07 Feb

Distributed Workforce Gone Wild

Steve F., web developer, Maine USA: “I gotta go help my girlfriend with the snow blower, her car’s stuck.”
Olivier T., COO, Central Chile: “Sure. Meanwhile I’ll go walk along the beach to ogle the hotties in thongs hired to promote bear and cheap perfume.”
I’d post a picture but it would turn my blog into an R-rated publication. Anyway my wife keeps me on a short leash so I can’t take the best pics. Sideways glancing while walking is a vital skill for married men.

25 Jan

Barrens Chat

This WowWiki entry explains well the utter silliness of most discussions in the main public channel in the beginner’s area for the Horde faction in World of Warcraft. What is really interesting is that a confluence of factors in the game (for instance geography, player level) lead to very similar chat patterns across servers, from country to country, month after month (I’ve been witness to Barrens chat myself a couple years ago with Horde lowbie rerolls). See, WoW is not a single universe, it’s actually hundreds of servers functioning as silo’ed replicas of the same universe. Characters from one server don’t interact with those from other servers except in instanced PVP zones and arenas, or when they migrate from one server to the other (usually because of over or under server population). Yet the same behaviors happen again and again.
WoW shows how mechanistic human groups can behave. Guild drama for instance is highly replicable from guild to guild. Once you’ve been through it a couple times, you may feel like you belong to a species quite close to ants or bees.

05 Aug

Nietzsche For Dummies

If le ridicule ne tue pas and what doesn’t kill you make you stronger, then surely ridicule makes you stronger?
(How is it I never added a “nonsense” category to this blog?)

22 Jul

Geek Toys On My Radar

Currently on my shopping list:
Draytek 2910G Dual Wan broadband modem. I own a Draytek 2600VG already — Draytek is probably one of the best modem manufacturers these days. Once we’ve relocated (more on that in future posts) I want to get both cable and dsl broadband so that we’re never off the internet. When our ISP goes down, our life stops dead in its tracks. We rely on web apps and VOIP for work and family stuff. It’s a redundancy priority for me to have two ISPs.
QNAP TS-109 NAS server with 750GB Seagate hard drive + Squeezebox combo. This seems to be the real deal as far as PC-less media distribution is concerned. I need to make sure it’s possible to run slimserver and TwonkyMedia at the same time on the QNAP so it can serve music to my Philips WAK 3300 (yes I own a WiFi alarm clock. And your point is? By the way I’m not linking to the device because it has too many shortcomings to be recommended.)
The whole wireless PC-less media thing is quite complex. Many media players and NAS boxes look great on paper, only to be thrashed by people who own them (see for instance what people have to say about the Buffalo Linkstation Live or the Maxtor Shared Storage, among other duds). Slimserver on the TS-109 looks like a well-supported solution based on reliable components. A lot of the stuff out there is junk. And some products, while receiving good reviews (eg. HP Media Vault) are lacking in the hackability and interop departments.
– Creative Zen Vision M 60GB. Its main benefit is that you don’t need to use Itunes junkware. (I own an Ipod Shuffle, neat device, horrible software.) More seriously, it works as a USB host so you can dump pictures directly from a camera into it.
I’m also looking for a good world phone/PDA (i.e. quad band GSM + email). You can get old unlocked Treos (650/680 gen) for $300 or less, but they don’t run Skype natively and once you add WiFi to them, they’re bulky and not that inexpensive anymore. If someone knows of a reliable quad-GSM + Skype device (with support for encrypted WiFi) that doesn’t cost more than $300-400, please email me (comments are still broken).

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17 Jul

I Am Murloc

I Am Murloc is the summer ’07 hit for WoW players. Winning a Murloc scream contest against your guildmates on TeamSpeak is a key element of geek cred. I’m glad I quit WoW a couple months ago though, gear-based MMOs are really too time-consuming. I may look into Warhammer Online when it ships but only if it’s possible to PVP without submitting yourself to the constant PVE grind for gear and enchants. Mythic is insisting on its self-proclaimed RVR strengths, but given how people ended up dual-boxing buffbots in DAoC, I have my doubts about the end product.
(It’s ok if you didn’t understand a word a wrote. Scratch that, it’s actually healthy if you didn’t.)

08 Jul

Isheep Fanbois Should Get a Life

Seriously, don’t you people have better things to do with your time than stand in a line for hours to buy a phone? There’s a world out there, you know. Here are a few hints for the desperately clueless to improve their life. Standing in line to buy junk: not fun. Skying in the Andes in July: fun. Wanking over a phone: not fun. Sex with someone you love: fun. See, it’s easy enough, if you check it out there in meatspace, you’ll find out that the video resolution is extraordinary.
ski in Chile, El Colorado, July 2007
I’m just saying…
(This post tries hard to be as obnoxious as people twittering about their iPhone “experience”, but let’s face it, there’s nothing more obnoxious than that, except maybe posting about it on Facebook while thinking you’re cutting edge.)

07 Nov

Leading Insight (If Delivered Six Years Ago, That Is)

When you see it took until late 2004 for Forrester and Morgan Stanley to cover topics such as corporate blogs and RSS syndication, you’ve gotta ask, who needs those laggards? When you’re late to chronicle the past, don’t pretend to know what’s going to happen in the future, ok? If those companies who shot credibility in the head and locked it in the trunk long ago have any kind of influence where you work, it should be the canary in a coalmine that tells you your organization is taking driving lessons with blind teachers. If their hubris is still around someone must be funding it. They even make JupiterMedia look leading-edge!

08 Jun

Futures Market for Meme Emergence?

You think a meme is going to emerge, or some until-now obscure location or rock band is about to have a burst of popularity. Is there a site where you can bet on such predictions, say, if you think everyone is going to talk about deflation (a good bet to make 18 months ago), or, to be more timely, Franz Ferdinand or Ras Tanura? For more fun, try to predict when the meme is going to start spreading and when it will peak.
Think of it as Blogshares and Hollywood Stock Exchange meet Technorati and Google Zeitgeist. Then people with a good sniff for talent or a rare ability to predict political events might emerge. The idea sounds familiar so maybe I’ve actually seen this somewhere, then please refresh my memory. Or maybe I already posted this and I’m just in a rut.
OK, I should stop being lazy. Let’s invoke the power of the web… No wonder it sounded familiar, the Extropians already did it years ago (I define myself as an extropian when I want to sound mystical, if I was available I’m sure I could pick up chicks with this) and of course there was the spat about Darpa’s short-lived Policy Analysis Market last summer. I guess I’m thinking of something a little funnier that intertwines gracefully with the blogosphere.
12/30/04 update: Media Mammon "is like a stock market of news, memes and hypes."
02/06/06 update: The Rise of the Memetrackers.

23 Apr

Excel Freak? You Are Not Alone

With this post and thread, Anil proves that a) he’s read exclusively by freaks, and b) there’s a market for a 12-step program to get people out of the habit of making complex but useless spreadsheets. Hi, my name is Olivier and I’m addicted to making useless spreadsheets.