Blizzard Teaches Me Stuff

How are we to go about Software Development? That is, what mix of Innovation and Evolution should there be within our project? This is the stupidly high-browed question that is flicking away at my brain at the moment.

Blizzard make great games. They are game that Evolve the genre rather than Innovate. But they are so good, the little things done so well, that their practice almost becomes an innovation in and of itself. I mean seriously, in any area of software development, how many companies do the little things really well?

And then there is innovation, in the sense that most people mean, NEW NEW NEW. New functionality, new methodologies, new UI’s …

I’m not sure that this kind of innovation is necessarily needed for success in the marketplace. Especially in business, it’s how well the little things are done in a program that count. Once you have these right, you can build from there. But if you don’t have these right (Bill has to pound this into me every other day) then you got nothin. That’s right … Nothin’.

So this is a babble post. A half-formulated idea rambling into not much more :).

The new project is consuming any free time I have. It’s getting very exciting. My classes are working well, simple, but well. Have cheated a little using Global Variables for a few things, but plan to iron those out with the Options functionality. Although that’s extra, around the sides stuff. The main goal must stay pure. Nothing extra until it’s done.

Mixing My Meta-Tools

My next project, which is going full-steam tonight, is mixing together c++ and clarion. In the last week I’ve returned to some game code I wrote over a year ago, before getting my current job. I searched for a simple library to begin, and then dabbled a tiny bit.

Now I’m back, and it’s a blast. My understanding of what software development is has increased maybe 13.5-fold … and it’s got me very excited.

Anyway, the game itself is basic … the important test for this project is what lies behind the game. The data. The C++ application is going to call procs/funcns from a clarion dll, where the database is declared, specifically designed for the game.

There will be a host of things that come out of this, and most of them I don’t know about yet.

But anyway, tally-ho, wotnot, I’m off to code.

Top 10 Google & Technorati “Software Development” Sites–Part 2


In progressing through this article, I came upon this realisation. It’s quite hard to review just a blog. In general. It’s far easier to look at a specific post (or a bunch of them) than the blog itself.

To refine my statement, it’s harder to write a lot about a blog, in general.

Ha ha ha. That sounded so intelligent in my head. I should fire my writer.

Sequels almost always are worse. X2 being one of the notable exceptions.

This article is more of a continuation than a sequel. In fact, I’m not exactly sure why I started with the sequal chatter.

In Part 1 we looked at the top 10 Google "Software Development" links.

This time we’re checking out the Top 10 Technorati "Software Development" Blogs.

So let’s fly and see what’s to see.

Technorati on "Software Development"

  1. — Creating Passionate Users



    This place is pretty awesome. I was grinning at just about all the piccies, and mentally agreeing with fervour reading the posts on the front page.

    This blog is, from the About page, run by three bloggers, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, and Eric Freeman.

    This is a very cool site. Of course, I’m only precursor-reviewing it, a scan of the front page and a quick look around. But it gives me hope. When I read the posts, I get a sense of, not family … but similar mindsets. Same direction towards software development.


      The guys at Creating Passionate Users are all authors, and they know their stuff. This is a great blog to have on your shelf.

  2. — Life Beyond Code


    Okay. Wow. Again.

    I’m not sure about anyone reading this, but I’m excited. Just two blogs in, and I’m wondering if every blog is going to speak to me like these.

    Rajesh Setty has a really easy to read style. The current top post, "10 ideas to get new ideas", is quality. These are gems. Write them deep.

    It’s a simple blog. By that, I mean it’s straight-forward. It’s a blog. Posts. Clean and pure.


      Life Beyond Code, at first glance (and no doubt further) is a diamond of a blog.

  3. — Professional PHP Blog


    Jeff Moore has a very specific blog here. From his main blog the catchphrase is : Web Development with PHP, PHP Advocacy and Best Practices.

    The current posts have a fair bit of examination of PHP as opposed to other web languages around today. Well, that’s not true. Not just "web" languages.

    It was interesting reading these posts. And the bookmarks.


      If you are looking to find knowledge and wisdom on PHP, go here.

  4. — Ho John Lee’s Weblog


    Ho John Lee has a pretty nifty blog. You can translate the pages into a bunch of different languages, and the extra links are along the top, instead of toward the bottom, as most sites have them. By "extra" i mean RSS,, Flickr … etc.

    The blog covers most everything, not just Software Development. It’s more that there’s a bunch of categories underneath Technology. So where we (at Dev Dawn) have pretty much a single category, Ho John Lee has broken everything down. Far easier to search.

    Also, there are pictures. I’ve said it before, and most probably will say it again, but pictures make a blog very cool. I’ve neglected this truth, even after uncovering it, but it’s there, nonetheless.


