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Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

November 30th, 2000 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The daily sleep report: An abundant 6 hours last night.

“Without that they wouldn’t have a windows client either”

I received a detailed and thoughtful post from the GM / developer involved in porting / rewriting the Clan Lord client. In essence, he clarified that the the Windows port is a result of a general client rewrite, which was started by him for Delta Tao some time ago. He also had nothing but high praises for Joe, and his ability to work with “highly creative people” and that he was “super cool.”

I don’t think Joe is stupid or a jerk. Far from it. I am positive Joe is a cool guy, and I’m sure I’d get along swimmingly with him if I were to meet him.

But, really, the points I made yesterday don’t change. Alchera is taking an active, leading role in doing the one thing that will cause Clan Lord and Alchera to grow, which is expanding the potential customer base. The developer doing the rewrite even said he’d never have done a Windows port unless Conny View definition in a new window had gotten Joe to agree to it. As much as I dislike the Windows platform, and find it loathsome to develop on myself, I’d have to be blind to not see the tremendous benefit to doing a port, both from a business standpoint, and a game community standpoint. I also suspect that the developer working on the client rewrite decided to this on his own initiative, not through Joe’s direction. I’m sure Joe encouraged such a thing, but who wouldn’t?

I really think Joe manages by benign neglect mostly. Sure, it’s great fun to work for a friend who lets you pretty much do whatever you want. This works well if you are highly motivated. But, I’ve seen a fair amount of GM churn in Clan Lord, and I know there is a lot of room for improvement in coordination between GMs/developers. The quality assurance levels are poor. The customer service frequently borders on the adversarial. After almost 2 years, there is still no secure web site or automated ordering process. I am not saying Clan Lord has no virtue or no appeal, or that the GMs who dedicate a lot of time and effort to improving the game are incomptent or idiots. Far from it. But Clan Lord, as a project and as a business is not run professionally. Take a bunch of talented people, and let them work in several different directions, and if you get lucky, you may get something like Clan Lord out of it. And, Joe with his talent, and with his luck, pulled it off. But would I want Joe managing MY development project? My online community? Not on your life. I don’t think he’d want either of those jobs anyway, mind you. Like a lot of bright people, I think Joe does what he’s interested in, and when the interest wanes, it’s time for another project.

Building and managing a team is hard. Stroking the sensitive egos of individual developers so they’ll keep coding can be useful, but that doesn’t mean you are managing a development team. Tom Sawyer is not Steve McConnell.

I am glad to know, though, that a highly motivated individual is rebuilding the Clan Lord/Alchera client, and I do applaud his efforts. Thanks to his work, and a lot of people like him, Clan Lord / Alchera is that crazy thing a bunch of us all care an awful lot about.

“Ok, everyone, get out your rope”

I went to the the T.E.S. bondage harness workshop last night. There was a huge turnout. At least 50 people, of all ages, shapes and sizes packed the room. This being the first such event that T.E.S. has held, the organizers apologized for the slightly cramped venue, and promised future workshops would be held in a larger space.

The workshop presenter, Lolita Wolf, is clearly very experienced and the people helping her were also quite knowledgable. She did a deft demonstration and then people broke out and tried their own hands at it.

The problem with teaching bondage techniques is the people who are good at it often can’t explain how they know what to do. Lolita gave a great demonstration and she fielded the audiences questions but she couldn’t offer any heuristics that she uses. I suspect she works rather intuitively, drawing on her years of experience. This situation wasn’t helped by the size of the workshop or the arrangement of the audience in a circle around the presenter. Two-thirds of the time you couldn’t see what she was doing.

I didn’t participate in the hands-on portion. Part of the reason was me simply wimping out. Working with someone I don’t know either being tied or doing the tying just didn’t feel that necessary especially when I do have opportunities to practice with my patient friends. And, I was a bit intimidated, I’ll confess.But I did roam around and watch what some people were doing, and I got to see some techniques demonstrated that I know I can use in the future.

I was at a smaller bondage class once, and while it wasn’t hands on, the instructor was very good. She explained what she was doing it, while doing it, and was very, very clear. Though in talking to her about the class afterwards, she did confess that it was hard to teach because at her level she wasn’t even aware of half of what she was doing because it was so ingrained in her. I can understand that, having instructed people on various computer technologies. When I have to explain each step I take, I suddenly realize just how much knowledge has been internalized.

I think ideally a bondage class should consist of no more than 20 people, with an instructor and perhaps a helper. And after each technique everyone should have a chance to try it, taking turns working the rope on another classmate and the instructor and helper should go from person to person. But, seeing that the T.E.S. workshop is $4 for T.E.S members ($8 for non-members), it’s a great value and a chance to be around experienced and knowledgable people.

“I’m definitely a bottom (though not a submissive)”

One of the reasons I’ve taken this diary into my the depths of my SM View definition in a new window life is to help people. I’ve had to learn a lot of things the hard, slow way, and if I can help one person connect happily with the kinkster within, then all this blathering will be worth it.

The quote above came from an inquisitive reader’s email and it made me smile. Labels are such funny things. I know exactly what he means when he writes that, but I know in time, he won’t need to make a distinction. It’s hard for a man to call himself “submissive.” It sound, well, unmasculine. Submissive is a loaded word. “Bottom” is much more neutral. But, the role is the same. I don’t think I became comfortable with the submissive label applied to myself until fairly recently. It’s a matter of having the right experiences. I’ve seen another kinkster sign his messages “Strength from submission,” and I now understand how that can be.

I also weasel out of the label dilemea in a different way, I call myself a “switch”, which means I like both being dominant and submissive. Mind you, most of my experiences have been on the bottom, but that’s just so far. Time will tell!

“Keep an eye out for Fed Ex tomorrow!”

And today is this little earth monkey’s birthday. Nori is travelling, but she sent me an email yesterday telling me to look for a delivery today with my present. Now, why would she tell me this? Why not just let it arrive, and let me suprised by her thoughtfulness? Because she’s a very shrewd woman. Ever since I got her email, my imagination has been working overtime trying to think of what she might have sent me. She always knows how to say just enough to get me going.

Epilogue, or “I’m definitely a developer (not a programmer.)
Ironic, that in a post that addresses the subtle nature of labels, that the issue would come up. In a semantic splitting of hairs, or perhaps to bridge a cultural divide, I replaced the word “programmer” with “developer” in regards to the Clan Lord client rewrite. Much as I am happy to label myself either a bottom or a submissive, you can call me a programmer or a developer when it comes to my software craft. But I’ll respect the feelings of others in regards to their own personal labels.

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