Day Job

My day job doing robotics and automation keeps me busy.  My health has been playing tricks on me this year also.  Something has got to give though!  I want to get more work done on the engine than I’ve been able to do lately.  However, the fire is still burning strong in me.  So, expect to hear some great news soon!

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The Changing Dynamics of the Web

The world wide web is becoming a more dangerous place than ever before.  It seems SSL encryption is a must for all web sites now.  The days of the http:// protocol are numbered, in favor of the more secure https:// protocol.  I decided it was time to go ahead and get wildcard certificates for all of my domains and sub-domains.

I recently had to go over my entire web site, and change all of the web links to https.  This way, you never leave a secure page while browsing my pages.

orionengine.com
orionengine.net
oriongenesis.com
orionscript.com
mindblowngames.com
mindblowngames.net
beentheregame.com

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Time Keeps on Ticking Away

The Rolling Stones once said “Time Waits For No One”.  The thought of this really bums me out.  There is never enough time in the day to do what I want!  Not only did I have the flu in January, the last few weeks have been spent dealing with some sort of stomach virus!  Ugghh!  Think I’m finally feeling better though.

I decided to make the entire orionengine.com web site use SSL (i.e. https).  It seems that Google is flagging sites now, if you don’t have an SSL certificate.  I don’t want people to be scared away from any of my web sites!

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Server Status Hardware

I’ve created a Raspberry Pi Zero W device that I can use to monitor my servers.  The software periodically checks to make sure the web server is responding, and all of the game servers in the cluster are accepting connections.  I think I’ll add a little red flashing LED to signal there is a problem.  I might even make a version with a larger OLED display, so I can display more details at once.  Currently the device is meant to operate locally over Wi-Fi, however I could use my phone as a hotspot for the device while at remote locations.

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Network Driver

Well, I’m still working on the network driver code for the engine.  I just can’t seem to get everything exactly the way I want.  Network code is just so hard to troubleshoot!  However, I’m sure it will come together soon though.

I’ve been sick on and off with this stupid flu bug that has been going around.  That makes it hard to get motivated to work.  However, I’m finally starting to feel better.  I’ve also been spending some time playing around with Raspberry Pi boards.  There are so many cool things you can do with them!  I’m making a small Raspberry Pi Zero wireless device to display the status of all my game servers.  Sorta like a little pager I can carry around.

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Happy New Year 2018!

Well, it’s a new year already!  I look forward to continue working on the Orion Engine SDK and the Been There Game software.  I feel this is going to be a great, productive year!

I logged into the game servers again today.  Everything is still working well… that’s awesome!  I’ve been doing some experimenting with the network code and hope to have the final modifications complete soon.

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Christmas Break

Well, I finally have a fairly complete plan for the new network architecture.  I’m hoping to fully utilize my Christmas break, by working on the code!  I pray nothing at my day job comes up, that could steal my time away from the engine.  I have nine servers running here, all waiting for me!

The last couple of weeks at work have kept me pretty busy.  But I did manage to get some web site updates in, and to make some tweaks to the SDK tools.  The Orion Gatekeeper has also undergone some changes.  It’s more efficient now.  I also upped the number of possible server destinations (i.e. worlds) that can be returned.

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Network Code Refactoring

Something that has bugged me for a while is the current implementation of the network driver.  It was never meant to be production code, rather just a foundation to test and work from.

The new implementation will use Windows Overlapped I/O with callback notifications, instead of polling for events and/or creating a bunch of threads.  I plan to allow upwards of 10,000 connections per-server!  So, I have to be very careful with how this is ultimately re-designed.  I printed out some of the Orion Engine code for the network manager, and the network driver.  I also printed out some of the Winsock documentation.  I have my yellow hi-liter!  I’m going to spread all of this out on a big table this weekend, and get really focused!

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Web Site Performance

I have several domains and sub-domains that I like to have forwarded to various places on the Orion Engine site.  For example, support.orionengine.com redirects to www.orionengine.com/support/.  I used to use GoDaddy for this trivial service, but the performance and reliability has been going downhill over the years.  I get the feeling they were trying to get me to upgrade to their premium DNS services.  Now, I just have their DNS point all of my sub-domains to the same destination IP using CNAME entries.  In addition, all of my domains also point to this IP address.  These DNS entries will get replicated to other name servers, keeping me from relying totally on GoDaddy’s servers to forward links back to my site.  Now, whenever my web server receives a request, it checks the host name that was used, and if it’s one of them that I would like to forward, it does a redirect.  The new URL includes the path and filename that were originally specified.  This seems to be working out really well.  No more “Hmmm…can’t reach this page” error messages to my users!

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Newegg

Not very happy with the folks over at Newegg.  I thought I would give them a chance on a recent purchase.  I’ve never used them before.  But now, I don’t think I will ever bother with them again.  They wasted my time.

I placed an order with Newegg and they said my credit card was declined.  So, I called my bank and they said there was no reason why it should have been declined.  Thus, I had them retry my card again.  It went through successfully this time; my bank said there was a hold on my account for the amount.  After sitting all day idle, they freakin’ cancelled my order without warning!  No phone call, no e-mail, no other warning!  When I called them, they acted like it was a privilege that I could re-submit my order again.  You must be kidding me!?  You already had my money once, why did you refund it to my account and cancel my order?  You really think I’m going to try that again?  They should have admitted their error, and expedited my order for me.  Now, I’m a day behind because they waited so long to tell me they weren’t going to ship it.

Oh yeah, and thanks for putting the hold on my account!

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