I run the Adobe Creative Cloud crap out of necessity rather than any desire to use that terrible software.
Many of the Adobe apps insist on phoning home for a variety of reasons, and not just to verify proper software licenses.
A few of the Adobe products, Indesign for instance, will 100% crash on launch with an inscrutable error if it cannot phone home.
If I drop the firewall, Indesign launches just fine.
I’ll be damned if I am going to drop my firewall for a piece of software to launch, and I’ll be damned if I will let a piece of software phone home for analytics and crash if it cannot. Doesn’t exactly instill any confidence in me when you software crashes because it cannot talk to some remote server somewhere.
The absolutely absurd thing is, I can redirect the IP of the AWS server , in this case lcs-robs.adobe.io, which is listed under the Adobe documentation as being used for the “Admin Console” https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/AdminGuide/endpoints.html that InDesign is trying to reach to my loopback, and InDesign works just fine. InDesign literally crashes because it cannot open the network port.
Just spent 2 hours trying to figure out why After Effects was complaining that my project files were corrupted.
When it turned out to be a permissions error.
*sigh* So not a helpful error message.
It’s never how much profit you made for the company.
It’s never how much you saved the company.
It is always how much you spent.
“You paid $1.93 more for lunch than you were authorised, we cannot approve this expense.”
Yeah, and I saved you $2,500 by inconveniencing myself and driving to the client location instead of flying and I didn’t get paid for those hours of travel. I used my own hotel points instead of paying for the hotel and I closed a $70,000 deal.
But all you care about is the fact I spent $1.93 more on lunch than the approved $12.
*This* is why I don’t like dealing with expense reports.
It is not an opinion, if you are right.
5:30AM and a technical recruiter calls me: “Hey, this is Angie for ABC Recruiting. I found your resume online and it is a perfect match for junior .NET developer in Florida. When can I schedule you for an interview?”
Me: “There is not enough coffee in the world that could get me to wake up in the morning to tolerate your special kind of bullshit.”
I swear that the functionality of LinkedIn is actually in regression.
You can no longer search your connections for location.
I’m wondering if they are taking a leaf out of Electronic Arts playbook.
Cannot wait for LinkedIn to release their DLC pack and Season Pass.
I have inherited some iOS code for a client app from the previous developer.
If I see one more hard-coded magic number or yet another comment that says “declare the variables!!!” or another comment that says “set a constant value to 10” followed by a line of code that reads “var someValue = 12” I swear I will hunt down that developer and say some very stern words.
So I’m reading this PDF on how the designer lays out kitchens and repeatedly all I can think is “Have you ever actually fucking set foot in a kitchen?!?”
I’ve always held the belief that bookcases and not designed by people who read books or collect books.
And the more I read about how to build and install kitchen cabinets, and how to lay out a kitchen, and all the useless hardware and fixtures that can be found inside a kitchen cabinet, I am a strong believer in people who design kitchens (because we are doing a huge re-model of our kitchen right now) never actually work in the kitchen, because if they did, they wouldn’t make these enormous fundamental mistakes in the designs.
You want to know why your dishwasher, fridge, oven and built-in microwave is 22" (counter-depth as they call it) deep?
Because kitchen cabinets are 24″ deep.
You want to know why kitchen cabinets are 24" deep?
Because plywood boards are 48″ by 96″.
Which explains why you can never reach the bit off the Kitchenaid stand mixer that has lodged itself right at the back of the deep, deep cabinet.
Also, people have no clue how to design for and handle blind corners in kitchens.
As an engineer it makes me bury my head in my hands.
With the current state of college admissions and the technologically backward, myopic thinking most higher education institutions engage in I think it will take me longer to determine how to get an education than it will take to get the education.
University of South Wales (alma mater) offers an MSc in Mobile Computing.
The funny thing is, I pretty much teach that entire course, at a more advanced level than what the MSc does in their courseware, in my own corporate training classes.
I am trying very hard to reconcile in my head why I’d subject myself to sub-standard knowledge than I already have, pay someone for the privilege, just to get a piece of paper telling me what I already know.
I think some days that the search feature on Mac OS X is powered by Bing.
Search term “status updates to post in March” on local machine.
