Thursday, December 29, 2005

While the thing compiles...

Waiting idly, while a build is taking place for the PMDG 747-400F (The Cargo) can become very boring, very quickly, so I was trying to find something of interest to look at in the mean time. A full rebuild usually takes about 10 minutes, so in just that time, I bumped onto a couple web sites that made me laugh:

The first was one of those "now, how didn't I think of that first" types, where for ten seconds, you might consider that this is a cool idea, but afterwards you know that it won't work, now the novelty has worn off: The Million Dollar Homepage. I call this my "simple redistribution of wealth" principle: Money flows from those who have no ideas to those who have an idea, however stupid it might be.

The second was a derivative, that actually came from one of the advertised sites through the Million Dollar homepage. Now, you might have seen this a gazillion times before: The "Get Rich Quick" scams, that offer to make you a millionaire in no time, by just buying and reading this book, etc. etc. (obviously, the author is the one getting rich quick). This site, though, has a twist; it insults and cajoles the reader in such a way that it might just work enough to make them part with their money... Well, make up your own mind on it: Here's the Rich Jerk's home page. Amazing what people do for fame...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Users... users...

I was perusing our support forum the other day, checking to see if I could help someone by responding to a call for help or by showing new cool features that will be in the 747-400F (our Cargo product), I bumped onto a post that wrote (in reference to us deciding not to do wingviews):
I bet that when they re-write it they will also loose the ability for wing views like the 747. In that case, I definately won't buy it.

Please, I do not want any replies about other payware that can do this. It should be standard. Period.
I don't know about you, but it kinda ruined my day... Thankfully, it seems that our customers and friends feel otherwise, so I am grateful for them coming to my support (for a change :-)).

Click here to view the entire post...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

How to whine creatively...

From time to time, we receive some odd-ball requests via our support@ email. Robert Randazzo alerted me to this one, sent by a guy I'll call "JT" - does it not win the whiner of the month award, considering that our customer account details are held entirely on our servers?

Subject: Frustrated

Hello PMDG,

I have recently had a large computer crash which tore down my accounts on Support, eCommerce, and my 737 and 747 are gone. I have been talking to this service about this for almost a month now, but have only gotten my 737NG back. That was on a seperate computer which my eCommerce account was not deleted. The 747 was deleted off this computer and I keep trying to get it back and locate my eCommerce account used on this e-mail address. Kudos for getting me my 737 back, but I keep getting denied another link back to my 747. It isn't my fault that my eCommerce accounts were wiped out, and I have been trying all the time to find it again. No success. So it would save so much hassle if I could just get my 747 back without the pain of spending another $54.99. I just think spending 109.98 is ridiculous and not worth my time for one 747. There is absolutley nothing wrong with the product but I would at least like it back!

Thank you,

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Historians, take note!

Reading a post by tdragger about a site that listed a compilation of toys from the 60's and 70's (and really, of the 80's as well), I bumped onto a picture of a ZX Spectrum computer from 1982 - what do you know, my first computer!

It's funny how the brain works - the synapses triggered into overload mode and got me itching to once again get my hands onto one of them smarmy little things. Even with its rubber keyboard, the smaller than expected keys, the easily breakable power supply connector and the necessity for a tape recorder and TV screen, for lack of storage and display facilities, the ZX Spectrum was a miracle in its time.

By 1983, at the tender age of 13, I had already learnt what a floating point number is, what the words mantissa and exponent mean and how to program in ZX Basic. The year after that, I was already hacking my peeks and pokes into the Speccy, ultimately getting my first job as an editor for "Pixel" magazine, writing articles on "how to add infinite lives in your favorite games".

Looking around to purchase the Spectrum again, I found there's an active web ring of ZX Spectrum lovers, you can find it here - there are also several places that sell them (RetroTrader, etc.), used of course, and you can even get them on eBay, if you're willing to go through the auction process, which I find excruciatingly painful, because I've never been able to succeed in winning one. ;-)

There's also something even funkier: A site where people discuss making their own interfaces for modern-day hardware to their beloved Spectrum. Check them out - they have even connected an IDE Flash hard drive to their Spectrum for storage! Spunky!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More cool videos about the PMDG 747-400

Robert Randazzo alerted me to some more cool videos that our friends in Japan have created, all featuring various 747 liveries and paints. I wish I were so creative, sometimes!

Take a look at them, here.

And so it began...

It's been a very interesting couple of months.

Our current flagship product, the 747-400 Queen of the Skies, has been receiving great reviews by almost every flight sim site out there. We're actively working on the Service Update at the moment, so I get to spend quite a lot of time reading our forum users' comments on what they perceive as "bugs", trying to actually figure out where those critters might have slipped into the code. A lot of times, what a user might report as broken turns out to be proper functionality of the 747. How do you tell them, without making them feel stupid or ignorant? Usually, a direct approach I find works best!

I am also working on some very interesting stuff: Interfacing the Engravity CDU with our 747 and 737 FMC code. This is a nice side project which, even though it has already taken up more time than I originally envisioned, I hope will prove helpful for those hardware cockpit builders and/or hard-core enthusiasts out there who want to go a step further with their simming. I'll be posting more details about that, along with some nice pictures, later on...

Hey- having loyal customers is really nice sometimes: Here's a beautiful video that one of our friends (goes by the nickname "The Arkitekt") made about the 747-400 - he's a post-production video editor, by profession, and his work shines. Give it a looksie - it's really great!

Also- make sure you take a look at some friends' blogs, over at Microsoft FS team HQ - I posted them on the right hand side column, for your viewing pleasure. These guys ROCK!