Monday, December 3, 2012

Quotes

We all know it, but has anyone put it this way before?

"Will you follow someone else's footsteps, or leave new ones for others to follow?"

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to avoid paying for medielicens

This guide will explain how to not pay for the media license issued by Danmarks Radio (or DR), it is basically a translation of this guide, intended to help my fellow international students at the IBA save some money on a stupid fee they, of all people in Danmark, have absolutely no use of.

Some facts:
DR has no legal rights or the ability to force you to pay the fee.
DR can NOT see whether you have a TV, internet, smartphone or cable-TV package (except by visual observation - looking through your windows).
DR does not record conversations (phone or in person), as this is illegal. Unless they state this at the very beginning of the conversation in which case you can simply say: "No comments".

Q&A:
Q: DR sent me a bill, should I pay it?
A: No, not if you did not sign up for the media license yourself. Simply put the bill in the trashcan. Their system relies on people paying out of blind fear for the system. Then go and unsubscribe from the media license.

Q: How do I unsubscribe from the media license?
A: Go HERE. DR is bound to respect your unsubscription.

Q: Can I be forced to pay the fee for months already gone by?
A: In principle yes. DR has to prove that you were obliged to pay the fee, which they can not unless you yourself told them that you should have.

Q: What do I tell the inspector if he shows up at my apartment?
A: They have no legal right to access your home, consider them a private person. Tell them that you are not subject to paying the fee and never have been. (Note: If you open the door and they can see a smartphone, TV, radio or similar - see next question).

Q: What if DR signs me up after visiting or being in contact with me?
A: DR has stopped accepting emails on the usual address, I recommend using solution 2, but you can also use number 1.

Solution 1: for cancelling DR Medielicins

Go to https://www.dr.dk/om-dr/licens/afmeld-medielicens and fill out the form like in the picture on the right.


Solution 2: for being a pain in the ass of DR

If they sign you up, you can easily avoid paying by emailing them at "direktion@dr.dk" all of the following emailadresses:
bornholm@dr.dk, kbh@dr.dk, nordvestsjaelland@dr.dk, sjaelland@dr.dk, fyn@dr.dk, sydweb@dr.dk, trekanten@dr.dk, syd@dr.dk, p4aarhus@dr.dk, vest@dr.dk, nord@dr.dk, drkommunikation@dr.dk, draarhus@dr.dk

The letter could sound like the following:
"Dear DR.

I am sorry to be using this address, but "direktion@dr.dk" is no longer available and I am unsure how to contact you. Please see to it that this message is forwarded to the right people.

I have been contacted by you on the Xth of Month, where I explained that I was not subject to the license fee. Yet you have, against my will and the law, signed me up for the media license. I request that you forfeit your claim against me, and I request access to ("aktindsigt i") my license case, so I can have an overview of the reasons for the faulty sign up. Remember to respect the time frame for "aktindsigt" as specified in "forvaltningsloven".
Best regards Name".

After this they will hopefully remove your subscription as they have no proof of your obligation to pay the fee.

Q: Why do I ask for access to my license case ("Aktinsigt").
A: "Aktindsigt" is a right you have according to "forvaltningsloven", to see what is recorded about you, whenever a public authority is treating a case in which you are involved. In relation to DR, this is the legal tool to use to make them say that they have no proof that you should pay the fee. This request should in principle be answered within 10 workdays (2 weeks). This is the key to have them unsubscribe you, because they know they have no proof.

Q: What consequences will it have for me to unsubscribe from the media license, even though I have TV/Smartphone/Internet/Cable-TV?
A: None other than they can sign you up again. There are no fees and DR does not require you to pay for months gone by.

Enjoy not having to pay the media license anymore!

Note: Please do not contact me for specific questions. Everything you need to know is stated above. Your case is NOT special.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Google Drive and DropBox sync

So for some time I have had the issue that my documents were on my Google Docs because that was the best way to share and collaborate on note taking for school, and all the materials we used were on DropBox because it could be on my computer and phone at the same time. I've been wondering about a solution that could combine the benefits of the two, so that come exams, I wouldn't have to download all my Google Docs and not be able to edit them in an exam situation (because I do that so that they're up-to-date for later exams). Anyways, a solution provided itself with the release of Google Drive, which also has a desktop application, just like DropBox.

It is, in its core, very simple.
1. Install Google Drive
2. Install DropBox
3. Put the DropBox folder into your Google Drive folder
4. PROFIT!

It's that simple, and you can of course do it the other way around as well, putting your Google Drive into your DropBox folder.

Enjoy seamless syncing across devices!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beware of Speck Computer Cases!


