Even more Google+ Invites Available

Jul 10, 2011
Mark
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Numerous bloggers have offered, I got mine from Total Party Kill. Thanks once again.

After joining, it appears I can send invites as well. All it appears to take is an email address. If you haven’t yet gotten one from someone else, I’m happy to send one along if Google still has it open. Appears they are rolling more into an infinite beta product so perhaps it will stay open for a while.

Here here to the flood of invites available and to the spirit of sharing. Just drop a comment (or hit the contact link) with an email address and I’ll send one along as soon as I can.


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Gamer Food: Grilled Hot Wings

Jul 8, 2011
Mark
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The chaos monkeys decided I needed a new grill today. Wings were the first thing on the menu.

Neither fast or delivered, a batch of these wings will disappear instantly. I started with the Barbecued Buffalo Wings recipe from Simply Recipes. Grilled at low heat for around 90 minutes. The slow cooking and continual basting bakes in the flavor while mellowing the spice. A last minute coating of the sauce brings back the zest.

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Labyrinth Lord Treasure Book on Demand — Cover Art is In

Jul 7, 2011
Mark
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I updated the generation routine to insert the full page cover image from David. So half of the process is completed. I still need complete the layout for Gate of Smoke’s image, which is a bit trickier, since I have to add some of the cover elements in addition to his image. I should have Gate’s variant completed by the weekend if I don’t get visited by chaos monkeys. I have a much better understanding of how to approach fixed element layouts now. Obviously, when I have his variant encoded, the resulting cover will be randomly selected.

While adding the cover feature, I discovered the process chews up a significant amount of memory during the layout process. More memory than the hosting company allows. On demand books will now be generated on the venerable old pack mule, moosh.net. Users shouldn’t notice a difference other than an additional bit of latency while the data is transported over the crappy DSL connection. If you need it quick, grab one of the seven archived books, which are updated daily.


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Raising a Rukus

Jul 6, 2011
Mark

A community has a lot of different meanings. Trying to build one around role playing is going to be difficult. So many different systems and interests intersect and just as quickly diverge. I have a few random thoughts.

Aggregation is Insufficient

Aggregation of posts is the starting line of the race. Simply presenting a list of member posts is interesting to a point. How many bloggers actually read through the feed and visit other sites? I suspect the number is below 50% of the membership. The volume is hard to absorb.

The better question is how many non-bloggers interested in role playing systems visit? Admittedly, the number is impossible to know. Still, if they visit, what do they face? A flood of posts – most likely not of interest. Even when I get a chance to look though the feed, I’m astonished by the sheer volume.

Quality, not Quantity

I have never had the intent to be a dominant blog. I like to read others more than write my own. Finding quality posts amid the flood is nearly impossible. Post titles drive me to follow links but often enough I’m disappointed with the content.

Why doesn’t the community have an internal variant of the +1/Like button? Promoting quality posts, even from smaller and less known sites, Finding the top 10 posts of the day rather than scrolling down would be a major step forward.

Even better would be to mimic a portion of the Google algorithm. Sites linked by other sites tend to have more relevant content. Granted, coding the system would be difficult but vastly more useful than segregation by tag.

Resources

People want to find useful materials quickly. Again, play on the community aspect to self police and produce a list of good sites to visit for materials related to the X setting/system. Beyond tag segregation, I have not seen this implemented. Could it be done? Certainly. Not being able to find relevant information is a hindrance we’ve all experienced.

Purpose

Communities need a point of focus. I left it as the last element because I believe the majority want to expand the hobby and find new, interesting people to play with. Yet we engage in both healthy and destructive arguments. I’ve not read a system that definitively tells me how to play the game. Imagination is completely open to interpretation. As a a whole, we should never forget that. No one is doing it wrong. Just differently.

Until we agree that we all disagree on systems, rules interpretations, and mechanics, no community can be born. Do you know a single person who will enter a hobby when the members constantly argue about superiority? I don’t.

Two weeks late, but thanks Dyson for the Rukus Post.


LL TBoD: You May See Art

Jul 6, 2011
Mark
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Today is full of woops. I forgot my test and development platform is actually the generation site for the nightly Labyrinth Lord Treasure Books on Demand. I began folding in the new artwork before my memory kicked me in the head. So, there might be some cover art, or not. Depends entirely on how you get your TBoD.

I should be more consistent about checking code into source control. I wasn’t. If you want an evening of frustration, trying appending a cover to an on demand PDF creation system. I may have to layout the credits page manually and encode the positions later. At least the cover portion is working.

I suspect I should add the OGL as well. Layout is a pain without having to actually select fixed positions, fonts and such in code without WYSIWYG.

Time for a beer.


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Self Promotion: Not my Game

Jul 4, 2011
Mark
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I’ve started and discarded this post a half dozen times. I’m not a self promoter and those that do so fall into one of two categories:

#1: Those who have material worth promoting.
#2: Those who choose to promote themselves and have little to offer.

I don’t tweet. I had a social networking account. I terminated it. I recognized that it was something I didn’t find useful. I’m certain not one of my “friends” cares what I ate for lunch, which beer I chose to drink with dinner or when I pissed on the local toadstool.

Quality rises to the top. No matter the networking. It may happen faster with the social networking sites but in the end, if something is of use, people find it. I admit to being aggravated with random abuse of network feeds. I willingly choose to abuse it this time.

I’ve had a dozen ways to promote my blog posts. I’ve removed everyone of them. To my eye, they are clutter. Poke this, poke that. In the end, if someone reads what I wrote and finds it useful, that person will pass it along. Having a bunch of share options might help. Or not.

I despise advertisements on blogs. I’ve left one because of it. I will not read blogs who I know choose to insert advertisements. Are the pennies you earn from the advertisements worth aggravating a potential reader? I think not.

I have yet to find a blog through ads. Or buy something based on an ad on a blog. I can say the same for social networking. I understand its allure but its not for me. I could follow people on twitter or just add them to an RSS reader. The latter is more informative.

Monkeys flinging poo are fun to watch…for a while.


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Review: Zombie, Ohio: A Tale of the Undead

Jul 4, 2011
Mark
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At a $1.99 for the electronic edition, I could not pass up Scott Kenemore’s Zombie, Ohio. Written from the perspective of a newly undead zombie who retains his intelligence, but not his memory, the story is lively and believable. Humor was prevalent but could have happened a bit more frequently.

The fun of living with Peter as a zombie hit a wall when the author spent far too long with internal monologues. Not to mention the chaos of the occasional ten dollar word thrown in. Maybe his use of palaver should have been an indication. It may have been witty but the uncommon words broke the flow of the book repeatedly.

This is a book you can put down. I put it down and read other things several times. It is a fun read but slow at times. You will go back to find out what happens. It just will not compel you to do so immediately.

The pace can be slow but you get a love interest, mystery, and personal discovery all rolled into one book — with humor. If you like zombie material, you’ll enjoy the book. If you don’t, you may want to pass.


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