My computer (er-geek) life
The Bromeliad Trilogy 
Friday, May 20, 2005, 02:41 PM
I just finished listening to Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy (the cover picture is not the right one). I had a wonderful time listening to this very light-hearted and captivating story brought to life by the outstanding narrative performance of Stephen Briggs. This is the kind of novel you listen (or read) through with a persistant smile on your face, which I thought was a very refreshing feeling. Definitely one of the best novel I ever listened to.
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StroQ released! 
Tuesday, May 17, 2005, 10:27 AM
It's been a while since my last update and I've worked on quite a few things since, including the first release of StroQ, the Polarium clone I mentionned two posts earlier. As planned, it is written entirely in C++ using Qt, and its development went smoother than I initially expected. The Qt toolkit is definitely a great piece of software, even though C++ looks like black magic in comparison to more recent languages like Java or C#. The result though, is well worth the effort: a native (or close to native) experience on different platforms from a single source tree.

In accordance with my previous posts, I tried to make this first StroQ release as polished as possible. The program is not finished by any means, but features full documentation, code comments, graphics (in game and packaging) and has been tested to compile and run on the three targeted platforms. It is basically ready for user/developer feedback.
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Sustaining motivation 
Tuesday, April 19, 2005, 11:26 AM
We all come up with good ideas. Open source developers are often driven by their creativity to provide us with the software we know and love. But behind the success of every open source effort, there is motivation. In the early stages of a project, the developer team, eventually a team of one, has close to no support or exposition. So it all comes down to stubbornness and belief, which have to last enough for a first interesting version to emerge.

Now what's "interesting"? In this context, it means interesting enough for users to adopt, and outside developers to get their eyes in the source code. Users get you feedback, developers get you technical expertise, and these are sure to skyrocket your motivation. But before they pick up, the software should be at least a bit usable and its source code understandable: even if it's not shiny or polished, it has to show its potential.
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64 bytes from Lemming (1.2.3.4): icmp_seq=1 time=17 days 
Tuesday, April 5, 2005, 11:22 AM
I've got through a bunch of audiobooks since my last post. Deception Point was, well, a small deception as it seems to be a draft for Digital Fortress (or is it the other way around?). It almost felt like reading a book for the second time. As usual, the characters are not as detailed as I would have liked them to be, but the writing and narration were simple, and very effective. As with all of Brown's books, Deception Point is a captivating thriller that lacks the depth that differentiates books from movies.
A friend of mine recommended Mort by the witty Terry Pratchett. A short yet very enjoyable, book which introduced me to the author's popular Discworld series. Full of humor and great quotes, this first step through Terry Pratchett's work will definitely make me come for more.

I've also been playing a bit of Polarium, a great tetris-ish puzzle game that got some of my friends and colleagues hooked. I'm going to try and develop a Qt-based clone of it, if I can just get rid of my nascent addiction.
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Code as Design 
Saturday, March 19, 2005, 09:26 PM
I just read some really interesting essays by Jack W. Reeves about software design. They point out several important aspects of software design, including the source code. The author wrote that code (coders?) help design the software as a whole and its importance should not be underestimated as it is very often the case.

Funny quote I heard yesterday: "We use a secure file transfer protocol at work. People call it secure because when a file is transferred, we are certain that the file written on the other side is the same as the one that was sent". Now that's security :)
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