Apr 232007

Steve Yeggie’s blog article on the math skills required for programmers leads into analysis of the math subjects presented in grade school through college for the average student and which may be considered superfluous or redundant.

It also includes some tips and tricks to buff up your skills, here’s a snippet:

I think the best way to start learning math is to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day surfing in Wikipedia. It’s filled with articles about thousands of little branches of mathematics. You start with pretty much any article that seems interesting (e.g. String theory, say, or the Fourier transform, or Tensors, anything that strikes your fancy.) Start reading. If there’s something you don’t understand, click the link and read about it. Do this recursively until you get bored or tired.

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Apr 232007

Adobe is teaching us the proper use of the trademark ‘Photoshop’, and in case there is any confusion they’re providing its use in some very handy sentences, a few copied below:

Trademarks must never be used as slang terms.
CORRECT: Those who use Adobe® Photoshop® software to manipulate images as a hobby see their work as an art form.
INCORRECT: A photoshopper sees his hobby as an art form.
INCORRECT: My hobby is photoshopping.

Trademarks are not nouns.
CORRECT: The image pokes fun at the Senator.
INCORRECT: The photoshop pokes fun at the Senator.

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Apr 212007

DnD News

Sad but true.

Wizards of the Coast has killed off the 30+ year old rag ‘Dragon‘ and its younger sibling spin-off ‘Dungeon’. They’ve ordered Paizo Publishing to cease production of the magazines after the September 2007 issue which would be DRAGON #359 and DUNGEON #150. If you have a subscription, Paizo wants you to start here: http://paizo.com/transition.

If you’re foaming at the mouth angry and want to get even foamier, read the entire press release. Or, for your venting pleasure, here are some threads on the subject in the WOTC forums you can jump into:

1) Dungeon/Dragon discontinued
2) What WoTC Products Have You Bought Specifically Because of Dragon and/or Dungeon
3) So I finally subsribed to Dragon
4) Why won’t Wotc respond?
5) WotC’s Response.
6) don’t expect the e-zine to be free
7) Wotc can suck the big one.
8) Stop overracting.


The primary reason given for this is because WOTC believes we prefer getting all that hard copy material online and that an e-zine is the way to go. They feel that since they’re disseminating so much material through their Wizards.com site anyway, publishing a hard copy of unique material isn’t as cost effective if they simply make their online location the one stop shop.

Maybe in some cases they’re right, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of laying down for the night before turning out the light and reading an article in a magazine you like so much. Printing out a copy of the e-zine PDF to take to bed with you just isn’t as satisfying.

Is it Hasbro’s fault?

WOTC is owned by Hasbro. Hasbro will be reporting their quarterly earnings Monday and there is speculation among Dragon fans that this decision to cease publication came down from the parent to cut spending to the bone. I can’t really argue with Hasbro’s financial performance (sym: HAS) at a high level, check out their stock’s 1Yr chart below, outperforming Dow and S&P by a significant margin:

HAS stock performance

What’s a good alternative RPG Magazine?

[whispering] The wife is surprising me for my birthday soon with a subscription to Knights of the Dinner Table. Oh yeah!! :grin:

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading these roleplaying comics published by Kenzer & Co, you’re missing out. I got into the comic about a dozen years late, so I’m playing catchup by reading the ‘Bundles of Trouble’ compilations of the issues dating back to the ’90s while also reading the latest issues coming out on the stands.

KODT 121 - You Get What You Slay For

 Posted by at 2:30 pm  Tagged with:
Apr 212007

If you think Microsoft went totally nuts and decreased the price of retail version of Windows XP to $3, read further, and you’ll see it’s not exactly what the announcement implies.  Microsoft’s new strategy which should spread the usage of Windows in 3rd World countries is a lot closer to this: The firm wants to bring computing to a further one billion people by 2015. Governments in developing countries can purchase the cut-price software, if they provide free PCs for schools.

Windows XP Logo

The Microsoft initiative was launched by Bill Gates in Beijing under the banner of its ‘Unlimited Potential’ scheme, a program aimed at bridging the digital divide.  The scheme aims to bring the benefit of computing technology to the remaining five sixths of the world’s population, who currently live without it.

“Bringing the benefits of technology to the next five billion people will require new products that meet the needs of underserved communities,” said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. One of the first products, that is hoped will reach the next billion people is the Microsoft’s student Innovation Suite. The package includes Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, as well as other educational software. The $3 package will start to be sold to governments in the second half of 2007. “This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business,” Orlando Ayala of Microsoft told the Reuter’s news agency.

In many developing countries, pirated versions of Microsoft software are sold dirt cheap. Governments will be required to provide free computers to schools, capable of running Windows, to be eligible for the discounted software. It’s a real kick in the pants that Microsoft isn’t going to offer this price to common users.  I’m sure many endusers would invest the 3 bucks to extinguish those annoying “genuine windows validation” popups!