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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here. January 2008 Entries
Radeon HD 2600 XT
This is not a review. This is just me complaining. If you like that sort of thing, keep reading. If you're looking for a review, check back in a month or two. My Radeon 9800 AIW card was serving pretty well under Vista, but I hadn't upgraded in a few years and figured why not... time for a boost. My ASUS mobo isn't PCI-e so I looked around for a high end AGP card. I found the Radeon HD 2600 XT (512MB, AGP 8x) and thought... hey this looks like a good card. It says it supports Vista and DX10 so I ......

Posted On Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:29 PM

Why use VB.NET?
Matthew Kleinwaks said this earlier today and it simply couldn't be more true... "Does VB give me what I need to write my commercial software: Yes Does VB work well enough that I get my program out the door on time: Yes Do I get a paycheck for the work I do with VB: Yes Has VB.NET gotten better with every release so far: Yes Is there anything I actually need to do for my job that can not be accomplished in VB: No Those might not be everyone elses answers, but they are mine, and until they change, ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:26 PM

Do you know what x is?
Sometimes I think I was put on this earth to serve as an inspiration to others... the rest of the time I realize I'm more of a warning. Stay tuned as I die for your sins this weekend. * ring ring * her: Do you know what Sunday is? me: Yes her: What? me: our anniversary Allow me to pause here for a moment and say how much I truly HATE that game. If I tell you I know what something is, don't demand proof. It never ends well. Either I'm lying and you've busted me and now you're mad -or- I'm not lying, ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2:30 PM

Blood Sugar
After my previous post on diabetes, and beginning my insulin and new meds, I'm happy to say that a week later (as of last night) my blood sugar has dropped by 110 points. I still have a way to go before it's back at normal, but that is definitely an encouraging start. While I'm on the subject, if you're diabetic and hate checking your sugars as much as I did, consider getting one of the newer model glucometers. The new ones don't require a fingerstick. You can check it on your arm, palm, leg, etc... ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:56 PM

More On Alerts
I'm adding a new category to my blog, called More On Alerts. This category will be for people I see here and there around the internet that deserve a little extra attention. The first entry in this new category is none other than fellow GWBer Randy Walker, who describes how Chris Farley just might be an inspirational model that could save us all from recession. Nice One Randy!! You're our first, but certainly not last, blogger on More On Alerts ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:30 PM

Arcade for sale
I put two of my arcade machines up on ebay: Donkey Kong 3 and Crystal Castles. If you're in the Twin Cities area, take a look. I won't ship or deliver (because I don't own a truck) so if you're interested, we can make arrangements for you to come by and get them. I guess you could say this is part of my "Less Clutter Initiative" although honestly, I'm probably just making room for more stuff. There's this Joust game I've got my eye on. Just kidding. (No, I'm not.) Hell will freeze over before I put ......

Posted On Sunday, January 27, 2008 8:36 PM

March 29 & 30, 2008 Just a little over two months left until the Indie MMO Game Developers Conference, right here in the Twin Cities! There are some pretty interesting people lined up to speak, including Richard Bartle and Gordon Walton (BioWare!!) From the website: IMGDC is a venue for Independent designers and developers to come together to share ideas and learn in all areas related to MMOGs. IMGDC 2.0 has positioned itself to be an even larger venue with three fantastic tracks covering design, ......

Posted On Friday, January 25, 2008 11:17 AM

Twin Cities Geek Dinner
Some time in February, probably around mid month...  we'll be hosting another Twin Cities Geek Dinner.

Still working out all the important details like date, location, who's paying, etc...  so stay tuned.

If you're in the area and have a venue suggestion, drop me a line.

Posted On Friday, January 25, 2008 10:47 AM

You want me to pay HOW MUCH to fix my 360?!?
I don't normally blast Microsoft as a company, because I happen to like them overall and I know some really terrific people that work there. But I have to say my experience with XBox Support completely sucks. As I mentioned previously, here, my Xbox 360 kicked the bucket. Not in a dramatic 3 red rings kind of way, but in a slow, sad death kind of way... everything gradually turned green. My 360 lasts about 5-10 minutes before it happens... and gets progressively worse as it heats up. So I called ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2008 6:16 PM

Life as a Type II Diabetic
I'm a diabetic. It sucks. I've been diabetic for (hmm... lessee...) 12 years that I know of. Up until now, it was controlled by diet and medication. Ok that's not entirely true. It would have been controlled by diet and medication, had I actually bothered to diet and take my meds properly and check my sugars ever. I eat too much of the wrong stuff. Sometimes I drink a beer or three. I forget to take my pills sometimes. Basically I haven't been taking it very seriously and now it's kicking me in the ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 23, 2008 1:20 PM

