Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You are news

I made a post on twitter.com awhile back stating:

"I love Twitter because it has you guys :-) Its my local news, cup of tech, cup of politics, quart of comedy, and a sprinkling of addiction" Source: http://twitter.com/tankilo/status/992850990

@jonnyangry Replied: "@tankilo whats the local new twitter SN?" Source: http://twitter.com/jonnyangry/status/993588735

I hadn't meant that there was a news organization with journalists reporting what people are doing locally or what people are thinking locally, I meant that I read what you guys report on what you are doing and thinking, to me that's news.

I'd love a situation where a large number of my neighbors, coworkers, and people who work close to me, were active on twitter. It would bring me one step closer to recreating the "small town" feel of "everyone knows everyone" that I grew up with.

The rest of this article is skippable.

My internet connection went down sometime around midnight on November 16th 2008. Since I was just surfing along it's very likely it's just an outage and nothing wrong with my system. The last time this happened I was on the phone with Cox, and they said "nope, no outage, we can't communicate with your modem, try disconnecting all your TV's and going straight to the modem, that still didn't work? You are going to need some high quality cable then, we will schedule a technician visit to your home." The next morning the internet works fine, I hook my TV's back up, and everything else, and it still works fine. So I have to call back and cancel the technician visit the next day. So a fail on their part, obviously there was some sort of outage but the technician on the phone didn't have the info and so he had me do the normal troubleshooting steps.
November 16th around midnight, the internet goes out again.
I posted "Cox internet went down. Makes it hard to research WotLK DVD install problems for my relative. They upgraded account & can't play" http://twitter.com/tankilo/status/1009262892
About 2 hours later "@tankilo Mine was down too, I wonder how widespread it was. Where are you located? I'm at 7th Street and Greenway" http://twitter.com/PHLAK/status/1009314652
Then that morning someone who lived close to me tweeted "OMG the internet isn't working. Someone save me." http://twitter.com/kissmecait/status/1009737695
It was already pretty late at night so I went to bed and read these messages in the morning, and to me that was good to hear because it confirmed "an outage" and nothing I needed to change about my own system. This was even "news I could use" since now I wouldn't spend hours messing around with my own equipment.

Edit: I'd say this probably improves your outlook on life as well. Try consuming a little less of the "news" and listen to a few more people on twitter. If you don't want to follow anymore people, just use http://search.twitter.com/ and lookup your town, apartment complex, shopping center nearby, office building, name of your company, etc.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why I pay for online multiplayer games and why some "free" ones have problems

Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are where everyone connects to a virtual world with their computers. They all play as characters in this virtual world and either fight each other or computer generated monsters.There are pay MMO's and free MMO's. The pay MMO's are usually setup on a monthly recurring basis, and the free MMO's make their money from allowing you to buy things inside the game. For instance the online flash game "Dino Run" http://www.pixeljam.com/dinorun/ is free to play, just go to the page, and click "Start Running" on the left, then use the left and right arrow keys to run to the right and try and outrun the meteors while collecting eggs on the ground, (press Up to Jump, and Spacebar to pause the game). It's free to play, but if you pay money, your dinosaur gets to wear a hat! I'm lead to believe there's some part of the game where you can socialize with other people and the dino's can walk around without having to worry about extinction.

These games are possible, even profitable, as long as the cost to operate them is minimal and just a few people donate. They still want players who don't pay because just them being there contributes to the richness and depth of the online world. You don't have to worry about losing to the pay customers since they only get a hat, and that's not going to let them run any faster or collect more eggs.

Now the next step up in this is a game I play for free "Ikariam". http://ikariam.org/ Everyone can play for free, and it's basically a game where you are the ruler of your city, and you decide how many citizens you will employ at the saw mill to gather building materials, how many citizens to go to work in the mines or the vineyards, how many soldiers to employ, how many ships, and how big the government buildings in the town are; any citizen that isn't working in the government is free to pursue his own interests, and pays taxes.It's great fun. It's also the definition of "open ended" since there are no scripted events, no monsters, no evil power out to destroy everyone, it's nothing but you and all the other "rulers" of their own towns. You are free to make new colonies, invade a neighbors town to take some of his stuff or gold, trade with your neighbors for goods you don't have, form alliances, or be a complete hermit with high walls and a huge defense and just do your own thing. You could even have no military and pay gold to another player to protect you; or play mind games with anyone that might attack you by sending them in-game email after they attack you offering to just give them resources if they will leave you alone, then pay another player to attack them while you build up an army, and then attack!

