29 April 2009

Two different perspectives

Asad al-Islam at http://majahden.com/vb/

"In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate...

"After Star Wars, Obama Invents New War Terminologies

"Praise be to God, and peace and prayers be upon the messenger of God, his family, and companions.

"Anyone who lived among and interacted with the beastly and arrogant American people will know that their verbal expressions full of cursing and foul words. They are a people who are not good at speaking, regardless of how well they decorate their speeches. What really distinguishes US foreign policy, since it was established by Henry Kissinger, is the manipulation of words serve the greed of their leaders. They killed two million Vietnamese in the name of 'war against Communism,' and did the same thing in Nicaragua in the mid 80's in the name of 'freedom and democracy.' Their successor Obama is following in their footsteps. He is continuing the US war against Islam and Muslims, but lies to them and attempts to trick them by beautifying his words.

"The era of the despicable Bush was known for terminologies resembling the saying 'open sesame' to anyone who wanted to approach the White House, such as 'war on terrorism,' 'Islamo-fascism,' 'Islamic extremism' etc. These terms brought woe upon all the US. The war that was associated with these terms drained their powers, and displaced and starved them. On top of all that, the American is on the top of the wanted list anytime his filthy feet touch Muslim land. What was the result of that drunk's term? Imaginary profits gained by war companies such as Halliburton (the second house of Dick Cheney), and oil companies like Chevron, which honored 'Candy Rice' (former member of its board of directors) by naming one of its petroleum carriers after her. This is just a simple example of the 'conflict of interest' (as they call it in their administrative laws) inside the governing body of the United (but near separated) States. The rich are the decision makers and the executive team of the Federal Government. As for their people (the people of Coca-Cola and McDonald's, the people of adultery and gayness): Those who did not lose their houses to the mortgage crisis eventually lost their savings due to the collapse of banks and the economic crisis. Those who did not lose a son or brother were eventually killed by the mujahidin. Some lost their jobs at General Motors, where the mujahidin contributed to its bankruptcy. The best of them visits a psychiatrist three times a week, and a doctor purchased a weapon yesterday because fighting over bread is on the horizon.

"When the new administration felt the weight of the burden left by Bush, when it realized the signs of the collapse of empires that are surfacing in the US, it sought help from the 'think tanks.' They turned to a report released by the Anti-Terrorism Center on 14 March 2008 entitled Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide to Counterterrorism Communication, published by the expert Steven Emerson (who rose to fame when he accused 'Islamic terrorism' of blowing up the FBI headquarters in Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995, which was carried out by extreme rightist Timothy McVeigh). This report included many recommendations related to reconsidering the content of the US President's speech on the war on terrorism in an attempt to eliminate some terminologies (such as "open sesame"), which tarnished the image of the US in the Islamic world. Some of the important recommendations are:

"'Do not invoke Islam: Although Al-Qa'ida exploits religious sentiments and tries to use religion to justify its actions, we should treat it as an illegitimate political organization, both terrorist and criminal.'

"'Do not harp on Muslim identity: Avoid labeling everything 'Muslim.' It reinforces the 'US versus Islam' framework that Al-Qa'ida promotes. Be specific (Egyptian, Pakistani) and descriptive (South Asian youth, Arab opinion leaders), where possible.'

"'Avoid offensive terminology: We are communicating with, not confronting, our audiences. Do not insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' which are considered offensive by many Muslims.'

"'Avoid the term 'caliphate,' which has positive connotations for Muslims, but is used to describe the goal of Al-Qa'ida and associated groups. The best description of what they really want to create is a global totalitarian state.'

"'Never use the terms 'jihadist' or 'mujahidin' in conversation to describe the terrorists. A mujahid, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means 'striving in the path of God' and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadists and their movement global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions.'

"The report also addressed avoiding phrases such as 'We do not hate Islam,' because the word 'hate' is the only word that will remain in the minds of those listening. Because the US Administration blindly trusts such reports, it began implementing everything in it. Hilary Clinton was the first to play her role in this play, which is aimed at misleading Muslims. This old woman stated that the US will abandon using 'global war against terrorism' in her speech about war on Islam. When asked why this decision is being made, she replied by stating it was the obvious and did not give a convincing answer. Why would she? She is only a button that can be pushed, nothing more. This was followed by Michelle Sison, the US ambassador to Lebanon, who stated to Al-Nahar net [Lebanese newspaper] on 3 April 2009 that: 'The new administration will use the phrase peace in the Middle East instead of peace process.' As for Obama, he announced from Turkey on 6 April 2009 that 'the US is not at war with Islam and will never be in a war with Islam.' Does the change in speech imply a change in policy? No not at all. No one is better at proving this other than their own.

