A lot of interesting panels were completely full today, which made for a somewhat disappointing experience. Still, we did the best we could:
- Attended an EFF panel on “Telecommuting: Ins & Outs”. I was actually able to contribute my thoughts in this discussion because I telecommute once or twice a week. One of the recommendations was to utilize an Instant Messaging system within the company network, such as Jabber or Office Communicator, and I think that’s an excellent idea.
- Attended a panel on “Getting a Job in the Gaming Industry”. The President of Epic Games, Mike Capps, hosted the panel. I didn’t realize that Epic Games is actually headquartered in Cary, North Carolina. For those who didn’t attend, the summary of the panel is this: It doesn’t matter how much you like video games; you need a four year degree from a good Engineering or Computer Science school and solid background in math, physics, graphics, and algorithms.
- The developers of Age of Canon made an appearance in this MMO panel from Funcom. Of particular interest was their discussion on the differences between European MMOs and US MMOs.
- “Q&A in Cryptic” featured a demo of Champions Online, an MMO featuring full customization.
- Finished the day with Dean Haglund performing improv comedy. This year, he improvised a show of the X-Files. You might remember Dean Haglund as one the Lone Gunmen, Langley, from the X-Files
This is our fifth year of DragonCon, and Adam and I began the event by watching the annual parade. Registration was once again a breeze due to registering online well in advance. This year brought with it some interesting panels, including an entirely new Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) track.
- In “Meet the Stars of Harry Potter”, which should have really been named “Meet Just One Star of Harry Potter”, Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the movies made an appearance and talked about his experiences as an actor. No spoilers, but Matt does have a World of Warcraft character.
- Michael Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor, and in “Living in Smallville” talked about where he’s going after Smallville. This was one of the most entertaining panels as far as guest stars go this year, irrespective of whether or not you’re a fan of the show.
- We diverged from our normal routine and attended a panel in Hanover called “Monster in an Hour”, where a few budding artists attempt to draw a monster improv style in, not unexpectedly, under an hour.
- We made minimal effort in attending the Firefly panel, but had no luck getting in. Instead, Adam and I hopped over to the Evil Geniuses panel. I’d always been curious about it but never had the opportunity until now. It turns out that, yes, it really is about a bunch of mad scientists plotting to take over the world. Good luck.
- The day was concluded with “Hacking 101″. Randal Schwartz, author of Learning Perl, made an appearance here. Nothing too spectacular, but it was a good way to wind down the day.
I canceled my Vonage line, not because of quality of service issues, but simply because I’m trying to curtail my spending. I had some hesitation about this because of the numerous horror stories I’ve read about the cancellation process. My experience, fortunately, was not like that:
- The phone number to cancel Vonage is 1-866-243-4357. I called this number to initiate the process through the automated voice system. I entered my telephone number, stated “My Account”, and then stated “Cancel My Service”.
- Within a few minutes a customer service representative answered and I told them to cancel the account.
- They offered me an alternate, unadvertised Basic 100 plan for $9.95, which I refused, followed by 2 months of free service, and then 3 months of free service. I declined all of these.
- My account was canceled after holding for 1-2 more minutes, and I received an e-mail confirmation that my account had now been deactivated.
- I have been a customer since 2004, and I suppose because of that reason there were no cancellation charges. Nor do I have to return my router.
I will save $20.51 a month, or $246.12 a year. My Vonage number is no longer active obviously, but I can still be reached on my cell phone at (251) 454-1579.
The course outline for Computer and Network Security is as follows:
Security policies, models, and mechanisms for secrecy, integrity, and availability. Basic cryptography and its applications; operating system models and mechanisms for mandatory and discretionary controls; introduction to database security; security in distributed systems; network security (firewalls, IPsec, and SSL); and control and prevention of viruses and other rogue programs.
The course is being taught by Dr. Douglas Reeves.
The course outline for Computer Models of Interactive Narrative is as follows:
A theoretical and practical study of the computational models supporting the creation of interactive narrative systems. Topics include basic introductions to cognitive, linguistic and film theoretic models of narrative; representations and reasoning techniques from artificial intelligence related to the creation of storylines, dialog, camera control and other features of narrative in text-based and/or 3D virtual worlds; mechanisms for controlling character behavior in multi-agent multi-user stories; and applications of these techniques ranging from interactive entertainment to educational software to training simulations.
The course is being taught by Dr. Michael Young.
If no programs appear under Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, you can attempt to recover them by re-registering
appwiz.cpl as follows:
Why this happens in the first place is anyone’s guess.
Grades for ECE 517, Object-Oriented Languages and Systems, have now been posted. They are as follows:
- Homework 1, 100%
- Homework 2, 97%
- Homework 3, 97%
- Ruby Project, 96%
- Open Source Project, 88%
- Design Document, 97%
- Final Project, 100%
- Final Project Extra Credit, 5%
- Exam 1, 97%
- Exam 2, 100%
- Final Exam, 90
Final average: 100.2 (A+)
Costs: $2040 (tuition)
Once again, I did well in this class because it was project-oriented. There’s a trend here somewhere.
I will be in Spanish Fort, Alabama on business for a project with Everwood from August 6 through August 17. I didn’t post my whereabouts in advance because I made a surprise visit to my parents, who live nearby in Mobile.
Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough.
Randy Pausch, the Last Lecture