Monday, December 27, 2010

Better Book Titles

I just discovered Better Book Titles. It made me laugh out loud more than once. There's no writing to go with each one, which is different than one of my favorite sites, Cake Wrecks. But these are funny all on their own.
This page is for people who have trouble slogging through the information on book jackets or feel intimidated by the title and cover itself. How many times have you perused the cover of a novel only to rub your sore eyes and realize you've learned NOTHING from the book's title?!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Overall... 2010 was really good. Baby Colin is starting to sleep more at night and smiles a LOT. We all like Jonah's school pretty well now (we switched him to a magnet school, but it's farther away, but they don't hold him back like his old school). Ari is becoming a big kid, which makes us a little sad, because he's such a cute little kid. He's starting to read a little bit and that's exciting and I'm curious to see what kind of big kid he'll turn out to be. Kelly's looking for work and there are some good prospects. I've had lots of great contract work this year and my own games are selling well. I've learned more, had more fun, had more free time, made more money, seen my friends more and spent more time with my family this year. It's been really good. Here's hoping 2011 is just as fantastic for us and everyone we know.

I've gotta go watch Baby Colin and make some nachos. More later... :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lots of stuff going on

We visited my Mom, Dad and brother David in Florida. It was super fun although also super cold. That was okay 'cause I don't like when it's hot and humid. It was ~36 degrees the morning that we flew home though!

There was a leak in our roof while we were gone. It was right above my tiny desk, next to my new Hackintosh PC. Yikes. Luckily my nephew Joe spotted the problem and did a ton of good work including moving all the junk out of my office, met with the contractor and more. My PC is working great and things are all in good shape. Plus the leak is fixed.

I'm busy catching up on lots of Sniderware stuff. Christmas Solitaire for iPhone and Christmas Solitaire HD for iPad just got approved by Apple and I need to do some promotion before it's too late. FreeCell and FreeCell HD have been doing well. I'm going to revamp the art in Spider and Klondike and release them with a bunch of bug fixes and a few new features (e.g. No more tiny text on retina displays, no repeated deals in Spider(!) and a new "Start Deal Over" option). Once everything's updated I'll get crackin' on an all-in-one solitaire. Maybe just a free one that you can buy extras in. Although maybe a paid version and a free one.

No possums while we were gone. In fact we got four eggs which is miraculous since the chickens haven't laid any eggs in months.

I'm cleaning my office and found some old haikus I wrote back when I worked for Delta Tao Software making Mac games. It was probably Haiku week there or something :) The main themes are Customer Support, Moving, Things that are delicious, and Trouble at school:

Haikus June 18th, 1998 Moving/New Roommates

Hello Matt and Sean
There sure are lots of boxes
I will never clean

Picture of sunflower
My mother gave it to me
Housemates say "too girly"

Customer Support/Delta Tao
Dear Ruth Ohara
You returned the disk months ago
Yeah, still doesn't work

(This was a disk a nice user returned because there was a problem. I think I found it and we hadn't responded to her yet. So I wrote this haiku.)

The phones are ringing
I'll be making more money
John will just be mad

Old people call us
Irritating John Walter
That's how I make dough

Dude, 'sup? Lance is here.
Plays Starcraft. Then does shipping.
We pay him little.

Replacement dog here
Bippie is irritating
I sort of like her

I hold the baby
Get a mocha in return
Mmmm. Oh yes. Caffeine.

Solitaire won't go
Preferences file is bad
Throw it in the trash

Delta Tao Software
Secret Motte "Games that Joe likes"
Please do not tell Joe

Maybe you are tough
Maybe you take us all on
Well, maybe not though

-- Some optional endings here...
Many types Pocky
Royal Milk Tea marble kind
(Tastes and smells so gross)
(So much like poison)
(Is disgusting taste)
(Unnatural taste)

Kid in second grade
Throws the hamster in the air
Why didn't he catch it?

Calculus exam
Lots of memorization
Notes in pocket watch

Sleeping through test bad.
Teacher nice. Take it later.
I get 6 percent.

-- This was when I worked at Babbages software store in a mall. I was talking with my friend, John, and here's what happened:
Used to work in software store
Old man wanders nearby us and says
"Mostly for women I guess"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hello? Is this thing on?

It's been like a year since I wrote anything. Blogger changed up their stuff so I couldn't host my blog on my own site via FTP any more. I've been procrastinating since then about updating it so it would work on their site but finally made the move.

I built a Hackintosh... a speedy PC that's running Mac OS X (2.8GHz i7 860 with 8GB of ram and cousin Joe's video card :) ). It's really cool although I think it's officially a hobby since it keeps taking up more of my time than I expected. It's fun to work on though.

Hey, more importantly. It's late. And I just killed a possum. With a pitchfork. Really.

Sometimes it's weird around here.

I hear something outside, right now, and it seems possible the possum was playing possum (literally? Figuratively?). Although the last I left him there was a pitchfork stuck pretty far through him*. Enough that the pitchfork was sticking out into the air from the possum. I should have taken a picture. Anyway, tomorrow maybe I'll work a little on my McAfee project. Plus Jonah's got school off. Maybe he and I can remove the pitchfork and bury the possum. You know typical father/son bonding in San José. Just the usual stuff over here. Good times.

