As is customary for an after semester post, I will say how the semester was a bitch and report my grades. Well, it was a bitch, and I didn’t get anything below a C, so woot. The biggest bitch part was a recommendation report for an BS required English course; unfortunately, it was a group project and I chose a topic that my group was completely incapable of working on: parallel computing. Although a couple sections are missing, the paper is in a refined enough state that I’ve decided to post it here. I’m now a self-taught expert on parallelism, at least.
On my final exam day, CNET Download.com finally got around to approving my submission of Cursor Lock 2.0. It got a couple hundred downloads in the first few days alone, but has since slowed down to about 20 downloads a day. Of course, I never really expected it to be a hot, must-have app; it’s more of an awesome, there when you need it app.
For my next programming project, I’m looking into finally doing a Trillian log converter, which I first mentioned this time last year. Trillian’s native bastardized XML format does not scale well (the more you chat with someone, the longer it takes to access their log) and can only be read with the built-in log viewer. I think that any features which necessitated the use of a proprietary log format over HTML format are of questionable value. I’m sure I can replicate all of the most important features in simple, universal HTML format: bookmarks, search (via Google Desktop Search or something similar), calendar (from splitting into different files by date), and masking different message types (through some delicious CSS and JS). It has the added benefit of extensibility, too; I plan on giving all the page elements their own class, so users can change log formatting to suit their preferences.
I’ve only written a specification outline for the program so far. Mostly, I’ve just been relaxing to some gaming. The AOE3 expansion, Asian Dynasties, has renewed my interest in Age of Empires. I skipped the War Chief expansion because, frankly, I’m tired of fucking Indians. But the added map locations, high-level home city cards, and civs of Asian Dynasties is just what the game needed. Although China’s unit training differences are too odd for me to handle, Japan has really killer unit upgrade cards plus powerful units already that compliment my turtling style.
Of course, I had to play Portal and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 also. Portal was so fun that I finished it in one sitting 😕 –it was a truimph. Episode 2 was also pretty good; there are some really intense firefights and well-crafted environments. However, as with Fortress Forever, locking issues started creeping up again. Lowering the sound acceleration in dxdiag seemed to make some difference in the time it took to lock, but ultimately they were still completely random. Monitoring component temperatures showed that the CPU temperature was a little high (but still nowhere near the 140F I reached over summer), so I cleaned the HSF out again. That further decreased the frequency of locks, but alas the problem remained with Source Engine games. My latest hunch is that the CPU is just getting tired of the overclock of 100Mhz (2.15 to 2.25Ghz) I imposed years ago. So I’ve been lowering that by half with nVidia’s old nForce2 system utility before playing. So far, results have been promising.
As for games that don’t lock my system up, Kaylen and I finally reached 100% completion in both Lego Star Wars games during her recent visit. It’s clear that the second game is by far superior, but going back and playing the first game from the newer trilogy was still kickass lego fun. Next year: Lego Indiana Jones. Oh, hell yes.