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13 Oct 04:52

Become an Imperial engineer and build your own TIE Fighter [Instructions]

by Elspeth De Montes

The ‘twin ion engines’ in a  TIE fighter help to make these little starfighters fast, agile and perfectly suited for a dog-fight in a narrow trench. Every Star Wars fan surely needs at least one sitting on their desk? Thanks to instructions provided by Inthert, you can build his LEGO version of this iconic starfighter and take on the nearest X-wing.

Sienar Fleet Systems: TIE Fighter: V2 (1)

There are three pages of instructions provided. Page one provides the steps for building the solar array wings…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 1)

Page two completes the wings and provides instructions to start the spherical central cockpit area…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 2)

Finally, page three completes the cockpit and shows how to put everything together…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 3)

Thanks to Inthert for taking the time to make instructions as his TIE-fighter looks to be a fun build.

The post Become an Imperial engineer and build your own TIE Fighter [Instructions] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

03 Oct 07:29

Sometimes a hex key and a ton of patience are all you need to assemble an excellent cargo spaceship

by Alexander

LEGOLIZE IT MAN enters this year’s SHIPtember building challenge with a stunning spacecraft promoting one of the world’s famous home furniture producers. It’s hard to say whether the assembling process was as hard and exhausting as it is of a some Swedish kitchen table, but at least there are no spare screws lying around.

Olyckan 2

The post Sometimes a hex key and a ton of patience are all you need to assemble an excellent cargo spaceship appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

28 Sep 11:56

Great moments are born from great opportunity

by Jonathan

When most people today hear the name Tesla, you probably think of those snazzy electric cars. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla, with or without credit, influenced our modern world in ways that perhaps no man ever has. the_jetboy knows this, creating a fantastic kinetic magnetic tribute to the great inventor. If you include designing the first hydroelectric power plant, advocating Alternating Current, and inventing electric motors, robotics, new ways of harnessing and distributing light – including lasers and X-rays, radio (sorry Marconi), and wireless communication (including TV remotes), then there’s not a lot he hasn’t contributed to today’s modern world.

Nikola Tesla

Inspired by Sensei Yoshihito Isogawa, the builder has also created a video showing this beautiful, magnet-bearing kinetic sculpture in action. One final tantilising piece of Tesla trivia: Teslas are a unit used to measure the strength of magnetic fields.

A final quote from the genius madman inventor himself:

The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.

The post Great moments are born from great opportunity appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

25 Sep 08:20

European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn't like what it said

by Cory Doctorow
Markku.lempinen

It's not the first nor the last time that a study that has an unwanted result is "forgotten" or just ignored.

Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to "research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content" -- the report was completed in 2015, but never made public. (more…)

22 Sep 07:12

Boring, complex and important: the deadly mix that blew up the open web

by Cory Doctorow

On Monday, the World Wide Web Consortium published EME, a standard for locking up video on the web with DRM, allowing large corporate members to proceed without taking any steps to protect accessibility work, security research, archiving or innovation. (more…)

22 Sep 05:58

Project Scope

by CommitStrip
Markku.lempinen

Sounds painfully truthful :p

19 Sep 05:18

Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77

by Sean Gallagher

Enlarge / Former Soviet Colonel Stanislav Petrov sits at home on March 19, 2004 in Moscow. Petrov was in charge of Soviet nuclear early warning systems on the night of September 26, 1983, and decided not to retaliate when a false "missile attack" signal appeared to show a US nuclear launch. He is feted by nuclear activists as the man who "saved the world" by determining that the Soviet system had been spoofed by a reflection off the Earth. (credit: Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov's death after learning from Petrov's son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.

Petrov's story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman's recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union's recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as "Oko" (Russian for "eye"). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.

