever getting in touch with again sent me a facebook invite this morning which made my week, if not month :)

If the rest of the day hadn’t been so truly lousy, I’d be happy as a clam right now. I’ll settle for not miserable tho, but lets not make a hab of it, eh?

Force Unleashed / Alone in the Dark

Brace yourselves, you know how dismal it is when I review new games… Well, I downloaded The Force Unleashed and Alone in the Dark demos for the XBox 360 and gave them a whorl. I enjoyed both demos but I’m still going to be tough on both games…


Stargate Atlantis is apparently comes to a close at the end of this season. I have to admit, I watch Atlantis on a Friday night if my TiVo doesn’t have a good episode from the early seasons of SG1 on it. I don’t think I’ve ever watched an Atlantis re-run.

The fact is that the Atlantis series might as well all be aliens. Who cares if they are from Earth, they’re in another galaxy, they have Stargates, puddle jumpers, starships and advanced ancient technology out of wazoo. If the IOA thought O’Neill, Carter and Jackson were bad, was the day they selected/approved Sheppard and McKay bong day?

I try to imagine John Sheppard leading troops in active combat overseas and I shudder (Ok, he’s airforce, but so?)

Still, sorry to see the series end, it’s had the occasional cracking episode like The Daedalus Variations and last week’s episode was well above par too.



I guess I’m still suffering some paranoia from my recent XP infection, but this wasn’t on my start menu a couple of hours ago. I know that because it bumped Calculator off the list.

This is what my menu looked like 3 hours ago (having the start menu up when I took the screenshot was an accident):

Half an update

This week has just not been going well. It doesn’t help that the AC in my office is blowing a tornado  and after a few minutes sitting in here my ears are ringing. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone else, so I get to feel like the whiny little Brit.

Right now my main tasks are finishing up localization of the host, which is dragging out as I work thru all those fancy /commands like “/own” and some fairly significant under-the-hood overhaul of the grid system in the cell hosts.

It’s something that needed doing for a while to catch the cell host up with other changes, making a bunch of other critical work possible, and as the basis for a very simple partitioning system, sometimes referred to as instancing. This round of instancing is trivial, however; only partition 0 (the live campaign) has strat and supply data, all the other instances have unlimited/free supply like the training server, all buildings/etc are in their default state, etc.

Just now I’m converting the low-level system that tracks where everyone is and thus who can see whom with a nice simple grid system (in matter of fact, the current systems are called “the grid” and “the vis system”).

There’s an old coding adage that you should never rewrite code. I refactored the grid system quite some time ago as the basis for the area chat system in the chat host, and this replacement will largely be based on that. But the vis system is designed to do the opposite of what I need it to do, the code is written in C rather than C++ and it uses some very bad shortcuts to achieve performance and the cost of … well, actually performance.

My design is significantly simpler… Shoe-horning the old system into it would require far more new coding than rewriting the thing, and since I’m making heavy use of existing well-documented systems (STL) and creating a system at least an order of magnitude simpler … I find it hard not to see replacement as justified over refactoring… 15,000+ lines of code replaced by under 1500? And mine have comments in them. (Well, the old code does if you count “// i?”)