WordPress plugins

Here are the WordPress plugins I’ve found useful:

AddToAny Subscribe button: Adds that RSS icon on the left, where you can subscribe to this blog.

BackWPup: Backup solution, handles all aspect of the blog from databases to image galleries. It can store the backup files on the blog server, upload them to an FTP site or to Amazon’s S3 service. Multiple backup jobs, scheduled execution, notification emails, database optimization… it has a nice feature set.

Broken link checker: Checks every single link in the blog then lists the ones which appear to be dead.

FV WordPress Flowplayer: I used Flowplayer in the old blog as well because it’s reliable and highly configurable. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn’t (yet) support streaming video from an Amazon S3 storage.

Lightbox Plus: Shows images in a fancy way (darkens the background, frames the image, allows the user to move between images, resizes too big images, etc).

It has a bug which makes scrollbars appear around a resized image for no good reason, but I found a simple workaround:
After installing the plugin, locate the actions.class.php file in the
wp-content/plugins/lighbox-plus/classes directory and insert the following line as line #86:

$lbpArrayPrimary[] = 'scrolling:false';

This will prevent any scrollbars appearing even if it would be justified, so only use it with enabled image resize.

MCE Table Buttons: Makes it easy to add table in the visual post editor.

NextGEN Gallery: Image management extension. Image upload, thumbnail generation, slideshows, etc. The only thing I’m missing is the option to override default thumbnail size on a per image basis.

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Luxology modo 501

Modo 501 has been released.

Until now buying any new modo version was a no brainer: the new features, the bugfixes and extra polish made them a day one purchase.

However this time around I was somewhat reluctant to shell out the money for the upgrade because the most broken parts of modo (the shader tree and the baking procedures) remain intact. No nodal shader system, no baking cages, no properly made bake setup management, tangent space normal baking is still a pain, bumpmaps still doesn’t affect baked normal textures.

But that’s strictly my point of view so other people in other industries will definitely find a ton of long awaited features.

Anyway, I did buy 501 because I felt that Luxology does deserve my support for everything they’ve done and they’re known to add new features later on (502, 503). Also the SDK is much more advanced now so third party plugins might scratch my itches in the upcoming months.

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Motionbuilder 2011: Epic fail

The 2011 release of Autodesk Motionbuilder is one of the buggiest software I’ve ever used. It’s so full of massive, show-stopper bugs that I can’t comprehend how it got through QA.

Here are the worst issues I’ve encountered so far:

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Unity

The past week I took a break from GViz and worked on a paid side project using Unity.

I heard good things about it and indeed it’s a very nicely done software package. Two days after downloading it I already knew everything I’m going to need in this project: project management, asset import, lightmapping/realtime shadows, animation are all very intuitive. It is true what they say: “It just works”.

The shader authoring is text based which is a real pain but fortunately there is an unofficial node based shader editor. I haven’t had the chance to use it extensively but looks well done.

So far it seems to me that Unity is a very adept engine, especially considering its price. The whole architecture is modern and well designed, the Unreal engine could really use a few features from it. (Editor scripting for example…)

The next engine I’d like to work with is Unigine after which I could finally move to engines starting with the letter V.

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Fake faking faked fakes

This story is hilarious and infuriating at the same time:
Fake anti-spyware against fake rogue anti-spyware by S!Ri.URZ

Kids, trust no one, it’s a sea of bullsh.t out there!

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Bits and pieces

Quite a few things happened in the past two weeks. They are worth mentioning but not deserving their own post, so here they are in telegram style:

– I can finally embed locally hosted flash movies using the excellent Flowplayer. So from now on, no more quicktime lameness!

– I’ve finally finished Fallout 3 and all of its DLCs. I started playing on new year’s eve and then spent 132 hours, 43 minutes and 10 seconds in-game, not counting reloads.
I think I got good value for my money.

– The new version of my precious Filter Forge is on the way with even more procedural, node connecting goodness. I could spend all day experimenting with the new functionality in the v2.0 beta release… and there is even more to come with each new beta release.
Check out the FF2 beta page and the gallery thread on the forums.

– I’ve finally decided which smartphone will replace my good old Sony TH55 PDA: the excellent HTC HD2. It’s big (for reading ebooks), fast (for playing games) and convenient (to just do stuff).

– I stumbled upon the following gameplay video, which feels like it was made by the Monty Python group…

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