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Final Fantasy VI Advance Is Out!

Final Fantasy VI Advance is out!

I'm not going to review it quite yet, since I'm only a good two hours into it, but I will say this:

  • New translation. Gil is gil again, and many items/spell names have been retranslated.
  • Sound seems to be a little off. I'm blaming that on the DS speakers, though - it seems closer to what I remember with headphones. Given that the GBA SP I had seemed to drop channels when used without headphones, I bet it sounds REALLY off using that.
  • Characters now have job names listed. Terra is "Magitek Elite" (blech), Locke is an "Adventurer" (to be fair, Treasure Hunter just wouldn't fit in the space available), and so on. Meh. Useless, but, whatever.

Soooo Sick......

I've been annoyingly sick the last several days.

Blech.

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More WTF From the Daily WTF

I've complained about the Daily WTF before, but I've got a new one.

In Round and Round, the submitter can't figure out why attempting to round 39.995 to two significant digits results in 39.99 and not 40.00.

If you're not a programmer, the answer is a little complicated. If you are a programmer, as the story submitter should be, and you can't immediately figure out what the answer is going to be - well, you need to study up on floating point.

In short, the answer is simply "computers use binary and 39.995 is decimal." The more complicated answer involves learning how floating-point works, but the bottom line is that it works just like decimal except with base 2.

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Wu: There Are Klingons In The White House!

This is true:

"Mr. Speaker, four years ago, this administration took America to war in Iraq without adequate evidence. Since that time, the administration hasn't listened to the American people, it hasn't listened to our profession military, and it certainly hasn't listened to this Congress.

You know it's said of a prominent business men in downtown Portland that he never listened to anybody and that if he was ever drawn in a cartoon, he would be drawn without ears. Now this President has listened to some people, the so-called Vulcans in the White House, the ideologues.

But you know, unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek, that make the decisions on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. These aren't Vulcans. There are Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own. Don't let faux Klingons send real Americans to war. It's wrong." - Representative David Wu, Democrat, Oregon

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\a Must Die

For those of you who aren't programmers or nerd, "\a" is the string commonly used to represent the "alarm character" is C-style programming languages. It makes the computer beep.

Problem: Almost all computers don't use the sound card to beep, they use a special dedicated speaker. (Why? Diagnostic reasons, many computers will use special beep sequences to indicate an error that prevents them from displaying graphics. Such errors would also exclude the sound card.)

So why is this a problem? Well, because the beep is coming from a special speaker dedicated to making annoying beeps, it completely and totally ignores your volume settings.

Harry Potter and the Firefox Popup Blocker

Apparently J. K. Rowling has announced the name of the seventh book on her official website.

Unfortunately, the Firefox Popup Blocker (along with the Flashblock extension) conspired to prevent access to the site, because the stupid thing is (apparently) in a Flash popup. Hmm: Ctrl-W. Make the bad site go away.

Fortunately you don't need to actually visit the site, since the title has been posted to Slashdot (based on a post in an emulation forum, of course): it's (apparently) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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The UI Thread

Dear Developers,

The UI thread is not the appropriate place to be running long-running tasks. Setting the cursor to the "wait" cursor doesn't make running something in the UI thread OK - it just means that the cursor will let you know that the application is supposed to be completely unresponsive.

Don't forget, if you run a long-running task in the UI thread, Windows will think your application is "Not Responding."

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Why I Hate PHP

Someone recently posted a very good comment on Slashdot detailing common PHP problems. Several of the replies give solutions to the various issues raised. However most of them involve editting php.ini to use safer options. (Why isn't php-recommended.ini the default config?)

Yes, there are ways around the problems listed. (Drupal, a PHP-based CMS which this site uses, provides quite a few helper-functions designed to make handling those errors much easier.)

However the point remains: when using PHP - be careful.

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Singletons and Double-Checked Locking in Java

I've seen the double-checked singleton pattern before, and at first thought it would work. It's an attempt to reduce the penalty of requiring synchronized access to obtain a singleton.

Essentially the pattern is as follows:

public class Singleton {
    private static Singleton instance;

    public static Singleton getInstance() {
        if (instance == null) {
            synchronized(Singleton.class) {
                if (instance == null) {
                    instance = new Singleton();
                }
            }
        }
        return instance;
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WTF Indeed

This thread on The Daily WTF is rather depressing. Essentially, the original poster is complaining about the following code:

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