I’m a tools geek. I found out recently when Oscar, who works in “the games industry”, visited the office. We talked about business models and design strategies for online games vs those you purchase:

  • traditional computer games need to challenge and engage the player, while alnowing them to make progress and get value for the purchase price
  • online gamers get addicted to a sense of personal development that keeps them paying monthly fees

Online gamers like to learn, says Oscar. I pictured online gamers: up all night at their computers, intent on learning stuff; suddenly I saw myself.

I’ve rarely ever played computer games for more than a few mnnutes, but I frequently stay past my bedtime trying out new software tools. Despite a new baby, and a full-time job, in the last week alone I have installed, tested and geeked out over:

  • audio editors to crop MP3s for the wedding playlist
  • duckduckgo search engine (browser plugin and android app)
  • tools for managing the plugins in my geeky text editor
  • a file manager plugin for my text editor
  • tools to integrate Skype with Unity desktop

I used to feel somehow virtuous about my tool-learning and evaluating time. It wasn’t “wasted”; I was becoming more productive. Now I realise I was just playing. My online games are Ubuntu Software Centre, Google Play, and GitHub. And I’m hooked.