“Here’s some information about fly fishing in Paraguay you looked up three years ago.”
“If you don’t like the laws and customs of the country, why don’t you just leave?”
You own a gun?
People fought against the law, and they died to change the law, for your right to own a gun.
You’re a woman and you vote?
People fought against the law, and they died to change the law, for your right to vote.
You believe in birth control?
People fought against the law, and they died to change the law, for your right to birth control.
You’re black and free?
People fought against the law, and they died to change the law, for your right to freedom and not be a slave.
You’re an immigrant and came to this country at any time in the past 250 years?
People fought against the law, and they died to change the law, for your right to live here.
Native, immigrant, black, female, white, left wing, right wing, Jew, Catholic, Christian, Atheist, you all owe your thanks and your liberty to those that changed the law and died for your right to be here.
Your race, your gender, your skin colour, your sexual preference, your religion or your poisonous political ideals, no matter who you are, your permission to remain here and be safe in your home and the liberty you enjoy is because someone fought and died to change the law that oppressed you.
Leave the politics to the people that make a difference.
Leave the politics to the people that can make a difference.
Leave the politics to the people who will make a difference.
Your poisonous, parochial, divisive, demagogue ideals are playground tactics of an immature political outlook.
You don’t like what I am saying?
Too bad, people fought to change the law, and died for the right for YOU to be able to disagree with what I have to say.
If you don’t like what I’m saying, you could always try and change the law.
But wait… That isn’t your way.
Well you can’t change the law, because, as you say, “If you don’t like it, you can leave.”
Off you go.
You don’t get to say “A pen in the hand of this man is more dangerous than a gun in the hands of thousands.”
You don’t get to say “We should change these laws.”
These laws were made by our policymakers.
These policymakers were put there by the people.
If you don’t like the laws that are being enacted, by your logic, you don’t have the right to change them, you don’t have the right to protest against them.
These are the laws of the country.
You don’t like them?
Then why don’t you leave.
Leave us this country and we’ll run it how we see fit.
I’m going to pester you and make you feel bad about yourself because you didn’t do this thing I told you I wanted done, even though you didn’t agree to do it, and even though we only recently connected on LinkedIn and have had no other communication beyond a superficial “I’d like to add you to my network” is not a winning strategy to remain connected with me.
If you expect people to die to defend your right to hold an opinion, perhaps you should have an opinion that is worth defending in the first place.
Instead of some regurgitated piece of unfounded, hateful, bigoted, spiteful bullshit you picked up from Facebook.
“These people shot a lion.”
“My son was in a bad accident and was airlifted to hospital.”
“My daughter survived cancer.”
“My sister graduated.”
“Look at what I had for lunch.”
I am a compassionate soul, but if you visit a curry restaurant and expect to have a hamburger, you’re probably in the wrong place.
And this is also how I feel about Facebook-like status updates on LinkedIn.
You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that your snapping, snarling, loudly barking dog that you cannot calm down, no matter how fancy the jacket and patches that it wears that proudly declares it is a service dog, is actually a service dog when it is straining at the leash to get at my dog, which is a trained service dog, that is in the down-ready position waiting quietly by my side.
Couple of days ago I came across a blog post about VentuRocket, an alternative way to find a job. This is a neat little startup that is hoping to change how people find jobs and how companies find good employees.
It works very much like Google AdWords, you specify how much you are willing to pay for a particular keyword that advertises your skills to the world, or at least, the world of companies looking for new people.
I thought I would give it a whirl, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Who knows, maybe I will find some cool start-up that is willing to make me an offer I cannot refuse.
Sign-up was easy, and within minutes I’m listing out some of my choicest skills and how much I am willing to pay, AdWords-style, to get those keywords in front of someone who is hiring.
Now I consider myself a world class software developer — who doesn’t consider themselves that, right? – I have 30+ years of commercial product experience, over three-quarters of a billion dollars of shipped entertainment products and commercial websites.
I’m a serial entrepreneur, I’ve personally started five companies, two of which I’ve sold, the others, well, not everyone rolls a natural 20 every time.
I’ve worked for Fortune 50 companies and little two man start-ups.
