Tag Archives: Twitter

Something About Twitter

Elon Musk is buying Twitter because… reasons.  He likes free speech, or he doesn’t like content moderation, or he likes to show off for his fans, or he wants to stroke his ego in front of us all, or he wants to prove that the ultra rich can do whatever they damn well please, pick your poison.

Tweet, tweet motherfuckers

And this has caused a bit of a panic in some.  If you simply don’t like Elon that is certainly a good enough reason to dump the platform.  And if you’re worried that he’s going to turn it into a toxic stew of harassment by entitled assholes… more so… then you might at least be eyeing the exits, looking for alternatives.

The whole state of affairs hasn’t exactly put a spring in my step.

But I am not running for the exits myself.  Not yet at least.

To start with I am not sure where I would even go, except for “away.”

What am I going to do, move to Facebook?  That would be a leap from the frying pan into a toxic waste fueled fire.  Instagram… Facebook lite… is garbage except for cat and old car pictures (Fiat 124 Coupes for the win), Tumblr is garbage in general whether it is mostly porn this week or not, Google+ is long gone (and was garbage), LinkedIn is business Facebook and, unless you’re looking for a job, is a lot of self-promoting garbage.

Frankly, part of what appeals to me about Twitter is that people are limited to 280 characters.  That keeps the amount of noise in one post down to a manageable level.

Of course, there are a bunch of “We’re going to make a better Twitter” alternatives out there, some of which planned to go full free speech relative to Twitter’s rather modest content moderation scheme… who really either planned to moderate even more harshly Twitter or found out the hard way that content moderation isn’t optional and free speech is a dubious proposition on social media for all sorts of legal, moral, and financial reasons.

Also we’re all a bunch of jerks really, and seem to remain so no matter where we go.

I do not subscribe to the “anonymity + audience = raging idiocy” school of thought, if only because I’ve been to Facebook and know full well that anonymity does even enter into it.  People will say the most ignorant, offensive things you can imagine and post it with not only their name but their real life picture on it.  And if there are even the most minor of consequences… which there so rarely are… they’ll be flabbergasted and complain about being censored and bring up the first amendment and what not.  Sometimes I think we deserve all of this.

Anyway, I digress.  I am not going to leave Twitter mostly because I am comfortable there and have, over the last dozen years, honed a list of people to follow who keep me informed on the things that interest me.

I am loathe to give up on that list.  I wouldn’t even know where to find most of those people elsewhere on the internet.  How would I ever get by not knowing how Alikchi’s epic year and a half long so far game of War in the Pacific turns out?  Priorities man.

I am also not in the panic some are in.

Elon Musk can be a chaotic, immature, mercurial, self-absorbed, egotistical twat, but he isn’t a complete idiot.  He was born rich, sure, but he has made himself obscenely rich since then, so he has something going for him.  He hasn’t, like certain ex-presidents of the United States, blown his father’s fortune on bad investments and only pretends to be a billionaire.

As such I don’t think he’ll burn Twitter to the ground by removing all moderation or whatever people think will happen.  Rich people don’t stay rich that way.  They stay rich by getting their good investments, like Tesla, to buy out their bad investments, like Solar City, to stick the bad decisions on the stock holders.

Also, he is financing $25 billion of the deal… again, rich people don’t need to spend their money because banks are sure they’re worth it… so there will be lenders who will be able to pressure him to not make a mess of the whole thing.  The worry should probably be that they’ll insist that he monetize the crap out of Twitter to pay them off sooner, because the deal will leave the company heavily leveraged and one of Twitter’s larger problems has been generating revenue relative to its perceived influence.

And the deal might not even come to pass.  Things could happen.  He might not get the financing lined up.  Tesla or Twitter… or both… might fall in value enough to make the deal non-viable.  Or some new shiny object might grab his attention.

Anyway, I am following my usual course of laziness and sticking around for now.  This post was mostly to remind myself in a year that this was a thing so I can see what happened.

Discord as a News Source

One of the ongoing issues of the blog over the last decade and a half has been consistent access to a reliable news feed when it comes to the games I follow.  I’d like to write about what they’re up to if only they would take a moment to let me know.

