Facebook monetizes

Facebook keeps changing its layout, looks, etc ever so slightly and so constantly that most users do not even notice the changes … until it hits them smack on the head. That’s what I like about these FB Apps, revisit the games after 3 months, and the game has also evolved … it has got more items, more plots … somehow it has become more interesting.

That’s why when I started playing Hero World, I couldnt help but notice that instead of having micro transactions through pay-pal or some such payment gateway, the game also had Facebook credits as a currency source. On further digging, I found that Facebook is offering users to buy Facebook Credits. Users can then exchange these credits with different applications.

Instead of carrying out micro transactions within games, now we can carry them through Facebook itself. Good to see a definitive revenue stream other than eyeballs and ads.

Edit: After seven years, revisiting this post in the December 2017. Facebook now boasts of a robust advertising model.

WordPress Theme!

Created or rather tweaked my first WordPress theme ever. Have taken the Magazine theme and with the help of Angad worked out a flashy new theme for our latest blog at work.

Interesting to note that many people do only this for a living and some of the themes fetching a whopping $200 per piece. Makes me want to learn WordPress as an engine and contribute (eh … loosely using the term here!) to the WP community.

Rise of Nations: Barbarian Rally tips

If you ever decide to explore the game without the multi-player aspect, then you are bound to check out the Conquer the World campaigns which are a part of the single player campaigns that one can play.

The Barbarian Rally is a scenario type which is described as follows –

Barbarian Rally: Take control of a neutral territory in one of the early turns in the campaign and then defend your city against a constant onslaught of barbarians. It’s a defense mission, so increase the defenses around your city with towers and the like. Produce military units to remain close to your city and intercept the invading forces. The invaders increase over the course of the mission, so expect to be nearly surrounded in the mission’s concluding minutes.

I am playing in the Tough mode, so was expecting an early onslaught, the good part about this scenario is the resources that you are given. Be wise to utilize them properly. To reach the classical age, you will need to research 9 technologies, which is a resource hogging strategy. A better idea is to go into defensive mode and be prepared.

This strategy worked for me –

  1. Build towers, the more the merrier
  2. Definitely go for one more city, you will need the gold that you get out of the trade for building archers
  3. Build 2-3 archers per tower and city, garrison them
  4. Next go for a mix of HI and LI
  5. Garrison soldiers to heal them
  6. Keep a watchout for siege weapons and take them out on priority
  7. Build an outpost, not only will it increase the size of your city, but also it will reveal hidden enemies (Contributed by Ameya Mane)
  8. In the end of the game, you will be swamped … take all your villagers and put them on repair mode. Especially the towers and the capital

What’s your ideal?

I had written about Purpose and also how Perspective can be used to change the society, well … what does one do if one has neither? I did not have an answer for that now … if a person is devoid of both, then is his life a wasted time? Does he not achieve fulfillment??

Today, I get to throw one more term in this quagmire of confusion. If one has neither, then one need not worry … one simply needs to choose an ideal and uphold it. Simple. Pick an ideal of your choice, and live by it. I know its an axiomatic way of life, but imagine a world without living by any ideals.

Without an ideal, one may not know what is good or what is bad (think about this before you dismiss it). We talk about work-life balance … well, we choose work because we have career success as an ideal, we choose life because we choose being a good son as an ideal (or a good husband, a good father … the list goes on). \

The best part is that, there are no rules once you choose an ideal and live by it. Choice making is easier. I know a friend who lives by integrity as an ideal. Even if her job depends on it, she will choose to go take the path of integrity.

So what’s yours?

Technology and Faith

It’s times like these when supporting a good cause gives you fulfillment. When you make a difference by adding to the cause … not monetarily, not through force but through faith.

A friend recently made the leap of faith from Windows to Ubuntu, you can read her first hand review here. It does include the slight apprehension, the initial teething problems … but the story also has elements which make it a good technology script … the need, the learning curve and the triumph!! Here’s an excerpt –

It’s been a month since I first grappled with the overly sensitive mouse pointer on my brand new OS. Having solved that and many other problems (whether by exploring the functionalities, or plain screaming murder at Prasad and Ankit – our IT-literate friends), I seem to have adjusted surprisingly well to it. Phantoms of Linux have turned out to be bigger than Linux itself. Its fast. Its intelligent (use it and you’ll see what I mean by that). It has multiple workspaces. Which means you can chat and browse on another workspace without those irritating colleagues, who have the habit of peering into your screen and shaking their judgmental heads, ever finding out! So far, so good!

The point I am trying to make is that often people will sit on the fence when their knowledge about a technical product is low, the goal then is not to push the product, but to give as much information as possible but wait for the user to make the leap of faith.

I see this happen at work almost every day … we call it creative faith. The technology involved may not be related to computers, but it can be as abstruse if not more. So, the next time you are involved in selling a complex solution, try some faith instead.

Price of failure

Yesterday I met some friends over snacks at Candies (in Bandra, do look it up if you are in the area). A friend of mine has recently switched to work as a manager in a reputed firm, and he was overall happy with his job (work from home and all the perks).

Then he said something which sparked off this post, he said the amount of money the firm wastes in their day-to-day activities is insane. At first it seemed as if he was talking about how the organization has money to spare … but then to drive his point home, he gave examples. Inane but true. A lot of us are willing to put in that extra buck just so that everything that can go wrong won’t.

The design has to be perfect, the models have to be dressed in a certain fashion, the product has to be the best. In creating these spaces, we are de-risking ourselves … that’s what I like to tell myself. But are we?

Is the price of failure so high that we don’t take action and let others do what needs to be done? So what’s the price of failure for different people? For a person who has nothing to loose, its zero. A start-up for example can afford to go in some communities and have it misrepresented … its ok, bygones can be bygones for them. But take a Coca Cola or a Pepsi (not that these are the aforementioned organizations), and you suddenly have to think about ten thousand other factors. Not a freeing thought, is it?

Would it help if one could see the price of failure as zero?