      It seems to me that Ho John Lee’s Weblog is the place to go for insightful and clear thoughts about most anything happening in the technological world. Cool.

  5. — Chris Justus – Server Side Guy


    This is a good blog. You can tell Chris Justus is writing about his own experiences, working within software development. It’s a meaty blog. Got some cool stuff up there now too, the MiteSite Chat is cool. A nice experiment on the way to greater heights i imagine.

    Chris works for Alcea Technologies who have, amongst other things, Bug-Tracking software (which Chris created) in their stable. Now, by works for, I mean … is a founding member / Director, heh heh.

    As with the other blogs, the more I poke around, the more there is to like.


      Chris Justus knows his stuff. More than that, from my cursory reading, he pushes himself further. Working on little projects to enhance his already big-time experience.

  6. — Ugo Cei’s Weblog


    Man alive! The first post at Agylen pointed me here: Crazy Multi-Input Touch Screen. Now this is such a cool video. You have to watch it. I’m breaking the rules a bit, as this isn’t directly to do with the blog … but you have to watch this. Very cool.

    Anyway. Ugo Cei is a software architect (and dev) living in Italy. I like the ambience (posh accent) of this site. Very calming. Zen-like, although I only use that word to mean peace. Which it probably does mean.


    Another cool stick is the top menu. Simple. Four links, very nice. Book Reviews is a great link to have at the top of the page, especially if you have quite a few of them. What is better to mankind than a review? Nothing, except maybe a nice MLT.

    Kudos to Ugo. It’s a great blog.

    And, as seems to be a trend in this list, the more you look around, the more there is to like. This site is Tight. Little marks of careful design and UI are excellent. The borders around various sidebars/posts … love the "my tags" segment. Very classy.

    And now that I have (since the starting paragraph for looked further … if you’re interest in books about development, head here.


      This is a quality site. Not just the content (really careful, well-thought-out book reviews, and other stuff too), but the design. The Look’n’Feel. Quality.

  7. — Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants


    Okay. It took me a while (snail brain, just used links from the blog, not the smart way, which would have been to Google it), but I discovered that Smalltalk is more than just a catchy name for a blog.

    Smalltalk is a portable, pure object-oriented langauge that runs on all popular platforms. It is known for being one of the best ways to learn object-oriented programming. Smalltalk is also a complete environment, designed especially for rapid development and deployment of applications. Read this overview to learn more reasons to develop in Smalltalk.

    Cool. So we’ve now got a blog about a language. No. Not really, from what I can tell, it’s a blog by a gent who works in Smalltalk, amongst other things, and blogs about that, plus a lot of other cool stuff. Coming from Oz, it’s pretty cool to see pictures of the snow.

    The ability to change styles is cool. It suspends my belief that it’s just a single blog engine. In fact, that’s part of the magic. The user doesn’t usually think about the engine of a blog. They think about the way it comes across to them, and the styles here are different enough that changing them is actually a piece of functionality in and of itself (not fluff).


      Ha ha. If I’d actually examined the blog further before writing, and looked properly instead of skimming over words I thought were not important, I would have noticed this … ‘Powered by Cincom Smalltalk‘. Ha ha, man alive, good reporting son.

      This is cool. Writing a blog, with a bent towards a Product, that has been used to create the blog itself. The engine. Nice.

  8. — Dennis Forbes, Pragmatic Software Development


    Here’s a fellow who knows his stuff. Dennis Forbes is a self-confessed uber-guru at coding, database architectures, and can probably code in any language known to man. I made up the uber-guru word, translated it from Dennis’ About page.

    So yeah, he really does know his stuff.

    The top post (at time of writing), is an excellent article on Wiki and Windows (specifically, hosting a Wiki on Windows), but has many sideline wisdom nuggets.

    Very cool. Step-by-step tutorials are really cool. It means someone has taken the time to break down the process into bite-sized chunks.


      The more of these blogs I read, the more I am washed out into the raging ocean. There is so much wisdom out there, so many people with brain-power that boggles my mind. Dennis Forbes’ blog is a quality piece of work. His Notables are really cool. Read them.

  9. —

    Okay, so at the time of writing, I can’t get this site to load. Wierd. Skipping now.

  10. — Teds Space, A day in the life of a .NET Architect


    This one was a little harder for me to get into. Possibly because i’m at the end of this list. But also because it’s heavily tied into the use of Microsoft .NET Passport. Although I’ve got one, it was annoying that I couldn’t actually see the "About" page of the author without logging in with the Passport details … nothing against you Ted, you’re the author, not the engine …

    The blog hasn’t been updated in a little while, but with some brain-power, the posts have some nice info. Not being into MS stuff that much wasn’t really a problem.

