December 14th, 2006


Mortal Software Sins #485

Thou shalt not, upon installing thy software, force thy users to close their programs, save that thou hast given them due notice that it shall be done. And may we all say, "Amen".

(Proving that even Apple has UI weaknesses. I do not appreciate it when updating QuickTime shuts down my Firefox session. I appreciate it even less when it pops up the dialog box saying "All QuickTime applications will be shut down", with a nice Cancel button, *after* it has already closed the program...)

And speaking of mortality...

In between the various bad news (the hospitalization of Sen. Tim Johnson, the passing of Master Joram), I found out last night that Seymour Papert, one of the godfathers of modern AI, is in a coma. He was hit by a motorbike while in Vietnam last week, working on the One Laptop Per Child project. Google News has plenty of links to articles on the story, which I discovered while reading a cast-off copy of The Tech.

Not quite a potentially world-shaking as the Johnson story, nor as personal as Joram's, but still -- it's always a little sobering to see someone who has done so much good work fighting for his life...

Oooh -- toys...

A recent link roundup from mindways sent me surfing on the subject of Interactive Fiction, aka Text Adventure Games, an old favorite of mine. (And presumably of others here who are old enough to remember when they were cool.) That, in turn, took me to the current page on Inform, one of the IF design tools.

Man, the field has evolved. Inform is a neat enough toy to make me want to build some IF games just to use it. The UI looks really lovely, and they've clearly given a lot of thought to the design process for these games. It no longer expects you to write a huge blort of text and then play through it; instead, it's designed for highly interactive desgining, building your world up gradually. It provides good-looking tools for automated testing of the game and noting where things have changed. And it still outputs Z-Machine, which means it should still play on my phone. (Which, y'know, is just delightfully geeky.)

Hmm. I wonder what I could write? So many options...