Sunday, December 28, 2014

Social Types for games

Steam's lack of definition for their games' Social Types have caused a lot confusion and discussion, so I'm going to try and define these terms. I've tried to keep it generic, and not just related to PC games.

I've called them Social Types because it seemed appropriate.

What are your thoughts?

First we have the basic types: (some overlap)
  • Single Player
  • Multiplayer
  •  Local
  • Online
  • Co-op
  • split-screen

  • Single Player = 1 human on 1 device against the computer (AI)  (AI could be on your device or on the Internet)
  • Multiplayer = 1 human on 1 device playing cooperatively and/or against one or more humans each on their own devices, all connected either by LAN or Internet.
  • Local = on a local Area Network (LAN)
  • Online = Playing with or against one another via the Internet (not just connected for arbitrary reasons like authentication or achievements)
  • Co-Op = Co-operative which means 1 human on 1 device playing with one or more humans each on their own devices, all connected either by LAN or Internet, working towards the same goal, against the computer (AI).
  • Split-Screen = 2 or more humans playing on the same device and screen/monitor, either co-operatively or against one another.

The you get combinations of those terms
  • Local Multiplayer
  • Local Co-op
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Online Co-op

Multiplayer is a superset of Co-op

I've never seen any Online or Local Split-screen. To me, Split-screen is always on the same device. I may be wrong.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Email filtering begone

Recently we encountered a couple of amusing incidents regarding email-filtering.

The first one involved an automated email being sent from an one of our applications hosted in another country. The creation of the email failed and this resulted in the email containing only a report of the error, and the error contained the word "DataAccessException"  Of course this was blocked because it contained the word sex.

The second more bizarre incident also involved the word sex. Another of the automated emails contained a few image attachments. When this was generated, the base64 encoding of one of the images contained the word sex. So this email was also blocked. Now I've sent a mail to the other team, telling them about the problem, and to allow our sender email-address to be trusted, but I'm wondering whether they received my mail....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's just a game.... Nooooot


In a previous posts I mentioned the lure of Online Worlds and the unique culture that surrounds the phenomenon.
I had barely scratched the surface...

I now know that there are people that just like to be assholes. Rolling your eyes, you say "of course!" Sometime I tend to be naive/positive and believe that people would not stoop lower than a certain level. I was wrong and in some instances (no pun intended) it was the social environment of these online worlds that made me realize this. I now know that these people are called Trolls. Someone that is deliberately provocative in order to provoke a sharp negative response from as many people as possible. They might make a racial, or personal comment, say something contrary to the obvious... you get the idea. They have no purpose, they are simply assholes. If you encounter one, simply ignore them, otherwise you are "feeding the troll"

I have added World of Warcraft (WoW) to my addiction. This, in turn, has opened my eyes to many unusual (compared to RL) peripheral activities and events:

Like the press conference to be held in the WoW world. Similar to the press conferences held by Sun and Dell in the virtual world Second Life. One of the rules for the conference is as follows:
If the spokesperson is not forthcoming, you may duel for information. Now can you imagine a intrepid Journalist with no WoW experience trying to interview... Is this similar to the disparity between being computer-literate and a technophobe?

What about that virtual virus that spread further than the programmers thought they'd told it to...

I loved the series of books by Tad Williams titled "Otherland". It took the virtual world idea and allowed the author a fantastic number of options for setting, exactly because of the theme. After experiencing Online Role Playing games for a year now, I can see how it would fuel a writer's imagination. I wonder how he managed to NOT play and finish the book ;)

on the lighter side:
This is a french video (part 1 - part 2) (with Eng subtitles) of a group of serious Dungeons and Dragons players who invite a new player to join them and suffer the hilarious consequences

This is a funeral held in World of Warcraft (WoW) on a PvP server(where anyone can attack anyone at any time) for a player that died in real life.
While the funeral-goers were waiting to pay their last respects 1-by-1 at the late player's favourite WoW fishing spot, another group of players thought this to be the opportune time to gain experience points (the beginning is a bit drawn-out, but it sets the mood.