You can find a few rants early on in the life of the blog where I am frustrated that a given company… usually SOE… has a new page on their web site dedicated to a game and then won’t update it, or breaks the RSS feed, or insists on putting any useful information deep the forums, where no sane person dare go, or, perhaps most common of all, simply fails to update anything anywhere for long stretches of time.

That was in early days of social media, when Twitter and Facebook were something of a novelty and community teams mostly hung around on the forums or made podcasts, which were the hot new thing.  There was a long stretch of me dissecting each SOE podcast for news, back when that was a thing.

Social media has made things a bit better.  At some point various studios realized that they needed to raise their profiles on the various social media outlets, so we got official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and where ever else one might find potential customers.  Some go so far as to post game news on LinkedIn, which has basically become “business Facebook” because the advice of every half-assed consultant demands that you build your brand by posting nonsense there.

The problem is that social media platforms are bad at timelines.  Twitter seems distressed that I follow so few accounts (I keep a hard cap of 500), so gleefully injects all sorts of suggested accounts into my feed, muddying up the waters.

And they are great compared to Facebook and Instagram, where time apparently has no meaning (I seem to get all the Instragram “Going into Friday like…” memes on Tuesday for example) and once you’ve seen something it gets stored somewhere you can never find it again.

And even when they are not screwing with your timelines, you do need to be there and looking at their site when something gets posted in order to see it in a timely fashion… or at all… which, admittedly means being online and ready at some point after 4pm on a Friday looking for bad news.

That used to be a standard Daybreak move, though CCP ran with the same plan for the great price increase news this past week.

Things have gotten better in that various community and marketing teams seem to get that they have to, you know, keep the players informed in order to keep them engaged.  That is literally the base function of their positions.  If you can only do one thing, do that.  But consistency remains spotty and, as noted, the social media platforms seem to be working against any sort of useful information getting to people since that doesn’t drive engagement like inflammatory political rantings from niche players you would never have heard of except that the know how to play to the algorithms.

Getting timely updates remains harder than it should be.  And don’t even get me started on the Bizarro world that is Google Alerts, which will go out of its way to tell me about every sketchy analyst group that wants to sell me a report on battle royale games but doesn’t seem to know that Massively OP is a thing when I get results for “Daybreak.”  (And when Pokemon has a “Daybreak” update… fergetaboudit.)

Then I ran into a Discord feature that allows game companies who run their own server to setup a news channel that you can subscribe to and pipe into your own server in order to get updates as they get posted.

Unity through Discord

I took the TAGN Discord server, which I setup back when Fantasy Movie League was a thing, and created a new channel in it, and went around and subscribed that channel to the news feeds of various video games.

And it has worked pretty well.

It has its limitations, the largest of which is that a studio has to set up its own Discord server and actually maintain it.  But Discord is popular, even by my own meager measuring, and has become a go-to spot for a lot of companies since gamers are already there.

For example, Daybreak seems to have bought in fully on running a Discord server for at least a couple of their games.  I am subscribed to the news feed for the EverQuest and EverQuest II servers and, for maybe the first time in the life of the blog, I feel like I am getting timely and relevant updates for those games.

Granted, Daybreak as a studio has gotten much better at communication, but this puts updates in my field of vision faster than ever.  They seem committed to the platform for now.

Valheim also provides updates in a timely and consistent fashion.  The Forza Horizon team might be a bit too eager to share, though I will admit everything they post is relevant for players of their titles.

Amazon Games is a little iffy.  They do post updates reliably, but seem to forget that they have more than one game.  They seem to copy an update from either New World of Lost Ark and post it to Discord without actually mentioning which game the news is for.  Usually it is somewhat obvious, but if they announce server restarts and don’t mention a game, do I assume them both?

And then there is Playable Worlds, which has yet to discover the subscribe feature… but they also don’t have a lot of news yet that is worth digging into.

So, for game companies that commit, it works very well for me.  The problem is that not every studio is that into the idea, and those that are do not exactly advertise their servers very well.

