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Archives for General

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 […]

widget!

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 […]

the wind rises

The Wind Rises is, I suspect, a very good movie; I won’t end up loving it in the same way as Spirited Away, but I probably will end up loving it more than Miyazaki’s films since that one, and the fact that it takes a less fantastical approach to its subject matter of course comes […]

kickstarters i’m waiting for

Here’s a list of Kickstarters (plus one GoFundMe) I’m waiting for: One small outlier and one huge outlier. The Urban Tarot guy (“Estimated delivery: Dec 2012″) sends regular updates with new pieces of art, the art continues to look gorgeous, I’m still looking forward to that. And Hadean Lands was funded long enough ago that […]

games and copyright

John Walker’s editorial in Rock Paper Shotgun on “Why Games Should Enter The Public Domain” was going around my Twitter feed the other day, frequently coupled with Steve Gaynor’s response. And what I appreciate about both of them is the pragmatic tack that they take: I think that the U.S. Constitution has it right by […]

this week in v.c. biases

When I suggested three days ago that perhaps venture capitalists didn’t have superhuman powers to avoid bias by following the smell of money, I wasn’t expecting this gem from Tom Perkins: Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels […]

that paul graham interview

So, there was this Paul Graham interview going around recently. Which was originally behind a paywall, so the link that got passed around was from Valleywag; I wondered how much they might be quoting out of context (which is what Graham claimed), but looking at the full text and The Information’s explanation, it seems not? […]

possessiveness and cliques

There was a post called “On cliques” going around a month and a half that I meant to talk about at the time but never got around to; it’s about somebody feeling ostracized by “big names” at a party because they were talking to each other instead of talking to him, and about his subsequent […]

social norms and market norms at work

Reading Predictably Irrational got me thinking again about workplace organization: in particular, the extent to which companies try to set up the employer/employee relationship as a primarily social relationship instead of as a primarily market-driven relationship. And, of course, it’s both: work involves people interacting together over a long period of time, but work also […]

netrunner, systems thinking, rule sets, cynicism

I play a lot of Android: Netrunner at work; other board games, too, but Netrunner is the one that’s sunk its teeth into me most deeply. I mostly play over lunch, but sometimes I play at other times, and occasionally those lunches get pretty long; this makes me wonder: is there any way I can […]

at&t update

Last month, I switched back to AT&T after a brief, bad experience with T-Mobile, but I didn’t feel great about it, among other things because AT&T was charging me phone subsidy rates for phones we’d long since paid off. But, as it turned out, a couple of weeks after that, they changed their data plans […]