Tuesday, May 04, 2004
07:11 pm UTC
Today I speak about a subject over which I've spent a tremendous amount of thought. I've also spoken with a number of people who have a fundamental connection with the game (eg, Kendaer), and also those who don't (eg, family members).
LoGD has been a fantastic and very successful experiment. I'm tremendously proud of the fact that here we offer a free service which is capable of financially supporting itself. A big part of me wants to say, "Nyaa nyaa," to those sites with popup ads, spyware, and the like. In this location, it's been proven that providing content of a sufficient quality is all that's necessary for success on the web, with no advertising at all.
Not a few people told me what a fool I was being for not advertising here. However, I never saw the need since the donations every month have outweighed the expenses, with only one notable exception -- remember the DDoS last year? When that happened, we had enough saved up in the game's "war chest" that my personal bank account never felt the touch.
It's a little known fact that I've not personally profited a single cent from LoGD. I've put a lot of time in to it, and you the players are all I have allowed myself to show for it. That's not to say the game hasn't been a bit profitable. The game's war chest is doing quite well, and the donation drive last month allowed us to invest some more in hardware for the game, with extra to spare. Despite all of this, I've never taken draw on the war chest, and I could have used some of the game's monies to buy myself some neat gadgetry or the like.
But all is not well in the life of MightyE. My job has become an incredible tax on my free time, my creativity, my energy, and my life in general. I've spent some time searching around for other work, and it's not gone well. I'm certain I can't continue like I am forever. I've spent a lot of time soul searching; evaluating what it is I do for a living (basically the same sort of work as LoGD is), evaluating where I want to go in life, and the one point that always came back to me is that what I want most of all is to be able to work on things like LoGD full time.
Despite the donations being sufficient to maintain this game, there's no way they can support me full time. Most months after expenses, I'd make less than minimum wage.
So as I sit in the bad job situation that I'm in now, it occurs to me (and occurred to several other people, who recommended it to me) that site advertising is probably sufficient to employ at least myself, and perhaps up to 1 or 2 other full time paid staff members. I didn't actually appreciate this fact for quite a long time (it's a thought that's been brewing in my mind for the last 3 months since work went down hill for me). This idea generates a large allergic reaction within me. The very concept of it violates the priciple I've established of the site being fully capable of maintaining itself sans avertising, and as I think I've mentioned, this is the single point about which I am most proud in LoGD.
But the selfish part of me declares, "You could be doing this full time, and give up the crappy work you do for a living now, all it takes is a little compromise of principle." Not even moral or ethical principles, but rather just personal pride.
Oh the allure of selfishness. But work takes me from the thing I love -- LoGD, and LoGD by itself can prevent this. I ask myself, would I permit my pride from keeping me away from the other things I love? I think that it wouldn't. If my wife were declared a social outcast tomorrow -- if she and any near here were shunned by all those who see them, would I leave her? The answer of course is no, I wouldn't. I know that if my work required me to not see my wife for long stretches of time, I'd leave my job, at risk to my mortgage, and at risk to any other aspect of my life.
Now it's not fair to compare LoGD to my wife, for a lot of reasons. If LoGD was obliterated from the face of the earth tomorrow, I don't think my existance would end with it. Meanwhile I'm quite certain that any existance I possessed past the death of my wife would be meaningless to me. Obviously, as much as LoGD means to me, she means a whole lot more. There is, however, no inanimate thing which I hold higher in my heart than LoGD, and if I had to give up my career for this game, I would do so.
So then why is it that I don't give up my career for this game? As it stands now, I practically give up this game for my career, and as I just stated, that's the opposite of how I want it to be.
Thus, I was finally convinced to at least price advertising on the web. I went to some other websites and got information on how they price their advertising. Average seems to be between $1 and $3 CPM. CPM stands for 1,000 advertising impressions. So each 1,000 page hits, I'd be able to make, let's say, $1. The number of hits that LoGD gets a month on this server is more than sufficient to employ me full time. If we had full advertising, it'd be sufficient to employ myself and another developer full time.
This small thing would be enough to take LoGD from a part time hobby in to full time employment. My quality of life would go up drastically. Think about it, I could sit in my underwear and drinking coffee every day doing the thing I love, and writing code for you guys (which of course you love).
So it has come down to this, if I wish to have any reasonable amount of time to work on LoGD, I have to compromise the principle I spoke of ages ago. This is something that most people wouldn't see as a compromise, and I can't put my finger on exactly why I think it is. And so I'm faced with the logic that it is the only way I can continue to exist in this world I created with any level of sincerity.
