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Entries From February 2008

February 25, 2008

Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel Breakup

Filed under Funny, Not Safe for Work (NSFW)

First watch this...



Then watch Jimmy's response video...



Read more about it here.

February 24, 2008

WonderCon 2008

Filed under Celebrity, Events


I went to WonderCon 2008 today. It is a 3 day comic book convention in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. I got some free passes so I checked it out today.

The coolest thing for me (I'm not into comic books) were some of the "celebrities" signing autographs.

Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk)



Herb Jefferson Jr. (Boomer from the original Battlestar Galatica)



Richard Hatch (Apollo from the original Battlestar Galatica)



A hot police officer/stripper (and Peter Mayhew a.k.a. Chewbacca in the background)


February 23, 2008

It's Not ME!!!

Filed under WTF

I keep getting this ad on My Yahoo!...


For one thing, I have *way* more hair...

P1010362 - Copy

February 22, 2008

New Post on Secret Stash

Filed under Blogging


Get it here.

GDC: Friday

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

At Microsoft's lobby bar today, Microsoft showed a "teaser" trailer for the previously unannounced Xbox 720.

There were no specifics, just a lot of canned animations showing off "movie-like special effects," photo-realistic people, and real-time soft body dynamics.

I know it is way early (no release date), but the 720 can't get here fast enough! It's hard not to get excited about the nextgen consoles.

Check out the trailer here.

February 21, 2008

Gears of War II

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360

Gears of War II was announced yesterday at GDC. It will be coming out in November of this year. Here is the trailer...


And here is a demo of what the new game engine for GOW2 will be capable of...meat cubes!

February 20, 2008

GDC: Wednesday

Filed under 3D, Programming, Video Games


Optimizing DirectX Rendering on Multi-Core Hardware

I didn't get much out of this that I hadn't already heard before.

They presented some profiling for some games that showed 50% of CPU time was spent on graphics related tasks.

They gave a list of tools that are helpful for profiling:

Some of the talk was about the benefit of multiple cores verses the overhead required to synchronize multiple cores.



Sandbox2 editor for CryENGINE by Crytek

  • Best/slickest game editor I've ever seen
  • An editor built on top of the game engine
  • Everything is WYSIWYG
  • Artists can get great results very quickly
  • Realtime Shadows
  • Realtime Ambient Occlusion

Check out these demo videos of Sandbox2 in action...


Intel VTune

  • Only works on Intel processors (surprise!)



  • Allows C# code to run on Linux, Mac
  • Have a validator that examines C# code for compatibility with Mono called MoMA
  • Mono supports most of .NET framework 2.0


IGF Pavilion

There were some "indy" games that caught my eye...


World Of Goo


The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom




Crayon Physics Deluxe


Pleo is a dinosaur-robot made by UGOBE. What are they doing at GDC? They wanted people to know that Pleo is a "platform"...you can program new behaviors and applications for Pleo (via an SD card) and they are reaching out for people to add to its abilities. Check it out in action here:


Technical Issues in Tools Development (Day 1)

This was my favorite talk of the day.

It was a round table hosted by John Walker from High Voltage Software. John was the moderator. He started by asking for a few topics people would like to cover. Then he would ask some questions concerning a topic and let people in the room answer. Some people used this as an opportunity to say, "Has anybody in the room tried to do X? How did it work for you?" It was very informative.

There is another one Thursday and Friday, so I may go to those as well since the conversation will be different because different people will be there.

Some of the things I picked up...

  • An artist complained about data-driven tools being great for programmers, but terrible for artists. He wanted more custom GUI work.
  • Someone mentioned using XGE (Xoreax Grid Engine) to speed up their tools.
  • We have debug and release builds of code, why not data? The debug data could contain information about where the data came from so that a crash because of bad data could be quickly resolved.
  • Artists and Programmers need better communications
    • For artists, programmers should do video captures with audio explaining how to use a tool
    • For programmers, artists should do video captures with audio showing how they *actually* use a tool
  • Artists were pleading for tools to use standard formats as much as possible, it makes their lives much easier
  • A company should standardize on a set of icons so their tools look and feel the same
  • When planning the UI, consider what the artist already knows and is familiar with. Maya? Max?
  • Involve Artists in UI design
  • A new, untested concept: decoupling the UI from the code, like the WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) model in Vista. This lets an artist build the UI independently of the code behind it. No one had done it yet, but there was much interest.


