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All Work And No Play ...

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the doctor-what-about-my-gamboling-addiction dept.

Games 251

Clifton Forlines writes: "Jupiter Media Metrix released a report on Monday about PC gaming - here's one of the more interesting tidbits: 'Similar to past years, Microsoft Windows-bundled games dominated the top rankings in October 2001: Solitaire was number one, with 21.3 million users.' A little math tells us that americans spent about 24 million man-hours in October on Solitarie (estimating that each user spent a little more than an hour over the whole month) That corresponds to about 1 million man-days, or around 2740 man-years! For comparison, I looked up these numbers... Empire State Building: 7 million man-hours (a mere 9 days of Solitaire), Panama Canal: 20 million man-hours (a mere 26 days of Solitaire), Apollo project: 15.5 billion man-hours (or a mere 52 years of Solitaire) Think about it!"

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fp (-1)

insomniac (33758) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733116)

fp yeah

Pot, Kettle, Black (5, Funny)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733124)

Hmmmm. That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black (1)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733196)

Different scale... The average Solitaire player is not of the mental capacity to affect slashdot, so one hour of their time only counts for about 20 seconds of slashdot time...

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black (-1, Flamebait)

core10k (196263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733233)

And it's that same creative math that means that the fact that noone cares that more civilians have died in Afghanistan in the last 2 months by the American military than died in the World Trade Center attack.

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733287)

It's a war, people die. Yes, civilians too. Look at past wars. Wars destroy the landscape, killing many.

We, as humans, do not participate in war merely to win land, but for power! Killing is one way to achieve power. Your whiny little self screaming "Oh no! They killed a civilian!" is pointless.

Is a civilian more important than a soldier? A soldier who joined his country's army to protect his home, or who was forced to, does that make his life worthless? More likely you are worthless, since all you're doing is sitting around whining all day.

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black (2)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733274)

Hmmmm. That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?

if you are referring to Slashcode development, perhaps you are thinking of the "monkeys with typewriters" analogy...

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black (3, Funny)

Skirwan (244615) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733373)

That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?
The difference, of course, is that one is generally used as a mindless diversion while one should be doing real work, and the other is a card game.

Humour through misdirection: I could write for Angel!

no freecell? (1)

sugardaddyano (515561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733125)

no mention of freecell? that takes as much playing time, so double those stats

Re:no freecell? (1, Informative)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733142)

According to the article... "Freecell was number two, with 14.8 million users". I guess you must have read something different than I did.

Gaming Improves Us! (2, Interesting)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733126)

There has been a lot of research done that shows that playing games not only improves critical thinking skills (like with games like Myst, etc), but also can improve hand-eye coordination with the fast paced shooter type games. (Quake3, etc).

Re:Gaming Improves Us! (1)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733257)

That was part of the justification for having solitare installed on machines at work. Solitare supposedly helps develop the player's mousing skills which is then assumed to increase productivity for all other tasks in the point-and-click windows interface.

Don't know if that's really true?

Sorry, I'm busy. (2, Funny)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733130)

I can't think about the implications of this right now, I'm supposed to be re-engineering software systems but I'm just about to win my Solitaire game.

These statistics are skewed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733131)

They're taking into account all the time it takes to reboot the machine after it crashes while playing Solitaire.

Re:These statistics are skewed (-1, Offtopic)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733255)

ROTFLMAO!!! Dude, like that was so funny!!!

Windows sure does sux0rs! The plural or Lego is Lego, not Legos.


Minesweeper #4?!? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733136)

Come on, we need to make a concerted effort to get Minesweeper up to number 1! I mean, it's available on many different platforms (Minus the Microsoft copyright, at least) so there's got to be more than 21 million users of Minesweeper!

Minesweeper forever!!!

Re:Minesweeper #4?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733250)

Not as many play minesweeper's, that a game that you actually have to think at, it takes decent deductive reasoning, and my goodness we couldn't possibly have that.

Re:Minesweeper #4?!? (1)

geekster (87252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733359)

So that's why I never liked it!

Come on. (2, Funny)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733258)

Solitaire has a much better plot than minesweeper, is less violent and enhances you illectual capacity.
It runs on more platforms than minesweeper, there are even forms of solitaire which run without an computer or any electric power !

Why should we even consider playing minesweeper ?
It's obviously much worse.

