ERIC SHEFFERMAN <DOT> COM

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Post-Apocalyptic Big Bird: Press the Red Button… Time’s Up!

I spent a lot of time working on the Big Bird’s Hide and Speak game — and thus spent a lot of time listening to Caroll Spinney say the same few words from the game’s limited vocabulary over and over and over and over and…

Since that is now a few decades in the past, stumbling on this clever piece was kinda funny. It’s made with some of the soundtrack and graphics from the game and a bunch of other stuff and manages to turn a happy children’s game into a dark warning about nuclear war. Or something…

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Pardon the 6502 Interrupt: PHA TXA PHA TYA PHA

Yes, I still think in 6502 code.

I was looking at a video of the Atari 7800 game Ikari Warriors — a game that I worked on back in the 1980’s.

I was the one who suggested to Mike a way to build a board to install our own development system operating system on the Atari 7800 — which we then later turned into a NES development system (which made it about $10,000 cheaper than the official Nintendo developer system).

And I wrote the interrupt-driven code for the development system so that we could debug WHILE the game was playing on the system. The 7800 was connected to an IBM PC (compatible) (and probably running something super-powerful like a 8086 or maybe a 286). We wrote the code and compiled it on the PC and then transferred it over to RAM we had installed on the 7800 to simulate a ROM cartridge. The PC could issue commands to the development system which were processed on the interrupts so that we could debug in real time.

Big lesson learned — there’s no point in trying to save every last CPU cycle.

PHA 
TXA 
PHA

Winds up functioning very differently from

PHA 
TXA  
PHA 
TYA 
PHA

as the start of your interrupt code. Especially after a few months when you forget what you wrote and add in some feature that uses the Y register.

Oh so many bizarro errors that caused that were impossible to track.

Lesson learned.

I was very pleased with myself at how I had designed the game engine to make the bad guys move in zones, thus allowing sprites to be reused in multiple zones and thus allowing there to be a ton of objects moving on the screen at any time. No big deal now, but BIG DEAL back then.

I didn’t get to work on the final gameplay stuff since we then used our ability to make development systems to move on to doing Nintendo programming rather than finishing the game. It doesn’t look to me like it plays as smoothly as it had potential to.

 

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Google Adsense: Your ads have recently appeared on websites you haven’t authorized.

Yikes! What an icky message for a Monday morning! I log into my adsense account and see this message:

Your ads have recently appeared on websites you haven’t authorized. To avoid lost revenue, make sure to authorize any sites where you display ads by visiting your account settings.

Only is looks like this – with the bright yellow to let me know it’s a warning I ought to be frightened about:

Your ads have recently appeared on websites you haven't authorized. To avoid lost revenue, make sure to authorize any sites where you display ads by visiting your account settings.

OK. So I look at my account settings page and see under: Sites authorized to show ads

I have Only allow certain sites to show ads for my account selected and it tells me the unauthorized site translate.googleusercontent.com has been showing my ads.

Unauthorized sites : translate.googleusercontent.com

What to do? What to do?

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You can’t go out this Friday night, it’s time to update WordPress to Version 3.4.2

Holy mother of toad! Again! WordPress just loves to release those late in the week security updates.

We already know how hackers work — they do a file compare of the old WordPress version to the new one, the write some code to exploit the vulnerability, and then they set the code loose on whatever servers they already control to hack MORE servers and control them too.

Then they go out, party for the weekend, and check in Monday morning to see all the WordPress installs they’ve hacked and can add their porn links to.

You’ve got two choices folks:

1. Get hacked and have all the gurus on WordPress.org blame you for your negligence.

2. Stay in Friday night logging into each of your WordPress installs and clicking the damn UPDATE button and waiting for it to finish. (And if you’re smart, run a backup before you do that.) No party for you

But FINALLY there is a new third choice that actually makes sense!

3. Use ManageWP to administer all your WordPress sites and be able to update them all with ONE click. And then go out and party!

I just used it and now I get to go out and party while feeling a bit safer and secure, knowing that my WordPress sites are all updated to the latest version.


Go there, do it now, the pain of having your site hacked over the weekend is too much. Trust me: been there, done that.

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Privacy is Dead, but seriously Atari.com WTF???

I have long felt that privacy is dead and I have started to put together a 30+ part series on privacy is dead because it pops up everywhere, but this just takes the cake and eats it too.

Atari is:

  1. apparently in business – who knew?
  2. has Nolan Bushnell speaking for it (I have no idea what his level of involvement is)
  3. releasing some neat HTML5 code to make it easier to make games in javascript called the Atari Arcade SDK and CreateJS

http://www.atari.com/arcade/developers/

http://createjs.com/#!/CreateJS

and you can currently play these remakes of classic Atari games
(the technology is cool, the gameplay is like the programmers had no idea what was fun about the original games)

http://www.atari.com/arcade#!/arcade/atari-promo

Now, I’ve thought javascript was a crappy idea since forever and it used to run REALLY slow, but I guess everyone is all hopped up on it for all sorts of modern stuff and hopefully it is being made to run better and faster. Although my gmail still annoyingly crashes every once in a while.

I guess anything is better than flash.

Anyway, it seemed like it was useful to create an account on atari.com. First name, last name, and birthday are all required fields. OK fine. I expect that. But I didn’t expect them to PUBLISH that info. WTF???

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Jetpack kills Contact Form 7 — Like Because Why Not?

JetPack installs it’s own comment form and kills your nice contact forms that you spent lots of time getting just right…

<sarcasm>thanks.</sarcasm>

WordPress gets me again!

See this:

http://contactform7.com/jetpack-overrides-contact-forms/

This is very frustrating since one of the happiest features on my site is that my contact Eric Shefferman form has a drop down selection for

  1. Don’t bother to read this email
  2. This is a personal email
  3. This is a business/website related email

I love this feature since almost all the spam I get is marked as “Don’t bother to read this email” by the spammer themselves.

See the instructions on the contactform7.com site linked above to fix this.

To implement my spam solution on your site, just use Contact Form 7 and allow the user to select their subject line like so:

<p>Use this drop down to select a subject (required)<br /> [select* your-subject2 “ES: Don’t bother to read this email” “ES: This is a personal email” “ES: This is a business/website related email”]</p>

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Cartoon That Explains Space Invaders

I remember Space Invaders well. It was the beginning of a whole new era — right at the start of high school. Video games had arrived and lunchtime involved playing Space Invaders, Asteroids, and then Pac Man and so on.

But where did those Space Invaders come from? Why were they invading? What were their motivations? Nobody knew.

Until now…

Read this comic and find out:

http://elcomics.tumblr.com/

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