Half the fun of a game like Ikariam is the choices you make and what you want to get done, and how your neighbors, and everyone else in the world, reacts.If you devote 100% of your citizens to paying taxes, you are left to the will of the market prices for your building materials. And sometimes no one is selling, or the prices seem to high.Want to send everyone to work in the mines? Then no one pays taxes and you run out of money.Want to create a huge army? Their upkeep costs money, if you go bankrupt, they will start abandoning you.Want to attack your neighbor? He won't just sit there and take it, he'll fight back, and sometimes in ways you that don't make sense to you.Want to turn two of your enemies against each other? Assuming you can do it with only the in-game email (or maybe make some allies and setup scenarios to make them lash out). You can do most any political or diplomatic thing you can imagine.It's actually a great sociological experimental playground.

And then...

If you pay, as little as $1 a week, you can get 20% increased production. You can pay a few dollars and setup to allow you to convert some goods into another without having to deal with other people, or "the market".

So now your neighbor, can become more powerful than you, just by paying a little. You may have been in the game for months, slogging it out trying to get your resources up, and a brand new player can hop in, drop a few dollars, and get a big jump up.

The other end of this spectrum is Subscription games with no bonuses. And if anyone attempts to "beat the system" by spending money to buy a high level character, or buying in game gold, their will be punishments. The most popular MMO out there is "World of Warcraft" (WoW), and the company (Blizzard/Vivendi) has even sued other companies that create programs that can be used to put your character on "auto pilot" and farm gold for you while you aren't in front of your computer. WoW costs $15 a month to play.http://virtuallyblind.com/2008/09/29/mdy-blizzard-damages/

The thing I like about WoW is that I "know" that if I see a piece of gear on a character, they had to work for it. It is possible to give someone real money and have them give you gold inside of the game, and there have been problems with even the highest level players cheating in game, but attempts to "beat the system" are investigated and punished.

I had a friend tell me he played WoW on a "free server" meaning someone was able to run an illegal "pirated" version of the same game, but his virtual world was not tied into the virtual world I and all the other paying customers is on. I was intrigued and asked him if he could get things for free in the game, like free armor, or weapons, or break the rules in the game. He stated it was just like the original game, just free. I wondered why bother then? I'm sure whomever runs the server isn't playing by the rules, and probably none of his friends are, and if you ever happen to run into any of them in the game and want to fight them, they can just type /kill and defeat your character. If that's the case, why not play for $15 a month? Now you are in the exact same position, but no one running around with a /kill command on their hip.

To recap: When I play World of Warcraft, I know everyone is where they are because that's where they worked to be. When I play Ikariam, I know that the people I'm dealing with may be playing with loaded dice. When I play Dino Run, I think the people wearing hats are cool.
I should note that as of this writing (2008-10-05) any of these games could change over night since they are online. Thus they could change policies or prices.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Does Electronic Arts hate the planet?

Needlessly alarmist headline I know.
So I started to play Warhammer at the urging of some friends.
I'd like an additional trial account so my wife can play as well.
Can't seem to find a way to set that up on the website.
Attempted to just buy a new account online, couldn't find a way to do that either.
So sent in a form at http://support.ea.com/ and they told me they started case 080922-0025**
It says 24 hours for reply, so let's see what we get.
Will Electonic Arts allow you to just pay with a credit card over their website to setup an account -or- do they hate the planet and want us all to drown in trash?
I like this whole fear mongering thing, why haven't we done this more in the past?
Update: Received email September 22nd 5:45pm
Well... draw. I got an email response that was a cut and paste of some FAQ. None of them directly addressed my concern. This one came close:
--Why won’t the serial code I purchased from direct2drive.com work on my account?-http://help.warhammeronline.com/cgi-bin/eawarhammer.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=8833&p_sid=OVwSDlej&p_lva=20327

Followed the link and got this info:
QUESTION: Why won't the serial code I purchased from www.Direct2Drive.com work on my account?
Answer: A serial code purchased from www.direct2drive.com is intended for registering new accounts only. This code will not work for upgrading your existing account to Samurai Empire. If you have questions concerning your purchase from Direct2Drive, please go to www.direct2drive.com and click the Help button at the top of the page. You will be able to e-mail your concern to their Customer Support department.

So it sounds like there is a website called direct2drive.com that allows you to purchase games... but there seems to be some kind of question as to whether or not it works... and why is the game "Samurai Empire" being brought up?