That night, just past midnight, the Oko system signaled that a single US missile had been launched. "When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair," Petrov told RT in a 2010 interview. "All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

18 Sep 07:26

Comic: Dropping Science

by Tycho@penny-arcade.com (Tycho)
New Comic: Dropping Science
18 Sep 05:45

After CIA complaints, Harvard University disinvites Chelsea Manning as visiting fellow

by Rob Beschizza

A comically sycophantic outcome at Harvard.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell earlier Thursday announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard over its decision to invite Manning. Mike Pompeo, the agency's current director, also canceled a speaking engagement there Thursday night.

"I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility," Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a statement posted on the university's website early Friday

Manning: "The CIA determines what is said and is not taught at Harvard."

The contrast between the two is striking: Morell is an advocate of torture and extrajudicial killings; Manning exposed them.

14 Sep 07:17

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - AAAAH

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Of course, in real life that guy would be clawing his eyes out.

New comic!
Today's News:
07 Sep 07:03

But what if it’s just some crazy guy in a clown suit?

by Iain

In anticipation of the latest screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic coulrophobia-inducing book IT, builder Tim Lydy has crafted this wonderfully creepy bust of Pennywise the dancing clown. Guess I won’t be sleeping tonight! I also love the added touch of the brick-built origami sailboat.

I think Tim might be a bit of an IT fan, as this isn’t the first time he’s rendered these characters in LEGO. Check out his “adorable” Brickheadz versions too. We all float down here. (shudder)

The post But what if it’s just some crazy guy in a clown suit? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

04 Sep 05:17

Sega's OutRun hacked into a Tomy toy dashboard

by Rob Beschizza

Behold the most amazing arcade hack in existence: Matt Brailsford, AKA Circuitbeard, crammed Sega's OutRun into a Tomy Turnin' Turbo dashboard. [via]

Some key features are an integrated 3.5” TFT screen, fully usable steering wheel and gear shifter (dashboard turbo light comes on when in high gear), working ignition key for power, true MPH speed and rev counter displays, and a fuel gauge to represent the stage time remaining.

The project itself was quite a big one for me, filled with several moments of frustration, from burnt out potentiometers, to soldering LEDs backwards, multiple TFT screen purchases and more than one change in direction as approaches to problems were found to be inadequate.

All the toy's hardware is hooked up to the game, running on a Raspberry Pi with a PiCade board and Kookye 3.5" display. He worked around the lack of pedals by using the gearshift to accelerate and brake. How he made a physical LED dashboard to show the in-game speed completely escapes me. Genius!

Here's the original mechanical toy, for reference:

https://youtu.be/1aCeg-EbOAI?t=3m32s

29 Aug 05:28

Lego Star Destroyer collision

by Rob Beschizza

Excellent work by Jhaelon Edwards: "Stuck in the house due to intense storms in Houston. Decided to throw this together using two UCS ISDs. It's the scene from Rogue One!"

28 Aug 05:58

It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks.

by Jonathan
Markku.lempinen

Are you the police?
No mam, we're musicians.

Okay I may have got a little carried away, as it’s not quite the Blues Mobile. Put a giant megaphone on the roof and put a couple of suited, sunglassed musicians in the front seat and I reckon it’d look the part. Slovenian builder Primoz Mlakar has created a wonderful Speed Champions style Police Interceptor. Inspired by vehicles in Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7, the builder has captured the lines and curves of the classic black and white beautifully. Particularly impressive is the use of the tooth piece for a window pillar and the bad robot arms as nudge bars.

Police Interceptor

The post It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

21 Aug 10:01

All hail Megatron, leader of the Decepticons!

by Edwinder
Markku.lempinen

It's awesome :o

Builder Sam Cheng is back with his Chibi-Transformers, this time, however, defecting to the side of the Decepticons. The leader of all things against good and hoarder of Energon-cubes, Megatron is beautifully sculpted with over 40 points of articulation, and is fully transformable to its weapon form. Sometimes a good amount of tinkering is required to get things right to personal satisfaction. Sam has been at this since April and tried a dozen different methods to achieve the look he wanted. The headpiece is inspired by Moko‘s Megatron. Standing at an estimated 500 elements, the toughest part of the build is making sure that the alternate ‘gun mode’ is totally asymmetrical and in proportion.

