amusing games industry recruiting

Career dead-ends

How long do you want to be an Assistant Product Manager?

Assistant Product Manager 4 Life

Job Summary
Reference IS0012
Location Horseferry Road
Hours 37 per week
Closing Date 03 December 2010 at Midnight


* Channel 4 Online is responsible for creating and managing Channel 4 multiplatform experiences on the Web, Mobile and next-generation connected-devices such as YouView.
* The department comprises three main functional teams: Production, Product Management, and Multiplatform Commissioning.

(there’s also a new Commissioning Editor role up for grabs at Channel 4, which is perhaps more appealing to readers here ;))

amusing iphone

Mobile signatures: a new artform?

As Tom puts it:

“Spelling curtesy of Iphone”
“Periods everywhere? Sorry, this email was composed on Google’s Nexus One”

Mobile signatures: a new artform…?

Other good ones out there – any favourites?

(the less imaginative, literal one above is mine, I think. Now in hiding, since I’m back on iPhone for the next few months)

amusing recruiting

Writing a good LinkedIn Recommendation

“In addition to introducing new practices and processes to our office that transformed our day-to-day operations, Dean introduced me to Dogging!”

FWIW … I’d be a *lot* more likely to hire someone with that on their resume/profile than I would someone with “Dean is professional and valuable member of the team and I hope he does well in future”. For multiple reasons, but first and foremost: both are equally untrue, but one of them shows a sense of humour, and the other assumes the reader is stupid enough to be suckered by blind lies.

amusing marketing and PR

When site-takeover Adverts ATTACK! …small babies

For the handful of marketing people who still don’t understand why we don’t like seeing their ads spattered over the web like diarrhea:


Customer Service, Czech-style … now with Taser!

iPhone app seeks to prevent taxi drivers from ripping-off their passengers

“there has even been a case of a driver who had wired up the seats so he could deliver an electric shock to any troublesome passengers.”

amusing Web 0.1

Embarassing uses of Flash #342: Wicks Group

The Wicks Group is a private-equity firm routinely buying and selling companies for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Here’s their web page:

Yes, really. At first I thought it was some small spam-using firm with crappy webskills, that had managed to buy the domain name of a bigger company. I closed the window.

But later, I got referred back to the same domain by a reputable site, so I tried again.

Here’s what the site looks like when you enable Flash:

Ah! That’s better!

So, I’m guessing their website got hacked some time ago, inserting the advert spam for NFL Jerseys … on that basis, I’ve emailed them and suggested they hire a decent web developer to take a look at the site and remove the hack – and probably upgrade their webserver so that it doesn’t get hacked again.


Apple: Keepin’ it Complex, Impenetrable, Unusable…

Apple runs a conference each year (“WWDC”) where they provide documentation and material that developers MUST use – but isn’t available elsewhere.

That’s OK – they record it all, and the slides, and make it available free afterwards.

Except …

  1. You can’t download it from the web, you can only download from inside iTunes – Apple doesn’t like the web, they insist you use iTunes
  2. You can’t find it on iTunes, you can only find it on the web – Apple’s proprietary “iTunes University” declares that the files don’t exist. Even if you’ve got them downloaded. But google finds it quick and easy.

I *guess* this is because some “genius” at Apple declared that since you need a Developer account (cost: $99) to download the content, they would remove it from their (proprietary, low-quality) search engine “just in case a BAD PERSON got to see the mere existence of this content!”.

Of course … if iTunes is already checking my account is allowed to download this stuff before downloading it … how much of a “genius” would it take to merely make the SAME check when displaying search results?

Google, Yahoo, Bing, et al: +1
Apple: -1000

amusing startup advice web 2.0

LinkedIn more popular than Twitter (according to LinkedIn?)

When I log into LinkedIn, I now receive 3 pages of spam. That spam is “every tweet by every person I’ve ever met”.

Somewhere, buried inside the avalanche of spam, are a few genuine LinkedIn messages. e.g. today I saw that a friend had moved to a new company – important, useful information.

Support: why would you want to refuse our spam?

I asked the LinkedIn customer support folks how to disable the spam. Their response:

You can “only hide the member’s Twitter updates [if you] also [hide all] their LinkedIn updates”.

i.e. your choices are:

  1. Get spam
  2. Get nothing

Hmm. Think about the people with tens of thousands of connections on linkedin. Their linkedin home pages must be absurdly high spam-to-signal ratio.

LinkedIn’s management: Twitter? WTF is Twitter?

LinkedIn’s CTO / lead architect / whoever authorized this stupid setup apparently “forgot” that the main feature of Twitter is it *allows* you to choose the people you receive tweets from.

