14 Sep 2005 donscarletti   » (Master)

Well, it's just about time to do my quarterly blogging session. I don't blog much, so I'll give a summary of the last month or two of my computer-related life. For anyone who might be interested, I'll list some of the things I've been working on.

Librsvg

Librsvg is going ahead slowly but surely. We now have a 2.11.1 release which probably qualifies as the best release ever. It's more stable than anything before and will render far more of the svg standard. There is no reason not to upgrade. Sadly there has been some technical difficulties in uploading 2.12. Possibly this will end up like when 2.9.5 was the standard release in the 2.10 series because nobody got around to publicising the 2.10.0 release. Releases are really such frustration. CVS is far nicer.

Librsvg-cairo is coming along very well. It's already blindingly fast when it does fairly standard things. I'm very hopeful about its future. It seems like the whole librsvg development team (Dom, Carl and myself) is tied up with other work at the moment, so unfortunately the development isn't going quite as fast as it renders.

Magic Eye Renderer

This semester I enrolled in a course that basically consists of writing something big and cool and getting it marked. Since graphics are pretty much "what I do", I chose to write a renderer for "magic eye" pictures. If you know how to see magic eye pictures, you can check out a stereogramme of the Stanford bunny I rendered here(fairly big .png). I wrote the software over the course of 4 weeks in an effort to get much of my university work done as soon as possible. In hindsight I pushed myself a little too hard but I got some great results. I'll upload the source as soon as I can double check the university intellectual property arrangements (as it was part of a degree program but did not require university supervision). My uni tends to be very GPL friendly so that should go off without a hitch very soon. It only took about 40s to render that picture on my amd64 (using a raytracing algorithm) which I am kinda proud of (both the optimization and the 1337 system I have).

Scorched Earth clone

After finding out about the Nokia 770 development program, I decided that I wanted to get one and make some software for it. Well I've kinda jumped the gun on it and started work on a neat game for it. It's more or less a clone of scorched earth with a few modifications that I think enhance the game. Check it out here if you like. It's known to work on a standard linux system with both SDL and gdk_pixbuf installed and on scratchbox, I'm not sure if it actually works on the 770 yet. The whole thing is terribly over-optimized so it should work well on anything. I'd be interested to know how it goes on REALLY low end systems.

Other stuff

University has gone from too easy to insanely stressful this semester since I'm actually doing 2/3rds more comp sci courses than most people do in third year. Some of my subjects are great, such as "cryptography and security" which is taught by the most charismatic and engaging lecturer in the school and partially consists of practical labs such as writing buffer overflow exploits, sniffing network traffic, breaking WEP keys and other such fun things, in a completely legal environment. Some of the courses are slightly less brilliant, such as "software engineering" which is a melange of every single variety of frustration known to exist.

Apart from that, I've been playing a bit of Battlefield 2, by Digital Illusions CE. It's really great fun so I'd recommend it to anyone that likes to go online to shoot other people.

P.S. Blogging is like vomiting. When one is finished doing it, there is a horrible mess, but it's probably good to get it out of one's system if one feels the need to do it.

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