Zovirl Industries

Mark Ivey’s weblog

A Short Update

Writing regularly is a habit. For me, it is one which requires a bit of discipline to maintain. A little over a year ago, a combination of three obstacles broke my habit of writing regular posts on this site.

A trip that left no time or energy for writing

At the end of August 2009, my wife and I went on a bicycle tour in Japan with two friends from work. Over the course of 3 weeks we rode almost 1000 miles. Preparing for the trip took a lot of time: we built new wheels for our bikes, sewed dry bags and arm warmers, and did a lot of training rides. It didn't leave much opportunity for writing.

A project that wasn't making any progress

I tend to write about projects I'm working on. I've been working on a game called Island of Naru for a while. After our bicycle trip, though, I got stuck and wasn't making progress. I tried various approaches and made a lot of prototypes, but in the end didn't find anything fun. That didn't give me much to write about.

Technical difficulties

Finally, the server on which I was hosting this site had some problems last winter that made it difficult to write new posts. WordPress was loading pages very slowly, and the admin interface was too slow to use. I never did figure out what the problem was. It went away on its own, but by then I had gotten out of the habit of writing and was busy with other things.

Now that I'm coming back to writing, these three obstacles take on a different light: they have become potential topics to write about. The Japan tour deserves a trip report. The problems I hit with the game left me with material for several posts, plus an exciting new field to explore: game design. The website slowdowns helped convince me to migrate my site to Google App Engine, which was an interesting experience. Expect to see posts on these topics soon.