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Mark

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Re: LJ/Facebook/Twitter Interconnections (Tendrils of Eeeeevil!) [Sep. 1st, 2010|11:52 am]
Mark
[Tags|]
[Current Mood |sillysilly]

The problem : Too many people making too many inane and unnecessary mass communications, and blithely connecting them all together with no concept of consequences or "later", being encouraged by too many corporations eager to harvest the inane for advertising and population monitoring purposes.




I have a solution.

And, for once, it's neither "Kill the morons" nor "Burn it all down".




At the root of the issue is the ease of creation, duplication, searching and long-term storage of these communications. Facilitated by all that IT has given us. This has led to a nasty mixing and conflation of "Personal Records", "Impersonal Communications", "Broadcast Information" and "Inter-Personal Missives".

I forget which martial art movie said it but, as with guns, the problem is the lack of personal effort needed to acquire the ability. Easily attained abilities are abilities sure to be misused.

A lifetime of personal records should require effort and commitment to protect, maintain, search and store. Broadcasting to a million people should be much more challenging than getting a message to your room-mate. One-liner snappy messages should be discarded/recycled and never seen again after their first viewing.

If we look to history we find the Egyptians had a novel approach. Messages to the ages took a lifetime and a million enslaved victims to achieve. Then some twit came along and said "Hey, see what I can do with some woven and battered reed-leaves and half-burned wood" and it's all been downhill since.

I'm not advocating a return to the pyramids of course. Society has moved on.
But we've got this wood-pulp thing going on now and it's cheap and easy to get started. At least for the one to one local messages and personal records.

Broadcast information and messages to the ages take a bit more effort, but that's as it should be. Those who take the time to acquire the abilities and make the effort are less likely to inflict dross on the world.




People! Get a pen! Write a diary, a note (with temporary adhesive backing if appropriate), a letter, a poster for your local communal area wall, a newspaper or a book (as appropriate). Leave the computers and internet for their real purposes! (Porn and Nerds!)


(To encourage use of my new system of recyclable communication media will of course require the burning down of the internet and the execution of anyone with an active MyFace account.)


Compelling counter arguments to all my previous :
- "Stephenie Meyer"
- "Weekly World News"
- "Rupert Murdoch"
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A lengthy absence. [Jun. 19th, 2010|03:24 pm]
Mark
[Tags|]
[Current Mood |accomplished]
[Current Music |Andrew W.K.]

Just a week shy of a year since my last entry here. I thought it might be time for an update.

18 months ago I was recruited into a small startup company. At the time the plan was to make one or more web games to go with a new series of Tabletop RPG game-books. Over the year and a half since then the scope and style of the project has changed rather dramatically, and I am now working on a full "MMORPG in a browser" concept.

The company's name is JiWei Games. The name translates as "Many Paths Games" or "Infinite Paths Games", but with a slight quirk to the pronunciation will be taken locally as "Kiwi Games", being a reference to the homeland of both the majority investor and the lead artist.

The RPG books are titled "New Epoch", and the working title for the MMO is "New Epoch : City of Steam".

While I have been struggling, this being somewhat out of my depth (and being the only IT person in the company), the results are beginning to come together. Most of the tech work is complete. Performance (mostly measured in "concurrent players per high-spec server") is acceptable, though room for improvement exists (Yay! Job security). The Alpha Tests have gone well and we'll be moving to Beta shortly, as soon as I can track down a last pair of obscure killer bugs in the client/server communications.

Areas which still need serious addressing are limited.
The main ones are :
  • The engine is in place for sound effects, but apart from ambient background rustles and clanks the actual work of producing the effects has not been started.
  • Area affect weapons and magics have not had their display logic completed. They still hurt, but players can't see what's hurting them.
  • The GUI (Windows and Buttons) needs a major re-working. The current one was built up piecemeal for testing of each area, and is about as fast, pretty and userfriendly as Windows 2.
  • While the hooks are present for impressive mob AI, time constraints have left us with mobs which have no fear, and a never ending supply of aggression. When they see a target they attack the target. Even when the mob is a healer.


Videos snagged from the Alpha Tests can be viewed on my youtube account http://www.youtube.com/user/emfinnsy and there's a few larger ones at http://uninspireddomainname.com/cityOS/vids/. (Ugly directory listing alert!)

