The Rules Are Simple

Rule #1 – The deal is the deal.  Don’t alter the deal.

Rule #2 – No names.

Rule #3 – Never open the package.

Rule #4 – Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Rule #5 – Don’t miss the Transporter flicks.

If only clients and project managers would just follow rule #1 (no scope creep).  I followed Rule #5 yesterday and saw Transporter 3 after watching Quantum of Solace the day before.  I’ve definitely had my aciton fix for a while 🙂  Jason Statham has found a role for a lifetime.

Black Friday at WalMart

I’ve never been into the whole Black Friday scene, preferring to do my shopping whenever it’s convenient or in recent years online.  Yesterday, my wife talked me into to giving it a try, especially as one item on our list was a portable CD player for my stepfather.

They’re supposed to go on sale at WalMart at 5AM, so we’re up at 4AM and to the 24-hour WalMart at 4:45.  Fortunately for us, it’s a 24-hour store, so no ‘frenzy’ building up anticipating the opening.  What amateurs, though.  We were stupid for first of all getting there so late and then for actually believing the time.  After taking almost 10 minutes to find a parking spot, the portable CD players were long gone before the advertised time of 5AM.

in the process, I had four people bump into me with their shopping carts, one of which came dangerously close to doing damage to my achilles tendon.  I heard shouts of “That’s my TV”, and other shouts I won’t repeat on this blog.

One dude was going out the door with 4 – yes 4 – 50″ high-def TV’s.  So, what do you do with four 50″ high-def TV’s?  One for every room in the house?  Do you scalp a couple of them on the street corner?  Hopefully, those are gifts for others; after all, it is Christmas, right?

The whole process is like feeding chum to sharks – the stores just dump palletes of stuff into an area and then the frenzied customers fight over them.  I should have know to brush up on my Kung Fu before even entering the store, wear body armor, and perhaps I should have been packing heat?

Then, I hear about someone who got trampled at a WalMart and it’s easy to see how it could happen.  No ‘deal’ is worth killing or injuring someone else.  I have to admit to a bit of curiosity as to how the whole process works and I’ll never do it again.  It’s just hyper-commercialized insanity.  I’d rather spend a few more bucks for something online and enjoy the look on someone’s face when they get exactly what they wanted.

And, no one gets hurt.

Getting Started With Degrafa

I’ll be getting into the Degrafa demos business pretty soon, and will be adding a Degrafa page to the blog just for tutorial and related links.  If you haven’t looked into Degrafa or are curious about how to get started, then check out the excellent introduction at InsideRIA.  There is a great samples section at the Degraf site as well as a complete learning page.

Some misc. tutorials you might find of interest (a few samples from my Degrafa bookmarks – yes, they need to be posted to Delicious),

Tic Tac Toe game using Degrafa

Degrafa With DataGrids

Skinning Tutorial (video)

GeometryRepeater Tutorial (screencast)

Cubic Bezier Spline in Degrafa Beta 3

I’m pleased to announce that the Singularity cubic Bezier spline has been ported and released into Degrafa Beta 3.  The Singularity version was build around a FastBezier class that performed a limited number of subdivision steps for each cubic Bezier segment in order to redraw the spline very fast.  The Degrafa version is built on top of their existing cubic Bezier and it optimized for accurate drawing.

The first version exposes a minimal number of features to direct manipulation in MXML.  After providing a coupld demos, I hope to look into enhancements.  In terms of research for Degrafa, text along a spline is still on the front burner.  After that, I hope to devote time to creating plotting methods to approximate splines that are not comprised of Bezier curves so that we may move other types of splines into the Degrafa drawing pipeline.

haXe and fast inverse square root

Inverse square root is a common operation in vector normalization, something that happens a lot in 3D math, particularly in game engines.  An incredibly clever algorithm was developed using so-called ‘magic numbers’ and implemented in C, making its production debut in Quake.

Essentially, the algorithm makes a very smart guess as to an initial starting point that can be used to drive a single iteration of Newton’s method for 1/sqrt(x).  You can read more about it here,

Some time ago, I gave this approach a try using ByteArray and was disappointed with the performance, although it was a fun exercise.  Recently, Nicolas Cannasse implemented the algorithm with haXe optimizations and the performance is awesome.  Great work Nicolas!

Klaatu barada nikto

I remember watching the original film as a kid and being mesmerized.  Somehow, I don’t think the remake will be all that true to the original, but the VFX look quite impressive and Gort looks really cool!  Here’s hoping the story and acting will match.  If not, at least I can hope to enjoy 007 and Transporter 3 🙂

Mac Book Pro Must-Haves

Haven’t decided whether it’s December or January, but there is a new Mac Book Pro in my immediate future.  Beyond the obvious Adobe packages I plan to install, not sure what other things I should consider, so I’m taking time to ask those exsiting MBP owners that work in this industry (programmers, that is) – what are the software packages you consider ‘must haves’ for this machine?

Thanks for your time and comments.