Googlin’… It is so Darn Fun!

Before I begin this blog post I would like to link to a Guadalajara Joe song named Segwayin’ and Googling. It is exactly what it sounds like.

Now for the real blog post.

I am a computer science major in college, and for most of the population that means that I’m a computer wizard. But I don’t believe I am. I don’t even believe most of the people who I think are tech savvy are computer wizards.

I believe we are just good at Googling.

Now I’m not trying to demean any of the skills of myself or my classmates by saying that. For one, it is definitely a heavy exaggeration. For two, there is definitely some inherent truth to it.

I believe that this generation is capable of accessing more information than the past generation could even imagine. Following that belief I believe that the next generation is going to access more information than we could imagine, even more efficiently.

Most of the past generation don’t inherently understand computers. They weren’t born with them. To understand how google works, and how the web works, and how your web browser works, and how your keyboard and mouse work you have to learn. They aren’t naturally intuitive.

To understand something intuitively you can’t just know certain inputs lead to certain outputs, you have to know why certain inputs lead to certain outputs. You can learn to intuitively understand computers but nothing beats using a computer as a child, the best time to learn intuition.

This brings me to my next point.

My parents weren’t born with computers.

I was born with decent desktop and laptop computing.

My children will probably be born holding smartphones that will out-compute the computers I had as a child (maybe even the bulk of the computers nowadays).

For example:

My parents’ generation access Google to look up a popular site name that they already know, instead of using the url.

My generation types in sentences to Google that are halfway incomprehensible in order to find better results.

My children’s generation will probably be using our gibberish with fancy search filter terms.

I don’t know if my thoughts came across as complete, but all I’m trying to say is that the ability to Google could be considered a defining distinction between my generation and the last.

The Beginning of Summer

Before this summer began I made a list of all the things that I want to do.

I also started a full-time job this summer and so I didn’t really know what to expect when it comes to time management.

After a week of work, I can say undoubtedly that I should be able to do some cool things this summer. Although it will probably take place mostly on the weekend.

Things this blog might be able to look forward to:

  • Posts about cool Xylophone marimba videos
  • Neat video game streaming content
  • Posts about app development
  • Posts about food
  • Posts about posting for about a year (I really need to look when I started this blog)
  • Posts about math
  • Weekly posts

Sure, this post might be a cop-out but I’m hoping to make a weekly blog post this summer to maintain some consistency.

I’m looking forward to this summer, and I’m looking forward to documenting a lot of the cool stuff from it on this blog.

 

 

Space Capitalism

My friends and I play plenty of board games and we come across some really fun and unique ones.

Some of my recommendations consist of:

Settlers of Catan, it’s a classic game of trading resources.

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Splendor, a deck building game involving become the best jeweler around.

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Betrayal at House on the Hill, a world building game where all of the players explore a haunted house.

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All of these games are super fun because they take really simple elements and stack them on top of each other to create a complex strategy environment. The learning curve on these games aren’t steep. You can pick them up really fast.

Catan is probably the hardest one to understand the first time you play, but that’s mostly due to the freedom given to the players, and the edge cases that don’t appear in the general rules.


Today though, we aren’t talking about any of these popular, well thought out games. We’re talking about a game that my friends and I found in a Half-Price Books one time.

It’s called Trailblazer.

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Trailblazer was a part of a series of games that came out in the 80’s by a company called Metagaming.

What Metagaming would do is release a rule book and board (which was mainly a grid) and then have the players be in charge of maintaining the board and game conditions.

From what I’ve gathered Trailblazer was one of the less popular ones.

Trailblazer defines itself as “A game of space exploration and economic exploitation based on supply and demand.”

On the back of the box, they state “Libertarians will love it.”

If those two sentences don’t have you sold I don’t know what will.

The crazy part is that the rules are actually really good at making a game that simulates free market economics. If that were the only part of the game, it would have me pretty well entertained.

The tough part is that free market economics isn’t exactly easy to simulate.

The game requires that the players fly around the galaxy looking for more planets to exploit and trade with. These planets aren’t on the map in the beginning and when the players find them they have to:

  1. Draw what planet class it is.
  2. Roll for every resource it produces. (3-5ish)
  3. Roll for every resource it consumes. (3-5ish)
  4. Roll for all of the demand modifiers of those resources that it consumes. (3-5ish)
  5. Keep track of all of these stats.

That’s just to find a planet.

During the buy phase every player has the opportunity to bid for any resource that is available on any planet they have a ship or a factor at. Which means there could be tens of planets all with 3-5ish resources each, all of which have to be bid on individually.

Everybody has a ship log for every ship they have, a warehouse log for every factor they have. The game has a board that has to be managed, a star chart has to be logged for all the stats of all of the planets that are found. Anytime goods are sold on a planet, the demand modifier has to be altered for that good.

None of this is automated.

And so after reading the rules, my friends and I have decided not to play.

Free market economics makes for a fun game, but I have no desire to manage multiple spreadsheets for a game that could take “4 hours to days per game.”