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Blogus Maximus

Rubbing people the wrong way since 1970...

Copyright: Chris G. Williams

Alexa, make me a sandwich.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:47:56 GMT

Originally posted on:

Just wrapped up a pretty beefy article on Alexa programming for the upcoming IoT issue of Code Magazine. That was a lot of fun, and has definitely rekindled my interest in IoT and Home Automation. I've been spending a lot of time working with SmartThings and Z-Wave devices, and my Amazon Echo lately. Getting them all talking to each other. Mostly everything "just works" with minimal configuration, which is nice, and I've been experimenting with responding to sensor input. I've got my gecko tank set up to switch lights at sunrise and sunset, and that was easy enough. The dining room light is programmed to come on at sunset, if nobody is detected as "home" so we don't have to come into an dark house. I've bought a few smart bulbs, and smart switches, so I can schedule those (and so I can turn off the lights if I forget, without getting out of bed. ;) I've already tagged all the kids (like a pack of wildebeests) so I know whenever they leave and arrive at the house on school days. I've been eyeballing the Nest Thermostats, but haven't tried installing one yet. Not sure how involved they are. When we built the house, we wired everything for Cat6, and I'm setting up PoE cameras. (image) (image)

Speaker Spotlight

Tue, 03 May 2016 14:10:56 GMT

Originally posted on:

I'm speaking at the Syntax Code & Craft Convention this weekend, and today they've featured me in their speaker spotlight blog post.  The prose is a bit more effusive and flowery than I'm normally comfortable with, but there's nothing in there that's technically untrue, so...  enjoy!

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Syntax Code and Craft Convention

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:57:51 GMT

Originally posted on:

If you're in the SC Lowcountry, or not too far away, you should check out the Syntax Code and Craft Convention ( the weekend of May 6.

We've got quite the lineup (including yours truly...)  My talk...


Is there a technology game developers are looking at for not only the Windows ecosystem, but also cross-platform opportunities? MONOGAME! Looking to support iOS, Android, OUYA, PSM, Windows and more? MONOGAME!

In this talk we’ll cover the basics of MonoGame, it’s similarities to Microsoft’s gaming development platform XNA, the differences, how to get started and any tricks and traps to watch out for. Fun talk with plenty of code and demos.

Learning Objectives

  1. What is MonoGame?
  2. How/where to get it and set it up?
  3. How/where to use it?

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Danzig - Skeletons (a review)

Wed, 02 Dec 2015 17:58:08 GMT

Originally posted on: I listened to Danzig's new release SKELETONS today... TL;DR;  It's ok. His voice sounds great, but the selection of covers is pretty lackluster, with the exception of N.I.B. and a couple others.The Review....Let me start by saying I'm a fan of the musician/singer Glenn Danzig. I've been listening to everything he's touched since the early 80's. Misfits, Samhain, Danzig, Son of Sam, his various operas, etc...  He's changed lineups quite a few times since then, and he's released some great stuff, and some real crap, but I persevere.This latest release is a collection of covers of songs that inspired Glenn Danzig back in his formative years. That's cool, and it's a nice insight into where he's coming from, though if you've listened to him as much as I have, there won't be any surprises in terms of the bands, but perhaps the song choices will...Overall, I'm not in love with most of the song choices, and this release didn't really do much for me, although there are definitely a few standouts, as detailed below.I will say, this is the best (BY FAR) that his voice has sounded in years. You can tell he was struggling a little on a couple songs, but overall, it's great to get a Danzig album that's not overprocessed and has his vocals muddied out with too much bass.It's definitely worth a listen on Spotify, but I'm not sure it's worth your cash. If you really want an interesting album, check out The Lost Tracks Of Danzig, which is full of B-Side type songs and variant stuff that didn't make it into albums elsewhere.Skeletons Track List:Devils Angels - not a bad cover, somewhat reminiscent of his early Misfits work.  Worth a listen.Satan - this one is just ok. Not bad, but rather uninspired.Let Yourself Go - clearly this is an Elvis cover. It's good, and he even channels Elvis a little more than usual. This one is in my top 3.N.I.B. - this one sounds great. Definitely my favorite cover.  It helps that I like the original of course, but Danzig definitely does it justice. Great technical work by the band as well. Lord of the Thighs - ugh... just don't.  Not a fan of this song or the cover.  Decent guitar work though. Action Woman - I don't know what Glenn's going through in his personal life, or why he chose this song. It's kinda ok. I guess.Rough Boy - Love this song. Great cover. Definitely in my top 3. Again, his voice sounds great, reminiscent of his D:III work. With A Girl Like You - Another bass heavy cover. Not bad, and feels like a nice throwback to his punk days. A little muddy though. I don't like ANY Danzig song that distorts the vocals. Just saying.Find Somebody - I like the intro to this song... feels very familiar, like his Danzig and Lucifuge albums. Not a huge fan of the original song, and the chorus is just ok. (See Action Woman, above.)Crying in the Rain - God... his voice sounds GREAT in this song. But... another love song. ugghh... [...]

