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goon's Journal: Blog this week: slashdot, joelonsoftware, perlmonks

Journal by goon

Slashdot.org:
'not impressed' [1]: acvh [2] - '... The games available at release and soon
  after do not look very interesting ...'

yes the Japanese games are different but there is a good reason. Firstly
the system is not capable of running a full blown title as per PS2.
So the designers are really forced to rethink their game style (and do
they think) to fit the limitations of the hardware format. Take for
instance konami with MG. They release MG but not *solid*, but Acid [3].
Same franchise, different game style (with a card twist) [4].

Konami already make a slew of GBA games [5] so they pretty well undersand
their market. Its a different market to PS/XB.

Remember Digimon [6], small animals, monsters fighting, computers and
CARDS ... it's a bit like a digital D&D for those old enough /young
enough to remember. All appeal to a very specific market.

After attending a ACMI game time symposium [1] in Melbourne this year
I had the chance to hear/see *Tetsuya Mizuguchi* [7], Gamespot
interview [8]. He talked for about an hour about game design and a
bit about some upcoming titles for PSP [9], [10]. I now understand a
bit more about *Japanese* game style and take my hat off to true innovators.
No cheesy ports of your [insert your top 10 title here] PS2, PC games here.
All *new* original ideas.

Joel on Software forum:

        Christopher Baus / Microsoft in Trouble: [12], [13]

        Overall not a bad article. I wish it was a bit longer and expaned on
themes of *growth*. (IBM still grows but why cant MS?). Maybe thats
the idea behind the book - highlight short essays and see if there is
a market to expand?

But 2 things to me dont ring true to me after reading the article:

[A]
'... Consumers want their data to be securely managed, and they want
it everywhere, all the time. They don't want it locked up on their PCs. ...'

Access not distribution: I don't hear the outcry for data everywhere,
just access to data fullstop. Applications everywhere lock up your
data into boxes. You have to work hard to get at it. Getting access
to your data on your PC. Then selective data access to the Web. MS
works hard to lock your data up (Outlook Express for example). But
Linux, Mac they are all as guilty.

[B]
'... Microsoft can't force relevance into the desktop. This is also
why WinFS on the desktop is a waste of time. Consumers don't want to
manage their contact database schemas on the desktop. They want google
to do it for them. ...'

Ability to search: This statement ('WinFS on the desktop is a waste of
time') is pure bollocks. Walk into any office and you will see the
nightmare of data management. "Where is it" is the catchcry. Imagine
the revolution of a search engine on the desktop integrated into
applications but not via a network connection. It is no *silver bullet*
but can you remember the Internet before Yahoo, Alta-Vista and Google?

I often think MS missed entirely the archive and retreival (only just
getting into search) of data paradigm just like they missed networking.

        Out of Sight, Out of a Job, [14]

        Not a bad article for mainstream. But does it perpetuate the myth of
the atypical programmer cliche` of *pizza eating, softdrink guzzling
male youth - a prime candidate for the *business machine* to exploit ...
oh I mean facilitate? (read the Sean Carroll's and Napters of the world)?

Also I'd challenge the view that:
[A]
'... other type of programmer that is doomed is the developer with poor
social skills ... traditionally been a haven for the eccentric and socially
awkward. ...'

    Social skills? What about online social skills. Many a software developer
may be articulate in the written word, yet shun face time? When it boils
down to it, 'talk is cheap'. Developers who are skilled in some *desirable*
area who demonstrate 'operacy', even in the face of competition is going to
have an opportunity to work. I see a lot of people with *soft* skills who
now boast of their *non-technical* expertise (accountants, PM's, MBA's).
But if you cant do it in code, all the talking and com skills wont help you
(though it may help you organise a team to do it). Maybe the reason for
the shift is something other than just *traditional* com skills?

[B]
'... The great advantage that local resources have over distant ones is
presence: Face-to-face meetings and talks remain vastly more productive
than phone calls, and phone calls are vastly more productive than instant
messages, or, worst-of-all, e-mail ...'

        Face time to who? Other developers, internal company, clients? In fact
the Internet and POTS (plain old telephone system) which predates the
Internet actaully extend presence. Is it 100% critical for *face time* for
all occasions? No. Face time can be optomised to where its required most.
Negotiating deals with clients, external meets with other technologists
et.,al.

What I would have liked to have read more about is the *business acumen* of
developers and the relationship between ability to build, assemble, then
*SELL* software (and make money).

I don't believe that the *socially challenged* developer is doomed but
the *entrepreneur* challenged one is. For example India is taking away
jobs from US companies (or US companies are feeding them) because of the
(necessary) entrepreneur skills that India builds though intense competition.
They simply have exploiting cost, law of diminishing firms, lowering
transaction costs.

Free software and news groups also pose a challenge. In the face of free
and open code how do the successful rise to the challenge? Through
communication skills, entrepreneurship?

