Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yet more culls from conferences...

[Talking about why things are always exploding on the bridge in Star-Trek...]

> The bridge should be just a room full of control surfaces, with all
> the dangerous stuff in engineering. Why does *anything* on
> the bridge need to explode?

It's the inevitable consequence of software evolution. Consider - programmers are lazy and everything they do requires more computing power than it should. This trend shows no sign of ending, already with current techniques it already takes a couple of billion instructions and GHZ of CPU to do something that would have used a few instructions on a slow 8-bit CPU in the 80's. Extrapolate this trend and you'll see that in the future display consoles will routinely require multi-multi THz processor farms consuming gigawatts of power just to flash the cursor - cover the bridge in control surfaces and it'd probably have a higher energy density than engineering; any disruption to the display cooling and...

> Let's hope they don't use screensavers.

They /couldn't/ use screensavers - the ship's engines would stall.

"I need more power Scotty! Another fish just swam onto the screen..."


> You can't keep an old dog down

Depends how well it's cooked. . .


> I doubt there'll be any software by then as people may have
> finally realised what a bad idea software was...

Don't you mean software will have finally realised what a bad idea people were?


So, you expect us to believe that trees are made of wood, when any fule know that woods are made of trees ?

[misc (1995)]

Us veggies don't have this problem, everything we eat is so ashamed it stays down. . .

[a thread where someone said they liked Forbidden Planet (the game) (1995)]

Simon stared at Robs message. The possibility that anyone actually liked the damned game had not, until this moment, ever crossed his mind.

Simon felt lost, his world-picture shattered - not so much by the realisation that there was a mind warped enough to *like* FP, but rather by the crushing realisation that this mind was only a modem or two away, and furthermore it expected a reply - something that would be, *could only* be interpreted as complicity in the very existence of the damned game. . .

With a feeling of a vast, unknown, gulf opening up before him - a shadowy domain of unthinkable terrors - he poised himself ready to type, but alas, all was in vain - he couldn't think of anything suitable to write.

He swivelled, aimlessly, in his chair, drumming his fingers on the bottom of the keyboard, totally at a loss for a reply, until eventually, with an abrupt raising of his eyebrows, he turned back to the monitor and typed the first thing that came into his head. . . .


A truck jackknifed spilling its load of parenthesis onto the M6 this evening. A spokesperson said they were unavailable for comment. . .


I think that the Airbus and Windows are both cursed by arrogant and incompetent programmers, who seem unable to learn from experience :(

I'd prefer the airbus because it kills you quickly, it doesn't just grind you down and make your life into one long unproductive drudge ;)

[manned spaceflight (2004)]

What's interesting, at least to me, is that I don't know where I stand on the issue of manned spaceflight. As a kid I was all for it and very disappointed when Apollo was unceremoniously dumped, and even up to a decade or so ago I'd have agreed with Heinlein that "the earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in" and argued that it's only a matter of time before we follow the dinosaurs into oblivion if we don't get at least a breeding colony off-planet, but now, well, I'm not sure it's going to matter for much longer.

Basically, I think we're too limited a life-form to aspire to the universe. I think we'd just make a mess of the place. I think the only meaningful role 'we' have is to give birth to AI's, assuming we're capable of this. Once we've done that we'll have effectively created a race of immortals that will be able to adapt and scale themselves in ways we can't imagine, and it will be practical for them to explore and use the universe in ways that fragile bags of water cannot begin to do. So, while manned spaceflight may well be of value to us as a spiritual exercise in the short term it's probably of no long-term benefit to intelligence.

When I've rambled along these lines before I'm occasionally accused of having a very depressing outlook, but I don't regard it as such - I just think "my species, right or wrong" is as silly a notion as "my country, right or wrong". What matters, if anything matters, is that intelligence continues and prospers. . .

Mind you, having now been awake and working since some time on Saturday [2 days] it's just possible that I'm writing complete bollocks. Ho hum, back to the, no, sod it - I'm off to bed ;)

[nasa returning to the moon (2006)]

> The full Exploration Systems Architecture Study which sets out
> the current thinking for the way back to the moon

Visions of everyone resisting the urge to say "Up", except (perhaps) those resisting the urge to say "why"...

[eXtreme Programming (2004)]

> Anyone use XP here?

Well, yes, we've used many of the techniques since the early 80's, though without any of us ever feeling the urge to invent such a silly name and claim such practices were anything other than the bleedin' obvious. It never ceases to amuse me how fickle programming is, work long enough in the industry and you'll see nearly everything once regarded as good practice go out of fashion, be reviled, then be rediscovered, rebranded and ultimately subverted. Every generation of programmers seems incapable of taking anything seriously until they've renamed it. Pitiful, really.

[Countering advocacy, again, again (2002)]

> where is C now compared to the speed and richness of Delphi?

Hmm. Hah! You can't fool me, I can see it there peeking out of 'richness', third letter from the left. . .

Sorry. Seriously? I doubt I'm alone in observing that programmers who worry excessively about language issues are rarely capable of writing anything worthwhile in any language. I think designers should strive to be flexible, so I think it's usually futile to adopt the position that any particular language is better or worse than the rest other than on a case by case basis. ISTM that in reality external factors usually dominate over language preferences, ie, particular project constraints and objectives, company preferences, experience, what example code exists, what libraries are handy, which tools are available, phase of the moon, etc, etc.

I'm here because I like Delphi and find it very productive, but today I've been designing using Delphi, C++, C, assembler, schematic capture and solder. All of them suited their particular part of the application, but I could have chosen alternatives. Would I choose the same ones again for a similar application? Maybe, maybe not, I get bored so I play about. Would I recommend this to anyone else? Maybe, but I'd probably assess their application, competence and background before advising them to do exactly what they were going to do anyway.

[lasers (1995)]

Actually that was my laser, unfortunately the testicles it once fried were also mine ;)

Take my word for it folks, don't coil the wire to a gas-laser in your lap unless you're *damn* sure there are no breaks in the insulation. . .


But how can I tell the story behind the "Fried Testicles" of '83 without revealing my complicity in the "Red UFO Sightings in Clwyd" of '83, "UFO's - The Welsh Triangle" of '84 and '85 and even the sorry tale of the "Illuminated Police car in Garage Forecourt" of '86 ?

Is the world ready for the truth behind the young software house that drove around Northern England and N.Wales at night pointing lasers at road signs, pedestrians, into peoples bedrooms, across valleys at farmhouses and (occasionally) straight into occupied police cars ?

I think not.

And if, as the rumours have it, one night the insulation broke down on their laser PSU and it repeatedly stuffed 10KV spikes into the lap of the unfortunate bugger in the passenger seat while everyone else in the car had hysterics and were unable or unwilling to help, well, it could only be regarded as divine retribution. . .

(But how the memory lingers - pinhole burns, the smell of burnt pork, muscle spasms, frantic scrambling, pain, and over it all, the laughter, their damned, damned laughter)

Urgh, never again :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Old games sources...

As requested here are some more of the olde games source files. And a few other bits and pieces that fell off the disks while I was rummaging in the archives...