ADOM now on Steam, a review.

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 18:38:01 GMT

Originally posted on:

It's hard to believe that I've been playing this game for nearly 20 years.  My favorite game (ever) has just released on Steam this week.  If you like RPGs and/or Roguelike Games, you owe it to yourself to check out Ancient Domains of Mystery (ADOM) on Steam.  Since this is release week, it's on sale. 


Get It Here:

If you aren't familiar with ADOM, it's a roguelike game. Maybe you've heard of Rogue, Dwarf Fortress, Nethack, Heroic Adventure!, etc...?  It's best described as a Tactical-RPG where death is permanent and all items are randomized when a new game is created. Discovery is a huge part of a game like this, and there is plenty to discover here. Villages, Magic, Story, Questlines... ADOM has it all, and is one of the original roguelikes.

You may be thinking, how is this a roguelike... it's too pretty. It's true, ADOM has gotten a fresh coat of paint, along with some necessary engine overhauls to make it work in the Steam ecosphere, but it's still very much the same game at heart.  In fact, ASCII mode is only a couple of clicks away if that's how you roll. (Though I have to admit, the new interface is really sweet.)

I've only gotten a few games in since release yesterday, but I can attest to many, many late (all) nighters with this game.  There's a certain threshold that once you get past it, in terms of progress, you really don't want to stop, for fear of angering the RNG gods.

If you're looking for a fun, but brutal, RPG... you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.

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v1 of my .NET wrapper for Coinbase API has been released

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:59:18 GMT

Originally posted on:

As the title says, v1.0 of Coinbase.NET, my C# wrapper for the Coinbase API is now released. You can get it here: (image) (image)

Are you using cryptocurrencies? Request for info.

Thu, 13 Mar 2014 14:39:20 GMT

Originally posted on:

Hey everyone,

I'm working on an open source library involving Bitcoin and I was wondering how many (if any) of you are currently working with cryptocurrencies in your apps & games?
Whether you are buying/selling them, or just accepting them as a form of payment, I'd like to get some idea of what you're doing, what APIs you're hitting, what you think of it overall, and how I can (possibly?) make things like microtransactions and in-app purchases easier for you.
Feel free to leave a comment on this post, or message me if you don't want to talk about it publicly.
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upcoming user group / conference visits

Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:41:38 GMT

Originally posted on:

The next 6 months are going to be pretty fun (and by fun, I mean hectic.) In addition to a couple of interesting side projects (writing & video), I'm also going back on the speaker circuit. Fortunately, I'll be able to tie a few of these stops to some "vacation" destinations.

3/18: GSP Developers (Greenville, SC)
4/22: Enterprise Developers Guild (Charlotte, NC)
5/15: WNC.NET (Asheville, NC)
7/11: Codestock (Knoxville, TN) TENTATIVE
8/07: RV.NUG (Roanoke, VA)
8/28: DevLink (Chattanooga, TN) TENTATIVE
9/13: Code Impact (Jacksonville, FL)

Taking the mystery out of CryptoCurrencies

Maybe you've heard of BitCoin, but what about LiteCoin, DogeCoin, AmericanCoin or BBQCoin? (Yes, really.) These are just a few of the available CryptoCurrencies that are showing up. If you've wondered what they are, how to get them, how they work, or what Bitcoin Mining is, then this is the talk for you.

