The Valve Employee Handbook [PDF]
. An oral history of computer gaming, with Sid Meier
(Civillisation I - V
, Railroad Tycoon
) and Ralph Baer
, the Simon platform), from Vice TV's Motherboard
. Also: interviews with classic computer game programmers
: Eugene Jarvis
), Jeff Minter
, Revenge Of The Mutant Camels
) and many more, together with the Giant List of Classic Game Programmers
. (Previously, a decade ago).
Today is the 0x100 th (or, in decimal, 256th) day of the year, which makes it Programmer Day.
Programmer Day is a day to celebrate Programmers and thank them for all that they do. Or don't do?
Unless that's Programmers' day.
, or is it Programmer's Day? [more inside]
Why developing the acclaimed video game L.A. Noire was a seven year nightmare
for its 100+ (uncredited) developers
that resulted in an investigation
by the International Game Developers Association. [more inside]
Rediscovering WWII's female "computers"
. While researching a documentary in Philadelphia, filmmaker LeAnn Erickson came across two women with a story she'd never heard before: thousands of women with advanced mathematical skills employed as "computers", working day and night during WWII to supply soldiers in the field with precise ballistics algorithms. Some of those women also went on to program ENIAC
, the first general-purpose computer (previously
). Erickson turned their stories into Top Secret Rosies
, a documentary released to theaters last year and to DVD this month. One of those programmers, Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, spoke at length
to the Computing History Museum in 2008. [youtube, 1:07:19] [via
India's Outsourcing Problems
One of the most controversial aspects of the global economy has been the newfound freedom of companies from physical location and the subsequent spread of outsourcing jobs
. No country had embraced tech outsourcing with the passion of India. Of late, problems there are beginning to rise
: engineers start a project, get a few months' experience, and then bolt for greener pastures, bringing a level of attrition that replaces entire staffs within the course of a year. Combine that with salaries in Bangalore that are rising at 12% to 14% per year and it is no surprise that companies are leaving India for a slew of emerging hot spots for IT outsourcing such as the old Soviet Bloc
, China, and Vietnam
. This comes as companies such as Microsoft continue to laud outsourcing
and proudly proclaim that it is here to stay
, and it looks as if Ho Chi Minh City will be the next Bangalore.
is a "Programming Bloopers" repository and forum, collecting, dissecting and making good fun of badly written code. Programmers can appreciate their fellow coders' strange
or plainly funny
problem solving techniques. Sometimes programmers will square the wheel
while reinventing it. Or take the best practices
to the insanity level.
Some programming knowledge required.
'outs' Electronic Arts' harsh employment practices, and by implication disses the whole American 'work 'em 'till they drop' ethos. Is this the start of a quiet revolution or is the American Way too entrenched to be stopped?
Primates as Programmers.
New firm breaks the mold. Hires primates as programmers leading to significant cost savings!
The Dark Side of Google?
Google's first annual programming contest
was a shrewd way to encourage Java and Python programmers. But this may be shrewder than the programmers who entered the contest realized. David Egnor
may have nabbed a cool $10,000 as the contest winner, but for all the other entries, Google nabbed "worldwide, perpetual, fully paid-up, nonexclusive" rights.
Competition to "reverse engineer" mystery program.
Another cool thingy from the HoneyNet Project
; they're inviting people to convert a binary file into its original source. So, who's participating?
"It seems that for success
in science and art, a dash of autism is essential."
But now the techies in Silicon Valley who prospered with that dash
are having children with far more pronounced problems. Is having too many shy programmers in one spot the equivalent to pissing in the gene pool?
Software projects are notorious for time and budget overruns (examples that come to mind include Mozilla
and the Denver Airport baggage system
). There are a large number of design methods, development processes, and programming methodologies that claim or hint at objective estimation of development schedules, project complexity, and programmer productivity. Unfortunately, they're all bunk.
"The creation of genuinely new software has far more in common with developing a new theory of physics than it does with producing cars or watches on an assembly line."
Programmers, try telling that one to your next customer.
The giant list of classic computer programmers
takes you back to a time when one person could realistically author a computer game and have it published. Of course most of the people on this list will have worked on small teams to produce games, but the diversity of the games on these people's resumes is awesome. In particular, I notice Michael Cranford (responsible for The Bard's Tale I and II, the Centauri Alliance, and ports of Donkey Kong and Super Zaxxon) and Robert Woodhead (Wizardry 1-5). As an interesting sidenote, Robert Woodhead went on to Animeigo
, a japanese animation publishing company in the US. What memories of these old sk00l games do you have?
In general, if you want to use drugs and keep your job then become a programmer
Ha! The Y2K nuts still aren't giving up their cause.
These guys need to face defeat. They were wrong. We lucked out. The programmers saved the day. Let's move on now, shall we?