educe, \ ih-DOOS \, verb.
To draw forth or bring out, as something potential or latent.
educe, \ ih-DOOS \, verb.
leonine, \ LEE-uh-nyne \, adjective.
of, relating to, suggestive of, or resembling a lion.
I had an idea. What if I convinced my wife, who doesn’t generally like games, to play games with me, or rather against me, and I documented each one in a blog series? So I posed the idea to her, and she was lukewarm on it, but over time as I mentioned it now and then she began to like it more.
But what would we call it?
Oh, she didn’t like the name much. But it had actually been the jumping off point for the whole idea for me. I’d seen those shows, Man vs Food and Man vs Wild and the rest, and I thought to myself, “What happens when you take a man who loves gaming and he marries a woman could take it or leave it? Man vs Wife!” And it works for me, as both a play on those reality TV shows and as a play on the ends of wedding vows when the officiant pronounces the couple “man and wife”.
And so it begins. We’ve played one game already and I’m working on writing it up (we actually video tape the session so I don’t have to take notes), and we have a pile of board games and video games. Hopefully I’ll have the first one up within a week. After that I make no promise as to a schedule.
Anyway, that’s it. Just a minor announcement of future content.
Tomorrow, the 18th of January, many sites on the web are going “dark”. Some will be putting up a blank black page. Others will be putting up a page of information about why they are going dark. Others still will be blacking out their logo and censoring words and other clever tricks to show support without actually blocking their content.
Tomorrow, the 18th of January, this blog (and some other sites I run) will be going dark. We’ll have a page up with some links and info, a video and a form.
What’s the big deal?
SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s a bit of legislation going up for vote in the House of Representatives in the next week or so that aims to give copyright owners more power to protect their copyrights. At its base theory, it isn’t a bad idea. Piracy sucks. People shouldn’t do it, and it would be nice if there was a way to actually stop sites like the Pirate Bay from existing. However, like much copy protection, DRM and other things people have invented over the years to try to stop pirates, SOPA is going to have its largest impact on people who aren’t doing the pirating.
You see, any decently technically savvy person isn’t going to be affected by SOPA. And most pirates are technically savvy. If you block the DNS name of a site because it has pirated material on it, you haven’t blocked the IP address. And someone has already invented a plugin for the Firefox browser that circumvents DNS lookup for known blocked sites. See, the pirates have already beaten this new form of piracy prevention and it hasn’t even been implemented yet.
The simple fact is that if these companies, these copyright and content providers, were to spend the same money they spend on protecting their stuff and
bribing donating to Congressmen on making it easier (and cheaper) to buy their products, they’d make far more money than they ever will “stopping piracy”.
So, tomorrow, the 18th of January, I’ll be showing my support for throwing out, or at the very least revising, SOPA. And we’ll probably go dark again on the 23rd since the Senate will be voting on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) which is pretty much the same thing on the 24th.
So… welcome to 2012! Let’s dive right in. This year, as predicted, there will be an apocalypse. It will be nothing like any of the movies on the subject. There won’t be volcanoes and earthquakes. No super tidal waves, no zombies or plagues, no invasions from other planets. If Hollywood has dreamed it up and filmed it, it isn’t likely to be the way things happen.
However, on November 6th of this year, Americans will head to the polls to elect a President, possibly giving the current one another term or maybe giving a new one a try, and they’ll be electing every seat of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. I figure it’ll take about 6 weeks from that for things to come to a head, which will place it pretty squarely right where all those predictions claim “the world will end”.
Of course, the world won’t literally end. It’ll still be here, spinning on its axis and making its journey around the sun. But figuratively, the world as we know it will. There are a lot of people, and I’m one of them, who are upset at the way the government is currently running and are willing to vote “for the other guy” with almost no regard as to who that is because we want to send a message and throw everyone we can out of office. This is a “good thing” and is the reason why democracy is awesome. Power to the People and all that.
The only problem is that our current system of government is so horrendously broken that all of the “other guys” are pretty much the same as the guys currently in office. You might get a different slant on the same old rhetoric, but not much else. They’ll all keep voting the way they’ve been voting: for themselves.
