Archive for August, 2012

Grumble: I have had to start playing WoW again, despite not even liking the game.

August 27, 2012

There is a delicious irony afoot: I am not a WoW fan-boy, as readers of this blog know. Yet, I must now have the game – and play it – since it is the game customers are commissioning systems to play lately!

I have to be able to benchmark builds to various settings and play conditions, like how a build handles a large crowded city (Ogrimmar, I think). I may even have to (NOOOOOOO!!!!) see how a build does on a raid or some other nonsense.

I have played more WoW the last few weeks than I ever did when I owned the game. It has all been Starter Edition stuff, but I may have to eventually suck it up and do more.

The sad part is that I still don’t care for the game. Grind-tastic and looks cheesy. But, if someone wants a rig to play it, then I might as well get the gig.


Amanda Lepre and Descendents of Erdrick concert footage

August 15, 2012

Tonight we have a special treat!

Here is better than an hour of high-quality concert footage from both Amanda Lepre and Descendants of Erdrick at the Independent Game Developers of Austin annual picnic now up on YouTube and

Ryan Siller, owner of the website I write for on occasion, was attending the event and able to film a lot of both sets in HD video with high-quality sound. It shows off Amanda and DoE really well. Watch the footage, then check out their web pages, order a CD or digital download, and try to catch them live sometime.

Fun shows.

Lessons learned on feedback loops from a coffee pot at a meeting.

August 11, 2012

I was at an all-day meeting recently of an industry advisory committee related to my day job.

There was a large insulated container of coffee brought in and set on a white table cloth. Under the spigot was a coaster of some kind designed to catch coffee drips to keep from messing up the tablecloth.

I went to get the first cup of coffee from the setup and soon discovered that the setup was fatally flawed. The coffee container spigot sat too low. If you put a cup over the coaster and filled it, you couldn’t pull it out again without tipping it sideways enough to spill coffee. They either needed a shorter coaster, to raise the coffee container a little, or some combination of the two. Less than an inch would have fixed the issue.

I went back later and noted that somebody trying to get coffee had simply shoved the coaster out of the way, perhaps after dumping hot coffee on their hand. There was a brown stain of wet coffee now better than a foot wide under the spigot. It looked terrible.

It was also entirely predictable. However, I am willing to bet that this same issue happened before and will be repeated at the next event. I stress that this happened at a major university and a professionally-run conference center. Something as simple as having coffee at a meeting, an activity that should have been routine, turned into a mess and a potential safety hazard.

Absent a mechanism to test the setup (someone working for the conference center is tasked with getting a cup after setting it up), a feedback loop (hey, the coffee is spilling all over the place and the attendees want you to fix it) or a post-event review process (every tablecloth comes back with massive coffee stains and something is wrong) — it is predictable that this error will be repeated.

However, this isn’t unique. It happens all the time. If you are an analyst, you can see it constantly. The frustrating thing is that you will see the same errors over and over again because there isn’t a built-in mechanism to address them. If you analyze health care (my day gig), repeated error is the norm rather than the exception.

It is sort of like the intersection where there are wrecks all the time. It usually takes a fatality before someone comes in and puts in the stop light.

So, as an exercise, try looking a something as simple as a a coffee stain on a table and do a root cause analysis of it in your head. Ponder how it could have been prevented and, if not prevented, kept from being repeated.

The steps you take to think it through are no different than the ones you would use on a far more complex problem.

Possbile fix for Skyrim interior stuttering bug with AMD cards

August 11, 2012

If you have the game suddenly go to slide-show level frame-rates when entering an interior area, the issue may be the vsync used in Skyrim. Shut it off and see if the problem resolves.

Here is the fix, which involves ini file editing:

Edit: Open C:\Users\XXX\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\Skyrim.ini add or change under [Display] iPresentInterval=0

In my case the setting was found in a file names SkyrimPrefs.ini

I found it here and want to give proper credit. It worked for me:

It is still a sad reflection on the PC gaming industry that users have to manually edit game files to get their games to function. Pathetic…