September 12, 2009

The Games that GarageGames Plays?

A few weeks back, I wrote about my experiences with GarageGamesiTGB product and what I found missing from it, as well as how the product could be improved. Of course, my blog doesn’t have that many regular readers and I don’t update it that much. So the notes were just for those searching Google for opinions on iTGB so that they would know all the facts before they bought the product. So I was rather surprised when I received a rather vitriolic comment on the second post about iTGB which attacked me rather than provide anything more concrete about the iTGB product itself than to say that GarageGames is “one of the very few companies that’s out there trying to provided productive tools for development on the most open, accessible platform there is today.” (his words, not mine).

The comment did read a bit as if it had been written by a GarageGames employee and I said so in my response to him. And I also re-iterated the points that I was complaining about with regards to iTGB – that GarageGames was misrepresenting iTGB as an easy to use tool when it really wasn’t. Plus, their support (both pre- and post-sales) is barely there since they seem to depend on users searching their forums. Why pay a lot of money for a product which is billed a “professional” level when the support just isn’t professional level?

He came back with more vitriol and personal attacks about my competency to judge the product but never really responded to the “sock puppet” thing except to deflect it with a comment about how he liked sock puppets and so on.

If there had been one comment, I would have thought that the guy was somebody who came across the blog accidentally and was just hurt by the besmirching of the good name (as he saw it) of one of his favourite products. But two comments? That seemed a bit beyond the call of duty. So I took a look at my comments section and I noticed that both comments had come from the same IP.

Comment Info

So I did a look up on the IP and this is what I found (I’ve taken out parts of the page and am showing only the two relevant bits):
IP Lookup
IP Lookup Result

Hmm … so the comments were coming from somebody who was staying at a hotel in London? What business traveler actually takes the time to respond to blog posts if they are traveling? That looked a little suspicious. Of course, one might point out that I had no reason to actually believe that s/he was a business traveler or that s/he wasn’t an employee at the hotel or that the person might have been on vacation and spending a rainy day indoors by looking for some trolling action. All of this was possible πŸ™‚ But the tone of the e-mail and the rabid defense of GarageGames, made me think, now more than ever, that this might be an employee of GarageGames.

So I checked on another thing. I checked my Apache server logs to see if the person had come from Google or some other search engine to my site. I wasn’t very surprised to find that this wasn’t the case. They weren’t referred from another site but came to my site directly – probably via a bookmark or a link from an e-mail.

Sure, again, this wasn’t conclusive proof. There are utilities around that help you erase your tracks, to hide referrers and so on. But it was beginning to look more and more (at least to me) as if this person was from GarageGames and was simply trying to make the company appear look good by making all sorts of claims. Honestly, it would have made GarageGames look much better if they’d listened to my constructive criticism and made some changes. But this probably was cheaper πŸ™‚ (Again, I should try to be objective and mention that it’s possible that GarageGames as a corporation might not have known about this little stunt. It might have been just one individual acting on their own.)

Anyway, I didn’t see much point in following this up further because I didn’t have conclusive proof. Plus, the individual never came back and so I just let it go. That was, till today. Today I was taking a look at the GarageGames forums for something and came across this post:
GarageGames Post

What? A GarageGames employee was actually visiting London the same week that the comments appeared on my post from a London hotel? How coincidental can that be? (Actually, to be fair, it still could be coincidence but it’s beginning to seem more and more like it isn’t …) According to his profile, Brett Seyler is an employee of GarageGames (and I think I read somewhere else that he was director of technology or marketing or something …).

So did Brett Seyler post those comments? I don’t know. It’s possible that this was still done by somebody not connected to GarageGames. It’s also possible that there were other GarageGames employees traveling with Brett and the comments came from one of them rather than Brett himself. I have no way of knowing. But the evidence is piling up against GarageGames and if these shenanigans indeed were carried out by one of their employees, then they are indeed rather contemptible. Fix the issues, acknowledge you have issues, don’t try to intimidate people and spread false propaganda – that’s how I would approach it. But then again, I’m not a corporate type πŸ™‚

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Posted by Fahim at 6:21 am  |  4 Comments

April 30, 2009

Tweets for 2009-04-30

  • I might not like the current government but I totally support their decision not to roll over to pressure from European govts. re. the war. #
  • If the Eurpoean govts. had the same policy towards all – I can understand it. But they cry foul in Sri Lanka but don’t do it in other cases. #
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Posted by Fahim at 1:00 pm  |  No Comments

March 6, 2009

The Book of the Mac

I’ve been slowly getting disillusioned with working on Windows due to the various issues that have plagued me on that platform in recent years. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I would have switched away from Windows years back except for the fact that I had so many applications which were developed on (and for) Windows. I tried Windows Vista for a while and for a while, even swore by it. But that was before I started experiencing mysterious application crashes and lock ups. I then went back to Windows XP. And let me be honest, Windows XP has worked pretty flawlessly for me.

And then Microsoft released the first betas of Windows 7. It was touted as better than Vista and that it fixed all the biggest issues with Vista. So I took heart and tried out the Windows 7 beta. My opinion? Other than for some annoying and confusing changes which just made it look even more like OS X, it still had the same annoying application issues that I’d noticed with Vista. It was probably then that I began wondering if Microsoft was working so hard at emulating OS X, why not switch to OS X in the first place?

Of course, I can’t swear to the above but that thought. or something similar, has led me to finally switching allegiances and going over to the dark side πŸ™‚ Yes, baby, I’m a Mac user now!

