Monday, February 22, 2010

Heaven & Earth Pocket

I guess it's been out for over a year, but I've only now just discovered that Silverstreak Software has done an iPhone version of the Heaven & Earth card game (I did the original back in the early 90's), called Heaven & Earth Pocket.

It's a very faithful port, with the original graphics and sounds. It all feels a bit retro now, but there's a certain charm in that. Anyway, if you're a fan of the game or just curious, check it out!

Be sure to grab the instructions, as they're not in the game itself.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do You Like It When I...?

Caitlyn and I have a game we play sometimes. I don't know how we first invented it, but it was over a year ago. It's quite simple, we just take turns asking each other, "Do you like it when I," with something silly and usually unpleasant at the end. For instance, "Do you like it when I mix bananas and broccoli together and dump them on your head?" Or, "Do you like it when I fly away to the moon and never come back?"

Turns out it's endlessly amusing. I think it's good because it's a creativity exercise as well as teaching some empathy. I think Caitlyn likes it because it lets her talk about gross things and mean things without us getting mad at her. Everybody wins!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Viva la RevoluciĆ³n!

Thinking about my next steps, and particularly in a recent discussion with fellow survivors of Live365 (whose tagline was "Radio Revolution!"), the word "revolution" keeps coming up.

Perhaps revolution isn't exactly the correct word for what I'm looking for, but it's closer than innovation. I'm looking to be part of something bigger than me, bigger than my company and my product. Something where there's a large-scale change for the better in the way people do things, see the world, etc. I don't need to be the leader or the one who starts things rolling, I just want to be one of the players as it unfolds.

Maybe the right words are activist and movement, but of course revolution has a nice drama to it.

This isn't new; it was bred into me from the start, and I would say I've been doing pretty well so far. In my eyes, MetaCreations was quite successful by this definition, not in the realm of digital imaging but in the realm of user interface. You see the results every day when you use MacOS X or Windows 7. Perhaps Live365 was not a key player in the music revolution, but we were part of it nonetheless, so again, I count that as success. More recently, Seadragon is part of the revolution towards resolution-independent displays, zooming interfaces, all that. Time will tell the impact on that, but it's been a satisfying movement to be a part of.

One inevitable question is how is this all good for business? Well, I have no idea. Changing the world is my goal, and money simply a means to the end, not the other way around. I recognize the importance of money, and I value team members who can make it flow our way, but I know that's not my strength.

As much as I sometimes think I can do everything, I'm happiest when I'm collaborating with brilliant, creative, radical people; in short, revolutionaries.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The sun was out today, and it brought everyone out of the woodwork. We had our monthly neighborhood cleanup in the morning, which got things rolling. We chatted with old friends and met new ones. Caitlyn ran all over the park with a boy a little older than her who has recently moved into the neighborhood. Christina worked in the garden, as did a number of our neighbors (in their yards and gardens). My sister (who recently moved into the neighborhood) stopped by and invited Caitlyn out for a ride on the light rail.

I'm delighted to be living in a neighborhood with so much friendly, casual community. One more reason I'm glad not to be commuting across the water every day anymore.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Amazon/Seattle Public Library bookmarklet

Amazon pages are a common way to pass around book suggestions, but what if you want to check the book out before you buy it? If you're in the Seattle area, you can use this handy bookmarklet to go straight from an Amazon book page to that book on the Seattle Public Library's site. Just drag this link:


... to the bookmark bar on your browser, then next time you're on an Amazon book page, hit the bookmark. It should take you straight to the library's version (if they have it).

Yes, I'm having a productive first week of freelancing... why do you ask?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Threshold

Friday was my last day at Microsoft, Monday is my first official day of freelancing, and today is a soft, quiet limbo with rain outside and cozy inside, where I get to recover from all the going-away festivities and prepare for the next thing.

Caitlyn is used to her mother working at home, but now she gets to get used to me working from home as well. Today we're all working on various projects, stopping from time to time to share things with each other or collaborate on something, but otherwise in full parallel play mode. It looks a lot like my childhood; both of my parents worked at home, so while they were there if I needed them, I was mostly on my own. I filled my days creating things, a habit that has continued ever since.

I still don't know who I'm working for next week. I've got maybe half a dozen likely clients, plus a couple dozen more vague possibilities. Many of the people I'm talking with want me full-time. It's great to be wanted, and I don't want to seem flighty, but I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment. I just came off five years of focusing on a single technology; I need to wander a bit.

Well, one way or another, here we go!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Caitlyn Plans Ahead

This evening Christina wasn't feeling well, so I informed Caitlyn that I would likely be reading the bedtime stories tonight. Of course Caitlyn prefers Mama, so she insisted that she would ask her if she could do it, and if Mama said "no", then she would "kiss her and hug her and cry". I surely said something flippant about how it's nice to have plans...

Half an hour later, jammies on, teeth brushed, room clean, she went downstairs to where Mama was resting on the couch and asked her if she could read stories tonight. Mama said "no", and sure enough, Caitlyn first kissed her, then hugged her, then teared up. She told her mama to get better and that she loved her. She then turned around and headed upstairs for her stories with Papa, while I stood there marveling at her follow-through.