What is Ray Tracing?

With the advent of Nvidia’s new GPUs coming out, the inevitable question was asked of me by friends: What is ray tracing?

Over the past decade or so, graphics in video-games have made enormous leaps and bounds, and it’s now trivial to simulate hundreds of thousands of physics objects all at once with a very standard graphics card. However, the huge leaps in processing power have slowed somewhat, and now small tweaks and improvements to what we already have are being made. This includes hair, water, and light.

Light is one of the hardest things to simulate correctly. There are many ways to fake it, and game developers have gotten very good at certain techniques to make you believe that the sun is over there and casting shadows here, and so on. However, ray tracing is a method that attempts to actually simulate the behavior of the photons of light. Sounds cool, right? You can imagine how intense of a calculation that would be for many light rays. Because of this, it’s not possible for a real-time rendered game or simulation to process it quickly enough to display on a normal computer. Ray tracing is currently only used in pre-rendered films or animations.

Without going into the actual physics of how light and photons work, interesting read here, ray tracing is an expensive operation (takes a lot of computational power). Nvidia is taking steps to make it more feasible and possible in the future by providing “ray tracing upgrades” to their graphics cards. We will have to wait and see how much of an actual improvement they’ve made.

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I’ll stick to ice cream.

I code stuff. That means it’s expected that I drink coffee. I’d like to, but I’ve never gotten around to trying it.

I came close the other day, however. I was walking with an old friend to a small coffee stand right outside where I was taking classes. Standing to the side while she ordered, my eyes quickly took in the delicious looking menu of different ways to drink your coffee. “Raspberry Mocha”, “Irish Mint Frappuccino” (which is apparently frappe and cappuccino put together, who knew), and “Blueberry Cream” jumped out at me. That sounds delicious, I thought longingly, in a wistful sort of way. Plus, I am pretty tired right now.

Even to someone who doesn’t drink, that looks good. There’s something about steaming hot drinks that’s comforting in a way. I imagine the taste to be something akin to coffee ice cream, even though I’ve only had that once. I’ve been informed by my friends that I’m completely incorrect, but that won’t spoil my fantasy. Iced coffee sounds even better.

I’m afraid to start, now. I don’t have the money to buy a new graphics card, let alone coffee all the time to feed my addiction. I’ll leave the coffee drinking to the pros, and stick with my ice cream.

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How to ask good Stack Overflow questions.

Many programmers have low opinions of Stack Overflow. For those of you who don’t know, Stack Overflow is a Q&A site meant specifically for coders. However, it has a reputation for… how shall I say it… being a bit of an elitist gatekeeper-esque very beginner unfriendly place. On the flip side, Stack Overflow is the largest repository of developer answers and questions on the internet, and it’s one of the most visited websites for coding questions by developers, if not the most.

Continue reading How to ask good Stack Overflow questions.

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A small PSA.

This morning, I received an email from a scrambled Outlook email address that claimed they had explicit recordings of me and to pay them Bitcoin. Their proof? A password of mine from a few years ago. They’d probably acquired it in one of the numerous database leaks that happen all the time. Here’s the message with sensitive information removed:

I do know, [OMITTED], is your password. You do not know me and you're most likely thinking why you are getting this mail, right?

In fact, I actually setup a malware on the adult vids (sexually graphic) site and do you know what, you visited this website to experience fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching video clips, your internet browser began functioning as a RDP (Remote Desktop) with a keylogger which provided me with accessibility to your screen and cam. Immediately after that, my software gathered all of your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, and email.

What exactly did I do?

I created a double-screen video. First part shows the video you were watching (you've got a nice taste lol . . .), and next part displays the recording of your webcam.

What should you do?

Well, in my opinion, $3900 is a fair price tag for our little secret. You will make the payment via Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search "how to buy bitcoin" in Google).

BTC Address: [OMITTED]
(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)


You have one day in order to make the payment. (I've a special pixel within this e mail, and now I know that you have read through this email). If I don't get the BitCoins, I will, no doubt send your video to all of your contacts including close relatives, coworkers, and so on. Nonetheless, if I receive the payment, I will destroy the video immidiately. If you need evidence, reply with "Yes!" and I definitely will send out your video to your 12 friends. It is a non-negotiable offer, so please do not waste my personal time and yours by responding to this e mail.

There are a few things wrong here, which is why I immediately knew it was scam.

  1. A keylogger records keystrokes, it doesn’t provide people with the ability to look at my screen and webcam. There are methods to gain access to these, but it is not called a keylogger.
  2. I don’t have a webcam.
  3. Browsers do not have the authority to share my desktop.
  4. I don’t use Messenger or Facebook.
  5. I have 2 friends on my Facebook account, not 12.
  6. Numerous spelling mistakes all throughout the email.
  7. The generic mention of “adult vids”. Yeah, sorry. No.

But I do have to wonder how many others fell for, and do fall for this kind of scam. Always make sure your antivirus is up to date, use common sense, and make sure you keep your passwords updated.

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