Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

Used Video Games.

2.27.2013

For my first decade as a video gamer, the only game we owned was the Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt cartridge that was bundled with the NES. When we had visitation with the NES, we would rent different cartridges from the local VHS rental store. I had to rent Final Fantasy II on 3 subsequent weekends (playing instead of sleeping, and hoping no other renters deleted my save) to beat it the first time.

These days, I buy both used and new video games, though the vast majority of my purchases are new. When I'm done with a game, I give it to a friend, or sell it to an individual or company. Thus, even though I'm done with it, the game continues to contribute to society rather than adding to my domestic clutter or decomposing in a landfill.

There is some question as to whether the next generation of game consoles will enable this behavior. The poor poor game makers say that the used market prevents them from selling games, and that without up-sell tactics like pre-planned (paid) DLC and code-locked content, they'll go out of business.

I say BS to all of this moral high ground foolishness. Game makers and publishers, it's your job to figure how to manufacture and market your game in a way that benefits your company. It's your job to make a game so good that gamers cannot wait to play it; to include compelling enough on-line or social content to drive early adoption. The opportunity for independent and low-cost distribution has never been higher.

3 Years of Sundays.

2.18.2013

This is a story of doggedness, of persistence, of how attempts at a task one may try before success. If you're a regular This American Life listener, you may have heard this story before.

In the middle of the 17th century, a monk and mathematician (Marin Mersenne) published a formula for discovering prime numbers. His formula found a 21 digit number - 147,573,952,589,676,412,927 - which became mathematically famous as a super-large prime number.

In 1903, Frank Nelson Cole started his presentation "On the Factorization of Large Numbers" to the American Mathematical Society. He wrote Mersenne's famous prime on the blackboard, and then worked through the long multiplication to demonstrate that it was divisible by a nine digit number (193,707,721) and a 12 digit number (761,838,257,287).

Here's the most compelling part of the story. In the early 1900s, how long did it take Cole to find these two numbers and prove that Mersenne's famous number was not a prime number?

Three years of Sundays. These three years of Sundays were probably spent solving the problem by trying every possible solution - dividing Mersenne's number, by one number and then the next number and then the next. Three years of Sundays is 156 Sundays. For 155 of them, Frank Nelson Cole failed.

This is the marvelous thing about science, and scientists. Scientists are the type of people will fail for 150 Sundays, and still keep trying.

Why I Still Use GoDaddy, For Now.

2.12.2013

Yes, I'd love to switch from GoDaddy to another host and registrar. GoDaddy's advertising team has for years made it clear that they don't see me in their customer base. I dread using GoDaddy's admin tools to do anything; simple stuff like renewing a domain or hosting or even adding a sub-domain. There is always some sneaky up-sell attempt. But at this stage, I'm pretty good at finding the button for "No thanks, just the loss-leaders".

I'll continue using GoDaddy for my personal projects for the foreseeable future. For one thing, I'm super cheap; I just can't spend an extra $60 - $100 a year for the warm fuzzies from another host/registrar. Also, GoDaddy's customer support is USA-based, and they have always been super-responsive and smart; only once when I've called have they failed to fix the problem on the first try. And in the CSS-Tricks stolen domain saga, GoDaddy's support comes off reasonably well, especially compared to other cheap hosts.

But I can't in good conscience recommend GoDaddy to others. Especially since I found out that Dreamhost offers free hosting to 501(c)(3) non-profits.

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