(Screenshots (to prove it's not as blurry as Youtube would suggest) under the cut).Collapse )
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Chinese Bus Travel. [Jun. 27th, 2009|11:23 pm]
Mark
I arrived at the south bus station about 15 minutes before 7pm, with the bus due to leave at 7. Waiting room was as always, but at least it was only for 15 minutes, or rather, as it turned out, just shy of 2 hours.

I'd been promised a grade 1 bus, which has a small number of longer/larger beds, but such was not to be. The bus was just about watertight, but had little else going for it. It was old. The beds were battered, ripped and itchy, and very very short. And narrow.

Oh well. 9 hours. One can take a lot for just nine hours. I asked what time we would arrive in Hong Kong, given that we were leaving two hours late. Lie number 2. Scratch nine hours. Predicted arrival in Hong Kong was 14 hours away.

Well after dark, and with rain beginning to fleck the windows we got underway. The bus was sparsely populated at first, but filled up gradually as we spent over 90 minutes touring Fuzhou to find more bed-occupiers. As the minutes passed the weather worsened steadily, and lightning began to feature as we finally left the city.

Unsurprisingly the individual lights and AC features were non-functional, and once the main-lights had been cut (at 10pm precisely, before leaving the city) reading was no longer an option. I listened to NightWatch (Pratchett) for the next few hours until at about 1am I could no longer hear the book over the sounds of rain and thunder, as the weather had deteriorated to full Tropical storm status (Tropical Storm Linfa I later learned) which may not sound too exciting, but means (at least in this case) lightning strong and steady enough to read by.

It was around about this point, as I maneuvered to watch the storm out a window, that I noticed the driver was driving without the benefit of such useful facilities as either headlights or windscreen wipers. Now technically I suppose the lightning was sufficient to drive by, but still...

I returned to my minuscule bedding area, inserted some earplugs and attempted to doze. Futile for me on any vehicle at the best of times, and these were not the best of times.

I rolled to my side just as a chain of lightning strikes back-lit the luggage of the passenger between the window and me. And froze in shock, bordering on horror. Something. Something with many legs, all of them far too large for anything with that many legs was inside a heavy translucent plastic bag on the top tier of her luggage, actively struggling with the knot at the top of the bag. The owner (host?) of this lovecraftian horror was somehow sound asleep and blissfully unaware of the horror she was relocating across China.

Time passed, slowly. I alternated between audio books and watching the bag containing the... thing. Somehow I dozed. Sometime near 3am I was awakened, along with everyone else on the bus, by the wailing, shrieking, shoe-wielding, anti-many-legged horror teenager who had been asleep in the bed in front of the bag in question when something had finally triggered its break for freedom. It was pitch dark apart from a few straggling strands of lightning so I don't know the exact details, and given how little was left of the horror when the savage shoe-based beating came to an end I still know not exactly what it was. A carapace was involved, but not regular crab shaped.

After an extended stop at the next way-station during which some cursory mopping was done, and the horror's failed keeper had the rest of her luggage inspected and some of it confiscated, we were rapidly under way again. It seems most folks were happy to laugh it off, though there were some hella nasty glares going on until the lights were cut again. I resumed audio-booking it, stuck on the thought that this was one-heck of an ill-fated trip from the get-go.

I somehow dozed through dawn, but awoke when we left the motorway for reasons unknown and proceeded more or less cross-country for about an hour bouncing all the way, before joining another motorway, which we followed for another 2 hours before entering Shenzhen, where it was time to play the paperwork game (With extra flu-related bonus mini-games).

It was actually much like going through a very poorly maintained airport which is reasonable enough. The signs however, were not fair. In the majority of cases they pointed completely the wrong way. It seems that when it came time to last reorganize the place whoever got landed with sign duty applied half of them according to Feng Shuai rather than accuracy of content, and decreed that English and Pinyin were demonic evils that would attract dragons of bad luck and plane-crashes or something. So all the English signs point to a nonexistent location somewhere off to the left, while the actual foreigners queue is to the right, over a foot-bridge, up another footbridge which has a crossroads at the top where you turn right and go past the BIG glaring red and yellow no-entry signs, into a building, out of the building again, down what is clearly an old fire-escape and into the immigration hall. There you smile, proffer papers, try to look innocent and hope to get a non-belligerent attendant. Interestingly they've set up those electronic "Rate-Your-Clerk" devices for the customs and immigration people.

Then you discover that actually that was the Chinese Emigration gates, now get back on another bus, and travel 3 kilometers down the road and do the same Headless-Chicken-Dance routine for the actual immigration facilities.

