18 January 2012

Why are we still talking about piracy?

heavy sigh

I’m so tired of it.

The software industry—other than a few special cases—figured it out decades ago.

The RPG publishers figured it out about five years ago. (Don’t get me started on Wizards of the Coast and this issue.)

The music industry figured it out three to five years ago.

Seriously? Why are we even talking about this anymore? Piracy is not the problem you think it is. The pirates weren’t going to pay you anyway. Copy protection doesn’t work and doesn’t help you make more money. Overreaching legislation doesn’t help you make more money and probably won’t work either. Just make a good product, charge a fair price, and concentrate on the business you’re winning instead of the business you wrongly think you’re losing.

09 January 2012

Maybe 3D movies aren’t just a fad this time

Instapaper led me to “Four reasons 3D movies aren’t just a fad”. (And I’d highly recommend reading it through Instapaper or Safari Reader.)

The Wikipedia article on Hugo led me to “Can Martin Scorsese’s Hugo save 3D?”. (The BBC News site is better than Mashable, but I’d still recommend Instapaper or Safari Reader.) With this quote from Martin Scorsese:

I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely.

08 January 2012

I think you missed the point of “less is more”

Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto - Boing Boing

Google supplied me with the full family (so far) of 16 faces to examine: a regular and oblique (the sans serif name for a slanted type that's not drawn differently, as with italics) of Light, Thin, Condensed, Bold Condensed, Regular, Medium, Bold, and Black. This warms the cockles of my typographer's heart, because with many different weights of a typeface, you can use differentiation to signify importance or meaning without having to rely solely on placement, size, or other faces. (The sign of a bad design is typically the use of many different sizes and faces. Find a great design, and you'll find remarkable restraint. The exceptions, which are legion, break that rule and prove it at the same time.)

I’m not convinced that using eight different weights of a single typeface in one document is superior to using eight different typefaces. The advantage of eight different weights is that you can pick a subset best suited to the use, not so that you can use them all.

07 January 2012

...but what exactly do you mean by “blog”?

Matt Gemmell explains why blogs should have comments turned off.

I don’t know how many bloggers I’ve seen make a comment to the effect of: As usual, the comments contain greater wisdom than my post. It has been a bunch. There is perhaps something of a difference between most bloggers I read and Gemmell, Marco, and Gruber. Indeed, “blog” has become about as meaningless as “anime”.

“Anime” certainly has meaning—animated films/video from Japan. The trouble is that most statements about anime are really about a subset of anime.

Likewise, most of the comments I see made about blogs and blogging are really about some unspecified subset of blogs and bloggers.

06 January 2012


A more interesting question, for me, than Civilization versus Final Fantasy might be this: Why do I enjoy Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword but not Final Fantasy X?

They’re both linear storylines. In both, you walk from cut-scene to cut-scene, possibly with some combat in between.

It’s not as simple as real-time versus turn-based combat. I tend to prefer turn-based, and FFX is the one with turn-based combat.

05 January 2012

Create food

So, I’m thinking of ripping off Skyward Sword for a classic D&D setting. The lands are overrun by chaos. The remnants of law have retreated to a floating island in the sky. So, that gets me thinking about how big a community needs to be to be self-sufficient. What will be their source of water? How much land will they need to raise enough food?

Then I remembered how some people say how spells like Create Food would completely change a medieval economy. So, based on the 1981 Expert book, here’s the number of people (and their mounts) that a cleric can produce food for. (They can also supply water for at least this many.)

Level # people casts/day total
7 12 1 12
8 12 1 12
9 24 2 48
10 36 2 72
11 48 3 144
12 60 3 180
13 72 4 288
14 84 4 336

The spell will keep scaling up by 12 people per level, but the book’s spells/day listings only go up to 14th level.

That’s pretty impressive. The Wikipedia article on space colonization suggests that 50 people for the short term and 500 people for the long term are minimal populations to keep inbreeding under control. A couple of 14th level clerics could easily feed 500.

Which, so far, seems to essentially be the answer for Skyward Sword as well. It seems the goddess who created Skyloft provided a magic spring of water and supernatural agriculture.

This is also handy for isolated communities encountered in dungeons or the wilderness.

Looking over the rest of the cleric spells, it’s clear that—if a community’s clerics are generous—Continual Light, Cure Disease, Raise Dead, and the Cure Wounds spells are going to drastically improve the quality of life. Nothing too crazy, though. Interestingly, this version of the game doesn’t have any truth divining cleric spells.

04 January 2012

Open phone

What would an open phone be?

1. It would be one where I buy the phone from a hardware vendor. The hardware vendor wouldn’t care what I did with it.

2. It would be one where I install whatever software I want to on the phone. Most likely starting with an open-source system that I download for free.

3. It would be one where I pay for cellular data service. The service provider wouldn’t care what hardware I’m using, what software I’m using, or what bits I’m transmitting and receiving.

Without those three things, the word “open” shouldn’t be used without being highly qualified.

Ironically, I think the iPhone may be a key component in this ever happening. Because Apple and the iPhone have come the closest opening up the cellular service providers to being simply cellular service providers. They’re the ones succeeding as a hardware company that thinks of the end-user as the customer rather than the service provider being the customer.

I can’t say for sure that I’d choose such an open phone over the iPhone, but that’s the open phone I would consider. Less than that isn’t worth my time.