Once you've got them, what do you do with them? We'll cover some code and show ways to leverage BitCoin and other CryptoCurrencies in your applications. Whether it's taking payments, or buying and selling the coins themselves.Taking the mystery out of CryptoCurrencies

Maybe you've heard of BitCoin, but what about LiteCoin, DogeCoin, AmericanCoin or BBQCoin? (Yes, really.) These are just a few of the available CryptoCurrencies that are showing up. If you've wondered what they are, how to get them, how they work, or what Bitcoin Mining is, then this is the talk for you.

Once you've got them, what do you do with them? We'll cover some code and show ways to leverage BitCoin and other CryptoCurrencies in your applications. Whether it's taking payments, or buying and selling the coins themselves.
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Are Cryptocurrencies Ready?

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 19:43:39 GMT

Originally posted on: Cryptocurrencies Ready For Mainstream Use? Are we?   I'm a big fan of the major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and LiteCoin (LTC). I’m not really paying any attention to the dozens of derivative (and in some cases satirical) alternatives, such as Dogecoin and Coinye, but I think Bitcoin and Litecoin have a real shot at permanence.   Having said that, do I think they are ready for prime time, mainstream use? Not yet, and here's why... Cryptocoins have no intrinsic worth. In other words, they hold no value of their own. At this time, the only way *most* people (i.e. the non-enthusiast layman) can assess the value of 1BTC is by comparing it to another more established currency, like USD, EU, GBP, etc. There's simply no other way to describe it to someone else. "But wait," I hear you argue... "I can tell the value of a Bitcoin by looking at how much someone charges for something, in Bitcoin." This is true, however, it's also misleading. The only way this is of value is precisely BECAUSE you know the intrinsic value of what you're buying in your native currency. Looking online, you know that you can buy a $50 Amazon Gift Card for 2.2047LTC. Therefore you can puzzle out the value of 1LTC as being a little under $25, but you're still just trading one currency for another. You know exactly what LTC is worth, because the intrinsic value of what you are buying is printed on the item. How about something a little more abstract? If you don't know a lot about Bitcoin, or follow it regularly, would 250 apples for 1BTC sound like a good deal to you? How about 500? If it were 250 apples for $1, you'd jump on it... because you know exactly what $1 is worth. (Hint: at Bitcoin’s current valuation of roughly $900, it would be a really bad deal for the buyer.) To take it a step further, cryptocurrencies in general are an unstable bunch. If you don't know what it's worth, and you don't know what it can buy, and you don't know it's value on any given day (or hour) then you are at the mercy of the seller at the time of purchase. This isn’t as big of a deal when buying tangible product, face to face, especially if you like to haggle. But what if you are buying digital product, with a digital currency, via an internet connection to a “faceless” website? You either accept the price, or you don’t. There’s nobody to argue with. Unlike our U.S. Dollar, there are no printed or minted practical denominations of BTC. Sure you can buy a 1BTC coin, but with current prices hovering around $1000 per BTC, how would you spend it? Most things you would buy are in incredibly small fractions of Bitcoin. Don’t believe me? Here’s another example: Let’s say you bought 1 Bitcoin at a bargain price of $800. A week later, it’s worth $950. Yay!! Thrilled with your windfall, you decide to purchase a $50 Amazon Gift Card later that day. Unbeknownst to you, China has decided to ban the Bitcoin exchanges (temporarily, it turns out) causing a momentary plummet in the value of 1BTC. Let’s say it’s now worth $400 (this is based on reality.) Had you purchased the gift card when your Bitcoin was worth $950, it would have cost you .05266BTC. Now it will cost you 0.125BTC. Doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but when the Bitcoin market stabilizes a couple days later, going back to approximately $900 for 1BTC, can you tell me how much you spent on that $50 gift card? So how do we solve this problem? How do we make BTC/LTC mainstream? How do we assign an easily understood value to a volatile currency with no physical backing? We start by getting more and more companies to accept it. While this sounds counterintuitive, think of it like this... as a child (and with some adults), you have no perception of the value of money u[...]

Are you a gamer? Get ready for your barcode tattoo and RFID chip.

