Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beta Woes

As most people know, we're working towards an inevitable beta. This has destroyed my sense of normal working hours. This week has been chained 12 hour days. It's actually been a wacky week. Between dividing time helping friends, getting my 12 hour days in, and trying to have a semblance of a social life.

Also apparently there was a earthquake in Virginia. Who knew they'd hit the east coast? Living out here for so long we take them for granted I suppose. Eh the grounds shaking? Go back to bed. Richmond shook from a 5.9, if you've never experienced a tremblor over 3, feeling the ground move like a sin wave is... discomforting the first time. Why people are surprised the phone lines suddenly hit capacity is beyond me. Well yes, of course they did, half the folks had not a clue what was happening. I did find it ironic, at the time, my mother called to reassure me everyone was okay. Personally I had seen the quake news already and had mostly dismissed it due to the magnitude. Granted, 5 years ago, I'd have said I'd never get used to that.

Anyhow, on the Beta front, we're plugging towards some undisclosed deadline. I'm working harder, not the least of which is to prove myself. The other is to make a badassical game.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Subversion woes pt2

Okay, In fairness to subversion, I feel the need to amend my past statement. Subversion doesn't need to die, but all its poor implementations do. I finally got decent performance out of it, after removing Tortoise (Not even a Hoveraroud would have saved that one), Installing Ankh and a command line SVN tool. Both of which raised my times from, O(N) where N = Files in source, to O(N) where N = files checked out, or files modified since the last sync.

Which means, I ended up installing 3 tools, to get what perforce does with 1. On second thought, subversion can still diaf.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes I'm rewriting THAT system before beta

Every now and again in the natural evolution of a project. You are going to end up with 2 similar paths for doing task X. Like all good divergent paths, eventually path A != B. You end up spending days, and days making A behave like B. But A isn't B. Too many times I watch people say, duct tape it and move on. Fix it, it costs less. If you don't have a producer that can understand frontloaded time now, saves bugs later during live, I suggest practicing in a mirror, your spouse, my cat (he has plenty of experience listening to me ramble, often sober).

That's why with a beta looming in the future, I'm re-writing a major gameplay system from scratch. We really don't spend enough time as engineers paying down the technical debt we accrue in the "Just ship this milestone" mentality. For Console guys, it's not as bad, its often in the gameplay layer and we can in practice, dispose of those parts. For live teams, that debt becomes your successors thorn.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Saturday I go out and get new tires on the FZ6R, So I decide to go up and ride Santiago Canyon Rd. I'm travelling up El Toro, and pass a sport bike and 2 Harleys off the opposite side, flip around and ask if they need help. Sure enough, one of the Harely's has broken down. Apparently I was the first person to stop in the 20 minutes they had been there. Helped them get it up on the tow truck, and get under way. Nice folks, invited me to come grab dinner and a beer on them. Sitting there waiting for the tow truck, not a single other person bothered to stop slow down, heck, most didn't wave.

When did the wave stop being common courtesy amongst bikers?  Also do you wave to a Can-Am? That last one has bugged me for a bit. Anyhow, I now need to find some time to scrub these tires before Glendora Mountain Road this upcoming Saturday. Urf.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear Bank Name Here

If there is one thing that LulzSec has taught us latley, it's that our online security is non-existant. Big companies have skirted and flirted with making me feel safe via "Wish It Was Two Factor". They've made us feel safe by calling the attacks "Sophisticated, Advanced" or saying "There's no way we could have prepared for this". Okay Citi, how about not putting my credit card number INTO THE URL? Just sayin. (Also, thankfully I don't use Citi, if I did, I'd have canceled them)

Banks have recently been court validated to continue performing "Wish It Was Two Factor". For the non-security geeks reading this. Two Factor is by default defined by "Prove you know something (say, a password), Prove you have something (Say a Fob, or RSA dongle, etc)". Prove you know something, and prove you know something, or validate my IP, etc doesn't cut it. Sorry buckos.

You know what's the saddest part? My World Of Warcraft account has better security then my bank, loan accounts, credit cards, and utilities. Combined. Good Job Blizzard. Fuck You American Banking system. Seriously, if my bank wanted to charge me 5 bucks a month, and would give me a RSA dongle, I'd pay it. Heck, for better security, I'd accept a *reasonable* fee.

