This has been one helluva week here at BlogShares. To kick things off, we got the new database box installed and serving live data. This is the new db box that started as a community fund drive and became the desperately needed major upgrade to the entire site. The web box got a kernal upgrade and many needed optimizations. This broke a few things codewise, but we’ve tracked down and fixed all major bugs to this point. And that was just the first 3 days…
We’ve seen the launch of Turbo Chances (and saw the Chip Market prices surge for days as a result). In-game message handling got smarter. Composite scores are now figured hourly (previously every 3 hours). The Industry Trading tool is available once more. A rewrite of the Players Market (p2p ideas market) is in the queue. And the big one: Share searching is back online, bringing back a very long awaited and very powerful tool for share play.
We’d love to officially congratulate the newest BlogShares Elite: Sage Enterprises. She has stepped down as an Admin, but she’ll still be around and in force. She’s held practically every role the game has to offer, but has never lost her keenest of game smarts. A very much deserved honor.
We’d also like to welcome J.T. Sage and beachtiglet to the GIC team. Ken and Ts (along with many other beta testers and bug finders) have been invaluable to the Admin and BOD this week, and are eager to see the new recruits jump into the mix. Lots of cool things are suddenly possible in BlogShares, and I cannot wait to see what the team will come up with.
For what is a first to my knowledge, someone with certified legal education has joined the BSEC. We’re not sure whether to be happy about that or scared, but either way, welcome to immunis. I’m sure someone will find a cheatypants for you to bust very soon.
Don’t forget to get your vote in for BlogShares Wacko and buy raffle tickets for the upcoming Futurama DVD giveaway.
Let me leave you with a pic from October when ID and IT visited Jay and SubWolf in central California. SubWolf was on his way back to the UK the next day, after having spent an extra week in the US after his mom broke her foot the night before the original flight out. Twas a great trip, and I love this shot of the 3 guys that are Santa Cruz Tech finally in the same place at the same time.
We are continually overwhelmed by the generousity and kindness we see every day by the BlogShares community, and as you may have noticed, that generousity has paid off big time for the BlogShares site. Yesterday, after numerous donations from a wide range of players and anonymous donors, our fund drive for a new database box was completed.
You did it.
You, the players, have come through stronger than we could ever have imagined. This wasn’t paid sponsors or advertisers or corporate investment, this was a diverse, wide-spread group of players who have given and given strongly. Thanks to your donations, BlogShares will soon have a more powerful box for the database, which means more features, faster pages, and greater flexibility in the game.
This is no small feat. You have given over $6000 in less than one year’s time. To say we are blown away would be an understatement. We are incredibly thankful for your donations, and we look forward to selecting a box and getting it online for you as soon as possible. How can we possibly say enough ‘Thank You Thank You Thank You‘. We’ll keep you up to date as we go through the process of selecting and installing the new box, and it will be our pleasure to do so. Best wishes and our eternal gratitude to everyone who contributed in any way to this fund drive, and we at BlogShares look forward to spending time each day in this community that you all have built as a unique, welcoming, generous, and positive Home on the web. Cheers and thank you, all. We can’t wait to see what you will do next!
Lots of things going on in the world of BlogShares right now, and we’re asking for your help to move things forward on several fronts. Our New DB Fund (right side-bar) has been filling up nicely, but we still have a ways to go. A very, very generous anonymous donor is making a very special offer to help meet the goal. For every $1 donated to the DB Fund, the donor will match it with $2. That’s right, if you donate $10, the donor throws in $20 more! You can give to the fund right now:
You may also have noticed that 3 of the Development Funds have had cash goals met. Thank you to everyone who donated to these and others! Now, we need to see those B$ goals met! Please, donate some of your B$ assets to these goals. There are dozens of players who could finish off these goals all by themselves, so let’s get these goals met ASAP! Admin Sage Enterprises has offered to match B$ donations to the Text Ad Editing Fund to fill that goal, so take her up on the offer!
Finally, BlogShares’ chat room #blogshares is one of the largest rooms housed in the WyldRyde IRC Network. Right now, WyldRyde has a fund drive going on to help pay for various expenses that add up quickly on a large chat network. Several generous B$ players have donated to WyldRyde, and we’d like to send them much more for the professional, spam-free chatting #blogshares regulars rely on. If you enjoy chatting in #blogshares, or any of the WyldRyde chat rooms, or even if you just want to help out the cause, please give what you can to help the folks behind wyldryde.org pay the network’s bills! You’ll get a special hostmask identifying you as a donor, plus loads of kudos and appreciation from the proprietors at WyldRyde.