And on a more serious note:
The social interaction online is very different from what PIRLs (parents in real life) know. Many different motivators, social orders and influences abound in the virtual world and parents would be well-advised to be more than cognizant of these factors. WoW is rated "Teen" but there are many children younger than that playing in the WoW world. I'd love to read some studies about this subject, any comments?

If I don't see you IRL, catch you online :)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Insured? Really? Probably not..

Grind My Cogs

You might think you're insured, but if you take the time to read the fine print you'll find out that you're simply giving money to some strange company for nothing in return. In the rare case that you are covered, you're probably paying too much.

Take the example of my cell phone insurance through the yellow company (yeah you know who..)
here are some of the strange exclusions:
1. Any loss or damage

1.1 caused directly or indirectly by or through or in consequence of any occurrence for which a fund has been established in terms of the War Damage Insurance and Compensation Act, 1976 (No. 85 of l976) or any similar Act operative in any of the territories to which this policy applies.

1.2 directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by or arising from:-

1.2.1 Ionising radiation or contamination by radioactivity from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel;

1.2.2 The radioactive, toxic, explosive or other hazardous properties of any explosive nuclear assembly or nuclear component thereof.


3.1.3 Faulty software or programming or electrical power surge or fluctuation.

1. Theft, loss, or damage to the Equipment whilst You are in or on any form of public conveyance, unless arising as a result of violence or threat of violence directed against You.

1. Resulting from political or non-political riot, strike, or civil commotion, public disorder, war, invasion, terrorism or public violence, or which is insurable by SASRIA (South African Special Risks Insurance Association).

So it's safe to say that Homer Simpson is NOT insured.
Seriously though, you are not covered for loss or damage while travelling on public transport UNLESS you are attacked.....WTF?
Also, I would have expected SASRIA cover to be automatically included, but it's not.

So many exclusions which leave you exploited and exposed.

A comparative quote via my household insurer just happens to be a third of what I'm paying. It's worth it to shop around

On the subject of overpaying, it's best to determine the value of your insured assets every 3-6 months and inform your insurance. They will gladly insure the item at any amount you specify, take your money for years to come, but when you claim, they will determine the replacement value and (assuming you're covered) reimburse the amount which is bound to be much less than you expected.

like Cat Stevens said "It's a wild world"

The Monopoly is in Pole Position

Grinding My Cogs

This morning some Telkom techie needed to access the telephone pole which is situated on my property. Normally they could reach the pole from outside the property with a small amount of bravado and lack of Vertigo, bit this techie was more afraid of the height than my dogs.

Despite my antagonism toward Telkom, I couldn't personally spite this techie, by denying him access.

Anyway, my point is this: What are these poles still doing on private property? I have ditched Telkom, never to return to their incompetent clutches. So why should I put up with their Pole being on my property?

I doubt they would be willing to pay rental a-la MTN....

mmmm they still owe me money but I don't need the aggravation of trying to get it out of them..... maybe be some creative revenge... All legal, of course

Monday, June 05, 2006

Looking out for Number 1?

Grinding My Cogs

My friend T's recent experience with crime and it's repercussions have got me grinding my cogs. The situation could be broadly described as involving two groups: the people who look out for Number 1 and the rest that realize that 1 is a lonely number.

The "Selfish Thieving Bastards" (STB) tried stealing T's car in the dead of night and succeeded only in damaging the locks and the ignition and placing his battery in safekeeping in an unknown location.

The STBs are persons unknown but we can safely say that they were looking out for Number 1. The were not intent on helping their fellow man. T on the other hand is definitely of the helpful sort

We all rely on support and assistance in various forms.

We rely on the Government to deter criminals and to provide a safe environment to breath freely. We rely on the government to provide a healthy economy or even one or two of the benefits which spring from that. We rely on friends for emotional and practical support.

We used to rely on a smile from most people, courtesy on the road, and a feeling of freedom and safety. These benefits and rights have died because everyone is looking out for Number 1.

We won't risk being a Samaritan because it might be a setup. We don't dare make eye-contact. We don't dare allow our empathy get the better of us for fear of being physically hurt, emotionally trampled or having the proverbial pants sued off us. We have become so risk-averse, that all we can do is remain safe in our own little shells and look out for Number 1.

In the meanwhile South Africa is a haven for the naturally selfish people. They thrive in these conditions. "If you don't look out for Number 1, nobody else will", "You better Cover Your Arse" Sound familiar? Of course.... It's become such a way if life, we can't imagine anything else.

In some (most?) cases Number 1 is all you have and Number 1 has a hungry belly. The Government isn't looking out for you, so what do you do?

I'm not proposing Socialism, Communism, Cult, religion or even a naive ignorance of reality, I'm proposing a bit more Love. Of the brotherly sort.

Ever had one of those bad days where some stranger just smiled at you out of the blue? It made a difference didn't it? I still remember some of those occurrences. It's a dynamic where everyone makes a difference by the things they do and say.

Like the Black Eyed Peas asked "Where is the Love?"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

IBurst a vein - Should I come back down to Earth?

Grind my Cogs/Computers

I have been using IBurst for nearly 8 Months now... Is the Love still there? The lure of DSL remains, but will I sell my soul for a third time to Telkom?

My friend and colleague Derek recently updated his spreadsheet which compares the cost of having residential Internet connection in South Africa. In summary, if you take the cost of the modem/router/device and the monthly and once-off costs of maintaining the connection over a 2 year period, IBurst is the winner. That is, if you factor in the bandwidth and the cap of each option into the calculation.

In my case I am only receiving about 50% of my potential bandwidth and another colleague reports that he obtains speeds much higher than 384Kb/s on his 384Kb/s ADSL connection.

So that levels the playing field somewhat for me, but I will NOT support Telkom. This country is fucked-up enough already without people supporting this greedy selfish monopoly any longer. Just look at their ridiculously high profit margin and the telecoms costs compared to other countries. Unfortunately it is not that easy. If it wasn't for my IT background, I probably would have ditched IBurst long ago. For example, nagging problems which I experienced for a month or two were solved by upgrading my modem's firmware. Try and tell that to Joe Average. He doesn't have the money to pay for BobMcSpensive the freelance computer techie to help him out. Joe Average is going to go to Telkom because IBurst won't assist him. Neither the IBurst resellers nor Iburst will even come to your house to see if you have enough signal strength to warrant getting IBurst. I know, I tried.... repeatedly.

In my previous post, there is a headline about a super-fit runner that was dragged underneath a taxi because that taxi was driving where it shouldn't have been. South Africa is that runner and Telkom is one of those taxis. There are many of these taxis... unroadworthy, piloted by greedy cretins, driving on the pavement and overlooked by the authorities.

Unless these taxis are controlled, the runner is doomed, it's simply a matter of time.

Headlines and Deadlines

Grind my Cogs

Some headlines from South Africa over the past 4 days

Six people have died after being thrown from a passenger train in Benoni, apparently by striking security guards.

The Cape High Court has granted an order for the provisional sequestration of murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble's estate.

The first farmer to be threatened with expropriation has agreed to sell his farm, the Commission on the Restitution on Land Rights has said

Three gunmen have stormed into a high school class, robbing pupils at Johannesburg's Parktown Boys High of 12 cellphones, five watches and cash.

Three armed men have been shot dead by the son of a Johannesburg man whose house they were trying to rob.

Jacob Zuma's rape accuser may be placed in the witness protection programme once the trial ends, the safety and security minister has said.

The arms and head of a baby have been found near a river in the Eastern Cape, police said.

A man from Stilbaai, who was arrested with a young woman for making and distributing child pornography, has committed suicide in prison.

