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Good bye Hamster :(

As you might know, we had a Hamster living in the Ambiera Office. He had his own cage, and slept and digged holes in there, but he was also free to run around in the office when he wanted, which he frequently did. Sometimes even during the day (Hamsters are nocturnal and usually sleep when the sun shines). I made a short video of the last pictures I took of him, a few days before he died last week:

He was the friendliest and most social hamster I know. He really liked us, and nearly always came out of his house to 'greet' us when he noticed we were there. I think he had a very happy life. Good bye Hamster, we will miss you.

Now for a quick game of... error 37

Did 9 hours of straight programming work, answered all customer requests, finally successfully re-built a whole support library with new settings and without errors, checked everything in and done with the TODO list of this week already. Great! Now, for a quick relaxing game of Diablo 3, as reward!

What the... I knew it was a mistake getting this online only game, although I only play single player. I like how Diablo 3 works from a technical stand point, the feature that your friends can join your games on demand is very nice. But not being able to play at all if Blizzard's server decide that they won't work is really annoying. I'll probably try to get my money back and wait for Torchlight 2 instead...

How do I say that I need to move on?

Maybe you also already saw the Microsoft Internet Explorer ad on TV. Basically it's a few pictures of various web pages, with a song playing. Interestingly, the song also became quite popular and I've also already heard it on the radio a few times. You can watch it here:

Apart from the fact that I think it would have been more useful for Microsoft spending all that money in development to improve that broken and slow browser instead, there is something other I find interesting about it: knowing it's the Internet Explorer song, listening to the lyrics, am I the only one noticing that the song is about a guy using IE, but then installing a second, better browser and using that one instead? He doesn't sing about whether it's Opera, Firefox or Chrome, but I wonder if the marketing team of Microsoft ever read the lyrics of that thing? :)

Mac OS X Sandbox - Why I havn't sandboxed my apps yet

Apple just sent me and thousands of other developers a mail, stating that our apps on the Mac App Store (in my case, that's WebsitePainter and CopperCube) will have to be sandboxed until June 1st. That's in one and a half week. Nothing new here, they already said this long before, and actually, this is the third time the deadline has been prolonged. I think the fact that they are sending the mail again as reminder shows that they are a bit nervous, and probably means that not a big amount of developers, such as me, haven't sandboxed their apps yet.
Well, I'm probably not going to sandbox my apps for as long as possible. I can only speak for me, but I guess other people have similar reasons:
We'll see what June 1st will bring. :)

Main quest failed

I was quite late when I entered the shop for buying my Diablo III copy just before the official holiday on Wednesday: All shops were closing and there were only a few minutes before also this one would close. When I passed the register on my way to the games and DVD section, there was one guy waiting for the cashier. A Diablo III box was lying in front of him. Seeing this, I relaxed a bit. This shop had Diablo III, yay! The day tomorrow would be safe. :) The guy waiting for the cashier also saw my look and grinned, he probably understood that also I was going to get a Diablo III copy. At the games section, I began to become a bit nervous: I could not find the usual pile of the new games, especially not the supposed one with the Diablo III games. I searched the section up and down. No Diablo III. Finally, I went forward and asked the cashier.

"Do you have Diablo III? I cannot find it.", I asked.
She pointed at the guy who had grinned at me just before.
"That one just catched the last one", she said.

D'oh. He had grinned at me because he knew. Schadenfreude. :)
At least the official holiday yesterday had become slightly more productive than planned, and I was able to work a bit on the next update for CopperCube instead. :)

WebGL now faster than Flash?

During the last weeks, quite a few people using CopperCube are reporting that they are discovering surprising performance testing results: It appears that for them, the WebGL renderer is faster than the one using Flash and Stage 3D.
Personally, I wasn't able to reproduce these results myself, although I must say that browser developers have improved the JavaScript performance very much recently, especially in Chrome and Firefox. Also, it sounds a bit strange, because Flash is statically compiled down to bytecode, while JavaScript is still very dynamic, and the WebGL 3D engine behind CopperCube, namely CopperLicht uses some of the dynamic features, for example for storing allocated render buffers, WebGLFloatArrays (or Float32Array as they are called now), and similar.

It could be that those CopperCube users reporting that WebGL is now faster for them than Flash are maybe running some throttled flash player (maybe the debug version?) or similar, but it's stange that this is happening now at the same time and that there are quite a few of them. Anyway, it would be nice if you could drop me a line or post a comment if you are having a similar experience.

Upcoming productivity hole

What? Diablo 3 will be out next week? Oh boy. There goes my free time.... Also, did you see my last blog entry? Not sure what happened there, but those 130 comments are real ones, not spam. Hm... :)

Want good programmers? Then PAY them.

Just read an article in a local Austrian newspaper, telling that local companies are unable to find good developers and programmers. There are currently 22% more open job positions in this area compared to last year, and even back then lots of positions were not be able to be filled. I'm not surprised at all.

The problem IMO is that companies are not willing to pay enough for developers and programmers. In Austria, an entry level programmer with high level university training will usually get offered 2200 Euro gross. I'm not kidding. Wake up, people: Are you serious? You want highly specialized people with actual skills, and expect them to be OK with that comparable low payment? If the same person sits down and starts creating his own software, he will probably earn much more one year later by himself already. Why on fucking earth should he start as programmer probably even without prospect of a promotion in your company then? Why should he even consider to work as programmer? He would be better off working as team manager, project lead or similar, blabbering in meetings with all the other people, not doing actual work. But at least he would be paid there probably even twice as good.

I've heard the situation is similar in other countries, although I don't think programmers are seen comparable worthless in many other countries :)