I’ve lead technical teams of a hundred plus people and managed multiple multi-million dollar projects. I’ve been lowly grunt programmer, project manager, director of business development, director of development, lead engineer, chief technical officer, chief executive officer, managing director and also chief bottle washer.
I’ve got multiple awards.
I teach at colleges.
I speak publicly.
That’s my resume and work experience in a nutshell.
Now VentuRocket is a neat concept, you put down money of how much you think your skills are worth. You get contacted by employers who are willing to spend the same amount of dollars to talk to you.
As they claim on the VentuRocket website, “no resumes!” Awesome! Pretty much every job I’ve ever had that I thought was worth a damn didn’t involve the usual resume submission process.
Now imagine my surprise when I get contacted a few hours later by an interested company, “Holy Hell! This thing actually works!”
A little less than $20 spent and someone is wanting to talk about a job and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since I created my VentuRocket account. I even got to talk to the main decision maker at the hiring company a few hours later after the initial contact.
Awesome and fast!
On VentuRocket’s FAQ they address the question of “What if I am not interested in working for the company?” with the answer “It’s great you can be that picky.”
Unfortunately, I and many other people are going to be that picky but not for the reason VentuRocket thinks.
It just cost me $7 to find out that someone is trying to hire me, and is willing to pay the glorious sum of $30/hr.
Well, see, that’s the problem right there.
I cannot afford to work for $30/hr.
I wouldn’t even consider it.
Why would I work for $30/hr?
That yearly sum won’t even cover my monthly expenditures.
I think I can state with some certainty that this company, which will rename nameless, they meant well after all, will not be the last company to offer such a low rate of pay either. Any look at Cyber Coder or Monster or Craigslist will tell you that.
The fundamental flaw is that it will cost job hunters real money to be offered jobs that are not even in their ballpark price range because there is always someone out there willing to try a low-ball to see whether someone desperate enough will take it.
This is the fundamental flaw in the VentuRocket plan.
I don’t think VentuRocket can fix it with a “job must offer this minimum amount of income before I am willing to talk to the company” either because I have been through actual in-person interviews where they know up front what I am seeking as an hourly compensation, the person on the other side of the desk is eager to hire, but when it comes down to negotiation, the offer opens at less than a quarter of what I am seeking and doesn’t move up very much from there.
I don’t really watch much in the way of television these days. I’m more of an accidental watcher, encountering shows when they are on the TV whilst I am visiting friends. I’ll watch an occasional movie, but most of the stuff that Hollywood puts out bores me to death. I’m not a film snob, I couldn’t tell you what something means, or why a director picked a particular location or technique in his attempt to convey a certain message so it is not like I even watch independent movies specifically. I just find that life is too short to passively sit there and watch someone else’s entertainment product, there’s too many things I want to be doing to sit in front of a screen and not interact with it.
But hey, I’m trying to keep up on modern technology and various internet services, and sometimes I feel like catching up on something such as Good Eats or Mythbusters. I thought Hulu would be an ideal service to sign up for and get a semi-regular fix, they also offer a free 7-day trial so I can check it out for a week and cancel if I don’t like it or am not using it.
Off I trundled to the Hulu website, all ready to sign up, credit card in hand because that’s how these 7-day free trials often work. The registration form wants the standard stuff, email address, name. Okay, I can supply a fake name and made-up email address that will work for the purposes of this that can send all of their spam and marketing in to a black hole but still work for when I need to recover a password. But now it wants First Name and Last Name, hmm, okay, nothing too out of the ordinary there, and then it wants my birth date… um… why?
So the software can screen only age appropriate content?
No, probably not as anybody else could use my account or watch over my shoulder.
The web page goes on to require my zip code, not for billing purposes, I’m not even at the billing screen yet, this is purely for marketing purposes.
And finally, hey, Hulu wants to know gender too.
Amazing! What next year? Websites will need to know blood type or income level before letting you watch TV?
What does my gender or zip code or name have to do with signing up for a subscription based TV service? Oh, that’s right, so you can advertise and market to me under the guise of ensuring I receive “relevant” content. Gosh, they even have a message “we promise to always keep this information confidential” so that makes me instantly want to trust them more because if it’s on a company’s website, the company must obviously stand by everything they say they’ll do. Except for when it inconveniences them and makes it difficult to make money off of your marketing data.
