I Facebook no longer.

I mothballed my facebook account today. I didn’t delete it, I posted that I was leaving, and put up my contact information. I then used DuckDuckGo’s awesome password generator which is built in their awesome search, and changed my password to something random. Then logged out. Short of requesting a password, I can’t even get in now. Oh yeah.

I really would prefer to delete it, but there are people on there who might not think to search for me. Incidentally, if one searches for ‘tim habersack’ on the interwebs, my site comes up at #2. (Frustratingly, my Quora account is #1, which I don’t really get.)

Here are two great articles highlighting most of the reasons why I’m leaving it.

http://www.theolympian.com/2011/04/20/1623292/facebook-looks-to-cash-in-on-user.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/10-reasons-to-delete-your-facebook-account-2010-5

Maintaining control of my own data is important to me. And, in my opinion, should be important for everyone.

My protest on AT&T purchasing T-Mobile

My email to :antitrust@ftc.gov, concerning the fact that AT&T is buying T-Mobile for $29 Billion. They cannot allow this to happen.

Subject: Concern over the AT&T purchase of T-Mobile

Hello,

My name is Tim Habersack. I am a customer of T-Mobile, and this news caused me much distress. I don’t believe AT&T should be allowed to purchase T-Mobile for the following reasons:

-AT&T has proven to engage in illegal activity. See (https://www.eff.org/issues/nsa-spying)

-Allowing the purchase of a major competitor in what is already an oligopoly, allows AT&T to have even less of a reason to price fairly.

FTC is one of those government entities I actually feel good supporting with my tax money. Protecting citizens from excess greed, I like that mission a lot. Please don’t let us down.

Thank you so much,
-Tim Habersack

Frustrated at the CA SoS

UPDATE: I decided to retract my LLC-1 filing. With baby on the way, as well as some contract work thats come up (a good thing!), I realized I don’t need the overhead of an LLC at this time.

I’m frustrated with the California Secretary of State. I filed to form an LLC on Jan 21st. As of Feb 21st, they are currently processing the applications that came in December 20th.

Supposedly, budget cuts are the culprit of this lag. In hindsight I should have looked at their processing times earlier.

What annoys me is that requests that were made in person are being processed a month faster. Why are people who live close to Sacramento receiving priority?

It’s also annoying that I have all this cool stuff I want to start sharing, but I shouldn’t yet, because my company isn’t official. Someone nefarious could send in a name reservation for my company name, and it would be processed before my filing would, even though my filing was there a month earlier.

So, I say, “Gah!”

Little distraction from game design

Things have been busy lately, as they often are.

Development on the space game is lagging a litle bit, because I switched over to work on a small project. It should be done this week, then I can get back to galaxy generation. :)

The small project is minilog. Basically, it came from a personal need for a log. What I wanted was status.net, but just for myself and tagging. Of course status.net could do this, but for one person, the almost 10MB size and db requirement seemed a little extreme. Hence, minilog.

Taken from the README’s summary:

A very lightweight, private web log script written in php. Entries are stored in XML. Supports tags, mobile.

So there you go. I’m designing it so it is three files that you can copy to any directory on your webserver, and it’ll install and run. Most likely 6 other people will use it, but you never know. Also, it was a good chance to warm up with my XML knowledge, which is good for the space game.

Once it’s to a point where it’s ready for consumption I’ll highlight it.

Motivation and Money

In my previous post discussing my reasons for developing a game, the issue of money came up several times. Lest people think, “Wow, he’s only in it for money. What a total (expletive)!”, I thought I should explain.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself and coding is, I need motivation. I love working on projects, but without a clear reason to make it, other than just “because I want to”, the project will lag, take forever, and often times not be completed. This is not good.

When I started working at Innovative in June, I was amazed at how much coding I was getting done. 8hrs a day, 5 days a week, I was (and still am) knocking projects out. The difference between working here and working on personal projects is, I am doing this for money. And I enjoy my work, and it’s giving me lots of opportunities to learn new coding languages, server administration, etc.

If I go into developing this game as a labor of love, it won’t happen. If I go into developing this game as a labor of love AND with the expectation to make money, it will get done. So, there you go.

Shifting gears

Time to confess something. Minecraft came up on my radar several months ago, and it changed my life. It’s a fun game, to be sure, but it’s not the endless hours of playing it that I’m talking about here. It’s the fact that it exists, and is doing very well for itself.

If I had thought up Minecraft as a game to potentially develop, I would have dismissed it. It seems like something only I would like, or just a small group of players. Nothing worth the development time. Minecraft is proof that this mindset is wrong.

I don’t believe in the “if you build it they will come” mentality, not at all. But if a game is made that is fun, and has a polished feel to it, people will buy it.

It was also the “nail in the coffin” as it were, to Nickelpinch. Nickelpinch was my Big Project. Web-based personal financial tool. I’ve spent a ton of time making it, and it’s in it’s third revision. I realized with Minecraft, that not many people will be interested in paying for Nickelpinch. I wouldn’t pay for Nickelpinch, because I feel that sort of service is free. Which is a total disconnect, because I slapped down 10 euros in a second for Minecraft. Paying for games I don’t mind, but paying for financial apps doesn’t mesh with me.

Also, I wasn’t using Nickelpinch anymore. Basically, a decent spreadsheet in Google Docs is all anyone needs if they consciously want to track their spending. I’ll be releasing what I have for Nickelpinch as open source, and if people want to load it up then no problem.