1. I am Megatron!

9. Megatron Gun Mode 2

7. Megatron Gun Pew Pews

The post All hail Megatron, leader of the Decepticons! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

16 Aug 05:45

This clumsy worker robot is having a very bad day

by Mark Frauenfelder

This snazzy looking bipedal robot is off to a good start, but things go haywire in short order. It has trouble setting a package on a cart. Then it knocks things off the shelf, drops the package on the floor, knocks over the cart, and falls down. As one Reddit user said, "I would watch Gordon Ramsay yelling at a group of these things for hours."

He's trying his best ok from Unexpected
07 Aug 06:53

Hear Motorhead's edgy cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes'

by Rusty Blazenhoff
Markku.lempinen

Covers by Motörhead? Count me in!

According to Rolling Stone, Motörhead performed David Bowie's 'Heroes' "live only one time, in June 2015, as an encore at Germany's Aftershock festival." Fortunately for us, it was recorded.

The footage, along with some candid shots of (the late-great) Lemmy Kilmister and the band, make up the song's music video:

Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee liked to do over their years together in Motörhead, was grab a favourite song by another artist and give it a good old fashioned ‘Motörheading’. To run them through the Motörizer if you will. To rock them, roll them and even give them an extra twist and edge.

In celebration of some of those finest moments, the band will release Under Cöver, a collection of some of their best covers, and a collection which will include the previously unreleased version of David Bowie’s timeless classic “Heroes”. Recorded during the Bad Magic sessions in 2015 by Cameron Webb, and was one of the last songs the band recorded together. “It’s such a great Bowie song, one of his best, and I could only see great things coming out of it from us, and so it proved to be,” says Phil Campbell, “and Lemmy ended up loving our version.” “He was very, very proud of it,” says Mikkey Dee, “not only because it turned out so well but because it was fun! Which is what projects like this should be – fun!”

Under Cöver will be released on September 1st.
04 Aug 05:33

Popehat suspended from Twitter for sharing a threat he received (Update: unsuspended)

by Rob Beschizza

This morning, Twitter covered Ken "Popehat" White's profile page in balloons to celebrate his birthday. This afternoon, it suspended his account for posting screenshots of threats he'd received from another user.

The ranting missive, from a far-right lawyer in Texas whose threatening Twitter postings White had earlier mocked, promises such hatred and cruelty that White will want to kill himself or flee to "escape my wrath."

But it was White's response that fell afoul of Twitter's mysterious rules on posting personally identifying information—even when such information is disclosed and widely publicized.

Twitter is a private company. It has every right to suspend me or kick me off, however foolish its reason. It's got the right to free speech and free association. My rights have not been violated. I am not a victim. When you use a "free" service like Twitter and Facebook, you're buying into the policies and attitudes they pursue, for better or worse. Want a platform with no dumb policies? Create one or pay for one.

For the moment, I doubt this reflects an evaluation by anyone at Twitter that "it's okay for a deranged bigot to threaten people on Twitter but not okay to publish his threats." Rather, this is part of the inevitable result of automating responses to abuse complaints. Now, if Twitter reviews this, and thinks that's the right result — well, that would be something else again.

Twitter is still where the abusive can rail on and on before they get canned, while anyone with an earnest interest in using the site in good faith must adhere to vague, unhelpful policies in how they deal with all that trash.

UPDATE Twitter unsuspended White's account and agreed the original suspension was a mistake. Right on!

01 Aug 09:46

Obsolete technology LEGO kits

by Rusty Blazenhoff
Markku.lempinen

Amazing work :o

Chris McVeigh of Halifax, Nova Scotia builds all kinds of cool things with LEGO. Recently, he's been creating kits that showcase obsolete office technology. This particular kit, which he calls "My Old Desktop: DOS Edition 2.0," features a few reminders of the 1980s office, including a rotary-dial desk phone and a beige desk computer that can be partially fed one of the miniature 5.25" floppy disk replicas.

If this is your kind of thing, be sure to take a look at all of his retro LEGO kits. He's even got a little tiny "Atari" console.