(or, more likely, they’ve never used Twitter – it’s just a buzzword they’d heard of from a VC)

LinkedIn removes that choice. It simply forces everything on you. No filtering. No choices. Nothing. As a user, you exist to be spammed.

As a user, you exist to consume LinkedIn’s adverts, and nothing else. The site is – it would seem – not intended to be useful.


For a business to sink to such a low level of utility, and for the management to achieve such a high level of ignorance about the market, suggests to me that LI is moving rapidly towards implosion. I don’t believe it will still be with us two years from now. And that’s rather tragic, given how valuable it used to be.

amusing recruiting

Everyone should work for the BBC…

Seriously: I’m not getting paid enough!

(read closely, from this page)

BBC Worldwide job advert

amusing web 2.0

3 things a News Website should NOT do

There’s a conference in Brighton this week, and one of the industry media – – has a base here, so they’ve been cropping up a lot in the reporting. In passing, I noticed some glaring howlers in their web-design. The 1990’s called, they want their web-design templates back…

Three glaring errors I noticed in particular. One of these they’re in good company – it’s the same thing Rupert Murdoch has done, along with sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming “NA, NA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! GO AWAY AND TAKE YOUR STUPID INTERNET-THINGY WITH YOU, YOU FREELOADING BASTARDS!” (not a literal quote, of course). Although a lot of people seem to think that’s a weak strategy even for the mighty news empire…

1. Sell a large number of Flash ads, and put them ALL in the same place. At the same time

What do you see when you view a page on this site?

If you have a laptop, and you surf their site, does the battery last noticeably less than normal? (hint: yes, it should – I’ve seen this happen on a wide variety of PC and Mac laptops)


Because they put not 1, not 2, not even 5 … not even TEN … but up to FIFTEEN SEPARATE FLASH ADS all animated SIMULTANEOUSLY on every page.

Flash wasn’t designed for this – the flash runtime can overhwelm a modern computer with just 1 rogue flash app; 15 is begging for trouble.

I suspect (because some of my former employers used to purchase them, regularly) that these “mini-ads” are a decent source of revenue for It’s a pity then that they’re mostly Flash, because that means an awful lot of people in the target audience (game developers), see something like this:

Screen shot 2010-07-14 at 20.09.40

Incidentally, I offer a tip-of-the-hat to Relentless, whose animated-GIF has so many frames of animation that it smoothly animates some stuff that looks straight out of a Flash ad. Smart move on their behalf – they DIDN’T use a Flash movie.

OMGWTFBBQ! That must take TONNES of animating frames! Why, yes – it uses an *unholy* 50 kilobytes, just to display one ickle GIF. Shocking. And yet … in 2010 … such a tiny tiny file in the scheme of things that it suffers nothing for not being Flash. (Flash was originally needed because internet bandwidth was poor; it only gradually grew into the all-singing, all-dancing beast we love today)

2. Hide all your content. Keep your news … secret

Try viewing any article on the site.

Follow any link that a friend sends you via email

Click on a link in any blog post or forum post.

Actually … you’ll have some trouble there. Lots of blogs and forums no longer link to Why?

Because anyone who follows the link only gets to see ONE SENTENCE of the article:

Screen shot 2010-07-14 at 20.19.36


3. Block anyone who uses Gmail

If you try to sign-up on their site for an account using Gmail, the site refuses to “allow” you to create an account. It seems they have hard-coded a list of email domains that they consider “unacceptable” for game-developers to use.

Funny. I’ve been using gmail for my professional email for many years now. It seems a fairly common practice. Google’s … well … Google is a pretty well-known company these days. Their products are … well … kind-of popular. No?

I tried emailing the site admins to ask if there was a way I could create my account anyway – it’s fairly easy to check that my gmail account is bona fide. A funny thing happened.

Their website has no email addresses. Instead, it has a javascript that creates email-addresses on the fly. It’s a neat little javascript, and used differently would be pretty cool. But the way they chose to use it has two obvious effects:

  1. It is impossible to use a web-mail client to email anyone at direct from the site (the right-click, “copy email address” won’t work because of the javascript)
  2. Spammers have to look at the source-code to find the email address, and be a very very little creative with their bots (well within their capabilities these days)

Internet: 0, Newspaper/Web newsite: 1


No, not really. I’ve got nothing against the news-site, and I’m well aware that this is only an echo of a bigger, louder noise: mainstream newspapers are in their dieing throes, lashing out at anyone and everyone in their panic.

