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The TRUTH: Why the Kindle Will Fail

With all the brouhaha over the new Kindle 2, many are speculating on the future of Amazon’s eBook reader. Yet few people know the secret history of the Kindle. This history must be revaled before people understand the TRUE reasons why the Kindle will fail.

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Free Sky: A New Hope

I’ve been working on a reboot of Free Sky, codenamed “Shiny”, and things are coming along nicely. I’ve learned a lot about program structure in the last two years, and I’m finally beginning to understand the MVC (Model-View-Controller) way of making an app with a graphical interface. A lot of problems that seemed unapproachable two years ago now open themselves to solutions. Instead of writing reams of boilerplate code, my new controllers and views are slim and easy to understand. And I am finally beginning to understand and apply the most important design principle of all: You Ain’t Gonna Need It (a.k.a. YAGNI).

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Announcing Dyce.

I recently mentioned that I had a nifty little dice library and parser sitting around, waiting to get cleaned up and released as open source. Well, thanks to the common cold, I spent a good portion of today sitting around the house.

When I wasn’t sleeping, I was learning how to package a python library for release on PyPI, the Python Package Index, and setting up a Google Code project. Without further ado, behold: Dyce.

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Using tags for metadata and lookup.

This is a part of "Free Sky: Objects in Space".

Series contents:

  1. Free Sky: Objects in Space
  2. Enabling data-driven object construction.
  3. Building for persistence at a fundamental level.
  4. Using tags for metadata and lookup.

With my object system prototype, I wanted to explore the possibilities of tagging. An article in AI Game Programming Wisdom 2 (”A Flexible Tagging System for AI Resource Selection”, by Paul Tozor) spurred my imagination: the article poses the scenario of a first-person sneaker. The player sneaks up on two guards and overhears them complaining about the cold. The straightforward way to program this scenario is to assign each guard instance a list of sound files to play through, either randomly or in sequence. However, any time you want to add another sound file to the possibilities, you have to edit that guard’s list, and the lists of any other guards which need that sound file. Mr. Tozor proposes another way.

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Building for persistence at a fundamental level.

This is a part of "Free Sky: Objects in Space".

Series contents:

  1. Free Sky: Objects in Space
  2. Enabling data-driven object construction.
  3. Building for persistence at a fundamental level.
  4. Using tags for metadata and lookup.

One of the first problems I tackled in my prototype was persistence, because I foresaw the difficulties of object serialisation, and I feared them. Because I’ve chosen Python as my language of first resort, serialisation isn’t as big of an issue as it would be, say, in C++: it’s built in to the language as the pickle module. The mechanics of serializing individual objects isn’t the problem, but capturing the state of a large, complicated system with lots of little objects running around very well could be. I needed a strategy.

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