The New Yorker profiles the problem with Facebook’s shares. The relative implosion of Facebook’s stock price the last week and a half (down around 25% from the IPO price) has a lot of causes. The more we, the public, understand the way information was kept from us, the less interested we are in being part owner of a company that doesn’t like us, much less even trust us to know what the best interests of the company are.
In what scenario would someone want to own shares in a company that they have no input in?
“…in a larger sense we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.“
There have been some complaints aimed at the Ukrainian’s train authority over their new online booking system. The system is freshly launched and Ukrzaliznytsia says updates are coming to help those without a working knowledge of a Kyrilic-based language. Wondering what was happening, I decided to give the new system a look. You can too by pointing your browser of choice to “http://booking.uz.gov.ua/”.
The first thing I noticed was that it has no idea how to spell things in English. I checked the schedule for a ticket to Bakhchisaray, the town I lived in for two years. The system looks at what you are typing and offers destinations as you input each letter. I had no luck finding Bakhchisaray in English. It’s simply never an option.
For fun, I switched to the Russian version of the page and swapped my keyboard over. “Б…а…х…ч” Eureka! After typing four Kyrilic characters, there was Bakhchisary. From there, I could easily buy a ticket.
Ukraine has a distinct and profound English problem. There are many fine examples of Ukrainians speaking outstanding English. Unfortunately they are not the ones working on these projects, or if they are, they are completely overwhelmed.
Let me repeat this: If you don’t have a working knowledge of a Kyrilic-based language, don’t go to Ukraine and expect to function independently.
Edge talks with Matt Firor, the director for The Elder Scrolls Online in next month’s magazine. An excerpt is online. In the article, they talk about the different generations of MMORPGs, starting with Ultima Online and Everquest. The second generation is described as the time of Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft. The modern age is Star Wars: The Old Republic and perhaps Rift.
What separates these generations for me is the role of the developer after the game launches. With Everquest, which I played quite a bit in its first two years, the developers were very active. There were always times when word would trickle down to you that something was happening on the other continent. You’d run to Freeport and hop on the boat and hope there was something to see when you got there. These events were controlled by the game masters and their minions. They gave you a reason to play every day. I never went to these events because I thought I could aid in battling whatever creature might be Godzilla-ing the countryside. I went because I wanted to be a part of that event even if it meant losing experience points.
Since Everquest, I have sampled several of the later MMORPGs. Rarely have I seen a locally run event. There were some things that could have been, but weren’t. When World of Warcraft launched the Cataclysm expansion, there was talk of dragon attacks that would unlock an in-game achievement if you were killed by the new Big Bad. That has promise, I thought. I did end up getting the achievement, but only in an older zone and a year after the game launched. The new Big Bad, it turned out, was on a timer. There was no game master controlling him.
The new crop of MMOGs can tab into the role of the game master to push the genre forward. Yes, they will have to pay someone per every few servers to do it. But the dynamism an event run by a game master can add will keep people playing. If you have an overarching story to tell, let these game masters implement it. The more you allow those game masters the freedom to shuffle how that story is told, the more interesting it will be for us as players.
In 1998, as I was driving, something special came from my radio. It was a beer advertisement…the first in what would become a legendary series of radio ads. Budweiser’s Real American Heroes came at a time when I still listened to radio with commercials and gave me something to look forward to. When either my brother or I heard a new one, we’d call the other and talk about it. When I left home to find my place in the world, those ads were a way to befriend my new coworkers as they loved them, too.
You can read more about the ads and their origins at Wikipedia, but more importantly, you can listen to a few of them here. I recommend number 13. It’s my personal favorite.
These ads remain some of the most effective radio advertisements I have ever heard.