chronovore: (Default)
 Beautiful World by Devo just came on, and I felt compelled to post in that LJ way, which is now the Dreamwidth way, and that's way good. 

"Makes me want to say, 'It's a beautiful world!' for you, for you, for you! It's not for me!"

Had a fantastic weekend out with a friend who is leaving for Tokyo soon, and another who lives in Tokyo but came down for BitSummit 5. So many inspiring people and experiences there. Stayed at 9 Hours again, for the win. It wasn't as cheap as previous times, but still a clean and relaxed environment to crash at. 

Here's an answer I recently posted on Quora about working in Japan:

It’s rough. I worked in US game development for 8 years at five companies, and then over 10 more years in Japan at one company, before returning to US game development. From nearly every angle, developing in America is more rewarding than in Japan.

The salary is lower in Japan. I took at 15% pay cut from my US Art Director salary to take a corporate Director position. Some friends have taken closer to 50% pay cuts when joining a Japanese developer.

The hours are consistently longer in Japan. In 20 years, I’ve worked crunchtime in a number of companies; Japan demands more. A non-crunch workweek was ~50 hours but, prior to delivering builds, 60–65 hours was common, and we would be in 70~80 hours a week across 7-day-weeks for the last several months of any project.

Consideration from the company for the individual is largely unheard of in Japanese dev. It is culturally normal to see one’s efforts as part of the group’s, and this mentality of course carries into the workplace. It is critical to get tacit approval from superiors, because one is making a decision for the company as a whole, not just on one’s own responsibility.

On the positive side, my Japanese teammates were consistently hard working, diligent, faithful, and consistent. They would deliver on promises consistently, and largely communicated well when things were not going as planned. As a manager, I never felt left in the lurch. 

chronovore: (sweater)
I work in Unity; my partner had me purchase Unity Pro so we had parity in working environment; we didn't want ANYTHING to bite us in the ass over version differences; little did we know, Unity is capable of fucking up ANYTHING.

My initial license is $75/month and doesn't cover iOS builds. Soon, Unity allows for iOS builds in non-Pro subscriptions, but with a splashscreen. My clients don't want a splashscreen.

I spend three weeks sorting out with Unity how to make this happen, because (a) the fuckers didn't respond to net inquiries through their site for 10 days, until I called them out on Twitter, and (b) the solution was actually right in front of me in a mail which allowed for a subscription upgrade... but Unity had not included any form of language in the offer about what is actually included. NONE. Not a damned thing.

When support finally confirms that the offer will get me splashscreen-free deployment on iOS, I proceed through payment. Despite Unity having my CC information on-hand for my existing subscription, it requires me to re-enter my CC info. This engages a new in-frame "Verified by Visa" step which requires another re-entering of the same data. After that, it wants me to establish a password for Verfied by Visa, which I do. After that, it drops me back at the Unity store page:


Not only declined, but as I found out today, nearly a week later, it had triggered fraud protection on my CC, so the other charges I've made since then were blocked without notification. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with the bank today clearing all that up.

My CC is again available for use. I re-initiate the process for buying the "new Pro" subscription for Unity, but now the price on the specified site (only accessible through my special offer mail), which is supposed to be $75/mo through 12/31 instead shows $125/mo.

I'm as mad as a cat forced to wear wet pajamas.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I'm just sayin'.

Yeah, I know it's likely just a formality, and they're feeling about as remorseful as the other times when "もうしわけございません" is used... which is not particularly rueful. It just boggles my mind that these notes and, by extension, going home on time is such a rarity.


Jan. 26th, 2010 01:22 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
I caught a cold; last week the wife and daughter had it. I wondered why I didn't get it. We had a milestone deliverable last night, which we managed. Today I woke up with a sore throat, sneezing, and some aches.

