Monthly Archives: May 2005

Narnia

At the Star Wars movie the other day, we happened to see the teaser trailer for the upcoming movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The Chronicles of Narnia are perhaps some of the best books I have ever read. I read them as a young child, and reread them again a couple of years ago. They are wonderful stories in their own right, but they are so full of rich symbolism and meaning that they are eminently more enjoyable now.

My wife read the series after me and loved them as much as I did. She had tears in her eyes during the trailer. She wants to see it NOW. (It will be in theaters on December 9)

I hope the movie is a faithful rendering of the book. The creatures and effects are being done by WETA (of LOTR fame), so it will be spectacular in that regard. It’s also being shot in New Zealand. I think it’s a nice coincidence (?), given that Tolkien and Lewis were wonderful friends for much of their lives.

Something fascinating that I learned in biography of C.S. Lewis by A.N. Wilson is that Lewis is credited for pushing Tolkien to finish Lord of the Rings.

I just hope that they eventually decide to do all of the books. The stories are amazing, and the images I see in my head are only possible now with the magic of computers. The children they’ve picked for this movie look solid, too.

We’ve also been very fascinated with Lions as a result of the books.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Memorial Day in Arlington Cemetery

Leticia and I went down to Arlington Cemetery this morning to view the Memorial Day proceedings. We got there just in time to see the presidential motorcade, and we saw President and Mrs. Bush. My camera couldn’t catch it because they were driving fast and my camera’s cycle time is a little slow.

We listened to the President’s speech, and he was very well received.

I also got THIS close to meeting Secretary Rumsfeld–I was sticking out my hand when he turned around and went the other way. I got some decent pictures and pictures, though. Check them out here.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Star Wars Epsiode III: Revenge of the Sith

Leticia and I went to see this movie this Friday, and we loved it.

Apparently, Spielberg and many others cried during episode 3 of Star Wars. It is a very moving, very sad tale of the demise of the Jedi, and Anakin and Padme in particular.

I’ve read that many people don’t like it. I don’t understand why. I think it’s because of “old fogey” syndrome–a tendency to romanticize the past to be greater than it was, and to denegrate the present as not living up to it. I could be wrong, but that’s how it seems to me.

I loved the fighting, the drama, the music, the introspective scenes, and all the rest. It is easily the best of the current three, and may be as good as the original, IMHO. Although, I didn’t think that Episodes I and II were all that bad either. I think there are fundamental differences in the types of stories that needed to be told, and George Lucas pulled it off pretty well.

People like to complain about Hayden Christensen. I don’t think he’s that bad of an actor: he was exactly what the part required (and very similar to Mark Hammill, it seems). I think the problem is Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen together: they don’t mesh on-screen at all. Natalie doesn’t seem quite comfortable in the role. However, her final scenes in Episode 3 were absolutely wonderful.

It didn’t make me cry, but it was close. If we didn’t know that it was all going to turn out OK in the end, I think this movie would be even sadder and harder to watch.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

BRayTracer Version 0.8 Released!

I’ve been having some very bad back pain today, and so today took some time off from work and class (it was the first day today!) to lay in bed and work on finishing up version 0.8 of BRayTracer.

I’m very proud of the improvements I’ve made to the latest version. Usability has been increased significantly and there are probably over a hundred bug fixes.

As always, feedback is appreciated. Check out the BRayTracer page to learn more and download a copy.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Math can be freaky…

To preface, I am not a mathematician. I can hold my own in most college-level math (I’ve taken 3 years of algebra, trig, geometry, 3 years of calculus, and 1 year linear algebra: where is all that knowledge now?), but I’m still easily impressed.

I’ve been working through an algorithm textbook (more on that later), which mentions a number of very interesting mathematical equalities:

I.
13 = 1
23 = 3 + 5
33 = 7 + 9 + 11
43 = 13 +15 + 17
etc.

II.
13 + 23 + … + n3 = (1 + 2 + … + n)2

III.
12 = 1
22 = 1 + 3
32 = 1 + 3 + 5
42 = 1 + 3 + 5 + 7
etc.

To be honest, when I first read these it blew my mind. There is a beautiful correspondence demonstrated in these ancient forumlas that is nearly breathtaking when you first learn of them.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Interesting article about Linux politics

John Dvorak has an interesting commentary on the implosion of the Linux community.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sympathetic to the view that Linux and OSS in general are having problems with religious zeal affecting people’s better judgement.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Code Complete 2

I finally bought myself a copy of Steve McConnell’s Code Complete, 2nd Edition. I’ve read about a third of it so far and love it. It’s by far the most practical and useful book on programming I have ever read.

But how to learn it all? Sure, an experience programmer will pick up many of these ideas over time, but how can I start implementing ALL of them?

I think my plan is to read it through once, and then while I sit at my desk at work (or home), leave it open to a random page so I can think about the displayed topic.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

New Site Format

I’ve decided to go with a much simpler blogging application: WordPress. I’m still figuring out how it works, but so far I like it a LOT more. The articles and projects have yet to make it here, but I’ll try and get to it this weekend.

Hope you enjoy it!


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at:

Starting a job is fun to do

A little under a month ago I began a new job with a company called ORBIMAGE. It’s a satellite imaging company with contracts with the government and private corporations. Any google search will tell you more about the products and services it offers.

Specifically, I work on the SeaStar team as an Applications Analyst. I do a lot of different things, but I’m happy to be doing a lot of programming. It’s a great job for someone still trying to survive through a Master’s program.

I started work full-time, while I was finishing up a semester of school, also full-time. It’s been very demanding, especially as we’ve been in the weeks preceding a product release and I’ve had final exams in three classes. Thankfully, two were pretty easy, and the third is next Monday.

From now on, I’ll be working full-time and going to school at night once or twice a week.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at: