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Random pre-Google Play thoughts

I have a feeling that every now and then in this blog, over the years, I've been writing things like "I would like to spend more time coding for our own indie projects!". I don't know but I'd guess one could easily find a thousand variations of inspirational memes and quotes telling "if you want to do it, just do it! You can! Believe in your skills and you can!" and so on. But personally for me the problem has not been a lack of confidence - maybe just my general difficulties with self-organizing and keeping my life organized. Or, to put it in other words; for years I've been sure what I want to do, but I've been unsure of how to best do it. These have been the ideas and questions I've found creating an unpassable bog in my brain;

"Okay, the easiest route would just be reduce the amount of my main work and then keep indie-coding on the side, hoping that one day those indie projects would yield a little income to make things easier. But then, all too often I feel myself too exhausted after doing my main work. So maybe work on that? Go to therapy or something, fix your own inner issues so that you wouldn't get exhausted so easily? Then you would have more energy to pursue your own projects, yes? Or, when you feel exhausted, instead of stubbornly trying to concentrate on coding first go outdoors and get some physical exercise for that is good for the clarity of your thoughts! Or then maybe I just spend more time doing all the other things I really love - namely doing practical physical work outdoors, renovating my house, fishing and all the like, yes? But then where is the time for indie coding? Maybe find a way to further reduce the need of working for money? Try a crowd-funded project to create a small stand-alone game, working full-time you could create one in two or three months! But if I go full-time indie coding I have to cancel all of my massage customers, and then if my own little game wouldn't sell enough to keep me alive for the months to come, then what? Or maybe start a Patreon profile, and do more and more indie coding? Should I prefer creating my own small game, or should I just focus on contributing more to the UnReal World development? I would love to do both. For that I would need to go full-time indie developer. But maybe if I just keep my current work routine for it provides at least some financial stability, and then try to do the indie coding next to the main work, yes? Or maybe just pick one of these strategies and stick to it? Which one should I pick? Maybe if and then on the other hand and oops now this and I should also consider that!" (There probably is a name for this line of thinking, but I seldom care about labels. I've been mostly just interested in how to find more inner clarity in that thick hard-to-navigate mist of half-finished thoughts, questions and ideas.)

Let's look back at October 2018. At that time I wrote: "First, let me tell you that since the summer I've felt growing determination to spend more time coding a small side-project. And that has been rather okay - I've managed to code regularly enough to keep the project alive. Although, at the moment I'm not yet ready to announce any more details about the project, but if everything goes well, that will sure happen later on. Then, all kinds of other stuff started to appear." And what happened after that? More and more all kinds of other stuff kept on appearing =) I'm not going to bore you with all the strange little funny details of my life, so I'll just write the relevant themes;

At that time I was working on a small Android game. I had this brilliant idea that creating a small game for a smart-phone would be a good practice for me, learning new things. And a separate little game could also act as a sand-box to test algorithms which, once proven to work, could also be used in UnReal World. I had developed a good rhythm of coding next to my main work, and I believed that this way I could just publish the small game after six or seven months of slow indie coding. But then I promised to harvest storm-felled trees from neighbour's forest. I loved every bit of that work, and it yielded me with a lot of valuable timber for my future homesteading projects. The downside was that the project took longer than I had expected, effectively postponing my indie coding projects. Around the same time we were contacted by a fellow Finnish inventor, Ilmari Tamminen, from Vaakalintu Ltd. After playing UnReal World on and off he had this idea; "If there was a touch-screen app to control UnReal World, then I wouldn't need to memorize all the keyboard commands when I resume playing after six months of break". He approached us with a small demo of the idea. I thought to myself: "Well, such an app sounds smaller than the game idea I was already working on. Maybe if I first write such app for controlling UnReal World, then I will learn more of Java and Android development, and after that it will be easier for me to code my own mobile game." We all agreed to start working on the idea.

The timber project went on until last autumn. After that project was completed I felt like a economical disaster looming in near-future. For a full year I had seriously reduced the hours spent in my main work, which naturally means lower income but more free-time. And a lot of that free-time I had spent with a project which doesn't yield any financial income, but rather just causes some small running costs. (Or, depends on the way you think of it. As, in the end, the project yielded a lot of timber, which, if bought ready-made would've cost three or four times more money I spent. So it was a good investment.) Each month I managed to find some small additional projects yielding barely enough money to postpone a total economic collapse, and then did my best to regain a steady routine with my own indie coding. Slowly the app got developed and tested, bugs got reported, investigated and fixed. I encountered coding problems and spent time googling and studying and experimenting, so that problems got solved. Month by month I managed to pay all the unavoidable bills, running on low budget, coding and hoping that I'd get the project completed before I run into too serious financial trouble.