But I’m suprised that a tech-industry focussed site chooses to fight so hard against the medium that so much of its own industry relies upon and worships. The first and third items above I would normally attribute to ignorance and just spending too little money for their web design team. But the middle one reflects an active decision to block the internet at large – even though the workaround is to create a “free” account, it’s an artificial barrier entirely of their own making.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year working with or around mainstream journalists, magazine staff, and authors. I’ve noticed a lot of this stuff going on. This is just a personal opinion, but … I humbly suggest that whenever ANY news/journalism site acts as though it’s at war with the very medium that the world + dog uses for spreading said news … that whatever else happens, it’s probably not going to end well.

amusing computer games games industry web 2.0

Tim Langdell sells a game on Amazon

…and Amazon’s intelligent recommendation engine leaps into action:

(if you don’t know who Tim Langdell is, and you work in the games industry, just Google him.

amusing community social networking web 2.0

Awesome Ad Agency FAIL: Steal, then Insult

(where normaly people might “Be original, then Apologize if you fail”)

Just a minor piece of recent DRAMA! DRAMA!, something to cheer up the week…

This excellent piece of Advertising / Fun / Augmented Reality / Creativity was – like most big-budget ideas – based on someone else’s idea, someone who had the basic idea (and proved it non-commercially) first.

So far, so good.

This is the 21st Century. People notice when you clone ideas, and they comment. A lot of comments are brief and reflect the emotional reaction rather than a considered opinion. Especially if you disingenuously claim to have invented the idea, and put out press releases to that effect … when there’s plenty of evidence suggesting otherwise.

Still, that’s how life goes; you try something, you veer too close to “copying”, and you get some minor pillorying on a public website. You re-adjust; next time, you’ll try to add a bit more novel to an idea – or you’ll work harder to give credit where it’s due.

OR … or, one of your team can always just go for the all-out nuclear option, and insult everyone and everything in sight. In the world-readable comments thread. For bonus points, you can then delete your comments a day later when you realise what a douchebag you appear, and how damaging it’s become to your future career:

(I love how Nicholaus is naive enough / bad enough at his own career to imagine that simply deleting or editing a comment makes all evidence of it vanish :))

amusing bitching

“Some people are telling me I should just let it go”

Some people are telling me I should just let it go, but honestly I just can’t do that. I’d rather quit.

(As they say: It’s funny, becaus it’s true. If you develop for Apple platforms, that eloquently sums up how Apple (currently) appears to everyone they partner with: a childish, passive-aggressive approach to everything)

amusing programming

“Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.”

Beautiful, and disturbingly accurate.

amusing social networking

When Google SEO goes unmaintained too long…

Interesting search result for “O2 Facebook”:

facebook mobile o2 myspace

…IIRC that started off as a service for MySpace, then MySpace/Facebook. Apparently now it’s all about Facebook (only). The only mention of MySpace is a navbar link to something about broadband – seemingly unrelated.

PS: Entity System post coming soon, for those that look for such things. I’ve just written one for Android. I just have to take the time to write the damn thing up!

amusing games design

3D gaming? What if…

So neatly done, I find it hard to believe it’s not real

“3D gaming? What if the game characters saw the GAMER in 3D instead of the other way around? Is it really only myself that thinks like this?”

(along with other greats such as: “A good game can be played on a 12″ black and white TV. Fact.” … and “What do all games require? The answer is someone to play them. What if a game went against that very concept?”)

amusing recruiting

Games Industry Recruitment: Intel

Things are getting interesting in Recruitment land again…

Received today:

Adam, greetings from the Visual Computing Group at Intel Corporation. We received your contact information from the Siggraph Job Fair.

Please let me know how much discrete or integrated graphics driver development, media software, or debug experience you have and what you are interested in doing. Also let me know about your video codec and debug experience.

Please complete this pre-screen document and return it to me along with your current resume. You can also create a career profile at .

Intel is changing the way the world sees 3D graphics, visualization and games. Our Larrabee architecture will deliver teraflops of performance for high-throughput applications, including scientific computing, gaming and visualization. In addition, our Software and Solutions Group is working to enhance all levels of software that executes on Intel based platforms.

We invite you to consider opportunities with Intel by completing and returning the attached Graphics pre-screen as soon as possible which will let us know if you are available, your area of expertise, where you want to work and salary expectations. As soon as we receive this information, we will be reviewing with the hiring managers. If there is interest, the next contact will be from the hiring manager to conduct a phone screen Additionally, I have attached a copy of a flyer on the work this group is doing and information about Intel.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
Larry Gonzales
Sr. Recruiting Consultant
Intel Corporation/VCG

My reply:

Hi, Larry!