Together with my Macbook Pro I got myself a case as well (via the Apple online store) as I am very particular about my electronics, and always have screen covers and hard cover cases etc. for everything, ensuring that once I am done with them, they are in perfect shape for resale. Example with my latest acquisition, my iPhone 4S: I did not leave the store until it had a piece of plastic on the screen and a hard plastic cover on the back. Sure the screen is less smooth and the phone itself is less physically appealing, but it stays protected!

For a long time I was very happy about my Speck case except that it didn't fit perfectly on the bottom part of my MBP. One day the upper left corner (near the powerplug) broke and the case would not stay on anymore, fair, that is why my computer had a case anyways.

I took off the case since it was loose anyways, and saw that the rear of MBP had A LOT of small indents and pokes everywhere. After some thinking and reapplying the case I noticed that this could only be from tiny tiny pebbles or sand, that would have been stuck under the case, and once the computer was put on a table, they would press against the computer, and and make these little holes in the bottom of it's aluminium casing.

This has meant that my MBP which would have dropped only a little in price in comparison to when I purchased it, will be reduced to a mere 20-30% of it's original price since it is no longer flawless, but instead has severe physical damage to it's outer side. For an investment of 303 DKK (50 USD), supposed to insure that my MBP stayed protected, this was a very bad choice. Since without the case, this would never have happened, with the little pebbles simply never getting to be pressed against the computer under normal use like they were with the case.

To be honest I am disappointed with Speck and would under no circumstance recommend anyone to use any of your cases for their computers, but instead simply keep the computer in a sleeve instead, when not in use.

To be fair, the screen cover works perfectly and to this day is still on my Mac, so from my experience it is safe to use, but the bottom part - STAY AWAY FROM IT!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How to set up your IBA email account on your iPhone

To help out my fellow students at the IBA, here's a short 5-step guide on how to set up your IBA email on your iPhone, with pictures!

Go to Settings, and tap "Mail, Contacts, Calendars"

Tap "Add Account..."


Choose "Microsoft Exchange" (2nd from the top on the picture below).

Now enter your credentials as below, note that the "Server" line will not show up until you tap "Next". It will give you an error message, then enter the server as below, and tap next again.
Note: You can write whatever you want in the "Description", this will be the name that shows up in the overview (picture 1).

Now choose what you want to sync with the server. "Mail" must be on in order for you to read your school emails on your phone and synchronizing "Calendars" will allow you to see your schedule in your calendar on your iPhone. "Contacts" and "Reminders" are both optional.

And that's it, your iPhone will now display your schedule and you will receive emails from the IBA directly on your iPhone.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator - What is it and is it good?

This summer I was lucky enough to actually be able to attend the annual reunion at my boarding school, and here I saw something that I have missed in many years, seeing the growing popularity of online games: A group of people, sitting together around their computers and having fun playing the same game. This is what we call a LAN-party, but sadly, I haven't been to any lately, as all the games are online anyways and you talk with each other for free through Skype, so why bother?

One person however wasn't sitting, he was walking around, looking at everyone's screens, pointing at people and giving orders: "MORE COOLING!" - "INCREASE ENERGY ON THE FRONT SHIELDS!" all while he was getting reports back from the people around him: "DS3 NEEDS ASSISTANCE!" - "We are low on energy, sir!". There was a lot of tension in the air as the spacecraft that these people were running was fighting a fleet of enemy spacecrafts, but there was fun too.

They were playing Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator. Thom Robertson, the creator of Artemis, writes on his website about Artemis:

"Artemis is a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows computers.
Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the "main screen", while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control.
Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room ("bridge") , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn't have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.
Artemis is a software game for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7."
I found the game so amazing, that once I got home, I started toying around with Artemis myself, getting it ready on my Mac laptop (super easy with Wineskin).
One week later, I had 3 friends come by to act crew for me and we headed into space! With only 4 people on the bridge I doubled as Captain and Science while my Helm was also taking care of Communications. We had a fantastic evening, switching roles a few times so everyone could try the different positions, and my next experience with Artemis is due this weekend, where we plan on bringing the game to a 'real' LAN-party and play it, not in a small room, but somewhere where everyone can see what we are doing, for Artemis is not only a cool game for the players, but also spectators.
I can highly recommend this game to anyone who would like to challenge themselves both as individuals and as a team. Playing Artemis requires very little knowledge of computers and games, but does require that your crew knows how to work together. 
You learn more about, and try out Artemis for yourself at:
http://www.artemis.eochu.com/
The Demo is free, but unfortunately doesn't include all functions of the game, but if you ask me, the 40$ for a license is better spent here than on anything else, AND you can share the game, for free, with your crew!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Game Designer's Take on Diablo 3's Loot System

Only just before and after the release of Diablo 3 I made posts on the sigil's that you could obtain through their release contest, other than that I've until now decided to stay silent on the topic of the quality of Diablo 3, allowing Blizzard to get their heads around 'fixing' their game.
Short version: Diablo 3 is a terrible game when weighing expectations (provided not by the fanbase, but Blizzard themselves) against the actual result.


