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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What's Happening in My Life

Since my last post, things have been simultaneously incredibly busy and mindnumbingly boring. Busy because, as the term implies, there's been a lot going on. Boring because, well...none of it was very exciting.

Let's break it down, shall we?

After a three month push to get everything together for a June 1 beta release, we pulled the plug on it literally hours before posting it. The new schedule tentatively calls for the beta to be in August or September. Why did we pull it? Well, a variety of reasons, but the two primary ones were that it was really more like an alpha, and we wanted to put in some additional features. Our execs felt that posting a half-baked, semi-usable program would only upset people. Yeah, they were right, because testers who can't actually use your program aren't much help, but I still think we should've posted something to placate people a little. We also wanted to make sure that everyone is always on the latest version, so we're adding an auto-update feature to keep people from having to download a 100 MB file every two days.

In the meantime, we've kind of pulled back from "crunch time," and stopped working 10 hour days and skipping lunch. That's just not sustainable for long, and it's good to have bosses who understand that.

It looks like we'll be moving into our new office building in about October. I've walked through it a couple of times, and it's going to be awesome. We can't wait, especially when the temp hits 3 digits and our AC units keep blowing fuses and throwing breakers in our current building. The high point this summer (or low point, I suppose) was when we threw the main circuit breaker for the entire building instead of just a single circuit like usual.

Heather Marie and I have been catching up on some long-term projects around the house. We've gotten two new flowerbeds built in our backyard, and the brick wall bed built on the front to match the one we did several years ago. That gets a ton (actually more like 1700 lbs.) of landscaping bricks out of our garage, and makes a lot of extra room for us. Who knows, maybe we'll actually be able to fit a car in it someday!

Heather finally got her driver's license, so we'll be adding a second car soon, probably a 2-3 year old Civic or Corolla or similar. Safe, fuel efficient, and utterly reliable are the primary criteria.

For a while now, I've been craving a laptop of my own. I spend 8 hours each day sitting at a desk in front of a computer, and it's beginning to wear on me that I spend another 4-5 hours at a desk in front of a computer every night after work, too. Heather's building a website for her bellydance troupe, though, and doing some audio editing, so I haven't been able to work from her laptop in the living room with her. At the same time, I've been desirous of trying life on the Mac side, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and get an Apple laptop.

I expected, along with everyone else, that the iBook would get an upgrade when OS X 10.4 was released in order to support all the new features, so I was waiting for that. It finally came this week, but it was pretty underwhelming, so now I'm waivering between a new iBook and a refurb PowerBook. (Or, alternatively, a cheap Dell and a Mac Mini -- the jury's still out.)

During the interim, though, I spent a lot of time trawling the Mac forums and websites looking for advice, info, and rumors. I was impressed to find that the Mac users in those places (who are, admittedly, the hardcore faithful) are generally very knowledgeable and helpful, and they frequently seem to have a legitimate vision for a better computing experience.

Much of the rest of the Mac forum crowds, though, are the most cultish, obsessive, seemingly-brainwashed bunch of navel-gazers I have ever encountered. I know, that's harsh, but it's not far from the truth, either. Prior to the Intel announcement, many of them were saying it would never happen, and how the PowerPC is superior to x86 in every way. After the announcement, as soon as the cries of dismay diminished, the general opinion was that x86 wasn't really that bad afterall, and that the earlier debunkings of the "Megahertz Myth" going back 10 years were, in fact, myths themselves. Before the iBook updates, the expectation was that they'd be upgraded to widescreen super systems nearly on par with PowerBooks, because that was the minimum necessary to compete with Windows laptops. Afterward, the opinion changed within a matter of hours to how the actual, weak updates were the best possible hardward configuration.

I doubt that I've ever seen such an astounding example of groupthink combined with blind apologetics first hand. I'll freely admit, though, that it probably wasn't the same individuals changing their positions to follow the winds from Cupertino. I finally decided to just forget the whole mess, figure what I need, when I need it, and buy it. Period. Too much obsessing otherwise.

So, that's the news from Lake Ryan, where none of the men are strong, the woman is good-looking, and the only child is a Scottish Terrier.