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 19:42:38 GMT

Originally posted on:

Gamers should be monitored and tracked? Oh, how the stupid burns. It burns.

"why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person? And also, how often they’re playing and how many..."

It's a shame that blonde hair and a pretty face are mistaken for the ability to think. Who gave this nitwit a microphone, anyway? Oh right... Fox News.
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updated bio

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 19:29:55 GMT

Originally posted on:

I've recently updated my speaker bio...

"After eating his rival siblings in utero and being raised by a pack of wild televisions, Chris G. Williams entered this industry with a passion for mobile game development and hash browns (scattered, covered and chunked, if you please.)

He speaks on a variety of topics, and really enjoys Windows Phone, Game Development, and Windows Phone Game Development. He used to talk about XNA, but well... we don't talk about XNA anymore."

In other news, after a LONNNG self-imposed break, I'm looking to do some speaking here and there. Got a Code Camp or "Day of whatever" coming up? Feel free to drop me a link. 

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Have you played Baldur's Gate II?

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:50:35 GMT

Originally posted on:

With only $10, a GOG account and a handful of patches, you too can play one of the greatest computer RPGs ever created. The patches mentioned in this Kotaku writeup go a long way in fixing bugs and also modernizing the UI of the game.

The BGII Enhanced Edition isn't terribly far off, of course, but given the mess they made out of BG1EE, I'm not terribly optimistic. (Yes I realize not all of it was the studio's fault.)

Got any favorite Infinity Engine D&D games? I'd love to hear about them.

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Enders Game

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:45:21 GMT

Originally posted on:

In anticipation of the new movie, I picked up a copy of Enders Game about a week ago. I'm roughly 75% of the way through it, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. It's really good, and now I'm all worried that the movie will screw it up. So much so, I kind of don't want to go see it.

Update: I finished it, a couple days ago. Totally didn't expect the "big reveal" (you know the one.)

Ultimately, I loved the book and can't wait to read the next two. Having said that, I'm still on the fence about the movie. I think I like the idea of blending Enders Game with elements of Enders Shadow though. For a movie based on a book that has a lot of internal dialog, it makes sense to add that in.

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Coercive Monetization

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:42:51 GMT

Originally posted on:

Two words that explain why "Free to Play" games are evil... Coercive Monetization.

Excellent article, well worth reading. Especially if you're even remotely interested in finding out the psychology behind why your significant other (or your mom) is slowly draining your bank account $5 at a time to advance in games like Candy Crush.

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Mission to Mars

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:35:17 GMT

Originally posted on:

202,586 people (including over 13,000 from China) paid to apply (yes they paid just for the privilege of applying... soak on that for a minute) to be the first Martians, via the Mars One program.

Application fees varied by country, ranging from $25 (USD equivalent) to well over $100 per person.

That's approximately $5-10M raised from people willing to die on Mars. Four people will be selected.

This may be the greatest scam ever.

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So, what made you decide to open a game store?

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:33:02 GMT

Originally posted on: few months, someone (usually a customer) will ask me out of the blue what prompted me to open a game store. (Sometimes they call it a card shop, but it's not. Never that.)For some reason, the question always catches me off guard, and I never really have an answer at the ready. I usually mumble something about "this isn't my first store" (it's not) or "I like games" (I do) or some random crap like that, which usually results in the followup admission of "but I really don't get to play games, for the most part. too busy." followed by "yes, I appreciate the irony of that." blah blah blah. So I've taken some time and given it some thought, and ultimately it boils down to this: One of my happiest childhood memories took place a few months after getting into D&D for the first time (1979.) I had a small mountain of books, purchased from the Crossroads Hobby Shop and The Collectors Box, both in Roanoke, VA. For some reason, I was in Charlottesville, VA at a book store. They didn't really have "game stores" back then. I remember walking to the back of the store and "discovering" the various RPG materials tucked into a spinning rack. With adventure titles like White Plume Mountain, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Dungeon Geomorphs, and The Dwarven Glory, I was instantly captivated. As I flipped through the current issue of Dragon Magazine (somewhere between #35 and #40, I believe, but memory fades) I was equally as fascinated by the advertisements as the articles. I wanted to immerse myself in this world. I devoured every word, every page. I studied every map. It wasn't about the community of gamers (I hadn't discovered that part yet.) It wasn't about wanting to own my own store (I was way too young to think about that.) It wasn't even about the "sense of wonder" I felt when I discovered this interesting new world (Greyhawk.) It wasn't even about playing the game. Nope, my motivator was GREED. I was Smaug... and this was my personal treasure hoard. I had to have it all. Every book, every box. Every pamphlet, every character sheet. Every die, every mini. I was (and am) a collector, from the moment I got my first set. Full disclosure time... I have one of the largest "pure" D&D collections on the east coast. I still have every box set, every set of dice, including my first. I still have nearly every book, every mini, every card, even the old TSR product catalogs... aside from a couple items that were stolen from me, which I eventually replaced. Add to this a small mountain of board games, card games, other sci-fi & fantasy RPGs... the list goes on. In many ways, the store is an extension of that obsessive need to expand my ever growing collection. The difference is that now I can justify my need to acquire by my reluctant willingness to relinquish pieces of my hoard to potential customers. Make no mistake though, even now I silently take the measure of every person that approaches my counter. Are they worthy of such treasures? Will they appreciate them as I have? Will they give it a good home? With every sale, I'm trading one piece of my hoard for another. [...]