The final stretch was then completed in a rather nicer third bus, taking almost another 90 minutes to reach the heart of Hong Kong, stopping every 3 minutes right up until I spotted the offices I needed to go to immediately on arrival, and then the street where I was to locate my hotel. Both these locations were passed as part of a thirty minute no-stopping-here-because-the-foreigner-clearly-wants-to policy implementation.

When we next came to a halt I pondered asking where I could get a ticket for the return journey, but decided I'd had enough bus related stress for the time being and went seeking a taxi. At which point the rain started again.

Thankfully my actual business in Hong Kong was quick, painless, well organized and indeed polite and uncluttered.

The bus journey back was worse, but less interesting, and shall be recounted another night.
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Writer's Block: Left Behind [Feb. 1st, 2009|12:55 pm]
Mark
[Tags|, ]

What do you want done with your body after you die?

I don't plan on leaving enough to be bothered processing beyond hosing down the surrounding structures.
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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2008|08:38 pm]
Mark
Ooooh! Free books!
Get a free Penguin Classic book in exchange for a promise to write a review within six weeks.

Now to see just how far they'll post a book.

I'm getting "The Hunting Of The Snark" apparently.
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(no subject) [Jan. 8th, 2008|02:14 pm]
Mark
Just got an email from Microsoft.... Not about my rampant piratical practices (now much diminished, honest! I only pirate what I need to extract info from their nasty non-standard formats), nor even about my work moving a small but real chunk of China away from (paid for) MS and over to Ubuntu, but rather...
Well, actually, to offer me a free Vista Ultimate under some convoluted set of circumstances (as an ex-beta-tester), but more interestingly a chance to win a Bill-Gates autographed computer.

Please picture said autographed computer running a Linux distro. Surely that'd get me Slashdoted/Dugg?

Actually, the email does offer a bit of insight into efforts by MS to get a bit of grassroots support for Vista going by giving it free to the people who end up having to do their tech-support for them. Can we say "Desperation"?

Full Email Inside (translated from the Chinese badly by Google)Collapse )
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critters. [Nov. 28th, 2007|11:08 pm]
Mark
It would seem I have at least three lizards resident in my kitchen. Two tiny ones and one about 10cm nose to tail. The tinies reside under the fridge. The larger one has thus far moved (far) too fast to track, but I suspect he's back in there somewhere as well.

I am pondering how to react to this as I cannot believe they leave the house to relieve themselves.

Anyone got any knowledge as to the intersections of lizards (of southern Chinese origin) and basic hygiene to share?
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Take this job and place it with unnecessary roughness where the sun don't shine... [Sep. 21st, 2007|09:25 pm]
Mark
I've been working here exactly three weeks. I'll be here six more.

The official line...
FormalCollapse )

And the unofficial, in vague hopes it might help those left behind when
I rapture away...

Detailed AccompanimentCollapse )

I don't expect to get any real response other than "bugger off then", but there's a great team here in severely nasty circumstances. I can but try.
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So... Linux then... [Sep. 20th, 2007|10:42 pm]
Mark
Sitting at a desk, not doing much, just installing a few different OS's on a few virtual machines for those rare occasions I actually need a specific OS...

In goes virtual machine number 4, small drive, no big fuss, just a small win2k install, mostly because I actually have a currently unused Win2k license.

Boot from cd, no rad drivers needed, f8 to pretend I've read/agreed to something, c to create new partition on an empty drive, buzz buzz buzzz, files copying...
BOOM!
No, let me get this right...
Read more...Collapse )

After 20 seconds of crunching and grinding the cd drive opened and a little rain of very sharp silvery bits hit the floor.

So... OpenOffice for the win?
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Career thoughts... [Sep. 15th, 2007|10:43 am]
Mark
1.Mechanical Engineering Tech : Interesting...ish.


2.Aerospace Engineer : Hmmm. Maybe, but my short attention span could be an issue.


3.Computer Support Person : Oh hells no.


4.Industrial Designer : Can't draw.


5.Animator : Can't draw.


6.Fashion Designer : Can't draw.


7.Farm Equipment Mechanic : I could see it.


8.Automobile Mechanic : I could definitely see it.


9.Motorcycle Mechanic : I could really definitely see it.


10.Diesel Mechanic : A possibility.
There's loads moreCollapse )

p.s. It's from here.
1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/;
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark;
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions;
4. Post the top ten results.

EVERYONE is doing it. Don't be left out. :P
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