Friday, June 26, 2009

Greek Mythology

:: python for teachers, slide 34 ::

Given our transparently big investment in Polyhedra as connotative of both civilization and rational thought, you might assume we're an Apollonian enterprise, whereas the idea of a "philosophy bar" (aka salon) sounds rather Dionysian and therefore oxymoronic.

How will our customers stay focused and rational if they're becoming intoxicated on adult beverages (e.g. Jack Daniels) or whatever?

Before answering that directly, let's remember that Apollonian intelligence was preceded by the older Delphian network, for whom the snake was an emblem. These oracles were rumored to get high (intoxicated) on fumes emanating from the rock itself (or from some tripod). In other words, this was an ancient shamanistic cult of medicine women, spearheaded by Athena.

When Apollo decided a hostile takeover was in order, or at least a rebranding, he chased the "dragon" out of town, killed it or whatever (accounts vary), and later Athenians got used to the idea of this more policed way of life (Apollo was more fascist in some ways, although not exactly another Mars, like in Sparta).

This so-called "she dragon" (a spirit) was named Python and so these good Delphian priestesses were likewise known as Pythians (like Pythonistas). The word "python" traces to the verb "to rot" i.e. the fumes might've been sulfurous or at least nasty-smelling ("a witches brew").

No one ever suggested these were unintelligent or unprofessional women, even though use of intoxicants was a part of their job description. They just weren't Apollonian in outlook, at least at first, so in hindsight it's understandable why the uninitiated might assume a purely Dionysian operation. Hephaestus was more Vulcan though, an engineer really -- talking about Python's dad.

Answering more directly: it's not a given that any particular customer will remain in a proper frame of mind for whatever business is at hand, nor is it the responsibility of poor slobs in management to carefully monitor everyone's intake.

Whereas the entwined snakes of Hermes, or mono snake of Aesculapius, suggest a "heal thyself" philosophy (akin to the Socratic "know thyself" maxim), this is a commitment for each individual customer to undertake, not a job for some Big Brother on steroids, not a job description for some psychiatric nurse Ratched ala One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Of course we'll do a lot with the LCDs around these themes, including in our own commercials, but let's not overlook the fun of having real, palpable mythology books on the shelves, so-called "coffee table" tomes (more expensive), along with childrens books, scholarly hardcovers, Marvel comics or whatever.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carrotmob Helps Merchants

:: carrotmob, summer solstice ::

It's almost happening! Invite everyone! To all guests of Carrotmob storms HOTLIPS Pizza!

The final push has begun! The event is in only 6 days. Put up lots of posters!

If you still want to volunteer, let me know by Wednesday when you can work (which shift, preferably: 9:30-3 or 3-9). We especially need people with trucks for setting up (9:30-11) and tearing down (7 PM onward).

Also, don't forget to invite all your friends to Carrotmob on Sunday!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Race for Justice 2009

:: fundraising for st. andrew's legal clinic ::

CSN thanks "Chuck" Ryan, also Anna from IT, for including me in this charitable fundraiser.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rear View Mirror

:: os bridge, 2009 ::

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

OS Bridge Conference

We're sharing some of our marketing strategies at OS Bridge, a way to promote socially responsible gaming (and Python) as a means of community service i.e. a mode of working (and playing) more women might appreciate (a theme of this slide).

For more context, here's a link to the PDF version of the entire presentation (6.5 MB), where our open source business model figures in passing (we have lots of imitators already).

Followup: so I attended Gabrielle Roth's talk on this very topic of women in FOSS, her local "code 'n splode" giving techy women some venting time to compare notes on various outrages and offenses (men are allowed, but don't get to sit in front). She gave a thumbs up on the "FOSS covens" meme, part of how the witches are beating the priests in the "good works" department these days (sorry Charlie, go whine to the Pope if you have a problem with that).

Interesting group dynamic in that this gay guy in the audience they all knew assumed interrupt privileges, even after all those slides about directly countering such privilege-taking. He tried to hijack the speaker's workflow during the Q&A, an explicit no-no. I shushed him real loud, like "hey, loud guy!" (finger across the neck motion). I might get in trouble for doing that, but hey, I'm a guy, so who cares.

Speaking of group dynamics, apparently some OSCON 2007 BOF on Women in FOSS kind of degenerated, still part of the lore among this inner circle. I wasn't at said BOF, dunno what went down, but do think of OSCON 2008 as a turning point in some ways, in getting us back on track vis-a-vis our core motivation (world domination).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Study Hall

from Ira Flatow's Science Friday: snake locomotion

Some of our more youthful readers are thinking this is just boring old study hall, dressed up with scones and/or Brazilian cheese bread (yum), and they're right in some ways.