2009/8/18 Gonzales, Larry Z :
> Adam, greetings from the Visual Computing Group at Intel Corporation. We
> received your contact information from the Siggraph Job Fair.

No. You didn’t. You really didn’t. I wasn’t at Siggraph this year.

I’m a serial CTO of online games and MMO companies. My last job involved leading internal PS3 and PC MMO development, and founding a new internal studio, for one of the world’s largest online games publishers.

> Please complete this pre-screen document and return it to me along with your
> current resume. You can also create a career profile at
> .

If you want me to apply to a position, feel free to send me the details.

> We invite you to consider opportunities with Intel by completing and
> returning the attached Graphics pre-screen as soon as possible which will
> let us know if you are available, your area of expertise, where you want to
> work and salary expectations. As soon as we receive this information, we

I’m not interested in anything less than [ommitted] USD per annum (which is slightly below the last round of job offers I turned down).

Apart from that requirement, I’m happy to consider anything you send me.

Adam Martin

(working at Intel could be interesting. But I certainly don’t feel in the mood to do all the work of a “pre-screen document”, and to make apologies for the lack of “your video codec and debug experience” for a job I know nothing about, never asked for, and which – a moment’s glance at my public LinkedIn profile would show – I am hopelessly inappropriately qualified for :))

amusing community social networking Web 0.1

Web 0.1: Apple Customer Support: “please don’t email us, just sue us”

I saw an article recently that described this attitude nicely: certain weak marketing executives believe that the purpose of a “conversation” is for them to have more ways of telling the customer what to do; they are seemingly incapable of understanding the idea that a “conversation” involves listening to the other person.

To them, email is a “one-way broadcast medium for us to tell the customer what to buy”, rather than “a two-way communication medium that allows us to listen and respond to our customers”.

Today, I received a great example. Here’s an email I received one month ago, from Apple:

“Thank you for renewing your iPhone Developer Program membership. New Expiration Date: 10 Aug 2010”

And here’s the email I received today, from Apple:

“your iPhone Developer Program has expired” (sent from address: “” )

A triple-whammy on appalling customer support there:

  1. Erroneously (I hope) claiming that they are NOT providing a service they have committed to providing
  2. Taking money from a bank account in return for a service that they then don’t provide (that bit’s illegal)
  3. …and:
  4. Sending all correspondence from an email address that they mark “noreply”; i.e. “if we (Apple) screwed up, we don’t want to hear from you. We don’t want to fix it. Go away”

I especially like the way they put this all together, so you get the implication that:

Apple would prefer me to sue them (Apple), or file a claim against them for fraud, than to let me send them a simple email and spare them the fallout of their stupid mistake.

Using a two-way media to deliberately ignore your customers? That’s Web 0.1.

amusing bitching iphone Web 0.1

Apple: still don’t know how to use “The InterNet … thingy”

I’m trying to download the 3.0 OS update for iPhone…and being denied by Apple’s own software – that cannot even download a single file from a website (!)

It’s a 1GB download that you “must” download via iTunes, because … well … because … um … Apple hates web browsers? I don’t know. Hard to see why it is downloaded via iT at all, really. It is rather strange.

(EDIT: it has now dropped to being a 230 MB download; I have no idea why – it was only a hundred meg or so into the alleged 1 GB download when it crashed, and when I retried it became 230 MB. Odd…)

And yes – it really *is* downloading a website file (that’s all it’s doing):

GET /,2_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: iTunes/8.2 (Macintosh; N; Intel)
Connection: close

That’s missing a key line. The line that resumes the download from where it left off. Apple apparently decided to write a “crap” web-browser, and embed it inside iTunes. Why? Why, when they have one of the world’s best web-browsers, do they insist on writing an extra one – and missing out fundamental basic features (like resumable downloads)?

There are occasional latency spikes on my net connection. iTunes is such a terrible “web browser” that when this happens, it arbitrarily (note: no other web browser would do this!) decides to cancel the download. There is no “resume” option and no “retry” option.

Congratulations, Apple! Having 2 copies of the same “core” software, one which works and one which doesn’t, and not allowing the user to use the “good” one when they need to? You’re well on your way to becoming Microsoft :).

amusing iphone

Apple: VAT, fraud, and UK customers…

Clearly stated on every single page on the Apple store (it’s the page footer):

Prices are inclusive of VAT (15%) but exclusive of delivery charges unless otherwise indicated.

In the Apple Store, Apple therefore appears to (maybe…actually does, considering they *clearly state* the above?) over-charge you for VAT. But there’s more to this (obviously – it would be horrifically stupid if that were all: defrauding via VAT makes governments very unhappy indeed).