However, 2011 illustrated that there is a significant swath of “the People” out there who have had enough AND are willing to do something about it, or at least to Occupy places. Don’t expect this to end. Winter always puts a damper on outdoor activities, but when it warms back up the sit-in will begin again. By November, politicians who in no way support the Occupy movement will be using the Occupy movement to get votes of people who would never vote for them, and once elected they’ll conveniently forget any promises they made to those “hippies” living in the parks. By December, it should be clear that nothing has changed as people start actually looking at voting records and other important things rather than campaign hype. It’ll be the Hope/Change bait and switch on epic proportions.
And let’s not forget, by December, our troops still won’t be home.
So, when I say that there will be an apocalypse in 2012, I simply mean that we will see a shift that will rock the United States, and through ripple effects the whole world. That last time we had a monumental shift was in 2001 on the 11th of September. The event and the actions taken in response changed the world. It was a dividing line. There existed a world before that day and a world after that day. And I think we will see that sort of thing happen again, another event that will create a dividing line.
But hey, don’t be sad. We’ve got a good solid ten months to enjoy before the fit hits the shan. So, live it well.
So, last year, you know, 2010, Blizzard announced their new Real ID plan. To which I had this to say:
None of the “good” parts of Real ID, the cross server chat, cross game chat, seeing people’s alts, and so on, required the use of real names
Blizzard did back off a little bit. And now they unveil the new BattleTag!
Short version: It’s Real ID without using your real identity.
Now if they can just allow for a character exemption or “invisible” mode so I can choose to play but not be seen by my BattleTag buddies, they’ll have covered just about everything I care about.
Does Size Matter?
Some people used a 5 point system. Usually 5 stars, but then they give out half star ratings, thus making it a 10 point system on a scale of 0.5 to 5. Then you get 10 point systems, and then they go and try to present averages between multiple reviewers and dish out things like 7.6 and 2.4, thus making them actually a 100 point system ranging from 0.1 to 10.0. Luckily, if a person starts with a 100 point system, they generally don’t do decimals (unless you are handing out grades and want to really rub it into the kid’s face that a 92 is an A and they got a 91.9, a B). Really though, most of these systems exist almost entirely to attempt to set expectations. If a movie review site uses a 5 star scale, 3 usually means “like”, 4 “really like” and 5 is “love”.
But I’m all about managing expectations, and large systems (even as large as 5) start to set them for me. A 5 star film isn’t going to be just good, it’s going to be great. A 1 star film isn’t just bad, it’s awful! And it happens with every scale.
And then you run into other people wanting to fiddle with your system. Tons of game sites rate on a 10 point or 100 point scale, but the vast majority of their scores will be in the 7-9/70-90 range. They save the top score for the absolute best games, and everything below 7/70 is complete trash, and even mediocre games get a “C”. I’m sorry, but on a scale of 1 to 10, 5 is the middle, the average, the “meets some minimum level of entertainment but I didn’t really enjoy it”. You wouldn’t know that from the way most sites work.
A Simpler System
For me, however, I prefer a binary system, a scale from 0 to 1. If I enjoyed something and would recommend it to other people it gets a 1. If I didn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t recommend it to other people it gets a 0. No fractions.
Of course, that’s just the score. Any long review would get into exactly why I liked it, and what sort of people I think would also like it. Or it would discuss why I think the thing failed for me, and perhaps try to understand what sort of people might enjoy this, because you have to assume if someone takes the time to make something they must intend for someone else out there to like it.
I’ve written about this before. In fact, twice before. At a glance, I need only one piece of information: did you like it. Then, based on that I can decide if I want to read your full review. More so, if I’ve read a bunch of your reviews in the past and I have a general sense of “if he likes it, then I like it” I may not even need to read every review. I can shorthand. If I’ve heard about a game and think I will like it and I see that a reviewer I generally agree with also liked it, I can pretty safely purchase it and avoid the possibility of getting spoilers in a review. On the other hand, if there is a game I’ve heard of and think I will like and that reviewer says he didn’t like it, now I definitely want to read his review because maybe there’s something I need to know.
Got it in 1
In the past, I’ve toyed with ratings systems on reviews here. I even invented a 13 point system just so that a 7 would be the middle/average score. And I’ve thrown out ratings systems, insisting that the review is the only thing that matters. In the future, I’m going to implement my more simple 0 & 1 system.
Now I just need to make some nifty graphics for my new rating system, and they need to be self-explanatory because I don’t want any passing creator see that I’ve given them a 1 and think I’m saying they suck.