Input Devices

So, digging around my usual RSS feeds, and I spotted this little beauty on CuriousInventor. Looks like a fantastic bit of kit, and a really nice take on traditional faders.

I’ve got JACK set up on my laptop very effectively now, and it’s getting to be quite the multimedia all-star. Video it struggles with- after all, it’s a netbook- but audio it has no problems doing. I’m going to try and pick up a Digidesign MBox 2 at some stage to top the package off and move some DSP off-JACK. But controlling stuff on a small laptop or even a desktop can be troublesome, and there’s not a huge amount of choice when it comes to budget MIDI controllers.

One thing I’d be interested to hear about would be a simple MIDI processor/PIC/chip. My main problem with doing things like this myself is the PC interface; the Stribe1 goes for the Arduino approach, which is great but requires an Arduino and usually some tenuous birdnests to interface the Arduino to the hardware. I’d love to see a simple USB-MIDI driver board which could take some analog/digital inputs and turn it into MIDI over USB. Reliability is somewhat important in live audio, and if I could remove the slightly worrysome birdsnests from the equation I’d be a happer, saner (Relatively) person.

I’m still shocked at the complete lack of big red buttons on most electronics websites.

Nexus, Rails 2.2, I18n

Now I’ve finished off EVE Metrics’s indexes (Performance tweaks are nearly done, just waiting on a few external patches for various bits and pieces) I’m cracking on with Nexus. I figured a good thing to do would be to rewrite all my views, partly to tidy them up a bit in places, partly to ensure everything was written to W3C standards, and partly to implement Internationalisation (Otherwise known as I18n).

Rails 2.2 comes with I18n built in, so I’ve been using that. It’s a slow process, turning every string into it’s own categorised, indexed line. It’s all in YAML though, so I can easily work on it freehand without needing to worry about complex systems for storage. The one downside is I get to reload my development server to see changes to the pages, but that’s not too big an issue. It’s easy to use and works like a charm, so it fits the bill for my purposes.

Also, Rails 2.2 is thread safe! I’m interested to see what this does performance-wise on Passenger. Load on my server isn’t a problem but memory is my main concern- Passenger with Ruby Enterprise Edition works great by sharing common elements in memory to reduce usage, but thread safe Rails means I should be able to get away with running fewer servers in the first place. I’ll spend some time with JMeter and New Relic RPM at some point to see what the real-world gains are.

My next challenge is going to be creating a decent looking fittings/kill display interface. I’ve learned a lot working on the TacMap, and have some ideas for how I’m going to display fittings. I don’t think I’ll use the ingame fittings screen picture with overlays; it’s overly complex and imo there’s better ways to show fittings. Considering one of the main goals with Nexus is high performance and given the slashdot-effect style killboard spammings that occur whenever a big kill gets scored, I’d like to try and keep the SQL loading down to a minimum.

I’m also trying to work out what the best way of handling caching will be. My whole configuration system thus far is getting looked at sternly- I’m using Configatron, but think I need something a little beefier than that which supports some kind of webinterface for editing configuration values. Still, that’s a problem for another day.

On the EVE front, Shrike lost his titan. Again. In exactly the same way (cloaked off a gate). Yay.

Live Dev Blog – Fallout

So I sat in on a Live Dev Blog today. Well, what can I say? It was an exercise in futility. Coupled with the fact that t0rfifrans, our designated CCPian for the blog (and a hotly anticipated one at that, given his up-front and no-bullshit remarks surrounding ghost training), had to miss the blog due to his wife becoming hospitalised (thankfully for minor issues); this and Zulupark’s neat dodging of questions and Mindstar’s neat choice of questions lead me simply wanting more.

Maybe it was the way Zulupark touted ‘new gates’ as a major part of the next expansion. Let’s be honest- new gates are hardly shocking. Shiny, sure. Important gameplay change or vitally needed rebalancing? Nope.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Both Zulupark and Mindstar did a fine job in what was rapidly becoming a tricky situation. But CCP is in a rut right now, especially if you ask the playerbase what they think of recent decisions. CCP has been dodging the real questions and, while doing a great job occasionally, tainting the perceptions of players with decisions like disabling ghost training. Continue reading Live Dev Blog – Fallout