FeedDemon – It’s a keeper

Well after using FeedDemon at home over the weekend, and having every thing stay in sync, all auto-magic like, I’m happy to pay for this application.

I had one odd start-up issue, where it complained about bad XML or the likes, why I never captured the error I’m not sure. I just assumed it would talk home. But every thing was fine on restart.

The other issue (and I understand why it happens) is when I add a new feed at one location, the other location only gets entries that are newer since the subscription. Where-as the original location has the current backlog (X number of items in the feed.xml), you would think that NewsGator could list the same “back catalogue”, but alias not. So I have some blogs that work has unread items, and others that home has unread. Shrug, not a deal breaker.

Retro Games Remakes/Dissections

I have gotten to the point in my Curse of the Azure Bonds remake where I now need to single step through the actual original to see what it’s virtual machine is doing.

So I went off and found DOSBox, and it has a debugger built in. It also has break point on memory IO, so I plan to tweak it to log IO for the virtual machine instruction pointer. So I’m quite excited about this. I haven’t completed re-compiling it. But I’ll post about it once I have, as the instructions I found on the DOSBox wiki where not complete.

But my point was I found on the DOSBox site reference to LBA (Little Big Adventure) and a remake LBAWin, by one of the original programmers. Quite excited about that, as I loved that game, and it will be cool to play. I tried download the game, but I was getting error’s on user registration page. So that will have to wait…

Found on the LBAWin site a link to yazOr‘s reimplementation: The Lba Project. yazOr has blogged about some very cool dissection of other games. Off his page I found a link to gawd’s museum of dissected games, which has a write up about pulling Dangerous Dave 2 graphics apart. Very cool. I’m looking forward to his Alleycat dissection, as I played that game a huge amount of our original PC.

FeedDemon 2.1

I decided to try FeedDemon 2.1 today. After getting annoyed with RSS Bandit over I can’t remember what.

Initial thoughts. I love it. It feels light and slick. I’m am not using it in synchronized mode yet, as my NewsGator account appears to have expired. shrug. But I do plan to use it this way.

I have been reading Nick’s blog for a while, and I like the sound of features that he is developing. I’ve been thinking for a while about features that I’d want to add to RSS bandit, and I realised today that the latest are based on what nick is doing with FeedDemon.

Other features are about how the RSS Bandit code is structured. How it deals with page rendering. How entries are rendered. Offline data caching. and other things. So FeedDemon solves my bigger of these issues. The price is a acceptable, and now I have a credit card, I’m tempted to just buy it.

I’m not bagging the RSS Bandit team. I am really thankful for their effort. But they have day jobs, and I can’t expect anything from them. Yet the price gap to FeedDemon is not really prohibitive, and yet in a small slice kind of way I’ll be helping Nick keep things progressing. Win-win.

I do have some questions, and I’ll update once I have answers:

  1. If I buy a personal licence, can I can run it at both home and work? If I need two copies (or more) this would dampen my desire, as my price point is less than $29.95 x 2 x USD->NZD exchange rate.
    Yes, it works as I want. See here
  2. Do I need the NewsGator premium account to sync with multiple clients? Thus beyond the first year free would I have to pay an on going cost for this feature?
    Yes to both, so the current yearly rate would be $19.95USD. See here again. But then looking at my “Account Information” page it would appear the Synchronization is in the Free account….

Ok, so I answered my questions before posting. Just noticed the Subscriptions tree keep the unread count visible as the widget is made skinnier. That was so annoying in RSS Bandit, prior to the component change. The new component auto-horizontal scrolls, which is even more annoying because you then lose sight of the tree structure.

Gladwell’s Stereotyping problem.

Malcolm Gladwell has been having a ongoing blog meme about the Ayres study discussed in Blink. A study in which it was tested whether race effected the price people of the same age and similar story ( job, house location, car, cloths) were offered by car salesmen.

The debated is raging over the “racism”, or whether it is an initial retail decision by the salesmen. There are a lot of points that can be made. In Malcolm’s last post on the subject, he points that people (responders to his post, and the salesmen) seem to discard the other factors, and are focusing on race, therefore there is some form of racial-prejudice.

I think the first comment by Byrne Hobart sums it up well.

This post is missing any evidence that the car salesmen discarded the data. The only variable in the experiment was race, and the experiment demonstrates that race has an effect — but you’d need to do another experiment (keep race constant and vary age, for example) before you can argue that the car salesmen were only focusing on race.

I was thinking about this topic on the way to work. My take on the study was, the price difference was the opening price. From this you could take the that black males are being getting a bad deal. The counter arguments are – well is that not the car salesman job, to get the best deal, and if the strategy doesn’t work, then surly the market would punish those dealers. Malcolm make this point is his book, because 99% dealers said treated everybody the same. Thus focusing on the first two point below*. But did the say what Malcolm wanted to hear. This is the base of some of the debate. Without studies to provide none biased sales give better performance, we can’t know if it’s other factors that made the 99% sale guys better.

As Malcolm, notes cars sales happening infrequently (per person), so the information imbalance is large. So the more interesting question is why to car salesmen get away with price differences. There are many possibilities, and I believe it primarily comes down to information imbalance. When I buy stuff, I’m paranoid I’m paying more than I could/should, but there is also a balance of how much effort are you willing to spend to address the imbalance. Also how much time do you have to make the purchase, thus can play the “not interested” game, to lower the price.

Myself I know I hate any price where it is not pre-stated. I prefer to look at a price, and compare it to my want/desire and do all my humming and haring in private, then when I decide I wait the item, to just buy it. Thus with things where you haggle, or negotiate like the house we brought, you have to expose your interest, and it becomes a game where your playing against a professional (the trader or the sale agent) and the information imbalance always makes me feel I way have come away worse than possible. It becomes a nagging thought, so I just avoid negation.

Conversely, I’m not good at poker, because I know I’m terrible at masking my feelings/thoughts. But I do see why I should have too. I don’t want to live in a world where that is required. Therefore am I willing to pay the “normal” price and be content, sure am.

So back to back to the Malcolm debate, could it be possible the different ethnic groups have different valuations on time, money, bartering. Thus sales people can stereotype and get away with it, they are the information professional. *There job is to make you feel reassured about the sale, make you feel special, and close the deal. The first two I think are more important than the third, as the should lead to more of the third via word of mouth.

The major thought coming away from this and the current book I’m reading (The Wisdom of Crowds) is that there are lots of interesting things happening in the world, and I’m not sure I’m in the correct career, as these other area’s seem just fascinating. But then there is a lot of fascinating things happening in software, and I just love making the computer do as I want, and watching the complexity unfold.