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Google checkout and I'm a winner!

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Google Checkout seems to be happy now. Big thanks to CaffeineAddict for taking advantage of my 99-cent offer and ferreting out a couple of show-stopping bugs in my commerce system.

And, as usual, all of the bugs could've been averted if I hadn't been a dumb person and. . .

1. Rearranged the file locations without testing 'em after doing that.
2. Tested all of the Flash applets to make sure that I didn't re-break something.
3. Tested all of the Flash applets to make sure that someone else's tool didn't break something.

In short my mantra should be "the last step is to test". I shouldn't assume that "the last bug" I find is trivial enough that it doesn't require testing. No matter how trivial it is, I must test as the last step and then deploy. Whenever I'm bitten by a bug, half the time it's because I didn't make a complete test the last step.

I must say there's little more fun than getting something in the mail that I didn't expect. I've got the form-filler in google toolbar set up, so if I see a contest or a freebie offer on a web page, I'll often press the "fill out this form" button without a second thought.

And then I usually forget about it. If the freebie shows up, great. If not, I'm not out anything. In the past week I've received two stick-deodorants and two packets of free shampoo. I also got a copy of ActionScript Components from a contest that I forgot I entered.

Anyway, getting free stuff in the mail is fun. I loveloveloveit.

I also love getting free books that I don't have to review. That's the bitter irony of the universe. I actually want to read this book, but I'm not expected to post a review. OTOH, I have a half-dozen books in my closet that I have no desire to read, and THOSE are the ones that have to get reviewed.

On a somewhat-related note, I've been signed up with PaperBackSwap for about three months now, and I love it. I like to read, but one problem with paperback fiction is that the books are worth about nil once you're done reading 'em. They fetch almost nothing on ebay. They fetch even less money at half-price-books. You can donate 'em to the library and get a tax-deduction, but the libraries really don't want 'em either (as evidenced by the mountains of paperbacks on the "buy these books cheap" shelf at my library).

With PaperBackSwap, though, you can swap 'em with other people for books that you DO want. Here's how it works. . .

1. You sign up.
2. You list the paperbacks that you own in the system.
3. If someone wants one of your books, they mark it. The system then contacts you. You then print out a sheet of paper with the person's address on it (they generate a PDF for you), tape it up, put on some stamps, and mail it.
4. When the person gets your book, he logs in and tells PaperBackSwap that he got the book. You get a credit.
5. You can now use that credit to get a book from someone else.

Actually you get a bonus of three credits after you list your first nine books, so you can start trading right away.

Thus far I've unloaded about 20 paperbacks I've already read and gotten back 20 new books. The only hangup thus-far was a person who didn't get credit for his book because he sent it to me media-mail from Puerto Rico, and it took longer than the one-month credit-window to arrive.

Thanks to PaperBackSwap, I just finished William Shatner's Man O War/The Law Of War series (which is much like his Tekwar series, only not as deep), and I have about eight books from the late Octavia Butler waiting to be read, because all science fiction should be written by androgynous black women.

Highly recommended if you have a grocery sack full of books that you wanna unload.
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I'm going to preach the gospel of unit testing here -- you can easily confirm regression tests this way which are super handy when moving things.

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Hey John, could you think about hotlinking your games to open a new browser window? I really enjoy relaxing and tinkering around with your games, but, I hate that it pops me out of gamedev.net. At the very least, just throw an option to open in new window.


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