What She Said

August 24, 2001
4:27 PM
I forgot to mention that it looks like Moe moved. Check her out and be careful - she might pee-on you.

3:52 PM
And in a truly meaningless coincidence, in addition to being the sixth birthday of Windows 95, today is also the tenth birthday of Linux. I know this is a truly cruel critique, but for all the hype paising Linux and damning Windows 95 (some of which I also partake in), Linux powers less than 5% of the world's computers, whereas Windows 95's decendants power over 90% (5% of the world runs a Mac). Looks like MS uses it's time better.

Oh sure, you can make the argument that the reason Windows powers 90% of the market is because it's a desktop OS aimed at the mass consumer, and that were you to look at the number of non-desktop applications Linux would hold an advantage. Well while Linux has more than 5% of the server market, the lion's share still goes to Microsoft. You could also argue that Linux also had to not only convince others to chuck their current operating system for a free unsupproted one, but that it had to more or less single handedly create the open source movement. True, but look at what Windows had to do. First off, they had to convince all the users out there to run their DOS programs in Windows - not a small task. Also, they had to convince all the programmers out there that development of software, especially games, was better in Windows. They did this with DirectX which took four versions to hammer out but they got there. Then they also had to convince the users of the world to buy more powerful machines to run this whole shebang in the first place.

Did it work? Well, I'm not writing this on a Linux box. The developers ultimately decided that DirectX was better (Carmack notwithstanding) - rather than code for 50 different video cards, program for one standard. Let the driver makers do the rest. It doesn't work that way 100% of the time, but most developers like it. Even the ones who use OpenGL use DirectX for the non-graphic sections. The end users went for the platform which runs everything. And the fact that people have to upgrade their systems periodically stimulated the economy (though this last point is kind of rude).

All was not roses and sunshine however. The marriage of 32 and 16 bit code was not a perfect one, as anyone who has experienced the "Blue Screen of Death" can attest to. The inclusion of legacy code (to run DOS and Win16 programs) neccessitated that the kernel was initially unstable. Windows XP looks to do away with this entirely - which will no doubt break any 16 bit drivers still bouncing about after six years - as it completes the graft of the NT based kernel into the desktop Windows OS. Additionally, every time a major OS revision rolls around, many vendors jump on the opportunity to charge full price for an "upgrade" (though this is less prevalent now that the mass distribution of the Internet makes casual patching a way of life). And don't even get me started on what many computer manufacturers will do if you "break" your system with a new OS upgrade. Some will offer advice on how to get the new OS working, others (Best Buy) will act like you just tried to put NEXTStep on your system and tell you to go fuck yourself.

Linux has its supporters, and their merits are not lost. True, Linux is "free". Linux patches take hours, not weeks. Linux likely runs faster. However, picture if you will that your house needs a new roof. Who are you going to have roof your house - a ragtag bunch of persons who have never met each other in person and don't do this sort of thing for a living, or are you going to hire a team of paid professionals. Sure the last one costs you more up front, but the first one ultimately costs more in the long run, and not just in terms of money.

I have to hand it to the Linux supporters, though - anyone can bitch about Windows, but it takes someone really dedicated to run something else. If you gripe incessantly about how much you hate Windows and Microsoft but continue to run Windows and Office then you're a hipocrite. Most of us dislike many things about Windows and Microsoft, but we just grunt and bear it. I'd rather have a flaky OS that can do anything I want it to than an OS that is stable but can't run anything.

So happy birthday to Windows 95, Linux and R2-D2.

9:43 AM
Regardless of whether or not you liked the film A.I., you have to admit this is pretty cool: Seems ILM (you know, Star Wars) used Unreal Tournament to map out the Rouge City environments (you know, the city with the giant, er, women) in the movie to show to Speilberg before they bothered to go ahead and make them in the movie. Check this article for more. I wonder if they're going to release the maps. Deathmatch with Jiggalo Joe!

August 23, 2001
4:58 PM
Oh, and I nearly forgot, the bad news is that the Nintendo GameCube has been pushed back to November 18th, almost two weeks later than their November 5th original date. The good news (I suppose) is that IBM, who is making the chips in it, is getting their logo on it. The weird part is that yesterday at Spaceworld pre-show conference (Spaceworld: Nintendo's own personal annual convention) they unveiled new footage of Mario Sunshine (tenative title) and the next Zelda game (which doesn't even have a tenative title). The Mario game looked pretty standard, but the Zelda game went for a cell shaded anime feel. You'll have to look at it here to see what I'm talking about. On the one hand, I love Zelda and I believe Miyamoto can do no wrong. On the other hand, a Zelda cartoon? I don't know. Obviously this, like with the Attack of the Clones titled film, is something I am going to have to wait until all the cards are in on, but my initial reaction was not good on seeing this footage. I was halfway convincing myself it was allright footage until someone pointed out how close it is to the Powderpuff Girls. Must... go... play... Majora's Mask.