At some point my main desktop computer internet connection died. And Android development is so much easier if you have an internet connection. So I switched the development onto my laptop. At some point I took a look at the main computer and made sure that there was nothing physically wrong with the internet connection but it was rather just a software bug. Maybe an automated OS update broke something? Or maybe I just accidentally tapped "Yes" at some prompt which should've been answered with "No". This or that, but I felt that I don't want to spend too much time trying to resurrect the main computer. So I just kept on developing on the laptop. At some point I was visiting my son, and he gave me a graphics card which he didn't need any more. That card was way more better than the old card in my main computer. I mentioned my son that at the moment I'm not using the desktop, and that I've been planning to upgrade it with a SSD hard-drive, and then installing a fresh Linux distro. My son recommended Pop!_OS, and I decided to try it once I can afford to buy that SSD hard-drive. If I ever will have any money after the unavoidable monthly bills, that is.

I kept on developing, hoping that neither the laptop nor my car will break down before my financial situation gets better, hopefully, one day. Then I got a message from my son, telling that he had purchased a SSD hard-drive and all the adapter cables I'll need to connect the hard-drive and the graphics card. That made me feel so good - I didn't ask for help, I only said that I'll buy the hardware once I have money but that at the moment I'm pretty low on budget. Apparently, my son paid attention to what I said and what my situation is, and wanted to offer a helping hand. Great, thanks! The hardware upgrade and a freshly installed Linux distro worked wonders on the desktop computer. Now it boots up in a blink of an eye, Android Studio runs smoothly, and developing is so much easier than it was on the laptop. So, really - after all those "I wanted to do X but then other things happened postponing X" now it was "I want to do X and then suddenly something happens out of my control but that something actually is a thing making X easier and better". What a cheering effect that has had, sparking a lot of joy to my hours and days of indie coding! Big thanks to my son!

A side-note, if any Linux nerds happen to be reading this; So far I've mostly liked the philosophy of Pop!_OS. Although, I'm not that interested in if the OS default look is "cool" or "beautiful". I just want things to work, and I'd love things to work in such a way that I don't need to spend hours trying to learn how to do this or that. I've found many aspects of pop being really smooth and easy to use, and then some aspects feel a bit alien or difficult for me. But I see there are multiple ways to configure it to better suit ones personal taste and needs. I tried some of the customizations and extensions and plugins. Some of them didn't work. I don't know what to think about that - maybe I just should take a day to fully focus on learning to properly configure the OS. To be more specific; I'd love to have more context-menus, and more actions packed into context-menus. Open a file manager, right-click on an image file and get a context menu to resize the image? Yes, there is a ready-made extension to do that, but either I failed to install the extension or it doesn't work in my distro. Also, I'd love to right-click on the Activities grid to get a context menu to create new folders so that it would be easier to organize app icons. But right clicking outside the icons does nothing. The official Pop!_OS website recommends a gnome extension for that - I followed the instructions and installed the extension and nothing happens. I don't know but maybe this is only because I am not a Linux nerd. I'm just an old-school indie coder who likes to develop on Linux but only knows that little of configuring the OS. (EDIT: My bad. After a second try the image resizing extension works all fine. And then I realized that the Activities extension works as well - it doesn't work the way I was hoping it to work, but now when I know how it works I'm fine with using it that way.)

And, yes, as I'm writing this the rest of the world seems to be shaken by the global Corona Virus pandemic. I read the news, I see the Social Media posts of friends living in cities - suddenly all the daily routines are seriously altered as States, organizations, businesses and grass-roots react and adapt to the reactions. I do understand the rationale behind the action taken; if the virus would spread uncontrolled, the number of patients needing medical care would be a lot higher than the capacity of the medical system. So we need the virus to spread more slowly, so that fever people get infected at the same time. Therefore we need social distancing. So far all of this has had only a very little effect on my own personal life. As I anyhow prefer social distancing, and I had already minimised my massage work to free up more time to the final phase of my indie Android development. I've been merrily alone at my home, coding, enjoying unhurried walks in the woods. Finland has declared state of emergency, and none of my ordinary daily routines gets altered. I must admit that purely on personal level I'm happy about this, for I've always dreamed about this kind of life - having my own small semi-isolated hermit house in the woods, where I can do homesteading stuff and work on my own creative projects, having only somewhat loose ties to the mainstream society. And here I am, enjoying my Life in The Finnish Woods. It remains to be seen what will be the after-effect of the pandemic. I hope something good could come out of this; I wish people will feel empowered, and all the businesses, organizations and States get the shock-therapy to fully realize that there are global issues we need to tackle together, and there are big things which quickly get worse if we don't take the necessary action. And to me the pandemic response seems like a good practice in that.

