planestranger.com

I announce that I’m moving to my personal standalone blog planestranger.com. Posts from this blog will be moved there as well as posts from my russian one. There will be no more updates here. All new posts in both English and Russian will be published on planestranger.com. Hope to see you there.

Movie Beauties 1 – Faites sauter la banque!

I’m starting a new project called Planestranger’s Movie Beauties where I will present you series of short videos. The main goal is to attract viewers attention to some old, rare and obscure movies, unknown to most of the people. Here is the first episode. Comments, votes and shares would be appreciated.

Planestranger’s Movie Beauties 1 – Faites sauter la banque! from Max Tikhonov on Vimeo.

One more reason for sadness

Think about all those people who are playing on their 3DS or PS2 connected to old CRT TV at the moment. They have a lot of fun playing with their beloved toys and nothing distracts them from an easy going electronic entertainment. There are surely lots of them while I’m sitting here with a rueful mien along my custom-made gaming PC with hi-end six-core CPU and couple of top gaming video cards carrying 6Gb of overclocked GDDR5 memory. I spent last hour and a half trying to run another game flawlessly at its fullest but still was unable to activate SSAA. It came with no surprise there is no such option in the game. I modified existing driver  preset for game many times trying lots of combinations but get nothing. I attached the game executable file to older tested presets and again nothing good happened. I’ve opened nvidia inspector (because nvidia control panel is completely useless)  more times than I will open the game itself. At this point I’m really tired of the fact that I have to solve mindblowing puzzle every time I start new game  if I want to see absolutely everything it has to offer. With last game I spend more time searching for solution in Internet and configuring options than it took me to beat the game itself.
At the time I’m typing this words some restless feeling of hatred raises from the depths of my mind. Powered by constant frustrations this feeling grows but it can not find its direction. Who should I hate for that? Game developers who never care about demands of the advanced users? Hardware manufacturers who prefer to sell 1000 video cards from lo-mid segment rather than 50 hi-end models, and treat drivers customization accordingly? Huge gaming portals that believe it’s appropriate to post such screenshots? Masses of casual gamers who don’t know what hardware is inside their computers and mix up anti-aliasing with anisotropic filtering? Or maybe I should hate myself for knowing and seeing too much?

About one of my works

I want to tell about one of the websites I was working on lately. That was a project with a long history. The first time I was involved in autumn of 2012. I added some functionality which was absent since the developer who started the site had left. Also I had to rewrite some parts of the code because of the thing I prefer to call “unscrupulous programming”. What does that mean exactly? It’s pretty easy to explain. My precursor did intentionally write code that wasn’t supposed to work just as client wanted. Instead his programming created problems during usage that were not noticeable by brief look.  There were also mischievous tricks preventing compability with other software solutions. That way he hoped client will be forced to seek his services again and again.

Then couple of times I changed some features so website could meet the changing customer’s beliefs on how it should work, look and sound. Diplomatically speaking, not all of those decisions would have found acceptance by most professional designers and web-developers. However if the client is paying then he is right and I don’t argue with that. There were some additional difficulties mainly because of  the requirement to keep adding and editing of the content simple. Low-skilled computer user should be able to update information on the site.

After all metamorphosis the final result is quite unusual combination of very different technologies which all work together nonetheless. Site is based on the WordPress CMS using few deep buried features. It uses Flash, JavaScript of course,  but the most interesting thing is how pieces of archaic technology connect with modern progressive tools there.

During the work on bringing customer’s vision into reality the biggest difficulty was background music. It was supposed to play smoothly without interruptions while visitor is browsing pages. At first, I tried to make it by placing player in background popup. Not a very delicate decision I must confess. It wasn’t very effective one as well. Browsers are surprisingly effective in blocking popups nowadays. Furthermore the ways of controlling a window from its parent window by JavaScript aren’t cross-browser. It also was too late to rebuilt the whole site to AJAX which allows certain areas of the page to change while others (the one containing player for example) stay still. So, what did I finally choose?

I used frames. Yes, there is no mistake. I really mean those creepy old things that were last time described in HTML 4.01 in previous millennium. Frames took their place among other recognizable features of Web 1.0 era and already became obsolete when I was at school. If you ask search engine about it most likely there will be caution on the first page in the list saying you should restrain from using frames. Surprisingly frames happened to be useful in my situation.

