A Joke for Maths Nerds

f(x) goes into a bar and asks for a drink. “I’m sorry,” the barman says. “We don’t cater for functions.”

A Different Development Approach for Version 2

Poker Copilot version 2 is well underway. I’m experimenting with an embedded SQL database, to get rid of the 150,000 hand limit. I haven’t yet made it fast enough for my likings, so I’m going through the standard list of database optimisations. Including using a database warehouse-like star schema.

Now that I’ve made the eyes of 95% of my readers glaze over, here’s how I’m changing my development approach. I developed version 1 via many small iterations. This worked because I started with zero users and I had no firm idea of what features people wanted in a mac poker tracker.

The first cut of Poker Copilot only worked with Full Tilt Poker ring games. Even before I released version 1.0 I had people asking me for Poker Stars support. So I added that, and re-released. Then came the demand for tournament support. Add, re-release. People were clamouring for a heads up display. Add, re-release. Bankroll chart. Add, re-release. And so it went.

As the number of Poker Copilot users grew, this approach hit problems. The quick turn-around time meant I wasn’t doing adequate testing. Adding new features sometimes broke things for existing users. Every time this happened, I felt deeply embarrassed, and braced myself for a backlash. To the credit of my users, the backlash never came. Instead I encountered patience, support, and a never-ending stream of feature requests!

For version 2 I’m using a more rigorous and traditional approach. I’ve made a list of intended improvements and prioritised them. Now I’m doing the development. Next comes testing and debugging. Eventually I’ll have a month-long beta release, available for the eager and brave. While this is underway I’ll get the documentation written and the website updated.

It will take longer and will be somewhat less transparent. But it will spare users from being an unofficial test team.

There will be an early access program with which you can try out the new features before they are fully tested. This still allows me to get some feedback, but without disrupting the great number of users who just want Poker Copilot to work. And keep working.

Unfair? Inorganic?

The local coffee handler sells many types of coffee, one of which is labelled “Fair and Organic”. Does that imply that the other types are unfair and inorganic? If it is possible to make and sell one “fair” coffee, why can’t they all be fair?

But that’s of little concern compared to the other coffees being presumably inorganic. From the dictionary:

in·or·gan·ic adj. Involving neither organic life nor the products of organic life.

Until now the only inorganic thing I’ve been eating is salt. I think.

Disturbing Quote of the Day

From last week’s New Yorker:

The United States now has five per cent of the world’s population, twenty-five per cent of its prisoners, and probably the vast majority of prisoners who are in long-term solitary confinement.

A Good Sunday is…

…when I go for brunch*, eat delicious fried eggs with manchego cheese melted on top, casually read up on what’s going on in the world in this week’s The Economist, then return home to find that while out I sold three copies of Poker Copilot.

* “What’s brunch? You’d love it, It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!” **

** being a hard core Simpsons fan, I had to do it.

Must… Write… Code…

Since sending my new iMac back to Apple last Monday, I’ve been using my old MacBook Pro. The replacement iMac is due on Monday. According to UPS’s tracking site, it is already here in Cologne, scanned for delivery, probably sitting in a delivery truck, but still two days away from arriving at my apartment.

I made a back-up of the now-gone iMac. To simplify setting up the replacement iMac, I’ve done no Poker Copilot coding since last Monday. It’s been hard holding back. My brain, my body, my geekier-than-thou soul want to be coding. Fixing bugs. Optimising. Adding features.

Just two more days…

Office for Mac 2008: No go

User reviews is an area where the Internet shines.

I was considering upgrading from Office for Mac 2004 to Office for Mac 2008. These reviews turned me off the idea. Some even suggested that it is best to stay with 2004 than to upgrade. It seems like I’ll be going with iWork 2009 instead.

Time for some Poker Copilot 2 Answers

My post announcing the start of development on Poker Copilot 2 got some questions from some of my most loyal, persistent users. I feel obliged to answer:

Il Vargoso stated:

PokerCopilot 2 MUST HAVE the HUD working for multitable players.