I know that Daybreak, as a studio under Enad Global 7, is very much into the Discord thing, but you had to know the servers were even a possibility in order to find them.  LOTRO, in a classic, old school move, announced their server in the forums… more than five years ago.  Early adopter, but non-obvious if you’re looking for it today. (They have social media button for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch on the front page, but no Discord.)

Addendum May 10, 2022: That was actually a third party LOTRO server that was being promoted, and it has since decided it isn’t interested in LOTRO anymore, so forget about that.

CCP, which does like to get into the trenches with customers now and then, seems reluctant to go the Discord route with an official server, but then made a server for Fanfest which quickly became the official server by default because they ran it.

And some companies… well, they just aren’t that into us.  I was kind of surprised to find that Gamigo actually has a couple of servers for former Trion Worlds game, including Rift and Trove.  I am not sure how useful they are… Rift seems to mostly be about the weekly cash shop deals and server restarts, which is not news that interests me… but it is there if you’re still playing.

Anyway, a new option in the struggle to find news.  It is out there, though your mileage may vary.

My Handle Finally Finds its Comedy Moment

I have mentioned somewhere along the way that I came up with my gaming handle, also now my nom de blog, Wilhelm Arcturus, was back in 1986 when playing Stellar Emperor on GEnie.

In short, I picked Wilhelm and then, because I flew with a group that went by the name The Arcturan Empire (AE!), I tacked on the last name d’Arcturus, which I later simplified to just Arcturus.

Emperor of the Galaxy – 1987

I revived the name when I made my first, and still main, character in EVE Online and eventually adopted it here on the blog after being Wilhelm2451 for a while. (2451 was my player ID number in Stellar Emperor.)

I have pondered the name over the years, wondering if it was a wise choice.  It doesn’t flow well, it isn’t particularly easy to say, and people who say it aloud often try to imbue it with an overwrought German pronunciation.  While I have occasionally used Wilhelm IV in games, I am not trying to be the Kaiser.

On the upside, it is fairly unique.  You don’t find a lot of others trying to pass off that name.  If you Google it, you get me and one of the brothers Grimm, due to Arcturus Books publishing some of their works.

It is one of those things, like the name of this blog, that I think could have been better, but which I am pretty much committed to at this point.  I am unlikely to come up with a better name that would make the effort of changing worthwhile.

And then Jeff Edwards threw out a line for me that made the name useful for a moment.

Jeff Edwards was the author lined up for the ill-fate Fountain War book Kickstarter back in 2015.  I am pretty sure I started following him on Twitter back then and have carried on since.  This past week he tweeted something to which I had to respond.

The setup and reply

You can go your whole life, or at least 35 years, waiting for a setup like that.

And he seemed to appreciate the humor.

The reply

So that’s it, I guess I am now fully committed to the name now that it has delivered on the humor front.

A Decade of Twitter

Twitter just reminded me this past week that I had been hanging around for ten years now.

I am sure this image was unique and exclusive to my anniversary

I want to say up front that I actually like Twitter.  I certainly enjoy it more than Facebook, which I mostly avoid.  I also have an Instagram account, but it somehow became dedicated entirely to posting pictures of our cats.  And I guess the blog is social media of a sort.

But I was little dubious about the idea of a 140 character… now 280 character… “micro-blogging” service back when it started to become popular, so I waited a bit before joining in.  But after ten years I will say that I am satisfied at what I get out of the service.

That, I would guess, is largely based on my use pattern and expectations, both of which are relatively low.

As of this moment, Twitter says I have made about 17,500 tweets, which feels like a big number, but really isn’t.  Divided over 10 years, that is about four tweets (including replies) a day.  Since I hooked up both of my blogs to auto-post any new article to Twitter, about 25% of my tweets are blog post links.

And of the other posts, most of them are pretty light.  Attempts at humor.  Responses to other people.  Nothing all that big, interesting, or controversial.  I often start replies then delete them because I don’t feel they add anything to the discussion or because I am sure somebody must have made the point I want to make already.  As my profile says, I try to keep things mostly about video games.

Twitter Me

I do try to steer clear of politics, but I also have no interest in having multiple accounts, so that does get mixed in there at times.  I follow a number of free speech advocates, which started with Popehat, whose blog I used to read back when he had time to blog.  That seemed safe to me as I view free speech as pretty non-controversial.  People who seek to limit speech are almost 100% interested in only limiting speech they disagree with and whine incessantly if they feel their speech rights are somehow being impinged upon, even when they are not.

Free speech is a root freedom which makes other freedoms possible.  Kill the root and the tree dies.

Of course, here in 2020, everything is now political, from anything that might help control the current pandemic to vaginal lubrication, and some things are just so stupid that I cannot stay away.  But it isn’t my normal mode.

Mostly my tweets, my non-blog post tweets, are interactions with people I probably have some other connection to… though that connection is likely the blog, so things do seem to come back to this site.

Part of my enjoyment of Twitter is probably also related to who I follow.  I think one of the keys to the platform is not following everybody who might say something in which you are interested, but finding people who do follow a lot of people and retweet only the interesting bits.  (A hat tip to Popehat for that yeoman effort.)

Having discovered that, I set an arbitrary limit of following only 500 accounts.  That seems to be, for me, about the threshold of my ability to read/care.  I would guess that maybe 400 of those accounts are very low traffic, made up of people I know and official game company accounts, along with a few key developers.  Some of those accounts generate no traffic.  I am still waiting and watching for any news about Planet Michael.   The last tweet there was in 2011, but the next one could be any time.

And, because I follow and interact with people in other forums as well, I don’t feel the need to follow everybody on every service.  If your Twitter feed is mostly blog posts and I already subscribe to your RSS feed in Feedly, I probably don’t feel the need to also follow you on Twitter.  It isn’t that I don’t like you, it is just an attempt to keep Twitter manageable and I already read your stuff elsewhere.

I am sure that not playing the follow back game religiously costs me some followers, but the people into that… and I get some follows from people obviously looking for that reciprocity… probably aren’t worth my time anyway.

I also very rarely block people on Twitter.  Blocking is an extreme measure in my view, they can no longer see your tweets and you can no longer see theirs, plus they get a notification about it I think.  It sends a strong message in my opinion, so I try to save it for those who really earn it.

I do mute people though.  That is a much softer touch.  I might do that to people who I follow and enjoy, but who are getting a bit spammy about something that isn’t all that interesting to me.  I declare a mute amnesty every once in a while and go unmute everybody again and start over.

I do not follow many big celebrities.  Or any, really, depending on your measurement of “big.”  Their accounts are inevitably disappointing.  They either have a social media person running their account, so their feed is safe and bland, or they don’t, and you quickly realize they live in a bubble so outside the experience of average people as to be bizarre.  The meme is “first world problems” but there is clearly a step beyond that with “rich people problems.”

So it goes.

In the last decade, my greatest Twitter achievement ever involved me tweeting the following:

65 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser?

David Burge, whom I follow for his car pictures (and #DavesCarIDService) posted a few car pictures challenging his followers to do the identifications themselves.  I got the first one right.

I imagine I will never top that.

(A neighbor years back had a 65 Oldsmobile hearse, so I knew the body style for that year, and Olds had a series of wagons with that popped up roof with the extra window under the Vista Cruiser name for about a decade, so it was right up my alley.)

So, as I said at the top, I like Twitter, but largely because I have found a way to get value out of it without expending too much effort.  There are times, especially these days, when I doom scroll with the best of them, rolling through all the bad news popping up.  But mostly I try to keep it light, just reading what comes by and not responding if I do not have anything to add. (Which includes checking to see if somebody has already replied with what I wanted to say.  No need to have it said twice.)  I mute the crazies, avoid the spammy, and try not to take it all that seriously.

And that is about it.  I have cranked out more than a thousand words about a service that limits you to 280 characters per message, which I am sure says something about me.

What is EVE Project Galaxy?

Earlier today CCP let slip on Twitter something about a new game called EVE: Project Galaxy.

