Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bagels and Coffee, or, the vector dot product and you

I’ve been boning up on my math lately.
Like most TA’s I’ve cobbled together a bag of tricks from different situations I’ve dealt with over the years, but I’ve never really gone back to shore up my shaky high school trigonometry and pre-calculus. It’s certainly possible (at least, I hope it is!) to be a good TA with only seat-of-the-pants math skills — after all, we have parenting and scaling and all the other cool tricks in our apps to do the heavy lifting for us. Still, I’ve been finding that paying more attention to the math fundamentals is helping me solve problems more efficiently and elegantly than my patented hack-and-slash techniques did.
So, I’m starting an occasional series on some basic math concepts that I hope will be useful to other TA’s. I know it’s been helpful to me - there’s nothing that concentrates the mind like putting something out there on the internet for public commentary - it’s really forces you to think things through… At least, as long as you’re not on Twitter.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Big (?) Python bucks!

I've frequently commented in the past on the Game Developers Salary Survey.  For you Pythonistas out there, there's some nice data (amateur grade, but still pretty good) to be found at the Python Developer Salary Survey.  No mention of what you get for knowing Max / Maya, however, but by crunching the numbers I'd guess it subtracts about $30k per year.

Or maybe that's just because we're all lousy programmers.

EDIT: fixed bad link

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dot Net is Open?

Courtesy of +Robert Butterworth  comes the news that .Net is now open source.  Future development will be done out of GitHub (!).  Is the timing - on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - just a coincidence?

In the short term this probably only means that some projects which have avoided .Net for being closed-source may consider using C# or other .Net languages. Over the medium term it probably presages a 3-6% decline in the use of the dollar sign in derisive online references to Micro$oft.  What's most interesting, though, is what it might mean for Unity, which is hard to predict but tantalizing to speculate on.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


First off, a confession. I’ve become a plaintext nazi. 30 years since I first hit Ctrl+I to italicise a piece of text, I’ve pretty much abandoned fancy-pants text edtors for the hardcore geek chic of plain text and Markdown.
To be honest, this makes me uncomfortable, because plain-text-chauvinism is the techie equivalent of skinny jeans and ironical facial hair; it’s definitely a thing for the Cool Kids,tm a demographic which is not really my native habitat.
 But I’m willing to be cool if that’s what it takes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Dog Ate My Homework

I had an interesting issue at work the other day. While the details are unit-test specific, I learned a useful general idea that’s worth sharing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Laziness and cleanliness and MEL, Oh My.

The other day I was following a thread on Tech-Artists which reminded me of one of those little Maya things that doesn't really matter, but which drives me bonkers: busted front ends for Maya plugins.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Dismal Science : Technical Debt For Technical Artists

From the estimable +Paul Vosper  an excellent discussion of technical debt: the long term costs you incur by prioritizing the here-and-now demands of everyday life over technical and architectural needs.