XNA Survey on Connect
If you're using XNA and would like to provide some feedback to Microsoft, take this very brief survey on Connect: And if you're among the proud, the few, using XNA with VB... well, you know what to do. There's a spot on there for you too ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2:02 PM

Community Games (using XNA Game Studio) DVD Project
This is something I'm pretty excited about. The xna3way gang is proud to announce: The Community Games (using XNA Game Studio) DVD Project! This project is a showcase of work being done by people in the XNA community. It doesn't matter if you are a professional developer, hobbyist or student. As long as your game is complete and playable, and you don't mind sharing the source code then there's room for you on the disk(s). This is a living project, so there aren't any hard deadlines. Once enough projects ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:05 PM

Things I've learned from living in Minnesota (so far)
#1 Making Snow: When it gets -8 degrees Fahrenheit, take some warm water (not hot, not cold), throw it up into the air. You get snow. Cool huh? (There's more to it than this, obviously... you can't throw a whole pot of water up or you're gonna get wet. A spray bottle or mister works especially well.) #2 People Hate the Cold: I assumed people up here all love the cold weather, or are at least used to it. So it constantly surprises me to hear people complain about it, just like they did back in South ......

Posted On Monday, January 21, 2008 12:21 AM


Dear Blog,

Last night (Saturday, 1/19/08) I went to the casino with $3000.  After a few hours of Blackjack, I cashed out with $96,000. I also drank free all night. It was awesome. A bunch of my friends and coworkers were there too.  I can't wait to do it again.


What a great way to kickstart 2008.



Posted On Sunday, January 20, 2008 7:41 PM

words fail me


I hereby give you mad props and bow before your superior Paint.NET skillz!

You did forget a few other famous duos though...

Dukes of Hazard
Luke and Obi Wan
Wallace and Gromit
Gandalf and Frodo
Hall and Oats

Posted On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 9:36 PM

Bloodsucking Parasites
As previously mentioned... my "" domain was snatched up (due to my former webhost's incompetence) by some parasitic bloodsucking domain squatter in Singapore. Curious, I dropped him a quick email, inquiring as to the availability and price: How much are you asking for I was using it as a redirect to my blog, before my hosting company screwed up and let it expire. Thank you, Chris Williams I received an email from Charis Ho (the parasite) yesterday. It follows: ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 10:02 AM

XNA User Group - January meeting
The Twin Cities XNA User Group meeting is coming up this Thursday. The topic for this month is TorqueX. When: Thursday, January 17th at 6PM Where: Magenic Training Room If you're in the area and would like to attend, please visit http://www.twincitiesxnause... and click on the RSVP link (bottom left) to register. February meeting features talks on various AI techniques. March meeting features Nick Landry, courtesy of INETA ......

Posted On Monday, January 14, 2008 10:51 AM

I'm thinking about hitting a movie this weekend. My choices are: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, I Am Legend, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street If you've seen any of these, and have an opinion good or bad, I'd like to hear it. I never had much luck with movie reviewers.They tend to hate the ones I really like, and vice versa. I saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets last night and really enjoyed it. It's simpler than the first one, but still ......

Posted On Friday, January 11, 2008 10:14 AM

Katrina victims sue US for $3,014,170,389,176,410

Holy Crap... that's a lot of money.


Posted On Wednesday, January 9, 2008 1:46 PM

Network Solutions is a bunch of thieving bastards
I've suspected this for years, but the proof is starting to show up. If you look up the availablility of a domain name via the Network Solutions website, be prepared to buy it that second. If you don't, they (NS) will... and then they'll try to ransom it back to you at a higher price. If you still don't buy it from them, you have virtually no chance of getting it, because the expired domain vultures will swoop down, ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 9, 2008 12:52 PM

XNA opportunity

If you're working on something cool with XNA, check this out...

Send them your info and you might get some attention for your game.

Posted On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 3:04 AM

Seattle Day 4
Level one is completely done. Boss fight scene is done, Jason is working on Boss fight code now. Level two scene is done. Just need to set up the hazards. All the sounds are done, Andy is working on the XACT project. We're still using the dragon animations from the starter kit for our character, instead of the XNA3WAY guys, but hopefully we'll get those from George before too long. I have a basic splash screen done, although it's not great. Maybe Georgie will hook me up with a better one. What's ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 1:18 AM

Seattle Day 3.7
Since today is my birthday, we took a break for dinner and went to one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle: GameWorks. I was pretty excited because I still had a bunch of credits on my card leftover from the MVP summit. Well, we got in there and the place looked really different. Apparently in the last 8-9 months, they have rearranged things a bit. So we work our way upstairs and grab a table. The food was good, but my mixed drink was terrible. (Jason, Andy & Jolene with with me. Jason ......

