Paul Meier

Software, performance, culture, and whatever else I like.

Tech overview for Sup for Android - Part 1

:: programming, pablolife

I’m one of a small team of engineers for Sup, now on the Play Store and App Store. Download it! Use it! Every day! Make our founders and their investors happy. The more people are happy, the more likely it is I continue to get paid. I don’t need the money, but the people I owe do.

I wrote the first iteration of the server, but since the beginning of August I’ve worked almost exclusively on our Android client. While I did some very basic Android work in college 4 years ago (cringingly documented in part here) I consider this project, effectively, my first real exposure to Android.

Here’s a little overview of the tech behind the product: some architecture decisions, techniques and libraries that facilitated code re-use, a few gotchas, and resources if you ever want to delve into more Android work. This post is primarily about Architecture; Part 2, on Libraries, is here. Part 3 on other miscellany is here.

Why I Play StarCraft

:: video games, essay

Last year my cousin Diego posted a Facebook status along the lines of “dude… I’m actually liking Chipotle! What’s happening to me?” to which I responded “Diego, my love for Chipotle has lasted longer than all my relationships combined. Get with the program.”

Yesterday, Blizzard’s StarCraft Facebook page shared this video with the heading “Why do YOU play StarCraft?”:

And, well, I’ve been playing StarCraft for well over 3 years now, and streaming for almost that long. Here’s an old vintage clip from at least two years ago, and a more recent one from last week. I’ve visibly aged between the two clips; I’ve also gotten much better at StarCraft.

Blizzard’s post got me wondering — why do I play StarCraft? Why have I stuck with it for this long?

I think the embedded video above is a bit more romantic, but I have some ideas.

Philly Murals

:: culture, pablolife

I’ve been living in Philadelphia now for about a month, and I’m very impressed with the murals in the city. Most city art projects are small-scale, unobtrusive, and extremely tepid.

While Philly’s murals aren’t GROUNDBREAKING ART, they’re certainly very beautiful, and all over. Here are six of them within a half-mile of my apartment:

Done with Compilers

:: engineering

I’m on a bit of a professional hiatus right now, having left Google in August to pursue Big Life Things. I had some ideas for a big engineering project to do in the meantime, and like any language nerd, I wanted to write my own language. This is daunting — L. Peter Deutsch recommends otherwise, and a perusal of the Programming Language Checklist does a good job to scare you away.

I had a few designs, some template code, and may revisit the project. But I’ll blog about part of what I was hoping to achieve, in case someone else gets inspired.

Joss Whedon, the word Feminist

:: culture, essay

[Disclaimer: I benefit from virtually every type of privilege society grants: namely, I’m White-presenting, cis, male, straight, thin, well-off, etc. Privileged people talking about movements aiming to equal the playing field are often fraught with peril and questions over to what degree I should involve myself in conversations like this are pretty open, so take the below with this in mind. I couldn’t find the original, but remember this reproduction of this handy flowchart just to be clear.]

Some folks on my Facebook feed are angry that some feminists are angry that Joss Whedon said some silly things about feminism the other day. Here are some other criticisms if you missed it.

I predictably mostly agree with the more critical takes, but many Facebookers on my feed are responding negatively to the response, so I’ll respond to their response to the response. That should fix it.

Adventures in Programming Language Bikeshedding

:: plt, culture

“Greg” opens a great little bikeshedder on rust-dev, proving that you can wink and “ironically” be aware that you’re doing something you might think is uncool in the general sense while still totally doing it (see “ironic racism”). While much less harmful than marginalizing people, he’s suggesting in the subject title (“For Great Justice”) and his many qualifications (‘I am aware that I am jumping into an issue at a point in time that’s considered “late in the game”.’) that he’s aware that his suggestions, no matter how worthy or well-intentioned, are coming from a place where they probably can’t or won’t be implemented, but he still just can’t help himself but send them.

I don’t mean to be too hard on the guy — he’s cordial, and I don’t want to hate on someone who’s just loving what they do, and wanting to spread it. I think the Rust devs did a good job in their responses of giving his requests credence while also declining. The thread makes for a cute read if you’re not used seeing these kinds of discussions.

Blogging Solutions

:: culture, meta

A friend recently asked for some advice regarding blogging solutions, and I realized it’s a pretty big space. Here’s some advice after a few years of blogging, a bit of experience with blogging engines, and general technical proficiency.

The Smash Brothers

:: culture, video games, pablolife

While I play a ton of StarCraft, one of the games closest to my heart is Super Smash Bros. Melee. I probably played that game more than any other in high school, and only as I was having to focus on my senior year and a major production did I discover that there was a high-level scene, where people (about my age, often younger) from disparate cities would drive up and down coasts to play and learn from each other.

A member of the community made a fantastic documentary on the game and its most influential players. If you ever played the game, at any level, there’s a good chance you’ll love checking it out. Even if you’ve never played it, it’s a very entertaining story.

First part embedded below: