Monday, February 28, 2011

Leaky Capsule

The light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train after all!

If you have an iPhone, iOS 4.3 and play Eve Online you could now try out Leaky Capsule!

While it is in early stages and owes more than a passing resemblance to Capsuleer, something quite acknowledged by the author, this has some promise.

If you still have Capsuleer installed then the features are similar, but if you are struggling with iClone then visit the app store and install this now!

Friday, February 25, 2011

"WE'RE SORRY, SOMETHING HAPPENED"

From January 2007, posted by Roy Batty68.
-------------------------------------------------

Ok, to set the stage:
I'm a programmer from the US working in europe. However, since outsourcing and COTS has become the only way to go for many managers, 95% of the time I end up playing tech support. I've just spent most of my workday answering numerous emails and phone calls about a certain software system that decided it was going to try something different in 07. A certain software system that I didn't design, program, or test but somehow I got tagged to "support" it.

It's been one of those days where the phone won't stop ringing, my email Inbox looks like it's sweating to the oldies, impatient people keep invading my office, and every 13th call is the same guy from 12 calls ago wanting to know why his situation hasn't improved in the last 20 minutes.

Yeah. Plenty of IT people have had these sort of days. Sure. But try it working in an international setting with people from 26 different countries as your user base. Kicks it up a notch, eh?

Phone call 1: Lively Italian Swearing!
Phone call 2: Please, my view stare blankly! (my german is rusty)
Phone call 3: I've either been hexed by a Romanian or he wants to buy me a document... I'm not sure.
Phone call 4: Turkish sergeant. Pretty good english. Very committed to describing exactly how this system failure makes him feel.
Phone call 5: No, the French didn't win the world cup, the Italians did and no, I would not like a cigar. What does all this have to do with your system not working?
Phone call 6: Yes sir, I'm aware there are people fighting in Afghanistan and quite frankly I wish I was with them!
Phone call ...n^42

Beat that, Mr Been-There-Done-That techy guy! Your IT-foo is weak. Twisted Evil

Anyway, needless to say when I finally got home today I was in the mood to kick my cat. Thankfully I don't own a cat (and never will since 1] cats have no concept of ownership and 2] me and all cats seem to have an inherent Seinfeld Jerry versus Newman relationship) so no animals were harmed in the making of this day. But I was very tempted to ask my dutch neighbor if I could borrow his cat for a few minutes. He already looks at me weird so I decided not to risk escalating any Milagro Beanfield War this guy might have brewing in the back of his head.

So, long story short:
Bad day. Get home feeling a bit punch drunk. Plop down in front of my computer and fire up EVE. EVE no worky.
Double-Ewe Tee Eff?

Oh yeah! Today was patch day. EVE was down for 24 hours. Uber. Neutral

I glance at the Message of the Day window on the EVE logon client and notice that it appears blank but has this tiny little scroll bar like it's ready to scroll quite a distance. Being the compulsive scroll bar scroller that I am and irrationally hopeful that I might find some hidden message about the server coming back early, I do some scrolling. Clear at the bottom of this otherwise blank message box, in big white letters it says,

"WE'RE SORRY, SOMETHING HAPPENED"

I literally had one of those dramatic movie pauses where the sound track goes silent with an expectant hush as I sat staring at this this simple message and my brain struggled to digest it's meaning. Approximately .053 seconds later the sound track came back on and I laughed hysterically for the next 6 minutes. It probably would have been longer but my wife came in, smacked me in the back of the head, and said my "crazy man" laugh was scaring the kids. Through uncontrollable giggles and teary eyes I tried to explain to her that I had just found THE MOST perfect software error message in the history of everything. All I got for my trouble was one of her patented wifely eye-rolls that all girls are taught by age 11. 



Now truth be told, what the message really said was, "We're sorry, something happened to our plonk bubble stabilizer" or something like that which is CCP's way of saying, "yep, web servers are down again" only in spacey EVE talk or something. And since the Message of the Day is hosted on their web servers, all I was really seeing was that web server down message jammed into a two inch by two inch message box with the format all jacked up.

But it kept resonating around my cranial cavity like a buddist chant in an echoey temple high up in yeti-ville. I simply HAD to be on to something here.

"WE'RE SORRY, SOMETHING HAPPENED"

Error messages, all software has them. We've all seen them. That is if we're "lucky" and it doesn't just crash to desktop or make the machine reboot. And nearly all software error messages are completely useless. I don't want to know that the Kernal has gone off and invaded some part of memory in an unauthorized fashion. What the heck does that do for me?

