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The nearsighted one cometh

Quick update

Posted by , 10 March 2005 - - - - - - · 253 views

I took 21 pages of notes at the full-day OpenGL tutorial on Tuesday, but due to the number of meetings I had yesterday, I haven't been able to find time to finish turning them into a complete writeup. I should hopefully have that done by today. I've also got quite a few pictures that will be going up as well.

Can't believe I didn't go to the Microsoft keynote yesterday.

Settling in

Posted by , 07 March 2005 - - - - - - · 201 views

I've been in San Francisco since Saturday night. The GDC started a day early for me. QUALCOMM and ATI put together a half-day training session for mobile 3D game developers. It turned out to be a very good event. The presentations were mostly technical (including the one I did for optimizing for all of our platforms), and there were a lot of big name game developers in the room. We'll be posting some slides to our websites soon after the GDC ends, so if you're interested in OpenGL ES or doing 3D games for cell phones, definitely check them out.

I'm probably going to be tutorial hopping today. There's nothing particularly appealing to me today, so I don't think any one topic can hold my attention for long enough.

To use a cliche

Posted by , 27 February 2005 - - - - - - · 229 views

Old and busted:

New hotness:

Oh, and Weekly Weigh-in: 226.0

Finally converted

Posted by , 16 February 2005 - - - - - - · 239 views

I started using Netscape back at version 2 or so, and I've followed it through its various evolutions through Mozilla. I've always used the integrated mail component, so I resisted switching to Firefox until Thuderbird went commercial (and because plain old Mozilla is still pretty damn good).

I finally made the switch last night. The only problem that I encountered is that Thunderbird didn't import my Mozilla email correctly, probably due to the fact that I haven't done a clean install in years, so there are settings in my prefs files from a very long time ago. I was able to work around that, and everything seems to be working well now.

I keep my broswer/email synchronized between my laptop and desktop. The browser portion of it is easier because of the bookmark extensions for Firefox - which is really the only thing I need to synch. I still have to manually copy files for email, but at least the number of files I have to copy is smaller now.

Anyway, both are nice improvements, and I'm glad I finally made the switch. The only thing I miss is the ease with which you can launch mail from Mozilla, and vice-versa.

New shirts

Posted by , 15 February 2005 - - - - - - · 301 views

Weekly weigh-in: 227.0

We getting some shirts made to give away at the GDC. The one I'm wearing here is the demo shirt they sent us before printing the whole batch. We'll probably run out, so stop by our booth early and pick one up.

Resume mini-rant

Posted by , 03 February 2005 - - - - - - · 248 views

I spent a couple of hours today going through resumes for a student intern position we're hiring for at Qualcomm. The position's actually pretty cool - whoever gets it will receive some valuable job experience working with games and graphics, and they'll be able to make quite a few industry contacts.

I was dismayed at how bad most of these resumes were. I'm not talking about poor grammer, or formatting, or anything else that they teach you in the typical resume writing class. And I'm not talking about lack of skills/experience, since these students were all from a prestigous engineering school. I'm mainly talking about irrelevance.

2/3 of the resumes failed to meet the minimum major requirements listed for the position. I don't mean that they were just missing some of them, they were missing ALL of them. No graphics, no gaming, no OpenGL, no exposure to embedded system. None of them even listed gaming as an area of interest. Seriously, I don't care how badly you want a job, if you're not even close to what a company says they're looking for, you're wasting everyone's time (including yours) by sending in a resume.

Some of these people even included generic-sounding cover letters stating that they are a perfect match for the job. [grin]

Many of them also listed their jobs at McDonalds or Walmart or whatever. I'm sure that some people out there care about the fact that you've at least held *a* job, but if you're applying for an engineering job, they probably don't. In general, don't bother listing information on your resume unless it helps establish you as being qualified for the job for which you're applying. You can get away with a bit - and listing things like hobbies and interests is fine - but keep it brief.

Finally, if there are multiple area in which you have skills/experiences and are willing to take a job in any of those areas, consider maintaing separate resumes, each focusing on a particular area.

Anyway, I hope that somebody finds this brief set of tips useful.

Been a while

Posted by , 02 February 2005 - - - - - - · 221 views

[whatever] Weigh-in: 229.0

The holidays were rough for weightloss. After New Year's I was back up to 239 after being as low as 231 before Christmas. But I've been back on track for a month, now. It's a little frustrating, but I'm now at a 8-year low, so I'm happy about that.