(On that note, I'd like to give a shout out to the Australian banking system, which does provide RSA Keys for their online banking)

Monday, May 23, 2011

That Sense of Ennui

Today one of my coworkers convinced me to fire up UO on a free shard. Despite my past runnings with Az, I ended up giving in and doing so. I immediately installed the old midi's and dove in. Oh sweet nostalgia. It's hard to imagine finding that immediate sense of it with a game that has changed so much in 15 years. It's also hard to imagine, I first picked up this game, when I was only 12.

It's odd how you remember things. Yea, it's still very different. But I'm running around West Brit, and things come flooding back, and that's probably how I found myself just 50 minutes later, macroing so I could watch TV. Ahh, how UO doesn't change.

Happy Post Fake Rapture Looting!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things We Accept

So I'm leaving <Store, redacting seems good here> today, and a younger guy is in a full on argument with the loss prevention guy at <Store>. Why? Out of refusal to show a receipt. Now, granted, I didn't know if he had one or not, or had stolen anything. The point of the matter is, legally, the guy was in the right, in CA he was under no obligation to show a receipt. I sat there watching out of morbid curiosity for the longest time. Police eventually responded and cleared things up, turns out he had a receipt, and refused on principal.

So I got to thinking, what are all the things we don't have to do, yet we do, of similar nature. Turns out there's a lot. Two examples:

Gas Pumps in CA - Require billing zipcode (which in this state cannot be required to complete a transaction)

Showing ID with a Visa/Mastercard. Apparently that's banned too (by visa!), they have to just match signatures...

Inevitably, it got to well, we accept airport security. (Granted I think it's security theater, but that's a whole different post) It's not a grope, it's a freedom pat.

This led me to thinking: "Okay, so they can't do any of this, but how much am I really put out by it, and how often is it with good intent?". In most cases, I just don't care, I've nothing to hide. Frankly, as a motorcyclist and walker, I accept that most places I go with a backpack, people are going to want to search it for contraband. Yea, I would be insulted if someone inspected it thinking I stole something. I understand WHY they might, but I might make a commentary on that one. In that context I kind of understood why he made such a big deal of the receipt, and sure, it's insulting to be accused of theft, but to make a big deal of it, and waste so much time? Seriously it's not worth it.

Continuing Adventures in Car-Less-Ness

Okay, So I still don't regret the decision to be without a car. Really I can count on one hand the things that bug me about it, and every single one leaves ZipCar as an acceptable solution.

Probably one of the biggest perks of being without car, is it keeps me "honest", I resist impulse buys at the market due to space bringing things back, I make smaller, more compact, more healthy meals for the same reasoning. I like walking places to begin with. The mall is a good 20 minute or so walk away, but it just feels better to walk it then drive. Granted, it helps I've met someone recently who lives nearby and also enjoys walking places. Good company goes a long way into making the outdoors even more enjoyable!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Not Being Mechanical

I'll be the first to admit, I was not born the most mechanically inclined child, I'd go so far as to say I was completely incapable of it. For the longest time, I used to envy my friends, and especially my father for the ability to just do things. My father was always the sort who really could do just about anything presented to him, being mechanical, plumbing, renovation, sales, well, whatever. A trait I admire, greatly due to self sufficiency.

Consequently, as I've gotten older. I've often found myself learning by doing. When I was 18, I couldn't have told you how to add coolant to my car, let alone change its oil. Now, if not for the internet, I'm sure i'd be lost and clueless about many things. But between youtube and, try it and see, I've slowly gained it. Today I replaced the full exhaust system, and EFI on my Yamaha. It felt awesome riding it after that, it feels more awesome being self sufficient, when just 5 years ago, I'd have paid someone 500 to do that same task. And what's more? I find it fun. Five hours ago my the 6 was in 8 pieces, now, its returned, and so much more mine.

I'll leave that as my closing thought, when you do things for yourself, and do your own upgrades. It's so much worth it, the sense of ownership is awesome.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Debug Builds

I've found with many projects I work on. The closer it gets to the end, the less useful "Debug" builds are. You always end up working in some sort of Release-UnOpt  build.