Just launched are the new Development Funds. You can help determine what cool new features we work on, and help the coders spend more time on the game. Please donate your B$ and/or real cash to your favorite funds, and support BlogShares and the people behind it.
We now have a Lottery where you can spend your B$ for a chance to hit a nice jackpot. Some of the early wins have gone over half a trillion B$!
There is also a Birthday signup available on your User Preferences page (click the ‘Prefs’ tab from your user Profile or click [Your Preferences] in the right-side Members Area menu). If you would like to add your birthday, you can do so, and on your special day, your player name will appear in a special ‘Today’s Birthdays’ box in the right sidebar.
Don’t forget to add BlogShares to your Myspace friends list, and join the BlogShares Music Lovers group at Last.fm!
Here’s hoping you and yours are having a healthy and happy December, and are able to enjoy whatever holidays you hold dear. Real Life™ has caught up with many of us the last few weeks, so you may not have seen a lot of development or new posts here. However, we’re still chugging away behind the scenes on things like index cleaning (removing dead blogs in bulk, nearly a million delisted in the last five weeks) and optimizations (code improvement, data archiving).
Thanks to tremendous work from Friendly Wholesale Bonds, Beverly Shaw, and ChrisB, our fund for a new database box has seen a healthy movement towards our $6,000 goal. Thank you, Rich, Bev, and Chris, and thank you as well to all the generous folks who have participated and helped B$ get closer to the new box!
My personal apologies for not being able to get the next community IRC Summit together. I’ve had some family issues that have kept me busy lately, and I’ve been unable to tackle all the work that goes into putting such a large gathering together. Don’t fret, though, we will have a Summit in the near future, probably some time after New Years if all goes well, where we’ll deal with many subjects, including fine-tuning and improving Ideas Math.
You may have noticed that we’ve put new blog addition (from our spiders) on hold. We were relying on the FeedMesh ping list to receive blog pings, but with the demise of PubSub, FeedMesh has gone offline. We have a couple of other ping lists / clouds that we can use, but we have unfortunately discovered that the urls pinging are very, very high in non-blogs and spam. We’d slaughter the index quickly if we blindly accepted these listings without a serious rewrite to our current code.
We are working on refining our automated ping reading, but until we can build, test, and implement such a system, the automatied pinging will remain offline. You can still add blogs yourself with Add Site. You can also use the Add Site bookmarklet (drag it to your toolbar) to quickly add a blog you are viewing. It fills in blog title and url for you, just double check and submit. We’ve just added Sigma and Chip rewards for your additions, awarding you 1 Sigma point and 20 chips for each URL you add. We are logging every addition, so be certain you are adding a blog and not non-blogs or spam. The BSEC will be notified if abuse is found.
Today we’re launching new functionality to the Corporation code. Corps can now accept cash for two different purposes. The first is a straight-forward cash donation which the Corp founder or admin can use as they see fit. The second is the ability of a Corporation’s members to invest cash in the Corp. The way this works is a bit complex, so let me explain it in detail.
Corporations are now transitioning to a sort of virtual mutual fund collective. Members invest cash in the Corp and, once daily, interest is calculated based on a couple of factors. The first factor is whether a member has selected the Corporation as her/his Primary Corporation. Selection can be made on your User -> Preferences page (the same place you can change your user name, email, password, etc). A player can receive interest from a Corporation ONLY if that Corp is selected as her/his primary. Investments in other Corps will not receive interest. This is done to prevent a serious exploitable situation.
Second, the share holdings (in cash value) are summed up for all members of the Corp who have selected that Corp as Primary (and only those members). Share value is simply shares x price for each blog held by the qualifying members at the time the script is run. This total share value determines the interest rate that will be used to figure member investments in each Corp. This value varies wildly from Corp to Corp, as does the applied interest rate.
Premium Members receive three times the interest rate of non-premium members. The minimum daily interest applied is 0.01%, with a maximum of 0.5%. Each B$10,000,000,000 in share value held by members is 0.1% of interest paid daily (for premium members). This may sound like very little, but compounded over time, it can be a nice return on cash that would have otherwise just sat inactive in your player account. The interest cash amount is figured by taking each member’s invested balance and multiplying it by the interest rate for that Corp.