Well. But back to my tiny little personal life. For soon it will be the release day for the Android app I've been slowly developing for a good while. I don't expect it to be a major game-changer. If it will provide a little extra income that will be a mood-lifter, making it easier to keep my main work minimized, to keep on pouring more time and effort into all the indie coding projects. Also, since the autumn I've again been seeing my therapist on regular basis. That has greatly helped me to calm down most of the turbulance of the half-finished thoughts; now I find it a lot easier to focus, a lot easier to pick a line of action to pursue. Instead of running in circles I now have a lot more clear sense of direction. And I certainly do hope to keep it that way =)

Ps. To all the UnReal World players out there; yes, the app is already available at Google Play. The next week we will post an official release announcement on UnReal World channels. But, unofficially, here are the links to Google Play, if you are eager to take a look. The app comes in two versions, a free version with ads and a full version with more features and without ads.

Hardware.
Hardware.
tags: 
depression
diary
homesteading
philosophy
programming
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Comments

Stay strong in those troubling times. Its pleasure to hear you're doing good!

Cheers! I wish inner peace, joy and strength for everyone out there!

I send you peace from home. I'm doing my part and staying away from folks for awhile, as directed by my government.

Personally for me humour has always been of great help to get through difficult situations. (Although, I must admit that the situation of social distancing is pretty comfortable for me, but out of solidarity I do care about everyone out there whose lives are much more dramatically affected.)

And, somehow, this situations reminds me of the old internet joke; "Introverts unite ! - separately in your own homes". All of sudden this meme became a reality. Introvert behaviour is now a norm promoted or enforced by governments around the world. Who would've guessed?

Anyhow, if the situation is that normal introvert behaviour is going to save human lives, then here's my thumb up to all the introverts out there! I wish we all feel an inner sense of being together in this, each separately in their own homes =)

No complaint here, friend. Let this be the new norm. Cheers. :)

Good to hear in the Finnish woods life continuous as normal. Here in Brazil the new.normal is scary. Hope you can write.more.about what the world.is going through. I wish I lived in the woods.too!

I wish you all the best! Hopefully the pandemic won't last forever, so that things will settle sooner instead of later. And I hope that after the virus disruption the world will emerge into a new post-shock state, which will be more resilient and more sustainable. I hope so, I do.

Here I've been thinking about writing a cellar update, and some such other small mundane things of my daily life. For the life at my homestead is still very minimally affected by the virus situation. In a way it feels strange that things feel normal at my home - while I read the news that the government is taking increasingly tight measures to slow down the spread rate of the virus.

Oh well. But I cheer and applaud all the ways ordinary people are trying to make the situation more bearable for everyone. For example, in some cities of Finland a grass-roots idea has spread, people have set up loudspeakers on their windows and balconies, playing Darude's Sandstorm once a week on at a given time. I hope things like that empower people and give them a feeling of being together in this situation, using their creativity to lift up moods. Also, there are quite a lot of new forms of helping those in need; not just uplifting the spirit, but also helping elder people to do their shopping now when elder people are told to stay in the isolation of their homes. I think this is what the world needs - while government does their best to co-ordinate actions based on best scientific knowledge available, the ordinary people at grass-roots are using their common sense and creativity to do their best in the situation. I hope that way of coping will keep on growing stronger - as I'm perfectly aware that in crisis conditions a lot of people have an inner tendency to collapse into beast-like short-sighted selfishness. But short-sighted selfishness seldom leads to any long-lasting good outcome, so I wish wisdom and benevolence gain ground and grow strong!

Erkka, you should be very proud of your son and you've clearly done a great job raising him! The ability to empathize and know what people need without it being spoken is the sign of an intuitive and intelligent individual but then acting on that empathy is sign of a truly good person. Kudos to him! Glad to see your desktop is back from the dead. I'm in the same camp as you, I can't stand coding on laptops! Give me my powerful desktop, dual monitors, and mechanical keyboard then I'm a happy geek.

Hello! I wish you happy coding =)

Yes, it always makes me so happy when I see my son displaying those small spontaneous deeds of empathy towards the people around him. The paradox of being a parent is that you are fully responsible for raising up a human being - and at the same time you can't just engineer the human mind, trying to force your values onto the child is probably going to lead to undesired results. So, I always thought that the magic is to offer all kinds of ingredients and endless support and encouragement for the kid, and then just see what the kid is going to cook out of those ingredients. And, naturally, the older they grow, the more they start to seek extra ingredients based on their own explorations. Life is such a wonderful adventure =)

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