Tuesday, May 26, 2009

After the con

I just got back from Balticon, and I'm completely exhausted from the combination of too many people, too little sleep, and too little food. Also, I was feeling a bit lonely for much of it—you're never so alone as when you're alone in a crowd.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A couple of questions

1. What's the most important lesson you've learned in your life?
2. What lesson has had the biggest impact on your life?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hey! / Now we're going back in time! / Check it out, gotta keep 'em federated.

I consider myself a Star Trek fan. I've seen a few episodes of TOS, much of TNG, all of DS9, most of Voyager, and a bit of Enterprise, but I don't plan on seeing the new movie. The decision was made provisionally after seeing the original trailer, and nothing I've heard since has made me think my first impressions were wrong.

My first thought on seeing the trailer was "Why is this an action film? Did they get Michael Bay to direct it?" When coming up with adjectives to describe Star Trek, "Awesome" and "Extreme" are not at the top of the list. This isn't Star Wars. Trek has never been action/adventure—it's more exploration/diplomacy. In DS9, in the middle of all-out war, more time is spent on the internal politics of keeping the alliances together than on battles. If a ship fires at the Enterprise, the command is not "Return fire!" but "Open a channel." This is a show that spends screen time on staff meetings, for goodness sakes! Don't think I'm impressed by a trailer full of eye candy and people driving off cliffs.

I'm not thrilled about the use of time travel to hit the reset button, either. I've never been a fan of Trek's time travel plots, and I'd miss the canon. But that's fairly minor, and I'd still be lining up to see it, if it didn't have the wrong attitude. When George Lucas stuck politics and technobabble into the Star Wars prequels, they didn't fit. In a universe like Star Wars', senate proceedings and "midichlorians" stick out like a sore thumb. Similarly, dramatic action shots and people hanging off cliffs doesn't fit Star Trek's style.

Edit: The Onion, it seems, has summarized my complaints quite well: "Star Trek fans are decrying the new film as a fun and watchable action-packed thrill ride... There's not even one scene set at a long table where interstellar diplomacy is debated in endless detail."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

o/` ...throw it out the window, the window, the second story window... o/`

Our second story window just fell out the window. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, it's designed to tilt inwards so you can clean the outside, but it wasn't installed correctly (which explains why it wouldn't stay in position all these years). Today, while my mother was trying to clean it open it, it fell out entirely, landing on the clay two stories below. Surprisingly, it didn't break, so I figured out how it went in and put it back, properly. Now it stays in place if you raise or lower it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

On the reputation economy

The internet economy doesn't run on cash.

That is to say, the market economy does reach online, but it is not the primary mode of transaction here. Instead, we primarily have a reputation economy: your wealth is your fame. It works a little differently: in a market economy, you show your appreciation by giving someone money, which makes you poorer. In the reputation economy, you link to them, which doesn't.

People understand this instinctively, if not always consciously. If you steal a bit of artwork someone else made, and put it on your site with a link to the creator, the creator is unlikely to get mad (and unlikely to get sympathy from the rest of the internet if they do). On the other hand, if instead of linking back to the creator, you imply that you made it, people get very angry; see Todd Goldman or eBaum's World [explicit lyrics] for examples. This is a pattern on the internet—if people are complaining about someone being a thief, they're much more likely to mean a reputation thief than a money thief.

Interestingly, there's no Wikipedia article on the subject, although I don't seem to be the first one to describe it. There is one for "attention economy", which is close, but not quite the same thing.