Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Synchronizing your life

Having a central data repository is the easiest way to make sure that your data is always available no matter where you are. So I swallowed the google pill whole, but really any sort of IMAP based service with a web interface is perfectly fine as well. So here is how I get all my apps synced with each other on all platforms, and in a pinch I can always use the google web interfaces from a public machine.

Desktop ( Windows )
Thunderbird with lightning
Provider for Google Calendar

Mobile ( Symbian Series 60 )

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Small companies are awesome.... sometimes

I've wanted to write a post on this for a long time. There are many reason I've wanted to write this piece. I believe that knowledge should always be shared, and a blog post is a great place to do it because it becomes easily searchable and it's easy for people to leave comments about my particular methodology.

A blog is very commonly most people's online resume' now. While some of the posts on this blog are more humorous and comical in nature, and some downright offensive, I believe that by representing myself as a regular person and not hiding behind the veil of a "professional" website is simply more honest.

As Director of Technology for a small game developer. I am sometimes asked, "Would you ever want to work anywhere else?" or "Don't you want to work in a big corporation?". I can honestly say. The answer is NO. I think the only position I would ever want other than this is Microsoft Windows Product Manager, because while I love Microsoft Windows, I think they have seriously lost their way and are at this point fixing things that aren't broken and seriously affecting the usability of their operating system. But anyway, I digress. Working at small company may not be as "glorious" as working at a big multinational corporation, and some may say, not as difficult. I think that it presents it's own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Agility. Since the size of the company is small it's very easy to make changes in internal processes. I've always subscribed to the opinion that you want to least amount of overhead to get your job done. If your current process has too much overhead or cumbersome. It's easy to change when your company is small because it's not very many users to reeducate. However, one must take into account that not all systems are easily changed. Take for example a bug base. Once your users get used to using one, getting them to change to another is actually quite a difficult task. So one must always plan ahead at least a couple of steps. Sure, your company may only be 25 people right now. But you want to be able to scale to 100 and keep the same processes going.

Communication.  Lines of communication are much more open in a small company. You're not seperated by layers and layers of management. Everyone knows everyone, and there a lot less hierarchy in your structure. I feel like the company structure is pretty flat, with everyone performing their roles, with no one role being more important than another. This is of course my opinion only, some people strongly believe in a hierarchy. As such, I think that each individual team is like a skunkworks, only as much management that is necessary for it to function as efficiently as possible. Some teams require more, some teams require less.

Money. It's hard to come by, so you have a lot less to spend. But because of that you learn to be REALLY efficient, and come up with very creative cost effective solutions. Which will lead me to the second part of my series. How to run your business on purely free/open source software. It should come within a few weeks.

That's all I can think of for now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Words of wisdom

"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit."

"Aim towards the Enemy." - Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher

"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.

"Cluster bombing from B-52s are very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground."

"If the enemy is in range, so are you."

"It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed."

"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

"Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo."

"You, you, and you ... Panic. The rest of you, come with me."

"Tracers work both ways."

"Five second fuses only last three seconds."

"Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last, and don't ever volunteer to do anything."

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."

"If your attack is going too well, your walking into an ambush."

"No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection."

"Any ship can be a minesweeper ... once."

"Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do."

"Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you."

"If you see a bomb technician running, follow him."

"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death .. I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing." - At the entrance to the old SR-71 operating base Kadena, Japan

"You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3."

"The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire."

"Blue water Navy truism: There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky."

"If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe."

"When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash."

"Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another expensive flying club."

"What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; If ATC screws up, .... the pilot dies."

"Never trade luck for skill."

The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are:

1. "Why is it doing that?"
2. "Where are we?"
3. "Oh Shit!"

"Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers."

"Progress in airline flying: now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant."

"Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight."

"A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication."

"I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous."

"Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!"

"Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries."

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."

"When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten."

"Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day."

Advice given to RAF pilots during WWII: "When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slow and gently as possible."

"The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you."

"A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum."

"If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible."

"Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you."

"There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime."

"If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to."

Basic Flying Rules: "Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there."

"You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal."

As the test pilot climbs out of the experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives, the rescuer sees a bloodied pilot and asks "What happened?".
The pilot's reply: "I don't know, I just got here myself!"