Progamer to Programmer

Monday, December 27, 2004


Various family members have commented upon the simililarity between me and my 9-year-old nephew (Nico). This Christmas vacation has been a fun period to discover them. He has acquired the same taste for books and reading - also preferring to stay at home and read, rather than leave the house to go swimming or whatever. I've taught him Monopoly, and the game appeals to him - I see the beginnings of intermediate game concepts (like denying a color strip to an opponent) in his game. He uses the same manner of teasing his sister as I used to: basically lay claim to something of little importance ("Hey, *I'm* sitting between Uncle and Auntie"), then keep asserting/lording it. He's also acquired an interest in Xenogears, and so we've taken to playing it together. It's been a lot of fun, and has provided me with a small taste of raising a child. It's probably a one-sided experience: few of the responsibilities fall on me - I wouldn't mind if he missed a bath, but my sister (Nico's mom) seems to. The one big issue I see is how much it consumes free time: it's difficult to get some work done while trying to play a game of "Opposite Day". I can only blog because he decided to sleep with his mom instead of with me for a change.


Me (aloud; to myself): Where does strength come from?
Nico: From within, I think.


Still not as productive as I want to be. Has helped? A little. My work style consists of a lot of reflection and pondering - and so I tend to eat up a lot of time on any non-trivial task (in contrast to my gaming style, where snap decisions and battle instincts rule the day). I think the efficiency loss comes from a failure to keep focus during the entire work duration. This probably goes against the concepts being presented in the article.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


I haven't been able to get around to updating my blog in quite a while. I suppose its because of the unhealthy amount of restraint that I exercise. Before I go out and actually say something (or write an email, or ask a question - whatever), it first gets evaluated: Is it worth saying? Will it offend anyone? Will it simply waste other people's time to listen/read what you have to say? Most of the time, what I'm about to say doesn't pass this censorship, and has to go through a lot of refining before it becomes "suitable". By the time the refinement process is over, the "moment" for saying it has passed, and it loses the potential value it had in the first place.

I suppose this restraint was learnt quite some time ago, and I suppose it did have a purpose then - my tongue was rash when I was a kid, and I did hurt some people (or at least cause them not to like me ;) because of that. Its been quite a while since that time, and the constraining limits that existed then, may no longer apply now.

I want to try to probe the limits. To see whether time has made all those filters become unnecessary.


I've been using the Anti-Mage's ultimate move (Mana Void) for the sole purpose of making a kill. Checking the opponent's health and mana and making quick calculations to see whether using Mana Void will net a kill. Looking at Mana Void with this sole purpose in mind means that a Mana Void that does not kill is considered a failure. This type of thinking leads me to become conservative with the Anti-Mage's ultimate.

But upon reflection, the Mana Void may have other uses; The relatively large drop in an opponent's health may cause him to panic and flee (even if he still had the upper hand - and ultimately net you a kill as you blink-chase him to death), or weaken an opponent enough for your teammates to kill him off.

Again, being conservative leads to a lot of undiscovered advantages being missed.


So far, my approach to mistakes have been to replay it and identify the factors which caused failure. Then chalk it all off as a learning experience. This has allowed me to live with my failures. But I haven't actively "tried to make mistakes". Maybe I should.

This type of thinking reminds me of a quote I read somewhere:

"If you learn from your mistakes, then at the rate you're going, you'll divine the secrets of the Universe in no time!"