Sunday, February 21, 2016

Begone Winter Demons!

This week, I hope, is the start of something different.

Fall and Winter are my favorite times of year.  I hate hot weather, and hate humidity more.  I'd rather be sitting by a fireplace under a blanket than at a back yard BBQ sweating and swatting bugs.  I'd rather be splitting wood outside at 20 degrees (F) than mowing the lawn at 85.

But Winter took its toll on me this year.  The past month has been especially hard.  Week after week I feel further into a funk.  It started with a sinus infection just after the holidays.  There were things I should have been doing outside, but weekend after weekend I'd say "it's too cold," or "it's too windy, and I don't want to get sick again."  This basically amounted to saying "screw it, I'm staying inside today; I'm tired and I earned it."  As things went on, I couldn't seem to get enough sleep, and the sleep I got has been intermittent and elusive.

My funk extended to games.  I've been in EVE very little although I have plenty to do.  I've been on the laptop on the couch a lot; but felt lethargic towards much of anything, including EVE.

The physical toll began to mount.  The longer I kept wollowing in my funk the worse I felt.  Aches, pains, swollen joints, and generally just feeling ... old.

Last weekend the weather was bitterly cold, but began to shift.  The sun came back and through the week the temperatures rose.  I decided it was time to expunge the Winter Demons and get on with Spring.

The only way I know how to do this is to flip the bird to feeling old and getting off my ass to MOVE.

On Monday, I reset my diet and began eating very precisely again; measured amounts at specific times of day.  It takes effort to do this, but it was something I could focus on.

Tuesday we went to a concert downtown at a small, historic theater and ate a fine dinner at a hundred year old building across the street from the venue.  The music was Mrs. Durden's choice, and was good, but perhaps more importantly we were out of the house and doing something social surrounded by young people.

On Wednesday we hit the gym, and I climbed on the spin bike for a 30 minute tempo session.  Instead of doing a precise "class" style workout against one of the Youtube videos I have on my phone, I queued up some of my favorite music and worked on my cadence.  I backed up and repeated my favorite songs and the session went quickly.  Doing something impulsive (vs. the regimented workout I had planned) and getting into music that I hadn't heard in awhile made the time fly by.

On Friday, I got the bike out of the garage and took a 30 minute loop around a training circuit that I like to use. It was windy but warm - 50 degrees (F) but wind gusting to 30 mph - and at times I was leaning so hard into the wind that I felt like I was riding sideways.  Rides like this can be a real grind; the brutal relentlessness of the wind can really take its toll on you.  But I had gone out impulsively by choice, not by guilt, and ignored the speedometer.  But the return leg was mostly downhill and with the wind and I simply flew home.  I hung up my bike in its place and thought, "this is why I ride."

On Saturday, we were signed up for a 5k trail run at a venue about 45 minutes from the house.  This was basically a bonfire party with a run somewhere in the middle.  We showed up early and hung out by the fire, and then hit the trail.  I hadn't run since last July and was doing the event very much unprepared.  While last weekend was bitter cold, this weekend was spring-like and I was shedding layers of clothes by the time I hit the 1/3 mile mark.  The crowd was big, but friendly.  The trail was challenging, very muddy, but along a gorgeous lake shore on a bright sunny day.  More time by the bonfire and then I splurged on the diet and had a cheeseburger and fries as a reward for a hard race.  We came home tired, but good.  We have already signed up for next year.

Today, I spent about 2 hours doing yard work - pruning my stand of Walnut (aka my retirement fund) - and I feel more alert and alive.

Checking the weather, it looks like Winter will attempt to come back for at least one more try this week.  But as far as I'm concerned, it is already beaten.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Building Roadmaps

Has been awhile.  No good reasons, no excuses.  I just felt like I didn't have much to write.

Sugar posed an interesting question, and instead of cluttering up her comments feed with a few paragraphs of stream-of-consciousness, I'll type here.  Because I can.

First, let's put the question into context.  Sugar is asking about Roadmaps.

We think we might know what that means, but ... do we really?  In response to her post I'm seeing well intentioned folks respond "I want feature X fixed."    That's great, but ... roadmap?  Not really.  That's a feature fix, a singular patchnote.

So back up -- Simply put - a roadmap is a plan.  In order to have a plan you need a goal (a destination).  The roadmap is the master plan of how to get from where we are to where we want to be, top to bottom, the whole game.

But first we need a destination, and we have to have some agreement that we aren't already there.

Agreeing on where we are NOW and where we SHOULD BE is no small task.  But if we could do it, then the gap between those two is the ground needing covered.  And then we can build the plan to get there.

Agreeing on the plan/route to get there is no small task (sensing a trend yet?) but if we could do that, then we have the tasks (or features) we need to implement to get to our destination.

Those tasks, written out and time phased is the Roadmap.

I'll beat this horse some more, but to summarize:
1. Grand Unified Vision (GUV) - Ideal Future State.
2. Assess current position.
3a. Determine Task/Feature List.
3b. Determine time phasing.
4. Generate Roadmap.
5. Execute Roadmap.
6. Review and include stray projects into GUV, then go back to step 1 and iterate.

I sometimes think that CCP thinks that the roadmap itself is the goal, the product, the destination.  As in, "see, Feature X is cool, will fix all our woes. Here's a shiny web page, we are doing stuff, trust us and send us more money."

At Vegas during the PVE panel, I raised my hand and asked for the PVE stuff to be added to the roadmap, or developed into its own roadmap.   Granted, I didn't ask the question very well, and those in the room looked at me like I had 3 heads.

What I was really trying to get to - but didn't articulate very well - was "How does PVE fit into everything else that CCP is doing?"  

Is there a coherent answer to that?  I can't really tell.  Or pick a topic - ingame store, PLEX prices, new player experience, mining, ingame social structures (corps/alliances), ship balance, Thera, POS, storyline, Capship rebalancing, small Fleet pvp, Faction Warefare, Planetary Interaction, Offgrid Link Removal, Citadels.  How does /any/ of this fit into the GUV?

So let's go back to step 1.  Grand Unified Vision.  Does EVE have one?  I'm not sure.  Has it ever had one?  I'm even less sure.  There are a lot of un-unified tasks being accomplished, and some sweeping changes being debated, but where is it all really going?  And how will we know when we get there?

EVE is so big that we think that we have to break the game up into these topics so that the context is comprehensible.  And as a communication strategy, that's maybe true.  But somewhere behind it all needs to be the GUV acting as the engine to move everything forward.  Somebody somewhere has to have a master plan.

Convince me that you have a master plan, and then we can debate roadmaps. :)

What's Playing:  Tool, Aenima, Stinkfist

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