Stupid Spherical Harmonics Tricks

What I learned here...was that I need to learn a lot more about spherical harmonics (SH).

The DXSDK has several samples involving SH.

The presenter has a couple of papers on the subject (here and here).


Creating Havok with Destruction

Havok announced a new product, Havok Destruction.

  • Coming out mid-2008
  • Features fracturing and deformation
  • Artists draw how and object can be destroyed (where cracks will be)
    • Deterministic
    • Art driven
  • Use "connectivity" to determine how much of an object breaks
    • No connectivity - object breaks along every crack
    • With connectivity - object can break along crack in close proximity to collision
  • Deformation
    • Throwing cannon balls at barrels that dent instead of crack
  • Direct competitor to DMM


February 18, 2008

Upgrading Your Tilt

Filed under Gadgets

I added a bunch of new updates to my Tilt this weekend.

First of all, there is a new a ROM (version 1.62.502.0) that fixes some bugs.


Then I added HTC Home (pictured above), a plug-in that adds to your home screen...

  • A large digital clock
  • Weather
  • Quick access to favorite contacts
  • A program launcher
  • A music player
  • Quick access to vibrate, silent, and normal sound

I got version 1.6 here (look for HTC Home Plug v1.6).


The above plug in is called HTC Random Access. It adds the alphabet on the right side of the contacts screen so you can get to your contacts by browsing with your finger instead of typing in the search box at the top. As you drag, a large letter appears in the middle of the screen to let you know where you are. Get it here (look for HTC Random Acces_updated).


I found a post that explains how to enable youtube.com support in Pocket Internet Explorer. This is for the full version of youtube.com, not the mobile one that the iPhone uses.

The instructions and the software downloads (2 of them) are here. Once you have installed, just open this web page in your web browser and you can start watching youtube on your phone (normal http://youtube.com goes to the mobile version of youtube.com): www.youtube.com/?nomobile=1


KaiserTweak gives you access to a lot of features that you can't normally access. For example, do you really want a "Message Sent" notification message to pop up and require a "Dismiss" click every time you write a text message? You can turn that off with KaiserTweak. Or what about when your screen dims when you make a call, making it impossible to press the keypad for voice mail menus...that can be fixed with KaiserTweak. It definitely makes the phone more pleasant to work with. Get it here.


Here is a cool software keyboard. The Tilt has a hardware keyboard, but it requires sliding out the keyboard and using two thumbs. This software keyboard works great with one handed operation. Check out the video below to see it in action. I ended up going with the $13 professional version instead of the free standard version. Get it here.


The last thing I added is a really slick add-on like the HTC Home, but with more features. It is called Spb Mobile Shell...


You can get it here. Here are a list of the features with screenshots.

February 16, 2008

Game Developers Conference 2008

Filed under 3D, Programming, Video Games


I'll be going to GDC next week. GDC is the convention for video game developers. It is here in San Francisco at the Moscone Center.

Not sure what I'm attending yet, but I'll probably be there Wednesday through Friday.

GDC is not as fun as SIGGRAPH, but you can learn a lot. The focus is on interactive 3D graphics and techniques you can use today to speed up or improve the look of your graphics.

Looking forward to it!

February 15, 2008

New Indiana Jones Trailer

Filed under Movies


It came out today...the first trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

You really need to see it on the big screen for the full effect...but here it is in case you haven't seen it yet.

I was already excited about it...but you get goose bumps when you hear the classic Indy music and see the Fedora hat. Can't wait for May 22!


February 13, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Filed under 3D, Animation, Movies, Work


Wow! Some interesting news dropped today.

Lucasfilm Animation's first project, The Clone Wars, is going to be released as a movie August 15th followed by a TV series on The Cartoon Network and TNT. More details here.

The trailer is here.

February 12, 2008


Filed under Computers, Software


Here is some cool new UI research from Microsoft Research for tablet computing called "InkSeine" (rhymes with "insane"). Very cool stuff! Makes me want a tablet PC!

