freemium: the abomination of desolation

February 24, 2014

I’ve never been a fan of “freemium,” although I understand that game developers need to get paid. It often feels like the way freemium games are developed goes something like this:

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integrating Ywar with Goodreads

February 18, 2014

Ywar is a little piece of productivity software that I wrote. I’ve written about Ywar before, so I won’t rehash it much. The idea is that I use The Daily Practice to track whether I’m doing things that I’ve decided to do. I track a lot of these things already, and Ywar connects up my existing tracking with The Daily Practice so that I don’t have to do more work on top of the work I’m already doing. In other words, it’s an attempt to make my data work for me, rather than just sit there.

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games I've played lately

February 4, 2014

About a year ago, I told Mark Dominus that I wanted to learn to play bridge, but that it was tough to find friends who were also interested. (I’d rather play with physically-present people whom I know than online with strangers.) He said, “Sackson’s Gamut of Games has a two-player bridge variant.” I had never heard of Sackson, A Gamut of Games, or the two-player variant. I said, “oh, cool,” and went off to look into it all.

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Dist::Zilla is for lovers

January 25, 2014

I don’t like getting into the occasional arguments about whether Dist::Zilla is a bad thing or not. Tempers often seem to run strangly high around this point, and my position should, at least along some axes, be implicitly clear. I wrote it and I still use it and I still find it to have been worth the relatively limited time I spent doing it. Nonetheless, as David Golden said, “Dist::Zilla seems to rub some people wrong way.” These people complain, either politely or not, and that rubs people who are using Dist::Zilla the wrong way, and as people get irritated with one another, their arguments become oversimplified. “What you’re doing shows that you don’t care about users!” or “Users aren’t inconvenienced at all because there are instructions in the repo!” or some other bad over-distillation.

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Dist::Zilla and line numbering

January 14, 2014

brian d foy wrote a few times lately about potential annoyances distributed across various parties through the use of Dist::Zilla. I agree that Dist::Zilla can shuffle around the usual distribution of annoyances, and am happy with the trade offs that I think I’m making, and other people want different trade offs. What I don’t like, though, is adding annoyance for no gain, or when it can be easily eliminated. Most of the time, if I write software that does something annoying and leave it that way for a long time, it’s actually a sign that it doesn’t annoy me. That’s been the case, basically forever, with the fact that my Dist::Zilla configuration builds distributions where the .pm files’ line numbers don’t match the line numbers in my git repo. That means that when someone says “I get a warning from line 10,” I have to compare the released version to the version in git. Sometimes, that someone is me. Either way, it’s a cost I decided was worth the convenience.

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making my daemon share more memory

January 11, 2014

Quick refresher: when you’ve got a unix process and it forks, the new fork can share memory with its parent, unless it starts making changes. Lots of stuff is in memory, including your program’s code. This means that if you’re going to require a lot of Perl modules, you should strongly consider loading them early, rather than later. Although a runtime require statement can make program start faster, it’s often a big loss for a forking daemon: the module gets re-compiled for every forked child, multiplying both the time and memory cost.

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todo for 2014

January 7, 2014

Huh. It looks like I haven’t written a todo list for the year since 2008. I don’t know whether I wish I had, but I’m a bit surprised. I’m going to list some things from my lists 2005-2008 that I did not accomplish and start there.

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I got an Arduino!

December 30, 2013

For Christmas, Gloria gave me an Arduino Starter Kit! It’s got an Arduino Uni, a bunch of wires, some resistors and LEDs and stuff, a motor, and I don’t know what else yet. I hadn’t been very intereted in Arduino until Rob Blackwell was giving a pretty neat demo at the “Quack and Hack” at DuckDuckGo last year. Still, I knew it would just be another thing to eat up my time, and I decided to stay away. Finally, though, I started having ideas of things that might be fun, but not too ambitious. I put the starter kit on my Christmas wish list and I got the Arduino Workshop book for cheap from O’Reilly.

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Trekpocalypse Now

December 23, 2013

At YAPC::NA in Austin this year, I ran a sorta-D&D game on game night. I have been meaning to write it up nicely, but I think it’s just not going to happen, so I’m going to write it up badly. Here we go…

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keeping track of the (dumb) things I do

November 26, 2013

Last week, I was thinking about how sometimes I do something I have to do and then feel great, and sometimes I do something I have to do and then feel lousy. I decided I should keep track of what I do and how it makes me feel. (I have some dark predictions, but am trying to hold off until I have more recorded.) To do this, I needed a way to record the facts, and it needed to be really, really easy to use. I’d never take the time to say “I did something” if it was a hassle.

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