Kernighan's Law

Dr. Dobb's | Letters and the Law | October 10, 2007:
Do you know Kernighan's Law? 'Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.'

I actually did not know Kernighan's Law ... but once I heard I intuitively agreed with it.

What's really hard is debugging code from someone who is way smarter than you and writes clever code. That takes a great deal of persistence.


Happy Holidays from Above the Garage Productions

It's time once again for the annual posting of the Jingle Bell Rag.

Happy Holidays from Above the Garage Productions

Get Lost

Click here and then wave your mouse over the image.

On fast modern machines it looks pretty cool.

The Java applet came from Durius.com.

The image is from a game I was working on at home back in the mid-90's.

At one point the story for the game was almost picked up as a screenplay for a $3M movie. But then, many screenplays are almost picked up.


Oldest known post

Here's a link to the oldest known post by me: Did you know the internet was usable in 1989?

Lego upgrade and MIT sample server (hack fix) - comp.windows.x | Google Groups

-- Stephen

Software Piracy

Here's my idea for a T-Shirt to combat software piracy:

"Help prevent software piracy: become a software ninja!"

Sadly, it might have the wrong effect - a person might refine their pathetic pirate skills into leet ninja skills and steal more software.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


NBC's Stupid Move

Digg - Welcome to Zuckerland: NBC's Stupid Move

This is awesome. I rarely read the comments at Digg but even the comments are interesting.

And I never heard of Hulu either.

This is my favorite comment:

From Hulu.com:

"Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world's premier content when, where and how you want it."

Translation: Doomed.

Update 2007/09/24 - Hulu.com is probably dead on arrival, but at least Zucker had a backup plan with Amazon.com to host downloadable TV content. You can download the pilot episodes from four new shows. Amazingly, these downloads don't have any tag lines like "Watch the show Monday's at 8:00 p.m. PDT/EDT!" The shows are just the shows without any commercial breaks, no tag line, ... basically no promotional oomph at all.

Bionic Woman was interesting but I don't plan to continue watching; Chuck was funny and we'll give it a chance; Journeyman was interesting but I don't plan to continue; and the fourth one never downloaded.

Update 2007/11/24 - I have an invite to the Hulu private beta so I'm going to check it out. According to Zucker, NBC barely makes any money off iTunes. I read an interesting article recently that explained Apple's iTunes store pricing: priced just low enough for everyone to break even ... and therefore promote the sale of iPod hardware! That made a lot of sense to me.

I like getting non-DRM tunes from Amazon. I just visited California and I thought, "I should own California Dreamin'". Cost at Amazon: $.89. You can't beat that with a stick.

HD DVD in Upset Victory Over Blu-ray

GameDaily BIZ: Forrester: HD DVD in Upset Victory Over Blu-ray?:
'Weakened by these developments, Blu-ray needs to offer a viable hardware model at the $250 price point by Christmas 2007,' said Gownder. 'The Blu-ray camp must also stave off further studio defections, and employ more aggressive promotional tactics to counter HD DVD's recent momentum.' 'Failure to alter strategy would open up Blu-ray to a possible upset defeat at the hands of HD DVD,' he added.

It's only going to take one more tudio to switch for the death knell for Blu-Ray to begin tolling.

And HD-DVD players will be less than $250.00 this Christmas.

(Update 2007 11 24: Blu-ray is $450 at Costco and HD-DVD is $250. My friends with Blu-ray say, "So what if HD-DVD wins? So what if it is a stalemate and we have both? HD-DVD is going to be so cheap I'll just buy it later for $100.")


A Pirate's (After) Life For Me

A Pirate's (After) Life For Me

Scroll down to the section on "A Pirate's (After) Life For Me".


The best fix, of course, is to let it be known that it's all cleaned up and put down the toilet by the end of the night.

Another idea would be to let people fill out a form and have the ... stuff shot up in a firework. They could charge big $$ for that.


Mario Galaxy

I seem to have a copy of Mario Galaxy a little before it goes on sale tomorrow.

I've played it a bit. One of my children has finished it. It takes a little getting used to - the nun-chuck is used for moving and the standard Wii remote is used to grabbing and shaking and spinning.

I love that it runs at 60 fps. Very few games pull it off. 60 fps looks so much more "real" than 30 fps (and lots of games drop to 20 fps). It's simple arithmetic - you can draw 3x the stuff at 20 fps as you can at 60 fps, so to get a 60 fps game going you need to make some simplifications. (Those football games that run at 60 fps are amazing bits of engineering.)

I don't have a lot of time to play games, sadly. When I do have time, I usually play the game that's made where I work. I have about 280+ hours into that. (One of my kids has 2400 hours into it. She knows everything about it. She's a very helpful resource.)

When I was working on console games, I played console games. When I was working on PC games, I played PC games. Now that I'm working on a massive MMO, I have no time for other games. I don't think this is an unusual experience in the MMO world. The good ones consume all your game playing time.

Oh wait, this is about Mario Galaxy. Yeah, looks pretty good.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

TiVo and Rhapsody

I like Rhapsody - I use the free version which lets me listen to 25 songs a month. It's great for checking out what's happening. For instance, Britney's new album, which was almost entire written and performed by her producer and her highly processed voice is treated like an extra synth instrument, sounded interesting to me, and worth using up some of my 25 free plays on.

I like TiVo. Of course.

TiVo + Rhapsody (at least on a Series 2 box) is not good.

The UI locks up a lot. When it's not locking up, it's slow to respond - so slow you get confused about what you've done.

Too bad. It could have been cool.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.



E! News - Fans Shortchanging Radiohead's Rainbows?:
A new study says nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated they didn't pay anything for the download.

The problem with any statistics about the Radiohead experiment are that a lot of people are going to go try it out even if they don't know Radiohead as a band. The upside for Radiohead is huge - lots of people get exposed to the band that might not otherwise have listened.

I haven't tried it out - I don't really care about Radiohead. But if I did, I would probably give them a couple of bucks. 1) Hey, it's more than they ever would have gotten from me in this life; and 2) if I like it a lot I can buy it again; and 3) I might not like the music at all, so a couple of bucks is a small risk to take on the music.

(I've been downloading lots of Amazon Unbox to my TiVo for $0.99 - in fact, two weeks ago I downloaded four movies and I've only had time to watch two. For $0.99 I'll try lots of movies I would never otherwise touch.)