    The one thing I would like more of is more of Ted. Most of the posts are a few lines … Personally (and I mean this is my opinion, noone else’s) I want to find out more about the author through the way they write. And I want to read posts with lots of manical laughter (scratch that), with meat on their bones. But that’s just me.


    • Although I couldn’t get into the blog as much as others, this is a blog with some nice info. And the slide show down the bottom is cool. Very nice.

Spherical Phoke Interview #001 :: Paul Stamatiou

It was only days into my life as a blogger that I stumbled across Paul Stamatiou (and his blog). He had written the excellent "How To: Boost Your Blog Traffic" article. This was a keystone point for myself as a blogger. Even though, months afterwards, I have settled into a slightly less-travelled path, it still remains as a turning point.

Paul continues to write wonderful articles on his blog. He shows you how to customize K2 (absolute kicker of a WordPress Theme, and this is the first of three articles), how to do cool things with your Header Graphic, and a bunch of other useful information articles. When I say useful, I mean it. Paul doesn’t wax long and boring with inane anecdotes. He provides one of the better tutorial sites (small at the moment in number though it is) that exist on the web.

Quite apart from his helpful articles, Paul is also a first-tier news provider. His focus is noticably Mac & Web oriented. Even with a thumb-screw, he wouldn’t divulge his sources, so suffice to say –  they are pretty good. Good enough to lose digits over.

I made that last bit up.

So I asked him to be the first Spherical Phoke Interviewee, understanding that he was one of the more high profile candidates on my first phase list. However, thankfully, he accepted.


Paul, welcome. You have the joy of being the first participant in the latest project from Dev Dawn.

The purpose of Spherical Phoke is to look beyond the content of what we do, and reveal the creators of that content. We are drawing into an Age where the hallowed web halls will resound with life. So it is that people need to know who we are. Not our content, but Us. That’s right – it’s time we stood up to embrace our purpose. To stop fighting destiny, and become the inner Bats/Supes/Wolvie that sparks within us. As the great poet Derek once said  "Who Am I?" and that’s what Spherical Phoke is all about.

We at Dev Dawn are extremely honored that you agreed to be interviewed. The web is a strange and sometimes scary world, and there are people out there who .. shhh .. they talk about stuff like Desktop Applications being beaten down into a quivering mass by this "Ajax" fellow. Seems to me, if memory serves, Ajax fell on his own sword.


Truly, thankyou for answering our questions.


  1. What are the three most exciting developments in your brain at this very moment?

    I’m really impressed with what is possible with PHP. Now that PHP6 is being developed (no one even uses PHP5 yet, heh) we are really going to start seeing some monumental web apps powered by the next generation of PHP and MySQL. AJAX has always been an interesting field to watch but I’m more interested in AHAH, asynchronous HTML and HTTP for dynamically updating web pages. I’m also interested in where successful web services like Technorati, 30 Boxes and RoundCube Webmail are headed.

  2. What’s going to be the next catch-phrase/idea/… to sweep the Web and/or Development Community?

    g-Everything Beta. Google will buy out the internet and prepend the letter “g” to everything they have acquired as well as appending their almost trademark “Beta”.

  3. What aspects of development get you excited to be alive?

    I’m not as much a developer as a blogger, but I have to say I love it when things just work. I have an idea, open up a text editor and type some code. When it runs flawlessly on the first execution, that’s a great feeling.

  4. What aspects of development give you the willies?

    Debugging takes the life out of me. It’s tedious and is the largest part of developing anything from web sites to a game for the GameBoy Advance (which I’m learning to do in my computer science course now).

  5. What’s your dream Project – I’ve already called creating the first anti-matter teleporter.

    Working for Apple in Cupertino on some top-secret piece of next-gen hardware/software. However, building the ultimate computer and reviewing it for a publication like Tom’s Hardware would be just as great.

  6. If you could own a single Domain Name, what would it be?! I would love to own Currently some guy only uses it for email, which is extremely obnoxious. If I had this domain, people would actually be able to spell my domain and not have to rely on bookmarks and referral links to find my site.

  7. What are your first memories of the Internet?

    I believe my first experience with the internet was sometime in 1994 after my father had purchased a new Compaq computer. Unfortunately, we were using AOL to dialup and AOL is a horrible piece of software and the company has become extremely annoying with their attempts to sell overpriced bloatware. I remember seeing an auction on eBay with someone selling 5,000 AOL cds; crazy.

