All posts by Erwin

SPECIAL THANKS

A game I worked on hits retail and digital shelves this Thursday. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III is a game I worked on very briefly many years ago. I detailed my experience working on the game in this post. I don’t have much more to add to that, at least publicly.

The one lingering question I’ve had all these years since that time was, would I make it into the credits? On the surface, that might seem like an egoistical and self-centered question to ask but hey, I did work on the game and even though none of my code probably made it into the final build, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I would be acknowledged.

Given the short length of time I was on the project and how little of my code remained in the game, I was guessing there would be a 50/50 chance I’d make into the credits in some form. There was a beta release of the game earlier this month and while many people were searching YouTube for gameplay videos, I was hoping someone uploaded a video of credits. Sure enough, some did just that. My name did wind up in the “special thanks” section, along with a ton of other people. See for yourself in the video above.

A big thanks to Relic Entertainment for not forgetting about me and my tiny contribution to the game.

MALWARE

On my way home from work on Friday I received an e-mail from my web host. Apparently they had done a security sweep of all the sites they host and they found one bit of malware on my site. It was in the form of a .php file. I didn’t have a chance to look at the file because they had already removed it from my server. The file name wasn’t familiar to me so I’m certain I didn’t put it there. There was also no indication that there were any links to that particular file from anywhere else on this site either.

If you’re wondering if it’s a security risk to be on this site the answer is no. As far as I know, the WordPress installation wasn’t compromised at all. The real question is how did that one file even get onto my web server? It’s difficult to tell and my web host couldn’t answer that question when I phoned them. It could have been through an old-school FTP hack. They might have been able to get in through my web host control panel and then uploaded the file through that. Or it might have been something else that I don’t even know about.

Just to be sure, I’ve changed all my passwords relating to my web hosting, my web server, and my WordPress installation. Please continue to visit this blog, your security is number one concern.

RETURN TO SENDER?

I went downstairs to get my mail this evening and when I opened up my mailbox I was surprised to see a delivery notice card from Canada Post. I’m usually aware of any outstanding deliveries and nearly all of them I have sent to work so I don’t miss them when I’m gone.

I grabbed the card and looked at the address. It was the correct address, so it’s not like the mail person put the card in the wrong box. Of course that doesn’t rule out that the shipper sent it to wrong address in the first place. The name on the delivery card was not mine though. So it was pretty clear this delivery was not meant for me.

I took the card upstairs and entered the number on it into the Canada Post web site. This number allows you to see the tracking info for the delivery, including who might have sent the package. Curiously, the Canada Post system could not find any info about this package. With previous legit deliveries, this info has always been available. If I had to guess, someone must have realized the mistake after the parcel was taken to the postal outlet and then invalidated this card info from the system but obviously couldn’t remove the card from my mailbox.

I guess there’s nothing for me to do but perhaps I should call the postal outlet tomorrow just to be sure.

DON’T BLAME THEM

On the particular floor that I work on there are two teams. One is the PopCap team that I’m part of. Across from us is another team, which I can say very little about. What I can divulge is that they are working on a Star Wars game. As you can imagine, the subject of that game has attracted a bit of attention within the studio as there are a lot of Star Wars fans. Many of us decided to embark on entertainment-related careers because of that galaxy located far, far away.

The other interesting thing is that team needed to ramp up staffing and is still looking for people to fill roles. In the past several weeks, two people on my team made the necessary arrangements to jump over to the Star Wars team. The lure of that intellectual property was too much to resist. In many cases, working on a Star Wars game remains a childhood dream. Who could blame these people for chasing their dreams?

Now if you’re wondering if I would want to work on a Star Wars game, you definitely know the answer if you just even casually know me. The answer though doesn’t matter, at least for now. I’m currently loaned out to an external team and once I get back to my real team, I’m needed there. Of course, it never hurts to asks but the timing has to be right. We’ll have to see.

NO MORE TRAILERS

A few years ago I decided not to watch any movie trailers for any Star Wars related films. This started with Revenge of the Sith and has continued on through to Rogue One. I don’t want to know anything about the movie beforehand because I’m going to see it anyways. Why ruin it?