January was supposed to be almost entirely dedicated to working on the game, but (as I mostly expected) other things kept cropping up that took precedence. But, I've been making a lot of progress this week, and it's looking like we'll at least have something to show by GDC - pending being able to get through all the red tape of contracting some artists.

I'm also actively working on More OpenGL Game Programming right now. I've got about 70 pages written (though they're in a pretty rough state), and 3 demos done, but there's still a hell of a lot to do before the April 30th deadline.

Something else interesting happened this week. For years (since high school, really), I've suffered from daytime drowsiness - if I'm not actively involved in something and sitting still, I have a tendancy to nod off (doesn't ever really happening when driving, fortunately). The amount of sleep I get has some impact on this, but even sleeping for 8+ hours for a week or more only softens the effect. I also snore, and my wife says it sounds like I stop breathing for short periods when I'm asleep. So I've suspected for some time that I have sleep apnea. Back in November, I finally got around to seeing a sleep specialist and doing a sleep study. I wasn't able to meet with my doctor to discuss the results until this past Monday.

Turns out, I'm officially a *really* drowsy person. On a scale from 0 to 20, with 20 being not drowsy at all, and 0 being "falls asleeep immediately", I'm a 2.8. My doctor says that I definitely have sleep apnea, but he thinks that it's only a minor component of my sleep problem. He thinks that the main problem - and it pains me to say this - is a chemical imbalance in my brain that prevents me from getting high-quality sleep at night. The good news isn't just that it's treatable, but that treatment will improve my overall energy and alertness. I'm already a pretty active and productive guy, so maybe this means that I'll be able to finish the book on time without neglecting the site, my job, or my family.

Freaking out

Posted by , 08 January 2005 - - - - - - · 268 views

Part of me is very much freaking out right now, and since it's midnight here, there's no one else to talk to about it (other than my wife, who is also freaking out), so I thought I might as well post it here.

First, a little background. Next month will mark two years since I moved to San Diego. I was alone here for 4 months while the kids finished the school year, and then my family joined me and we moved to the Rancho Penasquitos area (which is in the northeastern portion of San Diego County). Moving from Utah, we faced a serious problem - finding affordable housing. We owned a 5 bedroom home in Salt Lake that we sold for around $150K, but a similar home in this area would have been 3-4 times that here, so even though I got a nice bump in my pay, we still had no choice but to rent here.

So fast forward to today. We're paying about $2100/mo in rent and we're in a decent home, but we feel like we're throwing away money. Not just because of the rent, but because of the fact that homes have gone up in value so much over the past couple of years that if we *could* have bought, we'd have several hundred grand in equity now.

Over the holidays, we spent some time looking for houses around here, but in order to fit our family, we're looking at $700-800K. I should mention that we're somewhat constrained in that we have 5 kids, so we require a decent sized-house. Also, all of our children are exceptionally bright, so we need to live in an area with good schools. Between my job, books, and GameDev.net, I earn a healthy income, but we just can't swing a $700K+ house.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that things will get better. San Diego County is pretty much done building new single family houses, but the population is continuing to rise, so housing costs are going to continue to rise faster than my income. Since we can't buy now, we'll *never* be able to buy here, which from a long-term financial perspective is stupid.

This week, various factors led us to look very hard at our options, and we kept looking north. A bit up the I-15 from where we are now is the city of Temecula. Temecula is a very new city, having been incorporated in 1989, and it's pretty upscale, having been very carefully planned. Houses there are also considerably cheaper than San Diego, though they are going up in price. We looked up quite a few houses and quickly realized that all things being equal, a house in Temecula costs about half what it would here. Plus, the schools there are very good and in general it's a very family-oriented community.

On Thursday, we drove up there to just drive through some neighborhoods and drive by some houses that were on sale, and we liked it, so today, we went back with a realtor to walk through 7 houses.

That leads me to what I'm freaking out over. About six hours ago, we offered just under a half-million dollars for a house. It's a great house - built in 2002, 3100 sq ft, 5 bedrooms with big closets, several bonus rooms, great kitchen, community pool, etc. The thing that panics me is that a week ago we weren't even thinking about buying a house here, much less in a location that's going to cause me to spend at least an additional hour in the car every day.

But, logically, it seems like the right thing to do. A lot of people from San Diego are moving north for the exact reasons we are, and that trend will continue, so we'll build equity fast. And this house is a great fit for us. When we bought our house in Salt Lake, we looked at 40 houses before settling on the one we bought, and I was never completely happy with it. We both loved this one immediately - and if we don't get it, there were 2 others that we liked almost as much.

Anyway, that's it. Now we just wait and see if they accept the offer.

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