So yeah, supplying lots of data to be able to watch TV which I don’t much care for anyway? No, I don’t think so. Nobody needs to know any more about the person signing up for a service than the billing address. If information requirements go beyond that, it is highly suspicious as to why a company is collecting the data.
It comes back to who gains the benefit when this data is supplied, me or the company? And in pretty much every case, it’s the company. If there is no direct, tangible benefit to the end-user, there is no reason to collect the data.
I finally got around to installing Dragon Age: Origins over the weekend. I just kept putting it off because personal projects and a lot of other good games were vying for my meagre discretionary time outside of day-to-day work. I loved the look of the game and found the first few hours of game play absolutely enthralling as I made various choices, both moral and banal, to advance the story and determine how my character treated other people.
My room-mate was playing the game too, and her character was much more aggressive and short with various non-player characters in the game so that the attitude of how her character interacted with the world was far different from mine.
And on Sunday evening, just as I am really getting in to the game, and moving towards the “big ritual” I rage-quit during a cinematic.
Yep, I rage-quit a single player game.
This isn’t the first single player game I have rage-quit during a cinematic. Probably my first ever was Half-Life, during the opening sequence that cannot be skipped, that sets up the story, because I have no interest in watching some film school drop-out put his boring ass, directorial debut in to my video game. I took that one back to EB, and when they wouldn’t take it back I left the box on the counter and did a charge back on my credit card.
I don’t play games, emphasis on “play”, to be a passive, non-participant sat docilely at my computer whilst a non-interactive movie plays in the background.
For Modern Warfare 2, from reading the forums before purchase, I understood you could not skip the various movies that play until you had watched them at least once (three times because the stupid game is so prone to crashing on many systems that it doesn’t save your progress).
Ten minutes with a dis-assembler and some NOP instructions took care of that nonsense.
Now I get to play MW2 with no more stupid cinematic sequences along the lines of: “I’m your archetype, gruff voiced Special Forces General here to tell you all about what you need to do. You’re going in there and you’re going to shoot people. And then you’re going to shoot more people. And after that, I’ll ask you to indiscriminately shoot more people. Why? Because it’s an FPS son and that’s what we do. We shoot people.”
If your story/plot/cinematic for an FPS is any longer or contains any more exposition than that, you are seriously fucking over-thinking it.
I don’t need exposition and plot to play Pacman, or Space Invaders, or Tetris.
I don’t need that crap in an FPS either.
Yeah, yeah, very pretty story, bad guys need killing, what was my role again? Oh yeah, I shoot people in interesting ways with high powered semi-automatic weapons whilst running around hallways.
You think the people playing the multi-player version of MW2 give a shit about why they are killing the other players or require ten minutes of exposition on who screwed who?
Nobody cares if they are good or bad. Black, white or yellow. American or Russian or British. My role and your role, in an FPS game, is to kill stuff. Just tell me what needs to be eradicated and give me enough bullets to do the job properly.
But Dragon Age? Ah, that’s a different beast. The cinematic sequences advance the story and are tightly woven in to your decisions. You are presented, at every step, with moral choices that need to be made that shape your character, that determine how the story proceeds, to some degree at least within the confines of what is possible in a badly written branching plotline that ultimately has to be quite linear.
I quit the game, and have no intention of ever returning to it, over a moral choice.
I quit the game because when presented with a moral dilemma. I made a choice that was congruent with my character in the game, with how I wanted to interact with the world. I made a conscious choice to stop the game at that point and effectively initiate permanent character death. I made a moral choice, from the perspective of the game, and the only one I could make. Yes or no? Black or white? Good or bad? Justice or injustice? I chose “No.” I chose “justice.”
My character fought alongside three brave companions. We went in to the wilds together. We slew many beasts and foul creatures together. We gathered the necessary items for the handful of quests laid before us. I was their leader. I made the choices of whether to abandon an injured companion that was slowing me down or heal that person with the rare herbs and poultices available to us. When done with our quests, we all hurried back to town to take part in the secretive joining ritual to become one of the Grey Wardens. The ritual is so secretive they don’t tell you there is a high probability, in this case, 33%, that you could die during it. And they also don’t tell you that after you have been informed you have a high probability of dying, that should you then refuse the ritual, you will be killed.
