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Mar. 3rd, 2008 @ 05:42 am I am midas
Everything I touch explodes in popularity within a few years. I thought I was retired from having that kind of impact but thanks to ooda_loop I see that my spectacular talent cannot be contained. It is now inescapable that soon millions of people will be programming in haskell and erlang, and using those languages to solve abstruse math puzzles. Get on this bandwagon before it's a fad!

* I operated a web server when there were maybe a few thousand web users, and a few dozen web servers. In those days there was a list of all known web servers you could check once a day for new additions.
* I advocated for java when there were a few thousand java programmers, if that. Maybe a few hundred.
* I played on the poker tournament trail when there were a few dozen regulars at most.
* I switched to OS X before it was a complete no-brainer.

Okay, that last is only a 3/10 on the earliness scale instead of 1/10. I bet I'm forgetting some other winners here. (I KNOW I'm forgetting all the losers.)

From the article:
Until Scrabulous landed on Facebook, no one could have mistaken the game, which had only a few thousand users, for a fast-growing phenomenon.
Hey, you ignorant reporter! Where are the web, java, poker, and OS X today? That's right. If you'd bothered with a little basic legwork you'd have known what was coming.
“People believe it to be in the public domain, like chess,” Mr. Williams said. “The idea that Scrabble belongs to a corporation is something that people don’t or are unwilling to accept.”
I am pleased to see that hundreds of thousands of other people can now experience the frustration that comes with this, which is a huge part of why I stopped playing. Hasbro owns the game, controls it like a paranoid tyrant, and treats its most devoted players like pieces of poo on its corporate shoe. No shit people are unwilling to accept that. Do you want to live in a world where people would think it makes any sense at all? Is the precise configuration of the rules of scrabble so goddammed inventive that we should stop playing because hasbro says so, more than fifty years after the game was invented? As I've mentioned I no longer accept any form of intellectual property, but other than those who own hasbro stock, who could think this is sensible?
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Date:March 3rd, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)

Well, since you're such a jetsetter...

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...maybe you could invent a knock off that's just as interesting, but not own by the evil empire that is Hasbro.

I've already got one in my mind. I'm okay with the idea of of intellectual property, but 50 years later?? For a board game?? F'in@#$#@!!! Legally, the biggest question is how much of their game is protected by patent, which has expired, and how much is protected by copyright, which apparently lasts longer than fossils. I think they're fully entitled to trademark in the form of the name, so fine, we'll call it something cooler, like EXTEMPORE. Or HASBRO SUCKS. TRY THE NEW, HASBRO SUCKS GAME!!!! Available online with JAVA on OS X!!! (Or whatever; I'm not a trendsetter...)

PS You da man! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, Paul! ;0
Date:March 3rd, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Well, since you're such a jetsetter...

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Available online with JAVA on OS X!!!

Your guesses are quite good.

Date:March 3rd, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure if I can compete

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I wrote a db-backed website before PHP or any of that. (Okay, it was the interface for an interactive television product that lost millions, but that part of the product wasn't my responsibility or idea.)

I played online poker when there were 2 tables at paradise, total.

I entertained myself with haskell and erlang before I read about them on your blog, mostly to solve difficult but pointless and arbitrary problems.

And I also switched to OS X (and bought an ipod) at the same time I invested heavily in AAPL, in 2002.
Date:March 3rd, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)

Ahem, blogging!

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You've been my zeitgeist meter for some time.

Don't forget your jump away from email to LJ.
Date:March 3rd, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)

You're forgetting a key resume point!

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I think you were also the first person to point out that Vince Lepore and Smoothcall were the same person.
Date:March 3rd, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)

make a better game

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Why don't we just create an alternative to this nonsense? Improving the rules for board games, using sound logic and math, has been a personal hobby for decades. Why don't we get Geary's input, and anyone else who wants to chip in, and define a superior version of the game?

The Scrabble letter values were never optimal (the inventor didn't get the frequencies correct). I don't see anything special about the board layout that couldn't at least be equalled. The board could be 14x14 or 16x16. Then we can just put the better version in the public domain, and let the bastrads make futile squawking noises about "look and feel". Good luck to them -- they don't own a copyright on letters and numbers.
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Date:March 3rd, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)

Re: make a better game

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Why don't we just create an alternative to this nonsense?

Why don't we use the metric system?
Why do we type on QWERTY keyboards?
Why is microsoft still in business?
Why do I need a chicken AND an egg?
Date:March 3rd, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)

Re: make a better game

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I dunno, maybe because people lack the wherewithal to change what should be changed?

It would only take an afternoon to come up with an excellent alternative version of the game, but good players should be involved to ensure that the fundamental strategies aren't too different. Maybe it gets accepted or maybe it doesn't (many improvements don't get adopted, as you've noted), but at least it would create a viable option.
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Date:March 4th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)

Re: make a better game

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Perhaps I was not clear. There is no difficulty in coming up with another game that is at least as good, in abstract terms. The difficulty is in getting substantial numbers of other people to play it. Would you want to be tasked with popularizing a form of poker with different hand rankings, or different hands altogether, or a different deck of cards? "That's a royal fizzbin! You win!"

People don't like learning the rules of new games, or variants of the game they already play. Many millions of people know how to play scrabble. There is no upside from their point of view to learning a similar word game.

but at least it would create a viable option.

I do not believe there is any lack of viable options even now. There are plenty of word games out there - I can't name them because, like most everyone else, I'd rather play scrabble.
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Date:March 3rd, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)

Re: make a better game

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OH MY GOD WHO R U?? Do you play??

See my post above, I agree completely, and as a tourney player, I already have several ideas on what rules changes to make.

PS I just checked out your website; that's the best Doonesbury I've ever seen. "I teach both sides of the argument, not just the one supported by the facts". Priceless.

Mike Eldeiry
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Date:March 3rd, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
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Incidentally, I've noticed that the makers of Scrabulous have already made a new Facebook app - Wordscraper. It's exactly the same, except that you can create your own board size and bonus square configuration (2-5x). It doesn't come with a preset board, but it does save any boards you play on so you don't have to keep making one.
Other than that it appears to be a direct copy of Scrabulous.
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Date:March 4th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
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The funny thing is that they're just repeating the path followed by many others over the years - decades even? The first online scrabble was on a text mud called MARLDoom, and in order to play you had to enter the "word game board" you wanted to use, for the same reason. Not sure if it still does, but last I looked quackle makes you do it too.
Date:March 4th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)


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Like pieces of poo
On its corporate shoe

Ah, the Seuss years
Date:March 5th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
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thanks to ooda_loop

You're welcome.