Hearing you loud and clear! I’m looking at significantly improving the HUD. Il Vargoso comes from Colombia, my favourite country in the all the world. Which means I’m listening doubly hard. If you haven’t visited Colombia, I recommend heading there post-haste. It’s extremely beautiful and varied (Andes, Amazon, Caribbean, Pacific), has nice architecture, wonderful museums, friendly people, and (at least in 2006) was severely under-touristed. But I digress.

Lord Bodak emphatically wrote:

It had better not cost too much more than v1… PokerTracker is $89.99 and while I love Poker Copilot I think most would agree that it has a long way to go to be feature comparable.

The price is almost certainly going to be $59.95. While Poker Copilot is not Poker Tracker in it’s feature set, I’m also making sure that Poker Copilot is several steps above Poker Tracker in its usability. Unlike Poker Tracker, there’s no need to install and administer a database, and no need to occasionally “vacuum”, “cluster”, and “analyse” the database. For most people getting started with Poker Tracker is a cinch. Once started, the useful information in Poker Copilot jumps out at you, rather than being hidden behind numerous tabs and buttons and buttons and tabs.

Kerri Miller wrote:

I wouldn’t mind paying a small fee, considering that I just bought it 4 or 5 days ago

If you, like Kerri, missed out on the “free upgrade period” by only a few days, fret not. Simply let me know via e-mail once version 2 is released that you purchased mere days before the free upgrade period started and all will be taken care of. I am most reasonable in these matters! 🙂

Arthur reminded me that:

…early adopters [should] get the free upgrade, since many of us have been active participants in providing feedback and bug reporting through GetSatisfaction. In theory, that has laid the groundwork for v2 being possible.

This was so clear in my mind that I assumed it would go without saying. A few people have been consistently helpful with feedback, bug reports, suggestions, and patience in the development of version 1. Arthur is one of them. If you are too, wait until Poker Copilot 2 is released, then remind me via e-mail that you really deserve a free upgrade. You know who you are. I do too. You are the ones who have made Poker Copilot a joy to develop so far.

Three Pleasant Apple Surprises

I bought a new iMac a week or so ago.

It was a reward for myself for selling $x,000 worth of Poker Copilot in a month. Today I had three pleasant surprises with this new iMac:

  1. I bought a cable to connect an additional monitor to the iMac. While the iMac was running, I plugged in the monitor and turned it on. Immediately the new monitor was added to the desktop. No config, no installation. Just too easy.
  2. I noticed a friend was online in iChat with the video icon next to his name. I double-clicked, and a video chat started. First time I’ve done it on this computer, again no config and no installation needed. He’s in Australia, I’m in Germany, and we chatted, made bad jokes, and showed off the view out of our respective offices. Again – just too easy.
  3. The new iMac has a problem. The fan is always on and too loud. Or maybe it’s the hard drive. I don’t know. I called Apple and told them. They said they’d arrange for it to be collected and for a replacement to be delivered. As simple as that. No need to be switched from department to department. No need to be treated like an imbecile by tech support. No ndeed to plead my case. Maybe it’s something Apple does in the weeks immediately after delivery. I don’t know. What I do know, is, a phone call I was dreading turned out to be – a third time – just too easy.

Poker Copilot 2: What to Expect?

We all hate it when a company promises to add feature X in version Y to be released on date Z, and then fails to deliver on said promises. So I’m going to do things the Apple way: we’re working hard on Poker Copilot 2 (and have been for a month), we’re looking for ways to innovate, but we’re offer no specific promises…except…

  • a mucked hand viewer will be included because it is already done and under testing!
  • I do listen to users. The more votes a feature request gets, the more likely it is to get included.

The development process is going to be quite different for Poker Copilot 2, compared to the first version. More news soon, so stay tuned…