Solitaire? No (2)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733140)

Solitaire? No I've spent many a man hour on minesweeper, I swear if that site that lets you play minesweeper for money online would allow florida based credit cards, I'd be rackig in the dough :)

Re:Solitaire? No (1)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733316)

What site is it that lets you play "minesweeper online for money"?

What about TV (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733143)

Ever stop to think how much *MORE* time Americans spend watching TV than playing solitaire (etc).?

Solitaire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733144)

Beats working!

So let's waste more time.. (1)

IAmBlakeM (469721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733146)

The solution to people wasting time on games is to spend more valuable time figuring out how the wasted time scales to modern achievements.

On that note, why am I replying..

Think of the man-hours wasted on sex (5, Funny)

typical geek (261980) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733151)

If we could just convince all the women that they really don't need orgasms, we could cut down the hours needed for sex to about 5 minutes each time.

Re:Think of the man-hours wasted on sex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733214)

hahahahahhahaha (takes a moment to wipe tear away from eye) hahahahhahhahahha

Re:Think of the man-hours wasted on sex (1, Troll)

simetra (155655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733223)

Uh, most slashdot readers probably aren't concerned with partners.

Re:Think of the man-hours wasted on sex (2, Funny)

big_cat79 (156695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733253)

5 minutes? Damn, you must be a marathon man.

Windows news! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733154)

By Ted Bridis
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, December 20, 2001; 1:24 PM

WASHINGTON -- Microsoft's newest version of Windows, billed as the most secure ever, contains several serious flaws that allow hackers to steal or destroy a victim's data files across the Internet or implant rogue computer software. The company released a free fix Thursday.

A Microsoft official acknowledged that the risk to consumers was unprecedented because the glitches allow hackers to seize control of all Windows XP operating system software without requiring a computer user to do anything except connect to the Internet.

Microsoft made available on its Web site a free fix for both home and professional editions of Windows XP and forcefully urged consumers to install it immediately.

The flaws, discovered five weeks ago by independent security researchers, threatened to undermine widespread adoption of Microsoft's latest Windows software, which many hope will be an economic catalyst for the sagging technology industry.

The company sold more than 7 million copies of Windows XP in the two weeks after it hit stores Oct. 25.

The vulnerabilities were discovered by three young security researchers with eEye Digital Security Inc. of Aliso Viejo, Calif., led by Marc Maiffret, a 21-year-old former hacker. In recent months, Maiffret, who calls himself the firm's "chief hacking officer," has advised the FBI and the White House on Internet security questions and testified before Congress.

The Windows XP problems affect a little-used feature that eventually will allow consumers to control high-tech household appliances using their computers. Called "universal plug and play," the feature is activated by design in every copy of Windows XP and can be added manually to Microsoft's earlier Windows ME software, also used by millions of consumers worldwide.

"This is the first network-based, remote compromise that I'm aware of for Windows desktop systems," said Scott Culp, manager of Microsoft's security response center. "Every Windows XP user needs to immediately take action." He called it a "very serious vulnerability."

Microsoft said a new feature of Windows XP, known as "drizzle," can automatically download the free fix, which takes several minutes to download, and prompt consumers to install it. Microsoft also is working with other software companies, such as leading antivirus and firewall vendors, to build protection into their products.

Maiffret and his researchers demonstrated the flaws for The Associated Press by hacking into a reporter's laptop running Windows XP from 2,300 miles away and successfully instructing the computer to connect automatically several times to the Web site for the National Security Agency, the government's super-secret spy agency.

© 2001 The Associated PreSS

Windows-Bundled Games (0, Insightful)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733155)

Of course they'll lead the pack. Since most businesses still use Windows, there are more copies in every office.

I have no admin rights, so I can't install everything else.

Just because more play it does not necessarily mean it's the best game!

The difference here (3, Insightful)

oooga (307220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733159)

The difference here is that most skyscrapers and canals require _actual physical labor_, not just moving a mouse. Plus, most people play Solitaire as a break, so their potential productivity during Solitaire-playing hours is low.

Bubblet (1)

spaanoft (153535) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733160)

I've spent many an hour on bubblet for my palm III. It's the most addictive game I've ever played. Good way to look like you're doing work while you're not, as with all palm games.

Re:Bubblet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733231)

Dopewars for Palm has taken more hours than any other palm game. I wish more classic (aka addictive old school) games were around. Maybe Castle of the Winds for Palm.

inspiring (2, Offtopic)

bigpat (158134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733163)

It is truly inspiring that one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building, was built in under a year. I was just there last weekend and visited the tower for the first time.

