Yak Shaving

I was listening to a devops podcast the other day and the phrase ‘yak shaving’ came up. Yak shaving is whenever you are asked to complete a task, but in order to do that task you decide you need do another task, and that second task has even more tasks that you need to do. Before you know it you have spent all your time doing all these extra tasks but not completed the original task. Instead of completing the original task you may have shaved a yak.

  • You’re asked to make breakfast
  • Everything is going well, but you see there is no milk in the fridge for the coffee
  • You decide to go to the shop to buy milk but it’s not open yet. The farm shop is open, so you go there
  • The farmer gets you the milk, but you realise you’ve left your wallet at home. He says you can pay him by helping out with a chore on the farm
  • He asks you to shave a yak. So you help out with that
  • The farmer then gives you the milk and you go home, but everyone has already gone to work/school hungry
  • You didn’t complete the original task because you were busy shaving a yak. You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.

Free Speech on Social Media

There is big a difference between giving someone free speech and handing them a huge megaphone. While I’m all for freedom of speech, there should be no obligation on social media companies to amplify, publish or repeat the things that people say, especially if it goes against the ethos of the company. If someone wants to stand up on a soap box then they should find a platform that wants to do those things for them. People who want to shout loud should get their own megaphone rather than think they are ‘entitled’ to somebody else’s.

HoverRace Netfix Test Release

Last night I released a version of HoverRace that will potentially fix some of the problems that were stopping online racing from working. For the nerds out there,  I’m using upnp holepunching to handle the peer to peer data transmissions. It should work behind some routers, but not all routers. I’m still planning to make it use servers instead of peer to peer between players, but that will require a major rewrite.

Here’s the download: https://github.com/johnsie/HoverNet/releases/tag/1.24.2

HoverRace in VS 2019

It took a bit of work, but I got the HoverRace C++ solution compiling in VS 2019. The solution had previously last been compiled in VS2010 Express, so there was quite a bit of deprecation and bug fixing to deal with. Luabind had a bug that made it break with more recent Boost C++ Libraries and only the recent Boost Binaries work with VS2019. The solution was compiling a fork of Luabind with a fix applied and recompiling WGOIS and OpenAL 32 in VS2019 and loading them into the Solution.

I checked it all into Github and typed up some documentation explaining how to compile, so hopefully HoverRace will continue to exist and maybe even attract new developers.

The github for this project is at https://github.com/johnsie/HoverNet

Got a few minor fixes to to do and then the name of the game will be sockets programming in C++

Delegates in C#

Delegates are used in C# if for some reason you want to pass methods as parameters.

For example:

You have the number 10 and you want to print it out in several different formats. You might have several different methods to do this:

  • A method to print it as a whole number
  • A method to print it as monetary currency with a pound, euro or dollar sign.
  • A method to print it as a decimal

Fine… The thing that those those methods all have in common is that they take in the integer and do something with it. In this case the integer we pass will be 10, but by design it would probably be better if the methods can accept any integer eg. public void PrintAsMoney(int){}

We could create a delegate called PrintValue

public delegate void PrintValue(int value);

And that delegate can later be used in a method to represent the three methods

PrintValue printDelegate=PrintAsInt;

We’ve now set which methods should be used when printDelegate is invoked. We already know that all those methods are compatible with our delegate because they can all accept an int.

So… let’s invoke the delegate


Our program knows which methods to use and to pass the number 10 to, because we just specified that when we set the methods for printDelegate. So all in one clean swoop it passes the number 10 to each of those methods that were subscribed to the delegate and the required data is printed. This is a multicast delegate because it uses more than one method. A standard delegate will only pass one method but works pretty much the same way.

Static Classes, Methods and Variables

Today someone  asked me what the difference between a class and a static class was. Of course my mind went blank and I got to squirm for a bit. I think it’s basic software engineering that any developer should know and it was a bit embarrassing. So as soon as I got home I did some Googling, watched some videos. It’s nice being single and having time to do that kind of stuff. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

A static class is one which you don’t need to make an instance of but can contain a collection of useful functions.

For example x = Math.Sqrt(144): uses the Math class but of course you don’t need to create an instance of the Math class to do that. If you try to create an instance of the Math class you will get an error message… Because it’s static 😉

A method that belongs to a static class is therefore automatically a static method.

You identify  both by using the keyword ‘static’ to make it easier for other developers and the compiler to know what’s going on.

Eg: static class UsefulTool

public static void HelloWorld

This is useful for tools/methods that you may want to re-use in your projects. I’ve actually been using these sort of collections of functions for years, as would most developers who don’t like repeating code necessarily.

A static variable is one which is about the class, not the instance of the object. So, for example you could have a counter within your class that is incremented each time a new instance of the class is created. At any point you can get the value of the static variable without refering to the instance of the object:

x= Car.count;

The code above would display the number of instances of the Car object that we’ve created (If the static int count gets incremented each time the constructor is loaded. Ie every time there is a new instantiation of an object )

A non static class that can instantiated as an object can also have static methods. For example the Car class could have a static method called GetCount(); which returns the value of static int count.