Dredging through the past

Seems like it was only a couple of years ago that I was furiously finishing up my contribution to “Tricks of the Windows Programming Gurus.”  In actual fact, it has been decades.  The book sits on my shelf now, a simple reminder that I CAN do it when I put my mind to it.

That attitude has been a driving force for me ever since Deb’s diagnosis.

In the next few months I hope to resummon that same energy to start on a new series of books on a variety of topics.

On the technical side I am interested in writing books on creating games using several different game engines.  Of particular interest are the Torque 3D engine, the Unity engine, the UDK engine, the Torque 2D engine (and it’s iPhone version), the Nevrax MMO engine, and the Hero Engine.  Enough writing there for about 10 years!

What is a tough choice is whether to begin with game engines in which you have actual source code to work with for a reasonable price (Torque engines and Nevrax) or whether to focus on the game creation elements and push making a game (Unity, UDK and Hero engines).

Of course, I’ll have to pick one engine to start with and that may be the most difficult choice of all.  They all have strengths and weaknesses – and the companies behind them work constantly to make improvements. (Can you say sequel?)

I am also interested quite a bit in the latest research into creating books that actually encourage learning, rather than simply function as an encyclopedia and example.  The Head First books come to mind.

I also hear the siren call of the fiction universe. It has been a plan of mine since I was in my late teens to write fantasy, scence fiction, and mystery stories.  I actually started to write fiction in my twenties, but put it away as a project when I began to work in the computer industry.  I actually wrote a bit only a few years ago when I started doing story backgrounds for MMO games.  Now, as my wife’s illness progresses, I find myself with a broken schedule and lots of opportunities to write.

I strongly suspect that my initial writing will be a haphazard pastiche as I flip from idea to idea and try out some themes I’ve had in mind to see which ones still resonate after so many years on the back burner.

Of course, having a wife who was an editor is both a blessing and a curse.  It means my work gets some sorely needed initial polish, and my bad writing habits get slapped down pretty quickly.  It also means that I have a pretty high hurdle to clear just to get a piece to where she would be willing to let it out of the door.  Still, if the goal is to produce the best work you are capable of, then I expect I’ll get there pretty quick.  I wasn’t an “A” student in grammar, but I’m pretty sure I can get there.

My worst handicap as a writer is my terrible typing skill.  I transpose letters with horrifying regularity.  The good news is I am a very good speller, so I can usually spot my mistakes and correct them pretty quickly.  It does slow my train of thought though.

So, that’s it for this first post.  I’ll keep updating as I make progress.

A Commentary on the immorality of ‘for profit’ insurance companies

There are many things to be grateful for in the modern day world.  And many things that I would like to see improve.  One of my biggest complaints has to be the way we handle insurance in the United States.  In a country that prides itself (and it is pride) on its high moral values, how can we justify the fact that insurance companies exist as FOR PROFIT institutions?  The basic concept of insurance is to set aside money for today in order to have a hedge against the bad things that could happen tomorrow.  We even go a step further and organize as a group so that a major catastrophe can be handled if enough people are smart enough to set aside enough money to weather the storm.

So why do we allow insurance companies to profit from other people’s pain?  Why do we allow speculators to invest in insurance?

Insurance companies reap BILLIONS of dollars in profit every year for their corporate investors.  A lot of that money comes from denying the claims of people who have a legitimate right to coverage.  There have been several expose’s on the fact that some insurance companies routinely send a denial of coverage as the first response to EVERY claim.  And where does all the money go?  Apparently it takes real leadership to deny people the money to which they are entitiled, because the heads of major insurance companies are among some of the best paid people in the world.

Do you really think that any person deserves a multimillion dollar salary for organizing a company to take money from individuals and then not give it back when they need it ?

Let me be very clear.  I do NOT think insurance is a bad idea.  I think that companies that make a profit from other people’s suffering are a terrible idea.

So, the next time you hear about people who want to know where the money is going to be coming from to pay for all those old people who are going to be hitting the part of their lives where they need more medical care — I suggest we start by taking all the FOR PROFIT insurance companies, and making them into non-profit corporations.  Then we take all the BILLIONS they rake in every quarter and use it to help the people who gave them the majority of that money in the first place.  And while we are at it, we can cut the salaries of the people at the top, reduce the ranks of the people who just sit on telephones denying claims, sell off all the private Lear jets, limos, and bling, and end all “corporate meetings” in the Bahamas.

That’s where we get the money from.

Please note.  I did not say the dirty words “socialism”, or “nationalization”.  Insurance companies can be non-profit and independent.  They can pay their employees from the president to the janitors decent wages.  But nobody needs to be paid millions, and nobody needs to ride stretch limos to work.

More importantly, nobody needs to make huge profits based on other people suffering and dying.

Welcome

This is my personal blog site where I express my opinions on a variety of topics and occasionally keep people up to date on my writing efforts.  I also maintain a separate blog site – DavidNashBlog.com where you can follow my writing in a more formal manner.

On these pages you will find food reviews, dance tips, and the occasional comment on modern computer games.  In the “Rants” section I will cover a bit on things I find exceptionally annoying about our planet and its inhabitants, and occasionally suggest what might be done about it.   The anger, loathing and contempt is genuine, the language is PG.