"On 4 April 2009, the Washington Post addressed this subject in a column entitled New Words for War. This is what was mentioned in the article: 'Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently confirmed that the Obama administration has dropped the phrase 'global war on terror.' She didn't say why. 'I think that speaks for itself, obviously' was her elaboration. That raised a few obvious questions: Does the new administration believe the fight against Al-Qa'ida and other extreme Islamist groups does not amount to war? Is the threat to the US homeland less, in President Obama's estimation, than that perceived by President George W. Bush? And does the United States still expect its NATO military allies to join in this newly unnamed, speaks-for-itself endeavor?' It added: 'It seems the 'global war on terrorism' will continue, only without the name. There is some logic to that: Mr. Obama is acutely aware of the damage done by the Bush administration to American prestige in Europe and throughout the Muslim world, and he has spoken much this week of a fresh start. As many have pointed out, the old term was awkward- 'terror' describes a means of war, not an enemy. The challenge for the new administration is to describe that enemy and the campaign against it in ways that convey its urgency to both Americans and foreign audiences - and that unites rather than polarizes. In that respect, Mr. Obama made a good start in Strasbourg.'

"Peter Baker wrote in an article entitled The Words Have Changed, but Have the Policies?, published by International Herald Tribune on 2 April 2009. He wrote: 'They may be sending 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, as much as Mr. Bush did to Iraq, but it is not a 'surge.' They may still be holding people captured on the battlefield at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but they are no longer 'enemy combatants.' They may be carrying the fight to Al-Qa'ida as their predecessors did, but they are no longer waging a 'war on terror.' He added: 'Indeed, for all the shifting words, Mr. Obama has left the bulk of Mr. Bush's national security architecture intact so far. He has made no move to revise the Patriot Act or the eavesdropping program. He has ordered Guantánamo to be closed in a year, but has not turned loose all the prisoners. The troop buildup in Afghanistan resembles the one Mr. Bush ordered in Iraq two years ago.'

"O brothers in religion, are there any doubts or confusions left after the confessions made by their own people? Republicans and Democrats share the same goal, except Republicans use the stick to achieve it and Democrats use the carrot. The actions of the White House slaves amount to nothing more than throwing ashes into the eyes of the Muslims in an attempt to hypnotize them in order to accomplish their goals. They have been exposed, however, by the will of God. Praise be to Him. The question that comes to mind is: What caused the Obama plan to receive such objections from some Americans who tried to expose it? The ruling entity in the US has caused the entire country to become divided. We have clear evidence to support that, but this is not the place to discuss it. Our last supplication is praise be to God, Lord of all creation."

Markus Ziener: "Moving Coolly Through the Crisis?" from Duesseldorf Handelsblatt at http://www.handelsblatt.com/

In the crisis, Americans appreciate, above all, one thing: leadership. And this is what Obama shows. Regardless of whether you agree or not with all the decisions Obama made in his first 100 days, the 44th President is meeting the challenges. He does not shun decisions.

If Obama wants to know what the people's concerns are, he talks to them directly, even now as President. When he headed for a townhall meeting just a few weeks after he had taken office, the political classes shook their heads -- perhaps he has not noticed that the election campaign is over, they stated sarcastically. Actually, however, the critics did not understand that this President works differently than many of his predecessors. From the beginning, his secret to success was to talk with the people, and not just about them.

A new style will not be enough. At the end of a presidency, success is measured by facts. In a few years from now, the Americans will judge Obama, above all, on whether he succeeded or not in overcoming the crisis. It is still much too early to answer that question.

It is clear that the financial and economic crisis can only be overcome if the President manages to change his country's psychology. It is not by chance that Obama often mentions Ronald Reagan: the republican from California was a symbol of confidence, a confidence that was so contagious that it enabled the United States to get out of the economic doldrums and the trauma from the Vietnam War. Because he achieved this, the Americans forgave him quite a few mistakes.

Obama may hope for a similar outcome. Despite record unemployment and first setbacks in foreign policy, a large majority of Americans believe that the country is on the right path. In fact, the surprising thing about the first three months is that the big difficulties with which the United States is struggling do not seem to affect this President much. Obama seems to be "cool" -- calm and collected.

This is why his "Grand Design" - the strategy to tackle all problems simultaneously - is working. Obama has understood that health care reform, climate change and the economic crisis belong together. The weaknesses of the US social system are a burden on the companies, and so is the lack of adjustment to new global environmental standards. Hence, Obama does not only want to patch potholes. He wants to overlay the streets with a new asphalt surface.

Since his large-scale project for America will tie him to domestic policy for quite some time, Obama needs support from his allies in terms of foreign policy. This is why he extends his hand to partners, admits that the United States has made mistakes, and shows that he is able to listen. This is also part of the overall concept.

Does Obama always strike the right balance? Some goals may sound naïve -- for example, the noble goal of a nuclear weapons free world. Substantial progress in disarmament would already be success enough. But that is not the point. The point is the direction. It is the right one.

26 April 2009

Idle thoughts III

I was reminded of some of the flaws with current paradigms for sharing user-created content when I tried to find some old warrior movies. There weren't any links on a popular direct-download site; and despite this warrior's popularity there wasn't a single mention of them on the largest torrent site >_< I deleted everything I had from them a long time ago, partly because I didn't like paladin abuse but mostly to save space.

The current phenomenon of torrent collections has two interesting features. Torrent seeders rely on being able to describe the torrent contents to accomplish their goals: a sense of ownership of the files included in the torrent, and spreading their popularity as a torrent seeder or other provider of information such as a website. Some torrent sites offer exceptional ability to describe the contents and status of a torrent, such as a well-formatted description space and torrent classification or even forum threads that accompany torrents; when the source of torrent files does not allow this descriptive information, seeders rely on including text files within the torrent to support this sense of ownership of the files.

When you create an additional like semantic (mangle technical meanings) file layer beneath the torrent, the seeder no longer owns the files. Instead they control the connections between, and groupings of files. At the same time the particular collection that a leecher is constructing may not be the one held by the seeds they are leeching from, due to the 'JIGDO' concept from working at the file level. So once again it becomes the responsibility of the torrent site to provide this association between seeds and ownership.

There's no way around having an entirely new bittorrent client implementation, due to the requirements:
  • Download a torrent for the single file you are interested in, but leech off of collections of many files that include this one file
  • Create a new collection out of files previously downloaded, that is receptive to requests from other collections and single-file torrents
  • Seed a new collection by partly using old ones, to avoid dead torrents from losing seeds
  • Associate files with certain names in one torrent, with the same files in another torrent that are named differently
This last one in particular means you can't just transparently include several torrents in one, that would seed independently but show up as the sum of unique peers in torrent UI; because the current bittorrent protocol has torrent names, as well as file names as unique and part of the way to identify that torrent. Multiple seeders with different file names could not connect to the same torrent unless some or all single-file torrents within torrent collections were corrected to the same filename, but this is contrary to the idea of torrents being independent of any single website to be able to work. Seeders that could not connect to a torrent database would not be able to construct valid collections that linked to other torrents.

Anyway so I was wondering if you couldn't create linked torrents using DHT on a per-file basis because of seeder ownership requirements and you would instead have to just show very well all the torrents that contained a particular file you wanted; but this would prevent you from doing the first item in the above list, downloading the torrent for a single file. If you did want to seed after downloading, you would have to continue to manage single torrents and this leads to torrent clutter.

So that's why change is necessary. You can either keep trackers pretty much the same as they are, and rely on clients to create standardized hash things for pieces and files and then use DHT to find files in torrents on other peers; or you can do that AND also change trackers work on the file level by treating every major file as its own torrent without regard for its name, so peers can find seeders with the file by tracker as well as DHT.

This only works for files you'd want to include in multiple collections... and I still don't know what impact it would have for large numbers of files >_< it's possible that streamlining things would end up reducing the total number of things tracked by the tracker; but some torrents have a lot of files. Maybe best if trackers in this implementation only tracked pre-registered files, for which it had a verified/official hash and so on. It might still be possible to search for other files via DHT, especially if using a smart algorithm which assumes that a seeder with one file from a large torrent may have many other files from it too; and in the case with a non-registered anonymous/generic tracker.

Torrent collection tracking could get complex. Again, the idea is that even when files have their own separate pages and the torrent collection seeder is neither required nor allowed to provide an in-depth description of the torrent contents (or advertisement for their website...), other details about a torrent can have a significant effect on someone's decision whether to use that torrent or another one. It would be possible to have an implementation where users could explore the torrent-space entirely within the torrent application, by showing which torrents you leech from and letting you select for download all files within that torrent, then branching these off into more primary torrents for you to explore or even provide feedback or discussion via a statically-linked website; but this would remove what little remains of seeder ownership under a file-descriptive system and would also lock implementation users to a specific torrent website o.0 So that's why any torrent UI feedback would just be informative, not supposed to lead to new torrents; this exploration would be done on any central site which describes the files themselves, as well as providing this information about torrent collections which I still haven't described. omg.

If I had more experience with open source project development maybe I could describe this better >_< Any particular collection of files may importantly be linked to previous collections. It may be a branch from a main collection by a different seeder than the creator of the original collection, it may also be a compilation of various sources or the evolutionary development of a collection that seeks to include a certain number, quality, or focus of files. This may show prospective leechers how a collection was derived and possibly what it led to, contributing to the feeling of ownership even if a different individual branches off a collection to create a more popular torrent that still leeches off the original seeders using the jigdo method.

The files contained in the torrent should also be referenced, this is possible when standardized hashes lets the files be uniquely identified regardless of whether they were renamed. This lets users see descriptions of the contents of the torrent, regardless of who created the collection or how much detail they used to describe its contents (if a description apart from the name is allowed at all)!

mm will say a bit about games. Could even have multiple worlds to live in. Some of these might not allow unique advancement, such as leveling or gaining experience; some might have different rules, such as 'infamy' for killing weak players of a different faction vs becoming a 'murderer' for killing same-faction players in a weakly free-for-all player vs player ruleset, allowing conflicting attitudes to exist in the same game. Or a world that emphasizes group combat and ambushing, lying in wait for convoys to pass by o_O somewhat mutually exclusive with an emphasis on solo PvP as reinforced by ruleset and the activities and progressions given in a game. This also increases the chance that an open source development model could be leveraged to provide more game content and options, using the OpenID authentication model. However, art style and consistency is a major concern and may be one reason for centralization of certain development resources.

Maybe I did, or didn't have anything interesting to say about items, but I need to go... it's late here.


21 April 2009

Idle thoughts II

Torrent client that manages files that the user has decided can be shared from local storage. There would probably be several ways to display them, such as chronologically and by folder structure.

Separating torrents from the filesystem and confirming any sharing instance to prevent violations of privacy or security.

Standardizing hash methods and piece size allows quick adding of torrents once a file is located in the list of sharable files. This would be very similar to the thumbnail standard; torrents would be hooked into the file manager such that moving a file would change the location that the reference torrent file pointed to, without having to regenerate the hash. This pre-torrent file would need to include information to verify the file, such as size, file type if magic numbers or other methods are available, and possibly timestamp; the file's current location; and hash information for each piece. The requirements aren't exactly the same as for thumbnails. The actual 'torrent thumbnail' file name would not have to be defined the same way as media thumbnails, unless the torrent program doesn't load the entire directory into memory upon program start. The torrent sharing method might be such that it isn't necessary to do this. Hmm~

If separation is really maintained, then torrents would contain all the information (hash, and maybe name?) to find the right 'torrent thumbnail'. It would mean that you couldn't right-click and immediately start sharing a file (automatically creating a hidden torrent, or downloading one, using a predefined tracker), because the hash would be part of the 'torrent thumbnail' file name, but this is the objective because it reduces privacy accidents. I may be saying things that are totally wrong, I'm hardly an expert on the BitTorrent protocol >_<

Overall goals for this proposed expansion of torrent functionality in order to better support user-created content sharing:
- can download the files you need
- can easily share files that you feel like sharing, matching between torrent and files on the hard drive
- can clearly and simply define the files you share

This last one, as well as privacy, is why not to have a system that lets you 'share every possible file on my hard drive that I have marked for sharing', despite that changing OS support and standardizing hashes would let you accomplish this. The fact that you cannot do this is due, as far as I understand, to the problems mentioned before here of torrent clutter and lack of freedom to manipulate files in the filesystem when sharing; but it is also due to the way torrents work with sharing collections of files. If you change the way torrents approach the download objective, by changing from searching for pieces within the swarm for a single torrent to instead searching for files within the like meta-swarm of all torrents on available trackers, it becomes easier to update and replace old torrent collections with new ones, which accomplishes the goal of reducing torrent clutter and keeping clear definitions of what to share while also allowing the addition of new files into the meta-swarm.

This goal is somewhat similar to that program for debian repositories, that lets you synchronize an iso image with new packages. It's on the Ubuntu distro server but I forget the name.

It somewhat involves treating each individual file as its own torrent. It would mess a little with tracking seeders and leechers for torrents; but since it works both ways it should all work out. As I understand it (aka not very well!) it increases load on the tracker, but I don't know how significant this is and you can always split torrents up on different trackers.

Name should not matter, because it's easy to change and people arbitrarily change the name of a file and include it in a new torrent... maybe less for user-created content where a file has more of an identity that it can be found as, but still~. If you open a torrent, it should automatically populate files you have previously decided to share if the hash file allows it; if there are files that look like they might match but the hash boundaries are wrong (is this how torrents work? I don't know, lol) it will check the hash again; in all other cases it will look for similarly-sized files within your filesystem as you allow it and suggest checking, or automatically check to see if any of them have the right hash. And if a file is still being downloaded, it could still check it if the hash boundaries are standardized.

I think knowing exactly what it is you're sharing has important psychological effects on overall swarm behavior. Some people may seed 300 torrents at once but they are in the minority.

20 April 2009

Path of Death

I don't really want this to be the place I put important things. But at the same time, there are some places you might only be able to go to once.

I don't have control when indulging myself. If I stop eating, it's because I'm not hungry anymore or feel like eating something that isn't available.. not because I feel I've eaten too much. Right now I'm not hungry >_<

A movie said that if you hold a bird too tightly, it will die, and if you do not hold it tightly enough it will fly away... maybe I'm saying too much, but you can't hide forever :P So that's why to know that something could exist is enough.

It isn't mind games.

i'm still afraid.

"To end": thread + winter

I was thinking. First, is there really no way to leverage an open source code base for an MMO? One of the problems of trying to share an MMO across multiple providers is not just trusted vendors, but also authenticating users of content and a particular transaction of that user with content providers. Trusted vendors is closely related to the attitudes that develop within the community towards progression and character identity. If a game allowed transfering a 'character' or other specific information between different vendors of a game, besides the basic technical issues there is also the validity of things that are viewed as achievements, and deciding whether to change any aspect of presentation in-game. Anyway, the point is that an OpenID-style model would let a game that has solved these problems transfer information from one provider to another, while being assured that the same person is in charge of both copies of this account until proven otherwise.

Second, a free alternative would probably change opinions towards banning as seen in current popular MMOs. Being able to switch providers might change it back and make this not a problem, but becoming a 'ghost' might be a different way, for things as simple as illegal account selling or trading. Someone wouldn't be banned, they would just become noticably different. Just a little too predictable, as if they weren't really there. Disturbing in strange ways. A silly smile and a repetitive argument... any normalcy is just evidence of the monstrous perversion that must be lurking behind this facade. A name that fuzzes out once in a while.

Someone could, of course, apply to fix any misinterpretation of evidence, but it importantly allows the retention of the idea that a character in-game is associated with a certain individual assuming that identity, while presenting the reinforcement of that idea entirely within the game's rules and not making reference to outside factors.

18 April 2009

Idle thoughts I

I hate worrying about money. I hate listening to people, who view earning money as their only goal in life and worship those who are successful at it. It makes me feel inadequate :P

An Amazon-type system would be great for torrenting user-created content. Someone's interests can be determined by which content they rate up or down. Even... it could be used with a tag system. Sorry for switching to 'you' here... if 'you' like something, you give it a rating or just a binary tag, and you select which words best describe it from a list. It isn't just a simple voting system >_<>_<

Anyway the goal of that would be to be able to select a label on a user-created content, and be directed to contents that were labeled the same way by people similar to the ones who created the descriptions for the first content, that's what is important. This is because it would be impossible to create a comprehensive system to give 'true' descriptions to contents, such as in its outstanding production qualities or the in-game behavior of its actors or the perceived philosophy or standards of its creator. A well-designed tagging system is better because it will drift to the correct position, as long as the differences between tags are well-defined and easily spaced in the like memepool or the values or outlooks of people in this life; because even if a word doesn't quite mean what you think it means you can tell what other people think it should mean based on the user-created contents that you have viewed and that it applies to.

