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Cranky Tats is cranky. You would be too. - Tactical Ninja

Dec. 8th, 2010

09:27 am - Cranky Tats is cranky. You would be too.

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Dear WoW people, how is the Cataclysm expansion working out for you?

The Kid moved his main off Proudmoore before yesterday and has so far reported no problems with server crashes or anything. Since his exams are over and he's on holiday, and he's earned himself some kudos (and money) helping with the shearing, I basically said to him "I still expect you to take care of yourself, keep your room from getting stinky and do your expected chores. Other than that, I'll see you when you get over it." I expect our house to be quite peaceful for the next little bit.

Also, please to be remembering that overpopulation of Worgens will lead to other races being superpopular in the future - I suggest levelling something else as well just saying, particularly something with traits you can't get in a Worgen.

Meanwhile, I'll be over here playing something that doesn't have a subscription fee or turn into a vocation. And has PG-rated cut-scenes designed to tease without satisfying. DAMN YOU DRAGONAGE!

*cough*


Not the book - although I do plan to read that. Enough people have told me it's brain-bending that it feels almost like some kind of initiation rite to have read it. Either that or self-flagellation. Either way, it's on my list.

But that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the thing that's been muttered about for a while and is now apparently available, but only to a select few. I have a vague idea that it's a platform that allows you to link all your social networky stuff into one place, and I'm pretty sure it's open source. The anti-Facebook brigade are trying to convince everyone to move over there, and it's touted as the Next Big Thing.

So was GoogleWave, just saying.

Anyway, the problem with Diaspora is that while I'm told it's going to be awesome and it has the open-source-geek stamp of approval, it's actually quite hard for a layperson such as myself to get enthusiastic about. Even apart from the obvious "Oh God not another networking site I have to shift all my stuff to" issue, there are other things going on here too.

For a start, I don't even really know what it is. I don't follow a lot of the news/blog sites where it gets mentioned and I mostly rely on my plethora of geeky friends for info about this, but apart from "Diaspora will be awesome!" I haven't heard much at all. So I googled Diaspora. Top link goes to the main site. Only, when I click it, I get an ad for Google Chrome(somethingorother), telling me I have to download that before I can see anything on the site. So I didn't bother. Maybe when I'm at home using Firefox it'll be different, but for now I've lost interest, thanks to that screen and the fact that my browser, which I have no choice in, isn't supported. Were I to join this thing, does this mean I'd be excluded at work? What's the point of that?

Another part of my problem with this is that apparently you need an official invite to get started. Which essentially means that there's another barrier to joining for someone like me. Sure, I could probably get an invite if I went looking for one, but why would I go looking for one if I'm just curious rather than foaming-at-the-mouth keen? I'm kind of going "Way to set yourself up as some sort of elite geek thing and exclude a bunch of people who don't identify that way." I dislike feeling as if there's a deliberate attempt to keep non-experts out.

So I'm feeling pretty lukewarm about Diaspora right now. However, I'm willing to admit that this is most likely because I don't know very much about it and my somewhat half-hearted attempts to learn about it have been easily stymied by my apathy and the flimsy layers of exclusivity. So, internet. Please explain to me why I should make the effort to find out more and to use Diaspora.

"It's better than Facebook" won't cut it either, because I barely use Facebook and couldn't give a shit if it fell over tomorrow. I do see the value of social networking, but given I already use LJ, Twitter, occasionally FB and a few other, more obscure networking sites, why do I need another one? And why, if I were to choose to add another one, should it be Diaspora? What is fantastic about it? Not just in concept but in practice?

If you can't tell me this, please link me to somewhere that can, and is not written in that exclusive language of the alpha-beta testers that makes the rest of us feel dumb, because that's offputting. And it would help if said site worked in IE. Cheers.


Will, I don't need another lecture on why businesses shouldn't use IE. I'm already aware of all the arguments, as are all the other people who work in organisations that force their employees to use it. Cheers.

Today, I'm feeling a touch of gruntle. I know exactly why that is and there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm releasing my frustration by being acerbic. Sue me.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:December 7th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I quite like the idea of open source, but if Diaspora is really open source, why is participation exclusive (at least at this stage)? And why doesn't it support a browser that, while outdated and considered crappy by many, is still used by a significant number of people? It seems a contradiction in principle.
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From:richdrich
Date:December 8th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
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I had a really good answer, but the server ate it and I'm not typing it all in again.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 8th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
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coz it takes time and energy which are finite.

If you can get stuff working on most browsers with 2 months effort, but it takes another month for 1 extra browser that needs to be handled specially, is it worth the time investment (especially if it continues to be disproportionate in how many resources it uses in development)?

Opensource is often done voluntarily, or on a lean budget, so people choose to focus on what they care about, rather than what is "commercially viable".

Also - I just sent out some invites today before I checked LJ, so I'm not trying to pressure you to join! ;-p
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
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Now that I'm at home using a geek-approved browser, I can see the front page, which tells me some things but not very much. What does it do?

