archive for May, 2004

HHGG Screenwriter Interviews Himself

Karey Kirkpatrick’s interview


Before turning in our third draft to the studio, Garth, Nick, Robbie and I gave the script to Douglas’s wife, Jane, and then went over to her house (ironically a five minute walk from the Hammer and Tongs barge) for a chat and, of course, tea (this was England, after all, and whenever two or more people assemble in England, it is national law that tea must be served. I’m from Louisiana and we have a similar law that involves Dr. Pepper and Cheetos).

Where Your Eyes Don't Go

I just listened (carefully) to the lyrics of “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go” by They Might Be Giants. I’m not sure how I missed it before, but this is a great song.

Franchise Software Development

Here’s an idea: create a software development firm, and franchise it out.

This may already be happening, but if it is, it isn’t doing it right. First of all, the only way a franchised firm is going to be more profitable than its competition is if it can differentiate itself from the competition in a positive way. How do you compete against the independent firms? Blow them away by sharing information between your offices giving each office the resources of a huge company. How do you compete against the huge corporations? Win by staying flexible, knowing the customers in your area, and being a good member of the community. Most of the money spent locally, stays local.

Here’s what the parent corp. would provide:
Advertising – one name, one brand, one place to go — wherever you are.

Knowledge – training, ideas, advice, and more will flow between the branches.

Standards – by demanding excellence in all aspects of development, customers will know that no matter which office they choose, they will be always be happy. Technological standards also mean that software developed by one branch can easily be worked on by other branches.

By far, most of the time the customer will be interested in software that they can use, not in something to resell. If that’s the case, then they probably don’t care what the licensing is, as long as it’s not a burden. Open source licenses would be an obvious choice for most of the software created. Not only would the different branches be able to share the code (thus lowering the price for future development), it also means that the buyer doesn’t need to worry about asset tracking and making sure they bought enough licenses.

So, how does one go about building a business like this? Ask some really smart business people. I don’t know. 🙂 I’m sure you’d want to start out small, each firm is going to cost a small bundle to get off the ground. The good news is that once the money is flowing, it becomes easier to set up new branches. I could easily imagine a Franchise Software Development Firm going from a regional market to world wide coverage within 5 years.

The main benefit of any kind of market swing where development, not selling and re-selling and re-selling, becomes the main focus is that the firms that truly innovate (instead of blocking their competitors from innovating) are the firms that win — firms get paid for development. This is good for the consumer, good for the developer (me), and good for the economy.

3 Laws Unsafe

3 Laws Unsafe will be a site dedicated to debunking Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, or really any fixed set of rules for controlling artificial intelligence. The name is a parody on the tag line for the upcoming I, Robot movie.

Stuck Hard Drive

Well, not only is Jesse’s laptop in the shop (it mysteriously stopped POSTing over the vacation), but my secondary hard drive locked up. From what it sounds like, old hard drives that are usually run a lot, and then are turned off for a while can get stuck (the moving parts don’t move). I’m not sure if this is from corrosion build up that welds the parts together, or what, but it can be bad. After doing lots of reading on ways to revive a dead hard drive, I found a solution that worked for me.

To fix my hard drive (I don’t know how permentally), I ended up having to tap it on the side with my rubber handled screw driver. I guess I jarred it just enough to break it free so that it’ll work.

My secondary hard drive is just used for storing my pictures, music, and doing backups of some of my main drive’s data. I’m currently copying all of the non-duplicate data from the secondary hard drive onto the primary. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish before it dies for good. Or… I run out of space which is what it looks like just happened. I think it’s time for a new hard drive. 🙁

Lesson learned: always have at least 2 copies of any important data. This should be a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s harder to execute than expected… especially when the “important data” changes from month to month. I’m going to look for a free backup program that will let me select a set of folders to copy over to another drive every night. It would be even better if I could backup the data to a totally different computer, ideally one at a totally different location. We’ll see what I find.

PS: I should note that not all hard drives that die, die in the same way. What worked for me, may not work for you. It may even damage your drive. If you have any data that is truely valuable (thousands of dollars worth), and it’s on a drive that has died, you should probably ship it to a professional to have it fixed.

Banana Phone

I’m back from Hawaii, and Jer was kind enough to send me think link Banana Phone. Wasn’t that nice of him?

Off to Hawaii

Tomorrow morning, we’ll be leaving to Hawaii. I’m looking forward to the trip, both to see new things, and to do some simple relaxing. Most of our trips involve staying somewhere new every night. This is the first vacation that I can think of that we’ll actually be staying in the same hotel for a whole week.

Tonight we had a little shish kabob BBQ with friends. I think it went well. It’s nice to have people over to just hang out and chat, and it didn’t interrupt our packing at all.

Well, it’s getting late, and I need to get up early in the morning, so I can’t write any more right now. I’ll try to write from Hawaii, but can’t promise that I’ll be able to make it happen.

Cinco de Mayo

I’m just kicking back tonight celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a nice habanero burn in my mouth, throat, and stomach. Trust me, it’s good.

McSweeney's Lits

Here is a subset of McSweeney’s lists:

I read about this music website called a few weeks ago. It’s run by a Russian company, and everything I’ve read says that it is legitimate. Here’s how it works (AFAIK): it costs $1 per 100 MB of music, plans start at $5. So, if you want higher quality recordings (higher bitrates), you’ll end up paying more for a given song. Oh, and no DRM. That means, unlike iTunes, I’ll be able to easily use it in my car’s MP3 player, in winamp, etc….

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