13
Nov 13

Making monotonous jobs fun

bruce_willis_brand_ventilation_ducts

Die Hard: With a Ventilation Duct

bruce_willis_die_hard_duct

Bruce Willis


10
Feb 13

Price (USD) of the most precious Legendary item in Guildwars 2

How much is the most valuable item in this game worth in a currency non-players will understand?
gw2_eternity_top_valued_black_lion_trading

Above is the stated Gold value of the item.  But looking to actually buy we find that there is just one available for sale, and for more than 2x the stated “value”:

gw2_eternity_available_price_black_lion_trading

Let’s break it down, here are the components:

gw2_gems_to_gold_black_lion_trading

That’s: 1S 39C(opper) for 1 Gem.  So let’s find out how many gems Eternity is worth:

5000G / 1s 39c = 359712.23 Gems

And finally, USD:

359712.23 gems / 800 gems = 449.64$

To put a little perspective on this: over the past year (or there abouts) I’ve logged about 130hours of GW2 game time.  With the normal in-game, character development and equipment expenditures and a little frugality, I’ve just 7G in my “bank”.

Guild Wars 2 was designed this way – gold is a scare resource – it takes a lot of work to earn.  So actually ,$450 seems pretty reasonable given that it would take some very serious dedication to earn the gold for or craft it; probably well over a thousand hours much of which would be considered a grind.

Not that I would *ever* buy this, nor that do I even endorse such a concept. This was just FTTA.


07
Oct 10

Unintentional Art via frozen Windows

Those clever engineers at Microsoft… what better way to deal with the frustration of having a locked up application than through art? I remember creating angry-art pieces back when frozen Windows applications, such as IE6 were common place. Good times.

Thanks to mr doob for re-creating the experience in a controlled environment.


09
Jun 10

PHP released 15 years ago today

PHP version 1, by Rasmus Lerdorf, was released into the world on June 8, 1995. It’s original name of Personal Home Page was renamed, with a heavy nod to recursion, to “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” in 1998 with the launch of version 3.


I owe a great deal of my professional success to this language, it is the one that truly sold me on programming.

<?php
/**
* June 9, 2010
*/

echo<<<HAPPY15THBIRTHDAYPHP
* May your future be full of fantastic features and ever greater efficiencies.
* You've powered the dynamic web from yahoo to facebook.
* May you continue to enthrall and encourage programmers young and old.
* You've come a long way, be sure to have lots and lots of cake today.
* May your full fledged Unicode support be your gift to us sooner rather than later.
* You've got your problems, but then don't we all.
* May you survive and thrive another 15 years.
HAPPY15THBIRTHDAYPHP;
?>

Bonus: here’s some cool PHP usage statistics and trend graphs.


02
Jan 10

Considering the usefulness of computer lights

Are computer hardware activity indicators (in the form of flashing LEDs) an antiquated level of abstraction? Notifying the user ought to be left up to the software layer, i.e. the OS.  It is the best position to relay relevant information as directed by the level of user knowledge and interest.

Modern Apple computers got rid of nearly all the external LEDs.  But they didn’t go far enough for all users, as I have oft missed the flashy hardware-is-busy indicators.  Especially when the system is loaded-down and unresponsive; wtf’s going on? Hard disk activity lights are fairly good for this; oh, it’s caching to disk-hell.  MacBook’s have none and that swirling beach ball [of death] definitely doesn’t cut it.

IBM/Lenovo machines, namely the ThinkPad line, excel at these, possibly to the point of excess.  On my X200, there are sleep, A/C, power-on, battery, hard drive, caps lock, num lock, WAN, bluetooth, wireless, SD card, and ethernet LEDs.  They can be a bit distracting.  But my main quip is that even with all the lights, there’s much to be desired in terms of system-to-user info transfer.  As a computer hardware aficionado, I need to know what my system is doing.

many green lights

many green lights

Something in the system tray would serve just as well as all these LEDs; I don’t always want to see them.  Process Explorer, for Windows, is the best I know of.  It lives in the sys-tray and is an indicator light, of sorts, for processor/system load.  That little app’s feed back in tandem with the hardware lights provides a quick overview of my machine.  process_explorer
(For Linux, top and system-monitor serve nicely.)

If the little chart isn’t peaking and the hard drive light is flashing a bunch, the bottleneck is in the I/O layer, and vice versa.  While this is a rather simple generalization, it usually serves well enough to answer the wtf’s.

All things considered I rather have em than not. Also, the blinky lights provide some nostalgic value, like being on the bridge in the enterprise. Nostalgia sorta explains why that ridiculous *bong* Mac start up sound still lives on.