So I'm going to try it for a little while. I ask that you not get offended by the advertising, and I ask you to think about what you'd do in my place. I'm trying to keep them relatively unobtrusive, but honestly the fact that the site has so many skins has turned out to be a really big problem on this front. There is no advertisement that will be unobtrusive on every skin, so all I can do is try to place them in spots that they don't drastically interfere with the design of the site, while still being "above the fold."
03:15 pm UTC
On responding to emails and the like
I've mentioned this to a few people in a few locations, but I'd like to point it out here again in a bit more public fashion. I'm very sorry if I don't respond to an email or other communication you send me. I read every email, but you wouldn't believe how much time it takes to answer loads of emails. When I'm answering an email, I have a hard time keeping it short and sweet, and tend to instead drone on and on about tangential topics in case the user had questions about them too. You're probably familiar with this style of communication, it tends to be how I do most of my blogs, and it's not short on words.
Today I got done answering all of my correspondence, then looked at the clock: 1:30pm. I'd started at 8:00am. In this time I did check out the changes that JT had put on CVS, so that added a bit of time, but this is stuff I end up doing every day.
I don't mean to whine, but I do want you all to know that I appreciate your correspondence, and I do try to keep up with it. So if you've sent me email and I never responded, rest assured, I've actually read it. If you've sent me correspondence that merited some kind of response, eg, "Here's US$1,000,000, thanks for doing an acceptable job working on the game," and I don't respond, chances are I read your message at a time when I simply couldn't respond immediately (eg, while engaged with my job), and intended to respond to it later, then forgot about you. In this case, feel free to bug me about it, "Didja get that million dollars? Didja? Didja? Didja?"
I don't try to be an insensitive clod about getting back to emails, but as a forgetful person, this is just the way my mind works, and if your email doesn't require a response, I'm sorry if I just don't have time to do it.
Update: If you do send me an email, make sure you give it some meaningful subject. If your subject is "Whats up?" or "Hi", chances are I'm going to mistake it for SPAM or a virus and trash it before I open it. Today since arriving at work and cleaning out my SPAM folder, I received 72 fresh spam. Tangent: it occurs to me that "fresh" is probably not a word that most people associate with any form of SPAM, be it unsolicited commercial email or the canned meat variety. 72 unsolicited commercial email in 8 hours. At 9 spam/hour, if I don't recognize the author and the subject is meaningless, it looks like spam to me =). I am quite comfortable with the size of both my member and my breasts, and really don't need to read how I can increase either of them. Most spam are caught by SpamAssassin or the bayesian filter built in to Mozilla Thunderbird, but enough still get through that I need to do some manual filtering on my own.
02:06 pm UTC
Driver to Driver Sign Language
Someone ought to make a universal driver-to-driver sign language system with various one-handed gestures indicating a variety of messages. No doubt you've already thought of the one gesture, used in anger, that most people would recognize. No, I'm not talking about the ol' one-finger salute, though that probably fits in with the rest of the system.
There are a few that are already universally accepted. For example, when someone lets you out in to traffic, you present your palm to them, fingers pointed upward, and this means, "Thanks." Or if you're the one doing the letting-out, you place your palm almost vertical and wiggle your four fingers in unison to indicate that you're letting them out.
Here are a few other situations which merit a universal single-hand gesture:
As you can see, these are common driving situations that we all encounter on a regular basis, and a way to communicate these polite thoughts from car to car with out the need to locate and gesture with our small firearms would be exceedingly useful.
- I just did something really stupid, but I realize it was really stupid, so I'm very sorry, thanks a lot for not smashing up my car.
- You just did something really stupid, but I saw you with plenty of time, so don't worry about it, just be more careful in the future.
- Sorry, I'd let you in if I thought I could, but it's either not safe for me to do that or the guy behind me is going to get out of his car and shoot at me if I do so.
- Since you're so keen on interpreting the fine print of my bumper stickers, I believe I'll go much more slowly until you have finished and can provide a reasonable distance between our cars.
- Perhaps it'd be safer for all involved if you pulled over to the side of the road to finish your phone conversation.
- It might be unwise to purchase a vehicle that large if you're not sure you'll be able to maneuver it.
- I recommend that you invest in a hearing aid so your music doesn't have to be so loud for you to understand the words.
- Your little kid in the back seat flipped me off.
- It is perhaps not a good idea to let your dog control the steering wheel, even if he never is off of his leash.
- I hope that you have an encounter with local law enforcement for the actions you just performed.