In today's world, we somewhat assume you're carrying a personal headset, so if you don't want to buy new or share the communal pair, simply jack in with your very own (like the ones in the seat pocket in front of you, that airlines just give away sometimes (but we lose them, rat pack the garage)).

The overall effect, even with all that frenetic game playing under the surface, winning big time for your teams, is a somewhat hushed environment, meaning you have room for intimate conversation without shouting. There's a buzz. Sometimes there's a didjeridu (and not just on headphones).

However, it's also in error to posit one steady ambiance for all times and seasons, as a shop has a life of its own, its rhythms, and you're not going to see the same Harry Potter types at all times of day (considering "a day" to be "one 24 hour period"). Maybe it's karaoke night and your customers are singing their hearts out.

If you have multiple CSN hangouts, you'll get a roving loyal base, with the quieter types frequenting the less loud locations, nothing to stop the Trappists from doing one.

In terms of Harry Potter, my little Slytherin group comes through only occasionally, in which case the shadows flicker and a film noir track kicks in on the sound system, activated by remote sensor (just jokin' with ya, adds to the tone).

Or more likely, I'm perched in the corner, more like Bob Cratchet, trying to makes sense to this scrooge Uncle Sam. Or am I more Mellville's Bartleby? Or maybe that'd be Matt?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vendor Promos

pioneer courthouse square (wikimedia)

I was scoping some venues for ISEPP recently, given the grant application on my desk, also wondering about PPUG given USB wants its upper floor back, maybe for investment banking purposes (Grand Avenue location, heart of ToonTown, sweet). Yes, this "tension table" (below) cries out for "weighty decisions" meetings, along with sake.

You may have seen, from archival Carosello reruns (RAI TV), that commercials earn good will for a company orthogonally to the product itself in many cases, i.e. the charm of the story is what left a good taste, not its relevance to actually shaving or sneezing or whatever the good.

Likewise the anime lead in to your promo needn't directly hype your cause, as we presume players usually come armed with foreknowledge. They already know about BFI and its campaigns.

The game is about having fun, R&R, enjoying some alternatives to violence (Quakers Play Quake).

Of course some customers abhor tasteless cartoon violence or first person shooters of any kind, didn't enter a coffeeshop thinking to yuk it up with immature 14-year-olds in some goddamn arcade fer cryin' out loud.

Lets acknowledge these stereotypes exist and take refuge in esoterica. Our hallmark games give you food for thought first and foremost, have their puzzling elements. Many are quite serene, more like Myst or one of those.

These aren't games of pure chance remember. Heroics come at a cost. Nor are all games equally hard, with some winnable in mere seconds (during a pause between sips, of a Red Bull or whatever -- a way to show off).

Others abhor hentai, pokeman, anything Xboxy... the list goes on, mix 'n match.

There's no sense "imposing" tastes, plus as any shop owner knows, you're also steering people away in some businesses.

Your clientele is in some ways your loudest signal as to what your little shop purveys and with CSN that'd be a philosophy talk of a somewhat esoteric, far western variety, one with lots of geometry, maybe hypertoons -- lookin' good on those HD flats.

Board Meetings
:: urban grind, near jantzen bldg ::

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Geometry Toyz

I've talked about "the gift shop" a lot, sometimes in remote locations, high in the Himalayas maybe, in some national park. T-shirts would likely be specific to the region, with some mix of franchise motifs, e.g. Athena and pirates.

Given our brand of esoterica on the flats though, very spatio-geometric, it's the geometry toyz, ala Math 'n Stuff near Seattle, that really give us away as CSN. This presumes something about our clientele: they're philosophical, in the sense that geometry and philosophy have an historic alliance (like, read up on Neoplatonism if wanting to know more).

When you cross geometry with T-shirts, you get M.C. Escher, perhaps also on placemats. Your management has options who to buy from. Some don't stock T-shirts in wild abundance.

So how does the gift shop work with the games? On nearby Belmont we have Avalon, which gives a sense of the setup. Patrons buy an internal currency and their rewards come from behind the counter, based on success at the various games.

Greenpeace might set a business rule that when a patron scores a total of $50 towards that NGO, a free T-shirt gets triggered, perhaps from a catalog selection (visible on-line). Duplicate this arrangement another hundred times and you see where games might promote the flow of souvenir goods.

Given this is a geeks' circus, there's lots of attention to security, in the sense that a child working hard to help the polar bears, wants to know how this funding is used. Strong fund accounting on the business end is what gives patrons the sense of satisfaction, versus a bitter taste, when winning big for the cause.

Greenpeace Decal