Isn't she beautiful?

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:25:46 GMT

Originally posted on:

Regardless of my personal beliefs about religion & racism, there are a few basic truths that I see being violated and twisted in this whole Miss America thing.

Pretty much* every religious person I know feels that their way is the "one true way" and that their god is the "one true god" and that presumably while they might not like the fact that some people don't worship their god, they mostly believe that their god created the "unbelievers" just as their god created themselves.

(I should interject here... I've never met a racist atheist. Never. Not once. Maybe they exist. Maybe they don't. Never seen one. Met a hell of a lot of extremely racist people that consider themselves Good Christians though, I'm just saying.)

So... if your god created you, and your god created someone else with a different color skin, and your god is perfect, and doesn't make mistakes...

See where I'm going with this? Either you need to come to terms with the fact that maybe other people, regardless of color, are still people like you, only different, OR... you explain to me how your perfect god really made a big mistake when he let some folks bake a little longer than others and come out all brown.

Or you're a big fat stupid loud-mouthed hypocrite. In which case, keep on hatin' and keep on being loud and stupid about it on Twitter so we can easily identify you for later.

*I said pretty much. Let's not make a thing of it.
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Iron Man 3 (I've seen it, you probably haven't...)

Fri, 03 May 2013 17:40:16 GMT

Originally posted on:

Here's the short, non-spoily version: It's fun popcorn movie, with lots of action. A little too much interpersonal touchy-feely crap for an Iron Man movie, and not enough "suit blowing shit up" time, imo, but still good. Oh... and if you're a fan of The Mandarin character from the comics, oh boy are you gonna be pissed.

There's some real silliness as he continues to find new ways to get the suit on as quickly as possible. (How many "high speed groin shot" sight gags do we need?) 

Go see it, enjoy it for what it is, and relish in the glorious trailers that precede it. It's a fun summer superhero flick, but it doesn't really break any new ground. It takes a lot of liberties with canon and leaves you wondering how it's going to dovetail into the next Avengers movie, which you know it does.

And FINALLY, yes, there's an easter egg at the end, but it's barely worth staying for. It's more of the "oh I get it, they're eating shwarma" variety, rather than "omg what does it mean?!?"