One of my companions died after ingesting the poisonous blood that is to be drunk during the ritual, and my “trusted leader” stepped over his corpse as it fell, less concerned with his death than if he were a piece of damaged property that was no longer useful.
When my other companion protested this, and fear showed in his eyes, a seasoned knight of battle with a wife and child, our leader gutted him with no more thought than if he were practising his knife skills against a wicker and straw target.
I was bade to drink the poisonous blood that had already killed one of my companions, and as the cinematic began to play. I pressed ALT+F4 and said to myself “No. Here I make a moral choice. Here I change the story. Here is where I draw a line in the dirt. Here I say this is my decision. I will not join a regime, one that proclaims so much goodness against so much evil, that wants to bring justice to everyone, when it conducts such injustices against innocents itself. I raise my blade, and on this spot I will die, but I will die knowing that I stood for what is right and proper, and not because it was convenient.”
When you present someone with moral choices, and put the hype and spin on how wonderful your game is in how those choices can shape and alter the character and the story, but are so lazy that when the choices, for the player, become difficult, and it comes down to “enjoyment of the game” versus “the right thing to do” after preaching “the right thing” for so many hours, you break my suspension of disbelief. You break it so solidly that I have no interest in continuing to hear what you have to say no matter how entertaining you believe it may be.
Some people will overlook the problem, and go on to enjoy it. But if you, as the game designer, find the adulation of the crowd for a flawed product satisfying, perhaps you should consider a new vocation.
In fiction or game design, your world should be consistent and suspend disbelief. If it is not and does not, you are just a lazy hack whose frequent recourse to exploit deus ex machina is laughable. This “device” wasn’t interesting in Greek literature and plays, it is even less so in modern fiction. Fiction which also includes the “detailed and intricate plots” (I find this statement so laughable when I read it on the back of game boxes) found in games.
“Because I said so” makes for a very unsatisfying advancement to the plot. It is, as my old creative writing professor clearly stated, “the hallmark of a lazy hack who will be lauded for his cleverness by the common sheep who bleat because they know no better.”
“But dude, it’s just a game!”
No. It is “entertainment” and all good forms of entertainment, to be successful, to be interesting, to be enjoyable, must adhere to certain inviolable tenets. Anybody who consistently disregards these tenets is forever doomed to remain a “lazy hack.”
It seems, that after reading through the entire plot tree for Dragon Age : Origins, helpfully published online, I can unequivocally state that I would not have enjoyed the game for it’s story. As Dragon Age : Origins is supposedly all about the story, it would have been a frustrating experience to say the least. Glancing at the plot tree there are several “deus ex machina/because I said so” places that do not leave you with any choice but to go along for the ride.
Thing is, I don’t play video games “to go along for the ride.” I play video games to have an interactive experience where I make the choices. If all I want to do is ride, I can visit Disneyland or Universal Studios and be bored to tears because those places are stocked full of non-interactive “because I said so” rides.
Dragon Age : Origins – Enjoyed by sheep.
Andy Ostroy at the Huffington Post writes about how he hates Facebook.
Well Andy, you’re late to the party on that one, and trust me, nobody gives a damn about your 40-yr old pre-pubescent photographs.
No, seriously, believe it or not, not one single person, not even the guy who found them.
Lazy journos writing utter shite about things they don’t understand and never will.
Andy writes: “The site is overcrowded with attention-starved grown-ups essentially screaming “look at me… look at me!” all day long.”
And so is the Huffington Post press desk apparently.
Andy Ostroy, belonging to an exclusive club of 1 billion and growing, a membership which includes yours truly.
Andy also belongs to the exclusive narcissist’s rant of the month club where you get to pick an obvious topic, such as “I hate Facebook” and write long-winded rants about it on a well trafficked “journalistic” website to get their own 15 minutes of fame.
May I get you a little more whine to go with your spam, sir?
Wait a minute, I think I just wrote a lazy blog post about a lazy journalist, does that mean the Universe will now implode?
My time on this Earth and my patience with you are in competition to see which one runs out first.
Smart money is on patience.
Hey Random Recruiter!
The request “Please remove my details from your candidate database and never contact me again” is not an invitation to immediately call me back and tell me how much I suck.
