News – The Future of Nokia N-Series Phones, IP for Libertarians, Animating the Death Star

Once again, Dorian has dropped off the side of the Internet to work on stuff.  So instead of an update, Dorian sends some interesting bits of news he found on the Internet.

Maemo is the Future of the Nokia N-Series

Just when you thought Nokia planned on using Maemo only for their experimental line of phones… future N series phones will run Maemo!  This is great news for all the Maemo fans out there.  And it looks like this will be happen in 2012.  So all you who follow the Mayan calendar, while be able to ring in the new Mayan calendar cycle with nice Maemo-powered phones. 😀

Intellectual Property from a Libertarian Perspective

This is not news so much as a well written article by Stephan Kinsella discussing Intellectual Property from a Libertarian perspective.  So if you’ve been following the news concerning the mess that is intellectual property, this article premises that it doesn’t make sense to have it, makes sense.  Patents cause the most amount of problems, being so broad in scope.  But at the end of the day, it comes down to the question should or should not the owner of a physical property have exclusive rights to their property.  The fact it cause loss for a content creator or it is not acceptable behaviour by “society” is a moot point.

Dorian’s thoughts: Thats why all that I publish is under the Creative Commons license.  I’d rather just putting things in the public domain. Unfortunately there is a double standard of what an individual’s rights to that of a corporate entity’s, and thats why some restrictions to protect myself are needed.  I’d hate to go to court over something I originally published, being picked up by a corporation and then being hunted down by their lawyers for some IP infringement.

Animating the Death Star in Star Wars

Think computer animation is hard nowadays?  Then check this video of animating the attack on the Death Star in the old Star Wars.  Amazing.

Spring Weather Motivation

I am enjoying the spring-like weather of the past few days.  After the harsh cold of winter, sun and warmer air are weclome reliefs.  I get to spend more time outside.  Not as much as I’d like to, but still.  The weather not only motivates me to exercise more.  I started yesterday with a short inline skating run.  The weather also motivates me to work on my personal projects.

Please excuse the recent short posts.  I am suffering from a kind of blogger’s block.  While many interesting and wonderful changes are happening in my life, I can not openly discuss them.  At least not yet for various reasons.  I am hoping I can discuss things more in the next few weeks.  And I am too busy to write any articles for now.

At the moment, I am working on a number of different things.  The justCheckers project needs a temporary website.  I barely scratched the surface of that task.  Also I am still writing my novel, with fairly slow progress.  I have a good idea of the plot and characters already.  All I need to do is to crank out the chapters.  Everything else I’m keeping under wraps until I am ready to announce any real news.

I want to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s day.  I guess today everyone gets to celebrate their Irishness or their desire to be so. 🙂  Cheers!

Gaming: Simplicity, Good Graphics and Open Source Gaming

Graphics: Opium for the Eyes
Graphics. Our society places heavy emphasis on what we see. Not surprisingly, we also judge games by their graphics.

Judging games by their graphics, has become a staple of gaming reviews. Hard-core gamers, game developers and critics can tell the general age of a game by its graphics. Even the untrained eye can differentiate between an old style game from the 90’s with more recent games.

3D Realm’s Duke Nukem (January 1996)

Valve’s Half-Life 2 (November 2004)

But are graphics everything? Not if you ask older gamers, those who like me saw everything from Nintendo’s original 8-bit Zelda to the newest HDR lightened, high-polygon, physics engine Half-Life 2 Episode 1 game.

Most people that I know, actual play games because they find games fun. Many a pretty looking game turned out boring. And many “old-school” low budget graphics games enticed me to play for hours. Some gamers swear that the most important element in a game is gameplay or simply put fun. Some firms such as UK based indie game developer Introversion lives by focusing on gameplay.

Simplicity in Graphics
Unlike many in the younger crowd of gamers, I believe that one does not need the newest, greatest and latest in graphics to make enticing graphics. Often times, a simple image can fit nicely in place of a complex one. Introversion proved that a market exists for both the latest in eye-candy and simpler graphics with their second game, Darwinia.


The game follows the story of flat, sprite-like AI creatures called Darwinians, and their struggle to survive in a hostile, virus laden world. The graphics of the game inspired by early vector games, also follows the idea of simplicity. While Darwinia graphics set to full, still makes my nVidia GeForce 6800 work for its living, the overall style is simplistic. Maybe even overtly simplistic. But given the story, and type of game, the graphics fit perfectly. Can open source gaming follow the simple, attractive graphics route?

Neverball: Simple Attractive Graphics in Open Source Games
Complex, eye-candy Half-Life 2 style graphics requires tons of time and work to make. Developing a graphics/game engine can handle such graphics is also costly. Buying an engine, like id’s Doom or Valve’s Source can cost too much for indie game companies. Indie game developers do not have the money to afford such eye-candy in their games. Open source game developers have even less resources at their disposal. And so competing on the high-end graphics does not make sense for open source game developers.

However, open source games can still look good, even in 3d. Take the Neverball project for example. The graphics don’t not scream “TIME TO UPGRADE!”, but fit well into the context of the game. True, the icculus group is very experience, has worked on a number of 3d games, and helped companies like Epic bring their games into Linux. Still Neverball‘s graphics, with their colour, bright, simple textures and shinniness look impressive for this type of game. I do not see how any more realistic lighting or textures or models could make the game’s look and feel significantly better.


Screenshots never do justice to a game. Go to the Neverball website and try it out. I think the developers of Neverball showed that a game can be fun, look good and still be open source.

Edit: Sorry about the links, uploaded the screenshot images instead.

Quiet Morning

This morning seems so quiet. The lack of any real sounds, with the notable exception of the wind, make everything seem so un-alive. Its quite disquieting actually.

The only real sound (other than the typing of keys) is the sound of mental lemmings, walking around. That my friend, is the sound of writer’s block. Coming up with a main theme for an article, placed me into such a state. In an effort to shorten, and ease up on my articles, I had to cannibalize parts from three different articles, and plop them all together. I feel like a literary Dr. Frankenstein. And my article in its current form, plays the part of a half-zombie, half-robotic chicken monstrosity. Oh wait. That would be the robotic chicken… oops, wrong show. Anyways, with the current state of the article makes the lemmings inside my head want to throw themselves off a mental cliff. I mean walk off. Cause thats what lemmings do.

Lemmings aside, I resuscitated another of my projects yesterday. Yes justCheckers will return in all its Java-ish gory err… glory soon. On the topic of justCheckers, Chris Bellini, an important contributer to the project, just turned 30 yesterday. Happy birthday and I am glad you shrugged off the coming age. Is that a grey hair? *ducks*

The marathon of finals continues! Only 9 assignments, 3 exercises, 4 classes and 7 days to go. And the previous experiment seems to be paying off. Better run off now, and take care of my mental lemmings.

Article A2 Done

Relief! I managed to edit that article that kept on bugging me all weekend. The article deals with a brief introduction to quantum mechanics. I managed to bring it down to a 5 page rather then a rambling 10 page one.

That leaves me with 5 more articles to write and edit for my professional writing course. A warning to future science writing students, find a topic that does not require a full gigantic explanation. I did my entire project on quantum computation. And yes, explaining quantum computation to a bunch of university level non-scientist, while keeping the entire thing flowing and entertaining… well I found it challenging.

Anyways, I sometimes wonder if I should not become a writer after all. Maybe it will be easier to get bread on the table then a programmer. Shocking.