february, 10, 2002 archives

i've been cycling my time between three projects—the blo.gs update tracker, bugs.php.net and other php.net-related stuff, and the quasi-imap-server i mentioned earlier.

by spending just a day on each project at time, i find i'm pretty productive. i still think about the various projects whenever they pop into my head, but when i'm on more of a timetable, i'm able to mull over those ideas a little more, and implementing them becomes easier. i should probably find a good non-computer-related project to mix in there.

now if any of those projects paid the bills, i'd be set.

matt's dig at critical ip appears to have worked. if only his page had a better title, and the rant about critical ip were at the top of the page. (like ‘critical ip sucks.’)

you may have already seen this article about the fall of ars digita from the one of the founders. like other stories of this nature, it would be interesting to hear the other side. eve's story lacks any sense of any personal responsibility for the way things went.

hey, i'll be among the first to point out the spectacular inadequecies of the upper management at my previous employers. but not everything i did was sunshine and happiness.

and i have to throw out one of my favorite thoreau quotes: “As for adopting the ways which the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man's life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to.” (my take-away: if you aren't willing to work within the system to improve your work environment, find a new one. pissing and moaning about it is no way to live.)

that last little rant made me go back and re-read some of the things i said about the situation at knowledge adventure after i left there. the latest sales rankings show that they only have one title in the top-10 home education titles. jumpstart toddlers 2000 (they're listed under vivendi-universal publishing). the jumpstart brand used to own that chart. now the only entry is a product that is nearly two years old. the december rankings are even more grim.

to this day, it astonishes me that a place that made software for children became an utterly miserable place to work, even despite the fantastic coworkers.

anybody have a million dollars burning a hole in their pocket? with that much, i bet you could develop two titles to crack the top ten, and lay the groundwork for a series that could maintain at least three positions on the monthly chart. (off the top of my head, i'd bet products targetted at the kindergarten level and early-grade math would be the two ripest fruits to pluck.)

if i were to develop software for kids, i'd most likely do it using pygame, even if i'm not a huge python fan. the early jumpstart products were built using an engine built around a proprietary scripting language, so i wouldn't have any major performance concerns. (what would be considered a 'base' machine has certainly moved way beyond what it was seven years ago.)

the real cost of developing this sort of software is in the content (art, sound, music, educational content). done right, the programming should be a rather modest percentage of the total development cost. (and later products should benefit from the groundwork laid by the earliest ones. unless you do something stupid like start them over from scratch.)

mystery deer it's been too long since i featured a picture of something interesting around here. unfortunately, i no longer remember what type of animal this is, but i liked the shot. (note: when at the zoo taking pictures, take snapshots of the signs, especially when you're shooting digital pictures and you're not having to pay for film!)

it's a little disappointing that the san diego zoo website doesn't have a gallery of all of their animals. it seems like a real no-brainer feature for a zoo website.

update: it's a klipspringer. and here's an unofficial photo gallery of san diego zoo inhabitants. thanks, mr. cook.

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