(Colossal)

31 Jul 05:38

Tips for Kids – Transformers: Cool Projects for Your LEGO Bricks [Review]

by Elspeth De Montes
Markku.lempinen

I may want that book for myself :p

Joachim Klang and Alex Jones are a duo of builders well known within the LEGO community, and their creations have appeared on The Brothers Brick numerous times. Now they’ve got a new book to share some of their techniques: Tips for Kids – Transformers: Cool Projects for Your LEGO® Bricks. Over the past few months, we’ve already highlighted a few of the builds that the pair created for the book, but now we are able to review the book itself.

TBB Transformers Review

Title: Tips for Kids: Transformers: Cool Projects for your Lego Bricks
Publisher: Heel Verlag Gmbh (July 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3958434959
ISBN-13: 978-3958434950
RRP: $19.95

The 208-page soft-cover book is a very visual book with minimal text, and includes 200 colour illustrations. There are detailed instructions for 9 models (plus 2 weapon systems) which range from a mini Grimlock built with 24 pieces to the awesome 800-piece transforming Optimus Prime that you see in the image above. The 9 models are The Ark, Nemesis, Transformation Probe, Mini Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Bumblebee, Soundwave, Constructicons, Optimus Prime, while the weapons are the Energon-ax and a laser gun. In the foreword, Joachim explains that Alex has built more models than could be included in the book, so many extra models are pictured to inspire builders to create their own models using parts from their collections. The Transformers in the image below, for example, are among those inspirational models.

TELETRAAN I

Apart from the introductory pages, the rest of the book is mainly beautiful images of the Transformers in their brick-built scenes, along with the instructions themselves. A brick-built Alex figure also gives helpful tips and information throughout (for example, pointing out that a step uses a 1×1 brick with one stud rather than 2 studs, to avoid confusion).

TBB Transformers Review

The instructions are excellent, with clear images, sensible step breaks, and accurate colours. With mini Alex pointing out potential pitfalls, the complicated models come together easily. At times, fan-created instructions can suffer a variety of factors which hamper the building process, from a mix of poor colour differentiation, lack of parts lists, or unclear steps. Thankfully, none of those issues are present here.

TBB Transformers Review

I built a few models, starting off with Soundwave, since I had most of the parts in my collection — albeit one was in a different colour, and I ‘borrowed’ another part from a LEGO buddy (for some reason I only had one blue 1×1 plate with tooth). Soundwave is a fairly simple build that results in a fun, poseable robot who transforms into a boombox.

TBB Transformers Review

I also built the non-transforming mini Optimus Prime in his juggernaut state. This can be built using the metallic silver parts if you have them, or with any of the grey tones if you do not. As you can see, I was easily able to utilise the parts I had and create the model with slightly different coloured parts than called for in the instructions. I imagine that most readers will either try to find the exact parts and purchase them on a secondary market (such as Bricklink or Brickowl) or do as I did and use the instructions as a guide to work with the parts already in their collection, replacing parts or finding other ways to work around shortcomings. While there are some specific parts required for the models, none are rare or expensive (especially if you go for grey instead of metallic silver).

TBB Transformers Review

Finally, I built the transforming Optimus Prime, which is the largest model in the book with 800 parts. Optimus Prime is a bit of a fiddly build at times, but the instructions are nice and clear and, as with all the models, there is a parts list in both image style and as a table with element IDs. TBB Transformers Review

My Optimus Prime was a little loose-limbed and floppy in his robot state, but the use of Mixel joints is an essential part of his ability to transform. It’s difficult to envisage how to build a transforming model without having such flexibility, but the downside is the instability of the model in certain poses. One of the ways that Alex improves the stability of Optimus in his robot state is to have a small removable ‘bracket’ at the back that helps to effectively stabilise his pelvis and torso. It takes a bit of practice to transform Optimus, as the first few attempts result in certain parts pinging off, but once you have worked out where to push and pull, the transformation becomes much easier. However, I still had a few gaps on my juggernaut even after practicing the transformation numerous times.

