Another post

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's been over a week since I've posted here, and I apologize to my loyal readers who have probably all headed to the hills.

Twitter has been keeping me distracted, while my bipolar disorder and newly-diagnosed ADHD have left me feeling less than effective. It's hard to push yourself to try to succeed when you feel you've been so far from stellar that bothering with anything is a waste of time.

But things are picking up. I'm on new medication, I have great friends, an incredibly supportive wife and a window into new techniques to help keep my problems in check. There's definitely a gleam of hope where a short while ago there was none.

I'd love to find employment, but my chosen field of expertise, software development, seems to be yielding little, if any, job prospects in the area. I can always cast out a wider net in my search, since so far I've only looked at Nova Scotia. However New Brunswick and PEI are both a stone's throw away. PEI is apparently the game development capitol of the Maritimes, and it's a field that's interested me since I first learned to program as a kid. I guess it might have been what drove me to begin learning.

A bright light is on the horizon, and I'm heading into it. If you come across a job posting that might suit me, let me know. For now I'll keep charting a course towards a brighter future.

Direction - I Haz It?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yep, I know what I wrote in If I Grow Up… I had a direction and I wanted to follow it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I want to write, I love to write, I’m going to write. But do I want to make a living off of it? Perhaps I just want to do it for fun.


There’s a bit of a problem with this, in that I crave something to do. The most lucrative thing I can think of is developing software. I like doing it, and I tend to do it anyway, just like writing. There’s at least one project that’s really got me interested, and I’m sure I can cook up more ideas when I’ve finished it.


Finishing What I Start! It’s always been a bit of an issue for me. I’m just going to have to try harder to stay on target and not lose steam before I’m done. I’ll have to nail down my requirements and feature list well before I start coding, and freeze those requirements for version 1.0. There’s always room for improvement later on, and if the first version isn’t solid, what kind of a message does that send to users?


Polish It! Polish is one thing I’ve had trouble with in the past on my personal projects. I tend to get some small details down really nicely, but the overall product is something I’ll have to pay a lot more attention to. If I need to pay someone for a good set of icons, I’m going to have to shell out for it and not balk at the expense. Polish is key to a product that sells and encourages word of mouth.


Marketing? Yep, another part of the process I’ll need to deal with and pay for. It’s inevitable if you want to push a product and make it popular. This is especially true with the iPhone OS App Store being flooded with cheap or free apps. You’ve got to sell your product in a way that justifies a cost high enough that it doesn’t leave you without suitable return on your investment. In-app advertising is, as far as I’m concerned, not the kind of thing I’d want to rely on. A lot of the apps I’ve seen use the same advertising services, and the same products get flogged across the apps the consumer uses. It also cheapens the user experience. I’d rather make a feature-limited free version than a full version with ads.


Platform? I’ve always been a Mac guy, so the iPhone OS and Mac OS X platforms are a shoe-in. If I write any utilities I’d likely create a Mac and iPhone OS version with some way to synchronize between the two. The App Store is a bit of a sticking point, but having a way of simplifying distribution, payment and updatings of at least the iPhone half of a product would be great.


Product Types. Ideally I’d like to write small utilities that help make people’s lives easier, as well as small casual games. While I’m confident in my ability to produce a polished product in the first category with little external help, I’d definitely need someone external for graphics and sound for any decently polished game.


That’s what I’m looking at right now. I’ll still be writing here, hopefully with the original frequency I had in mind for my blog. I don’t think it’s healthy for me to let things distract me from writing, and I’m going to make a more solid effort to give myself time to write. I’ve been terrible lately, spending way too much time on twitter. The people are great, and I think that’s part of what’s got me stuck to it.


I suppose I should get to writing up a requirements document for that utility I’ve got in mind!

English Journey in Jeopardy?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

UPDATED!


It seems almost certain that Sophie will be getting laid off at the beginning of next month. As such, my trip to the UK is nixed, unless I get some sort of windfall of cash.


Layoff plans


In order to cover expenses, and possibly have some money left over for the trip, I’ll be looking at getting a part-time job. With my constant headaches and the possibility of depression, I’d have to get something pretty stress free, and not in a noisy environment. I’m not entirely confident in my ability to show up to work every day.


Our income would be significantly reduced, so a lot of what I make from a part-time job would go to bills and such. Part-time is definitely about the limit I could handle.


Implications


There will be no trip, as it stands.


The primary implication is that I might not be able to buy my plane ticket. I think that’ll be the single biggest expense of my trip. Food is probably next, and I *was* a university student on a budget, so I know how to keep from overspending there. Then it’s lodging. I can’t go any less expensive than hostels, unless I sleep in a cardboard box or on a park bench. Yeah, that’s not happening. Train and bus fare shouldn’t be much, and I’ll walk whenever I can.


Where does this leave me?


I’m hoping this wont leave me in a situation where I can’t make the trip. My dad needs dates so he can start booking air travel for himself to and from Belgium, and my return ticket from there. If I get a part-time job, I should be all set with respect to money. If I can’t hold it, well, we’ll have to see from there.


I don’t want to let my tweeples down, the ones I’ve told about the trip. I want to see you guys and I’ll do everything in my power to get there. If you can find me info on how much it costs in London, Liverpool and Edinburgh to eat modestly per day, that’d help quite a bit.

 
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