It's not like you get error messages that say, "Sorry, but you can't play Call of Duty IX until you update your video drivers and then refresh your Direct-X build". Or maybe, "Yep, that crappy audio card you've got installed is causing yet another BSD. See ya". Nope. That would be too useful. Instead you get crap things like General Protection Fault followed by some hexadecimal or something. Great! Even better are the messages that offer false hope like, "An unknown error has occured, would you like to close the application?" followed only by an OK button.

Well, maybe I took one too many emails to the head today or something but I really think this simple phrase could be the Rosetta Stone of software engineering. Let's break it down.

What's happened? Software has gone off to land of no return and we need to say something to the user. Probably shouldn't say "I" or "I'm", people get ****ed easily at a target of one. So "we" is good because people reconsider their anger level if it might be directed at a crowd. So starting off with "We're" is a good start.

"Sorry". We're all taught you do wrong, you say you're sorry. Evens the tally sheet some. My software has wronged me!!! And it's immediately "sorry". Well, ok then. I suppose I'm not so upset at my software if it appologizes.

And not only is it sorry, there's apparently a crowd somewhere that's sorry as well. "We're Sorry". Damn fine start.

So now what? Well people are going to want to know why this maybe forgiveable sitatuation has occured. But us programmers aren't sure why it happened either. Probably don't want to admit that... And even if we do know, it's often so cryptic that what's the use of being honest? So let's just say "something" has happened. Not going to say whether it was good or bad. Just... something.

"WE'RE SORRY, SOMETHING HAPPENED"
............[OK]...............


It's perfect!


So there you go. The ultimate error message released to the public domain. Yours for free.
You're welcome.


This has been brought to you by My Crap Day, EVE Servers being down, the letter C (cat), and the letter E (eyeroll)



------( Back to Yosagi Land )-----------------------


Quite the entertaining read, well at least I thought so, but why did I re-post this?


The error message mentioned in that post will be no more with the introduction of the new forums, say goodbye to "we're sorry, something happened to our planck bubble stabilizer".


We will miss you.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More CQ Stuff

Strap in for some links and responses.  Ready?  Let's go!

A couple of days ago I was talking about the new Captains Quarters (CQ), linked here.

Linked here (Diary of a Pod Pilot) are some reactions to various blog posts, including mine, talking about the CQ.

My paraphrased response:

I had a different vision for the CQ, that's fine, no real right or wrong there, and perhaps once more information is released the two visions will converge more.
One of my main concerns was the possibility of breaking the immersion with every pilot being given a large CQ in the station which could not possibly fit that amount of m3.  If they go the other way and pilots only have a CQ if they purchase one, or everybody has a very small one, like the "room" that Korban Dallas has in The Fifth Element. They can then upgrade the CQ if they wish but it would be priced based on the limited space in the station then it would make more sense to me.


Responses on a postcard.

To further answer this I was struggling to find the positive in the CQ announcement as how does it help a spaceship combat game?  Eve Online is only a spaceship combat game now.  CCP's vision has always been to expand the game to become a space simulator, so the combination of the evolved Eve Online, Incarna and DUST514 would go a very long way towards meeting this vision.

Eve Online is changing, but it is becoming the vision rather than moving away from it.

Of interest is the official CCP forum post and responses here.

I have read most of the response pages and they are generally positive.

The bitter old vets (BOV) may be bitching and whining about CQ and by extension Incarna, I'm not sure if I'm classed as a BOV, others can judge that, but I am tentatively happy about CQ and Incarna.

I will be watching Fanfest with great interest to flesh out this preliminary information, roll on four weeks time!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Get a Room Already!

Posted here is a dev blog about  the Captain's Quarters which is also the first part of the Incarna expansion.  In the dev blog, which I suggest you read, is some information on the quarters.

What concerns me, well several things concern me about this.  Firstly the time for complete roll out of Incarna seems to be several years, after a supposed five years of development.  This is far too long.  With luck at the Fanfest in a few weeks some happier information will be released, I really hope so.

Secondly the image they have for the "Captain's Quarters" and what I had imagined are totally different.  I'm not sure how they can justify these large and spacious areas on a station which has a finite amount of space.  Not to mention what happens if I enter another station.

If I'm enjoying the big screen monitor in my quarters do I have 49,999 others only populated by cleaning robots and the occasional invasion of Tribbles?

My vision was of a smaller space, only at a station that you had bought those quarters in, and each station has a finite amount of them and priced to suit, much like corporate offices are now.  The ceiling was lower, think more like a ships cabin than what appears to be a small converted hanger.