So many questions now…

The tweet was quickly deleted, but it was captured and posted to Reddit pretty quickly, from where I got the above image.  Nothing posted to the internet ever really disappears.  Massively OP picked it up as well, but has nothing further that what is pictures above.

Now, of course, there are nothing but questions and no answers in sight.

This is apparently in addition to Project: Nova and Project: Aurora, the latter which we saw at EVE Vegas last year and which has since been christened EVE: War of Ascension.

NetEase is of course the Chinese giant that, among many other things, owns titles like Fantasy Westward Journey and runs games like World of Warcraft and Minecraft in China for Blizzard and Microsoft respectively.  So a big company with a big staff and plenty of resources to throw at new titles.  The positively dwarf CCP by most any measure you care to mention.

And then there is the mention of Apple’s ARKit 2, which is their augmented reality framework for mobile apps.  Augmented reality and EVE Online?  Internet spaceships in our personal spaces?

So how does a huge Chinese developer and augmented reality mix together in a mobile app… excuse me, a mobile MMO… in a way that will “bring an authentic EVE Online experience” to people?  I am not sure how that all adds up.

Anyway, if nothing else, Net Ease being involved probably means that few if any EVE Online development resources were moved off to work on this.  But I am curious to see what all of this adds up to when CCP finally gets around to announcing it for real.

Addendum: Since this post went up, the tweet has been tweeted again:

Still no idea what it really means.  As for timing, I gather it was just to get some traction from the ARKit 2 announcement at the Apple WWDC.

Addendum 2:  CCP Falcon describing the difference between the two mobile games being developed:

EVE: War of Ascension and EVE: Project Galaxy are two different games.  War of Ascension is being co-developed with Kongregate, and Project Galaxy is being co-developed with NetEase.

War of Ascension is designed from the ground up to be a mobile game that gives a taste of the EVE Universe, where as Project Galaxy’s aim is to bring the actual 3D feel of the desktop version of EVE to mobile

And CCP Falcon on where the dev resources are coming from:

Resources aren’t being diverted from EVE Online to develop Project Galaxy.

It’s being co-developed with a partner in China, NetEase, who’re working on the game itself, with CCP as a strategic partner and the owner of the IP. We’re working close with them to make sure we get the best possible experience of EVE on a mobile device.

Addendum 3:  These are alleged to be early pictures from the game in one of the videos from the ARKit 2 page.

The familiar shape of an Apoc on the screen

Shooting a TCU maybe?

I am not sure how AR makes this better, but there it is.

When I Look at that Cloud, I see Juche

There is a little thing on Twitter right now called Word Cloud Bot that will create a word cloud from your Twitter feed.  Not the first one of these I have seen, and it likely won’t be the last.  But this one is at least simple to use and you don’t have to authorize it to take over your feed.

Anyway, this is the cloud it generated for me.

@wilhelm2451 cloud

@wilhelm2451 cloud

I find the whole thing aesthetically pleasing to look at.  The colors are soothing and I like the way smaller words are woven in.  You really have to click on it and view it in full size to appreciate it.

Apparently the bigger the word, the more you use it.  So “EVE,” “Draenor,” “Pokemon,” “WoW,” “Blizzard,” and what not… those all make sense.

But the biggest word in the whole thing is “post,” which I find odd because as far as I can tell, I rarely, to the point of almost never, use the word “post” on Twitter.  And I would be surprised to find that I used the word “blog” that often.  Maybe “play” or “year,” but the most likely words seemed to be much smaller.  After all, a good portion of my feed is automatic tweets of post titles with a link, so the cloud ought to be heavily influenced by my titles here. “Quote” ought to be huge, given my run of “Quote of the Day” posts.  I can see the influence of post titles, especially from my EVE Online Pictures site (Basilisk!), but those words are all pretty minor.

So I went poking around to see if there was a description somewhere about how this bot does its thing.  And, sure enough, there was a bit right there in its feed.

I use the last 1200 tweets to build the word cloud. Common words are excluded. There are at most 180 words in a word cloud.