But, I have had a hard time trying to explain just what exactly made the game so bad, I could not point it out exactly. However, this post from Yamahako was sent to me, and it explains exactly the issues I have with Diablo 3, and I wanted to share that with you. It is a very long read, but it is worth it. I have quoted the part of the text I found interesting because of the psychology aspect/game design view on things. The rest of the post is available on the battle.net forums here battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5270834615.


Now the text, posted by Yamahako on 29th of May, 2012:"A lot of people seem to be complaining about many things in Diablo 3, but most of it boils down to loot. Even progression boils down to loot drops at a functional level.


It's not to difficult to identify the problem here. People enjoy getting loot for their character. People enjoy seeing loot drop. These trigger certain pleasure centers in our brains. People don't really enjoy searching the auction house for items. But the most efficient way to get gear for your character is not by seeing it drop.


Rational behavior will dictate that the path of least resistance (in this case, time) will direct behavior. So, because the Auction House is faster to obtain loot, this will be the default "best" place to get it. Especially since you can get what you want, right now. Even though it is less fun.


This means, that the Auction House needs to not be the cheapest best place to get all of your gear, which means that the game needs to - generally - have lower drop rates - because the existence of the Auction House increases the visibility and availability of gear. If everyone had good gear, and everyone could put it on the Auction House, then the prices would drop and the Auction House would be defacto the best place to get gear.


Unfortunately - the problem is that the Auction House pricing is already deflated. To the point of making the Blacksmith (another gear acquisition path) a non-option for someone attempting any semblance of rational behavior (Rational Behavior from an economics/Game Theory stand point - path of least resistance).


The huge problem with this is that the 'fix' from an economics perspective, would be to lower drop rates even further, so that prices rise, so that farming for items becomes more profitable. However, since people are getting less positive feedback from this game from a loot dropping perspective (and we've established [for most people] that the AH is less fun than seeing loot drop) lowering that even further would drop the positive feedback even MORE!On top of this, the rarest of items (which can cause the largest spikes from a reward perspective) are not proportionally better that the most common items. So when you see a legendary item drop, the sheer volume of good blues and rares that have dropped have a majorly significant chance to be better than that rarest item drop. This creates a NEGATIVE feedback for what should be a highly positive feedback spike.


Since good blues are fairly common, and good r
ares and fairly rare, you eventually stop caring that you are getting good blue drop loot - from continuous reinforcement (see B.F. Skinner for more on this) - and the pleasure of gear acquisition in that respect no longer triggers an endorphin release. That coupled with the negative feedback from a legendary and rare drops, make people not get the same sense of happiness from this game as they did from D2.



Since this is supposed to be the fun part of the game (loot acquisition- as stated multiple times by Blues), that leads people with high levels of frustration to turn to an area of lower frustration to express the need to gear - the AH. Since the AH is not "fun" (unless you're interested in markets and the buying and selling of goods) then this also doesn't trigger reward mechanisms that would keep people playing the game.

Add to that the fact that is is frustratingly complicated to farm in the game (as specifically designed by Blizzard in order to reduce the effectiveness of Boss runs) due to the quest system being required to run in order to progress, it basically creates a system that discourages you from farming to gear up - hence why people just want to hit inferno running (they haven't gotten their loot fix yet and really need it to justify the game to their wallets). This then causes the brickwall to hit them as their gear level (and possibly skill level) isn't up to that level yet - and then the whining happens.


This is a MAJOR design flaw. The most fun thing in the game (getting loot), should be accomplished by most fun thing in the game to do (slaying monsters). This is Game Design 101 (I'm speaking as a designer myself). The best way to gear up needs to be by farming for gear (triggers 2 pleasure centers). Inferno difficulty is not a problem if:1) is it possible to gear up in hell difficulty, and2) you can get enough small upgrades in order to trigger the endorphin release frequently enough to make this behavior feel rewarding.Since this was the design, but its not succeeding (at least by my perspective) - I'll add a couple of more concepts to this list - though they would not strictly be required for a successful system:3) the process of farming gear is fun (fun would be created by dynamic content that is both optimal to complete and varied in its execution)4) the process of farming gear is 'easy'. I don't mean easy as in accomplished easily, but rather as in its easy to get into a game where you can explore around and complete events and kill bosses in a way of your choosing. The content can be difficult - but the process of attempting the content should not be difficult.


