Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome

Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome. The neurologist keeps mentioning this. I really don't need that crap, and it doesn't seem to fit well with my symptoms, so I hope this isn't what's wrong with my feet. But I'm supposed to schedule an EMG test once the insurance clears it, the neurologist wants to make sure the EMG and NCS tests they did in the hospital didn't miss it (they might've been too early to catch it).

Why you shouldn't trust polls

The Daily Kos has been running a series of State of the Nation polls for the last year and a half. Today they announced that those polls appear to have been complete bunk, the results at least manipulated if not completely made up. This was only discovered by statistical analysis of the data about the polls and polling process the Daily Kos published along with the poll results.

Now, the polls weren't from some fly-by-night operation. Research 2000 was one of the most respected polling houses in the business. But the one thing that strikes me is that, despite that, they simply had a lousy track record at actually correctly predicting outcomes. To me it seems obvious that if the polls are being done right and are accurate then they should closely match the actual outcome, and if they don't match the outcome then the rest doesn't matter because the polls are useless for prediction. If anyone's reporting those polls knowing about their track record, they're using those polls for something other than simply tracking actual sentiment on an issue.

My advice: never trust a poll unless the data underlying it is published for independent review. And never trust a poll or the use of that poll when the polling house doesn't have a good track record of getting the outcomes right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SOE FanFaire in Vegas

OK, FanFaire's handled. Drive up Wednesday evening, stay until either Sunday afternoon or Monday morning depending on what's going on. Dean and Lia will be going with me, so whether I can handle the gas and brakes on the car isn't an issue.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The failure of Ponzi

Everybody knows Facebook has games. One of them I've been playing is Ponzi. It's a fairly fun, fairly addictive game. The gameplay itself is simple: you set the employees of your company to doing jobs to earn money. You use the money to buy bigger offices and furnish rooms in them, and to hire more employees. You compete against your friends to see who can earn more money faster. It's fire-and-forget: once you set the jobs running you can go away and not come back until the jobs are done and you need to collect your money. Early on jobs take minutes to run, but fairly quickly you graduate to jobs that take an hour or two and then into the 5/10/15-hour jobs later in the game. So, while it's fun it's not going to eat up a lot of your time. And the competition is addictive. You start playing it, and pretty soon you're hooked and having fun. And after playing it for a few days, you'd find yourself thinking (as I did) that this is worth $10-15 easy.

And that's why it's closing down: because I'd only spend $15 on it. It's not big enough to justify my spending even $5 every month on it. And the addictive part comes from the competition with others. This game works only because it's networked. If I couldn't see how I was doing relative to my friends and interact with them in various ways (eg. send them a parade to brighten their day, or leave Mr. Dino snoozing on their lawn), it'd be dull as dirt. That networked aspect means central servers with their ongoing costs, but players aren't going to be willing to set up Yet Another Subscription and pay enough every month to be worth it.

So, R.I.P. Ponzi.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mage cloth armor

Note to game designers out there: THIS is mage armor.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Obama extends Federal benefits to same-sex couples

Obama widens the range of Federal benefits extended to same-sex partners. I'm sure the Religious Right is going to go ballistic over this. Me, I think they need to get over this nervousness about their inherent attraction to members of the same gender, loosen up and get on with more important things than trying to ban their temptations so they won't be tempted anymore.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SOE FanFaire

I'm hoping I make FanFaire in Vegas this year. We're trying to get a bunch of our EQ2 guild together there. I've got my membership bought and my hotel room reserved, the problem will be my feet and driving. If Dean gets sent up it'll be no problem, I can have Lia drive up with me. If Dean doesn't get sent, I have to decide whether it's worth 2 round trips worth of gas. I don't want to fly up because my feet just aren't going to handle the airport/airline bullshit involved.

If I go I want to see if I can wrangle Toraneko into coming to dinner one night. Especially if Tiff and Brea make it, Tora might have fun talking renfaire shop with someone who fights with live steel (and appropriate armor).