touch and go, redux

Back to the Bay Area today, after an exciting semi-demi-hemi-week of not quite catching up on stuff from my last trip. I am behind, very very behind, on a huge number of things, including diary entries about:

  • the last 2 days of the Game Developers Conference;
  • a related post about games-as-art, the prospects for innovative game design (I would totally play a game of Wonder Lincoln, even without the “Pairs Plague Dodging” bonus round), and how to get over the “big team, big budget, big schedule” hump;
  • what I’ve been up to in the Bay Area and elsewhere for the last while;
  • my attempts to machete a path through the desktop language jungle;
  • why you should vote Phil Schwan in the next election — write-in is fine! — even if he doesn’t end up running for The Money Party.

I bet you can’t wait!


I’m at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose this week, and it’s been very enjoyable so far.

I’ve been interested in game development for a very long time, perhaps as long as I’ve been interested in video games at all; Mom will no doubt relate some story about me typing machine language into my C-64 from the back of Compute’s Gazette. There are a lot of things about the field that interest me quite a bit, but the main thing is, well, that there are a lot of things about the field that interest me. The inter-disciplinary nature — marketing, psychology, visualization/graphics, artificial intelligence, all manner of art issues, networking, simulation/physics, interactive information presentation and user experience, etc. — really turns my crank, you might say.

So I’ve been trying to hit a number of differently-targetted sessions here at the conference, while keeping my growing network of game-industry contacts fed and watered. I’ll try to write about some of the more interesting stuff over the next few days, starting, well, now. (more…)


The aforementioned dissonance has been resolved, in a number of ways, and I thank everyone for their support and concern. I’m not going to write much more now, because I think I’m going to be writing a lot about work things in the next few weeks/months, and I’m on vacation now.

One of the strangest vacations of my life, in fact, but that’s a story for another day.

radio silence

A lesson I’ve taken away from this week’s travels to the Bay Area:

If your cell phone display says “Cingular”, you’ve already lost.

Totally unacceptable.

twilight zone

Ever get totally kicked in the teeth by a comment (or short email) from someone which reveals an enormous gap between how you percieve something and how they percieve something? Ever have that happen a few dozen hours after the last conversation with that person, in which it very much seemed that everything was well-aligned, and things were proceeding well?

Yeah, me too.

(Honestly, this is the biggest “what the hell?” moment I’ve had in quite some time, and it’s not like my professional life has been devoid of this sort of disconnect over the last year or two. I’m flabbergasted.)

touch and go

Alasdair and I (mostly Alasdair, honestly) weathered some unpleasant weather and drivers of questionable talent to return to Toronto in time for both of our commitments: he had to work at 3, and I had a flight at 19:30 to San Francisco, where I am spending 2 days working on Lustrey bits from the comforts of the Mozilla Foundation offices, and then 3 days attending the Game Developers Conference for my own amusement and edification.

The flight was uneventful, as they should all be, and Eleanor and Brendan arrived promptly to pick me up at the airport, Natalie Anne in tow. I was whisked off to their lovely home, where I am a lucky guest for the next few days. Should be a lot of fun.


I have always considered the profound distinction between ninjas and pirates to be an absolute one.

(“ology”, BTW, is for science)

sibling rivalry

It’s sort of a shame that apparently the “faux ban on Leaf jerseys at the Corel Centre”: won’t be in effect for this Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes, at which Tyla and I will be in attendance. I was looking forward to bringing a big box of pablum for the Ottawa babies.

in a family way

This past Sunday we celebrated my grandfather’s 81st birthday, with a nice family get-together at the (lovely) home of my Uncle Steve and Aunt Marg. It’s always wonderful to see everyone[1] together, I have to say. It was quite a festive affair, especially because Chad and Jen shared their double-barreled news with us all: not only have they bought a lovely home in Oakville, but they’ve got a baby on the way to help fill it. Amazing stuff, and boy, did it ever not help my baby-craving to be talking about it all afternoon. Hoo boy.

fn1. Actually, Steph couldn’t make it, but we talked about her quite a bit anyway. In other Steph news, she’s on “the cover”:/~shaver/diary/assets/steph-salon-cover.jpg of Salon Magazine. Nice picture, I have to say.


Madhava came over yesterday and I showed him the interface for the web tool I’m working on. He didn’t “throw up”: even a little, at least while he was still here. We had quite a productive chat about the data I need to present and what my constraints are — number one with a bullet: web tool, usable in at least Mozilla + IE, probably Safari as well — and he brought me “an outrageously cool book”: chock full of blurbs on different, well, information graphics. Soon I’ll be able to talk like a real interface devotee, and not just someone scrambling against the clock to produce anything usable.

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