TBB Transformers Review

Overall, this is a beautifully illustrated book. The brick-build images, especially the ones that are more inspirational, have been masterfully created by Alex and Joachim and the print quality does them justice. Sadly, some fill a double-page spread (such as the one below) resulting in a seam down the middle of the image, but this is a necessary consequence of showing the images large enough to see all the little details.

Heel Transformers

There’s a lot of inspiration within these 208 pages. The constructed models definitely look the part, and many clever techniques are used that will delight young and adult LEGO fans alike. Fans of Transformers and LEGO will definitely enjoy poring over the images, trying out some of the builds and learning techniques from a duo of very talented builders.

Tips for Kids: Transformers: Cool Projects for your Lego Bricks is currently available from Amazon for $17.49 (14% off).


Thanks to Alex Jones for providing The Brothers Brick with a copy of the book to review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The post Tips for Kids – Transformers: Cool Projects for Your LEGO Bricks [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

28 Jul 06:31

Noita Reveal Trailer

by admin

Here’s the game we’ve been working on for a while at Nolla Games:

Noita is a magical action rogue-lite set in a world where every pixel is physically simulated. Fight, explore, melt, burn, freeze and evaporate your way through the procedurally generated world using spells you’ve created yourself. You can find more info at http://noitagame.com/

06 Apr 06:00

This 'Putin as a gay clown' image is now illegal in Russia, so please do not share

by Xeni Jardin
Markku.lempinen

It'd be a shame to share something as silly as this...

This image of Russian leader and purported Donald Trump kingmaker Vladimir Putin as a gay clown is now illegal in Russia. Whatever you do, do not share this far and wide so that everyone sees it.

(more…)

24 Mar 04:46

The Commodore 64's "secret colours"

by Rob Beschizza

Commodore's C64 had a famously decisive, if drab set of 16 colors to choose from, a note of artistic intent amid the unthinking mathematical extremities of other 8-bit color palettes. But did you know there were secret colors? Aaron Bell writes up a discovery that blew his mind many years ago and which, 26 years later, he's finally figured out.
If you swap two colours rapidly enough - say at 50 or 60 frames per second - you can fool the eye into seeing something that isn't there. On a machine with sixteen colours, just one or two extra can add a lot to a scene. Since today we all live in the future and you are reading a fully programmable document on a supercomputer, let's try it.

The sad part is that the trick doesn't work for most pairings due to the obvious strobing/flickering effect it generates. But now wily coders can add a whole host of new grays to their vivid Commodore palettes. ("The tartan for the clan McPuke" is definitely the best description of the C64 palette I've ever read. I doubt it'll be topped.)

I read somewhere this is more or less what's done on cheapo monitors to make you think you're getting 24-bit color.

Previously: How the hell did they get 1024 colors out of a 1981 PC?

20 Mar 06:59

The myths perpetuated by startups about themselves.

by cliffski
Markku.lempinen

He's angrier than usual but for a damn good reason :)

This blog post was partly inspired by this story, where a business decided someone did not fit their corporate culture because she asked how much she would earn. Yup, let that sink in for a minute, and lets talk about the myths that a lot of tech startups perpetuate, that are complete and utter nonsense.

Myth #1: Forget your salary, its all about the exit strategy!

There is a myth that every ‘startup’ is the next facebook, or twitter, or snapchat. As a result, you should not give a damn how hard you have to work or what you earn. Living on peanuts and sleeping under your desk is frankly an honour, and you will get to write a book about it one day on your yacht, after the company IPOs and you get your share of ten billion dollars. Thats the myth. The likelihood is that you will either burn out long before then and have to quit, that your significant other will leave you and you will have a meltdown and get fired, or far, far more likely: it turns out that making a toaster that connects to the internet isn’t actually a billion dollar idea after all, the company burns through cash, crashes and burns and everyone gets a tweet informing them they are unemployed.  In the idea is really good, it will raise some money, if it raises money, it can pay its workers.

