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Steel City Con

This weekend, my girlfriend and I went to our first show/con since moving to Pennsylvania. It's a smaller show with more toys than comics, but I still managed to find a few cool books. Attendance was pretty poor, but at least that meant no shoving through crowds or kicking kids out of the way. There was really only one dealer with decent stuff, including a handful of EC pre-code horror. I bought a Shock SuspenStories #9 from him before leaving for the day. On Sunday, we went to check out a couple of local comic shops I'd been told about. First up, we went to New Dimension Comics, but they weren't interested in selling me anything. Next, we went over to Eide's in downtown Pittsburgh. They had a MUCH better in-store selection, and even let me buy something that wasn't for sale. I think I know which store I'll be going back to.

"Snowmageddon"

I'm getting my first real winter experience since moving to Pittsburgh from Texas. I just finished digging two cars out of two to three feet of snow and did not enjoy it. Yes, there really is a car under there...

Boost.Spirit: take two

In a previous post I shared my first experience using Boost.Spirit using the example of parsing a greatly simplified material definition. Since then, I've learned a few new things about Spirit, and would like to share them by rewriting the previous example.

Boost.Spirit is cool

I recently needed to parse simple material definition scripts for a work-in-progress rendering system, so I decided it was high time I learn how to use Spirit. For those unfamiliar with the library, Spirit facilitates the creation of small, fast parsers by letting you define EBNF grammars directly in C++ code. Obviously, that's a very "nutshell" description of the library, but you can check out the Spirit homepage if you want to know more. Anyways, lets demonstrate the library's wizadry using my simple material script use-case:

The "Microsoft namespace" strikes again

I hate it when I write trivial code like this:

namespace rs
{

    enum TranslucencyType
    {
        OPAQUE,
        NORMAL,
        ADDITIVE,
        ...
    };

} // end namespace rs

...

switch( translucencyType )
{
    case OPAQUE:
        ...
        break;
    case NORMAL:
        ...
        break;
    case ADDITIVE:
        ...
        break;
    ...
}

and get a confusing error.

Some pics and vids from Michigan

Last summer I took a short trip to Michigan's upper peninsula to visit family and took a few pictures and videos of the scenery. The first few are from the copper mine in Houghton, including the world's largest steam hoist (yay). Afterwords, we drove around the coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula and saw some waterfalls, Lake Superior, and a town with a slightly humorous name...

A lot has happened

It's obviously been a long time since I posted anything on this site. Last you heard, my coworkers and I had been laid off and were starting our own software company. Well, Red Sword has currently released three iPhone products with a few others in the pipeline. That being said, it usually takes awhile for a company to be profitable, and I was eventually given an offer I couldn't refuse in Pittsburgh. I moved to the Steel City a couple months ago and have been loving it. Now that I'm finally getting settled in and my life is slightly less hectic, I plan on updating this site again and helping out my friends at Red Sword in my free time. The next few posts will probably be me catching up on things that have happened in the last few months...stay tuned!

Update...and chicken wings

It seems I never have the time for a number of things I'd like to be able to do...like update this site. So I got laid off back in January. It was probably for the best anyways. The company was obviously going nowhere due to inexperience at the highest levels and a number of other things I won't mention. Not to be deterred, some of my former coworkers and I have been working hard to get our own venture off the ground. Initially, we're focusing on mobile gaming projects, and our first iPhone title should be out shortly. I haven't really been doing much else but working on that and sleeping when I have the chance. I doubt I'll make Comic-Con this year after losing my job, so that kind of sucks. I did finally have a bit of fun last night though. Our first stop was the local Buffalo Wild Wings where a friend and I attempted the "Blazin Challenge". Basically you have to eat 12 of their hottest wings in six minutes or less without eating or drinking anything else. I like spicy food, so I figured it wouldn't be that hard...I was right.

Signing the release form...

Some things any junior C++ dev should know

First of all, I consider myself to be an intermediate C++ programmer at best. Perhaps this is because I've noticed that a programmer's opinion of their abilities is usually inversely proportional to their actual skill level. Like most other development shops, my coworkers and I have a standard list of interview questions we draw from when interviewing programming applicants. Many of them are code fragments with various issues, defects, design issues, etc. While many of these questions try not to focus on language-level details, there are a few things in particular that most "senior" applicants don't know that really amaze me. This is by no means a complete list of things a junior C++ programmer should know, but the regularity with which people are unfamiliar with these specific items blows my mind.

First programming post

I've been trying to decide what my first post in this section should be, and I guess a brief synopsis of my history with programming makes the most sense. I've always found computers and technology interesting, but I didn't start to seriously consider computer science and programming until high school. Unfortunately, my high school didn't offer a computer science class until the second half of my senior year, but I did my best to learn at home too. I ended up getting a BS in computer science from the University of Texas at Dallas.