Ubuntu's New Firefox Is Watching You
I don't think anyone begrudges Ubuntu taking advantage of a perfectly acceptable revenue model. That's not the problem here.
The problem is that Ubuntu is shipping a modified version of Firefox instead of the default Firefox shipped by Mozilla. Sure, both Ubuntu and Debian ship patched versions of just about every package they include in the repository. But the overwhelming majority of those patches don't noticeably effect the user experience.
Firefox, on the other hand, is pretty much the #1 most important part of the user experience in Ubuntu. It's the application most people are going to use more than anything else. In fact, after Ubuntu is installed, the user will probably spend more time interacting with Firefox than with all the rest of Ubuntu combined. It's not inaccurate to say it's a Firefox machine, as opposed to an Ubuntu or Linux machine.
Since Firefox is the most important part of the user experience, the users don't want Firefox changed in any way. They want the default Firefox as shipped by Mozilla. They don't want the named changed to Shiretoko or IceWeasel. They don't want the icons changed. They don't want weird extensions that change behaviour. They also don't want updates to come from Ubuntu repositories, as they do for every other package. They want the newest version of Firefox from Mozilla at the exact moment that Mozilla ships it.
I understand the reasoning behind Ubuntu and Debians policies, but I think it is obvious that Firefox trumps Ubuntu. They should make a special exception for it. Just ship the raw Firefox as released by Mozilla. Don't modify it in any way whatsoever. The world is just getting more browser centric. The operating system is just the code that talks between the browser and the hardware. You can do anything you want to the OS, but don't touch the browser or you'll lose all the users you worked so hard to gain.
The Dilemma of Level vs. Skill In MMOs
Think about Sudoku for a second. Let's say you never played it before. Someone gives you a board and the rules. The first step you have is to figure out how to solve it. Eventually you develop an algorithm that can solve any sudoku. Once you have developed this algorithm, sudoku is no longer an intellectual exercise. It is no longer a matter of solving a problem, but merely executing an algorithm. It becomes manual labor. Likewise, if someone gives you the algorithm, you can bypass the first part entirely.
An MMO is very similar. In the beginning you don't know what to do. You have to learn the game and solve problems. Many of the rules of the game are hidden or secret. Thus, it can take awhile. However, eventually, you learn it. You know exactly what to press in order to do the maximum damage per unit time in any given situation with any given character. You don't even need to learn this, either. Someone can just tell you.
At some point you switch from developing an algorithm to executing an algorithm. You switch from developing a solution to executing a known solution. You switch from skill to knowledge.
This is why there is such an attraction tïo eurogames like Puerto Rico, Agricola, Caylus, Power Grid, Tigris and Euphrates, etc. These games tend to have little to no randomness, so they aren't games of chance. They are complex enough that it is very difficult to solve them, though perhaps not as complex as Go. They also have a significant theme and other elements that make them more "fun" than a game like Go or Chess.
Even so, many eurogames are solvable. We have a shelf full of games, but we only actually play about half of them. For the other half, everyone already knows the algorithm for optimal play. When we play with each other, it becomes a perfect Nash equilibrium. When we play with anyone else who hasn't solved the game, they are completely crushed.
The answer is to never play a game you have solved, and never play games that are easily solvable.
Open Source Killing Commercial Developer Tools
Many open source projects fail to succeed because everyone working on them is a developer. They design the software to meet their own personal needs. Thus we get projects like the Gimp which does not meet the needs of any artist I have ever known.
However, when it comes to making development tools, who better to know the needs of the end user than other developers? When it comes to software that is used by developers, open source will always be king. Look where the real successes in open source are right now. Most of it is in libraries and frameworks like django, rails, and jquery. These are things made by developers to make developing easier.
Open source will always own that market.
My roommate and I have started a podcast called "GeekNights with Rym + Scott". He's Rym and I'm Scott. It's sort of a late night talk show for geeks. We cover all sorts of topics including, but not exclusively: anime, video games, technology, gaming, science and just about anything else geeks like us are interested in.
You can check us out at http://www.frontrowcrew.com/.
And you can subscribe to our podcast RSS feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/GeekNights.
We put out new episodes 4 nights a week, Monday through Thursday. I hope you try it out and possibly even enjoy it. We're still in the early stages and can use a little help, so any feedback at all will help us immensely.
