updated for patch 3.3.5

August 13, 2010

I’ve refreshed all the reports over at the Google Appengine site to bring them up to date, except for the ones related to twinks and bg performance. I should have enough data to refresh them early next week.

No dramatic changes meet my eye, but alas I’m a bit busy with other things so I’ve only given the reports a quick once-over.


phone phreaks

June 10, 2010

W00t! My HTC Desire has arrived at last. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but that was just because the UK suppliers ran out of stock. It clearly is a phenomenally popular phone.

The Voight-Kampff Test

And my cunning plan to defeat a certain evil Oz telco has worked perfectly too. Seriously, any Australian readers who want a non-Telstra Desire, all you have to do is order it over the internet from here or here. A hundred Oz dollars cheaper and FedEx will get it to you in under five days. The British phones run on the right frequencies for the Optus and Vodafone 3G networks here.

My phone configured itself correctly from the Optus sim card; 3G voice and data came up without a hitch when I turned the phone on. WiFi and GPS, of course, are true world standards, so no problems there either.

And would you like a review of the phone? Remember Arthur C Clarke, the science fiction writer, who once made the remark that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”? I guess these phones must be pretty advanced then; they do have a magical quality as far as I’m concerned. It’s the first thing I’ve yet encountered that really makes me feel that I’m living in the 21st century.

I’m still adding apps and sorting out the configuration of the thing. Trouble is, everything I install I then want to play with. I spent a couple of hours yesterday playing with Google Goggles. Not perfect yet by any means, but insanely great, nonetheless. I’ll post a list of the apps that I consider essential, just as soon as I’ve figured out what they are.

And I want to try a mobile blog post too. The phone does voice-to-text that works pretty well; that should save a lot of the typing. One of my main concerns was that I’d need a physical keyboard. And indeed, if you’re planning to write War and Peace II on the thing then a keyboard is a must. But the beauty of Android is the close integration with the Google cloud. A lot of data can be set up in the cloud using your PC, and sync-ed over to the phone. I got all my browser bookmarks, RSS subscriptions and personal contacts onto the phone without typing a line.

Other options include cloud-based note-taking services like Evernote.

Meanwhile I hear that another company has just released an upgraded iProduct thinggy. Yawn… Why are they even bothering? Aside from anything else, it’s Android that has the geek street cred now. Remember back in the Mac vs PC days, the Apple computer was the minority taste and you got certain bragging rights by having one.

Now, in Australia at least, everyone has an iPhone and the Android phones are the minority. How good will it be when you pull your new Desire out of your pocket and all your friends say “Oh, is that the latest iPhone”?

Of course you’ll have your response carefully rehearsed – the quick pitying glance, the condescending smirk, the just-so tone of voice as you reply “Oh no. I’ve gone with Google. I didn’t want to be… like… evil.”

I think you can imagine how good that will feel. Hop to it then.

UPDATE: There is an issue with the phone picking up the 3G data link after turning off the WiFi. This seems to be common to all Desires and not just the UK ones. The workaround is here.

jane’s addiction

March 8, 2010

Over at Syp’s Bio Break blog, I noticed that he has added a neat little idea: a list some of his current… um… cultural activities. Now I’m sure that he’s not the first person in the blogosphere to come up with this, but, since it’s where I’m shamelessly stealing the idea from, I thought I should acknowledge the source.

You’ll find a short list of what I’m amusing myself with at the bottom of the right hand column. It’s just a touch of vanity publishing, out of the way of the main MMO themes of the site. Feel free to take or leave it as you like.

I’m happy to admit no great originality in my choice of games and books. But I’ve got this idea that I might be performing a bit of a public service in the “what I’m watching” department. To understand why, let me tell you a little story.

I’m currently signed up to Quikfix, which is just the Oz equivalent of Netflix. It doesn’t quite have the awesome range of its US equivalent, but it’s up there. At the moment I’m gorging myself on some of the great TV series of the past. But I made the mistake of mentioning this to some youngsters at the local wargaming club the other day.

The response to “Oh, I’m watching a TV show that first went to air in 1959″ was… disconcerting… to say the least. Those smirks… So I invited them around to actually watch a few episodes. Needless to say, they’re not smirking any more.

People: we had entertainment before computers! And some of it was pretty good too. But I think I’ll just leave it at that for now lest this turn into a real rant.

radar o’reilly

March 6, 2010

Welcome to everyone coming here from O’Reilly Radar (not to be confused with “Radar” O’Reilly which is from another time and place entirely). This O’Reilly is one of the premier publishers of books and other material for people in and around the computer industry. I’ve got half a dozen of their books on the desk in front of me here.

XSLT Cookbook saved my bacon several times during the making of this site.

I’d just like to repeat my earlier invitation to anybody who enjoys playing with large data sets, and who has some statistical skills, to get in touch with me. Just leave a comment here and I’ll email you.

I do understand databases and web stuff, but alas I’m a bit statistically challenged… so I’m looking for people who might like to run some of the numbers through modern datamining algorithms and see what we come up with.

Oh and speaking of which…

the choir invisible

March 2, 2010

Many thanks to everybody who responded to my invitation to help give my data a more modern statistical treatment. I’ve got the first guest post ready to go, thanks to the work of Darush, who had another look at the feral druid forms question.

I’ll get his post up in a moment.

Meanwhile I can see that I need to have a closer look at data mining stats techniques myself. That whole mean-and-standard-deviation thing is sooo twentieth-century. Fortunately the interwebz make all things possible. A simple Google search turned up this, for example. And there are lots of other resources out there as well.

Unfortunately things have turned a little intense at work, which is holding up a number of new things I’d like to do with this site. That includes responding to several people who have left good comments and suggestions over the last little while. I haven’t forgotten you.

But there won’t be any improvement on the work front for the next month at least. After that, my time should be a lot more free and we can make progress again.

It is my intention to refresh the data soon, but, since it is getting a bit stale. We’ll see where we are with patch 3.3.3.


January 27, 2010

Apologies to everybody trying to get to my Google App Engine site. That wow.com shout-out has run me right out of bandwidth. I’ve been linked to from wow.com before without being overwhelmed by it, so this has taken me by surprise a bit.

Normal traffic for the site is well within the bandwidth limits that Google sets, so I’m sure I’ll be baaack soon. Just bookmark the link and try again when the storm has passed…

statistics for dummies

January 27, 2010

Thanks to all my visitors from wow.com who left comments on various posts. One thing that came up in a  couple of places is the suggestion to use more powerful statistical techniques on the data. Great idea! Unfortunately I took my last stats course at Queensland University in the first semester of 1978… and no, that’s not a typo… and I’m sure things have moved on a bit since then.

So I’d like to issue an open invitation to anybody who does have the time and the statistical skills to help play around with the data and see what we can come up with. I’m happy to have guest posts here, with the proper attribution for you, or you can post on your own blog.

We’ll have to see how to handle access to the data, but I’m sure there’s somewhere in cyberspace that’ll help with that problem.

Just leave a comment here. Your email address stays unpublished but I can see it and I’ll reply as soon as I can.