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Miscellanies

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Politics

I tend to stay out of political discussions. I have a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is that most of them devolve to fanatical viewpoints bashing heads. However, I'm going to talk a bit about one piece of politicking that happened recently. In California, a state that I inhabit when I'm not off in my extra-dimensional lab doing tentacley things, proposition 8 passed. My opinion of Californians and humanity in general has...sort of bottomed out right about now. I think the only thing that could make it go lower was if they passed my sardonically proposed proposition... which would introduce special busses, trains, restroom facilities, and school facilities for those of a different sexual persuasion. It would also require identification badges to be word in a visible position so that we might know if you are a sexual deviant! After all, these morally corrupt people tried to corrupt our precious institution of marriage!

Now, since I know there are a lot of idiots out there, let me make it perfectly clear: The above is sarcastic. I cried a little when prop 8 passed, because I have friends who are gay, who are being treated as second class citizens by a country that purports to be the "Land of the Free." A Country that was founded on the separation of church and state, which as we can see from the passage of prop 8, which was majority backed by religious bodies, has failed horribly. In other states, like Florida, I expected their amendments to be passed. They are, after all, in the Deep South where even the "negro folk" "aint" looked upon too kindly. But California is supposed to be progressive. We're one of the great cultural centers of the United States of America. We represent a blending of many different peoples, much like New York, and as such one would expect us to be far more tolerant than we apparently are. Of course, I can draw solace from the fact that prop 8 has only passed by a tiny margin... 52.5% vs. 47.5%, a mere 5%, which the mail-in ballots COULD overcome, but are not likely to.

Conferences

I was tempted to hit up a few conferences these last few months. There was the "SD Best Practices Conference" and the PDC 2008. I actually avoided both, and for similar reasons too. After looking at the various subjects that would be covered by both I found that most of it was either things I had already done/was overly familiar with the material, material that didn't particularly interest me and wouldn't really influence my buying or technical decisions, and things that I had access to better materials on than would be available at a lecture with slides. While I do tend to enjoy conferences, as it gives me a chance to catch up with various people I know in the many fields I've poked around in along with getting to take a mini vacation from anything, I have found myself cutting back on a lot of them simply because they don't offer me anything of real value. Tech previews of things that will change within 6 months do me no good. Things like "Clean Code II: Craftsmanship" do me no good simply because (from the synopsis of it), I already practice many of the things it preaches when I do go into an environment to produce software.

However, I have been offered by GDNet, to attend GDC 2009. I've accepted as well, and all things being equal, I should be there to enjoy the company of Richard, Drew, Melissa, Dave, Kevin, Oluseyi (I love to hear him speak... that accent of his is just... wonderful), and all the other people whose names have escaped me at this moment.


Interviews

Had an interesting discussion on #gamedev (surprising really...) about interviews and the types of questions I've asked people...and some of the answers I've gotten back. Things like PhD's that couldn't write a "hello world" program in a language of their choice... A lot of times though the questions I ask, to ascertained how much knowledge you have in a field, deal more with how you would solve problems within that field. That architectural knowledge tells me a great deal about how a person thinks and solves problems. One of the big things I've found though is that a lot of people can't solve a programming problem without code. If you can't draw your thoughts out from the code, you aren't ready to be anything more than a code monkey. Software Architecture is about more than just code, so you need to be able to deal with things outside of the code, on levels of abstractness that are far beyond your code, such as a whiteboard. The ability to sketch out an idea without code is far more important than knowing how to sketch out the idea in code. The latter can be taught, the former however tends to need to be learned (learning != being taught).

Conclusion

Miscellaneous ramblings aside, I've got a few other entries I need to finish cleaning up and post. Time, it's definitely not on my side.

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I find that the concept of "doing things without code" is sort of the primary discriminator between a good programmer and an excellent developer.

I'm worried about a lot of the self-taught developers on GDNet who still get hung up on syntax and run to a book as soon as possible.

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You made me lol with your comment about blacks not being looking upon kindly. Ever been to the south? Better yet, ever lived in the south?
You sound very naive in the matter and make it obvious that you DONT and HAVNT lived in the south.

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