But since number 2 on that list isn't currently happening, number 1 won't be perceived as possible by the players (10 clears, 0 upgrades, I will go complain on the forums that its impossible - even if its possible and I needed 100 clears. Since I've received no positive feedback from the game that my effort is being rewarded, I will feel as though my efforts are pointless.) This is the problem most people are facing. Take into account that waypoints are largely ineffective due to the questing system, and clicking through quest text on subsequent playthroughs is (for the most part) an annoying time sink, its not even 'easy' to go farm for loot that likely won't drop. And that random events have little or no reward, and random spawning packs of mobs (which are irrelevant to map variance) don't create enough of a varied exploring experience.


Now there's a 3rd item acquisition method, which I've touched up only slightly - which is the blacksmith. We'll ignore the cost and time associated with leveling him up at an in game level appropriate time for now. The cost of his combinations are too high. The lost opportunity cost of even just vendoring items (rather than salvaging them), and then paying the combine cost is much higher than the AH cost of items. This means its never worth it - even ignoring the cost of leveling the blacksmith - and even ignoring the random nature of his items. So his existence, from a player's perspective will typically never be rewarding - and it needs to be.



[...]"
Yamahako clearly outlines the issues with the current loot system in Diablo 3, and how in almost any case, is a negative experience to play the game. This is exactly how I felt. Starting Diablo 3 on my computer is a disappointment, even before logging in now. I have spend many hours with absolutely no rewards. I did finally find a Skull Grasp ring that sold for 11 million, because, trading was not option, and the money quickly left my hands in return for better gear for my characters. Naturally, this money was spend on the Auction House, the only place to go to get money.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Promotion Sigils for Diablo 3 finally awarded!

Some of us might remember that up to the launch of Diablo 3, on Blizzard's website it was possible to make your own banner and in return receive a unique sigil for each class. This feature initially experienced some misbehavior and later on did not work at all, today however (22nd of June 2012) when logging in I finally received all 5 of mine! Did you get yours yet?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to get the Mark of Valor Sigil for every Diablo 3 Hero

Some people have been reporting that the Mark of Valor on Diablo 3's reveal site is not working, and it is not! But here is a fix in case you missed out on the Sigil's for your Diablo 3 Champion earlier on. It works for all the five characters, Monk, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter and Wizard.

To get the Sigils, simply create a banner here: http://reveal.diablo3.com/en_US/mark_of_valor/#!/create

Just follow the steps below for each hero that you are missing, in case you did not get the Sigils earlier on.

On the last page (and this is the fix to Blizzard's broken system):

  1. Enter your nickname
  2. Enter your Battle.net account email
  3. Tick the Terms and Conditions box
  4. Click Finish
  5. Untick the Terms and Conditions
  6. Tick the Terms and Conditions
  7. Click Finish
  8. Congratulations, you will now receive your sigil in game and the confirmation email

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Educational Leadership Project: A Christmas Play.

Educational Leadership Project: A Christmas Play.: I said I would be in charge of the games on Christmas day when we joined a couple of friends. A trip to the 2 dollar shop saw me armed with ...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Seven great tips for making your baby fall asleep easily!

Sleep is all about feeling safe and comfortable, the warm feeling of having nothing to worry about.

You probably know it from yourself, when you have something troubling your mind, it will be harder to fall asleep. Here are seven great tips on how to make both your child and yourself fall asleep more easily.

1. You must realise that there are no single solutions to a child’s sleep problems - if there were, it would not be such a disputable topic.

2. You must consider the individual child’s age, development and the types of sleep issues as a whole before you can help your child the right way. A toddler just 10 months old, who has just learned to crawl, will naturally sleep a bit uneasy at night, processing all of the new motor-skills they have acquired. A three year old who has just started kindergarten will have other reasons for their uneasy nights.

3. Keep a stable and consistent daily routine. A child who sleeps at approximately the same time every day, eats well, and is challenged as well as played with at an age-appropriate level, will naturally sleep better.

4. If a child is having trouble sleeping, you must let them know that you are there. Depending on the age and intensity of the crying, you must evaluate whether to pick up and comfort the child or sit next to it and hold hands. Sometimes reading a book or singing, letting the child hear your voice, is all it takes.

5. Learn to differentiate between when your child is crying out of fear or dissatisfaction. You will know when to pick up the child, and when it is enough to simply be present. As the child grows older, the crying will develop into protest rather than fear, and then it is ok to be a little more stringent. You must express that it has to sleep now, because he/she needs it.

6. Stay in contact with your Early Childhood Centre or parents. It is important for you as a parent or educator to stay in contact with the whānau surrounding the child. Staying informed about the child’s every day life will make it much easier for you to deal with the issues that arise. For busy parents, looking for Early Childhood Centres with E-portfolio solutions such as Educa, where parents and educators can communicate.

7. Trust yourself and don’t blindly follow others’ advice. Follow your heart and intuition. If what you are doing does not feel right, it may be an indication that it is not.

With that as my last comment, I’d like to ask you all how you make your children fall asleep? Comment below!

Anders Gerlev Hansen, 2012, all rights reserved.