Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Christmas Is Almost Upon Us!

December 21, 2015

So if you are reading this around the time that I published this, it is around that time when people are giving gifts, singing songs, and being with their families.

If you recall last year, I wrote for Christmas time about performing an act of kindness to a stranger. I challenge you to do that again this year. Give the homeless a warm meal, pay it forward to the car behind you in the drive-thru line, or pay for someone’s groceries. Seeing the smile on their face or just the feeling that you get helping someone can really bring joy to yourself.

As I also mentioned in that post last year:

As with those “New Year’s Resolutions” that you say you’re going to do but never do, how about this year make a goal that is more realistic. Those goals will help motivate you to accomplish many achievements in your lives that while may seem small to you, they may certainly have a much larger impact on others in your life.

Keep those resolutions realistic!

Well wait a minute, what does any of this have to do with mafia games? This is MGM after all!

Shurg Question

This should also translate into your administrative style. You should be an approachable person, especially during this time of year. Provide sales on your donations, or simply give users a free x number of “special” items. Your users will thank you, and that can easily translate into a more active community!

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

~Goliath7470

Sitting Too Long Will Kill You (Part 2)

December 17, 2015

For those of you who do not remember (or have not read) my blog post from about a year ago titled “Sitting Too Long Will Kill You” , read that before continuing with this blog post because then you will be able to follow this blog post much better.

Anyways, so now that we are aware that this is a problem, we should all start standing!

There are many standing desks available that you can use to do your work when you’re at a computer. I will probably be getting one myself in a couple of years!

standing_desk

When I was in school, I remember sitting at a desk all the time during class. This is a problem, as kids should be as active as they can! Some schools are changing that with their own version of standing desks! You can check out an article by CNN here about some of the ways schools are working on fixing this problem.

Just stand up all! It’s good for your health!

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

~Goliath7470

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Writing SQL 101

December 14, 2015

Writing queries is something that we all as game owners and/or programmers have to do. It’s just a fact of life – almost all applications have at least one place where data is stored and has to be written and/or retrieved through that application.

For many, it is a database and the language of choice is SQL.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. There are several types of SQL, the most popular of which is MySQL. The majority of them are quite the same, so these tools will work for them as well.

Take this example below:

A student (ID 54356) wants to check what courses they are currently taking (SEMESTER_VAL 22015). The following are the relational tables below:

STUDENT(ID, LAST_NAME, FIRST_NAME, MIDDLE_INIT, SSN, DOB)
COURSE(ID, NAME, DESCR)
STUDENT_COURSE(SID, CID, SEMESTER_VAL)

Now would be a good time to get a good handle on what the syntax of a relational table means if you don’t know… 🙂

Anyways, so to do this, you would want to show the student those courses.

There are some SQL keywords that you should know:

SELECT: This keyword is for those data fields that you will want to output in the results of your query.
* : The asterisk after the select keyword essentially means that you want to display all of the data fields in the table(s) that you mention after the FROM keyword.
FROM: This keyword is for those tables that you will need to get those data fields from that you want to display.
WHERE: This keyword is for all of the conditions that you will need in order to display the information that you are looking for.

So to make a query, the syntax will look something like this:

SELECT data
FROM table
WHERE 1=1;

So take our example that I mentioned earlier. To return the courses that they are currently taking, you can do the following query:

SELECT CID
FROM STUDENT_COURSE
WHERE SID = 54356
AND SEMESTER_VAL = 22015;

And there you go! You now returned the course IDs for the courses that the student is currently taking. However, displaying course IDs is not only ugly, but it does not provide the student with information that they would understand. If you asked a question like that and you were given ID numbers, you would be pretty frustrated, right? What do those numbers mean??

So, to make it more user-friendly to the student, we will have to add in the COURSE table. To do that, we will utilize the JOIN keyword.

JOIN: This keyword within the FROM clause will allow you to join two tables together.

Now this keyword is not required, but it will show you what MySQL is doing for you.