Returning to determining interests, lol. A one-sentence tangent must always turn into multiple paragraphs.. -_-' It's important to separate how associations are made. Amazon makes pages really long so they can sell stuff, but not everyone is trying to do that. It would probably be best if recommendations for you in particular, based on what you have rated or even what tags you've placed (would probably be harder, both computation and storage space, to use tags because it's so many more variables than a rating and requires comparing many networks, while you can probably simplify ratings comparison a lot more with averaged out network relationships), are on a completely separate page than normal contents, and are not incorporated into the contents page for every signed-in user. Recommendations on any single content page are based on the average network comparisons based on tags and ratings, independent of who is viewing the page. Then the sparse descriptive tags that are assigned to a user-created content, based on the consistency of previous labeling feedback or 'votes', can be used to isolate a particular quality of the content that the viewer likes.

That was another long 'single sentence' >_< I haven't even referenced torrents at all so far... grr. ANYWAY, all this is complemented by emergent features of torrenting: compilations of material are more successful than single items, because of the overhead of searching for and managing torrents. This also might involve the file system and storage.

I don't know whether it would be better to have the torrent as the thing you search for and rate and download, or whether to create (or is it remove??) an additional abstraction layer by having the file as the basic unit? If it's the file then there might be links to and statistics for a torrent for just that file, as well as to a torrent or torrents that compile this file with other, similar or related user-created contents. Both seem to have their drawbacks; if the torrent is the basic unit, then single files are marginalized and someone may download a torrent batch without caring about the details of the files or those who created them. If the file is the basic unit, then I suppose it becomes harder to show information about the torrents that include this file. Maybe searching for, and providing information about contents can be separate from supporting the torrents social architecture, and the 'layers' could compliment each other, instead of intersecting...

But anyway the idea is that if you know that something is worth watching, you can find a collection, which is a recommendation by someone else, that includes the known contents as well as additional other ones which could be worth watching. It also allows you, for example, to download and manage a compilation by a single creator, as well as support it by continuing to seed. Once again -- the expectation of finding future content worth downloading, and being able to support the needs of others without it being a hassle for yourself, are essential for user-created content to be able to seed effectively.

Torrent management is the other half of this. Being able to designate content that you want to be able to 'watch' for when it needs seeding, based on leeching/seeds ratios and historical consistency of that demand. This means diverse ways of tagging your interest in both seeding and being alerted to new user-created content within a particular category or domain of interest, such as an author. (Might be able to use RSS for this? I don't know, I've never used it myself...) It also means more active, or passive ways to search for needed seeds; such as, torrents that most need seeding that have a particular LABEL (as described before); as well as some means of tracking which files you are able to seed from having them on local storage, and this could be difficult...

only two more things :P OpenID, and incorporating torrents into the OS file browser.

It seems.. that some of the problems that reduce seeding when it's needed, are torrent clutter (minor); adding torrents when you are trying to seed; and moving files within the file hierarchy without breaking active or unopened torrents. It is basically the problems: which files are associated with this torrent; and where can I find them. It's possible that the solution to this could be similar to the thumbnail standard used in the standard OS including the Gnome desktop, that allows many different programs to use the same thumbnails for files and provides backup solutions in case of error... it might also be similar to Google Desktop Search or other things I don't know anything about >_< Anyway now that it's been mentioned I'm sure I, or anyone else would be able to figure it out if necessary, lol.

OpenID could be useful for sites associated with an MMO. Being able to use a central login to identify yourself on other sites; I don't know if it would help to have a one-time authentication that would then allow another site to access information associated with characters on your account or otherwise personalize your identity on that site. It would allow you to login to just that site without worrying about the security of your central account, but it also MIGHT mean having to include a way to manage the permanent authentications associated with your MMO's 'OpenID'-concept login method, so you could remove a key, or site, that is misusing information from your authentication... but anyway. It would mean that you could, for example, offer verifiable character-linked identities on a third-party torrent site, to prevent the (of course) company-sponsored torrent site from being the only one that lets you associate your in-game identity. :P As well as forums and so on..

