Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Losing Steam

I wrote an entry back in early October saying that I had, to some extent, lost steam on my Top Secret Project. Since then, I still haven't worked on my project as the last time I took a serious look at the code I realized I had a serious unmaintainable mess of 20k lines of python, javascript and java. So what do I do now? I am not experienced enough a Java programmer to really re-vamp my Android client and I feel that it is the most important component to get the app ready for use. I have had one person call interest on my project recently and I haven't sync'd up with him primarily because I've been trying to aviod the project. I need to get back to treating this project like a (part-time) job. I have realized how difficult it is to cultivate an idea without someone to discuss it with. Paul Graham wrote an essay (http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html) a while back about how any successful startup has had two founders: Paul Allen and Bill Gates, Larry and Sergey, the two Steves. Right now I am without a second half to work with and I think more than the messy code base, this is the reason I've been avoiding working on my project. I still don't want to spill the beans on the project yet but I feel I'm going to have to soon if I can't get myself out of this rut. Heck, I've even written two blog entries on this flight and not a lick of code and airplanes is where I get my best thinking done.

With the holidays approaching, I hope I can take some time for myself and buckle down on this problem, attack it with some code and some elusive, ksw-aggravating, stres relieveing blog entries.

There is one other thing sucking up my project time. My other project is taking off (to some extent). While it only has a 40% user retention rate that does mean 3200 people do have the app installed on their phone! I am very excited about this as I have never had this direct an impact on other people before. And again, while I have had people say they were interested in helping out, so far I haven't seen any dedication to the cause.

I suppose this is understandable because I am a terrible leader person. I even went to leadership training last week and they kicked me out. Well... They didn't kick me out, that was a lie. I enjoyed the three days of training but don't feel any better prepared to be less awful when running a project. When I ran the d20mm project for NWN a few years ago I managed to run out the original project lead and one of the primary artists. I had taken over the project before the original lead and I started not getting along so it wasn't a hostile take over or anything like that. I have also alientated people at work when doing "leader" like things. I supposed that could be what causes projects that I work on to fail. I wrote a while back about maintaing a project as a hobby and feel that I cannot live up to the ideas that I set down.

In any case, despair despair, regret regret, scared scared. What do I do now that I've met my coding limits, dedication and stress limits on my project?


Friday, November 21, 2008

Christopher Moore

I just finished reading a book for the first time since July. Really, it was two books and the book I read in July was just a very long online cyberpunk serialization that was book length. I am pretty pleased with myself. It is not often that I read these days. I've been spending so much time working on my projects that I resent taking the time away from them to do something as frivious as reading. Nevertheless I did just spend like 20 hours playing Fallout in the past week, saw the new Bond (disappointing) and spent some time staring at nothing.

Back to the books -- The first I read was Bloodsucking Fiends, by Christoper Moore. I had to read it because I also purchased You Suck by the same. It would not have made any sense to read You Suck and not Bloodsucking Fiends, as the former is a written-twelve-years-later-takes-place-20-minutes-later sequel to the the later. First off, they are very quick reads. I started reading them at 6pm last night and finished this morning -- about 5 hours per book. I tend to read a bit slower than I used to because I noticed myself "speed reading" through the books to suck up the plot (hehe, suck) and ignore the prose. This pattern is even more apparent when I read comic books -- I read them super fast because there is not much dialog; probably the reason I don't enjoy reading them very much.

Both books are about newb vampires being hunted/taunted/attacked/courted by an older vampire. The books take place in San Francisco. I haven't read a book based in San Francisco that I can remember (or cross reference with my list, http://joelapenna.com/vanity.html) then again, I have a terrible memory when it comes to books; hence I keep a list of books I've read.

The things I liked about the books: The dialog was very witty and felt very natural. The characters frequently had this "what the hell?" confusion about them which was funny. Not so great was the lack of "what the hell?" confusion going on in the second book. The saving grace of the second book was a new character "Abby Normal," who if I had to describe using an Internet phenomena is the Robert Hamburger of Vampires; the prototypical high school goth chick. Her chapters in the second book are had me laughing most. I enjoyed that so much of what was going on was just outrageous enough that aside from the vampirism you would keep asking yourself "This probably could happen, huh..."

On odd thing about these stories is that two years ago my friend Josh recommended them both to me. I think I might have to trust his book opinion a little more. The reason I picked these up was that another friend, an avid reader also recommended them to me. When she mentioned the author I recalled Josh's suggestion and their powers combined caused me to read for all of the last ten of my waking hours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feature Requests

Being able to implement a feature request and push a new version of your software within 24 hours of the request is pretty cool. Hopefully it makes up for the instability my app tends to have.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fallout 3

Seems like a fun game so far! I played for two hours last night. I never played the other Fallout games so I don't get some of the contextual jokes but then again, I don't have the-old-game-wasn't-like-this baggage.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

write in votes still need counting....

Vote for bush 4 more years! ;) let's hope the CA propositions turn out as good as the presidential vote