It was both a humbling experience and encouraging. People can do both great and horrible things when working in concert. We just need good ideas to rally around, rather than sitting idly by or doing repetitive tasks.

Anyone want to help me with my spaceship?

Play Games and Sleep is important (1)

frankie_guasch (164676) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733173)

To keep the mind safe. Just think about all the
work you could do while you sleep. But if you
don't sleep the next day you can't work.

What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733176)


And your lack of grammar skills. I thought techies were supposed to have a mind like a steel cage.

Apparently the cages of the Slashdot crew weren't galvanized.

Re:What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733252)

Perhaps he's addicted to frolicking about playfully. You never know.

And substituting "gamboling" for "gambling" isn't a gramattical error, it's a spelling error. Idiot.

Looks right to me, was Re:What about (1)

bourne (539955) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733325)


>And your lack of grammar skills.

The grammar is correct [] :
gambol (g m b l)
intr.v. gamboled, or gambolled gamboling, or gambolling gambols or gambols
To leap about playfully; frolic.

In short, "doctor-what-about-my-game-playing-addiction." It said exactly what it was meant to say. Don't blame them because you missed the clever play on the traditional phrase.

WinFlower (1)

MoceanWorker (232487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733177)

heh.. seeing Minesweeper on the list reminded me of WinFlower and the ICBW (International Campaign to Ban Winmine)... anybody try out that game? you can find it here [] . btw, it's java-based

This is exactly what keeps Linux down. (1, Funny)

gayrod (545101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733178)

Linux will continue to be an afterthought in the OS world without a solid bundle of games that come pre-installed. Hearts, Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc. have all become classics and are many users' introduction to computers. Can you think of one Linux game as imaginative or innovative as Minesweeper or Freecell? I sure can't.

Until Linux distros wake up and realize that packaging high quality games with their installations will guarantee their success, Linux will remain a minor thorn in Microsoft's side.

Microsoft knows what's important when bundling their OS: games and entertainment. Redhat, Debian, etc. just need to wake up and follow their lead.

Re:This is exactly what keeps Linux down. (1)

jwbozzy (519130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733209)

please tell me you're not serious...

Re:This is exactly what keeps Linux down. (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733212)

I'm still rather new to the Linux world, but my Mandrake distro came with more games than I can count, including Tux Racer, Tetris (clones), Boulderdash, PySol (Freecell, Solitaire, Tuts Tomb, and many other card games), etc.

Amusing how Linux has hundreds of bundled games. (1)

i_am_nitrogen (524475) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733262)

Hahah. This is certainly an amusing post. Send me an e-mail ( some time and I'll send you a screen shot of all the games I've got that came with my Linux distribution. You know what? I even have Solitaire, Freecell, and Minesweeper (probably two different versions of each, one for Gnome and one for KDE).

Gaming is certainly an addiction. I recommend Uplink (posted here on /. a little while back). My brother won't touch it because it doesn't have blood, and the interface isn't in 3D, but I'd take Uplink over Quake 2 any day.

If anything, Linux comes with too much bundled software, causing it to load more slowly as the icons are drawn in the K menu (which is why I predominantly use Blackbox).

There is a big market for card games (3, Informative)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733179)

and the like. Most of us just don't interact with these people, unless they are our grandparents.

Consider the man hours needed to produce Hoyle's Poker vs. Quake3. Its glamorous to do the latter, but I bet the former makes a lot more profit.

I've always avoided game programming simply because I know it would require me to give up virtually everything else I enjoy doing with computers(databases, web programming, sysadminning). You have to be pretty dedicated to be any good at it. However, if I was to start a game company, it would definitely start out producing simpler games for older customers, then perhaps move to making bigger 3D action games once I made enough to hire more people.

What were solitaire makers playing during breaks? (1)

ghislain_leblanc (450723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733180)

Pong or Pac Man, maybe.

Yeah, but I can afford to play solitaire! (1, Insightful)

CitznFish (222446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733182)

Just how much does it cost to 'play' Empire State Building or Panama Canal? It costs me more to just visit those places then to sit and let my mind waste away watching cards flip over on my monitor... ;^]

Re:Yeah, but I can afford to play solitaire! (2)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733291)

Just how much does it cost to 'play' Empire State Building or Panama Canal?

