Posts in the Me category

A New Life Awaits You in the Off-World Colonies

I’ve just spent the last ten years of my life working inside of the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, a merry team of techninjarocketsurgeons known for being air-dropped into games companies to help them optimize their games for the Xbox console, and in doing so I’ve worked on thousands of games, from AAA to Indie titles, and helped everyone I could wherever I could. Including helping Xbox get together with Sony and others in the industry to set up an open-standards body around HDR gaming.1

We also did a bunch of things like helping developers write Windows games, write Kinect-based games for Xbox 360, a little research and development here and there on technology which may or may not have ever shipped, and who knows what else. We also did a bit of tech support, documentation, education (I also ran our games technology conferences - usually owning the entirety of the content production, strategy and planning side of the house, and doing everything from writing and structuring keynotes to giving a ton of highly-rated talks myself).

Xbox ATG has been around for 19 years at this point2, and I’m proud to have been a part of it for half of its lifetime. Not a bad innings.

Either way though, ten years is a long time. It’s time for a change.

  1. I’d claim that I had a hand in enabling Sony and Microsoft’s recent partnership to provide backend services for PSN Network, but to be honest, I have no idea if I did or not. That said, I’m relatively certain that if the stuff I’d worked on with them hadn’t work out well, and had soured the relationship between the companies (which was at risk), it would have been much more difficult for that deal to happen. So maybe that went a little easier because of me. I can’t really say. 

  2. I came up with the Latin motto3 for Xbox ATG for its 16th (or 0x10th, or %1000’th if you prefer) anniversary. It reads: “INDISCRETA MAGICAE • SCIENTIAS ET ARTES • IGNIS, LVX ET SONVM” which means “Indistinguishable from Magic - Science and Art - Fire, Light and Sound”… because any sufficiently Advanced Technology Group is indistinguishable from magic… 

  3. You can do this by round-tripping between English and any other language you want in an auto-translator such as Google Translate. Just keep slightly changing your sentence until you come up with something that you can translate with it to the other language and back again intact. If it does this, then you’ve probably got something which is a stable translation (if not always a good one), as it’s not shifting when it’s translated in either direction. 

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Long time no post... I wonder why? (Music, Politics and More)

Hello everybody,

It's been quite a while since I last posted on the blog. Why? Well, it's a number of things:

Everyone's going nuts over politics, and has polarized. I'd post about political stuff, but I just don't have the heart for it. Partly this is because I've recently found that I lose friends when I talk politics (I don't automatically slew in the direction of my friends on every issue even though I'm a bleeding-hearty lefty - I prefer nuance, and right now there's none). I'm not willing to compromise my principles or ignore facts or skip analysis, so away from politics I go.

Work has been busy. I've been doing new and interesting things, some of which may or may not pan out... But as a result, I've been trying not to blog. I discovered many years ago that writing kind of shifts a gear in my head - and I don't want to get stuck in that gear. It can take weeks for me to shift back, so I've been avoiding it. Instead, I've been working on music.


How do you personally handle Impostor Syndrome?

It's strange. So, here's the "humble-brag" part - over the course of my life, since I was 16, I've been a freelance journalist with a large readership, published in multiple countries (and even translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian audience). I've won some very minor awards (not even on the same league as the Razzies). I work on the frickin' Xbox for gawd's sake (which carries a certain built-in nerd-cred with it). I'm one of the most famous programmers for a specific computer. I've made a couple of short films. I've made games. I've made all kinds of stuff. I'm not a household name, but I'm a "known quantity".

I tell you this not because I want applause and accolades, but because I need to set up my credentials so that I can contrast them with what comes next.

I'm hit with Impostor Syndrome all the freakin' time. All the time. Every single day.

For what it's worth, I also have trouble with being complimented - compliments bounce off me... I fundamentally have trouble believing them at all, and I can't take them to heart - no matter how sincere they are. (I'm told, and I suspect, that in many ways this is a very British trait - others may feel the same way, but we owned it and made it ours. Like irony). If you really want to make me feel good? Tell me something I did is cool - I can relate to that.

So far as I can tell, my own personal internal ego dial is always set somewhere in the direction of "mildly unworthy".


What's the difference between Impostor Syndrome and just Being Humble?

This is how I see the difference:

Being humble

You're good at stuff, are confident in what you do, but you don't let that change the way you treat others - that is, you have an ego that can fit through a reasonably sized door.

Impostor syndrome

You're good at stuff, but believe erroneously, based on internal analysis of the available evidence (and tainted by your own perception), that you're terrible at it compared to your peers, and nothing will convince you otherwise.

This craters your confidence and self-esteem, and will also make it so that you tend to buckle in the face of conflict or resistance. It saps your courage, and reduces your grit.


Some Truisms I've Picked Up Along The Way...

I've picked up, observed, read about, and heard these from friends along the way:

People will always assume that if you're creating something that is fun or enjoyable, it's really easy.

If it's an artistic endeavor that they can critique or consume, they'll assume that they can do it just as easily as anyone else, until they prove themselves wrong. (more...)

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