Gavin Bowman's blog

Micro ISV Spotlight #1

This is my first attempt at what I hope will be a new series here on Codesnipers. The format might vary slightly, but essentially I'd to make a regular place to highlight two or three interesting Micro ISV articles, products, or resources.

Contest: The Micro ISV Community

This is the fourth and final of the contest entires. Voting begins tonight in less than 4 hours!

I tried thinking hard about my entry to this contest, and I tried to think of a list of technology people who had influenced me, but it just wasn’t happening.

I stumbled into technology, so I couldn’t pick a single shining light that has driven or shaped me and my career. It’s rare that I make it all the way through a technical book. I’ve always tried to learn enough to accomplish the current task and then hoped to come back to it later, but later never comes. I’m trying to figure out whether this makes me a really bad person to give free books to, or whether I really need it, I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves.

So I’m thinking back over the road that brought me here, maybe I’ll find a winner there. Maybe I should pick a childhood neighbour. I remember playing Frogger and Manic Miner on someone’s Spectrum, which in turn made me bug my parents to get me one. Maybe I should choose my parents for humouring me and not forcing me to go and play outside? When I started work, there were various people who gave me a chance, mentored me, or steered me towards software development. There are a few candidates there.

Requires Willpower

In previous posts on Codesnipers, I’ve talked about a few anti-burnout productivity tips, and about my own attempts to implement them. Over the last few weeks, I’ve discovered an effect similar to the yo-yo weight loss/gain that dieters often experience, and learned that, like Nicotine patches, staying sharp and getting things done requires willpower.

No Such Luck

Reading Steve’s last post was a frustrating experience. Not only did he miss fewer slots than me, he had a good excuse for it. The reasons for my relative lack of posting lately are far from interesting, convincing, or enjoyable.

European Shareware Conference

This year's European Shareware Conference will be held in Cambridge, UK, on the 4th and 5th of November.

It has already been discussed on the BoS forum here, but I thought I’d extend the conversation to Codesnipers. I’m hoping to go, and based on the forum thread it looks like I’ll get to put faces to a few familiar names.

Are you planning to go? Do you have feedback from previous conferences? Is it worth trying to stick around for the Sunday evening sessions/event?

Retrain your brain

 Brain Age for Nintendo DSDo you feel yourself slowing down as you get older? Feel like your brain’s getting a bit sluggish? Nintendo might have the answer: Dr Kawashima's Brain Training (Brain Age in the US).

You’ve probably already read about this, and about how popular it’s been with Japanese pensioners, in a mainstream newspaper or on another website (got to love that marketing exposure). In case you haven’t, it’s a collection of short brain exercises for the Nintendo DS. It makes you perform simple little tests like memorization, reading aloud, or basic calculations, on a regular basis, keeping graphs to track your performance over time. To make sure there’s no cheating, you can only record a score in each training program once a day.

Project Glidepath

Project Glidepath is a new initiative from Microsoft aimed at helping Micro ISVs develop software for .NET 3.0 and Windows Vista. All the information is delivered via RSS as workflow guidance directly into your Visual Studio project. As well as technical advice, there are Glidepath modules to help you with the practical business side of your Micro ISV. The content tries to help you choose software protection or eCommerce providers, and guide your blogging and podcasting strategies.

OISV – The Organisation of Independent Software Vendors

The OISV is a new resource for ISVs, it went live last week.

So far it has a small collection of articles, a badge to display on your website, and some promising looking forums, but much more should be on its way. They may have invited early scepticism by already claiming to be the world’s largest organisation of ISVs, but overall I think they’ve done a great job on the site, and should be applauded for aiming high.

Eight down, 56 to go

As the World Cup got off to such a great start this weekend, I don’t have anything to say about software development or Micro ISVs, so I’ll save you the trouble of reading something forced.

Since the USA team campaign gets underway just a couple of hours after my posting slot on Codesnipers, I’m also assuming many of you will be far too busy trying to find a TV or radio to bother reading anything I might have had to say. Here in the UK, we get mostly negative reports about the awareness of the game in the US, but KC assures me there are plenty of fans, and that numbers have been on the rise.

So, if you’ll be watching or listening, good luck and enjoy the game. If not, I’ll be enjoying it for you....

The 80/20 Revolution

The most common theme on Codesnipers lately has been information overload, which is just a small part of the wider topics of productivity and burnout. Bob’s been talking about the 80/20 principle in many different ways, but here he applied it to his RSS feeds list.

I’ve been trying something similar over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share. At first it was difficult, because, believe it or not, I didn’t have a feeds list.