Myth #2: We are the brightest and best in the world!

No you aren’t. You are probably a bunch of relatively well off middle class white guys from California who read a lot of books about steve jobs and now think you are a genius because you understand a bit of java. Whoopy do. Unless the company is Deep Mind, and a bunch of you have phds in artificial intelligence, or maybe quantum physics, and unless you have a few people with nobel prizes and fields medals, you are NOT the brightest and best. And frankly, that would be deeply embarrassing. if your startup does contain ten of the cleverest people on earth and you use those collective skills to develop a bluetooth enabled cat feeder…then what a terrible, insulting waste of your vast abilities. Get some fucking perspective.

Myth #3: Get users now, revenue will follow!

Really? Ask twitter how that went, or maybe myspace. Having a lot of users just means a lot of server costs and admin. The point of a business (and I feel it sad that anyone has to type this) is to make profit. Note that the word is profit, not revenue, which is totally different. Its amazing how many people think that a big userbase automatically generates revenue ‘somehow at some point’. Ask ANYONE in the games business if you can just bolt on Free-To-Play to an existing game, and they will laugh you out of the room. NO is the answer, you need to build that business model in right from the start. This is common sense, but companies like twitter and snapchat ignore it. Building a vast network of people who love your service because your service has no ads….yeah thats not going to be easy to monetize is it?

Myth #4: Our company is just like amazon. We will get big fast.

Well done, you have learned a buzz-phrase, and totally failed to understand the underlying business model. Amazons get big fast worked because they had an actual business model that they knew made a profit AT SCALE. Selling over the internet is highly profitable, and the economies of scale are vast. This does not apply to snapchat or instagram or twitter etc Amazons system had to be big because ‘every book in the world’ was compelling, and because books sold for MONEY. You can waffle all you like about how your business model has network effects, but unless there is a statement at the end of the company business model explaining where the profit comes from, its just a fortune cookie. The only thing that will get big fast is your debt.

Myth #5: We are making the world a better place.

Fuck you. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Do you know how a business can make the world a better place? by creating quality long term jobs that pay decent salaries and benefits. By contributing to the local community. By building things and solving problems that make society better. By paying their god-damn taxes. By setting an example of fair treatment to their employees, and ensuring a welcoming business environment for all races and genders and backgrounds. If your idea of making the world a better place is making billions of dollars so you can become another internet cliche with your bright orange Lamborghini and a swimming pool, then do us all a favour and just give up now.

Wow, that was angrier than I thought it would be. :D

I’m still shorting snapchat. YMMV.  Pics are from the televisual genius of HBOs Silicon valley.

 

10 Mar 07:28

Advertising in Windows has reached an exasperating new low

by Peter Bright
Markku.lempinen

... did I just read an article by Peter Bright that criticizes MSFT? That Peter Bright who never says anything bad about MS or its products?

I say.

Enlarge / Advertisements? In my Explorer? It's more common than you think. (credit: A reddit user with a name that's frankly distasteful in and of itself.)

I don't know what triggers OneDrive advertisements in Explorer. I don't know if they appear in Windows 10 stable builds or just Insider Previews as a taste of things to come. I don't know that I even care any more.

But come on.

Nobody in Redmond thought, "Gosh, that's a little distasteful"? I mean, "Let's just turn our operating system into a billboard!" offends nobody?

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

17 Feb 07:21

The Dark Side of Coding: The cross

by CommitStrip
Markku.lempinen

Sounds very Microsoft-like... >:|

02 Feb 05:38

Todays big patch(1.04) and starting to promote it (a bit)

by cliffski

This has been the softest launch of a game I’ve ever done. I spent about $100 total on facebook post boosts, I tweeted, I blogged and I posted to the ProductionLine facebook page. Since then…thats it, I’ve been pretty much going along on word of mouth, and even then, sales have exceeded my expectations! This is really good news, because so far the development of the game has gone exactly as I had hoped, with a lot more focus on what actual players of the game want, rather than me guessing, or doing just want I want, or me trying to guess what makes the press happiest.

