Time Travel

One of the amazing things that has happened since I started GameTruck is the amazing people that have joined me in this business.  Four years ago in my garage I had this crazy idea to create the ideal environment to play games with your friends.  We’d pull it up to your house.  I built a prototype in my garage, we research trailers, and trucks, and portable generators.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew I needed to do it.  My brother Chris joined me on my crusade and my cause became his.

It was up and down.  I remember buying a copy of the secret in Florida while I was going there to open a Studio for the Walt Disney Company.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.  I didn’t know if GameTruck would survive, but after reading that book I realized I spent a lot of time focusing on things I didn’t want and not things I did.  So I spent more time focusing on the future I wanted.  I wanted orders.  I wanted bookings.  We wanted people to experience our parties.  And when I got home, they called.   Bookings went up.

I wrote an email to all our family and closest friends and I told them about my dream and I asked for prayers.  And they prayed.  And people called.  By the summer a miracle had happened.  Disney had a change in strategy and Florida was no longer in the cards.  But more miraculously GameTruck business had exploded.  Even more amazing a fantastic partner materialized out of thin air and David Wachtel joined me on my quest to build a brand new business, heck and industry.

It felt like yesterday but that was already three years ago.  And yesterday the most amazing thing happened.  I flew to Atlanta to meet a group of brand new Franchise Owners.  They had their GameTrucks pulled into a circle in a giant parking lot – a pack of bright green elephants glowing in the soft spring rain.  I was in awe.  Here was an idea, that had started in my garage, a dream I had not only of making kids happy, of bringing people together with the best of video gaming but also teaching them how to be great gamers.  Giving GTAtlantathem a role model.  But I also was helping people realize their own dreams of owning their own business, of establishing their own true asset, one that could generate more income than it could consume.  From California to Georgia, from Portland to New Jersey, all across the country people – great people, were joining me, joining us the GameTruck team on our mission to change the way people play.

I was in awe.  Richard Bach wrote that the law of the universe is Magnetism.  The Secret says the same thing.  The Bible tells us that we can do miracles if we can believe.  So many people have said it much better than I but I stand as a witness to the power of a dream.  Yet, the most motivational quote I read this past year came from Zig Ziglar, and it is this, “You can have everything you want in life.  Just as soon as you help enough other people get what they want.’”  I love that quote because it puts focus and vision on everything we do.

We help people play together.  We help people get into business.  We help people be successful in play, in business, and perhaps someday even in life.  I am amazed and honored to be part of such a great group of people.  I think I’m finally learning what it means to be living the dream.

— Scott

Adobe AIR

Adobe AIR Getting your Application Version

I couldn’t believe how hard this was to find. If you are programming with Javascript and HTML in Adobe AIR you might want to know what version your application is (the runtime has it’s own version). If you want to get it out of the XML application descriptor then you need to parse the XML file.

Personally I hate XML. Mostly because they made the brain dead decision to allow white space BETWEEN TAGS to count as a node. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea but it makes processing XML files REALLY hard and it encourages creating unreadable files that have no formatting.

But, here’s a simple function modified to allow you to pull the application version:

[js] /**
* getAppVersion
* gets the application version from the application descriptor
* Just for the record, I hate XML.
* @returns ver {string} The application version as a string
function getAppVersion() {
var xmlString = air.NativeApplication.nativeApplication.applicationDescriptor;
var appXml = new DOMParser();
var xmlobject = appXml.parseFromString(xmlString, "text/xml");
var root = xmlobject.getElementsByTagName(‘application’)[0];
var appId = root.getElementsByTagName("id")[0].firstChild.data;
var appVersion = root.getElementsByTagName("version")[0].firstChild.data;
var appName = root.getElementsByTagName("filename")[0].firstChild.data;
air.trace("appId: " + appId);
air.trace("version: " + appVersion);
air.trace("filename: " + appName);
return appVersion;

Why I like AIR

I have become enamored with Adobe AIR (http://www.adobe.com/products/air/) because it lets me leverage my web programming for the desktop.  In college a classmate of mine once postulated his theory for the “Conservation of Stupidity”.  It goes like this, there is a finite amount of ignorance we all must carry around with us for our entire lives.  In order maintain that level every time we learn something new, we have to jettison something old.  The trouble is the brain doesn’t consult with us before it dumps the old to make room for the new.

For me, that theory manifests itself when I’m learning a new programming language.  I just love my children too much to run the risk of forgetting their names so I can learn a new programming language.  In reality, the real issue is that it takes time to get good at a programming language.  And it is really annoying to have to learn a new programming tool change, process, framework just so I can apply it in a new arena (e.g. the desktop).  Enter AIR.  With AIR (in theory) I don’t need to learn anything new.  At least as far as programming languages go.

I’ve started to have some fun with WordPress plugins and my new favorite Javascript API JQuery.  I know Microsoft has some fantastic free tools, but I work on a Mac and all my websites are Linux based so no C-Sharp for me.

As for Apple, while I love my Mac, the overhead of learning CoaCoa doesn’t translate well into the web.  Of course there’s flash, but well… it’s Flash, and that too has it’s features.  But the real reason I like web programming is that modern browsers are so powerful, you can make some really sophisticated user interfaces and skin them with a few lines of Javascript, HTML and CSS.  And AIR lets me do that, but being Adobe they have a heavy preference for all things Flash and Flex.  Me, I like Javascript and PHP.  While they are supported there seems to be more examples of F/F than J/P.

So if I find something useful, I’m hoping the web crawling spider bots pick it up and share it.

— Scott