Last time I checked, the "players" of those two "games" were paid to play--not the other way around. Of course, the same could probably be said for most of the Solitaire players out there as well...

Why Solitaire? (2, Funny)

fizzboy (6686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733189)

Those people should be playing Freecell.

Regarding the man-hour comparisons... (5, Insightful)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733190)

Ask yourself this: do you really want the type of person who finds fulfillment playing Solitaire and Minesweeper to divert his/her attention to building the next skyscraper or hydroelectric project? Please, no!

I thought about it (2, Interesting)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733193)

I thought about, and it it hurts, but it points to an interesting thought, is solitare a good game on the PC.
It just isn't but for some stupid reason I keep playing it.
The interesting thing about the article is that it shows more than ever that graphics and speed are unimportant to the quality of the game. Right after the bundled games were and I quote
October 2001were (Electronic Arts) Maxis' The Sims, with 1.6 million users; Microsoft's Age of Empires, with 805,000 users; (Vivendi Universal) Blizzard's Diablo II with 624,000 users; and (Electronic Arts) Westwood's Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun with 563,000 users.
none of these are visualy very impressive, but they all share one common theme anyone can play them with ease.
conclusion gameplay over style every time

What a waste... (5, Funny)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733194)

This is a disgrace, the way people waste their time at work. It's cheating their employer, too.

I'd write more, but i don't want my boss to see me on Slashdot.

Slashdot Man Hours? (1)

Bubblesculpter (234656) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733198)

Here's what I really want to know:

- How many man-hours are spent by people reading/posting to SlashDot?

You gotta figure there's millions of hours spent by young smart programmer's minds reading this stuff instead of writing code. Think of all the great improvements that could have been made to the world's software if we hadn't been wasting time on this website!?

Maybe Slashdot can add some rough time-calculating scripts to slashcode for tracking user hours spent.

Re:Slashdot Man Hours? (2)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733215)

You gotta figure there's millions of hours spent by young smart programmer's minds reading this stuff instead of writing code. Think of all the great improvements that could have been made to the world's software if we hadn't been wasting time on this website!?

I guess you don't program... Cause from where I'm sitting, if I didn't take a few minutes every hour to do something other than programming, there would be a ten fold increase in the amount of crap code I write... Programmers aren't machines, we need a mental break too...

Re:Slashdot Man Hours? (1)

Bubblesculpter (234656) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733306)

I do plenty of programming... And I read Slashdot. It's pretty typical to keep a browser window open with a story or dozen from slashdot while I'm coding. I agree it keeps your mind fresh with ideas. I also know that sometimes I end up reading more than I should when there's code to write...

My main preferences of ways to keep fresh mind involve stuff away from the computer: playing guitar, building acrylic bubble fountains working with powertools and acetylene torches, and with my girlfriend.. All that *should* keep me with a fresh mind to code all day, yet I keep returning to Slashdot.

But lots of time my mind is coding while I read. Some of the tougher algorithms seem like my mind needs to grind over it for a while when I'm doing something else, and then it comes together nicely...

Re:Slashdot Man Hours? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733370)

...there would be a ten fold increase in the amount of crap code I write...

Then you would get rewarded for being such a productive and hard-working programmer.

Funny numbers (5, Insightful)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733201)

But not that amazing. It just means that if 23 million people each spend one hour digging, the Panama canal could have been finished in less then a month. There would be some elbowing ofcourse, and maybe Panama would have sunk by itself with al those people standing in spot...

The point is, if you choose the statistics that you compare to carefully, you can make anything seem amazing. Compare hours spent playing solitaire to hours spent while brushing teeth, and suddenly he numbers don't seem so amazing anymore.

Re:Funny numbers (1)

23_Elders (147014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733242)

I absolutely agree. If I had mod points I'd mod this up. Humans need down time. You can only work so long before you need to stare at the wall for a few hours. Comparing these numbers to big projects of human engineering really doesn't mean a whole heap of alot. Now if by playing a game as simple as solitaire we could accomplish feats of grandeur, that would be something.

Re:Funny numbers (3, Informative)

gorilla (36491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733343)

It just means that if 23 million people each spend one hour digging, the Panama canal could have been finished in less then a month.

