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Simon Howard
‮I like the Unicode right-to-left override character.
‮I like the Unicode right-to-left override character.

Simon's posts

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Strife: Veteran Edition was released a week ago and it's really well done. A well-executed remaster of a 1996 Doom engine classic. It's currently on a 25%-off special offer that ends today, so if you want a classic hybrid RPG/FPS to play over the holiday (or give as a gift to someone else!), give this a look.

Full disclosure: Strife: VE is derived from Chocolate Strife and put together by the same developers, so there's a bunch of my code in there. I'm proud to say my name is in the credits, though I certainly can't claim any real credit for it.

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I've been involved with the Freedoom project for a long time now, but it's been great seeing a renewed energy around the project recently. This new release includes a bunch of really great improvements, and if you haven't tried Freedoom in a while, now might be a good time to take a fresh look.
Freedoom 0.9 is here!

Many, many people have worked hard for the past nine months to make this happen, and it has finally landed.  Freedoom has seen huge changes since the previous release and now it is finally available for everyone to enjoy.

A short list of what to look forward to in this version:
* New file names no longer conflict with Doom's
** freedoom1.wad is Freedoom: Phase 1 - compatible with The Ultimate Doom
** freedoom2.wad is Freedoom: Phase 2 - compatible with Doom II and Final Doom
* FreeDM and Phase 1 have grown out of the shadows of the project and have seen rapid advances, largely lead by Protox, our prominent Brazilian contributor.
* New text font from +Brett Harrell to replace the old one in all menus, in-game text, and status-bar HUD.
* New zombie, shotgun zombie, and assault tripod sprites by a skilled pixel artist, raymoohawk.
* New sounds for the dark soldier by Jewellds.
* More complete support for Final Doom mods, adding many more textures missing to support mods for both TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment, thanks to +Simon Howard and AXDOOMER.

... and there are many more changes, but it’s more fun to play than to read, isn’t it?  So go do it already :D
You can get the release at

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Apple's SSL bug, which is being called "#gotofail" on social networking sites. 

The interesting thing is the number of ways that this could have been prevented:

* Unit tests (presumably don't exist)
* Compiler warnings (presumably turned off)
* Static analysis (presumably not used)
* Coding style guidelines that forbid the use of goto
* Coding style guidelines mandating { } braces for every block

I've seen people arguing about which of these is the best solution, but the point is that you should do all of these things. Apple used none. Just like when building a nuclear reactor, no one technique can keep you perfectly safe when programming. Defence in depth is the best approach, especially if you're doing something as perilous as writing a crypto library.

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This year's Cacowards are finally out! It's great to see Espi remembered in the form of a lifetime achievement award, and it's hard to think of another person more deserving to be its first recipient.

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Exploits against IPMI. I'm not surprised in the slightest. IPMI makes for a tempting, juicy target - what more can you ask for than console access to a machine? My own experience programming against IPMI was that the BMCs are poorly implemented and often fail to conform to the long, over-engineered spec.

There's a deeper problem here with "firmware"-level code like this. Often it's written by hardware engineers who are out of their depth and just want to get something working. I've worked with hardware engineers in the past and seen software sometimes treated as "the easy part": as Feynman once said, when you work outside your field you don't take it seriously.

The software world has spent ~20 years now (since the Morris worm) learning the importance of security, and knowledge of common classes of vulnerabilities is now pretty widespread. These are things that most hardware engineers almost certainly know nothing about and that any low-level software engineers writing firmware have never had to deal with until recently.

On a side note: with all the discussion about #badBIOS , one of the interesting things that I noticed that while there was lots of discussion over whether it was real or not, nobody ever doubted it was feasible.

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The second beta of Chocolate Doom v2 has now been released. This fixes a number of bugs but there are probably still some hiding in there. Please help find them!

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Finally got round to finishing my write-up of my experience of implementing Lisp in a weekend.

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The first beta of Chocolate doom version 2 has been released. Please check it out and report any bugs that you encounter!
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