Issue 99

Lori M Olson Lori M Olson Follow Dec 08, 2021 · 9 mins read
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DRD099: Our 'Gretzky' issue is the last of 2021.

OPED — Lori’s Unvarnished Opinion

Origin Story: Life Lessons at University

So where were we? Oh yes, I wrapped up second year of university. I had yet to learn my most important lesson. When I started the 3rd year of my program, one of the required 3rd year courses for my honours degree was not being offered. I freaked out, and went to see the honours advisor. Now, the prof who usually was honours advisor was on sabbatical that year, so my appointment was with his backup (can’t remember his name, but he was the database prof).

Armed with the university calendar from my 2nd year (the year I entered the faculty, and thus the ultimate authority on what rules applied to my program), I explained my dilemma. He flipped through the relevant parts of the CPSC program requirements, and the honours requirements, and told me these course lists were only guidelines, not hard and fast rules. He said I didn’t have to take that course, as long as the CPSC department approved my course list every year. Since he was the guy doing the approvals, I handed him my course list, he approved it, and I walked out, full of relief.

Did anyone catch the mistake I made? He gave me advice, telling me I didn’t need to take that course…and I didn’t get it in writing.

Along came 4th year. The regular honours advisor, Dr. V (I won’t use that jackass’s full name) was back, and freaked out. You see, that course that I didn’t take… that was the prerequisite for his baby, the 4th year course Analysis of Algorithms. And he refused to accept my course list for the honours program, since I didn’t have both the 3rd year course (now offered) and his course on my course list.

I complained to the head of the Department of CPSC. He declined to take my side against a tenured prof. The prof who gave me the advice? He was on sabbatical this year, and unreachable. So I took it all the way to the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Science, as I had a perfect right to do. He read the same part of the calendar, and came to the same conclusion, that those courses were recommendations not requirements, and told me I didn’t have to take that class. Yes…VINDICATION!

A week later, and two days after the last day you could change your class list, I got called back to the Assistant Dean’s office. He was embarrassed. It seems that even though I was right…the guy who had to approve my class list was Dr. V, and he categorically refused to approve it without his class (and the prerequisite) on it. The Dean said I could still proceed with all the classes I was registered in, and would still graduate with a CPSC degree, but without honours. Or, I could cave in and switch classes (he would make it happen, since it was his fault) and get my honours degree. Since my plan was to continue on to a Masters program, and maybe even a Ph.D. (honours was strongly recommended), I bowed my head, and let them rearrange my entire class list. I had to drop the ‘projects’ course, leaving my group in the lurch. And drop the 2nd of two graphics courses, which were my primary interest at the time.

As for my Masters? As I started the process of applying to enter the Masters program later that year, I discovered my advisor for the Masters program would be Dr. V. Nothing could convince me to put up with that pompous ass for another couple of years, so I went ahead and started applying for full time jobs post-graduation.

And I never again trusted anyone about anything important without getting it in writing.

As this is the last issue for the year, let me take this opportunity to wish everybody a wonderful holiday and may the New Year be a healthy, happy and peaceful one.

Instead of featuring anything from the WNDX School (well, except for the cool new logo, to the left), I’d like to ask you all to help me out.

It’s a lot of work for one person to pull together all the content for this newsletter. Especially when people are shy about their accomplishments. Please, PLEASE…if you (or someone you know) has created an app, or a gem, or a library, or a tutorial… that I haven’t featured… LET ME KNOW. I mean, it’s not like you don’t have my contact info. Just shoot me an email. Or a Twitter DM, or a Slack or Discord DM. Even if it’s just an update!

Tech newsletter content crunch? Intellog can help. And they have a special offer for DRD subscribers: they will curate and write the first issue of your newsletter for free. Find out more.  Sponsored

GAME — All Things Gaming

In the last issue of DRD we brought you some ‘earth shattering’ news: that VR support in DragonRuby has arrived. As it turns out, Amir presented on this very subject at RubyConf 2021 in Denver. Yes, live presentations are back! Amir’s workshop was entitled Soup to Nuts: Build a Video Game Using Ruby! You can watch the entire thing which clocks in at a fairly chunky 01:42:02. For the time constrained—or simply ye of little attention span—you can watch the bit about VR which is just 06:42. Whichever route you choose to go, learning a little about DragonRuby’s play in the VR space is worth your time.

Also, way back in DRD080 we spotlighted LittleB0xes/Vector, a library which made the vector calculations for gaming graphics a little more palatable. Well, LittleB0xes is back, this time with a tweet announcing the “dialogue system is now fully operational” in the latest game. Well worth a look.

APP — All Things App

Sometimes it’s not always about the latest whiz-bang widget gizmo thingy. Rather, it’s something much simpler like really up to date documentation. To wit: Install Ruby 3.0 · macOS Monterey which claims quite legitimately that “[t]his is the most complete guide to installing Ruby on a Mac.” We agree. It’s useful both for people getting started, and for those upgrading to new tools and/or new operating systems.

SPOT — Spotlight On…

Although the age of this presentation from Barcelona Ruby Conf is betrayed by a few little clues (‘Barcelona Ruby Conf’ was your first), the content is still relevant and actually quite compelling. Randall Thomas and Tammer Saleh provide a walkthrough of RubyMotion (there’s your second clue) for faster ‘client/server development’ (and there’s your third). But their presentation Rubymotion for Faster Client/Server Development is still very watchable and instructive.

Moving right along, has a believable fiery outer glow/aura effect eluded you to date? Wait, what? On the gaming screen real estate, of course—what did you think we meant? In any event, a recent discussion on the Discord not only will help you achieve the desired effect, it comes complete with working examples.

TALK — Talk of the Tech

As we remind you with annoying frequency, there are two chat spaces for DragonRubyistas: Discord and Slack. Each issue we pick one item from each:

For those who have been pining for a method to turn a font into a sprite sheet, that came up on the Discord recently. For those in the back, the question may simply be “and I care about this why?” It’s because it’s kind of elemental when it comes to a decent damage display system.

Over on Slack, there’s a new discussion kicking off for those who are having problems getting a watchOS app building on an M1 Mac. But here’s a twist: it’s one of those opportunities to give rather than receive—‘tis the season after all. Specifically, does anyone have any additional advice to offer in response to this well-documented description of the problem?

Do you have a DragonRuby-related product or service you would like to get in front of well over 1,200 raving DragonRuby-istas? If so, please get in touch...we would love to help you get the word out in a sponsored spot like this!  Sponsored

TWIL — This Week I Learned…

This is one of these gadgets where we had to make out like we were going to buy one just to see if it was real. Surprisingly, it seems like it. It’s a physical button to end Zoom meetings. We’re sure it’s just a co-incidence that it seems to be modelled after an emergency shut-off on a factory assembly line—y’know the one you’d press to prevent Billy Bob from getting sucked into the hydraulic press. You would never have to get out of a Zoom call like it was like that kind of emergency, would you? Turns out that quite a few people do because if you order one right now it still won’t be here for Christmas.

HAHA — And They All Laughed

It was relatable in 2008 and it’s still relatable today.

(source: [10 Ultimate Programming Jokes](

That’s a Wrap!

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“The problem with winter sports is that—follow me closely here—they generally take place in winter.” — Dave Barry