about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Steve Cole muses: Just thinking to himself.

1. I think the toughest lesson I have had to learn in running ADB is that not everything that CAN be done SHOULD be done, and of those things that SHOULD get done, not all of them are going to get done. There is only so much time, and only so much money.

2. Who knew there were so many dwarf planets around? By accident I stumbled onto a site that lists a dozen: Haumea, Makemake, Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar, 2002-TX, 2002-AW, Varuna, Ixion, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea. (This list does not include Ceres, the "largest asteroid" and lately the largest of the dwarf planets. Most of that list are Kuyper belt objects discovered from 2001-2009. I gotta do a better job of keeping up with this stuff.

3. Having been successfully married for almost 34 years, I can say it takes work to keep a marriage going. The secret is to never, ever, assume that the other partner is happy. Find out if they are happy and do what it takes to make them happy. Sometimes, you need to do something to make them happier even if they're already quite happy enough.

4. We were watching a TV show that had been on Tivo for two years the other day, and there was a joke about some husband who was so good that he threw his wife's towel into the dryer when she took a shower so it would be warm when she got out. I did that as a joke for Leanna and she liked it so much (try it!) that now I do it a lot. Not every time, but a lot.

5. Another thought on my plan to win the lottery, buy a ship, and go mess with Japanese whalers: I want a "towed sonar" which broadcasts whale danger calls. When I get close to a Japanese whale ship, I can make sure they find nothing to hunt.

6. I get asked this a lot: Have you looked at the Federation Commander scenarios I sent in yet? Were there any problems? When will one be used?

And the answer is: I probably haven't. I have over 50 FC scenario submissions on file, and we use 20-25 a year, so it's not like I average doing one a week and it's not like we'll use everything received since 2009 by Christmas. To be fair to everyone, I try to do one from each author and then move that author to the bottom of the stack. If I had only one job (FC scenarios) I'd be done in a week (and then unemployed, I guess). Remember that I have a lot of different jobs and I don't get to do any one of them for an entire day, let alone an entire week. What I started doing in August was the FC Scenario Bank, which was a plan to do one per day for two weeks so I'd have a selection of finished scenarios on hand. I don't know if I'll get to the last person before I have to give up doing one per day because my other jobs need attention. If there are any problems, I fix them if I can. I have no idea when one of your scenarios will be used. The scenarios for Communique #68 and Communique #69 are already selected and done; everyone has an equal chance for future Communiques, Captain's Logs, and other products.

7. Leanna and I love the business makeover shows where some expert arrives to rescue a floundering business. The latest of this ilk is Tabatha's Salon Takeover, where this British lady shows up to take over a hair salon that is losing money. I know nothing about doing ladies' hair and have no real interest in it (the whole concept of foils and highlights is beyond me) but I do find, again and again, that THE failure is one of LEADERSHIP. Somebody is screwing up and the leader (the boss, owner, manager, or whatever) is not taking corrective action (perhaps because they're too busy to notice it). It seems unusual to me that the lady who owns the salon is almost ways a working hairdresser in the salon. This violates one of the Army's big principles: a leader already HAS a job, so you cannot (for example) give him the machinegun. Yet, this "owner as one of the workers" concept seems to be universal in that trade. Ok, so be it, but I don't want my hair cut by an owner who has to keep running around checking on what her employees are doing. Of course, I have the same flaw. I am the leader of ADB and one of the primary game designers. So I have to keep track of what all of my employees are doing while I try to design games. It's not that bad: Leanna mostly supervises Mike and Joel for me, while Petrick, Leanna, and Jean require only the barest minimum of guidance. That's probably why we're not on a TV show for failing businesses, because we're doing fine (no debt!).

8. Iran was Sunni until 500 years ago, when it was forced to convert to Shia, on pain of death, by a Shia emperor (who killed about a million of his subjects in the process). Sunni is the basic and mainstream form of Islam. Shiites believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammad, is equally important (if not more important) than Mohammad. Shias also incorporate a lot of old Zoroastrian traditions, holidays, and rituals into Islam, something Sunnis consider heresy. (Christianity includes a lot of old pagan holidays as well, such as Christmas and Easter.)

9. Recently, we set up one of the PCs to use Carbonite to back up the files. (The Macs have another system.) An employee was assigned to make this happen because the computer itself needed to be trashed and replaced. The employee found a note from Carbonite that there were certain kinds of files that would not be backed up unless told specifically to do so. He looked at the list and set some files to back up, but assumed (what an ugly word) that the PC had no files in one of the listed formats. He was repeatedly asked "Is everything backed up?" and repeatedly answered "Yes" to that question. He never mentioned that there was a list of excluded files, and never asked anyone if we knew of any files of the excluded types. (There were files of those types, files destroyed forever when the old computer was trashed and rebuilt.) Everyone is now upset and damage was done that cannot be repaired without some expense and effort. You have been warned. In the specific case of Carbonite, make sure everyone who uses the computer knows what is and is not going to be checked for backup. In the more general case, anytime something is going to be done that cannot be recovered, everyone in the department (or company) needs to know that and have a chance to point out potential hidden issues.

10. I have OnStar in my car (it came with it) and pay the monthly fee for it (even though I have never once used it) just because at my age I might have a "health issue" at any time. What I did not know was that it can be added to any car. When I learned this, I ordered it added to Leanna's car at once. For someone young and healthy, it might not be an issue, but for someone my age, it gives me peace of mind.