Category Archives: Technology

Age Jim Morrison Enters Another Door

So far this month, 48 people have come to this site after searching for “Age Jim Morrison Enters Another Door” on Ask.com.

It’s funny, I’ve seen all of the new commercials on TV for Ask.com and I actually thought about trying it. Maybe it really is better than Google? After seeing these results, I’m not so sure.

This site is actually the number three result for that phrase. I guess I should be honored, but I’m not exactly sure why. There’s only one reference to Jim Morrison on this site – my post about the 10th Anniversay of Kurt Cobain’s death.

So if you’re here looking for Jim Morrison, I’m afraid I can’t help you. The last time I saw him he was walking in the desert with Wayne…

Another New Blog

You may have noticed another new link on the right side of the page — Death By Plastic.

Death By Plastic is my new weblog about getting out of debt, specifically credit card debt. It will also cover other personal finance topics like reducing expenses, finding alternate sources of income, and saving for the future.

There’s not much content there yet, but it’s growing steadily. I just finished up a three-part series on eliminating debt with my 1, 2, 3 plan. I think it’s pretty good. Hopefully other people will like it, too.

I’ve got more than 10 other posts in various states of completion — everything from book reviews to investment tips. I’m going to try to update the site at least three times a week.

I feel like I’m finally starting to make money for myself instead of just working to pay the bills. It’s a really good feeling, and I want to share that feeling with everyone I can.

MacBook

Apple announced their new laptop yesterday – the MacBook. Now it comes in black or white. So you can make sure your laptop matches your iPod.

The Intel Core Duo processor means it’s around 4 times faster than the computer I’m using right now. It has a glossy widescreen and a new low-profile keyboard that looks really nice to me.

I’ll have to get my hands on one at the Apple store to see if I really like it. In the mean time if anybody knows a way for me to a quick (legal) $1000, I’m all ears.

New Blog

There’s one less link at the top of this page. That’s because I finally got around to setting up another site for all of my game programming tutorials. So now you can come here to read about Paige, Matthew, and me and not have to learn all about programming computer games.

But, if you are coming here to learn how to write game, by all means check out Game Dev Geek. I moved all of my programming tutorials about Lua, SDL, and managing game states to that site. Over the next few weeks I’ll be updating all of them to work with Visual C++ 2005 on Windows as well as Xcode on Mac OS X and of course good old make on Linux.

I’ll also be updating the blog at Game Dev Geek on a regular basis with interesting news about game programming, and I have a bunch of ideas for new tutorials. I’m going to wrap up my series on Lua with a complete example. I’m also going to expand my list of SDL tutorials so you’ll have everything you need to make complete games.

The new site will also have tutorials on OpenGL as well as writing games with Java. I teach a high school Java class everyday, so I already have some pretty good material on the subject. My main focus on the new site is going to be cross platform game development. So if you into that kind of thing, check it out.

Speaking of my class, someone at lunch today told me that we only have 14 school days left. I didn’t realize we were that close. So in about three weeks my life will get a lot less complicated…

Another World

Way back in the dark ages, sometime around 1991, I played a lot of video games. By “a lot” I mean pretty much all of them, day and night, all the time. Yes my grades suffered.

Anyway, one game that I have fond memories of was called Out of this World. It had amazing vector graphics. The animation was smooth and the backgrounds were dark and mysterious.

Unfortunately, those fond memories can sometimes be a little deceptive. In reality, it looked something like this:

Out of this World 1991

Not too bad, but still a little ugly by today’s standards.

Another thing about this game – it’s hard. Many people probably never made it past the first screen. You will die many times while playing this game and it will test your patience. Basically anything that touches you kills you. Even the slugs have fangs.

On April 14, out of the blue, the developer of this game decided to rerelease it with updated graphics. Now it looks more like this:

Another World 2006

Much less blocky, but still true to the original. It’s still hard to play, but it’s now much easier on the eyes.

They also switched back to the original name – Another World. They called it Out of this World in 1991 so it wouldn’t be confused with the soap opera Another World.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can download the demo from the Another World web site. If you like it, you can buy the full version for 7 euros (about $8.50). It was the best 7 euros I’ve ever spent. For a free game check out how to get free robux, if you want to save those 7 euros, but like I said, best euros I’ve ever spent!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to kick some slugs…

Isn’t Everybody a Geek?

Last Thursday night I attended a meeting of the Lamar County Coalition of Education, Business, and Industry. My role there was to present a web application I’ve been developing. Also in attendance were representatives from each school district in Lamar County, three students from each district, and a few business people from the area. I think there were about 25 people there total.

The Coalition’s goal is to develop a website to bridge the gap between high school students and business people in order to help students prepare for jobs. With this in mind, I thought a wiki would be the perfect tool to facilitate this collaboration. Also, I’ve been working on a wiki of my own for a while now (more on that later), and I thought this might be just the thing to push me into finally completing it.

