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Comment my contribution (Score 1) 37

I've made one contribution to this game. A very minor one, but one I'm proud of nonetheless. I persuaded them to change their motto from: "Cause Civilization Should Be Free" to "'Cause Civilization Should Be Free". The missing apostrophe was just more than I could stand. :)

Comment All rules are not created equal (Score 1) 497

There are a lot of bad "rules" running around out there. There's also a lot of good ones. Some have evolved through painful experience; others are more like cargo-cult beliefs. But the bottom line is that we're all terrible judges of our own work. That's why authors need proofreaders and (frequently) editors. If you want to break something you think is a rule, for whatever reason, try checking with your cow-orkers, to see what they think about it. Yes, they may all be hide-bound idiots, but if you get hit by a bus, they're the ones who are going to be left maintaining all that code you wrote. And maybe, just maybe, they'll spot something you didn't.

Yes, I know code reviews are painful and waste everyone's time, but spotting errors and issues up-front is orders of magnitude less painful than spotting them long after the fact, when the code has evolved to become several times more complex.

Comment Re:RH buying an Ansible? (Score 1) 78

Card (as well as several other writers) borrowed the name from LeGuin.

The word ansible was coined by Ursula K. Le Guin in her 1966 novel Rocannon's World.


I think I first read Rocannon's World around '73 or so; Ender's Game wasn't even published till '85. And in Ender's Game, the word is described as being "dredged...out of an old book somewhere." In other words, it was borrowed from LeGuin both in-universe and out-!

Comment Re:RH buying an Ansible? (Score 1) 78

Yeah, I admit I'm torn. On the one hand, it's cool that a term coined by Ursula K. LeGuin has gained such broad acceptance that it can even appear in a company or product name. On the other, it's bizarre that a company would use it for something that bears no resemblance to what it means. (Unless I'm missing something.)

Comment Re:Even honest ratings skew high (Score 1) 184

Yeah, I've noticed that my ratings on Netflix skew well above three. I'd like to help train the system better in my dislikes as well as my likes, but I'm not really willing to rate movies I haven't watched, and there's a lot of movies I'm not interested in watching.

They do have an "I'm not interested in this" option, though, so that probably helps. But it's also probably not reflected in their star ratings (nor should it be).

Comment Re:Ummm .... duh? (Score 1) 184

The big problem with Netflix's ratings is that people don't understand them. Which confounds the data. I often give very different ratings on Netflix than I do on IMDb, because I use my personal tastes for the former, and more objective criteria for the latter. Take The Godfather. Objectively, a brilliant film, with outstanding acting, writing, directing, editing, cinematography, etc., etc. A lot of people consider it one of the best films ever made. On IMDb, I wouldn't give it less than 8/10, because I recognize its fine qualities. On Netflix, though, I can't give it more than 2/5, because it's not the sort of movie I like or want to watch, and 3 or higher means "I like it". I admire it, but I don't like it. I understand why people like it, and agree with the reasons for the praise, but it's not to my tastes.

(Of course, this also happens on IMDb, in reverse.)

Comment Re:Arguable (Score 4, Insightful) 67

I agree. Heck, Sumer wasn't a city; it was a coalition of city-states. And the game focused primarily on the "state" part, rather than the city. You are the emperor. You're ruling your people. Whether those people were all gathered together into one city, or spread across a wider region wasn't really relevant to the game. You could just as easily have been, say, a count in medieval times, ruling your county. In fact, one of the main elements of the game was deciding how much of your grain to plant, which isn't exactly an activity associated with cities.

I'd say that this game was closer to being the origin of empire-building games like Civ than to city-building games like Sim City.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.