Odyssey 2, Colecovision (with Atari 2600 adapter), Sega Genesis, Nintendo (back when it was first called “no-friend-do”), Sega Saturn (when games started coming on CDs), there may have been another game console later?
Then the whole gaming thing changed in a big way. Personal computer were more prevalent and I was less motivated to go out and buy a game console even though I always enjoyed them when I had them. Online gaming was invented. Sony and Microsoft jumped into the business (I never owned a console from either of them). First-person shooter games replaced the old fantasy puzzle-adventure games I used to play. At times, I lost interest. Other times, I thought about buying the latest console but could get over the hurdle of the big expense – not just the console but then all the games.
I guess in a way, games are cheaper now than ever. Premium games for the latest consoles can cost $60, but that’s how much they cost back when I bought my Sega Saturn – which seems like twenty years ago. And today’s games offer far more features, it seems.
Recently, I bought the new Wii U – choosing it over the Sony Playstation or the Microsoft Xbox. I bought it over the others since I’ve always loved the kinds of games that Nintendo puts out (although Sonic and anything by Electronic Arts have also always been sentimental favorites).
Just a few days in, and I have to say it is pretty amazing. Not just the game, but the direction that the whole gaming experience has gone in. Yes, there are still quirks (and I realize immediately that I wish my console had a built-in large hard drive, so I am shopping for an external one now), but the online experience, the expandability, the subtle evolution of old games like Mario Bros. into new things that are more engrossing and imaginative than ever, without simply devolving into stupid piles of graphics and sound. It’s really impressive how good a job the game developers have done.
And the ability to download a demo of a game before buying it digitally over the Internet – brilliant! Just saved me $60 on a game that I was planning to buy but I realized immediately when I played the full-featured demo version that it was not for me. No big deal, I’m sure I will buy an alternative this weekend in its place.
Reaching goals requires reaching people. And reaching people requires communication of the right sort.
The bike-share program is just about ready to kick-off in Manhattan. Already I see divisiveness. How can something that is so good, and so positive, become a point of contention?
Every day, just as the train should be leaving, they close the doors and make us prisoners. Not for more than a minute or two, but those moments have their impact.
I’m coming late to the game about shopping for a video game console. I see now that the Wii would have been a great choice a few years ago. I still love the games available for it, but the technology seems so outdated that it seems foolish to buy it instead of the Wii U (or the Xbox 360).
But I’m just not thrilled with the battery-hogging controller on the Wii U, and not thrilled at all with the game selection on the Xbox. What to do?
Maybe it never made sense to try to find a one-size fits all solution to personal finance. I’m beginning to see that in certain areas, try as one might there simply is no best-in-breed. It doesn’t matter if you spend money to try to buy the best. It doesn’t matter how many gaggles of feature sets have been thrown into the mix or how elegantly the software has been designed.
No, the lesson of 2012/2013 for me is that for the such wide variety of problems we typically try to solve and the such wide variety of data that we try to store and process, we need an equally wide variety of tools – picking ones specific to small ranges of problems.
Recently, I’ve gotten back to using GnuCash. It’s an ugly beast of a program (at least, if you judge it against the over-designed competitors) and it doesn’t automate bank downloads. But, heck – when I stare at it I can understand what is going on. And if something goes wrong it doesn’t get in the way when I try to fix it. It’s more like an Excel spreadsheet with a light veneer of well-designed accounting brains on top than it is an all-you-can-eat personal finance solution.
And I am still trying to incorporate a very different other piece of software into my mix – You Need a Budget (YNAB). For someone like me, who values historical data over nearly anything else, YNAB is a mind-bender. It doesn’t care or want me to care about the history, just the present and the future. I guess that’s a good thing. It is beautifully designed and fun to use (which is important, for software), at least once you buy into it’s methodology (and, yes – all software has a methodology which you need to eventually buy into or reject). And it’s got an interactivity about it that is pleasing – all the methodology stuff that is published on the website.
But whereas GnuCash has the very minimum by way of imposing methodology, YNAB throws as much methodology at its users as they will tolerate. That’s not a bad idea, but it means that it can’t be the single tool I use.
Meanwhile, Quicken lurks in the background, reminding me every day that it has failed to work as expected on some aspect of its core purpose…
Some interesting insights into the reasons that enterprise software ends up being so different from the consumer software that targets individuals and smaller groups.
I used to always say that if I needed to track items on my calendar, it meant I wasn’t really very well connected to those items. For the important things in my life, I would never need a calendar since I would never forget those things.
Same goes for the things I need to do. The ones that are important will get done whether or not I write them down.
Thinking of relaunching my career as a financial analyst, forensic accountant, or some other kind of data analysis dude.
Philadelphia near Suburban Station is a great place to get a breakfast sandwich.