Friday, April 21, 2006

Lack of Inspiration

I'm lacking inspiration to do some programming. It's something that comes around every once in a while, and I'm sure most hobby programmers get it sometimes, but I can't think of anything I want to write. And even if I did, can I be bothered to spend another hour of my life hunting down another bug?

This gets me round to the question of programming in general. I don't want this to sound like I'm saying I can't hack it, but shouldn't programming be a lot easier? I've been thinking about this on-and-off for a few years with no answer, but maybe we should go about it in a completely different way. The human brain works best with visuals, so why do we write programs using words? How about something like what Tom Cruise uses in Minority Report? This is obviously heading into 4GL territory, but there's so much that can be improved in that area. Computers should be at our command a lot easier than they are. Someone off the street should be able to walk up to a computer and get it to do whatever they want.

Anyway, I digress. The main point of this was about my lack of inspiration. I enjoy writing games, more than I enjoy playing them. So after I've finished a game, I don't really play it, so it feels like it was a waste of time. I stick it on the internet of course, but the lack of response if deafening. (I've often commented to people that there should be more comments from other programmers, on, say, Sourceforge, so at least you know someone else has seen it). I much prefer multi-player games, but that means having a network and someone else who wants to play that particular game, which is easier said than done.

So I don't know what to do next.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Make, Compile, Clean, What???

I do think that some free-software makers like to make life as hard as possible for the end user, and unfortunately Linux software often comes in this category. When you download something specifically for Linux, it's normally just the source (which is fine if that's all you're expecting) but sometimes when you just want to use the software, you have to wade through reams of README text, and follow instructions that involve going to the command line and typing in 'compile' commands that take minutes to run, and often fail if you haven't got the correct version of gcc installed.

The software arena is a crowded place, and software like this isn't doing itself any favours. No wonder Windows is prevalent - despite all it's shortcomings, it's pretty easy to get any downloaded program up-and-running with just a few clicks of the mouse. Linux software isn't going to attract new users by making it complex and hard to install new software. People just don't have the time or inclination. And why should they?