08 April 2009

In the Land of the two rivers

The city of mosques. I've seen it once. It and other places have gained yet more history, however distorted it may be for the average, news-biased person in this world, but at the cost of blood. News media in developed nations usually assume the reader knows nothing about past events, so their reporting focuses on changes to a situation without ever really managing to convey what's normal. Maybe I'll see it again some day, if things work out.

What the rat said. You can't control it all, and sometimes you don't have to... intentions are important, but so is the honesty of thought mentioned before. Restricting someone else's freedom by your expectations, by keeping wrong assumptions about what benefits them, will prevent you from trying at all. Dancing alone is hard, when you stumble and fall...

When the Japanese government was going to send a detachment to Iraq, an opposing party tried to physically block access to the podium and, Abir al-Janabi of Mahmudiyah was remembered well.. she gave others strength. There is the full story, and there is justice, and they don't have to contradict. Be careful where you put yourself, or you may do something you wish you didn't have to do.

07 April 2009

Makes dreams come true

To attempt a problem that may be impossible. The American dream... concerned only with success.

How to make mistakes? If you understand it, then you're not allowed to do it... this is what I'm afraid of. As some people are lucky, or unlucky, enough to have just a single experience to draw from, to think of replicating anything that drew its results directly from its pessimistic circumstances is daunting. At the same time, there are things that can be done.

As such, I have compiled several methods to help facilitate such an event in the MMO environment, when all outside and uncontrollable conditions have been met. It may still be impossible, given the nature of this type of world and the way it lets you avoid saying anything at all about yourself -- spurious assumptions on the part of the human mind being all too common...

But we can try. It might just be a matter of finding the right boundary to reality.

The first point, in here as in all things, is freedom to make decisions without being restricted by environment. Not by goals. Not by progress, which may otherwise alter goals or acceptable paths of action. Not even, in this post-'golden age' world, by faction or other primary alignment. In a social game, with social goals, it obviously becomes much more difficult to retain freedom of choice, but there's nothing to suggest that with the right set of rules it can't be done. Shaping community perceptions of value is just something that most people who work in the games industry aren't very good at, as most games predictably involve violent resolution of opposition or conflict, or 'win' heuristics independent of other real-world values, and as such don't have to deal with complex social implications. This is something that can only be done with an MMO, as it is the only game category that can sustainably design for Community. But enough pompous statements =p

One example of this progress metric is leveling, traditionally rewarded primarily with increased effectiveness in MMOs; in order for this to really work well, there should not be large obstacles to fun and challenging gameplay when diverse levels are working together. In some of the current crop of MMOs this is true, in others not so much.

Another obstacle is communication. If you did, for whatever reason, decided to value someone, how easily can you continue a friendship? If you can't talk to them due to the 'roleplaying' part of the gameworld and any relationship you have won't last beyond the next real-life obligation or in-game goal, you may be happy but the game has failed. So in the spirit of 'making mistakes', a token referencing a means of address... d*mn, I'm sure it had a special name. Rainbows End. The book, you know. They were called something. I don't know if it would help to make them unique or not, in the sense of being able to cancel one. In some cases it wouldn't matter, but in others it would allow them to be used for things that couldn't be done in other circumstances. Usage would be low, but similar to 'single-use email addresses' and business cards this might have its analogies in the real world already.

I wonder, if you can invent things to make yourself happy, can you invent things to make yourself unhappy too... how often does this happen?

How often do we remember it?

Other things.
Torrent vs DDL, content type; proliferation & motive. Whether it can be adopted depends on the value of learning investment and future benefit; tracker info, social considerations too. A 'download page' like that of d-addicts works well. Could identify similar movies using ~properties of it... (future topic)

An 'evil' race. National character includes culture and history, such as conquest or other past goals and actions. A superficial, non-realistic 'taint' can also be used in a game world. However moral consistency is imperitive for it to have any kind of value. This depends on perspective, but enhances conflict. The true nature of a race is by its perception by others, leading to prejudice. Depth of culture, internal politics; value of idealism aka cannot show petty motives in entertainment forms... people must learn on their own what true evil is. This paragraph is pretty bad but I am done with it.