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Things I'm doing lately

Fri, 03 May 2013 17:27:51 GMT

Originally posted on:'ve been messing around with RPG Maker VX Ace a bit ever since they put it on sale on Steam (and my parents just happened to give me Steam Points for my birthday.)  So far, I like it. ViNull made the comment that's it's easier if you aren't a developer, and I can totally see that. Overall though, if you're looking to make games, I recommend it. It comes in a few different flavors, invcluding one tailored to making "Indie" games, and there are numerous community created resources available as well.I've also dabbled (not as much) with Construct2, which reminds me of the old TorqueX in some ways, though it spits out HTML5 instead of XNA. It's fairly easy to use and there are some good intro tutorials to get you started, but then not a lot that I could find after that. Still, it's a pretty solid offering.My buddy Jason is a big fan of Unity, and swears he's doing some cool stuff in Unity2D (though we have yet to see any of it) thanks to some 3rd party plugins and whatnot. I installed it and immediately got a headache, so I haven't really spent much more time on it than that.I still bang on HA! now and then (more "then" than "now") but that's all VB.NET. Not much new going on there, really. I've been using jQuery a lot at work lately. Yeah, I know I'm late to the party, and there are newer flashier things out there, but it does the job and there are a ton of resources out there for it.I downloaded the Xamarin Studio, never could get it working right. Spent a few days on it here and there and then gave up. Life's too short to get that pissed off over something I don't need.As for games I'm playing, there's this great little card game called Resistance. If you're paranoid, you'll love it. If you're not, you will be after playing this game. It plays a lot faster than Battlestar Galactica, and is nowhere near as complex, but just as maddening.I'm also thinking about spinning up a new RPG campaign. I've been eyeballing the Iron Kingdoms RPG and also Pathfinder. I like D&D 4e for what it is (which is basically D&D Tactics) but I've run enough of that to want to try something different. I could go back to 3.5, but if I'm going to do that, I might as well do Pathfinder since it's the same, only better.  I've also been thinking about going super old-school, with Traveller.Many of you know I also own a retail brick & mortar game store called Big Robot Games (which you can find online easily enough.)  FYI: We are not the same guys that are making the excellent looking game "Sir, You Are Being Hunted!" over in the UK. Things are going well with the store. We do a lot of everything, from card games, and board games, to miniature wargames and rpgs. We don't do video games and we have a firm NO YU-GI-OH! policy, but that's a story for another day.This weekend, in honor of May 4 (as in "May the 4th Be With You") we're showing the original trilogy of Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi at the store. Should be a good time.I'm still doing occasional writing for RockRevolt Magazine, and recently interviewed Oderus Urungus of GWAR. He's a riot. That issue should be popping up pretty soon. I'll add a link when it does.I hope everyone has a good weekend, and May The 4th Be With You! [...]

Where is he now?

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 20:54:19 GMT

Originally posted on:

A couple months ago, I announced I was leaving Magenic in order to take a break from consulting.

I figured I'd post an update as to what I'm doing now, since I haven't exactly been slacking off.

1) I accepted a position as a Lead Developer with RealPage. I work on a number of internal use applications for a subsidiary known as LevelOne. The majority of my work is in ASP.NET, a surprising amount of VB.NET, some C# and I'm picking up a few new tools for my belt... specifically Python, MongoDB and Perl.

2) I am still the owner of Big Robot Games, a retail game store / coffee shop in the South Carolina upstate region. I'm not as involved in the day to day activity as I was, but I'm there most nights and weekends, when I'm not off doing other things, like #3.

3) I am on the staff of Rock Revolt Magazine as a journalist, covering live performances as well as interviewing bands, providing album & video game reviews, fixing the website and the occasional prison ink. (Just kidding on that last one.)

4) In whatever time is leftover, I still manage to bang out a little code on Heroic Adventure! (aka HA!) and talk about Windows Phone, XNA and whatever else suits me, wherever they'll let me.

I guess that's about it.

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ch ch ch changes...

Thu, 06 Sep 2012 13:34:18 GMT

Originally posted on:

After a mostly great 6 years and 3 months, I'm leaving Magenic. My last day is officially 9/14/12.

I'm going to be taking a much needed break from consulting, to focus on parts of my life that have been, well... rather unfocused lately.

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Avengers Assemble (the non-spoily micro review)

Fri, 04 May 2012 15:46:56 GMT

Originally posted on:

Caught the midnight showing of the Avengers last night. I won't get spoily on you, because I hate them myself, but I will leave you a few tidbits:  

1) The Hulk totally steals every scene he's in. Mark Ruffalo totally nails it as Banner.
2) There are TWO easter eggs in the credits, not just one. Stay until the lights come on.
3) The movie rocked. People stood up and cheered a few times. (Ok, it was mostly me, but seriously... GREAT movie.)
4) Yes, there are some comic relief scenes, but they are (IMO) well timed and not overdone.