South Africans are still consumed by unrealistic beliefs in the supernatural, writes Jon Qwelane.

Cape Town mayor Helen Zille will demand police protection before she goes into townships again - and she's laying charges after being attacked at a meeting.

Long lagging behind other regions of the world, sub-Sahara Africa is showing economic growth that should lift thousands of people out of poverty.

An investigation into reports of rat-tailed maggots in three provinces has found no evidence of contaminated drinking water, the Water Affairs department has said.

A Sandton woman has been shot dead during an attempted hijacking outside her home, while the hijackers fled in a security company vehicle.

Six men who allegedly beat to death a 16-year-old have had their case postponed in the magistrate's court.

DA leader Tony Leon has said the murders of Brett Goldin and Richard Bloom sent a shudder through SA - and showed how bad crime has become in the country.

An alleged serial rapist, wanted on at least 15 counts, will soon appear in the magistrate's court.

More than 100 drunk drivers have been arrested and 40 buses taken for tests in Johannesburg since the beginning of April.

A hundred and seventy-nine schools identified two years ago as having pupils who were taught under trees have been given proper classrooms.

Tshwane's new mayor Gwen Ramokgopa has reportedly decided to ditch a sponsored BMW in favour of buying a luxury S500 Mercedes-Benz.

A man has been jailed after police accused him of trying to sell his 18-month-old daughter.

Two policemen who allegedly assisted one of the country's most wanted serial killers in a hostage drama at police holding cells will remain in custody.

A super-fit man who jogged to and from work every day, has died an horrific death under a packed minibus taxi that dragged him for about 100m.

A mother, who lived with her two young children in a smallish two-bedroomed house with 140 cats, has been charged with animal abuse.

News from Elsewhere
A 12-year-old boy accused of beating and stabbing to death his mother and younger brother was charged as a juvenile with two counts of first-degree murder.

A large sinkhole opened in the middle of a house, killing a man who plummeted three metres and was covered by the rubble

About 11 mortar rounds have exploded in central Baghdad

Rwanda has postponed until at least next month the start of nationwide village trials for hundreds of thousands of people accused in the country's 1994 genocide.

What does this mean?
that our police are efficient?
that we have a high crime rate?
That we still have a long way to go?
That it's not as bad here as some other places?

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's Groundhog Day on April 1 in South Africa

[edit] I left this article in draft until now because I wasn't in a particularly good mood when I started. I still think it's relevant enough to publish. [edit]

Like the movie Groundhog Day, savvy South Africans will be perpetually stuck on April Fool's day ready to believe any good news, no matter how bizarre.

One piece of news was potentially easy to believe because we're hoping and we're desperate and it's the way it should be at the very least.
The article was the on the site:
In a surprise move the SNO (Second National Operator) announced late Friday that it has successfully trialed its new 5 Mbps WiMax broadband offering and that they will start a commercial trial effective immediately.

Why should this be an April Fools joke? If somone reported that a complete cure for cancer was found everyone would think that it was in very poor taste. The same applies for this article.
This should have been the lowest offering in South Africa 2 years ago.
[edit] while paging through magazines in the doctor's room, I saw an article which said that the SNO was going to start in July or August after a delay of a few years. "Wooohoo!", I thought, then I saw the date of the magazine.... 2003 hahaha [edit]

I get so sick and tired of people that berate you if you speak badly of South Africa. You are then labeled as negative and unpatriotic. Like that overly opinionated fuckwit and his 4x4 on TV
, according to him everything in South Africa is rosy and fine. It's not. It's a racist, apathetic haven for slackers.

Just look at Telkom's lack of customer service. Nobody gives a shit. I have cancelled my Telkom account 3 times over the past 7 years, each time because of rediculously bad service. Each time I went back because I need Internet access and there was no viable alternative. There is no Broadband. There is no Second National Operator for Average Joe. There won't be for probably another 3 years. There is no alternative.

So here's my suggestion Mr S.N.O. ...Fuck off!!