Players have two options for how interest payments are handled: Reinvestment, or direct payout. Reinvestment adds the interest to the invested balance, allowing the amount to be compounded (meaning that the interest payment adds to the principal and starts earning interest itself immediately). Corporately held cash also benefits in the same way, with interest payments being reinvested automatically. Direct payout will deposit each day’s interest payments in your player cash balance. Players can withdraw any or all invested balance from the corps.php page on their row in the member’s table.
Now, to prevent a group of players snagging all the big blogs just before the interest script runs, a random factor has been thrown in. The script will run once and only once every day. But, the exact time is unknown, and could take place at any time of day. It might run at 11pm one night and then run again at 12am an hour later on the next day. This keeps players on their toes and (hopefully) encourages some team play to hold high value blogs over longer periods.
Data presented on corps.php pages and on corpmain will (unfortunately) be cached data from the last time the script ran. The summation of share values is quite a long-running part of the script, so trying to present that data live would kill the page loads. Instead, the data is stored and recalled only as one query to the db on page load. Any changes since the script last ran will not be reflected in cash balances or corporate assets. However, member investments are displayed live on corps.php pages (this adds nothing to page load).
I’m planning out a very light blog share search to help players find blogs out of the top 100 with good price / PE combos. I’m still working on finding the right queries to keep this very light on the db, but hopefully, I can get this together soon.
Also, a small addition will be made to blogs.php pages. A row in the main data table for the blog will show the Corporation flags of the top share holders in the blog (as determined by the share holders’ selections for primary Corp). You can see an example here. I’d encourage any Corps without a flag to add one. This change may take place at any time, so look for the new row on blogs.php pages.
Finally, no, this is not the final change that will be made to Corporations. I expect over time they will gain tremendous and powerful functionality, but what that might look like, no one yet knows. I’m hoping this is just one step toward improving Corporations, team play, and to a small extent, share play. More will certainly come. If you are not already a member, consider joining Task Force Corps to get B$ msg updates when I’m working on Corp code. TFC members have known about this new investment functionality for several weeks now, and a few have helped Beta test it. Suggestions are always welcome. Please let me know ASAP of any bugs or issues.
We’ve worked out as many bugs and issues as possible with the new Idea math code, and can do nothing more until it is run on the game live. The target date for implementation is August 21, so you have a reasonable time to get your Idea holdings in order. Between coding, analysis, testing, and all the various discussions that have gone into this, the Admin, GIC, and BoD members have easily spent over 100 hours getting this ready, and the end result is a dynamic Ideas market that should be much more interesting than what you see currently. Premium Members will have access to at least one additional tool or data set to help with Ideas market play, and we’ll have this ready prior to this implementation.
Now some caveats:
* We cannot predict what this new math will do beyond the spare tests we have run. Because we don’t have a mirrored backup server, we can’t test it live on real data beyond a one-off run. This means we are forced to make predictions of how the market will work based solely on a very small, and possibly non-representative set of data. We’ve done the best we can, but be forewarned that even TPTB don’t know how the market will handle things over numerous iterations.
* There may be several times during early implementation that Ideas play will need to be taken offline to make adjustments to the code. This is expected to happen, so please understand that we will do so to prevent undesirable or unstable side-effects from taking place. This should only happen during the first few weeks or possibly as far as a couple months after implementation.
* We do not expect to see instant crashes of market prices, nor do we expect to see instantaneous skyrocketing of prices. However, we have observed those effects in one or two industries (and even then, only once or twice). We believe we have code in place to prevent such drastic price movements from happening in one drop or even over a short set of drops. That said, again, be forewarned that either extreme reaction is still possible. We will not correct the market should this take place except in cases where bugs cause extreme reactions.
* The new math code brings a couple new twists to the Ideas market, one of which has long been requested by a wide variety of players: consumption. Simply put, if Ideas are sitting on the market when a drop happens, the most typical response is for consumption of sitting ideas rather than dropping additional ones onto the pile. While downward price pressure during the drop remains high, consumption eats away at existing Industry Ideas, which in aggregate, pushes upward price pressure higher with each drop. Consumption does not affect Player Held Ideas!
* A second twist deals with when Idea pricing changes take place. Previously, prices changed for all Industries (which already had prices) regardless of whether that Industry was specifically involved in the current production run. This will change in the new math. Price changes will only occur on an Industry if Ideas were produced or consumed during the current production run. This will be significantly different than what takes place now. Reindexing strategies will change significantly for the best Ideas players as a result.