This has resulted in a lot of bug reports! (many thanks for that) and some really good suggestions and ideas, some of which have already made it into the game. People do seem to be surprised how quickly stuff goes in or gets improved, but frankly thats because I worked on this game for about a year in silence so there is this whole huge library of decent engine code in the background that is *done* and thus I only really have to code new features and GUI stuff now. New GUI does not take that long, and thankfully I’ve got good enough at debugging multi-threading and recursive stuff that this is not a huge bottleneck either. I’m almost disappointed nobody is having frame-rate issues, because I love optimizing :D

This is just as well as there have been a LOT of ideas and suggestions. I’ve already seen factories way bigger and more efficient than anything I have managed to create. It never occurred to me to re-use the conveyor belts in cunning roundabout-style loops with the individual processing elements happening at different junctions…until someone found a bug in it.

Users feedback has been excellent, encouraging and invaluable.

But anyway! I’m actual;y sending out a puny mailing list today with 7,500 recipients, so that should open things up a bit, especially as some are press. I don’t expect massive press coverage, but I’m not relying on it either. The game remains very much in Alpha (not even beta) so I expect a lot of people, gamers and press alike will stay in a ‘wait and see’ mode.

In the meantime, I have just set a big patch(1.04) live, and here is the fairly hefty changelist. (not bad for about 4 days work).

[version alpha  1.04]
1) The task ‘make fuel tanks’ now unlocks when researched correctly.
2) Fixed some crashes and routing bugs caused by deleting resource importer bays.
3) Pop-up details on the slot-picker now should show decimal places for times.
4) Vehicle details windows limited to one per vehicle and can now be dragged by the player.
5) Fixed minute format bug in save games.
6) Pause now works as a toggle, and all speed controls have hotkeys.
7) Escape key now closes slot picker.
8) Slot picker has less visual ‘padding’.
9) Double-click on the relevant window now loads a save game.
10) The upgrades section of a slot details dialog is now hidden if there are no upgrades available for selection.
11) Any open dialogs are now correctly closed when going to the main menu.
12) Fixed crash bug when a single stretch of uninterrupted conveyor belt was over 64 tiles long.
13) Added new efficiency dialog which shows efficiency over time and also a snapshot of current slot efficiency.
14) Fixed bug where slots could be placed ‘spilling’ over into a locked factory area.
15) Fixed bug on low resolutions where the slot upgrades window did not fit on the screen.
16) Floating numbers fade out now even when paused.
17) Improvements to ‘load-balancing’ at junctions.
18) New ‘Efficiency’ dialog currently just showing global state of all slots now and over time.
19) Slight speedup of creating the load-game dialog.
20) New vehicle pop-ups show the reason a vehicle is stuck.
21) Some conveyor belt graphics now have darker, more obvious direction arrows.
22) Fixed incorrect sizes of some delivered resources.
23) New upgrade for painting slot: ‘High pressure paint nozzles’
24) Fixed bug where components built inside the factory at ‘make’ slots did not survive a save and load.
25) Corrupt resource deliveries to roof making and similar slots fixed.
26) New graphics for the tyre-making slot and the window making slot.

 

Thanks for everyone pre-ordering, and I also really appreciate it when people tweet or post online about the game, its really helpful. If you don’t have the game yet, here is the order form :D

27 Jan 06:03

What is thy bidding, my master?

by Edwinder

Kneeling is a sign of reverence, submission and obedience. Darth Vader assumes this pose before the Emperor more than once during the original Star Wars trilogy, and this poignant action helps to emphasize his emotional conflict, between the master that guided him most of his life (but who he eventually destroys), and the offspring that he has known for a much shorter time. In recreating this moment in LEGO, builder SPARKART! takes the unusual approach of using a Vader minifig headpiece atop an entirely brick-built figure. He even offers a glimpse at the parts and techniques necessary to copy this distinctive statuette yourself.

What is thy bidding, my master?

