Monday, December 29, 2008

12-29-08 - Junk

Bill Clinton was perhaps the best Republican president this country has ever had.

Israel's overreactions to nuisance attacks from Hamas has made them a liability to US global interests.
It is no longer a tenable political position
to stand by them. This is not a question of who's right or wrong or morality, it's simply realpolitik.

Any reasonable investment these days returns far less than inflation (eg. a CD is around 3% which is not enough).
Any money you have sitting around is losing
value in real dollars. We may well be in a period similar to 1964 to 1984 where we could go 10-20 years with
investments either showing no gain or a loss in real dollars. The only good option is to spend immediately on hookers and blow
before the money loses more value.

Capitol Hill Snow Slideshow at Seattle Weekly ;
most of these pictures are from right outside our house. I love the way people go nuts here when the weather's wacky.
When it dumps snow nobody drives, everything is cancelled, and people just play. (people go nuts here in the summer
too when the days are so long and it's too hot to sleep, everyone stays up late and wanders outside). We were flying that day, but I
just wanted to cancel it and stay home and have snowball fights and drink cocoa. It's funny walking around and
seeing the cars abandoned on the steep hills where people realized they couldn't make it (why wouldn't you just
go back down to the bottom of the hill and park properly?).

I hate video games that change my resolution to go full screen. My laptop runs on a 1920x1200 external LCD. Any
res except native looks like pure ass (the exception is 1600x1200 or 800x600 in center mode, not stretched).
Furthermore, because I run over analog VGA, changing res causes the monitor to go through its autoadjust which
takes a solid 30 seconds or os. That means absolutely any resolution change pisses me off (and it has to adjust when the
game starts, then again when I quit, and when it crashes, which is like inevitable, it always leaves me in fucking 800x600
desktop mode and screws up all my icons; URG).

For my own 3d work
I've always used the method of just grabbing the desktop res and going fullscreen with that res (then let the user down-res if they want,
but never change the res unless they ask for it).
But my GPU is too slow to run most games at full 1920x1200. The way that I'd like to see more games handle this
is to let me stay in 1920x1200 but render only a portion of the screen. eg. 1600x1200 centered would be okay,
but hell you could also just let me do a 1600x1000 wide aspect centered window and that would be fine too.
Actually while I'm at it, I just wish most games and 3d apps didn't go fullscreen AT ALL without me telling them
to. The default initial startup should always be windowed mode (since I'm going to have to watch it load for
half an hour, I'd like to keep the use of my web browser thank you very much).

One of the weird things about Vegas is the way it's just a complete shambles as soon as you step off the strip.
In fact, they don't even try to hide it much on the strip, like even at the Bellagio if you look behind a bush
you'll see the walls are some kind of paper-mache plaster kind of thing and there are just gaps and dented spots
all over. If you look out the back windows there will be the heating/cooling plants, piles of construction equipment,
etc. Off the strip it really reminds me of Cancun or Mexico in general - piles of dirt, construction equipment
everywhere, tons of stuff half built that nobody seems to be working on actively.

I hate that I'm writing all this nonsense. I hate sitting at the computer all the time, it gives me no happiness. I just don't know what else to do with myself. It's miserable
outside. My shoulders are wrecked, probably forever, I can't work out and I'm fat. I feel like I'm not doing good work right now and
I'm racking my brain trying to fix my coding process. When my work suffers I get depressed since it's about the only thing that gives
me any sense of self worth.

I'm trying to avoid doing allocations in CINIT ; we've made our own allocator now just fail if you call it at cinit,
but that's not catching everything for me because of the difficulty of making sure you've replaced every bit of code
that tries to use "new" or "malloc" or whatever. One annoying thing I found : almost every STL container can be declared
static in a file and it doesn't do any initialization, the constructor just zeros out some members - but hash_map actually
does an alloc :

static std::hash_map<int,int> s_hash;

will allocate a 193 member table. That sucks. Empty containers should not do any allocations IMO since there are many
usage patterns where you might declare a container but never actually put anything in it. (note that of course in
real Oodle I don't use any STL, this was just in some test code).

Does the gmail "Report Spam" actually do anything? In any case I'm pretty happy with my gmail email pass-through.

When I see a "baby on board" sticker, it makes me really want to ram my car into the person. Is that wrong?
Also, 1980 called, they want their sticker back.

I mentioned before how I think the bilateral filter is a pretty mediocre way of denoising or super-res'ing images,
because it basically gives you a piecewise constant model. On the other hand, it's a great way to deal with things
that actually ARE piecewise constant - and lighting in graphics is pretty close to piecewise constant. (a symmetric
bilateral filter can do piecewise linear ; really what you want is piecewise quadratic). There are some good new
papers around about new realtime GI techniques.

The new Fog Creek Office is pretty nice, and as
usual Joel is right on about spending money to make programmers more productive. I disagree with some of the details,
they don't really need to spend so much on fancy design and the common areas, but stuff like the mechanical height
adjustable desks is super awesome. Of course you've got to offer a lot of perks to get people to work on FogBugz.
ZOMG that's got to be some of the more boring programming work in the universe. Also, WTF how many people does it
take to make fucking FogBugz !? We evaluated a bunch of bug trackers at OddWorld, and FogBugz was okay, but it's very
simple and very restrictive, it's not overloaded with crazy features the way the competitors are;
it literally looks like something written by 1-3 people (1 Casey or 3 normal people).
I guess it's because if you're a programmer working on FogBugz you only spend 1 hour a day actually working and you
spend the rest of the day dreaming about quitting or killing yourself.

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