* I was pretty mad. He was scaring all our chickens and I think trying to eat them. Aww crap. I hear the pitchfork knocking on stuff. Most disturbing. I mean, do they have undead possums? Possums are really creepy already. But an undead possum would NOT be good. We have a kitty door too. He couldn't fit through with the pitchfork though.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Racoons, Broken MacBook Pro, Stuff

A raccoon woke us up a couple nights ago at 3am because the chicken it was trying to kill/steal/eat was so loud. We scared off the raccoon enough to find the chicken, decide it was too hurt to live, and then I got the job of killing it. So that all sucked.

I fired up my MacBook Pro once we were back inside. I was either going to google up stuff about raccoons or maybe write up the story here. The screen was black though. I rebooted and tried other smart stuff and nothing worked. I plugged in the external monitor and nothing. I guessed it was the crappy Nvidia 8600M chip problem that lots of other people have had on Macs and other laptops. They used bad solder or did something low quality.

I was hoping my suspicions were true because my laptop is out of warranty but the Nvidia issue is covered for 3 years. Anyway, the Apple store confirmed that it was the 8600M graphics chip and they'd replace the logic board for free.

They told me they had to wait for the logic board to arrive but it would get there the next day (Saturday) or on Monday. It arrived Tuesday which wouldn't have bugged me but they'd gotten my hopes up of a much quicker repair. I got a call Tuesday night 20 minutes before they close to say it was fixed. I rushed over and it looked like it was working okay and brought it home. They mentioned on the phone and at the store that they thought it had bad RAM and I should get it replaced (for free under warranty) by Crucial (the manufacturer). That seemed weird because I haven't had any random crashes or other nutty behavior.

At home I decided to boot the Mac OS X 10.6 install disk and see if it had a RAM test like I had read online. I started to push the DVD in and got nothin'. Normally the DVD gets sucked in automatically. It didn't work, didn't work from Windows and doesn't show up in the System Profiler either. So either they broke my DVD drive or more likely they didn't connect it to the replacement motherboard. :( It's not a big deal but it's just another thing I have to resolve now.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Jonah and Wishes

On the way to school today Jonah said if he had a wish he would wish for more wishes.

Then he said he would wish for:

  • Being able to eat all the junk food he wanted without getting sick and so he'd still grow and be healthy
  • That heaven was real
  • That he was a clone*

    The middle one there made me almost cry. We've had (grown up) friends who have died in the last few years and it's definitely gotten our whole family, including Jonah, thinking about what happens when we die, or someone else dies. And what does that mean, and what happens? And it's scary.

    * Well... cooler than just a clone. A Clone Trooper, like from Star Wars. I asked "Wouldn't it be bad to be a copy of the same person?" and he said "I'd have a lot of brothers."

  • Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Kindle and Video Games

    The word online from Amazon is they're intending to release an SDK (software development kit) for the Kindle digital book. That means it'll be able to run games and more instead of just being a fancy book viewer. That's cool... Maybe I'll port my solitaire game to it from the iPhone. The performance (aka speed) of the Kindle isn't great, but hey, I've written games for a long time, including on really low-end and ancient consumer devices. So the slow Kindle with it's weird screen should be no trouble!

    I'm on a video games developer mailing list and someone griped about how the Kindle and all digital books are doomed to failure since no one wants them. I disagree and it kind of got me fired up, so I wrote this:

    I'm not a big fan of the Kindle -- The biggest issue for me is that the contrast of the screen is too low. With that said, I'm a huge fan of digital content. I like real books, but I don't really want to store the books, waste resources on having them printed, shipped etc. It's nice to be able to buy things digitally, including books. The feature of the Kindle where you can buy a new book from almost anywhere in the world and get it almost instantly is pretty fantastic too, for those users who want that.

    It's clear that the way audio, video and video game distribution is going is that it will all shift to digital delivery. Physical media just gets in the way. My expectation is that book publishing will do the same thing. I bet printed books will be around forever, printed books are awesome, but the price of those books will be higher than digital versions and in tangible ways will be less convenient (e.g. No searching, harder to share, harder to do research with, wear out over time, don't get updated dynamically). There are a lot of reasons that digital distribution of books will win over customers, especially younger customers who grow up with digital versions of books their whole lives.

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    2010 Coffee, contracting, health insurance

    Flash forward three months from my sort-of-weird calls from recruiters in India... That all turned out to be legitimate and not a convoluted Nigerian money-making scheme like I was predicting. In fact I'm still working on that project and it's going great. It's an iPhone app, but as is often the case with cool stuff I work on, it's secret.

    I'm going to stop drinking coffee. I don't drink that much. Like one cup or less a day. I'm pretty sure caffeine isn't that great for me anyway.

    In health insurance news... we still have health insurance. Yay! I got laid off months ago and we have health insurance through COBRA. Thankfully the Obama stimulus somethin'-somethin' pays for 65% of the cost so we pay ~$400 instead of $1200. For a couple days I thought the stimulus money was going to stop so we'd want to switch insurance companies. That's when Kelly found out that no one will insure her where her pregnancy would be covered. Apparently since we have COBRA they don't have to cover pre-existing conditions. Good times. If we didn't have COBRA then I think they're forced by HIPAA to insure pre-existing conditions. So overall we're okay and once again I am super happy about the COBRA stimulus thing. I wish health insurance was easier and cheaper to deal with. We know people who have health problems and who can't afford to have them taken care of. That sucks.