I reply to a request every ~30 seconds, I can’t go faster than that because otherwise Twitter will block me, so you may have to wait a bit.

That was interesting, but not exactly useful in answering my question, which still stands even if we limit the tweet corpus to 1,200. (That is less than a year of Twitter, and just under 20% of my 6,104 tweets up to this time.)  My only guess is that when WordPress.com tweets about a new post for me, somehow the word “post” is embedded in there.  And I suppose that even if the word is not literally in my Twitter feed, it is there metaphorically with each tweet that WordPress.com does, so the size of the word “post” probably represents the prevalence of blog post notifications in my feed.

My favorite word in the whole thing… and there are a number of good/amusing words scattered throughout in tiny print… is Juche.  It is right there between the “L” an the “O” in “Blog,” below “soe” and “close.”  And SOE being close to Juche is pretty funny as well.

Anyway, I like it.  Tweet Cloud might be more accurate in representing the words I use.

Tweet Cloud covering approximately the same time period

Tweet Cloud covering approximately the same time period

The word “post” is still in there, though “time” outweighs it.

But the result is not nearly as interesting to stare at.

And for those who cannot get enough of the style of that first word cloud, I also have the cloud generated for my awful spam Twitter feed, which reflects what Rift and Raptr have tweeted for me in the past.

The pain of that feed, but fun to look at still

The pain of that feed, but fun to look at still

That feed has been quiet for a while, though I suspect it will liven up again with Blizzard giving us Twitter integration in the WoW 6.1 patch.  You never have to see a bit of that from me so long as you do not follow my second feed.

Items from the Mail Bag – Press Releases and Special Offers Edition

Digging into the mail bag, another reminder that I haven’t felt inspired to write about much new of late.

Darkfall: Unholy Wait

Aventurine sent me the press release announcing that Darkfall: Unholy Wars would finally launch on April 16th, after a five month delay.

DFLOGO B-450

Back in September of 2012 they announced that the original Darkfall would shut down on November 15th to make room for Unholy Wars, which was slated to launch on the 20th of the same month.  And then… well… the Aventurine reputation needed to be maintain.  So here we are, seven months after that announcement, and the game should launch next week.

Now, the press release points out that this time was well spent, that much was learned from the beta.  We shall see next week.  Maybe.

Blizzard Remains Steadfast

After running out my seven free days of World of Warcraft, I remained on the fence about whether it would be worthwhile to subscribe or not.  And then, ten days later, I received an email from Blizz with a subject line asking me to resubscribe to the game.

WoWResubNow

I was intrigued.  I wondered if Blizz might sweeten the deal now that they had me thinking about the game.  A special offer might have been enough to tip the balance.

But there was no special offer.  It was just a link to the standard subscription page.  Blizz isn’t at a point right now where it feels the need to anything special to get people to come back.

Twitter Pushes Advertising

Twitter has decided that I am a small business and, as such, I need to advertise on their service.  So I received a whole stream of messages from them offering me a free $50 advance on my advertising.

TwitterAd

I have not taken them up on their offer, having no idea what I would even promote.

Mega Wars IV

Crimson Leaf Games, which recreated the classic CompuServe game Mega Wars III that I poked my nose into ages ago, has taken the idea a step further and created Mega Wars IV which includes a full graphical client done in Microsoft Silverlight.

MegaWars4

Interestingly, Stellar Emperor, the version of the game that ran on GEnie, which I have also covered, went this route in the early 90s, adding on a graphical client and updating the game, thus diverging it from what stated off as its twin, Mega Wars III.

Populist Wish Fulfillment

I keep getting press releases around a film titled Assault on Wall Street.  The synopsis for the picture is:

Jim is an average New Yorker living a peaceful life with a well paying job and a loving family. Suddenly, everything changes when the economy crashes causing Jim to lose his job, home and wife. Filled with anger and rage, Jim snaps and goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge for the life taken from him.

The poster shows the star, Dominic Purcell a pistol in one hand, a combat rifle in the other, with bullet riddled NYPD cars and SWAT teams deploying in the background.

