Critical Section

Archive: June 8, 2003

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Blogger Down

Sunday,  06/08/03  10:17 AM

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Blogger Down

I hate when that happens, dept.: This is what you get at www.blogger.com: an ODBC error.  This is the leading blogging tool, they were bought by Google [in part] to give themselves better infrastructure, and this is what happens!  Man.

Two things about this.  First, a site this critical should be monitored, and someone's beeper somewhere should go off whenever there's a problem.  Basic.  Second, if the database goes down something a little more user-friendly should be displayed, besides the raw error from the database.  Something along the lines of "we are temporarily unavailable, we'll be right back".  Also basic.

[ Update: They were down like this for two hours.  I know getting a database back up can be ugly - I've been there - but surely they could have posted something smoother on their home page while they were getting it back up? ]

 

Masters of Doom

Sunday,  06/08/03  11:02 AM

I'm reading Masters of Doom, about John Carmack and John Romero, the programming geniuses behind id software (Doom, Quake, etc.).  Really fun reading.  If you're a coder and especially if you're a gamer, you'll really enjoy it.

Commander Keen 1
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I am not a gamer - at all - I have truly never played Doom or Quake, despite being in teams where we setup a separate network for high-performance multiplayer Doom.  But I had to try Commander Keen, id's first game.  Keen was released as DOS shareware in 1990, and was designed to emulate Nintendo-like graphics on the PC.  Sure enough I found Commander Keen, all seven episodes, and then Dosbox which lets you run old DOS games under Windows XP.  It works!  And it was surprisingly fun, kind of like Super Mario on my kids' N64.  Yeah, the graphics aren't as good, but given the limitations of the platform they are absolutely acceptable.  And the gameplay is amazingly just about the same (to me, at least, remember I am not a gamer).  Very cool.

Myst III: Exile
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If I then run Myst Exile (okay, I'm not a gamer, but I did enjoy Myst / Riven / Myst Exile) it is also amazing how far graphics have come.  If the gameplay is similar, the graphics are not; in thirteen years the state of the art has advanced incredibly far.  Which makes one wonder - where will the state of the art be in thirteen more years?

 

The G5 Cometh

Sunday,  06/08/03  01:12 PM

Steve JobsApple Insider reports Apple to Announce the PowerMac G5 at WWDC.  Cool.  I can't wait for the Steve Jobs show, I can see it now...  he is demoing Panther, the new version of OSX, and at the last minute he turns to the audience and says "oh yeah, one more thing" and everyone starts buzzing and the curtain lifts and there it is the PowerMac G5 and Steve says "this is the fastest computer on Earth" and everyone believes him for just that minute and he shows Photoshop on a G5 killing an Itanium in a head-to-head test.

 
 

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