  8. What is the worst Project you’ve ever worked on? Cleaning toilets at camp doesn’t count.

    I can’t say I’ve ever really worked on a bad project.

  9. What’s the toughest Project you’ve ever worked on? Ditto for the toilets.

    My Java OOP class last year was quite the challenging course. The weekly homeworks were vague and demanded perfection, which wasn’t possible with the teachers that had been recruited. However, I was able to make it out alive.

  10. If there were Oscar’s for Development, what is the piece of functionality you’ve created that should/would/could win?

    I would have created the perfect web design creator. Just write a paragraph about what you want your website to look and feel like and a professional, Rundle-quality website will be created within the minute. Elements of the page would be AJAX’d so you could move them where you wanted. The program would need to be open source as well, there are a lot of great minds out there that could really advance the project.

  11. How would you begin your Oscar speech?

    After my family, I would first thank everyone in the 9rules network, they’ve taught me a lot about web development. Oh and definitely Paul Scrivens, the CEO of the 9rules Network, for recognizing my talent and accepting me into the network, as well as teaching me that you can be cool and do techy stuff by day, haha.

  12. It’s tough to work in a hot little office. What’s your favourite work environment?

    Haha, I don’t have a hot little office right now .. just a hot little dorm. I’ll often open up iTunes internet radio or dip into my archives and play some techno, that really gets my thinking. I’m fine with working in my room, but if I’m really under stress from too much work or my noisy roommates, I often escape to the library or the Computational Media Lab. The CM lab is for students of my major and is a room of dozens of high-end computers, such as Dual G5’s with massive Apple Cinema Displays. It’s a great work environment, everything in that room is high-end, even the Herman Milleresque chairs.

  13. What do you see as the purpose of Blogging?

    I blog to break the news first and let people know how to do those things they’ve only wished they could do themselves. I take pride in my step by step tutorials and they will always have a home at my blog.

  14. If you blog, what purpose(s) do you regularly work towards?

    Perfection is my motivation. When I’m writing a how to or some other lengthy article, I hope for it to be the best tutorial for that specific thing available, the go-to guide, etc. More importantly, however, Is that at least one person has learned something from everything I write. That’s when I know I’ve been doing a good thing.

  15. What are your top work tools? Dr. Who’s Sonic Screwdriver doesn’t count – although man it would be cool.

    Most of my ideas start to take place in Photoshop CS2. If I have an idea of a new design, the first thing I will always do is make the header image. It just sets the tone for the rest of the site and how I will design everything around the header. As for coding, pretty much everything I do is hand coded in the OS X SubEthaEdit text editor. It’s more powerful than text editor but still fairly lightweight and doesn’t require loading all the massive libraries that Adobe GoLive or Macromedia Dreamweaver do. Much of the time I will get stuck on a particular coding problem, but I usually find a quick solution by asking the web gurus in the 9rules member forums.

  16. What the first piece of coding you ever worked on?

    As far as real coding is concerned, I took an advanced Java course in high school and that’s when I really started getting dirty with code. Java hasn’t left me either, I’ve had to take a few courses here at Georgia Tech that required Java skills as well. Before that, it was just me tinkering around with HTML, CSS and Javascript.


  17. What are your favourite fictional characters? Picking Wolvie is worth 5 extra Phoke Points.

    Buzz (Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Mascot) is my favorite fictional character by far. Superman and King Kong can’t touch him, but Colin Devroe might argue about the King Kong part.

  18. What is your favourite current game?

    Battlefield 2 is by far my favorite game right now. I’ve been addicted to ranking up and becoming commander. I also have a knack for flying the attack helicopter.

  19. What is your favourite all-time game?

    I was brought up on Counter-Strike, so that is naturally my favorite game for all-time. It was also the first really immersive multiplayer game I picked up on.

  20. If you were a movie star, what genre would be your forte?

    If I was a movie star, I would put Chuck Norris to shame. But realistically I would probably play the role of the guy in the Transporter: excellent driving skills and better fighting skills.

  21. When you get the chance to create a character in a game, what is their name? And do you have a history for them?

    In the game I created for a class last week, the character was named MainCharacter, very original as you can see.

  22. How do you spend your relaxing time?

    If it’s time spent in the room, I usually just browse around online while playing some music. I’m a bit of an audiophile and have about 210GB of music at the moment. The mainstay of my relaxation is done driving around Atlanta or Houston in my car. I’m a huge car guy as well and the deafening sound of my Mustang lets me temporarily ignore all of my problems. Another form of relaxation is going to the campus recreation center on campus. There’s always something fun to do there. It’s a huge place that was actually featured in a Sports Illustrated magazine a while ago. It has 3 pools, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, a suspended track, treadmills with TV’s built into the displays .. typical of a tech school I suppose.