One of the advantages of Incarna when all the parts are finally delivered in 2016* will be the draw it should have on a different gaming crowd, namely the Sims and Second Life folks amongst others, if anything they'll bring life to the station environment in the common areas, assuming we get those (probably announced in 2014*)

Fanfest should be very interesting.


* these dates are taken from my pessimism drawer and are not a guide, also don't operate heavy machinery after reading this post.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Evemon Updated...Finally!

Incursion parts one, two and three have come and gone but Evemon, perhaps the most useful third party program for Eve Online was left behind as the developers grappled with the seemingly herculean task of updating the program.

If this is the first time you've heard about Evemon then download and install from here http://evemon.battleclinic.com/

Of "some" interest is a google search for Evemon, with safe search off, responds with many images of butterflies, weird.

Finally I can utilise the attribute remapping feature with a years worth of training, even by remapping a 44 day training plan I would save 9 days.

Sometimes to kill time on long POS bashes or camping I just browse through the ships, modules, etc and see what's out there.

If you have not already, do yourself a favour and check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Kayan Lahwi Award

The Kayan Lahwi (or I can reach tall branches with my tongue) Award goes to...

Kitty McKitty for most intriguing use of unlikely physical dimensions!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day Four of CCP Disabled Account - Working!

On the fourth day the account was enabled, some switch was flicked and I can once again login.

Outstanding.


Obviously the account should have never been disabled in the first place, but then having to wait four days is not good enough.

Apart from an apology for the delay I've received no information as to the nature of the problem.

Businesses are about customer relations, often you can hide a sub standard product or service with good customer service, at least for a while.

While my account is now working I'm not happy, CCP's response time and information transfer between them and the customer needs to improve, at the very least for critical items like major account issues.

I don't like bitching about a problem without suggesting an improvement so one way to help the communication issue is a queue notifier.  An automatic email from CCP that is sent daily which reports on my petition in the queue would help avoid the creeping feeling of abandonment that can happen while waiting (at the time) an unknown amount of days until the issue is resolved.

My Two Cents.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day Three of CCP Disabled Account

Day three of the CCP imposed exile from Eve Online.

My training has now finished so the account is earning no ISK and training nothing.

Updated the petition with no further information as I have none, this all came from nowhere.  Asked a question as to why this is taking the time it is.

The reader figures have changed, most of you are now coming from the Eve Online official blog page.

Ironic.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day Two of CCP Disabled Account

As the title suggests this is day number two of no account due to it being disabled by CCP.

No reason has been given or further information has been provided.

I have been invited to submit more information via the petition I have submitted but apart from saying my account is still disabled I have nothing else.

Given this all happened only a day or two after being added to the official blog list I cannot expect this is going to help the PR exercise much.

So we wait.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Disabled, Shipping and Blog Recognised

I've had some discussions with CCP recently, the result is the addition to the CCP fansite page of this blog, right down the very bottom of the page since it's organised alphabetically.

I'm quite happy about that, although a nagging thought suggests I should have named the blog Aarons Aardvark Adventures but that's far too late now.

Unfortunately with this change they have somehow buggered up my account and I cannot login, it says the account is disabled even though the better part of a year remains of subscription time.

With luck they'll fix the issue soon or this blog could become rather vague as the months pass by with no game time to report on.

So we move onto the Eve Online store, especially the freight charges.

I like the products in the online store, a good variety and some day I would like to buy something.  However as I'll explain this will not be happening in the short term.

I was looking at a mug, in particular the one known as EVE Mug: Safe Return which sells for $19.99 US dollars, an image is below:


The mug starts black and as heat is added the image is revealed, awesome!

What I am not prepared to do is buy a $101.50 US mug as the shipping (to Australia) is a $81.51 part of the transaction which is insane!

Which is a shame as the store has heaps of cool stuff which I cannot justify due almost entirely to the freight charges.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swarm


The swarm is coming.

They are going to get you.

You need to get away.

Run!








Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blast from the Past

This post is from the Eve Online forums, all the way back in 2003.

Quote "Battleships are so phenomenally expensive to buy, fly, and equip properly that even very rich corps can't afford to lose more than a couple, and I think they would be used very sparingly indeed in the event of war. Small corps who own one, two, or three of the beasts would be even more reluctant to actually use them in a serious shooting war with a similarly equipped enemy. They're prolly good for bullying those who don't possess them, but not for fighting someone who can fight back on equal terms. Unless you're willing to accept the potential loss of a 100000000+ isk asset..."