Gamers in Dutchess County, NY
Do you like to play board games like Puerto Rico, Settlers, Tigris+Euphrates, etc.? Are you located anywhere in the vicinity of Dutchess County, NY USA? If so, me and my roommate are looking for you!
We don't care about your skill level or anything else as long as you don't have bad body odor and your social skills are decent. Comic book guy from the Simpsons need not apply. Also, if you have an existing gaming group in the area we would love to join, if you'll have us. Just reply to this and we'll work something out.
Freedom Zealots Hurt Linux Multimedia
I wrote something in my blog that I think is really great, so I put a linky here in the journal.
Help find USB Switch
I think the title of this says it all. I'm having trouble finding a USB switch that satisfies my needs. I basically need to switch two USB2.0 devices (keyboard and mouse) between 3 or more computers. The solution has to be os independent, none of that windows software for the switching. Normally I would need a KVM, but my monitors handle the V quite nicely on their own. However, I wouldn't be opposed to a reasonably priced KVM solution if it did the USB switching properly and the price was right.
The trick here is that the switch must work with my Logitech MX1000 mouse. Keep in mind when I tried to plug this mouse into the USB hub that is built into my keyboard it did not work.
I've searched everywhere on the net that I know, and I can't find a reasonable solution. Please help.
See blog post here for redundant details.
I realize I haven't put anything here in a long time. I've pretty much completed my transition from /journal to real blog long ago. However, since I've been keeping track of referrers I've realized that a lot of hits to my site come from people clicking on my /. signature and such. So I figured that since I just made a large blog update, 3 posts!, that I'd make a few pointers over there.
I wrote a story about using a VPN to make private PC gaming communities.
I wrote another thing about how the working hours of most establishments suck ass.
And lastly I wrote about my ideas for creating games using AJAX and other new web technologies.
The front page of my blog is at http://www.apreche.net/blog/ and I'm sure you can figure out the URL of the front page of my site.
Yeah, 3 blog posts is what happens when I'm bored on the train to work but don't get around to uploading anything until the weekend comes.
There is a new anime called "Speed Grapher". I wrote a review of the first episode in my blog. Its not fantastic like FMA, but its the only new show I know of that's worth watching.
Software Patent Idiot
An article sayign software patents are good.
Everyone e-mail this idiot to shut him up. He's got the same old economist arguments that ignore the fundamental differences of software. He actually seems like a reasonable intelligent person, so enough intelligent e-mail might actually turn him over.
New Website, New Job
Not only did I completely redesign my website and my blog but I got a job also.
Just a bit of advice for anyone. Sites like monster gave about no help in job finding. DICE gave a tiny bit of help, but nothing significant. Slashdot actually brought up a few leads, more than I expected. But I must say that craig's list is the number one way to find a job on the Internet. This of course is not a scientific study, just the personal experience of a college graduate looking for a full time programming position in a major city. I did however try many methods of job finding. Posting the resume on craig's list was infinitely more effective than any other.
As I am graduating and receiving my BS in Computer Science very soon, I need to find a job before I have to make student loan payments. I wrote more about it in my blog.
I welcome job offers, pointers to job offers and mostly I want hints on how to improve my resume, make myself more attractive to employers and find positions that would be a good fit. I've read Joel's Advice and can say that I excel in all the departments he's looking for except GPA, if that means anything to you.
Of course, if you read the things I write on slashdot you may or may not completely love me for what I think and say. But despite this, I figure it can't hurt to try.
I got a domain, yay. Now despite all my constant moving that will happen after college you will still be able to find me. the domain is apreche.net. So don't bother visiting protoman.rh.rit.edu, even though that will still work until I move out.
Update all your links to apreche.net so http://apreche.net/blog is my blog, etc.
I will setup e-mail later.
Gaim Log URL Extractor Syndication
I made a new piece of software today. It's a rather small ruby script. It goes through my gaim logs and parses out any URLs for the current day. Then it creates an rss feed from those URLs. I use cron to upload this rss feed to my webserver every half-hour or so. It's very helpful for myself because if someone sends me a link it ends up in my live bookmarks. It can also be helpful to others who want to see what everybody's talking about.
To check out the rss feed visit glues.rss
To read about why this script is version 0.1 and what it will take to make it version 1.0 read my blog post on the subject.
