While doing my usual rounds of reading the news I came across an interesting post in the New York Times Bits blog: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/technology-companies-pair-up-to-confront-the-scourge-of-internet/ .
It seems that most of the big players in the internet mail world (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, LinkedIn, PayPal, and more) have been working together in an attempt to formulate a new way of better identifying not-spam (and thereby more easily identifying spam) by using existing technologies in a consistent way. The group has come up with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance), “a technical specification […] to help reduce the potential for email-based abuse by solving a couple of long-standing operational, deployment, and reporting issues related to email authentication protocols.” (See: http://dmarc.org/index.html ).
Ultimately the goal is to package it up and submit it to the IETF for consideration to become an RFC (i.e. an internet standard). I do very little mailing from my own domains currently but that may change in the future. It is nice that there is now a way that I can potentially show that I am me; the fear of winding up in spam folders is part of the reason why I have not used my domains for many email activities. I’ve glanced through it, but I need to do more research before I can figure out whether this is something I can do directly or if it’s something I need to talk to my hosting company about. Either way, it’s definitely something on my to-do list and is something that all small developers should have a look at as a way of facilitating communication with opt-in customers and with prospective customers, clients, and business partners who send you email.
On an unrelated note, I’m making good progress on my next post in the XNA to DirectX series. It’s already coming in at over 4100 words and I expect it to grow a fair bit longer still. The reason for the length is that it’s a post about modern C++ for C# programmers who either haven’t used C++ ever or haven’t used it for several years at any rate. C++11, the latest standard, is a huge improvement over the previous C++03 standard and really makes C++ a very different language than what it was a decade ago. I had initially been planning out a whole series on it (and even had two posts well along the road to completion) but I decided that it was more feasible and practical for me to create a brief guide of key topics. (The prospect that Shawn Hargreaves may be writing about C++ soon did factor into that decision; he undoubtedly knows more about the topic than I do, especially when it comes to writing games and game engines, so I’m looking forward to his posts as and when they come.)
I want to have something covering key C++ topics in order to set a baseline of knowledge and so that’s what I’m working on. Once that’s done, I’ll know that I can dive into DirectX technologies without needing to worry about writing up ad hoc explanations of the C++ constructs in each bit of code. I’ll also have a central place where I can add new topics and tweak existing topics whenever the need arises. So keep an eye out for that post (hopefully within the next few days). After that we dive into DirectX, likely starting with basic D3D11, with coverage on various other technologies (XAudio2 and Media Foundation, XInput, D2D, DirectWrite, DirectXMath, etc.) in subsequent posts. I’m considering writing with the goal of creating the components needed for a good, basic framework for 2D games (perhaps loosely patterned on XNA’s Game State Management sample, though I haven’t had the opportunity to prototype that yet to see whether it would make sense). We’ll see. For now I need to finish up the C++ post.