Now compare with:


6VDT-H Lockdown: 58Bil Destroyed, huge cache of Sys-K assets trapped, Drama ensured.
* Link is NSFW


Sometimes you have to stop and remember what it was like when you started, assuming you're an old timer.  I started in 2007 so a few years are under my belt now.


This game has changed so much, generally for the better.  We know about Incarna (Walking in Stations) and DUST514, I find myself wondering what is coming after those.  


Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

Seriously!  How the hell did World of Tanks end up with a DT at the same time as Eve Online!

Seriously!!

I'm going to call the conspiracy police...swear I will...though if I press connect one more time I can login before the end of Eve DT.

/me thinks of a calm blue ocean

Monday, February 7, 2011

Goonies Kick a Goal!

So as part of the Deklein Coalition Goonies, TEST and others have successfully camped 6VDT, destroying the structures they needed to and have taken the station.  With high "blue" numbers in the system at all times the previous tenants, IT, had no chance and it seems they knew this as no serious attack on the system was attempted at any stage.

Now as part of this coalition I was able to witness this activity over a period of a few days while I was camping various places in the 6VDT system.

Have you ever seen little kids play soccer?

They run around in a pack to try and force the ball towards a goal, usually the ball arrives there eventually.

Goonies are quite like that, but throw in some ADHD for good measure.

Their leadership gives them things to do while camping in system all the time, or their short attention span may make them be diverted by a shiny thing.  Should an enemy ship appear it dies fast as the locals are revved up and looking for a fight all the time.

I'm not sure if the leadership does this on purpose or it's an attempt at trying to herd cats but it works!

They are a power bloc to be reckoned with.  I assume the campaign will continue in the fight against IT, unless IT implodes first.  They will always need a target.  With luck you will not be that target.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Searching for the Answers

A quick post outside of the semi-normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. On the right hand side we now have a search function which is powered by Google.

I tried to search for some text in an older post and found the blog didn't have that function, so now it has.

Enjoy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pandemic Legion Heist

Generic Clown Bank Robber Image
Reported elsewhere (comments in link potentially NSFW ) Pandemic Legion had an estimated 200 Billion ISK stolen recently, view the link for more details.

What I'm interested in is the real world cost of this theft, get ready for some math!

From the Eve Online web store a 60 day time card is $35 (rounded) in US dollars.

Of interest the Australian dollar is now worth 1.0141 US dollars!  (/me flex)

In game a 30 day PLEX is worth 331.5M ISK, and a mythical (these days) 30 day time card would be worth $17.50.

The heist was apparently 200 Billion ISK so...

331.5M ISK goes into 200B ISK 603.32 (rounded) times, multiply that by the mythical 30 day time card value of $17.50 and we arrive at the real world theft value of $10558.10* in US dollars.

Who says internet space ships isn't serious business?!?

*final figure is rounded and close enough for the purposes of this blog

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sunday Chip Fiasco

As mentioned here (Do You Want To Know More) I use a Linux machine to operate Eve Online about half the time.  Now thankfully the latest round of expansion parts for Incarna has not broken the functionality of this.  Nor has Ubuntu or Wine.

This machine was becoming noisy and as it's now the middle of my summer I figured this was a heat related issue so pulled the covers, removed the CPU fan, cleaned dust etc etc.

Still the issue remained, I then started poking around the operating system itself to find all four cores of the CPU running at 100% all the time.  So this explains the noise, the fan is spinning at maximum revolutions to try and dump the heat from the CPU and also my quite warm days.

Why was the CPU running at 100% all the time.  Years ago I performed data crunching jobs for SETI At Home and a few months ago I set this back up using the current program which is called BOINC.  Now BOINC can be used for SETI At Home, Gene Folding, figuring out why Mickey Mouse is still popular, stuff like that.

This version for Ubuntu does not have a graphical display that shows all the time like the old Windows one so I forgot about it.  Removed BOINC and I now have a much quieter and cooler Linux machine.

The reason why this is important and worth posting about?

In the near future I wish to add audio to this blog, essentially this will be me recording the text you see here.  I also intend to visit older posts and also add an audio track to those.  So watch out for the Audio label soon.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not Quite as the Crow Flies!

Should you need the services of a Jump Bridge (JB) it can sometimes be confusing to find them and make sense of the map that was seemingly created using Chaos Theory, but now this web site may have the answer.


It worked for me and it just might work for you.

* Don't forget you enter the POS force field password to access the Jump Bridge by right clicking on your own ships capacitor display and then choosing the Forcefield Password option.  You do not click on the POS itself.

** If I'd remembered the above it would have saved me "some time"