I'll probably give it a try anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So I joined FaceBook

Look me up as "Tan Kilo".
I joined it because I'm going to try and help out with http://podcampaz.org/ a Social Media Unconference.
I've been a fan of podcasting for a long time, so I'm hoping the event will be fun.
It's all a part of "Geek Week", an initiative to draw attention to Phoenix for new tech businesses by having a variety of conferences occur at the same time.
I just realized after uploading the photo I still have the headphones in my ears. Which is probably how you would find me in the wild since I'm always listening to podcasts when I'm not reading.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How to eliminate reprehensible content

How to eliminate reprehensible content:
*Step1. Put out the idea that if you are exposed to bad things, you may be more likely to do bad things.

*Step2. Spend 10 years going into the closets of teenage killers and finding any mainstream music, movies, games, or TV, and publish that in every major new outlet.

*Step3. Convince the public that there is a direct cause and effect from bad things on tv/audio to people doing bad things in real life.

*Step4. Convince the industry you will come out with a terrible rating system so they will voluntarily adopt a rating system of their own

*Step5. Complain that their rating system isn't accurate or judges content inaccurately.

*Here's where we are now: Step6. Setup huge fines for anyone selling content that allows an underage person to buy it (http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/news/release/2008/0512.asp) thus causing retailers to be less likely to carry reprehensible content.

*Step7: Setup the same penalties for person2person transactions. Then, for gifts. Then, for disposal (you cannot throw it away, you must destroy it).

*Step8: Start arguing that it's offensive to Muslims to even see the cover of the game on the store shelf, so could they all please be kept under the counter? Out of site of anyone who happens to walk by (more lost sales). (Don't bother saying it's offensive to Christians too, no one cares about them anymore, it's 2008, it's all about appeasing Muslims now)

*Step9: State that even with the penalties in place, children are still getting access to reprehensible content, so "age verification" needs to be built into all players.

*Step10: Setup huge fines for websites that describe how to break the "age verification" on players, because it's for the children.

*Step11: You love children don't you?

*Step12: Continue to hassle, burden, tax, hinder, sue, etc; anyone who creates objectionable content by forcing restrictions on how that content can be distributed.

*Step13: Cause a dis-incentive to create reprehensible content since with all the regulation and distribution limits it becomes more difficult to turn a profit. This will affect the smallest publishers first since they are more susceptible to changes in the market.

*Step14: Make the creating, distribution, and consumption of reprehensible content so difficult, that you create an dis-incentive for consuming it. This helps push reprehensible content to whatever new media or mediums become created since they haven't been around for as long or aren't yet understood.

*Step15: Convince politicans that they need to start reacting faster to new media and mediums, here's an idea: Rating system

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Paul and Storm, Jonathan Coulton, at the Brickhouse

Here in Phoenix last Thursday we were graced with the presence of Jonathan Coulton (Paul and Storm opening) at a venue I hadn't been to before called "Brickhouse" or "The Brickhouse".

It was a little hard to find at "1 east jackson phoenix az", basically take 7th ave South from I-10, then after a left (East) on Jefferson ST, then right (South) on 4th Ave, then left (East) on Jackson ST, then you'll see the tan building on the right, with the entrance to the parking lot ($5) immediately before it, on the West side

Once inside the ticket counter and entrance are on the street side (North) of the building, grab your tickets, get the little plastic/paper hybrid wrist strap, grab a drink (decent price $1 for soda the size of those red solo cups), and sit in the terrible plastic folding chairs. Really terrible plastic folding chairs. (I wonder if I could have brought my own chair...)

About 60% of "audience area" lined with terrible plastic folding chairs and then 40% of restaurant/bar area (called "The Chop Shop" if you google it I think). Really a nice place. I did hear someone complain of too much salt on the fries.

There was either no smoking inside, or no smoking in the "audience" area. But either way I was able to come home and "not reek" of cigarette smoke, which tends to happen to me in these venues in the past.

Paul and Storm's opening was awesome, and much of Jonathan Coultons performance can be seen online:


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tweetclouds show what you write most often

Props to http://twitter.com/cburell for linking to this blog post
http://beyond-school.org/2008/04/24/some-tgif-fluff-tweetclouds-as-windows-of-the-soul/ of his where he mentions "Tweet Clouds".

It basically looks at every tweet you've made, when you use a word, it puts it up on the board, when you use it twice, it makes that word larger, then if used 3 times, even larger.