I'm posting these so I can monitor tagged entries to find how often I catch what's going around. Nothing to see here, move along.
chronovore: (furious)
Sometimes I'm stunned by how much music affects my mood. I've got a whopping plateful of bugs and emails to respond to, and I was feeling the need for a cuppa joe, which I've prepared -- but more than caffeine, sitting down and having DREAD ZEPPELIN playing is energizing me to get through all this today! Their reggae-Elvis stylings of classic Led Zep songs never fail to bring joy.

Plus, Tortelvis cuts the same august figure as Santa. Ho-ho-ho.
chronovore: (Default)
Mainly just to keep track of my health: I've got a cold. I took off last Monday because I had the start of a cold, and wasn't sure if I'd caught the girl's influenza. It wasn't, and it wasn't much of a cold in the end.

But as of yesterday it hit normal cold symptoms: mild cough, runny nose and sneezing which hopefully won't lead to a sinus infection because those are not fun. No fever: 36.8 c.

I shouldn't have been showing off so much to [ profile] hedr_goblin that I'd dodged the virus. :-/
chronovore: (mouthy)
Pretty long day. I'm tired. I know I'm tired because I'm going back through documentation and thinking, "Oh, hey. That was a nice catch. That's really smart. Who came up with that? Oh, it was me. Hey, I'm pretty smart." 

This is, of course, equivalent to being drunk and hearing a joke that's kind of funny, but due to the alcohol it sounds incredibly funny. Except fatigue doesn't really give much of a buzz.

Too many ad hoc meetings in Japanese today. I'm fried like tenpura, very crispy.
chronovore: (Default)
Some good news: my next-term contract talks went well today. There was a huge buildup where I thought they were going to tell me they couldn't hire me, but it was about how they can't give me a raise. I hadn't even asked for a raise. I've never received a raise since accepting this position. The Japanese economy has been recessed since my arrival, and is in the middle of tanking, pulling a tragic wingman-follows-the-lead-fighter-into-the-ground maneuver in sync with the USA. (Note: I do not believe we are doomed.) Anyway, between their historic reticence to provide a raise, and the economic environment, I'd not planned to ask for more money -- instead proposing more flexible hours and possible work-at-home time. They seemed open to both suggestions.

They also wanted to reinforce that they like me, but the barrier between contractor-style and employee-style relations needs to be respected, which I had to hold myself back from nodding gleefully at, since it allows even more leverage to get the flexible hours and work-at-home / offsite clauses to be integrated.

Anyway, in short, it looks like I'll be employed here for another 2 year period (though I may request 1 year, and then renegotiate), maybe with more personal freedoms than at any time in the last 8 years.

The mediocre news is that though that went well, it had looked like I might get tomorrow afternoon off to cool my jets in Namba with [ profile] aalfonso and maybe even my first two-day weekend in a while, but we have [DESCRIPTIVE TEXT DELETED TO COMPLY WITH CORPORATE SECRECY POLICY] so I'll be here on Saturday and Sunday, leading directly to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...
chronovore: (mouthy)
I'm getting typing dyslexia something fierce today. What the freaking freak-freak is up with this?

it's monday

Jun. 9th, 2008 10:40 am
chronovore: (Default)
I was careful to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night. I was in bed before midnight. Even so, I woke up at 06:15 this morning, well before my 07:10 alarm. Without an alarm, I thought it was Sunday. My excitement for another day off was sadly short-lived.
chronovore: (OMFG)
holy hells am i tired today. I'm on my 5th cuppa joe, and it's pointless. Was out drinking with the publisher's group from 20:00 on Saturday night until 05:00 on Sunday morning. I have noticed that I'm not in college anymore, nor do I have a college student's liver.
chronovore: (furious)
For six years I've been using MS Office in Japanese. I've hated it the whole time. Today I finally got a US-English version of MS Office 2003 installed. I cannot describe how nice it is to have the user interface AND HELP FILES in my native tongue. Good christ.
chronovore: (Default)
Is there a job where I get paid to sit at home and play the game of my choice all day? Or is that just called "unemployment"?

joel, ftw

Oct. 26th, 2007 03:40 pm
chronovore: (Default)
How Hard Could It Be?: Five Easy Ways to Fail, Managing Technology Article - Inc. Article:
If these are all the ways you can go wrong, how can you ensure that a project actually goes right? First, you have to hire superstars. At Fog Creek, we tend to review about 400 candidates for every full-time hire, because the best developers can be 10 times as productive as the merely excellent developers.