I admit the lack of IE support, while logically justified, is offputting for me because I do a lot of my bloggy, communicatey stuff from a place where IE is the only option, and I'd be shut out during my most active time. So I'm kind of angling to know what it does and why it'd be worth making that sacrifice for.

Thanks for the invite! <3
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 8th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
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You're welcome.

It's mostly like twitter - but with things called "aspects" which are like different groups for privacy (things like work, friends, etc) so you can choose who you post stuff to.

It's not really worth using unless you just want to be using the latest greatest thing. I'll be sticking with twitter at least until more people I know are on it.
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From:richdrich
Date:December 8th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
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The original, basic HTML tags defined in the mid-90s work across all browsers. A version of the site that uses just those tags might look ugly, but will work anywhere and also be fast.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 8th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)
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It also won't necessarily look the same.

Most of the interoperability issues are to do with appearance rather than content.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I'm totally out to support a site that doesn't want me based on assumptions made about me because of the browser that's inflicted on me through work.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 08:07 am (UTC)
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Shame that by doing that they are also excluding any content I might add from home, eh?

I'm sure they'll be fine though, with all the tech-savvy people contributing.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
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Did you read the bit in my post where I mentioned we didn't need another IE lecture?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
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News flash - I already know that too and have heard it from you multiple times before.

You may not have noticed, but knowing and understanding the reasons behind their lack of support for IE does not prevent me from feeling pissed off at

a) the assumption that because I am an IE user (not even by choice) my participation will be less valuable than that of people who get to choose what browser they use.

b) being left out of something based on that assumption.

I reserve the right to be pissed off about it, and also to consider it at least in part to be elitist snobbery. I haven't yet decided whether I'll use Diaspora (a lot would hinge on it becoming something more interesting than it is now), but this is not an auspicious start for my relationship with it. These are not rational feelings, I acknowledge that. But I'm going to express them anyway.
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From:hairygeeknz
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
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Trying not to be rude or patronising here, bear with me :)

I don't get the number of things utterly unrelated to open source code people ascribe to open source. All it means is you can get the source. Not that people are prevented from being douchebags with it, or about it, or that they have to play nice with others or run things in some special way. It just means the code is out there.

Being open source doesn't make it anything else.

It looks like the Diaspora guys are being dicks about IE in some ways, because they're rejecting all IE versions, and it isn't impossibly difficult to support modern IE builds. Yeah, there's effort, and maybe no-one cares right now, but it seems like they're not even willing to hack in graceful decay for IE quirks. Which is shit.

That said, IE6 needs to die. And companies that keep around decades old insecure divergent code will fast learn that the Internet as a whole needs nobodies permission to reject old clients. New clients and protocols get added all the time, old clients and protocols get deprecated and die because no-one does things for them any more.

That's just how the Internet is. One day, your company and other companies clutching on to IE6 will find themselves not able to access much that still works. Dunno, maybe then they'll get the hint to upgrade.

'course, if you think IE6 support is a Right, it'll be even more hilarious when IPv6 lands and fucks everyone's shitty old networks, desktops, and clients. It'll make problems with IE6 look trivial.

All this doesn't negate Diaspora being dicks, because they should accept newish IE versions, but still. Might as well be demanding everyone still support Gopher.

YMMV.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
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My company dragged itself kicking and screaming up to IE7 just last year. And Diaspora doesn't suppor that either.

And maybe it's just my experience of open source people as being relatively principled and inclusive, and the hype around Diaspora "We care about your privacy so we care about you!" which is obviously not open source related but still an attempt to make us think they give a shit.
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From:hairygeeknz
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
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I hate to say this, but it's somewhat wishful thinking open source is more "principled and inclusive". It's still full of male nerds who are anything but.

Take women in IT for example. It really doesn't matter what side of the software license spectrum you're on, they're all still treated like shit. Whether it's MS projecting an image of the only useful involvement women have in a conference as booth babes, or the alarming number of assaults on women at open source conferences..

Still full of assholes, regardless of where you come from :)

In this case, yeah, they're rejecting all IE versions, and doing so as some sort of political statement. *shrug*

I try not to get too invested in rah rah cheerleading a single world view in IT. Which is why I'm not going to defend blocking all IE versions.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 8th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
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Diaspora isn't better (in functionality) than facebook and it's really nothing more than advanced twitter right now.

re: invites, it's partly due to artificial scarcity to generate curiousity and interest, but also to allow them to control the growth of the service. If hundreds of thousands of people signed up and made the servers crash then they'd lose reputability for having a reliable service. And remember, gmail was invite only for a long long time.
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From:richdrich
Date:December 8th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
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Yes, but gmail was interoperable with all other mail, so had no critical mass issue.