No, it couldn't. This is the mythical man month, which was truely debunked in the book of the same name. Each project has it's optimal size. If you don't have enough people, then the project will fail or take longer than neccessary. However, if you have too many people, then the project will also fail or take longer than necessary.

This is especially true when you think of overall design, or other tasks which cannot be sub-divided. If you split the design work into 10 units, then you could well have either a canal where the two ends don't meet in the middle, or your designers spend longer in meetings deciding on the route instead of just doing it.

First Kathryn Thurber Post! (-1)

core10k (196263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733207)

Aww, the Penguin and the Panda. []

Isn't that sweet?

Solitaire programmer 'killed' 36 people (2, Funny)

Tattva (53901) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733210)

If you assume a lifespan of 76 years than that programmer has robbed the world of the equivalent of 36 lives. Worse than Jeffery Dahmer.

Re:Solitaire programmer 'killed' 36 people (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733232)

Eh? He didn't molest/sodomize/rape any young boys, so I don't think he was worse than Dahmer...

Re:Solitaire programmer 'killed' 36 people (1)

jwbozzy (519130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733317)

he may have, we just dont know, after all, think about who he worked for...

Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (1, Insightful)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733217)

I think when you measure man-hours, you have to measure the quality of the person. The Empire State building was built by 7 million man-hours put in by some of American's finest citizens and workers. Men died building that building. And don't even get me started on the Apollo project. To compare the work that these men did quantitatively with the the work of millions of unproductive Windows-bound office drones wasting their employers money goofing off at work is a disrespect to the qualitative difference between these groups of people.

My grandfather worked on the Apollo project; granted his role was small, he helped to turn down the radio stations operating in Apollo 13's band when it was operating under power due to difficulty. But without even his minor contribution men could have died. To compare the work of brave men in the same tally as lazy overpriveleged goof-offs is a damned insult.

Sorry if I come of as irate; it's because I am.

Re:Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (1)

gaudior (113467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733249)

Lighten Up! Geez, who pissed on your wheaties?

Re:Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (1)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733304)

Lighten Up! Geez, who pissed on your wheaties?

Look, I'm sorry if I seem upset, it's just that this whole "comparison" between people who are considered America's heros and people who are doing their best to destroy the economy by cheating American business really pisses me off!.

Who pissed on my Wheaties? Probably someone who dragged a company into the ground playing Minesweeper at work. It takes the same destructive attitude.

Re:Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (1)

CoffeeJedi (90936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733351)

I think you missed the point, the comparison was intended just for that purpose, to show how much time we waste spending on useless pointless things when we could be achieving greatness. To get fired up over a little comment is pretty stupid (it's called irony, look it up sometime).

Re:Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (2)

trongey (21550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733354)

Meanwhile, we're posting comments on /.


Re:Quantitative vs. Qualitative. (2)

gus goose (306978) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733371)

No disrespect to your Grandfather ...

... but men have died playing solataire as well.


hi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733221)

it's my birthday.

Re:hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733266)

Happy birthday!

On the other hand (1)

mir (106753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733229)

If Solitaire was not bundled any more with Windows:
Hours lost due to nervous breakdown by people not being able to relax and let off some steam using solitaire at work: 21.3 * 1 day * 3% ~ 5 million man-hours (60 floors of the Empire State Building?). Hours lost frantically searching the internet and trying to bypass the company firewall to get the darn game back: 21.2 * 2 = 42.4 million man-hours (2 Panama Canals). Damage provoqued by irrate postal workers deprived of their favorite game: 852285 * 0.001 * 20 years ~ 27 million man-hours (one more Panama Canal and an Empire State Building, we're starting to run out of Panama to dig new canals...).

As they say, 87.3% of all statistics are made up.

+1 Class Action Lawsuit Against Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733230)

For contributing to the health problems of
millions of people in the United States of

Deer Hunter? (2)

kryzx (178628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733241)

Here's the one I can't believe:
#30 Deer Hunter 364,000 unique users.

I'm going to give away the secret to winning right here:

1) Be sure to get at least three six-packs on the way to the stand. You can't win without them.
2) Make sure Bubba drinks more of them than you.
3) Piss into Bubba's box of ammo to prevent him from getting a deer.
4) Tell Bubba you're headed into town for more beer.
5) Drive on Rt. 17
6) Hit the deer that jumps out near mile marker 248.
7) Put the deer in the back of the truck.
8) Return home, leaving Bubba on the stand.
9) Victory!! You bagged more deer than Bubba!