    Growing Up

  23. What experiences growing up helped shape your direction in life now?

    Tinkering. When I was younger I would always take apart things to see how they worked and attempt to put them back together again. That sparked my interest in electronics and computers in general. I would take apart my dad’s new IBM pc, our old Mac Centris 650, the stereo system, just about everything.

  24. Are we products of our nature or nurture, our makeup or our experience?

    I feel that it’s all about how you were brought up and what you’ve experienced.

  25. Going to school can be like putting ore into the blazing forge. What’s the best analogy you can think of for your school experience?

    I’m still trying to find out myself, but it’s something like a turbo-charger spooling up. I’m just waiting for the blow off valve to kick in (graduation).

  26. How long have you known you wanted to be where you are now?

    I’ve always known that I wanted to work with computers when I grew up, even when I was an infant, as referenced by pictures of me holding circuit boards before I was able to walk.

  27. You get the chance to go back in time to high school as you are now. Would you take the hand of the Time-Genie? Why?

    I’m pleased with how my high school experience went, so I don’t need to change any of that.

    The Infinite

  28. If you get to die in your sleep old and full of years, what would be your greatest achievement?

    Working for Apple and pioneering OS XV. Apple OS 15 would be the operating system. Microsoft’s Windows would only be a vague memory in everyone’s mind. Operating systems technology would have reached its absolute peak and OS 15 could do everything. However, it would need a high-end 23.7TeraHertz computer to run, but even that would be fairly cheap.

  29. You have the chance to interview one historical character (lived before you were alive). Who would you choose? What would be your first three questions / format of the interview?

    I would choose someone like Thomas Edison. Instead of an interview, I’d take him around some of the most advanced cities and show him the latest technology and the what the lightbulb has evolved into.


  30. Thank you for your time and effort. It’s been a blast treading this short road with you. What are you doing after finishing this interview?

    I have to finish an analysis on how Wikipedia changes the notion of human knowledge by midnight and then I will hopefully make it to a showing of the movie Firewall.


We thank Paul very much for participating in this interview. If you haven’t visited, then do it.

I’m not sure about how much breaking down of the interview to do. No doubt, over time, this end section will evolve. For now, I’ll let the interview itself do the talking. That, and the comments. Yeah.

It’s Aliiiiiive!

Spherical Phoke is a project that has been mulling about in my mind for quite some time. While it’s still very much in it’s infancy, we have a beginning.

Spherical Phoke is about the people behind the stuff. Looking beyond content (blogs, development, most other things) and to the author of that content.

Our first Interview is with Paul Stamatiou. That’s right. Pretty sweet.

One of the main purposes behind collating Interviews of "Spherical Phoke" is for others to come and be inspired, be convicted, to see others doing what they dream, or to find that there are people experiencing the same thing.

Of course, an Interview can only show so much, and a lot depends on the skill of the Interviewer and their questioning acumen. Of course, I’m a total newb … but with great experience comes great power … or something like that. Anyway, that’s not going to stop me. I get better every time I write out some questions, read other people’s interviews, listen to the news, and so on.

Thanks for coming, and stay tuned for the first of the Spherical Phoke.

Joel’s the Wonder Man

Okay, so maybe I am a Hype-Monkey. This is possible. But while I’m willing to admit my problems, I urge everyone that has any aspirations at all in the world of Software Development to go and take a dive in the crystal waters of Joel on Software.

There is so much good here. Mind-blowing kind of stuff. Information/Wisdom that you have heard before, in pieces, but here it’s woven together with experience. It’s a single package. Gold Jerry!

The articles I’ve recently read are each and every one a gem.

The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code, Top Five (Wrong) Reasons You Don’t Have Testers, The Law of Leaky Abstractions, and The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing.

But there’s more, a lot more. Check out the Archives.

So just a little plug.

A blog/site like Joel on Software has the effect on me of instantly pushing me to be better at development. It’s been over six months since I last visited, and I wonder why it hasn’t been a regular haunt. Or at least every few weeks.

So to all the Skeptic’s out there (you know what I’m talkin bout), if you never buy into any hype … visit this place. It’s the bomb. And by bomb, I mean unassuming quality site with a gold-mine of information and experience mixed together into wisdom.

Borland Has Left The Building

Geoff Bomford pointed out This Article on the Clarion Newsgroups. Borland is bailing out of the IDE business. Delphi … in my understanding one of the biggest competitors of Clarion, is soon to be without a parent. Not that they won’t get picked up by someone … but still.

Not sure what this means, but plenty of people have given their thoughts on the matter (in the newsgroups).