Published 2 years ago

Reading “The Art of War”

After I finished reading The Art of War, I realized I hadn’t been deeply captivated by a book like this in months. As soon as I opened it, I was thrilled to see how the book was composed:

Bullet points. Condensed advice. Chapters with consistant length.

It’s definitely a writing style I’d like to try out when given the situation. If you haven’t read it, I suggest ordering a copy and endulging your reader-side for a while.

Published 2 years ago

4 lessons I learned from being a Magician

Like any curious child, I was someone who was constantly experimenting with different hobbies.

I was often looking for something I’d enjoy doing, something I’d be really good at. I loved puzzles, and when I first saw David Blaine on TV, I was gushing with excitement trying to work out ways he could have done certain tricks.

I was 11 or 12 years old at the time and before I knew it, I became obsessed with doing magic tricks. Although to some it may sound like a casual talent to have, it taught me a lot growing up. Amongst the dozens of lessons it taught me, I wanted to share the 4 that had the largest impact on me:

  1. I developed self confidence when approaching strangers: I’m a bit of a shy person, though I constantly work on not letting it get the best of me. When doing magic, I was forced to approach complete strangers and try to entertain them. Asking strangers for their time to watch you do a magic trick is a very hit-or-miss event. After over a handful of times of being declined, I got the hang of not letting it bother me. Before I knew it, I was talking and laughing with complete strangers once a week.

  2. Practice like a maniac: When I started doing magic, my hands would tremble a lot. I had trouble making eye contact, and had perfomances I wished to leave mid-way because I knew my act had been uncovered. In just weeks of doing a routine, I had it memorized down to the body language. I practiced relentlessly in whatever I did. I discovered the key is to keep hammering your routine till it’s smooth enough to barely think about the motor skills to it, the challenge then becomes trying to make good jokes and keeping them interested.

  3. Learning how to say “No”: Learning to say no was something that took both effort and practice for me. I quickly realized how unbeneficial saying “yes” was in a lot of cases. Some of my favorite tricks were being discovered by observeant spectators who were no longer in it for the treat of being amused, if not for the enjoyment of deciphering the puzzle whenever I’d agree to do a trick the second time. A magic trick lost it’s magic whenever I would agree to teach it. Saying yes was more trouble in the long run than saying no. I realized early on that saying no meant focusing, it meant not ruining the spectable for them even though they thought learning how a trick was done would make it even more amazing to them.

  4. Find the right people to admire: I was lucky to grow up within the Internet boom. I got to sit and watch famous magicians like Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, Lance Burton and David Blaine perform for hours on end. I would imitate some of their expressions, faces and even body language till I developed a style of my own [1]. Choosing the right people to admire gives you a sense direction, even if vague, which is a tremendous asset for staying inspired and improving your skill.

[1] I developed a style of my own fairly quick, but I would still deconstruct routines they did and try to understand why they did certain things.

Published 2 years ago

New Keyboard!

After months of contemplating wether to spoil myself or not, I finally gave in.

I got myself a DasKeyboard Model S Ultimate!

Like a chef with new knives, I’m amazed at how smooth it is to type now. The physical annoyance of coding has just been kicked down a couple of notches.

Published 2 years ago

Simplifying is difficult

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Simplicity has always had a huge role in how I make my products. It’s easy to forget the exercise of reducing, I’ve been guilty of it more times than I’d like to admit. I feel ashamed when friends and family to try one of my games and always have to ask my where things are, and what they do.

Complexity and clutter makes things are counter-intuitive. It makes them a lot harder to work with.

I’ve noticed that even with complex software, your brain trains itself to only see exactly what you need. Your mind auto-simplifies and “deletes” stuff it doesn’t use, or at least until it understands it.

Building for intuition is underrated in the software industry.

Published 2 years ago

Interesting find

Our site slowed down/crashed after the launch, which I expected.

What I didin’t expect was the main source of the slow down: The live-topics feature

On ManaHaven, our topics load in posts as they say in the developer community “in real-time”. Which just means they’ll load in automatically and quickly without needing to refresh.

The current issue is how Apache/PHP weren’t meant to be doing this kind of work, so I have to offload it using some other mechanism. I’ll probably look into using Node.js for this kind of work, since I’ll be using a lot more real-time stuff for multiplayers and other social features.