Solitare is a trainer... (5, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733248)

I've found Solitare a great way to introduce the idea of double click, single click, and drag for those who really don't know beans about this computer thing. That app was the moment of zen for my Mom, and I hear others with similar stories.

Mythical Man Month (1)

michaeldouma (311409) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733268)

Perhaps you have read The Mythical Man-Month, Anniversary Edition : Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks [] ... The peculiarly nonlinear economies of scale in collaborative work and the nature of individuals and groups means that such comparisons are amusing, at most. If it takes 1 boy 60 minutes to mow a lawn, does it take 60 boys 1 minute?

Re:Mythical Man Month (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733314)

It could take 60 boys 1 minute since a lawn can be partitioned into 60 pieces and each boy works independently, therefore, not affecting the work of the other 59 boys. What you probably meant was something more like: it takes 3 doctors 6 hours to do an operation, does it take 18 doctors 1 hour?

Re:Mythical Man Month (1)

CoffeeJedi (90936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733375)

I think both cases are completely valid, when you factor in all the time involved planning and organizing those 60 boys, getting them all to their assigned plots of land, and checking the quality of their work, it WOULD take more than one minute, just as it would take more than 1 hour for those 18 doctors to perform that operation (although the doctor's time management would probably be more based on the human body's limitiations, but you get the idea)

Nothing compared to TV (2)

joshv (13017) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733271)

Now do the math for television. I imagine the average in the US is at least an hour a day of television viewing. Truly a waste.


to heck w/ solitare (3)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733276)

Give me an NT server w/ 3D pinball in the backoffice anyday. That's the reason they put video drivers in kernel space you know.

Re:to heck w/ solitare (1)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733335)

screw that, gimme a BSD server with a pinball table (Attack from Mars or Medieval Madness, please) in the break room!

But if you have MAME... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733278)

You don't need the Apollo project. Why, you can get five or six kick-ass spaceships from Galaga alone!

If you liked (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733281)

Then you will >LOVE this!


What were they doing? (3, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733282)

Perhaps there is a question to ask: What was it people were doing that they had that kind of time to play solitary?

Cumulative hours waited for internet to download this year []

I was just using mapquest and it seems that IE wants to download everything, even what you have already downloaded once.

Geee, I suppose I do have time to play solitary.

Well Hell! (2, Funny)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733284)

If mind-numbing games like Solitaire, FreeCell, and Minesweeper are all that's keeping Linux off the desktop of millions of users, why doesn't KDE and Gnome just start including a quick link to Entertainment -> FreeCell, Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Pinball on thier desktop systems too?! Forget about office productivity suites, set us up the minesweeper! ;)

I am shocked!! (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733289)

No mention of Q3A???

Actually, quite lacking in FPS's...

Forgetting the real problem... (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733293)

The real scourge of productivity has once again been left out. Billions of man-hours are lost each month in the US alone. A company with ten employees is losing, on average, over 1000 man-hours per month. That is over 40 Man-days!

Please, let's eliminate this awful practice of "sleeping." Those 6 hours a day should be spent working!

Re:Forgetting the real problem... (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733364)

Please, let's eliminate this awful practice of "sleeping." Those 6 hours a day should be spent working!

Obviously nobody in this company has small children.

Spam Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733296)

I thought this was legit untill.... (1)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733307)

I saw this:
BLASPHEMY!! How is Half-Life after games like:


I can see starcraft, but Tiberian Sun?? That game is aweful. Where do they get their data from? Online play? I though CS by itself had everyone else beat. Oh well :(

man hours doesn't work (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733309)

I mean, seriously. A Beowulf cluster of solitaire players is not going to build the next Big Blue.

OTOH, maybe they'll give us the Ultimate Question...

Kinda Ironic (4, Insightful)

dytin (517293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733329)

It's kinda ironic that the subject of the post is "All work and no play...". If anyone remembers the end of that saying, its "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". In other words, people need some time to play, or else they become dull. The funny thing is, the poster rambles on about how much more could have been done for the world if people didn't play. But would the world be worth living in if everyone was dull?

People spent too much time playing games (2)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733330)

IF people could be just ALITTLE more serious, perhaps we wouldnt be having economy trouble, terrorist attacks, problems with virii, hackers, worms.