If Diaspora doesn't get that critical mass, then it will never be a useful social network, but will remain a niche along the lines of [insert a moribund system, including LJ, here]. And there's a reasonable argument that without taking an agressive approach to privacy, no site can expand peoples friend lists to the point where it becomes an effective communication tool.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 8th, 2010 06:40 am (UTC)
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"Aspects" help with privacy.

I'm pretty sure the main issue is scaling. Diaspora generated a lot of hype, so I think it's reasonable to gradual release as they cope with teething issues.
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From:laoke
Date:December 8th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
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Having now surfaced from Cataclysm for an hour or two - it's great in a lot of respects, utter pants in others.

+ The quest design is tight, the zones are well set out, and they've not thrown out established locations to show off new stuff. A lot of respect has been shown to the lore.

+/- The quests however are a LOT more linear than normal. It's prety obvious that it's designed around telling a story in each zone, which is great, but it does mean that it's hard to leave a certain location and move elsewhere if people are being dicks. This leads into...

- The level design is based around PVE. This isn't horrid unless you're on a PVP server with a serious imbalance in the factions - the underwater zone in particular is terrible with this. The quest hubs tend to all be in open air caverns that you have to dismount from your mount to enter, and there's nowhere to hide once you're in. If there's a group in there who want to lock off the other faction from questing they can do it with ease.

+/- The dungeon design is brutal to the extent that I'm two healing certain encounters when not doing them in the guild. There are certain dungeons that feel like you should be a good 2-3 levels higher than you are when you encounter them. It's almost as if they were tuned early for L90 characters, and when the decision was made to make it 85 they were arbitrarily set to what they thought was an appropriate level band. I like it, they're way harder than even the hardest of the Wrath era dungeons at release, but there's no denying that an average PUG hitting the Throne

So, yeah. Is it a Wrath level of expansion? It doesn't feel as epic yet, but the zones make up for it to a certain extent by being far bigger and more varied than the Wrath zones. I'm certainly enjoying it, regardless : )
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From:hairygeeknz
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
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Dungeon design is brutal? I've only been in guild runs with canllaith, and we pretty much waltzed thru Blackrock Caverns and Throne of Tides.

I guess that suggests we have Good Heals :)

(PS: 82.9)

Loved Vash up to the end quests in the 2nd big sea creature, they seemed bugged. Rest of Vash is quite awesome tho. Easily the best opening zone to the game.

Now plodding thru Hijal so I'm out-leveling the remaining zones :)
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From:laoke
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Oh, Thrones and BRC are easy enough.

Wait till you hit Vortex Pinnacle or Stonecore : )
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From:geeknz
Date:December 14th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
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No problems on Vortex Pinnacle. We just hit 82, and decided to take it on - in greens (odd blue).
Healer did comment he's noticing the impact of loss of mana regen, and having to go back to the habit of drinking before each pack.

Haven't done Stonecore yet.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
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The Kid's finding the same mana regen thing with his mage. He went nuts to get to 85 at the expense of rep, so now he doesn't have the gear to maintain mana regen and so he's back to grinding rep lalala...
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From:geeknz
Date:December 14th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
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Apparently removing mana-regen during combat has been one of their design elements.
They actively don't want you burning everything you've got all the time, and want people to be making a resource choice on what spells to cast and when.
It's supposed to be a "thing" for Cataclysm, so I'd expect mana-regen gear hard to find.

Hmm, odd the Kid has run away from Proudmoore. I've been noticing a current trend amongst NZ players recently to have shifted back to it - of which I'm admittedly one.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 14th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
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I think he was following a guild decision - he likes the guild he's in these days, but they aren't kiwis.

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From:geeknz
Date:December 14th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
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- On the comment on zones, the last area in the underwater zone was noticeably lacking compared to the others.
Large area between you and quest givers where you don't get the underwater mount or even the speed boost - pain in the ass to get to/from them.
Also large distance from them to quest areas. And the quest areas seem unnecessarily large and spread. I don't mind having to run around and actually hunt for mobs, if that's part of the quest design - but it didn't seem to be mentioned as part of the quest, and just felt like bad design.

I feel it's far more like some of the original WoW design areas.
+ I agree most of the other new areas do feel much more tight (in design).

+ Open quest giver areas, the lack of protection mobs, or even protection design, and ability for anyone to attack you at any point was in fact part of the story. On a PVP server this would actually enhance that feeling.
- PVP server (im)balance is a completely separate issue, that I agree something should be done about.

+/- I actually like the new quest design. Previous quest design felt often either too arbitrary (kill x creatures just because we want you to do something). Or you were doing soo many quest you lost the feeling of story behind them, leading again to them feeling arbitrary. It's something they've been generally getting better and better on with each release.
But I do wonder if they've taken it too far. With only one single quest story going on at once, with only one or occasionally two, side-quests at a time, it almost feels like we've lost the element of choice of what quests we do, or where we go next.
On the otherhand, it makes the zone feel tighter in design, and they were able to give a good sense of impression of movement of time, and an impact of your actions - which had been lacking previously.
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