Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category.

Shameless Plug: uArm Swift

I just ran across this on IndieGoGo.  Everyone remember the cute lab robots from the first Iron Man movie?  Well, the people at uFactory are trying to actually build them.  (More or less.)

Continue reading ‘Shameless Plug: uArm Swift’ »

Beds and burgers

What do a bed and a burger have in common?  Not much, at first glance.  You eat a burger and sleep in a bed, and certainly not the other way around.  (You might eat a burger while in bed, if you’re a slob, though.)  But they seem like two completely different products, because they are.

So, let’s be a bit more specific.  What do a bed and a burger have in common economically?

Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere.  That’s obvious: they’re both near-ubiquitous consumer goods.  Produced on a different scale, certainly–you’ll probably go through hundreds or even thousands of burgers between buying one bed and buying your next one–but (in the US at least) you’re almost certainly going to buy both during your life.

Oh, and one other interesting point: they both have to be made to order, because they will go bad if you leave them sitting out for too long. Continue reading ‘Beds and burgers’ »

Fixed my blog

So apparently I got hacked somehow. Not sure what happened, but someone found a way in to my WordPress installation and started using it to serve spammy ad links.  I’ve rooted out the problem and installed a WP security plugin that will watch for and work to prevent future attacks, so hopefully this won’t happen again.

As a minor note, anyone who’s left comments on here, someone might know your email address now.  Aside from that, this shouldn’t cause any problems for my readers.

New Year, new job, new town, same me

A lot’s happened in my life over the last few weeks, but most of it revolves around one basic fact: I quit my job at WideOrbit to take a new one with De Novo Software.  The project I’m working on now is a program for flow cytometry, a type of analysis of medical sample data used in diagnoses and research.  (In Delphi, of course.)  It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to work on. Continue reading ‘New Year, new job, new town, same me’ »

Heading to Australia

A while back, the Australian Delphi Users’ Group put out a call for papers for a conference they were planning to hold in March of 2013.  I sent in a submission and it ended up getting accepted, so in about a month I’m going to be going to Australia! 😀

Continue reading ‘Heading to Australia’ »

Fun with voice control

It was my brother’s birthday a few days ago.  The family got together and we took him out to dinner at a restaurant nearby.  I’d just gotten a new car a few weeks back, and he hadn’t seen it yet, so I told him to hop in and I’d drive him over.

The car’s a new model and it has a bunch of cool electronics, and they’re all controllable by a touchscreen on the dash, or by voice control.  There’s a little toggle on the steering wheel, and when you hit it, it makes a tone and a voice says  “please say a command,” and then it listens for something it recognizes.  It works about as well as you’d expect from modern voice control systems, and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but it’s still pretty cool.

Anyway, when I turned it on, the radio was running.  My taste in music and his differ pretty significantly, and I decided to prank him a little.  It was dark already, and I surreptitiously hit the toggle button, while at the same time saying “Computer!” in a very clear, slightly raised voice.

*ding* “Please say a command!”

“Radio off.”

*ding* The radio turned off.

My brother looked at me and he’s all, “Woah.  It’s like on Star Trek!”

“Yeah, I know. Isn’t it cool?”

I never did tell him about the toggle switch.  He’ll find out eventually…

An email from Stardock

As you may know if you’ve been reading for a while, I’m a gamer.  Have been pretty much my whole life.  In fact, it was the prospect of creating my own video games that first got me into programming.

A while back, I purchased Elemental, the latest game by Stardock, a company with a reputation for making high-quality games and for being a lot more ethical than many gaming companies.  Their Sins of a Solar Empire was the best-selling game of 2008, for example, even though they refused to put any DRM on their software.  (So much for piracy destroying sales!)  They’re also the guys who created Impulse, a Steam competitor that ended up getting bought by GameStop last year.

Elemental, unfortunately, was not a high-quality game.  The basic concept was decent–not exceptional, but not *bad* either–but the game itself was a slow, crashy, bug-ridden mess.  Several patches over the course of several months eventually got it to a mostly-decent state, but in no way did it live up to expectations.

They just did something that does a lot to redeem them in my eyes.  I woke up this morning with the following letter in my email: Continue reading ‘An email from Stardock’ »

Job opportunities at WideOrbit

Just thought I’d throw this one out there.  My employer, WideOrbit, is currently hiring.  We’ve got multiple development positions open for both Delphi and C#/Silverlight skillsets.  (SQL experience, especially with MS SQL Server, really helps too.)  At WideOrbit we build industry-leading software for managing broadcast media.  If you live in the USA, there’s a pretty good chance your favorite station is running on WideOrbit software, and we built it in Delphi.  (Mostly.)

Our development office is in Lynnwood, Washington, (about half an hour from Seattle,) and on-site work is preferred, though some exceptions do (infrequently) get made on a case-by-case basis.  It’s a good location, right across the street from a major mall (plenty of places to go for lunch!), with good pay and working conditions.  The office has a friendly, engineer-centric culture, and it really helps that the manager is a former coder and the boss still is one.  No pointy hair here!

Only those who know what they’re doing need apply.  The developers take an active part in the interview process, and we’ve got really high standards.  We understand that the only way to develop good software is with good developers, and we try hard to make sure that that’s all we get.  But if you’re good and you can demonstrate that you know what you’re doing, you’re likely to get an offer.

If anyone’s interested, send me a resume at and I’ll see about getting you an interview.

Programmers and social skills

Someone recently asked a very interesting question over at  Unfortunately, though somewhat predictably, people jumped all over it and it ended up getting closed and then deleted within 20 minutes of being asked.  That’s actually happening a lot recently, to the detriment of the community IMO, but that’s a subject for another time.  But I think there’s some actual, worthwhile discussion to be had in this deleted question, so I’m preserving it here, along with the answer I would have posted.  Hopefully it’ll be of interest to some people. Continue reading ‘Programmers and social skills’ »

The more things change…

Many years ago, back in 2000 or 2001, I forget the exact date but sometime in that time period, I ordered some books from Amazon and had them shipped by UPS.  The shipping date came and went, and my books didn’t arrive, so I called up UPS, tracking number in hand, and asked them where my shipment was.

After looking it up, the lady on the phone managed to track down the problem.  “We attempted to deliver it and couldn’t find your house.” Continue reading ‘The more things change…’ »