Epic Blog of Awesome


Enter at Your Own Rift: Leveling the achievements way | Massively

When I came back to RIFT last month and started a new character, I had a choice as to how I would level back up through the game. There was the traditional questing path, pursuing dynamic events, running endless streams of dungeons, engaging in shudder PvP, or queuing up for instant adventures. I decided to blend them all together like premium yogurt and use the achievements system as a guide.I dont tether myself to achievement systems in all MMOs I play, but RIFTs makes it fun and natural. Its easy to parse whats left to be done on a zone by zone or system by system basis, and the little noise and graphic that pops up makes me feel like a good doggy, indeed.Its turned out to be an incredibly good decision. Ive had so much more fun this time around than the first, greatly in part to achievements nudging me off the path well-traveled.

via Enter at Your Own Rift: Leveling the achievements way | Massively.

How much Force power can Yoda output?

All credit for this goes to Ryan Finnie at what-if.xkcd.com.

I’m going to—of course—ignore the prequels.

There’s a great SMBC comic exploring the geopolitical consequences of having Superman turn a crank to provide an unlimited source of energy. We could imagine Yoda using the Force to run a similar generator. But how much power could he really supply?

Yoda’s greatest display of raw power in the original trilogy came when he lifted Luke’s X-Wing from the swamp. As far as physically moving objects around goes, this was easily the biggest expenditure of energy through the Force we saw from anyone in the trilogy.
The energy it takes to lift an object to height h is equal to the object’s mass times the force of gravity times the height it’s lifted. The X-Wing scene lets us use this to put a lower limit on Yoda’s peak power output.

First we need to know how heavy the ship was. The X-Wing’s mass has never been canonically established, but its length has—16 meters. An F-22 is 19 meters long and weighs 19,700 lbs, so scaling down from this gives an estimate for the X-Wing of about 12,000 lbs (5 metric tons).

Next, we need to know how fast it was rising. I went over footage of the scene and timed the X-Wing’s rate of ascent as it was emerging from the water.

The front landing strut rises out of the water in about three and a half seconds, and I estimated the strut to be 1.4 meters long (based on a scene in A New Hope where a crew member squeezes past it), which tells us the X-Wing was rising at 0.39 m/s.
Lastly, we need to know the strength of gravity on Dagobah. Here, I figure I’m stuck, because while sci-fi fans are obsessive, it’s not like there’s gonna be a catalog of minor geophysical characteristics for every planet visited in Star Wars. Right?
Nope. I’ve underestimated the fandom. Wookieepeedia has just such a catalog, and informs us that the surface gravity on Dagobah is 0.9g. Combining this with the X-Wing mass and lift rate gives us our peak power output:

That’s enough to power a block of suburban homes. It’s also equal to about 25 horsepower, which is about the power of the motor in the electric-model Smart Car.

At current electricity prices, Yoda would be worth about $2/hour.

But telekinesis is just one type of Force power. What about that lightning the Emperor used to zap Luke? The physical nature of it is never made clear, but Tesla coils that produce similar displays draw something like 10 kilowatts—which would put the Emperor roughly on par with Yoda. (Those Tesla coils use lots of very short pulses. If the Emperor is sustaining a continuous arc, as in an arc welder, the power could easily be in the megawatts.)

What about Luke? I examined the scene where he used his nascent Force powers to yank his lightsaber out of the snow. The numbers are harder to estimate here, but I went through frame-by-frame and came up with an estimate of 400 watts for his peak output. This is a fraction of Yoda’s 18 kW, and was sustained for only a fraction of a second.

So Yoda sounds like our best bet as an energy source. But with world electricity consumption pushing 2 terawatts, it would take a hundred million Yodas to meet our demands. All things considered, switching to Yoda Power probably isn’t worth the trouble—though it would definitely be green.

patterns & practices Improving Web Services Security Guide

Welcome to the patterns & practices Improving Web Services Security: Scenarios and Implementation Guidance for WCF project site! This guide shows you how to make the most of WCF (Windows Communication Foundation). With end-to-end application scenarios, it shows you how to design and implement authentication and authorization in WCF. Learn how to improve the security of your WCF services through prescriptive guidance including guidelines, Q&A, practices at a glance, and step-by-step how tos. It’s a collaborative effort between patterns & practices, WCF team members, and industry experts. This guide is related to our WCF Security Guidance Project.

via patterns & practices Improving Web Services Security Guide.

c# – Dynamic endpoints in ServiceReferences.ClientConfig – Stack Overflow

When building an app, it is often deployed in different environments (test, dev, prod), and therefore the endpoint addresses are changing. As the ServiceReferences.ClientConfig is built as a part of Silverlight’s .xap file, its hard to change the endpoints after building the solution, as often is done with web.config.

I’ve searched quite a bit for it, but I cant figure out what is best practice here, so my question is:

What is best practice when it comes to dynamic wcf endpoint address configuration in silverlight?

via c# – Dynamic endpoints in ServiceReferences.ClientConfig – Stack Overflow.

Test Run: Introduction to WCF Testing

Whether you are new to Windows® Communication Foundation (WCF) or have worked with it a bit, there are some testing techniques and principles that will make your WCF work easier. There are several ways to think about what WCF is—I tend to think of WCF services as a major extension of Web services. Like Web services, WCF services allow you to create distributed systems using a service-oriented architecture. However, WCF services provide much greater flexibility (such as choice of transport protocol) and additional features (such as transactions and security). WCF is much more than merely an extension of Web services, but if you are new to WCF, initially thinking about WCF services in this way is a reasonable approach.

via Test Run: Introduction to WCF Testing.

Absolutely Delicious Tools Collection

Looking for the best delicious tools, mashups, hacks and services on the web. Delicious is a popular social bookmarks manager that lets you create and share your personal collection of links and categorize them with keyword tags. You can start by viewing the most popular bookmarks. Get started quickly by this Beginner’s Guide and learn about more quick ways of posting your bookmarks.

via Absolutely Delicious Tools Collection.