JS works way better on controlling player in near frame than in near window. The problem with frameset structural integrity (normally you can only see correct frameset if you came from the main page of the website) was solved by JS-script which checks environment of the page, and PHP code which generates missing frame on the fly if one was missed. Another classical frames’ problem with displaying correct URL in browser’s address bar was nullified by using of History API, part of HTML5 standart. It’s relatively fresh technology. Some internet browsers just started to support it in last year but History API has already found utilization. You can see it working in russian social network VK for example.

All in all I believe I created rather elegant solution though site looks nothing like a golden medal or trophy you put on the most noticeable place in a room. I learned something new, I got more experience in web-programming. However my personal feelings don’t change the fact it’s just usual official website for small business, highly influenced by customer’s taste, decent at best. And yet you’re reading my blog, not my resume, you can see the result of my labor. Welcome.

P. S. I must apologize on behalf of all web-developers for sites with such annoying and totally wrong usage of sound. As wage-earners we have to make things we would never do by our own intention (at least I hope so)…

My console games

I came back to console games not so long ago (in autumn of 2011 to be exact) after reasonable long period with PC only. My last hardware (I mean aside from emulation) console was well-remembered Sega MegaDrive II that become true classic in the world of gaming. However I didn’t turn it on since long gone and now powdered by the dust of history 90s.
Back then MegaDrive wasn’t my main and only gaming platform. Just like nowadays I don’t consider PS3 or PS Vita to be the superior devices for gaming. So there are not so many games in my possession (I would prefer to have at least twice as much) but some of them are pretty good exclusive releases.

Planestranger's console games library

My console games library

Happy New Year

In my opinion that’s the best day to drink and have fun in the whole year. There are no visible political, historical, religious and other unpleasant references. I wish all my readers to have a good time this night and let the upcoming year to be better than previous.

new_year_aclohol

About NHL Lockout

Who of the hockey fans don’t know Bill Daly? He is the vice-commissioner of the League, the second person officially. Unofficially he is one of the worst scumbags in the world of sports. It’s looks like some weird time paradox brought here russian gangster from 90s (era of “primary capital accumulation”) to solve the financial and sport problems in NHL. They were just like that: no hair, no comprehension, no willing to discuss anything without the use of force.

Yesterday I read his latest statement about the negotiations:

Have we continued to move toward them (repeatedly) when we have said we wouldn’t? The answer is ‘yes.’ We obviously have stretched to try to make a deal. But at some point, enough is enough.

Then I thought what did league actually gave to NHLPA during negotiations? Where did they move towards the wishes of players? The only thing they “stretched” to is easing their own ultimatums.

- We demand to lower the salaries on the current contracts by 20%.

- Players reject this ultimatum.

One month passed.

- Well, let’s lower the salaries by 10% but another 10% will be paid in few years.

 

- We demand to limit the contracts duration to five years.

- Players can’t agree with that.

Another month passed.

- Alright, we’ll do you a favor allowing clubs to sign their free agents for seven years.

 

- We demand to limit change in salary during the contract to 5% maximum.

- We agree this field needs regulation but not such a strict one. We believe the minimum salary should be at least 25% of the maximum salary during the contract.

Even more time lost here.

- That’s unacceptable. The position of NHLPA is unreasonable.

 

Seriously, I’m not exaggerating here. I just translated the whole story from the language of the diplomatically correct official statements to the language of simple constructive dialogue. Now let’s try to imagine how NHLPA could “move forvard” to the league and club owners.

- We demand to double the salary on all current contracts.

- O_o?!!!!!!

- Maybe we can give you more, let’s add 50% to all salaries.

 

- We demand to cancel the players draft system.

- WTF?!!!

- Okat, only because we love hockey so much and have respect to hockey fans, we will change our proposal. The draft will stay but clubs’ exclusive rights to the players will expire in one year after they were drafted.

 

- We demand to remove the salary cap.

- We are disappointed…

- That’s the hill we die on. Regretfully we are nowhere near the signing of new collective agreement.

 

Is it funny? Then why doesn’t anybody laughs about NHL bosses except Alexander Ovechkin?

Alexander Ovechkin laughs

Photo by Soviet Sport newspaper

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.