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  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:45 am on July 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Facebook applications, , Insidious, , player, , Tiny Tower, , Zynga   

    How to Help Tiny Tower Zombies Through Time Travel 

    Do you have a friend or a loved one who exhibits a strange fixation on an iphone game that makes them perform mindless repetitive tasks and mutter gibberish about “building new floors”, “dream jobs”, and “stocking the bowling alley” while producing cash register sounds. Don’t worry, these people did not go nuts – they are simply addicted to “Tiny Tower” – iPhone’s version of Farmville.

    Tiny Tower is an insidious game: it’s designed to make its victims perform in-game routines wired to the pleasure center of the brain while keeping them comfortably numb. There’s something meditative in these repetitive tasks, they are akin to playing with prayer beads. The concept of the game also carries the religious theme, as the player is tasked with controlling the fate of “bitizens” – little pixel people, assigning their jobs and apartments. This feeling of control over the fake little world is its own reward.

    After getting tired of seeing my co-workers spending their lunches hunched over their Tiny Towers I tried to put a stop to these “lunches of the living dead”. Cracking jokes about “tiny towers” didn’t work, and neither did the appeals to reason.

    The most insidious part of the game is the fact that you need to spend a lot of time waiting for the items to be restocked and the floors to be built. I thought that the developers of the game would implement some kind of an independent timer, but they were lazy and used the system time. It turned out that the best way to fight the Tiny Tower zombification is to show how to change the system time (settings -> general -> date and time -> uncheck “set automatically”) so that the money accumulation and the floor building would go fast. Once that happens the whole addictive game dynamic is broken and you can again talk to your friends and colleagues.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:28 am on February 19, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hava Nagila, , Katyusha, player, pretty good didgeridoo player, terrible steel drum rendition, Think Music   

    More Subway Music 

    I am considering buying a minidisc recorder or one of those iPod add-ons in order to be able to post little snippets of unusual sounds that I encounter, especially snippets of subway performer music.

    From what I can tell, this guy is a pretty good didgeridoo player. Also, it’s one of the few instruments that allows the performer to say “thank you” through the instrument. Well, that must have been the funniest “thank you” that I ever got from a subway performer for my buck.

    Now, this guy is probably the worst pan (pronounced “pon”, like “man” is pronounced “mon”) player. I don’t usually give money to sub-par players, but this guy was the worst of the worst. He did get my dollar for what must be the most terrible steel drum rendition of “Hava Nagila” I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard a few.

    As a side now, in the subway “Hava Ngila” is one of the main money makers for hacks. Also you get to hear a lot of Pink Panther Theme, Jeopardy! Theme aka “Think Music” and Katyusha. It’s kind of fun to hear these on exotic instruments like “musical saw”, but more often then not it’s a nuisance.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:04 pm on September 27, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Northrop Grumman, northropgrumman.com, , player, , , web logs,   

    Top 10 Reasons Why Deadprogrammer Left Livejournal 

    1) Old entries are hard to get to: “back n entries” works only for a while, after that you need to go day by day. Which makes paging through a blog that is not updated daily a nightmare.

    2) Can’t run ads.

    3) The degenerate “friends” system with it’s stupid add/remove politics. It’s better to read stuff in an aggregator.

    4) Livejournal is widely known for drama and teenage angst. Having a Livejournal blog is similar to having an AOL email – it doesn’t matter that the famous hacker JWZ has one. People will still think that you are a loser.

    5) No categories. You have to keep a separate journal if you want to give your readers an ability to read only stuff that interests them. I want to write some entries in Russian, but do not want to have a separate journal for that. Also some of my readers might be interested in my photos, but not in what I think about Livejournal.

    6) Constant outages, lost posts, slowness and other technical fun. What else can you expect if you share your servers with a million teenagers frantically refreshing their “friends lists”.

    7) No trackback.

    8) Image hosting that is still in beta, but a fully released “phonepost” system that instead of using MP3 format uses OGG. I spent a couple of hours trying to find a player that would actually play these files when I click on them, but for the most part miserably failed. Those are a couple of hours of my life that I’ll never get back. I mean, what the hell is wrong? You click on a file, the player opens, but doesn’t play anything. You click play button – nothing. You click again…. Arrrgh, it’s driving me nuts!

    9) No web logs – you have no idea how many people actually read your stuff. The only indicators that you might have are how many “friends” you have and how many comments you get (both of which are poor indicators). Since you can’t run JavaScript, you can’t have a reliable third party tracker either. I’ve had a visitor from northropgrumman.com at my new shiny (well, not so shiny yet) MT based site, and I would not have know that if it was still at Livejournal. Hey, Northrop Grumman reader, who are you?

    10) If you set an article with a future date in Livejournal, instead of showing up if your readers lists normally, it sometimes disappears. There’s a bug there somewhere.

    Livejournal does have a superior comment system, but since I don’t get too many comments it doesn’t matter that much.

    Did you expect the Spanish Inquisition? No? Well, nobody does. But it brings you 11th reason:

    11) No integrated search.

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