New Poker Copilot User Interface

When adding new screens to Poker Copilot, I found the “Tab per screen” approach was becoming cumbersome. Poker Copilot was heading towards a dread category of software: “software with a user interface that looks like it was designed by a techie”. This is definitely a category I do not want Poker Copilot in.

Therefore I shut down my Java IDE, read some articles on software user interface design, and reflected on what to do. I chose to adopt the user interface used by Mac OS X’s Finder, iTunes, and Apple’s Mail. This allows me to add many more screens. These screens can be grouped and selectively revealed while leaving plenty of screen real estate for showing graphs and tables. This is the result:

The next update of Poker Copilot will have this new user interface.

ScreenFlow: Great tool for making software demo movies

I discovered ScreenFlow recently, a Mac OS X program for making “screencasts”. I experimented making “how to use Poker Copilot” video. It was unbelievable easy to use with quality results. It can record my screen and iSight video simultaneously. Maybe I’ll add a demo video to the Poker Copilot website soon.

Out of Control Inflation at Yahoo?

Has Yahoo moved their offices to Zimbabwe? I discovered a charge on my credit card from Yahoo for $43.95. A quick investigation revealed that Yahoo’s annual charge for domain name renewal has more than tripled in a year.

Note to self: move all domain hosting post-haste from Yahoo to a registrar without exorbitant renewal fees.

Small HUD Improvement

Several people asked me to add the number of hands played to the HUD. Although I am not working on any HUD improvements for the next release, I did find time to add this minor tweak. Here’s the HUD with number of hands played in brackets after each player name:

Supporting Users While I Sleep

Three facts:

  1. Most users of Poker Copilot are in North America.
  2. People usually play online poker in the evening.
  3. I live in Europe.

Due to these three facts, I’m usually sleeping when people use Poker Copilot. Therefore I read most user support emails when I start up my computer in the morning. There’s usually a couple per day.

Last night (European time) I added a link to the Poker Copilot Get Satisfaction site on the Poker Copilot support web page. This morning I found that instead of posting me emails, people had posted directly on Get Satisfaction – just as I had hoped.

So what’s so blog-worthy about this? Someone had already answered one of the posted questions while I was still sleeping. Users helping users – while I sleep. Sweet.

(Many thanks to “trixilw”, the Get Satisfaction user who correctly and succinctly posted the answer.)

I get a kick from the idea that out of nothing there now exists a Poker Copilot “user community”. A community of users who discuss Poker Copilot on poker forums, who request new features, and who blog about it. All for a product that didn’t exist a few months ago. I even discovered a nice referral for Poker Copilot on a German discussion forum last weekend. Sweet – again.

FTP on the Mac

I got my first Mac about a year ago. I ordered at a time when supplies in Germany were limited and so I had to wait three long, long weeks. Finally it arrived the day before I was due to fly to Israel. I had been planning the Israel trip for a long time, and I had already delayed it a year earlier due to the 2006 Lebanon War. Even so, I was sorely tempted to cancel the trip at the last moment and play with my new toy.

I’m still learning about the Mac, OS X, and the everyday apps you need. FTP is one area where I was clumsily and suboptimally getting by in this new environment. For a while I endured command line FTP. Eventually I tried a couple of GUI apps. I’ve finally settled on Transmit, a simple, elegant, and complete FTP app from Panic, a company with an awesome tagline: “Shockingly Good Mac Software”. Transmit is a great example of what I’ve come to expect from Mac software: it simply works.

Dow Jones vs World Travelling

A brief comment on another form of gambling: the stock market.

Conventional wisdom says that in the long run you always get a decent return on the stock market, right? in the long run? What does that mean specifically? Eight years or so, that, for me, is a long time.

So let’s see…the Dow Jones index on – let’s pick a date for this contrived example – oh, I don’t know, how about January 14th, 2000 – was 11,722.

And the Dow Jones today is 11,388. That’s a total return over almost nine years of -2.8%. Take inflation into account, and we talking about a serious way to lose money. If you had $10,000 to invest back on Jan 14th, 2000, you’d have been wiser blowing it all on an extended round-the-world trip. Which is, coincidentally, what I did.

Best Paragraph I Read Today

I couldn’t agree more:

70% of good code is error checking and handling. When I started programming that way, my code got a lot better. Thinking about what can go wrong and then handling it right away has made a huge difference. It feels like doing all that checking is just getting in the way of getting the code up and running, but it shortens the time from start to finish by a factor of 2 to 4.