Tara said to me, “You really enjoy games, and games seem to make money, why don’t you make a game?” and when she said that, it was obvious.

There’s a game that’s been on my mind to develop for over a decade. My skills are to a point now where I could pull it off. Also, it is perfect for mobile devices, and THAT market is in the perfect position for this.

So, yeah I’m developing a game now. It’s been filling up a wiki for over a month, and I’m rushing to get things in order for public viewing by the beginning of the year. Unlike my previous projects, this will be out in the open from the start, with a development blog and wiki.

Stay tuned for more.

Unexpected connections

Last week, while off from work for our honeymoon, I had a very significant realization. We were back from Las Vegas and sitting in our living room on the couch. The rain softly falling outside the window; the sky that resigned grey color which affects me so much. I look over and Tara gives me a quiet smile before looking back to her laptop. I look back to the book I’m reading, then out the window again.

I have a Keanu Reeves “whoa” moment. Right then, I feel very connected to my past. I was homeschooled K-12, and being at home, working in my Saxon Algebra book while the rain kept falling outside is a very good memory I have. It has a “rightness” to it. The moment I was just experiencing felt like a continuation of that. But it was more than just the rain.

Growing up, my family was very closely knit. Being homeschooled by my Mom, and being with my two sisters all the time made us all close (sometimes to the point of madness! heh). As I turned 18, and started being more of an adult, I felt I was leaving that closeness and being more independent. It was good in many ways, but one way that wasn’t so good is my closeness to the family waned. It’s a natural progression of becoming an adult, you need to stand more on your own I think.

Unexpectedly, our marriage made Tara and I feel even closer, and I feel like I’m in a family again. (I say unexpectedly, because we thought, “We’re so close now, marriage is just a public declaration of our dedication to each other, it won’t make us feel closer than we already are.”) That family connection is there again in my life. It’s like a new family cycle has started, this time with me as the husband. It’s a good thing.

There’s another variable in this strong connection to the past. When I was 16ish, I was a pretty smart guy, but there were some aspects of my future that were uncertain to me. One, would I ever find a partner in my life? And two, I knew I wanted to do something mathematical or technical as a profession. But I always had these doubts of “Will I really make it? Will it really happen?”

I can look back now at my past self, and see the goals I was worried about are achieved. I am married to a supportive, amazing lady, and we love each other greatly. My job is exactly what I wanted to do. I want to tell my past self, “You’re going to be okay.”

Behind the Spines once again

I had a really good weekend. Tara and I didn’t do much of anything, since we both were not feeling well. However, I did read for almost 8 hours totally over Saturday and Sunday, and boy did that feel good.

I used to read a minimum of 6 books a month, on purposefully-different topics. I’ve always maintained the belief that reading is never a waste of time. When I first moved to Berkeley I began to read less, because I was living with some awesome roommates, and things were always going on. Then, with meeting the greatest lady in the universe, and setting out to woo said lady, my reading time fell to the wayside.

I can’t describe how good it feels to be back behind some books. Already I feel more calm, and my mental acuity feels sharper. There are several problems on some personal projects that have kept me stuck for months, and I figured most of them out in between my reading sessions.

I am going to keep this up. *looks at the camera seriously* I mean it.

New job at one month.. Plus games

Next week will be my one month anniversary at the new job, Innovative Interfaces, Inc. as their primary Web Administrator / Developer. Overall it’s been a really good experience. Working on tools that libraries around the globe will use is quite cool.

Adjusting to a 40 hour workweek is taking some time. Part of what is challenging is the work is really interesting, so much so that by the time I get home my brain is kind of tired. This means my own code projects are taking a while to make headway on. The good news is with this job I can really leave it at the office. This means, for the first time in over two years really, I can game! PC or console; it’s all good once again.

I’ve been playing a LOT of Age of Wonders lately. It has captured the heart of my beloved Tara and we play for several hours at a time.

My issue with apps

I’m having some moral issues with app based browsing. I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I really think focusing on app experiences is hurting the internet. Then this story came out, and explained it much better than I can.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/07/closing-the-digital-frontier/8131/

I think the blame, if we want to find someone to blame, (sure!) would rest with designers, and flash ads making pages difficult to navigate. Why did I say designers? Because they want to make pages slicker, cooler, a near artistic experience. We should be focused on what users want, which is content. Right?

People like app-based web experiences because it is laid out in an easy to navigate manner, and low barriers to the information they find relevant. Web sites can and still are, sometimes, designed in a similar manner.

I am going to start designing everything with the expectation that people are reading this with a display less than 320-400 pixels wide. I’m talking single-column design with menu sitting on top and bottom, or menu on the side that goes to the bottom if display isn’t very wide.. I want things to look good primarily on mobile devices, because that is where I feel things are moving. But still doing it from a browser, not an app that only works on specific hardware.

While we’re on the subject, I have this weird idea I want to share. I feel like part of the problem, one reason for moving things to more app-based experiences is because we’re trying to all make web pages that work like applications. But not everything on the web needs to be like applications. Maybe we should separate this into two things. Maybe we should have a Web Browser, and a Web Applicator. Let the browser focus on doing browser things, and the applicator focus on handling all the application-style web experiences.

Maybe I just like the name “Web Applicator”, or maybe I’m just getting weirder.