Gather your team! Registration has just opened for the Hunt for Justice, an October solve-at-home puzzlehunt. Almost none of the puzzles are just paper—Teams will get a box full of clues to solve a quirky mystery with a whimsical van. And all money beyond expenses will be donated to the Innocence Project! An all-star crew of authors and designers are putting this on, including folks who have created/organized/written for Puzzled Pint, the game, NPR's Sunday Puzzle, the Berkeley Mystery Hunt, and many more events. Register today!I'm one of the puzzle authors so be on your toes.
18.104.22.168 - - [07/Jul/2017:08:26:47 +0000] "GET /new/atom.xml HTTP/1.1" 304 - "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_8_2; Feeder.co) AppleWebKit/537.31 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/37.0.2062.120 Safari/537.36"
IP address suggests this is coming from a server farm. The "Feeder.co" in the user agent got me to look at feeder.co, an app for reading "feeds", such as my blog's feed. Looking elsewhere in my logs, I think this is a bot that checks on my feed hourly for new material. Wow, can you imagine if I tried to blog hourly? Feeder.co is a feed reader app, which lets you choose several sites and shows you updates from those sites, like, for example, blog posts on this here blog. Feed readers are great. I use mine heavily. If you're not reading this in a feed reader, I'm kind of surprised that you're keeping up with me and with the things that interest you more than me and you're doing it all by hand somehow‽ Don't work so hard.
I read a lot of management/business books for a non-manager. Did I ever tell you how that started? I was working at Geoworks, my first job out of school. For a while, a few of the more enthusiastic managers there started speaking weird jargon. They'd read a popular business book of the day, were trying to apply its lessons. That book was Thriving on Chaos, meant to help stodgy manufacturing companies adopt more adaptable processes. It didn't have so much advice that applied to our situation, but I'm still glad I read it. The next time someone told me my group should do something from the book, I could understand what they said and reply We already do that (but with the right Thriving jargon).
Dave Loftesness worked at Geoworks and got to see those eager-to-apply-techniques-willy-nilly managers running around. And then he went on to lead a bunch of folks there, including me. And then at a bunch of other places. Along the way, he figured out that a trick that works in one situation can backfire in another. When he co-wrote a book about managing/directing teams at a place going through growing pains, it's not just a one-size-fits-all set of to-dos. It's a set of things that can go wrong with directions on how to put them right.(Which can lead to other things going wrong, of course. You need more people, so you recruit people… and now those people step on each others' toes so you have to figure out how to organize them…) It's good stuff.
I kind of wish I hadn't got this book on Kindle; there are multi-column tables that didn't fit so well on my tiny Kindle screen.
It's about teenagers using social networking sites… Speaking of social networks, I'm email@example.com on Mastodon. What? What was I talking about?
Right, the book It's Complicated. It's about teenagers using social networking sites. Parents are scared plenty of what might happen to their teenaged kids on social networks, scared by news reports. (New technologies keep coming along, but fear is always a great way to sell news content.) Teenagers want to spend more time on social networking sites since their scaredy-cat parents won't let them hang out anywhere besides home or school. (Well-meaning parents reading this book might think: I will fix this. I will let my kids hang out at the mall. Good for you, but the kids will still want to stick to social networking instead: none of their friends' parents will let them out of the house, so there's nobody to hang out with at the mall.) This book lets you know that modern teenagers have it pretty tough. There were things in this book that scared me. E.g., these "digital native" kids think that whatever they find via Google is true because Google is a good site. Google is a good site, but it's not good at finding the truth; it's good at finding pages that are relevant to the topic. If I search for "Luke Skywalker", the first result I find has a lot of information about Luke's story, no doubt lovingly gathered by fans… but if I didn't know Luke was a fictional character when I started reading, I might not figure it out from what's written there. And that's a topic where folks aren't lying on purpose.
To play, I needed to get kinda close to the Kanye head on the map and then tap it. Unfortunately, the game expects you to get pretty close to the head, and this was a "bouncy" neighborhood for phone location-finding. After some frustrating minutes walking up and down the same stretch of sidewalk, I eventually convinced my phone I was in the right place. When I clicked the map's Kanye West head, my phone switched to an augmented-reality-camera view where the giant head of K.West gave me a quest (get it?): to help feed his ki(tty). Kanye sent me off to find T.Swift, who had cat food.
Looking at the map again, there weren't any Taylor Swift heads in evidence. There was another Kanye head. As I walked closer to it, moving across the map, I spotted a Taylor Swift head. After taking a couple of minutes and then giving up on trying to convince my phone I was near the second Kanye, I made my way over to the Taylor Swift head. There, I got cat food.
I suspect that the eventual plan is for me to bring the cat food back to Kanye. In the game, my character has an Inventory, now with cat food. When I re-visited Kanye, he didn't realize I had cat food—he just re-asked me to go get some from T.Swift.
I liked that this game has a quest mechanic, one that has me walk around rather than stay in place fiddling with my phone. I didn't like that the game expected me to get so close to places of interest, closer than is easy in a "bouncy" area. And I suspect the game is still in beta; I suspect that's why my character still has that cat food. Anyhow, this game shows promise.