* There have been rumors of people losing their Idea holdings due to (insert rumor reason here). Let’s set the record straight before this goes too far. The original math had proposed what was called ‘Revolutionary New Ideas’. In short, this was the destruction of all Ideas in an Industry when the Industry reached a low price point which was never recoverable. This proposal item has changed dramatically. Active players will not have to worry about having any Ideas ‘destroyed’ by the game. Active is defined as having played within the last six months. Instead, we will be selling idea portfolios of Inactive players (over six months of not playing) down to levels of 10K Ideas in each industry. Players having this occur will be compensated. The short explanation for this happening is that large holdings of inactive players will significantly hamper growth and tend to create a drag on the entire market which cannot easily be overcome. By selling off excess Idea holdings, the Active players can decide the fate of these Industries.
We’ve been very busy behind the scenes today trying to optimize page loads and fix broken things on the site. A quick rundown follows:
- Blog Alert Messages: If more than one player was watching a blog, a list of other players’ cancel Alerts links would be included in messages. This has been fixed.
- Leaders: This page has been significantly cleaned up. It went from load times of 8-12 seconds down to consistently under 1 second. Huge improvement for the db.
- Artefact Result Pages: You now get a P/E on the result page of Hypes and PRDs to give you some extra info on the price movement.
- Unknown Blog on Artefact Use: If a blog had no title, an Artefact could not be used on it. This has been fixed.
- Press Releases: There has long been an issue with blog owners trying to issue a PR on their own blog whenever someone has performed an Artefact action in the last day. Now, owners can post a PR on the blog even if Artefact functions have also posted automatic PRs. Also, the entire PR system was upgraded to really solely on BSIDs rather than the much slower-in-the-db URLs. This shaved 1-2 seconds of blogs.php load times.
- Bonds A bug with failure messages when trying to bond out at the new 10,000,000 Ideas level was fixed. Also, the sort by time bug which caused it to sort by hour of the day rather than by date has also been fixed.
Thanks to some keen insights from a clever veteran player and some detective code work, we have finally solved the mystery of ‘Silent Drops’. First lemme explain what this is for those who don’t know:
Silent Drops occur when a player reindexes a blog, expecting a rare industry listed in the top 5 industries of the blog’s page to have Ideas produced, but finds that no rare Ideas are produced. Even when the rare is listed as the top industry, it still does not get produced. In fact, once the blog is voted into 5 or more /other/ industries, the rare will never produce on that blog again.
This has been both a frustration for some and a nifty bit of knowledge for some keen strategy by a select few. It’s not a bug in a traditional sense in that the code did exactly as it was expected to.
However, this effect was never the intended result, and as such, a change is being made immediately. The problem centered around the query used to select which industries to produce ideas during the drop. It did not consider total votes. So, for example, if Gaelic Football had +12 votes, and English, USA, Male, Sports, and Life all had +6, Gaelic Football would /never/ be produced because the query only looked for the first 5 Industries meeting requirements for production. That order was decided solely by industry id #, so older (and almost always /not/ rare) industries produced every time on that blog. Gaelic Football would never again have a chance to produce.
So, the change being made is to add an ORDER BY which considers vote total in order to select the 5 industries for production.
Be Forewarned This may well be a major change in Idea play. It means rare industries have significantly /underproduced/ over the past couple of years. We could see significant drops of previously rare or dead industries, we may see cash crunches hit the market, and many former great investments may slump as a result. All in all, this change /should/ be a very good thing for the economy since it will force the investment decision making to be proactive rather than inactive as it is now. As cash is consumed, purchase decisions will become more complicated.
This change will be made immediately, but you will only gradually begin to ‘feel’ the effects as blogs which haven’t produced rares in a long time are being reindexed. The effects will become significant over time, and the medium to long term market is not easily predictable.
You can now filter the bonds market on the player who issued bonds, so you no longer have to hunt and peck to find her/him. Also, added new amounts which you can select for Idea amounts in your bonds, now up to 10,000,000 Ideas (!!!). Other new amounts offer middle ground between previous amounts, so if you would have issued 5 bonds of 100,000 ideas, you can now do one bond of 500,000 if you so choose.
Players have request bonds be offered in quantities of 1 Idea. Would love to do this, but the net effect on the bonds table, and more importantly, page load for the bonds market would make this absolutely untenable. We’re still working on either revamping the Players Market (not in the near future) or creating a way to gift or sell 1 idea at a time.