Sunday, August 19, 2012

More Mayan Madness and Inspiration

So it's been a while since I've posted. Unfortunately in the weeks since then I've had a hard drive "almost" fail, a Time Machine restore TOTALLY fail, the hard drive FINALLY fail, and lots of restore pain. In short, it's been a hell of a few weeks. But now I'm mostly back to normal (well, the laptop is) and running again.
19 Aug 2012 in Long Count
I've been working on the Long Calendar app for the past few days. So far I've added a lot of better graphics to it so it looks better than it did before (see picture to the right). I think it's starting to look a little better. I wasn't planning on working on the glyphs until I had completed everything else, but I'm actually really close now. I have two remaining bugs. For some reason the Haab and Tzolkin calculations are incorrect. I'm guessing I messed something up when I fixed some +1/-1 problems earlier. And BCE dates aren't working correctly right now. Again - I think I managed to break them at some point during development.
One thing I'm not doing much and need to be doing a lot more is the unit test. Xcode 4.2 integrated a unit testing framework into the system, which is awesome. I need to spend some time really beating it up and understanding it a lot. With this applet I feel that it could be beneficial (it would have caught the changes that broke the calculations), but I'm also pretty far down the path. I've got a set of tests that I do whenever I make changes, so I'm not totally out of sync with current development methodologies, but still feel that with all of the agile experience I have that I'm not being "true" to the methodology by not doing it for my own projects. Especially since Apple has done the "right" thing by encouraging developers to do it. Next project I must do it.
Regardless, things are starting to come together with this. I expect that I'll be able to get this completed this week, I hope, and get it into the AppStore next weekend. Earlier would be better, but there's a lot going on right now - lots of swirl and lots of stress.
On a good note, though, I spoke with a friend from my HP days - Cooper. He works at Microsoft right now and I was in Seattle last week and rang him up. He's one of the most talented engineers I know (perhaps the most talented). He's also one of those people who is completely committed to whatever it is that he's working on at the moment. He inspired me to work on things that made me happy when we worked together. We actually started talking about starting our own company before MS offered him riches that would make Solomon blush. But it's Coop who really encouraged me to dream bigger and work harder to achieve those dreams.
I've sort of lost sight of that in the doldrums that are everyday development. It's easy to forget the why of what you're doing in the day-to-day of doing. What do I want to have? The ability to be with my family when and where we want to be. To be able to provide for them while not being beholden to a time clock at a wage-slave job. To not be a sarariman. As you probably know, I have a 9-5 at Comcast. The "job" is good - challenging to be certain, but I'm well-compensated and enjoy working with my coworkers. But it's not what I want to do in the long-term. Before I got this job I told my wife that I wanted my next job to be my last one - that I would make this Otto Von thing work come hell or high water. And what's happened in the 2.5 years since I started at Comcast? Not a whole lot. I've managed to learn a lot but at same time waste a lot of effort not focusing on the end goal.
Talking with Cooper has really re-focused my energies on that end goal. I was reminded of the possibilities we had back at HP. Of the things we talked about doing and the places we'd go. Of the games we'd write and the lives we would change. Of the paradigms we'd create with our innovation. We'd be the Nintendos of the game world. And that's gotten lost.
So, here we are in August. What will the next few months bring? I don't know, but I do know that I'm reconnecting with those "halcyon days of my youth". I'm remembering WHY I'm doing this and why I need to make this more than just a hobby. It just takes a look at my family and a chat with an old friend to bring everything back into focus with a clarity I could scarcely recall. Almost like a haze that slowly dims your vision. Over the years it just seems fuzzier than it used to be. And then you clean the haze away. Now I just need to keep the haze away.