Beauty and the Beast

I got a reminder of how poor Game Center is today.

You are enjoying the new hot iOS word game LetterPress right? It has been downloaded 60,000 times in its first hours, and I noticed two things about it right away:

– It seemed to bring down Game Center

– I was getting a lot of friend requests.

Back to Game Center. Loren has created a beautiful, minimalist game that feels Windows 8 Metro-ish in ways (well, the squares and flatness). It turns out that Loren wrote it in OpenGL mainly because of an old iOS bug (fixed in iOS 6) around catching scrollable elements….. but I digress.

The only way to play the game is via Game Center. And, it has problems:

– It is garish. The green felt and Vegas feel isn’t well liked, and it stands out in spades against the minimalist feel

– It is buggy. Notice the image above and how it handles orientation poorly

– It is frustrating. I can’t just invite someone, I need to first invite them into Game Center and then at that point I need to get a game going

– It fights me. I may want to play my child on another device, but I can’t “play myself” when using the same Apple ID.

I hope that Loren partially kills the beast and gives us full beauty. He has built a real gem here, and I am sorry that Apple has puked up a lil on it.

The desire to know it all in programming.

Nicholas zakas /

Nicholas said something quite obvious. If you can productive with JavaScript, you may “know enough”. In our trade we sometimes like to segment the land of the programmers. You have the Computer Scientists, and the engineers, and the programmer, and the app developers, and the hackers, and the script kiddies, and on and on.

Some groups like to make fun of the others (e.g. “heh. PHP kiddies. heh.”). There is a notion that you really need a deep understanding of the programming world before you can get going.

This isn’t something special in the world of computing. Various fields talk about tinkerers compared to trades compared to rich disciplines.

If you are going to do brain surgery, the bar is high before you can do so. We want to have a rigorous process before someone gets to your head.

For building apps and tinkering, I prefer to think of us more akin to cooking. With cooking you can become an amateur pretty easily, even more so than computing. You can grab a recipe (script) and get hacking.

There is a large range in technique with cooking. You can take on a simple script, and make something very delicious. But you can also go deeper, learn new skills, and new tools (new languages, new platforms). You can even get into the chemistry of food (low level computer science) and get a deep understanding at the lowest of levels.

So, I appreciated Nicholas’ thought. You don’t need to know every feature of JavaScript to starting building something useful…. just like I can make a pretty tasty omelet with the very limited cooking skills that I have (let alone the understanding of how it all works.)

Romney keeps making mistakes as he doesn’t know how he feels.

I always enjoy Dan Ariely’s research on human behaviour. I always learn a lot, and I find myself second guessing much of what I know. His latest book is all about lies and dishonesty.

One key issue with lying is that as soon as you lie, you now have to remember the lie. This means you can’t speak from your core beliefs and mistakes are made. I believe that Mitt Romney has said whatever he wants people to hear, and at this point doesn’t know up from down.

When the campaign makes a mistake, surely the quickly correct, right? Nope.

A normal campaign follows the practice of correcting or removing false claims. But Mitt Romney’s campaign isn’t just another campaign. It’s lies are not detracted. They aren’t going to let fact checkers get in their way (and thus FACTS).

Some fun ones:

The commercial showing Obama saying: “If we keep talking about the economy we are going to lose”

Of course they left out the fact that he was quoting someone! the actual quote is: “Senator McCain’s campaign said, and I quote ‘If we keep talking about the economy we are going to lose’

And Romney have the balls to say that this is OK!

The inspector general said that contracts were steared to friends and familyNot true, not corrected.

Obama quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform” nuts”.

This has gotten so bad that the campaign staff now has a sweeper role, where the y come along and take back his quotes after he says them.

Mitt Romney on Univision: “I have not met with Chris Coback” (the Papers Please guy from Arizona)

Campaign later says: “Romney has met with him, and he is a campaign advisor”

Romney on 60 minutes: “I am in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape, incest, and the health and life of the mother”

Campaign: Erm, nope… doesn’t support the health one.

Romney on Meet the Press: “I am not getting rid of healthcare reform, [I will keep some of it] e.g. to make sure that if you have pre existing conditions you are taken care of.”

Campaign: Erm, nope again. He doesn’t want a law that requires that. Same red line on Iran as Obama? Nope, he didn’t mean that too. Does the Obama campaign skirt the truth? Of course. But this isn’t in the same ballpark.

Some have said that politians trick themselves into thinking “I just need to win this game and then I will do what is right!” as a justification. I don’t think that Romney is evil, I just think he is wrong.