So, yeah, gun violence.  I guess that takes Occupy Wall Street up a notch.  Let’s go kill the 1%!

Given that the only name I recognize in the cast is Eric Roberts, and that they are sending press releases to random gaming blogs, I am going to guess they couldn’t get any funding from those in the 1%.

World of Tanks Rolls On

Wargaming.net is very good about sending out regular press releases.  Two big things they have coming up are the World of Tanks 8.5 update, which includes more German tanks, redone maps, and changes to what non-premium accounts can do.  There is a preview over at The Mittani.

And then there is World of Tanks Blitz.

WoT_Blitz_Logo_800px

This is Wargaming.net’s attempt to bring World of Tanks to mobile platforms.  Featuring 7 vs. 7 battles, I will be interested to see how they translate their Windows shooter to that mobile world.

Twitter Feature Suggestion

I have been very interested over the last two years at how powerful a communications device Twitter can be.  There are a number of serious news stories that I came to learn about first on Twitter.  Events like the raid on Osama bin Laden and the death of Steve Jobs first came to me via Twitter.

And smaller events too, which can be anything from game updates to the birth of a child.

Congratulations Syp.  Nice Game of Thrones reference there.

Twitter has become part of my news cycle.

I follow a range of people who are more prone to passing on links and information rather than pontificating.  I find Twitter much better suited to that and tend to shun people who try to use it as a broadcast IM channel or who try to run question and answer events. (I’m looking at you SOE.)

And one of the most powerful tools in Twitter is the retweet.  Via this you can take a tweet you have read and rebroadcast it to the people who follow you.  This is what gets messages out, this is the amplifier that can move a news story across the world in a matter of minutes.

Basically, you don’t have to follow everybody, you just have to follow people who watch areas in which you are interested and who know how to retweet the key items.  I could follow a dozen or more free speech advocates on Twitter, but I don’t.  I only follow Ken over at Popehat because he follows those people and retweets the key items.

It is the modern day phone tree for information if you can find the right people to follow.

The problem is that people will retweet things for different reasons.  Sometimes a retweet is a matter of wanting to pass along important information or an interesting article on particular topics, and sometimes a retweet is a matter of public mockery.  Or humor.  Or irony.  Or something else that strays from a direct endorsement of the material being retweeted.

That is what I have to conclude was going on when I saw this retweet this morning.

Chuck Woolery, a game show host probabbly best know for his time on Love Connection and being the guy before Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune, says that people born as US citizens are whiners.  Thanks Chuck!  I see you were born here, and you appear to be whining as well, so we’ll call that another point in your favor.

You can try and read things into that tweet.  Is he pro-immigration?  Does he simply feel Americans should appreciate their country more?  Is he sure the US is so perfect that nobody has a legitimate reason to complain about anything?  Or is he just a fussy old man telling the kids to get off his damn lawn in his own special way?

I hold no brief for Chuck Woolery, and cannot interpret his real meaning.  So I have to go with the face value proposition that he called a lot of people, including him and I, whiners.  Go Chuck.

At best this is somebody attempting to express a complex concept in a medium that really only lends itself to the simple.  At worst, it is more of the bumper sticker philosophy that pretends to add to the national discourse while actually being empty of any message more complex than, “America; Love it of Leave it!”

But the real point here is that somebody I follow on Twitter felt the need to pass this along, and I cannot tell why.

A simple retweet just sends the original message along to you.  And while there are options to add your own comment, you are still restricted to the 140 character limit of the medium.  So you can get the original message, but the intent of the retweet… be it informational or simple mockery… remains opaque.

So my feature suggestion is to add a method to characterize the nature of the retweet.  It could be as simple as a little icon in the corner that you can mouse over to get the mood of the retweet.  Twitter could probably come up with a dozen or so options to cover most of the uses on Twitter.