Parents on Linux
I switched my parents to Linux. And all is well. Could it be that the best way to switch people to Linux is to force it upon them? I envision it like windows users have a disease and Linux is the best medicine. But it tastes bad and they don't want to take it. But once you force it down their throats they are no longer ill and they'll thank you for it later.
Read full blog post here.
If you read my journal or blog you know what I think of most MMOs. You might also know I have been searching for a new MMO idea that would really blow them away. I wanted an original concept for a new game that would truly be a work of art.
Rejoice. That idea has come. And to commemorate this event I am doing a three-part blog series.
In part 1, which is already written I examine yet again why I don't like existing MMOs. I didn't go into too much detail as most of my opinion is unchanged. Also, there are others who have elaborated on the subject much more deeply than I can. So think of it as a 5 minute refresher course on the basics of what is wrong with MMOs today.
In Part 2 I will examine the paralells of MMOs and western society. While it seems slightly off-topic it will serve two purposes. First, like part 1, it will make the light you see in part 3 so much clearer. Secondly, it will throw anyong trying to guess what my ultimate MMO idea is.
In part 3, the idea will be revealed. Details will not be divulged in greater number than necessary to make readers realize the greatness of the idea. And hopefully, someone who wants to fund it will read it :)
Watch this spot or my blog or either RSS feed to see when parts 2 and 3 come out.
Fuck the Troops
Yeah, that's right. You heard me. FUCK THE TROOPS
Ghandi Flash Mob
What if the Internet existed in the times of Ghandi? Why does nobody use his methods anymore? Why don't we? These questions and more in my latest blog entry.
Flash Mob Ghandi
You can always read my blog, Gourmet Geek, at this URL and it is RSS syndicated here.
I will also of course, put pointers to entries I really want people to read in the slashjournal right here, if that is your preferred method. And this slashjournal is also RSS syndicated here.
Show of Courage
Jon Stewarts appearance on Crossfire made me lose a lot of hope I previosuly had for the future of our society. However, I also have come closer to finalizing an idea I have had on a possible way to bring real debate and enlightenment to the people. So here is my new blog entry called show of courage. Tell me what you think about it. If I can get enough interested manpower to start it up, I might consider actually executing one of my ideas for a change.
Super Technology Combination
Ok, this isn't really blog material, but I'm putting it in the /journal because its so cool I can't keep it to myself.
Check this out. I got an iPod. The iPod has an alarm clock feature, so it can play a song at a specified time. Great replacement for bedside alarm clock if you have speakers that can plug into the iPod. But I don't have speakers that do that.
What I DO have is a normal clock/radio and an iTrip. Leave the clock/radio on tuned into the iTrip. There will be complete silence as long as the iTrip's LED is on and the iPod isn't playing a song. Then when the iPods alarm goes off you get an mp3 to wake you up in the morning. If I wanted I could syncrhonize the clocks on the iPod and the clock/radio so the alarm clock goes off in radio mode which happens to be the iPod playing a song.
The best part is that I can do this AND leave the iPod charging overnight.
Without even writing a line of code or taking out a soldering iron you can combine existing pieces of technology to do some really awesome stuff. Oh hotness.
Who to Blame?
I wrote a peice in my blog today that I'm pretty proud of. I describe my personal philosophy on blame. Considering the stuff going on in the presidential election, I figured it was pretty relevant. What it boils down to is that if people placed blame correctly the world would be a much better place.
Read for more details.
If at least one person improves their life a small bit after reading this, then it was worth the time it took to write it.
My latest blog entry deals with my idea of starting a geek commune. Similar to the Kibbutzes in Israel we could all group up and write software in a small, happy, cooperative community for the rest of our lives. As long as we don't look like crazy culties in the process. And as long as we don't let freaky people in.
DS Killer App
I've posted my thoughts on the DS/PSP multiple times around the net. Mostly on games.slashdot. But I decided to reiterate them in my blog so they would have a permanent easily accesible home. But in addition to that old slightly changing opinion I also included an idea we had yesterday. The killer app for the DS has been discovered, and its a doozy. Now I just have to get a DS dev kit. Too bad they cost $10,000+. Maybe one day my dream will exist.
Anyway read all about it at my blog here. While you read it notice the Gameboy being the icon of choice for this slashdot category and what that means.
Also, my blog has RSS if you want to subscribe to it here.
Ok, that's all for now. I haven't posted much due to lots and lots of work at work. We'll see how things go. I should have more free time when school starts again in two weeks.