Somehow I always manage to dine with the weirdos. I am sure if you dine out regularly you will recognise many of the traits that follow in other people you dine with.
Take this post as it is written, a tongue-in-cheek poke at all of those people who have dined with me over the years. You know who you are. 😉
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- Don’t speak with your mouth full of food.
- Brush your teeth at least once in the 12 hours previous to being in my company.
- Do not masticate louder than my pets.
- Learn to use a knife & fork properly. “American Style” merely suggests you should consider having your next dinner date at McDonald’s. 😉
- Do not endlessly fidget by bouncing your leg, drumming your fingers, tapping your eating utensils.
- Do not ask me a question, or begin a topic of conversation, only to answer your cell phone half-way through, and do this at least 5 times within an hour.
- Do not take an hour to decide what to eat, if when entering the restaurant it is announced that they will close in 15 minutes and the restaurateur who is a personal friend has allowed us to be seated.
- Taking longer to decide what to order — even though you have ate at the restaurant on more than one occasion and you always order the same thing every time — than it does for me to order my meal, consume it at a leisurely pace and wonder what is for desert. It is a sure sign you probably need therapy.
- The above rule applies doubly so when we visit a “fast food” place such as “In’n’Out Burger” that contains precisely four items on the menu* (not including soft drinks) and I have time to finish the thick shake, my burger and warm the engine up on the car before you have decided precisely what kind of burger you want (burger, burger with cheese, double burger, double burger with cheese, how hard can it be people?)
- Do not host a 30-minute phone conversation with your boss/significant other/OBGYN during the meal. Any phone conversation that is not a justifiable emergency or lasts longer than 20 seconds is not suitable for the dinner table.
- Do not make “fingernails on black board” noises with your knife when cutting food every time you use it.
- Do not analyse the contents or ingredients of our meals. I’m a better cook than you and I already know what’s in my food. Showing your cleverness by masticating thoughtfully then declaring the list of ingredients is like listening to someone describe their Yu-Gi-Oh card deck in exquisite detail.
- Please belch after the meal is over, and not in my direction.
- Learn to eat spaghetti and noodles correctly. I don’t appreciate your food on my shirt, plate, etc.
- The amount of saliva in your mouth should be less than the amount of water in your glass so that I don’t wind up with my food having a watery texture every time you talk to me.
- You are permitted to breathe during your sixty minute monologue without fear of interruption.
- Bathe! If your aroma is stronger than the Italian food that uses lots of garlic it is a sure sign of a personal hygiene problem.
And I’ll mention these again because I think they are really important:
- Learn to use a knife and fork properly.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
* Except for their secret menu, which contains another six items.
If I loan you a device or piece of equipment I do not expect you to come back some time later, whilst the device was in your care, and say “It broke. Have you got another one?”
What do you expect me to do in that circumstance?
Never sit in a meeting and whine that because my 60 hour weeks are an insufficient contribution that it is jeopardising your all important, mid-six-figure, year-end bonus cheque.
My opinion is that if you do not have a single commit to the code base, then you don’t get an opinion about the quality of the code in the code base.
Was out for a ride with a (now) ex-friend.
We were heading back to dispatch to turn in some papers from a package drop.
Both of us riding a bit fast ’cause we just wanted to get home.
You know how it is.
Nothing too aggressive but certainly not 70.
Anyway, (now) ex-friend opens it up coming across the Severn bridge.
I decide not to push it and just let him go.
I pass him a couple of minutes later pulled over by the fuzz.
When he catches me up at the next services he is cheesed off.
1. Because I didn’t “stop and help him talk his way out of it” with the police.
2. Because I am refusing to pay half of his speeding ticket he got handed.
And this is the clincher, because he was aggressive with the officer, it isn’t just a “pay this and get some points” ticket.
Now he actually has to show up, in court, and get a dressing down by the magistrate.
And because I said I won’t go to court with him, he’s super pissed about that.
And that’s the last time I basically use my afternoon off to ride with an (ex) friend Cardiff to Bristol so he has got some company dropping off a package ’cause he didn’t want to do it alone.
Justin Nick O’Time.
I’ve heard them all.
You may think you’re being original, but you ain’t.