This week though, someone made a comment online where they stated they’ve stopped watching trailers for movies they were going to see anyways. In their opinion, their movie-going enjoyment was raised significantly. Because nothing was spoiled, everything about those films was revealed in a refreshingly honest way. The only trailers they did watch were for films they had no initial intention of going to see. The thinking is that they would give the trailer a chance to change their mind.

I’m going to follow suit along with this anonymous movie fan. There’s a whole bunch of superhero movies coming out that I know I’ll be seeing so there’s no point in watching their trailers. I hope this will be as liberating I expect it to be.

ONE DAY

Friday was a public holiday so I had a three-day long weekend. Long weekends are always nice but I have to go back to work on Monday. I know a few people who decided to take a vacation day on Monday and made their weekends a four-day one instead. In all my years of working I don’t think I’ve done that. My memory is hazy now but even if I did, I don’t think I would have done it more than once. I prefer to use my vacation days for when I’m actually traveling somewhere.

Of course, when I wake up tomorrow morning and curse that I have to go to work I will then wonder why I didn’t take that extra day like so many of my co-workers did. Perhaps one day, in the near future, I will extend a long weekend myself. For now, I get to commute to work like a chump tomorrow.

MORNING MEETING

I’ve alluded to this in other posts but I’ve been temporarily loaned out to another team within the company as they strive to ship their game in time for the end of the summer or beginning of the fall. This team is in a studio that’s in the eastern time zone, three hours ahead.

They’ve been really nice about scheduling virtual meetings for us Vancouver folk, as the earliest meeting that I’ve had to attend was at 10:30am I believe. Unfortunately, someone included me in a meeting that starts at 7:30am PDT tomorrow morning. Ironically, the purpose of the meeting is to learn about a system from one of our engineers who flew to the east coast from our Vancouver studio. This dude works in the same building as I do! It seems silly that I have to wake up early to call into a meeting so I can listen to him talk thousands of miles away. The system in question doesn’t even seem like something I need to know about.

I thought about just sleeping through the meeting. I think as a compromise though, I will connect to the meeting while I’m in bed, listen for a few minutes, and then quietly disconnect and go back to bed. No one can say I didn’t show up then.

SERVICE FEE

I’ve had my very first chequing account at CIBC for probably close to two decades now. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been charged $2.50 a month under the line item “service charge”. No matter how many transactions I made, I was always charged the $2.50.

Now back when I used my debit card frequently, this seemed like a good deal because I saw that other bank accounts charged up to $1.50 per transaction, which is criminal. I just assumed that the $2.50 was like a flat fee of sorts for whatever I wanted to do with that account on a monthly basis.

About a month ago, I noticed the bank announce new savings and chequing accounts. These accounts had new fee structures, including provisions for no monthly fees given certain requirements were met. I met all these requirements and I began to wonder why I was still paying $2.50 a month. My chequing account remains an old type that is still grandfathered into the system.

Last weekend, I marched into the CIBC branch downstairs to inquire about switching my old chequing account to one of the new ones so that I wouldn’t have to pay the $2.50 a month. It’s not a big savings but every dollar counts these days.

One of the CIBC representatives met me in their office and I explained to them what I wanted to do. They looked up my info and almost immediately said, “Oh, that $2.50 is from the paper statements that we still mail you.” They went onto say that if I signed up for electronic statements, I would no longer be charged the $2.50 a month.

I was pretty choked to hear this because the line item has always been described as simply a “service charge”. If I knew that the $2.50 I was being charged every month was for the privilege of having a paper statement mailed to me I would have cancelled that damn things years ago.

I told the CIBC rep that the charge should have been more descriptive and that because they weren’t clear, I’d been wasting $2.50 a month for who knows how long. I got them to immediately switch me over to electronic bank statements and now the $2.50 monthly charge will go away.

The lesson here is to always be sure what you’re being charged money for. Never assume and always get clarification. I don’t even want to know much money I’ve wasted over the years because of some paper statements.