Configuration files and switches considered harmful

Someone on the gpsd-users list asked: I was just wondering why gpsd doesn’t have a configuration file in /etc/gpsd.conf, like most other Unix/Linux software? Because configuration files are evil, and not to be countenanced unless they become an absolutely necessary evil. Which in gpsd’s case is not yet, and I sincerely hope not ever.

The Smartphone Wars: HTC rejoins the good guys

Market pressure works. In response to an outcry from customers, HTC has just annnounced that it will return to its policy of shipping handsets with unlocked bootloaders. This makes me personally happy because I’ve been a fan of HTC handsets since the G-1; I would have had to stop buying and recommending them if they’d… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: HTC rejoins the good guys

The Smartphone Wars: Tracking userbase growth

I’ve put together a tool to visualize the smartphone market-share data comScore makes available in its monthly press releases. Readers can download both the tool and the raw data in order to check my work. And the first new visualization is quite interesting:

The Uses of Cliche

I’ve done a lot of writing for the game Battle For Wesnoth. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, and now teach others, is this: genre cliches are your friend. Too much originality can badly disrupt the gameplay experience. This is so at variance with our expectations about ‘good’ art that I think it… Continue reading The Uses of Cliche

The Smartphone Wars: With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?

Android just got a boost it didn’t need. RIM, already staggering after a 5% market-share drop over the last quarter and the Playbook debacle, has just…well, “shot itself through the foot” fails to convey quite the right sort of intensity. In fact it has executed a hitherto-unprecedented form of marketing suicide which can only be… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?