3:45 PM
Have you ever had a problem you couldn't figure out for a while and you looked all over creation and you still couldn't find anyone else who had posted the solution to the problem and no one you knew knew the answer to the problem, so you mucked with it long enough to figure out what was going on and you figured out how to fix it and then it came in really really handy many times after that and you look like a fucking genius since you figured it out? Well I just had one of these sorts of things happen recently and I want to spew it forth so that it doesn't bite anyone else in the ass. Basically, I had a problem wherein I installed the DirectX SDK and I fired up some of the Direct3D examples. No go. I have a Voodoo3 3500 (the Voodoo3 part is the important bit) with 128MB of system RAM. Some of the examples told me I didn't have enough video memory. Others told me they couldn't create a Direct3D device. I had the latest drivers, I had DirectX 8 installed. No go. I posted my problems to GarageGames and though the people there wanted to help, they couldn't. Odd, since many of them claimed to have the same setup as me. I tinkered with BIOS settings, reinstalled DirectX and my drivers multiple times, even reformatted and reinstalled Win98SE. Nothing. Then, on a hunch I visited Voodoo Files. I noticed that there were relatively new drivers out from someone for the Voodoo3/4/5, so I downloaded them. When I install them they have the official 3dfx screen and everything. When I reboot, I can suddenly fire up all the Direct3D samples (except for a few, which tell me that their particular feature isn't supported by my card). I can even still run my TV tuner bit. A little bit of research reveals that the latest official 3dfx drivers (which are old at this point, as 3dfx is dead) do not support DirectX 8, which is the root of this problem. Ironically, if I had fired up the DirectX 7 SDK I wouldn't have had this problem. So, if you have this problem with your Voodoo3 card, fire up these drivers. The only thing I wonder is: are these "hacks" of older drivers, or are they reverse engineered? Or is this someone out there who used to work for 3dfx who is still updating drivers with a copy of the driver source he hung on to? The official 3dfx installer is the most curious part. Also, now the Red Faction demo works.

August 21, 2001
1:35 PM
Damn you! McDonald’s, damn you! I'll never eat your food again! Or at least not until I get off work.

August 20, 2001
1:29 PM
You know that 5 billion dollar lawsuit that the parents of the Columbine victims have filed against 25 video game companies? It looks like Eidos has been dropped from the lawsuit. Apparently - get this - the way they decided who to sue was that they went through the belongings of the killers and anything attached to anything they owned got sued. Eidos got sued because they found the box for the PC port of Final Fantasy and so Eidos makes the list. Of course, Eidos didn't make the game - they just ported and published it - Square (of Japan) developed the game. However they decided that since Final Fantasy didn't have any guns in it they're cool. Guess it's lucky that there weren't any Tomb Raider games in their room. How about this - be glad your kids weren't software pirates. Oooh - there's a good question: if they only found pirated games would they even be able to sue? "Your game set my kid off - I'm suing you!" "Your kid stole our game - we're suing you!" Even if those two hadn't killed themselves the game companies would still get sued - those kids don't have that kind of money.

11:00 AM
Today is the first day of Freshman Orientation Week in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. FOW is where all the cadets who are incoming as freshmen get to come to campus a week early so that they can get fitted for uniforms, so that they can get haircuts (the guys, anyway), and so that they can get yelled at a lot. The idea is to get the "WTF?" mostly out of the way before class starts. In addition, without fail a certian number of incoming freshmen will suddenly have the epiphany that they don't want to be in this Corps thing at all and they can politely and quietly leave before all the real fun starts (and hopefully before the haircut). Ironically, six years ago today was the Sunday before FOW for me, so six years ago today I was sick out of my mind and hated my life. I love FOW these days - gives me a laugh to remind myself of what I looked and acted like, and how badly I just wanted to go home.

This means then that Friday is the six year anniversary of the release of Windows 95. Not that that means anything.

So my adventures in DirectX have been foiled/delayed by the fact that the Direct3D samples won't run - they either tell me they can't create a Direct3D device or I don't have enough video RAM. Now, this is kinda rediculous - every Direct3D anything runs on my system, and the people in this thread I started tell me all should be obee kaybee, but still no go. I figured it was a "rollback from WinXP" issue, since I've had some other problems, but a reformat/reinstall didn't do the trick. Oh well, at least the other things I noticed seem to be okay now.

The part of the reformat/reinstall I hate is not the reformat/reinstall, nor is it the fear that you didn't back up something important on the drive you have to reformat - it's the reinstalling of everything. This wouldn't be such a big deal, if I didn't have so much shit. Office 2000,Visual Studio, FrontPage 2000, Corel Draw 7 (don't laugh! it still works!), Adobe Acrobat 4.0 (not the reader), Nero, The stuff that came with my DVD drive, the drivers for my mouse, the drivers for the Zip Drive, the million or so little utilites, it's annoying. I miss the old DOS days where you could just copy the contents of a directory - no registry, no shared DLL's, no system directories. It was nice. And what I really hate is those games that don't need to be reinstalled, but they think they do. Quake 3 runs more or less like the old Quake and DOOM did - you install it and it places an entry in your control panel to be uninstalled. Now if you reformat your hard drive you can still run Quake 3, but if you need to install a patch or the Team Arena mission pack it says you don't have Quake 3 installed. The fuck you don't! But since it's not "installed", it's just "there" you have to reinstall it over your old installation. Then you can patch it. Annoying.

With any luck I can finally tinker with V12 and DirectX tommorow night.

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