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Archives for General

unpleasant web sites

I’ve come slowly to the whole ad-blocker debate: all things being equal, I’m not an active fan of ads, but I accept them as a possible way for writers to get paid, and most of the time they’re not that bad. Sometimes, they do cross the line for me—I really don’t like the “around the […]

games, prices, value, and uncertainty

Earlier this summer, I talked about the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter; I wanted to expand on my approach to questions like that. In general, the price of a game (or of any product!) will be somewhere between how much it costs to develop, produce, and sell the product, and how much value people get from the […]

office chairs and grounding

One thing writing about Pamplemousse made me wonder about: I feel better sitting there than at work, but the chair isn’t the sort of chair that I would normally actively think of as a comfortable chair. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly nice chair, it’s just nice in a quiet, unassuming, and not super-padded […]


About once a week, on my way into work, I stop at Pamplemousse to have their “French Breakfast”. That’s a picture of it above: it’s just a sliced, warmed-up baguette, with butter and jam. And it’s my favorite part of my weekly commute routine. There are lots of little things I like about it. The […]

the shenmue 3 kickstarter

I’ve been surprised at how much negative reaction to the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter has appeared in my twitter feed. Maybe not so much in the quantity of the reaction as the tone: it seems like the Kickstarter is a flashpoint in a culture war, while I don’t really understand why there has to be a […]


In Episode 34 of the Exponent podcast, Ben Thompson talked about the process of starting his blog and turning it into a substantial business. (The discussion starts around 18 minutes in.) It’s an interesting counterpoint to all of the recent discussions of how to turn video game criticism blogging into a business: so many people […]


About six years ago, my feet started hurting, enough that I went to see a doctor. He didn’t find anything particularly wrong with me, so he suggested some inserts for me to use; my memory is that that generally fixed things, but it also got me a little more actively curious about shoes and walking. […]

amazon and pull systems

Nine years ago, I was thinking about how Amazon Prime enables a more lean approach towards purchasing: if you that you can get whatever you want in two days, then you don’t have to buy things until you need them. For example, I can take a kanban approach towards book buying: if I don’t read […]

unsolicited advice

If you have your Twitter client configured to use a third-party link shortener, get rid of that configuration: if I see a link in your tweet, I want to have an idea about where the link might lead before clicking on it. And if you are using a third party link shortener that directs to […]

systems of survival

I’d been feeling insufficiently empathetic recently, like there are a lot of people out there whose belief systems are alien to me; so I decided that it was time to reread Jane Jacobs’s Systems of Survival. It’s an interesting book: its thesis is that, while there are certain concepts that show up more or less […]


We’ve been without dogs for almost three years now; Yosha and Zippy were wonderful, but we wanted a bit of space. Not too much space, though: we knew that we’d be getting another dog or two in a few years, it was only a question of when. Last winter, we took advantage of of not […]

trying to make sense of the apple watch

Apple showed off the Apple Watch last month; they were the first company to really figure out smartphones, they were the first company to really figure out tablets, so are they going to do the same with smart watches? And, if so, what does that mean? We’re obviously quite some distance away from knowing the […]

when to move on

Come next spring I’ll have been at my current job for four years, which means that my initial options will all have vested. The company is doing well; given that, I think it’s reasonable to think the expected value of those options is non-negligible. Or, in other words: the expected value of my total compensation […]

insect stings

I first got stung by a bee (or yellow jacket or wasp or something) at a math camp when I was 16 yearrs old. I remember thinking, “Oh, I’ve never been stung before, I guess that’s what it feels like! I wonder if I’m allergic?”, and then five or ten minutes later, no longer having […]

current status

I am, fortunately, doing much better than I was a month ago. The leg/back problems have improved a lot: shortly after writing that post, I went on a nine-day course of steroids, and those had an immediate huge effect. I do indeed have a pinched nerve, and have an MRI to prove it; it was […]

false equivalence and maintenance of privilege

On Sunday, the New York Times wrote an article about Michael Brown saying, among other things: Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police […]

energy and pain

I haven’t written here much recently; and I haven’t been working on my recent programming project, either. That’s not a sign that there’s something else that’s grabbing me: I just haven’t had energy during the evenings for about two months now. So it’s been easiest just to read blog posts or watch TV or play […]

brenda romero: jiro dreams of game design

It’s months since GDC, and I’m still trying to unpack my feelings about Brenda Romero’s Jiro Dreams of Game Design talk. Or maybe not so much my feelings about it—it’s an excellent talk, no question—but my emotional reactions to it. Her talk confronts concepts that I care about (greatness, team structure, creation) in contexts that […]

men, women, programming, culture

So, a couple of weeks ago, a prominent programmer / writer wrote a post whose driving metaphor was: frameworks are bad because it’s like one woman having many men sexually subservient to her, whereas the way things should be is for one man to have many women sexually subservient to him. People complained, he apologized […]

blank screen starting octgn in wine

I set up OCTGN on Wine on a new computer in preparation for this week’s VGHVI session; I was following these helpful instructions, which have worked for me in the past. Unfortunately, I ran into a weird problem: OCTGN would start with its normal “Loading OCTGN” screen, but then instead of showing me the normal […]