The post What is thy bidding, my master? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Jan 05:56

Time for the ‘teenage coding god’ meme to die

by cliffski

What is it with TV executives and non-tech savvy journalists? Can they not do the vaguest bit of research and kill of this myth about ‘gifted child genius programmers and hackers’? its so off-base its laughable, especially to anyone my age who works as a software engineer. If it isn’t immediately obvious what I’m talking about, its characters like this from silicon valley:

And also like this (also from silicon valley)*

And like this from ‘halt and catch fire’

And any number of media stories about ‘teenage bedroom genius hackers’. I guess it all goes back to a single film, in the early days of computers (and the threat of hacking)…war games, starring Matthew Broderick aged 19 released in 1983. The myth of the young genius computer whizz was born, and nobody has seemingly challenged it since.

Firstly…lets get something straight., The ‘cleverest’ programmers are not usually ‘hackers’. Firstly, its much easier to break something than build it. You build software with 100,000 lines of code and 1 line has a potential exploit? you did a good job 99,999 times, versus a hacker who finds that one exploit. are the finest minds in programming really working for the Russian mafia? I suspect they are more likely to be working for Apple or Deep Mind or some tech start-up with fifty million dollars worth of stock options. They get better pay and no threats of violence, which would you choose?

Secondly, computers were invented a while ago now. We have people with a LOT of experience in the field out there now. Amazingly, C++ is still perfectly usable, and very efficient, and given the choice between someone who has written tens of millions of lines of C++ over twenty or thirty years, versus some ‘bright’ kid…I’m going with the old guy/girl thanks.

Learning to code takes TIME, yet because bookshops hawk crappy ‘learn C++ in 21 days (or less)’ bullshit, some non-coders actually believe it. There is a BIG difference between ‘knowing some C++’ and being a C++ software engineer. Writing code that works is fucking easy. Writing reliable bug-free efficient, legible and flexible and safe code is fucking hard. Why do we think that surgeons with 20 years experience are the best choice for our brain operation, yet want software coded by a fourteen year old? Is there some reality-distortion field that turns programming into a Benjamin button style alternate reality?

No.

So ideally, any movie or TV series that features the ‘ace’ coder would have them aged about 30-40, maybe even older. At the very least they would be in the darned twenties. Enough with the school-age hacker god bullshit. Here is a recent picture of John Carmack. I bet he is a better coder than you, or me. He has even more grey hair than me.

While we are on the topic, the best coders are not arrogant, mouthy, uber-confident  types on skateboards wearing hip t-shirts with confrontational activist slogans on them, and flying into a rage whenever people talk to them. Nor do they always blast out heavy metal or rap music on headphones whilst coding on the floor cross-legged, and nor do they ‘do all their best work’ when on drugs, or at 3AM, or after a fifteen hour coding blitz.

These are myths that make TV characters ‘more exciting’. Except they also make them unbelievable and stupid. I’m quite unusual in being a fairly extravert (in short bursts) programmer. Put it down to being a lead guitarist in a metal band 27 years ago. Most really *good* coders I know are actually pretty quiet. They will not draw attention to themselves. they are not arrogant, they know enough to know that they know very little. Really good coders tend not to brag. I brag a bit, its PR but would I claim to be a C++ *expert*. Nope, I know what I need to know. I also only really know C++, a little bit of PHP, and some HTML, CSS, but not enough to do anything but the few things I need. When I meet coders who brag that they know 10 languages, I get that they know the syntax, but how to use them effectively? enough to write mission critical code that a company is built on? I find it hard to believe.

Most coders look pretty boring. Most of us are pretty boring. Most of us are not arrogant shouty attention seekers. The experienced ones know to stop coding by 9PM at the very latest, and to take regular breaks. We also aren’t stupid enough to store backup disks next to hi-fi speakers in the same room (an actual plot point in halt and catch fire). We make shit TV, but good code.  I suspect our portrayal will never change.

 

*All the SV cast are young, but carla seems to be portrayed as younger, cooler, more confident than the rest.

23 Jan 05:53

Comic for 2017.01.22

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic