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New computer

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Finally, a machine that can actually do something. I invested some money in the new 27" iMac, and got the upgraded 3.4Ghz CPU. This thing is a beast, at least compared to the dual core Atom 330 machine with GMA 950 that I was using before it. Plays StarCraft 2 on full settings at full resolution(2560x1440) no problem. Just had my first SC2 session in a month or two. Sometime soon I need to replace my PS3 so I can play Alice and Catherine when they are released. I did not order those boxers, t-shirt and pillowcase for nothing.

Updates...none really. I got some of the vertex buffer/batching code cleaned up in WynterStorm. Besides that I haven't had a chance to work on it. I've been focusing more time on my actual job, plowing through the disaster that is vBulletin. Seriously if you haven't used it yet, don't. Vanilla Forums is a far better alternative, and I bet IP.Board is also a comfortable competitor. vBulletin's API is workable, but the admin interface is horrid. Updating plugins? Making Style changes? Adding new templates? Should be done by making changes to files, right? WRONG. vBulletin has it's own editor for all of these features, which get stored in an editable format in MySQL alongside a pre-converted format for certain vBulletin-syntax stuff and THEN stored in vB generated cache files in the file system. This is bad for several reasons:

  1. Revision control support sucks. Really, it's almost non-existent. The only way to safely handle this is to constantly export products from vBulletin and then import them on every server that needs the updates. The site I work on has something like 20-30 products though. Only two are specific to our site, but most of the code for the others has been slightly modified in some way.
  2. Moving between servers/phases is a pain. There are a few reasons for this. First is that again, revision control sucks. Second, there are all of these little details you have to learn about and take proper care of when importing/exporting products between systems. You have to take special care to assign as much as you can to it's associated product upon creation, and there are certain cases where vBulletin will ask you for a product and completely ignore your selection, assigning it instead to the base vBulletin product. BLEH!
  3. Scheduled Tasks. They aren't just plugins like they should be. Tasks are called by creating a file on the server and associating that file with a task. Now, I know I was complaining about the lack of support for version control with plugins and everything else, but at least they could have SOME uniformity. Either make use of the file system for more than caching, or DON'T. Just give me a standard way to make as many changes as possible to the forum without having to constantly switch between Transmit, TextMate, Chrome/Safari, and Sequel Pro.
  4. The way templates are setup in vBulletin is horrible. There are upwards of 20 CSS templates in the default skin. vbulletin.css, vbulletin-chrome.css and vbulletin-ie.css are just some examples. Also, vbulletin-chrome.css is NOT referring to the Chrome browser. No, it's referring to a specific part of the forum.
  5. Hooks aren't just added through a php call. You actually have to go an add to an .xml file to add a new plugin hook. Here's an idea for any of you vB guys out there. Make a hook. Call it 'pluginhooks_listing' and make the following code just work: $hooks[] = "some_new_hook_name";

There are also several other issues that I have to deal with daily that aren't the fault of the developers behind vBulletin. I won't get into these issues though right now. Instead, I'm heading off to bed to continue working in the morning. Maybe I can find some time tomorrow to contribute to the Gamedev Article update that I've had on my plate for a week now without having done anything about.

That's all for tonight, hopefully something interesting soon.
-Wynter Woods
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