The syntax for the join will look something like this:

SELECT data
FROM table1 JOIN table2 ON value1 = value2
WHERE 1=1;

So, applying this to our example, we can now do this:

SELECT NAME, DESCR
FROM STUDENT_COURSE JOIN COURSE ON CID = ID
WHERE SID = 54356
AND SEMESTER_VAL = 22015;

And now, you will be displaying to the student the course name and description instead of the ID. This will be much easier for them to read!

If you don’t want to use the JOIN keyword, you can also do the following to get the same result:

SELECT NAME, DESCR
FROM STUDENT_COURSE, COURSE
WHERE CID = ID
AND SID = 54356
AND SEMESTER_VAL = 22015;

As with any programming language, there are multiple ways to write them and get the same results. 😉

So for those of you with no SQL experience, you now have a little bit to start with. There will be more of these SQL tutorials to come!

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

~Goliath7470

Brain-Powered Car?

December 10, 2015

Self-driving cars have been on the news a lot lately, from a former Nokia company creating maps for self-driving cars (http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/7/9863810/here-maps-nokia-self-driving-cars-audi-bmw-daimler) to Google’s self-driving car getting pulled over (http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/13/us/google-self-driving-car-pulled-over/index.html).

But what if instead of the computer driving the car, it is your brain?

That’s right, you heard me – your brain!

brain

A research team from Nankai University in China has in two years built a car that can be powered only by your brain to drive.

The article, which you can view here, states that “by wearing brain signal-reading equipment a driver can control the car to go forward, backwards, come to a stop, and both lock and unlock the vehicle, all without moving their hands or feet”.

Pretty incredible stuff, right? The researchers say that this idea was inspired “by helping disabled people who are physically unable to steer cars”. Just think – this is a medium that in my readings other self-driving car companies have not even discussed! That certainly is something to think about!

This brain-powered car didn’t really work well because it could only drive in a straight direction, but nonetheless I personally have a good feeling about these self-driving cars being the way of the future!

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

~Goliath7470

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Owner Bias (Story Follow-up)

December 7, 2015

So to those of you who have not read (or remember) my blog post titled “Owner Bias”, please read that (or re-read that) before reading this blog post because I don’t want to go through the story again and repeat myself. You can read that here.

All set now? Good.

So it’s been a little over six months since that post was made, and where are we at today? Well…

Those who made the accusations are no longer active on the game anymore. They log in approximately once a week now (or less), on for a couple of minutes, and then leave again, still bickering as they go. They unfortunately also were successful on driving out the accused player, as we have noticed that arguments poured outside of the game (and therefore outside of our jurisdiction).

Because of all of this, we did experience a down turn for a few months as again, they were fairly active and did donate, but now, approaching the end of the year, we are expecting this month to be one of our best months ever on the game.

Ever!

And that was without giving up our integrity to do so.

So, again, to those that are being biased owners: don’t do it. You can be an honest owner and still be able to keep your game afloat! There’s no reason to let a few that pay control the many. Remember, this is not politics!

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

~Goliath7470

Is Walking a Thing of the Past?

December 3, 2015

I know many of you have probably heard about the hover boards. They appear to look like a lot of fun. They look like this:

Hover Board

Essentially, you stand on the board, and tilt to move forwards, backwards, and side-to-side. I have seen someone using one of these in the airport security checkpoint line, which to me seems counter-productive because either way you’re still standing in line…

Anyways, do you want one of these hover boards right now for the holidays? Not so fast!

not_so_fast

With every product there are some downsides, and recently there have been some rather odd problems with these hover boards.

For example, according to CBS News, in Louisiana, a hover board allegedly caught someone’s house on fire after the hover board made “sparks fly” after plugging it in to charge.

Another example, according to WKRG out of Mobile, Alabama, another hover board exploded while someone was riding it.

So what precautions should you take if you want one?

Shurg Question

Make sure that you know of the manufacturer of the hover board that you want to purchase. Some of these hover boards are from companies that are building these hover boards haphazardly to make a quick buck. As with any other piece of technology, the cheapest is usually not the best!

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

~Goliath7470