20 December 2015

Kickstarter status

I have backed a total of 76 Kickstarter projects since January 2012. (19 per year. Yes, that may be a bit excessive.)

  • 1 is ongoing
  • 44 have delivered my reward
  • 10 are underdue
  • 16 are overdue
  • 1 was cancelled but restarted (was then successful and is included in the underdue count above)
  • 1 was unsuccessful but tried again (was then successful and is included in the delivered count above)
  • 1 was unsuccessful but the product is now available anyway (and I have one)
  • 2 were unsuccessful

Among the overdue ones are some that have delivered some (but not all) of the reward. There are many that do appear to be making progress. There are only a few that I have completely given up hope for.

Not counting the ongoing, underdue, cancelled, and unsuccessful: That’s 44 delivered out of 60 (73%).

Let’s break down the overdues...

  • 1 month
  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 4 months
  • 4 months
  • 4 months
  • 5 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 1 year & 8 months
  • 2 years
  • 2 years & 2 months
  • 2 years & 2 months
  • 2 years & 10 months
  • 3 years
  • 3 years & 4 months

I haven’t kept track of when the ones that delivered did, so I’m not sure how late to write them off. (I mentally write them all off as soon as I pledge anyway.) Of the 2 year or more ones, there’s a couple that show good signs of life and which I expect to—eventually—deliver.

07 December 2015

Commenting code

At some point I took to heart admonitions to not write comments that simply repeat what the code clearly says. A discussion with a co-worker, Achint, not too long ago made me realize that this is bad advice. And I should have know better.

“Don’t repeat yourself.”

—Dave Thomas & Andy Hunt

In (human) language, redundancy is a feature.


In programming, the DRY principle is rightly lauded. Not just for code itself but for every bit of information in a software system.

But it’s the opposite for human language. In this case, redundancy makes things clearer. Saying something in both English and code will help the human reader (including your future self) understand the code better and faster.

Certainly, there are situations in which code is clear enough on its own, but—in general—it’s probably better to err on the side of more comments. I’ve seldom seen (or written) code that had too many comments.

But I have sometimes seen code with too many comments. The most common is doxygen boiler plate without any useful content. The other is some of the code written in “literate coding” style.

05 December 2015

Gun control

Personally, I have no desire to own a gun.

I cannot agree with either extreme on this issue.

I don’t believe any guns should be banned outright. I think people should have the freedom to own any sort of gun they want...provisionally.

I also believe that we should regulate them. In at least some cases, heavily. There are lots of things we do regulate—in some cases heavily—that I’d argue for deregulating before guns.

04 December 2015

A 2-axis model of RPGs

I’ve said many times that I don’t find the threefold model of role-playing games very useful. I do think things in that vein are needed, though. The most important question when selecting an RPG system isn’t something like genre; it’s play-style. Here’s something I think might be useful.

On one axis, we have “Let’s create a story!” on one end and “Let’s see what happens!” on the other end.

On the other axis, you have mechanical complexity. This could also (depending upon context) be a measure of how much the game or the participants expect to “stick to the rules”. The “stick to the rules” attitude is often associated with more mechanical complexity, but I think the correlation can be loose.

I thought it would be cool to have pithy abbreviations like AD&D alignments. (NC for “narrative-driven + complex mechanics”. CS for “character-driven + simple mechanics”.) But...shrug.

It is really important that both axes are continuums, although I’m sure everyone would ignore that it practice.

01 December 2015

Frasier Speirs on replacing an iPad with a laptop

A brilliant piece by Fraser Speirs: Can the MacBook Pro replace your iPad

It would be easy to argue with many of its points, but that is the point. The iPad Pro (and the iPad before it) is more about providing different options than replacing anything.