So I pulled my username up:


Some words that are huge:
@albertmaruggi (He runs a podcast about using social media in marketing http://www.providentpartners.net/blog/and I met him at a Social Media breakfast, it was hilarious having him mention "when Best Buy was making their internal website for communication" I would pipe up and comment on it, and he was right there to hear it or answer. Now that I think about it, he's the only podcaster I've ever met in person)

That was kinda it. I try to really work and rework every twitter post, and then don't usually even post that often, and I've only been posting for maybe 2 months. So not a whole lot there. I guess check back in a year and we'll see more trends develop.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What I would teach all the children of the world

Beside "Reading", "Writing", "Arithmetic", "Deductive Reasoning". Well now I feel like I came up with a whole new slew of things to write about. But I just posted in the comments over at a blog I happened across: http://beyond-school.org/

I was commenting that if I was going to try and reach out to all other countries and teach them something it would be:

"No one can solve your problems but you. If you want something, you have to work for it so that you can get it or afford it. Free trade benefits both parties because you both end up with a good that otherwise would have cost you more. Trust no one and be suspicious of anyone offering help. Don't enter "contests" or "lotteries" and even avoid signs of "Free ". Nothing is free and there is always a catch. When people relate when something happened to them, they tend to exaggerate, not because they are bad people, but they are convinced it happened that way. The only thing you can control in your life is your reaction to other people, so the less you react the way they would expect the better. If someone insults you, smile and laugh, because they cannot hurt you with words and if they see you cringe they will only attack more. You are responsible for your feelings, and the more you think about how someone has hurt you, the more they win. Do not give money to people you don't know, and take care of your family and friends, the best kind act is to do for others what you do best because it will have the biggest impact. Try to give other people the benefit of a doubt."

Thought of one more thing "There is a lot more out there than what goes on in your house, your school, and your town. The minute you leave home it's like living in a different world and it will only get better. Try not to live with your parents over the age of 18. Then the minute you leave college it's another whole new world, and it gets better. You may one day move out of your town/city and everything changes again."

But don't worry. What life does best (and I'm including humans) is adapt. Whatever changes are thrown your way, you can handle. At the beginning is probably the worst, but you can get through it and eventually you won't even remember the pain. After all, you control your memories.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why government causes pollution

All attempts to modify a market from whatever the natural laws of supply and demand would dictate, will cause inefficiency.

Any inefficiencies translate into more raw materials that need to be consumed in order to make and use a product.

More raw materials to accomplish the same goal (of the finished product) causes the purchaser to do more than would normally be required, thus increasing the work s/he would have to do.

This demand for more materials than would be necessary to accomplish the same goal, is causing more demand for materials.

More material used equals more pollution.

Thus, help to decrease pollution by removing artificial costs to products in the form of regulation and taxes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Security Now #139 Response -Who owns the saturated routers?

Security Now #139
Steve Gibson talked about there being routers that would become so saturated they would start dropping packets.
Who owns that router?
If I was "the guy" who noticed all traffic headed toward that router was failing frequently, wouldn't I opt to start sending my traffic towards a different router?
In theory we could keep switching connections until there are none left, at which point "the guy" would shout, "won't someone put up a router that isn't saturated?"
And when the cost of bandwidth/equipment/regulatory agencies/etc gets low enough so that a profit can be made *poof* another routing path will appear and the call will go out to "send your traffic here!"
in a free market problems get solved when costs for solutions gets lower than problems.

Looking for VersaMail Outlook2007 PalmOS expert

Anyone in Phoenix? (Or anywhere else) worked with lots of PalmOS and Outlook 2007 setups or with VersaMail? Please comment on this post, @tankilo in twitter, or email me at the email address at the top of the page

Monday, April 14, 2008

How about phxaz instead of phx?

Don't know about everyone else out there in twitterville, but I use twitter on my cell phone and track my username (tankilo), tweetupaz, and phx.
Problem is, instead of just the traffic for hashtag #phx, I get anyone talking about flights inside and out of phx, and all sorts of sports references.
As twitter grows this will become increasingly harder to handle.
So how about this, instead of #phx, how about #phxaz? I know with a 140 character limit, 2 characters is actually not a trivial matter, but I hope it will prove worth it in the long run.
TinyURL to this post: http://tinyurl.com/4rkvjr

I wanted to do no less

I wanted to do no less than save the world.

Hey we all have to start somewhere.