The one I saw was in 3D, and it was "Avatar style" (meaning they were going for depth of field, rather than cheesy in your face stuff.) Was it absolutely worth the extra money? Probably not, but the 3D trailers before it were pretty sweet. (Trailers: Prometheus, Spider-Man, Batman, other crap. YMMV)

Joss Whedon ala Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Uncanny X-Men (comic book), etc has produced an EPIC movie (and not in the geek slang way... but in the true sense of scale.) This is a story that would have potentially played out over a year or more in the comics, across multiple titles.

Go see it. Go with your friends. If you don't have any friends, sit near a group. The fan and audience reactions enhance the overall experience.

Trust me.

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Travelling at Magenic

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 18:57:23 GMT

Originally posted on:

I occasionally get asked if we travel "a lot" at Magenic. Sometimes the question comes from job candidates. Other times it's clients, recruiters or friends.

To give a simple yes or no answer would be a disservice to the person asking the question. So here is my standard answer:

It depends.

(That was the short version.  Here's the long version...)

We do have some guys that are more "national" in focus, and they can travel a fair amount. They also receive a little extra in compensation for doing so. It's a balancing act, and not necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation. Not everyone is well suited to constant travel. Some folks enjoy it and some folks hate it.

With our local guys, our general policy is to TRY and keep them close to home whenever possible, but sometimes the needs of the client will dictate otherwise. (As Spock would say... the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.)

In most cases though, we really do try to avoid sending our guys on extended travel gigs (i.e. every week for 6 months) when a simple kickoff trip and occasional visit will do. This depends on the nature of the gig, of course. Some types of work lend themselves to this model better than others.

Additionally, this can and does vary by office. If one office is having trouble staffing a gig (not enough available bodies) and another office has a few too many folks on the bench, well... you can connect the dots. But again, we try to keep that to a minimum.

Lastly, we all have our own thresholds for what we consider "a lot" of travel. There are two parts to this threshold:

  1. Half of it is whatever you're accustomed to already.
  2. The other half is being honest with yourself about how much you [like/hate] dealing with airports, car rentals, taxis, hotels, disruptions to your workout schedule, time away from friends/family, etc.

Knowing a bit about yourself will definitely help you decide how much travel is too much for you.

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Trying out jQuery Mobile on Windows Phone (UPDATED)

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 17:08:08 GMT

Originally posted on: Recently (as in, last night) I started playing with jQuery Mobile. My experiences with jQuery, while occasionally frustrating, have been overwhelmingly positive. So when a friend mentioned jQuery Mobile to me, I figured I'd give it a try. A little Googling revealed some helpful tutorials and other resources, one of which was this handy basic page (which I got from here) Page Title



Content goes here



A quick copy and paste later and I was off and running... sort of.  The page renders as expected in Chrome, Firefox and Opera but sadly IE9 seems unable to live up to expectations (on my Win 7 64bit machine with IE 9.0.8112.16421) A quick trip to the list of supported browsers (here) tells me IE9 should be supported just fine. Since my principal concern isn't IE on Win7, but rather how jQuery Mobile looks on Windows Phone, I decided to throw it on my web server and hit it from my Samsung Focus. Here's the URL if you want to try it out from your own Windows Phone: As you can see, the page renders, but it seems IE on WP7 (and the WP7 emulator) doesn't really fare any better than IE on the desktop. The browser list does say that there are "minor CSS issues" so maybe this is just one of those. I'll keep digging and in the next post, we'll see what other heavy lifting jQM can do with regards to Windows Phone.)   UPDATE: Sometimes, I make big stupid rookie mistakes. Today was one. Keep reading. Turns out, I should have made sure my jQuery and jQuery Mobile references were totally up to date. They weren't.  I've uploaded a second file, aptly named sample2.htm that has the more up to date references, now that jQuery Mobile is no longer in alpha. You can see it here: As you can see... IE9 actually works just fine, giving the expected results consistent with FireFox, Chrome and Opera.  IE on Windows Phone works as expected also. Clearly the lesson here is to ALWAYS check your references when working with 3rd party libraries, especially if something isn't working as expected. With that (false alarm) concern out of the way, now we really get to have some fun! This is what the file SHOULD look like: Page Title