Posted On Monday, January 7, 2008 12:49 AM

Seattle Day 3
Today's been another crazy day. Level one is done (I think I said that earlier, but I was wrong) from my end. I've handed it off to Jason and he's been making playability tweaks here and there, and getting stuff working properly. We grabbed some Taco Bell for lunch and kept right on working. Andy showed up not to long ago, and he's been helping out as well. George was a real lifesaver this morning, providing us with a fair amount of art and sounds that we sorely needed. He's been shooting me stuff ......

Posted On Sunday, January 6, 2008 6:52 PM

Seattle Day 2
Today was super productive. I've just about finished implementing level one (and making a few design changes along the way as I tested placement and jump distances, etc.) Jason's been busy working on adapting any necessary functionality and when I hand off level one to him, he'll be adding that functionality to the various conveyors, bouncers and controllers in the level while I start implementing level 2. Andy comes over tomorrow (Sunday) and we'll be working on voiceovers mostly Sunday. It's currently ......

Posted On Sunday, January 6, 2008 4:12 AM

Seattle Day 1
woke up early. really early. Still functioning on Central time. checked email for a bit then got up and started working. First thing we did was talk about level design for a bit. Captured a little video and then we made a quick trip out to pick up some Woodchuck (cider), Peach Fresca and a large drawing tablet so I could work on some rough sketches for the level design. I also had an opportunity to have lunch w/ some of the VB team from Microsoft, specifically Paul Yuknewicz, Amanda Silver & ......

Posted On Saturday, January 5, 2008 12:02 AM

Seattle Day 0
The flight went smooth, although the first flight was 25 minutes late and thankfully the connecting flight was almost an hour late... so no worries. I got to Seattle around 11:30pm and crashed around 2am. First class was nice. It's funny how you get so used to things a certain way that even the smallest changes seem huge. For example, more room. Usually in coach, as soon as the guy in front of me starts to lean back I put my hand on the back of his seat and apply just enough pressure to keep him ......

Posted On Friday, January 4, 2008 10:09 PM

Code Jam 08
aka "What you get when you lock 3 developers, 3 laptops, a keg of woodchuck, a 5 gallon bag of Pizza Rolls and a microwave in Jason Olson's basement" aka Game Coding Butt-Numbathon 2008 aka My Birthday!! I leave tomorrow afternoon and fly (First Class, thank you American Airlines Gold Status: Free Upgrade) to Seattle. I arrive pretty late Wednesday evening, ready to kick off nearly 96 hours of game coding madness. We've already hit one speedbump (sorry Georgie, next time though, for sure) but we're ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 2, 2008 7:01 PM

new xna book on Amazon
I just noticed this on Amazon a few minutes ago... Learn Programming Now! with XNA Game Studio Express and C# Express Edition (Link to Amazon here.) No big deal, except the cover prominently mentions C# 2008. (Last time I checked, XNA didn't support 2008) Apparently the guy that wrote it is a devices MVP in the UK. Looks like it's published by MS Press. Here's the odd thing... Amazon says it has a CD containing Game Studio Express (which means it's 1.0 refresh at the latest) and another CD containing ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 2, 2008 3:16 PM

What's on your tech shelf?
With the new year, I did some reorganizing. I got a little 3 shelf book case, stuck it next to my desk and pulled some of my tech books out of the garage... finally. Top shelf is all game programming books: Game Coding Complete, Programming Sudoku, AI for Game Developers, Physics for Game Developers, 3D Math Primer, Theory of Fun, and about 15 others. Middle Shelf is more to do with work: C# Cookbook, Expert C# Business Objects, CLR via C#, UI Design for Programmers, Code Complete, Framework Design ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 5:25 PM

I bought a new 360 a couple weeks ago. Since then, I've been trying without luck to recover my existing BlogusMaximus account. Every time I go through the process of entering in my Live ID, my email, my password (all via controller or remote, which sucks) and every time it fails. It never fails in exactly the same spot each time, but always says the same message: XBOX Live Signup is not available at this time. A few days ago, I checked the support section of and it said they were ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 4:45 PM

Anonymous Delegates
I've run into a bit of a snag in some of the conversions I've been doing. C# has this thing called Anonymous Delegates that VB.NET doesn't. I don't really understand what they do, and as I said, VB.NET doesn't have them, so I don't have a clue how to convert them. I've done some googling, but haven't found anything that really jumps out as the right answer. So any suggestions or help would be appreciated. The code in BOLD ITALICS is what I'm having trouble with. /// <summary> /// The constructor ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 3:59 PM

MVP 2008

I received the email at 9:02am this morning, letting me know I had received the MVP award for 2008 for VB.NET.

This is my 3rd year receiving it and it's still just as exciting as the first time. woohoo!

Posted On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 9:42 AM

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