I'm sitting here now, and running a debug build in a frame rate I can only describe as "Slide Show". Granted, for what I'm testing my frame rate is largely irrelevant. I recall on Dead Space, debug wouldn't even fit in console Debug RAM. This raises an interesting question, why is it as developers we add debug spew/info/etc until we make the debug build, we are trying so hard to make usable, completely unusable?

I once heard a quote: no Engineer in good conscience, would write a DestroyBaghdad() method, instead, they would write a DestroyCity() method, of which Baghdad would be a parameter. I suspect the debug spew we leave behind is similar, we just assume what the next one will need. Call it a new flavor on the Speculative Generality code smell. We preempt our following engineers, to our eventual deficit. Debug death by a thousand cuts.

Getting Healthy

So, I post horrifically infrequently. Yay crunch. I have however, decided complements inspiration from my sister, to get healthier. (I realize it's almost Oxymoronic that I post this while working at 11pm)

Eating Healthy, Living Healthy, I've even added Run Keeper to my twitter feed to keep me accountable. (

If I can be half as prolific on the posts, or half as dedicated as my sister, I'll be doing good. This includes setting aside a portion of my budget to join our local boot camp.

On that note, I'll shamelessly promote my sister's blog roll:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Adventure in Car-less-ness

Today marks day 4 sans car. It's also raining. I find most places I can get to by foot or by the motorcycle. So far, I'm not for wanting for the car, in fact I've only had one issue. I can't buy cake, it doesn't hold up well in a backpack. We'll see how this goes after 2 more days of rain.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Subversion Needs to Die

I'm sorry, it's time subversion was put out to pasture. I spent the better part of two hours recovering from the damage dealt from a subversion bug. The final solution was to give up, and recheck out the entire repository.

Frankly, subversion wouldn't even be *that* bad if not for it's issues as a resource hog, and speed. In this day in age, dead locking a machine during a sync, taking over 5 minutes to sync two dozen files, in general, being unresponsively slow just isn't acceptable for a version control system. Let's not even go on about handling of large binaries.

I don't advocate for Perforce, or Git. Both are better options. But this morning in between cursing subversion, I found myself actually saying. I'd rather have source safe, or a thumb drive. It's a quality of life thing. Give me fully functional version control, with easy to use branching, easy sandbox generation, or give me a thumb drive.

Amazon FTW

Me:According to the tracking number provided my order <redacted> is at my front door. In Las Vegas. That would be an issue seeing as how I live in California.
Reena:Hello, my name is Reena. I'll be happy to help you.
Me:Groovy, the tracking number attached is : <redacted>
UPS claims it was delivered
Reena:Clayton , do you mean to say that you din't receive the item.
Me:Well, Yes
I mean it was shipped to Las Vegas apparently
Shipping Information
Directly from the UPS tracking site
Reena:May I please take the order number ?
Me:First thing I sent
(First message)
Reena:Oh, yes my apologies.
Can you hold for a minute or two while I research this for you?
Me:Sure thing
Reena:Thank you, Clayton, I have checked the order and the delivery status shows that its in transit.
And shipping information is <redacted>, CALIFORNIA <redacted>
United States
Me:Despite the fact UPS' own website says delivered to Las Vegas?
Status: In transit
Location: Front door
From ya'lls
Reena:let me check with ups.
Me:UPS has a delivered on, proof of delivery
the whole nine yards
Dear Customer,
This notice serves as proof of delivery for the shipment listed below.
Tracking Number: <redacted>
Service:UPS Ground
Weight:8.00 lbs
Shipped/Billed On:04/06/2011
Delivered To: NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV, US 
Left At:Front Door
Okay, that would have been better with carriage returns <edit: i added them for the blog>
Reena:I understand your concern however the estimated delivery date is 8th April so you will need to wait.
Me:I get that, I'm saying UPS clearly says it was delivered
that blob of text up there. That's the Proof of Delivery for it.
Reena:And if you still don't get the item we will consider it as lost and then create an replacement for yoyu.
Past in the tracking number above
it shows delivered.
Reena:Yes, I have seen that but we cannot create replacement until the estimated delivery date is not passed. I am so sorry about this.
So, since the estimated date hasnt passed, the fact it got shipped to the wrong state is irrelevant?

Reena:Clayton, there might be some confusion but please don't worry you will get the item by 8th of april and else we will refund you.