Gameboy Advance programming book

Here’s a free Gameboy Advance programming book. If game console development interests you, this might just be something for you. The book uses an open source library and IDE called Ham and VisualHAM respectively. Ham is available for both Windows and Linux, but VisualHAM is Windows only. Nevertheless, a little knowledge of Makefiles should be enough to get you going on Linux without the helpful “Build” commands in the IDE.

The book assumes a working knowledge of C.

What VBScript taught me

For the past three weeks, I’ve been working pretty heavily with VBScript at work. My superior asked me to write a couple of scripts to query the on-site computers and do operations on them. Now, as much as I love languages like Ruby or Smalltalk, it was clear that using them, or pretty much anything else than VBScript, would be an error on my part.

The VBScript language sucks: error handling is deficient, working with arrays is a chore, it has no interactive interpreter, I don’t particularily care for the syntax and the language just isn’t terribly expressive. These all seem like valid reasons not to use VBScript, however the language does have a few things going on for it.

VBScript is widely used as a scripting language in Microsoft environments, so it’s easy to find documentation on how to perform different tasks. The MSDN documentation is very good and the examples from Technet’s Scripting Center help you move along nicely. People I work with are also familiar with VBScript, so it is possible to exchange information and snippets from previous scripts and help one another when trouble strikes. VBScript is also installed on every machine by default, so we don’t have to deploy anything (e.g: an interpreter, a runtime environment)

The bottom line is that for the tasks I was assigned to do, VBScript proved to be the best tool for the job, in spite of all its deficiencies. VBScript taught me that using the right language for the job is more important than using one’s pet language.

Bill Gates on Nintendo

Found this article through Digg:

“Nintendo… You’ve got to give it to them. They march to the beat of a different drummer. Sometimes that makes them incredibly right and sometimes that makes them incredibly wrong. They’re certainly making a very different bet in terms of how much they’re putting into the graphics this time. I do think there is a question as to whether they can get outside the young age bracket at all. That’s been tough for them.”

Bill seems unsure about whether the path Nintendo are following is a good and viable one. Well, excuse me, but when did graphics become more important than gameplay? Nintendo are trying to find things to make games different and enjoyable, Microsoft and Sony are just racing to see who can release the console with the highest graphical quality. I don’t think Nintendo’s bet is unsafe.

Also, what’s this “young age” bracket thing? Nintendo is not a 6-12 year-old company: many people don’t like to admit it, but their games are fantastic. Get a Gamecube with Super Mario Strikers, three good friends, beer and you’ll have a heck of an evening.

To WoW or not to WoW

For a few weeks now, a friend of mine who’s a big fan of World Of Warcraft has been inciting me to buy the game and play online with him. The game looks fun, I always liked the realm of Warcraft, the graphics and sound seem amazing and from what he’s told me, the most important part of the game, the gameplay, is off the scale.

However, World Of Warcraft is a subscription-based service which seems pretty addicting and time consuming. And right now, I don’t have a whole lot of time. Should I still buy the game or try not to get addicted and just let it pass?

The FCC is smoking crack

According to
this article
, the FCC wants all network software and hardware to have backdoors to help law enforcement agencies.

Another, more threatening aspect of the regulation is its mandate that a “back door” be built into all Internet-communications hardware and software to provide access for law enforcement agencies. This same back door could be exploited by hackers to listen in and record these Internet communications, according to Templeton.

They should change “could be exploited” with “will be exploited”.