Month: February 2016

Firewatch, Fallout 4, and Video Gaming

Let me admit up front that I’m not much of a gamer, and when I do game, it tends to be more casual and very old school; on my iPad I keep a Sudoku game, a Solitaire game, backgammon and I’m currently on a big jigsaw puzzle thing (I highly recommend Jigsaw Puzzle). Not exactly cutting edge. A few months back I bought a Playstation 4 so I could do more gaming, but even there, I’m old-school: I game solo, my preferences run towards faux-medieval RPG stuff, and so I dove into Elder Scrolls Online, which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly for the last almost four months. But now my character has run through all three story tracts, is a veteran 16th level, and I’ve hit that point where either I have to start playing the game collaboratively (I’ve been skipping the multi-player dungeons) or head off into Cyrodiil for the group warfare, neither of which really interest me. Another option would be to start up a new character and run the game again in some other form but, well, not right now. So think of me as that guy who remembers Dragonlance fondly and you pretty much sum up my gaming habits — I’m a dungeon crawler at heart. I’ve found that I have no real interest in driving games, no real patience for platformers, and, well, more on fighting...

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On Sabbatical. Now what?

So I’ve handed in my badge to Cisco and I’m now a free agent. I’m on Sabbatical. Now what? Good question. For now, it seems to be mostly projects and organizing and figuring out what this all means. I’ll be headed down to SoCal for a while to work on some estate stuff and go to Disneyland, I’m going to the Yosemite conference later in March, and then after that, I have no real plans in place; one active project is contractor selection for a full landscaping redo of the front and back yards here, something that’s long overdue and finally (I think) happening. I won’t miss the jungle, and what we’re putting in is intended to be low-water, low-maintenance and bird friendly. After that (shudder) is finding a general contractor for similar work on the house. Two things I know are going onto the project list: first is getting a lot more serious about the birding and the bird photography again, and the photography in general; the other is a Mac programming project that’s been on the maybe-someday list for a long, long time, which I’ve titled Dungeon Delve (hint: it’s a reinvention of Rogue). I’ll be using this to learn Swift and figure out the logistics of the App Store. Who knows, maybe some day Apple will need a developer’s community manager… But seriously, this was a...

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Cue and Federighi on the Talk Show

A big surprise in this week’s Talk Show podcast from John Gruber at Daring Fireball: Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi stop by for a chat. my guests on this special episode of my podcast are Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, and includes a bunch of interesting scoops: the weekly number of iTunes and App Store transactions, an updated Apple Music subscriber count, peak iMessage traffic per second, the number of iCloud account holders, and more. It’s a fascinating discussion and if you are at all interesting in Apple, it’s worth an hour to listen to it. Gruber has previously scored a couple of exclusive podcasts with Apple execs: Federighi was on the show a couple of months ago, and at last year’s WWDC he surprised the crowd with Phil Schiller. It’s a good episode: Gruber will probably get yelled at by some for throwing softballs, but I thought he did a good job of bringing up some of the important issues that have been simmering recently in the public chatter without being hostile or  in their face; neither Cue nor Federighi ducked the issues that were brought up, although both of them at times carefully reframed the discussion, but for the most part, they did a good job of trying to bring the Apple worldview into view on these topics. And basically, their way of framing...

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On Sabbatical (almost)

I’ve announced this to my team at work so I can now announce this here. I’ve decided to resign from Cisco, and I’ll be leaving the firm in late February. I am not taking a new job, at least not for the foreseeable future. I really like my job and team, but starting in December I started talking to my doctor about weight loss surgery and other options as I’ve been feeling more and more that I have to either get the weight or suffer increasingly serious health issues. My discussion and research on the surgery just re-affirmed to me that it wasn’t an option I wanted to explore, but that caused me to start thinking through “if not that, then how?” What I’ve decided is to make my weight and the lifestyle changes necessary to solve this my job. I’m going on sabbatical for a few months to focus on me and the changes I have to make, especially in terms of improving my conditioning and getting myself more active and on a regular exercise program. It’s a weird feeling to know that soon I won’t have a job to go to, because I took my first job when I was twelve, and I’ve never been unemployed longer than six weeks since. This is breaking a rather deeply engrained habit, and it’s a little scary at my age...

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