No No NO!!!

Filed under Funny

This is just rude...but it is funny because it is to telemarketers. Here is a funny sample from Jim Florentine Terrorizing Telemarketers.

February 9, 2008

Vista Boot Time

Filed under Computers, Reviews

I noticed that my boot up time had increased significantly and I didn't know why. I don't reboot very often, so it's not a big deal, but I was curious what was slowing things down.

Until recently, I could boot Vista in 28 seconds. Now it is taking me about 85 seconds to boot.

Shutdown was taking longer as well.

Vista tracks your systems performance and will generate errors and warnings when something is not performing as it should. To see what your status is, go to:

Start->Control Panel->System and Maintenance->Performance Information and Tools->Advanced tools->View performance details in Event Log

Sure enough, I had critical and warning performance events in my boot up...


I did a search on "Event 100" and found this post that suggested it could be an external USB hard drive issue.

I unplugged my external hard drive and rebooted.

My boot time dropped back to 28 seconds!

In searching the net for this issue, I noticed many references to Western Digital My Book's, which is exactly what I have. I wondered if this was an external USB hard drive issue or a *Western Digital* external USB hard drive issue.

So I plugged in my older/smaller capacity Maxtor external USB hard drive and rebooted.

My boot time stayed at 28 seconds. I checked the event log and I was no longer getting critical or warning performance events at boot up.

It looks like this is a Western Digital external USB hard drive issue.

I ordered a new 750 GB Maxtor external USB hard drive today to replace the Western Digital.

My advice to you: stay away from the Western Digital external USB hard drives!


Screen Clean

Filed under Funny

Here's a slick utility that will clean your screen...best when run full screen. Get it here.

Thanks to Bonnie for the hook-up!


Vanity Fair TFU Article

Filed under Video Games, Work




The March 2008 issue of Vanity Fair features a nice write-up of The Force Unleashed (TFU), the video game we are working on.

It is interesting that a video game is getting this kind of attention from a magazine like Vanity Fair.

Check out the article, "The Game Has Changed," here.

VF has some exclusive video from the game here.

Here are some new screen shots from the game.

The VF writer added a web post about "the lively sport of Jawa punting."


February 7, 2008

Inbox Zero

Filed under Computers, Reviews, Software, Work


Merlin Mann stopped by today to give us his "Inbox Zero" talk about controlling high volumes of email.

I picked up some useful tips:

  • Don't use your inbox as a "to do" list...it is only for unread mail.
  • Your inbox should be empty most of the time. Leaving email in your inbox slows down your ability to process new email and forces you to revisit old email over and over.
  • When you have email in your inbox, you should go through it quickly and do one of the following:
    • Delete it
    • Delegate it - forward to someone that can handle the email, then remove/archive the email
    • Respond, then remove/archive the email
    • Defer (move it to a folder for things you don't have time to figure out an action for just yet, but will later)
    • Do what the email asks now, then remove/archive the email
  • Turn off email notifications...they just stop you from being productive by interrupting your current work.
  • Check your email less frequently: You will process 20 new emails at once more quickly than 1 new email 20 different times.

I am doing this both for my work and home email. I moved all my email out of my inbox into a "To Do Email" folder (a "defer" folder). I have empty inboxes now!

Merlin is a great, entertaining speaker. I highly recommend this program. It should be required viewing...you will spend less time in email and more time doing what you want after you watch this.

This 1 hour video is the same talk we got today, but this was recorded from Merlin's visit to Google:

February 6, 2008

Conan Visit to Lucasfilm

Filed under Funny, Work


Conan did a spot at ILM/Lucasfilm this past May when he was in San Francisco for a week doing his show. If you haven't seen it, you should.

The video was up on Youtube for a little while, but was quickly yanked.

NBC has the video, but you have to pick the clip you want to watch (I can't link to a clip...grrrr).

Go here and select "Lucasfilm Part 1 (5/1/07)" and "Lucasfilm Part 2 (5/1/07)".

February 4, 2008

Favorite Super Bowl Ads

Filed under Funny

Here are mine:

Bud Light: Jackie Moon


E*Trade: Banking Baby II


Coca-Cola: It's Mine


Audi: Horse Head


About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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