Once I made the switch-over, the first thing I did, of course, was to try and find applications to replace all of my standard faithfuls that I’d used over the years under Windows. I knew that I might have trouble with some applications, especially since I wrote some of them, but I didn’t expect any trouble with e-mail since I currently use Thunderbird and there’s already a version of Thunderbird available for the Mac platform. But sometimes, when you’re wrong, you can be utterly wrong! πŸ˜€

I thought it would be as simple as installing Thunderbird for Mac and then copying over my existing Thunderbird mailbox files to for me to set for e-mailing under OS X. And at first, it appeared to work like that. Then I noticed that some of my mail folders were not accessible and this turned out to be a permissions issue (yeah, you don’t have that under Windows :p) However, once I fixed the permissions, Thunderbird started crashing all the time. It became so bad, that I had to find an alternative e-mail program.

So I looked at, the standard mail client which comes with OS X. It imported in my existing Thunderbird mail with no trouble at all. (Since Thunderbird had an option to import Apple Mail, I thought I might be able to go back to Thunderbird by importing back my mail but Thunderbird unfortunately would only import the main mailboxes – not the mail in local folders.) I tried out and it actually worked very well. It worked with IMAP folders better than Thunderbird had and it had this nifty feature called “smart folders” which allows a user to display mail from different locations/mailboxes fitting a given set of criteria as a virtual folder.

The only trouble I had with was something trivial – the lack of customizable signatures πŸ™‚ Yes, I love my e-mail sigs. I like being able to insert a witty quote from a Terry Pratchett book in all of my e-mails and I couldn’t do this with Now most people would have shrugged and moved on but little details like that niggle at me πŸ™‚

So, I first looked at alternative e-mail clients. But I didn’t find anything that had the right mix of features that I was looking for. So I went back to and considered how I could leverage the application to do what I wanted to get done. That was when I came across AppleScript. AppleScript allows you to automate the various OS X components quite easily and it seemed easy enough to write a script that would do what I needed with regards to creating a dynamic signature.

But it turned out to be slightly more complicated than I thought and given that this entry is getting overlong, the actual process will have to wait till my next blog entry πŸ™‚

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Posted by Fahim at 7:52 pm  |  4 Comments

March 5, 2009

Tweets for 2009-03-05

  • Finally, (sort of) ready to get back to work on the things I do on a daily-basis instead of trying migrate data over or find a new app πŸ™‚ #
  • Trying my hand at AppleScript to get a dynamic signature which comes from fortune-mod … Got most of it working, just need HTML support now #
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Posted by Fahim at 12:00 pm  |  No Comments

February 11, 2009

Tweets for 2009-02-11

  • Not feeling too well today. The rash/allergy which seems to plauge me often is back in full force and is making life a bit difficult πŸ™‚ #
  • The hospital calls me an hour before the appointment to say that the doctor is not well and so I needn’t come in today. What the heck? >> #
  • << Some prior warning would have been nice. And what if I’m at death’s bed? They don’t even discuss alternatives …. #
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Posted by Fahim at 11:59 pm  |  No Comments

February 9, 2009

Tweets for 2009-02-09

  • The last few days have been really busy with me coding about 10 hours a day or so. Today’s much better. I like calmer days πŸ™‚ #
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Posted by Fahim at 11:59 pm  |  No Comments

February 6, 2009

Tweets for 2009-02-06

  • Yessterday, I was looking for new clients. Today, so much work to do, that I feel like taking a vacation! πŸ™‚ #
  • Bought an iPhone brokered via somebody I met through the Net and the seller turned out to be @dumindaxsb from Twitter. How funny is that? πŸ˜€ #
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Posted by Fahim at 11:59 pm  |  No Comments

February 1, 2009

Tweets for 2009-02-01

  • Had a client who kept changing the scope of the project. I tell him that his latest changes were beyond scope and that he should either >> #
  • << pay extra or reduce the scope and he says, “I’m sorry you no longer want to work on my project …” What the heck? #
  • But on the other hand, I’m working for two other new clients who seem pretty great. In one project, there’s this PHP framework I’m loving πŸ™‚ #
  • Done watching “American Idol” for this week. Also finished the latest “Lost” and “Kyle XY” yesterday. Now to do some actual work πŸ™‚ #

January 29, 2009

Tweets for 2009-01-29

  • Been working quite a bit the last few days. So not on Twitter much. Thought that today might be a slow day but doesn’t look like it πŸ˜€ #
  • Finally, got some time to breathe πŸ™‚ Been working mostly the last few days, except for when we were watching TV or movies … #
  • Finished season 2 of “Kyle XY”, began watching “Jake 2.0” and also watched “Kismat Konnection” – all yesterday and day before. #

January 28, 2009

Tweets for 2009-01-28

  • Ad: “we are looking for someone to work in trade – gift certificates.” [If the grocer took gift certificates, I’m in :D] #
  • Ad: “We need someone to design, manage and promote a website. We are willing to pay based on hits and commission for income generated >> #
  • << from the site.” [Translation: you do all the work and we’ll give you a share of the profit] #
  • I wish people understood the difference between “web designer” and “web developer” – it would save so much confusion in applying for jobs πŸ™‚ #
  • Ad: “This is a non paying gig, but would look great on your resume.” [If I had a line for each of those jobs, my resume would be 100 pages!] #
  • Just got a callback from a Dialog TV supervisor. Much more helpful in that they say they’ll at least look into it. The CSR on the other >> #
  • << hand was adamant that they won’t pro-rate and that a supervisor would tell me the same thing! #
  • Ad: “We are willing to give between 15-25% of our company to the right developer” [And 15-25% of zero is worth what?] #
  • Dialog seems to believe nobody wants to permanently disconnect their service. At least, that’s the impression I got from the latest call πŸ™‚ #
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Posted by Fahim at 11:59 pm  |  No Comments

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