Mafia Game Monday (MGM) – Importance of Integrity

September 29, 2014

Hey all,

So, you are an owner of a game, and in order for this game to run with users, you have a database that stores all of the information about the users. Well, in order for users to interact with your game, it will require input from the user in many different ways.

Ok, you all know that already, but what does this have to do with the topic of this post?

What is Integrity?

Integrity can mean various different things, but the base definition is that the data will fit and make sense when interacting with a page as well as interacting with a database. It can also mean ensuring the “truth”, or lack of unauthorized modification, of data during transit.

What are the Types of Integrity?

There are multiple types of integrity. They are:

  • Data Integrity – This is ensuring that the data has not been modified during the transit of the data.
  • Referential Integrity – This is verifying that in a database with a table that uses a foreign key, the value of a foreign key matches a primary key value in the table that uses that column as a primary key (of course when linked appropriately).

How to Ensure Data Integrity?

Well, it is very difficult to completely ensure data integrity, especially without full control over the environment that is used for the service (such as using a hosting company to store your site); however, there are a couple things that you can do in order to ensure data integrity. They are the following:

  1. Check ALL Data BEFORE Entering Into Database – This is extremely important. Without validating the data that is being put into your database, an intruder could easily do a SQL injection attack in order to gain access to your data. If you do not know what SQL injection is, check out the link here.
  2. Only Give Input to Users That is Absolutely Required – Attacks such as SQL injection cannot occur if the user cannot input data, so if users do not necessarily have to input data in order to change the outcome, then simply do not give the users the ability to input any data. This will make data integrity a whole lot easier with no direct user input!

In terms of referential integrity, this is a great tool to use when you are creating tables that are directly dependent upon other tables. Foreign keys are a great way to do this, and foreign keys by default usually automatically configure referential integrity. If you have a table that is dependent upon another table, enforce a foreign key! This will ensure that the foreign key value in one table is a value that is by no doubt a primary key value in the other table.

What are your thoughts on integrity? What are your methods to help ensure integrity?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Mafia Game Monday (MGM) – How Important is Usability?

September 22, 2014

Hello all,

So, you are an owner or administrator of a text-based game. It was just released about a week ago, so you have plenty of online users trying to get their hands on becoming a very strong force in the game. Throughout the week, you have gotten many requests to add or update features. So, in order to keep the users happy, you go ahead and either add or update all of those features the user requested. However, once you complete all of these requests in order to keep the users happy, your users are now even more disgruntled. They cannot understand how the features work. You try to explain the best that you can of the features, but they simply cannot wrap their heads around it and leave the game. What happened? Did you do something wrong here? All you were doing was trying to keep the users happy!

This is a very common scenario of a term called usability. Usability is the ease of use as well as the ease of the ability to learn the new product or feature. You could very well create all of these new features or updates that your users request, but if they do not understand how to use those features or updates, then all that does is turn them away.

I know most of you like to show your users how these features make your game unique, so how do you make these features usable?

Here are some tips to do just that!

1) If you cannot fully understand the feature at point of request, do not begin implementing the feature until fully understood.
I have seen this happen many times (and I have been guilty of this a couple times too). Simply put: do not start implementing a feature that you as the developer do not even fully understand.

2) If you have other staff members, tell them of the potential feature and ask for feedback.
Your other staff members can be very helpful in determining the usability of a feature. If they cannot understand the feature after your detailed explanation, just imagine how it might be for the other users.

3) After implementation, have a few members test the feature and provide feedback.
Have a beta test of a feature. You can certainly use your staff members to help test as well. This beta test can certainly help you improve the usability of a feature before launch.

4) Be sure to fully document the feature for the users BEFORE launch!
I have seen this happen so many times. An administrator releases a feature, says it is available, but does not provide much information about the feature itself. Do not expect users to “just know” what a feature is. Make sure you have full documentation ready to put on the site when the feature is launched so that the users can at least get a grasp of what the feature is all about.

These tips can certainly help usability of a product or feature.

Do you think usability is beneficial? Why or why not? What other tips do you have to improve usability?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

3D Printed Cars!

September 17, 2014

Hello all,

So, usually, when cars are created, after design, it takes years to produce the car that is fit by the final design and sometimes, it is not even exactly the same.

Well, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show this year, they have revealed the world’s first 3D printed car. The car only took approximately 44 hours to create. As I do have some interest in cars, this is certainly really interesting to see. Perhaps in the future, all cars will be made this way. Personally, although the design is rather sleek, I do not know if I would feel comfortable in that car haha.

If you do not know what 3D printing is, check that out here.

The link to the original article is here: http://www.imts.com/show/newsletter/insider/article.cfm?aid=1151. Feel free to take a look and see for yourself!

Do you think 3D printed cars are the way of the future? What are your thoughts?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Is The Labor Industry Gone for Good?

September 3, 2014

Hey all,

I have encountered a very interesting video today regarding the ever-changing job industry. The video I watched regarding this subject made a very strong claim: 45% of the workforce will become unemployable because robots will be doing their jobs. I thought to myself: How could this possibly be? We have been working tirelessly to ensure that all citizens of the workforce have the possibility to get a job!

Well, I got my answer later on in the video…

It states that the same exact thing happened to horses back in the early 20th century. If you really think about it, they’re right: horses now are hardly ever used as a mode of transportation..that is what cars are for now. So, is this true?

Well..watch the video and form an opinion for yourself: Humans Need Not Apply

You may also visit the creator (CGP Grey)’s website: CGP Grey Website

So, what are your thoughts about this philosophy?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470