        Why Is Usability So Hard [15]
        this is a great article and certainly one I would like included.
what separates this one from others:

        *describes real problem (usability) - real and not going away
        *article is generic - will be useful in 1 month as it will be in
          5 years
        *easy to read - (practiced what is preached and data is chunked)
        *good ideas - presented ooze *thought* behind them
        *framework -outlines steps to good design

I dont want to suggest that it needs any real changes but if additions
are made be sure to include:

        *a few 'real world examples' may enforce the points made.
        *change 'websites' to 'internet enabled applications, devices'

Read in conjunction with Paul Grahams (Made in the USA, [16] and Taste [17]) the
flipside of usability they form powerful insights into the contemporary
software malaise.

        www.perlmonks.org
        The Vim advantage [18]
                gvim, vim cover 4 of the major wants you listed above:

        * syntax
        * resource (only reason emacs sucks)
        * folding
        * X platform features

        the kicker I've usually found is when you are working on a
        machine w/o enough resources [19] for emacs OR some foreign machine
        that only has vi (elvis). Then most of the editing attributes
        you found in vim, gvim are still there .. just degraded.

        Plus vim has reference book [19] and other docs [20] for those who want to
        get it and an active developer [21] community (scripts [22] etc).

        All hail *Bram Moolenaar*

        Slashdot.org
        Apollo 12 at 35, [24]
        read and drool: AGC, DSKY and more (Score:5, Informative) [25]
        by goon (2774) on 11-18-04 23:15 (#10861798)
        ( http://slashcode.com/users.pl?nick=goon | Last Journal: 09-24-04 9:26 )

        for those who where not around here's some links to the AGC, DSKY and more:
        *Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) [26]
        *slash article with source code listing [27]
        *Simulation of Apollo Guidance Computer [28]
        *DSKY [29]

        References:
        Slashdot.org
        [1] not impressed, acvh
                http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=130072&threshold=3&commentsort=1&tid=207&mode=thread&cid=10855950
        [2] http://slashdot.org/~acvh
        [3] Solid Gear Acid,
                http://ps2.ign.com/articles/563919p1.html
        [4] TGS 2004: Metal Gear Acid Hands-On: Turn based Metal Gear turns out to be quite a blas
                http://psp.ign.com/articles/549/549977p1.html
        [5] http://www.konamijpn.co.jp/products/
        [6] Digimon World 2, Walkthrough/FAQ
                http://faqs.ign.com//articles/427/427197p1.html

        [7] ACMI game time symposium, Melbourne, Oct 2004,
                http://www.sumea.com.au/snews.asp?news=1215&related=Industry&offset=80
        [8] Testsuya Mizuguchi, software developer Sega Rally (Sega) 1994, Rez (PS2)
                http://mizuguchi.biz/

        [9] Q&A: Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Rez creator tells what's holding the Japanese
                game industry back.
                http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/03/29/news_6092467.html
        [10] PSP, Playstation Personal,
                  http://www.playstation.jp/psp/
        [11] PSP Site Launches, Launch Titles Confirmed,
                  http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/17/2247229&threshold=3&tid=207

        discuss.joelonsoftware.com
        [12] Best Software Essays, 2004,
                  http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?best04
        [13] Christopher Baus / Microsoft in Trouble,
                  http://www.baus.net/microsofttrouble.html,
                  http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?best04.8.27508.9
        [14] Out of Sight, Out of a Job, Larry O'Brien,
                  http://www.sdtimes.com/cols/winwatch_114.htm,
                  http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?best04.8.29805.3
        [15] Why Is Usability So Hard,
                  http://www.datapanik.com/rtcl-whyHard.html,
                  http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?best04.8.25183.1
        [16] Made in USA [16], Paul Graham,
                  http://www.paulgraham.com/usa.html
        [17] Taste for Makers, Paul Graham,
                  http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html

        www.perlmongers.org
        [18] the vim advantage,
                  http://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=408310
        [19] Vi IMproved - Vim, by Steve Oualline, English,
                  http://iccf-holland.org/click5.html
        [20] Vim Documentation,
                  http://www.vim.org/docs.php
        [21] Vim News,
                  http://www.vim.org/news/news.php
        [22] Vim scripts,
                  http://www.vim.org/scripts/index.php
        [23] Bram Moolenar,
                  http://www.moolenaar.net/

        slashdot.org
        [24] Apollo 12 at 35,
                  http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=130222&threshold=3&commentsort=1&tid=160&mode=thread&cid=10861612
        [25] read and drool: AGC, DSKY and more,
                  http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=130222&cid=10861798
        [26] Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC)
                  http://home.wxs.nl/~faase009/Ha_Apollo.html
        [27] slash article with source code listing
                  http://slashdot.org/articles/01/02/05/1637253.shtml
        [28] Simulation of Apollo Guidance Computer
                  http://klabs.org/mapld04/presentations/session_p/p146_webb_s.ppt
        [29] DSKY,
                  http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/dsh/artifacts/GC-ApolloDSKY.htm

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Blog this week: slashdot, joelonsoftware, perlmonks

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