29 July 2007

cya at fan faire

SOE's annual Fan Faire starts this Thursday.

We'll be showing off some cool stuff about our in-progress EverQuest II expansion, Rise of Kunark and attendees who pick EQ2 as their game of choice will be given a ROK-themed cloak only available at Fan Faire.

I'll be on a panel or two, including the Mechanically Speaking panel.

Our Comic Con Block Party also went quite well. I had fun showing of the new Sarnak race in ROK and talking to fans for a few hours.

If you can make it to Las Vegas for Fan Faire, it'll be great to see you there!

Pickling - it's not just cucumbers anymore

We programmers on the EverQuest II team discovered a neat little utility the other day.

We have so much data and source code in Perforce for EverQuest II that our administrator frowns at creating branches. We only have three branches aptly named "main", "test" and "live" and we do all of our development out of "main" including expansion features and live game updates (there are other challenges to overcome with this configuration, but I'll just go into one).

Occasionally, I'll be working on a feature and will have a significant amount of critical files checked out and modified. At this very moment something comes up: a live game crash, a higher priority, etc.

Enter Code Pickle. This nifty little utility allows you to suspend an entire changelist. All your current changes are safely stored freeing you up to handle the immediate priority. After handling the emergency, you can then resume your changelist just as if you were never interrupted. If the files in the suspended changelist have other changes, Code Pickle helps you integrate them. And at $600 for a 10 user license, it's well worth it.

Code Pickle supports multiple source control packages, but I've only tried it with Perforce. Try out the demo!

20 July 2007

/resurrect PSP

A few weeks ago I sat down on a plane looking forward to returning home from vacation. I pulled out the PSP to watch a few episodes of The Office on the ride. Lo and behold, I'm greeted with a PSP owner's worst nightmare: a cracked screen.

I wasn't ready to write off the $200 that I paid for it though, and Google was more than willing to help me out. Amazon even listed some screens for sale for a very decent price. I ordered a new screen (with backlight, not because mine was bad but I'd rather pay $5 than having the hassle of trying to swap backlights without getting any dust in there) from The Gaming Shop on the 13th and it arrived today (7 days for North LA -> San Diego? That's sad.) I don't really recommend getting the screen from them because this is how it came:
Loose, in bubble wrap, not even in a cardboard box.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, it's time to work on my PSP! I used The Llama's excellent PSP screen replacement guide. I'll let the photos do the talking:
DSC00594 DSC00595 DSC00596 DSC00597 DSC00598 DSC00599 DSC00601 DSC00602

Then, the moment of Truth:

Woot! The brand-new screen fires up beautifully with no dead pixels! Just a few more screws and we're done:

I managed to replace my PSP's screen for about $50 (and a fun 45 minutes or so) rather than buying a new one at $169. Looks like I'll be investing in a hard-shell case soon too!

05 July 2007

Independence Day: Parades, Fireworks... Bike Rides?

In what has apparently become family tradition, I did the Scripps Ranch Old Pros Bike Ride yesterday. Since moving to San Diego we've done the 12-mile "Family Fun" ride. Two years ago, my wife rode with us and my son was in a seat on the back of my bike. Last year, my wife was pregnant and it was just me and the kid. This year however, my son has gotten too big for his bike-mounted seat and I didn't have anything sufficient for him to tag along with. So I did the 28-mile ride solo.

It was definitely more hilly that I'm used to. My semi-daily ride to work is about 6 miles, so this was quite the step up. I did it in two hours flat and it was just about perfect for my cycling strength. My 2005 Trek 1500 was pretty decent for the ride. I definitely have to work on my hill climbing. I managed to hit 42.1 MPH during one of the downhill portions when I was still fresh and trying to catch up with some other riders. That's freakin' fast when there's nothing between you and the pavement but two thin tires.

The water and oranges at the finish line tasted better than a meal fit for a king.

Unfortunately, the ride didn't go well for everyone. (There's actually a few errors in that story: It's the 56 highway, not the 76. The 10K was the run portion; he was on the 28-mile ride.)

I'm looking forward to next year, but I won't be doing the Tour de France anytime soon.