I suggest the following as a starter list:

  1. This is great!
  2. Breaking news! (real)
  3. Breaking news! (ironic)
  4. Aww, something cute!
  5. I couldn’t have said it better!
  6. Retweet this please!
  7. This is a great article on the subject!
  8. This issue is important to me!
  9. I expect you to actually do something about this!
  10. This tweet is what is wrong with America/My Country/The World!
  11. I am retweeting this ironically
  12. Here we go again…
  13. Ha! Look at this idiot!
  14. Death to America!
  15. Ron Paul 2012!

That is my proposal, my first pass cut at a list that would cover most situations.

Did I miss anything?  What else should be on the list?

And what do you think should have been the flag for that Chuck Woolery retweet?

And Then I Missed Out on the Error 37 Party

Diablo III launch day!

However, I wasn’t going to stay up until midnight to play.  I am too old for that sort of thing.  But it sounds like I missed a shared experience.  When I checked Twitter this morning, Error 37 seemed to be the topic of the day.

One theory…

Blizzard’s response is to… well… hang in there and keep trying.

Error 37
We’re aware that some players are experiencing Error 37 when attempting to log in to Diablo III. This error indicates that the Diablo III server is full and is likely the result of high login traffic. If you receive this error message, please wait and try again.

Error 3005 and 3006
Along with Error 37, we’re also aware of players receiving Error 3005 and Error 3006. If you receive either of these messages while playing, please wait and try again.

Error 14009/315300
We’re still looking into these issues; however, a player workaround is available. If you are experiencing either of these issues and are using Windows, create a new user account with administration powers (http://www.wintuts.com/Manage-User-Accounts). From there, log into Diablo III.

Character Creation Issues
While most of the character creation issues have been resolved, it’s possible that if you attempted to create characters previously and did not log out, you may have actually maxed out your character list. If you are still receiving an error creating new characters, log out and log back in and then check your character list.

Hopefully all this will be cleared up by the time I am able to try logging in tonight.

If nothing else, this sure seems to be a sign of sales success.

Overwhelmed by success…

I just still wish that they had not ditched offline and LAN play.

And it seems that not everybody is getting error 37.

The Tug of War Between Escalation and Hulkageddon

Again, CCP_Diagoras offers up data tidbits too juicy to ignore.

This time it is a comparison of mining activity before and after the Inferno: Escalation update went live.

Inferno – The Escalation Begins

One of the notable aspects of this update was the removal of mineral drops from drone NPCs and the removal of tech I ship fittings from all NPC drops.  Both of these were very significant sources of mineral in the New Eden economy.

The intent of this was to spur mining and make it a more profitable venture.

So you would assume that mining activity would be on the rise post-Escalation. And there was an increase some regions of space.

Null sec:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 14.3% increase in avg m3 mined in nullsec (from 19.8% to 33.2% of total)

Low sec:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 49.1% increase in avg m3 mined in low sec (from 0.26% to 0.58% of total)

WH space:

Compared to the 7 day avg before Escalation, the last 7 have seen a 14.7% increase in avg m3 mined in WH sec (from 2.8% to 4.7% of total)

So far, as expected.  Rising mineral prices appear to be driving a desire to mine.

Then there is high sec:

Compared to the 7 day average before Escalation, the last 7 days have seen a 45.53% decrease in average m3 of ore mined within high sec.

Ouch, a 45% dive!

Of course, Hulkageddon is under way.  And Hulkageddon targets are primarily in high security space.  So most of those (as of this moment)  nearly 4,000 dead mining ships on the leaderboard were in high sec.

The targets are in high sec for two reasons.

First, in low, null, and WH space, miners already have to take defensive precautions every day.  Hulkageddon in null sec, for example, is pretty much a non-event.

Second, most of the miners in the game are in high sec space.  CCP_Diagoras put up one more factoid that illustrates this very well.

Average mined per day for the last 7 days: High (1.47bn m3), Low (13.8m m3), Null (796m m3), WH (112m m3)

So even with a 45% drop in high sec mining, it is still the place where most of the ore is harvested.  High sec accounts for nearly double the ore as the rest of space, even with Hulkageddon in full forces.

I hope we’ll get to see some 7 day yields in the post-Hulkageddon time frame to see how much ore high sec miners will be pulling in when the threat of gank has been (mostly) removed.