Podcast interview with the creator of CSFBL (me!)

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being a part of my first podcast! ZubaZ, a long-time player and active community member of CSFBL (the multiplayer baseball game I’ve been running for over 15 years), interviewed me for the 25th episode of his podcast series, Threads of Time. We talked about the history of the game, revealed some of its secrets, and outlined some of the plans for the future.

It was a lot of fun — and inspiring. For a long time, I knew that the game was good and that the community was great — and this podcast just further reinforced those thoughts for me. I have to give a serious hat-tip to ZubaZ, who made it easy to talk for nearly two hours about something that I’ve spent countless hours of my life working on.

Thanks to ZubaZ, and the entire CSFBL community for giving the game the longevity it has.

Check out the podcast: Threads of Time Ep25 – Brian

First day without coffee… or not?

I’m going to make an announcement that may come as a shock to anyone who knows me…

I’ve voluntarily decided to give up coffee.

Those that know me will probably react like the first person who saw me walking around today with a cup of water instead of a cup of coffee: they laughed. I was a heavy coffee drinker, about 5 cups a day. I enjoyed my coffee. I blogged about the wonders of coffee. I identified myself with a cup of coffee. I bought coffee for co-workers, and they bought it for me. I went out for coffee breaks when the smokers went out for cigarette breaks. I looked forward to drinking coffee…

So why the change? Ultimately, it came down to health and stress. I drink too much coffee (caffeine) and not enough water, and I’ve been too stressed lately. Coffee (caffeine) is not helping either of those.

After writing that, I decided to look up the negative effects of coffee. While typing into Google, the instant search instead brought me to this page: 7 Reasons Why Coffee Is Good For You (Popular Science). Not what I was looking for. Perhaps a more balanced review is here: 10 Reasons Coffee is Both the Best and the Worst Beverage Ever Invented (io9). Ugh. Why can’t this be easy?

Coffee isn’t a magic elixir, and it isn’t a doomsday device. Like most things in life, moderation is key. When it comes to coffee, I’ve tipped the moderation scale so far that it fell over. Time to recalibrate. I’ll be off the sauce for a while, and we’ll see where it goes from there…

Sync or synch as short for synchronize?

Today at work, someone wrote the following as a work item summary: “Synch production and test data”.

Reading this, I thought, “Which is correct – sync or synch – when shortening synchronize?

The winner is sync, and here’s why:

  • We pronounce either variant as sink.
  • c alone is often pronounced k (cake, panic)
  • ch alone is often pronounced ch (church, match)
  • Sync = ”sink”
  • Synch = “sinch”
  • One less keystroke for sync

I was happy with that until reading an article on The Language Lover’s Blog, “Sync or Synch?“, which made me conscious of other common variants, such as psych as short for psychology.

Ultimately, my search was put to bed when I read this comment:

you guys are such nerds!!! the world really doesnt care about the voiceles velar fricative converting to a velar plosive. blogging should be eliminated from the internet.

Guilty as charged…

The Runner’s Dilemma: A Story

Author’s Note: I am not a runner, and I probably never will be. My body isn’t made for running. But running is a good metaphor for journeys, and like many others, though I may not run, I still take many journeys in life, some with my body, some with my mind, and some with my heart. The below came to me this morning while driving to work, a journey in itself, as I reflected not on that journey, but on the greater journey of life, and how we get through it: one step at a time.

He had prepared for this for so long, so precisely; yet nothing was going as planned.

For years, he trained on a predictable track, its curves coming at regular intervals, its flatness something he didn’t have to think about. He trained on the perfect days, not too hot, not too cold, just the right amount of moisture in the air to stay refreshed without feeling oppressed. He was so prepared for the marathon. He knew it was coming, and he spent what seems a lifetime getting ready for it.

Now the day of the marathon was here, and nothing was going according to plan. The course was changed at the last minute. The predictable curves were now unknown turns, the hills and valleys mysteries. The course was scattered with potholes, as if God himself dropped them randomly from the sky. The weather was oppressively hot, with a harsh wind blowing loose dirt and debris, a humidity that made the air itself heavy to run through and breathe.

He wanted to give up, yet he found himself standing there, at the starting line, with countless others. His mind told him that this is crazy, that it can’t be done. But when the gun went off to mark the start of the race, his body reacted, putting one foot in front, then the next, as he found his stride. His mind told him to stop, unconvincingly, as his body kept moving, perhaps out of muscle memory, perhaps just to keep up with the mass around him.

As he moved forward, he saw people around him, some struggling, some unfazed by the changing events. The weather shifted as the course shifted, each turn bringing a new unexpected challenge. His mind kept thinking, this is crazy, I can’t do this, yet his body kept moving.

This went on for some time, the debate between mind and body, until his body started complaining. It was getting to be too much, the fatigue was beginning to set in. His body was not prepared for what he was doing.

He was about to give up when he looked around and his mind realized something: I’m already come so far. At that point, things changed. His mind found inspiration, and it tool control of the body, telling it not to focus on the entirety of the journey, but to focus on the next step… and the next… and the next…

And the body obeyed. It put one foot in front, then the next, continuing its stride, as the team of mind and body continued on to the finish line.