Instead of using your computer to play stupid games, use your computer to do stuff thats important and play a game no more than a half hour to an hour per week.

and before Solitare and Mindsweeper... (5, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733348)

people wasted the same amount of time by:

* watching TV
* masturbating
* sitting around thinking of ways to avoid doing something
* bowling
* watching bowling on TV
* reading Danielle Steel novels
ad nauseum...

People will "waste time" because humans can't work 24/7. We're primates, for Chrissakes.. have you ever seen primates in a zoo? "Wasting time" is all they do!

Video games are just a way of wasting the same amount of time in a different way.

Re:and before Solitare and Mindsweeper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2733374)


uhhh... i think geeks still masturbate, watch tv, etc.

sometimes, at the same time (Playboy is doing that new series about the chicks in the house thing...)

Too bad we can't combine work and play... (3, Interesting)

bourne (539955) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733355)

Now what we need is some game that provides a playable veneer over an actual problem that benefits from human judgement. Kind of like Seti@Home benefits from all the idle computer power out there. Humans are capable of inuition and pattern discrimination that computers are not, and a game would be an excellent way to apply massive amounts of distributed human analysis to an appropriate problem.

Has anyone got an appropriate problem? I'm thinking that somewhere in the vast field of genetics there's got to be some problem that humans can work on better than computers, next step is to turn it into a game and getting it bundled with your favorite (or least favorite ;>) operating system...

No more wonders (2)

famazza (398147) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733356)

That's why humanity won't build no more major wonders anymore. We'll spend our lives playing games.

Fuzzy Math (-1, Troll)

deuist (228133) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733358)

Lies, all lies!

Here's the problem I see with your math, Timothy. First, you assume everyone spends one hour in a month playing solitaire. However, the study only asks people if they play a game, not how long. I play solitaire probably once a month, but I certainly don't spend an hour on it.

Your method not only builds arguments from false assumptions, but is also enforces the idea that we shouldn't hesitate to make up statistics on the spot.

How would the readers of Slashdot like it if I started making unsupported claims like "People who visit Slashdot have ten fingers; people visit Slashdot don't get laid; therefore, people who have nine fingers are the ones getting all the action."

If that's true, I could stand to lose a pinky.

#include .sig

Pointing Out the Obvious (1)

nikoftime (544802) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733376)

Though those statistics may seem somewhat intriguing, one must remember that in actuality it is highly unlikely that the people playing solitaire would rather spend their time building a large building or monumental structure.
This is not off-topic. Just listen and understand.

In general, computer gaming in the adult realm is the result of hours of boredom (Unlike teenagers/kids/some young adults who simply play the games as a hobby or a past time). And this boredom is usually a result of not having something to do at a job, or perhaps at home. People who spend hours playing solitaire generally wouldn't take it upon themselves to work on an Empire State Building or a Panama Canal.

Let's see this article for what it really is: "Lot's of people who have a lot of time on their hands spend hours achieving nothing." Or less cynically: "People, unaided by their jobs, find other routes to circumvent boredom."

I'm surprised (1)

rbgaynor (537968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733379)

I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't taken advantage of the popularity of Solitaire to inflate the number of Passport users by requiring players to get a Passport account :)

The Mythical Man-Month (1)

thelenm (213782) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733380)

First off, those stats are pretty amazing.

But comparing man-hours wasted playing Solitaire to the man-hours required to complete large construction projects is not really a valid comparison. In the realm of software engineering, anyway, Brooks tells us in The Mythical Man-Month that men and months (or men and hours) are not interchangeable. So although it's easy for 23.1 million people to waste their time independently, in parallel, it would require tremendous overhead to get them to work together on anything constructive. Of course you can't build an Empire State Building in 9 days if you just get 23.1 million people to work on it.

Solitare on Mac (3, Informative)

mattkime (8466) | more than 12 years ago | (#2733383)

While its not pre-installed, for years it was the first shareware Mac users would come in contact with - Klondike! The mac equivilant of solitare for windows. I believe MS may have even copied Klondike, as it was originally created on a Mac Lisa in 1984.

Anyways, this past week I discovered that not only has Klondike been ported to Mac OS X, but that it still runs on a Mac Plus with System 6! Thats right, the same binary can be run on a Motorola 68000 processor running an operating system without multitasking (unless you count MultiFinder) AND run on a machine with a total of 1.6 gigaherts with a fuly modern operating system, including protected memory.

Perhaps some day my mom will be ready to switch to Mac OS X.
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