Over the last few weeks I finished up all of the essential features of the wiki and added some content provided by a guy from a local business. My hope was that this site could be expanded by students and business people into something really useful — similar to how Wikipedia is maintained by visitors to the site, only on a smaller scale.

I was in for some big surprises that night…

Before I showed the website to the students, I asked if anyone in the room knew what a “wiki” was. Out of the 20 students in the room, three raised their hands. All three were students in my class at Paris High. Next, I asked if anyone had ever heard of Wikipedia. A few more hands went up, maybe five or six students had at least heard of it. So I gave a quick overview of wikis and Wikipedia in particular.

A wiki is a type of website that allows anyone visiting the site to add, to remove, or otherwise to edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

With this out of the way, I proceeded to take them through the site. There were only four pages to look at, so it didn’t take long. I mentioned how students could post comments on each page, and showed how easy it was to add and edit pages. I was quite proud of myself at this point, but it was obvious that the students were unimpressed by the limited content on the site.

One student had already mentioned how she went about researching her chosen career of Marine Biology. She spent several days searching the web for information about the job including colleges offering Marine Biology as a major, required courses, job opportunities, and basically everything else you would need to know to become a Marine Biologist. Seeing as she was now an expert on this topic, I asked if she would contribute to the site.

Her answer was simple – No. I asked the rest of the students if they would contribute to the site, and they answered in a similar fashion. If the content they wanted was available on the site, they would use it, but if they had to do research to find what they were looking for, they would not return to the site and share the information. So much for sharing.

Keep in mind these weren’t just average students attending this meeting. The three from Paris High were National Honor Society members. This really made me wonder about all of the “user generated content” on the web. I wonder how many people use Wikipedia compared to how many actually edit articles. Who generates the content in the first place? Obviously someone out there is working on it, but it’s no one that I know.

Hello world!

I just made the big switch from MovableType to WordPress.  So far it seems to be going pretty smoothly.  I’m sure I’ll regret saying that later…

SXSW Update

Work has been crazy this week. Things are sometimes calm after spring break, but no such luck this year. Anyway, here’s a little more information about what I did during South-by-Southwest…

The first thing I saw was the Jason Fried / Jim Coudal opening keynote. For me, that one talk was probably worth the price of admission. I’ve read all of 37signals‘ ideas about building web applications, but somehow actually hearing and seeing Jason Fried say the words made it a lot more meaningful. Jim Coudal was also a great speaker. I would probably say he was the better speaker of the two, but almost everyone in the audience seemed to be a Jason Fried fanboy.

There were so many other sessions I sometimes had a hard time deciding where to go. DOM Scripting with Jeremy Keith and Aaron Gustafson was a great introduction to JavaScript and the Document Object Model. Sink or Swim with , Evan Williams, Josua Schachter and a couple of other guys had some good advice for business owners. The Sunday keynote with Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong was a lot of fun. The Microformats talk really opened my eyes to what all the fuss was about. I feel like microformats are going to be very important soon.

I got several books signed while I was there – Designing With Web Standards, DOM Scripting, and CSS Mastery. All of the authors were extremly nice. Geeky guys don’t take to being treated like stars very well. Some people got their picture taken with Zeldman and I could tell he thought that was a little weird. Yes, I did take his picture, but I didn’t stand next to him and hug him. I guess that makes me just half weird.

Overall I had a great time and I was very impressed with the convention. It was great to be able to watch people speak at a session and then be able to bump into them in the halls or sit next to them at another session. It didn’t seem like some exclusive event where the speakers were wisked away in limos. Everyone seemed really easy going and eager to share their ideas.

There was only one session that I left early and that was mainly because it was the end of the day and the lighting in the room was turned down low. For me it was either leave or fall asleep.

I hope I get to go again next year and from now on. Who knows, maybe one of these years I’ll even get up on the stage and talk about something.

Virus Update

One more thing about the Blackmal.E virus…

On the third day of every month, it will destroy all Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, PowerPoint Presentations, Access Databases, Zip Files, and more on your hard drive.

So if there’s even a chance you might have the virus, you might want to run the removal tool sometime in the next week or so.

There are going to be a lot of really upset people on February 3rd.

Yet Another Windows Virus

Has your computer been acting a little funny lately? Maybe it locked up so bad you had to turn if off. Now it’s working again but it seems to be running a little slow.

If this sounds familiar, you might have the latest virus that’s going around – W32.Blackmal.E. This virus was first discovered on January 17. We started getting it at the school district on Thursday.

This one is a little more tricky than the average virus. Not only does it spread via e-mail attachments, it can also spread over the network through shared folders.

Symantec has a page about the virus. They also have an easy to use removal tool.

My old advice still holds true – don’t open any attachments unless you know exactly what it is and why it was sent to you. Just recognizing the sender’s e-mail address is not enough.

Of course, there is to protect yourself from all of these Windows viruses…