Happy New Year 2012!

Best wishes from all of us here at Digital Gamecraft.

 

The upcoming year corresponds to the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which should make it ideal for productivity, growth, and success.  Less mystically, 2012 is going to be our year of connection, as we continue to build our online presence and social network, both professionally and personally.

At the turn of the year, it is traditional to look forward into the future, and we will doing this in the coming days, as well as honestly assessing our performance over the past 12 months.  Expect some more significant activity on this blog in the coming days.  In the meantime…

Happy New Year!

 

End Of Year Wind-Down

Digital Gamecraft wraps up business for 2010.

As the holidays arrive at the end of the year, and the beginning of the next, Digital Gamecraft and SophSoft, Incorporated traditionally take off the two weeks that encompass this period of time.  Since Christmas and New Years Day both fall on Saturdays, we were confronted with a decision to either work right up until Christmas Eve, taking off the entire first week of 2011, or to adjourn (and return) a week earlier.  Armed with an incorrect assumption (about federal holidays in the US), the PTB decided on the former, so we depart tomorrow [Friday, December 24] and return to work (officially) on January 10, 2011.  It actually worked out well because we were not yet ready to wrap up business last week.  (In truth, our beta testers will still be seeing activity from me, personally, throughout the official shut down, and our Director of Operations has to come in to run payroll.)

Anyway, despite the absence of most federal employees in observation of Christmas (a day early), we will still be in the office tomorrow; however, there is no reason to lament.  The morning will be dedicated to light work and final preparations for the end of the year, and then the afternoon will be devoted to our holiday party, in which we and our families will gather ’round and play board and card games (away from computers), enjoying various snacks and drinks, along with ample holiday spirit.  (This is a tradition unabashedly borrowed from one at Spectrum HoloByte, enhanced somewhat in our own ways, and minus a visit from Santa Claus, at least this year.)  Of course, the easy workload on Friday means more work for me on Thursday, so…

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

[from A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clark Moore (of course)]

Thanksgiving Day 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year, we take the opportunity on Thanksgiving Day (in the United States) to consider the reasons we are thankful, especially concerning events of the previous year.  At our house, everybody has the opportunity to mention personal reasons for being thankful, just before we tear into the big Thanksgiving feast.  At our company, I often write the business reasons for being thankful right here…

This year, I am especially thankful that SophSoft, Incorporated is doing better than ever.  We are now in our tenth year collaborating with Goodsol Development, and our Digital Gamecraft division is busy preparing releases for early 2011.  In terms of releases during this year, we have already had a record bounty, with 22 public releases, including two new products (with 3 SKUs), 5 major upgrades, and 14 product updates:

Coming in December, we plan another major update (Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition 2.2, already in beta), a version of PGSME available via the Mac App Store (review currently pending), and our first title on the Apple iPad (at least one more SKU, in alpha testing).  Internally, we have been making significant infrastructure and process improvements for even greater productivity (and success) moving into next year.

One personal reason for being thankful, omitted at the dining table, was the fantastic performance of the Michigan State University football teamGo Spartans!

40 Years of Earth Day (Observed)

Earth Day celebrated its 40th Anniversary on Thursday.

In honor of Earth Day, which was first held on April 22, 1970, I thought that it would be fitting to note that the manner in which we (much of our industry) do business is one of the most ecologically responsible methods of commerce.

Everybody in our company currently works from a home office, which means that the commute involves no burning of fossil fuels.  Additionally, only one location needs to be heated (or cooled, on those rare occasions in Michigan), so less natural gas (or LP, fuel oil, or electricity, as appropriate) is used.  As important to us, though, is that we are not contributing to the gratuitous development sprawl that was taking place here entirely unabated, even by massive oversupply, until the financial crisis finally slowed it down just a bit.

Occasionally, I have considered that the 15 year old van I drive could be replaced with a more fuel efficient vehicle, but I have not taken action yet because, first, it is already quite efficient overall because of its limited use and, second, despite much blather, current fuel consumption (MPG) ratings are ostensibly worse than when this van was built.  I sometimes go for days without driving, so it would take a long while to make up for the manufacturing cost of a new car, and when I do drive, this old 3.8 liter V-6 engine still gets within a few miles per gallon of most new “hybrid” vehicles I checked.  Sad.  (The expense of a new vehicle, weighed against the current lack of car payments, has also been a significant factor.)

The one area in which online software sales and virtual stores falls behind is in consumption of electricity, which can be seen to be elevated due to extensive use of computers, and especially the constant, 24 hour/day, operation of various servers.  In our case, for several years we voluntarily purchased, from our municipal provider, a couple of “blocks” of electricity generated from renewable sources, which was enough to cover all of our company computer usage (including servers) each month.  This was an investment in keeping and building these renewable sources of electricity, which has since been mandated for all public utilities in Michigan.

Of course, there is always more that one can do, so it is a good idea to take a little time every once in a while to consider ways to improve fuel efficiency, whether your goal is to save money or just save the planet.  (Our project for this summer involves insulating the floor under the front part of my office, which was never done at all by previous owners, including the idiots who built the addition.)

The Hubble Space Telescope is 20 years old today.

On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit from the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Those readers who were alive and conscious at the time will remember the initial problem with the main mirror led to criticism and ridicule, but that problem was fixed, and that resulted in great leaps forward in the field of astronomy (and a million beautiful desktops).  Last year, the “last” fix has made the orbiting telescope more powerful than originally imagined, and it could continue its successful run for many years to come.  Like a piece of software, version 1.0 had its share of bugs and detractors, but it became really useful at version 2.0, and by version 3.0 has already outlasted and outperformed all predictions.

Happy Birthday, Hubble!