In this first entry in the "Android and dreams undreamt" rambling, I'll briefly go through the Linux history to date, touch on fragmentation, and mention some of the work we did at Progeny (the reasons will become apparent soon :-)
The Linux community and its associated industries has been a very interesting thing to observe lately. It's gone from an underground hit to an extremely mainstream staple in the 15 or so years I've been working with it, and we have Linux-based devices and platforms which are truly bizarre and unique even in the diverse landscape that is the Linux-verse.
It's no secret that I've spent the last two years in a self-imposed Windows development environment, but it was never my intention to abandon my free software love completely. At Funavision, we've spent two years building some high-quality, first class, gaming technology in the form of an engine we call "Mimicware". This engine is currently closed source and proprietary, however we are seriously considering the pros and cons of releasing it under a free or open software license (since, honestly, our intended business was not centered on this bit of technology).
Mimicware currently is mostly written in C#. This was a practical decision to bootstrap our technology against Microsoft's XNA, but our intention was never to stick with C# ad nauseum. Our intention was to eventually rewrite the core of Mimicware in something more portable and then provide bindings for it in several high level languages (including C#, and using our existing Mimicware engine code).
In fall 2009 we began the work of rewriting our core in a more cross-platform way. Admittedly we haven't completely finished this rewrite, and we have a way to go before we can utilize it in our games, but what we have so far is already fairly impressive as it technically allows us to develop applications which can run on a diverse range of platforms including the Xbox 360 and Google Android (in fact, to my knowledge, we're the first to actually be able to do that :-) If we do ultimately release the source to this engine, I think we'll likely be the first free/open-source multimedia game API to target such a wide range of platforms.
Well, as we've been working on this cross-platform core, I've been learning more and more about Google's Android platform. What I've learned is completely and utterly fascinating, so I thought I'd share...
A friend of mine (and former coworker from Progeny) has been without full-time work since Progeny went under (I know that includes many former coworkers from Progeny :-( ). He's scraped by with a few contracts here and there, but nothing that would be considered full-time employment.
Anyway, he recently was offered a job (finally) and will be going down to his future employer's offices later today to sign some paperwork. This is a very good thing since he's also someone who has been without heat this winter (his furnace broke down a while ago).
Well, the funny bit is that I guess he was re-reading his resume/cover-letter that got him this job, and he found the following passage from the cover letter that he somehow missed upon submission:
....I'm interested in any opportunities that are available with $OTHER_EMPLOYER...
I personally think this may have helped get him the job. If I was reviewing resumes and I saw that I'd immediately be impressed that this person strives for efficiency because they actually attempted to script their resume/cover-letter process :-)
I have had a lengthy association with the "Work From Home" (or WFH) concept. As early as 2000, when I was at Intel, I wanted to WFH full time. At that time, I was working on a project that Intel couldn't have sold, but which was a tool that could make their internal testing much easier. This tool was something that my managers and I thought would be a perfect Free-Software/Open-Source project, and it seemed to be an ideal candidate for me working remotely. The concept of hosting a FLOSS project was rather alien to Intel higher-ups at the time, and it was decided to let the project die rather than FLOSS it and let competitors use it.
After Intel, I managed to make every aspect of my job at the U of A Physics Dept. able to be done remotely (Linux boxen were easy, of course, but the Win32 ones had a combination of Cygwin w/ SSH and VNC). This meant that I could WFH there, even though I very rarely did.
Then, at Progeny, we actually migrated to a mixture of WFH and working at the office for the last year of Progeny's existence. This worked better for some than others... but I'll get to that in a moment.
Finally, I landed at the Linux Foundation where I got to WFH full time. I have to say that I love WFH full time, and I tend to be a lot more efficient at my work when I'm WFH than when I have to drive into an office daily. However, there is one real problem with WFH. This problem is one of perception and attitude, and it's something that can be overcome. But in order to really be efficient at WFH you need to acknowledge this problem and rectify it.
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