Second, demand fine-grained time estimates from the developers. Yes, it's difficult for developers to predict how long it will take to build a new application. That's why they need to create a reliable blueprint before every project.

Once you have that schedule in hand, don't try to push up the deadline. If the project can't be completed in what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time, the answer is not to negotiate a better-sounding schedule. The answer is to get more resources, move back your ship date, or remove features.

As a project gets going, you'll at times be tempted to reassign work. But reassign it with care. It takes a long time for new developers to get up to speed on someone else's code. I think it's good to rotate developers through different jobs so that you don't have any irreplaceable individuals, but I do this cautiously and build an extra three weeks into the schedule for the incoming developer who's learning the new code, and an extra week for the outgoing developer who is teaching the code to the new person.

Finally, encourage your staff to work a sane 40 hours per week. Seriously. Except for occasional, very short bursts of activity to meet a deadline, we at Fog Creek work eight-hour days. In the technology world, it's better to view a big project as a marathon, and not a sprint.

Joel Spolsky is the co-founder and CEO of Fog Creek Software in New York City and the host of the popular Joel on Software blog.


Oct. 2nd, 2007 10:51 am
chronovore: (Default)
Caught a cold; missed yesterday; missed today at work. Saw the doc yesterday; he says it's a cold. Unfortunately it's a cold which The Boy and The Wife managed to kick the hell out of before it took hold of them. Man, what's with my immune system?
chronovore: (furious)
I know I'm tired; I just spelled "as" with a "z"...
chronovore: (mouthy)
  • "Save As..." and then selecting a filename that exists already; every other application in the world, even other apps in the Office suite, and the OS itself just says, "That name exists. Overwrite?" but in MS Word, it pops up an additional dialog with three choices, which is one more than the asshole in "The Lady, or the Tiger?" had to contend with. Basically it wants to know "No, really, how about a different name" or "No, no - really overwrite" and "OK, how about I fold the differences between the two documents into that older document, and let you keep working on the mutant, hellacious, and probably corrupted offspring?" And in my case, it's in Japanese with several kanji I can't read, and thanks to Microsoft, I can't highlight and copy the dialog box text to check it out via a translation software. But choice is good, right? NO, IT ISN'T.
  • Highlight some text, and then start typing - again, anywhere else, in any major OS and in any application, the highlighted text will be replaced with whatever you type next. Not in MS Word. Oh, sure: USUALLY it works that way, but sometimes it decides to just take the left of the selection as the cursor point, insert the new text, and keep the old text there, just off to the right. Meaning it has to be re-selected, then deleted. What the hell causes this, and why isn't it consistent?
  • And don't get me started on its List function. Especially Numbered Lists. Eww.


Jun. 21st, 2007 05:51 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Leadership: Are Normal Work Hours Possible in a Global Organization?:
I’ve been there, done that, however eventually and thankfully because of my training, I was able to say no to some of the most glamorous, enticing opportunities possible within my profession. I asked myself, “What would I have to give up to have this?” The cost was way too high.

There are other intangible enticements. I’d love to hear you input and perspectives as to what you think some of them may be. For example, what if you always wanted to work for one of the most visible, powerful firms in the world, knew you had to start in the lower ranks and pay your dues, and work night and day to grow within the organization? Is it to have a great life or impressive lifestyle? What will you give up to get what exactly, because in the realm of life, if you give up life, what are you left with when all is said and done?

Having fun and being pumped with your job is probably the biggest enticement of all. If you are having that much fun it can become addictive.


chronovore: (Default)

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